A Letter I Wrote To Myself About Getting Fat

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Shall we talk about your body?

Your body, which used to be thinner. Which you took for granted, because it fitted into cheap, tight dresses. Your body, which took you up and down Brixton Hill, every day, twice a day, never unheralded by catcalls, the stream of men and their “Oh baby hey baby nice tits nice ass hey WHERE YOU GOING?”

Your body was a girl’s body, made from dancing and late nights and skipped dinners, of hopefulness and sleeplessness and sadness. It took care of itself, or rather, you didn’t care that it couldn’t. It wasn’t for you, and so you didn’t mind that you couldn’t always afford to feed and nurture it. The admiration of others was nourishment enough. You often went to bed feeling empty. You thought it was heartbreak. It was probably hunger.

Then your body became plump with love.

Late dinners and later breakfasts, cream in your coffee, champagne in the bath, room service bacon sandwiches. Watching your skin, glowing and gold, buttocks round on white sheets, talking and kissing and laughing, the tension in your stomach dissipating.

Love gave you the confidence to grow your career. And your body grew with it. Writing in bed, writing on sofas, writing at the kitchen table, your body still so your brain could pump thoughts furiously, fingers flying.

Now, you have the body you deserve. The body of a woman in love, who is loved, who’s managing to make money and maintain a room of her own. A woman who adores buying wickedly extravagant dinners for people she likes, and has the wherewithal for a cab home afterwards. A woman with wide hips and full thighs, who can’t pour herself inside the cheap, tight dresses any more.

And even though you have everything to be confident about, everything to play for, this has made you sad. You worry that in spite of everything you have gained, the world liked you more when you took up less space.

It’s hard to be honest about how you feel, how you worry sometimes that even though you’re bigger, you’re disappearing, how dressing up was once a source of joy and it’s how a source of panic, how it’s hard to fully appreciate why zips get stuck and buttons don’t meet in the middle. And everyone says “love your body”, but it’s an empty instruction, like “fly a kite!” It sounds wonderful, but it’s hard, and confusing, and you feel guilty because you can’t get it right.
You don’t have to love your body all the time. But love it in bed, and in the bath. Love it when you’re walking fast, and your music is loud, and your boots are clumpy. Love it when you’re walking up huge, hidden gym hills, and the sweat burns your eyelids, and you still, somehow keep going. Love the way your belly shakes when you laugh, and your legs shake when you orgasm, and your shoulders shake when you cry. Keep taking vitamins and washing your face carefully. Dance more, dance harder, and don’t stop downing a pint of water after the wine, before you go to sleep.

But mostly, don’t worry. As long as you can sing and come and giggle and wiggle and weep, you’re treating your body exactly as you’re supposed to.

302 thoughts on “A Letter I Wrote To Myself About Getting Fat

  1. I really enjoyed this post. It’s very often that we disregard the beauty of growth in happiness , careers , love and life. We spend so much time stressing out about the growth of our clothing sizes that we don’t live in the moments we will never get back . great post

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  2. I feel you expressed the mirror to my experience as a Father. You’ve encouraged me to love myself on the journey and not wait for the destination of some level of fitness to finally be satisfied.

    Thank you.

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  3. What a beautiful letter. I love writing letters to my self. It helps you let out feelings you never knew you were holding inside. I am skinny right now. I was a tall lanky teenager but my body has changed since I went into my 20s but I love it. Some days I feel insecure like everyone but I’m a great believer in looking after yourself mentally so you have a positive outlook. That’s half the battle. As long as you are confident in your own skin I don’t think it matters what body shape you have.

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  4. In my late forties I’m so grateful my body allows me to play tennis, to garden, to cook a nice meal. I worry less about its shape, and more about the alarm bells my feet send off in the wrong shoes, the few days my lower back won’t let me move, migraines. My body’s little protests as I age make me appreciate it so much more.

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  5. The sad thing about my weight gain is that I seem to be the only person who isn’t bothered. I can finally wear grown-up clothes without alterations (except hemming). However, I am shocked when I look in a mirror. Who is that person? You see, I was that girl who tried everything to gain weight, the one who was constantly insulted about how skinny she was, the one who her boyfriend said he couldn’t perform sexually with because she was so skinny. I could eat anything and did. Then I got happy and grew and grew. Now the insults are about how fat I am and then there are the veiled comments on my need to lose weight. Taking care of my body, that is is concept I can embrace. Thanks for reminding me to love who I am inside and out.

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  6. Your post was truly inspirational. I forwarded the link to my mother who is experiencing difficulties with her weight loss journey. I think it is important to like your body regardless of its size. But love is something that we all search for in ourselves, that’s the main goal. Wonderful piece!

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  7. I really admire this. I loved when you said, “how you worry sometimes that even though you’re bigger, you’re disappearing”because it portrays such an ironic situation. Honestly, this made my day, coming from myself who constantly worries about body image. Thank you!!

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  8. You know what I love about this post? The fact that it’s written on such a personal level, and doesn’t blame society for making women feel insecure, unlike the majority of body confidence posts. It’s almost as if people are forcing you to love yourself, and not allowing this process to be a gradual and natural one. Light, but with a lot of meaning. Great work! 🙂

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