Those that have seen me recently can tell that I've put on a lot of weight.  In fact, I've gained 80 pounds over the last year and a half.  As you can imagine, I've had many comments about it, of varying natures.

The truth is that I like my body.  I enjoy having a belly that I can grab and jiggle.  It's kind of fun.  I was at Wal-Mart the other day and saw a T-shirt that said "Doughboy" (in XXL, of course) and another that said "Go ahead and pinch me" and immediately bought them.  I really like these shirts, and if I see any more like them I'll probably buy them too.

The reason for this post is to continue along the theme of my blog about raising awareness.  In our culture, there's such a strong push for people to be skinny--to lose weight and to look like the Hollywood star 1% body fat anorexic supermodel.  I think, though, that people are becoming more tolerant and even more educated about fat and fatness, and I want to do my part.

Whenever anyone has commented on my weight gain, I have taken it as a compliment.  I like how I look, and so I interpret what other people say as reinforcing that.  But, the truth is that many of the things people have said to me could be interpreted as mean or insensitive to someone who's not so comfortable with how they look.  (For example, one person simply said "You're enormous!" and another said "You need to get skinny again.")  Our society is very oppressive of people who are plump, and I don't think that's healthy.

I was just reading the other day that there are societies where being fat is considered a good thing, and that fat people are considered to be attractive.  I didn't read all that much about it, but I wonder if people who find it difficult to gain weight feel bad for being skinny.  At any rate, I personally believe that a person shouldn't have to feel like they're being judged for how they look.  I don't think that someone should feel societal pressure to change their body weight.  I don't think it's right when someone feels like they are ugly simply because they have a higher (or lower) body fat content.

There are health concerns, yes.  There are lots of health problems that are associated with obesity.  Some of these are caused by obesity, and some of them may cause obesity.  So, if an individual wishes to improve their health, then maintaining a body fat percentage in the teens (or maybe low 20s) will likely help with that.  Also, if a person really doesn't like the way they look and wants to gain or lose weight to change that, they should feel free to do so and, I think, should be able to expect positive, supportive reinforcement from friends to do so.

Indeed, where my own health is concerned, I probably should get out and do some exercise.  I don't think I'm healthy right now, I think I might have increased risk for heart disease.  And I do have a goal to maybe go jogging or ride my bike or something.  But, I don't really want to lose weight.  I like my belly and I don't really want to see it disappear.  I just want to make my heart and muscles get into and stay in shape.

I've told many a fat joke in my day, and I still do.  Now, I tell them about myself more than anyone else.  All of these jokes were just meant in good fun, but I wonder how many people I personally made feel less than beautiful by making such comments.  There are many things I have said that I wish I could take back.  And anyone that I've teased about being fat, feel free to send any teasing back my way now that I'm fat too.  As long as it's not too hurtful, I'll enjoy it (as I said before, I'll take it as a compliment).

I really find that I'm becoming the stereotypical jolly fat guy.  I'm so much happier now than I ever have been before.  Life is wonderful.  I have a great boyfriend who loves me whether I'm fat or skinny, hairy or bald.  He is a great man, and it makes me so happy that he likes my belly (almost as much as I do).

So, love your body.  Love everyone else's body.  Don't let Hollywood tell you what you should or should not look like.