I Am Fat: On Fat Acceptance and Fat Shaming
I am fat. There is no way around it. I am overweight, to a degree that hiding it is not an option. All my life I have struggled with body image issues, and I know that a lot of those come from the bullying and name calling I had to endure as a kid, and especially as a teenager. At school, there was not a day I didn’t get reminded of that I was unattractive because of my weight. I was shamed for my body, and I am still struggling with fat acceptance.
You might think that would change when you are an adult. But the sentiment is the same, the packaging is different. Instead of being called fat right into your face, you get backhanded compliments. Apparently, I am pretty for someone my size. I am brave for wearing sexy clothes. I am so lucky to have gotten married. Someone with my body shape is generally not expected to feel okay with their body, or to have others to find them attractive.
My Body and I
So. I am fat. And I have always been chubby. It started to show already when I was a kid. I was on the chubby side and got bullied at school for it. The reason for my overweight back then was because I used eating as a coping strategy. I was being emotionally, physically and sexually abused on a daily basis. Food helped me with the distress it caused. But it led to my own family pushing me into diets and restricting my food intake. I wasn’t allowed to go to birthday parties because there was cake. Every meal I ate got commented on. Everything I put into my mouth got questioned. And it didn’t matter how much I tried, I was unable to lose the weight. From age 5 to age 22 or so, I must have been on dozens of diets.
Being fat is not fun. And it has nothing to do with any kind of physical issues you get from it. Nope. It is because of how people treat you. It is because of how society limits you. The anxiety and frustration when trying to find decent clothes in your size. The looks on people’s faces when you are out with friends for ice cream. I will never forget that one time I stepped on a bus and a teen my age exclaimed: oh god, look how fat that bitch is. Those things hurt.
And then there are also the assumptions of why you are overweight. Even doctors comment on your weight every time you go and see one, no matter how perfect your numbers are. In 2008 I got pushed to a point where I needed to lose weight. And I did. I went from 120 kg to 60 kg in two years. I lost half of my weight. All by myself, through food restriction and over-exercising. It was not healthy. I ate around 1000 calories a day and exercised an hour, every single day.
Why Are People Fat?
I was diagnosed with bulimia for a while. Unfortunately, I fit all the criteria. But the thing is: I have PCOS, and that was why I was fat. It was not because I was overeating. I was eating like everyone else around me did. Losing weight when you have PCOS needs to go to the extreme for you to be able to get there. Did I like my body more during those years? No. I still felt fat and unattractive. The hanging skin on my body made feel disgusted by myself.
In 2010, I had a major breakdown and my mental health issues took over. I was prescribed terrible medications that made me so sedated that exercise became impossible. And the medications made me gain weight. Rapidly. Antipsychotics have that as a known side effect. I had to helplessly watch my weight go up again. 30 kg in a year.
And then I got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. It is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid that basically makes your thyroid non-functioning. In simpler words: it makes you fat. So I have two (!!!) hormonal illnesses that make me fat.
At this point I am 163 cm short and I weight around 105 kg. There is no chance for me to lose weight in any kind of healthy way. Additionally, my mental illnesses make it impossible to have any kind of routine when it comes to exercise. Still, I probably live much healthier than many of the skinny people out there. I eat around 100 carbs a day. There is no sugar, white bread, pasta, pizza, kebab, chocolate, chips, potatoes, in my diet. I have diabetes and I need to restrict my food intake when it comes to what I put into my body. I have been a vegetarian for a decade now. And I don’t overeat. I am fat because I have illnesses that make me fat.
I don’t like my body, and a lot of it definitely has to do with my weight. From certain angles I look like an unattractive walrus. But I still love to dress up, wear make up. I know what kind of clothes make my body shape look the way I want it to look. I love parts of my body (butt-love!!), others I sometimes can’t even look at in the mirror (my belly). A lot of how I feel about my body comes from the bullying and discrimination I have had to endure all my life. I am fat, yes. But I feel fat because others need to point it out all the time. I am not pretty. It is impressive that I can look good, despite my weight. Those kinds of comments don’t help. They hurt.
I have become more accepting of my body and my shape. I have had some fantastic partners who were and still are, genuinely attracted to me. Sometimes I can look into the mirror and think: well, that is decent. Or I believe it when my Master tells me that I am beautiful. There are moments when he can’t keep his eyes off of me because he is so attracted to me. It is still sometimes hard to believe, that my weight is not a turn off for some.
Yes. Fat people are not always fat because of a lack of self-control, did you skinny people know that? Probably not. A lot of overweight people are at their weight because of medical conditions and medications. And there are a lot of studies out there, that say that women who have been through sexual trauma during childhood, end up being overweight during adulthood. Why? Because they overeat to protect themselves from unwanted attention from men.
So really, if you see a fat person, maybe don’t judge them or try to give them any kind of health advice. You don’t know their story. And even if all they struggle with is eating as a coping strategy, who are we to judge them? Why would you tell them they are unhealthy or unattractive? I don’t understand why you would want to meddle in another person’s life without their consent. I don’t understand why anyone would want to make another person feel upset by telling them they are unattractive. That is rude. Our bodies are not free for all to comment on wherever we go.
I don’t want to be a fat acceptance warrior. And I don’t want to have to fight for people to see that everyone and every body is attractive. I don’t want to be a fetish. I don’t want to have to explain that it is hurtful to make negative comments about other people’s bodies. Be decent and keep your mouth shut if you don’t have anything nice to say. But I also have no choice. I often receive messages on social media, from Fetlife to my private Facebook, where other fat people thank me for being bold and for putting myself out there.
So I have inspired others who fit into the “fat” category to take more raunchy pictures of themselves. I wish that didn’t need to be the response I receive. I wish it was okay for fat people to feel sexy and to dress however they want. But it is not. And until that happens, I am okay with being an inspiration for people of all body sizes to feel more sexy, to feel more confident to put themselves out there. I know that I have a privilege there: I know how to dress, I know how to make myself look good. And I can approach things with a “fuck it” attitude.
I don’t want to identify with my body shape
All I want is to be myself. I don’t want someone to look at me and think: for a fat girl, she is pretty. For a fat girl, she really knows how to dress. For a fat girl, she is really lucky to get laid. Why can’t I be pretty just because I am a person? And why can’t I be good at dressing myself as a woman? Why can’t I just be fuckable because my shape is attractive?
I don’t understand why the epithet “FAT” always needs to be added. Personally, I want to live in a world where that is not the first thing someone thinks about when they see a person who is overweight. I want all shapes and sizes to be normalized. By using epithets like fat, like plus size or full-figured, you exclude a whole group of people. I don’t want to identify with my body shape, so why am I forced to do so?
(I wrote this post from a cis-female perspective. But I hope cis-men and all queer and trans* people who struggle with fat shaming, can also relate)