I don't know how to write about body image and weight stuff, exactly. Because I've been many of the things.
- I've been thin and happy(ish) with my weight. (OK, that has hardly ever been true. But it has literally ever been true.)
- I've been thin and thought I was fat, and been unhappy about that.
- I've been fat and happy.
- I've been fat and unhappy.
- I've lost weight unhealthily (physically and emotionally).
- I've lost weight healthily.
- I've gained weight unhealthily.
- I've gained weight healthily.
- I've had people tell me I was too big, needed to lose a few pounds, ask when I was due — and those people have included doctors, when I was at a wide range of weights. In fact, they've included every doctor I've had but one, since I was about 14.
- I've had people tell me I was beautiful, perfect.
- I've had people tell me it doesn't matter, as long as I'm healthy.
- I've had people project their own fears onto me — whether by openly dreading the possibility they could ever look like me or by insisting that I would be happier thinner.
And in case you're wondering what I think these days, philosophically, intellectually, I think this: I think for me, any weight I am is fine, as long as I'm healthy. And I think any weight I am is actually none of anyone else's business, even if I'm not healthy. And even if the weight is related to the health.
Emotionally, I waver from all of that a lot, as much as anybody does, maybe. I let it be other people's business, sometimes. I decide that my weight is not fine. I assume people who don't think I'm attractive are probably specifically not attracted to weight. And then I get over it, because that philosophical, intellectual belief is every bit as real as those sometimes devastating emotional waves.
That's a long introduction to this, which I think everyone should read. By everyone I mean:
- Every woman who has ever worried about her weight and considered doing something about it.
- Every person who has ever thought they knew anything at all about anyone else's weight.
- Anyone who has ever trusted a salesperson.
- Anyone who has ever known what 1,200 calories looks like.
- Anyone who has never had to know what 1,200 calories looks like.
Because there is a lot in there of value. (Speaking of value, I actually originally saw that post when it was linked to at A Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss, which is a terrific, smart, non-shaming, antiracist blog about exercise and eating well, regardless of who you are and why you want to eat well and exercise — that also includes some excellent and very real insights about racism and sexism in America, and how they intersect.)