I’ve been on a diet for most of my life. I’ve never been heavy, but I’ve always worried about and watched what I ate. When I had kids, staying thin certainly became more difficult and that last 10 pounds seemed like a relentless albatross I couldn’t quite shake. I got depressed and even embarrassed about the way I looked. I couldn’t surrender to the fact that my life and my metabolism were different and that I was doing the best I could. Instead, I fat-shamed myself and carried it around with me everywhere I went.
Then last week I saw a picture of actress and badass mom Charlize Theron flaunting her 35-pound weight gain. The South African beauty, known for her gorgeous svelte physique, had packed on the pounds for her role in an upcoming film. She even joked with Chelsea Handler, saying, “I’m very fat right now,” and showed up to a charity event proudly walking the red carpet 35 pounds heavier.
I thought about my own battle of the bulge. I wondered what I would do if my job required me to gain weight and, worse yet, to show up and be photographed when I wasn’t at my best. I wondered how I would deal with the inevitable backlash, the critics saying I actually look better heavier and the critics saying I don’t. I wondered if I could even show up knowing I was being criticized for the way I looked. Truth be told, I don’t know if I could have dealt with it as gracefully as did Theron.
But looking at her photos—she looks great at any weight, by the way–I realized something. It’s not that big of deal to be heavy. It’s not the end of the world in the way I had made it inside my head. The world does not end if we are heavier than we’d like to be. Our children will still love us. Our lives will go on.
Here’s this huge movie star, whose world revolves around her looks, who didn’t bat an eyelash at showing up heavier. She simply didn’t care. She even had a good time with it. And Theron is no different than any mom. Our roles may be different, but our bodies have all changed, whether it's for a role in a movie or our role as mom.
For me personally, I spent so much of my life fearing getting fat. And then I had kids, and my body definitely changed. My stomach will never be the same again. That’s just a fact. So if a gorgeous movie star mom can proudly walk down the red carpet 35 pounds heavier and not flinch, knowing that thousands of articles will be written the next day about the way she looks, I can proudly walk into the supermarket, or to work, or to my kid’s school, and not fat-shame myself because my body is different. I created human beings with that extra tummy I now have.
That’s certainly something to be proud of.