Short and stout,
How do you judge me,
When you see me out and about?
Image is everything isn’t it? We judge people by the way they look before we take the time to find out who they are.
I’m short, and I’m fat. That’s a fact I can’t change. I get judged on that every day by the people I pass in the street… and I have since about the age of 10.
You can kind of guess what people are thinking and the assumptions they are making. Stares, sniggers, amusement and whispers – you see it all when you’re “fat”. It used to hurt when people said things about my weight – especially in high school. I used to ride my 10-speed for 45 minutes up and down a volcano to and from school 5 days a week … and I never lost any weight. At university I did a lot of walking – especially given two of my faculties were at opposite ends of the campus… and I never lost weight. I played touch football through work … and I never lost weight. I used to go to the gym in Sydney 3 times a week (and once with a personal trainer)… and never lost weight. The only time I have ever genuinely lost weight was when I was pregnant with Mitchell. Gestational diabetes caused me to loose 10 kg … at a time when my body was supposed to be gaining weight.
I think as time goes on either I have learned to shut out how other people judge me, or I have developed a thick skin and simply grin and bear it. Probably a bit of both. I didn’t choose to be fat – let’s face it – who would?! So of course it hurts (and still does) when people judge me, give me a look of disgust or avoid me because I am “tubby”.
I saw and article in an Australian newspaper recently where a reporter was put in a “fat suit” and walked down the street. She was startled by the reactions of people, some of whom she had seen the previous day as her normal self. They treated her completely different when she appeared “overweight”. She was avoided or treated curtly. She wasn’t taken seriously. That reporter was lucky. She got to take the suit off and go back to being her normal non-fat self.
Some general assumptions that can be made about weight are – lazy, idle, eats like a pig, stupid, … you get the picture.
The reality is not all of us choose to be fat and some of us can’t do that much about it. I’ve walked 10 km including some decent inclines around Hong Kong so far this week (with a stuffed knee) at a rate of around 12.5 km/hour. (My non-stuffed knee walking pace is about 10 km/hour). I spend between 1/2 an hour and an hour exercising at least 3 times a week. When I am not exercising, I am either working on the computer, out at meetings, chasing after my kids or doing something that doesn’t involve sitting and watching TV. My life is too busy to have time for daytime TV. When I can, I walk from location to location around Hong Kong. I’m still fat.
I eat. That is apparent from the food reviews you see on this blog. However, since having Mitchell and enduring Gestational Diabetes I have tried to maintain some of the rules and where I can I limit my carb intake. At dinner I try to eat no more than 1/2 a bowl of rice – at most a bowl. My breakfast is either an apple or fruit bun. My lunch is generally something low or no carb (unless we go to yum cha, in which case I try to cut carbs from my dinner meal where I can). Sure I indulge sometimes, but no more than any normal weight person does. I don’t sit on my sofa gorging myself on a tub of ice cream for days on end. And those cakes I make? I generally don’t eat them – just because I enjoy baking, it doesn’t mean I want to eat excessively. I bake for others enjoyment. I’ll eat a slice of cake socially just like any other person, only I feel guilty when I do because people will make more assumptions.
It doesn’t help being short of course. My weight on someone a few inches taller than me would be considered “normal” for their height. My genetics just play against me.
I shouldn’t have to justify the way I look, but being fat, one must. So, for those who care, the deal is this. I have insulin resistance and a metabolism that simply doesn’t work normally. I would have to spend most of the day on exercise alone to genuinely loose weight – something that simply isn’t possible when you have kids and obligations. I generally don’t tell people this because I shouldn’t have to quantify the reason I am who I am nor do I want people to think I am seeking pity or using excuses. But the fact is, I’m not fat “just because” and it hurts when people lump you into a category simply because of how you look.
So I am me – the little teapot – short and stout – who, if you ever see me on the street, you might know a bit more about!