The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Fat after the fact

I had no idea I was fat until I lost weight.

I weighed 118 pounds at the beginning of freshman year. And two semesters of hard work, fueled by buffet-style meals from Umphrey Lee, resulted in about 10 additional pounds. It wasn’t quite the infamous “freshman fifteen,” but close. Sophomore year I moved into Moore Hall because the rooms are equipped with kitchens, which meant no more cafeteria meal plan. I was tired of gaining weight from eating unsatisfying meals.

Taking 18 credit hours, the first semester of sophomore year became a lesson on preheating the oven. Chicken nuggets, pizza, potpies and anything that could be made with little effort or time were on the menu. Waitressing at a hamburger joint the next semester didn’t exactly melt away the pounds either. By the end of the school year I had only lost three pounds. But then again I wasn’t really trying.

I moved home for the summer and somehow lost 10 more pounds, down to 115. Thinking back I can only attribute my weight loss to eating home-cooked meals and instituting some portion control. I wasn’t trying to get in shape for the summer or change my lifestyle. I honestly didn’t even realize how many pounds had melted away in three months. That changed within days of returning to campus.

Instead of being greeted with the usual “How was your summer?” people asked “Wow! How much weight did you lose?” I had no idea. I jumped on the scale when I got back to my apartment just as curious as everyone else.

After fielding questions about my weight loss several times a day, I really wanted to know why people hadn’t told me I was such a lard-o before.

Suddenly I was highly aware of my past weight. And while comments like “You’ve lost a lot of weight!” are meant as compliments, they’re almost like belated insults. It means you were a lot fatter before.

I am the go-to girl when people want straight answers to questions like “Does this make my butt look big?” Somebody should have returned the favor.

And after losing the weight, people couldn’t say enough about it. For a 5’5″ woman, 128 pounds is not FAT. But I walked away from the situation understanding how a person with low self-esteem might take those comments to heart. They might even think If I shed five more pounds I would look even better.

Flying doesn’t scare me, but as the plane is screeching into the air during takeoff I understand why people are afraid of flying. Similarly, at the height of everyone’s shock over my weight loss I understood how a person could become obsessed with weight and maybe even develop an eating disorder.

Amidst all the “compliments,” I definitely felt self-conscious. Nearly eight months after losing the weight, people still make a big deal about it. What if I already had a negative body image? What if I already had anorexic tendencies? Eight months’ worth of comments might push me over the edge and fuel an eating disorder.

Society is obsessed with weight. And it’s not an obsession with being a healthy weight. It’s an obsession with the number on the scale.

A lot of people are obsessed with their weight, but that does not give them the right to infect the rest of us with their obsession. Even if unintentional, it’s wrong to cause people to become self-conscious about their weight. And the only way to prevent this from happening is to focus on health, not weight.

About the writer:

Kelsey McKinney is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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