I used to be skinny. Not just average. Not just thin. I was a skinny B.
I grew up skinny. I didn’t know what it was to have an ounce of extra fat on me. Then, right around 21/22, that started to change. I slowly got up to average. I was still okay with that. I mean, nothing wrong with that, right?
I got to the upper end of the ideal weight for my height at about age 26/27. By 28, a change in medicine had dropped me back down to almost my skinny B state.
Then 30 hit, along with an increase in stress.
Then I met my now-husband, who happens to LOVE cooking.
Then my meds changed again and again. My weight skyrocketed, and aside from a few short-lived diets, stayed up.
By 42, I was 300 pounds.
To get an idea of the sheer difference, let’s see what one of the old me looks like side-by-side with one of the current me:
Look at that! I used to have a waist!
My waist is now, sadly, more convex than concave. You know that Santa Claus “bowlful of jelly” bit? Yeah. I jiggle when I walk. It’s terrible.
The most success I ever had with dieting was the keto diet, in which I lost about 60 lbs before I stalled. And stalled. And stalled. And then started gaining again. During the last holiday season, I gave up. Went back to eating whatever tf I wanted, because hell, if I was going to gain weight, I was going to do it on my terms.
Then I started having trouble getting in and out of the car. I’d get short of breath putting on socks or getting into bed. I realized this weight was going to kill me if I didn’t get it under control. Of course I asked my primary care doc what I should do. His answer? “Well, you’re a woman, and you’re on a lot of meds.” Okay, yes, those are speed bumps on the road to weight loss, but what do you suggest?
He didn’t give me anything else.
Finally, I asked point blank about bariatric surgery. He was all for it, and referred me to a surgeon. Now I’m dieting and practicing good eating habits while I wait the allotted time my insurance requires before I get gastric bypass done. Will I end up like 28-year-old me? Probably not, but I’ll be in better shape than I am now.
The sad part? I bet my PCP was afraid to suggest bariatric surgery. I bet he didn’t want to insult me, so he dodged the issue by blaming it on my gender and my medicines and leaving it at that.
That. Shit. Is. DANGEROUS.
What if I hadn’t had the epiphany that I needed to take charge of my health and ask for help? Would he have allowed me to continue gaining until some comorbidity killed me?
That’s my real issue with this. My health is at risk, my very life, and I suspect my doctor didn’t recommend the best treatment because he didn’t want to insult me. It made me wonder: How many people have lost their shit at him for suggesting lifesaving treatment just because their feelings got hurt??
Here’s what I think: I think that, while empowering for some, the whole “body positivity” movement is going to end up killing someone, if it hasn’t already.
What do I mean? Well, it’s simple: not every “curvy girl” is really “curvy.” I sure as hell am not. I’m fat. I’m not going to mince words and try to claim “curvy,” because to me, “curvy” implies full breasts and hips but not an unhealthy body weight. You can be “curvy” and not be “fat.” I am not curvy.
There’s a danger in this body positivity thing. I have seen women (and for the sake of simplicity, since I don’t know what it’s like to be a dude, I’m going to focus on women) who struggle to walk and breathe normally who are proud of their size. It baffles me! Why would you be proud that you can’t do simple activities due to your weight? There is such a vast difference between curvy/big boned and morbidly obese. If your weight is affecting your health, you’ve gone past the point of body positivity and into a shortened lifespan.
Pride is not worth it. Sure, you’ve got big ta-tas; but if your overall weight causes you health issues, don’t sit there proclaiming your pride in your “curves.” Do something about the excess weight before it kills you.
I reached the breaking point, and I plan on getting to a healthy weight. I will never claim “curvy girl” as a euphemism for my obesity. I am what I am, and until I can lose this weight, that’s what I will be.
Now, before I catch flack for “weight shaming” or something, that’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to open some eyes to the reality that not all “curvy” people are a healthy weight. Look at your breathing. Your sleep. Do you have sleep apnea? Reflux? Joint problems? Cardiovascular disease? Every comorbidity is a step closer to a point of no return.
I’m not doing this just because of the numbers. It’s not just what the scale reads. It’s not just the size of clothes I have to buy. It’s my health, and it won’t get better until I get my weight under control.