Thoughts on fat shaming?

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I moved back in with my parents over a year ago and decided to save money by eating the food they bought for the house. 

Before I knew it I gained twenty pounds. It bothered me that my face was getting puffy, but I was fine with how I looked with my shirt off. 

I stayed at this weight for a year (I checked a couple months ago) and yesterday for some reason I was curious to see if it changed. I looked at the scale and low and behold I gained another twenty pounds. I was in disbelief, so I took off my shirt and looked in the mirror and realized, yep I definitely gained another twenty pounds and I was not okay with how I looked. 

I honestly don’t know how I didn’t notice the change without the scale. It’s obvious now when my shirt is off and I look down at my belly. I never look in the mirror after I shower, but I should have noticed a difference whenever I change clothes. It’s like I gained twenty pounds over night.

My first thought: This is bullshit. My metabolism must be slowing down.

My second thought: You look fucking disgusting. This is not okay.

So this weekend I’m going grocery shopping and taking control over what I eat.

It won’t be hard for me to lose the weight since I always eat healthy when I’m living on my own. 

It’s probably a good thing that this happened since I’ll feel better in general eating healthy again. 

Anyway, the point of this story is that I wouldn’t be taking any action if I just “loved” myself for I am. I fat shamed myself for a moment and now I’m resolved to take action.

I didn’t deny, suppress, or reject the disgust I felt when I looked at my body. Because I felt my felt myself deeply, I didn’t hold back and told myself I was disgusting and found the resolve to change.

I know I can change and change quickly because of all my experience in experimenting with my diet over the years. If I didn’t have the experience of knowing what’s sustainable and what produces results, I’d be in for a long journey.

So fat shaming for me is pretty effective, but it probably wouldn’t be helpful for someone who doesn’t know how to deal with negativity.

I’m single, but if I had a girlfriend who started to grow love handles I wouldn’t know how to handle it. You can’t just say, you’re getting fat, start exercising, cut out the bread and sugar, and start eating more fruits and vegetables. That would work for a man. I mean, it should work for a man.

At the very least, we need to say something when someone close to us is starting show signs of unhealthy living because momentum is real and things will probably just get worse.


The idealism of fat shaming.

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It is a complicated topic. Most people who are overweight are very self-cautious about it, they are already giving themselves hard time and having others contribute to it "e.g. do you even know how unhealthy it is?"  is rarely helping. 

Many who are obese have gone on and off diets for decades with little results, and so they sort of slide into a state of perpetual hopelessness. There are a few who somehow embrace it and convince themselves that they just need to love who they are and they stop trying and usually become more obese each year. 

I agree with the idea of acceptance but not acceptance without taking action. Being stressed about being overweight is not useful other than to a point where that stress can be channelled into a momentum to do something about it, such as seeking dietitian or a mental health therapist. It depends. For some people, stress is paralysing; for others it drives action. 

There is also the other side that accepting and remaining obese may significantly shorten one's life span, make them prone to chronic disease and even render them handicapped due to poorly treated diabetes, needing a wheelchair in the future and becoming a burden to the family and the social system. 

Our current treatment of obesity rarely works with the emotional aspect of it. Many obese people (especially women) were molested and abused in childhood or have undergone other form of severe trauma growing up. Dietary interventions are rarely effective and long term lead to remission with such people because the cause remains unaddressed. In other cases where obesity is a consequence of poverty and lack of education, those can be even harder to correct without external support. 

I think fat shaming for the purpose of shaming is disgusting, useless and reckless. But trying to motivate the person to take action where such effort comes from a place of love and care is fine and should be encouraged. But of course many chronically overweight people automatically assume that any advice is a fat shaming and those can usually not be helped as easily. 

“If you find yourself acting to impress others, or avoiding action out of fear of what they might think, you have left the path.” ― Epictetus

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On 10/01/2023 at 8:28 PM, Waterboy said:

My second thought: You look fucking disgusting. This is not okay.

This to me looks like the unhealthy and healthy versions of "fat shaming" in one sentence.

"You look fucking disgusting." sounds emotionally painful to yourself and like it would cause more shame and lower self esteem, thus more desire to actually eat and not be healthy.

"This is not okay" sounds more like a virtuous choice and desire to be healthy and live a better life, which feels uplifting, virtuous, and growth oriented.

"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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Too far right and you get some really nasty, disgusting bullies like Tate. 

Too far left and you get people who just say fuck it like Lizzo and kind of live in a delusion. 

I think it’s possible to stay in the middle and not shame or bully but also work toward a healthy diet. 

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