Credit: Alex Poulter

A stranger in the street today stopped me in my tracks to tell me,

“You’re a big girl. I love big girls, fair play to you.”

I immediately went from being in a peppy mood to feeling frustrated and patronised. I don’t know exactly how that man expected me to take his comment, but I certainly don’t feel buoyed by his voiced ‘support’ or his perceived right to comment on my appearance.

I think that beyond it hitting a nerve about my weight or him just coming across slightly creepy, the thing that irked me the most was that a complete stranger felt the need to accost me and seemingly congratulate me on my figure. When did our shapes start being so significant, and when will it stop being an issue?

I’m aware that I am not slim, however I am also generally content with my figure and lifestyle – moreover I think that it shouldn’t be anyone’s concern except my own. The point at which I will worry is when I feel genuinely unhealthy or uncomfortable. I eat healthily, I walk on average 4-5 miles per day and I don’t overindulge too much. But why should I even feel like I have to justify myself?

I like bodies soft and cuddly, yet I respect everyone else’s choice to like their bodies muscly and toned, skinny or chubby. I don’t dislike what I see in the mirror at all most of the time – something I’m aware is increasingly rare these days – the thing that makes me uncomfortable and doubtful is the perceptions of other people, and *cliché alert* the media.

Cookery shows and recipes books are more popular than ever, yet so are celebrity fitness videos and drastic diet plans (2 people in my office are currently fasting for part of the week, 2 more are eschewing all carbs, vegetables and fruit for a purely protein-based diet). Instagram is an uneasy mix of artful and sinful food shots mixed with girls photographing themselves sucking in their cheeks or taking a shot from above to appear thinner.

I’ve never been on a diet in my life and have no intention of changing this. I like running, but the British weather is far too temperamental for me to stick to a routine. I view gyms the way some people view Primark or Croydon; suspiciously and with the sense that I won’t enjoy my time there. Surely no one actually enjoys the gym, or enjoys it to the same extent that they enjoy a nice curry or a cuddle with a cat. Surely? Yet tomorrow I will be doing an induction at one, with my most indignant face on throughout, no doubt. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, eh?