Michelle Elman is a body positive blogger who’s getting real about what it means to be the “fat friend.”
The British confidence coach has built a large online following due to her honesty surrounding body confidence, but she hasn’t always loved herself. At just 23, Elman has had 15 surgeries including procedures to remove a brain tumour, punctured intestine, obstructed bowel, brain cyst and hydrocephalus, a condition where fluid fills the brain.
At age 11, Elman started to become aware of her size, admitting this is when her self esteem started to plummet. After being hospitalized for three months, it was in her six-month recovery that she started to gain weight.
Now, her honest post about being the “fat friend” — and the stereotype around it — is striking a chord online.
“She’s the one who sits on the sidelines and never joins in. She’s the one perpetually single and sits silently while all her friends discuss their love life because god forbid, if she actually find a boyfriend, she would never be comfortable naked or in the bedroom. She’s the insecure one, the one constantly complaining about her body and talking about diets,” she wrote. “I couldn’t call bullshit more on this stereotype.”
Elman admits she has always identified as being the biggest person in her friend group but she has never let it stop her from living her life.
“When my friend suggested jumping in the Fjord, I was all ‘Hell yeah!’ Before I would have said yes reluctantly, spent the time hiding as much of my body as possible until the last moment, definitely worn a top and definitely wouldn’t have taken photos, let alone been in them,” she wrote. “Now, I’m the one suggesting photos, I was the first to whip off my top and the thought that my body was different wasn’t there.”
The blogger is inspired by her followers, saying she wants to encourage them to live life to the fullest, regardless of their body type. Knowing everyone has insecurities inspires Elman to continue breaking down negative stereotypes and damaging standards.
“The fact that I know many girls, fat or skinny, would miss out on opportunities like this is what fuels my body positivity. Body positivity isn’t about being able to take underwear selfies, it’s about not letting your underwear or your swimsuit be the reason you aren’t taking part,” she wrote.
The post resonated with her followers — quickly racking up likes and comments from readers who praised Elman for her inspiring realness.
“My heart is radiating after reading this. Thank you for shining so brightly. You are a brilliant inspiration!” wrote one follower.
“You are so inspiring! Thank you for setting such an amazing example. I really needed to be reminded of this,” added another.
Elman also gave a shout out to her supportive friends, reminding followers that anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself most likely doesn’t deserve to be called a friend.
“Ultimately when you are around the right people, you won’t EVER feel like the ‘fat friend.’ I don’t look at these pictures and see me as the odd one out,” she wrote. “I look at the pictures and see the memories and the three bodies that we had fun in!”