At 7 years old I was told that my mother was fat, lazy and stupid. Do I need to say more?

I recently was told by someone extremely close to me that I’m selfish and lack compassion. After I got over the fact that someone so close to me could have a misconception about me I stopped my crying and started typing. But I have to admit that these thoughts ruminated through my head first:

  1. WTF
  2. Why haven’t you tried to get to know me?
  3. WTF

Here’s the thing, Mark Mason said it best: “In life, we have a limited amount of f*cks to give. So you must choose your f*cks wisely.”

Trust me – there are several things that upset me but there is only ONE person that I give a f*ck about the most and is what pulls me forward every single day. That person is…

My Mother

Pretty ironic that I’m writing about my mother when it’s Father’s day weekend, right?  Whatever – go ahead, judge me more. Just because I LOVE my mother and she is the person that I want to make the most proud in the entire world does not mean that I don’t love my father.

But this is why I love my mother unconditionally and it’s why I’m obsessed with ending obesity among Latinos and especially among women:

I saw how people called her “gorda,” and gave her mean looks behind her back. 

I saw how she sacrificed everything to raise six kids being new to the United States.

I saw how she called herself “gorda!” and complained about her weight. 

I saw how she got angry because she expected excellence, elegance, beauty and respect – after all, she worked f*cken hard for it and was extremely deserving of it.

I saw her indulge.

I saw people judge her for indulging.

I saw how she took a chance… a lot of chances.

I saw her laugh unapologetically with so much joy (although this was very rare)

I saw her fail, succeed, persevere, and relentlessly choose to go after her deepest desires

I saw her be incredibly generous, giving and always there for others and unfortunately, I also saw how people took advantage of that and had the audacity to disrespect her! 

I saw her experience fear, shame, and guilt

But most of all I saw her get up every single f*cken day at 3am, 4am, 5am and do whatever it took to provide because she wanted something better for us.  YES and she is a WOMAN. A LATINA woman. 

I’m so angry that I’m crying as I type at 4:56am on a Saturday morning at Starbucks. 

So when someone so incredibly close to me tells me that I’m selfish and lack compassion I say “F*ck you motherf*cker.”  

Now, why do I have so much compassion for obese women?

At the surface level, all women that I’ve come across share with me that they just want to lose weight. I say okay, I can definitely help you with that. And then I ask a lot of questions. And it never fails… after a few questions they share the truth about how they’re feeling – out of control, unhappy, frustrated, lacking in self-confidence and full of self – doubt. They share with me how the weight is really holding them back from being or doing more. They share how they hate shopping in the “plus” section. Some even tell me they feel “disgusting” and that they hate themselves.

And that is what kills me every single time because these women that I attract are incredibly, smart, driven, passionate, courageous and strikingly gorgeous – just drop dead beautiful souls inside and out.  But, they’re also sad, suffering and in pain deep down inside and just don’t show it. 

What frustrates me about obesity is that it’s a societal issue.  From the abundance of access to “food like products” that contain nothing more than addictive properties we’re bombarded with to the societal picture of “beauty,” to the oppression of women, this is nothing more and nothing less than an overwhelming societal issue. It has NOTHING to do with eat less and move more and everything to do with nourishing your LIFE beyond the plate and self love. 

It’s about saying yes to desire and listening to those deepest desires and overcoming the fear to go after them unapologetically. 

I can’t remember where I read it but the author of the book shared that typically, when under pressure/stress or moments of unhappiness, men tend to seek comfort in sex and women tend to seek comfort in food.

That got me thinking a lot about desire.

HUMANS, not just men, want to be happy and want to feel successful, powerful and loved. 

When we don’t get what we deeply desire, we try to fill that void with something else OR cause ourselves our own suffering. 

It also got me thinking about men, women and sex. 

Historically, men have been glorified for having women and having sex and it’s been seen as acceptable for them to have sex with a number of women. After all – men have “urges” and “fantasies” far more frequently than women. And historically, women have been shamed for having multiple sexual partners and have been placed in this “bubble” of unrealistic perfection. Like we’re just there to look sexy, pretty and please men. 

Well guess what?  Women have desires, fantasies and urges too.  We have GANAS for success, power, love and passion. Is this unrealistic?  Absolutely not. 

So going back to being incredibly compassionate towards obese women, I know how hard it is to be a woman living in this society and in this generation. We are being so disruptive but we’re also gaining weight at incredibly ridiculous rates and the trend started in the 1950’s (I’ll write another blog about this).

And all of the physiological and psychological consequences that come with obesity are alarming. You guys, this is NOT about fat shaming, but rather, about health, well-being and happiness. 

According to the American Psychological Association:

  • For women, obesity can lead to problems in the reproductive system. And studies show that severe cases of obesity can reduce your life expectancy, particularly if you are a young adult.
  • The causes of obesity are rarely limited to genetic factors, prolonged overeating or a sedentary lifestyle. What we do and don’t do often results from how we think and feel. For example, feelings of sadness, anxiety or stress often lead people to eat more than usual. Unless you act to address these emotions, however, these short-term coping strategies can lead to long-term problems.
  • Obesity is also frequently accompanied by depression and the two can trigger and influence each other.
  • Although women are slightly more at risk for having an unhealthy BMI than men, they are much more vulnerable to the obesity-depression cycle. In one study, obesity in women was associated with a 37 percent increase in major depression. There is also a strong relationship between women with a high BMI and more frequent thoughts of suicide.
  • Depression can both cause and result from stress, which, in turn, may cause you to change your eating and activity habits. Many people who have difficulty recovering from sudden or emotionally draining events (e.g., loss of a close friend or family member, relationship difficulties, losing a job or facing a serious medical problem) unknowingly begin eating too much of the wrong foods or forgoing exercise. Before long, these become habits and difficult to change.
  • Binge eating, a behavior associated with both obesity and other conditions such as anorexia nervosa, is also a symptom of depression. A study of obese people with binge eating problems found that 51 percent also had a history of major depression. Additional research shows that obese women with binge-eating disorder who experienced teasing about their appearance later developed body dissatisfaction and depression.
  • Obesity increases your risk of many serious health conditions, including hypertension, heart disease and stroke, Type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, chronic fatigue, asthma, sleep apnea and some forms of cancer.

Listen, I know that it’s not your fault you’re overweight. Society doesn’t make it easy for us to know what the healthy choice is because it’s never the obvious, attractive, or inexpensive choice.  Instead, our greedy society chooses to bombard us with “food like” products that are filled with nothing but addictive substances (sugar, artificial flavoring, fat) to get us hooked and keep coming back for more and we have the oh so luxurious convenience of fast foods and drive thrus. Society knows that we’re suffering and rather than empower us to thrive, we’re taught to fill the void with larger portions, junk food, shame and guilt. 

All I have to say is my heart is with you. I know it’s not easy but I need you to care, because I REALLY care. It’s even hard for me to find my own words about why I care about this so much. But I’m going to keep trying. It’s about HEALTH, HAPPINESS, SUCCESS and SELF LOVE. 

And by the way, now I’m really grateful for the person who shared their truth with me about how they perceived me because it caused me to get angry, re-grounded, and write this blog. I love you.

In health and happiness always, 

Brenda

 

 

 

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