Weight and I have never really gotten along, and I’m hardly the first person to say that. We’ve all dieted, we’ve all hated the way we’ve looked, we’ve all cursed our pant sizes, or attempted some warped fad diet just to squeeze into social conventions, because, as far as we’re concerned, there’s a certain way women “should” look.
That’s not true, and it’s unfair. It’s unfair to assume that there’s a perfect shape or a perfect size, it’s unfair to deprive ourselves just to fit into a pair of jeans, and it’s even more unfair to devalue ourselves so much that we’re defined by a subjective number.
More specifically, it’s sick. The slope from dieting to an eating disorder is a slippery one, and I’ve yet to meet a woman who hasn’t at least flirted with anorexia, bulimia, or a combination of both. Some get over it as they get older, others use it to focus on health, and a few are still trapped because we trap them. We, with our Photoshop, our fat shaming, and the way we perpetuate that skinny is best, we still send the message, “You need to look like this.”
Like what? We know that healthy is best, yet despite promoting it, we flinch at certain dress sizes, the way we look in photos, or the way we look compared to somebody else. And we do it to ourselves. No one – at least no one worth knowing – would ever say the things we think, so we need to change our mindsets.
First, size is nothing but a number. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can embrace wearing what fits and embrace being happy in that size, and the faster we’ll stop idolizing numbers that might not even work with our body types. So you’re a 2, a 6, an 8, or a 12. Who cares? Wear what fits you – wear what you like, and ignore everything else.
Personally, it took me a long time to get there, and I still struggle with the idea of weight every day. From 14 onward, crash dieting became not eating which became not eating some more, which saw me fluxuating between everything from a size 10 to a size 00 within the span of ten years. Now, aside from using them as a guide, for the sake of my sanity, I don’t look at labels — if something fits, it fits. If it’s too big or too small, I try on a different size. What fits is what matters, the size itself is not important.
Health is important – health as in living a healthy lifestyle, not “fasting” or “cleansing” or doing anything other than keeping active and eating food that’s good for you. “Skinny” is not everyone’s body type – just like “hourglass,” or any other body type we’ve begun to define ourselves by. Your worth isn’t determined by what type of skirt you can wear – you’re more than a shape and a size.
So that said, to begin with, remember that. Remember that what you are is not a tag and not a pant type, you are a person – and weight does not a person make. So remember that, when you go shopping. Don’t let your esteem be affected by going up or down a size, and don’t let warped conventions prevent you from wearing styles you like and pieces that fit.
We have all been there. And because of that, remember that if weight is becoming more than just an issue with size tags, reach out and ask for help — because by working together, we can abolish stereotypes, stigmas, and the self-esteem issues that have plagued us all.