Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Does this make look fat?

A perennial question for many women, myself included.

And, yet, for many of us, our varying degress of fatness serve a purpose.

A purpose?

Yes, a purpose that often clouds other issues, that we think is valid but that may be a Trojan horse.

Over at our fitness blog, Lean But Not Mean, we have discussed overweight and sexual identity. Does being overweight protect us from unwanted attention from men?

To be frank, I am not now nor ever was a sex symbol. I am just not the type of woman who attracts that sort of attention.

This doesn't mean that I am not a sexual being, with my own needs or hungers. Simply that others don't perceive me in that way.

And that is okay with me.

However, overweight can serve a purpose - perhaps for some that purpose above. For others it may be a hiding place, a security blanket.

For me, it was a symptom of something else in my life. A body with health problems, that caused my weight to skyrocket. Certainly. But also a symptom of a mind with issues to solve, about being what others wanted and not being me. About shelving things. About a childhood of using food as a panacea. About defying my parent. Changing paradigms.

I think I needed a focus on health , not looks - and to be honest, even with losing weight, I am still no sex object so there are still no unwanted advances. My size didn't protect me from anything, there wasn't anything to protect from.

Instead, my size was a barrier that ended up working against me, it stopped me from truly being who I am. I wasn't as free to move around and experience the joy of things, things like climbing trees , because of my size. Now those things are open for me again. Truly liberating, and not in a looks or sexual sense but in a quality of life sense.....

I try to remember that we are obliged to regard our body as good and to hold it in honour (Catechism of the Catholic Church ).

364 The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:
Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.

So do I look fat in this? And do I care? Yes. And No.


Hopewell said...

This really makes me stop and think. I've been divorced since, oh, approximately the 19th century. I hated dating, so I quit. I got the job from hell and was no longer able to work out. Then my knee went so no more running. Then I adopted the kids. The pounds came on in rapid order. They're still there 6 years later. I still hate dating and refuse to do it. However, I do miss most of those "natural adult.... emotions..." I think there really IS something to that not wanting to get off my can and lose the weight. Not that there's much change of a 47 year old librarian living in the middle of absolute nowhere becoming a S-X Symbol, mind you! I'm joking here, but only so far. This really does make me stop and consider my weight and why I should exercise and not HIDE under my fat. Thanks, Leonie! Great post!

Purpleflowerpatch said...

Leonie, I have a love/hate relationship with food and my body - I can go right back and know where it started but that hasn't helped me conquer it (yet!).
Recently I read a few interviews with Nigella Lawson. I was interested because I love her cookbooks, but especially her tv series, and I noticed that in her recent series (Nigella Express, Wed 6.30 ABC) she had really piled on the pounds.
Thing is, she doesn't care...and not because she's being flippant. She made a statement that has been bouncing round my mind ever since I read it - "women are fearful of their flesh, they are scared of their own bodies, their bodies have become their enemy...women need to love their bodies and be perfectly comfortable with them so they can relax and enjoy them, especially during sex."
In the big scheme I know we are fixated with our bodies, and truth is, that's a form of idolatry. How awful, eh?
We've had a shocker of a fortnight with serious family issues and the last thing I thought about was my weight. In light of real life my weight is indeed a far too important thing for me usually. Now I just want to think about other things and perhaps finally love the body I've got. I want to be fit, but not size obsessed any more.
Gosh...can't believe I've spilled all that, but it felt good. Thanks for being open and honest, love your stuff! Write a book one day, ok?!

Leonie said...

Lisa, I think there often are underlying issues with overweight. It is sometimes not just because of life circumstances or eating too much..I understand, too, those "natural adult emotions" and weight can be an issue there...Jennifer, for me fitness has been the key. Being fit means I don't have to think about weight issues as much, I have more energy for other things. I'm still neurotic but not as neurotic as...

Hey, both of you are free to join our Lean But Not Mean fitness blog. Send me an email if you'd like a invite!

Aussie Therese said...

my husband oftenr informs me when I say does this make me look fat that nothing makes you look fat. You are either fat or your not. He doesn't believe women hide fat at all with what they wear. I think men see us quite differently.

It was funny looking at the photo of me in my dress that you commented on because I thought as soon as I looked at it that I looked fat in it. I need to be a bit more conscious about how I stand in it I think.

Great blog you have here. I have added you to my home school blog list.