Body Zen: The Skinny on Fat

IMG_20120915_140308Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, I sat up in bed and jotted down some notes and one line I wrote was “love your fat.” This idea is coming up for me because we’re inching up on a new year and so many people add “losing weight” to their list of resolutions. And to be frank here, we’re talking about fat. People want to rid themselves of excess fat.

That is all fine and good (and healthy), but I also feel like we demonize fat in our culture in a way that causes us to devalue ourselves.  When we relegate fat as “the bad guy” of our body, we actually forget its very important purpose in our bodies.

[I flash back now to 7th – 9th grades when I decided to eat all fat-free foods and almost went down the slippery-slope of anorexia. It was a slope I decided not to slide and am grateful for finding my way back.]

So I started to write down facts about fat. Yes, at midnight in the dark. And then today I looked online and in my massage school anatomy and physiology book about fat and decided we should better understand our fat before we make judgments about it and ourselves. Fat tissue is actually quite fascinating and you’d be surprised what all it does for you to keep your systems operating smoothly (including your very own brain!).

And then, I started thinking about how we view our bodies, talk to our bodies, and say nasty things to our fat — and it made me sad. Especially since we don’t even honor what it does for us in the first place.

Our critical minds (and cultural messages) about fat and weight and body image keep us from living in the now and accepting how we are now in our very own beautiful vessels in this life.  Yes, we can all be healthier, and yes, too much excess fat can be detrimental to our heath, and yes, it’s important to eat yummy rich real whole foods and move our bodies … AND it’s important that we love ourselves right where we are, right where you are sitting at this moment reading my blog post. That fat tissue that’s rolling or folding or squishing in its soft way is real and it’s where you are now.  And the more you accept and love where and how you are RIGHT NOW, the more you are apt to make choices for your health in whatever ways are best for you. And then the process of HEALTH becomes YOURS. Your body is YOURS. Your path is YOURS. That’s powerful and empowering!

So without further ado, here are my lists about fat! Perhaps you’ll learn a little something about your dear adipose tissue (even write it a love letter) and dance a little jiggly dance in its honor.

Five Facts About Fat:

1. The scientific name for fat is adipose tissue, which is a type of connective tissue formed of adipose (fat) cells.

2. Primarily located beneath the skin, fat tissue is also found around internal organs, and provides a protective padding around these internal organs.

3. Where do fat cells live? Fat cells exist in every part of the body except the eyelids, and parts of the esophagus, the brain and the penis.

4. Fats help the body use vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K.

5. Our brains are made up of about 60% fat.

Five Perspectives on Fat:

1. You are not fat. Just like you are not kidney or tooth or depression. You have fat. We all have fat. It is part of us, but we are not it. We are whole.

2. “No studies have ever shown that approving and loving your body causes one to gain weight.” ~Golda Poretsky

3. “Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her. I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…” ~JK Rowling

4. There is a reason they’re called love handles. Love them!

5.  “The weight really started melting off when I shifted the focus from Losing weight to Loving Me, Loving my Life and returning to my essence.” ~Nicole Pontillo, Diva Fab Fitness

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About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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