“You’ve put on weight”…
I recently heard these words for the first time in my adult life, as I approached the mid-twenties. It was initially amusing and, to be honest, exciting. I’ve always been a skinny person, and I’ve been the target of snide, sometimes envious, or observant remarks made by others to emphasize the need for me to eat more and gain weight, or because they wanted to know the secret behind my slim frame. As a result, hearing the words, you’ve put on weight, that had been a long time coming felt like Christmas had arrived early. Until it didn’t. #Sigh.
First, I started to notice the changes in places I didn’t like. Okay, let me clarify. This is not to suggest that there’s anything wrong with being plus sized, after all, bodies come in all shapes and form, and all bodies are beautiful, revolutionary. However, in my own case, being quite the skinny pea that I was, the changes at a point moved too quickly. Everybody noticed, and I noticed, and my clothes, too, noticed. I began to resent hearing comments about my weight gain, and I felt a twinge of sadness each time I had to donate yet another of my favorite clothes because they no longer fit. *Cries in wardrobe budget.
Truth is, many women have experienced this struggle— maybe you are like me; one minute you’re skinny, the next you’re not, and then have to deal with your stylist’s reprimanding look each time you come in for fittings. There are other ways the body can just morph, become this strange new thing you have to re-acquaint yourself with. For some, its sudden adult-set acne, hair chipping out the edges, an unexplained and unending bloated-ness, stiffness, let’s not even talk about the back or body pains. It’s a never-ending cycle of trying to fit into what our ideas of what our bodies are supposed to be.
I’m glad I caught myself early when I first started to slip into this body resentment. What did I do to manage it? I simply accepted that this was my new body—thick, beautiful, and perfect just as it was. I’ve accepted the possibility that I’ll never return to my old body, and now I have grown to love this body temple of mine, showering it with love, affection, and new clothes that it deserves. I look in the mirror and love my body more and more each day; I joke with my friends about going from a size 6 to a size 10 from a place of acceptance. This is one of those adjustments that many women, including myself, may face at some point in her life. Learning to love, nurture and accept the body you live in. Of course, this includes eating right and exercising is transformational, for me at least.
Now instead, anytime I get the “You’ve added weight” comment, I smile back at them instead and respond, “I like it here,” with a genuineness that I feel. Are you experiencing any changes in your body? If so, how are you dealing with it?