You are not your weight, high or low

30 Jul

Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a worrying trend: I’ve seen at least four women apologising for trying to lose weight. All four are plus size bloggers, and seem to feel that wanting to lose weight is betraying the work they and their colleagues have done to advance fat acceptance and body positivity.

This needs addressing. Body positivity is about being happy with the body you have, not carrying on having a body you are unhappy with because you’re worried people will think you’ve ‘sold out’.

I understand all the issues around this, and after chatting on twitter it seemed I wasn’t the only person to notice this. The same couple of things popped up as I chatted more, and it all boiled down to the following;

  1. It might look as if I think there is something wrong with being fat
  2. It gives ammunition to people who think underneath our positivity we’re all unhappy with being fat – “I’m scared people will accuse me of not loving myself & my body.”

Neither of these arguments hold weight, and here’s why – being body positive, as we should all know, is nothing to do with what other people think. If we don’t listen to what they say when we’re trying to love our fat bodies, why should we listen to what they say when our body is changing?

If someone puts on weight, I say nothing, and if they lose weight, I say nothing. Giving notice to either of these events means I notice their body, and not them.

A body positive attitude is taking control and ownership of YOUR body, and if you’re not happy with it being above a certain weight, it is actually OK to do something about it. If you’re not allowing yourself to eat in a certain way because you’re concerned about how a group of people will react, then aren’t you just being bullied into looking a certain way by a whole new group of people?

Eight years ago, I lost 8 stone, on purpose, because I wanted to adopt a baby. My goal weight would mean by BMI was still at the top end of average, and my goal clothing size was an 18. I was told I had to lose weight to adopt a baby, and at that time that was what I wanted, so I did it. I didn’t make any apologies about it, and I shared what I was doing a lot, mainly because I was excited about being a mother, and also because I didn’t realise losing weight wasn’t as difficult as I thought.

I didn’t end up adopting a baby, obviously, and I ended up putting back on all the weight. I was kind of annoyed about it, but only because I had some kick-ass size 20 clothes. During the whole weightloss thing, I loved my body for the first time in my whole life. It wasn’t because it was smaller, but because I OWNED it. It was fit, vital, and in perfect working order, as well as being a size 20.

Because of that experience, I know it’s possible to be fat and healthy, and I know I’ll always love my body. I still love it now it’s much fatter, because I know it’s mine, it works, and without it I couldn’t do the things I love.

Recently the doctor told me I need to stop drinking and lose weight, or I’m going to die young. There was a time when he would say that, and I wouldn’t care, but this time I did. I don’t want to die yet, I have loads more stuff to get done. I have to finish that colouring book project for a start… So I stopped drinking, and I’m eating better, because I have to lose weight. It’s not that I want to, but I will, because my weight doesn’t define me.

‘No diet talk’ to me means I don’t want to hear how fat you think you’ve got, even though you still fit into a size 10, because that makes me think you’re judging me for wearing a size 28. Trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you have to be one of those people who talks about low fat food, but it also doesn’t mean that if you do talk about it you’re perpetuating diet culture. Telling me you found something which tastes really good and is low in fat is about health, not weightloss or size.

I love my body now – and I’ll continue to love it if it expands, and when it contracts. If this is betraying some fat pride logic, so be it

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this too – comment below, or tweet me.

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6 Responses to “You are not your weight, high or low”

  1. Cheryl 30/07/2013 at 12:48 pm #

    I was once almost 13 stone almost 6 stone too heavy for my 5 foot frame I lost the weight after a guy in a car stopped to let me cross the road then mouthed hurry up you fat cow at me. I was in my mid 20,s then but this wasn’t the first time I had been judged by my weight, a friend of my fathers, a school teacher no less, regularly addressed me as slim I was too young to recognise the sarcasm at that time and too shy to ask why he called me that. The ironic thing is my joy at being slim a size 6-8 was short lived as that was the time that I suffered the worst anxiety and depression of my life, suddenly I was the focus of attention for being slim and attractive to people who didn’t know me and being too thin and not the person my family and friends knew and recognised. Almost housebound for 2 years, for the first time in my life my weight was the last thing on my mind, I did however throw away my scales and have never possessed another set, I refused to be a slave to the numbers on a dial and the calories on a box of food as I believed this had contributed to my anxiety and depression. However although my weight still fluctuates greatly and I would liked to believe that I,m not defined by the size label on my clothes, I have and believe I always will have feelings of being judged for my size. I wish I could love my body I know I should it has never let me down I have 3 gorgeous children and have never had any illness other than my mental health. One day maybe I will, I just hope its not too late by then as life is too short.

    • peskychloe 30/07/2013 at 2:55 pm #

      Your body has given you your three gorgeous children, the human body is amazing. I had a Lomi Lomi massage and it made me love my body even more, because she was so excited by how amazing bodies are. I really hope you can find some peace with your body soon

  2. Angela 30/07/2013 at 6:32 pm #

    Thanks for writing this Chloe. I am trying to lose weight at the moment, but I have felt like some kind of traitor almost to the body positive movement. It made me feel torn. Reading this has helped me put things into perspective. Thanks.

    • peskychloe 30/07/2013 at 6:33 pm #

      Thank you – this is exactly why I wrote it

  3. Another thank you from me Chloe. I’m trying to lose weight for exactly the same reasons – my health. I have a back problem that I was born with and it’s got progressively worse over the last few years, even more so since last bubba. After seeing my Mum at the end on SO much pain medication I am trying my hardest to fend off that starting so I think losing some weight would help out my poor old back a bit – I’m also teaching myself yoga via the Wii (can’t afford proper lessons) and I’ve got to say – that’s helping a lot. I really notice when I don’t do it (I can barely walk on those days!)

    I’m so fed up of the way people are about weight. My middle daughter gets it from the other end of the scale, she’s 12, nearly 13 and stick thin – a size 6 but almost my height (6’10) , I mean you can see her bones in her rib cage and everything. We get snotty comments from her Dad asking if we’re feeding her. She gets comments at school saying she’s anorexic. She’s not – she’s just got a fast metabolism I think and she’s very active – a couple of girls in my family are like it. We give her exactly what we eat – we’re almost vegetarian so eat tons of veggies and Quorn along with the occasional chicken and we also tell her to help herself to fruit or the bars we have in the fridge (like cake bars or Blue Ribands)but it gets her down when people comment. Why do people feel they have the right no matter what the size. Argh.

  4. 5′ 10 not 6′ 10 😉 Angry typing. Whoops.

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