I know that I’m not fat

I’ve been trying to lose 10 to 15 pounds. I have been trying to do this for a while, half-assed, but I’m really getting into it now. Honest. Cardio every day. If I mention this, however, it seems to illicit certain responses. More often than not, if I mention to a friend that I feel out of shape or I would like to lose weight, these are the responses I’m met with :

“But you’re SO SKINNY!”
“You don’t NEED to lose weight!”
“I wish I were your size.”

I do appreciate the intentions behind these comments. I know they are not meant to make me feel awkward or guilty or misguided. That being said, I would like to clarify my feelings on the subject.

I’m well aware that I don’t NEED to lose weight. As of today, I’m exactly 129.7 lbs. With a height of 5’3″ (and a half), that puts me in the ‘ideal’ body weight and BMI category. If I mention that I’m watching my weight, no one needs to reassure me that I’m not fat. I appreciate it, but I’m aware. Thank you.

I am, however, out of shape. Very much so. Not out of shape for the average American, but for a dancer. Having a dancer’s body is what makes me comfortable, it is what makes me happy and confident. I liked it when my stomach was a little concave and when that half inch where my thighs meet my butt didn’t have any stretch marks or cellulite. This goal of mine will probably be a while coming, because the high desert doesn’t believe in $12 drop-in ballet classes, and forget about pole studios. But I have made it clear to J that, once we have expendable income, part of that will be going towards pole classes (as well as his kickboxing classes).

I would like to say that this is entirely about my health and in no way superficial. That, however, would be a lie, and I’m sorry if this next bit offends anyone. There was a time where I was convinced that I was fat and I employed very unhealthy methods to appease my self-loathing. My immediate family is incredibly slim. My mother is obsessed with aerobics and has been since her pregnancy. I was rarely allowed sugary cereal, and fast food was a treat, not a daily meal. I was doing laundry with her on Saturday, and as I grabbed a third slice of cheese, she reminded me of my cholesterol. I’m in no way blaming her for my adolescent issues with weight and image; eating disorders are very much mental blocks that are not picked up or dropped on a whim. My relationship with food is something I work on daily, but I would be either lying or stupid to say that the environment I grew up in had no impact on my lifestyle.

Now, I made sure to title this “I know that I’m not fat” because this is a true statement. Logically, I know that I am not in any way overweight or unhealthy. However, when I look at myself in the mirror, I am still hyper aware of the cellulite and the rolls and anything that jiggles, even if it’s supposed to jiggle. Like it is impossible for a man to ignore the presence of a beautiful woman, it is impossible for me to ignore my fat. This has been true since middle school. It is part of my identity. At the same time, I am constantly comparing myself to other women, and I know that, of my friends, I am one of the smallest. Since grade school, I have been one of, if not the, smallest. At this point, being the smallest is a part of who I am, it is a key part of my identity. Right now, a lot of my female friends are losing a lot of weight, and I am so SO happy for them. I know they are putting in a lot of work and are making an effort to be healthier people, and that is absolutely wonderful. I will never say otherwise. At the same time, though, a part of me is afraid that I’m going to lose this part of my identity. So I need to work my ass off to keep it. Which means I need to lose weight too.

I’m not proud of any of that. It’s incredibly lame and obnoxious and superficial, but it’s the truth. I enjoy being small. Note that there is a HUGE difference between me wanting to be small and wanting the rest of my friends to be fat. That latter part is not the case, I promise.

The only part about this that ever annoys me is when people attribute my size to my allergy. Any time someone new finds out about my celiac, they are bound to respond with “Oh, no wonder you’re so skinny.” I’d like to clear this up: I eat as many carbs as people who can process gluten. I eat rice, and bread, and pasta, and cake. I know that anti-carb diets are still pretty popular, but that’s not what I’m doing. I look the way I look because, even though I eat all those things, I don’t (generally) eat all the bread or cake ever. Moderation is key in every diet, not just gluten-free ones. At the same time, a very common question about my allergy is “Can you eat potatoes?”, so I suppose I can forgive that transgression. I am a pretty benevolent dictator.

So, where I am now….After two weeks, I’m down from 133 to 129. When J and I started dating, I was 126, and I had wanted to lose some at that point. By the first of June, if I keep going at two pounds per week, I should weigh 120. If I’m happy there, awesome. If not…well, I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it.

3 Responses to “I know that I’m not fat”

  1. Xina Says:

    Rather than say you’re trying to lose weight, just tell people that you’re trying to get into better shape, eat properly and exercise more. Because you’re going to base your success on how your clothes fit and how you feel, rather than an arbitrary number on the scale, no?

  2. Andi Says:

    Mostly yes. I have learned to base my success on how my clothes fit, if I go up or down in pant size, etc. I do, however, have a lingering….fear of the scale. Respectful fear. I’m still trying to ween myself off the idea that I am a three-digit number.

  3. CM Says:

    All I can say is, agreed. Everything you said sounds so familiar in my own life.

Leave a Reply