Fat and All That is a new column by Editorial Director Mickey Boardman in which he discusses his lifelong battle with weight issues and society's views on overweight people. He'll discuss fat-shaming, body positivity and everything in-between, while also taking us on his current journey to get healthy and find the ideal weight for himself.
If I had to choose one person in the public eye who I think is the best body positivity role model I would have to say my girl Lizzo! It's obvious that she truly loves herself and gets a big kick out of her life whether she's performing, playing her flute or just encouraging her fans on her Instagram.
Loving ourselves can be so tough, but it really seems to be the key to happiness for plus size peeps like me. It feels like we spent so much time hating our size, wishing we weren't fat until one day finally we hit the wall and just can't take it anymore. I can't believe how much time and energy I wasted being miserable about my weight. Looking back, I realize that really nobody else cared.
I was tickled pick to chat with Lizzo recently, and, naturally, I wanted to chat about her inspiring approach to body image.
Mr. Mickey: Have you always felt super body-positive and love yourself or did change come at some point?
Lizzo: No, when I was younger I didn't see myself in the media. I didn't see myself in fashion. I didn't like how I looked because of what I saw on television. It didn't reflect me so to become this super body positive I think my journey was so much a part of that. I had to really learn. I had to hit rock bottom with loving myself and really learn how to fuck with me. I'm still learning; I'm still not there. I be having my moments, but it's through that process I think I'm able to help other people.
Is there something that happened that brought that change on?
I remember I was the smallest I'd ever been. I was working out a lot and not eating. I took a picture and sent it to my mom and she was like, "Are you OK? You don't look OK." I remember I was talking to this guy and he told me, "You know what, I showed my friends your picture and they were like, 'Your face is cute, but your body needs work.'" And I was like, "Bro you didn't know me in high school when I was super overweight. You didn't know me in college. This is the smallest I've ever been," and I still have criticism from somebody who's supposed to really like me. And that just made me feel that I'm never going to be happy until I actually am happy with myself.
"When I was younger I didn't see myself in the media. I didn't see myself in fashion. I didn't like how I looked because of what I saw on television."
Have you ever had any role models in terms of size?
Missy Elliott is tiny, but she's always had a different body shape and she was always poppin'. She was a pop star, an icon. And I always saw myself in her. I can do this. I can be a plus size pop star.
I must say Lizzo's story of coming to love herself seems to be typical among all my plus-size friends and colleagues who love themselves. They all spent years feeling shitty for being too fat or not having what society considers the perfect body, and then finally they hit the wall. They couldn't take being miserable about themselves any longer and decided that they were going to accept themselves as they were. And the funny thing is that was all it took to go from hating themselves to loving themselves.
I wish we all didn't have to go through the ugliness and self-loathing to get to self-love, but it seems like the only way to get there. When we're young we think everything is life or death. Some boy liking us. Being popular. Having the right bag, sneakers, car, friends, haircut. And if someone older and wiser tried to tell us those things didn't matter we would think they were clueless and didn't understand what being young meant.
Hopefully kids today see Lizzo and other body positive activists and see that it's possible to love yourself, regardless of your size. I know everytime I see her or sing along to "Good as Hell" I certainly feel great about myself.
Photo via Instagram