Today, I was going to post a pretty roundup of great Valentine’s Day DIY gift ideas. Instead, I want to speak about my personal reaction and thoughts on Whitney Thore’s Huffington Post article and her viral video “Fat Girl Dancing”.
I have never fat-shamed in my life. I find it completely unacceptable to judge anyone by their weight, especially having gone through it a significant part of my youth and even today when I’m healthy by any standards. So I want to clarify that this is not a fat shaming post – it’s a post on PCOS and how firmly I believe that it’s not an excuse for being unhealthy, based on my own experience.
I too have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
I was diagnosed at 17. Among its many symptoms, it also causes me to produce excess insulin and hypoglycemia, which makes me constantly weak, hungry and highly adept to weight gain.
On the days of the diagnosis, I was the ‘fat girl’ of my school – constantly made fun of and assumed to be lazy. Today, when I look back at pictures, I realize that I was never all that big, but there’s a fine line between what is considered thin and fat, and I had crossed that line. I remember precise things friends and family did and said to me that broke my heart… like when a schoolmate put a pillow underneath his shirt and went around saying that he was me. It stung.
But the diagnosis finally helped me understand what I was going through, and I refused to accept it as an end-all. By 18, I lost 16 kilos. I worked my ass off and I made a healthy meal plan with a professional dietician. Within the first few months alone I had lost the first 10 kilos. By 19, I had lost 25 kilos and I was feeling great. Since then, I’ve both gained and lost a lot more.
At my fittest (slight abs and all), an ex-boyfriend crappily told me that I’m still chubby and that he expects his girlfriend to take care of herself as he does, crushing my self-esteem. (Obviously, I ended that relationship). It’s clear to me that I’ll never be the thin girl and I’ll always be the curvy, somewhat chubby one. But you know what? That’s okay because I’ve learned to accept and try to appreciate who I am.
The road so far has been an up and down of inexplicable weight gain and trying to “correct” it by working my tushie off at the gym and eating healthier. For the past 4 years, I remain balanced in the same weight range because of it.
Point being: I have the power to control it – I will not allow PCOS to beat me into obesity ever again.
Yes, weight loss is difficult and yes, people with PCOS gain weight fast. I’ve seen my weight balloon almost immediately the moment I stopped taking *care* of myself. I gained 5 kilos in the past two months. You may think that’s not a lot, but for someone who usually takes care of her daily calorie intake and goes to the gym, it is.
I refuse to accept that reaching a point of extreme obesity is merely caused by PCOS. It sucks, it really does, but there’s more to extreme weight gain than PCOS, and it’s not acceptable to me that a person can place blame solely on the condition and merely excuse herself for her morbid obesity.
You will never see me saying that I’m obese because of polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s solely on me to take care of myself. I know the syndrome, I understand the symptoms, and I acknowledge that I can’t live or eat as carelessly as others. I constantly care for my blood sugar levels, I try to consume options that are less impactful on my weight and my mind is always on my health.
I admire Whitney for her dedication, her joy of life and heck, she’s an amazing dancer. But I don’t accept PCOS as an excuse, only as an additional, yet very difficult challenge. It’s a challenge that I personally take on every day, and I refuse to let it overcome me.