I’ve hinted at this issue in some of my recent YouTube videos, but it’s time to tackle this issue head on, because the issue of fit shaming is probably the biggest issue of my life that will no doubt shed years off of my life and career, and all of this could have been prevented. I’ve wanted to talk about this more in-depth in my discussion videos and commentaries, but for now I’m going to discuss all of this here, because as bad as it is that I’m fat and don’t get enough exercise, it is an even bigger problem that all kinds of people all around me have encouraged this destructive lifestyle that I’ve come to loath.
First, let’s talk about what exactly fit shaming is. Fit shaming, not unlike its cousin fat shaming, is when people spew venom and make fun of someone for issues related to weight loss. Fat shaming is when people get shamed for being overweight. Fit shaming is when people get shamed for not wanting to be overweight. It’s like that Patrick Stewart meme picture I’ve seen going around about making fun of fat people working out. As the meme goes, why would you make fun of a fat person working out when it’s clear as day that they want to do something about this problem?!
This is why I am a virulent enemy of the fat acceptance movement, because fatness is never acceptable. If you want someone to make fun of, make fun of the belligerent lardasses who arrogantly won’t do something about their problem and the related social problems like obesity’s contribution to our rising health care costs. There are plenty of fatasses out there waddling around who just plain don’t care – who belligerently refuse to even try to change, yet their self-killing habits don’t draw the attention of folks usually trying to help people dealing with depression and suicidal tendencies. Yes, I went there. Belligerent obesity should be considered a form of suicide. Why is it socially unacceptable for someone to kill themselves with a gun or a knife or by poisoning themselves with pills, but slowly but surely eating oneself to death still remains off of everyone’s radar? Should the speed by which someone kills themself really affect things? As for the rest of us fat people who hate ourselves for being fat and want to do everything we can about our condition – give us a break. Sadly, very little of 21st Century society has gotten that memo.
For example, Family Fit Shaming ruins entire generations. I’m at that point in my life where my parents could sit back and gauge how good of a job they did in raising me. To be up front about it, the worst thing anyone in my family ever did was continue our tradition of fit shaming with me. There’s a lot of griping and complaining about being fat in my family, but very little action while the pity party just carries on. In my case, as I’ve tried to do something about my condition I’ve always been able to count on the folks who should be cheering for me the most to do anything from talk about me behind my back to get passive-aggressive about it to outright being overtly aggressive towards whatever I do.
The roots of all of this began in my formative years as a kid. Physical activity was never emphasized, though I was raised on a very strict healthy diet with proper portions and played outside quite a bit as a kid. This properly-balanced life led to me being in the best shape of my life as a Junior in high school, sporting a BMI of 20 and getting roaring accolades from my health teacher back then. Yet the first negative responses I’ve gotten to wellness happened then as well. After getting made fun of for having skinny chicken-wing arms as a wiry teenager back then I wanted to start lifting weights to do something about that. My folks said no. They thought I’d drop the weights through the floor or something. Makes me wonder how different things could have been for me if I were a regular recreational weightlifter at home. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of the issues I’d have with them.
In college I did the stupid young person mistake of pursuing everything I wasn’t supposed to eat as a kid and piled on weight the first year. Knowing my mistake, I hoped that my folks would try to counteract all of this through the rigid discipline I had known them for when I was growing up. Surely I could get used to eating less again over the course of a few semester breaks, right?
They did the exact opposite.
The rigid discipline and portion control I once knew gave way to absolutely none of that, three snacks a night, and a negative response if I said anything about it. This is the single biggest 180 I’ve ever seen from anyone – anywhere – ever. If they thought they were being too strict and wanted to make up for it, they picked the entirely wrong time to do so. Since then, I’ve had to take matters into my own hands, to their chagrin, especially when I decided to go Paleo last Spring and dump processed food so much that it’s an event if I eat any of it – anytime – or drink anything besides water with a meal. I’ve been able to count on always getting a smug contemptuous and condescending response when talking about this sort of stuff, as though I had some sort of eating disorder. Well if they want to play that game, fine – let’s play that game. I do have an eating disorder. I eat too much, and when I eat – I eat the wrong stuff. Diagnosis complete.
As much as this has been a massive disappointment between my folks’ response and my relatives’ online pity party which consists of “BAWWWWWW I’M FAT!!!! BAWWWWW I HATE BEING FAT!!! BAWWWWW I’M NOT GETTING ANY RESULTS WITH MY EXERCISE!!!!! BAWWWW I CAN’T LOSE WEIGHT!!!!!!!”, my focus would be far too narrow.
Fit Shaming extends far beyond the home. Though I’ve received a healthy chunk of fit shaming from the fat people who I can call kin, I also have had it dished out from all kinds of people elsewhere. At work, I’ve had people criticize me for wanting to do computer work standing up even though my goal is to eventually make standing up at the computer the norm at my place when I’m not at work and have standup options for all activity previously done sitting down. In a warehouse where most folks work stand-up jobs and get to sit down on their breaks, I’ve gotten weird looks and comments from wanting to stand up in the break room because I want to do the opposite. I tried having lunch on my morning break and going walking on my lunch break once when I was clocked out and could leave the property. Got jeered for that too.
If I go walking at walking tracks, I can also count on fit-shamers jeering me while fiddling around on their smartphones, especially if I walk faster than some thin people, who like to pretend they’re not getting lapped by a fat guy who’s quick on his feet. Then there’s the crap I take when I try eating with people, and people think I’m either rude or a pansy when I don’t stuff myself because, “A big guy like you needs to eat!” No I don’t. I eat too much and have plenty of blubber to part with before my weight gets down around the danger zone. I also know what that danger zone is and also know that I am nowhere near it by any stretch of the imagination. It won’t kill me to eat properly and not be a sloppy pig at the table. 😛
I often question the sense of these people who are doing these taunts. In the case of random strangers jeering me at the track, do they like seeing fat people? How many times do they turn up their nose at fat people and wish they’d shape themselves up? Well here I am, doing something to shape myself up! Do these people know what they want? Then there’s the people at work doing this crap which makes the least sense of all. Do they appreciate the work that I do? Do they want me to stay as productive as I can as long as I can without getting sidelined by health issues or the resulting productivity loss or absenteeism? Of all the people who have fit-shamed me, the people at work who do this make the least sense – even less sense than my family.
…And, of course, Fit Shaming fuels our Obesity Crisis and should never be tolerated. So, here’s how it works in America these days. If you get fat your options are to stay fat (perhaps belligerently so) and contribute to our society’s health and money problems and get jeered at by Fat Shamers, or try to do something about it and get jeered at by Fit Shamers. One mistake that increases your number on the scale too much and you’re screwed for a very long time if not for life. Is that America? Is that good old-fashioned pulling yourself up by your boot straps and making something of yourself physically? Nada. It’s completely pointless as I have shown, causing our society problems and costing us money. Why is it tolerated? The correct answer is that it shouldn’t be.
To somewhat paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream that one day we will see an America where the Maria Kangs of the world aren’t assaulted with venom from jealous fat acceptance types, and an America where “repentant” lardasses can try to remedy their situation without getting bashed for it at gyms, in restaurants, at home, on the job, or anywhere for that matter. Until then though, people will continue not making any sense by continuing this lunacy, to everyone’s detriment. Fit Shaming is a driver behind our Obesity Crisis, it damages people’s health, lives, families, maybe even destroys some marriages too. It needs to stop – permanently. That is all. Good night.
Maria Kang’s Site And Home Of The No Excuse Mom Movement:
The National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute’s Page For Portion Distortion, That Silent And Subtle Way People Have Found Themselves Overeating In The Worst Way Possible – By Not Even Knowing That They’re Doing So:
Wikipedia On Paleo: