“So often I feel like I’m being watched every time I choose to indulge in a treat; people assume that because I’m big I must eat copious amounts of food all day long and be incredibly lazy, when really this is an incredibly misguided conjecture. In reality, I am extremely conscious of my calorie intake, ensuring that I eat both healthily and the right amount for my height and age.
“Society makes me feel like I should be ashamed of my size and must lose weight in order to be accepted. This not only happens in everyday life but even doctors, despite being aware of my medical history, offer me weight loss surgery because even though they are aware that it is extremely hard for me to lose weight naturally, I must conform to the societal ideal that you must be slim in order to be happy and healthy – which is simply not true.
“I have hypothyroidism which results in me having an extremely low metabolic rate. This means that although I train in the gym three times a week, take dance lessons once a week, and my job means that I am on my feet for up to ten hours a day, losing weight has become almost impossible for me – but my size does not mean that I am unhealthy.
“Yet, people who barely know me make assumptions about my health simply on looks alone. I often receive comments such as ‘should you be eating that?’ ‘have you tried this diet?’ While perhaps having good intent, these comments serve no purpose other than to make me feel disgusting in my own skin. No one should be made to feel that way. Fortunately, I am strong enough to have confidence in my appearance; I am not unfit and I am happy. However, not everyone is necessarily as assured as I am, and people should be aware that their comments or even dirty looks can make people ill, depressed, and can lead to even worse consequences.
“Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, magazines, billboards, TV, social media, they only use models who are size zero, making fuller figured people feel unattractive. I do not condone ‘skinny-shaming’ by any stretch of the imagination, but we need to create an atmosphere where you are accepted as beautiful no matter what size you are.”
Photo credit: Harriet Evans
Editing: Harriet Evans