For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with my weight. I’ve never stepped over to the extreme side and become the girl who only ordered salad with light dressing while dining out or the annoying friend who asked if she looked fat every five minutes. I did, however, become the girl who experienced a bit of anxiety whenever my favorite pair of jeans seemed to be a little snug or, God forbid, I’d move up a size or two.

A few months ago, I relocated to New Orleans from Washington, D.C., and the good time I’ve had enjoying all my new food choices grows increasingly evident as my waistline spreads. But, who can say no to late-night runs to Café Du Monde for beignets or the occasional over indulgence in healthy portions of crawfish etouffee and po’ boy sandwiches? Oddly enough, though, my weight gain hasn’t bothered me as much it may have in the past.

I was completely devastated the first time I reached a double-digit dress size. It was the second semester of my freshman year in college, and I was a daunting size 10. Although I went to a historically black university where thicker girls were accepted and embraced, I personally didn’t feel content with how I looked and exercised to shed the pounds. Standing at a petite 5’1, I thought a smaller size better complemented my stature.

Fast-forward seven years later, and my views regarding weight are much more relaxed. I’m positive being immersed in Southern culture has influenced this change. Here, women with more hips, thicker thighs, and fuller bottoms constantly surround me and are praised for their curvaceous frames. At times, I have felt inferior and pressured to pick up a few pounds to attain a more voluptuous body and be seen as “desirable.” This has prompted me to kindly embrace my new-found extra padding and ponder just how much size, big or small, affects my self-esteem.

My best friend, Rachel, felt the same as I do now when her weight became a big issue in her dating life. “I’m now struggling to accept my physical appearance. Now that I’m skinny, I feel inadequate and insecure about my weight. I feel like I have to eat everything in sight to restore my previous weight, but I’m basically binge eating,” she explained. “I want to feel confident again no matter my weight. I also don’t want to attract men who only end up liking me for my size.”

Of course, health should be at the forefront of any conversation on weight standards, but how others perceive me and my level of attractiveness also plays a dominant role. As a 25-year-old, thoughts of marriage and appealing to a possible suitor are on the horizon. I want to be healthy, pleased with my own image, and able to turn heads of the opposite sex.

“I’d like to think of myself as an equal opportunist. I’ve always preferred conversation more than curves. But I do think the fact that I’m from the South allows me to appreciate a woman with a little meat on her bones to a higher degree,” said my close guy friend Allen. “I can have and have had fun with the 4s as well as the 14s, but given prior experiences, and as I think back, I’m probably more prone to lean toward the women who are size 14.”

My size is a big part of my life.  It always has been and I’m sure it will continue to be so. My current goal is to ensure that my obsession doesn’t turn into obesity as I find a happy medium between health and accepting my God-given curves.



  1. taylor

    A size 14 is huge. HUGE, especially if you are under 5’5. That is an unhealthy weight if your waist is above 32 inches and you are a woman. It is just plain unhealthy-diabetes walking, hypertension on a stick.

    I am 5’4. I weigh 145 lbs, I wear a size 4 up top, 34 A, 22 inch waist, 39 inch hips and butt, with a size 8 on the bottom. I usually wear size 6 dresses, sometimes I can wear down to a 2 and up to a 10. I carry most of my weight in my legs, butt, hips. I can see some women being bigger than me on the bottom wearing a size 14, but definitely not in the waist.

    And men finding that attractive? Then what the hell is their waist size? EHH.

    • impressive. keep up the good work.

  2. A size 14 for 5’1″? It’s not about “looking good” for the opposite sex, you have to take better care of your body for yourself because sooner or later a poor diet will come back to strike you. I think women in the south are less likely to exercise and New Orleans has been named one of the most obese cities in the nation. More than looking at what size society wants you to be, everyone needs a healthy and active lifestyle and a size 14 is NOT on that list.

    • Jasmine

      I appreciate your concern, however I’m a size 6 not a
      14. No where in the article did I say that I was a size 14. I mentioned that I’ve gained weight. I was a size 4 before. So all the talk about me being unhealthy and overweight is void.

    • yeah but you are developing unhealthy eating habits…i’m where you are at except i’m still in the same city i’ve lived in the past couple of years. A switch just came on and I’m eating out incessantly and i am very consciously overindulging on foods that are yes yummy but unhealthy. I’ve never paid attention to clothing size. I’m a size 9-11 depending on the clothing brand and people never believe me. I’ve made sure to pay attention to what I eat and how much i exercise. Sadly i’m undoing that habit very rapidly and need to stop. It’s getting harder and harder but I will discipline myself.

  3. my_reply

    @Jasmine – I think sizes 6-10 are okay, but to a lot of us this sounds like another fat acceptance article. A lot of overweight black women say things like you said in the article when they really need to eat smaller portions and start exercising. They put off exercising because men care more about their cushion than their health. Well a man who’s looking for a good time would care more about the ways you can please him with your cushion. It is up to women to care about themselves and their health. These men are looking out for their best interest. Women need to look out for themselves. You should be looking out for your health and well being. There are many men who are attracted to healthy, fit, non-thick women. The majority of black women are overweight. A lot of them are obese. I just think it’s not the time to encourage BW to be thick because men like it. The women of NOLA should not be praised. The majority of the women in the South are “thick” because they overeat and don’t exercise.

    • keep in mind, merely being overweight based on bmi (obesity stats are based on BMI) does not equate to being unhealthy. I’m moderately overweight according to BMI despite being 6’2, 200lbs and mostly muscle. Many athletes are overweight if you go off of BMI.

      Additionally, bmi doesn’t tell you the location of the supposed extra weight. Women that have the extra weight located in their butt and thighs are not necessarily less healthy. It has been shown that extra weight in your butt and thighs is a health benefit. fat around vital organs, such as belly fat, is unhealthy.

      Finally, exercising doesn’t lead to weight loss. Eating less than you burn does. if you maintain calorie balance and exercise excessively, you will gain numerous health benefits, but will not lose weight. A person with a BMI of 27 that exercises regularly is likely healthier than some naturally skinny girl that eats poorly and doesn’t exercise. Weight only paints the picture at the extremes. in the 26 to 30 BMI range, it doesn’t tell you much. You have to look at other indicators that don’t map onto weight.

    • Ravi, pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase, stop giving these women excuses. we all know what overweight looks like,damn. black men are the group that complains the most about it’s own women you tell us we are fat one minute and then next we need to gain weight?

      make up you gotdamn minds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More in body image