I have always struggled with my weight. I grew up in a household where thin was in and physical appearance was everything. There was a point where my Mother regretted giving up smoking because she was never able to shed those five pounds she gained after she stopped…

Yeah…

The good memories of my childhood just roll on and on…

But anyway…

For the second time this week, I am going to talk about a book I read that talked about physical appearance- “One to Watch” by Kate Stayman-London.

OTW is about a plus size fashion influencer. During a drunken twitter storm raging at the impossibly gorgeous people that appear on a reality type dating show, the producers of the show reach out to her about being the next single gal hoping to find love.

She will be the first plus size contestant ever…

After some soul searching, she agrees…

And then we delve into all the imaginable stereotypes that accompany a woman of size as she appears in TV and attempts to find love…

So you know what’s my next question…

Do we still fat shame?

I get all the branding about how size doesn’t matter…

But does it?

Even though the average size is plus sized…

Even though we’ve all heard the whatever your body is, it’s beautiful…

Do we still look at someone who weighs a little bit more and go “ew” Or in some cases “EW”, or even “EWWWWWWWW”?

Do we all wonder about their self control, their intelligence, their mental health?

Do we want our kids to be plus sized?

Our partners?

Ourselves?

I am really struggling with my weight now. I am an emotional eater and I freely admit that my emotions have been all over the place. I am annoyed with myself for having gained the weight. And while part of it is just because I am uncomfortable with the extra pounds, and my clothes are tighter than I would like, much of it is that I know that I am not as attractive as I am when I am thinner. (for the record I have never been thin. My body type leads to curves so I would be considered an endomorph. No one has ever accused me of being too thin.

But yes…

The main reason that I am annoyed with being heavier is because I don’t think I look as good as I used to.

The aging thing doesn’t bother me. The weight thing does…

This post though, is not really about my struggles to be happy with myself at a higher weight.

This post is about how we look at people who are heavier.

Do we want to see plus size models? Or, do we just want to see models that are not impossibly thin?

Do we want to see women over twenty enjoying a high calorie meal?

Do we want to see a larger man in a bathing suit?

Do we really want to see people that are healthy, or is healthy just another way of saying has a BMI in an acceptable range?

When we tell kids they have to watch their sugar intake, is it really for their health, or is it just to make sure they stay within an acceptable body weight?

Is your inner voice really telling you that all body shapes are beautiful? Or is there some nagging little devil voice saying that big is bad?

When people on social media say mean things about heavier people, is there a part of you that agrees with the negative sentiments, even if you are plus sized?

Especially if you are plus sized?

You don’t have to state your opinion here, but to yourself, think about what plus sized means to you. Do you have a healthy attitude about people who are slightly larger than the socially acceptable norms?

If you watch dating shows, would you want to see plus sized contestants?

Do you want to see a scripted TV show where everyone is plus sized?

Discuss, either here or in your head…

92 thoughts on “Plus Size

  1. As always, a thought-provoking post! I know we are fed the mantra that we are all beautiful and size does not matter but the same media that puts out that message rarely show plus-sized folk in ads or on TV. The “fat and funny” character excepted (and what a stereotype that is! How has that survived??), the folks we see in the media bear no relation to the folks we see on our streets.

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    1. That’s just it. Is media’s reluctance to feature “real people” because they”real people” don’t want to see themselves represented? Would people watch a plus size bachelor or bachelorette show? Do we want to watch a sit com or drama where every character is an XXL or size 14? I think what’s out there is what focus groups want…

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      1. Agreed but I think there is room to have more actors and models that actually represent reality. I know its all a suspension of disbelief but the hypocrisy of telling us we are all beautiful but only presenting us images of “the beautiful” seems galling 😦

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  2. I am plus size and I identify with plus size people. I would like to see more healthy plus size folks in the media and not just on ads for diabetes medication.

