11 Life Lessons I've Learned From Being Plus-Sized
Most days I do pretty well. I feel confident, secure, and healthy. That is, until I pass a mirror, or I look into someone's eyes, and I see judgment and shame reflected back to me.
I'm a plus-sized girl living in a world that celebrates the skinny. There's an enormous amount of pressure from the world to look, be, and act a certain way: different from what I am.
Perfectionism is a silent killer. It robs us of joy, possibilities, and seeing things clearly. In my pursuit of “perfect” I’ve tried to change myself; I spent years in a skinny body, as well as decades in a chubby one. I suffered through eating disorders, all in a vain effort to fit in and to be accepted. To be seen for who I feel I am.
I spent the majority of my life hating my body and being at war with food.
I’ve managed to lose more than 50 pounds, gain back 60, then repeat. This has been my life.
Despite my overweight body, I take care of myself. I love my life. I exercise every day, and most of the time I know I'm doing a good job. But there are days when the shame and guilt take hold. The pressure to be something I am not is enormous. The self-blame takes over and affects my actions.
People treat fat people differently, as if our size is a reflection of our worth. I’ve been on both sides of the weight spectrum. It is amazing how people treat you when you are “thin.” You fit in. People don’t have to feel uncomfortable, and they celebrate your beauty. But at 50 pounds heavier, I'm ignored, hidden, bumped into, and judged.
The thing about fat is it’s wrapped up with everything BUT lazy. Many overweight people try so hard. We try fit in, to be accepted, and be seen for who we really are. We all have hearts, and we all have feelings. The bodies we live are not a reflection of our self-worth, yet we fall victim to the standards of society.
The overweight suffer in silence. Not only do we feel the shame cast onto us by others, but the shame that lives in our head is (for most) a constant attack on self. It's a silent death by daylight.
Even when I feel good about myself, I'm reminded by the pressure of society that I’m not good enough until I shrink four to six more dress sizes.
The thing is, no matter how much self-love I feel, I actually start to believe that I'm broken because I am a chubby one. I allow the world to tell me who I am.
A few months ago I made it my full-time mission to eradicate these false beliefs and truly fall in love with my body. We can spend our whole lives looking for answers outside of ourselves, or we can turn inward and feel what actually feels right in our heart
What if we have it all wrong?
What if the body we live in, no matter its size, is a gift?
What if the way people treat us is a reflection of them, not us?
What if shame and judgment is just a stand-in for lack of love?
What if my body isn't something that needs to be fixed, but the only real thing needing healing is the belief system that fat is wrong?
Every time I visit my doctor, we high five in celebration of my status. I'm as fit as a fiddle and a healthy woman, he says. Yes, I'm overweight, but that doesn’t mean I'm unhealthy or flawed on the inside.
Society seems to look at weight as a problem, but we can never judge a person by their outside. Ever.
For today, I may be overweight, but that doesn’t make me less of a person. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. For the overweight and suffering, self-approval is what we seek. Love yourself, and you'll be free.
Here are essential life truths I learned from my beautiful plus size body:
1. People will only accept you when you accept yourself.
2. What others say and do is a reflection of them, not you.
3. No one can make you feel "less than" without your permission.
4. We only see what we want to see, when we are ready to see it.
5. Happiness comes from inside, not the outside.
6. The size of your body does not make you less of a person.
7. You are as beautiful as you allow yourself to feel.
8. The size of my body does not determine what you are capable of. Your heart and mind do.
9. You can never judge a persons insides by their outsides.
10. You're bigger than your body.
11. How you feel is more important than how you look.
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