When Fat is a Four-Letter Word…
If you’ve never been an overweight woman in North America, this blog post might not resonate for you. If you’ve never eaten ALL the sugar because you were sad, happy, scared or angry, then you might read this and not be able to relate in the slightest.
If you’ve ever gotten on the scale (only after you peed), completely naked, possibly on one leg, pre-shower, breath held and had your day either destroyed or made based on what the numbers said, maybe you’ll get this.
Fat or thin can mean WAY more to us than a measure of our gravitational pull or an indicator of our personal health. For some of us, our value as people can depend on the scale. Or the size of our jeans. Or the thigh gap. For me personally, having been bullied mercilessly for nearly ten years about my weight, being ‘thin’ meant being acceptable, loveable and worthwhile. I don’t think I’m alone in somehow internalizing the belief that if someone hates me, and says it’s because I’m overweight, that it’s MY fault.
We now have a culture that is slowly starting to realize that it’s NOT my fault – it’s the bully’s fault for being an asshole (sorry for the profanity, but it truly applies like no other word here). Anyone who tells you that you’re a piece of crap because you have extra fat on your body is not even worth the air it takes to tell them to go you know where. I think we all would agree that ‘shaming’ someone for being fat is stupid, petty, mean and vile.
And yet, even knowing this, we still hang onto the emotions to an extent that I think can be hurting us or shortening our lives. Obviously, no one is a lesser human being for being overweight. And yet does this mean that a doctor who tells you to cut out sugar and processed carbs so you can shed some pounds and help eliminate your early onset diabetes is really ‘fat-shaming’ you?
I think it is just as dis-empowering to deny the existence of obesity and its health risks as it is to base someone’s value on their size or weight. If our value as a human is NOT tied to what the scale says, then why is it SO terrible to point out that one’s health is in jeopardy due to the increased stress on the heart, joints, liver etc.
Another area where the media does us a disservice (like there’s just one area) is by promoting ONE body type as attractive. Yes, there are some ectomorph-y gazelles who look like they’re floating when they run and have hips like a ten-year old boy, and they just look like that naturally. There are also people who could starve themselves into weighing 85 pounds and 80 of those pounds would still be on their butt! There’s only so much diet and exercise can do against genetics, but wouldn’t it be great to CELEBRATE our differences instead of all wish to look the same way? Isn’t that just INSANE when you think about it? There is absolutely NO uniformity in nature..every single snowflake is different, every leaf, every tree. And yet we all want to fit in the same pair of size 4 jeans (or 2, or 0…which, tangent, but WTH is there a size ZERO???!!!??)
I completely and totally believe that carrying extra fat is probably genetic or hormonal and that it gets harder as we get older. But that is not a hall pass for not taking care of the temple! We are only given ONE body this side of the grave. We can go through life hating it, loving it, feeding it or starving it, but the better we treat it, the better it treats us. When you can’t walk, or breathe not much else matters.
So if someone is trying to fat shame you, f-‘em! If they’re trying to help you, take it in the spirt it’s intended. But at the end of the day YOU are the only one who can choose to honor and respect your body with healthy, life affirming choices. Now go get some, because You ARE Limitless!