Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week: Pandemic weight gain has a lot of people feeling self-conscious about summer and swimsuit season. Email [email protected]
Dear Scary Mommy,
I gained nearly 30 pounds this past year, and while I know a lot of people did and it’s nothing to be ashamed about, I still feel super self-conscious about it. Now that summer is approaching and most of my friends and family are already vaccinated, I’m so anxious to see people again and have them notice how much my body has changed. My sister-in-law noticed I’ve gained weight and started to push me to go to her exercise boot camp and eat her MLM diet food, and that just makes me dread summertime and seeing everyone even more. Can I just continue to hibernate and ignore everyone?
Well, Dear Reader, you can do whatever you want to do. And your sister-in-law sounds like a real asshole, if you ask me.
Here’s something I want you and anyone reading this to remember: our bodies helped us get through a pandemic. A lot of us turned to baking, cooking, snacking, and anything else that brought us comfort during the last year of total isolation. Whatever way you and your body chose to handle the unparalleled stress that comes along with a deadly public health crisis is your business.
That being said, people who love you the way you love them won’t give a hoot about weight gain at any point in your life. And anyone who has the gall to think anything about someone else’s body let alone say something about someone else’s body has some serious issues that actually have nothing to do with you. But that doesn’t mean harm can’t be done to you, and I’m sorry that people like your sister-in-law have harmed you with their words. (Honestly, I pity anyone who thinks diet MLM powder food is a solution to anything and please promise me you won’t pay a king’s ransom to eat that garbage.)
Your body deserves to swim freely. To wear summer clothes. To be nourished in whatever way it needs to be nourished: through foods you love, through activities you enjoy, and through intimacy with people you trust. You deserve these things too, Reader. Always, but especially now.
This past year was brutal. Just absolutely relentless in its agony for so many. You made it, Reader. You made it through all of it. You’ll keep on surviving. And your beautiful body helped get you there. If you can’t accept your changing body (and really, it’s an endless journey for us all), at least accept that truth. I wish you nothing but love, happiness, and all the colorfully fun swimsuits and tank tops your heart desires. (And a swift boot camp kick to your sister-in-law.)