Fat, Fit, and Flirty w/ Elizabeth Kiluk (January Guest Feature)

You workout? You’re dating who? Questions that are all too common for fat and plus sized people. The “average” person may head these questions every now and then, but if you tip the scale, these questions and others are similar to asking what your name is. However, Elizabeth dispels the myths and dismantle the “curiosity” of these questions. Read below as she shares her story of being fat, fit, and flirty.

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Define plus size

Plus size can be athletic, beautiful, soft, strong, fierce, and anything a plus size person wants to be. I have alway though it silly that only one body type could exist in media. I never looked like anyone on television and am thrilled to see Ashley Graham and others redefine what it means to be “plus size”. The change starts with us. It starts with how we talk about our own beautiful and capable thighs, stomachs, and arms. If we can change our dialogue, others will follow. This is how acceptance and pride manifest.

Share your narrative/perspective as a plus size person and dating

“You’re pretty cute for a fat girl,” this statement sent chills down my body. I always thought of myself as chunky, thick, or curvy. Fat just seemed like a strong word to me, especially coming from this stranger I found on Bumble. Needless to say, this date didn’t get renewed for a second season. However, it did make me think about why being fat bothered me in this instance. The big read “F” troubled me. The judgement struck me as a negative label. Like a slap in the face, calling me lesser. Why did it hurt me so much?

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Like many before me, I turned to the various dating apps on my phone. With sweaty palms I would swipe, like, accept notifications in hopes of finding someone who would be a good fit. I felt as though I had a different set of rules than my slender counter parts. The same dance happened over and over. I would match with a cute guy. I would read his bio and if anything too athletic stood out I would decline. If he looked to muscular I would swipe away. If he dared to have one of those stupid “look I caught a freaking fish” photos, I would move on. This erratic behaviour of denying anyone skinnier than myself was a rooted in a deep insecurity. The fish thing had nothing to do with this, I just think it is the silliest thing to advertise when on a dating site. Try a puppy pic instead.

After a few minutes of this torture I would finally land on someone who met my twisted standards. I think it’s important to note that having preferences in dating is okay. Having things in common is alright. In my situation, I was picking suitors based on who would make me look smaller in a photo next to them. Not a healthy, but normal thought. This limited me in the men I was meeting. Putting my own insecurities into my decision making never really panned out like I had hoped. It was when I started weightlifting that something clicked for me.

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Yes, I just said weightlifting heavy disks of metal. It shifted my negative views about my body towards the positive features. For example, I’ve always hated my thick thighs. It was impossible to find pants when I was a teen. However, though olympic lifting, I’ve seen my quads work with my butt and my hips to push massive amounts of weight. Seeing my body move and perform tasks has really made me appreciate it and love my body in a new way. This change in confidence and mindset has drastically impacted my view of my value in dating.

How are you deconstructing the ideologies around larger bodies being these spaces?

In the datings arena, I’ve greatly changed my thought process about how I judge myself and others in regards to my size. Am I a little curvy? Sure, but I’m also tough. I can hang clean 85 lbs which is beyond what I thought I could ever do. Having that knowledge helps me stand strong when talking with guys. I have an intense and interesting hobby. It is something that I am passionate about and passionate people are always more attractive.

Being successful in one area transfers to others. I feel far more confident and capable at work, in dating, and with my friends. There are women of all shapes and sizes who can kickass in the gym. Your body is amazing and your partner should appreciate it as much as you do.

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What are some challenges you have experienced?

I still find some people who do not see me as I perceive myself. Some do not believe that I lift, or may be taken by surprise. There are people who feel sorry for me, or think that I should lower my standards based on my looks. Nope, not today. This is an unfortunate way to look at life as if your worth is based off your size. People who have approached me online or in person often comment that I would be so much more attractive if I lost 30lbs.

First, never ever let someone tell you that you are not beautiful. For anyone reading this post please listen. There is an objective level of pretty that is very limited and used as an accessory in marketing. This needs to change, but is still the norm. Beauty on the other hand is totally different. I have spoken with people who are not models, actresses, or celebrities but have such a rich view on life that they are beautiful just by being themselves. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. I tear up when I hear that people are valued less when they are anything less than supermodel pretty. Your value is in your soul not your face or body. We are here to do amazing things and to love others. To me, that is the real stamp of beauty. I feel free and wonderful when I lift weights. I think it’s more about finding your niche and really celebrating it with others. When you talk with someone who loves something, their face lights up. I think beauty is found in appreciating those moments, not in slipping into a certain pant size. It sounds a little ridiculous to me.

What are some triumphs you have experienced?

My biggest triumph has been incorporating box jumps into my workouts. As a plus size woman, I thought I would totally break my ankles. Nope, still going strong and gaining momentum. Totally kidding.  I hope to inspire others around me to feel confident and capable in their skin. I love trying new things. I’m always down to travel to a new place, try an new activity, or venture into a new restaurant.

One of these moments happened when another plus sized gal pal of mine joined me in a 5k. She never participated in a 5K before and was apprehensive. She trained hard and tracked her runs on an app for weeks before the 5k. When the day came we both had a fabulous time! I couldn’t stop smiling. We plan to run another race in the spring. I want people to see me and feel like they can do it too.

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