Obese & Proud: The Day I Ditched the Labels
I'm obese. And I'm okay with that.
But that wasn't always the case.
Backstory: As a part of insurance qualifications through my husband’s job, we must each get a yearly physical. The first time I had to do that, long about 8 years ago, I found out I was obese. I told the tech how tall I was, stepped on a scale and then a handy calculator made that determination for me.
When I saw the word written on my form, I was heartbroken. My cheeks flared with shame. I was obese. Labeled. I felt dirty.
Fast forward a year and I found out I was pregnant. After trying for nearly a year, we were over the moon. At my first visit with my OB, I was warned not to gain too much weight. They never said the word outright, but I knew it was because of that damn word again.
Never mind that I attended a boot camp style workout several times a week or that I walked over a mile every day on my lunch break or played on a softball team. I was obese- it said so in my chart.
I gained 50 pounds during that pregnancy. I was determined to lose the baby weight, and then some. I wanted a new me, a new word on my chart. Never mind that I was suffering from postpartum depression. Never mind that I was so obsessed that I got back on a treadmill at 4 weeks postpartum. That I eventually ended up spending 6 days a week in the gym and lying awake at night wondering if I should go for one more run. I was obese!
I was also exhausted. And anxious. And depressed.
I realized that I was allowing myself to be defined by a word.
So, I stopped worrying. I stopped beating myself up. I began to love my body for what it is- the giver of life, a powerhouse of strength (have you seen my thighs??), a wife and mother. A strong, powerful woman who loves to eat and drink a beer (or three when I’m not on call).
This summer I went on a Mexican vacation with my husband. I spent exactly ZERO months getting “bikini-ready”. Instead, I rocked the body I had. That obese body took me through the jungle on a bicycle, up a pyramid with nothing but a rope to hold onto and then my long, strong, OBESE legs carried my happy, fat ass right out to the beach to soak up some sun (and to sip on mojitos).
I choose my own labels from now on.