Starting Dress Size: 22/24
|Lisa Respers France, senior producer for CNN Digital's Entertainment section and star of the CNN Original Video series "Lisa's Desk."|
...I suffer from the one addiction that doesn't elicit much sympathy from most people... Food is my drug.Respers France comes out of the gate with the pretty, funny, cool, happy big girl mantra. The personality traits a lot of us likable women, who dress well, and maintain an acceptable level of attractiveness are proud of. But, how at some point, the big girls will all hear that drop-kick inducing phrase of "You're pretty... for a big girl." That generic, back-handed compliment that would have been best left with its spewer.
You've met me before. I'm the fat, funny girl who is often hailed for my confidence and self-esteem. The big girl who has "such a pretty face" and who, despite her weight, manages to snag really great looking boyfriends. I "dress really well for my size" and am so much fun to be around because of my outgoing personality.I sensed a "DESPITE BEING FAT" moment here, that is all too often muzzled, as well. Whether we want to admit it or not, people see us first at face value. Image is mostly everything. Being fat (read: weak, lazy, gross - thanks, society!) is the first thing a potential employer or a blind date notices, in our minds - not our confidence, not our qualifications. After establishing that you are fat, cue working doubly and/or triply hard to prove your value. To prove that you are worth the investment. Worth the love. Worth the respect. Worth the attention... "DESPITE," your size.
It's not as if I haven't successfully shed weight before, but the moment I start, I figure out some way to undermine it. My mind attacks me with thoughts that hurt to even type.Respers France made the bold move in detailing real fears and repercussions, people do not often speak of - but contemplate - during weight loss. Yes, of course, we all want confetti to drop when the scale hits a number that we have coveted for years. We want the pride in excelling, conquering! Then, what? Mostly worrying about how others (others!!!) will treat you; your family, friends (will they see her
It's a neverending cycle; being fat makes me feel uncomfortable and feeling uncomfortable drives me to the behaviors that make me fat.She continued to strip.
At that moment I realized that I have been trying to fill my heart by filling my stomach. But pinpointing the pain means going places I fear. Living with anxiety, hoping for joy I'm more afraid of delving into what is killing me (and trust me I am so aware that it is killing me) than I am of dying. Every extra pound represents a pain for me, something I don't like to acknowledge, not even to myself. I grew up in a family where we didn't talk about our struggles -- we ate or drank them away. I have continued that legacy.My family, like many others - as anecdoted above, did not talk about our problems. Give it to Jesus. He'll fix it. We only talked when someone died, got locked up or needed money. Otherwise, as I like to say, "we viced out our issues" with food (the women), drugs (the men), alcohol (all, self included), silent depression (again, all, self included) and some prayer (primarily, my momma). Masking, avoiding the real pain. The conversations. I still, to this day, cannot face the true pain that assisted in creating my destructive, addictive behaviors. I know what is behind that door; a monster. I would be too vulnerable. If I acknowledge it, it becomes real again. My hate for those I love, and/or who are no longer on this Earth would return. My pain would return. I am too old now anyway. Move on. Lose the weight and let the past, be the past. I know I am only fooling myself, one day I will face it. I owe it to myself and future daughter. But, not today.
So, "Little Lisa," this is the first step towards you and I getting to where we need to be. It won't be easy and it's going to hurt. But we are going to do the work and try to be an inspiration to others who have started and failed over and over. We are going to do it for every overweight person who struggles and those who are no longer here to struggle because their bodies gave out on them. Most days we are going to want to quit, but we can't because the stakes are too high and there is so much more waiting for us than we have allowed for ourselves. I've met you. You're worth it.
Thank you @ProjectPaula for adding your voice to the conversation. Keep living in the light.
— Lisa Respers France (@LisaFranceCNN) September 27, 2014