Because I Am Fat

Last Saturday I attended the fourth session of my yoga seminar at the Synergy Studio. The way the seminar works is we have two instructors each week, each teaching for two weeks, but one rotates out every week. So we end up having one new teacher and one ‘old’ teacher every week, if that makes sense. For the previous three weeks we had been instructed to set up our mats in a circle and so on week four we came in and did the same thing. I set up my map between the two Susans, one whom I have been with since the first class, which has been a great spot since we all try to keep each other motivated and encouraged throughout the class. Then our new instructor arrived and told us she doesn’t want us in a circle, she wanted us in two straight lines, facing each other from across the room. This way the other instructor, the one who had been with us the previous week, could focus on the students who needed extra attention; the students sitting on the left side of the room. Then she turned to me and asked me to move to the other side of the room for ‘health reasons’ so they could keep an eye on me. That’s what she said to me, out loud in front of the entire class. This woman who has never seen me before and knows nothing of my ability level calls me out for ‘health reasons’ and sends me to the opposite side of the room. And then we begin. Yep, I was the only person asked to move. It was embarrassing.

Not only was it embarrassing it was infuriating. This lady came into the room and clearly picked me out because of my weight. I was being judged as unhealthy or incapable because of my size. That really pissed me off. How dare her. For the first thirty minutes of class I quietly went through the motions while inside my head was a raging storm of anger and resentment. I would show her. Look at me and my perfect camel pose. Look at me; I can do the bridge pose too. Look at me, the fat girl doing yoga and not needing any extra help. Suck on that skinny yoga lady…that’s what I was saying in my head.

Then it dawned on me, maybe she was right. I do not think singling me out in front of the whole class was the right thing to, that’s just embarrassing and was unnecessary, but moving me because of my weight, because I might have needed extra attention, that was probably the right thing to do. Why? Because I am the heaviest person in that class. Yes, I have lost almost 70 pounds (216.8 this morning, woot!) and yes, I workout everyday and do yoga 2-3 times a week but she didn’t know that. She didn’t know anything about me. She was being cautious and yes it sucks being judged or stereotyped because of my weight but I think she was looking out for my safety. At least that is what I hope was going on.

Here’s the reality, my reality at least, after 70 pounds weight loss I am still the fattest person, or at least one of the fattest people, in every class I take. After 70 pounds lost I am still obese and still at an unhealthy BMI and body fat percentage. After 70 pounds lost I am still being judged by strangers because of how I look. So what do I do? Do I say oh, well and think of this as a failure. Do I let the self-pity wash over me and go eat my feelings? Or do I say eff it and just stop caring what people think? I am going to have to go with the latter. Why? Because who cares? This is my journey and my life, no one else’s. Why should it matter if I am the fattest person in the room or if people stereotype me because I am fat? It shouldn’t and it should never stop me from doing the things I love, like yoga. I am doing this for me and no one else. Life gets so much easier when you stop comparing yourself to others or caring about what people think of your physical attributes and that is something I need to remember every day. I am happy with me, I love the changes I have made and the good habits I have formed, I enjoy being active and becoming fit nothing else should matter.

So here I am world. 216.8 pounds. Still obese. Still active. Doing this for me. Secretly hoping to prove yoga teachers everywhere wrong 😉

Thanks for reading!

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September 29, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Weight Loss, Yoga.

10 Comments

  1. Graceline replied:

    Sorry Dacia, what a bummer. But don’t you dare cross over to that shady place after all your hard work, don’t you dare! Stand in your sparkly red shoes, click your pretty heels, and show the world how much healthier you are than most people. YOU are the winner here. Don,t cross into the shady zone. …… You know I probably would have talked to that instructor afterward, privately, quietly, and tell her that she embarassed you somewhat and in a public group that’s a no no. Some people are glum and really, really have no idea regarding ‘the right things to do and say’. Or maybe she was having an off day and felt better taking it out on someone else. Put on the sparkly red shoes and click those pretty heels. When you look in the mirror you should see beautiful!

    • Dacia replied:

      Thank you Karen! After reading your comments yesterday I went back and edited my post. Apparently what I had written made me sound defeated and that is not how I felt. If you want you can go back and re-read it or just know that I wouldn’t let anything like that move me off this path on my weight loss journey. Thank you for your support!

