The new show that I’m currently obsessing over is called My Big, Fat, Fabulous Life. There is a woman named Whitney in it who is 30 years old and 380 pounds. She’s prediabetic, very active, very happy, very OK with being big but also dealing with the realities of health and life issues. When I started watching the show it was totally as a voyeur. I’m always interested in watching the lives of people who are committed to making a health shift as in the Biggest Loser, and I’m also interested in watching people who promote healthy lifestyle and body acceptance, especially if they happen to have a weight issue because I connect so deeply to it. The thing about watching Whitney is that I connect to her personality so deeply. I watch her big, fun personality coming out; the self deprecation, the laughing at her own expense, and the good-natured ribbing that she consistently gives others and herself. Life around her looks like a party. It is clear that she truly cares for the people around her and loves them. It’s also pretty clear that she uses polycystic ovarian syndrome as the crutch for justifying her weight. She keeps saying she’s big because of polycystic ovarian syndrome instead of saying that her PCOS contributes to the weight. For me that was exactly who I was and what I was doing when I was 340 pounds. I was laughing a lot to deflect a lot. I teased people constantly, joked at my own expense, poked a lot of fun at myself and accepted myself for who I was and what I was. I told myself that this is what life was destined to be for me. I was meant to be a big girl.
Like Whitney, what I failed to do was take responsibility for myself. Like Whitney, I was eating a lot of refined foods like white bread, pasta, pizza, white rice and other truly carb-o-liscious things that pass through you quickly without giving you a lot of energy or satisfaction in return, nutritionally. Paired with the PCOS, it was a recipe for pounding on the weight at a ridiculously fast pace, but I didn’t see a need to change anything. Like I said, it just felt like my destiny to be the biggest girl in any room. Like Whitney, the focus of the reality show my big fat fabulous life, I was also consistently active. Bradley and I always went for hikes and walks no matter what my size was. We had a golden retriever and who was very active and Bradley used her as an excuse to constantly keep me moving. He didn’t mind if I was big, but he did want me to be able to live a real life. Whitney is a Zumba instructor who can shake it and move like nobody’s business. In fact, she is the star of a YouTube video called fat girl dancing (posted above). Watch it and you will know what I mean. I think those of us who stay active but are also heavy can lie to ourselves that if we can move like that we must also still be healthy. As long as the blood work comes back, everything is OK, but like Whitney, I was a ticking time bomb as well. If you happen to watch the show you’ll see her become prediabetic and then even more acutely prediabetic at the start of season two. That was also my wake up call. I had one unusual fasting blood level and my doctor told me that by the time I was 40, if I didn’t shift my diet and lose some weight, I was most likely going to have diabetes. I quickly did the math and realized that diabetes meant a shorter life, which meant my daughter wouldn’t have a mother for as long as she should, I would be making a selfish choice to stay fat and live a short life and deny her of a mother. Furthermore I would be denying myself the opportunity to see as much of her life as possible before my light went out. On top of tha, weight loss was prescribed to me in order for me to get pregnant. I had to make a choice to either have a family and a life, or to be fat. The rest of the story is obvious.
The funny thing about that is when you’re confronted with a choice of saving your life or staying fat, that the easier choice can be to stay fat so it is incredibly enticing. For me, I really questioned how important it was for me to have a second baby. I honestly considered having just one kid because the compound failure of failing to lose weight and failing to have a baby was just something I wasn’t sure if I could endure. It wasn’t until I thought of my daughter, who already existed, and for her to be without a mother because I was afraid of failure that I really changed my tune. That, and knowing that I would regret that decision for the rest of my life, were I to choose the road of single kid-dom and fat. At the very least, I might be thinner and more capable… So I started. Even then I had to be private about it. I didn’t tell Bradley that I was starting to lose weight. Instead I lost around 15 pounds before I openly admitted that I was losing weight on purpose.
I’m excited to watch Whitney do the same thing. I’m interested to watch her start being more honest with herself about what she’s doing and how she’s contributing to her health. I saw her own, for the first time, that what she eats and when she eats is terrible (sugar coffee/tea all day and one huge meal at night). Right now she has this monster who she’s allowing to have complete control over her life through the vehicle PCOS, but what she doesn’t realize yet is that she can drive that monster. I’m watching her turn from a person who is determined to live as the legendary healthy fat girl to being a fat girl who is dealing with very real health issues. Just like I did. She’s having to make very real decisions that will determine the length and quality of her life. Like I did. Watching her struggle just brings it all right back and I know what it is to be in her shoes and it just gives me the serious feels. There might be some eye leakage, too. But maybe, just maybe, the truth of the matter is that I have yet to shed my entire fat girl. What’s really going on is that I am still very much Whitney. I still look at the world through the same lens as before. I still struggle and fear all of the things I used to. I still marvel and gasp at the new things I can do, even though I’ve been ble to do them for years now! I’m proud of her for exposing the life I lead as a fat girl- complete with explanations of chub rub, of chair fitting, of sweating, of having to consider every little aspect ever. It’s been a pretty amazing show to see and connect to.
And to be clear- I’m not criticizing Whitney AT ALL. I’m so proud of her and, quite honestly, a bit jealous that she’s been able to be so open about her life and struggles that I feel like I’m seeing myself, except that it’s like I’m seeing myself four years ago. I’m watching her do everything I do plus a little more. Her struggles and experiences are alarmingly similar to mine. I just love her to pieces and admire her moxie like crazy cakes.
Lastly, the relationship between her and her parents reminds me so much of how my parents and I used to operate when I was in my early twenties, before I was with Bradley. We were the three amigos, my parents and I. We’d meet every day, after workout my apartment to go for a 40 minute walk and talk. Those were definitely glory days and I appreciate the show for highlighting that special time for me. Love you mom and dad!!! ❤️❤️❤️
I started watching that show too. I thought I could learn a thing or two about self acceptance. Growing up the less I weighed, the more value I would have. Ugh! Anyhow, I was also interested in how PCOS can contribute to weight loss. Help explain why I am the slowest loser on the planet. It wasn’t until I really began watching the show that I realized that Whittney’s diet was horrible. I would explain why she struggles to lose weight. Those of us with medical conditions such as PCOS or hypothyroidism are certainly diet challenged & we have to work extra hard, but as you have shown here, it is possible.