Stop Policing My Body

 All my life, up until this point, I have been thin. Well within the desirable weight range for someone my height and body frame. After having my daughter, I was still within a “healthy” weight range. After having my son, I am about 20lbs overweight. I carry the majority of it in my belly and thighs and I have a small frame.

All my life, up until this point, I have been thin. Well within the desirable weight range for someone my height and body frame. After having my daughter, I was still within a “healthy” weight range. After having my son, I am about 20lbs overweight. I carry the majority of it in my belly and thighs and I have a small frame.

Before now, I took people’s comments on how much I ate as a compliment.

“Damn girl, where do you put all that?!”

“Do you have a hollow leg or something?”

It was like a circus act, that someone my size could have such a big appetite. And I had a high metabolism, so I didn’t gain weight.

Now, people’s comments about my weight or the amount of food I eat are laced with judgement.

“I knew you’d eat all that”

“I don’t really think you need anymore”

“you don’t need dessert”

I love food just as much as I always have and my weight is relatively stable, yet people feel a need to comment just because I’m now 20lbs overweight. I haven’t changed the way I eat, in fact I probably have a healthier diet than I used to.

I’m also breastfeeding, which is a common reason for women’s bodies to hold onto weight. I produce double what my son needs and eat so that I can maintain my supply. None of that should matter and I shouldn’t feel a need to justify my appetite or caloric need, but people are so focused on women’s bodies that I feel a need to explain. And even then I hear, “yeah, that’s just an excuse” as people roll their eyes and scoff at me.

If these comments were framed as a concern rather than a judgement and discussed when I’m not eating, things might be different.

“Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve been eating more sweets lately, is something up?”

“I’ve noticed that you’ve started eating more processed foods and I’m worried about your sodium intake”

Or even,

“I’d love it if you could join me for a walk this afternoon”

“I’ll watch the kids so you can go to that dance class you love”

None of those feel judgmental. Those comments seem more focused on my health rather than my weight, which makes a big difference.

So, the next time you feel it’s acceptable to make a comment on someone’s weight or eating habits, consider whether it’s because you’re concerned about their health or their weight. It doesn’t matter how well you know the person, consider the impact your words make.

 

 

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