Thoughts on a Lifetime as the Chubby Girl

I was a pretty good kid and because of that there were very few hard and fast rules in my home growing up. One of the few rules I can remember hearing my mom repeat over and over again was that “Under no circumstances should you ever use the F-word.” And no, I’m not talking about that F-word, I am talking about the word “fat.”

I’ve always been a “bigger” girl. I entered the world at a whopping 8 pounds and 10 ounces. I was always a few sizes larger than my friends, even in elementary school, and there was no way that I could share clothes with my best friend in high school- she was a size 0 and I was a size 12. In fact, I am pretty sure I skipped the junior section of clothes entirely. I do count myself pretty lucky- I can never remember being made fun of for being chubby, and I always dated boys (and married a man) that didn’t seem to mind either.

At my largest I’ve been a size 18 and for now I wear a size 14. I work out 3-4 times a week, I get over 10,000 steps daily, I count calories, I weigh/portion my food religiously, and I eat a mostly healthy and whole food diet. Despite all of that, my child bearing hips, my Kim Kardashian style butt, and my thick thighs never seem to get the memo that there is an inner skinny girl trying to get out. Even a couple of years ago when I was running half marathons I never dipped below a size 10. My doctor says I am healthy even though my BMI yells, “You are overweight” and mass media wants me to believe that I am somehow inadequate because I am average in size.

There were times in my past that I struggled with wanting to be thinner. In high school and early college I tried all of the fad diets- anyone remember “South Beach”? For about a year in my late teens I got all the way down to a size 4. And you know what? I wasn’t any happier as a size 4 than I was as a size 18 because happiness and self-worth are so much more complex than that. That year I was mostly just “hangry” and exhausted from over-exercising.

Luckily, the older I get the less I care about what size my pants are. Sure, there are times that I look at a photo of myself and think “yikes.” Occasionally I leave a store without making a purchase because I didn’t like how the clothes looked on me that day. Every now and then I even have this recurring nightmare where my husband leaves me and tells me I am too fat for him to love me.  But this is what I always come back to- if being a size 14 is the biggest “problem” I ever face in life, I’m going to be just fine. I may never look like the starlets we glamorize, and I may always feel a little bit like the chubby girl in the room, but as long as I am healthy and able to be active with my son, that’s all I really care about.

now

Mandy was born and raised in Shreveport and married her best friend, Dustin, in 2008. When they moved to Baton Rouge in 2010 for graduate school, they had no idea how much this city would change their lives. After meeting some incredibly inspiring people, they decided to become foster parents in 2011 and adopted their bundle of energy, Joseph, in 2014. Mandy works part time as the Safe Families for Children Coordinator, a program that aims to support and stabilize families who are experiencing a crisis. She spends the rest of her time managing Joseph's therapies for autism and living out the gift and honor of being a mom. When she has a few minutes of spare time, Mandy loves to bake, draw, hit the pavement for a run, or even better- NAP!

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