I’ve always been a “big girl” and I think I’m finally ok with that

I’ve been called just about every body shaming name in the book – thunder thighs, fat, overweight, fatty, chunky, rolly polly, big girl, fasto, heavy, plump, heavy-set, etc. I got so used to being body shamed as a kid that I just stopped even fighting against it and internalized it as something that was just who I was. But I always knew that the judgement had an implicit edict behind it: you can do something about being fat if you would just work harder. Ah! There are the magic words to an overachieving perfectionist – work harder! Achieve! Be perfect! Ok, I’m on it.

So, after high school when I wasn’t fat because I played five sports at a time, I went to university and got really, really sick in my first year. I lost a ton of weight by NOT EATING for weeks on end. Then I got really skinny. Wow, what a miracle cure that was. The problem with this was that I started eating again once I felt better. Dammit. So then I went to grad school and the weight started to creep on so I joined the gym across the street from me and got into the best shape of my life. I mean I was cut. I could do a chest press with 25 pound weights. It was fierce. Then I moved back to Vancouver to do my Ph.D. and my life fell apart the first time. I became so depressed that I was prescribed antidepressants for the first time. Boy, if you’ve ever wanted to gain weight quickly, start taking really terrible anti-depressants. Many if not most of these medications at this time (2003/2004) caused significant weight gain. Many of these still do but some are better than others.

So my weight started to balloon up and I haven’t been able to control it since. I have tried everything: fasting (e.g. selective starvation), Weight Watchers, keto, South Beach, Body for Life, low carb, no carb, no sugar, juicing, more Weight Watchers and eating clean. All to basically no success. When I say no success, I mean, it works when you do it, you try so hard to lose weight it’s all you think about, and then when you stop, all the weight comes back and then some. That’s the kicker, that your body punishes you for losing weight by gaining more.

So last year I stopped dieting. I haven’t weighed my food, I don’t count my calories or points. I said fuck it. And in the last year, I have gone to 80 spin classes, sweat my guts out, worked harder physically than I have since I was a teenager and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since 2001. I don’t diet, I spin. So when people look at you with that face that says, “you’re so pretty too bad you’re not thin”, just remember: people can body shame you, but you can change the way you think about your body and what it can do. We can be bigger and do triathlons. We can be chunky and full of rolls and kill an hour long Wheelhouse class. We can be full figured and kick butt at cross-fit or weight lifting. This overweight lady did it and so you can you. xo Janet

Published by Janet Gwilliam-Wright

Feminist and queer. Professional teller of truths. Slayer of personal demons.

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