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Am I Fat?

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Am I Fat?

Confessions of a food lover.
Dayna  Macy
Dayna Macy More by this author
Jun 10, 2011 at 10:00 AM

“Am I fat?”

I’ve never actually asked this question of another human being—until now.

I’m sitting in the office of Dr. Linda Bacon, a nutrition professor in the Biology Department at City College of San Francisco and author of Health at Every Size. I’m here because I embrace the message of her book: don’t wait to live your life, the perfect one you imagine you’ll live one day in your perfect body. Live it now.


I want to make sure I’ve heard correctly. “You just said I’m fat, right?”

She nods and says again, “Yes.”

I’m silent. My hitherto unspoken weight hierarchy always began with thin, moved on to average, then on to chunky, then on to fat, and then finally obese. I have always put myself in the chunky category, or its kinder, gentler cousin—curvy. But never fat. Fat is another country, far away from where I live.

After a pause she asks, “What does that mean to you?”

“Well, what the f**k does that mean to you?” I counter.

She remains calm. “Fat, you know,” and here she grabs her nonexistent belly fat, “adipose tissue. Fat.”

That’s it? “All you mean by fat is ‘adipose tissue’?”

“Yes,” she says, “that’s all I mean. But I know it’s a loaded term,” she adds.

You might say that.

Dr. Bacon tells me that even though she’s using the word fat in the most clinical sense, the truth is, labels are always arbitrary. One person’s average is another person’s fat is another person’s curvy. So don’t get hung up on the labels.

“So tell me again what you mean by calling me fat?” I ask.

“What I’m saying is you have adipose tissue I might not see on a thinner person.” She pauses, and then adds, “And regardless of any of these labels, you radiate health and vibrancy. I think you’re gorgeous,” she concludes.

I have to hand it to her; in our culture, fat and gorgeous are seldom used together in the same sentence.

Maybe she’s using the word fat clinically, but it still stings. What’s more, she’s right. And I know it.

Couldn’t I just accept this? Be fat and be fine with it? It’s not that I yearn to look like a model. I’m heading toward 50 and I’ve had two children. I just know that at this point, for me, being fat doesn’t feel good. My fat shows up in lots of ways: when I walk up hills and have to take frequent rests, when I need to buy the next size pants because my current ones don’t close.

If I’m going to change, I need to see clearly. Dr. Bacon’s words may cut, but they’re helping me do that.

About Author
Dayna  Macy
Dayna Macy’s essays have appeared in Self, Salon, Yoga Journal, and other publications; and in several anthologies. For the last decade she has worked at Yoga Journal as Communications Director, and now also as the Managing Editor for International E Continue reading