Gaining Weight Says Nothing About Your Character

I recently had another Instagram account re-post an artwork of mine with a quote written in big letters across the top saying:

“Gaining weight says nothing about your character”

Of course, that’s super logical, and sometimes posting things like that feels really silly because it’s like…duh…

But then, someone commented on it “Oh, well, it does! Sorry”

So of course, I couldn’t help but visit this person’s instagram to check out who this flawless character was. I just wanted to see what a superior human being looks and behaves like.

So I went in, and found that she was a competitive runner. About 80% if her feed was videos of her running on a treadmill (I suppose she was doing something impressive there like hitting new times or something) or at a race.  She had “that look” of a distance runner, too. This, paired with her comment on my illustration told me…she likely has some very specific values around how a body should look.

Regardless, I wanted to share this. 

The definition of “character” as defined by a Google search, is the mental and moral qualities distinctive of an individual.

This woman was implying that based on the way someone looks, you can decide the type of person they are,  how they think, act and behave as well as their morals… i.e. if they are a good hearted and hard working person.

I want to think that this person was ignoring the true definition of character and there was a misunderstanding, but what else could she really have meant?

Without this woman explaining herself, one thing is for certain, she thinks that if you’re not a size zero and running 15+ miles a day, you’re a lazy individual with no motivation or discipline and you don’t work hard. Hey, I hate to put words in someone’s mouth but she didn’t elaborate and it feels pretty clear to me.

A person in any body type, of any size, including plus size, can be a very active person.

I know women in all different bodies who move their body every day and eat really well. I know some in “lean” bodies who MAYBE workout for 10 minutes a day, if that, and some in bigger bodies who train anywhere from 1 to 3 hours a day because they’re athletes.

Unfortunately, some of those women work out longer in the pursuit of losing weight, to finally shut women like this Instagram commenter up once and for all. But alas, their genetics or health conditions are not making things easy.

It tore me apart for the longest time that, no matter how “perfectly” I ate, how consistently I worked out, I couldn’t get my body to comply with the rules that society has in mind for it.

Damn, I mean, I’m doing just as much as lean Leonie over there, but because my character is so sucky, I guess I’m just not losing weight.

I now realize that…oh…my body doesn’t actually know about these rules. Because they’re entirely made up by society.

It’s like a bunch of school kids trying to make up all of the rules of conduct at school. And the government, principal and school faculty are standing there like “umm…I’m not sure you kids realize how this works…”

You might be very surprised to find that two people could be on the exact same athletics team, doing the same training every day and at the same age and both have healthy bio-markers…but still look completely different.

We all have judgments of others based on how they look, unfortunately, we were conditioned that way. None of us are perfect here, but we need to start interrupting those thoughts with “wait, maybe you have no idea what’s going on with that person?”

If I were to make a judgment about the woman who made that comment, I would guess that she doesn’t have a healthy period! Running all that distance, being so lean…but the second I think that I also think “but who knows?” For some reason, some people’s bodies can handle the physical stress of miles and miles of running a day.

That said, someone who makes a comment like that, saying that people with thick thighs and cellulite have poor character…I mean…am I the only one seeing the irony here?

Now, I’m speaking directly to you.

I know you’re trying hard. I know that you’re a hard worker. I know that you have perfectionist tendencies and that you’d love to do everything in your power to have perfect health.

You are not defined by what your body needs to be it’s healthiest. You are not defined by your ability to wear certain styles of clothes, have a particular partner in life, win races or competitions or make a certain amount of money.

And if you gained some weight, well, I cannot think of anything less relevant to your distinctive mental and moral qualities.

In fact, if you DID have to gain weight to heal your HA, you’re a very brave, courageous person. 

There are women out there who are not ready to make changes for their health – perhaps this woman is like that and so bringing the brave ones down helps her reassure herself that she doesn’t have to. But those of us who are willing to put aside the pressure to look and be a certain way in order to get our periods back, THOSE are the women who are showing real character.

So to all of you ladies pushing through the discomfort, Dumbledore awards you sixty house points for pure nerve, outstanding courage and outstanding moral fiber.



Published by Dani Sheriff

I draw digital images and my passion is in drawing diverse women, promoting body acceptance, and improving our body image. Because we can't do our greatest work when we're so busy being focused on bodies.

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