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I am fat and beautiful, even if I am judged. What matters is that I feel completely comfortable with my body, and that is what I mean to teach my girls too!
I went to my kids’ school the other day and a parent’s gaze went from my eyes to my belly before I could finish saying “Hello!” The next day, the same thing happened. I went to the common area in our society to hang with my girl-gang and met a new neighbour. Her gaze also swooped down to my belly before coming back up to my eyes.
Now, I’m into the whole micro-expressions thing where you catch the fleeting expression of someone before they get a chance to cover it with a socially acceptable one. You may not do that but you would still experience a familiar unease when you meet people. A sensation at the nape of your neck that you’ve just been scanned, judged and catalogued undesirably, because of your body shape.
Your friends don’t do that and will swear you are gorgeous, if not downright enviable. But if you’re like me, the next time you ride in the elevator you’ll frown at your belly too.
I have a soft belly, going about 2 inches ahead of my midriff. Nothing I can’t hide with a good posture. Trouble is, I am the author of a health psychology book The Body Nirvana: More Than Just a Weight Loss Book (HarperCollins, 2017). I wrote a whole book explaining that fat is neither a personality trait, nor a death warrant. But let’s not dwell on something you can read that book for.
I am also the mother of two amazing humans, both girls, the older of whom has started experiencing distress at being fat. The younger one Sara, all of seven, enjoys sitting on my lap, poking my belly and telling me I am fat. My typical reaction is to tell her this is the exact amount of space my organs need and that is why my belly is the size it is.
Yesterday again Sara was pointing to my belly and saying, “Mom, you are so fat” when I realized what I really wanted to say. I needed her to know that having fat is ok. That is not all. I needed her to know that-
I can be fat and be beautiful
I can be fat and awesome
I can be fat and attractive
I can be fat and successful
I can be fat and have the best possible life
I can be fat and be HAPPY!
I won’t again tell her that I’m not really fat. I will simply tell her I am beautiful just the way I am. Because I have realized something, and I actually believe it. I love how I look and I feel beautiful.
So why did I think you should read this? I want you to feel the wave of beauty sweep over your body, a sense of great pride that swirls and swoops all through your body. You may have a few extra inches of belly, thigh or arm. But don’t you see? You’re fat and beautiful! (Good thing we still like our wines full-bodied!)
So if you too feel fat and beautiful say “I!”
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Header image is a still from the movie Tumhari Sulu.