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.
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!