Friday, June 29, 2012

Sensitivity to "Fat" Comments

A topic that comes up somewhat regularly in our household is that of the public's perception of overweight or obese individuals. On rare occasions, I find myself in tears because of something someone has said in an online forum or in some kind of magazine. I am well aware of the fact that having fat on my body is completely unacceptable to the majority of the population. The problem for me comes in when I realize that I am being judged on a continual basis. Those guys I just passed in the pick up truck while riding my bike - yeah, they were judging me. The "serious cyclist"{picture kit-clad, 14lbs carbon bike riding individual} giving me a look while I ride my steel road bike at human speeds, rather than super speeds. The teenage girls, the mother of four - you name it - they are all judging me.

I don't live my life as though I'm being constantly judged, but every now and again, a reminder is brought to my attention that "they" are in fact watching, observing, and letting me know that "they" are the "superiors" of this planet.

I can nearly guarantee that I work out harder than nearly any of them, and have for quite awhile. My annoyance comes out when someone insists on making statements such as "fat and lazy" or "obese because they do nothing," and I can feel my temper begin to flare as I take these comments personally. How can I not? Basically, these folks are telling me that I eat poorly and don't move, and thus the fat on my body. But that is not reality for me. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have cried because I am doing everything I physically can to change my body and nothing seems to work.

Unfortunately, these times generally coincide with me finding a random comment on a blog or some online forum that just infuriates me. No one should be lumped together. We are all individuals and we come with different quirks and issues, in different shapes and sizes, and have different abilities and goals. I do my best to take solace in the fact that I know I'm doing everything I can to be the best me - and isn't that really all anyone can do?

Sam {partner in life/crime}tries to tell me that he doesn't know anyone who thinks I'm "fat and lazy," and states that anyone who knows me is well aware that I am a strong woman. I'd like to believe that because I do think I am strong, and getting stronger every day. As for changing the attitudes of other people, I'm not sure that is ever possible. The only thing I can do is try to alter the way I take in information, and know that I am doing everything in my power to better myself. You know the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" Well, that isn't the case for me... sticks and stones aren't going to break my bones because I am strong... and their words - well, I'm doing my best to not let them hurt me either.


  1. I have a picture of myself as a fat cyclist that I keep in an inconspicuous spot. I, of course, see it regularly as I do my house chores. I keep it so I have a reminder that I loved biking even before I looked like I belonged on a bike. But now, so many years later, I also know another thing. I was the one who was judging myself more often than others were judging me. Of course, it was a potent motivator, and it kept me focused on my goal. I want sometimes to tell this to others who still have a way to go to reach their goal. I did only once. She looked at me, obviously vexed, and said, "You? Come on. You look like you've always been thin. You NEVER looked like me!" It made me laugh, since to me the scars from the surgery to get rid of excess skin are obvious and telling. But I learned to let others make their journey in whatever way they wish.

    1. It is very easy to judge ourselves - really too much so for some of us. I think sometimes overcoming the mental obstacles in my own mind can be the biggest hurdle to jump. You are quite correct though: we all have to journey our own path.

      I have a friend who gets similar comments from others who have met her in the last 5-10 years who think she's always been thin. It must be something that happens in the human mind... we just picture a person always having been the way we see them?

  2. I think you are right. And I am happy I found your blog. I'll look forward to your postings...


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