I may not be a doctor, but I’m an expert at being fat.

I went to a doctor today, one specializing in weight management. It was a referral and I think this will be one of the most difficult posts I’ll ever write so I might as well jump right in.

At the start of the year, I figured I’m not getting any younger and should establish a primary care physician for the first time in my adult life. That chick was cool and I’m glad I did the research to find the perfect PCP for me. From that appointment, I received a couple of referrals for additional avenues I wanted to go down; reproductive medicine and weight management. We’re focusing on the latter here.

Prior to today’s appointment it may help anyone bothering reading to know the thousand-foot-view of my history. I’ve been overweight in some capacity most of my life. It wasn’t a post-high school/freshmen-15 type of weight gain. Nicknames like “Oreo Fat” started circulating circa 1997 aka the 1st grade. Kids are great, aren’t they?

I grew up in a world full of blonde Barbie dolls and mom’s to match. Not only was it a severe character flaw to be red-headed and freckle-faced, but it was even worse to be fat.

Time passed, bully’s (even though I hate that term. Little assholes is a better one but I digress) came and went. While I didn’t think so in the moment, I did thin out at certain periods of time growing up; 6th grade rings a bell for some reason. I think that’s when I hit my peak height, 5’8″.

Even though my past self at age 16, for example would be considered normal size now, it wasn’t then. The societal image of beauty was defined as rail thin bones; think Paris Hilton and Mischa Barton on the red carpet. Anything other than that in my small northern Minnesotan town (or otherwise) was deemed unacceptable.


The first time I was put on a diet was the summer after 5th grade. I stayed a good chunk of the summer, if I remember correctly, at my aunt’s house a few hours away. She was a Weight Watchers leader at the time and drilled WW into my 11 year old little skull the same as if I was a 35 year old woman. Diet #1: Age ELEVEN.

It worked, obviously. I lost weight that summer. I was a thinner version of myself come fall when school started. More self-confident? No. Happier? No. More friends? No. But I had collarbones.

The rotating door of diets began so young that it scares me to think I’ve been conditioned to be mindful of everything I put in my mouth and what I look like for decades. I’m only 31 for fuck’s sake. And since then, I’ve tried all the things. WW, Jenny Craig, juice cleanses, intermittent fasting, exercise, pills, starvation. You name it, your girl has tried it. And they all work, for about 30 pounds of trying, give or take.

I sometimes think people see me and think I’m lazy or don’t believe me when I say I’ve been trying [insert diet or routine here] for awhile now. I might not look it but I do know what I need to do. It’s more math than it is science to me, I get it. And while I’m fat, I’m not blind. I can see the “oh really” and “you poor thing” sparkle in your eyes.


The really awesome thing about a blip of culture today is the #BoPo aka body positivity movement taking off. For the first time in the history of my life, I see people all over the internet flaunting what their mama’s gave ’em. I see women (and men) of all sizes not giving a damn F what society thinks. Living, dressing, acting, however they please in the bodies they were blessed with, take it or leave it. And I’m here for it! I LOVE seeing people unapologetically embrace who they are, how they are, and what they are. I want to know whatever magical fairy dust they found to garnish that kind of confidence! Seriously, please share.

However, while any improvement is leaps and bounds beyond what I had growing up, some of it stings worse than the ghosts of past and present.

I do genuinely believe people of all body types go through bouts of insecurities. The #BoPo movement sometimes, like 40% of the time, is so full of shit though. I said it. So often, it’s just another filter to pretend behind. Showing a before and after photo of you sitting in two different poses proves that your biggest fear on earth is to be fat. Well, try actually being fat.

  • Pose 1: You’re slouching, your bikini bottom is cutting into your hips, your hair is a mess, and you’re making a gross face. You look sluggish and tired, obviously.
  • Pose 2: You’re sitting straight, sucking in, and positioning your body at some perfect angle and the sun hits your jawline like it’s a diamond. You hiked up your bottoms to accentuate your curves, plumped up your boobs, let your hair down and threw your head back laughing. You look hot AF. No shit.

You think you’re telling your followers that it all has to do with an angle. You’re not fat, you’re just posing wrong. The thing is, girlfriend, you weren’t fat to begin with. You can pose the shit out of me and I’d never look like that.

Now, this is just one example of many where thin or average size people want to insert themselves into a movement meant to build people up, not tear them down even further. But by pointing out this example, I’m the asshole. I’m the one body-shaming. It’s so far from that though.

