I'm not a big fan of labels but the idea of being 'plus-sized' has been a part of my identity for over a decade. This phrase has helped me to accept my body at different sizes, be happy with myself and find clothes that I feel fabulous in. I made it a part of who I am and it has remained so throughout the last year following my gastric band operation. I am now a size 16, still plus-sized, but this is dipping to a 14-16 and will soon be a 14.
At this point, you're probably thinking 'why doesn't she just stop losing weight and maintain where she is?'. The reason that I am still working to lose weight is that I still need to work to become that medical 'ideal' weight to help with treatments that are in the pipeline. In truth, I thought I would be closer to that point when I did reach a size 16, but building muscle has meant that I've toned areas of my body more, losing inches but not shifting much weight in the last month.
For me, being plus-sized means you're part of a community and in my experience, this is a really positive community. It's full of fabulous babes who wear amazing clothes, embrace their shape, spread body positivity and generally rock. I've found some fantastic inspiration within this community, amazing friends and a place for myself where I felt comfortable and a part of something that was really good.
This is why the idea of being plus-sized is more than just a label for me and why the thought of not falling under that classification is giving me mixed feelings.
I have had someone tell me that surely it is a good thing to no longer be seen as plus-sized, but the experience I've had of this community and movement hasn't been negative so I can't see it. For me, it means that even simple things like buying clothes will be a lot more difficult as I lose that section of a store, as well as a number of brands I love, that I knew I could always go to.
I'm not going to lie and say that I don't see losing the weight that makes me tired and achy isn't a good thing for me personally - I'm well aware that it is each to their own and would never preach at people to lose weight - but does this also have to come at the expense of a way I see myself?
This isn't something I really considered when I started this whole process because the thought never occurred to me that the idea of not being plus-sized would be an issue. It came out of nowhere when I was debating was size dress I would need for a friend's wedding in April and has been on my mind ever since as I try to work it out.
What I really think this signals is the fact that I am about to step completely out of my comfort zone when it comes to how I view myself. For someone who had a negative relationship with their body for such a long time, this is a truly frightening prospect. I came to terms with who I was partly through my plus-sized identity so to shed that, even though deep down I probably knew it was going to be the case, is giving me a lot of pause.
I don't think it's going to come easily to me but, just as with every other stage of the weight loss process, it's something I'm going to have to deal with when it comes. It isn't going to change who I am and I seriously doubt that it will change the relationship I have with my body, but this doesn't mean that I don't feel like I'm losing something beyond inches.