Being Fat Rocks — But That Doesn't Mean You Shouldn't Exercise

I like to feel healthy, no matter what size that is.

Selfie Photo of female author Courtesy of Author

My entire life one thing has been true: I’ve been overweight. Fat, chubby, hefty, chunky, obese — the way I’ve described the shape of my body and the space it takes up in the world has changed over the years depending on my size, my politics, my age, and my mood. But in the reality of things, my fatness has remained a constant, even though I know the benefits of exercise and weight loss.

Now, here’s the part in an essay where I usually tell the story about my pediatrician explaining my BMI to me.


Here’s the part where my mom takes me to her "Choose To Lose" meetings at the age of 9.

Here’s where I talk about going to the dietitian every week and getting on a scale while she reads the dirty diary where I detailed the calorie count of every single thing I put in my mouth that week. Here’s where I talk about yo-yo dieting. Here is where I talk about hating myself. 

RELATED: Just Because I'm Fat Doesn't Mean I Hate Thin Women

Frankly, sometimes talking about history as a fat girl and then as a fat woman is almost as exhausting as actually being fat.

Usually, the only reason I even mention my history or share these anecdotes is because I want people reading my words to understand that I know how to lose weight: you eat less of the bad stuff, more of the good stuff, and you exercise regularly.


It’s like I need people reading my words to know that I understand that I’m not fat because a wizard cast a spell on me or anything — I’m fat because, after decades of trying to be something that my body doesn’t want me to be, I’ve reached a truce with my fat: I’m going to stop hating it and hiding it and, in turn, it’s going to let me be happy.

As a fat woman writing on the internet, I’ve made connections with a lot of other people, primarily women, who are either struggling with losing weight or embracing the fact that they happen to be fat women.

RELATED: I'm Showing My "Fat" Belly To The World To Make An Important Point

Being fat while female is such a tough thing in our society that there’s even in-fighting in this community.


There are the people who say it doesn’t matter, that you should do whatever you want, even if it’s eating three entire pies and never moving, and then there are the people who say that it doesn’t matter what you look like but you owe it to yourself to be the healthiest person you can be.

For years, I waffled. I’m a woman and a feminist and I’m pro-choice, which means I think every person has the right to make their own decisions about their body. I still think this is true, but I’m no longer such a waffler about my own choices.

I may never be a size 6. I may always have a double chin. But I no longer think it’s freeing or fun or positive for me to eat whatever I want and not move my body.

In a lot of ways, I have always felt betrayed by my physical form. I look in the mirror and I don’t see who I really am reflected back at me. I have done so many things to try and change this, and one of those things is punishing myself with food and lack of exercise. I have been 180 pounds and physically fit, and 180 pounds and physically a mess, and I can say categorically that I am happier when I feel healthier. 


RELATED: How I Learned To Let A Man Love My Fat Body

People who say they don’t notice a difference are full of it. When you treat your body with love and respect, when you understand and reap the benefits of exercise, when you learn to listen to what it needs, and when you start actively loving yourself, your body responds to that.

I’m not saying to lose fifty pounds. I’m not saying to lose any weight at all. But I am saying that we only get one life and we deserve to live it to the fullest. I just don’t see how I could eat whatever I wanted and nap instead of exercise every day and not be the most depressed on the face of the earth.

Ultimately, it’s your call. Do you, boo, and don’t let some hateful internet nerd fat girl like me stop you from doing what you want to do.


That said, you’re gonna have a pretty tough time convincing me that the key to my happiness can be found at the bottom of a tray of brownies. Believe me, I’ve spent enough time looking at them there to know that the answers I want aren’t hiding there among the crumbs.

RELATED: Am I Fat And Sick Or Sick And Fat — And Why It Matters

Rebecca Jane Stokes is an editor, freelance writer, former Senior Staff Writer for YourTango, and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek. Her bylines have appeared in Fatherly, Gizmodo, Yahoo Life, Jezebel, Apartment Therapy, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, SheKnows, and many others.