Derek Tillotson

Fat Mannequins

There was a period, some years ago, when I was in relatively decent shape. I say "relatively" because I was hardly thin or ripped or whatever other synonyms for "not fat" you can think of, but I was far, far down from the 3XL t-shirts I wore in college. But I had no concrete motivation to keep going. Nothing fueled me. So I changed my eating habits. And once they started to spiral out of control, my workouts all but stopped, too. I gained a lot of weight back (I still stayed in an XL t-shirt...but just barely).

Recently, I regained that motivation.

A little while back, when I was still using social media for recreational purposes, I was accused of "thin privilege". It was the first time I had seen the term, and quite frankly, I assumed the person made it up. I responded critically to the idea, insisting "thin privilege" wasn't an actual thing. That was followed with them accusing me of benefiting from it myself. At the time, I was around 270-280 pounds."

As life continued over the next couple years, I started seeing more and more of an online push toward "fat acceptance" and ending "body shaming." And I do agree with the idea that we shouldn't be jerks about the way people look--that's basic human kindness. But every time I noticed these things coming up, it made me more aware of what's going on with myself. While others were preaching stuff like "it's okay to be big," I couldn't help but think about what damage was being done inside me.

Retail has been mostly open in my city as of late, so I've been to a few stores. And even though I noticed them before, I think the combination of coronavirus, daily meditation, and stopping social media led to me taking my first real notice of fat mannequins. The normalization of a problem which has a clear solution...that was my catalyst.

I started taking more notice of the crap I'm putting in my body. I started working out again. And for the first time in years, I've started tracking my weight (I'm down about 5 pounds in two weeks--and that's despite me having my fair share of slip-ups. I should eat more fruit). I feel like I'm back on track and I'm doing it for the right reasons--to spite the fat mannequins.

Written July 30, 2020


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