‘I was attracted to you before you put on weight.’ It broke me. Now he’s dating a woman half my size and 15 years his junior.’: Woman works to be body positive after being fat-shamed, urges ‘You matter and you are enough’

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“‘This wouldn’t have happened if I was thin. My life would be so much better if only I were thin. If I lose weight, I will be beautiful and all my problems will be solved. If I can get down to a size small, I will finally be happy.’

For as long as I can remember, those were the thoughts which have gone through my head every single day. I’ve never NOT been overweight. It has been a part of my identity my entire life.

My obsession with food started at a young age. I adore my parents and know they love me very much. They had me when they were in their early 20’s and I know they did their best. They broke up before I could even know what was going on so I lived with my mom and only saw my dad every other weekend. My mom is what society would describe as ‘astonishingly beautiful’ and my dad is a former pro athlete who still stays active and plays sports almost daily even though he’s well into his 50’s. My mom has always been very health conscious and works out while eating a very healthy diet. Being an athlete, my dad was always able to eat whatever he wanted because his body was just a calorie burning machine. I somehow managed to miss out on mom’s healthy eating and dad’s athletic lifestyle.

Courtesy of Chelsea Flynn

Living at my mom’s meant I had to eat healthy and all I knew as a little kid is healthy was YUCKY and I just needed to wait out my time with her until my dad picked me up for the weekend and we’d stop at McDonald’s on the way home. This would be followed by chips during a movie, a morning of PopTarts and Smarties, pizza for lunch, and something else which wasn’t even close to healthy for dinner, and finishing the night with some sugary cereal or chocolate. My dad had the best intentions. He only saw me for 4-5 days a month so during that time he just wanted everything to be FUN, FUN, FUN. I was spoiled with adventures, toys, activities, and FOOD. I LOVED going to my dad’s because of all these delicious treats I knew I’d get to eat and because of all the fun we’d have. I’d obsess about everything I was going to try to eat during our weekend before going back to my mom’s.

Courtesy of Chelsea Flynn

Since I knew my time with treats was limited, I would eat more than any little kid should because I knew it would be a while before I could have it again. This is when my relationship with food became toxic. If there was a pizza day at school, I would ask to eat another kid’s pizza they didn’t finish because I knew I wouldn’t get it at home. If I had a sleepover at a friend’s, I’d pray their parents would feed us garbage so I could gorge on all the bad foods I couldn’t get with my mom. I feel bad for my parents looking back because they both couldn’t see what they were doing wrong. As for my dad, all he saw is I was happier when I was eating all my treats. I was just a happy, little kid and he only saw me a few days a month so it’s all he wanted. As for my mom, she’d see me coming back bloated, red faced, full of processed sugar and salt from my dad’s, so she’d feed me healthy foods and tried to find activities I could join to help me be more active. My sweet mama put me in EVERYTHING. I have tried and quit so many activities, if there was a Girl Guide badge for quitting I’d have a full sash.

Courtesy of Chelsea Flynn

I did karate, swimming, soccer, girl guides, and I hated all of them. I hated being active because I was always the slowest. I hated being the worst on the team and I was self conscious I was not only fatter than all the other kids, but I was taller, and constantly out of breath. I’m 5’11″ today which is pretty tall for a woman and as a kid I was always at least a head taller than everyone else. Being a little, fat kid lead me into social anxiety and hermit tendencies. I learned to love solo activities like video games and books. I could have endless fun without having to see anyone or wear a sports uniform which fit tighter on me than all of the other kids. Things would only get worse. I don’t know if I was born with it or if it developed but I am now diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This is something I would learn in my 20’s but I struggled with throughout my teenage years.

Courtesy of Chelsea Flynn

If you were to google all the traits of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, I have nodded my head and felt ashamed about each of them. My emotions can switch on a dime. I tell people I live my life at a 10 or a 0. I’m either the happiest person in the room or I’m the dark cloud of anger, sadness, anxiety, and depression. I live in fear of abandonment whether it’s in a relationship, family, friends, or even on social media I struggle with feeling like people hate my content or I’m becoming stale. I’ve been reckless with money, alcohol, and my health. I’ve found myself binge eating or drinking throughout my teenage and adult life. It’s common for me to be sitting on my couch, surrounded by empty family-sized containers of delivery food I would devour alone in one sitting. I would eat if something bad happened, I’d eat if something great happened, and I’d eat because it was something to do. I’d find any opportunity to eat as much as I could and as often as I could, because binging would give me a rush. I’ve threatened suicide out of fear of losing someone just because I wanted to see how much they cared. I’ve even been cruel to people who are close to me and impulsively lash out to test how strong our relationship was. I’ve contemplated suicide because I genuinely felt the world should not have to endure someone who is not only ugly on the outside, but is hideous on the inside.

I’ve lost and gained the same 50 pounds more than I can count and it has never once made me happy. It never made me feel beautiful. I spent my entire life trying to hate myself into becoming thin. If I hated and punished myself enough, I would lose the weight and my dream body would be found on the other side. I’ve tried every diet you can think of, including ridiculous things like eating 1 avocado a day or starving myself for as long as possible and drinking water if I felt like I’d pass out.

