I’ve been everywhere on the overweight spectrum; I’ve ranged from being chubby to being obese for most of my life. It’s only within the past year that I’ve lost weight and fought, scratched, and clawed my way into smaller proportions. I’m all too familiar with the fruitless pursuit of reasonably cute XL-sized shirts, the rummaging for jeans that fit wellย everywhere, and the struggle to feel confident in the paltry amount of clothes I found that actually fit. Such is the plight of a fat chick.

Apparently, I’m not fat anymore. The number on the scale is telling me this. My friends, family, and co-workers have likewise made me aware of this, too. I know they’re all right. Rationally, I’m cognizant of the fact that for the first time in my life, I’m at a healthy, average weight, but I don’t think I’ll everย trulyย stop being a fat chick. I don’t say that in a body dysmorphia way; when I look in the mirror, I physically see myself exactly as I am: a healthy, newly-slender woman (that desperately needs to get more sleep). What I’m realizing instead is that my outlook on life is probably never going to catch up to what’s on the surface. Let me explain.

When you’re an overweight woman, the entire world is against you. The media, men, other women, fashion, employers–literally everyone and everything central to the experience of being a woman in today’s society is made more difficult by being overweight. Anyone that denies this reality is full of shit. The trouble is, when you’re in the midst of living life as an overweight individual, you have to make the best of it. You feign confidence, you pretend to let the jokes roll off of you (and your rolls). Hell, maybe you even poke fun at yourself about your size. All these strategies take their toll eventually. Trust me; I’ve lived it. I know there must be women out there somewhere that are genuinely confident about their body and embrace their size–I applaud them. I like to think I have pretty strong character, but I was never that well-adjusted in my own skin when I was a bigger gal.

My experience being overweight could have been a lot worse. I was fortunate not to be the victim of excessive teasing or bullying. My thinner friends and family members never acted differently towards me when it came to food or when the issue of size would come up. Still though, I didn’t stand a chance witnessing the media portrayals about life as a fat chick and making it out unscathed. In most television shows or movies, being a fat woman entails being some college guy’s shame leaving his dorm room the morning after. It means being attached to a tub of Ben & Jerry’s at all times. It means being envious of every woman that weighs one pound less than you do.

I’m not suggesting it’s wrong to depict fat chicks this way–that’s a pointless argument. Delving into the real truth of what it’s like being an overweight woman would be too time consuming and might actually surprise people. Besides, we all know that men who appreciate curves do exist, that not all heavy women eat their feelings, and that even thin women have all the potential to be hideously ugly. Those are all moot points anyway, because perpetuating the fat chick stereotype is comedic and much easier for the public to understand. Why I take issue with these media presentations of my former demographic is because when you’re bombarded with all this bad press about being fat, some it’s bound to stick with you long term, even if or when you stop being fat yourself. Believe it or not, I’ve never needed to look to TV or movies to apprise me of how awful it is being overweight. If you’ve ever had any extra unwanted weight on you, you know how taxing it is on your self esteem. Those issues aside, I’ve been conditioned to feel like I should be embarrassed that the word “fat” was ever able to be mentioned with my name in the same sentence, and that shame sticks with me to this day. As much as I hate to admit it, the media got to me.

Even though I’m not technically a fat chick anymore, I still see the world through the eyes of one. When I overhear people making fun of a bigger girl, it hurts my feelings just as much as if they had been teasing me instead. I know what you’re thinking, “Why should that bother you? You’re not fat anymore.” Well, it’s funny how that works, isn’t it? I don’t think I’ll ever get used to being smaller. I was walking through the mall the other day, and I passed a plus size store that had a really cute sweater on display. I had stopped to look at it from outside when I noticed one of the employees who was hanging shirts inside looking at me and knitting her brows. My initial reaction was my typical, “What’s this bitch’s problem?” But then it hit me. She was confused as to why a normal-sized girl that could shop anywhere was so intently looking at a sweater that, even in the smallest size, would be way too big for her. As this realization hit, I hurriedly walked away from the window in shock. What was I doing?ย I can’t shop there anymore. I don’tย needย to shop there anymore.ย I guess old fat habits really do die hard.

So I think I’ve found the last bit of weight I won’t be able to shed: my fat chick mentality. You know what? I’m not trying to lose it, either. Being “the fat chick” is part of who I am. I’ve spent most of my life being acutely aware I’m one of the bigger girls in the room, and to forget what the experience was like just because I’m one of those healthy bitches now just isn’t an option for me.

You think you can identify a fat chick on appearance alone? Think again. My inner fat chick is still alive and well. And hungry.

