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The Power of The Chubby

Posted by Jen on August 18, 2010 at 7:00 AM in Good HabitsTalking with kidshealth
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It's no secret in my family that I've gained a noticeable amount of weight over the last few years. My former days of svelte are gone, and I am now the oh-so-round and comfortable owner of more than one pair of granny panties and a respectable collection of elastic waist pants and skirts--all sized a very ambiguous 2, on a scale of 1 to 3. Even so, I'm well aware that nothing short of a mumu is going to hide this sneetch-like belly of mine.

I've debated on how to handle this new super-sized me with my kids. Do I pretend I'm skinny like I used to be and call a moratorium on my burgeoning waistline? Do I go on and on about healthy eating and exercise and let them watch me work out like crazy to try to turn back the clock? Or do I pretend it doesn't matter at all and go ahead and live in my pajamas while ordering another round of yummy chocolate covered cream-filled cupcakes?

After a year of traveling in countries where a nice round belly is a sign of well-being and good-fortune, I decided my first move would be radical self-acceptance, no matter what the scale says. I am not twenty-five anymore, and my days of being able to skip lunch and watch my muffin top disappear are long over. I am a forty-something, middle-aged mom with a metabolism to match. This body of mine, which is showing signs of wear and tear--and yes, maybe one too many bowls of guacamole before dinner--has carried me through enormous changes, life-altering experiences and essential acts of love and/or domestic monotony. When I die, this old girl is coming with me, and if I won't love this dear body now, when do you imagine would be a more appropriate time? When I'm fifty and even more fluffy? Or when I'm sixty and by some miracle have mastered the art of moderation?

I have decided there is no better time than right now.

To symbolize my commitment to honor my body (and to not give youthful perfection unnecessary airplay in my mind), I dubbed my middle "The Chubby" and vehemently defended her whenever my kids started to play rough enough where someone nearby (i.e. me) could get hurt. Hey, guys! Watch out for The Chubby! I called out one day without really thinking during a serious roughhousing. Both kids immediately laughed and loved it that I was being both protective and playful.

From that day forward, The Chubby became a regular point of conversation between us, and I was shocked to see how lovingly both kids regarded The Chubby in the face of my newfound lack of shame in her very round presence.

I began to see that this glaring imperfection of mine was actually an avenue for my kids to embrace me as a soft, available, accessible, comforting presence. It feels good to hug someone who is a little more wobbly around the middle, and my kids could finally say so without worrying about hurting my feelings. I think they liked no longer having to pretend I wasn't a little bit fat, especially now that they could see I wasn't embarrassed that there was more of me to hold.

These days I really am paying attention to my well-being and my general health. I'm walking everyday and eating more bowlfuls of kale than candy and making sure that every meal is full of choices that will give me wholesome, natural energy. I've lost a little weight, but I'm pretty sure at my age and with my particular body type that The Chubby will always be with me, no matter what.

"Don't worry," I tell Carter when he begins to panic that all this good eating will be the disappearance of The Chubby. "Some signs of imperfection are also signs of comfort and they are meant to always stay." This I say as he folds himself happily into a deliciously round, warm hug.

What do you think? Can you celebrate The Chubby at your house or do you think that sends the wrong message to kids about the importance of fitness and health? What do you think about separating the idea of how much you weigh from your body image? You can be honest. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

*picture above shot by tracey clark, catching my better side, depending on how you look at it.


Beth writes...

I am happy for you! I can remember telling my mom that I loved that she was fluffy and comfy. I hated sitting with my grandma cause she was all bones and skin. I couldn't understand why a mom or grandma wouldn't want some fluffy, cause it made it more comfy to sit in their laps, hugs them, and be rocked to sleep. I think it's important to teach our children to love themselves and that they should not conform their selfs to please others. Be a little bit bigger isn't unhealthy, being obese is. As long as you aren't eating tubs of coolwhip for dinner every night I think you're good.

Momof2 writes...

I think self-acceptance is a wonderful thing to teach your children.

