Rachel in the Know: Take My Weight Off Your Shoulders

By Rachel Smith

Spoiler alert: I am not thin. I know this. You know this. I never have been, and only time will tell if I ever will be. One thing’s for certain, I’m not losing sleep over how much fabric it takes to manufacture my pair of pants. However, it’s been brought to my attention on more than one occasion that some people might be. 

Not long ago in a land very close to my house, I was told by a guy that I should lose weight. Or that I’d be prettier if I lost weight. Or I’d be happier. Or maybe he said I should go to a gym. Or maybe he just said that he goes to a gym. I can’t remember specifically – there was alcohol involved – and after I bit his head off he told me he said nothing of the sort. So it’s very possible that he simply asked me what time it was and my own insecurities led me to think that he was implying that I’m running out of time on this earth because I’m violently obese. Anyway, it’s all very childish and it doesn’t matter what this particular person said or didn’t say because it has led me here to this discussion, and this particular exchange we had – whether it was true or just my imagination – is something that’s very common for men and women the world over. Everyone has been called fat – or had their appearance commented on – at one point or another and we’ve all let it get to us.  

Truth bomb: I hate discussing or even reading about the topic of weight unless it’s health or fitness-based because when presented under the guise of vanity, which this is, it’s incredibly sophomoric – not to mention the majority of people’s responses to articles like this are, “oh, another fat ass trying to say it’s ok to be fat.” I know this to be true because I feel the exact same way when I read shit like this. But trust me, it’s not, and there’s no way that reading this article is annoying you more than it annoys me to write it. But I have to get this out and I want it to be the last time I ever comment on it.

I would be lying if I said that my weight doesn’t bother me. See: my drunken conniption this weekend and (this) subsequent article. On the other hand, there are many days when I feel like the hottest bitch to ever live. My opinion is the only one that matters and I believe that to be true from the depths of my soul. But what bothers me is when other people feel they have the right to comment on it, especially when it’s clearly not out of concern for that other person’s health. That kind of advice is best served by your doctor, your family, or your closest friends. Not by an acquaintance, not by an online troll, and most certainly not when you’re out getting shitfaced. And last time I checked, I can still fit through a door and I only take up one seat in a car, so let’s all calm the fuck down.  

On my matrix of life and happiness, you will find “my dress size” near the corner of “inherent fucktards” and “people who want you to be as miserable as them.” Weight, size, appearance… SNOOZE! If you’re not a dietician, I don’t have time for this kind of unintelligent humor or commentary. People who make fun of your appearance are lazy and ridiculous. They literally have nothing of substance to say. I am the first one to throw a joke into the crowd but you will NEVER hear me talk negatively about someone’s body or appearance in general. The “You’re fat! You’re bald! Your teeth are gross! Your face is ugly!” jokes/comments are meaningless to me and I have more intelligent things to make fun of you for – like your poor life choices.  If being a little heavier than I’d like is my biggest problem, in my opinion, I am fucking nailing life. It makes me sad that people (and at times, this girl) get so offended and hurt that someone calls them fat. Like, I am laughing out loud right now. It’s very simple. If you want to lose weight, lose weight. If you happen to be someone who is peachy with the way you look, laugh it off when someone calls you a cow. Why is this so hard for us? Why is weight (and I don’t mean in the half-ton man sense because that is a health risk and his business only) the biggest concern and stress in our lives?

Now, don’t get me wrong; like 99% of the female population, I think that being thin would be awesome. Clothes always seem to fit amazingly! Drunk boys want to grope you and fly you to Paris! Everything is fabulous! Yay! But then sometimes you meet a really thin person and realize that they aren’t fabulous. That their personality is fucking depressing. That they are addicted to meth. That they are a whiny little bitch. The reality is, no one is perfect; therefore, striving for perfection is a waste of time.  (Unless you’re Gigi Hadid, in which case you are already perfect, and again, striving for perfection would just be a waste of your time).

