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Gaining weight after 25 and what it teaches you about society

Gaining weight after 25 and what it teaches you about society

Samah Akhtar
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I double over laughing as I hold my saree blouse from my high school farewell against my waist; it barely even spans over half my waist a decade later.

I’m well past 25 and its safe to say my body has changed from my teenage years

What was once firm is a bit softer, and I’m worried the next stage will include sagging. My cousin laughs with me as we examine the blouse that now seems impossible to fit into, that is until the smile fades from my face and the wheels of insecurity start turning.

Gaining weight feels odd after hearing you’re too skinny all your life.

I went from hearing, “Please eat more” to “Isn’t that a big serving of rice?“. It’s not just people’s attitudes that changed, it’s my body as well; I can’t stuff myself endlessly and not worry about the calories. My metabolism isn’t what it once was; ten days of eating fast food is quick to show up on my body. I never thought gaining weight would affect me much, but somehow it does. Most of the time I think people notice the changes in my weight more than I do. They are quick to tell me I’ve gotten ‘healthy’ and ‘it’ looks nice on me. The ‘it’ I’m assuming is adipose. Growing up skinny, I had my own issues, puberty didn’t do much, there were no curves. I was ridiculed for my lack of womanly wiles all the way through high school, so I always assumed life was kinder on the other side of the spectrum. But now, as I sit comfortably with a bit more cushioning around my bones, I realise it really isn’t. 

At times it also bothers me how much I am affected by what people say, by what they imply in hushed tones and looks they mean to be sympathetic.

Isn’t this the age of body positivity?

Isn’t this the age of body positivity? And acceptance. So why is the beginnings of a double chin under my once taut jaw such a hot topic of conversation; and no I don’t want to know the latest face yoga you read about on Pinterest. I ultimately convinced myself that this isn’t about weight, it’s about what society thinks gaining weight represents. If someone puts on a few, a common comment one encounters is “She has let herself go” or “he must be depressed”. When we meet people, we still look for the visible signs of success and rely heavily on age old concepts of what ‘normal’ looks like. But that’s the thing isn’t it, ‘normal’ doesn’t look a particular way. And who even is ‘normal’ anymore? ‘Normal’ isn’t what one should aspire to be in the age of self discovery and actualisation. If there is one thing I learnt after I gained weight, it was that if I relied on society for validation, it would tear me down quicker than I could bite into another chocolate sprinkled doughnut.

Keep up to date with more news at ProperGaanda: What Pakistani’s can learn from dining alone

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