My body has taken several different forms throughout my life. I’ve been the lanky kid, the chubby girl, the awkwardly lumpy tween, the malnourished and starving teenager who failed to see her own beauty, the curvy collegiate, the heavy 20something, the briefly toned bride, and now the fat woman in her 30s. And even with the growing movement of body acceptance, living in my fat body has been the hardest of all. Here’s why us big girls still have it so rough:
People still think “fat” is an insult.
Fat is not an insult. We need to stop giving this word the power to decimate our self-esteem. It’s nothing more than a descriptive term, like “tall.” It doesn’t define your soul, or your self-worth. Own the word, take its negative power away and make it your own.
Even your friends and family don’t seem to get it.
Sometimes people are losers and criticize people they don’t even know on just their looks. When this has happened to me, my wonderful, sweet friends come to my defense and say, “No, you’re not fat! You look sooo skinny.” And while I love them to pieces, that’s not what I’m looking for. I’m not bothered by the size of my body. I’m bothered by the jerk who tries to make me feel like that’s all I am. I am way more than just my dress size.
People police your food choices.
They pay attention to what you order, how much of it you eat, and whether or not you also order dessert. Luckily, I’ve never heard the, “Are you sure you wanna eat that?” garbage, but I have heard, “Wow, good for you!” It’s this passive-aggressive non-praise that says, “You really shouldn’t eat that, but you’re doing it anyway! Wow, you’re courageous!” GTFO.
You feel invisible.
People look right through you, which is funny when you think about it because as a fat girl, I’m obviously a larger target for the eyes to land on. But if you reach a certain level of thickness, some folks don’t think your presence is even worth acknowledging. These folks are idiots.
And sometimes you want to stay hidden.
Because society has spent eons shaming women when their beautifully unique bodies don’t look like everyone else’s, body anxiety can make you want to hide inside a large hoodie and hope nobody notices you. It’s the worst feeling in the world.
Everyone assumes you’re sick.
When you reach a certain weight, it’s like everyone suddenly has a medical degree and can tell how unhealthy you are just by looking at you. Wrong. There are extremely unhealthy thin people, just like there are extremely healthy fat people. And unless you’re my doctor and have my bloodwork and medical history in front of you, don’t you DARE tell me I’m unhealthy.
Clothing options are limited.
Very few brands know how to dress big girls. Most give it a shot but fail miserably by making every item fit like a loose sack. This is changing, though, since the average American woman is now a size 16. It’s time brands met the needs of their customers instead of creating some idiotic body ideal that we should all meet.
You are not accepted as you are – only as what you could be if you lost the weight.
Some people don’t see you as you are. They see you as a work-in-progress, and “if only you did (fill in trendy fitness activity here), you would become smokin’ hot!” But what about who I am right now? What if I like this version of myself? Can you accept that? Because I sure can.
Your confidence is shocking to some people.
How can you have any semblance of confidence if you’re overweight? This is something that will baffle people. They’ll assume you’re only fat because you’re depressed or there’s something else that’s seriously wrong. But you love you, so they can join the club or GTFO.
Summer is miserable.
Two words: Chub rub. I’ve never had nor wanted a thigh gap, and most of the time I don’t even think about what life would be like if my thighs weren’t inseparable BFFs. Summertime is the exception. They rub, they touch, they sweat simultaneously, and all of it is unbearably awful.
You’re always expected to settle.
Why are fat people always expected to settle? Maybe it isn’t said to us directly, but we all know the tone — the surprise from friends when you aren’t worried about getting a date, or the unshakable drive when you expect the corner office because you’re a badass at work and coworkers give you a half smile paired with a head tilt and an, “Aww, really?” Just… no.
It’s assumed that you’re extremely lazy.
Friends and acquaintances are often surprised to hear that I work out and do yoga regularly. Because if I’m fat, I must be a lazy slug that never gets off the couch, right? Nope. This is just my body right now, and as long as I feel strong, I don’t care what shape I am.
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