As I’ve mentioned previously on the Feronia Project, I used to be very overweight, or as actress and body rights activist Joy Nash calls it, “moderately obese.” This began from infancy, and the pounds continued to mount until I found myself at the age of 24 standing 5’4″ and weighing 218lbs. I felt ashamed, humiliated, and invisible to my culture and those around me. I grew up consuming teen magazines and watching MTV just like my peers did, and always felt sick and sad that overweight women were not portrayed in the media in any sort of positive light. We were only the ass of jokes or the example of what not to “let yourself become.”
In a time of loneliness, isolation and depression related to the scrutiny of my body issues, I came across a video on Myspace (remember when that was THE PLACE on the web?) that absolutely empowered me and lit me up inside. It was called “Fat Rant,” a short declaration of independence for fat women like me to stop self-hating and seize life!
I eventually did lose 70lbs through maintaining an online food diary and exercising, and have managed to keep it off for a year and a half. As Joy points out in her video, 95-98% of people who lose 75lbs or more gain it all back within the first three years, two-thirds of those within the first year. So I realize my work is still ahead of me as I maintain a different and more active lifestyle than before, and take my health one day at a time.
But to you, Feronia readers, you likely have had body issues at one time or another – it’s hard to escape the forcefed images of the Photoshopped thin ideal (harassing you in the check-out line magazine racks, internet advertisements, and ANY television show). I encourage you to check out Joy’s “Fat Rant” – I hope it will make you feel a little more entitled to relaxing in your own skin, no matter what size your clothes are.