Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Time to be Fat

There is a time to be fat. Yes, fat does not mean bad.

Being a fat baby does not make you destined for Weight Watchers as an adult. My fatter babies were calmer and, generally, more satiated, sleeping longer hours at a stretch. So please don’t anyone freak out about their cherub-looking infants. When you’re cleaning the dirt that gets trapped inside the rolls on those luscious legs, it’s all good.

Here’s another time when being fat is good. Right after you’ve had a baby. Hey, Hollywood, guess what? Our goddess bodies are here for a reason and here it is. Our babies need our goddess bodies. Why? Because having that extra layer of fat is helping us do what only goddesses can do. Make milk. Yes, we have this extraordinary capacity to manufacture food for the helpless infant, desperately dependent on what we can provide. If you’re fortunate enough to have this personal experience of breastfeeding a baby, you understand the inextricable link and connection between you and your little one. She is dependent on you to give her everything she needs. Comfort, connection and food. I don’t know about you, but nestling with a bony mommy doesn’t conjure up cozy images for me. Soft and round are God’s gift to women. The babies – and the world – could use a little more soft.

If a woman only takes a month to get her pre-pregnancy body back, rather than look at how remarkable she is, I feel sad inside. All that time she’s spending in the gym might be better spent letting that baby nestle. Don’t get me wrong. Mom needs time, too, and we’re all better mommies if we get our workouts in, but so soon? Let the worry about getting your body back to tip-top shape go for that snap-of-a-finger time. Babies are only helpless and dependent on us for 18-25 years. ☺

Seriously though. They’re only tiny once. Let them enjoy your gift of soft and round, which scientists have proven, is their building block for trust and security throughout their lives.

This is not to the exclusion of men who also provide that warm and loving affection to our babies, but sorry guys -- only our boobs make milk.

Another time to be fat, which most middle-aged women resist, is middle-age. Ironically, our bodies are making a last-ditch effort to store what we need so that, as we enter into our elder years, we have reserves. It’s a survival tactic of the human life cycle. Most of us resist it with ferocity, dieting, joining the gym, even signing up for our first marathon (love that!). However you respond to what seems like inevitable weight gain in your 40s and 50s, know that nature is just trying to prepare you for growing old. When the body ages, it grows more susceptible to disease and decay. Nature just wants to protect you by preserving what you got now, even storing more for tougher times. Picture all those cans of food and water bottles in the basement. Save now for a later time. The later time is old age.

OK. None of this is an excuse to eat Oreos while laying on the couch with your baby in the crook of your arm or to prevent you from soaking with sweat at the gym when you’re 55. We all know that too much fat is just too much. We need a balance.

This is just a reminder to be gentle with yourself.

As the culture continues to wage its war on obesity, with its arsenal of strategies to lose weight, let’s not put a fear of fat into our children’s minds.

Fat has a purpose.

(Very happy to see this, too.

Baby photo lifted from Google (