I am definitely not a small guy. The standard view of transmen that I see all the time is skinny guys or really muscular bodybuilder-type guys. I find it a rare occurrence to come across bigger transmasculine people, like myself, and when I do, they always tend to be on testosterone and pass well in my eyes. Unfortunately, this is not me. I am pre-T and so the way my body holds fat is in a more typically ‘feminine’ way. For example, I gain a lot of weight on my hips and my thighs which creates these lovely love-handles that I just adore *intense sarcasm here*. Unsurprisingly, this fat distribution pattern incites a lot of dysphoria for me, but I am doubly unlucky.

I have a condition called Graves’ Disease. It is an autoimmune disease, taking the form of hyperthyroidism (which means an overactive thyroid). Basically, what this means is that my immune system alerts my thyroid to produce more of the thyroid hormones. These hormones play a crucial role in the conversion of energy in the body. When these are produced in abundance, the body starts to dramatically lose weight and it can cause potentially dangerous conditions. So, I lost a lot of weight last summer, without doing anything. While this may sound like a godsend, it has since become some cruel joke. To treat hyperthyroid conditions, antithyroid medications are used. This results in weight gain as the energy from food cannot be converted and so is stored as fat. These medications also make it difficult to lose weight again. So, I lost a lot of weight, and now I have it all back, plus some extra. Whoop whoop.

One of the most common clothing tips that I come across for transmen is to hide your curves. And I used to drown myself in clothes that were three sizes too big, but then when I lost all that weight, I started wearing clothes that actually fit me and I was so confident in myself. But the weight loss wouldn’t stop, and I quickly began to look unhealthy. My doctors quickly sorted me out, but now I am back to drowning myself out in clothes. I wear ‘men’s’ jeans because I prefer the cut and the pocket space. But cis men do not usually gain a lot of weight on their thighs, so men’s jeans aren’t really made to accommodate bigger thighs. This means that I have to go up a couple of sizes, or wear a cut that exaggerates my thighs, hips and waist. Those are the exact areas that I want to hide. This is obviously dysphoria-inducing because I can’t wear the clothes that make me feel good anymore.

Dysphoria can often manifest itself in odd and unexpected ways. One such way for me is my shadow. I can make my face and my hair look as masculine as I can, but my basic outline always causes me crippling dysphoria. And until I can lose weight and get the figure I want, which will make clothes fit me the way I want them too, there’s little I can do to change my shadow. Sometimes when my dysphoria is really bad, I refuse to go outside to avoid seeing my shadow. My face is also affected by weight-induced dysphoria. My cheeks filled out again and I was really liking my squarer jawline. I know that testosterone can bring that back, but that’s so far into my future that right now it doesn’t help to think about it. That being said, I am working to love myself again. I am about to start a new weight loss programme and I’m going to start working out. My progress will be slow, and I know that it will take a while for noticeable results to appear, but I plan on using my current feelings as motivation. I know now how much I shy away from mirrors; how little I take photos and how much I dislike trying on clothes. With these feelings in mind, I will hopefully stay determined to lose the weight I have regained, but in a healthy way this time.

I encourage you to share your weight loss tips and how ways to cope with body fat induced dysphoria in the comment section! And remember, not all transmen are skinny or muscular! Chubby transmen exist too!