[Content Notice: weight, weight loss, body image]
While I do have a checkered past with the medical establishment, thankfully, about two years ago, I found much better doctors than any of my childhood ones. Sadly, I’ve been unable to find a less fat-hating world in which to live. For that reason, I’ve been restricting my caloric intake for eighteen months and, since January, have been low-carbing. So far, I’ve lost about thirty pounds. I’m not yet “healthy” (where “health” is a euphemism for “thinness”) in the eyes of society (especially here in Southern California) or according to the BMI (I’m still “diagnosed with obesity” every time I got to the doctor), but I’ve noticed some curious changes in my life.
Out in the world of dating and sex, men check me out less furtively than they used to — and sometimes even less-than-furtively. I find myself suddenly placed on a pedestal, with doors opened, chairs pulled, and obstacles pointed out for me. In terms of my weekly errands, store employees who used to ignore me now notice me and ask me if I need help. At the checkout aisle, they scrutinize the expiration date on my coupons and punch cards far less.
The most ridiculous example of this happened the last time I visited a GNC. The smiling, solicitous employee managed, through means I can only guess at, to ring up $50 worth of meal bars and only charge me $20. I walked out with a bag full of portable meals and a head filled with immense confusion (you’d think that far fitter, prettier women than me would visit a store like GNC, right?).
I don’t carry myself with more confidence than before, as I still am very much Southern California fat. I don’t dress better; indeed, I paid more attention to the details of my appearance when I was fatter (a coincidence based on time factors). I’m not much happier than I was before, since I’m now uncomfortably aware of my fat rather than resigned to it. The ugly truth is that people see the smaller me as someone deserving better treatment than the bigger me did.
The worst part is that, if asked about it, most people would probably deny it. People don’t like to consider the fact that human beings are prejudiced and act upon those prejudices without a second thought. We often don’t realize what we’re doing, let alone why. People don’t realize that they overlook fat women as much as they do, and so my life in the 180s is different from my life in the 210s.
I do not accept this new state of affairs with anything resembling gratitude or complacency. I cannot forget what I know: Fatter Heina was treated with scorn for no reason other than being bigger than Fat Heina, and she never deserved it. Whether I maintain, regain, or lose more of my weight, I deserve to be treated with common courtesy and decency, as does any other human being.