Feeling ‘Fat’


Fat, eh? That old chestnut. Thought we’d heard the last of him. But no, here’s my old anorexic thinking, whispering her lies and trying to sidle back in.

Well mate, I’m glad you’ve come. For far too many years I’ve listened to your nonsense.  So take a seat and shut up – because this time I’m doing the talking.

I’m not surprised you’re looking shifty.  Easy to whisper this sort of nonsense and then slip out isn’t it? ‘You’re useless.  You’re ugly.  You take up too much room. You’re out of control.  You’re ‘fat’. Well, let’s see if your arguments hold up, shall we?

First, the ‘fat’ issue. Don’t make me laugh. When I was dying of malnutrition, you said the same thing.

Here’s a thought – women (and men) have wobbly bits so they don’t snap when they bend over. ‘Fat’ gets a terrible press but actually, it’s a good thing. Not just in a ‘hmmm nice to fill out my jeans way’ (though that may be true), but in the often overlooked ‘you’ll die without it’ sense. ‘Fat’ is not a malignant force, any more than food is the enemy.  It’s part of being human and it’s just a thing – no more and no less. So you can stop shaking that stick at me, because I’m not scared anymore.

What’s that?  Yes, I am bigger.   My old clothes don’t fit and it takes some getting used to.  But you’re talking like that’s a bad thing. Actually it’s GREAT.  Health and fullness and normality. BRING IT ON.

And anyway, tell me this: if I was ‘fat’ – would that be such a terrible thing?  Would the world collapse? Does the sun stop rising and setting because my pants are too tight? Is that what you’re threatening me with – dress size? REALLY?

‘Fat’ is not a feeling.  You know it and I know it too.  So you’d better come up with some better weapons. This was never about body mass, was it?  It was about being scared and wanting control and trying to be strong and to make life work.

I don’t know how to make life work.  But you don’t know either and you’re not my boss.

Anorexia my friend, you’ve been replaced.  Instead of a substitute god who takes all I have and still wants more, the real God has given everything to make me His. He’s far more beautiful than you. And He won’t let me go.

It’s been real.

But now –  you can kiss my curvy ass.



21 thoughts on “Feeling ‘Fat’

  1. Fantastic words, and so very true.
    For me, fat meant (eek still does mean sometimes) dirty on the inside.

    Such wisdom though… what WILL actually happen? Nothing. And as you said the other day, if fat is just the physical representation of us acting out of our sinful nature by unhealthy habits or seemingly being out of control… we’re saved by grace so it’s ok!!! :)

  2. I wish I could be so positive, felt quite annoyed reading the blog today but that just proves I’m not in the right place yet. It’s a long hard road, I never realised recovery would be so difficult.

  3. Thanks for your comments!

    Nicky – I just emailed. Hope that’s ok.

    Alison – I’d love to say I’m always positive. Fact is, a lot of the time, I’m not. Sometimes I feel weak and helpless and rubbish and like giving up. Sometimes (like today) I’m angry. Recovery is incredibly hard and it’s more than fighting talk. There are no easy answers. But I’m grateful for your comments (and a place where I can vent!)

  4. Thanks Emma. I like the bit about how even if it were true, the world would not collapse. That’s true isn’t it? I once read a poem written by an anorexic basically about how all her dreams had been forsaken, and she had lost so much through the illness, and finished with, ‘I am thin now. So what.’ That struck me in a similar way. We are willing to die, if not physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, all for that. And even whilst knowing it is a lie, you still are tempted to listen and fall back….. I love the way you have put this all down here to challenge and encourage others. Well done!

  5. Love it !!!

    Here is a place I come to read surrendered words mixed with faith and courage that help me go back into my life with some determination and hope

    Thanks Emma

  6. Go feisty sister! This kind of talk is where the winning begins, and I’m with you all the way xx Go girl :o)

  7. Thanks Esther , Jeannine and Tanya.

    Kondwani – that’s a really powerful way of putting it ‘I’m thin. So what?’ Thanks.

    And Laura – I hear you. It’s a battle – but beyond the questioning about ‘fat’ are questions about the things that really matter: and answers too.

  8. Emma – Reading this… You’ll never know just how apt your words are tonight… I so needed to read this… I need to hear this fighting talk cos I feel like I’m running out of my own.
    Your bravery is an inspiration.
    Thank you
    I need to tell you more stuff
    but at another time
    cos I’m gonna be late for bloody night snack :(


  9. All true. What makes it so much harder for me though is this – I am not only left with terrible digestion problems (and btw it was a relief when I read that in your book – I thought I was “making it up” about my digestive probs!) I now have an autoimmune disease that has killed my thyroid. HOW are you meant to survive that after an ED?? You know, all the CBT coping strategies like “as long as you eat normally and exercise normally, your weight will stabilise – it won’t shoot out of control” – thats no longer true!! My disease means my weight can go all over the place out of my control. Its GUTTING! And terrifying. I fear fat due to my past ED (well, not entirely past) and now due to my present broken thyroid. I feel so alone. I have to hold these two hurricanes that threaten to tear me down. I know I have a God who sustains me, but this thyroid thing has hindered my recovery. I can’t move forward cos of this. I was almost recovered – almost there! Then this thyroid disease came 7yrs ago and I’ve been stuck ever since
    Thanks for your book and blog though – SO helpful!

  10. Suzanne – my heart goes out to you sister. I sympathise with the digestive stuff – and to have thyroid problems too must be horrible. Have you got good medical support – and how about people who can pray with you and be supportive with the day to day struggles?

    I guess for me, though CBT stuff is helpful, the bottom line is that I’m not fighting it so I look better or have more energy – but because Jesus is Lord. And even though I can’t control my body, I believe that He has everything: my bowels and fertility and the stuff that’s wonky in His hands. He can be trusted and (somehow) He’ll work even this to good. And He’s bigger even than the feelings of panic and the bloating and uncertainty. He’s there at 3am when I’m tired and alone and frightened. He’s there on days like today when I’m hanging over the loo and feeling rotten. And He gives us grace to deal with a day at a time.

    Don’t give up. You’ve come So far and that’s a massive achievement. Having battled your ED don’t let the thyroid stuff push you back – you’re not alone and Jesus Himself promises us hope and His strength to keep going.

  11. Just seen your response. For the Thyroid stuff, I have to rely on online help – which isn’t always great as it can make me panic when reading what can go wrong! Medically, if you have a Thyroid problem in this country, you are on your own. The Drs are terrible with treating this. I am relatively ok as I have pushed and fought and got myself as well as is possible.
    With the ED, I am more alone. My counsellor has even given up on me. So I have no-one to talk to about the residual struggles that I have. The only person at church I did once meet with was one of those people who thinkgs a “freedom in Christ” prayer appointment solves all, and if you still struggle its cos you need more of that prayer etc.
    Amidst all of this, I have a husband who works for the church and I am trying to raise 3 children. Its quite a struggle – being a good mum when I have so much on my plate (ALthough I am SO blessed to have kids, I know!)

  12. Hi Suzanne

    What a shame there’s no more help for thyroid stuff: must be really tough – is your GP sympathetic?

    On the ED if your counsellor has given up, that says more about them than it does about you. Would you want to get more counselling? – and have you got friends who can support you? x

  13. Well, my counsellor was great. But we spent a year going round in circles – there was no point meeting anymore as it wasn’t helping I suppose. She was seeing me for free, and I don’t think I’ll find another free counsellor (we are on a low income).
    ITs really hard to be entirely honest with anyone. Just have to keep praying for a miracle!

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