How Fat Really Feels

How Fat Really Feels

If, like me, you’re an avid listener of the BBC’s Woman’s Hour then you will no doubt have heard an episode featuring their latest series, How Fat Feels.

Now, before I delve into how fat feels for me (and I can only speak for me as everyone’s experiences will be different) I would like to clarify something:

Fat is not a bad word!

We treat it like its something dirty.   Something heinous.   Something to be avoided or shunned.

We throw the word into flippant conversations.  When we eat too much we groan, ‘Oh, I’m so fat!‘  When a pair of jeans doesn’t flatter us: ‘Urgh!   I look so fat!‘  We use it as insults: ‘Oh look fat she’s got!’  Interestingly, I’ve never heard that last one thrown as a man.

Fat has become synonymous with so-called bad food; gristle, grease, lack of nutrition.

Fat has been demonised We’ve forgotten that fat can be good; avocados, yoghurts, eggs.   All products that are, at their core, nutritious and, quite frankly, scrummy.

So yes I am fat!  You can read my story of how I got fat here – although, really, now that I’ve grown in body positive journey,  I don’t feel the need to justify my fat history any more.

You are fat also … or at least you have fat.   Because we all do.  Some just have more than others.

How fat feels

How Fat Feels

I think the first thing to say is that, in the grand scale of things, I am small fat.

I am a size 18 who can shop on the high straight and wear both plus and straight ranges.    I am fit, or relatively so.    I rarely get out of breath (unless the hill is immense) and I can actually find gym wear to fit – something that is not an easy fete for someone over an 18.

I am also hourglass, and therefore an “acceptable” form of fat in that my fat is carried in the places that are deemed appropriate for a woman – my bum and boobs.

Therefore, my experience of being fat is very different from someone that wears, say, a size 22.   And their experience, in turn, will be different from someone who wears a size 32.     After all, one size can never fit all and all experience is different.

But I am still fat.   I worry that I won’t be able to adopt because my BMI is too high and I frequently feel large – I take up space in a room.   My mother says that is my presence – that I am a larger than life character who fills the room.   I guess, metaphorically, that is correct.  But I also physically fill the room and struggle to sit comfortably on those flimsy little chairs that are so often tightly packed into event rooms and conferences.    Those little seats are simply not big enough for my bulging butt cheeks.

But my fat doesn’t stop me from doing anything.   I am active – I ride horses, spend hours walking the dog, swim, and will soon be learning to sail.   I travel, obsessively when allowed.   I can fit into an airplane  and, if I need an extender for the seatbelt, airlines have these readily available.    I have friends and family that I love and who love me.   I have a husband and a very healthy and active sex life.   I enjoy dancing – when the moment and the music is right.

I am fat – and I am just like you whether you be fat or thin.

How fat really feels

But would I be fat if I had a real choice in the matter?   

Honestly, no I wouldn’t.

I will likely garner hatred from fellow body positive activists in this statement.   And I even have a little bit of distress in myself for that fact – I don’t believe in leaning in, I believe in changing the system.  Yet by admitting that I would not be fat if I had any choice, I am essentially leaning into a societal belief that thin is better.

But who doesn’t, at their heart, want to fit in and be normal.   Living a life of ‘otherness’ is difficult.   Being ostracised is difficult and lonely.

I am lucky that I have found a community that is supportive – but this is largely through the digital age.   In real life, outside of the world of social media where I have created a wonderfully safe cocoon for myself, I still have to listen to women describe that delicious cake I just ate as sin.  Or someone suggesting they need to ‘hit the gym hard’ because they ate a burger for lunch – not because they enjoy hitting the gym!

It would be nice to not have to deal with society bull-sh*t standards and as much as I try, I know that I’m mostly fighting a losing battle in standing against.   It would be easier to just be thin …

but should I starve my self, work myself into the ground in the gym, deprive myself of my Friday night rum, just to fit in to ideals that are flawed?

Of course not!

Because I do love my body.   My body is what gets me out of bed in the morning.  I take delight in dressing it.   I love the feel of my husbands hands on my body.

I love my body and I am happy in my fat self.

So that is how fat feels … to me at least.


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Charli is a simple country bumpkin with a passion for long country walks, wooly jumpers, velvet blazers, and luxurious lingerie.

Charli also loves gin!

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The shirt featured in this post has been gifted by Navabi.  All thoughts and opinions expressed remain my own.


  1. May 18, 2018 / 11:23 am

    I think there’s a huge difference between body confidence and feeling good about yourself and still knowing that, if you could, you’d be a different shape. Accepting how you are is one thing, but I don’t believe that every positive body activist can honestly say they’d never change a thing.

  2. May 18, 2018 / 11:25 am

    This is such a good post my lovely. We’re bombarded with negative connotations all the time and we need to step back and read things like this! You look fab in that outfit too! x

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