47 thoughts on “Fat Chick Mentality

  1. This is why I looked at my own significant weight loss from a hormonal/endocrine perspective rather than a food/calorie perspective.

    Losing weight by cutting calories can work, but it may still mean really unhealthy hormones. When I switched my “diet” to focus on hormonal health, I lost the fat man inside AND outside.

    When I was obese, I craved food constantly. Now that my hormones are balanced properly, I don’t crave food. I don’t even think of my weight anymore — I haven’t stepped on a scale more than 3 times in the past year.

    I work with quite a few people who are in the process of losing weight, or have lost a lot of weight, and when they switch to hormonally-healthy diets and hormonally-healthy exercise, they very frequently lose that “fat person inside” thought process.

    Of course, one sad thing is that obesity can and does destroy the endocrine system depending on how long a person was obese. So it’s not an answer all the time.

    1. I’ll have to look into the hormone issue. I’m not really interested in losing the “fat person inside,” because I think it keeps my grounded, but for the sake of my own health, making sure my hormones are balanced is important. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. The opposite also applies to men. I was a skinny teenager, in my mind anyways cause the guys I was around were big and huge so I thought I wasnt big enough. There is saying for men who go from being skinny to buff. “They still see that dorky skinny kid they used to be in the mirror.”
    I’m sure that applies, as you have said, to the fat girl mentality.

    1. Totally true. I can’t imagine how difficult it can be for the naturally slimmer guys out there that get buff. That’s a whole different can of worms.

  3. Such an amazing post. Thanks Katie. I have a LONG way to go in my journey, but I already feel that way. My family knows I am ultra sensitive, so they are careful what they say. When people say, you are looking GREAT, you were SO heavy. It’s like .. thanks, I think. You were SO heavy before.. do they think I need a reminder of that fact? Now when I go through the stores and see the heavier women in a robo wheelchair, I look at them and think…oh my gosh, that would have been ME in 10 years. I want so bad to tell them to get out of that chair and WALK. I want them to get better. My coworker is very heavy. It’s difficult to work together with this difference between us, but we are doing our best. It is embarrassing though when someone comes to the window and says ..”wow, you look SO good.” thanks… ๐Ÿ™‚ but I feel bad.

    1. Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a delicate people that a lot of people don’t know how to approach. What I’m finding is I’d often prefer people not to compliment me at all than risk them unintentionally saying the wrong thing. It’s a really weird change to look so different, yet still feel so much the same as before sometimes.

  4. This is very interesting to me, what I identify with is the molded sense of self image from something outside myself. Perhaps this is societies doing, the significance of body weight. But I was actually given my self image from my mother and her treatment of me mentally and emotionally would be considered abusive. But because of her, I have an image of myself that may or may not be true and regardless of what I allow my outward appearance to be, what she led me to believe I was somehow always outweighs anything I tell myself or anyone else tells me.

    1. When you deal with anything for a prolonged amount of time I think it can’t help affect your outlook on life and on yourself. The really tricky part is deciding whether it’s detrimental or whether it keeps you grounded. In my case, I think it keeps me humble and makes me appreciate my weight loss more.

      1. I do agree with that, the detrimental or grounded part. I like your take on yours, it make s you humble and appreciative.
        For myself, I’ve had to spend a great deal of time working on my insides and how I view that part of me. I have yet to address the opinion or view I have of myself outwardly. You stirred up some thoughts on the matter though, thanks for that ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. This has been happening a lot to me lately. I am far from reaching my goal but I still find myself looking at clothing that is way too big for me. I still think that is my size and the bigger the better. It’s a hard habit to break for sure. Now that I started to fit into the larger of the ‘normal’ store sizes it feels a bit strange. One part of me is elated and the other is confused by it all.

