This is Joni Edelman, a mother of five and registered nurse from California.
After years of yo-yo dieting, Edelman has a message she wants to share: I'm fat and I'm happy.
Edelman on Tuesday wrote a post on the blog Ravishly that her weight has fluctuated over the years. "It's been kind of like a rollercoaster, only way less fun," she wrote.
At one point, she reached her lowest weight of 123 pounds. She called this picture her "before" picture.
The only problem? She wasn't happy.
I attained [this body] by eating a 'plentiful' 1,000 calories a day; by running 35 miles a week (10 on Sunday); by sleeping an average of three hours a day; by counting every bit of food I ate, down to a single cherry tomato; by writing and tracking my weight every day for a year; by running the stairs of the hospital during my 12-hour shifts; by losing my period; by denying myself food when I was hungry; by denying myself sleep.
It made me a lot of things. It did not make me happy.
Edelman then shared a photo of what she looks like now, calling it her "after" photo.
Edelman said she thinks most people would look at the first photo and say she looked happy and healthy, but not in the second. And that, she says, is a problem.
The world wants you to want to be thin. There are whole industries built on your insecurity. They are bullshit. The world wants you to believe that thin and beautiful equals happy. It wants you to believe that you're only worthy of love, and life, if you are beautiful. And beautiful people just aren't fat.
"Happiness does not require thinness," she wrote. "Fatness does not presume sadness."
Edelman said she thinks the best thing to do to combat this notion is to enjoy your life no matter what your size. "You want to really blow people's minds?" she said. "Try this at home: Be fat and happy. Be unapologetically fat."
Edelman told BuzzFeed News she was inspired to write the post because she thinks heavier women are only portrayed in the media as unhappy or lazy.
"I wanted to say to the world, 'Hey I'm happy and you can be too,'" she said.
She said she has gotten some negative comments, but they are in the minority.
“The overwhelming, I mean 95 percent or more, of what I'm hearing from people is thank you," she said. "Thank you for giving me permission to love myself as I am."
Edelman says she's taken aback by the response to her blog post. "I never would have expected this to have done what it’s done," she said.
Her plan is to keep writing about body positivity and hopefully make a positive impact on the world, perhaps even write a book one day.
Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Stephanie McNeal at email@example.com.
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