I recognize that thinner people can have body dysmorphia just as severely as someone who is fat. Mid-size bodies can feel groggy and bloated just as much as any other body type. Super duper thin or super duper tall people can have a hard time shopping for clothes. People of all shapes and ethnicities can have stretch marks.

But if you’ve never legitimately struggled with weight, it’s simply not even in the same ballpark; it never has been and it never will be. I just wish there was some sort of universal definitive distinction between being skinny-fat and the actuality of being fat-fat.


This brings me to today: referral day. I’d waited nearly 3 months for this referral appointment. In the meantime, I started (kinda) working with a trainer. She provided me with an exercise a week and I committed to working out 2-3 times per week on my own. I’ve stuck to that and found consistency which is pretty damn awesome and worth a pat on the back if I do say so myself.

She also started to work with me on some healthy eating habits. That’s been going okay-ish. I’d say my weeks are 75% successful. But I struggle with binge-eating on the weekends because I end up making up for being so “good” during the week by overindulging on Saturday. How fucked up is that?

I’ve lost a little weight since then, nothing noticeable or really worth celebrating but I am feeling good with the lifestyle choices I’d been making on my own in preparation for today. I was really looking forward to sitting down with a professional to talk about everything. My history, my issues, my binging, my sleep habits, my progress, all the things. Right?

Wrong.

Before we dove into anything, she suggested surgery as the only route for me to lead a thinner life and I backed that train way the fuck up because #cuewaterworks.

Surgery is not new information to me but it’s a non-starter. I won’t get into the nitty gritty today but it’s a “no for me, dog” for a multitude of reasons. Not only is it in my file but I told the nurse less than 5 minutes prior that I’m not currently considering it. I want to have a healthy and constructive conversation about my health, about ALL my options; not the one you are going to pressure me into. I want to discuss sustainable ways to survive, I want to be mindful of the choices I make. I do not want a “fix” without resolving the underlying issues. I shouldn’t have to explain that to a medical professional. But I did.

To top it off, I have no desire to “be thin” and she’d learn to know that had she bothered asking what my health-related goals are. Just because I’m in a weight-management clinic does not confirm that I have the desire to look like a Hollywood actress. And how much more of a confirmation of how unrealistic and disgusting my body is than by a doctor suggesting gastric bypass before even asking what I’m doing right now to better my health?

Sure, I do want to lose weight but not because I have an ideal figure in mind. I want to be healthy, live a healthy life. I don’t want my weight or health to limit me in any capacity or adventure that life has to offer. I want to carry babies safely; I want to love the body I have been blessed with, regardless of the number on the scale. Surgery alone simply will not do that, medical degree or not.

What this doctor failed to understand is that it took me YEARS to even convince myself to seek and ask for a referral to be professionally evaluated. Between tears, I tried to explain how embarrassing it is to have to deal with this. Have to think about it every day. How painful it is to compare myself to every other woman walking this earth.

Her response: If you had high blood pressure, you wouldn’t be embarassed.

You’re fucking right, I wouldn’t be. Because high blood pressure is not mocked and taunted in the hallways between class. High blood pressure isn’t a make or break to being asked out on a date. High blood pressure isn’t the reason you hate what you see in the mirror. High blood pressure cannot, in any world, be compared to being fat in the modern age.

Not only did it take me years to get myself to the doctor, but she doctor-splained to me about how fat people are fat. It’s all science.

Bullshit on all of that, respectively.

I may not be a doctor, but I’m an expert at being fat. And you cannot tell me that the mental aspect to the “chronic disease” I suffer from is not relevant or valid. Yes, it is science. But it’s also math. It’s also psychology. It’s awareness. It’s so much more than being predisposed.

Why do you think so many people who have elected to get surgery have gained the weight back? (More power to you if you did and kudo’s, this is not a diss on the choice. I know many people personally that have gone this route.) Because the underlying issue was NOT addressed. The emotional aspect, the trauma, the reason why you eat or binge or throw up.. It was not addressed.

And it needs to be.

I need it to be.

Maybe I sought guidance in the wrong avenue. I was under the impression that this was going to be a comprehensive consultation keeping in mind that holistic lifestyle change approaches were preferred and medical intervention was a last resort. I was wrong and that’s on me for assuming.

