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Monday, January 18, 2016

Fat is not a synonym for ugly

I’m fat. Let’s not waste energy debating the use of the ‘F’ word. Fats are long chain molecules consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; in most plants and animals they represent an efficient way of storing energy. When we consume more energy than our body immediately requires it is stored in our adipose tissue as fat. According to the World Health Organization BMI classification, I have an above average amount of energy stored in my adipose tissue.

As Lillian Bustle so eloquently stated "Society has turned fat into a synonym for ugly. But fat just means fat."

The message that society thrusts onto overweight individuals is that if you can’t lose weight you aren’t enough. You aren’t strong enough, you aren’t disciplined enough, you aren’t active enough, you don’t care enough, you aren’t smart enough, you don’t want it badly enough. You. Are. Not. Enough.

Studying to be a dietitian isn’t easy, it is a highly competitive degree and at my age there are limited pathways available. For two years, day after day, I had the strength to keep showing up, I had the discipline to study, I had the smarts to achieve a GPA of 7.0; there could be no doubting that I wanted it badly enough. Throughout all of this I ran an average of 15-20km per week and I became involved in a host of extracurricular activities; by anyone’s standards I am certainly active enough. On top of all this I am a wife, a mother, an artist, a cook and a dog lover. By any standard you could possibly imagine I am enough.

Except I'm fat. Every achievement I just listed suddenly became diminished by society because I have stores of body fat. I’m not buying into that nonsense any more.

I have spent enough of my life hating my body and by extension hating myself. It’s time to move in a different direction.

Once again I borrow from the beautiful Ms Bustle: 

I am enrolled in university so I call myself a student, I weigh 80kg so I call myself fat, and I am beautiful so I call myself beautiful. I am all of these things at once.



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Why I am not all about the bass



I wanted to love this song. It’s right up my alley, actually. It has a catchy tune, Meghan Trainor has a gorgeous retro styling that I adore and on the surface it seems to have a strong body positive message.

Or does it?

Scratch below the surface and you will see that this song is about sexually objectifying larger body types and about women seeking validation about their body types from boys/men.

Yeah’ it’s pretty clear, I aint no size two
But I can shake it, shake it, like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

This is sending a very clear message that even larger body types are only attractive if they can move in a particular way and have their ‘junk’ in all the ‘right’ places. As the body image movement grows and plus size models become increasingly popular, there is emerging a new bias. 




It's almost like society has taken a deep sigh of resignation and said "Oh, ok, go ahead and be fat if you have to, but we will only find you attractive if you look like this".

Is this really accepting diversity? I look at the woman above and look down at myself and compare my soft round belly to her flat stomach and small waist and still feel inadequate. I’ve had three children, three caesareans and I have lost and regained over 120kg in my lifetime. As a result my skin is stretched and wrinkled and no amount of cross fit, herbal wraps or dieting is going to change that.

Back to Meghan's song...

Yeah my mama she told me, ‘don’t worry about your size’

This is a great message for women to tell their daughters, for all parents to tell their children, actually.

She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night”

Disregard the gender and hetero bias for now, is this the message we want to tell our daughters? Don’t worry about your size because men prefer a fleshier body in bed? AKA it’s ok to be fat because it provides a little cushion for the pushin’?

As a parent, the message I want to tell my children is, don’t worry about your size because:

  • You are not a sex toy put on this earth for the entertainment of others
  • Your mind is far more interesting than your body
  • Your kindness and compassion will shine like a beacon
  • Your strength and courage will inspire others
  • Your creativity and passion will enrich the world




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