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Good things about having been morbidly obese

I would never have consciously chosen to become morbidly obese, just as I would never fling myself into the path of a speeding Volkswagon or inject myself with malignant cancer cells. We don’t get to chose the hardships life sets in our path, yet there is a lot be learned from surviving them. In my case, it’s given me a great sense of perspective.

After I lost about 100 pounds, I was still 100 pounds away from my goal and still very much obese. Yet I felt like a superstar in the movie of my life. Ironic, since the last time I weighed that much I’d wanted to toss paint on all the mirrors of the world. Now I would check myself out in the mirror in the ladies room, turn to the left, turn to the right, strike a pose and think “I look so cute!” The last time I weighed that much I’d speedwalk past mirrors like The Flash and think “I’m so fat!” Same size, different attitude. I’d lost 100 pounds, I deserved to be self-smitten. Even now I’m still sort of fat, but I still check myself out in the mirror at every chance. I also had a fashion awakening and ditched the baggier, darker clothes I thought would disguise my weight but actually made me look fatter.

I have no doubt that many women would think I’m crazy for thinking I look so hot when I’m still overweight. I just know how much worse it could be, so I’m grateful for what I’ve got. It’s like when you watch footage of disasters like the Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina, you suddenly become incredibly grateful that you have electricity to power the TV you’re watching the bad news on. Being formerly morbidly obese, I appreciate being thinner more than someone who was never been fat can. It’s like if you’re born rich, you probably don’t appreciate your Coach purse in the same way as a poor girl who scrimped and saved to be able to buy one does.

I also suspect being fat made me focus more on developing my internal self instead of figuring out the best way to flip me hair. I’ve certainly never had to wonder if I got anything because of my looks. It’s also given be insight into how much the package you come in affects how people treat you. Being fat is like having a built-in asshole detector. People who are jerks don’t go out of their way to be nice to you. It must be hard being a thin, pretty person who always sees the best sides of people at first. How can you determine who the jerks are if they come at you wearing disguises?

Beyond all that, I know a secret. Being fat is survivable. Our culture treats it like one of the worst things a person could be. Sometimes it seems more acceptable to be a drug addict than it is to be fat, since at least drug abuse is recognized as an addiction. Fat tends to be blamed solely on the fat person. There are many, many things that suck about being morbidly obese, but even before I started losing weight I had a pretty good life. I had an interesting job, family that loved me, and a kitty that let me cuddle him more than he bit me. In some ways all the panicking and freaking out over fat is worse than the fat itself. Being obese showed me that even when the absolute worst happens, I can survive it.

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26 Comments

Kala • January 5, 2007 at 11:55 am

Great post.

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Jen • January 5, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Damn girl, you never cease to amaze me. You’re still my hero.

I’ve been a bit distracted by life (read: wallowing in self pitty over unemployment and lousey holidays) so I haven’t kept up with your blog like I have in the past.

As ever your posts are funny, honest and inspiring. I just checked out your progress photos and you are amazing. I’m so proud of you.

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dg • January 5, 2007 at 2:01 pm

ohh beautiful post, PQ! you are a legend :)

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dg • January 5, 2007 at 2:02 pm

(my comment just got eaten, so i’ll try again, i wasn’t sure if you have the approval thingy switched on? apologies if you do… anyway, happy new year, if it’s not too late to say that :)

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Janice Bridge • January 5, 2007 at 3:01 pm

PQ – it is an incredibly vulnerable post – thank you for sharing the observations. As someone who has been overweight since birth, and severely obese for a major portion of my life, I recognize many of the truths in your post. A year ago I began my journey to a lower weight body – and have been remarkably successful (for the first time in more than 40 years of failures) – I too now look in mirrors and marvel. Anyone who met me this morning for the first time, would not know that I have spent most of my life obese. And that thought needs additional reflection.

What do people who meet you for the first time today, think about PQ? Are you finding that long time acquaintences are reacting differently to you in your current body? What will you feel/look like at goal weight?

