Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fighting "The Fight"

The first time I became aware of how this phrase related to my life was about a year and a half ago (2 years?) when Kirstie Alley was on the Oprah show. It was the first time she had been a guest since losing, supposedly, about 75 lbs.. ( I think it was more 90, because I think she lied about only weighing 213 originally. That woman was at least 245 if she was a pound! And it looks as if she has gained a portion of that back)

Oprah showed her a "before" picture of herself and asked her how she felt when she saw pictures like that. Her response was, "OH MY GOD, I WAS SOOOO DISGUSTING!!" And she went on, and on, and on, and on about how disgusting she had been. I was appalled at her response.

Even though I had already lost my weight, I could still indentify with people that hadn't yet. All I could think of was all of the people in the audience (in person and viewers) that were overweight hearing her go on an on about how disgusting she thought she was. Did that make them disgusting? That was what I felt she was implying. She wouldn't shut her mouth about it, even Oprah started to get uncomfortable. Since then I have ceased to be a fan of hers (Ms. Alley).

When talking about that show the next day at work, I was explaining how mortified I was at her response and said, "Doesn't she know that there are people still out here fighting the fight?"
And that included me.

I never once felt that way about myself. That I was disgusting. Yes I was fat, and I wasn't as attractive as I could be, but that was such a small part of who I was. My "fatness" was a reflection of my emotional struggles with food, not a reflection of my heart and soul, my intelligence or talents. When I see people overweight, I never think that they are disgusting, they're just eating too much of the wrong foods and probably not exercising and they haven't come to the point of wanting to something about it yet. That's it.

Anyone who feels that they need to lose weight, wishes that they could lose weight, fights those feelings everyday. Everytime they chose to not do something about it, it's a fight. A fight because they know, they know better. But they don't feel like they can do anything about it, or they want to do anything about it. For whatever reason a person is overweight it doesn't mean that they are disgusting. (That's the reason I don't like using the word "disgusting" when talking about weight or food issues)

So here I am now, I've lost the weight. My weight is controllable, scientifically. My feelings about food are less controllable. Sometimes my fight isn't about losing weight, it's about my feelings regarding my weight, for instance now I have to come to terms with not losing any more weight. It's a fight. Most of the time I win. And I get stronger. I'm proud to be a "fighter".

Like me, many still are "fighting the fight". Whatever that fight is about, have compassion, not judgement.


christine said...

So well put. My sister-in-laws (2 of them) both used to be quite overweight. They have both said that even though they have changed externally (and look great, btw) the internal changes are much slower.

Great post, as usual!

Royce said...

Tracy your posts always make me stop and think. You're right, I have never felt disgusting. I have looked at the roll in my armpit and said "well now, that's digusting" But never I'm disgusting.
Big difference.

In fact a lot of the time I have what Barb refers to as "reverse anorexia". It goes something like this in my head. " Yeah I've got a few extra pounds to loose, but you know, big ribcage, thick hips, big legs, they hide it pretty well. I don't look bad for my weight"

Then of course I pass some reflective surface........

BosuJen said...

Hi Tracy,

I think that referring to her former figure as disgusting reflects the frustration with herself - that fight or internal struggle you describe - which finally motivated her to make a change.

Change doesn't usually happen until we get so tired of our current situation that we decide we have to change it. Hence the reason why many people are slow to change or are never able to change at all.

I know that when I start to gain weight, I get very frustrated with myself and I actually take it personally, or internalize it. I know what I need to do to have the body I think I want but I also know how much work it takes to have that so I teeter-totter between different desires. Is it more important to me to have that perfect body I envision or is it more important to me to relax a little bit and not worry about it so much? For me, the fight occurs when that question is left unanswered or rather I should say, undecided.

My weight loss/maintenance journey hasn't been as significant in numbers as some. The most "overweight" I've been is about 20-25 pounds but I believe that the emotional part of the journey is the same.

I have to admit that for some reason, my self-esteem is strongly tied to my physical appearance and I would imagine that by referring to herself as disgusting, Ms. Alley's is too. I don't think of myself as a disgusting human being but it is frustrating to feel like you continue to do the very things which you know you should change.

So perhaps that's the difference... some people associate their weight and physical appearance with their self-esteem and others don't. I think at some level, though, anyone trying to maintain their weight is self-critical from time to time. But who knows? Maybe it's just me!

oge said...


Your honesty is very brave. It keeps me returning.

Tracy said...

Christine, Awesome that they look great, I'm sure they feel great too.

Tracy said...

Royce, Everytime I would pass a mirror or a window in a store I never recognized myself! I would say to myself, "Is that me?"

Tracy said...

Jen, I think you're entirely right about self esteem being tied to physical apperance. I've never considered myself to have "self esteem" issues.

I have a friend that is absolutely adorable, great body, younger than me, beautiful family and home, yet she isn't happy with the way she looks. And I thought I had issues! Now that's a person with issues!

Also, my motivation came from gratitude, not frustration. I realized how great my life was and I wanted to be around a long time to enjoy it! Think about that!

Tracy said...

oge, thanks for the inspiration for my post on perfectionism. It came at the right time, so thanks for continuing to "come back for more"!

Lauren said...

What a wonderful post. This is the way I look at it.
I feel, as you put it, are all "Fighting The Fight" every day. That is what gets us up in the morning to meet our daily goals. That is what makes us want to be stronger.

No matter where I am with my weight, appearance, career,relationship, etc.. I always have a "Fight to Fight". It's what keeps me driven.

Love it! Thank you for making me look at it as such a positive thing.

BosuJen said...


That is a wonderful perspective and your appreciation for life is inspiring. Keep fighting the good fight!


Christine said...

I like your perspective. I initially started lifting and eating better because I couldn't stand how I looked anymore. There are still points when I don't like my body-- mostly shopping for clothes, women's shirts really don't flatter SHW powerlifters :)

I've been working up the moxie to blog about my weight issue. Eventually I'll get there.