The resolution to today’s appointment was a prescription to two medications; a hunger suppressant and a craving suppressant. I think it was her way of meeting me in the middle. I don’t doubt that this medication could help with the hunger and cravings but it’s not tackling what’s going on at the root and I struggle with the lack of empathy I experienced today.

“Here, take these pills. You’ll lose weight. And we’ll talk about surgery again next time.”

“Cool, thanks.”

I hope I can look back at this a year from now with a big “FU” to the gal who told me today that the only way to a thin life is by cutting my stomach in half, literally. I hope that someone who actually can relate to some of this finds this and doesn’t feel as alone. Because even with all the really awesome body acceptance stuff going on, I still find it incredibly difficult to sort through and actually find women that “get it.”


Four final notes:

  • The last thing I want to do is offend anyone who is or has ever tried to contribute to the #BoPo movement by sharing their experiences. I believe in woman building woman up and know that insecurities, trauma, and self-loathing comes in all shapes and sizes. Your thoughts and feelings are just as valid and relevant as my responses to examples I provided are.
  • While they are sometimes difficult to find, there are some really badass woman on Insta that I follow and genuinely love. I encourage you to look ’em up (and plz share in the comments who else we need to know about!): @brenzaart, @sassyconfetti, @tessholliday, @thefatsextherapist, @swipefat, @lizzobeeating, @ashleygraham, @niccinunez, @visiontwins (guys not gals but still great).
  • Loving thyself is a lifelong journey. This post isn’t a cry for help or even a pity party. However, I don’t have a single person in my everyday life that can specifically relate to the issues I have run into with fatphobia and fat-shaming. From a childhood of mean girls to finding clothes that fit the fashionista you are; from the realization that men either like what they see but are embarrassed of you in public to not being attracted to us all together. I hope this reaches at least one person that can be like: PREACH GIRL.
  • Lastly, I know the doctor I saw today was “just doing her job” but quite frankly it was done without tact, consideration, or proper evaluation for my circumstances. Fat people have been treated unfairly and had problems minimalized in both society and in medical offices for decades. It’s getting old.

Anyway, thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

I didn’t wake up like this.

The first photo in this post is a pre-my-brother’s-wedding trial makeup run back in August because I’d never had my makeup done before and was nervous about it. Jordan with Grin & Bare It absolutely killed it. She made me feel beautiful and see myself in a way I never had before. She made me look on the outside how I felt on the inside.

I know this isn’t my real, everyday-life look. I could never do my eye makeup like she did and for the first time ever, I was able to say my eyebrows were on fleek. (Dang, I feel old actually typing that out.) But seriously, the day that I got this done, was such shit and I’ve been trying to figure out since then how to talk about it.

I was in yet another 2020 slump for like, the fifteenth time in however many isolating pandemic-y months. Feeling alone, hating my body, constantly frustrated and forever sad, or so it seemed. I was making excuses for myself and throwing a daily pity party about everything in life I either didn’t have, couldn’t do, or was jealous because of.

I was feeling all of the feelings about all of the things but I tried my best to “hide” it all. I constantly feel like it’s either too much for anyone to know and be burdened with or I put this unrelenting pressure on my shoulders to remain positive while everyone isn’t, at least on the outside.

I’ve looked back at the photo above dozens of times since I took it. On one hand, I wanted to share it because I loved the photo. I actually felt like a bomb ass bitch and Good As Hell after this. It was like a pretty face could wipe away all of the insecurities and feelings of worthlessness that the day held. But, on the other hand, I didn’t want to post it because it was only temporary and it was just another perfectly angled selfie.

I didn’t want to only share half of the story. You know? The filtered version. The face-shot. I don’t know what the right balance is. I don’t want to share every detail of my life on the ‘gram because for one, it’s not that damn interesting and two, no one wants to hear me whine about my insecurities day in and day out. When I am in those down-in-the-dumps days, looking back at the things I’ve shared actually do help me. The unbelievable places I’ve been to, the moments of pure joy radiating from my nieces four-year-old little self.. The adventures I’ve been on, the people I’ve met.. They help. If I looked back at a feed full of full-body shots accentuating every single thing I hate about myself, it wouldn’t help lift me up so that’s why I don’t post stuff like that. Yet. I do opt to be rather vulnerable in many of the posts I do share via the captions, at least. It’s a start. But, how many people scroll through Instagram as if it’s a picture book, neglecting the story? I’m guilty of it.

