Alicia McCarvell is getting real about why she calls herself "fat."
On Tuesday, the Canadian influencer and TikTok star took to Instagram to share a carousel of sun-kissed photos of herself posing in a blue, pink and white two-piece swimsuit, paired with a powerful message about taking back the word "fat" and redefining it.
"For a large part of my life, I allowed others to define what the word 'fat' meant for me," she penned to her more than 660,000 followers. "Back then, fat meant; being ugly, not being enough, unworthy, unhappy, unsuccessful."
She explained that she convinced herself that being skinny was the key to happiness.
"I believed that everything I felt about myself stemmed from the fact that I was fat. I believed that I couldn't live a happy life while I was fat and the minute I got skinny that would change," McCarvell wrote. "I spent years trying to change my fat body, doing horrible things, with one goal, and one goal only: to get thin."
"All of those years I deprived myself of joy, experiences and growth because I didn't believe I deserved it as a fat woman," she continued. "The problem was deeper than the size of my body. The problem was that I didn't love or respect myself and no matter what size I was, that would always be the same. I've spent the last ten years of my life learning to love my whole self — and that includes using the word 'fat.'"
McCarvell now uses the word "fat" to describe herself as a way to empower others who question whether or not they can be mutually "happy and fat."
"Today I choose to use the word fat so that anyone who is questioning whether or not they can be happy and fat, sees me existing, challenging that," she shared. "I choose to use the word fat because I want to change the narrative for others who are allowing strangers to define that word for them like I did."
She concluded by writing, "I choose to use the word fat to show that it isn't a synonym for ugly, unworthy, unsuccessful or undesirable. I choose to use the word fat because to me, fat is simply my size, nothing more nothing less."
Fans quickly met the influencer's post with praise and supportive comments, thanking her for being her "truest self."
"Love this so much. Thank you for being your real, truest self, and showing everyone that size and shape do not define beauty or happiness," one Instagram user wrote.
Another person added, "I love how you chose to shift the narrative and take back the meaning!"
"Love this. I always refer to myself as fat and it's not to talk meanly about myself but to normalize it. Yeah, I'm fat. Who cares. I'm still awesome," another fan chimed in.
"Yes! The word fat has no moral value, it’s just a word and I love that you took it back," someone else added.
“I’m in a very different spot than a lot of other fat people or a lot of other people who are struggling with their bodies, so I can see a comment and it not bother me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have other fat people or people struggling with their body in my comment sections who won’t see that comment and struggle with it,” she told Yahoo Canada Style.
“I have to have a level of empathy and caring for the people who come into my space that are uneducated or don’t understand what I’m going through because I was taught all of the same things about being fat as a straight-sized person was,” she went on.
“I was taught that being fat was bad, I was taught that being fat made me not worthy ... So when somebody who is straight-sized and has been taught all of those things comes into my platform and sees me existing successfully as a fat woman and happily as a fat woman, I understand that that is a surprise to them, because it’s also a surprise to me."