  6. I know exactly how you feel Katie. I was once 310 lbs. Lost all that weight, arms, chest built, shaved my face, groomed my self, wear more stylish clothes etc… LOL at how girls all of a sudden notice me. Like this one time I was walking and these 2 girls were all “hey look at that hot guy”. That… FLOORED me, I literally stopped dead in my tracks thinking to myself “did I just hear that right?”. And yeah, I do still see that big fat fuck in my pschyoanalysis unfortunately. I want to tell him to just GTFO of my head already lol. Now I know why those arrogant pierced ears, tight white shirt, muscle bound dickheads act the way that they do, it’s more or less, a power trip for them; they know their are gullable women who just eat that whole ‘machismo/alpha male/confidence’ garbage right up; add another strike to his “I slept with her” list and send her packing the next morning. It’s a constant powerstruggle in my minds eye to remain grounded and polite and not to act like what I swore I never would. I’m not about to go have a bunch of sleezy one nighters with a bunch of chicks that wouldn’t give me the time of day when I was fat. It’s tempting, and believe me, the opportunities are their. But I’m just too nice a person to consider it. BTW I like your eyes, they’re so full and vibrant ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. It’s fascinating hearing this from a guy’s perspective dealing with a similar situation. I’m glad that this isn’t something that just happens to women! The struggles you mentioned are really similar to my own, so I truly appreciate you sharing your experience with it. And thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Katie, I completely and whole-heartedly feel you on this post. A couple of years ago I underwent a large physical transformation as well, and you’re right, you always have the same outlook on life as you did before. There is nothing that upsets me more than hearing really tiny girls talk about what they ate and how they are going to “get huge”… get over yourself, that piece of cake isn’t going to just show up on your hips.

    Love yourself girl, and everyone else will follow suit.

  8. Great post Katie! I know it’s not the same but the Vespa picture is so true (and funny), guys may very well like chubby girls but are afraid of the secondary stigma of being seen with one. What a shitty culture huh? I personally have an aversion to really thin girls, my preference is for slightly over ‘normal’ I guess. I like girls who are cuddly and actually have a bum and belly. Don’t get me wrong I’m not attracted to huge girls, though I’ve known guys who are, and I certainly don’t think they deserve to be made fun of!

    My point is that everyone suffers from this culture of stigma, the fat girls, the guys who like fat girls, and so on. I once was with a girl who in her teenage years was a fatty, but thinned out in her 20’s, and yeah she never lost the fat girl mentality. If there’s any consolation to being a fat girl in a thin girls body its that you seem to have a higher capacity for empathy having been on the receiving end of the stigma. And that you won’t be perpetuating any kind of cruelty.

    Great post, thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rohan.

  9. Great blog ๐Ÿ™‚ I totally understand where you’re coming from too – while my weight loss hasn’t been as extreme (I’ve lost 30 and goal is another 15) I’ve still gone from being ‘fat’ to being ‘normal’ but my brain isn’t following suit. I still think of myself as the fat girl when I’m out with my friends, when in truth – while they are smaller than me – I’m probably seen as the tall girl now, not the fat one.

    1. It takes some time to get used to! Even now when I look in the mirror, I’m still not used to why my face looks like now that it’s thinner. In fact, I still look back at some old pictures from when I was heavier and think my face actually looked better then, but I know it’s just something that takes getting used to. But it’s taken a lot longer than I thought it would!

  10. I know exactly what you mean. I still instinctively grab sizes I used to wear, and am absolutely shocked when a regular medium or large fit my bottom half. I also am always super self conscious that i look fat…then when I see pictures of myself I’m like wait…I don’t look like, do i? I’ve also discovered that hearing someone fat-shame a girl isn’t a red hot button for me. I’ve had numerous people discuss how fat, ugly, or “nasty” other girls are in front of me, assuming that since I’m thin now, that it won’t offend me, only to find themselves receiving the full hormonal, completely remembers crying in a dressing room because the store didn’t carry my size pants, force of my rage.

    1. Oh hell yes, from me too! Like come on now, it wasn’t that long ago that I was that girl. I haven’t forgotten so soon, and I sincerely doubt I ever will!

      As for the clothes, I’m still paranoid I look fat sometimes just because I’m used to looking in the mirror and trying to camouflage a huge roll for 25 minutes before leaving the house. And now that I don’t have to do that, it’s weird.

  11. Great honest post! Of course, I don’t expect any different from you which is why I keep coming back! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have never understood why it is completely acceptable to make fun of fat people, but not anyone else. You see it everywhere, even in television shows geared toward children. It makes me sick, and my poor kids are sick along with me though probably because I lecture them about treating everyone with respect every time I see something like that on one of their shows. Thanks for speaking up!

    1. It’s something that needs to be said. I don’t think it’s okay to make comments about anyone’s weight EVER–whether it’s being too big or too small.

  12. I love this post! Being a formerly fat girl myself, I completely get it.
    It hurts me to see people making fun of another person’s weight too. It isn’t right. The worst is that the bullies don’t get very creative. It’s always the same “Ha ha, you’re so fat!”. You’d think it’d get old someday.

    1. Agreed. I hate that a thin girl compared to a “fat” girl, the thin girl will always be seen as superior simply because of her lower body weight. I mean, what kind of shit is that?

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