Last night I spent a wonderful evening with a bunch of ladies, most of whom I'd never met, trying on and exchanging clothes. It was sort of a spontaneous get-together, formed on a Facebook page, and the best part was all the clothes were size 14 and up.
Some may think "plus-size" is a one-size-fits-all description - in a word, FAT. But some would be wrong.
What I saw was a group of beautiful, kind, loving and supportive ladies who enjoyed an evening of trying on clothes, giving honest opinions, taking the shirt of their back (literally) to hand it over to another who would "look better in it." Sure, we joked about the lady lumps we don't love as much as other parts of our bodies, but mostly we rejoiced in each other's unique assets. Even if many of us wore the same size, we found that the same top looked completely different on each of us. We all took home armfuls of new-to-us clothing in sizes 14-3X - and yes, most of us had something in nearly every size!
I arrived at the event wearing shorts and a tank top - seemingly a normal summer-y outfit. But for me, it was way outside my summer uniform of capris and a cute short-sleeved top. I rarely wear shorts OR tank tops and this was the first time I was meeting most of these women. First impressions are important, right? Not when it's hot out. Because I didn't care. I liked my outfit. And I felt comfortable.
Of course I have criticisms about my own body. Of course I'm always striving (with varying levels of success) to get more fit and healthy. And by that I mean - more fit and healthy. I did not say skinny. I am not skinny. I've never been skinny. I've not always been fat, either. But none of us (and I mean YOU) are ever going to fit perfectly into some media-driven ideal size or measurement. We all have lumps and bumps and skin that is not taught or perfectly smooth. And we all have reasons - having children, going through a divorce, taking medication, having a thyroid problem. But who cares?
No one - and I mean no one - should have to "explain" why they are a certain size. So, stop doing it. That is the first "fat habit" you should get rid of. Why is it anyone's business why you are the size you are? It's not. So, don't bother explaining. That would be akin to making someone explain why their hair is blue or they have a nose piercing, or why they have tattoos. Because they do. That's it.
Another "fat habit" I'd like to get rid of is thinking "I can't wear that." If you can put it on and breathe in it, you can wear it. I once saw a post online that said "How to get a bikini body. Buy a bikini. Put it on your body." Exactly! If you want to rock a bikini, go ahead! If you're not comfortable, for whatever reason, don't do it. Same goes for sleeveless shirts and dresses - they're just arms - everyone has them. Shorts and short skirts? You have legs. We all do. So maybe yours are a bit lumpy or, like I've been known to say about mine "tree trunk legs." It's hot. Wear shorts. If you don't want to, don't. Wear what makes you feel pretty and comfortable - there are cute clothes in all sizes out there so buy something that fits and wear it. Don't squeeze into a size large t-shirt if you are not a size large. Tags are just tags. Cut them out if they bother you. I remember reading an article once about a woman who lost a great deal of weight. She said she never used clothes as a reward because "I think women should buy clothes they love in EVERY size." Yes! Buy and wear what you love, regardless of whether or not you are happy with what the little tag inside says.
When you go out to eat, do you feel self-conscious about what you order in front of others? STOP IT! That is the third "fat habit" I'd like to see banished! For goodness sake, you are lucky enough to be eating out at a restaurant. Hopefully, you are with friends, someone you love, maybe a first date. You are there to EAT so stop ordering a house salad with dressing on the side when what you really want is a bacon cheeseburger. You don't eat out every day, so enjoy the opportunity to savor something you wouldn't normally make at home. If that's a salad chock-full of yummy goodness, then go for it! If it's a slice of cheesecake, have it. We all know how to eat healthy. We know we need fruits, veggies, grains, low-fat dairy.......so focus on eating those most of the time. And when you go out, enjoy your food. Two incidents stick in my mind regarding this "fat habit" - one, when I was in college and went out with my then-boyfriend (who later was my first husband). We went to Denny's in the wee hours of the morning, following a night out at the bars, and of course we were starving. I immediately requested an order of fries and only after they were delivered did I notice every single other girl in our group had ordered the side salad. Who the FUCK eats a side salad at two in the morning? I know those bitches wanted fries but were too concerned about how it would make them look. I felt self-conscious, but only because my boyfriend gave me a "look" (I divorced him many years later because he never let me eat french fries. Kidding! About the fries...). The other incident has happened twice - my husband, who isn't much of a bread fan, often orders his burger "low carb" (without the bun) and enjoys a Diet Coke now and then. I like my burgers with a bun, and I might be inclined from time to time to enjoy a Bailey's shake. When our orders have arrived, I am immediately given the low-carb/Diet Coke order and he is given the "loaded" order. BULLSHIT! Girls eat, too. I may have just enjoyed a smoothie with fresh fruit and kale that very morning, but when I'm at a restaurant, I want FOOOOOOODDDDDD! So, stop ordering what you think the universe is telling you to - because, guess what? No one cares. It's your stomach, your hunger, and your food. Eat it.
The next "fat habit" I would like to discuss is working out. Specifically, thinking you can't work out at a gym because you're "too fat." What the??? Anyone can work out at the gym. I know people who have actually lost weight BEFORE they join a gym so they will "fit in." Are you kidding me? Last time I checked, no gym discriminated based on size. The gym would love to have you working out right alongside the toned athlete next to you. The important thing is that you MOVE. Everyone needs exercise. So, go out and move. Who cares what you do? If you want to walk slowly on a treadmill, do it. If you want to take a water aerobics class, do it. If you sign up for a triathlon and you are the VERY LAST person to cross the finish line (guilty) so what? You did it! Anyone, any size, can and should exercise. Last year, at a local 5K race my husband participates in, the last person to cross the finish line was a very obese man. Most of the spectators were long gone by then, but the few that remained gave this man a fitting celebration. Why not? He did it! If all you do it ten minutes of light weights or break a sweat washing the car in the hot sun, GOOD FOR YOU! Just move. No matter what size you are. Never stop moving.
Finally, the last "fat habit" I would like to banish is thinking that you are fat. Who decided what is "fat" and what is "skinny" in the first place? Sure, we have BMI charts, but even those are flawed and don't take into account many factors that affect fitness. Why is one size admired over another? What IS fat? Ask a size 0 girl and she might say "size 6." A size 14 girl might answer with size 20. Is fat just "fatter than you?" Is skinny just "skinnier than you?" My children tell me, all the time, "Mom, you are NOT fat." I wear a size 2X. Is that fat? Is anything over sizes "small, medium, large" considered fat? Is fat relative to the relationship you have with the person who is judging you? We are not fat. We are not skinny. We are not the sizes on the tag in our shirts. What we ARE: people who are all different shapes and sizes. That's it. Nothing about that speaks to anything we are in our hearts and minds. Size does not equal intelligence or ability, or capacity to love and be loved.
Get rid of your fat habits. Once and for all.