Fat Girl Diaries: Thoughts on Losing A Whole Person And Still Being Really Fat

This past Saturday I completed the IhavenoclueanymorewhatnumberIamon 5k in my lifetime-at my fastest time nonetheless. Today, I received an email with my chip time in it-51 minutes and 41 seconds....meaning it takes me 17 minutes and 14 seconds to walk/jog a mile.  I was so geeked to learn that was my time as I thought I was at 53 minutes when I crossed the finish line so knowing it was faster than I thought put some pep in my step to say the least.  Doesn't quite seem like big potatoes or a fast time to some people....and it really isn't. But, I am not concerned about other people's thoughts on my time. 

While in this 5K a person began to walk next to me and told me what an inspiration I was to them. I blankly stared at this stranger and said, 'thank you?'. They asked me in a lowered voice if it was my first 5k to which I replied no. Because, it definitely isn't I have been doing 5ks for at least 5 years if not longer. Yes, even when I was close to 450 pounds. The person looked somewhat shocked then told me that it was cool that I was doing the 5k and participating prior to having bariatric surgery. They knew I was a bariatric patient because our bariatric clinic provided us shirts to wear in the race with the office's name on it.  Once again I stared, then informed them that I already had surgery a year ago to which they stammered...and then asked my beginning stats and numbers. The reason they assumed I had not had surgery is because even though I have lost 161 pounds (a whole adult), even though I was participating in a healthy activity, even though I was jogging more than walking, even though this wasn't my first rodeo- is because I am still a fat person. And, fat people are not supposed to be active by the majority of society's views. 

As of today, I am just a bit under 300 pounds after a year after surgery. Which, if you math correctly means that I was well over 400 pounds at the beginning of this weight journey and lifestyle change. I have been so open in my journey since day one of my stats, my struggles, my goals....yet...this stranger punched me in my soul. Their questioning made me want to stop and drop out of the fun run right then and there. The sweat that I had become accustomed to, the jogging that I have picked up these past few months, the stamina I had built, the drive that I had found to keep going....all seemed fake. With a few questions...I felt undone-like a pretender who was just playing dress up in my cute, yoga/jogging pants and that I might be better off sitting on my couch reading. But....that feeling lasted only a moment. A long moment...but a fleeting one thankfully. 

The day before I stood in a packed gymnasium to pick up my bib and packet looking for any body type that was remotely close to mine and all I was met with was a sea of seemingly fit bodies. I do not know their health histories. I do not know their struggles. I just know it was hard pressed for me to find someone who looked like me. Stuff like that used to deter me. I would feel like I wouldn't 'fit' in, that I would 'stick out'. Here's the thing. I will stick out and there's not a damn thing wrong with that. Can it be uncomfortable? Oh definitely. Will people have preconceptions of you? Sure, but...when don't they though? Does that mean you are not meant to be there if you do not fit the mold? Nope. Not in the least. 


If you do not fit in somewhere you long to be, want to be, need to be....couldn't it mean that you are simply helping reshape and redefine what is 'acceptable' and that you are helping shattering stereotypes?

A couple years ago, it took me over 2 hours to complete a 5k. I struggled. I felt like I was going to die. I was beyond thirsty but also felt if a drop of water would touch my tongue I would vomit angrily everywhere. I was done for the whole day after. I was beyond sore the next day and vowed to never do one again. But, I did. Eventually. I also began researching different lifestyles and different eating habits. I wanted to be active. I wanted to be healthier...I just didn't know how. But with support systems, good sounding boards, helpful doctor's offices, and knowledge at my fingertips I slowly formulated (and eventually executed) a plan for a healthier lifestyle for myself. 



The only person I am in competition with is myself. I have spent too many years comparing myself to others.  Measuring my beauty against theirs finding myself always lacking.  I believed for far too long that the number on the scale equated my worth. It never did. It never will. I will fail many more times in life. I will not exercise some days. I will be mean to myself. I will eat all the carbs in front of my face and feel like crap afterward. BUT. (And, this is a great BUT.) But, I will also have the knowledge that I can start again. I will have the comfort of knowing that where I am is not my endpoint, that I am still in flux, that I am still in my journey, that I can restart whenever I need to in this lifestyle. 

I am not where I want to be. But, I am not where I was either. I am beginning again every day. Choosing healthier options, choosing positive mottos and people in my life, choosing to believe in myself and know that I have made progress and have more goals to reach. 

There is no hiding that when the person walking next to me for a short term hurt my feelings for a moment when they assumed I was pre-surgery. It stung that they assumed I wasn't active. It was a quick slap in the face when they told me I was an inspiration for simply showing up at my size and participating in this race. Inspiration is a big word. Not to be thrown at strangers. I understand their intent. I understand their encouragement. But, in that moment, it felt derogatory. 

But, luckily, in that down moment I did what I have been doing when things don't sit right with me-I moved on. Anxiety could have overruled me and left me a hot mess. I could have walked off the course feeling dejected and stopped participating in something I enjoy doing...which has happened in the past. I could have stole my own joy by comparing myself to others. I could have told myself I didn't belong and chastised myself for not looking better, not looking fitter, for not losing more weight. But I didn't. I didn't do any of the self-deprecating things that I did for so long.

Instead, I wished them luck-then jogged off so I could pound the pavement as best as I could heading  in the only direction I have wanted to go-towards a healthier and happier lifestyle. 

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