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    1. Right? Why are plus sized people the side kick? Sure, there have been a few shows, but far and away, real people are not represented. And it shouldn’t be a show centered around size. It should just be a show where the characters look like real people. Like life.

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  3. I’m a plus size, and I’ve struggled with weight all my life. I would like people to view me as a person, not a size. I extend that courtesy to others.

    For the record, I don’t watch TV, so it doesn’t matter who is on it.

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    1. You are smarter because of that. Even in books though, do people read a description of someone plus size, and what do we think of the character? In our minds, do we judge all equally? I’m just not sure

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      1. I know. I think we hear that someone’s overweight, and we immediately feel something that we might not feel for a “regular size “ character.

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  4. I’d like to see people of all shapes, sizes, and colors in all media. I think we’re more accepting of things we see regularly. If we see diversity, diversity becomes commonplace and maybe people will stop judging. That being said, there is no one—no matter what size—who I want to see in a Speedo.

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    1. We’re still more apt to see too thin though. And remembering the camera makes you look heavier. Like This is Us has the one plus size character. Every other character is perfect. Perfect.

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  5. When I see too thin I see issues. I see people who struggle with food. Imagine never enjoying a meal because you stress is going through the roof over every bite. I believe it’s the same struggle with obese? Food is the enemy instead of sustenance. Slightly thin, slightly heavy really don’t understand the struggle people at the extremes must be going through? Just a few thoughts. C

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    1. I think that feeds into it (no pun intended). Some struggle with too big or too little, yet we don’t do talk about that at all. How do we deal with body image? I think we like to think we’ve made strides in this, but reality tells us something different. I think there is so much struggle in the weight area and we are still not dealing with it. It’s an ism just like the others

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      1. I totally agree, body image is probably one of the most important issues for both sexes, but especially women. It can destroy our sense of well being, it’s contagious, and instead of limiting exposure we’re bombarded with unattainable images. C

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    2. The too thin person can be fat judged/shamed too – but maybe their “issues” are medical issues like Crohn’s disease or colitis, or cancer, or thyroid problems. Some people are genetically thin, with fast metabolisms, esp true in some cultures, like Asians or petite people with small bone frames. I once worked with a Filipino nurse who weighted 88lbs and looked perfectly healthy but always got told, oh it must be nice to so skinny. The more important thing is that the person be healthy, but then I’m looking at it from a medical point of view. I find sometimes that the opposite occurs – society has normalized obesity so much that normally thin people get picked on now. Food is to be enjoyed, not obsessed over. As a dietitian friend of mine observed, some people live to eat and other people eat to live!

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      1. I think we all tend to pick on one another unnecessarily. We make too many judgements on people’s weight.That being said, most tv personalities border on being too thin, as are most contestants on reality shows. People are also jealous of those that are thin. They’re never really jealous of those who aren’t thin. But you’re right. We spend way too much time on sessions over our weight and the weight of others

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      2. I don’t watch much tv, but yes that’s true, esp for celebritys, perhaps more in the US than here. And it’s true re the jealousy thing too, it’s nice to be able to eat whatever you want and not gain weight for whatever reason, but – maybe the thin person isn’t as obsessed with food? You like to read LA, did you ever read French Women Don’t Get Fat? They enjoy their food, but in moderation and walk all over so lots of exercise. They don’t think if they eat a macron that they have to eat the whole box. It’s a different perspective on eating. And there’s a big difference in obesity rates. It’s one thing to be healthy and 20 or 30 pounds overweight, it’s a whole other thing to be a hundred or more pounds overweight and not healthy. It’s difficult right now as everyone is stuck inside, without enough exercise or just plain moving around, and food is one of our comforts now – and going to the grocery store is one of the justifiable essential errands. We need to cut ourselves some slack and not obsess about it. But what do I know? I just finished posting about Food, Glorious Food!

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      3. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and now I have explored that, so it’s a matter of balancing food vs eating too much. And you’re right…it’s totally our attitude towards food that gets us into trouble. I’m an emotional eater which I know is not good yet….