I'm in the same boat - weight gain due to lack of moderation (baked goods are my weakness) along with a heaping helping of hormone madness.
I could work very hard & get myself to a thinner me but I don't want to be that mom who watches every bite, who will not bake with her kids for fear of having those things in the house and who sends the message that it is all about what size you are.
Instead, I talk the talk about making healthy choices *and* walk the walk by eating fresh fruits & veggies, lean meats, etc... with my kids. We cook together, we tour the local farmer's market looking for produce we haven't yet tried and we splurge on homemade goodies once in a while together as well.
I preach moderation but let my kids know that no one is perfect & that sometimes the lure of sugar leads to me eating more than is good for me.
I preach taking care of our bodies as we only get one & take my kids for long walks, do yoga DVDs together & dance around the house with them every week.
I don't think you have to be a triathelete in top form to send your kids the right message.

Sheryl (papernapkin) writes...

I salute you for your acceptance, and your commitment to be healthy as well.

I'm fat, I don't put myself down about it (either in my head or aloud), and I'm working on letting go of (not "losing") my extra weight. In order to do that I know I have to eat differently, and also be honest about who I am. As long as I cover up the inside, it will manifest on the outside. I'm pretty sure that's my truth.


Glen writes...

As I read the article I had the question in the last paragraph in mind from the start, having come here from the Facebook post that posed the question right off the bat. And I have to say, for most of the article I was thinking this is a pretty bad thing for the kids from a health perspective. But as long as your later mention of eating healthier and making sacrifices is honest, then I think it's great to be a role model to your kids for self-acceptance. And it's a good conversation starter about weight-related health issues, and the difference between losing weight by making smart choices about meals, snacks and exercising because you want to be healthy, rather than losing weight in unhealthy ways (like skipping meals) in pursuit of some unrealistic ideal put in our heads by advertisers. TV shows and movies.

Karen D writes...

Hi Jen,
your words touch something in me, it is like you are giving yourself and by example us permission to love and accept our bodies as they are. In the last 2 years (44 years old) I have noticed a muffin top that I have been trying to hide and was mortified by. You see where I live (NY Metro area) most of my friends are those 40 year olds that wear 20 year old clothes and show there tone (by knife or obsessive excersise) there tone tummies. I just don't have enough energy to become obsessed with excersise and I will not be going under the knife for cosmetic reasons anytime soon.

Thanks and I hope to learn to love my belly also.

Lee-Ann writes...

Well, I think it's good to try to be healthy! I think it's great to teach our kids about healthy living. I also think that it's unhealthy and damaging to teach our children to dislike their bodies. When I made a nasty comment about my body the other 4 year old daughter piped up and asked me *mom am I fat, too?* not understanding what that meant, because we have put all sorts of meanings to words our children learn from us! It's better to show ourselves love exactly where we are - which teaches self respect - which in turn teaches our children to respect themselves. See the chain? Our children will have love and respect for themselves, and will make life choices based on this intrinsic belief about themselves. So in my house - NO more bad self talk! And I will continue to work at making better choices for myself, and let my kids see.

Kimberley writes...

Celebrate The Chubby! I agree it's great for your kids to see self-acceptance in their mom. And you've sent a great message to all of us too!

I just recently began to embrace my own utterly round body. I found a statue in a thrift store that I brought home to put on my altar - she's beautiful! (

What I love most about what you've told us is the way The Chubby invites affection and comfort. I have an Indian friend who loves loves his wife's soft squeezableness.

You always touch my heart with your posts.

Catherine writes...

The conversation now, has to shift from "weight issues" to nourishment. Teaching children (& ourselves) about nourishment is a great dialogue to have. We nourish ourselves with food, water, oxygen, movement, love (of ourselves and others), education, creativity, nature, spirituality, and right livelihood. When we truly appreciate nourishment, we will make better choices for ourselves, our children, our community and our planet. Imagine a world where we can live healthier in a healthy environment. We are far from that now.

kimberly/tippytoes writes...

