In recent social media posts, I may have made mention a time or two that I’m fat.
Old and fat…slow and fat… old slow and fat… I’ve used many variations, but they are mostly humorous descriptions, possibly bordering on self deprecating, but not meant to be insulting to myself or anyone else.
But every time I do this, it seems that many people….mostly friends… have replied to my posts insisting that I stop referring to myself in such an ugly manner. They say things like
“You’re not fat!”, “Stop saying that!”,
“You’re not fat, as far as you know”
Or “I don’t think your fat, but you know some of those Jenny Craig dinners are pretty tasty… just sayin’.”
Okay, I may have made that last one up.
I love that there are so many kind people in the world who don’t like watching me put myself down, but honestly I’m really not berating myself, I’m trying to motivate myself.
Let me try to explain.
It’s common knowledge that Fat is a word mean people use to pick on others about their weight. This is a real shitty thing to do, and why mean people suck. So in order to avoid being a mean person, we use words like “overweight”, “heavy set”, “stocky” “plus sized” and my personal favorite, “big boned” instead. Don’t get me wrong, this is entirely the right thing to do. I’m totally on board with the “I’m okay – You’re okay” mentality, and no one should ever say anything with the intention of hurting another’s feelings.
Today using the word fat is as bad as using any other F Word in the English language. In fact you hear so much today about body shaming and online bullying that simply saying the word “Fat” can bring more anger in your direction than farting in church (I found this out the hard way, but I’ll save that story for my other blog). The word fat has been deemed mean and cruel and is never to be spoken, not even if you are describing barnyard animals or bacon , which ironically comes from fat pigs. Go figure.
You’re not even supposed to use it on yourself. There is some truth to this, as putting yourself down does nothing to improve your situation. Self deprecation isn’t healthy because you will start to believe the negativity. But I’m not calling myself fat to put myself down.
I use the word fat to describe my current condition, not as a description of how I look. It’s no different than when I work in the yard and say I’m dirty or I stay up too late and say I’m tired. Using the word fat it’s just another word to describe my current situation. I’m not beating myself up when I call myself fat, I’m motivating myself to change.
I don’t care about looking fat, in fact that’s the last thing on my mind. I’m pushing 53, and when a man gets to be this age, concern about his appearance is definitely not where it was 30 years ago. I have a beautiful wife and for some reason she still digs me, so she is the only other person I worry about looking good for. She tells me I’m still tolerable, so a guy like me can’t ask for more than that.
My concern is all about my health. At my height and weight, I am technically rated as obese. Having lost so many friends and family to weight and heart related issues, I don’t have time to mess around and try to make myself feel better by telling myself I’m “heavy Set” or “Big Boned”. What the hell does big boned mean anyway? As the old saying goes, I’ve never seen a fat skeleton.
When you recognize an emergency, you can’t worry about hurt feelings or waste time trying to find the proper words to say. Let’s say you were out to eat with your friends, and you smelled smoke. Realizing something was wrong, you wouldn’t say, “It seems to me that there is some type of unregulated combustion somewhere in the building, and we may want to consider removing ourselves from this establishment before the temperature rises to a point that is intolerable and the toxic air becomes impossible to inhale”
Hell no, you would say ” Fire! We gotta get the hell out of here! Now!
Well in the same context for the last 15 years I’ve been saying things like “I’m putting on a little weight, or “I’m getting a little heavy, I need to consider dropping a few pounds. ‘Now, it’s time to cut through the bullshit. by calling myself fat I’m emphasizing the urgency of my current situation. Just like the restaurant analogy, if I don’t do something quick I’m going to die.
I come from a family history of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I can’t use words like heavyset, overweight, big boned or stocky anymore. I have to call it for what it is. I’m fat goddamnit, and if I don’t do something I’m in deep shit.
So don’t worry about me being hard on myself, I’m just being honest, and trying to get my ass in gear. The time for going easy on myself is over.