Weighing In on The Great ‘Weight Debate’

Weight – one of a handful of insanely touchy topics that gets churned about in the deep-bellied melting pot of modern society’s hottest debates.

We have all seen the size-zero models and ‘Photoshopped’ celebrities that adorn the covers of our lifestyle and gossip magazines alike, all listened as people snigger behind the backs of the obese, who sometimes battle to do things like walk without effort or fit neatly onto a chair and finally, we have all seen (or, in some cases, been) the schoolchild teased on the playground or during sports activities because they carry too much ‘puppy weight’.

We’ve most likely all had questions like, “Does this make me look fat?” or “I’ve lost x-amount of weight… is it noticeable to you?” fired at us, both as men and women alike.

And most of us have, at some stage of our lives, been a bit pudgy or hit the gym in the hopes of shedding a few unwelcome pounds.

Nowadays, most people that know or meet me might find it hypocritical for me to say to someone who’s a bit overweight and trying to lose a few extra kilos, “Stop worrying about your weight so much.”

After all, most of my clothes, even the ones bought during the past two years, have a tendency to fall off me and I can easily feel and count each of my ribs with the lightest touch of my fingertips. In fact, my chest region now has bones I never even knew belonged there prior to 2012. (Writer’s Note: I was dreadful at Biology in high school and mostly, I used to accept that we just have lots of lovely bones to hold our vital organs in place and keep us from visibly falling apart.)

At this point, many of you will be feeling one of two things: faint repulsion – or envy.

For the envious ones that assume it must surely be great to be like that, I have this to say: Actually… not so much, hey.

I kind of miss the once-thick layer of skin that used to cover my chest and ribcage – though, like many of my female counterparts, I wouldn’t necessarily mind shaving a layer or two off of my thighs, if only there was a way to do it without having to first endure some barbaric and costly surgical procedure or other.

I also wish that my bones didn’t jut out so sharply in random places now, thus causing them to actually poke into me when I sit on or lean against certain surfaces for long periods of time.

And I cringe when I put  on most older outfits 99.9% of the time… My once-beloved and oldest pair of so-called ‘skinny’ jeans?

They look and indeed, fit like a pair of baggy jeans – and it is not complimentary in any way, thank you very much!

I’ve never been the kind of girl that dons overly tight or clingy clothing but virtually none of my clothes hug my body in the way that, even just occasionally, I would like for them to anymore.

It’s like my clothes are constantly in the process of divorcing themselves from my body and I, like a helpless spouse, am almost powerless to stop them and yes, it’s amusing up until the point where I run the very considerable risk of stripping in public… and for free to boot.

Now, someone that is double my size probably feels that I have no right to say that being thinner is just not as fun as people make it out to be or to stubbornly argue that it can, in actual fact, be just as embarrassing as being overweight.

Sure, no one enjoys being told, “You look fat in that!” but I can assure you it’s not always necessarily pleasant to have people look at you and announce that you look too thin or “need to put on more weight”.

To some of you, it probably even ‘stretches’ (pun intended) belief to have me tell you that a state of thinness does not automatically equate to a state of happiness.

Fair enough… I’d grant you that if I had always been bony or thin as a rake like some of the more ‘fortunate’ people but here’s the thing: I was not.

From the ages of eight to eleven, I was no waif of a child. I got  teased in primary school by some of my supposed closest friends (and even loved ones) and during this time, I was frequently called “fat” or was conscious of the people around me making insinuations about my weight.

As a result, I went from being a chubby child with a healthy enough self-confidence to one who began to stress about something I shouldn’t have even been thinking about until my teen years at the earliest and what’s more, I began to experiment with dieting and, at times, harshly pushed myself to exercise… I was nine at the time.

By the time I was twelve, my body had lost the weight quite naturally as I had matured, as is the case with many ‘tweens’ but the damage had been done… My self-esteem had long since hit rock-bottom and I’ve been struggling, and largely failing, to raise it to an acceptable level ever since.

My weight still flunctuated during my teen years but gradually I became accepted and indeed, grew to accept my body type and its accompanying weight.

I am twenty now and yes, Praise the Lord, for I am indeed thinner and I give myself some small credit for the way I’ve shaped-up physically because I overcame my lazy ways and found the motivation to exercise properly and eat/drink as healthily as possible most of the time.

I have also reached the understanding and acceptance that, due to certain factors like my individual genetic composition and height, there are certain aspects I can and cannot change about my body and I am perfectly all right with that – but being ‘smaller’ now hasn’t made me as happy with my looks as I once foolishly thought it would do.

The hopes of feeling great and perfectly at ease in my own skin that
I imagined I would obtain when and if I reached a lighter weight (or even just a body with more muscle and less flab or fat) haven’t quite materialised, my self-esteem is as deplorable, if not more so, now than it was a few years ago and I still struggle to feel good about myself and the way I look – despite the fact that there’s considerably less padding about and on my person today.

It’s quite a personal thing to confess, as much of the content of this article has been, but I am okay with sharing it because I am in no way ashamed of the experiences I have faced to get ‘here’ physically but I do regret being so hard on my poor body and I wish I could have been more content with its shape and proportions much sooner in life.

I don’t think I’ll ever be as petrified of gaining weight or, if that should indeed happen, as desperate to lose it as I once was and I’m perfectly okay with the fact that it literally saddens and pains me to see or hear people – whether young or old, male or female or skinny or fat – berating themselves for not being ‘thin’ enough when, in reality, when I look at them, all I see is someone of a healthy or even ‘ideal’ weight.

Nevertheless, few things raise my shackles faster than a skinny person, who has the audacity to tell someone that’s slightly overweight or even obese, what they should wear, what they must eat/drink or how they should condition their bodies.

What right do you have to tell them they need to eat less or exercise more? Chances are you are just as unfit as them – but you are blessed to appear fitter purely because you’re naturally slimmer.

Similarly, it bothers me when a person of a more stable or considerable weight tries to tell a very thin individual that they’re ‘lucky’ to look the way they do and that they should be grateful.

I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful to be able-bodied and, as far as I know, reasonably healthy. I am grateful to have more rights than much of my sex has – but I am not, nor should I be, grateful to be thin.

I would not be grateful if I was fat or of a supposedly ‘perfect’ weight either.

Because the person you just labelled as thin? They might be well on their way to becoming anorexic or bulimic.

And the one who you just called fat? Here’s a medical newsflash for you: they might have a condition that they can in no way whatsoever control but that horribly affects their metabolism and it is because of that – and not some greedy or gluttonous tendency – which is to blame for their being terribly overweight or even morbidly obese.

And for all of you who like to congratulate ‘skinny’ people on losing three kilograms when they’re actually desperately trying to gain weight, please kindly keep silent.

Because unless you genuinely know what it is like to be either over- or underweight – or even both – you have very little right, if any at all, to engage in the so-called ‘weight debate’ with those who do know what it’s like or how it feels.

No extremity in life is healthy or  advisable & I honestly believe there’s a balance to everything in life, especially our weight.

But there are more important & far worse things in life than a person being fat or thin.

As this J.K. Rowling quote says, “Is being fat really the worst thing a human being can be? Is fat worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, evil or cruel? Not to me.”


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