“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.” ~ Sophia Loren
Am I fat?
Well, it’s all relative. Without telling you how many pounds I weigh, which I actually don’t know since I don’t have a scale, I can tell you that I am far from skinny.
I haven’t been what you’d consider “skinny” since circa 1988. When I was eight years old. Ever since then, I’ve been on the chubby side. Aka “fat” in the United States of American jargon.
Throughout my teens and early twenties, I dieted. A lot. The ones I remember the most were the worst—the cabbage soup diet and the Atkins diet (hotdogs, cheddar cheese and scrambled eggs). Immediately after Atkins, I became a vegetarian.
My mother would always tell me to suck in my belly for photos. The last time I saw her, over the holidays, she told me to suck it in; but there was no photo being taken, she just didn’t like seeing my protruding stomach.
We were inside the house! I said what I wish I had known to say when I was growing up: don’t make comments like that to me—I don’t appreciate being spoken to that way.
In reply, she said, “I’m your mother.”
Exactly. The older I get the more I see how much I am like and unlike my mother. I see the harm done by some of the seemingly harmless things she did, like let me diet with her and tell me to suck in my stomach or lose weight.
My first day of vegetarianism, September 30, 2001, was my dad’s birthday. My dad is a Texan, born and raised in Houston, always lived in Texas, in the Austin area for 30 years. So we went out to a steakhouse. I ate a baked potato and a salad while my parents, brother and sister chowed down on all varieties of meat.
I stayed strong though, for years, other than the occasional secret swiping of Thanksgiving turkey leftovers late at night.
I didn’t quit eating meat because I didn’t like the taste, I quit for both moral and health reasons—I believed that it was the right thing to do, for the animals’ sake and for my own. I also happened to be in yoga teacher training at the time and wanted to follow the traditional yogic diet, which I was taught was lacto-ovo-vegetarian.
At age 24, I became a raw vegan—what can I say?
I was living in California. I got inspired by Leon, the nutty yoga studio owner who was a huge raw advocate (and 9/11 and circumcision conspiracy theorist). I gave it a try and enjoyed many benefits. Still, society does not support the raw food diet. Despite the raging success of the “raw barbeque” I threw, after about six weeks, I got lazy and quit being a raw vegan.
Regardless, I was in the best shape of my life.
Today, rapidly approaching 35, I am a flexitarian. I eat mostly lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Occasionally, I eat seafood. Rarely, I eat chicken. Seldom, I will even eat beef or pork. I never prepare meat myself, but if I’m traveling and the vegetarian options at a restaurant in, say, rural Colombia, are meager, or if I’m visiting someone’s home and they offer me meat, I am not going to reject it.
This is what I’ve found works for me.
For my toddler daughter, my more-strict-but-still-not-strict vegetarian husband doesn’t like it, but I occasionally offer her meat, when we are eating out or at someone’s house. She likes bacon! But, at age two, she’s eaten meat probably a total of 10 times.
Anyway, all this is to explain how I’m a “little bit fat,” as my friend Jamie so eloquently put it.
So for my “fat” yogi sisters, this goes out to you.
You are not fat.
You are curvaceous.
You are a gorgeous goddess.
Don’t let any man, woman or thing tell you otherwise.
You own every ounce of your power and energy.
You are love.
You are life.
You do not need to change, unless you want to,
and if you want to, you can.
It doesn’t matter how much you weigh.
It matters how much you love yourself.
It matters how much you get that you are a divine, beautiful being
no matter how different you look from the supermodels.
May you be you, in all your glory.
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock