BFB is having a bowling event here in Chicago on Saturday, and other fat-friendly events are going on all over…
It is just one of many social and athletic get-togethers that Ms. Bellemore’s network and other groups like it organize around the country to allow the very overweight to mingle in a climate of tolerance. The events are meant to encourage people to get out and meet one another, to transform their shame into confidence and to accept themselves as they are, not as others would have them be.
As Sandy Schaffer, the director of the New York chapter of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, put it, “Why allow somebody to say, ‘You can’t do this until you lose weight’?”
Some people have found it interesting that I identify so heavily with the whole “fat acceptance” gig.
I’ve had a friend or two say, “But Kameron, you’re not obese.”
I’m 5’9, 210 lbs or so, and a big, substantial woman in the big, substantial woman sense: my shoulders are as wide as my hips. My lowest weight post-puberty was 175/180 lbs, when I was working out six days a week, sometimes twice a day, and living mainly on brown rice and eggs. My sister told me I was looking “really skinny.” (?) What these whole “5’2 200 lbs” descriptions never seem to take into account is how well that person holds themselves at that weight, what their workout and eating schedule is like, and how they maintain their time.
And guess what? According to the ridiculous BMI we’re using, I’m obese.
Just like Brad Pitt.
And I can jog three miles and until a few months ago was engaged in regular boxing classes.
And guess what’s even more:
At my “lowest weight” of 175?
Still overweight by BMI standards!
What incredible fucking useless fucking bullshit crap.
A lot of us have to monitor everything we eat just to stay at 200 lbs. Unless you want to get into starvation mode or major work-out mode (yea, I could do this in college. With 15 hours of commute time a week, it’s not feasible at the moment), and starving, for me, means sleeping a lot. And you know what? Missing out on my life cause I’m sleeping all the time just ain’t worth fitting into a size 10 (in fact, unless I start taking the boxing seriously and do about 3 hours of training a day, I don’t think I’ll ever be a size 10. I’ve never been a size 10. Post-puberty, my comfort level is a 12, and that’s a tough size for me to stay at).
My journey the last two years has been one of getting my binge-eating under control, which I’ve very nearly successfully done. It was a crazy, fucked-up, freak-out sort of behavior that I engaged in when I was stressed out and pissed off because I wasn’t fitting into the “right” size of clothes, because I viewed myself as too big and too unfeminine, and believed everyone thought I was a fat, ugly, useless slob.
Binge-eating is a great cyclical sort of problem…
So I have some experience in the realm of self-acceptance and learning to break the binge/diet cycle through the realization that being big and intimidating can be…
The trick, for me, is finding the power in my size, and working to build muscle mass, which I view as very useful weight.
I have up and down cycles: as mentioned, I’ve gone soft and doughy again, and I’m irritated about that, because exercise makes me feel a whole lot better in my skin. I make it a point not to eat shit food during the week, but if they’ve got bagels at work, I might have some. If we’re celebrating and ordering Thai food, I’m totally in. When B’s over, we have pancakes with enough lite syrup to drown a small navy.
Food’s not the enemy, it’s just that there are certain times for certain things, and hating myself by gorging is a terrible form of punishing my body because it’s not “right” or “perfect.” Like everything else in my life, it is what it is.
What I’ve realized is that my body goes through cycles, and it also has a pretty “high” set point and comfort zone, and I need to respect that, and respecting that also means respecting myself enough to give myself the right sort of fuel to get through the day, and through workouts.
I’m not here to get down to a place where I can fit into clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch, though that would be nice…
I’m just getting to the point where I realize it’s not my body that’s all wrong – it’s Abercrombie & Fitch.
And if the A&F wearers are going to roll their eyes at me cause they’re so hungry and I’m not, I’d far prefer to be in a crowd of equally non-hungry people who are out to have an actual good time instead of sitting around punishing themselves for not being a size 00.
I have more important things to do than play the who-can-eat-less-and-still-function-game.
It’s cool to be around people who feel the same way.