Fat Is Not A Feeling

“Fat is not a feeling.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that in the past four years.

Counselors, therapists, techs, dieticians, even Ryan, have adopted the phrase to throw back at me when I am whining about my recovery, because I often use the “f” work to describe what is on my mind.

But in my warped and contorted way of thinking, the statement is true.

Any time I attempt “real” recovery, my body feels large and very uncomfortable, which to me equates to fat. What all these professionals and my loved ones are alluding to, is there is something behind the body image that can cause, or aid in the persistence of what I construe as a physical “problem.”

They are right in a sense, because many times, the negativity that I associate with being larger than I wish stems from an outside influence or situation that stirs up the ED monster in my brain to put me down.

I screw up at work…I am a fat loser that can’t do anything right.

I am not immediately accepted by a group of people, or I feel rejected….its because I am fat.

Someone is looking at me and I get seriously paranoid…WHOA I MUST LOOK SO FAT!

Why does it always turn back to a weight issue?!

After receiving a comment from a friend, and doing a bit of self-exploration, I realized maybe feeling obese, even though it is a pretty freakin’ miserable thought, is better than facing real emotions.

I am not very experienced when it comes to discussing or sorting through the raw stuff that comes up inside, because any time I have gotten close to doing the mental/emotional component of becoming more whole. I get about halfway there and shut down.

If you asked me what I was feeling on any particular day, I would probably tell you “good, fine,” anything along those lines, because that is what I have convinced myself.

I really don’t have highs and lows, until it comes to my weight, which is not normal, nor is it how I want to be.

Sure, I think a lot of people deal with feeling one way or another about their physiques; has good days and bad when they look in the mirror. I think that is pretty typical, but I don’t think those are the only emotions they can comprehend and communicate.

Unfortunately for me, I sometimes think that is pretty much it.

Sadness and anger comes when I feel disgusting, bloated and HUGE….and the excessive weight gain perception, if I really had to think about it, is generally a follow-up to someone hurting my feelings.

Content or feeling “ok” I recognize as days when ED isn’t totally screaming at me from morning until night, not because I am relaxed, did something nice for myself, etc.

And happiness. Yes I think I feel joy, and appreciate all the wonderful things God has given me (I have an amazing family and life overall, I will never deny that) but isn’t your heart supposed to be able to identify honest to goodness bliss?

I feel kind of pathetic saying I don’t know if I can?!

Maybe there is absolutely no validity in this, and I am sure I am confusing the heck out of all of you, but what I have noticed is that I don’t really talk about many serious things other than physical health related issues.

My family, which is a bit different and absolutely worthy of more posts considering they are a major, MAJOR, part of my existence, don’t get much mention because I don’t like airing my dirty laundry, nor do I like delving into the past as much as I would have to to properly explain.

Maybe there are things I would like to avoid thinking about? Perhaps due to pain or hurt that I felt before and would rather not relive?

Like I said, I am not one hundred percent sure where my head, or my heart currently is, other than focused on the water weight that is still taking over my body, and the impending x amount of pounds I have to gain, but I think effective communication of my emotions is going to be essential to getting well.

I do smile. I do sometimes cry. I laugh and get mad, and curse up a storm when I am annoyed, but most days I feel so flat, and that doesn’t seem like any way to live.

Simply existing is not my goal.

I want to have a good belly-laugh where I am rolling on the floor, or a cry where I just can’t stop because it feels so good to let it all out.

Is that weird?

I hope not, because life without a genuine smile and an open heart seems kind of lame.


10 thoughts on “Fat Is Not A Feeling

  1. I’m a recent (as in, within the past two weeks) reader of your blog. I don’t even know how I stumbled upon it… serendipity, I guess.

    I wrote out a longer reply, but the computer lost it when I tried to post it. Sorry. Let me just say that you are not weird, because I feel the same way. “Fat is not a feeling” is such a mantra in ed recovery, but that is the best way to describe my feelings!

    I don’t get angry (which drives my husband nuts, because he does have a temper and would prefer someone to fight back), I don’t often feel truly happy—just “fine” or content—and I don’t get very sad either. You’re right that the “fat” feeling has taken over those other emotions, but how do I learn to communicate my true emotions if I don’t know what they are?

    I’ve maintained my ed recovery for almost three years, but within the past two weeks I have really started to slip. I honestly don’t know what happened or where this came from… I just feel so lost. I started reading over some of your past posts, and I keep thinking, “Exactly! That’s just how I feel!”

    Thank you for inspiring me and helping ME not to feel so weird. I’m trying to get back on track, because I have worked too hard for too long to go back to where I was.

  2. I very much understand where you’re coming from with this! I can have deep conversations, but most often, my serious talks have something to do with weight/body image/health. I seem to have a smaller range of emotions than most (non ED) people. And I’ve caught myself avoiding intense emotions SO often! I learned to start thinking about sitting with uncomfortable thoughts/feelings rather than “putting them on the shelf” all of the time. I love this analogy: if you leave food on the shelf for too long, after a time, it will go bad, right? In the same way, if we always push aside uncomfortable feelings/emotions, they will “go bad” after a time. We have to take them off the shelf and face them.
    Blessings to you!!

  3. I love how honest you are. I think you are on the right track finding out the reasons behind the thinking. I really believe if we can understand and then change the way we think, we can accomplish anything!

  4. This was lovely to read. If a therapist ever told me “fat was not a feeling” I think I would have slapped them. People who haven’t ever had an eating disorder do not know, but I do believe that fat is a feeling. You can feel like you are fat, at least I experienced that. But feeling happy is so worth the temporary feeling of “fat”. And the last little part of this post you wrote captures exactly what kept my recovery going in the positive direction! I wish you all the very best positive energy in the universe.

    • I agree that I’ve also FELT fat and still do many times even though I know I’ve moved mountains in my recovery. And while we know that it’s sort of a cover-up for other actual feelings and it’s a way for us to feel down on ourselves, it’s also downright difficult to truly gauge what we are feeling and not tie it directly to weight or our ED.

      Also Betsy, you bring up a good point… that feeling happy is so worth the temporary feeling of “fat.” I would not be continuing my new [mostly] ED-free lifestyle if I did not realize how much happier and carefree I am that numbers are not constantly running my life anymore.

  5. My thoughts on “fat is not a feeling” …. Sometimes “feeling fat” truly has to do with emotional upset/unmet needs. As in, “I’m sitting on the couch feeling lonely and unproductive… I feel fat.” That’s not legitimate.

    But then there’s “i feel fat because I’m effing bloated!” And for me this is when the hypocrisy of my ED kicks in… My ED makes me eat copious quantities of raw veggies and giant oatmeal bowls and diet soda. If I simply chose to meet my meal plan and caloric needs with “normal” and more calorie dense foods, this fat feeling might disappear, or at least diminish. But as you know…. it’s not that SIMPLE! Ah!

    CJ, I read your blog fairly often, and I just want to congratulate you on making SO much progress in the past few months. I hope you are having an amazing anniversary weekend and time with your husband, because you both absolutely deserve it! A true laugh, real intimacy, and an honest appreciation of your world really are the rewards of recovery!

    • awe erin, you are so sweet!! thank you so much for the congratulations. i do have days where i feel so much better than last week, last month, etc. every second is a step in the journey, even if it isnt always a positive one! thanks so much for your inspiration and well wishes!!!! ❤

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