You Say I've Let Myself Go — I'm Sorry, Who Asked You?

by Holly Garcia
Originally Published: 
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More and more face-to-face interaction and in-person work in the office means we lose the comfort of stretchy pants, oversized tees, and all the glory these pandemic styles guarantee. Fuck. Nothing is more likely to make you aware of your changing figure (also referred to as the quarantine 15) than putting on pants. Yes, real pants. But you know what, y’all, we survived (are still surviving) a global fricking pandemic. We all get brownie points — and sometimes, actual brownies — for that.

While the focus should be on how incredible it is that we made it through some of the toughest times while somehow not losing our ever-loving minds, there will always be those people who find a way to sneak in a comment about what matters least, like weight gain. There are a million-and-two more important things to focus on than the quarantine 15 (or 20, or 30). Seriously, there is no way weight should be in this conversation. And yet, here I am, writing about this tomfoolery.

Of course, the people making these comments likely didn’t arrive at this conclusion totally by themselves. The diet industry is primed and ready to take advantage of every little insecurity we have about our bodies. Especially after a global upset that no one thought they’d see in this lifetime. You can’t turn on the TV, watch a YouTube video, or listen to the radio without having a new program to lose weight shoved down our throat. And y’all, I am not here for it.

Let’s Ditch the Concept of the “Quarantine 15”

Honestly, comments around my body used to cause me to burst into tears (in the privacy of my own home, of course). But after this past year, instead of tears, I rage. Why is my body so important to you that you feel like you have the right to make a comment about it? Last summer, when I started hearing the phrase “quarantine 15” floating around, I was absolutely enraged. I mean, COME ON, PEOPLE. We were only four or so months into the first wave of the pandemic but never mind that. Summer was coming. So if you had gained weight (15-or-so pounds as the phrase called out), you had no time to waste.

There is nothing that screams toxic diet culture more than focusing on your physical aesthetic instead of, you know, surviving a global pandemic. Emotional and mental health be damned. Truly, let’s not worry about contracting Covid at all costs. The real concern is whether or not you’re losing weight. Y’all. Do you know how ridiculous this sounds?

I mean, I get it. The entire world feels like it’s out of control. There is nothing you can do to stop what’s going on, and frankly, it’s terrifying. Unfortunately, the people who promote diet culture know this. All of the gurus of the world know you’re looking for the one thing you can zone in on to make you feel like you’re in control of something. Do they opt to speak on mindfulness and mental health? Of course not. Instead of calling out the importance of feeling comfortable in your own skin and having grace, they capitalize on your insecurity. Shocking, I know.

We’ve been told a million times over to get ready for swim season. Or to follow this meal plan because then all your friends will compliment you about how good you look. I don’t care if negative comments about your physical appearance are meant to help motivate you or if they are well-intentioned. The bottom line is, your body is no one else’s concern. No commentary is needed.

Who TF Asked You?

I was recently the recipient of the well-meaning comment, “Is everything okay? You just, it seems like you kind of don’t care, like you’ve just let yourself go.” It’s masked in concern, but y’all, I’m calling bullshit. First are foremost, did I ask for your unsolicited opinion on my appearance and body? No, I most certainly did not. So why do you feel like it’s necessary to share your thoughts?

Secondly, if you really want to know how I’m doing, then the question actually is, “Is everything okay?” Period. Ask that. There are a million ways you can ask me about how I’m doing while leaving my weight and body out of it. Now, this feels like a loaded question to me because of my history with disordered eating and terrible body image. Certainly, a stranger on the street won’t know that. But here’s the thing — why don’t we normalize not commenting on other people’s bodies? We live in a society that associates our worth with our physical appearance, so breaking the habit is easier said than done.

Let’s start by striking “quarantine 15” from our conversations — along with the freshman 15, baby weight, and, well, the list goes on and on. You know what I’m getting at. If you should encounter an obnoxious human who asks why you’ve let yourself go, make sure to let them know about the most brilliant, easy, guaranteed way to lose weight that you’re into. It’s called dropping them, as a person in your life.

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