Random Musings

How Internalized Fatphobia has Fucked Me

Hello lovelies!

Get prepared for a super personal post! Content warnings for fatphobia, weight loss, weight gain, self-hatred. I was planning on posting this on Monday, but then I wrote it and now I have to post it immediately, so I didn’t chicken out. I’ve been thinking about this ever since I spoke about it with my therapist a few weeks ago and have wanted to write about it, so here we are.

As everyone well knows, I have horrible body image. I have always been a little bit on the curvier side and, in middle school and high school, when the pressure to look thin, be skinny and wear makeup, skintight clothes and be popular was all I ever felt, I started to have a distorted view of my body. I am able to say distorted now, because looking back, I wasn’t want I thought I was. Ugly. Fat. Obese. Horrible. I was average. I was fine.

Now, though, at least one of those things is true.

I’m fat.

fat big hero 6 GIF

A few years ago, I got into running to help deal with the emotional pain of being ghosted. This lead to losing 50 pounds and almost reaching my goal weight of 160 pounds–because that was the highest weight I could be and yet still be in the “healthy” range for my BMI scale for my height and I didn’t think I could weigh any lower. Then, I moved away from the running trail that was right beside my apartment when I moved in with my boyfriend and, subsequently, stopped running.

Over the past few years, I gained weight. A lot of it. Over 100 pounds. I went from 170 in 2017 to almost 280 now, in 2020.

Fuck, just writing that makes me want to throw up; as if, as you read it, whatever image you have of me (hopefully positive?) is suddenly changed, as if you are repulsed or revolted.

gross no way GIF

I almost didn’t even notice it happen, really, the weight gain. I have the habit of avoiding mirrors so well that it was like I woke up one day and noticed I have stretch marks jetting down my stomach like lightning bolts; that my stomach is no longer flat, but has rolls; that my back flat has expanded, my walk has changed almost to a waddle, kinda?

I panicked, upon realizing I had truly become what I had always feared: fat. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t achieve society’s impossible standards. I truly am fat. My mental health has completely spiraled and I hate myself more than I have ever before, simply because of how my body’s changed and the way it looks. Despite the fact that it hasn’t changed how I blog, or how well I can accomplish my job, or how I care for my family and friends, or how I write novels or what I can accomplish.

It’s seriously just changed a number on a scale, the way my clothes fit and how my body looks.

And I hate myself for it.

True, unabashed hatred.

angry i hate you GIF

I am trying to work through this with my therapist and I completely recognize that this is not something that even a handful of sessions will fix, as I have internalized fatphobia that’s been ingrained in me for over half my life. One of the things I mentioned to her is, not only am I dealing with that, but I also feel guilt. A lot of guilt.

It’s a guilt that’s hard to explain. A part of me wants to love my body so much. I want to be part of the body positivity movement. I want to show the world that they don’t get to control me by how I am “supposed” to feel about my body. I want to show the world I can still find love and be in a healthy relationship while fat. I can still have a successful career while fat. I want to prove I can be an successful author while fat. I want to help grow and support the body positive movement and help dismantle the racism that is embedded in it and continue to support BIPOC body positive activists. I want to do all of the things that society says I can’t, because I’m fat.

And yet.

I still hate myself. I still want to lose weight. I want to work out–because I actually do really enjoy it, despite also wanting it to have weight-lose benefits. I want my stretch marks to go away. I want my stomach to shrink. I want to fit into my clothes again. I don’t want to be embarrassed to meet people or to continue to absolutely hate myself in pictures. I don’t want to keep questioning why my boyfriend is “still” with me or what my friends will think when they see me after the pandemic or if my family is disappointed in how I look now.

I just want to love myself.

hercules hades GIF 

But, I feel like wanting those things is just giving into my fatphobia, despite seeing another woman who looks like me and I think–honest to God believe–that she’s gorgeous. Because the fatphobia applies to myself only, in my thinking. In my brain, I’m the one unworthy. I’m the one who’s useless. I’m the one who is worthless. Womxn who look like me? I can recognize they are fat, while still seeing beauty and worth. But not in myself. Never there.

So, I want to embrace who I’ve become, yet I find myself struggling to love her. On the flip side, I am so tired of hating myself that I want to lose weight so I can stop, because it feels like the solution is right there, but then that feels like a betrayal of what I want to fight against–the idea that your appearance is tied to your worth, that you have to reach a certain standard in appearance to have worth.

So, I do nothing, and hate myself all the while.

angry i know GIF

I’ve tried to describe this to my therapist and I am doing an okay job (I, of course, get emotional every time I try to talk about this, so I’m not sure how good of a job I’m actually doing, conveying all of these complicated emotions). She introduced the idea of “body neutrality” to me and I admit: I am fascinated. I suffer greatly from black and white thinking, so I thought it was always only two options: I either completely loved my body in every aspect or I hated it. I didn’t think you were “allowed” to just acknowledge that you have a body and it exists and that’s enough; to try and be neutral about it. Because honestly? The idea of loving my body as it is right now is honestly too big of a jump. It’s too much to ask for.

