I’m fat. Really. I am. By all standards of fat measurement, I fall into the “Obese” category. I don’t need any one to tell me I’m fat. I own a mirror, and I go shopping for clothes. I’m aware.
And I’m working on it.
I don’t say this as a put down or an insult. And I definitely do not say it to get people to tell me I’m NOT fat. It’s just a fact. I am very overweight. Fat. My body doesn’t define me as a person, I know this. I’m fat. I’m also funny, and generous, and a good friend, and an artist, and a mom….I’m a lot of things.
I’ve never been what one would call “skinny” I’ve always been “chubby” or “husky” or “big” or “chunky” I’ve had people call me names a few times growing up, fortunately I was usually able to get them to shut their mouths with a quick comeback, or a look that showed I would slam their face into a locker. Fortunately, I was never really bullied, and I never felt hurt by the comments. I was pretty comfortable in my skin.
There was a YouTube video posted today (that I will not link to, nor will I post the name of the vlogger) that claimed to be a message to “Fat People” to HELP them. To urge them to “eat less, move more” because this person “cares” about our health!! Then goes on to talk about a terrible encounter with some fat people in an airport, and the HORROR of having to sit next to a fat boy on an airplane. Even though she says Fat shaming doesn’t exist, that’s exactly what she’s doing in her monologue.
The video really pissed me off. Not because I was offended, or my feelings were hurt, or I felt attacked or shamed. But because WHY? Why use your platform to spew such vitriol? Why use your position for something so mean, and nasty?
I get comedy. I do. I understand that sometimes, comics say some pretty offensive things to get laughs. The thing is, if you’re going to go that route as a comedian, you’d better be FUNNY. This chick? Not funny. Like, at all.
This video wasn’t comedy, it was bullying. Sure, some people think the vlogger is funny, but bullies usually think they are being funny.
Ok, so back to my adipose.
I’m fat. And I’ve been working at not being so fat. I’ve lost over 40lbs since April (GO ME! YAY!) but it wasn’t because some vlogger shamed me into it. It wasn’t even because anyone in my family said “Hey there, we’re worried you’re gonna get the diabeetus, check your sugahs girl!!” or any of my friends said “We’ve noticed that you are getting super huge and we’re worried about your arteries.” In fact, NOBODY said anything to me about my weight.
But, I was fat and it was having a major impact on my health and my life in general. I felt sick all the time, I was always uncomfortable, my back and knees hurt, I would get winded going up the stairs, carrying Avery was difficult and exhausting, I had symptoms of diabetes, but it wasn’t until I saw this picture:
…that I said “Whoa nelly, things have got to change!”
Let’s be real, and honest here. That photo shows me at about 210 pounds. At 9 million months pregnant with Avery, I was under 170. My “standard” weight throughout my adult life was 145. Those shorts are a size 16, but they were too small. That shirt is an XL but I’m wearing spanx. I’m hot, exhausted, and feel like crap, and really didn’t want my picture taken but Avery and the photographer insisted. That picture above, shows that I had really let myself go. It was a combination or emotional stuff like not caring, at all, about myself, and eating really poorly and too much. But mostly, it was because I was in a really crappy place emotionally and wasn’t happy with myself, and I was putting myself down, in my head, hundreds of times a day.
I know there are people who are bigger than I am. But that photo shows my personal “rock bottom”
So I made changes. I made changes because I wanted to. Because I needed to. NOT because someone told me to. NOT because someone shamed me.
Shame and negativity don’t motivate. You know what they do? They make you feel like garbage. Being shamed makes you feel worthless. Negativity makes you feel like you’re a lost cause. It doesn’t make you say “Ya know what? I’m worth it!! I’m worth taking care of!” And while you and I may not be offended by what this vlogger said-while it may not hurt our feelings-there are a whole heck of a lot of other people out there whose feelings WERE hurt. Who are hurt Every. Single. Day by people laughing, and pointing, by people calling them names. Fat shaming doesn’t work. It actually makes people eat more, and if you don’t believe me, read THIS
I mean, let’s think about it for a minute. If you’re overweight, and you’re depressed, and being depressed makes you eat (as it does for many people) and someone tells you how gross you are, and how unhealthy you are, and that you’re going to die because of what you’re doing to yourself, and people start making fun of you and making you the butt of their jokes, and that makes you even more depressed, and then you eat more….How is that helping?
I made changes. My weight loss has been very successful, and I feel amazing, and happy, and healthy physically and emotionally. And I will write more about that very soon. My weight still doesn’t define me. I’m not a better person because I weigh less. I’m a happier person because I feel better, and my head is clear, but it’s not about the number on the scale. Do I hope that my friends who want to lose weight find success? YES! Do I want all of my friends to be healthy and live incredibly long lives? You betcha! Am I going to support them in their journeys no matter what path they choose! Certainly! Am I going to bully, shame, and insult them under the guise of “motivation” Uhm…NO WAY!
Just like I am more than my weight, so are my friends. I’m not friends with them because of what they look like (Though, I will say, I have some dang sexy friends! No, seriously, every single one of my friends is GORGEOUS!!) I’m friends with them because they are amazing people, great moms & dads, incredible friends, talented, caring, generous…great people. Great people who deserve RESPECT.
As a blogger, I have a platform to reach people. I may not have huge reach, I may not go “viral” I may not get published on HuffPo or some other sought after internet publication, but people read my blog. I think as social media influencers we should use our platform for good, not evil. Not hate, not bullying, not offensive commentary just for the views. I have posted my share of not-so-kind posts (ie; Josh Duggar) and I know some people think I’m a hypocrite, but why use your power and influence to be mean? You don’t know who is reading or watching. You don’t know where they are in their life. You don’t know what they are going through. So why be hurtful, nasty, hateful, cruel. You don’t know the damage that your words can do. Or maybe you do know, and you still say those horrible things, and that’s even worse. Why not share love? Why not make a video about how we are all beautiful no matter what shape or size or color or heritage? I guess kindness doesn’t go viral…
So, I’m fat, but I’d rather be fat than cruel.