Feminism

More to Life than Thin and Pretty

Let’s get one thing straight: I did not set out to lose weight because I thought it would make my life better to be thinner. Being fat never held me back from living my life.

I never had trouble finding a date in my twenties, despite my weight. In fact, I would say I am quite pleased when I look back at the range of men I dated during my “wild years.” I did have trouble in this area as a teenager, but that quickly passed when I moved out of my small judgmental town and into bigger more diverse cities.

Being fat didn’t stop me from going out on my own at a younger age than normal, supporting myself and finding my independence. It didn’t stop me from making hard choices for myself and looking out for my best interests. It didn’t stop me from escaping a bad family situation, the likes of which most people do not escape from unscathed.

I made my own path. I dropped out of college after the first try because it wasn’t right and I didn’t go back until I was 25. When I did go back, it was on my own terms and it was right. I gave it everything I had and graduated with honors and the coveted Best Portfolio of my class.

I was hired at an excellent and well-paying job before I even graduated and have been working and succeeding beyond anyone’s expectations ever since. I currently make more money than any of my friends who graduated from Ivy League schools several years before me.

I am in a 5 year relationship with a man I love. I would call him my soul mate if I believed in such a concept. We would be married if either of us believed in marriage. I am child-free by choice.

I did all of that while carrying an extra 120 pounds. Being obese doesn’t mean you lay down and die. It doesn’t mean you have no life. It doesn’t mean you can’t find love, have a career, be a success, or be a party animal. It doesn’t make you worthless or invisible. Being obese, for me, was an inconvenience, not a barrier to life.

It bothers me to no end when I hear women say “If I was thin, I would ___” I want to say, “What’s stopping you?!” Or when they say “No man is interested in me because I can’t lose this 5 pounds.” Girl, please. It has nothing to do with your weight. It’s all in the attitude. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be with someone who was only interested in me physically anyway.

Now that I have lost an extreme amount of weight, I understand that of course everyone is going to notice. Everyone will notice that I’m wearing cuter clothes and just generally looking “more attractive” in terms of what is socially ideal. Men who never noticed I existed are suddenly finding reasons to say hello to me. Cute, put-together women all the sudden want to be my friend. This might all sound great to someone, but it is very frustrating to me.

I am so much more than what I look like. There are so many more interesting things about me. If you didn’t want to be my friend or my lover when I was overweight- I am not interested in knowing you now. And if, god forbid, you are the type of person who makes fun of overweight people, please, do not do so in my presence. If you insult them, you insult me. And I’m in shape now. You can run, but I will catch you!

Losing a lot of weight brings to the forefront of my attention just how much we are judged by our outward appearances. I know there’s nothing to be done about it. If anything, the focus on appearance only becomes more prevalent as time goes by. Plastic surgery, once shunned as a taboo, is completely normal. It is completely normal to cut yourself open and sew yourself back up in the name of vanity. Doesn’t this bother anyone else?

Some days I feel like I might be the only woman on earth who has decided not to swallow the “Be thin and Be happy, You aren’t good enough the way you are” myth. Some days, I feel like it is unacceptable for me to just say “I am fine the way I am. I do not need to lose any more weight, have perkier breasts, or firmer thighs. Yes, I have cellulite and stretch marks but so what? I’m healthy, and that’s good enough for me.” But I am going to keep saying it anyway.

Because there’s so much more to life than being thin and pretty.

15 thoughts on “More to Life than Thin and Pretty

  1. Oh my god! There is so much truth and wisdom in this post that I can’t even decide what to congratulate you for first.

    You are, in fact, so much more that your looks (your current looks) suggest. You are an extremely intelligent and wisdoms (does that exist? I hope you understand what I mean) person.

    You are totally right in everything. Your looks should stop you from doing or achieving what you want. And if they do it is your problem.

    I was married for 7 years (and very happy during) being overweighted. And in this last years, when I was the most fat of my life I meet the real love of my life. An angel fallen from the sky that looked over all the flesh and took interest in the person with in (very deep in fact)…

    As you say, this is the kind of person that deserve or time… If one can’t get pass the looks (s)he’s not worth our time… Not mine, at least.