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      4. Most people eat for comfort but I’m the opposite – if I’m too stressed, I have no appetite and have to force myself to eat. I lived on chocolate milk (protein/sugar) the week of my dad’s funeral.

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      5. Thanks Cheryl…….I just replied to LA above,. I just wanted to make the point that the issue isn’t always clear-cut. I come from a long line of leprechauns, but would much rather trade my thinness for a nicer smaller nose! We are our worst critics…..

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  6. I’ve come to understand this issue through two different prisms. The one whose father was always fat shaming someone because it’s what he did. He judged . . . everything. Never mind the fact that the other part of the prism, our Latin heritage, was one that did not fat shame. To the contrary, big was seen as beautiful.

    To me, personally? Weight is something I will always struggle with. I know if I stopped exercising tomorrow, watch out. So I get it, I understand. I ain’t judging, never have and never will.

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    1. I try not to judge, but I know I do. Especially with myself. It’s so hard to overcome the messages that you received as a child, or your formative years. And people are cruel. If you don’t fit into a certain format, people will still make comments, or treat you a certain way. We still aren’t as accepting as we like to think we are

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  7. I am the world’s most unobservant person..if I was in the 7-11 during a robbery, I wouldn’t be able to tell you one thing about the robber..it’s awful. The only plus (no pun intended) is that I rarely notice people’s weight..unfortunately that includes weight loss which can be awkward if someone is super proud of it and wants to be encouraged..9 times out of 10, I don’t notice it..so yikes. At my age LA it all comes down to health..I don’t want to be sick..I don’t want diabetes or any of those other awful things. My colonoscopy last year was my wake up call..who knows if better diet will help, but at least I know I’m doing what I can.

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    1. Health concerns are a totally valid reason to watch what you eat, weight etc…. but some people use the health thing as a weapon. We know someone who will tell you how she “eats clean” while the rest of us are enjoying a meal with gusto. Or we know one guy who will tell his kids not to eat cookies at a holiday dinner because they’re “not the sort of family who goes to sweets”.

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      1. Ugh..that’s just gross behavior. As I always say, it’s not what you eat during the holiday..it’s what you eat all the other days that matters. I am NEVER rude..I mean I am 99% vegan at this point, but if I went to your place and you were serving a Honey Baked ham, i’d eat it for heaven’s sake.

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    2. I went on a diet some years ago for health reasons. Although it was not my primary intent, my weight dropped from 200 to 160 pounds which for my height was a normal BMI. This seemed to solve most of my problems including some I didn’t know I had like brain fog and low energy. This is what I now do:

      1) I practice intermittent fasting, that is, for about 16 continuous hours per day I do no eat (but I do drink coffee). This is supposed to allow my body time to heal.
      2) I avoid sugars, meats, alcohol and food that contains “lectins” based on Steven Gundry’s bad food list.
      3) I add fats such as coconut oil (in coffee), olive oil and other foods on Gundry’s good food list.
      4) I buy organic food at Costco or local stores. Since I eat less (and rarely eat out) I spend less on food overall than before.

      That’s it. It took some time to figure that out since I’m pigheaded and like to do things the hard way, but it is now routine. My heath issues (I hope) are resolved and I do not fear I will be a burden to my children during the last decade of my life.

      No one “fat shames” me, so that’s a non-issue, but I probably raise their suspicions in other ways. One thing I have that is hard to quantify is my wife supports the diet and she is on it as well. Without that I would probably still be 200 pounds.

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      1. My husband also did really well..took a while to get used to him being so slim..I think we just have a Western idea of how we should look size-wise..but he is right where he should be. Congratulations on your success..I, like you, am motivated by not becoming a burden on our kids.

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      2. Everyone has to figure out what works for them, both in physical and mental health.I applaud your dedication in finding the right balance. The struggle with weight is so difficult for so many of us.

