Readers, I have a bone to pick. I apologize for any abrasiveness in the following entry, but I have some major weight to get off my chest. I say the following for all of my friends and family who are currently having or who have ever had a struggle with their weight. And I say it also for all of my friends and family who maybe don’t realize that a certain behavior of theirs is actually hurting people they care about. I do apologize—this is apparently I’ve Got Various Chips On My Shoulders week. But this has got to be said.
To begin, I would like to paraphrase some things I’ve heard people say over the years:
“OMG I feel so fat today.”
“Went to a friend’s birthday party and pigged out…lol so fat.”
“Had an extra helping of mom’s Christmas torte. Shouldn’t have eaten so much, but it was soooooo good. #fatforlife”
I’m sure you’ve all heard/seen friends say/write things like the above. Usually they’re friends who are, if not half your weight, then at least not nearly as out of shape as an extra cookie after dinner makes them feel. In essence, they have maybe ten to fifteen pounds of extra weight on them at most, and having a treat once in a great while isn’t going to negatively affect that at all.
I for one am really tired of seeing and hearing this type of thing, especially from people I know who are not fat. And I know I’m not the only blogger to write about this, but I’m irritated enough that I’m going to throw in my two cents.
Why am I irritated? For three reasons.
One, the people who I hear saying this sort of thing are, without realizing it, trivializing the very real, very difficult struggle that I, their friend, am in the midst of, by talking about how “fat” they are when they are not only not fat, but actually in pretty decent shape. I can understand that eating something you don’t normally indulge in does produce certain feelings about yourself and about what you just did. But please. Choose a different word. “Fat” is not the word you want. More on that in a minute.
Two, it’s incredibly hurtful and insulting for you to talk about how “fat” you are like it’s a bad thing and then turn to me with a smile and tell me how “beautiful” of a person I am. Weren’t you just going on about how fat you are and how gross it is that you’re so fat? I’m easily twice your size. If you think your own body is gross because you just ate a huge, greasy hamburger, what must you think of me and my nearly one hundred pounds of excess weight? It’s not cute, silly, or funny. I am not going to laugh about it with you. Kindly knock it off.
And three, the people who I see saying this are way too intelligent to be using vocabulary that is so grossly incorrect. You do not feel “fat”. What you feel is guilty for having an entire basket of French fries. What you feel is bloated when your favorite jeans are a bit too tight. You are not fat. There is a big difference. Those around you who are fat would appreciate it if you would alter your vocabulary to accurately reflect the situation.
As a corollary to this and a potential reason number four why this sort of thing annoys me is that the people who say this who are feeling guilty need to stop beating themselves up for every occasional indulgence in a decadent food. It’s not the end of the damn world if—and keep in mind this is coming from a person with an eating disorder and all the guilt that entails for slipping up—you have an extra spoonful of ice cream once a month. Either enjoy the damn ice cream or don’t eat it. But don’t eat it anyway and then laugh about how “fat” you feel. You’re making your fat friends and family feel pretty terrible, actually.
There. I’ve said it. I’m sorry for ranting. But as I’ve said in other posts, honesty is very important for this blog, not only for my personal catharsis, but to let those reading know they aren’t alone if they’re having similar experiences. Sometimes that can make the difference between a person feeling amazingly better about themselves or hating everything they see.
This post does feel a little passive-aggressive to me. I should be saying this directly to the people I’ve heard say these things, and I believe I will do so from now on. But again, this isn’t just about me. I know there are others out there who have been hearing this from the people around them and trying, as I have for so long, to put their finger on exactly why it made them feel uncomfortable or hurt. So I hope this helped.