Everyone has their own insecurities and frankly, I’d rather have fat arms than the personality of a street ant. That’s just me.

Every individual needs to figure out what defines their confidence and then don’t let anyone fuck with it. For me, confidence comes from being intelligent and witty. My physical appearance, which I happen to like thank you very much, is a nice bonus. If someone I truly cared about called me stupid or unfunny, it would tear my soul to pieces. If a loved one who truly cared about my wellbeing told me that they were concerned about my caloric intake, I’d scale back. But after (I thought) I was being called fat by an acquaintance, all I did was go home and eat an entire box of Velveeta Shells which was my way of saying “fuck you” to everyone who is uncomfortable with how I look (but more accurately, it was a “fuck you” to my butthole, which is the only thing that actually suffered that night).   

God, I can hear the fitness fans freaking out right now. Hang with me, this section is for you. I don’t want to glamorize being a whale, which eating a box of pasta with fake cheese absolutely makes me – and I agree that there are few things less attractive than being unhealthy. But do I eat like shit all day every day as my social media posts would suggest? No. I also don’t post online about how I walk eight miles around my neighborhood every night. And that’s because it’s not true. I walk four miles. And it’s only some nights. But the point is that there is no point to judge anyone else, because you don’t know anything about their lifestyle other than what they choose to share with you. When did everyone become a dietician? Are you Jillian fucking Michaels? Get out of here. There are plenty of thin people whose insides are a pile of mush and a lot of larger people who run marathons and live off nothing but protein and vegetables. You can’t judge someone by what they look like and you certainly should never suggest to someone that they should do “this” or “that” because it would be better for “them.” Perhaps what you meant to say is that it would be better for “you” if they were skinny. I have been several different weights throughout my life and even when I was “thin” and a full-time athlete I was still extremely self-conscious about my body and constantly made jokes about being a hippo. It’s a defense mechanism. I 100% admit that. But while I joke about rolling around naked at Hometown Buffet and doing laps in ranch dressing, underneath, I am a woman with actual feelings and believe it or not, I don’t actually roll around at Hometown Buffet, I don’t swim in ranch, and I happen to live a healthy lifestyle – most of the time.  Which is what makes it balanced.

Do I think I would be happier if I lost weight? No. But do I think that my insides would be happier if I cut out processed foods and turned up my workout routine a few notches? Hell yes! That’s a decision I get to make when I want to make it and it’s not going to be because some boy called me fat or because I think it will make me more appealing to other people. I have bad news for people who let others dictate their happiness: it’s a dead end and you will be as miserable then as you are now. Only you can define what the best version of yourself looks like (internally and externally) and it has to be achieved on your terms.  

Being healthy is important, and being unhealthy – while it’s a hoot to joke about shoving Doritos in my mouth until I choke – is not something I take pride in or ever actually do in the literal sense. (That’s a lie, I definitely have). What I’d like to get across is this: if you think for one second that your appearance or lifestyle is hindering you from true health and happiness – then change it. If you feel that you are living a balanced lifestyle – keep it up. If you mash on Crossfit and Paleo until you bleed – get on with your bad self. It’s your life. Do you. Those of you who complain about the people who post their workouts and diets online are just as offensive as people who say that you could stand to lose a few. Worry about yourself and perhaps your fucking manners.   

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  1. Jamie says

    LOVE THIS!!!!! You go girl! Now let’s swim some laps… in ranch.

  2. Jacqueline I says

    Happy Birthday! Here’s to a great year!

  3. Jacqueline I says

    How can I get Rachel to come talk to my gender ideology class at Sac State? I’m asking for real here.

    1. Laura says

      Thanks for the request – please shoot a note to girlsonthegrid AT gmail.com, and we’ll get it to Rachel!

  4. Bryan Farley says

    Such a wonderful personal story that many of us can connect to, either because we know people or resemble them.

    Thank you

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