Last night was one I will treasure in my heart for as long as I live. My beautiful boyfriend took me to dinner where we consumed plates of hearty comfort food (rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes) and we smiled across the table at each other. Then we came back to my place, put a romantic comedy into the DVD player and snuggled gently for two hours. I didn’t feel an ounce of self-consciousness about my fleshy body as we spooned. My boyfriend loves every inch of me and there are a lot of inches to love.
So, imagine my anger at a European study on obesity and the sex lives of fat women. The study essentially states that while fat European guys have as much sex as their thinner counterparts, overweight women report having 30-percent less sex than their normal weight sisters. I was completely appalled. I believe the study is flawed and wrong.
I’ve been fat for many years. It crept onto my body slowly, starting in adolescence. I was able to keep many of the fat cells at bay when I was younger mostly through exercise and sports. I played basketball, rode my bicycle everywhere and did a lot of walking. A few injuries in my teens and later on made keeping up with my workouts hard. The pounds piled on me so quickly in my 20s—it wasn’t long before I weighed as much as two people.
During that time, I was struggling to make my marriage work and fighting many demons of my past including rape, being kidnapped and the long-term effects of escaping a cult-like religion. I eventually decided to get gastric bypass surgery when I was 28. It helped remove some of the excess weight, but it stopped being effective after I dropped close to 80 pounds. Then some of the weight crept back on after my marriage fell apart. I am a long way from the place where I started when I had the surgery, but I am still fat. I am not going to put my life on hold until the weight is gone and that includes enjoying a healthy love life with lots of sex in it.
I have stopped hating my body and started to love it and take care of it more. Part of what has helped me accept that I am a person worthy of love is being loved by others and having sex. While I am not the size most men find attractive, quite a lot of men have appreciation for my curves. Rather than curse the extra pounds as evil, I’ve embraced my body as a work of art. I play up the parts that make me lovelier and downplay whatever makes me less happy. I refuse to hate any part of myself—enough people in the world already do.
That is why I’ve joined groups like “Real Women Have Curves…Not The Body of a 12-year-old Boy.” No matter if you’re a size two or a size 28 (like me), loving yourself will always make you more lovable to others. Seeing all the shapes that women come in will also make you appreciate what you have even more. Don’t shun the beach or the pool, go and let the sun touch your skin and fill you up with vitamins and joy. Celebrate you. Don’t let the haters keep you down.
After reading the study, I concluded that the men probably exaggerated and embellished their sex life stats. I’ve also come to see that while fat guys are generally accepted in society and are allowed hot wives and girlfriends (see half the sitcoms on American television—“King of Queens,” anyone?), fat chicks are supposed to wear burqas that make us disappear magically. I’m not going gently into that dark night.
I understand the health issues associated with being overweight. I’m fat, not stupid. This post is not about that (and don’t hijack the comments sections with your helpful advice on how I should go about losing weight—I’m not asking for your help). This is about learning to love people for who they are not for the person they have the potential to become. And that starts today with you.