This post has been swirling around my head for a really long time. I’m not sure why I’ve held off on writing this for so long – probably because I am too scared of offending or upsetting anyone. That is truly not what I want to do with this post.
I have been thinking for some time that, on this side of the fence, it often feels like it is far more acceptable to comment on someone being slim, but that it’s not OK to call someone overweight. It feels OK to tell a slim person to “eat more” or say things like “there’s nothing on her”, but it doesn’t carry the same weight [sorry] as telling someone overweight to do more exercise, or eat less. I imagine you don’t think twice about commenting on someone being slim, or what they eat, or what exercise they might do. But that phrase about saying nothing at all should come to mind – regardless of which end of the weight spectrum you sit at. Any sort of weight shaming is not ok.
I’ve always been slim, my whole life. In fact, when I was really young it used to upset me and make me wonder if there was something wrong with me. Boys and girls from junior school would comment on it, people would tell me to eat more and even well meaning family members would quiz me on what I had eaten, how much I weighed, WHY was I so skinny? I don’t have an answer for that question, except I am just me and this is the way I was made. And I’m not going to apologise for that.
As I’ve grown older I’ve found that people seem to want me to apologise for being skinny. They actively disregard comments I make about what I’ve had to eat, or will eat, because who cares what the skinny girl eats – she can eat whatever she wants. Being around large groups of women can be difficult because joining in on conversations about exercise and food is impossible without getting a snide comment about being “skinny” (worst word ever.. can we use slim, please?)
And I get it. I really do. I’ve never had to fight to be this size and I h o n e s t l y can’t imagine how difficult it must be to LOVE unhealthy food, but put on weight easily. But that’s not my fault. It can actually be really tiring being told I am ‘lucky’ to be the size that I am. Especially by people who know nothing about the years I spent as a flat chested teenager with no bum wondering if I would ever look like a “woman”.
And yes, I am naturally this size, but, I also happen to do loads of exercise – I often play an hours netball match twice a week, go to a 2 hour netball training session once a week, cycle to work and back, train for running events and walk my dogs twice a day!
I also have a very weird preference for healthy food – which has absolutely nothing to do with weight. One of my best friends often tells the story about how, when we used to hang out and watch films, she would buy a big bag of sweets or chocolate, but I could be found stuffing bags of rocket and packets of deli meat (parma ham, if you must know) into my arms in the supermarket. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I can also happily smash a whole ‘sharing’ bag of crisps and a whole tray of brownies (yes, that happened) in one sitting and think nothing of it.
Regardless of what I or anyone else eats, I am certainly not going to apologise to anyone for the fact that I am slim. Can we all just agree that its good to be different, stop the skinny-shaming-fat-shaming-bullshit and tell the rest of those judgey comments to get in the sea?