What do men look for in a woman? It doesn’t matter if she’s one hundred pounds overweight or drop-dead gorgeous, sometimes women find their dating life to be non-existent. Like myself, you’ve probably read articles about how to attract a man and what puts men off, but what is off-putting is when you do all the things which are recommended to attract a guy and avoiding the things which repel them, but still find yourself alone on a Friday night.
I have been taking an honest look at why I want to lose weight. I was made to feel like I was not good enough as a fat woman; I fell below the mark. My ex-husband referred to me as a “big fat cow sitting on the couch eating chocolate” to his co-workers and wouldn’t touch me sexually or affectionately for months at a time (it’s a miracle I have two beautiful children). My parents took me to a “fat” doctor when I was nine because they were concerned about my weight even then.
“Fat” in this world is just plain wrong. Therefore, as a fat person, I am less than perfect. And so I want to lose weight to become perfect.
Studies have been conducted on body weight perception which have come up with the same conclusion: body weight perception is not always in agreement with actual weight. Really? Maybe if more research was done on why scientists and academics conduct studies where the results are obvious, then maybe there would be more advances in the sciences.
“The best laid schemes of mice and men/Go often askew,” wrote the famous poet Robert Burns.
Life is like that. One minute we experience the greatest happiness; the next we plummet into despair. You’re on the mountaintop, the sun is shining, and everything finally seems to be coming together; then we see that beyond the summit, the mountain goes down, the clouds hide the sun, and everything unravels.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: soul queen Aretha Franklin sang it best. Losing weight has a lot to do with respect. Do you respect people because they are thinner, while showing less respect for those with extra poundage? Are you shown less respect when heavier and more respect as you lose weight? There is something to be said for hard work, and losing weight and keeping it off is hard work.
Why does it take a tragedy or sudden shock to wake us up from complacency and make us realize what is really important? Some of us go through life thinking everything’s okay and fate will work out all the kinks. Others live in denial or are just trying to survive or allow themselves to be controlled by anger or resentment or mistakes.
Lots of people have had near-death experiences. Some claim their lives flashed before their eyes. Others became focused on the things which truly mattered to them. I had a near-death experience in the hospital and yes, I thought about my children and the man I care for at The End. But it was what I thought about on the other side of the fatal moment which changed my life.
Don’t you wish you had a rewind button? How many times have we said, done or assumed something which was in error and it made a situation worse? Imagine, having learned a lesson the hard way, you could instantly rewind the scenario and repeat it but achieve a more positive outcome?
Fat comes with unwelcome side effects such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, back and knee pain, and gall stones. But the weight of regret is an even greater burden to bear, and results in guilty feelings, annoyance, shame, sadness, and wishing—wishing you had made better choices in the past.
Is there any feeling quite as thrilling as shopping for clothes and finding you have to go down a size? It’s like winning a trophy in a competition, proof that your dieting is paying off. It encourages us to work harder. We aren’t at the beginning of the diet journey any longer. We’re already down the road.
When is fat acceptable? At what points to you cross over from being “normal” to a few pounds overweight, to overweight, to fat? Sure, you can calculate your body mass index (BMI) according to your height, weight and age to find out technically where you stand on the fat scale, but even if you fall in the “Normal” category, you can still be overweight and unhappy with yourself.
Dieting is frustrating. You eventually hit the “plateau,” when your body refuses to let go of the pounds no matter how much you exercise and starve yourself. And of course, even the most cursory of research will give you conflicting views on how to get past the plateau.
“‘Cheap knit crap from the dollar store’,” I mimic Tiresa’s self-righteous tone. “‘I’m even willing to buy you a decent dress’.” I scowl as I examine the black dress which had been purchased for the date with Wesley. It was more than decent—in fact, it had cost a bit more than I could reasonably afford—and would fit in with Tiresa’s and Mika’s engagement party, which was certain to be on par with a black tie affair. Now I just needed a new pair of shoes since the heel broke off my sandal.
I park my car just off Trafalgar Street and make my way down the crowded sidewalk toward Hannah’s Shoes, where I hoped to purchase the same sandals I bought for the date with Wesley. There weren’t many styles in my size, let alone could accommodate my fat feet, so I often bought a couple pair of the same shoes.
At a corner I run into Cat. “Cat! How are you?” I ask.
I was the first to befriend Cat, who has lived on the street for a decade. Initially, I felt sorry for her and gave her an old winter coat of mine, which progressed to spare change here and there, then invitations to have coffee. Feeling sorry for Cat didn’t do any good, however. Her mind half gone from alcohol and a successful career lost, Cat survives quite well on the streets, her brutal honesty put to good use and her “It could be worse” attitude keeping her afloat
She looks at me up and down. “I see you’re finally off your face,” she comments.
“Uh, yeah,” I stammer. “Thanks for checking in on me the other night. It was a pretty horrible night.”
“Try living on the streets,” Cat retorts unsympathetically.
I sigh. Typical Cat: unsympathetic at best, uncouth at worst. “Where are you headed?”
She shrugs. “Nowhere, last I checked.”
“I’m going shoe shopping. Want to come along?” I invite. She falls into step next to me, both of us shuffling along, me from my weight and her from having nowhere to go in particular and being older. “So are you going to give me back my sleeping pills?”
“Nope. Sold those to a drug dealer.”
“It’s a living,” she shrugs and glances down. “What do you need new shoes for? Not going on another date, are you?”
“Tiresa and Mika’s engagement party.”
“Well, well, aren’t we the glutton for punishment,” she cackles.
I stop and stand aside to let another pedestrian pass by, the sidewalk is so packed. Most people avoid contact with Cat because of her smell and looks, but my size makes me little harder to circumnavigate in a crowd. “I’m just trying to keep the peace in the family for Mama Rose’s sake. Otherwise I wouldn’t go near the place, not for a million dollars.”
“The poor can’t afford to be choosey,” she intones.
I accidentally jostle her when another pedestrian rushes by. “Oops, sorry. It’s not about poverty. It’s about pride. I can live with being poor, but I at least like to hold up my head with some dignity. Having my ex and sister publicly rub their affair in my face isn’t worth winning the lottery.”