M'sian City Life #27: I'm A Plus Size And I'm Afraid Of Getting Fatter

"Even in the plus size world, there’s an ideal plus size figure or look."

Cover image via Lily Shah/The Buxom Babe

"Are fat girls afraid of getting fatter? They’re already fat... so, what’s a little more?"

Those were the questions that have been on Liyana Elisabeth Shah's mind for awhile now.

Liyana, or better known as Lily, has been thinking about this as she recently realised that she has been gaining weight.

She can't seem to suck in her stomach anymore. She looks bigger. She tried to wear her own clothes, but they don't fit.

The 27-year-old seemed to have put on about 6kgs out of nowhere.

She admitted that despite embracing her own image and the body positive movement, she was still worried about the sudden changes in her body

"Most of us (plus size women) are quite comfortable with our body and we have accepted who we are," said Lily, who is also known as 'The Buxom Babe'.

She added that as much as plus size women don't want to admit, they still have the fear of getting fatter although they have constantly pushed for body positive movement.

"Just like any other person, we look at models (plus size models in our case) and wished we had those curves or those long legs. Even in the plus size world, there’s an ideal plus size figure or look," Lily explained.

However, the mystery was solved when Lily discovered that she is actually pregnant!

"That’s normal, right? When you’re fat and pregnant, you don’t necessarily look pregnant at all."

Lily said that plus size women do not have the "nice round baby bump that slim people do."

She walked in shopping malls and she felt like people were looking and judging her.

"It sounds silly, but I really do have that fear —I lost all my confidence."

"What if I weren’t pregnant and I’m putting on all that weight?"

"Well to tell you the truth, I'll be even more scared!"

It was without a doubt that Lily would take a look back at herself and think about all the possibilities that could have led to this.

Could it be that she was too stressed out, or she was binge eating? Could it be that her metabolism has slowed down, and it was functioning at a lower rate? Or perhaps it was because she was moving less, and not exercising?

"Whatever the reason is, the fear of you getting fatter just became an ultimate reality. But why do that fear even exist?"

Lily strongly believes that the fear of getting fatter stems from the fear of change

"I think that we’re so used to people seeing us the way we are that we’re afraid of change. We’re afraid of what people might think of us and what they associate our weight with; such as illnesses, ugliness and laziness."

The KLite thinks that the society has become so accustomed to liken being skinny to being a likeable and respectable person. She added that in this day and age, there is also a perpetuating idea that being skinny is the way to go to get more followers on social media.

"But we shouldn’t be stereotyping fat people. I know so many beautiful women that are not skinny, that are not lazy at all and in fact are eating way healthier than some other women," she stressed.

"And it’s not just the fact that people might start saying bad things about you; it’s also about finding clothes that actually fit."

Image via The Buxom Babe

Lily commented on the challenges of being a plus size in Malaysia, including the limited choices for plus size fashion as compared to the ones in the West.

"To tell you the truth, it is a little scary to realise that your dress size has gone up, that the places you usually shop don’t have your size anymore, or that you actually have to shop in maternity stores just to get something that fits."

She added that plus size women are not as free to express themselves through fashion due to the limited choices available, and the mindset that has been embedded in them.

Despite these challenges, Lily believes that the key to overcoming the negativities and insecurities is through self-confidence

She has learnt to ignore what others think and not care about how the society looks at her.

"Whether you are getting fatter or getting being pregnant or not, whatever it is, confidence is key."

"Think about what makes YOU happy and not what the society thinks. Take the weight gain as a point where you decide — do you want to continue this path or do you want to do something about it?"

As for herself, Lily said that she does not wish to put on too much weight, and her ultimate goal, for now, is to nourish her baby. She has decided to eat more healthily and devote herself to small workouts like prenatal yoga or swimming.

"Remember, you are the one that is in control of your own body and it is up to you to decide your own path — no one else."

Living in the city ain’t a piece of cake but it could also be exciting and adventurous. How are you coping? How are you making the best out of things? Do you have a story or experience to share?

SUBMIT YOUR STORY NOW, or work on it and send it soon. Share a personal experience, your story as an urban city-dweller in Malaysia, whether it’s yours or from someone you know, email [email protected] or FB message us.

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Stay tuned for the next episode!

Previously on Malaysian City Life #26, Mohamad Nazmi Zaidi Moni shared about how his father-in-law, Cikgu Man was arrested for busking in Sungai Petani, Kedah:

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