It’s Just A Word, Right???

Teresa left this comment on my recent blog about the triathlon.

“Kim–I LOVE this post! I love that you accomplished your goal and that you verbalized the freedom that we feel as we overcome the physical barriers that obesity puts in our life. You ROCK!”

It is a lovely comment.  Very encouraging.  Very supportive.  So how come when I read it, something in me kind of cringes?  I kept going back and re-reading it trying to figure out what was causing this feeling because I can no longer deny the feelings, right? 🙂

Here is what I discovered.  Whenever I read the word “obesity”, my heart would sink.  I would feel very unsettled and uncomfortable.  Hmm.  What is it about THAT word that seems to set me off.

I have become quite comfortable with owning the fact that I am fat.

I am overweight.

I am large.

I am 291 lbs.

But obese?  Really?  Am I that too? I don’t want to be THAT!

Fat by definition is

  • having an (over)abundance of flesh
  • having a relatively large diameter
  • a soft greasy substance occurring in organic tissue and consisting of a mixture of lipids

Large by definition is

  • above average in size or number or quantity or magnitude or extent

Overweight by definition is

Yes.  Yes. I am these things.  And I know I will not always be these things.  This is one area of my life that is changing.   But does that mean I am obese as well?

Obese by definition is:

Hmmm…technically, I fit the definition of obese.  100+ lbs to lose.  BMI 30%+.  In fact, technically I qualify as morbidly obese!  I have become quite comfortable defining myself as fat.  So comfortable in fact that I can say it freely.  Once a friend was trying to describe something as PHAT, in front of me and he got all weirded out by saying the word PHAT and was quick to explain his reason and that it wasn’t FAT that he was saying but PHAT.  He then apologized for using such a word as THAT!  Soooo not a problem.  I AM Fat and I am pretty PHAT too!  AND he wasn’t talking about me or anyone else but some other thing altogether.  I don’t get uncomfortable around the word unless someone is talking derogatorily about someone who is.

Obese though is another story.  Something about this word seems so far beyond hope, I want nothing to do with it.  I hear this word or read this word anywhere and I cringe at the hopelessness that just wreaks from it.  Obese feels unchangeable.  Hopeless.  Hard.  In my mind obese is someone who is all of the above definitions(the medical ones) and not doing anything about it and doesn’t see the possibility for change.  So perhaps at one point I might have been obese, but not now, at least not based on my definition of it.   I am doing something about it.  I have hope of long term change.  I have hope of wearing that little yellow dress.  I see the possibilities available to me and am certain there are plenty of more I don’t see.  I am not obese.

This is fantasy land though.  It is not reality.  Reality and medical experts say, YES Kim, You are obese.  Perhaps I need to come to a point of embracing this as a truth and that MY definition is the one that may be faulty.    Perhaps Obese does not equal hopeless.   After all, it is just another word that describes my current physical state, right?

Yeah, not working so well.  I am not convinced yet.  I am fat, but not obese.  Let me live in denial a bit.  It isn’t like it is hurting me to deny this little truth…right?


7 thoughts on “It’s Just A Word, Right???

  1. I shudder at the same word. I don’t feel I am obese but yes I am fat and overweight. Those 2 words I don’t have an issue saying either. To me Obese to me is a harsh word to throw around but yet it’s the truth. Maybe by the time we can admit we are obese we will be skinny..LOL

  2. I am so so so sorry that I was the one to throw out the ugly “o” word. I didn’t mean to be insensitive and I hope that you know I would never have written that had I thought it would have a negative effect on you. My intent was to be encouraging and I should have worded my comment more carefully.

    However, you have spun it into a very thought provoking post and I appreciate your insight and willingness to share your feelings about it.

    • Teresa!!! DO NOT FEEL BAD!! I was worried you might and thought about emailing you before I posted, then I hit publish and forgot!! Seriously…Your post was NOT insensitive at all..It was very encouraging. There is NO SPIN on this….it is good because it is challenging me…there is NO negative effect on me at all…hear me girl…it is not your comment jsut my relationship to the word…PLease…don’t feel bad!!

  3. I wrote about the very same thing today. I don’t mind the word “fat” at all! It’s interesting that I didn’t even mention the word “obese” in my post… I actually have quite a visceral reaction to that word! It reminds me of the time a doctor prescribed diet pills for me because he thought I was obese. And I wasn’t even close! I had a BMI of 27 at the most. At that stage I didn’t even know what “obese” meant, but it became my truth because of an ill-advised comment by a doctor who just wanted to fill his drug prescription quota!

  4. Total hideous sounding word, couldn’t agree more.

    So much so that I’ve already figured out what weight is 1 pound under obese for me so I can say to myself “Hey, now you’re just chunky!” Because 208 pounds on my 5’10” frame is the magic number. Which is 39 pounds away. Insane really! (in a good way)

    Morbidly obese. Deathly? Ugh that’s ugly as well.

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