One of my dear friends posted this on Facebook. I have to admit, I teared up while reading it, because it’s true. I’m not a small woman, nor will I ever be. At my smallest, I was a size 12 U.S./ size 16U.K. And, when I was this size I was competing in swimming, as well as weightlifting, and running or biking daily to balance my swimming. I loved how strong and fit I was. But, on the flip side, I felt disgusted with how big I was. I had a mental image of myself as a morbidly obese woman. And, this image wasn’t helped by being considered overweight on the BMI chart.
Then I had an accident. I was carrying too much stuff when I was walking down a few flights of stairs. I took a wrong step and fell down a flight of stairs, severely hurting my ankle and knocking my hips out of place.
After my accident, I obviously couldn’t exercise for quite awhile. That paired with my full time study and work schedule made it easy to ‘forget’ about exercise. Then, when I finally had the time to work out again, I found it difficult and painful. So, I stopped and opted to hide myself behind my studies and food. And, an odd thing happened. I grew more confident with myself. I stopped hating myself for enjoying food. I became comfortable with my curves. I also realised how miserable I had been living such a rationed and deprived life.
Another not so surprising thing happened too when I started to gain weight. I had a harder time finding new jobs. I stopped being asked out on as many dates. Or, if a guy did ask me out, he would try and turn me into a friend with benefits. I also struggled to find fashionable clothes I liked, and was bullied by doctors to lose weight. Needless to say, my newfound self confidence wavered.
When I talked about this with a doctor friend, he asked me why I didn’t lose weight and work on getting back to where I was before my accident. The only response I could think of was that ‘I’m being stubborn.’ I wasn’t going to try and fit into anyone else’s ideal anymore. If/ when I decided to lose weight, I was going to do it for myself.
That stubbornness has been a factor in me not losing weight sooner. For the past few years, I’ve wanted to lose weight. I’ve felt I let myself get too big and I didn’t like how I looked anymore. However, I had liked how I’d looked when I was a size 16 U.S./ 20 U.K., but at a size 22 U.S./26 U.K. I felt bloated.
Still, I struggled with myself about losing weight. I was afraid to. What if I fell into my old habit of self-shaming? What if I started dating someone who wouldn’t want me if I was above a certain size? What if I ended up with saggy skin? No, it was clear to me, that when I decided to lose weight, it had to be for myself.
This article was touching, because I’ve been the woman who has been scrutinised and judged because she’s fat. I’ve been the woman who some men have wanted to keep a secret. I’ve been the woman who hasn’t gotten a job because of her weight. And, now that I’m planning for my own wedding, I’m going to be the woman who is a happy, fat bride. I’m greatful to have learned that my happiness is far more important than being thin.
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