I love this post! Love it! The struggle with weight and body image are all illuminated when trying to set an example for my kids, especially with my daughter. I love your perspective.

my son says he doesn't want me to lose weight for the same reason - he says i'm soft and squeeshy and it makes for great cuddles :)

yet i still struggle between that image of me i carry around in my head vs. the image that looks back at me from the mirror. hopefully, one day in the not too distant future, there will be self-acceptance and love.

Abigail writes...

Your post made me tear up a little. I have been overweight most of my adult life, and though I have paid lip service to the idea of embracing my body, I have never been able to truly accept myself as I am. I persist in believing that this is not my 'real' body, that somehow, some way I will get down to a more ideal weight and silhouette. I have never been able to talk about it (let alone laugh about it) with almost anyone. The endless media attacks with their narrow viewpoint ( 'fat vs. health' ) make it hard to accept the little pooch that blossomed into a full blown pillow around my middle after my little guy came along. I need to improve my nutritional choices, yes, but I don't think I can do that successfully for the long term if my focus is on a negative (fat) rather than a positive (good health).

Your post helps me begin to imagine changing my mindset, and maybe even breaking my own shamed silence about my body. I have a 2 yo son now, and hope to have another child, and more than anything I want to be a mom who is at peace with herself, her choices and her body. I want my kid(s) to grow up with a fine example of self-acceptance and a healthy respect for themselves. Thanks for the inspiration.

Lorri writes...

I can relate. I had three children in my 30s, and now at 42--even while exercising 3-4 times a week--I'm "plus sized". I've decided I look pretty good overall, and I'm healthy. I'm not interested in counting calories or severely monitoring what I eat.

I want to be healthy so I can be here a long time for my children, and I want to enjoy my life.

Plus sized it is.

Jennie VH writes...

I've talked openly about my fat belly and big butt with my son from early on. He tends to say that he loves my fat belly and did panic once when I talked about losing weight--I assured him he'd still get soft, warm hugs from me.

I have gotten distressed lately at how big I really am. I'm probably 50# over my idea weight, and that's higher than the doctor might estimate. So while I accept my fat body, I do feel the urge to be more healthy, especially as I approach 50 (3 yrs to go). Modeling healthy eating and exercise is almost as important as modeling positive body image, IMHO.

Mike writes...

Excuse me, but get yourself some sexy panties. Your sig other will love them, and that will make you feel yummy. Not all of us guys are shallow, some of use even love our women the way they are

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

god bless you, mike. a good point, and every woman needs to feel yummy. :)

Jenny writes...

This made me smile and think of my dear Grandma who has passed on. I loved being held by her and can still remember how warm and soft she was and how loved I felt in her arms. She was plump but I never thought about that.
Long live the Chubby I say! I think self-acceptance sends a powerful message to kids that it's okay to be who you are. Sure, eat healthy and make good choices. I'll bet your kids will lovingly remember the Chubby and the laughs you all had together long after you're gone.

Jess writes...

This is so timely for me. My weight seems to return again and again to the same range, and I'm realizing that perhaps it's where my body just wants to be. I'm struggling with the balance between healthy habits (to be honest, some of my gain is because I'm not taking good care of myself) and healthy self-image (to be equally honest, I'll never look like I did when I was 18, and what's wrong with that?).

One complicating factor is that I was raised with a steady diet of fat shame. My mother weighed a measly 95 pounds when she got married. She sent mixed messages - on the one hand, she admits that she probably had an eating disorder and that this wasn't a healthy weight for her. On the other hand, she seemed to glorify it and feel proud of it. She also clearly scorned the women on my father's side of the family for being fat and cautioned me against my fat genes. Weight was a matter of moral character, not simply loving the body one lives in.

When I think back, as a child I adored my grandmother's fluffy body. She was so, so heavenly to cuddle with. I don't know what my body is going to be when I'm a grandmother, but I hope I can love it, whatever it is, for my sake and for the sake of the children around me.

