Big Girl

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?


12 thoughts on “Big Girl”

  1. I can’t believe someone said that to you. That was so inappropriate and rude. I agree with everything you said in your response. I encourage you to try to forget what he said and not let it bother you, but I know that is easier said than done. I am sorry that happened.

    1. Thank you! Glad that you’re enjoying the blog. Not to worry re: that comment, I wasn’t too offended, more annoyed that my figure should even be worth commenting on! Have dinner with friends tonight and a trip to a tapas bar on Friday so it can’t have bothered me too much 🙂

  2. Someone coming up to me commenting like that about my appearance would really get to me! Unbelievable!

    1. I know, but unfortunately we seem to be in a world where a girl’s body is the business of other people. Haven’t let it get under my skin, was just peeved at the whole scenario!

  3. I agree with your thoughts entirely. Especially now that I’m getting older, I’m absolutely sure that whatever we want to do re our bodies and our health is purely our own decision, and certainly no one else’s to comment on. There is no reason at all why we should feel that we have to justify ourselves to anyone.

    Another thing that I know is that there are some strange people around, some strange in a creepy way as you say, and others that are to be pitied. Don’t know which type you’ve run into but, boy, what happened makes me cringe!

    Well, good luck in the gym – as a FATman, Primark or Croydon says it for me! I’ve been fat all my life, that’s how I am, that’s a part of me. I photograph two young girls, the daughters of friends, and one of them has a small, dark birthmark beside her nose. I could so easily take that mark out digitally, but that mark is a part of her, of who she is, and I wouldn’t dream of removing it.

    I hope you get no more such creepy encounters! Adrian

  4. I too am a “Big (yet healthy) GIRL”. I do admire your confidence, as I can’t remember a time that I was comfortable with myself, even as a child, sadly. I do try each day to find something I like about myself and block out the “stinkin thinkin” when it rears its ugly head. As a mother of a 6 year old beautiful little girl, I work hard to be a positive role model.

    Social media makes it difficult for young women to be content and comfortable with who they are and the skin they’re in.Which is funny because as skinny as they models are and how much girls want to be like them, polls say men prefer women with curves (think Kardashian). Not that we should be trying to please anyone but ourselves, but the media has it wrong.

    I admire the few celebrities that allow themselves to be photographed and not airbrushed afterward. There should be more of them.

    My daughter asked me the other day if I thought her friends would like her new outfit. I told her I didn’t know. She replied “Well, too bad for them if they don’t!” I was so proud of her. In this age of bullying, I hope she keeps that confidence as she grows.

    Thanks for the post. I love your site. Have fun at the gym (which is what it should be all about anyway).

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, it’s always hard to stay confident and positive when there is so much propaganda about body image everywhere.
      I think it’s great that your little girl is so strong-minded, keep up the pep talks and reminding yourself of all the good things 🙂

  5. Just like some others have said…the fact that men (& women!) think its acceptable to comment on a woman’s (or anyone’s, for that matter!) appearance, especially someone they don’t know, is ridiculous! I’m sure if the situation would have been reversed, he would’ve thought you were nuts, but somehow society today thinks it’s okay for women’s bodies to be objectified. Bleh. If you’re happy with yourself, that’s all that matters!

    1. It’s so odd – I know someone who when told by a guy yesterday to ‘smile’ she asked if he’d said anything like that to a random man in the street before – he didn’t have anything to say to that! Definitely a problem of both genders though. Thanks for the comment and the follow 🙂
      – Shonette

  6. Fantastic post! You have such a healthy attitude about body image, etc. Love that you love what you see in the mirror and agree that it ain’t no one else’s business! I remember a well-meaning colleague recommending a diet shake a few months after I’d had my first baby. I was appalled and had to fight down the feeling that something was wrong with me. It wasn’t any of her business where my body was and it certainly wasn’t any of your stranger’s business.

    Hope the gym induction went well. I’m one of those that really likes exercise and even her gym membership. (Though I adore my cat and say “bring on the curry.”) Part of my love for working out is tied to the fact that if I exercise, I can get away with more of those curries. And ice creams. And cheese. And candy. Etc 🙂

    Am so glad to have you stopping by food for fun. Thanks for your visits!

    1. Thanks for the comment! It’s definitely hard when you’re up against other people’s opinions on your shape and lifestyle, I just tend to think that as long as you’re happy and healthy it’s no one else’s business! Have a good week 🙂

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