What “I feel fat” really means

In honor or today's topic, behold my much-bemoaned lower body.

“I feel soooo fat!”

Have these words slipped out recently? Have you heard anyone say them about themselves?

I haven’t said these words in ages, but the other night while getting ready for bed, I caught a glimpse of myself in the full-length closet door mirror and thought “Whoa, when did that happen?” Suddenly my stomach felt enormous and my thighs were huge. I felt like an elephant.

Here’s another question, what else was going on that day or that week? You might have been eating more than usual, or not exercising, but why?

If you’re anything like me, you were probably under a boatload of stress either worrying about something or you were super busy and feeling you were about to be crushed under the weight of that to do list, or maybe you’re relationship with your partner or a friend wasn’t going so hot.

In When Women Stop Hating their Bodies, the authors discuss how women speak in code, saying how fat or ugly they feel when what they’re really feeling is emotional distress. For some reason, our society accepts body-bashing more than the admittance of actual emotion, and talking about how awful we look is easier than actually acknowledging how we feel and addressing the real problem. Fat isn’t an actual emotion, and bemoaning saddlebags is much easier than facing whatever is really bothering us.

“I feel fat” might be any of these:

“I’ve got so much going on at work, I don’t know if I can get through this week!” or “I’m overwhelmed.”

“My kids are driving me insane! I need a break.” Or “I’m drained.”

“My husband is mad at me. I can’t stand it when we fight.” Or “I’m angry.”

“I’m never going to get my career off the ground.” Or “I feel inadequate.”

This has been one hell of a week and I still haven’t shaken the feeling, so I’ve decided that my statement, “I look like a beached whale waiting for Greenpeace to show up with buckets” really meant “I’m overwhelmed” and “I’m exhausted” and “I feel inadequate because I’m overwhelmed and exhausted.” Hopefully, I can pull myself out of this one, hopefully with a restful weekend and a renewed attitude.

Remember, “Fat” is not a feeling, so the next time you’re about to launch on a body-bashing session, take a step back and see what’s really going on, then take steps to fix the problem, or learn to just sit  with your feelings. I’m still getting over my “do something! Anything!” mindset, but hopefully one day I’ll be able to acknowledge and embrace my feelings, though this is as hard as eating intuitively, which I’m also working on.

Well, I’m off for few days of R & R, and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!



Posted on October 2, 2010, in Body image, Books, Stress and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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