Weight is a hot topic. It’s a subject people love to talk about. How to lose it. What makes someone gain it. Who has lost weight. How to lose weight quickly. How someone else lost weight and why they swear it worked. People love to discuss weight.
But I hate talking about weight, especially my own.
To me, it’s such a mundane topic. We discuss weight at length every opportunity we get. We’re obsessed with it, like the topic itself brings us life. Like just talking about it will lead us to the fountain of youth and we will remain thin and beautiful for all of eternity.
Here are two facts about me:
My fat doesn’t make me less beautiful. I’m beautiful with it and I’ll still be just as beautiful if I drop a few pounds.
I do not seek to lose weight. If it happens, cool. If not, cool. Either way, I’m fucking fabulous.
There are a lot of reasons why I don’t like talking about weight. The first is basically what I wrote above — the world is obsessed with the topic and I’m over it. It’s not that interesting, everyone has weight, everyone weighs something.
Here are a few other reasons.
People approach weight loss like it is the greatest gift God could have ever granted you.
It comes from the heavens and shines down a magical light that only a few blessed souls get to benefit from.
Weight loss and gain are just things that happen, mostly to everyone in some way or another. Maybe you made a choice and that led to more choices and that led to you losing weight. If that’s the case, good for you. I’m glad you were able to change what you didn’t like. For some, it’s a much harder and longer journey — and again, I applaud those people for their tenacity.
But weight also fluctuates. your body changes drastically in so many ways over the period of your lifetime. Some weeks you can fit into one size, and other weeks you can’t. It happens. It’s normal. It’s nothing to write home about.
So, if I lose a bit of weight, it’s no big deal. I’ll probably gain some back pretty quickly before losing some more weight again. We don’t have to have a conversation about it each time that happens.
My weight is not connected to my worth.
There’s a general consensus that the more weight you have, the less worth you have. It’s a strange formula that has no real meaning or accuracy. It’s simply something someone said one day and others believed them. But some people become obsessed with the very idea of “looking better,” which, in terms of fat people, also means thinner.
But why does better mean thinner?
My weight has no bearing on how kind I am, how smart I am, how successful I am, or how happy I am. It’s simply a number on a scale that measures my mass. That’s it. It means nothing else.
But, when people start talking about weight loss, they never say, “You’ve lost weight, that’s normal.” They say, “Wow! You’ve lost weight! You look incredible! How amazing! You’re glowing!”
How that translates to me is: “You look so much better than before.”
That kind of a statement means that others believe my worth is connected to my weight. They believe that because I have a little less flesh around my tummy that I am somehow better than I was 5, 10, 20 pounds ago. But I’m still dressed in relatively the same way. My hair is styled the same. My makeup looks the same. I’m even wearing the same glasses. I have the same job. I make the same amount of money. I’m still single. I drive the same car. I am the exact same person. But that tiny bit of flesh I lost somehow means “better?”
And what happens when I gain weight again?
Do I lose my worth? Am I meant to wallow because I lost my “better?” Will people no longer want to talk about how great I am because my weight is no longer something to praise?
That’s what you are saying to someone when you fuss over their weight loss. That they were less worthy of your praise before, and will be less worthy if they gain that weight again.
My Body is MY BODY
My body is for me, and only me. I choose when and how I share it. That means the topic isn’t up for discussion. I am not looking for commentary on if I am thinner today than I was yesterday, or if I’ll be fatter tomorrow that I am today. It’s not for anyone to have an opinion on.
My body is me. We are one and the same. It’s the thing that houses my soul.
Discussions about my body are personal. More personal than most other discussions. But somehow, it has become socially acceptable to discuss weight in an open forum, putting me and my body on display for all to analyze.
When people talk about my body, I feel like I’m standing naked in a glass box in the middle of a busy street. I feel like I’m being ogled at. Judged. Scrutinized. In my most vulnerable state.
Just imagine walking into a room looking slightly different than you did the last time you walked into said room. Everyone stops to stare. But not at my face. They look at my boobs — are they the same shape? My tummy — is it flatter and more toned? My hips, butt, thighs. I see the gears in their brains working away, wondering how much cellulite exists under my clothes, if I am wearing a different size than before. Then they attribute every good thing about me to the weight loss
Because how could I possibly have been smart, successful, caring, with nice skin and hair when I had more fat?
People tend to dismiss fat people at the very first sight of us. This is a prejudice that runs deep. I bet most people don’t even know they are doing it. But it’s there. It exists. It is prevalent every time I go outside. Because I can’t possibly be anything if I also happen to be fat.
I choose who I am vulnerable with, who I am intimate with, and who I have these conversations with. That is a decision that is wholly mine. No one else gets to make that decision on my behalf. Having these personal, intimate conversations with me requires an invitation, some form of consent.
My body exists to give me life. Not for you to judge.
It’s No One’s Business
That all brings me to my last and perhaps most obvious point: my weight is none of your damn business.
Stop caring so much about the changes in my appearance. How does it affect you? (Stop trying to think of an answer, because the only correct response is, “It doesn’t.”
Just like anything else, there are a few exceptions.
People close to me are allowed to mention my weight loss or gain, mostly because they know I don’t use a scale and have likely not noticed. My mom, for example, will note these changes to me in a factual way. “I can see you’ve lost some weight,” is something she might say. I recently had a discussion about my recent weight loss with my sister-in-law, who again, simply noted the change in a factual way as we discussed recent lifestyle changes.
The point is that in both of these instances, people in my inner circle spoke about my weight as a fact.
The other exception is general curiosity. Some people might want to make their own lifestyle changes, or maybe they’ve embarked on a weight loss or gain journey for themselves. In these instances, it’s okay to open up a dialogue, but I ask that you do so in a way that is respectful to both of us.
Try something like, “I’ve noticed you’ve lost/gained some weight. I’d love to hear what, if any, changes you’ve made. I’m trying to lose/gain weight myself.”
In that circumstance, I’d be happy to have a conversation. The difference is that the conversation would not directly be about my weight, but about changes I may or may not have made in my life that may have resulted in changes to my weight. My weight is not the focal point.
Be respectful. Question your own intentions. Take note of social cues and the reactions you get to conversations about weight. When in doubt, say nothing. There’s plenty for you to talk about that has nothing to do with weight.