Social media, that bitch of a double edged sword can be a place of joy and an absolute piece of shit. Facebook has always been a place where I can keep up with a distant relative. Instagram has become a place I can share my adventures and a new dish I have created. Snapchat is where all of my funny dog and boyfriend videos are. Blogging, a place for me to ramble about nonsense. Social media is where I see so many people learn to love themselves, love others, take on new hobbies and reconnect with parts of themselves that they lost. Its a motivator and an inspiration. Pinterest makes you want to do crafts and Yelp makes you want to try that new restaurant that just opened up. It also happens to be the place where middle aged white men go to call women fat in an attempt to make their receding hairlines sting a little less.
Ya, I am talking to you Sid. I would LOVE to see you in person and have you say that to my face.
Hi I am Ashley and I am just a tad bit overweight.
I am 5’3 and last time I checked I weighed 156. It may be more, it may be less but I am in no way SKINNY. And guess what? I am okay with that.
I am okay but trust me when it say that it was a tough road to get here.
Different weights that I have been since the age of 16
Age that I started obsessing over my weight?
Twelve fucking years old. That’s the first time I could remember thinking that my body wasn’t athletic like my best friends and therefore inferior. No, I didn’t have that exact thought but something along those lines were written in a journal with my gel pens. 12 Years old is when I started seeing my bigger mom different and idolizing the models in the magazines.
Age that I started to get fat?
Womanhood, family tragedy and a love for pasta caught up to me.
Now I know that I am throwing the word “fat” around quite cavalierly and there are so many women who have struggled much more than I have, reaching weights that I couldn’t even dream of, but that’s part of my point. Its my word to use and I chose to use it freely, in an effort to diminish its worth. So at the ripe age of 16 my fat ass started expanding.
It wasn’t until I was 18 and met the first “love” of my naive life. We will call him McDictator. Mr. McD loved me, no doubt. I saw and felt that every day but I often doubted my vision. Because McD had a very specific…. mold he wanted me to fit in and these child bearing hips were NOT squeezing in place. I lost 70 pounds in the 3 years that I was with him, the majority happening in a year and a half. This was my brush with anorexia and it was a very scary time to me think about. Why? Because I had no idea how bad I had gotten. I had no idea how unhealthy I was being until I was back on my own and able to… enjoy my life again.
Diet at 19-
One black bean and Spanish rice wrap in a whole wheat tortilla
cut into thirds
1/3 for breakfast,
1/3 for lunch
and 1/3 dinner.
Workout regime at 19-
2 hours of cardio, 6 days of week, one day of rest.
No weights, minimal stretching.
Sounds fucking effective amiright?!?
We would go out and enjoy ourselves at times. But he would take his fork and drag half of my food to the other side of my plate and ask our server for a box.
At family functions, he would pinch my belly and “affectionately” call me chunky monkey in front of friends, grandparents and young impressionable cousins. So I would put down the cake and go back to sipping my water.
Now look, I really promised myself when going into this that it was going to be a reflection on the mindset that I had over the years and not a bash piece on the men that had contributed to my self image issues… but they’re important to my story. So fuck that guy and fuck a few more.
Like Mr. P-Magnet who came after Mr. McD and cleaned up a lot of his mess. He was the first man I dated who taught… rather DEMANDED that I love myself and I’ll never forget that. He also met me when I was at that sweet 120 mark and killin the curve game. Regardless, I still had a very hard time loving myself and he was always there to remind me that I was smoking hot and that my doubts…..weren’t. Mr. Mag had a very… versatile palate for women. I saw him drool over the biggest and smallest. He loved them all and that was incredibly refreshing and incredibly substantial in helping me see the beauty that EVERY woman had to offer. He opened my eyes to a lot of things. It wasn’t until I hit that 150 mark that he blamed his infidelities on the fact that I got fat. It was an honest admission but a detrimental one to my new found self love and that earned him a nice comfortable spot on this list.
