Here’s the thing right. I am not very tall and quite petite. I’ve always been slim. I’m healthy, I eat mostly what I want and drink a couple of units at the weekend. I don’t take much exercise and I wouldn’t say I’m fit. I pay vague attention to my weight and there’s a point on the scales at which I’ll feel I should be a bit more careful. My boobs are too small, my calves too chunky, my upper arms are flappy, and I hate that you can see the outline of my rib below my collar bone.
While I was pregnant this winter I put on just under a stone. That’s really good going for me, only 12 pounds in 20 weeks. With small boy I’d put on at least 4 stone when he was born at 40 weeks. Then I wasn’t pregnant any more and feeling physically “normal” again was an important step psychologically.
Now I’m finally back in my skinnyest skinny jeans and it feels good. I’m proud. It’s only taken an extra 4lbs beyond getting into my normal clothes again and I feel good about myself.
But I don’t feel I can talk about that achievement. So many people I know are posting about losing a pound a week here or there, and they are justifiably proud. I’m pleased that they’re achieving success at something they want (whatever it is). But I’m starting off from a slim place, so no one will join in my pleasure at losing those last 4lbs. I feel like slim people aren’t allowed to want to lose a little weight. Before losing those last few pounds I was already lighter and smaller than those people working really hard to do the same and more. That doesn’t mean it’s not an achievement for me too though.
I’m kind of rambling here. Struggling to get my thoughts down without sounding smug or judgy. Here’s my point (I think):
I’m naturally small, I worked to lose a bit more weight and I’m proud of it and I’m happier in my skin now. But why do I feel that saying so publicly would be unwelcome and might be met with bitterness? (Yeah yeah why do I need to? Sure I don’t need to tell everyone. But I’d like to feel that I could if I wanted to.)
Why don’t I get to celebrate those couple of pounds while other people do? Why does it matter whether the starting point is 8st7lb or 12st or 20st? Taking 4lb off any of those is just as hard.
I know that if I add the context that my desire to lose a bit more weight is following miscarriage, it’s suddenly more palatable to people. But why should it be?
For all the body beautiful campaigning to accept all shapes and sizes for their loveliness, why do I feel this speck of guilt and judgement for being slim? My body’s ok too you know!
And I know most people would respond that of course it is. That the body beautiful should expand beyond my body type. Sure of course, I have no truck with that. But people do feel comfortable commenting on my size: “oh you’re so slim”, “I wish I was as slim as you”, and one time “wow you’ve lost a lot of weight” from someone I’d met twice, and I hadn’t. I would never comment on anyone’s body size! There’s always that tone of “You’re so slim, I bet you don’t eat” or “I wish I was a slim as you but I’m not cos I enjoy life and food and you don’t/can’t”, always an undertone of judgement. I never know how to respond to those comments. I mean, what am I supposed to say? “Yes aren’t I lucky”, or “well I restrict myself to 1000 calories a day”, or “I wish I had more curves”, or “actually I feel fat”. None of those is true.
We all have aspects of our bodies we don’t like and that’s ok. Even slim folk might not be confident and it’s no more ok to comment on their slimness than one someone larger.
Can’t we just stop giving a fuck whether we’re fat or thin or wobbly or boney?