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kristi • January 5, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Great post, I completely agree with you. I lost a lot of weight at one point in my life only to gain it back plus 70 pounds. I used to look in the mirror and think I looked fat at 150 pounds in my size 10′s, I would love to be back at that weight now. This time will certainly be different, I will appreciate every pound lost and looked at each as an achievement. I just started reading your blog as I begin the new year on a new foot and truly consider you a inspiration. I certainly hope to be able to stick to my new healthy lifestyle this time.

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christie • January 5, 2007 at 3:45 pm

I completely know what you mean. I’ve only lost 40 pounds and I still weigh 240, which is huge compared to an ‘average’ sized girl… but I appreciate my size more because I’ve worked to get here. I don’t feel that embarrassed in a bathing suit because it looks so much BETTER than it used to.

I look forward to 100 pounds from now and how much I will appreciate being there, more than someone who has always been thin. I always thought about that but couldn’t put it into words like you can… you are so eloquent!

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Lori • January 5, 2007 at 4:17 pm

I love that part about the built-in asshole detector. Everything you wrote is really so true. But I don’t see you as being overweight, Ms Pasta Queen!

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Jen • January 5, 2007 at 4:29 pm

I looked at your pics (in 3D, even) and think you look great. And the transformation is even more dramatic seen from all angles like that. You deserve to pose in front of a few mirrors!

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R • January 5, 2007 at 5:51 pm

thank you for such an inspiring post. I think you are successful because of your fabulous attitude. You look to the good and appreciate what you have.

It has as much to do with your inner mindset as anything.

But you do look gorgeous now ;)

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Jenna • January 5, 2007 at 5:53 pm

Thanks for the great post. :o )

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Mymsie • January 5, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Agreed. Unfortunately, making fun of overweight people seems to be the last safe prejudice of our society. :(

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Rosemary Grace • January 5, 2007 at 6:41 pm

I absolutely agree. I am sure that experiencing being overweight has enabled me to deal much better with having a 4 inch scar in the middle of my face from cancer surgery. It’s only been a year, but It’s pretty easy for me to look in the mirror and see something I like, and focus on that.

Meanwhile, I see my brilliant beautiful beanpole sister HATING herself in the mirror because she is in her 30s and her face is changing and she has to work harder to stay in her favourite pants. She has always been very thin, now she’s thin, but athletic, she was a model when she was in her late teens, and I am so sure that it has set herself up to fixate on her looks as the source of self worth. If she’d had to deal with not being able to own jeans at all for years because there were none to fit her…I don’t think she’d mind so much changing from a size 4 to a size 6.

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Janice Bridge • January 5, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Mymsie’s comment is only too true. I worked with my local public school district for a number of years. Not only making fun of fat people – but being out and out rude to them – is, unfortunately, tolerated at a level you would only believe if you, yourself, were once a fat person.

In our community the number one reason listed for altercations at the junior high school level was one student calling another student fat! Racial slurs, taunts about religious beliefs, and implications of sexual orientation are all viewed by the school administration as an “offensive action.” but calling someone FAT is not!

Definitely room for improvement

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Michele • January 5, 2007 at 6:54 pm

I think you look so cute too. You have come so far and it was not easy. The triumph over adversity shows in your face and your carraige. It makes you look “so cute.” You almost glow. You go girl.

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e • January 5, 2007 at 7:32 pm

Amazing post. i sense that you are having a bit of trouble “letting go” of a mental image you have of yourself as fat though. Because at 5’9′, 192 lbs, and living in the midwest, you OFFICIALLY no longer qualify as “fat.”

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Erin • January 5, 2007 at 10:21 pm

I think you summed up the Ballad of the Fat Chick better than anything I’ve ever read. The paragraph about the built-in asshole detector was the part that resonated with me most. When I was little, I viewed my weight as sort of an invisible cloak, and routinely getting ignored or left out enabled me with the ability to perceive events and people more acutely as a result. That’s a mixed blessing now, because it’s also a crutch for me to stay the way I am and avoid life.

I am so beyond amazed by the internal metamorphoses that those who have already made great strides in their weight loss undergo. More so than any other form of detox, I think weight loss requires so much more honesty and grace, and the opportunity to see those experiences through the eyes of bloggers like you is incredibly invaluable to me.

