Kindness works best, folks.

We aren’t allowed to insult disabled people. We aren’t allowed to be racist. We aren’t allowed to dislike people of different faiths. We can’t hate women. Fat people are all we have left to shame!

Why do fat folk get shamed? People have no scruples about giving out free advice — that’s worth every penny!- especially to fat people. 

Do you actually think it works? 

Look at all the fat people around you. The tubbies. The slightly overweight. The folk who believe they are fat but we wouldn’t really agree. Nearly every one of them has been shamed somehow. They are fat!

What goes on in someone’s brain that allows them to walk up to people and give free advice? Telling someone they need to go on a diet is ridiculous. Nearly everyone owns a mirror. People know what they look like. If they feel the need to go on a diet they will, if they want to. It isn’t your responsibility, it is the fat person’s responsibility.

Some people think they are being helpful. No, you aren’t. I don’t actually care if your neighbour/nanny/friend lost 145lbs and now they look great. I don’t care if you lost 10 lbs doing weight watchers. Every person knows their own body. More importantly, everyone knows their own mind. We know we have a problem; and you know, most people are trying to deal with it, the best way they can.

Photo by Nguyen Huy on Unsplash

I think I will lose weight one day, be slim again. I believe it could happen, that it will happen one day. But even if I had lost 100 lbs, I would still be overweight. Someone could still come up to me and give me unsolicited advice about weight loss if they dared, because I could lose 100 lbs and still be overweight. But I wouldn’t need your advice. And even now, with more than 100 lbs to lose, I still don’t need your advice.

Shut up about food, diet, exercise or workouts, please!

Just don’t go there. If you want us to lose weight, talk about our good qualities. Your fat friend has good qualities, so try and make them feel good about themselves. I can promise you that when I feel good about myself I am a whole lot less likely to over-eat.

If you make us feel like you are on our side, then maybe we will initiate the conversation about weight. If, and I repeat, if, we initiate that conversation, then you can offer some thoughts. But please believe us when we say we have tried everything. Please believe us when we say we have tried exercising, swimming, cutting out sugar, cutting out carbohydrate. We can keep it up for some of the time but when we slip up sometimes it makes us so demoralized we start eating again.

Photo by Rachel Park on Unsplash

Remember too, that our bodies don’t like change. The craving to eat stays with us when we lose weight. Our bodies don’t understand that slimness is healthy, it just wants us to put on weight again. And the longer we have been fat, the harder it is for us to shift it.

Don’t talk to us about bariatric surgery. It works for some people. But actually, it isn’t a long term solution. Some people have their stomach removed and are left with a little pouch. But you overfeed that pouch and you can still stretch it. You can end up putting on all the weight and more.

Some people have a lap band, which does control how much food your stomach takes in. But these surgeries can go wrong, they are not all successful. In the UK it is very difficult to get the surgery on the NHS. There are long waiting lists.

In the US, not everyone’s insurance covers bariatric surgeries. There may be too much excess to pay. There are lots of reasons why people might not even want the surgery. Some people may have just decided to accept that is the way they are and they are going to live with it.

Photo by JAFAR AHMED on Unsplash

Most people who are overweight acknowledge that it is because they have a difficult relationship with food. There is usually an underlying cause. 

You could be speaking to the Mom who’s daughter died when she was young, so Mom put on the exact weight of her daughter? Psychologically she feels that her daughter is always with her. Do you have the right to criticise her?

Maybe you are talking to the man who was overfed as a child and continued to over-eat when he was bullied at school. Now he doesn’t have the strength to exercise, perhaps he is scared of being bullied again. Is that the man you want to give your advice to?

Perhaps it is the woman who has been through trauma after trauma during her childhood and adulthood, never catching a break. She goes to work, she has a job, she runs her family and her home, but inside she is depressed and struggling. Do you want to hurt her with your words?

You could be speaking to a woman who has serious illnesses that cause her to be fat. You could be speaking to the woman who knows that surgery won’t work because of the illnesses she has, like lipedema. Lipedema is a hormonal disease which can be hereditary. It is an illness. So you are giving your free diet advice to someone who is sick and cannot lose weight by traditional methods.

At the end of the day, fat people are still people. Just like you don’t be racist, you don’t criticise people for their religious choices, you don’t be sexist — or maybe you just try not to be those things — how about trying not to be unkind to fat people as well?

How about trying to be kind to everyone? How about seeing everyone as a person? An African-American person. A female person. An Asian person. A Latino person. A disabled person. And a fat person. Just accept people for who they are, for what colour their skin happens to be, and to accept their size as well. 

Start spreading kindness and you might find the people around you are kinder to you.

Give it a try. 

Ruth Stewart is a writer, a mother and wife. She would love to write books and earn a comfortable living from writing. She loves dogs and horses, and dreams of wide open spaces and solitary homes on wind swept plains.
Ruth Stewart is a writer, a mother and wife. She would love to write books and earn a comfortable living from writing. She loves dogs and horses, and dreams of wide open spaces and solitary homes on wind swept plains.
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