  2. jakennicksmomma replied:

    You are such an inspiration. Eff them all! You work out more than anyone else I know. I eat my emotions sometimes, and it never feels good afterward. Keep strong!

    • Dacia replied:

      Thanks Kathleen! Emotional eating is not a good thing and is something I have fought hard to stop doing!

  3. Simply Sidney replied:

    I think you just past a journey test with an A. Regardless of her motivation, which I agree was well intended, it was irresponsible, she doesn’t know you, clearly!! I would love to have heard her inner dialog when she watched you do the bridge pose. You taught her but you also proved again to yourself that you are more than ready to finish this journey.

    • Dacia replied:

      Thank you! You are absolutely right, in a way it was a test and I do feel like I passed. I have changed so much and have so much more self respect that I didn’t let that scenario derail me. Also, trying to look at it from her perspective was something I wouldn’t have done before. I would have felt like a victim and probably wouldn’t have gone bak there again.

  4. Ginger replied:

    Dacia, I am sorry your feelings were hurt so badly, mine would have been also. The difference between us though, is that you kept strong and proved her wrong… I probably would have cried or hollered at her. I’m very proud of you for all that you have accomplished so far and it makes me even happier that you are proud of yourself.

    You are dropping weight rapidly at this point, and it is going to continue for pretty much the rest of your journey. You know the program, you know the power of eating healthy and being active. You know where you are going to be by the spring. The spring Dacia! Isn’t that around the time this all began for you? In one year you have changed your life in ways you probably never thought were possible. You are a roll model to women everywhere.

    I really hope WW has their eye on you, I firmly believe that you are a beaming example of how much the program can positivly effect a persons life. I’m so proud of you Dacia, so so proud!

    • Dacia replied:

      Wow! Thank you isn’t enough. Your kind words have made me cry (happy tears) twice today. I am still not great at accepting praise or compliments – I don’t really know what to say. I know your words are sincere which makes them so much more powerful. I feel great and am happy and I owe it all to these changes in my life but please know I wouldn’t be where I am today without you! I couldn’t have done this without your support and encouragement through these months. I love you! Thank you!

  5. CJ replied:

    It’s been a while since I’ve visited your blog, Dacia, and I’m really enjoying catching up. This post left me so irritated, though. I was a yoga teacher before my daughter was born (and taught a little after that, but have basically been “retired” since then), and I find what the instructor did in that class to be absolutely puzzling, not to mention demeaning.

    First off, a teacher can make modifications and suggestions no matter how the room is set up, and she can only personally assist one person at a time regardless. I see no reason why she had to divide up the room like that at all.

    Second, calling you out in front of the class was totally wrong. She could easily have spoken to you individually if she was concerned or she could have left some time at the beginning for people to voice concerns (asking a general question and inviting people to volunteer health issues the teachers should know about). You cannot tell by appearances who is going to need assistance. Each person in a yoga class is responsible for her own health and safety. She’s the one who knows what’s going on in her body and knows when she needs to ask for help. It’s the teacher’s job to make the class a comfortable place where her students feel safe asking for help and modifications when they need them.

    And third, who says “big girls” need more assistance? I’ve taken yoga (“regular” yoga classes, not special classes) with heavy people, elderly people, people with bowed legs, pregnant people, and even a woman who’d lost a lung to cancer (who was also a competitive cyclist). And then there’s me, someone who is so inflexible (bodily speaking) that I’d been doing yoga for four years before I could touch my toes without bending my knees (and even now I have to warm up before I can do it). Some people need assistance, some don’t, and you can’t tell by looking at them while they’re sitting on the mat before class. You have to watch them in their practice and meet them where they are, not where you assume they’ll be because of stereotypes.

    Okay, I’m done with my irate and parenthetical-laden rant. I’m sorry the instructor treated you like this, but I’m happy you have been able to keep your optimism and ownership of your yoga practice.

    • Dacia replied:

      Thank you for your heartfelt words. I am glad to know that you were upset by the situation. it made me feel like I wasn’t overreacting. I am proud of who I am and the progress I’ve made and I can’t let someone like they make me doubt myself. It was definitely a learning experience to say the least!

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