This Is Us

I Like Myself Better When I’m Fatter

I’ve been fat and I’ve been thin, but I think I like myself best when I stop caring so much

Nicole Peeler
Human Parts
Published in
15 min readMay 15, 2020


Illustration: Alex Eben Meyer

As I write this, my city is on lockdown in response to the spread of Covid-19 — which means it’s just me and my body, alone together, in my little row house in Pittsburgh. I can’t go to the gym, obviously. I’m cooking for myself, and eating alone. I’m not dressing for anyone or anything. The only person I need to please is me.

Our current situation is with what diet culture tells me should be my ultimate Fat Girl Fear. In a world without shame, without the rails of other people’s judgment to keep me in check, I’ve been told I’ll wallow in my “bad habits” like a pig in mud. Diet culture tells me I need to feel bad about myself in order to, someday, feel good.

Indeed, that shitty, harsh inner voice I’ve tried so hard to squash did grow louder as I realized how real this pandemic was, and how long it would be before I could be amongst people again. It shouted everything I needed to do not to emerge a monster when this was over. It encouraged me to dig out my scale or I’d gain eleventy-million pounds. It suggested that now was the time to cut out sugar, because a pandemic is a great opportunity to pile on more stress. And it told me I could…