PSA: A Reminder to Those Who Have Gained Weight

I know. Your body looks different. It has changed, and along with your life, your jeans fit a little more snugly than you had anticipated. Maybe more than you like. Maybe you hate it.

You were a size X for such a long time, you’d grown accustomed to the shape your skin had taken, and suddenly, you are 10, 20, 50 pounds heavier. Fatter. Sometimes, you might feel discomfort at the thought. Sometimes, it is really fucking hard to deal with. It’s okay to feel that way- I get it. I’ve been there, along with almost every person I know. But just in case you need a little extra push out of that rough spot, (because sometimes “rough” doesn’t cut it, sometimes it just feels impossible) this is for you.

I moved to California at my lowest weight. I reached my highest weight one year later. I was finally in a relationship that I felt comfortable in and I stopped worrying about what NOT to eat. I watched my body change and my partner found new ways of looking at me- as I grew, both figuratively and literally, so did he. I had many revelations that year, though upon reflection, they just feel like common sense I was denied. Some of them include:

Artist: Tara O’Brien (Sparrow and the Fox)

Eating in public does not make you disgusting.
Wearing whatever you want does not make you worthy of negativity.
weighing more than your friends does not make you ugly.
Wearing a larger shirt size than your boyfriend or girlfriend does not make you unworthy of love.
And finally, most importantly,

(*Why was this such a hard concept for me to grasp? Could it be the media telling me I will never be pretty, rich, or thin enough? Could it be my mother’s advice to never wear white/stripes/always suck in my stomach/never slouch since it makes you look “bigger?”
Could it be the fact that I belong to a group (women) that is treated more like a product that needs fixing [exhibit A, B, C, D, E, F, shall I go on?] than actual… You know… People?)

To those who have gained weight, think of the miles, and milestones, you have conquered with each pound. You’ve gotten through so much in that time, you’ve grown, you’ve lived. You are wiser now. Those stretch marks are roadmaps and diary entries, scrapbook memories. Your cellulite is no less beautiful than someone else’s smoother parts. Do you understand? Your dark inner thighs, your ingrown hairs, your bumps, lumps, rolls… They are you. Your body is proof of your life, and you’ve made it this far, so be proud. Most importantly, you are not the sum of your parts- your parts are a sum of you. Without the energy inhabiting that body, it would just be a few dozen pounds of flesh. You make your body everything that it is, and it is no less beautiful, miraculous, and magical than anyone else’s, despite what you have been taught.

The first step is taking ownership, learning to live in your body independently. Do not let others compromise the integrity of your being. Allow yourself room to grow, not only in your mind, but also in your jeans.

Artist: Tara O’Brien (Sparrow and the Fox)

To those who are saying to themselves, “WHAT? This woman is GLORIFYING OBESITY?!” (which I imagine in a confused Hulk voice) I have a reminder for you, as well.
There is no glorifying obesity, as there is no glorifying any body in this society. I am, however, arguing that no body, fat, or rail-thin, or athletic, or super buff, or whatever, is worthy of any hatred, even from the person living inside it. Actually, it’s not an argument, so I suppose that just makes this a statement.

No person deserves to despair over the body they have. We are all exactly perfect human beings, with our varying shapes and sizes and ailments. This article has not a shred to do with the “health risks” you might try to scream at me when I tell women they are not imperfect. I’m not arguing about the health of body fat (though I will!), I’m simply pointing out a fact we all can’t help but ignore, thanks to major marketing campaigns. The fact is, you aren’t terrible for having whatever body type you have. You have the right to love yourself.
Be sure, though, not to confuse this with owing self-love to anyone. That shit is hard, and I’m not about to tell you that you have to feel beautiful to be a feminist, or whatever. You don’t owe me or anyone else, including yourself, that much.
But, if you feel that twinge, that exhaustion from the everyday torture, I want you to know that it’s okay to love yourself. It’s okay to insist on your worthiness. It’s okay to take up space, as much as you need, and then some. The stars, after all, never stop, and forgive me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you made of stardust?

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Callie is a twenty-something professional sex educator, birth doula, body image mentor, and full time waitress. A Portland native, she currently resides in Santa Cruz with her partner in a startling suburban neighborhood. Her favorite possession is her bicycle.

12 thoughts on “PSA: A Reminder to Those Who Have Gained Weight”

  1. I am (glad? relieved? comforted?) to hear the “don’t be seen eating in public” thing is more universal than just me. That has probably been the biggest thing to get over. That voice that is always there, especially at outside events (fairs, carnivals, fire works displays), screaming “No, don’t eat! Those people will see you and every single one of them will turn away in disgust because you do not DESERVE to eat! No food should ever be near your mouth! You should not even BE here. You should live at the gym, and eat no more than 1200 hundred calories a day no matter your health/exertion level!”

    I don’t think I am there yet.

    This is insanely well written. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your sweet words. I’m happy to have written something so relatable, and at the same time, I am so sorry that this resonates with you on that level. It is so hard to exist in this world, because even in the rare instance when it isn’t being hard on you, you’ve been conditioned to be hard on yourself. There is a constant struggle, and while I wish you weren’t having to go through it, I’m happy you are persevering. There is always support out there for you- right here on this website, even. I wish you the most sincere and best of luck ❤

  2. I read this and feel amazed to hear another woman express many of the exact self-hate thoughts that seem to run on a constant loop in the background of my mind talk (the constant dialogue I have with myself.) I cannot think of myself in any way without also immediately denigrating myself. I rarely, for more than 15 years now, even look in a mirror. It’s almost impossible to even write this without including explanations of why I am no longer as small as I was.
    Anyway, you are amazing and I appreciate your message so much.

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