I am a “bigger” woman. I am bigger than most, but not big enough to be considered obese. BMI has controlled my life for all my adult years, always striving to be 25 and below. Truth is; I haven’t been below 25 since I was 16.
But is being skinny, or "ideal" weight really the most important thing a woman can achieve?
I was slim a few times in my life, most notably in 2015, when I lost 21kg in 6 months. I thought I looked amazing, everyone else thought so too. People gushed about how wonderful I looked, clothes I hadn’t been able to wear before were now beckoning me in the stores. I was getting all the attention from family, friends and colleagues. People wanted to know what I was doing, how often I was training, what I ate, and the most asked; “So what does hubby think?”
I would smile and thank them for the compliments; that is what I was meant to do, right? My parents couldn’t get enough of how skinny I was. My weight had been an issue to them since I was 18. I posed in pictures, smiling and wondering how I was able to do it in such a short space of time. Inside my head, I was screaming. I was miserable. And hungry.
Fast forward a few months, I started picking up weight again. People couldn’t wait to tell me. Every event was filled with comments like, wow, are you still dieting? I wanted to run away. It was humiliating. I felt like a failure, like someone who had won a gold medal, but it was declared null and void.
Two years later, I am “big” again. I see how differently my family treats me when they see me. Always trying to force me to eat salads and try this eating plan or that recipe. Asking me if I’m really hungry. “Your jeans look tight, your uniform looks tight, your breasts are huge. You can’t cut your hair like that because it doesn’t suit fat girls. Leggings? Really?”
In all honesty, I’m happier now than I was when I was skinny. I like my curves, the way my jeans hold my butt, I like that I’m not feeling deprived of everything I enjoy. My confidence has never been better. I see clothes as way of adorning oneself, not forcing me to conform to a size which is typically unrealistic to me.
My weight does not define me as a woman, or a mother, or an employee. Oh and another thing: in a world where so many people are horrible humans, bad parents, abusers, rapists, drug addicts, alcoholics, liars and thieves; is being overweight the worst thing a woman can be?