I would like to discuss a subject that, in this culture, is rarely, if at all discussed: gaining weight.
People write about losing weight all the time. They post before and after pictures, they post their meal plans, they vent about their struggles to limit themselves, to count calories, to be constantly conscious of what they’re eating.
And the support they receive is overwhelming.
The comments always have the same themes:
“Story of my life. I’ve got to get back on a diet.”
“Wow, I’m so inspired.”
“Think about how great you’ll feel! It’s worth it!”
Losing weight is talked about all the time. People mention it constantly, or at least subtly refer to it. And it immediately becomes a source of commiseration, an unhealthy way to bond.
But gaining weight isn’t talked about. And I haven’t talked about it, because I could anticipate the reactions:
“Lucky you, I wish that was my problem!”
“It must be so nice to get to eat whatever you want!”
“If only I weighed as much as you, I would be happy!”
And I knew that even if people didn’t write or say those comments, they’d think them. Because we live in a distorted culture where people believe those things and thrive off of the negative thought patterns. And so I have kept silent.
Except then it hit me: By keeping silent, I am perpetuating skinny-shaming. I am perpetuating shame. That goes against everything I believe in.
So I’m talking. In the spirit of being real.
I am at a point where I need to gain weight. It doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter the cause. Ask me if you’d like, because I’ll sure talk about it, but speculating and harping on the cause just supports that yes, we live in a distorted culture. Because, do people harp and speculate on why someone needs to lose weight? Right. The point is, just as someone may need to lose weight to be healthy, I need to gain it.
It’s not fun. It’s not pleasant. I too have to count calories. I too have to think about and plan all of my meals. Just as it may be frustrating to stop eating when you want to continue, it’s equally frustrating to force yourself to keep eating when your body is screaming at you to stop. I too can’t wait until it’s finished and I’m where I want to be and need to be. It’s not pleasant to ignore hunger signals. It’s disappointing to step on the scale only to be disappointed. It’s not pleasant to know your body is not as healthy as it was. It’s frustrating to want to work out or go to a hot yoga class and know you shouldn’t. It’s no different than trying to lose weight. The end goal is the same, the struggle is the same: get to a healthy place, for your body.
So please – I beg of you. Help me stop this double standard where it’s okay to move down, but not up. Where it’s congratulated for even talking about losing weight, but criticized for talking about gaining. Where people feel that they can’t commiserate about the struggle, because the struggle might be happening in a different directions.
And hopefully we’ll get to a point, maybe in this lifetime, where weight doesn’t even need to be talked about.
Help make that happen.