Being a plus sized woman is difficult in today’s modern world. Society’s expectations are at a record high, and we have the need to meet those expectations of people we have never actually met, much less like. I have never been much the PTA mom type. It’s just not my thing. It makes me want to vomit….the eyes, the judgy group whispering and staring, the rich women who need to flaunt their financial status to feel complete in the world, the gluten police group, the shooting school spirit out of my ass through a rainbow group. I never really felt like I could be accepted or be one of them. But why did I find myself caring what they thought? I tug at my shirt to pull it down, I adjust my fat sucking yoga pants to keep everything tucked just where I want it. God, I would rather crawl out of my skin and die then be here.
Now take away the PTA part and let’s look at the office environment. Pretty much the same exact cliques and the same judgmental bull crap that comes with it. What are you looking at Susan, it’s called a fat roll, I have them, I hide my awesome inside of them. This was never really a conversation I had but it sure seems like it. When I started gaining weight, I noticed just how different people treated me. Whether this was society’s inability to accept sub par appearance or a drop in confidence, suddenly I was viewed very differently. It was harder to position myself in marketing or sales role because I wasn’t the image the company wanted to present to the world. When we would go to lunch as a group, it was the awkward feeling when you slide into a booth and feel the table pressing into your ribs but don’t want to call attention so you sit there, in misery, and find comfort in whatever plate of awesomeness is coming up. It sucks and at the time, I had no idea how to reverse what was happening to my body. Let’s rewind just a bit.
Back in 2014, I found myself desperately trying to save a marriage that I had recklessly damaged, my back refused to cooperate and made days of even walking seem impossible. Weight was coming on faster than anything I had seen. No one would have believed just months prior, I was teaching 2-3 hours of high intensity aerobics nightly. 10 pounds this month, another 8 pounds, 5 more pounds, 120 pounds later, I was so disgusted. What in the hell did I let happen. I hated myself. Looking in the mirror was awful. That woman wasn’t me. She was a worn, beat down, weak, gross reflection of the person I once saw as confident, poised and radiating. Who was this woman in the mirror? Come to find out, she was a woman with PCOS and Central Hypothyroidism and after the trauma and stress she put herself through in the previous year, her adrenal system went crazy and stress shut down the most important hormones she could ever need. She was about to go on a journey to figure out her health that would leave her completely defeated, confused, angry and filled with bitterness.
Fast forward…In the journey of discovering what the hell was wrong, I learned so much about my own health, I knew others needed to know this too. I dug in so deep, I wanted to learn as much as possible and share with everyone. I became certified in 4 separate nutrition courses, read over 50 books on health, nutrition, silent disease. I got back into teaching zumba, which I loved but my back still didn’t love me. I was determined to find the answers I needed and in the journey, help a few others on the way. I became a weight loss coach in 2017 and decided that was my calling. I knew about nutrition, I knew what was causing the obesity epidemic, I also knew what it was like to desperately want to lose weight and feeling like a complete failure.
Present day, I have completed 4 graduate level nutrition certifications, I have studied chronic illness, thyroid issues, PCOS, diabetes, growth hormone deficiency, MTHFR mutations, I can have some pretty incredible conversations about all of this. I love talking about it. For the last two years, I have busted my ass proving myself and showing I know what I speak of, I have watched numerous men and women drop 50 pounds or more with my help and I can get you exactly where you want to be if you jump in full force. Most recently we learned that I have a genetic mutation which causes Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. What does that mean? It means my body cannot use fat for energy. When the MCADD enzyme is missing or not working well, the body cannot use certain types of fat for energy, and must rely solely on glucose. Although glucose is a good source of energy, there is a limited amount available. Once the glucose has been used up, the body tries to use fat without success.
