This week I was referred to as “the heavy set girl”. Now, I have been referred to as many things in my lifetime, the girl with the freckles, the girl with the short hair, the girl with a funny name. But never have I ever actually heard someone refer to me as “heavy set.”
Now, I do realize that over the past five years I have gained weight. Due to stress, due to physical hormonal issues, due to other miscellaneous situations. But I have never heard it actually be verbalized to someone and that I had been categorized as such. And so this post is for those other “heavy set girls”.
And please be warned I will use the phrase “fat girl” or “big girl” because apparently I am part of that coalition….. So I can.
10 things you should know about the “heavy set girl”
1. We are not oblivious to our weight.
I spent 20 years of my life being the skinny girl. The size of my pants never exceeded single digits. And when I hit the double digit mark and my weight most recently flirted with the number 2 at the front of it, I realized I was a “big girl.” Please don’t think I don’t realize that I am slowly becoming a “heavy set girl.” We have a mirror. I know what I look like.
I see those double chins creeping up on me in those selfies. I feel my pants cutting into my waist, i know how many belt holes i skip compared to six months ago. I know my bra size is no longer the same. I got it.
2. We still have to eat
Trust me, every time I go out to eat I make the conscious decision to either have a salad, or have a meal that actually tastes good. I am well aware of the calorie count of my meal that I am consuming. But a person can only eat so much lettuce before they have to actually eat something of substance. So I implore you, that before you judge the “fat girl” eating a cheeseburger, you consider the possibility that this is her cheat meal. That she has counted calories all week long so that she can have this one satisfying meal of her week.
Or maybe not. Maybe that girl doesn’t give a damn about her weight, and doesn’t care what you think about her. Either way the decisions she is making about what she is eating is none of your business. Let the fat girl eat without judgement.
I can honestly say that on occasion, I have judged another “fat girl” for their meal choice. But please know that every “fat girl” consciously makes an order at a restaurant knowing what her weight is. And she knows that what she orders will affect her weight. I tell myself all the time “make a good meal choice decision”. But I don’t always follow that guideline.
3. Big girls hate clothing standards
Over the past two decades the sizes of clothes have changed dramatically. What was once a size 10 is now a size 16. If you don’t believe me, please look it up.
I recently went into an Abercrombie and Fitch store and tried on an extra large T-shirt only to find that it was about the size of a “shmedium” in real life. I can wear a size medium in a men’s shirt but in a woman’s shirt in most department stores I am an extra-large or bigger. This is not only emotionally damaging, but it is also realistically deceiving.
Most “big girls” consciously choose clothing that is not tight, that is not figure hugging, but for all intents and purposes hide our muffin tops. I will literally go out of my way to buy clothes that won’t show the world that I have extra pounds.
When I realized that the only section of most specialty department stores that I could shop in was the “plus sized” section, I became fully aware that I was no longer actually welcome in their store.
Plus size….. that’s truly a big girl awakening.
4. We are always self-conscious when we work out
I have been a member of several gyms in my lifetime. I have spent hours working out next to girls who weighed 120 pounds soaking wet. And I have managed to keep my head held high with the hopes that one day I will look similar to them.
When you are a “big girl” going to the gym, you literally walk in the door knowing that people are judging you even if it is called a “judgment free zone.” Whether you are 160 pounds or 300 pounds, you are not what America deems “the norm”. As women, we are constantly judged on our appearance and our weight is the number one physical aspect of ourselves that people judge us on.
So for all of those “fat girls” out there in the gym, be proud of yourself, be proud that you showed up, be proud that you made an effort, and be confident that your efforts are not going unrecognized. Weight-loss is about taking small steps, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Just like gaining the weight doesn’t happen overnight.
People will judge you, skinny girls will talk about your fat ass, and none of it matters because at least you showed up. At least you did something, and that little something…. matters. Bit by bit, it matters.
So if you see a “big girl” at the gym, give that bitch a high five for coming in. Because it took a lot of guts for her to get there.
5. Fat girls need love too
Whether you’re a skinny girl or a fat girl, you are still a girl. And everyone needs a support system, and our primary support system in our life is with someone who loves us.
