the importance of having the occasional fat day

I am not skinny. I'm not sure I ever was skinny, apart from the first half of my freshman year in high school, when I was so anxious about being in a public high school that I kinda lost my appetite for everything. I remember coming to grips with the need for me to eat a freakin cheeseburger when I revisited my private school and one of my teachers literally dropped her jaw when she saw me. Not a good feeling, for a girl who had been raised to have a healthy body image, who knew there was such a thing as 'too skinny' and that there was nothing wrong with being 'normal.'

I'm not sure I ever will be skinny. Most days, I'm ok with this. I'm not fat, though by some definitions I would be considered obese, technically.

I prefer to think that I navigate the waters of chubby, pudgy, thick, curvy, and occasionally 'oh my God I just ate a plate of Christmas cookies for dinner.' Being skinny isn't a goal of mine right now, although I do have my eye on developing healthier eating habits and finding the way to muscle through some kind of outdoor activity even though it's 20 degrees.

I'm sometimes startled by photos of myself, where I have evidence that the pudge is creeping further than I would like. You see things in photos that you don't see in mirrors. It's easy to look at a photo of a larger-than-life you and lapse into a mental maelstrom of criticism, discontent, and even hatred. Who among us hasn't done this? There's another way you can go, too, I've noticed. It's the comparison way... "Well at least I'm not as big as [insert name here], I think I'll go partake in a congratulatory carton of ice cream."

Sometimes these snippits of realism lend themselves to fat days. And you know what? I think the occasional 'fat day' is ok. They can be motivating when you need a kick in the pants to reminder yourself not to eat brownies for breakfast four days in a row. They can make you feel like a 'normal woman' - whatever that means - because we all have them. And if nothing else, they can be another opportunity to show yourself grace and acceptance.

As far as I can tell, there are two important things to keep in mind when you're having a fat day. One is to shelve the criticism and keep the door closed on things that might cause your self-esteem to plummet. Stay away from the scale. Don't put on the trippy high heels that make you feel clumsy. Dress comfortably, but keep the cute factor intact. Be NICE to yourself. Don't torture yourself.  And for the love of Pete, don't wear control-top tights....

The other point is this: let the fat day be a DAY. Just one. If you're having a fat week, or a fat month, or a fat LIFE, there's probably a bigger issue at hand. Find something small you can change, and change it. For me, the small thing in the past couple of months has been having ONE of something. It's saying, that cupcake was amazing, I think I'll bask in the glory of it for a while, instead of saying, that cupcake was amazing, I think I'll have another.  It's a small lifestyle change, but it's doable, and it's kept be from ingesting thousands of calories over the past while.  Put down your favorite self-flagellation tool, and be proactive.

This is something I have to keep in mind this time of year.  What with all the talk about resolutions and losing weight and diet plans and gym memberships, in contrast with the leftover candy and creamy soups and pervasive darkness, and 'spring break in Cancun' season just around the corner, and all.

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