Forever Hungry Tank - via Etsy

It’s true. I’ve put on weight, and people are weird about it. But not in the way that you’d think they would be. Perhaps you’re imagining well-meaning folks giving me weight-loss tips or advice on dieting. Well, nope. That hasn’t happened. What has happened goes a little something like this;

Me & Them: Some description of conversation, turns towards gym or eating or wine or cheese. Or all of the above.

Me: Yeah, I’ve been feeling it since I hurt my foot, I’ve put on a fair bit of weight.

Them: No you haven’t, you look beautiful. No way.

Me: Well, actually, I literally have. It’s not a thing, it’s a fact. I’ve put on weight.

Them: Nooooo. No way. Seriously. I think you look great.

End scene. 

On and on it goes in some version of this conversation. I decide that maybe it’s not even worth discussing (because weight gain/loss and such discussions are so meh, really). Subject change. And yes, don’t lecture me, if I was a “better” body positive fat person I wouldn’t have even brought it up. But I’m not.

I love the gym. I love the way that exercise makes me feel. And I KNOW that the injury to my foot would be alleviated by reducing the weight on it, not adding to it. So I sometimes talk about it with people I know. Normal, I thought. Apparently not.

Here’s the thing, I’m clear I’ve put on weight, but it feels temporary and related to circumstances. People, however, seem VERY concerned with me saying so. Noooo, you haven’t put on weight. No way. Not a chance. You look great. When I know, and I have said, that I have.

Why is that, do you think?

I know why I think they do that. But you probably guessed that given that there’s a blog post. Appearing out of nowhere, like an apparition, on my poor neglected blog. Why would someone not prone to lying about such things, deny me putting on weight when it’s clear I have?

There’s one answer in my books. Gaining weight is something we are so programmed against that friends and family will do anything to shield you from the ‘disappointment’ of that. But what they are really saying is no, you didn’t fail. No, you’re worthy and valuable. No, you’re not lazy and disgusting and stupid. After all, those things are what we are told fat people are. Even slightly fat people.

Nevermind a seriously fat person. 

Of course, they don’t want me saying such things about myself. They want to protect me from the very idea of that. And maybe, in some way they think, I’m seeking reassurance. Because that happens too. Reassurance that even with a few (more than a few!) extra kilogrammes I am still valid. Except that, I’m not looking for that. At all. On both counts. Not that I’m aware of anyway, worth a look, though.

For me, mentioning in passing that I’ve put on weight is what it is. It’s me, having gained weight. Fact. I’m not becoming a different person. Nor am I any more or less aware of my body than I was before. I think we all need to watch how we have that conversation. Myself included. Very much myself included. There are so many conditioned messages around weight, weight loss and health, that it can feel like a minefield.

Maybe the only response to these conversations is for all of us to ask ‘and how do you feel about that’. I mean, I was really just looking for someone to talk to about my options and frustrations. Possibly pointless and a waste of my time, but that was what I wanted. If someone had asked me our new favourite phrase, maybe I’d be over it by now?

What say you, team? Have you had this happen to you? What did you think was going on? Should I just shut up and stop talking about weight gain all together? Discuss!  

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  • Samantha Lines

    I’ve never had this when I say I’ve put on weight but I have had it when I make a statement like “As a fat person” and the person I’m talking to goes “You’re not fat, you’re beautiful” or “You’re not fat, you’re just a big personality”. It’s quite frustrating.

    • OMG yes, that. That happens so much. It’s part of the distancing from fat that people do because of all the extra tied up feelings about it. People are horrifed when I describe myself as fat. Time to change the conversation.

      • Samantha Lines

        What makes me angriest of all is when I acknowledge that I’m fat and when the person I’m talking to wants to say something about fat people. They always pause and saw fat like it’s a swear word. Just cos you say it doesn’t make it any more or less true than it was when it went unsaid. It’s the same as when people tip toe around nationality or skin colour. Saying it doesn’t make it dirty or taboo. There’s nothing wrong with being black or Asian or fat so why avoid saying it?

        • People are terrified of the word fat; the whispers and the awkward pauses. So weird. I use it deliberately and purposefully as often as I can. We change it one conversation at a time, I think.

  • Chel Pablo

    I have put on 25 pounds in two years (gasp!) and people say, “no, you’re tall, it suits you”.

    Uhmn…ok. Never mind I feel frustrated. Or my feet and knees hurt.

    • Right? So fast to explain it away or move on from the conversation. It’s so weird when you see if first hand. So weird.

  • It’s kind of like saying ‘I’ve had a hair cut’ and someone going ‘No! You haven’t! Your hair is still long!’

  • Works both ways… when people tell me I’ve lost weight but I’ve actually put on 5kgs and I’m like no I haven’t and they go “Yes YES YOU HAVE!” I’m just thinking well thanks for playing but you don’t step on the scales as me haha.

    • Oh man, I can imagine! I’ve had people swear black and blue I’ve lost weight and it’s just not correct. I can only imagine how often you get that when you have overall lost weight, but not recently. ALL the weirdness. Maybe invite them back for a scales party. Haha.

  • How do YOU feel about it?
    Don’t mean to sound confrontational. I am a specialist physician who works in obesity – having done a PhD in this, and also not being catwalk model size myself. I see lots of people beat themselves up when they gain weight, or even don’t lose. A lot of my consultation goes into breaking down that. Happy for you to drop me a line if you want – you can comment on my blog with your email.

    • I’m all over the place about it. I know my value isn’t in the size or ability of my body, but that’s a hard one to leave behind ALL the time too. I’m not happy about it, I miss working out and ‘feeling fit and strong. It’s certainly brought up some feelings that I thought I’d dealt with. Apparently, for me, there’s still some work to do around justification (to exist in a big body) and being able (fit and ‘healthy’) which I didn’t see until now.