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

Shame about our bodies is so prevalent--I think most of our mothers really struggled with that and couldn't help but pass it on, you know? I think, too, that going easy on yourself and realizing your body has a new normal, natural set point in regards to weight is realistic. I weighed 117 for most of my adult life (ridiculously thin) and if I weighed that now I would look (and probably feel) horrible. A weight of 135 or 140 is probably much more in my healthy range and it's not that far from where I am now or where I will naturally be as I continue to walk/run and eat healthy. Either way, I have had a potbelly since I was five and I really don't see that changing ever since that's honestly how I was made.

Coreen writes...

Wow, I am 40 and starting to face my changing metabolism and body shape. Its no doubt a turning point in life. All the carelessness of the past is now gone. We can no longer take youthfulness for granted and for me, wanting to live as long and healthfully as possible has played a big role. I worry that when I am 70 or 80 I will not have the strength to walk, or live independently. This is not because I am obese or weak, but just because I know times are a changing. My choice has been to get "back into shape" I have always eaten healthy... so now I am adding more exercise. Running, weight lifting, dancing etc. I do want to lose about 30 pounds as well, but the larger picture is being able to remain independent well into my 80's or 90's... The thought of being over weight and having that cause muscle/joint problems, or heart issues or diabetes or any health issue that may arise is alarming to me. Self Image is very important, especially in our children. My view is keep it simple, eat good food, fill our bodies with good sources or energy, sweets in moderation, stay active so our heart and other muscles stay strong and be happy. I try not to focus on the "Shoulds and Should nots" in life, because they are messages within judgments. We know what is good for our bodies so why not put good fuel in and allow our bodies to run efficiently and strong for many years to come?

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

Coreen--I am SO with you on this. I travel a lot and am always impressed and amazed by the older women I see in airports who look so healthy and fit, even late into their seventies. I want to be like that, too, and it's motivated me to move more, stretch, run and walk. I want to be very healthy when I'm old!

Rachel writes...

Thank you so much for posting this. I can relate so much! I'm 32 & since I was 3, I've had a potbelly unlike anyone else in my family. I recoginize I need to focus on eating a bit healthier but I've had to focus more on accepting myself. Thanks again for sharing. It's uplifting!

Jessica writes...

Not surprisingly, I tend to take much more care clothing and feeding my 3 children than I do myself. I delivered twins last summer and have stalled losing the extra midsection fat. I'm not so much ashamed about my appearance as I am cognizant that the stomach fat is very stresses me out to think I am putting myself at risk. I think my biggest barrier to losing that weight is lack of sleep/interrupted sleep. Throughout the day I find myself thinking "screw it" and I start snacking. I know the babies are still small and very needy and I know soon I will have more freedom to shift some of that attention back on the very least I am trying to make more of an effort to look presentable. It's a self-esteem booster.

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

Jessica, it is really, really hard to take care of yourself when you have little kids, I know! I think though for me, that I'm able to move in that direction when I can embrace myself for who I am right now instead of waiting until I look better or am thinner.

Sandy writes...

You're deluding yourself dear. I've been there. Oh, it's just pregnancy fat. Yes, I'm middle-aged now so it's ok to carry a bit more around the waist. No, it's not. If your belly has blossomed to greater than 35" better start planning an early funeral or at least make sure your health insurance is paid up.

I know first hand. I made all those excuses right up until I weighed 235# at age 54, had horrible mood swings, high blood pressure and developed colitis, asthma and thyroiditis. Yep - obesity ain't for the fainthearted. But I got a wake-up call from my daughter who thankfully did NOT accept my excuses. Two years later, stood at her wedding a svelte 143# size 10. Yes you're older, but carbs should never be on the ok list in the first place. Cheetos have a shelf-life longer than the one you have when you eat them all the time!

It's not easy. I follow the Metabolic Effect Diet, walk daily and lift weights ... but my mom was using a jazzy chair at my age because obesity sustains estrogen in your body causing myriad health issues from arthritis to cancer. Stop making excuses and get healthy. It won't make the turkey neck disappear or that tiny little tummy roll at the bottom, but you can be thin and a senior citizen!

