I know all the words to say “I feel fat” in a kinder, more gentle way. I’m a little chunky, I’m slightly chubbier than I once was. I have mum-spread.
Yet the “than I once was” just happens to have been in my early twenties and for the best part of two decades I’ve bounced between only two dress sizes.
Today I’m “slim”
This means I’m maybe 1.5 inches smaller all over than I was six weeks ago. As someone who puts on and loses weight all across my body with almost military rigidity, I don’t even look any different from one dress size to the next.
Even if I bounced through significant changes in weight I would still be me and I would still be fabulous.
Sure, no one likes having to buy new clothes or feeling tight in their skin. But those 1-2 inches make very little difference to me or anyone else.
Mostly because it’s not unattractive to be carrying extra weight. It’s not unattractive to be any weight. People are beautiful. We have soft skin and wear our emotions on our bodies like little inner glowing colours. Our skin creases in the elbows and ankle. It folds and dimples across tummies and butts. Bones and muscle sit like hard walls, ribs ripple, the corners of our eyes crinkle as we laugh.
Human beings are not formed like canapes or petit fours, identical pieces of perfection to be plucked up by greedy fingers.
This year I’m removing all those words for fat from my vocabulary. I no longer need them. Sure, I need to remain healthy and happy and I’d like to continue wearing the same clothes for another ten years because who needs to Marie Kondo when you can have clutter?
But I’m no longer going to look on “slim” as “mythical happiness with my body” because it’s not even remotely true.
Let’s just stop equating weight with beauty.
Back in the 2000s it became ridiculous, with celebrities fighting hard to outdo each other by being the pinnacle of slenderness to the point of deformity.
Competing to be the thinnest ends with some very unwell people. You don’t want that. I promise.
There’s nothing wrong with naturally carrying less bodyweight, and I salute all those who’ve worked hard on themselves for their looks. But let’s stop making slenderness a tick in the winning at life box. It isn’t.
While we’re at it… guess what… healthy body weights can be all sizes. Through healthy diet and exercise we can all find our natural level but that’s not automatically identikit size ten. Bigger people are still healthy. Smaller people are still unhealthy.
Be the absolute best you can but don’t assume you can’t be healthy if you aren’t fun size.
Let’s also stop saying “you look amazing, did you lose weight?”
It’s a huge achievement to lose weight because you worked hard on healthy living. You probably also look amazing, but hey, you already did look amazing. Why wait until you lose weight to buy new clothes, get your hair cut, and take a million selfies?
Body confidence is for everyone.
Being slim isn’t a status symbol.
Having a slim partner isn’t like having a nice car (and no one in any circumstances should use their partner or their car to validate themselves as a human being anyway!)
That’s not to say I’m going to stop aiming for healthy living and my clothes continuing to fit.
It’s just that I’m not seeing the miniscule amount of bulk I lose as making me more worthy anymore.
I’m no longer equating exactly how big I am or aren’t with how pretty I feel or how much I deserve love and respect as an individual.
Because indirectly, by judging myself in this way I’m judging every single other person in the same way. It’s not a world I want my children to grow up in, and it’s not a world I’m looking forward to growing old in.
I will always strive to be the best version of me I can, but this no longer includes what size dress I fit into.
And while we’re here…
Dresses all fit differently from shop to shop. Their sizes change year on year even. When you patchwork shop from second hand stores and sale racks as much as I do you realise the exact same top three years apart can have a missing centimetre of fabric. There’s no uniformity.
Similarly, each dress is sewn individually. They’re supposed to be the same size for sure but if you’re out by a teeny tiny amount don’t feel you need to pick the same dress in the bigger or smaller size. Pick up a couple of the same size and see. One may have a miniscule more room at the bust, another a slightly more pinched waist.
“I didn’t fit in that one skirt” does not equal “I’m so fat”
I’m not saying don’t lose weight or don’t post photographs of your achievements
But I am saying it’s not the magic answer to suddenly feeling body confident, and it’s certainly not the answer to winning at life.
Slim does not equal success.
January does not equal feeling sad about yourself.
So please, for me, put on some clothing you feel great in, even if it’s a reel of material you wrapped around your shoulders, and take a selfie.
You already look amazing because you already are amazing.