The dirty secret: Being fat is hard and being skinny isn’t so easy.

I was listening to a recent episode of “This American Life” and it really hit home. I’ve been fat forever. Not because I want to be fat and not because it is easy. Being fat isn’t easy. You get looked at, you get laughed at. You constantly feel like you are a failure. You feel like an embarrassment to your kids and your family. You can’t stand to look in the mirror and you can’t stand to put on your clothes. You are constantly reminded that you are not what the world thinks you should be.

On those rare occasions when you do feel ok, people tell you otherwise. They point out how much weight you’ve gained. They suggest you check out the gym they are using or they invite you to go on a walk with them. Some people do it with good intentions. “Don’t you want to see your kids graduate? Don’t you want to feel better about yourself? Don’t you just want to feel better?” Others just don’t care. “Man, you’ve put on a lot of weight since I saw you last. No matter what they treat me like I want to be fat. It feels like they believe I woke up one morning and said: “Today feels like a good day to be fat.”

I’m sure there are plenty of skinny people out there who are already looking down on me for saying being fat is hard. They assume being skinny is as easy as eating fewer snacks and getting off the couch. They want to blame me completely for my current state. I’m not in the kitchen stuffing my face and sleeping on the couch all day. Being fat is not even on my radar of wants. Being skinny just isn’t as easy as all the skinny people make it sound.

I feel like I have been starving myself over the last year. That feels a little harsh to type, but it’s true. I eat 1200-1500 calories a day. Some days I almost feel like I force myself to eat 1200 calories because I know I shouldn’t go below that. If 1200 calories seem like a lot, think about it this. Have you ever gone through a drive through and purchased a value meal? That would be all of my calories for the entire day.

Okay, I hear you. Fast food is bad for you. It’s just an example. I also realize I won’t always be working on “losing” weight. Eventually, I’ll be working on maintaining weight. Maybe then I’ll get to eat a nice 2000 calorie a day diet. Maybe.

Either way, it isn’t easy. No matter what happens, you are going to have problems with yourself. You have to work on accepting yourself. You have to work on forgiving yourself. As cliché as it sounds, you have to work on loving yourself. You don’t have to be happy with where you are, where you have been or where you are going; but you have to accept your reality. No matter what choice you make you have to deal with the difficulties.

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