Let me start by saying I used the word fat many times before and have come to even accept it over the past few years. I’ve been plus sized long enough to be content with the size I am, focusing more on my health than the scale. It’s been a very good journey for my mental health and has taken a lot of time and intention. So while many in the body positive community are working on taking back the word fat and changing it’s stigmas, for now you won’t find me mentioning it at home. Here’s why:
Whether I like it or not the word fat carries a very negative stereotype along with it in our society. It’s more than just a descriptive word. Instead, people use it to mean unhealthy, lazy and sometimes even unattractive. It’s often used as an insult, erasing any form of understanding or acceptance. Some people have health issues that keep weight on, others may be too busy shuffling in life to ever hit the gym and still some are happy with who they are and want to live a life of freedom from limitations. There are so many different reasons why you may view someone as overweight but that doesn’t mean they are lazy or unattractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I make it a point to find beauty in everyone I cross paths with.
Here’s the thing, I have a little girl which means I have an important responsibility to help her grow comfortable in the body she’s in. When everything around her will tell her she’s not good enough as she grows up, I want her to know she’s hearing lies. She is good enough, she’s worthy because she’s uniquely her. Just think about the countless ads we run into everyday sending messages like, “You’re eye lashes aren’t long enough, buy this serum” or “Eat these protein bars and you stomach will become flatter.” It all consists of marketing schemes to make you feel one way so you’ll purchase a certain product and we buy into it everyday. Heck, I fall for it constantly. It’s just a normal part of our world now. I want to combat that for my daughter’s sake as much as I can and the place that I have the most control is in my very own home.
No longer will my daughter hear me picking myself apart in front of the mirror or see me comment about my weight. She won’t hear me complain that I’m too fat. Instead, we’ll live in a home of acceptance and body positvity. She’ll either hear remarks of confidence from my mouth or simply nothing at all. Because as our mothers have always said, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. That goes for us talking about ourselves as well. The best way for me to help my daughter find pride in her own body is for me to start with mine. No, it’s not perfect and it never will be but I will not tear it down for her to see. She’ll be raised in a home where her mother enjoys the food she eats and doesn’t dwell on calories or pounds. She’ll grow up in a home that doesn’t focus on the word “fat.”
Jillian Pedersen is a plus-sized mom from Austin, Texas. She is the creator of Thighs and Lows Blog and Thighs and Lows Blog Facebook group, an online community that encourages and empowers women of every size to appreciate who they are right now. Jillian is an advocate for the body positive movement.