Fat shamming has become one of the most prevalent forms of bullying that our nation has seen. It is truly amazing how people are genuinely disgusted by other people’s bodies and openly berate them for it. As the weight in America has gone up, so has the humiliation and despair people struggling with that weight feel. In the eyes of the public; fat shamming is seen as either an atrocity or the people doing it are seen as a hero, out to save people from themselves. However, being overweight is not that simple; before you start shaming someone on their weight look at the reality of these people’s lives!!
Weight loss is not cheap: Ok, so everyone will tell you that to lose weight you need to eat less and exercise more…pretty simple right? Well….yes, until you look at the bigger picture and the cost associated with doing these things. For someone who is trying to lose weight, eating right is a daunting task made even more so by the cost. Why go to a store, pick up the ingredients, cook them, and finally eat when you could literally go to McDonald’s; eat a meal for 5 dollars and be done with it? By making bad food cheaper and readily available it is hard to judge someone trying to live within their means. A gym membership is also a budgeted cost for many people. While you see it as 10 dollars a month others see it as an application fee, gas to get there, and a unnecessary expense.
Food is a very social thing: Have you ever stopped to realize how big of a role food plays in our social lives? Barbeques, lunches, drinks after work, weddings…the list goes on and on!! When you are trying to lose weight these can all be places of temptation that you may want to avoid and can create a huge gap in your social life. This can lead to depression which in turn causes cravings which leads to eating which leads to weight gain which leads to depression…its a never-ending cycle that can be hard to break!!
Losing weight can be a two-edged sword: So you lost 50 pounds!! You are proud of yourself until you look in the mirror and see loose skin that wasnt there before. You could get surgery to have it removed but again this is costly and most insurances will not cover it. You though all your hard work would pay off but now you feel that you should have just stayed the way you were. This is something that many people who fat shame never consider!! It is a truly despairing feeling working so hard and then being faced with another obstacle.
You feel different around people: This one may surprise you but it can be very sad to see the impact your weight loss has on your social appearance. When you were 50 pounds heavier, you could feel people laughing at you when you ate your lunch in the break room. Now that you are slimmer and fitter those same people talk to you more. They ask you what you did to lose the weight, invite you to get drinks, even that cute girl who never would give you the time of day is now talking to you and giving you her phone number. Weight loss makes you realize that many people can be very shallow and vain. Only caring about what you look like and not who you are as a person. Sadly being over weight gives you a good look at people who are your true friends.
Going to the gym is the worst thing in the world: No, it’s not the thought of exercise that terrifies you, it’s the people. It is very sad that the one place you should be encouraged to go to is the place you feel most judged. Many people at gyms treat overweight people as second class members. I once was at a gym trying to use the weights when an incredibly in shape man came up to me and told me he was using them. I told him that he had not been using them when I came over and he proceeded to berate me saying that he should have priority because he actually cared about his body…..ummm buddy, if I didn’t care about mine would I be here? This man could have encouraged me, even helped me and instead he made going to the gym feel like a bad thing.
So, people who fat shame do you have a better understanding? It is easy to berate someone for being over weight but what are you doing to help these people out? Weight loss is not an easy journey and making fun of/bullying people because of it is simply wrong!! If you want to berate someone berate the corporations who make it cheaper to buy a soda than a bottle of water, if you want to bully someone bully the companies that thrive on selling images of beauty that are unreal. Dont berate someone who struggles with body images, health complications, and depression just because it makes you feel better!!
And to those that are overweight, be happy with who you are but be willing to make a change. There is nothing wrong with being a little overweight, in fact for women it has become all the rage as men seek the “Thick” look….yes I actually said that and were going to move on!! However, if you are in the class of obesity or severely overweight you should lose some of the pounds. There is nothing wrong with being happy in your body but there is nothing wrong with making that body healthier either! Most of all encourage people, it goes a long way and it is a much better option than shaming people simply because they are struggling with a problem.