Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What's wrong with telling someone they need to lose weight?

People are ridiculous. I've seen a lot of horrible comments following my story on CNN, but one of the most prevalent themes seems to be that people think it's okay to tell someone they need to lose weight. Because they "care".

On the internet, we call these people "concern trolls".

Please, let me educate you on what you say to someone who you believe needs to lose weight.


Well, let me clarify.

Lets say you have a loved one who is obese. You believe they should lose weight because their health may be at risk. What do you tell them? Well first of all, consider the fact that the person in question probably realizes they're fat. Fat people aren't the idiots people seem to believe they are. People love speculating that all fat folks are dumb and have no idea that being fat is harmful and they're going to die if you don't tell them right now.

Stop it.

Fat people know they're fat. They don't need you to tell them. I repeat; FAT PEOPLE KNOW THEY'RE FAT. THEY DON'T NEED YOU TO TELL THEM. If you think they do, you're the dumb one.

Now, if you care about a loved one's health, fine. Why not approach them from a health perspective?

"Hey bro, I've started adding more vegetables to my diet and I feel great. I have this recipe for a delicious tomato bisque I'd like to share."

That's great! Do that!

"Hey bro, you know you'd look way better if you lost a few pounds."

Well no shit, asshole. As if every fat person hadn't considered that possibility. People seem to think it's my ex boyfriend saying that to me is why I lost weight. Are you out of your mind? I didn't lose weight because my boyfriend said I'd look better thinner. I lost weight because I was involved with someone who intimidated me and I felt that I had to do what he said or I wouldn't be worthy of compassion. Does that sound like a good relationship? Does that sound like a situation where I should contact him and thank him for making me feel so bad about myself, I lost a shit-ton of weight to please him?

The fact that I got more confidence to stand up for myself afterwards was a lucky coincidence. I could have just as easily been trapped in that situation for the rest of my life. Now, 11 years later, I've maintained my weight loss through healthy eating and exercise. I did that. Me. Not him. He didn't help me by making me feel bad about myself. He didn't help me when I was dieting, either. I did it all myself, even if it is because I felt bad, but I did it myself and I'm sick of people saying he deserves credit for being an asshole. Frankly, anyone who thinks so is probably an asshole and I'd rather not associate myself with them, anyway.

In closing:
Fat people know they're fat.
Stop being an asshole.
Treat everyone with love and respect.
Yes, even fat people.
You asshole.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People as a whole have difficulty posing their concern and advice in ways that doesn't make the recipient feel more like shit than they already do.

I've had people recommend all sorts of things to improve my lot in life; economic advice, romance suggestions, health tips...somehow all of these manage to do little more than make me feel even more inadequate to the challenges of life than I did before they opened their mouths.

To be fair, I'm sure some of these people and their counsel is well intended...but sometimes I'm convinced they're just rubbing in how much better their life is than mine and are enjoying watching my sense of self worth deflate as they kindly berate me for my bad choices, my lethargy, my awkwardness...

Anyway, I admire you for who you are and what you do: a strong woman who pursues her goals with determined abandon. People will believe what they want to about how you achieved what you have; I suspect their ignorance is willful and no amount of rational rebuttal will budge their position.

But I suppose it doesn't hurt to try.