January, for me, is by far the worst time of the year to be plus size...summer is a close second but January is the time of the month where you are bombarded with messages and unsolicited weight loss advice from well meaning family members or random strangers who feel the desperate need to tell you exactly what worked for them and how it can work for you too... Seriously!? As if you really need to be told about eating less and moving more...AGAIN! Or like you haven't tried or at least heard of every known diet on the entire planet by this point!
My 'Thanks but no thanks' attitude is usually met with frustration or pity at the mess I’ve become which is upsetting and makes me rage at societies narrow ideas of beauty and health but what’s more upsetting and worrying for me is the staggering amount I’m fat shamed at the doctors. I’ve had many reason to be seen by a doctor over the past five years all completely unrelated to my weight. I’ve had two difficult pregnancies and complications both physical and mental due to breastfeeding and a body that’s never fully healed after two Caesarean sections (also known as major abdominal surgery!)
In the many visits to the doctors my ailments have included but are not limited to... pain in my abdomen after surgery number one and two, anxiety, depression, pain in my breasts when feeding, pain in my breasts when stopping feeding, pain in my back from pregnancy complications, sleep deprivation and discussing contraception options. During these appointments my weight has fluctuated but has always been what modern society considers overweight.
I’ve seen several doctors over this time and in almost all occasions I have been fat shamed during each appointment. Talking about my postpartum low mood and depression? Let’s talk about the fact you're morbidly obese on this one size judges all BMI chart. Talking about contraception options? Let’s first talk about how we can get your weight down. Breastfeeding, sleep deprivation issues, pain from two surgeries? BMI, MORBIDLY OBESE, MUST LOSE WEIGHT!!
Don’t get me wrong, I get it... there isn’t much that can’t be someway improved by deep nutrition at a cellular level, fresh air and stretching your body, but that’s not the point is it? No doctor has advised me to get on a deep nutrition and vitamin regime. No, they tell me to eat less of the food I’m already eating and run off any additional calories however I can. They tell me to weigh my food and count what i'm putting in versus how much of it I can sweat off.
They don't care about how counting calories and steps is one beat away from a full blown eating disorder for me. In fact they have never once asked me if I suffer from an eating disorder in the first place. They don't care. To them fat will always mean unhealthy but while they’re preoccupied with my weight they are not dealing with any of the issues I’ve asked them for help with.
When I leave I wonder...do they speak to people who are underweight like this? What about people who are of average weight but exist on a diet of booze, jelly sweets and the occasional carb (I know a few, love you gals!) When they go in complaining of declining mental health, anxiety and/or depression do they stop the conversation and talk about their diet? Do they tell them to count steps and exercise? Or do they offer them the help that they really need? Do they listen to what they actually say rather than judge them based on how their body looks?
We are told morbidly obese people die all the time from, well, being morbidly obese... but I’m left wondering do some of us die because people are so busy talking about our weight they’re not listening to what we are actually saying?
A few days ago in the middle of being fat shamed by someone I know very well taking the time to giving me unsolicited advice with my best interests in mind (insert eye roll here) I got up and walked out and drove home. For the first time in my life I thought I’m better than this! I love myself too much and i've come too far to sit and listen to this negative shit. You can talk to me about my weight and my body NEVER.
I don’t care if you used to be fat and miserable and now you have found the secret cure and you’re thin and healthy and loving life. I don’t care about your new diet or exercise plan or sober/vegan/carb free/all meat all the time/500 calorie miracle exercise diet pan....YOU DON’T GET TO COMMENT ON MY BODY. MY BODY IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS.
I’m happy for you if you’ve found peace in your life, happiness in your soul and love and strength in your body. Genuinely if you’ve found that congratulations! I’m so deeply happy for you, achieving that in today’s society is truly special.
But here is the truth as I see it, all bodies are different and ALL bodies are beautiful. It is in our varying ethnicities, skin tones, body shapes big, small and worn where the beauty, magic and wonder can be found. I'm not interested in forcing my body into the painfully narrow and cripplingly unachievable beauty ideals held in popular culture today. Physically and mentally I just can't.
Weight loss is a journey for some of us, we lose a bit, we gain a bit but through it all we need to be allowed to love ourself at every stage of our journey because that journey is our WHOLE life! I refuse to believe that my body is any less desirable or sexy because todays society has packaged it as TOO big and TOO unhealthy. My body is perfect just the way it is, fuck what the BMI chart says. It doesn't know me! It doesn't care about the subtle nuances of my body or my past experiances, it just declares me morbidly obese and I don't even get to defend myself. Well fuck you BMI chart. Not this year!
Our problems, be they physical or mental, are not ALL related to our weight! (although some may like you to believe that) Your feelings are valid! It's OK to eat when you're hungry and even when you're not and it's ok if you are unable to exercise! It’s OK to love yourself at ANY weight, in fact if you only make one New Year's resolution then make it this:
“I (insert name here) promise to love myself. At any weight! My weight does not define my beauty. I am beautiful. I have worth. I demand respect. I love me!”
And if you can’t love yourself, if you can’t physically and mentally get yourself to a place where you can say “I love me” then I’ll do it for you! You are beautiful, your imperfections make you perfect! I love you just the way you are!! YOU HAVE WORTH 🖤
Good luck out there this month my plus sized warriors! Don’t take no shit off nobody!