Monday, March 7, 2011

Born To Be Fat

I'm fat. There is no other way to call it. I've been fat since I was six years old and my parents and I returned home after two years in Brazil where I had been ill most of the time. Seriously ill. We came back, and wham, within half a year I was no longer the thin, fragile little girl but a roly-poly maggot. No one bothered about it. I was healthy again, and that was all my family cared for. Then my little sister was born and attention drifted from me to the baby.

When I was nineteen I starved myself into a moderately thin figure, but it did not last. I just could not keep the weight no matter how hard I tried. And NO I was no couch potato. I cycled, did sports, went dancing. And still I was fat.

I tried to hide it as well as I could. Wide clothes, practical clothes, flat shoes and a spike of guilt every time I put something in my mouth. And I only went to a doctor when I could not crawl anymore, afraid they would tell me I was too fat and needed to lose weight, when I never wanted anything more than that.

I wanted to wear something like this.

Be able to walk in these.

And I wanted to be an eye-catcher, but not because I had the widest butt on the street.

I'm a very sensible eater. I used to walk stairs whenever possible, rode the bike even during my pregnancies until I was nearly due. Granted, sports are not my favorite pastime, except throwing an American football or playing Badminton.

And yet. There are MASSES of people out there who eat way less healthy than I do, a lot more, too,  and don't work out and still are slim.

Two years ago I got sick and was diagnosed with a couple of auto-immune diseases, and the unthinkable happened: suddenly I was firmly in the clutches of doctors and hospitals. And while still no one was very interested in why I was fat, once they had started on their gazillion exams and test and found out everything about me there was to find out I thought, "What the heck, I might as well ask them why I am obese!"

A far cry from that girl in the lovely gown, right?

So they drew blood, prodded, tested, scanned again and came up with - nothing.

Now I'm in a very lucky position. My son is a doctor, and so he knows my lifestyle and how and what I eat, and he agrees I really should be WAY thinner. He is, in fact, the one prodding my GP into doing all those tests.

Last Friday I had my latest appointment at my GP's. New results, and he tells me I'm perfectly healthy - except for those auto-immune diseases - and he really sees no way of helping me reduce my weight. I broke out in tears.

He looked me up and down and said, "You know, you should be glad your metabolism is so slow. If we had bad times now you'd survive and I would die of starvation." I nearly smacked his mouth. When he saw I was upset he patted my shoulder and told me he had heard it was quite normal for women of Arab descent to put on weight when they got older. AFTER, mind you, telling me what HE ate during a normal day. And here I am, living on tomatoes and cucumbers and lean chicken, just like a Supermodel, listening to my slim doctor listing his three sandwiches for breakfast, three plates of lunch and how hungry he is at night... yeah thank you. He really, really tried to comfort me. But in effect he told me I was born to be fat, and do myself a favor and accept it.

Well, I'm not. And I'm also not going to eat the lovely fresh bread hubby just brought home. So there. Tomatoes and cucumbers it is.

And yeah, why am I telling you all this? I'm telling you because I'm going to fly to the States this summer, and my biggest fear is they won't let me on a plane because I'm too fat.


  1. First of all, you look gorgeous. (Which you didn't doubt, of course.)

    Second, of course they will let you on the plane. Unless you starve yourself to death first, that is.

  2. Hi Mariam
    I can't click the 'like' button because you sound so fed up my lovely! I do think you should change doctors though - he doesn't seem to possess any common sense, although I'm sure he's good at the medical side of things. I'm don't know if it'll help if I tell you that you have a heart and face of an angel, because I'm sure you've been told this many times before. We women are so tough on ourselves and critical about our bodies. I am a pear! Need more boobs, need less butt! Wish I was younger, wish I appreciated being younger when I was! Still, you and I have achieved something only a few achieve. We've written a novel! We should pat ourselves on the back.
    Much love, Ange xxx

  3. Starving yourself with cucumbers and tomatoes is not the answer, either. You need a BALANCED diet, that includes common-sense portions of carbs, including bread. Get referred to a nutritionist and talk to them. You can eat sensibly and not deny yourself. Once you deny, you set yourself up to fail.

  4. The point is, when you are fat people look at you and see a "fat person" and pass their judgement without a second thought. "She probably eats like a slob and takes no care of herself". I'd love to have a t-shirt that says, "Not guilty!"

  5. Mariam, I would sit next to you on the plane at any time - even if I didn't already know you. I'm far more bothered by people who don't bathe. Ignore the models; those girls are starving themselves. Eat healthy, my friend. We want you to feel good while you are touring our countries; it will be much more enjoyable if you feel good.

  6. Oh sweetie - there are so many horrible thin people in the world that no one wants to be like. You are beautiful and one could not aspire to be anything better than you, because you are the best. We all kick ourselves too much for not being the unnaturally skinny people we see in magazines & in movies (and in the mags, they're mostly re-touched to death). See other doctors and find out what they say - then relax and enjoy being wonderful!

  7. Well, I think you look very lovely Mariam! Q x

  8. I can only reiterate what others have said: change your GP and start eating well. And one other thing - you are beautiful. In every avatar you have posted on Twitter and in the photo here you radiate joy. I've just realised that every time I see your picture I smile.

    Clearly your weight problem is a big deal to you, but I hope you realise you are so much more than just that. And of course you'll get on the plane!!!

  9. Well said, Gilly! I couldn't agree more.

  10. You are beautiful.

    It is most important to be happy and feel healthy. Your girth does not define you. I'm happy with who I am and I'll never be skinny.

  11. I've only just 'met' you today through twitter and your blog, Mariam, and I already think you're a lovely person. And way more attractive than that poor girl who looks likes a Barbie doll in one of those 'Barbie is Cinderella' movies.

    maybe the weight you are now is the weight that's right for your body; maybe it's more than your body's ideal weight. either way, drastically limiting your diet isn't going to make your body any healthier.

    I agree with all the other comments. good luck with finding a way to be at peace with food and your body!

  12. You're one of the most beautiful people ever. Ever.

  13. Mariam, from your picture, you are beautiful. Really lovely.
    I have had a weight problem much of my life, too. I exercise, I eat good food and yet am still hefty.
    I think some of the labels and the cut-off points are skewed by both media and cultural stereotypes of what constitutes healthy weight and acceptable bodies. Some years ago, I took a massive challenge on and worked as a life model. I was scared to death. The first time, at break, I wandered round in my crimson silk robe and peered curiously at what the artists had produced and was floored. In their various styles, they'd drawn me as some sort of goddess, all curves and Rubensesque beauty. Yes, sure I was big. But they saw and drew my naked body, with its surgical scars and stretch marks as glorious and generous and beautiful. It haunts me still at times.
    I think we need to find our beauty whatever size we are and accept not being fat, but being who we are. Those artists saw me as a goddess: I'd be willing to bet they'd do the same for you.
    Viv(guineapig66 from Twitter)

  14. Thank you all so much for your lovely, supportive comments. It's a good feeling to know I'm not alone in this.