Thanks for a wonderful post and have a great weekend.

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jenn • January 5, 2007 at 11:24 pm

A friend sent me the link for your blog today. I am so impressed with you and your success! Yea you! I hope that I can find similar luck in my journey toward weight loss. Again…yea for you! Amazing job!!!

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Patty • January 6, 2007 at 12:06 am

Nice post, pasta queen. I guess I was kind of on the other side of the fence. When I was young prob. up to age 25 I was never overweight, maybe 10 or 20 and would lose it. I never really thought much about the wt or how I felt about it. As I got older and gained wt year by year and then at my highest after having a child, I clearly remember how it felt to be thin and active and healthy. It was almost like a thorn in my side or something. But, I finally was ready last year to get healthy and will continue until I get there. It makes me a little sad how long I have lived w/ this extra weight as I remember that it was better and how it felt to be active and more alive and not sitting on the sidelines. Thanks for the post, got me thinking about this specific area and how this will motivate me when I hit snags in the road.

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Milana • January 6, 2007 at 1:22 am

It’s always amazing how everything I’m thinking, you are able to put into words. You are truly amazing…both with your weight loss and all of your inspiring posts…I hope that everytime you have someone tell you that (which seems to be alot these days :)) you take a moment and let it sink in, and that you don’t just wave it off…you ARE amazing! You’ve done so well, I’m so proud and can’t wait to see you get to goal!

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Slurpeegirl • January 6, 2007 at 10:15 am

I’m not sure how you always manage to do this, but you take the thoughts right out of my head and write them down. Your thoughts about surviving being fat, and how you had a pretty good life even while fat is exactly what I needed to read!! We’re all forever trying to attain some goal and it seems like we lose track of trying to live our lives WHILE we achieve that goal (something I’ve been doing for years). Thanks for the inspiration!!

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Bee • January 12, 2007 at 4:20 pm

I just found your blog after a little Googling spree today. I’ve been working on losing weight since this past summer, but had never actually thought to search for blogs until right now. Imagine my surprise in discovering this wonderful site, and then discovering how similar our situations are. I just turned 27 years old, started out weighing almost 400 pounds at my heaviest, and am currently down to 328. I still have a long way to go, but I’m already proud of what I’ve accomplished so far – and believe it or not, I feel comparatively cute already at 328. Having once lost a ton of weight at the start of junior high only to gain it back with interest, and now going through the process again, this post really resonated with me. I hope I can continue to be as successful as you have been – now excuse me while I go read all of your archives.

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Glib Gurl • January 14, 2007 at 8:15 pm

I agree with what everyone has said – great post and you look fabulous. One thing strikes me, however — the part about life being okay at your heaviest. That’s how I sort of feel now. I mean, yes, it would be wonderful to wear smaller clothes, have less physical discomfort, and turn the heads of the boys a little more often, but generally I think my life is pretty good . . . yet everybody and their mama (including Oprah) keeps swearing up and down how miserable my life must be because I’m fat. I find that rather insulting . . . but it also sort of scares me. What if I do lose weight and discover that, indeed, my current life is miserable? You give me hope that that won’t be the case. Thanks, PQ! (If you don’t mind, I think I might blog about this a bit myself.)

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Mercedes • February 5, 2007 at 2:16 am

Wow.. That really touched and inspired me, personally being obese and knowing what it is like.

I wish you the best of luck my dear.

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jen • March 1, 2007 at 2:59 pm

i am very fat. i way close to 800 pounds when i am only 5 2. it sucks. i also can no longer fit into bathroom stalls. when i was 11 years old i was extremely obese and was almost 450 pds then and i tried to get into and elevator and there was this little kid. my stomach was huge and had nearly pinned him in a corner. he pulled up my shirt andgrabbed a big handful of my fat and said look mommy this person is giggly and wiggly! look how big her legs are! she must be very fat!

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Nau-Dee • March 3, 2007 at 6:32 pm

I love your comment of: “Same size, different attitude”. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately but hadn’t put words to it.

I’ve been really enjoying reading your journey! I find it extremely helpful and inspirational to my own goals and thoughts.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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