Bigger is Better? (When It’s Good to Put on the Weight)

Image by Rebecca Matthews from Pixabay

I almost never use a scale to weigh myself. We don’t even own a scale anymore.

But in the last couple years I’ve noticed my size change in my pictures and videos. At first I thought the pandemic was to blame, but it actually started with moving into the RV –when the square footage of our living space shrunk to 1/3 the size, and the distance from my workspace to the refrigerator decreased to 10 steps.

I’m also 40 and have discovered for myself that a slowing metabolism is NO JOKE.

I’m more active now – Brian and I walk and bike every morning, and the delivery jobs force me to get up and move around much more; I’ve also cut back on alcohol and sweets. But when giving blood recently, I discovered during the weigh in process that I’m still heavier than I’ve ever been.

“I guess this is my weight then, I resign myself,” I told the phlebotomist as I stepped off the scale in the consultation room. (Totally had to look up that professional title just now.) I chuckled to myself, realizing I’d underestimated my weight by over 10 pounds at the DMV last month.

“Wait a minute,” the phlebotomist said, “What did you say your height was?”

“5’6″” I answered, puzzled.

She excitedly started looking through her papers. “You may be our diamond in the rough,” she told me. “You may be eligible for other types of blood donations.”

Really? I felt myself brighten. (Who doesn’t want to hear they are a “diamond in the rough”? Images of Aladdin dance through my head.)

“Yes,” she said with a smile, “This is one of the few times people actually want to weigh more.”

Now, before you get excited . . . (Is this exciting to you? Ha!) let me break it to you that I just ended up giving whole blood anyway. Long story short: the final requirement was good-looking veins for easy back-and-forth transfer, and mine were a little small that day. However, she said this can change from day-to-day, so we can take a look again next time.

BUT . . . But what really stopped time for me was the complete reframe the experience presented me with:

It was good that I was heavier. It made me special. It made me valuable.

Growing up in a family (and culture) with judgements about weigh has created some sensitivity for me on this topic, particularly now that I’ve put on more weight myself. I do think a lot about the changes we have gone through throughout the centuries: bigger DID used to mean better. It meant you were well-fed, well-to-do, beautiful.

When waiting for deliveries at Portillo’s, I often spend a few minutes perusing the old-timey photos of the girls from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, marveling at those flashy women whose sizes look more like me. I am grateful to Tiktok creators and marketing companies that are introducing more body types and a bigger picture of what’s “normal” and “beautiful.”

That odd single moment in that consultation room may be a life changer for me. When I got home I went to the mirror and looked at myself differently. For the first time in years I felt beautiful. My size is beautiful.

Who knows? Maybe one day my size could save a life.

Considering giving blood yourself? It’s a great way to give back. My dad inspired me with his blood donations, and donations also saved his life. If you choose to give blood yourself, remember to stay hydrated – I just learned that even particularly the 2-3 days BEFORE giving blood are important to hydration and keeping that blood flowing! Of course, also have a good breakfast, get a good night’s sleep, and remember to bring your ID.

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