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    1. I know. Plus I find a lot of shows insipid….but that’s a whole other thing. If we are so accepting of body image, why isn’t that more reflective? Can’t someone be average size and not complain about their weight either? Can’t they just be a regular person?

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  8. Much like you, I grew up with a mom that really obsessed about her weight and was constantly trying whatever new fad diet was popular, so that definitely made a huge impact on how I view weight. I’m also on the heavier side and am not a huge fan of how I look, but I’m even less of a fan of how I feel when I get to a certain point (very much a person where my weight fluctuates). I do struggle with how I view others that also fit into that plus size category. In my head, I tend to make some less than kind snap judgements, then have to remind myself that I’m in the same boat. It is one of the harder to overcome ingrained, unhealthy behaviors I’ve learned.

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      1. I actually made a comment once when I was with my daughter and she gave me so much crap about it. It wasn’t even anything that bad, but she just laid into me and made me really stop and think about what I had said and why it was wrong. At least I can say that I’ve somehow managed to not spread the mindset down to her.

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      2. My daughter has a reasonably healthy body image. But I think that’s because I’ve tried to shelter her from her grandparents who are kings and queens of stupid comments

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      3. It may sound a little bad, but I’m so extremely grateful that my kids take after their dad when it comes to body type and very high metabolism as they both fall into the slim side, so they don’t have the body issues and struggles that I do.

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      4. Oh, I’m over the moon that they both got his ability with numbers and science. I always tell people they are this perfect blend of all the best of the two of us because they also got a lot of my artistic side.

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  9. A person’s physical appearance shouldn’t matter but alas it does, we live in a society where people wish to be tall, slim, young with a pretty face……. Unacceptable and unattainable for us mere mortals but there you are🙄. Personally speaking I have a preference for middle aged women on the larger side……… oh and with very large boobs, 😍 a size G bra cup is pretty amazing I can tell you!

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      1. Sadly no, but I have noticed with age comes an acceptance that looks aren’t everything, I think as people get older they appreciate honesty, a sense of humour, personality and gravitate towards good hearted souls…………… but I’m afraid for ‘young bucks’ 😀 , they’ll always be hoping to date pretty girls with size 8 figures and that’s ok.

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      2. I’ve seen my share of older people talk about weight and looks. My mother is still obsessed with looks and would quickly say how attractive, or not attractive, someone is. Some people have evolved though

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  10. Dear LA – too many excellent questions and I enjoy replying so I have to pick one or my comment will be longer than your post. I have weight issues also and I am glad you began this discussion. I remember in university kinesiology the prof talked about how metabolism changes as you age. Thin me in those days thought I would never have to think about my weight; I was wrong. People put on weight for a multitude of reasons including medications, health challenges, mental health, loneliness, and I think I know that better now than I did. I wish that television would not always portray perfection – the houses are huge, the apartments are huge, the cars are spotless and shiny. I’ll stop here but sending hugs.

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  11. Some larger people make poor clothing choices (in my opinion) and I don’t care to see that extra skin. Of course, I am not a fan of the guys who wear their pants down under their butt or girls who wear their pants up their crack either, even if they are thin. As you know I lost 75 pounds last year and I feel so much better with how I look and feel. I did plateau and then gain 10 pounds back but I’ve already lost 3 of those and have set my mind to lose at least another 3 by the end of the year. I’m doing it totally for myself though, not for my husband or because I want to impress anyone. I mean, sure the compliments are great but I enjoy more the feeling of being able to sit in a chair without spilling over the side or even simple things like bending over to tie my shoes. Having been obese most of my life though, I would never try to tell anyone else that they should lose weight.

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  12. You ask the best questions.

    And I just finished eating two rum balls. In spite of being overweight and shameful of same. I made them. I eat them.

    At one time in our society’s recent pass, smoking was cool and then one day it wasn’t. It took time, but soon people looked at smokers with scorn.

