Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, fat was the worst thing you could be. Being skeletally thin was in and shows like The Biggest Loser were born, not just normalising but popularising the shaming and abusing of fat people to get them to conform.
As a result, my childhood years were when I felt the worst about myself, despite the fact that I was a totally healthy weight and size.
At the time, even my height registered in my tiny brain as fatness. When I would have to stand up to let kids squeeze past me at assembly my brain read that as me being too fat, as opposed to my legs being too long - even though my knees were literally pressing into the bench in front of me.
I quickly came to understand that if I wanted people to like me I would have to lose weight.
I remember working out in secret in my room, with Green Day blasting to cover up my heavy breathing, because if my family didn't know I was trying to lose weight, they wouldn't be able to judge me when I failed.
And it's that fear, right there, that affects so many going into weight loss surgery.
The other day I came across a whole thread online where people were swapping notes on how to get away with keeping their surgery a secret.
One woman had gone so far as to research a different kind of surgery that she figured out had the same operating time, recovery time, general side effects, reduced appetite and even had roughly the same number of incisions so people wouldn't get suspicious looking at her scars.
The worst part wasn't that she'd come up with it, it was that at the end of her post she'd written: "Works every time."
I can only imagine how many times she's told that lie.
The stigma surrounding weight hits at every step on the journey: if you're fat and you hate yourself, "You should just do something about it, then."
If you're fat and you love yourself you're slammed for "promoting obesity" (am I also actively "promoting" asthma, migraines and IBS? Because I have those too and no one seems bothered about that).
If you have weight loss surgery there's the stigma of "taking the easy way out", which we've discussed before and then, if you successfully lose weight, there's stigma around that too - just look at Adele and all the nonsense she copped for daring to be thin. Relationships fall apart and friendships buckle as people cry, "You've changed" when what they mean is, "Oh the power dynamic has shifted and I am no longer comfortable."
It feels like these days getting a boob job is more acceptable than weight loss surgery and the only reason is that one is perceived as a perk for the rich and famous and the other as a get-out-of-jail-free card for the lazy.
I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded only by love and support, but seeing that thread made me hyper-aware of how many people are still stuck feeling like I did when I was 10, so this week I wanted to pass on a message I received (out of the blue) from someone I admire very much, for whoever needs to hear it.
She said: "You are strong, worthy and an amazing wahine toa. You're beautiful fatty or skinny or in-between!"
So take that and toss everything else out with all the other 90s trash like dial-up, Furbies, waterbeds, overplucked eyebrows and "that's hot".
This week's NSV: I've started doing classes at the gym again and already finding movements a little bit easier and less draining. Also, I ate some salmon and poached egg and that, e hoa mā, is the greatest win of all.