When I was a child, I used to watch those segments on the news about the “obesity epidemic.” I’d sit there with youthful curiosity and confusion as I watched anonymous, headless fat bodies walking on a street. Even to this day, I still wonder how the local news could publicly exploit someone’s bits and pieces without their knowledge or consent. But as a young girl who had already been inundated with weight loss commercials and ads for diet pills, I was much too worried about catching the damn “fat disease” to ever really care.
As a reporter ominously warned the masses about the seemingly uncontrollable state of obesity, I received the message loud and clear. Fat is bad. Thin is in. If you want to be one of the cool kids, then you needed to start losing weight yesterday.
So I lost weight. Then I lost some more. In fact, I lost so much weight as a youth that everyone around me thought I was the pinnacle of ultimate health and wellbeing. If anyone was alarmed about my skeletally thin body, they certainly didn’t share those concerns with me. Not a single person knew that I was skillfully hiding a gnarly eating disorder, crippling body dysmorphia, and inner shame that was wreaking havoc on my life.
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“Owning our story & loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown 🦋 You have been through one hell of a year. And you are still standing. You are still HERE. The world needs you. Your body needs you. The deepest parts of who you truly are need you. This whole self-love thing can feel so damn hard. Because, like most big things that are totally worth the effort, it takes practice & willingness & curiosity & patience. But it also takes something a lot of us are too afraid to give, which is the allowance for discomfort. I resisted this kind of discomfort for so many years & covered it up with dieting, inner criticism, over-productivity, obsessing over my appearance, people-pleasing, & perfectionism. Underneath the surface was a young girl desperate to be seen, heard, & loved. And in the past 2.5 years, I have begun to listen – really listen – to her. Listening has turned my whole world upside down. And I never ever want to go back. Because she has set me free. She has helped me shake off what is not meant for me. And she has introduced me to who I am when I’m not concerned with how the world will judge me. I listen, and I will continue to listen, until I feel so much myself that nothing – and I mean nothing – can push me back down. Love is ALWAYS more powerful than shame. And she is showing me that every damn day. ❤️#effyourbeautystandards #fuckdietculture #selfworth
Those around me also didn’t know my dirtiest little secret. Anytime I saw a fat-bodied person enjoying themselves in public during my youth, I felt visceral disgust for them. How could they be so careless with their health and just let themselves go like that? Don’t they know that there’s an epidemic going around?
About two decades went down like this, and then something totally surprising happened. I recovered from my eating disorder. I healed my body dysmorphia. And I gained a bunch of weight in the process. I looked in the mirror one day and realized I had become the very thing I had been taught to avoid my entire life. I had transformed into a version of myself I had feared for so long. The evidence was right there in front of me, and I had to face it.
Alert the media, because this bitch got fat.
You’d think after decades of being conditioned to hate larger bodies that I’d look at my own and cringe. But the exact opposite happened. Rather than feel repulsed by my larger body, I felt something entirely different. I felt completely, utterly free. I felt so damn free that I began to prefer taking up more space and letting my belly hang soft without trying to change it. I started saying cute shit to the dimples on my thighs and happily shaking my bigger ass.
And that’s when I decided to start sharing my fat bod all over Instagram. Because after a year of unexpectedly falling in love with my larger frame, I also unexpectedly transformed into a walking, talking, body-loving activist. In fact, I celebrate women of every size so much now that I recently got a tattoo of a fat babe on my fat arm.
And I’m just gettin’ started.
Gaining weight has given me my life back. It has challenged every limiting belief I’ve held dear. It’s forced me to reconsider what it means to be physically – and mentally – healthy. And it has allowed me to exist in a way that has shattered the myth of believing that I need to keep myself as small as possible for everyone around me.
But mostly, the added fat on my body has opened my eyes to the years I spent assuming the worst about others simply because of the way they looked. Now, I know better. Now, I know that overall health cannot be grossly determined by a pant size. Even more so, I’ve realized that regardless of a person’s health, size, or bodily condition, they deserve respect, kindness, and the right to live freely in this world.
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“And I said to my body softly, ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.” — Nayyirah Waheed 🦋💖You’ve tried shaming yourself. You’ve tried tearing your body down. You’ve tried restricting your calories. You’ve tried exercising to make the day’s indulgences go away. You’ve tried stepping onto scales and buying smaller jeans and comparing yourself to everyone else. Have these methods worked to heal your heart & help your light shine? Have they freed you up to love yourself so fiercely that no amount of pressure from society could ever take that love away? If your worth has been inside of you all along, then the act of finding that worth in a dress size is a futile act. ❤️ It’s time to give up the fight against yourself. It’s time to surrender to a way of being that you’ve never been given permission to exist as before. ❤️You’ve tried self-hate. Why not give some self-compassion a go? Why not give yourself a fucking break for once? And why not try questioning anything you’ve been believing, doing, or embodying that keeps blocking you from the love that flows deeply & endlessly inside. It’s a love that will carry you through the darkest of times and lift you up higher in the lightest of ones. And you deserve – as much as anybody else – to know it in this lifetime. 🎉 #effyourbeautystandards
I don’t give a damn what anyone else has to say about the matter. I am living in a fat body at the moment, and I’m doing so proudly, openly, and blissfully aware of just how radical that choice is. Impossible beauty standards better watch out. The diet industry can kiss my fat ass. The countless institutions trying to profit off of my self-doubt will be sorely disappointed, because I’m no longer buying into them anymore. And I know I’m not the only one.
A self-love revolution is brewing, and I am here for all of it.
So, here’s to shaking the junk in my trunk for the rest of my days. Here’s to letting my arms jiggle, to forgetting about thigh gaps, and to rejecting the notion that I need shapewear underneath any more dresses to keep me tucked in. While the weight loss industry makes billions of dollars with their manipulative tactics, I’ll be over here blasting Lizzo on repeat, wearing clothes that feel good regardless of the size, and feeling my infinite worth no matter how much I weigh.
I have no stinking clue if I’ll be inhabiting a fat body for the rest of my life. And frankly, I don’t care. What I do know is that weight loss will never again be at the heart of what I do to care for myself. My eyes are on the prize, and that prize is spending the rest of my life loving the body I get to call home. She’s been begging me for decades to stop waging a war against her, and she’s been doing a damn fine job at keeping me alive and well. She is the body I will protect, honor, enjoy, and never take for granted again. And she deserves the opportunity to be loved in this lifetime.