Dear fat shamers–

You’re wrong. Dead wrong.

Who made you judge and jury regarding the way other people look? Since when did it become your duty in life to point out those who may not look as “perfect” as you?

Do you realize that some people are predisposed to being bigger than the stick thin models that populate magazines? Or that the average size of the typical American woman is 14?

I’ve been fat shamed nearly my entire life. I first heard it in middle school: “Stephanie is fat.” Usually it was said by a select group of girls who hadn’t reached puberty yet, and were generally snobs.

I went thru puberty earlier than my peers. I started wearing a bra in 4th grade (age 10); my first period a year later. Being teased for something I could not help really hurt. My mother advised that I ignore kids who did that, that they were jealous, etc. Mom meant well, but it didn’t help. I always felt the need to defend myself.

As I got older, I didn’t understand why I was gaining weight. All I knew is that I didn’t look like the girls at school. If they said I was fat, then well, as far as they were concerned, I was fat.

I really started gaining weight in high school. Now that I look back on it some 30+ years later, I think it was an unconscious response to a traumatic event that happened when I was 13. After I had children, it only got worse. Soon, I was in my 30’s and was significantly overweight.

It didn’t get better as the years went on. I got divorced, I dated a series of worthless men who used me, and my response was to eat. In my mid to late 40s, I found myself closing in on 350 lbs.

Then, in 2014, when I turned 50, I got sick. I was losing weight without trying before that. Before I knew it, I had been hospitalized three times, diagnosed with liver disease, and had lost a whopping 130 pounds.

And I’m still overweight, according to all the charts. I’m not quite the size I was in high school, but I definitely don’t have the same body I did  when I graduated in 1982.

I still hear the whispers of people judging me because of my weight, only now, I don’t care what they think, because I know the truth. Men are the worst. If a man can’t accept me as I am now, then I don’t want him when the rest of this weight comes off.

So, fat shamers, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. You don’t know me, how dare you judge!

I love the person I am now. It took decades for me to do that. And there are people in my life who love me for me, not for what size clothing I wear. As a wise man once told me, “You’re a smart, funny and sensual woman. That’s what I love about you. I don’t give a fuck what size you wear.”

That wise man is, unfortunately, no longer with us, and I miss his wisdom every damn day. He was taken way too soon and way too young.

And Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” is playing on the radio as I write this.

So there.

===

I’m Stef and this is where it’s @ !~

#whereitsat

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2 thoughts on “Dear fat shamers–

  1. Obviously no one should be mean to other people who are overweight, but it’s a little silly to argue that you have no control over your weight or that people are “predisposed” to being heavy. Sure, it’s *easier* for some people to stay slim, but that’s a question of appetite control, not magic where they can eat anything they want and you’ll be fat no matter what you eat.

    There’s no mystery to why people are fat. They eat more calories than they use. You eat fewer calories, you lose weight.

    I sympathize with how hard it is, by the way. I finally found foods that worked for me (and tracked my calories) and got down to a normal weight after fighting it all my life, and have kept it off. But pretending you are powerless and have no control, and just blaming the rest of the world for not understanding you won’t help. It’s not the world’s fault that you’re fat, and honestly, it’s everyone’s right to judge everything, just like it’s your right to judge everything as well, which you often do on this blog. Again, that’s not to say everyone has the right to be mean, only that everyone can and will judge things, and that’s everyone’s right.

    And I’m not posting this to make you feel bad at all, by the way. Be whatever weight you want, it’s your life. My only point is that being fat is a specific decision you make and is something you can control, but it does require education, work, and effort. You can choose to be healthy. One of the things that I find sad is how many “fat advocates” (which is really silly thing to be) try and rationalize believing that you can be fat and healthy. That’s fine if they want to believe that, but how many children hear that message and get messed up by it?

    It’s sad that you weren’t helped when you were young and educated how to be healthier, but it’s never too late. I think an important attitude to have is not “I want to be slim and attractive” or comparing yourself to anyone else, but just an attitude of “I want to healthier and not have to carry 80-100 pounds around all the time”. Be healthy for you and the rest takes care of itself.

    Life is too short to pretend to be powerless. You’re much more powerful than you think. Continuous incremental improvement is the secret to all progress.

    — A Friend

  2. You do make good points, but I don’t think I’ve ever said I was powerless when it came to my weight. There are people who tend to be heavy. My grandmother was one of them. My aunt is another. It’s called genetics. I’m not blaming genetics, because my parents tried to get us to eat healthy. I just didn’t get it.

    The point of my post was not to make anyone feel bad by propping myself up. I realize that the only one responsible for me is me, and what works for me might not work for everyone. On top of that, I now have a chronic illness to deal with that demands I watch certain elements of my diet, especially my sodium intake. It’s part of how I’ve lost 130+ pounds.

    What is now called “fat shaming” has been going on my whole life. I’m 51 years old. I got teased mercilessly because I was perceived to be fat by a very small group of individuals. I didn’t understand why I was being singled out at 9, 10, 11 years old. I didn’t decide one day to be fat…I mean, who wants to hold themselves up for ridicule on purpose?

    That’s the problem I have with so called fat advocates- they’re sending the wrong message just as sure as the publishers of fashion magazines are when they hold up super thin models as the ideal. I’m not willing to kill myself over trying to for in with either group. I can only speak for me.

    Thanks for writing. -, Stef

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