So here I had been cutting out carbs and eating healthy fats to speed up my metabolism. I ate that way for about a year and 3 months before finding out the MCADD diagnosis. All that extra fat I was eating could not be used and had no place to go but stay in my system. I had NO idea what was going on but I knew there was something the doctors had missed. Do you know how defeating it is to bust your ass working out daily, eating right, journaling like a mad woman, obsessing over food, only to gain weight and not see any results? It’s fucking maddening!
I hated myself.
Fat waste of a human.
You know nothing, you are a fat, miserable failure.
These were the lovely thoughts that flooded in every morning when I opened my eyes. Sometimes I would be out in public and walk by a not so friendly mirror and break down at what I saw in the reflection. I truly thought when my husband was still working at his previous job that his avoidance of home, his drinking, all of it was to escape this fat, ugly, worthless woman sitting at home. Why in the hell would anyone want to rush home to me? People always talk about those who fight depression and not understanding how selfish they can be when they take their own life. If you have never had those negative thoughts screaming at you, twenty four seven, blasting your ear drums, self deprecating thoughts that would cripple you and sometimes I laid in bed thinking how much better it would be without me in the picture, if you’ve never experienced that, you have no idea just how suffocating those thoughts can be. Spoiler alert** I didn’t give into the thoughts or the devil that was controlling me. I consider myself beyond blessed to have friends and family that I could confide in about my feelings. I was safe on that spectrum. But I was still hurting, I was still the incompetent fat girl trying to help others. Cue the laughter.
I would go head to head with any competitor and challenge their knowledge on obesity related diseases, nutrition, the chemicals in our foods, I would kick their ass all the way down main street. But no one would even look at me. Unless it was in disgust. Who the hell is this woman giving advice about losing weight and being healthy, she’s a fat cow. I actually had a competitor tell a client of mine that I shouldn’t be offering my services being this heavy. Of course, this was my head again…my mind…she is a real bitch sometimes. But the truth was there, people had watched me live this healthy life the last year and no results. Suddenly my clientele went from thriving to NOTHING. I could not give away my services. This has shaken me to my core and it is not fair. Now that we know what is actually the problem, of course, we have a better chance of fixing it but that doesn’t change the fact that people have dismissed me.
How could I know anything about food except for eating it. Who was I to give advice on exercise….So many people would talk to me for a few days, we had multiple conversations, and they ultimately said they just couldn’t afford my program. I understood, I was there too. But the next day, I see they joined a different program, one that is way more expensive, one that doesn’t offer all I am able to offer, and one that doesn’t have someone who has spent the last few years committed to nutrition education. I realized this was not about skill. I could not be seen as competent and obese. The two would not relate. This crippled me for months.
I haven’t signed a new client in 9 months now. I had no confidence. I let the words and negative thoughts consume me and I gave up. It hasn’t been until recently that I realized, you know what….I am fat. I have fat, I am a fat woman. But I am not incompetent. I am overweight but I get results to every single person who works with me. Not once did anyone ask me how I was doing. If I was struggling, If I needed help. I was on my own and I vow to never leave another person alone to figure out their bullshit scramble of health issues that only moves the scale up.
The more women I talk to that share their experiences, the more I realize, we are a society of judgmental assholes. Instead of looking for a way to help, we snicker, we take a photo, we make crude jokes on the web. Instead of asking if maybe they are fighting the same fight, we put them down. We find a reason to put them beneath us. Guess what, we may be overweight. We may not fit in all the chairs, we may not be comfortable in the booth at the restaurant, but we are not morons. We are not incapable. We are not broken. So please do me a favor and the next time you see someone who is overweight but busting their ass trying to help people, realize they are likely going through something. If they are helping others, they are determined to end this epidemic. You can call me fat all day long, but you do not get to call me incompetent because of my size. For all the plus sized women and men reading this, you are NOT alone in your fight. It took me 4 years to get the right diagnosis, do NOT give up. I believe in you enough for both of us. Let’s change the narrative. My journey still has about 100 pounds that need to worked off and I have no intentions of stopping or giving up. One day at a time, One pound at a time, One meal at a time.