The Problem With Being a Confident Fat Girl

I really like myself.

Seriously! I do!

I’m a really cool person. I’m funny… I’m fun… I’m fun-loving. I care deeply about my friends and even more so for my students. I am a great mom (note: not a perfect mom) and a good wife. I have great… and I mean GREAT hair. I’m graying pretty quickly and I don’t mind- I’m actually pumped about it. I am a really talented teacher both in a public high school as well in my youth department. I love Jesus with all my heart and I want desperately to be a blessing to those around me. I am joyful and would say that my gift is being a light in the darkness.

See, I like myself! I am a confident woman!


I am fat.

(Now, before you get all in a tizzy about me using the word “fat” please, read this so you know where I’m coming from.)

Yeah. Fat.

Okay, how fat? (I know some of you girls out there are wondering cause the only way you’ll listen to me is if I’m “fat enough” to know what I’m talking about.) Well, then, if I went by the national standards for “fatness” or obesity or whatever, my doc would say that I am about 70-80 pounds overweight. So, no I’m not that “fat” girl who is like “Oh my gosh, I have to move up into a size 6?!?!?” No, I’m the one who’s all like “Where’s the plus size section?” And I’m not gonna blame it on genetics or hormones or being a working-mom or whatever. I’ve fluctuated my entire life. I can distinctly remember pretending to be asleep at a 9-year-old birthday slumber party so that I could sneak over to the food-table and get a brownie (or five) after all the other girls had gone to bed. Yeahhhhhhh, like I’ve got some issues.

But honestly, the issues are not what I’m talking about here. Cause, the thing is I sorta “mocked” that girl up there who was lamenting moving up into a size 6, but here’s the deal… she probably feels the same dismay that I often feel when I gain weight. Yeah… she dismays just like the girl moving up into a 16 and just like the girl moving up into a size 26. The size is really irrelevant. The “level of fatness” is really irrelevant. Cause, whether we like it or not, perception is reality. So, when you feel fat… you are fat. And that’s me… I feel fat and therefore, in my mind, I am fat.

Now, whoa. Look at the two things that I have said about myself:

1. I am a confident woman.

2. I am fat.

I used to think that those two things couldn’t really go together. If you were fat… you HAD to have confidence issues, right?

Wait… right?!?!?

But I kept looking in the mirror at a woman who was wayyyyy overweight and yet I absolutely adored myself. And THAT is my “problem”: I am a confident woman. And so that is one of the main reasons that I often don’t worry or try to lose weight for months on end even though I might be “grotesquely obese” or however the government coins me. I love… me. I love my big smile that can disarm a group of people. I love my crazy-loud-boisterous laugh that lets everyone know that I am going to be having some fun. I love my squishy hugs that I give my kids and the fact that they can plop their heads down on my cushy legs while they read a book or watch TV. What’s not to love… I am designed, created, and loved by the God of the Universe. Ya see, I love so much about me that, to be honest,

I quite often forget that I am fat at all.

I’ll forget so long that I’ll catch myself in the mirror and almost not even recognize myself. How could that be me? I have the confidence of a super model some days and so when I see my size 16 reflection pass by me, I can get a little surprised at myself. Cause I’m just good with being me: confident and fat.

Do I wish that I could just slide into Forever 21 and put on whatever I want and not have to worry about how it will look on me? Yes.
Do I wish that I could go bathing suit shopping and not need to find one that has a skirt or some kind of tummy control area? Yes.
Do I wish that sleeveless and strapless bridesmaids gowns would be banned by the government? Absolutely. (And yeah, sorry for that one, bridesmaids of mine… although, you ladies looked stunning, I think.)

More than anything I wish that my “issues” with food (remember the slumber party story?) were gone. Admittedly, that part of me is… annoying. You can read the rest of the blog to know why and how I struggle with it, but yeah… I would totally pass on the whole “food addiction” if I could.

But I guess I have two messages for two different groups of people:

  • If you feel like you are “fat”, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t UH.MAZ.ING. You be you… be confident. Sure, I would absolutely encourage you to continue to search for health and for freedom from whatever issue you might have with food… but just be confident. You are loved. You are important. You are beautiful. Trust me, there is no pure joy like realizing one day that you are not the billboard’s version of “beach body ready” but that you are amazing anyway!
  • If you look at “those fat girls” and think they are lazy, or if you look at “those fat girls” and see one that is happy and totally fine with herself and you are a little weirded out by that, just know… YOU DON’T KNOW. You don’t know her story. You don’t know her soul. You don’t know her struggle. You don’t know her joy. Maybe, just maybe, be cool with her just for who she is: both on the inside and the outside.

And so, dear ladies, if you are one of those that “define” yourself as fat… it is my hope that you also have a moment every once in a while where you just feel wonderful and when you, too, forget that you are fat at all.


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  1. Vickie Palmer says

    You are right on January. I really wish you would write books because I’m totally captivated by your writing. You amaze me and I feel the same way, but I’ve never read anything like that before. My weight gain started when I was 14, and for almost 45 years I’ve been up and down on the scales. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your journey. I truly love and adore you.

    • says

      Thank you Vickie! Oh those dern scales! How they torment us!!! I’m always in hope that we’ll find freedom from the up and down!

  2. Melynda says

    Thanks for sharing! I got very heavy for quite a while, but I refused to think of myself as “fat.” I really reserve using that word for… Almost nobody. Maybe the subjects of the show “My 600 lb Life” (which I watch with compassion, not derision). I never think of myself or any of my friends, no matter how large, with that word. But that didn’t stop me from being self-conscious at times, mostly when picking out clothes to wear or taking pictures. I had some nice family pictures done with a professional photographer and never shared them because I didn’t like how I looked. Overall, I’ve continued to be confident and often forgot how heavy I was. I can identify with your statement of not recognizing yourself in the mirror. That happened a lot. Over the last year or so, I’ve lost a lot of the weight, and I’ve been surprised at the number of comments. People have wanted to know what I’m doing (kinda embarrassed to say not a lot different), said I looked great (wait, I didn’t before?), that I look so different (not so different in my mind, but um, thanks?). Married men at church have been the most awkward– I guess they feel awkward noticing but still somehow feel they need to comment? One said that I need to eat a cheeseburger or something, and another said he guessed it was more noticeable when I wore tighter clothes (after I told him I hadn’t suddenly lost weight since last week as he had implied). I finally look in the mirror and see ME again, but everyone else seems to have gotten used to the other me. I hope my personality shines through half as bright as yours, January, so they will see that either way, it is MELYNDA, who loves kids and missions and helping people and is ready to serve and love. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for being an inspiration!

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