Thursday, March 11, 2010

How do you feel about "plus-sized?"

I was chatting with one of my closest girlfriends who has struggled with her weight her entire life.  And I don't remember what I was saying exactly though I do know it was in reference to certain clothing stores, but she said "I personally hate the term plus-sized."  And I was at a loss for words because I use that term regularly, thinking I am being respectful by not saying fat...

Me:  Well, what do you prefer to be called?  When you are talking about those stores (Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart) what do you say?

Her:  Well, it depends.  Sometimes I say big-girl stores but mostly I just think of myself as thick.  Not plus-sized, I'm not some cartoonish enlargement of a woman.  I'm just bigger than some.

Now I was thinking..."big-girl" is better than plus-sized????  And I personally have resented the term "thick" because I feel it has began to disguise being overweight.  Oh, she's not fat, she's thick!!!  I get that men like the curviness, hell I like it on me too!  In no way shape or form do I plan to lose my thick thighs or apple bottom.  But hell I would like my thighs to stop rubbing together so I can wear a skirt this summer comfortably without chafing!!!  So in my head - my friend saying thick instead of owning the reality that she is fat, overweight, obese, or whatever is just a way of telling herself it is okay to be her weight.  She is 5'4" and about 240 lbs.  She carries it well meaning she is proportioned and her stomach is smaller than her boobs and booty but obviously it is not a healthy weight.  As I contemplate what she is telling me, I began to wonder why all these new terms exist for "big girls/plus-sized women"?  We only have a couple of age old terms for thin women:  skinny, thin, fit, athletic.  There is no "BBW" equivalent for being at a healthy weight....those women don't have a "SBW" (small beautiful woman) movement!  Is it our way of dealing with self-esteem issues, to invent new terms that we feel more comfortable with?

The largest I have ever been is a size 14 - and I've only been there twice in my life, both times I was only there for a very small amount of time, having to only purchase a couple of staple items in that size (some black pants, a pair of jeans or two, maybe a dress) so many times I understand that I cannot fully relate to issues that some women deal with.  However, weight has and will be a struggle for the rest of my life.  I know that I have to actively concentrate on eating healthily and exercising regularly FOREVER.  So on many levels, I can relate.  Speaking purely from my own experiences, whenever I "disguise" my weight gain or try to make myself feel better about it is when it gets worse.  Both times I got serious about losing the weight, I accepted the reality that I was at an unhealthy weight and OBESE.  I actually owe this all to my doctor, a family physician, who spoke to me gently but candidly about my weight in January of 2005.  He pulled out his BMI calculator and said to me, given your family history, we do want to do something about your weight.  I know it is a sensitive subject, but right now, where you are (I was 173-174...same as this time when I started) your BMI is 32 and you are obese.  That word had NEVER EVER entered my head to describe myself.  I was shocked into a reality check and once I realized the seriousness of the situation, I immediately signed up for Weight Watchers and lost the weight.

This time around, I said to myself, this is it, you are never doing this again.  I am over beating myself up about being back here but I know in the deepest parts of my soul, that this is and will be the final diet for me.  I will never ever ever return to this weight again.  Not never, not ever.  But calling myself thick, big, heavy, even fluffy....that was not going to work for me, it was just a way for me to accept being fat.


  1. The term plus-sized has never bothered me. Being plus-sized on the other hand..........

  2. lol (the previous comment is funny)

    Plus-sized term is fine with me. An obese friend of mine called herself voluptuous to describe her shape. I think of Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Lauren - shapely (hourglass shape, not round), large breasts and bottom without everything else being large.

    That's what the plus-size department should be called -"The Voluptuous Department," then we can continue in our denial. :)

  3. Plus-sized isn't all that bad a term. It's the clothes that bothered me. They were beyond ugly - they are better now, but not all that much better. I always referred to myself as fat, but John always told me not to call myself that!

  4. Hey there-thanks for your comment on my "Rants & Jealousy" post.

    I've never called myself thick (hello? I'm not a piece of steak!) fluffy (I'm not a pillow either!) or heavy (nope, not a heavyweight either). I have been and still am FAT!

    However, I will admit, I do have a hard time being labled OBESE (which the charts say I am). Happy Thursday!

  5. I've never minded the term "plus-sized". I can remember growing up and my mom having to order "husky" jeans for me out of the JC Penny catalog. I mind HUSKY!

    The funny thing about plus-sized...I was watching America's Next Top Model and there's a girl on there that wears a size ten and she's considered a plus-sized contestant. I'd kill to be in a size 10 right about now.

  6. Plus sized, big is what it is, and what it is is FAT! I used to make up cute words to hide the fact that I AM FAT, well the corect medical term...OBESE. I fooled myself into thinking a lot of things at my highest weight of 228 lbs.And thinking that calling myself a big girl was one of them. A the time when I was heavier I would tell myself that I liked my curves and men like thick girls (and some do), but deep down isnside I was not happy. I'm rambling.

  7. i totally agree that we can use terms...thick, curvy, big hide the fact that we are overweight...obese even...