How Social Media Helped Me Accept My Fat Body

Social media can be a really polarizing thing. The internet is full of people hiding behind their keyboards or smartphones, spewing negativity just for fun. The internet is also full of wonderful people, putting themselves and their truths out there, being vulnerable and kind. It’s those kind souls that have helped me be the woman I am today. 

Growing up plus-size, I hated my body. No matter how healthy I ate or how much I worked out, I was always fat — and that was always bad. With the advent of Instagram and the body positivity movement, though, something changed.

The problem was that my whole life, I was told my body was different, bad, abnormal; I should be ashamed that I didn’t fit into what was deemed ‘normal.’ Then suddenly, women started popping up online, with their ‘abnormal’ bodies, looking confident and sexy. They posted about their struggles, they wrote about their feelings and shared uncomfortable truths. Initially, some of the messages were really difficult to read — I mean, these were things that went completely against everything I’d known to be true. Even though all these messages were wonderful, societal pressures and beliefs were so ingrained in me, I resisted. And I resisted for a while. 

 

The problem was that my whole life, I was told my body was different, bad, abnormal; I should be ashamed that I didn’t fit into what was deemed ‘normal.’

 

But I kept following. I kept reading. Then research came out, Refinery29 made some changes, and plus-size influencers and bloggers started popping up proving all those norms wrong. Slowly, my walls of resistance and ingrained beliefs came down. I guess you could say I started to normalize a diverse range of body types, but that was only step one. Now I could accept those people and their bodies, but I hadn’t accepted my own. 

 

Slowly, my walls of resistance and ingrained beliefs came down. I guess you could say I started to normalize a diverse range of body types, but that was only step one. Now I could accept those people and their bodies, but I hadn’t accepted my own.

 

I started reaching out to women on social media; women in the plus-size space — bloggers, models, writers. I asked questions I’d previously been too uncomfortable to ask anyone I knew in person. We had conversations about our bodies, dating, and food. They helped me describe my body in new ways, using words like soft and strong. These conversations brought up lots of feelings within me, feelings I hadn’t dealt with in a long time. When I would talk about their bodies, I would use positive adjectives, but never saw myself or my body like theirs at all. 

It was a rough couple years, dealing with things I’d pushed down and negativity I’d internalized for so long. Over time, hearing people describe me in ways I never could eventually led to me being able to do the same. Yes, it involved writing positive affirmations in dry erase marker on my bathroom mirror and sticking self-love quotes on my desk at work.

 

We share our travel struggles, we laugh about our dating struggles, and I even have one Insta friend who is basically a sex guru for fat people. I think the irony is that most of us truly don’t have as much in common outside of being fat, but it’s brought us together in a way I definitely didn’t expect.

 

I think as a plus-size person, I always felt like an outsider. I was always the outlier in my friend groups so I never truly had a community I felt I belonged to — until now. Now, these women are people I look to for inspiration. We share our travel struggles, we laugh about our dating struggles, and I even have one Insta friend who is basically a sex guru for fat people. I think the irony is that most of us truly don’t have as much in common outside of being fat, but it’s brought us together in a way I definitely didn’t expect. 

I didn’t expect to love seeing plus-size babes in my news feed.

I didn’t expect to make real friendships online.

I definitely didn’t expect social media to not only be a safe space, but a place that helped me accept my fat body.