When I was a larger teen, I was fun. I was outgoing. I was friends with anyone and everyone who wanted to be or needed friends.
And then I started dieting.
I began believing that fat was bad. Being bigger was wrong. I didn’t fit.
And then I started shrinking.
I spent more time to myself. I started feeling more anxious and depressed more often. I quit trying so hard to put myself out there. All I cared about was fitting in my jeans.
I couldn’t imagine life outside of trying to lose weight. Trying to stay small. Exercising too much. Eating too little. I was paralyzed with the idea that I’d quit doing any of it for the sake of gaining weight.
My body decided that it was tired and hungry, and eventually my efforts- along with motherhood and all of those accompanying lifestyle changes- couldn’t keep up. Slowly, my body started expanding.
The fight to be at a healthier weight was no longer mine. My body took over, told me to shut up and sit down, and has been doing its own thing for awhile now.
And HO-LY SHIT has it been hard.
I’ve gone up and up and up and up. Some days I feel like there’s no end in sight. Some days I don’t know who I see in the mirror anymore. Some days I can’t breathe when I look at pictures. I’ve heard “I’m just worried about you” more in the past 6 months than I heard in the 15 years that I was literally starving myself.
It’s also made me reflect on how I’ve transformed on the inside. It’s made me confront some of the beliefs that I didn’t even know I held inside.
About people who have more fat than others.
About my own body, which now carries more fat than it used to.
I had to sit and process that there have been times in the past that I’ve actually avoided people because of their size- like I was afraid of them. I had to sit and process the fact that I’ve gotten mad at my own dad for gaining weight because I thought if he did he’d die. I had to sit and process the fact that, even though my body has been bigger before, I now discount its ability to do and be because of my current size.
I 100% blame the society we live in. I 100% blame diet culture. These things crept in at the age of 16 and planted deep roots. Deep, untruthful, hurtful roots. And I’ve been attempting to dig them out and burn them ever since.
Someone said to me the other day, “I just want you to be healthy.”
I work out 6-7 days a week. I eat all my servings of vegetables (and then some) almost every day. The difference is now I eat protein. I include dairy sources. And I no longer tell myself “I can’t have that” or “I don’t eat that.” Because I know that’s a lie, and I don’t like liars. And because life is short and I can’t imagine having spent my last day on earth turning down cake frosting.
So, I try to accept myself. I’m taking steps to get there. I buy myself clothes that fit, even if they have an uncomfortable number on them. I wear what makes me feel good. I check myself out in the mirror when I workout to see that my hard work is paying off and my muscles are growing (even if I’m the only one who sees it).
And yet… society- including my own loved ones– tell me it’s wrong to love myself as I am. That first I need to change myself… then I can love myself. “Not too small though, because that was unnatural,” and not my current size, because apparently it reaches beyond the limits of what “healthy” looks like.
Living in a bigger body makes you take long, hard looks in the mirror. It makes you realize how you once saw the world through your disgusting cloudy lens of judgement.
It’s made me confront my own Fatphobia.
The hardest part is just realizing that I actually felt different about people because of their size. I might’ve been harder on people. I might’ve not offered the same chances.
And now I find myself screaming on the inside (and sometimes even the outside) for acceptance. For love. For vindication.
I challenge you to take a step back and do some self-reflecting:
- do you offer diet and exercise advice to people in your life?
- do you believe that people are more/less capable because of the size of their body?
- do you act differently around people who are in a larger body than you?
- do you treat yourself different when your body changes?
If you answered yes to any of these things, you’ve got some work to do. You’re in need of some serious education.
Want to change the world? Stop acting like Fat is the worst thing a person can be. Stop trying to “fix” people who are larger than you are.
Fat is not a bad thing. In fact, everyone has it. Some people just have more- and there are a lot of factors that determine that (genetics being one of the biggest). But your opinion of a person because of their body composition is 100% determined by your own small-mindedness and assholery, likely influenced by diet culture. Just remember that.
I don’t need your nutrition and exercise advice. I’m a freaking Dietician.
I don’t need your snide comments and side eyes. I’m aware of how much space I take up now.
I don’t need to know how my size is potentially destroying any shred of a future I might have. Have you seen my latest bloodwork?
I don’t need your information on the latest diet fad. It’s everywhere. Trust me.
I need your respect.
I need your acceptance. (Or I don’t, but I’m not going to beg for it anymore just because I’m shaped differently than you.)
I need you to treat me the same as you would treat me if I was much smaller.
I need your solidarity in all of this. The more that can band together and refuse to treat FAT differently, the faster the change will happen. The change our world so desperately needs.
What do you say… you in?
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