    I think it might be a while yet before we can look at people who are overweight without responding in some manner, if not negatively.

    I am very much aware of looks I get from people who haven’t seen me since I gained so much.

    As a side note – I realized recently that I pay attention to people eating in movies. If a woman is super thin, and she’s scarfing down a donut, I wonder… how does she do it? What is her secret to keeping off the pounds? Does she “deal with it” off camera? I’ve noted other actors play with their food, or eat only a morsel or two. If you’ve ever watched Schitt’s Creek, you will have seen Alexa dab her spoon into the banana split and lick the spoon. She never takes a full bite.

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    1. With Alexa that was part of her personality. They made a joke once about her only food being green juice… but yeah…you see thin characters and they never exercise. When in reality you know that to have that body you must do something. At least on Modern Family you saw Claire run quite often. The thought that people have perfect bodies without effort is misleading.

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  13. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – what one finds attractive others may not and so be it. Everyone has their own perceptions and expectations and can’t be found wrong for a certain “view”. That being said, as a lime green thong wearer, I have to be aware of my weight at all times. It’s a chore but worth it in the end.

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  14. I will say that until I had children I never had trouble with my weight. My sister always struggled and now my daughter does. She takes after my husbands side of the family as far as her build is concerned. I worry about her health, she has had her acl replaced and works very hard at the gym as well as working in a physical field. It used to bother me more than it does now, because she works at watching her weight. I remember a season of Project Runway that featured a designer that specialized in plus size designs. She won the season although I don’t believe she was the best. It seemed that it was a forgone conclusion that she win. It was like they were saying “see we are an inclusive industry” like they were trying to prove something.

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  15. There are so many aspects to your topic today. I’ll just chime in with my shock at what it takes to be a plus size model. The answer is “not much” in terms of pounds. I have a friend whose daughter wanted to model. This young lady is NOT what I would call overweight. Certainly not Twiggy, but not heavy. The only jobs she could get were plus size. So, we really haven’t come very far.
    As to you personally, don’t beat yourself up right now. Emotional/stress eating has got to be at an all time high! It is for me too.

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  16. (((HUGS))) to you! Throw out the scale! Its late, or I could post a lot on this subject. I think we do need to care about our health, but the craziness about having to be the perfect size and then having us feel guilty when we are middle aged and have put on some weight drives me crazy! As one who had a child who struggled with anorexia it makes me so much more sensitive now. We all have different personalities and we come in all shapes and sizes and thats what makes us unique! ❤

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  17. I’ll start by saying I have been overweight much of my life. At one point many years ago I was a few pounds away from being considered obese on the weight charts. I am currently 20 lbs overweight. Last January I was only 10 lbs away from reaching my healthy goal weight, when I got stressed by this and that and I gained almost 20 lbs. (I’m an emotional eater.) I’ve now managed to lose 10 of those 20 lbs, and thus have 20 lbs more to go to get to my goal weight. (My photo is not one of me at my current weight.)

    I personally think that even being “just 20 lbs.” overweight is not healthy. Diabetes runs in my family, as does heart disease. So truly I would be better off if I lost this weight. Do I think I look better when I’m at a lower weight? Yup, I do – most definitely. But do I think that is the main reason I should lose the weight? Hmm. I think the more important reason is that it would be better for my health to lose the weight.

    What do I think when I see people who are overweight? Since I’m an emotional eater myself, I think I can understand how they got to that place. But I also think it’s not healthy, and thus not the best place for them to be. (Or for me to be.) I’m not saying we should all look like Twiggy by the way, but just that we should be at a healthy BMI.

    As far as this movement to accept people no matter what their weight … of course I think people should be accepted no matter what their body looks like! One cannot really tell people what to do, or what is best for them. People need to figure that out for themselves. If they don’t want to lose the weight, they won’t. If they decide on their own that they need to lose weight for their health, then they will embark on a weight loss journey. There have been studies I believe that show that extremely overweight people have a harder time finding jobs. I must admit if I was an employer, I would probably assume that an obese job candidate was more likely to miss work for health problems than a non-obese job candidate.