In my early 20’s, I married a man I thought was the love of my life. While engaged, we were already struggling with intimacy issues. He would shrug it off as if it was no big deal but it started to eat away at me. This was meant to be the honeymoon phase, yet he showed little to no interest in me. We were both very overweight and I was working hard to lose as much as possible before our wedding so I could feel beautiful for him on our special day. After struggling to bring up the intimacy issues over and over again, he finally silenced me. ‘I was more attracted to you before you put on all this weight.’ It broke me. We were both very overweight. We both struggled with self esteem. He knew I’d struggled with my self esteem my entire life, had been bullied about my weight, had an abusive ex who blamed my weight for his cheating, and knew comments like this would break me. He said it simply to hurt me. We would later find out he had low testosterone, but the man I was about to marry chose to break me instead of find out what his true issue was. I still to this day don’t know if my weight was the real reason for his complete lack of intimacy towards me, but I do know today he’s dating a woman half my size and 15 years his junior.

Courtesy of Chelsea Flynn

On our wedding day I weighed 315 pounds. Shortly after we got married, we started the Keto diet together and I lost 70 pounds. After losing the weight I was still obese. I was not treated any better by society. Walking around day to day, no one sees your ‘before’ photos. They just see a woman who is 254 pounds and still very overweight. I started posting on Instagram and making YouTube videos about Plus Size Fashion and Body Positivity under the name Quirky Curves. This was the first time in my life I started working on loving myself and my body as it was. I was trying to show women it was ok to love themselves at any size and I was on a journey to try to do the same. I got picked apart in the comments. I would get DMs telling me, ‘You should be ashamed of loving yourself since you are a disgusting pig.’ I still receive DMs telling me, ‘Self love just means you’re lazy and you just gave up trying.’ I get messages and comments all the time encouraging me to kill myself because I’m fat. Since when did being fat become the worst thing a person could be? I’ve always thought something like the death penalty was only for the most horrible crimes a person could commit so when people would tell me I should kill myself because I was fat, it definitely showed me the worst thing I had ever done with my life was to be a fat person.

My husband and I would later go through a very ugly divorce after which I gained back all of the weight. It was during the divorce I found out we were pregnant. I suffered a miscarriage shortly after and even though the rate for miscarriages is super high for a first pregnancy, especially at the beginning, my doctor told me, ‘Your weight is why you lost your baby.’ I was destroyed. My weight was the reason my marriage ended and it was also the reason I miscarried. My soon to be ex-husband even went as far to accuse me of making the entire pregnancy up in hopes he would stay with me and I had to print my results and doctors visits out and hand them to him with tears in my eyes. I lost my love, my child, and myself that year.

Courtesy of Chelsea Flynn

I had never hated myself more. I was in a job I despised, living with my ex while he had a new girlfriend, I didn’t have a car, I was back at 300 pounds, I was eating horribly, and spent my nights playing video games and crying alone in my bed. I contemplated taking my life several times. I felt I had nothing to offer anyone. I grew up with parents who separated when I was very young and all I had ever wanted was to be married to the man of my dreams and start a family. I felt it was no longer possible. I wanted to give up.

Today, 2 years later, I have a great job at a company I’m passionate about. I’m taking CBD oil daily which has helped immensely with my Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s truly been a life saver. I spent my entire life feeling like my entire body was a clenched fist and since taking CBD I don’t feel like I’m living at 0 or 10 – I can finally breathe. I’m not suffocating anymore. I now take time every day to focus on my mental health. I’m in therapy, I practice self love through daily walks, and words of affirmation. I take the time to hold myself in the mirror like I would hold a loved one, and to remind myself I am enough. I read more. I hated the idea of self help books because those were for people who had a problem. Now they have helped immensely because they were written by people who’ve suffered in the same ways I have and I am finally able to relate to people and know I am not alone.

Courtesy of Chelsea Flynn

I’m back to posting my journey on Instagram and it is very much a journey which is nowhere near completion. I am still working on getting my binging under control and am trying to have a better relationship with food. Loving myself every day is still something which requires a lot of effort and I’d be lying if I said I was always successful. My body and mind are healthier than they’ve ever been, but we still have a long way to go together before I can truly feel at peace in my own head. Just know you’re not alone on your path of self love. Sometimes there are people walking in front of you, behind you, or right there next to you with an outstretched hand to help you along the way. I would like to be here for you as well. I don’t always have all the answers but I can listen and offer any advice if you ask me to. You matter and you are enough.”

Courtesy of Chelsea Flynn

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Chelsea Flynn of Austin, TX. You can follow her journey on Instagram.  Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories about body acceptance here:

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‘My mom would say I was ‘ballooning.’ I was in 4th grade. She’d implement some new weird food rule for my ‘health.’: Woman is ‘blown away’ by body positive community, ‘I learned to love myself, heal my relationship with my body and soul’

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