Fat and Sexy: Learning to be Both

So my last fat and sexy post was in September of last year and it was a shit show. I was having car trouble, knee trouble, and various other issues that I felt related to my problems with being fat and sexy. Fast forward to now and I’ve found out that I have arthritis in both knees that is probably only going to get worse so some of the physical activities I wanted to get involved in are probably either a straight up no go or not a good idea, no matter how much I might want to. Of course, I can also ask what physical activities because I’ve basically been a slug since February. But I’m trying to address that by getting back into yoga. Dear Gods, it is harder than I remember it being and I already knew it would be hard.

But what prompted me to write this post was something I read by the Formidable Femme herself, Sarah Brynn Holliday. Her post “When Do I Get to Celebrate My Fat Body?” took me back to all the times my ex disparaged my weight or otherwise made me feel self conscious about my body. It was so bad that I couldn’t stand to be naked around him or let him see my body. By the end of our relationship though I had lost weight and was finally “skinny enough” (as far I was and still am concerned I was still fat.) But it was too late at that point because I had decided it was over. Not him.

But no matter what size I was then or what size I am now, I still feel damaged and broken. My current partner assures me otherwise frequently, but when I can’t stand to see my own body reflected back at me in the mirror, when I try to eat less, when I try to be smaller because smaller is better, what does that say? It still tells me that I’m not worth the time or the effort, that I’m not good enough and that I’ll never be good enough. I fight this fight just as much as I fight to keep my bipolar disorder under control.

However, as much as I can relate to the post referenced above and how heartbreaking it is for me to see myself fight to be smaller and take up less space in a world where fat people aren’t given license to exist, I am also starting to relate to the idea that fat and sexy are not mutually exclusive of one another. My partner greets me with a kiss and “Hi Gorgeous.” on a regular basis. I’ve finally stopped cringing when they call me that. I don’t roll my eyes anymore, although I will still duck my head a bit, not because I’m ashamed, but because the (still unexpected) compliment embarrasses me a little because I don’t know how to gracefully accept a compliment of that caliber. I’ve never seen myself as striking or pretty or even cute so gorgeous is right out. But I hear it all the time. What do I do; how do I reconcile what I see in the mirror with what I’m told?

And the only answer I have is that I don’t know. So I try to just let it wash over me and be as accepting of it as I can instead of being ashamed of who I am and what I look like. I’m fat, even when I’m “skinny” I’m still fat, and I doubt I’ll ever be at my smallest size again. I mean come on, 2 pounds and 12.5 ounces is just unrealistic for someone my height! Yes, I just made that awful joke. In all seriousness though, I ask the question why can’t I be both fat and sexy? What is stopping me from being both? Is it just all in my head and a matter of confidence? Is the answer really that simple? It doesn’t seem like it is. But what do I know? I’ve never had the confidence to know what being both fat and sexy is. Maybe though, just maybe, I’m learning.

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Fat and Sexy: Onward and Upward

Alright. I survived going to the gym for three days a week and as of June I was going four days a week, except for the week I was sick when I didn’t go at all. Four days a week was hard. I really had to push myself to find the motivation to go, but if I can do four day then I can do five days. I even have my routines all planned out, especially since I learned last month that I could skate at one of the local branches of my gym. It means that by Fall when I start up the roller skating fitness class I’ve been taking when it is in session that I’ll be skating as much as 3 times a week and maybe more. Hopefully that will let me see an increase in pounds lost.

Although I did notice that my knee pads (for skating) are fitting me better and better so I must be doing something right and losing inches or something. Now if I could lose the inches in my arms so my elbow pads weren’t so tight. I need a new pair anyway. Also because I noticed my knee pads were fitting better I realized that it was progress and I was able to see it! Small progress, but progress all the same. And I’m starting to see it in my weight lifting as well. I may not ever be able to lift as heavy as I want to lift (squatting my own body weight would be admittedly cool), but I can lift heavier and heavier as I move along.

