It’s Just a Fat Day

In the picture I am fifteen years younger, my hair is short and I am the very picture of health.  I still have the shorts I wore in that picture.  They are a size two and are completely out of style but I keep them for the same reason I keep the picture, to remind myself.  I remember clearly the day it was taken.  We were hiking in Pennsylvania.  The weather was perfect, my husband was perfect.  It should have been a perfect day but I remember it as though it were yesterday, not for its perfection but because of how fat I felt.

This picture was taken just before digital cameras so the film sat in a drawer with several other rolls waiting to be developed.  The day I finally picked up the pictures my first child was two months old and I was struggling to lose the weight I had gained during pregnancy.  When I came across this picture I cried.  I couldn’t believe how I had let that moment pass.  I looked at it remembering how perfect the day was and how fat I felt and wondered why I couldn’t have been happy then.  I wanted to will the girl in the picture to be happy.

Over the years I have kept the picture as a reminder of how off my thinking can be on a “fat day.”  Sometimes it works but not always.  Sometimes the fat days win.  The trick is in not letting them get me off track.  The fat days become a self-fulfilling destiny.  I stop eating to fuel my exercise and start eating to be fat.  I stop working out as hard.  And ultimately I begin to gain my weight back.  I am afraid I am at the beginning of that cycle right now so I have pulled out the picture and am willing the girl in the picture to be happy, to look at her clothes and step on a scale.  I am willing her to get a grip and realize she isn’t fat.

The good news is that I am not alone.  Many women do this.  We seek perfection.  We are a size eight and want to be a six, sure that we will never be happy until we are and then we are and suddenly we want to be a size four.  Eventually this search for perfection sabotages all of our efforts at leading a healthy life.

Kirstie Alley was on Oprah a couple of weeks ago talking about this exact thing.  Looking back at the bikini episode that she filmed because she had lost all of the weight, she said she hadn’t let herself enjoy that body.  She had wanted to be thinner.  Instead she has gained eighty three pounds and is looking back at that picture wondering why she couldn’t be happy then.

I don’t have the answers for everyone but I do have them for me.  It is a just a day.  It can turn into two days and then a week if I don’t remind myself.  The mirror lies on fat days.  Sometimes even the scale lies so for me the trick is in that picture.  If I can remember how fat I felt that day, how embarrassed I was to be in a pair of shorts pretending to be an athlete.  If I can remember that and look at those size two shorts that are far from fat, maybe I can trick today’s Ann into remembering it is only a fat day, remind her that perfection is not the goal.  Ultimately, the goal is health and happiness.

Originally published at



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5 responses to “It’s Just a Fat Day

  1. It’s not just women who have fat days…even though I’m at my goal weight I still have them! I look in the mirror and all I see is the flaws. *sigh*

    Stupid complicated brain. *laugh*

    • annieb123

      It can drive you nuts, can’t it? You know that you are the same size as yesterday, and yesterday you felt fine. I don’t know what our brains do to us but something I wish I could just give it a slap and get things back in order. Thanks for reading my post and thanks even more for taking the time to comment. Have a great day and go out and talk to a real life, grown up human being. That always helps.

  2. Lisa

    Funny, I was just thinking about this very thing today as I was changing clothes at the gym. I’m not fat, I know that, but I’m definitely not in the shape I need to be in – or have been in my life. The struggle I really have is staying confident in my body and loving it however it is, but still recognizing when I need to be motivated to run that extra mile that day so I don’t go down that slippery slope of gaining a few pounds, then a few more pounds, then a few more pounds etc.

    • annieb123

      Lisa, thanks for reading my post. Someone else said, that this is a “go together” with the If Oprah Can Do It. That is exactly what I struggle with. I am worried I am not thin enough and then I realize I am being silly and I back off only to make poor choices and gain weight. It is a vicious cycle and you’re right, a slippery slope.

  3. You’re right, gaining weight does seem to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have a ‘fat day’ and your self-esteem is down and then it seems like the weight packs itself on. The key is to being thing is to trim off some extra weight and, as result, increase your self- esteem; you will then be motivated to keep it off.

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