Look, I have nothing at all against being a size ten. Or an eight. Or a six. And now I realise I sound like a racist who says things like “But some of my best friends are black.”
Honestly though. All I want is to be healthy. And not to be judged and found wanting just because I’m never ever going to fit into a size ten unless I develop the sort of serious illness that makes you lose weight. A lot of it.
When I think about the weight/size I feel happiest, and I try to imagine myself at anything much under a size 14, it somehow feels wrong. I don’t want to be thin. It’s not me, it never has been and it never will be. I don’t recognise myself in those images in my head. If I let myself think about it without the incessant chatter of the media telling me that the words ‘size ten’ are automatically preceded by the word ‘healthy’, I see myself as a well-rounded size 16. Fit, healthy and just a little bit chunky. I don’t have a problem with that!
My ideal size range would be anything from a 14 to an 18. A 14 is quite hard for me to maintain, which is why I haven’t been that size since I was 25. I feel good at 16 and 18, and yeah, being a 20 or 22 (my biggest ever was a 24, and I didn’t feel good at that size, I felt incredibly unhealthy, but I was miserable and on the verge of separating from my ex) doesn’t QUITE feel like me. I’m not unfit, I walked ten miles this morning and I live to tell the tale, but life just feels a bit easier when you can move around a bit faster. That’s how I feel, and there are plenty of people who are 20,22 and bigger and have no problems cycling, running, doing fitness classes and so have no reason to want to get any smaller. So, they should stay where they feel comfortable. Diets suck and they don’t work, no matter how many Weight Watchers sponsored studies try and tell you otherwise.
It wouldn’t be the end of the world to me if I stayed this size forever. I’d prefer not to get any bigger, because it might make my knees hurt. If all this fitness and generally looking after myself does result in weight loss (it’s hopefully, maybe if I’m lucky going to end in pregnancy which is going to make me even heavier – eek) then that’s all well and good, but I’m never dieting again and I genuinely don’t have any desire to be thin.
I read this article by Lionel Shriver today, and it sort of inspired this post. The obsession with our body sizes and what we eat is getting scary. It’s affecting men as well. Reporters commented on every single biscuit Lionel did or didn’t eat while she was being interviewed, in every interview she gave for the book ‘Big Brother’. When ‘Viva Voluptuous’ comes out, if it makes any kind of impression and I get interviewed, I’m going to have to develop a skin like a freaking rhino to not get upset by comments about my weight, size, and eating habits. But I really think the tide is turning.
I couldn’t possibly have written the book the way I have if I didn’t have experience of being fat, trying not to be fat, and the way society treats people who don’t fit their idea of normal. Or beautiful. So I’m saying it right here and right now. I don’t WANT to be a size ten. So bite me.