Write Your Hips: Meet Sarah Lauer

Hello everybody! Welcome to the very first Write Your Hips!

What is Write Your Hips? It’s a new feature I’m introducing to Read My Hips: The Blog, in which you’ll get to read stories by women (and maybe even some men) whose experiences with food, weight and body image may echo your own.

But what do they all have in common?

These people were moved to write to me after reading my memoir, Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting and Live Large.

I’m blown away by how many people take the time to send me e-mail, letting me know how closely they identified with Read My Hips. At the same time, though, their circumstances and histories are often quite different from mine.

It underscores what I hate to admit: that chronic self-hatred and self-scrutinization of our bodies is rampant in our culture; that almost no one raised in the United States in the past forty-odd years doesn’t have detrimental psychological issues around food; and that these issues pervade every cross-section of the population. It proves that more than ever, we need to reject that which persuades us to hate, and embrace the self-loving, life-affirming spirit of Read My Hips.

Another striking thing about the fan mails Read My Hips receives is that they’re usually very in-depth. People have so much to say when it comes to setting themselves free from body image BS and living fully in the present. I’ve appreciated what readers have shared with me more than I can say. But in a way, I felt like these e-mails could be doing more good than just by my heart alone.

That’s why I started asking these kind readers of Read My Hips if they’d be willing to share with you, too. Hence, Write Your Hips. I hope you’ll keep coming back to Read My Hips: The Blog to read their hips, and if anything about their stories speaks to you, I hope you’ll give them a supportive shot in the arm by leaving a comment. Let them know they have kindred spirits out there!

And by the way — if you’ve read Read My Hips and would like to write a guest blog post, let me know! You might write about ways in which your experience is the same as mine; ways in which it’s been different. Write about something Read My Hips made you think about, or something it changed in you. It’s up to you.

And now, without further adieu, please meet my very first Write Your Hips guest blogger, Sarah Lauer!

From Thin to Fat

By Sarah Lauer

When I wrote an email to Kim thanking her for her book, I forgot to mention that I was fat as a child. Or as my Dad would say, pleasantly plump. I carried all my fat in my belly so it was conspicuous on top of my slimmer legs. Kids were cruel and teased me about being fat. I went on the Weight Watchers diet for teens when I was twelve and lost 25 pounds. Also contributing to the weight loss was a growth spurt. I shot up from 5’6” to 5’10” when I was 13. I didn’t regain the weight until my mid-40s, when I was diagnosed as bipolar and given psych meds. I gained a total of 100 pounds over 5 years, no matter how much I dieted or how much I exercised.

I was still the same person as when I was thin but the world treated me differently.

I was invisible to men. There were several times when I was talking to a man and his attention would drift away from me to a thinner woman. When dating online I would meet men for coffee. We would have a nice conversation but no numbers were exchanged. I gave up online dating and joined a Buddhist group. There I met my husband.

I was invisible to the fashion world. It was difficult to find clothes that fit and were stylish at the same time. For awhile I was stuck in dowdy clothes that were tight and baggy in all the wrong places. I now shop online at plus size stores. I find that the clothes for plus size women are more colorful and interesting than clothing for thin women. If I were thin again, I wouldn’t know where to shop.

I was invisible to the medical community. Doctors couldn’t see past the fat. The shrink who gave me the meds told me I needed to lose weight or I would get diabetes. I told him I ate healthy and exercised. “Even if you are doing those things, you will still develop diabetes because of your weight. Consider the Medifast diet or bariatric surgery.” That evil fat had the power to give me diabetes no matter what I did. My shrink’s solution was to either starve on liquids or mutilate my internal organs. I realized my shrink’s attitude toward my fat was more lethal than fat ever could be.

My encounter with the shrink led me to do more research on the health effects of fat. I read a book called Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon that debunks myths about fat. I learned that I could improve my health even if I was fat. The key was to focus on nourishing my body rather than dieting. I became a vegetarian and got blood work done. My cholesterol and blood sugar were well within the normal range. I felt empowered and less anxious about carrying extra weight.

Being fat has taught me to pamper myself. I dress to the nines for any occasion, cook myself good vegetarian meals, swim at the local gym and walk my dog.

Being fat has taught me to appreciate beauty in women and men of all sizes. I pay more attention to people’s behavior rather than their looks.

Being fat has taught me to move in circles where body size is not an issue.

Being fat is a gift.

Get to know Sarah Lauer at her blog: http://plumpsadie2.blogspot.com

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Contribute your story to Write Your Hips. Send an e-mail to Kim Brittingham, author of Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting and Live Large

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