So, for now, I hope I can try to reach body neutrality, so my mental health can improve. I’m tired of hating myself and questioning my worth. I hope, also, I can get back to a healthy relationship with exercise, because I miss it. But I also know that I’m currently trying to get back into it for the wrong reasons and I need to address that, before I can do that again. I’m also dealing with back problems that I have to get sorted before I can work out, anyway, so I want to address that, too, while I continue to work on dismantling my fatphobia and healing my own mental relationship with my body.

Thanks for reading. I just needed to vent and this is where I’m at. ❤

26 thoughts on “How Internalized Fatphobia has Fucked Me”

  1. I think all women deal with body issues at some point. I am sorry that ye be conflicted about yers but I also feel like yer post makes lots of sense about where ye be and why. Sending ye a virtual hug of awesome. Cause ye are awesome.
    x The Captain

  2. My heart is in a puddle in the floor right now, honestly. 💕 Thank you SO MUCH for your honesty here. It’s so difficult to put something so personal out in the world. Our culture is wretched with its ideals of “beauty” and shaming those who don’t conform to them – and on top of that it is so easy to find beauty in others but condemn ourselves. I’m so glad you’ve reached a place where you are able to confront this out loud (per se) – it’s all uphill from here! 💐

    1. AMBER, I adore you, holy shit. ❤ Right? I connect with your comment so much and I really hope that first step is a positive one. Thank you so much for your encouragement and general awesomeness!!

  3. I admire your bravery for sharing your story with us. I believe every woman has body issues. I know I have had. I’m a very active/athletic person, and I would look at the scale (knowing full well that my weight on the scale did not measure my muscle mass) and hate the number. Then this summer, I got very ill and lost a huge amount of weight. That may sound great to some (and I had people close to me express that sentiment), but for me, the weight loss was scary. I felt skeletal and weak. I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs (and I trained 5 days a week in martial arts).
    I missed the weight that I had been not 3 months before. Go figure. And even now, after three months of recovery, my body still feels alien to me – though, little by little, day by day, I’m learning to accept it.
    I hope you find self-acceptance, self-love, and peace.

    1. Oh wow, thank YOU so much for sharing your story with me! Especially having to deal with no only medical issues, but having people compliment you about it. I can’t imagine what sort of experience that must of been and I hope that you continue to find peace with your body and continue to grow stronger and recovery goes well! Thank you so much. ❤

  4. This is an incredibly brave thing for you to do! Body image is such a sensitive topic for all women of all sizes. This makes me think of a lovely lady I met here on WordPress, but now she’s mostly only on Instagram. Jenni (selflovegenie on Instagram) has been documenting her own self-love journey and is honestly one of the brightest, most beautiful hearts I’ve ever known and is helping people of all shapes and sizes to learn to love themselves.

  5. It’s extremely bold and courageous to be raw and honest here on this post and I commend you for that. Cheers to you on your new journey to find a ‘happy medium’ in your life! I’ve heard it called ‘stinking thinking’ and ‘negative self talk’, which is altogether unavoidable, but it is best kept at bay as much as possible. I can admit that I don’t fully understand your current ‘configuration’ in mind, body and spirit ( sounds like that’s a job for your therapist ) – but looks like you have done the first step which is to be honest with yourself and admit and accept a few things. YOU CAN DO IT!!!! -S.D.

    1. Thank you SO much, S.D.! You’re right, negative self talk and I go way back, so it’s something I want to learn to lessen, since it won’t ever be fully eradicated. I appreciate your kind words. You rock!

  6. Beautiful post, as always. Sadly, I think most women have body issues of one type or another. We can hold up the ideal of being body positive, but it’s so hard to achieve. We’re all trained so thoroughly that numbers on a scale or on the label of our jeans means something more about what type of person we are and what we’re worth. I’m sorry you’re going through such a difficult period, but really give your lots of praise and support for your thoughtful post, and I’m glad to hear your therapist is so helpful. Sending virtual hugs!

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! You are always way too kind to me! ❤ I hate how that seems to be theme that so many people have responded with, but I hope we can all learn to stop measuring with those values in term of worth and keep pushing forward. ❤

  7. Pulling for you Nicole! I make no claim to knowing anything, but maybe just putting this out there is the first big step? Like getting it off your chest will help you take the next step? Idk…but I’m pulling for you!

  8. CW: for all of your warnings above, really, but now mine. Probably tl:dr, I won’t mind if you don’t read!

    I understand these feelings like … a lot. And talking about fatness online is really fraught and difficult, in part because there’s pressure to be positive, and in part because there’s so much fatphobia that revealing your fatness can feel like painting a target on yourself.

