Celebrating My Fat (Fabulous) Body

Posted on April 15, 2014

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For 25 years, I was conventionally “hot”, and I enjoyed all the perks that go with it. What I realize today is, you’re never pretty enough, thin enough, hot enough, good enough. I was 15, the first time someone commented on my body (or a part of it). I was swimming with this friend; we stopped to catch a breath. She looked at my arms and said, “You have fat arms, man!” I remember replying, “Oh, that’s muscle, man! I swim a lot.” The conversation ended there. Or so I thought. It came back to haunt me later in life. When I was 18, I got myself a bout of anorexia when a boy I liked told me I was “becoming fat”. I began living on black coffee and ate 3 bites for lunch and dinner – sometimes combined. This is going to come as a surprise to even my own sister and father perhaps as I was good at hiding it – I told people I was swimming a lot. I dropped 10kgs/25lbs in less than 2 months. The compliments I got from people didn’t help. But let me tell you this, I was sad, really sad. The boy I liked didn’t really respond to me even after I dropped all that weight…and luckily I realized what a jerk he was.

At 23!

At 23!

I began eating well and regained my curves. I was still in the range of conventional hotness. Well, till I turned 25 anyway. I am not going to provide a reason as to why I put on weight, as that would be like me explaining why I am fat. Since then, I have been intermittently unhappy with my body. I go through phases of feeling fat and ugly. Intermittently because I am too busy maturing, evolving, loving, living, writing, caring, sharing and making a difference to the lives of others. When I think about how conventionally hot and conventionally stupid I was, I shudder. Yet, the scary part is, there have been crevices in my mind which have actually made me think that I would give up my brain to look the way I used to! No more.

I have perfected the art of looking conventionally hot in my facebook pictures. I know how to how to hold the camera or position/crop out my arms so that they look good. I delete pictures I don’t like and choose the best one, add effects to it before posting it. However, at the back of my mind, I hear a tiny voice telling me that’s not me.

Perfect position to hide the arm-fat (a little anyway!)

2012 – Phuket, Thailand: Perfect position to hide the arm-fat (a little anyway!)

I have been exercising 4-5 days a week since January 1st, 2012. Some months my body responds by losing inches, and some months, even if I diet and exercise like a maniac, I put on weight. But overall, I feel amazing. That is, till I am bombarded by “You are fat” messages. Or till I see my really dainty and skinny friends (read size 0 or 1) sucking in their imaginary bellies or complaining about upper abdomen fat. I leave the house usually feeling pleased with what I am wearing, how it looks on me, but by the time I reach my destination, I am not so sure.

People are not nice to chubby people, or they give backhanded comments. I can relate to what Mindy Kaling says, people will be like, “You’ve got great confidence to wear that outfit.” I’m like…”You’ve got great confidence too…to wear your stupidity out in the open like that!” I’ve even had people tell me, “I wish I was more like you, not caring about my weight.” I don’t know whether to sock them or console them! A few years ago, after almost 10 years of graduating high school, I met the girl who told me I had fat arms when I was size 2 (at 15) at a party. She thought she looked great. She was thin, that much I assure you. But her demeanor was very self-conscious. She cringed every time she was offered food! She told me, “What has happened to you? You were the hottest of us of all!” I wish I could tell you that I had a spicy retort for her. But I didn’t. I was stunned. This was the first time I had faced body size discrimination!

For the last few months, I have been praying that I get the courage to go on a strict diet and exercise vigorously regularly. For me, when all else fails, prayers rescue me. May I tell you something. Something inside me is changing. I am not losing weight. But I am losing my fat phobia. Every day that I stand in front of the mirror, I am amazed at how beautiful my body is. Mind you, I am straddling size 8 and 10 and how!

Left: Arm cropped out, Right: My beautiful, normal-sized arm

Left: Arm cropped out, Right: My beautiful, normal-sized arm

A few days ago, I posted my first picture where you can see the actual size of my arms. I felt a release. I finally set myself free. I don’t know if it is because this is a picture of my niece and me, and I know she considers me a role model, or if it is simply because I am fed up of hiding or posing or sucking in my tummy! Either way, it feels good. Very good.

Recently, I was explaining to a friend why I had put on weight (ah, yes, old habits die hard!) and she sweetly told me that I had a gorgeous face and people don’t look beyond that. There was a voice in my head that said, “My body is gorgeous too!” I’m sexy, and I feel it 🙂

 

For Sid…for always telling me the truth. For never letting your adoration and admiration for me waver or wane. For always looking at me the way I want to be looked at. You’re amazing.

 

Some other lovely videos/links/resources on body image:

 

Fat girl with skinny boy

Selfie – Why you should worry about passing on your insecurities to children

Follow Ms. Representation on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MissRepresentationCampaign – for more news, views and stories on body image

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