How I Gave Up On 'Skinny' And Fell In Love With My Fat Body

Photo: Courtesy of the Author
photo of author

Last July I was ghosted by my boyfriend of six months. 

This July, stepping on a scale for the first time since my heart was broken, my body weighed exactly the same as it did a year ago. 

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I didn't expect that. I expected a dramatic increase, proportional to the tumult of the past 365 days. 

I lived in LA for a month, I taught high school kids, I started dating someone again, he ended things, I started a new job, I left the new job, I started a new job, I met a new guy, I produced a play, I quit producing with one company, I moved, I got shingles. 

You know, shit happened.

It's been ups and downs like nothing else. 

Because I'm an emotional eater, I'm used to seeing the impact of life's big events on my waistline. 

But last July, since I left home for a month right after the ghosting, I didn't have a chance to weigh my body twice daily, as had been my habit for years. 

Then I came home, tanned and replenished, and while I started going back to the gym and eating mindfully, I wasn't going to get on the scale for love or money. 

It seemed like its power was gone. 

More and more I find myself looking in the mirror at my fat body and thinking that it is fine, beautiful in places even, like the hilly slopes of my legs, or the pert roundness of my butt.

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I don't know if it was time (30 plus years of thinking about nothing other than calories and thinness) or if some of the deeply rooted practices of self-love kicking off inside of me that were the source of this, but I didn't (and I don't) try to question it too much. 

Photo: Author

I faced the hardest test of all when my Shingles diagnosis sent me to the doctor's office where, as a point of order, they put you on a scale, to get your weight along with other vitals.

Without thinking, I lifted and lowered my hand in a brush-off gesture and said with a smile "Oh I'm not going to do that today." 

Nobody even blinked. 

My entire life has been a rehearsal wherein I planned for a day where I would be thin and beautiful when my real life would start.

But it was only when I actually started living, started wearing snakes in the street, laughing too loudly in public, and kissing someone new when I left negative thoughts about my body behind (even temporarily), that my relationship with my body changed.

My body wasn't something to be battled. It wasn't the enemy. It was, in every respect, me.

Just me. 

I am not saying that I've had a revelation that's changed my life forever. I'm not that naive. 

But I will say that when I stepped on the scale today (because I found it unpacking boxes in my new place) and saw the evidence of my body's stalwartness in the face of life's blows ... and I was impressed.

I was happy. The number had not changed. The facts of my life have. 

I still want things for my body. I want it to be strong, I want it to feel good, and I want it to bend and flex easily. I want it to be nourished and present. I want to honor it, not disavow it. I want to embrace it for exactly what it is.

That will be a process. Just like life, I guess.

But today it seems a little bit more achievable than it did yesterday. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman.