- My weight loss might not be permanent. Statistically speaking, it won’t be. My weight has fluctuated my whole life. Before I got back on Weight Watchers a couple months back — before I decided that I needed to make some kind of change, to feel some slight sense of control over my body — I was around the heaviest I’ve ever been. But I had been there before. And yes, I feel more confident about keeping the weight off now, because instead of focusing solely on dieting, which is what I’ve done in the past, I’ve made significant lifestyle changes. But are those lifestyle changes sustainable? That’s impossible to say.
- I am worthy of your attention and kindness at any size. Compliments are hard. Don’t get me wrong — I love them, I crave them, please never stop. But if you tell me how good I look now, I’m going to hear how bad I looked before. Heavier me was still me: The only real difference between us is that he walked a lot less and ordered a lot more late-night sushi. Please be aware of how you treat fat people. Please be aware of how you talk about fat people. It is not easy to love and feel connected to your body when people are constantly telling you, directly or otherwise, that your body is broken and wrong and not worth loving.
- I am still fat. And that’s fine. The BMI — which is deeply, deeply flawed, mind you — defines me as overweight. I’d have to lose a substantial amount more to be considered a “healthy weight.” I may not get to that point. Even then, my body will likely not be up to certain people’s standards. At my thinnest, I was rejected by men over my weight. I don’t think my body is built to shrink down to a size they would consider attractive. That’s fine, too. There’s nothing wrong with being fat. “Fat” is not a bad word. Consider why it has negative connotations for you, if it does. It shouldn’t.
- Losing weight has not solved my problems. Losing weight will not solve yours either. Yes, a more active lifestyle — along with getting ample sleep and taking care of yourself in other ways — will likely make you feel better in many ways. But it won’t cure your depression or make your job any less stressful or repair your relationships. It might not even have much of an impact on the way you feel about your body. I am still working to push past all of my negative self-perception. If you want to discover unnoticed physical flaws, lose some weight. You’ll be amazed to learn how many new things you can fixate on. (This is why it’s more important to work on loving and appreciating your body as it is than on trying to “fix” it.)
- I can’t tell you how to lose weight. I am not a weight loss expert, and I don’t want to be. I would rather tell you how to talk back to negative thoughts, or methods of self-care, or why it’s important to not try to mold yourself into someone else’s idea of what you should look like — I am not an expert on these things either, but I certainly have more experience with body image struggles and self-doubt than I do with weight loss. I also know how much more important it is to change your thoughts than to change your body. I am still learning to love myself. I get a little better at it every day. My progress on that front means more to me than the number on the scale.
- I don’t need your unsolicited advice or opinion. I don’t want to know what weight loss plan worked best for you, because I know what’s working best for me. I don’t need you to explain the psychology behind binge-eating in my @-replies. I don’t need you cheering me along, because even though I know you mean well, I am not running a marathon and there’s really not a finish line to cross. I don’t need to know that you think I’m fat or that you think I’m not fat; I don’t need any comment on my body at all, especially if you’re not someone I have a relationship with. I like hugs, though.
- It is not easy for me to talk about this. I do it because writing is how I process my feelings and anxiety. I feel compelled to share what I’m going through, and sometimes that means talking about the salted caramel brownie I just ate and sometimes that means talking about how I’m not really eating salted caramel brownies these days. I never want anyone to think that what I choose to do with my body is a reflection on anyone else’s body. I never want to be thought of as a traitor to the cause of fat positivity. I get nervous whenever a young person comes to me for advice, because I am not a role model. I am just doing my best at doing what’s right for me.
- I miss salted caramel brownies.