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Society has made people living in bigger bodies feel like crap. But shutting off this shaming power is a genuine revelation

Tanya Sweeney


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'There has been a spike in demand and/or interest in weight-loss drugs/injections and bariatric surgery.' Photo: Stock image

'There has been a spike in demand and/or interest in weight-loss drugs/injections and bariatric surgery.' Photo: Stock image

'There has been a spike in demand and/or interest in weight-loss drugs/injections and bariatric surgery.' Photo: Stock image

You can rely on kids to readily say what adults won’t; not to your face, at least. “Mummy, you have a big tummy,” my daughter observes, hitting at my midsection like a great big drum.She’s right, I do. “You’re right, I do,” I say, neutrally, gently. More than anything, I wonder whether, at three years old, she is already making associations in her head about what big tummies are supposed to mean. Does she simply see a bigger tummy and no more, or does she see something else? A lesser or ‘worse’ body than those who have ‘smaller’ tummies?

But what surprises me about my own reaction to this, is how unbothered and untriggered I feel about it. The truth didn’t hurt. It took a while getting my head right on this, but body neutrality — the ability to not really care about what others think of my body — is one of the best gifts I could ever give myself.


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