“You are just the right size,” this is a phrase I say to my 4-year-old daughter. I happened upon it while we were cleaning out her closet full of clothes that she had outgrown. I watched her put on a nightgown that barely grazed her stomach.
“That shirt is too small,” I said. Then thinking about all the articles I have read about mothers and daughters and how her relationship to her body starts with mine, I was quickly struck by inspiration and added, “You are just the right size.”
Because three years before, people kept calling her chubby and chunky, and it made me crazy, and in some cases, it even made me cry.
I begged people to stop making comments to parents and their babies about weight. In short, STOP CALLING MY CHILD FAT!!!!!!! Or talking about the rolls or what a chunky baby!!!! Full stop. Over or under—what do you know? How are you qualified to judge if a baby is too big or too small? You never know who had a weight problem growing up (hello, I did!) and what you might be triggering.
The evolution from “I’m fat” to “I’m fabulous” was not that long ago for me.
Ironically enough, I planned to lose 75 pounds (actually wound up losing 50), and I planned a fabulous photoshoot to celebrate as my reward. The photoshoot changed the way I look at my body, I felt glamorous and sexy—Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Jessica Rabbit all in one package!
The love affair grew with a show I performed in a few years later called My Big Fat Bahookie, a play all about loving your body EXACTLY as it is. To say it was life-changing is an understatement, so my deepest gratitude to Lorella Loftus and The Vortex Theatre for making that possible.
Note—I want to be crystal clear—this does NOT preclude the desire or action to change your current weight or look as long as it’s because YOU desire a change, not because some bozo (or even more difficult, your family) fat shames you on social media.
But I digress, this is about my daughter and breaking generational curses by adding the phrase “you are just the right size” to our lexicon.
It’s easy for me to tell her this because I believe wholeheartedly she is just the right size.
It’s a lot harder for me to apply that phrase to myself, despite the aforementioned body love journey. It’s so hard when something you think you have conquered sneaks up on you and you are still affected by it, you know?
That slapped me right in the face when I stepped on the scale at the doctor two weeks ago and found out I have gained 26 pounds since my last time on a scale which was six months ago. It’s not hard to suss out why . . . um, can you say “global pandemic,” which led to gyms being closed, which meant no child care for me while I swam in the pool, which meant I stopped going regularly in March, which was over a year ago. There you go, easy math for all.
In the past, I might have beat myself up and planned out a diet—that would have allowed for no carbohydrates, no sugar, no chocolate—to get this weight down. But because (like my daughter), I am just the right size, I am taking it easy on myself and simply paying a little more attention to what I eat, which is sometimes chocolate and sometimes apples. Neither is bad or good—they are foods.
I implore you, start saying this phrase to yourself, “I am just the right size.”
And if you have people in your life who are bemoaning their weight, up or down, join me, won’t you?
Let’s turn the tide on fat-shaming and body dysmorphia that plagues people of all genders. At the very least, say it to yourself, and say it loud, say it proud, “I am just the right size!”
Originally published on the author’s blog