Why Feeling Fat is Worse Than Being Fat

Before you jump down my throat about this title and tell me that it is in fact false. I just quickly wanted to let you know that it was more to get you to read the article than anything. Click bait, I suppose. Though I am going to touch on the topic of the title, I do not believe that being overweight or obese is less difficult than simply feeling it.

There are a lot of health issues that come with obesity, a lot of societal hate and pressure and a lot of mental health struggles. So no, it probably isn’t worse.

But naming this blog

I am fighting a serious struggle with my inner fat kid, and it’s causing me serious distress, especially around Christmas

was way too long.

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With Christmas around the corner, I am anxiously dreading the unified “I’m fat” conversation that comes up each year. The chat where everyone goes around and publicly shames themselves for weighing too much after Christmas dinner, followed by a series of praise for how much they work out. Then someone goes and grabs the scale and we all weigh ourselves and call ourselves “Fatsos”. Healthy right?

Growing up with this,  instilled a great fear in me and a serious body complex. One I have struggled with my entire life. Some years I can handle it, others I see the number on the scale and I just want to peel my skin off.

As I’ve gotten older, I look back at when I used to weigh 10, 20, 30 pounds less than I do now and I cringe at how I have just accepted the number on the scale as reality.

That saddest part is I am not fat.

I am a healthy, normal and average weight for my age and height. I am beautiful, I am healthy, I am fit… and yet I see myself in the mirror and I hate what I see.

This years dread has started much earlier than most years, and it’s because I stupidly stepped on the scale to see how much I weighed. I did it because it had been 6 months since I had been on it last, and in those past 6 months I made a very conscious effort to work out 3 -5 times a week.

To my utmost fear and dread – I weighed 10 more pounds than I did the last time… this is the heaviest I have ever been in my life!

So what did I do?

I got very upset and it set forth my binge habit. I went to the corner store, picked up 6 bags of candy and chocolate and downed it in 2 hours. Guilty, ashamed and even angrier at myself I then went to the pharmacy and bought a light laxative. I then vowed, I would only eat when I was around people… that way no one would know I was starving myself.

A huge part of me wants to starve myself until I am at the weight I want to be, and then go back to my ordinary life, but my logical brain knows that starving myself is not the answer. So I set forth a plan to eat healthy… but this is where my INNER FAT KID comes to play.

He loves food. He loves eating it, he loves tasting it, he loves making it, and he especially loves going out for delicious restaurant foods. And when he is being ignored he makes a point of reminding me. Instead of just eating the healthy lunch that I made for myself, he craves more.  He wants UberEats, and candy, he wants extra sauce, and slushie drinks.

I tell him no. He pushes harder. Everything in my being says: “No this will make you fat” which oddly  weakens my self control, and I find myself eating all those extra foods, and hating myself later.

The self hate that comes with body image is incredibly powerful.

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You can be bigger, obese or overweight and still feel amazing. You can walk around with confidence because at some point you figured out how to love yourself and not care what people thought of you. With all the self love in the world it wouldn’t matter if you were fat.

But when you think you’re fat – that comes with binge eating, starvation, self harm… and when you aren’t actually fat and you feel these things… no one believes you.

Bigger people roll their eyes at you.

Those close to you tell you you’re beautiful and don’t understand how you can possibly feel that way.

There isn’t an easy solution, like work out and eat healthy like there is if you actually are obese… because the reality of the matter is this isn’t a “fat” issue. It’s a mental health issue.

So perhaps I should have named this blog: Being mentally ill is worse than being fat  because then it would be true.

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You may be wondering what the point of this blog post is…

Honestly? It’s to keep my mind off a bacon cheeseburger that my inner fat kid has been craving. He says I deserve it – but I know if I order it I’ll hate myself even more. So I am sitting here trying desperately to get my mind off it.

My hope is, in the act of writing this, I can let anyone feeling the same things I am that you aren’t alone. And maybe, perhaps, start the healing process once and for all. The first step is admitting you have a problem right?

Maybe my advent calendar this year will be kind thoughts, instead of chocolate. Maybe by the time the “fat conversation” comes up, I will proudly get on the scale and say:

WHO THE FUCK CARES?!!

