Second puberty or “my grown woman weight” is what I have decided to call this recent weight gain I am experiencing. You know, I thought I had escaped the “Freshmen 15” curse in college just to encounter it in medical school. Might be because of a change in hormones, might be because I am not running around working three jobs and life has been pretty sedentary due to medical school. Nonetheless, I have gained weight.
A particular store was not shy of telling me so. A couple of months ago, I made an impromptu decision of walking in into the store after dinner with a few classmates and decided to get a cute skirt. I knew I was not a medium anymore, so I grabbed large thinking it would give me exactly enough room for my curves to breathe. Oh my was I wrong! I am not delusional to believe that I have not become fuller in the past couple of years but not to the point of needing an extra-large. (And that’s not because I am ashamed of it but because I didn’t think I was). I shrugged it off as a store issue, maybe it’s just this company. A couple of weeks later I ordered some business casual pants from one of my favorite companies, and remembering the previous fiasco I decided to size up. I will get a 1X and take it to my seamstress to take it in, if anything, rather be safe than sorry. Oh my, was I very sorry! The pants could not go past my thighs, and at that point, the tears were rolling.
I was confused and frustrated. I’m trying to not let these occurrences affect my body image because I recognize that the feelings were those of frustration. Frustration at the fact that the places that match my style, will not make clothes for me if I get to a certain size. Frustration at the pressure I feel from the fashion industry to diet.
I have been working very hard my whole life to not place myself on any type of diet. I just want to embrace health as a lifestyle, not a craze to lose weight to get a particular figure. I eat a well-rounded diet, redefining my relationship with food. I try my best to remain grateful for my healthy body which has never failed me in a day and lessen the amount of time I compare myself to the skinny runway model or hourglass figure IG models. I genuinely love being active and have still found ways to remain physically active during medical school.
All to say, I do not do diets, I don’t really believe in those restrictive aspects that encompass many diets, and always been adamant about how the approach to obesity and diet, in this country, in particular, does more harm than good. Fatphobia is a real and very dangerous phenomenon to continue engaging in, and I remain conscious of the implicit and explicit ways I may promote that in my daily interactions not just as someone in the medical field but also just as a person. However, in being transparent, I have internalized a lot of it. I often question whether my love for exercise and healthy eating is related to a desire to never be “fat” (or even considered “fatter” by someone else’s standards).
Weight does not equate health. That’s is just a fact.
Weight is desirable. Another fact.
Socially however this is not always the case. We can see that also with clothing companies whose sizes do not match natural bodies. In all due respect, if I am a plus size, and sizes in the majority of stores don’t go past 1-2X…who are they making clothes for? The majority of the country is considered “overweight”!
Most stores produce smaller sizes in greater amounts. Plus size clothing is not many, when you go online or in-store they are few and are the first to run out, while smaller sizes remain…wasted. The math is not mathing!
Even though I am currently struggling with some upper body issues, I really do love my body in all honesty, without the social media, or the number on the scale, I would never think of changing my weight. When clothes don’t fit, I give them away (I don’t hold onto things with the hope of fitting them again, it’s not healthy), I buy bigger sizes and just get them altered, and I don’t engage in any craze diets.
Nonetheless, I feel the pressure, and I know I am not the only one. I still have not found a way to come to terms with these feelings… there is no consolation to be offered here, unfortunately.
All I know is the conversations around weight and diets have to change, from the medical to fashion standpoint.
Video to watch: why don’t clothes fit???? by Mina Le (Please do take time to watch Mina Lee’s video explaining more about the history and implications behind sizing.)
Podcast to listen: Fad Diets by Maintenance Phase