So yes, progress seems to be happening. Again, not quick enough for my liking, but I think a large part of it is my eating. I struggled for most of June with my portions and getting them under control and sometimes I still slip up, but I remind myself that losing weight is something like 10% exercise and 90% diet and so I keep trying to cut out excessive sweets and large portions. This isn’t to say I deny myself sugar because I simply couldn’t do that completely. I’m not that self sacrificing y’all. But rather swinging through the drive thru for an iced coffee once or twice a week I’m cutting it to maybe once or twice a month. I’m trying to add more lean protein into my diet and seeing if I can learn to like cottage cheese because of it. It’s sort of working, but only if I pair it with some fruit or something. I much prefer yogurt, but I know it can be loaded with sugar.

Overall, I’m finding that I am pretty happy with my progress most of the time. I have bad days just like anyone would, but I also have good days, and sometimes even exceptional days where I’m just really feeling motivated and I might start out on the elliptical, lift weights, and then drive across town to the other branch of the gym so I can skate there. It might seem silly to make the drive, but if I want to succeed then I have to be willing to push myself further and harder and faster. So here I am and there I go.

Do I feel sexier? Not yet. Do I see progress better than I did before? I’m starting to. When will I feel sexy? Who knows. Does my partner find me sexy? Yes. Does that help my outlook on things? Certainly. So while I’m not where I wanna be, I can’t bring myself to order sexy lingerie to wear, or I still have a hard time with my own nudity. I’m getting to sexy. Slowly.

Will sexy be the be all, end all of my journey? Not even close, but it will help. I want to empower others like myself who are overweight and struggle to feel sexy to be comfortable in their own skin, whether that means a gym routine like mine or simply learning to love yourself the way you are. Sexy is, after all, a state of mind.

Fat and Sexy: Changes

Alright, since my last post I’ve done a few things. I got with my mom and she helped me plan out a three month exercise routine that lets me ramp up how much I’m in the gym and exercising. By September I should be exercising 5 days a week, either at the gym or on my skates. Right now, to think about that seems scary…and exhausting. I’m having trouble motivating myself to go three times a week right now. Anyone got any good tips for motivation? But I know if I want to reach my goals I gotta go.

Speaking of goals…I don’t really see the successes when they happen. I have to rely on other people to tell me if I’m losing weight or if I’ve gained muscle or even if my weight lifting is improving, despite the obvious advancement of the number of pounds I’m lifting. My brain lies to me on this front and it gets incredibly frustrating, but small goals completely go right over my head. I’m trying to learn how to keep that from happening, but how do I figure it out when my brain lies to me and tells me the opposite is happening? It is a mystery to me.

Anyway, my fat ass is trying. I have a goal tracker on my phone, I try to drink enough to stay hydrated (I’m terrible at it), and I’ve been monitoring my food portions as well as the amount of sugar and liquid calories that I consume. This means not eating all the chocolate in the house when I’m PMSing and not getting a giant iced coffee when I can get a small and putting less sugar in my coffee and iced tea. Now, that last bit about the sugar in my tea, that’s important y’all cause I grew up in the South and that is the land of BBQ and sweet tea, so that is a hard one to give up. My solution has just been more water, but it certainly isn’t the same.

I don’t know if I’m losing weight, my pants size hasn’t changed, and things feel very static, but my partner and my best friend both keep reminding me that change is a slow process and it is OK if it doesn’t happen overnight and there will be times I plateau out for periods of time. It’s frustrating. I’m not feeling any sexier or more attractive. In fact, I had a meltdown a few weeks ago because I think my stomach is gross and for a while I didn’t want my partner to see it or look at it or touch. It was really difficult for me on a lot of levels because I communicate so much through touch, but them touching me resulted in a couple of mini panic attacks. No fun and it is an issue I’m working my way through.

So I’ve made changes, I’m going to keep making them (hopefully they’ll continue to be good ones) and I’m working on moving forward with accepting my body, despite the setbacks I’ve had. If I’m perfectly honest with myself, one of my big goals is to drop two pants sizes within the next six to eight months and I feel like if I keep up with my routine and my portion control that I can do that. And if I can, that means I will be the smallest I’ve been in years and almost the smallest I was in high school. That I think I’ll be able to see and call progress. Here goes!