    Thanks for finding the words I never was able to. I’m sorry but my English is not good enough to express all the respect your way of thinking suggests to me.

    Only one clear defect I can see in you… that boyfriend. What a lucky guy! Let him know I said that… Although I’m sure he knows the great gal he’s with.

    Keep being the way you are…

  2. I don’t know you and I don’t remember how I found your blog, but I really enjoy your insights on body image and weight loss. If only there were more messages like this inundating young females today.

  3. (Okay, for some reason this site isn’t letting me post my comment. It keeps saying that I’ve already posted one, when I obviously have not :s )

    I wish I could say that I feel the same way. I wish that I could tell myself that it doesn’t matter what i look like and that people will like me anyways. I can’t…not yet, anyways.

    I struggle everyday trying to tell these things to myself and to feel confident in the skin I’m in. Some days it works, some days no effect, and some days my mind screams the exact opposite at me. I’m not sure how to change my attitude and accept myself as I am. I am, however, much better than I was 1-2 years ago.

    I’ve been like this for the longest time and it only started to get better after I left the parent I was staying with, and went to the other. I felt cared about again, and not like some person who just lives there. I ended up getting a boyfriend some months after that. I found someone who saw past all my shyness, awkwardness, and wanted to know me for me. With these two people’s help I’ve come a long way…but, I’m still not quite there yet.

    Every little thing I do helps, even though it feels like I’m always in reverse. Whether it’s when I wore a dress for the first time, or learned how to wear makeup for once, falling in love with cooking/baking, going vegan, doing well on a test…or just being with someone who you feel totally, completely at ease with. Baby steps…little, tiny steps.

    I want to learn to not rely on others to make me feel good about myself. I want to be free to be me again, no matter what people say. I’m still going to be me whether I let them see it or not. I want to live without constantly fearing rejection of judgments. Above all, I want to feel like I *am* worth something and that my appearance doesn’t have anything to do with it.

  4. WOW, I loved reading this. Everything that you said is so true.

    I was one of the women who postponed my own happiness because of the weight. But I really think that it was a self esteem issue for me, and now that my self esteem has improved, my happiness JUST IS. 😉

    Who knew that eating right and exercising could not only give me my dream body, but also improve my self esteem this much?? Thanks for being such a positive influence for all of us, Kate!

  5. I’m completely with you! I weigh 310 pounds, I have an intelligent, handsome fiance, I will be graduating from college in May and I have two job interviews set up. (Fingers crossed.) It is completely, 100% about confidence. If you act like an unimportant fat girl that blends into the walls, you will be one.

    I just started weight watches and joined a gym in honor of my next great adventure after college. (Weight loss.) I will be happy to shed the extra weight, but not because I’m UNhappy now. It truly is simply an inconvenience.

    Chairs, roller coasters… if I go scuba diving on my honeymoon, do they have a plus size scuba suit?

  6. OK, I keep having new favorites… But this post is awesome! I love it. Once again honest, smart, real. So insightful, and so eloquently stated. People are so much bigger (no pun intended) than outward appearances, but so often it does feel that’s all that matters.

    I’ve been up and down in weight. I have no real excuses for why other than I somehow get sidetracked/derailed (usually letting work be more important than me), and gain all the weight back. Anyway, I lose some weight and suddenly I get doors held open, offers of drinks at bars, girl friends offering to set me up (this infuriates me the most – although I don’t know why? I mean shallow guys I don’t know are one things, friends who only set me up at my lowest weight, that hurts).

    And there’s this TINY part of me that feels like I can weed out the shallow guys by staying heavy. But there’s a much bigger part of me, that will hopefully win, who knows I’ll be smart enough to weed those guys out without the extra weight. I want to be healthy for ME, not to please society or “some guy.”

    I want to crown you “blogger of the year!” If only I had such a crown. I should make one!

  7. This post is awesome and so well written. I like you never had trouble finding dates or living my life despite being overweight. Loved your insights.

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