My first mistake was expecting medical care from my GP. But it’d been so long since I’d gone in for a check-up that I figured my sore throat, fever and sniffles merited a visit to the local clinic. An hour later, I emerged no healthier in body and much sicker in mind.
After the most cursory, disinterested examination of eyes, ears, nose and throat, the GP abruptly changed the subject to my weight. I stand 167 cm tall and weigh 19 stone 9 pounds. To quote Megan Trainor’s song All About That Bass, I’ve got ‘all the right junk in all the right places’ without ‘needing’ anything augmented. Rhys loves it.
But my GP isn’t so easily amused. Fighting back tears (Never let them see you cry!), I listened as he harangued me for nearly half an hour for being, and I quote, ‘morbidly obese’.
Apparently, God only loves and only makes Skinny People. If you’re a curvaceous woman, it’s because you’ve bastardised the ‘healthy’ a/k/a ‘skinny’ body everyone is given by default by being a gluttonous, fat pig.
Oh, but he wasn’t done destroying me as a woman.
He went on to conclude that my infertility has just one cause: fat. Being the author of my own fatness, I am also the author of my own infertility. What he basically said is that I’d rather shove greasy chips in my mouth and quaff fizzy drinks and pints rather than raise a family.
To cap off the most cruel half hour I’ve ever experienced, he went on to say that I don’t deserve to have children because a Fat Mother makes for unhealthy children. Incidentally, that’s the same bullshit super model Tess Holliday pictured above was told before she delivered a healthy baby.
I stumbled out of his office in shock and the tears were flowing before I reached the car park. I could barely see to drive home. When I arrived, I threw my ‘morbidly obese’ self into the arms of my husband, Rhys.
Having never seen me weep that hard, he was alarmed. ‘What’s the matter, luv? Do you have cancer? Did someone die?’ he kept asking.
It took me fifteen minutes, and a fit of hiccoughs, to regain enough composure to speak. I pushed Rhys away, stood back and assumed a dramatic pose.
‘Rhys’ said I. ‘God hates me. I don’t deserve to live’.
‘Bollocks to that’, he retorted, ‘What brought this on?’
I pulled up my jumper and pointed to my rounded stomach. ‘This!’ I pointed to my hips. ‘This!’ Turned round and pointed to my derrière. ‘And this!’
‘Oh aye, I’m a lucky man!’ he chortled. ‘If I’d wanted to fondle a six-pack, I would’ve shagged Josh Maley’.
Laughter broke the evil spell hanging over me. Later, after Rhys fell asleep a happy man, I snuck out of bed and examined myself in the mirror.
I hefted each breast. ‘Hm, about a stone each. I wonder if that’s deducted from the BMI calculation. After all, huge breasts are in vogue. Does Jemma Lucy’s GP tell her she’s a fat pig? Is Chloe Khan called obese to her face? I don’t think so! So why are only natural curves attacked while surgically augmented breasts and bums get a free pass on the BMI index?’
Languidly, I pressed on my rounded stomach. It was hard. Under a soft, feminine layer of fat I found a rippling six pack. ‘Eat your heart out Josh Maley’ I chuckled. I never realized that abs of steel are a result of being a full-time caregiver. You’re bound to develop muscle when you haul your ill husband out of bed and his chair multiple times a day. You put on muscle which is denser and heavier than fat. Thank God my big bum served as a counterweight. Rhys is not easy to lift.
But the GP never considers that. A bodybuilder friend told me he too is considered ‘morbidly obese’ even though his body fat is less than 4%. His GP still has his guts for garters, nagging him to ‘exercise and lose weight’.
There’s no weight to lose! Exercising is pretty much all he does. Surely, not all GPs have their head up their backside!
Then I poked my generous hips. My finger encountered bone. Looking over my shoulder in the mirror, I explored the top of my more-than-generous bum. Where it protruded just below my waist, there too was solid bone! Even I was surprised. What I assumed was fat was actually disguising a massive skeleton.
Do I have fat? Yes, indeed, plenty of it and all in the right places. But it’s not from fizzy drinks, greasy chips or pints of bitters. I don’t eat them because I don’t like them.
I’ve always been a big girl. I come from a family of big girls. Lovely and loved women of generous proportions who bore healthy children and gave soft, warm hugs. Their big hips and thighs didn’t prevent conception. They weren’t shamed and tortured by their so-called GP. They didn’t gain weight and they didn’t lose it either. They were pretty much always the same size through their entire lives. Since leaving school twenty years ago, I’ve gained 7 stones but just one dress size.
Think about it.
Maybe my GP was wrong. Or maybe he looked at me and saw something else: money. Statista reports that the Health and Wellness industry in the UK is worth well over €24 billion euros and slated to be over €26 billion euros by 2020. Shaming people for their weight is big business. What if weight gain is not something we’re doing to ourselves but something being done to us??? Do we really know what’s in our food, our medicines? It’s a brilliant, fail-proof business model.
Regardless of what my GP says, I feel amazing! Healthy, bouncing, energetic. While so many people of all sizes struggle with ill health and inexplicable chronic pain, I have none. No health problems and no pain. Blessed.
I remember my old gran saying ‘God loves variety’. Maybe God does love ‘fat’ people after all.
We ‘morbidly obese’ people aren’t just skinny people who erred. We aren’t skinny people who eat unhealthily. We aren’t skinny people who over-eat. Maybe God gave us generous genetics because He loves to look down and smile at the variety of His Creation.
Conversely, skinny people don’t necessarily eat small portions. Skinny people don’t necessarily eat healthily. Skinny people often don’t exercise at all. Skinny people aren’t automatically healthy and pain free either. God gave them skinny genetics because He loves to look down and smile at the variety of His Creation.
That thought made me smile at my reflection in the glass. I have so much to be grateful for. I’m warm, well fed, healthy, pain-free and loved by a good man and by God who made me exactly as He wanted me to be.
When I look in the mirror, I can feel His smile.