That list? It goes on- from my grandfather reminding me that I don’t have much else to offer than my body, to an old friend telling me that my face isn’t pretty enough to get fat, to the random man who went through my profile pictures on FB and proceeded to tell me that I should lay off the sweets and exercise more. Men (and women) so often think it is their place to comment on your weight, as if you don’t already wake up each and every morning ridiculing how differently your underwear fit since you packed on those extra 15. As if you don’t beat yourself up when you have an extra slice of cake or wish you had the body of Gisele or have a deep and unwavering resentment towards your best friend for eating like you and staying as skinny as ever. A simple comment goes a long way, especially for a woman who had spent the last 16 years hating herself.
So why are people so inclined to talk about another persons weight? If I really believed that it was solely based in a persons concern for the overweight persons health, I would welcome it. But let me in on something, unless you’re some crossfit healthnut, chances are…. I’m fucking healthier than you. I cook a fully vegetarian diet that is thought out and well rounded. I love to box, hike and recently fell in love with yoga. I am an active waitress who often walks 12 miles in one single day of work. So Please tell me again about my health?
On that note, I’m also a woman who loves craft beer and artisanal cheese. I’m also a woman who will skip a hike in order to sleep in with her boyfriend. Oh, and I am a woman who has a history of family thyroid issues and a terrible metabolism.
Weight is a complex creature and the next person who suggests that I just “run more” is going to have to go head to head with me in the boxing ring and talk to me about my fitness.
SO why are people ACTUALLY so inclined to talk about another persons weight? To make themselves feel better. Why do I say that? Because I have done it before.
Check the chart up above, I used to be skinny. Reaaaally skinny. And guess what I ALSO used to be? Judgmental. When I lost all that weight I got on that high horse that seems to be a permanent residence for a lot of people. And I sucked. I found myself spewing my opinion on anyone that would listen with absolutely no regard for what they were going through and what they looked like themselves. All because it made me feel good. I felt better than people because I accomplished something huge and rather than letting that accomplishment make me better, I let it make me bitchy. I wanted it to be known that I lost that weight, that I was skinnier than my best friend and that fitness and diet was of the utmost importance. But what I soon realized was that my actions…weren’t out of pride…they were STILL out of self hate. Becasue no matter what you do to change your exterior, unless you work on that wacky shit going on in your head, it ain’t gonna fix that interior. I thought that I loved myself because I finally achieved this “ideal body type” but I still had that deep seeded hatred stuffed deep inside me and no amount of black beans ever fixed that. You wanna know what it did? Getting fat again. 3 more times.
Unraveling all of your hard work takes…. well, hard work. It also has such an incredible humbling effect on your ego. Look at you, becoming the thing you promised yourself you’d never be again. But what if “that thing” is just… who you are?
Like I said before, I AM HEALTHY!! Could I be healthier? Diet wise, yes. Could I work out more? My body, yes. But these last few years and most recent weight gain were spent working out something much more important to me and that is my confidence. My well being. My psyche. These last few years were spent falling in love with ME and I’m sorry but that bitch looooves macNcheese and an IPA. Who am I to deprive her?
I often think of my weight loss journeys and how hard it was to accomplish what I had accomplished. I feel immense pride and wonder that I was able to do it. But that self love journey? Damn girl…. Look. At. You. Now THAT is some shit to be proud of.
Yesterday I went to pick out a bikini for my best friends Bachlorette party knowing that I was a little thicker than last years bikinis. I had a moment where I thought, fuck this. Starve yourself till September. Because I am human and this journey never ends. But you know what I did instead? Drank a beer and got me a mother fucking one piece that looks fanTASTIC on my ample breasts and giant behind. Because even with the beer belly, I am hot. Not hot for a thick girl, fuck that shit, I am HOT. There is absolutely NO reason for me to be ashamed of the vessel that houses one of the biggest hearts and most complex minds. My six pack may be less than desirable but have you seen my compassion for people in need? Shits BANGIN! Its easy to look at a body and point out its flaws. Its easy to put a person on a scale and say “mmm nope. We have a chart and this chart says you’re less than desirable” What isn’t easy is weighing a persons ability to cope, a persons ability to love and a person ability to accept and I believe that is another huge reason people have such strong opinions on a person’s weight. Pull out a weight scale and tell me I’m less than desirable… well I would love to pull out a scale and weigh every time you sat and listened to your mom cry and gave her just the right amount of love and encouragement it took to help her lose that holy fat you’re so concerned about.
