Not All Fluff Is Equal

A while back, I began to follow I Weigh on Instagram. Today I discovered a post from last week that Your Body, Your Image posted on Twitter and Instagram. Earlier in the week, obesity was trending on Twitter. As someone struggling to lose weight, has always struggled to lose weight, this post made me feel great about myself. Because the truth is obesity is a harsh word. It sucks to see, it sucks to hear, and it sucks to say. I hated having that as a reason to get my COVID shot recently. 

And I remember the last time I was talking to my dietician, yes, I have a dietician, asking me when was the last time I was genuinely comfortable with my weight. And the truth is it has taken me a long time to be comfortable in the skin I have now. The rolls. Everything. But I also cannot say I’ve ever been entirely comfortable with myself. And it’s because my whole life, in some manner, I’ve been made to feel bad about my weight. Up until last year, I was oddly healthy for my weight. Because of the yo-yo dieting throughout the years, I’m determined that is what has pushed me over into taking metformin. A pill that I do not want to be on forever.

I’m losing weight not only for me but also because I know more about why I haven’t now. Last year after I would exercise for an hour a day, I ended up in a ton of pain at times. I felt like this was just part of it, in a way. You know the phrase, no pain, no gain. I was bruising more. I felt EXHAUSTED for no real reason. Then, earlier this year, I saw a new doctor, and he immediately asked me a question that no one has asked me in my thirty-six years. “Did your arms and legs become bigger when you entered puberty?” The answer was a resounding yes! Again, something I thought was normal. And typically, it is slightly normal, but for some people, it’s something entirely different.

In my case, this was when Lipedema entered my life. For those of you who do not know what Lipedema is, let me explain. Actually, I’m going to let the Lipedema Fountain clarify with the following from their site:

Lipedema is a chronic medical condition characterized by asymmetric buildup of adipose tissue (fat) in the legs and arms. A common but under-recognized disorder, lipedema may cause pain, swelling, and easy bruising. It may be accompanied by an unusual texture within the fat that can feel like rice, peas, or walnuts beneath the surface of the skin. The intensity of pain may range from none to severe, and its frequency may be constant, come and go, or only occur when the fat is pushed on. Limited public awareness of lipedema, coupled with few research-backed treatments, can lead to exacerbation of symptoms as well as physical and emotional distress. Common symptoms include fatigue, muscle pain, or easy bruising. 

When I read this, I immediately messaged some friends of mine, and in our group text, I said, “YOU WILL NOT FUCKING BELIEVE THIS.” And I had that reaction because I was so angry and yet so relieved. It was this combination of, “Why did it take so long for someone to figure this out?” and “Thank God that doctor knew by merely looking at me.” So while yes, on my chart right now, I read as obese, Lipedema is not obesity. However, in the early stage of Lipedema, people typically, and I quote, do not have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Fancy that. 

So again, some anger grew in me. I talked to my therapist about this. I’ve spoken to her SO many times about my body. I’ve talked to her about things I mentioned in Trust Me, I Know I’m Fluffy, and Fluffy Talk Part Deux. And since I started various supplements, I feel better. Since I began to back exercise five to six times a week, I feel better. My mental health, outside of what occurred earlier in March, read Fasten your seat belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride if you are curious, has been great since this discovery. 

I made a fluffy loss folder the other day, even with my goal for part of this year. I plan on having many goals now that I understand what is going on with my body. Granted, I know I don’t always make the healthiest choices, but now I can focus on foods that don’t lend themselves to making my condition worse. My only main issue right now is cheese and sour cream, and I’m even trying vegan alternatives to them. And let me tell you, I’m so grateful for those of you who have given me information. You know who you are. 

I bring all this up because there are beyond hateful people in these hashtags most of the time. There are beyond cruel people in the comments of obesity posts and weight gain posts. On top of the facts that Your Body, Your Image brought up, I think of all the troll comments. I think of remarks I brought up in my first fluffy talk. I also remember small children calling me fat on occasions, and that was the worst. I remember once was in front of an old manager of mine, and I thought she would lose her shit. I also remember her asking me how I could be okay with that and calm about it.

And the truth was I’ve heard it my whole life. I still notice things; I still hear comments. The only difference is now I’m okay randomly dancing while waiting in line for COVID shots or in the store in general. My confidence is high because I’ve worked hard to lift myself. It’s not easy to be your own biggest cheerleader because we want to be our own greatest bully half of the time. We let those doubts wiggle their way in and tell us that we are nothing and we are not worthy of shit. But we are worthy of everything, no matter our size, no matter our shape. 

Those doubts about weight do not just affect our self-esteem regarding how we look and cause eating disorders. Still, those doubts also make us never want to attempt anything because we’re afraid at the end of the day that no one will accept us at the larger weight we are at the time if we do make it. Also, the words we hear from various people over the years affect us in ways far longer than not because it makes us feel like sometimes we are a failure at everything. We cannot be skinny, so, therefore, we can do nothing else because without completing that goal, we’re nothing. 

That’s horseshit. I know that for my body height, my ideal weight is 120. I don’t know when I will get there year-wise, but I’m fighting like hell to get near it. Not because I’m ashamed of myself anymore, but because I want to be healthier. With my genetic predispositions, I don’t know what that will look like ultimately or if I might end up being considered overweight my whole life. As long as BMI goes down and I get off some pills, I’m cool with my weight loss. But I’m tired of feeling like shit because that is what people expect fluffy people to feel like when they don’t know shit about that person’s genetics or what is keeping them from losing weight.

Love yourself first. That’s the true battle. Once you do that, then you can work toward getting healthy even if that isn’t skinny.

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