Cosmopolitan What Being Fat Woman Really Like Questions.

Claire from A Monkey Fashionista asked on Twitter how people felt about the questions from an article in Cosmopolitan. People started talking about doing a joint blog post to answer the questions. I thought this was a great idea as some of the questions might give me some new insight to my own thoughts as well as reading what everyone else think and mean. 

Here are my answers. 

How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?

To be totally honest I get bored! Before it upset me a lot more and I couldn't stand hearing about it as it made me feel like a failure. But the last few years I have started to think more positive and my self image is so much better than it used to be. I think a lot of girls feel so unhappy with their bodies and are being sucked in to the «hype» of dieting instead of focusing on accepting who you are or how you are. I don't think that losing weight will change too much cause will you ever be happy if your body image is not good. It's a big part in your head and I don't think dieting alone is the key to a happier life.

How has your body image changed since high school? College?
It's quite ironic really that my body image is so much better now than 20 years ago as back then I wasn't big at all. I was probably a size 16, but I felt huge. I felt the constant pressure to lose weight, but instead I kept comfort eating. I think part of it has to do with getting more mature. I'm 39 this year and feel very confident in myself as a person as well as I did when I was 19. But also me changing my mindset has been a great contributor to a change in my body image.

Have you tried dieting? What happened?

Tried it? About a million times. After almost dying from acute pancreatitis in 2007 I lost about 7.5 stone so I have succeeded before, but after moving to England I have piled on about 6 of those stone again. It's too much yummy food!! I know how it works and lately I have started to live healthier instead of deliberately dieting which I think is much more important in the long run. Cause it is a change of lifestyle and it will be a slower result, but also a more long term goal. For me personally I have to lose weight and get healthier due to health problems.

Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?

I don't know. I think it is more how we are brought up. I mean it would be easy for me to say that it is genetic that I'm fat as my mum was fat too, but I think it has just as much to do with unhealthy habbits. When I was a kid I was very skinny and had more similar body to my dad than my mum. But in my teens I started piling on weight. I ate what I wanted and no one told me that I was eating unhealthy. I did not eat anymore than anyone else, but I won't hide the fact that what I ate was exactly what I wanted, so a lot of sugar and fatty food. I won't say that it can't be genetic, because I think some people are prone to store fat in a different way than others do. Cause some people can eat whatever they want without gaining weight.

Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?

I consider myself healthier! I'm healthier than I used to be. I think the biggest difference in my healthier lifestyle now is due to my social anxiety, anxiety disorders and depression as I have isolated myself in long parts of my life. This has made it difficult for me to go out and join gyms, go for walks and do daily things that burn calories without noticing like going to shops, working etc. Instead I was comfort eating and this became a very scary circle. Battling with mental issues is something I struggle with every day, but I have found great help in CBT and also in starting modelling as this changed my view on myself and made me accept myself and my body. I'm a lot more out and about in everyday life, I work full time and I go to the gym and go for walks. I also try to be more conscious about what I eat, so I'm definitely more healthy.
Quite a few people have assumed that I'm very unhealthy and said it directly to my face. Then they get really surprised if they see my toned and strong legs I have got thanks to a lot of walking and swimming.

Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you're at? Have they always been?

My parents are both dead so unfortunately I don't have their support anymore. But when they were alive they were a good support. My mum had been overweight herself, but after developing diabetes she lost about 8 stone. But she kept on being very supportive to me and how I felt about myself and if anyone said something bad about me she most certainly would tell them how she felt about it.
My dad who was a very fit and healthy man. He was a top athlete for most of his life and competed for Norway in his youth. He was also very supportive and said that women always looked nicer with some meat on them. But on the other hand he always tried to show me the fun of being active and eating sensibly, but he never talked about dieting or losing weight.

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?

I think they can for a start let us be seen in shop windows with more realistic mannequins so girls growing up can understand that there is room for a diverse society where everyone is accepted, not just the size 4 dolls that we can see in high street stores these days. I mean there is lots of people that are built bigger. Like me I don't think I will ever be able to lose so much weight that I can wear a size 4, 6 or 8. If I did that I think I would look very scrawny and anorectic. While other people look perfectly normal if they are a smaller sizes.
I also think it is about time that we should be allowed to go in a shop and chose freely whether we are a size 10 or a size 30 without media and retailers thinking that they are channeling an unhealthy body image. Cause there are many reasons for different sizes. It's not just black and white.

Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?

I do think that women are judged differently. I think it is easier and more accepted to judge a big woman than a man. Even for a little weight gain. I think men can put on more weight without being judged the same way as women. I don't think men has the same pressure to look good as a woman. They can be judged based on other things, while for women I think first impression in particular are based on how you look. That being said my husband who is a plus sized man have been a victim of blind violence due to this his weight which is totally dispicable and shouldn't happen under any circumstances. He is thankfully not suffering from any mental issues based on this attack.

Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?

Yes, definitely. We are lazy, greedy, eat alot, smell, we are stupid, unsuccessful, insecure, undisciplined, we only like dirty sex, we are bad workers and so on. It's totally crazy how many words that can be used to describe a fat person. I get so upset over this, but no feeling is better than being underestimated for so to hit back and prove them wrong. That is the best way of showing them and hopefully in most cases this will help them change their attitude.

Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?

Yes, of course there is. If it is a risk for someone's health you should always express concern. That is why I'm trying to live healthier. I lost both my parents due to heart problems so I'm a big risk group of getting the same and I want to live so therefore I have to do something about it. But like I said further up in my post, I don't diet, I have made a change of lifestyle, or try to do it. Sometimes better than others. But as I learnt in CBT it is better to try and if you have a bad day where you eat unhealthy, don't beat yourself up over it, just eat healthy the next day.

What are the worst things people have said to you about your body?

That the only way I could get laid with him was to keep my clothes on and pull a sack over my head.

How did you respond?

I said to him «Why do you assume that I want sex with you? Cause I wouldn't touch if you were the last man standing. And this is coming from me, a fat girl»

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would compliment your body or appearance?
They say I'm great at dressing. That I carry myself very gracefully, that I'm well proportioned, that I'm always so well put together and that they can tell I'm self confident.

Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?

Both. I have friends that are fat, friends that has been fat and friends that never have been fat. Real friends likes you for you and not for how you look. After becoming part of the plus size community I have found a lot of like minded people which have been a big value to my life. But I do value my slimmer friends just as much as well.

How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?
I can't say it has affected my sex life much. I'm a very sexual person and I have always been very self confident in bed. Even when I struggled with my self image. It was kind of like the bed was my safe place where I always felt confident and that hasn't changed.

When you've been single, has your weight affected your dating life?

Not much really. I haven't felt like I can't find a man due to my weight. I have been in two very long relationships for most of my grown up life, but I have never seen my weight as a problem to meet someone.

Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?

Yes! It would feel like he was with me just because of my body and not me as a person.

Do you feel weird if he's only dated slimmer women before you?

I don't know... My husband had never dated anyone as big as me before he met me, but he fell for me because of me, despite me being fat.

It was fun doing all these questions as they raise some important questions about how you feel about yourself. And for many overweight people I think that what goes on inside your own head can be just as much harm as other peoples words. That being said, discrimination as fat shaming shouldn't be accepted and should be made illegal on the same grounds as being a racist


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