Embrace: No More Fat Days

Mondays always have the potential to be hard because if I don’t take time during the previous week to solicit a contribution for Embrace:Me, then I’m left to my own devices when it comes to a post idea.  As you can probably guess, today follows one of those weeks and since I am hell bent on keeping this series alive, it’s to my own devices I’ll turn.

This evening before I started writing, Nat asked me what I was going to post about (he does this every night, sometimes it really stresses me out).  “Fat days,” I answered.  “Fat days?  What’s that?” he asked.  “You know, fat days?  ‘Blech, I’m having a fat day’?” I said, at a loss as to how one might explain a fat day further than that.  He stared at me blankly.  “A day where you just feel fat?”  I ventured.  “Oh,” he responded.  “I’ve never really heard of that.  I haven’t heard anyone use that expression, at least.”  Well, in that case I guess I should get credit for not having complained of having had a fat day within earshot of Nat.  Beyond that, though, let’s just go ahead and say it: what the hell?  Who doesn’t know what a fat day is?

Image via HealthyGirl.org

If you think about it, though, it’s not all that surprising that Nat would be perplexed by the concept of a fat day.  I mean, really?  A fat day?  The phrase itself is nonsensical.  Is it like Mardi Gras?  How does one have a fat day?  It seems physically impossible–I mean you can’t just go from one physical shape to another overnight.  And that’s where things start to fall apart, because fat days have no basis in the quantitative.  They have nothing to do with actually being fat; they exist on a plane that is completely independent of your height, weight, size, or any other physical attribute you have.  They exist solely in your head.

If I hadn’t abolished the very notion of fat days from my system of thought, I’d go ahead and say that today I’m having a fat day.  My jeans feel tight, I feel icky, bloated, crabby, laze, and annoyed.  It’s as though I turned into a slug somewhere between yesterday when I went to bed and this morning when I woke up.  It’s totally disgusting, right?  Well, no, actually.  Wrong.

In spite of the way I may be feeling, I’d be hard pressed to really and truly call today a fat day.  For one thing, saying that those adjectives I listed above are synonymous with being fat is extremely unfair and only serves to perpetuate the stereotypes that have unjustly been created to describe what fat people are like (and in many cases, to justify discriminatory and prejudicial behaviors).  That right there, in and of itself, is extremely problematic.  For another, fat isn’t a feeling, it’s a physical descriptor.  I may be feeling lazy, run-down, and crabby.  I may actually be bloated because I’ve had too much salt lately, or because of (ahem) hormonal fluctuations.  These things don’t add up to “feeling fat”, they add up to feeling kind of crummy and having kind of a bad day.  Finally, and this is related to my first point, what’s wrong with being fat?  When we say we’re having a fat day, we’re accepting the fact that society has taught us that fat is a stand-in for a variety of negative things.  It’s not.

So I want us all to take on a challenge: no more fat days.  When you feel compelled to say you’re having one, dig a little deeper and try to identify what you’re really feeling.  Me?  I’m stressed out from a job I don’t love, and uncertainty about the future.  I’m tired.  I’m frustrated about living in a city that is, even on the best of days, hard to live in.  That’s what’s really going on, and now that I’ve articulated those things, I can address them.  And isn’t that better than calling it a fat day, throwing up my hands in despair, and buying into the idea that everything going on is hopeless and beyond my control?  I think so.

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15 comments

    1. Thanks for sharing that link, Paige! I really enjoyed reading the manifesto, we all need that sort of confidence and attitude toward our bodies.

  1. i think nat may also not have ‘comprehended’ because (in my opinion) a lot of guys just don’t think this way?

    i know what you mean though; i have these days myself. usually it’s because i’ve pigged out on something not good for me and/or not worked out…

    1. Hi Andrea! Welcome to the blog 🙂 Yeah, a ban on fat days is definitely easier said than done, but if nothing else I think we should at least think a little bit more about what’s really going on behind the scenes on those days when we just don’t feel like ourselves. Hopefully it ends up being worth the effort!

  2. I completely understand the concept of fat days… and I also understand that most guys don’t have them. (Which is just not fair!)

    When I used to complain to my psychologist that “I feel fat” she used to tell me that “Fat isn’t a feeling. Feelings are things like: happy, sad, angry, lonely, etc.” So that’s true, usually when we have fat days it is because of underlying feelings. So like you said, we may have to dig a little deeper to figure out the cause, but it’s worth the effort!

  3. I think you hit on how we view the word Fat. It’s quick code for sluggish. Not sluggish of body but mind and, if you will, spirit. I’m sure there’s a definite physical feeling behind it but I wonder if, as you say, it’s not a strict feeling of the physical self. That it is instead a condition of the brain on that day which changes the symbolic self, the homunculus. The confusion of the mind is taken out on the flesh. A lot of good research could be put into self-perception and why we view ourselves as we do. A lot of good thought used to be put into it and it’s something I feel has been sorely lacking in this part of the world for some time. (I mean, come on – dress slacks with a t-shirt and flip-flops? No self-respecting man should dress like that, I’m sorry.)

  4. Great post! I have a similar type of post coming up on my blog. It’s not actually about being fat but rather feeling bad. Because fat is so associated with being bad it gets used in places it shouldn’t.
    When we choose our language more carefully it can be easier to find out what our emotions really are and focus on them individually. Rather than just lumping them together with the word fat which really is only a descriptor of excess tissue.

    1. Exactly! I wish that more people would use the word fat as it is intended, and not as a catch-all for everything negative. I’m looking forward to reading your post!

  5. It’s really helpful for me to actually ask myself specifically what I’m feeling when I have what could I used to consider a fat day, and it’s very helpful. Once I know exactly what’s going on, I can deal with it.

    1. That’s a great approach. It can be hard sometimes, but it really is best to try to figure out what’s going on, and you’re right to bring up being specific, that’s key!

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