 

~Athena and Hermes

 

Why You Should Stop Telling People Your Age.

I’m going to ruin something for you, one of those “can’t unsee”, or in this case “can’t unhear” moments: Have you noticed how often people ask you how old you are?

I hadn’t, until recently.

I was meeting up with an old friend for coffee, mainly to meet her new girlfriend, and within 20 minutes of meeting her I asked her how old she was.

Her response was awesome. “I actually don’t tell people my age.” 

Instantly, I was embarrassed because I felt that I had crossed a line, but she went on to tell me that I hadn’t but age simply doesn’t matter.

“What difference does it make if I was 47 or 25… why did you  need to know that to continue having this conversation?

After saying our goodbyes, I pondered about it… why did I ask?

I realized it was because I wanted to justify the advice I wanted to give her… if she was younger than me I could impart my wisdom, my life experience. If she was older however, my advice probably wasn’t as sound. In short, my asking her her age was some weird roundabout way of finding justification to belittle her, or talk down to her. In another light, it was a form of disqualification of my own advice, as if my lived experience was only useful if she was younger and that it wouldn’t be to someone older than me.

It was a real mind altering moment for me.

I told myself I will never tell someone my age again. Not because I am ashamed of how old I am, I’m not. It’s because it really doesn’t add anything to the conversation, nor to a friendship, or a relationship (unless of course it comes to being underage, in which case it’s a legal issues but I’m not getting into that.) 

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I have met 17 year olds who know more about politics, life, love and loss than some 50 year olds. I have met 30 year olds who have the maturity of 18 year olds and 10 year olds who have the maturity of  70 year old wise monks.

AGE IS BUT A NUMBER.

Perhaps if there was a level-of-experience-measurement in life that we could throw at each other, then it would be worth asking. But how long you have lived, isn’t really a measurement on how much you know or don’t know. It isn’t a measurement on how valid your wisdom is.

There are other really good reasons not to tell people your age.

1. Certain careers, (modelling, acting, singing, sports) will force you into retirement once they feel you are too old to represent their brand. By not telling people your age, you can go ahead working due to your talent and not your “expiry date”

2. No one will force you to get on their schedule. Ever been told you have to settle down or have children, or hit a certain job milestone? Has anyone ever told you that “you still have time, you’re young?” They can’t do that when they don’t know your age! And all of that is a form of belittling, by the way.

3. No one will ever tell you, “WOW YOU DON’T LOOK (your age)” This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I realize it’s meant to be a compliment, but the truth of the matter is, in fact you do. You do look that age, because you are that age. What they’re really saying with this bizarre compliment isyou don’t look as old as I imagined people your age look”. Weird Flex but okay. 

4. People don’t encourage bad habits by relating to your age. This happens on either side of the age spectrum. When you are “young” you can make excuses for partying, eating too much, making stupid decisions, and you will meet someone of the same age who can justify all that. “We’re 17, we’re still young, doing a little coke won’t hurt.” I realize that’s super dramatic…but it’s the drug of choice in high schools at the moment. When you are “old” you can make excuses for being tired and not wanting to exercise, not going out, not enjoying yourself. “We’re 60, our backs are going to ache, it doesn’t matter whether we go to the gym or not”… I won’t get too into this, but working out while you age is so important for bone health!

5. You never have to be subject to the feeling of uselessness. This is particularly for women, mainly because we are essentially told that after 30 we are unseen, and don’t even get me started with after 50!  It’s this odd phenomenon. Many women believe it and I have dated a handful of men who swear by it. Which is disgusting. If no one knows your age, they can’t make you feel invisible, ugly, unwanted, less than human. If no one knows your age, you can parade around as the perfect person you are without judgment (at least in that respect).

There are many more, but are you starting to see my point?

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Since keeping my age to myself I am happier. I am more free, open minded, and much more willing to accept any advice, and trust my own. Oddly, it has helped me to become more mature. I would encourage anyone, of any age to try it. I’m not saying you have to do it – but maybe try it out and see how it feels?

You may find yourself a whole new world.

~Athena and Hermes~

 

Speak Up. Tell Your Friend You Hate Their Significant Other.

That’s right. I said it: TELL YOUR FRIENDS IF YOU HATE THEIR PARTNER.