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

Sandie, you're on to me! :) I've never tape measured The Chubby but I'll be doing so after this comment! I do think being more fit will make me naturally thinner, and I'm actively working towards the goal of being healthy. This is no ode to Cheetos--swear! xo

Sheila writes...

Thank you for reminding me that body acceptance is key to healthy living. So much in our media-drenched culture tells us that it's healthy to judge our bodies and deny ourselves food, but almost no one points out how that kind of thought process causes negative body image and leads to eating disorders (and not just the fashionable ones that make you skinny, like anorexia and bulemia). I think it's high time we all stop thinking of fat and health as polar opposites, and start looking for deaper truths about health, food, and nourishment.

From an eating disorder perspective, restricting "bad" food is just as self-destructive as over-indulging and being "fat." But too-thin people are often applauded for their size while the overweight are constantly chided for theirs. Obesity is the subject of unending news coverage, which leads to the incorrect assumption that people who look fat (to the observer) are necessarily unhealthy.

But many people have unhealthy habits. The difference is that our culture treats fatness as an obvious sign of moral failure: mainly, lack of restraint (with food), and secondarily, lack of discipline (with exercise). Since a fat person can't hide their size, they are subjected to constant judgment by others - and themselves. The never ending negative self talk can, for many people, actually exacerbate the weight issue, as food provides solace and comfort when others reject us as people simply because our bodies are considered offensive.

Swinging completely in the other direction, though, can also be harmful. If we say that big, round bodies are better because they are more huggable, softer, whatever, then what are we saying about thin bodies? Are thin women less lovable? Would we fat women be less lovable if we lost the extra pounds? Do thin women make bad mommies, lousy grandmothers? I don't think that's what anyone here is saying, but we have to be careful how we frame the issue - even to ourselves. I think it's healthy to clearly see the pros and cons of different body types, but we also have to stop thinking of people differently just because of their size.

In my opinion, we - as a society - need to stop obsessing about women's bodies. We need to stop pretending that a person's outward appearance tells us secret truths about their moral character. We need to stop equating thinness with health or beauty and fatness with laziness or a lack of moral fiber. And we need to start treating ourselves and others with respect, dignity, and love, no matter what size we happen to be.

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

sheila, thanks for bringing this up. by no means do i want to set up a scenario where thin women are less maternal because of their lower body fat! i think the point is to be healthy and to be comfortable with who you are.

Mel E Mel writes...

I'm glad I'm not the only one to embrace the way my body wants to be! I was a chubby kid and teen and through obsessive dieting and exercise- svelt in my 20's and early 30's. Then I realized I looked "great" (as far as society was concerned) but not happy. That's when I stopped obsessing and started enjoying my life! It's all about moderation including knowing it's Ok to throw caution to the wind and have the chocolate cake!Sure, I put on weight-but only to where I was comfortable! I can say happily I'm the same size now that I was at 18 and much happier!

Chris writes...

I was 2 when my mom died, but bread dough reminded me of her when I got older and learned to knead it as did the smell of it (she was always baking it). She was a very large woman. These were very positive, good memories for me. So the smell of baking bread also brought back positive memories of my mom. I only wish that it followed me to my adulthoold as I grew to larger sizes.

Donna writes...

I have spent my entire life worrying and stressing about my weight and been very uncomfortable in my own skin. I am now 45 and I am confident in the way I look. My new mantra is: If you don't like the way I look then don't look at me!!!! I no longer care or worry what others are thinking about me. My self esteem and sense of humor have improved tremendously. I have always told my now 17 year old daughter that she is beautiful and her shape, while not fat nor extremely skinny, is what makes her special and beautiful - flaws and all. I have never been one to tell her that she needs to be a certain size to be beautiful - since beauty comes from within. She's happy and confident in her looks and size and, like her Mom, will flaunt every beautiful part of her self.

Suzy writes...

