What I Wish People Would Know Before Fat-Shaming

As a child, I had irregular eating patterns. I would go from eating nothing to eating only junk food. I knew I was overweight, but I couldn’t stop gaining weight. Throughout my life, I would be criticized, judged and shamed for being “fat,” which made my constant goal in life to lose weight. 

I admit I was fat and unhealthy. Realistically, I’m not fat anymore because I adopted a more physical, healthy lifestyle. I do cardio, pilates, and sometimes I work out with weights. I lost some weight, but I was still big. I still see myself as being too “fat” or “big” or not as good enough as the thin girl next to me.

Eventually, it led me down a dark path where I had developed an unspecified eating disorder, which means that I had enough symptoms to be classified under an eating disorder, but I had not achieved the physical results. My experiences with fat-shaming have affected my mental and physical health and my self-esteem. For anyone who agrees, supports and/or chooses to fat-shame, here are some things to consider.

Fat-Shaming Doesn’t Help At All!

In fact, it does more harm than good. I can see the reasons why someone would think fat-shaming is helpful. Sometimes we need criticism to help ourselves improve and so forth, but it depends on the type of criticism. Fat shaming is a form of unhelpful criticism that does more harm to the person than help them.

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I’m deeply frustrated at anyone who defends their choice to fat shame by saying “I’m helping them.” It’s hypocritical to demand someone to lose weight and put in the physical work, meanwhile, they just sit there and do nothing. Who knows? What if they already do put in the effort? Results don’t happen overnight. Results happen differently for everyone. Everything on the outside isn’t always what it appears to be. We are told so many things from “lose weight” to “you’re disgusting.” Words have power, they hurt a lot. If you really want to help, support us.

Everyone has a role in their lives and how we develop our sense of self. Telling me that I’m fat or something is wrong with me decreases my self-esteem, which affects my behavior. Self-esteem shows through a lot in how we handle relationships, situations, and making crucial decisions. Other girls, like myself, can develop eating disorders and other mental health disorders because of the social pressures to be thin.

My Size Has Nothing to Do With Others.

How is my weight affecting other people? My weight isn’t hurting their career, their health or their choices. My weight has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else. 

And if it bothers others so much, they shouldn't make comments about it anyways. Simple as that. I guess big people have to always be the bigger person and walk away.

Being Big Doesn’t Always Mean Unhealthy or Fat.

Just because we don’t fit the standards of being “thin” doesn’t mean we’re automatically fat. There are plenty of people, including myself, who put in the effort and are still big. I eat healthily and exercise every week. Some people are just born with a slow metabolism, bigger bone structures, and more fat cells than others. 

The reality is there are many different body sizes.

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Did you know we are born with a certain number of fat cells called adipocytes? Adipocytes can only be increased or stabilized. If you’re interested in finding more information about it, check out this article from the New York Times here! It turns out that if you end up losing weight, you don’t lose the number of fat cells. You are only able to decrease the amount of fat the fat cells stores. However, if you end up gaining weight you can, unfortunately, increase the number of fat cells. Body fat is something already determined by birth. As long as you eat mindfully, exercise and practice self-care, you are already at your perfect size! 

But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to change your weight! Weight loss or weight gain should be done in a healthy way. Don’t force yourself into a size out of insecurity or too fast because it can stress your body out and you’ll end up regaining all the weight back.

This also applies to skinny shaming too.

Overall, instead of giving unhelpful criticism, we should build a community to support one another. Instead of focusing on how we look and the number on the scale, we should focus on how we feel and adopt a more healthy lifestyle.