This was me about five years ago. I found the photo tucked away in a drawer. For context (and to explain the casual, disheveled appearance), I was handing out awards after a team-building event at work.
If you had asked me to describe myself during that time, I would’ve thought fat to myself, but said overweight out loud. It’s a fine distinction, but it mattered at the time.
The word I would not have used to describe myself was obese and certainly not morbidly obese. Yet, it’s very clear that I was obese, both visually and in the numbers, and I was on the borderline for morbid obesity.
That said, I wasn’t delusional. I knew that I needed to lose weight, and I was trying/failing via the diet cycle, but I didn’t see my size and weight as a health issue or anything that would hold me back from having a rich and full life. And it didn’t, to some extent. Although I had some issues with blood pressure, I was rarely sick and had created a happy little life for myself. In this photo, I had been shooting hoops, playing skeeball, and bowling for a few hours and as you can see, I was smiling! And sweaty.
Seeing this photo and thinking things over reminded me of an article I read recently on SFGate that highlighted a discrepancy in what some overweight people see when they look in the mirror. Sara J. Bird likens it to the distorted self-perception that afflicts anorexics and coined the term “fatorexic” in her book, Fatorexic: What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror? According to the article, Bird looked at her reflection and saw ” a thin, confident woman. ” According to her doctor, she was obese at 5’10” tall and 238 pounds. (She’s since lost 20 pounds.) Bird says she avoided facing reality by using a variety of tricks, including wearing elastic waist pants and avoiding full-length mirrors.
- a 2008 British Medical Journal studies’ findings that one-quarter of obese or overweight adults did not view themselves as fat.
- a Dutch study reported that 75 percent of mothers thought their overweight child was a normal weight.
- American Heart Association research that confirmed that almost 1 in 10 obese individuals was satisfied with their size and did not think they needed to lose weight.