To anyone who says fat isn't a feeling, I say: you've obviously never felt fat before.
I KNOW what they mean - fat isn't an emotion. Fat isn't a mindset. Fat isn't something that should inform your decisions and your lifestyle the way that joy and empathy and curiosity should.
But fat IS a feeling. A true, physical sensation. You feel it with every ounce of your body, even if you don't have any actual fat on you. You feel it when you move, when you sit, when you get dressed, when you shower, when you - God knows - step on the scale.
A couple of months ago when I was in the midst of gaining weight, I remember wailing to my mom, "But I feel faaaaat!"
Now, my mom is one of the most balanced eaters I'ver ever seen. She tries to be healthy, but indulges occasionally and eats foods she loves with no guilt. She exercises a few times a week because she loves running and being outside blah blah blah. She has a normal, healthy body that she treats appropriately and appreciates for being functional. No, I don't know where I came from.
So naturally, the concept of starving yourself is baffling to her. In response to my meltdown, she was incredulous: "What? You think you're fat?"
No, Mom, I didn't say I think I'm fat; I don't think I'm fat. In fact, I know I'm not fat. I know that technically, I'm underweight. I know that people who wear size X jeans cannot ever be considered fat. I can calculate my BMI in my sleep, and I know that no matter how I play around with the numbers (what if I were half an inch shorter....two inches taller...what if I gained/lost X or Y or Z pounds...what if I shaved my head/clipped my toenails/plucked my eyebrows before weighing myself again...) I do not fall anywhere near the "overweight" category. So again, Mom, no. I don't think I'm fat.
But I do feel fat. I feel it when I sit down to eat, and I feel it after I've finished eating. Not because I believe that one meal will actually make me gain weight instantly, but because my body feels too big and squishy and uncomfortable. I feel it when I consider taking a day off from working out, knowing that rest is fine and healthy and good, but also knowing that a long sweaty run will make me feel, at least for a little while, better. Less fat.
Sometimes I wonder if my feeling fat is actually just me feeling normal, and I have forgotten what normal feels like. I know that the intense physical dissatisfaction with my body probably has to do with emotions - like frustration, insecurity, depression, loneliness, etc. But I also know that feeling fat is real, and I am insanely jealous of anyone who disagrees.