The Scarlet F


I’ve been wanting to start a blog to chronicle my weight loss journey for awhile now.  A friend had really encouraged me to journal and suggested that a blog might work, if I wanted to be public with my thoughts.  And I do like that idea, b/c a) it will help keep me accountable, and b) maybe I can help someone else who struggles with the same issues I do.  I know that I’m not alone in feeling the way that I do.

So I’d been kicking the idea of blogging around for awhile, but as is usually the case with me, I didn’t follow through until I came up with a good name.  As fate would have it, that happened tonight.  Over the coming days, I’ll write more about my history and what my current weight loss plan is, but right now, I just want to explain my blog title.

I have a dear friend whom I email frequently, and we talk a lot about body image issues, as it is something we both deal with.  (How many women DON’T deal with body image issues?)  I just told her recently about my new plan to finally shed this incredible amount of extra weight I’m carrying around, and one of the things I said was that, at my current weight, I feel “disgusting.”  (And while I honestly can’t bring myself to admit my weight publicly, suffice it to say that the number I need to lose is easily in the triple digits.  From every objective measure, I am very overweight.)

Caring friend that she is, she told me that I shouldn’t feel that way and that she wishes I could see myself the way she sees me.  When I replied to her, I told her that I know I’m not a bad person and that I shouldn’t define myself by my weight.  And yet it’s still an issue I struggle with deeply, and this is why:

There is no place I go where I feel, “Hey, I look pretty good.”  Instead, I know I look worse than most of the people there, and that yes, a lot of them are judging me.  And if they’re thinking I have no willpower and that I just pig out a lot – well, they’re right.  Does that then make me a bad person?  No.  I know I’m not a bad person b/c I’m fat.  But I still hate that I’ve let myself get here, and I DO think that I’m lazy and that I have no one to blame but myself, b/c it’s the truth.  Again, it doesn’t make me a bad person.  But it often feels like I’ve got a scarlet letter that announces to the world what my worst flaws are, only instead of an A, it’s an F for fat.

And that is where my blog title comes from.  I hope that this blog will be about more than just “I ate this today,” and, “I exercised this much,” and, “I lost this much this week.”  (Although I know I will post those kinds of things, too.)  I hope to also chronicle the emotional journey I’m going on, trying to start accepting myself and stop feeling like a woman who deserves a public flogging.


9 responses »

    • Thanks, Kim, you’re too kind. I admit that I’m nervous about sending this out through FB. How many people are going to think I’m a total nutjob? But I think the reason I chose to do it anyway is b/c, from the limited conversations I’ve had with other women, I think my feelings are pretty normal. Well, not normal, b/c they’re terrible and it’s so sad that women so often feel this way, but they’re common. So I’m hoping maybe this is something that a lot of people will identify with. Maybe even some men, too – I don’t know. It’s definitely something that is more common with women.

  1. I’m so proud of you that you decided to blog, and even more proud that you decided do it publicly. I hear journaling your thoughts & feelings when going through something helps a lot of people, but most people don’t share those thoughts with others, and that takes a lot of courage. That’s one of the many things I admire about you. Being able to take on a new town, a new job, a new life over and over. That’s courage! I live 10 minutes from where I grew up. There are things you do that others think they never could. So take heart in that, and remember when you think you can’t do this, you’ve done so much else, you can do this, too!

    And I’m always here to call or e-mail if you need support. Weight loss is a struggle forever, whether it’s taking it off or keeping it off. Sending love from NY! 🙂

    • Thanks, Cheryl. You made me a little teary. It’s amazing how I allow myself to fixate only on the negative things about myself. I let my weight define me and how I feel about myself. Regardless of if I ever lose the weight or not, I’ve got to somehow learn to stop doing that.

  2. Your thoughts are those every women who is overweight is thinking or has thought…the negativity is such a waste of time and energy, and yet we all tend to do it. I admire those who CAN put their weight aside and not let it define them, and then I think to myself “They can’t really feel that way”…and then I berate myself for thinking that! It’s a viscious cycle, but I know my daughter is strong, and beautiful, and capable – so go for it, Michelle, and I wish you success and an end result that makes you realize that the beautiful person you ARE has nothing to do with your shape or size.

    • Damnit, Mom, quit making me cry. 🙂

      And here’s the thing: I think even women who are a perfectly normal weight think these things. Maybe not as extreme as I do, b/c they don’t generally walk into a room and know they are the fattest person there. But I find even the women I think are incredibly beautiful still envy other women’s abs or legs or butt or whatever. We put so much pressure on ourselves for perfection – it’s disturbing.

  3. It’s the one nice thing about reaching “a certain age”…I stopped putting quite so much importance on what others thought of me – not that it still doesn’t bother me greatly, but I’m better at not letting it get to me. I have confidence in you, Michelle – I din’t raise no dummee!!!! You’ll figure out where you need to be, and you’ll find a way there – just let go and let it happen!

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