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Mommy Musings - Invisible Fat Girl

POSTED July 6, 2011 1:57 a.m.
The past 10 years I have spent as part of a psychological study in human behavior.
Admittedly, I did not know or realize it at the time, yet recent events have taught me that a number of my suspicions are indeed correct. My findings are very exciting, yet I struggle with how to gingerly share my findings without hurting the feelings of our readers. More importantly, I dare not write words that might knowingly or intentionally hurt anyone. Many of the ‘Mommy Musings’ followers are my friends and God only knows I would never intentionally hurt one of them.
Alright … enough beating around the bush. There truly is not a delicate way to share what I have learned, so here goes. But — before I type it, please commit to hearing me out and reading the entire piece before penning your letter of disgust for my insulting column.
Being the ‘fat girl’ is no fun.
There, I said it, so now I must explain. Before I do, you should be warned this is not intended to be a ‘politically correct’ piece. It is, after all a column, or my view on things. So with that said, if you are uncomfortable with the word ‘fat’ then stop reading here.
Throughout the past year, I have made mention of my journey and discovery for newfound health. At 5’10” and 185 pounds (yep… I wrote that), I am far from ‘petite.’ Quite honestly ‘petite’ is just not in my DNA and I am okay with that. By some standards I am still very much the ‘fat girl’ and I accept that as well. But with 261 as my fighting weight when I gave birth to my daughter four short years ago, I own that 185 proudly.
I’m still a good 15 pounds from my final goal, a number which would put me just 5 pounds heavier than the amazing Gabrielle Reece.
I have journeyed far enough in the past year to make a few very interesting observations. When I was heavier I noticed a number of things.
As I made these observations, I would often think it was just me. An overweight girl feeling badly for herself for not fitting in to the cookie cutter persona we are all raised with. The image of healthy, wealthy and balanced. You know the stereotype of the trim lady in a jog suit, stylish ball cap and designer key chain… that girl.
There was nothing worse than being out shopping and having people bump into me without a word of ‘excuse me’ or even an apologetic glance. Often I would say to friends, “Now I know they see me. How rude.” Yes, the easiest way to deal with my size has always been through humor — but not anymore.
Then there is also the experience of shopping and feeling as if you are being overlooked or avoided. Note to the thin who have never struggled with the scale or a pair of jeans: Fat people also have money.
So many instances of feeling isolated because of size. So many, that there is truly not enough column space to list. Chances are if you have walked in these shoes, then listing them here is simply not necessary — you get it.
Now, almost 80 pounds lighter than that girl on July 6, 2007 I can honestly say all those thoughts and feelings as the ‘fat girl,’ well, they were accurate.
I still remember the first time that a young man opened the door for me at a local coffee shop, smiled and actually looked me in the eyes. I was so overcome with shock that I had to step aside and text my girlfriend.
The downside of course of weight loss, is that it takes us longer to see the person the rest of the world is responding to — oddly, just like weight gain.
So, what does this all mean really?
I guess it’s simple. If you are the ‘fat girl’ and you are happy, well, good for you. I was not. I said I was. I laughed a lot and I still managed to dress myself in something other than sweats and baggy T’s, but I did not recognize myself. Walking past a mirror at the 200-plus weight often made me pause. I did not know that girl. I felt the same inside and I knew I was the same, yet somehow it all got lost.
Most importantly what I have come to learn on this journey is that I… the thinner me… was there all along. The only person who was standing in my way was… me. There I was: hiding behind excuses, putting myself last and opting for the food which I knew brought my body no value, yet I ate it anyway.
Ultimately the best way to go about any weight loss is with a realistic expectation. The goal of course is to get ‘healthy.’ Healthy, however, is not just physical. Healthy is equally and more importantly mental, when it comes to self-image and how we greet the rest of the world.
I own who I ‘was.’ The way I see it I have to, if not, then I might once again return to being nothing more than an ‘invisible fat girl.’

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at thammond@oakdaleleader.com or by calling 847-3021.
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