Monday, January 18, 2016

Fat is not a synonym for ugly

I’m fat. Let’s not waste energy debating the use of the ‘F’ word. Fats are long chain molecules consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; in most plants and animals they represent an efficient way of storing energy. When we consume more energy than our body immediately requires it is stored in our adipose tissue as fat. According to the World Health Organization BMI classification, I have an above average amount of energy stored in my adipose tissue.

As Lillian Bustle so eloquently stated "Society has turned fat into a synonym for ugly. But fat just means fat."

The message that society thrusts onto overweight individuals is that if you can’t lose weight you aren’t enough. You aren’t strong enough, you aren’t disciplined enough, you aren’t active enough, you don’t care enough, you aren’t smart enough, you don’t want it badly enough. You. Are. Not. Enough.

Studying to be a dietitian isn’t easy, it is a highly competitive degree and at my age there are limited pathways available. For two years, day after day, I had the strength to keep showing up, I had the discipline to study, I had the smarts to achieve a GPA of 7.0; there could be no doubting that I wanted it badly enough. Throughout all of this I ran an average of 15-20km per week and I became involved in a host of extracurricular activities; by anyone’s standards I am certainly active enough. On top of all this I am a wife, a mother, an artist, a cook and a dog lover. By any standard you could possibly imagine I am enough.

Except I'm fat. Every achievement I just listed suddenly became diminished by society because I have stores of body fat. I’m not buying into that nonsense any more.

I have spent enough of my life hating my body and by extension hating myself. It’s time to move in a different direction.

Once again I borrow from the beautiful Ms Bustle: 

I am enrolled in university so I call myself a student, I weigh 80kg so I call myself fat, and I am beautiful so I call myself beautiful. I am all of these things at once.



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