Fat Girl

29 Jun

Letterbalm Whitney ThoreDear LetterBalm: I’m 40 years old, and for the first time in years I weigh a normal weight. I was 400 pounds, miserable, unhealthy and almost bedridden. Finally, through sheer willpower, I worked with a doctor and a nutritionist and lost more than 250 pounds over a number of years. The weight loss precipitated several surgeries to reconstruct smaller breasts and remove a lot of excess skin. I go shopping for clothes and makeup, work out at a gym, meet friends for outings, and I love it. But I’m hesitant to start dating again. The surgeries left evidence – scars on my body – and it’s obvious I’ve had extensive work. If I find someone nice and want to have sex, what do I say? I don’t really want to hit him with “I used to weigh 400 pounds and had lots of skin removed.”

–Newly Svelte

Congratulations on setting a difficult goal and striving to meet it! You might talk with a therapist trained in weight and body-image issues to help you settle into your new frame and understand your journey. Consider the experience of Whitney Thore (pictured). She’s a blogger, dancer and self-proclaimed “fat girl.” She suffered eating disorders most of her life, was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome – which can wreak havoc with weight – and gained 200 pounds in two years. Thore dances like crazy – her “A Fat Girl Dancing” video went viral on YouTube and has more than 2 million views. She isn’t ashamed of her body and speaks out about the way society regards persons of size, incorporating her personal experience in her No Body Shame Campaign. Ms. L.B. cites Thore’s example to underscore that body image is a matter of confidence and pride, no matter how big or small you are. You owe no date an explanation, unless you feel you want to when you become serious about someone. (And remember, friends may have already spread the word about the new you, something you can’t worry about or control.) For now, long before sex is on the table and as you get to know a guy, you might incorporate this into your story:

I won’t go into it, but I must tell you that I had extensive surgery when I was younger. I have a lot of scars on my body to show for it. But it made me stronger, and it’s a part of who I am.

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