It's a lovely read about your relationship with yourself and your kids! Thank you for sharing.
But I notice you do not make any mention of your new acceptance of your body in terms of your adult love life.
For me (now 51 and with a grown son and a pre-teen daughter) acceptance AND confidence arrived at middle age along with weight gain I had not had earlier in my life, but also with a wonderful man who preferres me voluptuous. I never even imagined I could be so curvy until he encouraged me to relax and stop worrying about dieting and exercise, as I had for most of my life -- having spent decades, including in my formative years, in a ballet studio!
I am careful about what I eat, and I still love to exercise, but the relentless self-criticism has disappeared. I now see that voice as narcissistic and a distraction from all that needs my attention most in life, especially the people I love.

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

it's true, Suzy. i don't think we should hide behind our bodies to avoid adult relationships or connections. in my case, part of my self-acceptance involves also putting myself together and acknowledging that i'm still sexy, even though i don't look like stick-thin like Barbie. good point.

Andie writes...

What is even more inspiring than this lovely post about passing along healthy body image is the sheer number of comments affirming it! So often I see backlash against this kind of article, mostly from folks who buy into the fear of fat. Thanks to everyone for reminding me of how many folks out there are struggling to pass along healthy values about food and bodies that are not wrapped up in size!

Deb writes...

By doctors' standards, I am dangerously morbidly obese. I have been overweight since my parents' divorce when I was 3. Now, at 60, three-and-a-half years of counseling with an eating disorders therapist has allowed me to (1) discover who I am and, (2) accept that person. Sometimes I can even love me! Fortunately I have great genetics. Nine months ago I had a complete physical including tests for liver, kidneys, heart and all other major organs and came away with a clean bill of health. No heart disease, no diabetes, no other diseases Chubbies are supposed to have. I do have joint problems and have a knee replaced. But I also learned from my wonderful therapist to ASK for what I need, whether it be help getting over a high curb or a hug. No more diets. And hopefully, someday maybe I will love myself enough to take off some weight. If not, that's ok.

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

so glad for a clean bill of health, Deb! i think that's the most important thing.

Anne writes...

I've decided that the 40's are basically reverse puberty. This observation came because at the exact same time my teenage daughter was struggling with puberty (self-conscious about her suddenly large bust and curling hair- which was stylishly stick straight just the year before) I was struggling with changes of my own. My boobs seemed to have vacated my chest and relocated to hers - only twice the size. As for my hair, the grays reached critical mass. Past the point of plucking. And yes, I am definitely fluffy.

One day, as I once again refused to let her dye her beautiful red hair brown and have it professionally straightened with the words, "honey you are beautiful and should accept what God gave you," she said well YOU dye your hair.

She was right. So, I've let the gray come in. It looks fine. I have also worked to accept my new shape as I negotiate my own transition from young woman to confident older woman.

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

Anne, I'm thinking about this a lot as my daughter is turning 12 and taking big cues from me about what's natural beauty and what needs to be "corrected" in order to reach some societal definition of beauty.

Jane writes...

I'm not sure about this. I mean, yes, there are changes, like weight gain, that are associated with aging. I think it's sad to see women with bad dye jobs, gobs of makeup, or horrible plastic surgeries becuase they are trying to fool us, and themselves.

Having said that, carrying a lot of weight around your middle is not healthy. Some people call it "heart attack fat" because excess fat around the waist is correlated with a big increase in heart attack rates. It's not cute, it's deadly and I do think as parents we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves so that we live to see our kids into adulthood (hopefully beyond).

No one is going to mistake me for a 20 yr old with a hard body and I don't want my kids to think eating disorders are a normal part of weight management. I want them to have a healthy view of what older women look like outside of Hollywood, but I also want them to see me honoring my body, and by extension them, by trying to stay reasonably fit. Softer is OK but obesity is concerning.

JenAuthor Profile Page writes...

Jane, I agree. I should clarify I am not obese or anywhere near it, and don't want to suggest that we use radical self-acceptance as an excuse for eating poorly, ignoring the dangers of belly fat or choosing not to exercise.

Mara writes...