    I have a question for you if I may 🙂 When a person who wants to eat a more healthy diet goes out to eat with a group of friends, and then does not partake in the fried foods and sugary desserts that all their friends are eating, but instead orders healthier choices from the menu, the friends will often say things such as, “Oh come on, have some XYZ just this once. It will be okay.” How is the person who wants to eat better supposed to respond to this? If they say, “No thanks, I’m trying to eat a healthier diet” it will seem to be a criticism of how the friends are eating. If they say, “I’m trying not to eat sugar, or I’m watching my cholesterol, etc.” they will often be met with eye rolls … and another comment that it is “just this once”. But the person who does not want to eat junk should still be able to go out with friends (after Covid) and have fun sharing a meal. So how do you think they should handle that?

    Thank you.

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    1. Well, here’s the thing. I don’t think anyone should ever pressure someone to eat or drink no matter what their size is. And no should ever announce to the table that they eat “clean” or whatever adjective they use to deceive their diet. In theory I’d like us all to be able to order what we want without commentary other than that sounds delicious. If I’m trying to eat healthier, I would say to my friends “look…I’m trying to lose a couple of pounds and while I want to share a this experience, I’m going to eat light. We need to stop making each other feel bad about choices that we make.

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  18. I’ve written several posts about this. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Even if the beholder is yourself. And it should be yourself! Societal standards are foolishness.

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  19. I too struggle with my weight, I reached a milestone in late April when I managed to get under 300 lbs after years of being stuck around 330…Although 17 yrs ago I was at my worst peak weight of 375 and taking pre diabetic pills…Now it’s just a shitload f vitamin’s, years of fat is taking a toll physically on me. You’d think after that milestone my journey would continue south…But no the uncertainty of employment after that derailed my efforts and now I am back at 310. Sigh.

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  20. I loved seeing the models on Lane Bryant’s site were definitely plus-sized. True, the tight underwear made me gag a bit, but I appreciated that the company -which caters to plus-size women- literally used them for models.

    ‘Fat-shaming’ is good in promoting healthy choices, but never in putting people down. Insults often cause more of the behavior we want a person to avoid.

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  21. Living in this society, it’s impossible not to be aware of people’s weight. It’s everywhere, and it was drilled in most of us from a certain generation that it wasn’t good or desirable to be overweight. I will share with you a true story from last week: I pulled into the parking lot of a small Italian grocery store with limited capacity. An extremely overweight man pulled in at the same time. I swear he jumped out of his car to beat me into the store to get to the food first. I thought, “He hasn’t moved that fast for anything in his life.” It wasn’t nice of me, but it’s what I thought.

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  22. Weight, aging – it’s all part of the same thing, judging others based on their exteriors. Granted, one is much more easily controlled than the other, but still.

    I too had mothering issues around weight. My two daughters both feel my pain to this day for the many times when, as I was leaving the house, Mom would say “you’re wearing that?” The dermatologist also had to assure that he had no acne patients who were insured by Medicare.

    As a result, I was afraid that I would pass my appearance obsession on to them, and I did to some degree. Fortunately they’re both smart enough to know what they need to do to just be physically healthy young women, and usually actually do that! I also tried to teach them that their own self-esteem is more important than any judgement they may hear from others. They have both assured me that this has helped them be the relatively happy and self-satisfied individuals they are now.

    Now that I’m back under my mom’s roof I am back to working on that myself. Interestingly, she has mellowed a little in that department even before I came back to remind her of how comments that she made, and sometimes still makes, are received by me as criticisms, whether they were meant to be or not. Maybe that’s partly because she’s hearing some of the things I say to her in the same twisted way.

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