Ah, Reddit. On the one hand, you are great for things like television show fandom and I spent way too many hours in the Westworld subreddit during the first season.
On the other hand, you encourage and harbor some really fucking toxic attitudes and ideas. And then yesterday, while perusing the Relationships subreddit, I came across this gem:
Now, obviously, this thinking isn’t just a Reddit problem. But Reddit as a whole is very fatphobic, so this rhetoric crops up frequently. This one in particular, however, hit like a fucking anvil and there are two points in particular I want to highlight:
You do not have to lose weight in order to find love
I know how easy it is to want to believe this. Because if we believe that our relationship issues are external, that means we don’t have to do any work internally.
I wasted years of my life believing that all of my dating problems had to do with what I looked like. I put up with shitty behavior from men and thought it was because of my weight and not, y’know, because the men were shitty assholes.
I believe that you attract what you put out there into the world. I don’t mean attraction and looks. I mean that because I didn’t love and respect me and my body, the men I attracted didn’t love and respect me either.
Once I started to see the value in my body, once I started to see me and my body as worthy and began respecting it, I started to attract men who also respect me and my body.
I’m fat. I found love. Lots of fat men and women have found partners who love and respect their bodies exactly as they are.
Which brings me to my second point:
Weight loss is not a magic key
Here’s the thing about losing weight: it’s only a physical change.
Well, sure, you might be saying. That’s the point. I want to change physically.
Uh-huh. And what happens when you change physically but your problems still exist? Because they will.
Our society wants us to believe that all of our problems can be magically solved by starving ourselves and spending hours in the gym and reducing our calories and increasing our activity level.
I believed this. I starved myself and spent hours at the gym and lost a significant amount of weight. Guess what? All the bullshit from before? Still there. Low self-esteem? Still there. Job that made me miserable? Still there. Lack of dating prospects? Still there.
Diet culture wants you to believe that your life will finally start if you just lose those 5 or 10 or 50 pounds.
Diet culture is lying to you.
Again, I know how easy it is to want to believe in the magical thinking of losing weight. Of believing all of your problems can be traced back to the number on the scale and if you could just fix that one thing, life will course correct.
I was fat before. Then I lost a bunch of weight. Then I regained a bunch of weight.
I’m happier now than I ever was at my lowest. I have a life I love with a man I love who loves me. I’ve published one memoir and am working on my second. I co-host a popular book podcast and have had the opportunity to interview some amazing people, like Jodi Picoult and Alan Cumming.
And I’ve done it all while being fat.
There’s no magic key here. This took work. This took hard fucking work, breaking myself down from the inside out and rebuilding. It took hard conversations with myself, facing my fears, and confronting the false narrative I had built surrounding weight loss.
A few years ago, I realized that I was never going to lose the weight again. It just wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t have the motivation or desire to put myself through that again, counting calories and facing the scale and all of that. I accepted the fact that if I was going to live my life — not just survive but thrive — I was going to have to do it while fat.
And, so I did. And I continue to do so. I won’t let my weight define me, nor will I let it hold me back. If I’m going to live my life, I’m going to live it while fat and fuck anyone who has a problem with that.
Want more? Check out my class on breaking free from diet culture bullshit.