I’ve always been overweight. There’s never been a time in my life where I can say that I was of a “normal” weight, buying clothes with ease, and having the people around me not judge me on the way that my body looked.
And quite honestly, it took a long time for me to accept that I was the dreaded ‘F’ word… fat! (What’s with that word being so offensive, anyway? It really isn’t, imo)
Why? Society, friends, family… everywhere I looked, people felt it their duty to tell me that I should be slimmer. Whether it was for “health reasons,” because I had “such a pretty face,” or just because they believed that slim equalled beautiful. And context? I do regular check ups, and am of sound physical health.
But this isn’t news.
If you’ve ever been overweight (or flipped through a Cosmo magazine), the chances of you encountering the same experiences as me are high. And it was those outside influences that made me question myself, my body, my choices.
For me, learning to love my body took moving to South-East Asia… South Korea, to be exact. I finished university and jumped on a plane to teach English in a country that seemed like a different planet at first.
I spent four years there, which fuelled my love and lust for travel, and helped me to become a stronger, more independent, and more confident person. It also made me realise that my body is a freakin’ piece of art. How? Let me paint you a picture…
During my four years in South Korea, I really immersed myself into the culture. I loved (nearly) every second of it, had Korean friends, co-workers, and learned the language and alphabet. By doing so, I also learned that being overweight in Korea is almost the equivalent to a sin.
I even went as far as to do my own research on the opinions of foreigners and Koreans in Korea when it came to being overweight for a book I wrote. The information I received simply solidified what I had already known to be true… fat bodies were just not ‘a thing’ in this country.
How did I go from being so extremely aware and critical of my size to actually loving and embracing it? The contrast. It took several visits to my home country to really appreciate the human body in all of its glory.
Seeing people of different sizes everywhere I looked was comforting, amazing, and wonderful. The diversity was beautiful, and I felt like there really was a space for me to simply love who I was because, in this country, people roamed happily in whatever size they were.
Now I know what you’re thinking! It sounds kind of drastic to go to another country and then come back home to actually love yourself and your body. Eat, Pray, Love, anyone? But for me, my Korean adventures really did change my life.
Now I am not bashing or criticizing the country at all (although I do wish they were more inclusive and accepting of different body sizes)! In fact, I left gaining so much more experience and passion for life than I ever could have imagined.
And now, as I galavant around Europe, fancying the hell out of what I see in the mirror, I know that all bodies are beautiful. The diversity that life brings, not only in one’s size, is simply magical, and I am so glad that I was able to travel through Asia and other continents to become more culturally aware, open-minded, and in awe of all kinds of people.
I urge you to really look at and admire the various different people you see around you. Whether you have any insecurities or not, simply admiring others for being who they are is always seriously fantastic.
So it’s usually around this time that I would write something about how I don’t condone being overweight, and that I am not glorifying it. But I’m actually not going to. Because the only thing I care about when it comes to body size, is one’s happiness and good health.
I think that fat bodies are gorgeous, and I believe that everyone should be able to eat what they want and be who they want, whenever they want, without criticism (but this isn’t a perfect world).
Self-care, good energy, and affirmative friends, literature, media, and experiences is something that I put a lot of effort into. So, in short, I conclude by saying that I am fat, I am healthy, and I am beautiful. World, watch me go!