If you can call me fat, I can call you stupid October 30, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in running, societal commentary.
Tags: diet, fat, fat-shaming, weight
There’s been an article floating around about a local woman named Cheryl who is planning on fat-shaming kids at Halloween by giving them a letter telling their parents that those parents are irresponsible for not watching their kids diets.
I really, really resent this type of behavior. I’m going to be blunt: at my heaviest, I had a BMI of 47. If you don’t know, that’s downright awful. But you know what? Nothing I did made a difference, I was running, I was eating ‘healthy’…but the changes I saw were incremental, at best. I tried to keep doing those things because I knew they were making me healthy even if they weren’t helping me to lose weight.
Just over a year ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease, ending what has been a nearly life-long struggle with a multitude of medical issues, including obesity. Yeah, I was fat as a kid, too. And now I’ve lost a lot of weight simply because I found out I can’t eat gluten.
And you know what? It never once helped me when someone reminded me of the fact I was fat, from age 10 on. The people who like to chide those of us with weight issues probably didn’t realize that I ate pretty close to the same thing as my uber-skinny husband, and more often than not, I have had a more rigorous exercise schedule than he. (I’m not implying he’s lazy or anything, but even he said after a couple years that it perplexed him how our weights could be so different.) No one ever made a point to give him diet tips, but I get them all the time. Once he went to the doctor about a sore back. The doctor xrayed him and ran some tests before sending him to a physical therapist. Six months later, I went in with the same complaint…and was sent to a dietician because my sore back was obviously a result of my weight.
You can’t tell why someone is overweight. You can’t tell by someone’s weight how much exercise they do, how healthy they are, how much body fat they have (surprisingly) and, most importantly, how shitty they may feel about themselves because of the fact that their weight makes them a target for jerks like Cheryl.
People like Cheryl don’t realize that weight doesn’t equal health – there are many studies showing that overweight people who are active (that is, metabolically healthy) are actually at lower risk for many diseases than skinny people who are not. Focusing on a person’s weight doesn’t improve their health…and likely makes their mental health a lot worse.
Cheryl, I do understand your desire not to hand out candy. I also understand why you’re confused about how weight and health. Rather than fat-shame someone, however, just give them an eyeball eraser instead…and maybe read some of the links above to understand why what you’re doing is not only morally repugnant but scientifically invalid, as well.