Scales…. ugh. The scale is a girls best friend that isn’t really her best friend and is actually being inappropriate with her boyfriend and chasing away all of your other friends and just generally bringing chaos to her life. You think you love her and that she is the best part of your life when really all she does is get you to obsess over the wrong things. Now I know that isn’t always the case, like for my mother. She is hitting her 100 mark! One hundred pounds lost and for her, those numbers mean a great deal and that’s important. But for girls like myself, who fluctuate those 20 pounds due to a great deal of different factors, that scale will HOLD YOU BACK. Get rid of her. The best shape I have ever been in was when I was 144. I was fit. I was healthy. I was working out non stop. That’s only 6 pounds away from that 150 that I was years ago when I was laying around and eating pizza every day. That’s 12 pounds away from what I am now, which is somewhere in that infuriating middle. Those numbers? Will be the DEATH OF US ALL.
These “fit teas” and paleo diets and whatever other “get skinny quick” scheme may literally be the death of some of us. Can I tell you a little secret from experience? Getting skinny quick is NOT a good thing. It’ll come back, I promise. Because guess what? When you lose the weight, then what? You accomplished your mission and you go back to your old ways? Or do you keep up with that routine and wither away to nothing? Gradual weight loss, a change in your lifestyle, the adjustment it is important if losing weight is really what you want.
But guess what? If you don’t want to lose weight…. so FUCKING WHAT!! You rock them double DDD’s and embrace what you have going on for you, even if it is temporary. Because if you force yourself to make a change when you aren’t ready, it wont stick. You will be back to where you started and every time you start over, you’re going to leave a little bit of yourself at that start line that will take longer to rebuild than it does to get that “bikini bod”
Now I’m not encouraging or endorsing a sedentary or unhealthy life style. As I said before I am HUGE for healthy eating and an active lifestyle but I am also huge about not depriving yourself. A huge part of my healthy life style is a healthy mind and that healthy mind loves the experience of seeing the love of her life drool over a new fatty pasta dish. She loves to hear him express relentless gratitude for cooking potatoes for the third day in a row and she loves to go to that new restaurant that opened up down the road. Your mind is a pretty important thing to feed and if you never do? You’ll never be happy.
So what AM I encouraging? Well for the first half of you to shut the fuck up about needing to lose weight. For you to chill the fuck out with the expectations and the jealousy and the ridicule of the one person who should matter… you. For you to look in the mirror and rather than finding all that is wrong, embracing that cleavage that comes along with a little extra weight.
The other half…. how do I put this nicely….
Find one thing that you do or don’t do that drives you insane. One thing that no matter what you try you just cant seem to get right. Or the one thing that you can never quite push yourself to accomplish. Find the one thing that baffles you or doesn’t come naturally to you. Find that one that you envy others for having. Maybe its making more money or having a better father or taking that trip to Italy. That one thing you constantly obsess over…. Share it with me and let me tell you how fucking RIGHT you are for feeling bad about it. Let me continuously remind you that you’re failing at it. Let me show you other people who are doing better at it. Let me have your family and friends go on social media and flaunt about how they’re doing it and you aren’t. Being in shape is second nature for so many people. Being skinny is natural for others and that is a beautiful thing. I have never looked at a skinny person and thought “ugh this bitch. She’d be a lot prettier if she was a DD rather than those pathetic A cups” so what makes you do the same?
A fat man may be a natural at making money. A fit man may be a natural at building muscle. But guess what? They both have short comings and it isn’t fair for either of them to insult the other in order to….. what?
To make themselves feel better.
But you know… I’m a pretty compassionate person. So be my guest, you seem like you’re going through something right now. If it helps your fragile ego, Go ahead! Call me fat, its okay.