Alright, I may be jumping the gun a little bit – but let me explain.

We live in a world where: we tend to sugar coat things, we tend to appeal to everyone’s feelings before we speak the truth, we struggle to tell people things that may hurt. Now in many ways this can be useful, because speaking in the name of honesty as a way of being cruel is not right either – HOWEVER….

We are avoiding conversations that need to be had among our friends because we fear them.  

One of those conversations is the “I don’t like your partner” conversation. Many feel that it is not their place to judge someone’s significant other. That may very well be true when it comes to your boss, your colleagues, your teachers, etc. etc. etc. However it is important to be honest and candid when it comes to your close friends and your family (dependent on your relationship with them).

I don’t mean when it’s something superficial like the way they dress, their class, their education, or their looks. I mean when its serious things such as: the way they speak to your friend, they way they talk about their friends, they way they treat others, their outlook on life, their values.

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If you disagree with me hear me out.

I dated a man who I thought made me happy – but all of my close friends despised him.  They hated how he spoke to me, how he interrupted me, how he expected me to act a certain way around him, how he never showed his affections to me, how he would scold me, how he would often propose I leave my field of work… the list goes on and on and on.

I couldn’t see any of these things because I was “in love”. By the time it was all over, I realized I had been manipulated, brainwashed and emotionally abused. They all saw it within the first few months but they never told me how much they hated him until AFTER WE BROKE UP! 

I had all of my close friends admit to me they desperately wanted to tell me just how terrible he was to me, but were worried it would ruin our friendship.

Three of HIS friends approached me after we broke up to tell me they wanted to broach the topic, but were worried it would make it’s way back to him.

My aunt, who only met him twice, told me after it was over that she despised him upon first meeting, but didn’t want to tell me as she didn’t feel it was her business.

My exes mother even told me her son was not good enough for me and  she wished me the best in finding someone better, after it all ended.

I WISH THEY HAD TOLD ME THOUGH.

I realized I am an adult and I can make my own decisions, but had nine people told me that there was something off about my relationship, I may have slowly had the rose colored glasses fade sooner. Perhaps I could have seen what was occurring and escaped a bad situation a year sooner than I had. Naturally the choice would be in my hands, but being offered another perspective is always useful in any situation.

If you are a friend of someone who is dating or married to someone awful, you are in a very difficult position. You have to risk the friendship in speaking the truth, which is why many people avoid it.

My advice is to 1) either send them this blog and let them figure it out or 2) breach the topic from a place of love and not of blaming. Ask them questions, allow them to realize they deserve better, they are worthy of true respect and love. You can even bring up the fear of losing the friendship over this conversation and make it clear you care about them and just want to make sure they are truly happy. If your friend is truly happy your comments will not affect them. If they aren’t however, the seed you planted will grow and they will eventually see the truth.

When I was in this toxic relationship one of my closest friends asked me: “Are you happy with this arrangement?” and I said to her “… yeah I’m okay with it.” and she said: “Okay Athena, if you are then I’m happy for you. Just keep checking in and making sure it’s constantly true. If it’s not, that’s okay – just ask yourself why.”

I went home that night and cried… it wasn’t true.

The truth was that I was miserable and trapped and believed that he was the only one who would ever love me. That belief is what kept me there. It wasn’t until she asked me that question that I woke up from my trance and started to realize there was so much more past the relationship. I was capable of so much more and deserved so much more.

Three months after that conversation the seed she planted grew and I was able to dump my toxic boyfriend.

Some of you reading this may be thinking:

“MY FRIEND WON’T LISTEN THOUGH. “

They may not respond positively right away, they may not take your advice right away, they may not accept what you are saying right away… but the key words here are: RIGHT AWAY. Your words will seep into their mind, they will digest it and they will dwell on it. When it is all said and done, they will thank you for it.

If you care about your friends, SPEAK UP. 

Just remember to do it with kindness and not judgement.

(Let me be clear, if you don’t like your friends significant others for reasons that are superficial, or judgmental that have nothing to do with treatment or abusive behaviors this article is not promoting a conversation. Tune in with yourself and your thoughts on this person before you have the talk to be sure you are doing it for your friends safety and well being and not your own issues) 

~Athena and Hermes~