I was a fat kid. I think. Medically speaking, my actual level of fatness varied from being not-so-fat to being definitely fat, but I always felt like a fat kid, and that’s what mattered.
Being a fat kid is more than just how much you weigh. It’s an entire mindset and way of interacting with the world. You expect that everyone loathes and reviles you as much as you loathe and revile yourself.
You’re on edge, waiting for someone to say something about your weight, expecting the blow at any moment. It’s constant defense — avoiding situations and clothing that might make your body more noticeable. It’s a philosophy based on shame and the idea that you deserve less because of your body and the way that you look. You hate yourself and you hate other fat people too.
When I was younger, I used to believe that being thin was the cure to all of my problems. I imagined that life as a thin person would be completely different, that I would be smarter, more socially and romantically fulfilled, and more confident. I believed that thin people had it all, that none of them were ever dissatisfied with their appearance because they had the holy grail! They were thin, something that seemed hopelessly out of reach for me.
As I’ve experienced life, I’ve found that this is not true. Most people, even thin ones, find something to hate about their bodies. I’ve also lost weight (slowly, over the course of years) to the point where I am no longer fat, at least not medically speaking. But I found something surprising. The fat kid mindset is still there.
I still believe that I would be more attractive if I lost just a little more weight. Somehow that correlates to having a better life over all, a life over the rainbow where I frolic in shorts and my legs are miraculously tan and men fall over dead when they see me.
But there is no land over the rainbow. Dorothy lied! Even though I am fit, I am still not satisfied.
I’m realizing that body change without mindset change is a hamster wheel, and I can stay on it for as long as I like. Having the perfect body will not make me happy. Also, there is no perfect body. The perfect body needs to be the one I have.
The real change is when I learn to see myself as a person of health and beauty. Because if I have the latter two but am unable to see them, then what good are they?