This is something I’ve thought about a lot. As someone who has some medical conditions that lead to weight gain, I’ve often wondered, if in the process of treating these issues, my weight changes, specifically if I lose weight, what will that mean? Does that change who I am as a fat activist or a person? How would I handle the inevitable commentary? What will it do to my mental state?
In thinking about this, I’ve put together a few points to keep in mind, especially if it’s a drastic enough change that others notice.
- Know that it’s probably temporary: the vast vast majority of people who lose weight gain it back, and while accidental loss is different than intentional, it’s still highly likely that your body will readjust and you’ll end up back where you were.
- Don’t boast about it: I’m not saying never bring it up. It affects your life. But don’t treat it like an accomplishment or humblebrag it.
- Don’t let others treat it like an achievement: people often regard weight loss as some great act, akin to winning a Nobel Prize or something. Don’t let comments that treat it like that slide if you are in a position where you can speak up. Point out that it’s not on purpose, and that it will probably not last, and refocus on an actual achievement or life event. You can also politely but firmly say you’d rather not talk about it. If people don’t respect that, leave the room (if you can).
- Respect fat positive spaces: some people don’t want to hear about weight loss at all, even if it’s unintentional. That is their right and you need to be mindful of that. Some people are triggered by the topic, and others are just plain sick of it. There are many places you can talk about it, so don’t trample the ones who would rather not hear it.
- Remember that you are the same person as always: this is especially important for if/when the weight comes back. Being smaller doesn’t make you better or more desirable, and being larger doesn’t make you a lesser person. You are you, with every fluctuation in size.
- Don’t throw away all your clothes: like I’ve said, this is probably temporary. Don’t do a closet purge right now. You may need to buy a few new things if your size changes, but hold off on dumping EVERYTHING you used to wear. If the weight comes back, you’ll be glad you still have things that fit. Now, if it stays off for awhile and things go out of fashion, you can always reassess. But keep a few basics like jeans, and hold on to more expensive and timeless items for at least a few years.