    I also hated my weight and considered myself fat for most of my life. I was constantly underweight — dangerously so for one year, where I ate almost nothing. Then due to various circumstances I won’t get into, a few years ago I became actually fat. Not ‘in my head fat’ but ‘doctor’s blame everything on your weight’ fat. ‘Can’t find clothes in normal shops’ fat.

    In my case though, after a few years of this, I’ve really become a lot more body positive. At first I was desperate to lose weight but it turns out that sustainable weight loss is very difficult to achieve and in fact impossible for most people. But I adjusted to my new weight and found I am stronger. I also exercise regualrly now just for it’s sake — I don’t lose weight, but I’m reasonably fit for a work-from-home person. I stopped dieting and just eat normally, so I have energy. And also … I made a conscious effort not to hate myself. My mother has been yo-yoing in weight her whole life in spite of eating nothing. Her wardrobe is full of ‘goals outfits’ instead of clothes that fit. I didn’t want that to be me.

    Especially as, like you, there are fat people who I think are truly gorgeous. Actually, that’s a huge thing that’s helped — following fat positive accounts on twitter, fat positive artists, and just making more fat friends. So much easier to love your body when you can love other people’s who look like you.

    So I have focused on the good and am mostly body positive now. It’s just … not as bad as I thought it would be, in my case? Getting fat was the worst case scenario for my whole life but honestly my body image is in many ways more stable than it was when I was thin and hating myself every time I ate a sandwich and my stomach pouched. Or when I saw my reflection side-on and wanted to hide and cry.

    There are obviously huge problems (god, fatphobia is awful) and obviously I have some very bad days, but not as many as I did when I was thin.

    Anyway our experiences are not the same at all, even if a lot of the emotions are, but if you want a fellow fat person to talk about your experiences with or vent to, or anything like that, then I am definitely always about and happy to hear from you.

    I hope you can find a way to make peace with your body, whether through positivity or neutrality. Thanks for sharing your story; I wish I saw more people talking about it, to be honest. ❤

    1. Oh Victoria, I just adore you to pieces. ❤ And of COURSE I am going to read your comments, especially when you take so much time to write such detailed and heartfelt ones!!!

      YES, exactly. And just admitting that I still suffer from fatphobia just makes me feel shitty on top of hating the way I look. *sigh*

      YEP, I connect with this a lot, too. Definitely struggling to find good clothes and worry going to the doctor now that they'll just blame everything on my weight.

      Just hearing that you've been able to change that mindset is just…so inspiring. Like, I'm almost crying over here at the POSSIBILTY.

      I am definitely trying to follow more fat people on social media, so I can not only get used to seeing people who truly look like me, but also try to teach myself to be kinder to myself by catching myself admiring them and then hating myself.

      Yes, in my head, getting fat still feels like the worse case scenario and I feel like I've failed, somehow. But I am SO GLAD to hear that you sound like you are doing so much better and the hard work you've put in at loving yourself has helped that become true!

      Seriously, I'm just on the verge of tears. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You've given me hope that this feeling and overwhelmingness isn't going to last forever and that I can work out and not lose weight and that's okay; that I can not lose weight and just exist and that's okay; that love is possible.

      You're amazing. ❤

      1. I’m so glad this was in any way helpful. I mean what I said that I am about if you ever need to talk/vent about it!

  9. You are so brave, and a beautiful writer to boot. I’ve also had issues with aspects of my life that I wanted/needed to change, and I’ve found making a deal with myself to do something just for 30 days in a row is the key for me to realign my habits. One step at a time, my friend. That’s how we all get there, at our own pace.

  10. Wow Nicole. Random, you appeared at the bottom of my WordPress reader. Because the Universe said read this. 

    I’m a fellow blogger and it’s a big ME TOO with the body hatred. And then l feel the passion to also not want to care either. 

    Whatever the reasons, pandemic overdrinking, body pain preventing exercise, menopause, here I am same place as you. Now what?

    I know we both suffer from low self-worth and internalized patriarchal crap. But this hiccup is torturous.

    I remember back when I lost the weight and how proud I was of myself. And i also want to feel that body neutrality too. 

    I used tl call myself Fit Fat. I want that again. 

    And that 30 day idea plus so much compassion and perhaps an accountabilibuddy is the plan.

    I’m with you.

    Take care,

    Shalagh of Shalavee.com

  11. Wow Nicole. Random, you appeared at the bottom of my WordPress reader. Because the Universe said read this. 

    I’m a fellow blogger and it’s a big ME TOO with the body hatred. And then l feel the passion to also not want to care either. 

    Whatever the reasons, pandemic overdrinking, body pain preventing exercise, menopause, here I am same place as you. Now what?

    I know we both suffer from low self-worth and internalized patriarchal crap. But this hiccup is torturous.

    I remember back when I lost the weight and how proud I was of myself. And i also want to feel that body neutrality too. 

    I used tl call myself Fit Fat. I want that again. 

    And that 30 day idea plus so much compassion and perhaps an accountabilibuddy is the plan.

    I’m with you.

    Take care,

    Shalagh of Shalavee.com

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