A perennial question for many women, myself included.
And, yet, for many of us, our varying degress of fatness serve 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.