I had a few ideas of what to write this month, but this was a topic that I just couldn’t put off! Some of you may remember that I lost over 100lbs from 2011-2013 (I have mentioned it in both of my previous posts), however, I’ve spent the majority of my life as an overweight person. I’ve worked so hard to get and stay healthy these last 10 years, but my body has been fighting me every step of the way.

Never in a million years did I think that fat phobia could get worse, especially being in the year 2021…but it has. What makes it even harder than when I was growing up in the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s is that we now have social media. We can literally never escape from the constant barrage of scrutiny!

It can be very difficult some days managing my emotions when it comes to this. For example…my husband and I go for walks and sometimes I will notice people giving me looks and stares (they are not discreet about it at all). FYI…We live in a very affluent area and most of the women around here are thin or in shape. When I tell him…he tries to tell me that people just look at people and that it doesn’t mean anything. I love my husband, but those are the words of someone who has NEVER been fat-shamed!

Of course, with these looks comes heaps of judgement and if they don’t verbalize what they are thinking by saying something like “fatty” or “moo”, (which thank God I haven’t gotten in ages)  we get to have a fun guessing game which usually turns into self-shaming!

Honestly, I get triggered A LOT on this subject and recently had a rant about it on Instagram. An account I follow (an acquaintance) who is a trainer and nutritionist, shared a post on her stories. I was appalled! The photo from this shared post said this: “WARNING…This might sting a bit: If you’re so unhappy with your weight gain that you’re in a rush to lose all of it quickly, you should’ve probably not neglected yourself for as long as you did. Sadly, you’re here now so calm the F down, do the work you’re supposed to do, and exhibit that thing you had so much of while you got fat: Patience.”

Not every person who is “fat” is the same and our reasons for being overweight are all different. No two people’s journeys are the same and it makes me crazy when we are lumped together into one group simply because of our body size! Instead of putting out a blanket judgement/statement like this, people need to try and actually be helpful or say nothing at all. This dude is supposedly also a trainer and I can guarantee what he posted hurt so many people! That’s not a good strategy for change! It is an adult form of bullying as well as fat shaming and fat phobia at its best…and I won’t stand for it!

I think even worse than random people you encounter on the street or on social media, is the fact that we are also fat-shamed by our doctors. I DREAD going to the doctor because I KNOW they will comment on my weight. It happens every time and every time I need to go over all of the things I do and don’t do to keep healthy. I can only imagine that some of them just don’t believe me! Then even when you tell them you don’t want to see your weight because it’s an emotional trigger, they put it on the front of your damn paperwork and hand it to you before you leave so you see it anyway!

Doctors will blame ANYTHING on your weight or your WEIGHT for everything that you’re feeling/going through! Headaches? Because you’re fat! Neck Pain? Because you’re fat! Ear Infection? Because you’re fat! Whatever the ailment…”if you could just lose a little weight, you’d feel better.” While I can attest to feeling better after losing all the weight, I can tell you I felt terrible while I was in the process of losing half of it!

Diet culture damaged me so severely over the years and severely restricting my caloric intake and over-exercising did a number on me! I lost 40lbs doing this and then got very, very, VERY sick! I was sick for almost a year and it was the worst time of my life! Moving forward from that, all of the years of doing things like that trashed my metabolism and the only way I continued losing weight was because I was healing my body!

Fast forward 8 years from that and I’ve had two more major surgeries including a hysterectomy which really messed me up! AND…I’m almost 40 as opposed to just being 30!! The struggle is real and it’s really hard!

It is both exhausting and terrifying being an overweight person! I’m sure there are others out there that are happy being in their bodies and are body positive and to them I say “I’m so happy for you”. I think it’s amazing and wonderful, but unfortunately I am not happy in my body! I know I’m not alone in feeling unhappy and each day holds different feelings and emotions. It is hard enough  being unhappy with yourself, but when you go outside or on social media and others are unhappy with you too (for no reason that directly affects them), it makes it that much harder to get through!

To any fat phobic, fat shaming people out there…we aren’t hurting you and honestly, you’re probably shaming us as a way to make yourself feel better. It’s not okay…it’s never okay! A quick word of advice…if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

To anyone else in the same boat as me, or anyone else who has ever been fat shamed or even just body shamed at all….I SEE YOU, I FEEL YOU, I AM WITH YOU!! Keep your head up XO

PS: This woman captures fat-shaming in real life. She did an installation and the photos are so relevant!

Self-employed piano and voice teacher, wellness enthusiast, fur mama living in CT. I love anything creative from music to crafting and photography. I love to be in nature and in the warmer months you’ll find me there.

Instagram @valeriealtman813

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