Fat is…

Pink scale on the left, gray background

Written by Beth Sandlin

August 31, 2020

As I was being weighed in at the doctor’s office and saw my weight, I sighed in dismay. “No, this isn’t good, I lost 5 pounds in a week.” 

The nurse’s comment, “I would do anything to lose 5 pounds”.

I honestly didn’t know what to say. I stared at her in disbelief and just stewed in my thoughts. Really, really, you would do anything? You would give up cuddling with your young children. You would be in pain and misery. You would give up sex with your husband. You would have a vertical incision on your abdomen and barely be able to walk. You would be happy watching your husband stress out and do everything while you lay there trying to read, but even that gives you headaches. You would be in so much pain that you can’t roll over in bed. Really, you would trade that for 5 pounds. 

She and I also didn’t know that it would literally take me over a year to fully recover and feel good again. I could give a damn about 5 pounds because I had no energy and this spun me into anger, rage, depression and sadness during my recovery journey. 

Now I get it. We live in a society which covets weight loss at all costs. Diet pills, quick fixes, images that are photoshopped no matter how trim someone is, the list goes on with body distortion and what’s touted as healthy. 

At the time though I couldn’t be understanding. I was in the selfish mode of a trauma response and trying to grapple with my new unwanted reality. All I knew was at that moment, I wasn’t supported in a way that I needed to be. And here I was again, about 10 years after cancer, I was back to “looking healthy” but being very unwell. If you looked at me, in regular clothes sitting, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong. I looked healthy, some people might even say I looked better. But I was far from healthy. 

And this is a big why. Why I never teach with words that are shaming. Loss that muffin top, stop the jiggle under the arms, I didn’t before this happened and for sure not now. One Pilates is so much more than this. And two, because fat, my friends, is essential. Repeat after me,

Fat is Essential! 

There are BIG problems when people don’t have enough body fat. I also know that just because someone looks healthy doesn’t mean they are. Our illusion of health is clever marketing messages that tell us we are never good enough. Seriously, even those models are airbrushed. We know it, yet it’s hard to keep this in mind walking around in everyday life.

These are a few lessons learned from this experience: 

  1. How someone looks is not an indicator of health, period, end of sentence. 
  2. Don’t rely on weight as an indicator of health. 
  3. I never compliment weight loss, because I don’t know what happened for the person to get there (cancer, surgery, eating disorder, chronic condition, the list goes on.) 
  4. When you think you’re supporting someone with a funny comment, it isn’t always taken that way depending upon their lived experience. As a nurse working in a surgical unit you think she would have known that. Now I realize that no one profession or person is automatically trauma informed. Perhaps one day, but not now. 
  5. As a Pilates teacher I don’t use words like sexy, booty sculpting, or the litany of words that sexualizes the beautiful experience of human movement with Pilates (more on this with another blog.)
Skip to content