But the unfortunate part of our personal relationships is that so much of it is based on physical appearance. What people don’t often think about is the fact that a fat person can be a skinny person so easily. And at some point a skinny person can be fat. But it’s their personality, it’s their outlook on life, it’s their attitude that makes us attracted to them after all of the physical stuff.
So don’t discount the person because of their weight, because that can change in a matter of months. I think all too often we overlook people because we are off put by their physical stature. And a lot of times people with a heavier physique think that they are “less than” because they don’t measure up to the physical standards of what we as a society have established as ideal.
6. “Big girls”don’t need your advice, they need your support
All too often, people feel the need to tell bigger girls what they should be doing. “you should work out more, you should join my yoga class, you should eat healthier.”
Hello, skinny girls… We know that. We are not oblivious to the options that we have available to us to become skinny. But instead of telling us what we should be doing, how about you offer to join us in our journey.
If you are such good friends with us to the point to where you feel it necessary to comment about our lifestyle, how about not telling us what to do, but joining us in that adventure. Join a local yoga class? Great, what one do you go to? Eat healthier? What recipes do you suggest? Work out more often? Where do you go to the gym and what time are you there?
Are you actually there to comment on our journey or do you want to be a part of it?
7. We aren’t always sad about being a “big girl”
I know that society will always tell us that skinny girls are cute, skinny girls are hot, skinny girls are the ideal. The ideal size for America is what the magazines tell us we are supposed to be.
But in some cases I wish that people would realize that not all of us want to be a size 4. Some of us want to have a big butt. Some of us want to have big boobs. Hell, some of us like having a gut. That doesn’t make us any less of a woman because we want those things.
Some “big girls” are OK being exactly who they are. And believe it or not there are men out there who like “big girls”. Let them like us for who we are.
If you offer your skinny girl advice to a big girl and they declined it, accept the declination. Some girls like being big girls, that’s who they are. And when they want to be skinny girls they will come to you and ask you your advice. Deal with it.
8. Most big girls won’t accept your judgment
Big girls don’t need to be told they are “big girls.” Plain and simple. We are not oblivious to the world around us. We are not in denial that we are above the “industry standard” of what a girls weight should be.
A strong woman, who is a “big girl” knows that she is what she is. Your judgment about her will not encourage a relationship you are trying to build with her. Saying words like “I’m concerned about your weight.” Won’t make her change her lifestyle.
Telling her that if she would “only lose X amount of weight” would do XYZ for your relationship with her will not make her want to do those things. It will make her realize you are judging her.
When you go with her to dinner and make a suggestion to her that she should order less food, or she order something more “weight-loss appropriate” off of the menu, won’t encourage her to continue her friendship with you. It will only make her more insecure. Sometimes you should just be a friend, not a mentor.
Let her be who she is.
9. Some “big girls” don’t know they are “big girls”
I didn’t know I was a “big girl” until I was referred to as one. I’m not saying that I didn’t realize that over the past year or so I had gained weight. I knew it was happening. However I’m not sure that anyone really realizes when they surpass the “average girl” size into the “big girl” size.
We wont always be the 20-year-old self that we once were. But if you notice that we have a significant change, if our health is in danger, if we expressed to you our genuine concern about her weight, please feel free to assume it is an open invitation to conversation. Otherwise, accept us for who we are.
Often times we don’t realize we are “big girls” until you refer to us as such.
10. We are still women
No matter what our size, we are still the same women.
The most famous, the most influential, the most groundbreaking women in history have come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Women who are brilliant, women who are athletic, women who are inspirational, women who are leaders, have been skinny, have been tall, have been short, have been fat, have been… Women.
As women we will all be held to the standards we feel we are not able to achieve. But no matter our size, we have to realize that we are so much more than a number on the scale.
We are providers, we are leaders, we are a role models, we are friends, we are lovers, we are not a number!
Being a woman is a most powerful title. We will always be judged for our size, our personality, our skills, and our ability to overcome obstacles.
Don’t let being a “heavy set girl” define who you are. Because just like everything else in life, that can change.
So to all the “big girls”, “fat girls”, whatever… We are still just girls. Don’t let anybody steal your spot light because of your size.