RE: What Being a Fat Woman is Really Like...

I am quite new to blogging, as I have only started this blog a couple of weeks ago, but I have been reading beauty, fashion, and lifestyle blogs for years now. Back in February, Rebecca from The Plus Side of Me, wrote about an article that was published on Cosmopolitan.com called "What Being a Fat Woman is Really Like." It was written in the form of an interview where two anonymous, self-proclaimed fat women answered questions about sex, body image, health, and what it's like to be a fat woman.

First of all, I think it's awesome that plus-size ladies are getting more attention and more opportunities to speak their mind & share their experiences! I will say that I did relate to many of the responses that these two women had for certain questions, but I also agree with Rebecca (The Plus Side of Me) who decided to answer the interview questions on her blog, because while this article is a step in the right direction, this article does only include the perspective of two women. I do admire these women for coming forward and sharing their perspectives, and I think this is a great start, but I do think it's important that more of us communicate our own experiences and struggles and insight!

Here are my answers to the same questions:



How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
It used to make me feel like shit about myself, because more often than not, whoever was complaining about being fat would be someone half my size. It used to make me think, "Well, if they really think that they are fat, what do they think about me?" Comments or complaints like that made me uncomfortable and very self-conscious. But, thankfully, it really doesn't bother me too much anymore, at least not in the way it used to. It doesn't bother me when people say they're fat, because it's just a description, it's an adjective. It's like saying someone is tall or blond. I say it all the time. If someone says they're fat, they are using that word to describe what they think they are. If it's someone who I would consider skinny, I just remind myself that our ideas of fat are different. What does bother me, though, is the negative connotation associated with that word. I remember being in middle school and being picked on for being fat, and for the rest of my life I equated being fat to being ugly, and it made for some really hard times. Now, I understand that being fat does not mean you're ugly. And the most important thing I learned is this: Don't let being fat define who you are. If you're fat, you can still be other things. You can be fat and still be fabulous. Fat is not all that you are.

How has your body image changed since high school? College?
My body image has changed tremendously through the years. I have been fat my whole life and it definitely took a toll on my confidence and body image. I played sports all throughout high school–Varsity Volleyball, Varsity Basketball, Alaska Native Youth Olympics. I trained and stayed active during my summer breaks, as well, but even at my most fit, I was still about 200 lbs, I had stretch marks on my stomach and was ashamed of changing in the girls locker room. After high school, I went away to college. I was still pretty active in college. I played intramural and city-league sports, and I did cardio and weight lifting several times a week. But I still managed to gain the freshman 15...and more. Gaining weight definitely had a negative impact on my confidence and worsened my already negative body image, and I felt like I was constantly fighting myself out of a funk. I don't really know when or where things changed in my life, but I stopped wearing sweatpants and hoodies all the time, and started wearing jeans and dresses and leather jackets, and with that I slowly became more and more comfortable in my own skin. I just decided to say, "fuck feeling like shit for being fat, because I'm more than just fat."

Have you tried dieting? What happened?
I have tried so many stupid fad and crash diets and they all pretty much ended the same way–any weight that I lost during my diet, I eventually gained back along with additional weight. I should have known that these fad and crash diets weren't healthy and that they wouldn't be permanent, but I was so desperate to lose weight, I was willing to do almost anything. It's a terrible way to live.  The truth is, the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to make some serious lifestyle changes and adopt healthy habits–eat healthy, stay hydrated, get a good amount of sleep, and exercise.

Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
I'm sure genetics have at least a little bit to do with my weight, because I've been a big girl since the day I was born (9 lbs, 9 oz), but I would be in complete denial if I thought genetics was the only contributing factor to my size and weight. I love food, sometimes I overeat, and the food I eat isn't always healthy. I am a slave to my sweet tooth. I also don't get nearly as much exercise as I should.

Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
I could definitely stand to be healthier & it's something that I'm working on. I'm trying to adopt healthier habits like working out at least a few times a week, being more aware and cautious of what I'm putting into my body, drinking more water, getting more sleep, etc. It's a process and it's not going to happen overnight, and I know there are going to be days that I want to eat take-out and follow that up with dessert. But people have assumed that I am unhealthy just because of my size and that's irritating because those people usually know nothing about the state my health is in. I just think they should let me and my health care professionals worry about my health.

Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you’re at? Have they always been?
I don't really understand this question, just because I know my parents love me and are going to support me no matter what my size or weight is. I know that they want me to be the best possible version of myself, and they want me to be in good health, and they want me to be happy and comfortable in my skin, but they would never stop being supportive just because of my size.

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?
I think retailers have come such a long way since I was in high school, and it makes me so happy to see more and more retailers carrying plus size brands and clothing lines. I do, however, feel like a lot of retailers that carry plus-sizes carry styles that don't necessarily appeal to young ladies. I think it would be wise if plus-size brands and lines started designing clothing that is current, as far as style and trends go, because fat girls love fashion, too.

Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?
I don't know. It's hard for me to say, because I don't really know what plus-size men go through, but I think, in general, all plus-size people are seen in a pretty negative light.

Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?
Absolutely. People often assume that plus-size people don't take care of themselves, they're lazy and unmotivated, they have no willpower or self-control, they have bad health and hygiene, the list goes on and on. I think it sucks, to be honest. It's really unfortunate that people make all of these assumptions about other people they know nothing about, based solely on their looks. Personally, I try not to let it get to me, because I don't need that negativity in my life. The way I see it is, if certain people are going to judge me and make ridiculous assumptions about me without even getting to know me, I don't need them in my life.

Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?
I am going to have to agree with both Rebecca (The Plus Size Side of Me) and "Woman B" from the Cosmopolitan article. "Woman B" said, "No. I don't believe being fat alone is necessarily a sign of ill health. If you're thinking about confronting someone about their weight, is it really the weight that you have an issue with? ...If you're just concerned that someone doesn't look as attractive to you anymore, the problem is you, not their weight. "

Unless you are my doctor, a member of my family or a close enough friend, and you are genuinely concerned about my health & well being, I really don't see how my weight or size concerns you.

What are the worst things people have said to you about your body?
The worst thing someone has ever said to me was, "I think you'd be so pretty if you just lost some weight." That person must have seen the disgust on my face because they quickly followed that by saying, "I mean, you're really pretty now, I just think you'd be really pretty if you lost some weight." I'm not sure why they felt the need to try and explain, because it really didn't make it any better.

How did you respond?
I was actually really upset by that statement because it kind of reintroduced me to the idea or the mindset that being fat meant being ugly. I kept my composure during the conversation, but I'm not going to lie, I did cry about it when I was alone and in my room, because it really did hurt me.

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would compliment your body or appearance?
Every once in a while, I will still get a negative remark or comment, but I just try to ignore it. When I do get compliments, they are usually on my outfits, my hair or makeup, and that's always nice to hear. It makes me feel so good when people acknowledge the effort I put into my appearance.

Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
Not really. All of my friends are different shapes and sizes and I love them just the same. There are certain things, like Shopping, that are just a little more comfortable and enjoyable to do with a fellow plus-size lady, but it's not like that's how I decide who my friends are, LOL.

I do tend to follow plus-size fashion blogs more than those of straight-size fashion bloggers, just because I can get a better idea of how certain articles and styles of clothing will look or fit on my body.

How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?
I would have to agree with Rebecca (The Plus Size Side of Me), who said, "I don’t know. I think I’d have the same attitude/beliefs about my sexuality, whether I was thinner or fatter."

When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
Call me crazy, but I've never been very keen on the whole dating thing. I wouldn't say it's my weight that has affected my dating life so much as it's my being uninterested in dating.

Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?
I don't think I would feel weird, I would just hope that whoever I'm dating isn't dating me just because they like larger women. I would hope that they were dating me for my personality, my sense of humor, and whatever else.

Do you feel weird if he’s only dated slimmer women before you?
Again, I don't think I would feel weird, unless they were constantly reminding me that I'm the only fat person they've ever dated. That would definitely make me feel weird.

Thank you all for reading, I hope you guys enjoyed it. I definitely recommend you check out the original article on Cosmopolitan.com as well as Rebecca's answers on her blog, The Plus Size Side of Me. I also encourage all of you plus-size ladies to fill this out on your own! If you do fill this out on your own blog, please comment your link down below! I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!