I have to "weigh in" on this (sorry). I LOVE seeing the support and shows of self-acceptance. Some people seem to forget that excess weight is a FACTOR, not a diagnosis. It may increase the likelihood of illness, but it does not give anywhere near a complete picture of someone's health. An ACTIVE person may have a waist of greater than 35 inches, but unless they also have some other issue like blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes problems, there is NO compelling argument for their losing weight. Don't forget about the university women's rowing team several years ago who all found themselves overweight one day when the BMI classification dropped from 27 to 25. Think they were unhealthy? Weight and size are just numbers. Make your body healthy and don't worry so much about the details.

Ann writes...

I loved your article and let me attest, that many thin women are more uncomfortable and critical of their bodies than fat women. Good is never good enough. So, in line with your story....let me comment on the comments, i.e: , "oh, I will be perfect when.....I lose 50 lbs. or 7 inches on my waist or get that knee surgery so I can exercise again, blah, blah, blah?".....The perfection is in the now because listen up, we all get older and skin, flab, fat, wrinkles are not going by the wayside (like it or not?!??!)

So, like you - I celebrate those wrinkles (look how much I laughed during my life) or that bit of blub around the middle (oh, that 9+ lb. baby I gave birth to or that extra ice cream I've enjoyed over the last little while......) whatever. As long as the weight or imperfection doesn't make your life limited to enjoying the moments we have here, I think it is all good. ~Ann

Ria writes...

I love you. That's all.

Amber writes...

I love the idea of celebrating the Chubby. I know my daughter loves it. Which is sort of good, because her existence pretty much spawned it. Serendipity? Perhaps.

At the same time, I'm not sure I'm all the way there yet. I'm working on self-acceptance, but it's hard to accept that they way I look and the way I think I look are so different. But I want to get there, I really do.

Janie writes...

Jen, thank you so much for writing this. As in so many things that you write, you're speaking for exactly what I'm going through. My mother is in her late seventies and STILL yo-yo dieting, unhappy with her body, self-critical (and therefore critical of all of her children and children-in-law, and grandchildren). It's definitely not where I want to be. As you wrote, if not we're not accepting of ourselves now--when?
I do a super-hard workout class five days a week and am still much heavier than I would like to be, but at some point I've got to embrace it if I don't want to end up like my mom.

Rachael writes...

Okay, so I found most of this article appalling. I am all about sending a positive message about self image to your children and loving your body. But I think that giving up and making a joke about 'the chubby' sends the opposite message to your are telling them that being overweight is okay and something to laugh about and it's not! Thank goodness you at least mentioned that you've been walking and trying to eat healthy. That sends the correct message to your children. We don't talk about weight in our house, in any way...instead, being active and exercising is part of our daily life and we stress the importance of eating healthy so that your body will work correctly.

Christine writes...

I'm glad that you are in a place to accept that you're not 25 anymore. I, too, at almost 40 am OK with grey hair and the tiny wrinkles that are forming on my face. But I refuse to walk down the slippery slope of The Chubby! I don't diet - I cycle, practice yoga, or strength train 6 days a week. I eat and drink in moderation and try to live a joyous, balanced life. And I feel fabulous because I can still fit into my wedding dress. My kids know that I can run around with them as long as they want!

In my family, The Chubby has led to debilitating diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart attack. I'd rather be like my 80 year-old French neighbor, out-and-about and alive, than my family on maintenance meds until death. The Chubby is unwelcome in our house.

sUSAN writes...

Good for You! two years ago when i was svelte and looked like Marilyn Monroe, my 22 year old daughter, said she missed the big Mom she knew as a child. Ever the yo- yo in weight issues, I'm now clinically obese again and miserable. Eventually, I'll find out what's eating ME!

Kenzie writes...

I think this is a wonderful post. You acceptance is admirable. I, too, carry around my own "Chubby" around the waist but I cannot come to accept this round and fluffy person I see in the mirror now...but I wish I could! I am embarassed to be out in public most days. I get asked when my baby is due, or how far along I am on a regular basis. It is sad. I am sad.

Anna R writes...

It's "muumuu," by the way. ;-)

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