That’s the part I’m still working on. Finding that balance. And not by the way of “omg is my social media too filtered” but really working at what’s going on inside. That’s the thing that I only recently started addressing in therapy; my immense sense of self-hate and embarrassment.

I tried the whole fake-it-til-you-make-it thing. I tried daily affirmations, not looking at the scale, went on a follow-binge of body positive influencers. I even tried not looking in the mirror for two full weeks in August. This summer and early fall, I focused on fitness harder and more seriously than ever before in my life and did a pretty damn good job, if I do say so myself thanks to the encouragement of some really incredible humans. But, that didn’t change what I saw in the mirror. The scale moved then, which felt good for the one second a week I looked at it but nothing changed internally.

They say that it doesn’t really matter if you are curvy or thick or fat or whatever cringe-worthy descriptor you choose, if you can’t love yourself as you are now, you’re not going to love yourself when the weight comes off. Ouch. That hurts to hear over and over again. As our queen Lizzo says, though, Truth Hurts.


When my brother and his wife got their wedding photos back, I was mortified. I know what I’m about to say is sprinkled with selfishness but I genuinely felt like I ruined their wedding day by literally being in it, because of how I looked. A pretty face didn’t hide the fact that that’s all I was, all I am. All I think I am. I pick and choose what version of myself I let sit on the internet, requiring tagged photos be reviewed before they show up on my timeline. The queue of unpublished photos is ridiculous. I purposefully don’t post full-body shots because body-dysmorphia is so fucking real, guys.

I usually see thin women make reference to it, BD. Detailing out the struggles they face when they look in the mirror and their feelings are so valid, they are. But it’s not the same. The freshmen 15 amount of hate and disgust when you look in the mirror is not the same as the decade-115. Flexing in one photo and unflexing in another whilst looking identical in both photos is not the same. It’s just not.

I don’t see people like me on the internet. And the BoPo influencers that are around, they love themselves. Or appear to. They’ve accepted their bodies as they are and embraced it. They don’t give an F about societal norms and fitting into a size 6. I mean, maybe they do. Honestly, it does appear to be quite unavoidable but they own the crap out of the bodies they’ve been blessed to live in and they are gorge inside and out.

When I share my insecurities with others specifically about being overweight or not loving the body I’m in, a typical response is to tell me I’m beautiful. But the thing is, I didn’t say I’m ugly. I said I’m uncomfortable in the body I’m in, in the shell that holds all that I am. But I’m working on overcoming all of that. I’m trying to believe that people don’t just pay compliments to pay compliments. I’m trying to remind myself to say “thank you” instead of “whatever.” I’m listening to my therapist and treating myself with the grace and kindness that I treat others with. I’m trying all the things and feeling all the things so that I can be all the things.

The photo below is from yesterday. A makeup-less selfie that I wouldn’t dare post on social media until now. It’s taken from the exact same spot in my apartment as the top photo in this post, just 4 months later. It’s still just a headshot and not a body shot but it’s a step. The difference between these two photos is more than just four months.

It’s hours of tears in front of my computer with a counselor I’ve never met in real life. It’s dozens of pages in a journal trying to pinpoint the exact moment that I was first tormented in elementary school because of how I looked. It’s sitting in silence to allow myself to grieve and forgive those that have hurt my heart. I grew up in a town full of blue-eyed and blonde-haired little girls who were born to shine, whose mothers didn’t teach them to be kind. I grew up hating my name and my hair and my freckles and my body. I grew up feeling ashamed that my parents didn’t have the money to pay for me to pretend to fit in. I grew up full of angst with no way to define it or deal with it. Until now.


It’s still just a selfie. But, I feel more confident, more sure of my worth, and more compassionate towards myself in the photo I took yesterday verses the one I took four months ago.

A week from now, everyone is going to be posting about how much 2020 sucked and they aren’t wrong. It really has been quite shit. But, I started to love myself in 2020. I’m still alive in 2020. I’m forgiving myself for myself in 2020, accepting myself. This year has been filled with more sorrow, more conflict, more death, and more division than any year I’ve been alive, perhaps topping 9/11 if I dare compare. Even that event brought the country together while this year has quite literally broken the world’s heart and I for one am trying my very best to find the silver lining in it all the only way I know how, self-care.

I didn’t wake up like this. It’s taken me years to even address the issues at hand, my insecurities. But I will love myself as I am now. There really isn’t any other choice.