A lonnnnnnnnnng time ago, I received a lovely comment from a reader (I wonder if she’s still lurking) who brought up something I’d like to address:
I’ve been reading your site for a few weeks now, so glad I found it because just from lurking I’ve learned so much. Your blog is super inspirational because you’ve lost the weight, but unlike so many other blogs, you haven’t started hating overweight people or shaming others who haven’t lost the weight. I read some other blogs, where the writers have lost their weight, and all of sudden they hate overweight people.
I’m not gonna act like I don’t understand that. I do. Don’t get me wrong, though – understanding something is very different from accepting it as “right.”
To be honest, I don’t really follow other “weight loss blogs” because, realistically, I just don’t want to be inundated with “lose weight, get thin!, change your life” and “food will never taste as good as thin feels!” mantras all day. I just want to live my life and get my Serena Williams booty — er, I mean, Michelle Obama arms in peace. I don’t like the idea of prizing thinness over being fit, and I don’t like the tacit demonization of fat, either… ’cause even if it’s 4% or 40%, you’re gonna have a little.
Anyhow, there is a market to which that kind of message caters, though – there are tons of people who are overweight who feel as though they deserve to be shamed for not having lost the weight, and also believe that the shame will compel them to do what they need to do. I can’t comment on whether it has or will work for them. I only know I don’t respond to that, and do better to not have it around me.
I’m always checking myself for this, because while I have to discuss things in realistic terms – being overweight impacted my ability to run, my weight affects my ability to excel at certain sports – that doesn’t remove my responsibility to be compassionate. Not my responsibility to my readership to be compassionate, but my responsibility to myself, because that comes first to me. When I blog, I’m writing to myself. I write the words that I know I need to hear, and I know that I don’t respond to an attitude that has to put someone else down to make my choice appear to be the better choice. I also don’t respond to the desperation that alot of people write when when it comes to losing weight. I mean, if you’re “desperate,” that’s you, but I won’t contribute to or participate in that.
I do think this is an important issue, though, because lots of people who lose weight actually need to, in fact, demonize “fatness” and “fat people.” They need to see “fat” as the enemy in order to press on away from it. I just can’t do that. For me, “fat” isn’t the enemy. “Weakness” is the enemy. Not being able to run across the city if I forget to secure a ride home is the enemy. Not being able to survive the zombie invasion is the enemy. Not being able to flip upside down on the pole is the enemy. Not looking the way I want is the enemy. Striving toward those things will give me the body I want without hating people – people who, invariably, look the same way I did, were probably as stressed out and emotionally broken as I was, are battling the same demons I faced (and still face), and simply want to live without judgment and “fat-shaming,” which is simply just chastising people and unnecessarily criticizing people for being fat.
There’s also this thing… the idea that leaving the ranks of the “oppressed” to join the ranks of the “oppressors.” Leaving behind “The Fat Team” to join “The Fit Team,” a lot of these folks simply enjoy being able to have the “power” of finally being able to do the clowning instead of remembering how it felt to be the butt of the joke and stopping it in its tracks. There’s pleasure, for some, in being able to be the bully instead of showing compassion… and that’s what it takes for them. For some people, they just enjoy the chance to “finally be the bully.” I do believe, for these people who demonize fat and enjoy being able to be the bully, it’s simply a matter of prioritizing “being skinny” too highly. It’s mildly creepy to me.
I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that the idea of “demonizing fat people” smacks of anorexic behavior. Not even trying to be sensational, but it reminds me of the girl from Marie Claire a while back who wrote the blog post about “fatties” needing to get a room, because just the mere sight of them being out in public was enough to have her reaching for a barf bag (no pun intended.) The author of the post later admitted that she was an anorexic in recovery, and that this might’ve fueled her rant.
It has always been my personal belief that those of us who are on a quest to develop and maintain actual functional fitness – trying to achieve success or proficiency in a sport or competition – know that this is hard work. Losing a gang of weight? Hard work. Building muscle? Hard work. Committing yourself? Hard freaking work. Getting over yourself? Virtually impossible. It’s not something you mock someone or shame someone for because they haven’t achieved it yet… because you know how hard and long you fought to get there. You never perfect that art, because something will always test it. You’ll always feel challenged. And you know that.
It’s something we all should be mindful of, because at least in one form or another, we should understand. The problem is prevalent enough where either we’ve been there ourselves, or we know someone who has. They, just like we, deserve compassion and not shame. If you take anything away from my blog, please take that.