“Fat Shaming” – Is it wrong

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    “Fat Shaming” – Is it wrong, why do people do it, how do we address it?

    The name says it all, to shame someone because they are overweight. The real question is; is it shameful to be overweight? Every single body builder is technically overweight. Most athletes are considered “obese” on the BMI scale. Why is “fat shaming” even a ‘thing’ and why do some people do it? How can we address obesity without fat shaming?

    What is being “fat?”

    First, we need to understand what the clinical understanding of being “fat” is. An actual clinical term is “obesity” which means to have an excessive amount of body fat which greatly increase health risks. Let us first understand the impact and ramifications of this clinical state, then we can dive into the correct response to helping this issue.

    What are the scientific ramifications for being overweight or obese?

    High blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke, Type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol which can lead to heart disease and stroke, joint problems, sleep apnea, and gallstones are just a few health risks of being obese. Those are some serious risks and they can all be conditions of obesity. This then leads to very expensive healthcare costs.

    What are the cultural and societal impact for being overweight or obese?

    Due to the greater risk of stokes, heart attacks, poor mobility and disability and the costs associated; persons who are obese have a greater burden of financial responsibility on their family, employer, and tax payers in general. Their medications and doctor visits are also increased more than a non-obese person.

    In 2017, healthcare costs in America was 3.5 TRILLION dollars with an estimated 33.7% of the US population considered clinically obese. That means, over 1 TRILLION dollars go towards the healthcare costs of those who are obese alone. Given that America is moving toward a more tax-payer funded healthcare system, that means a greater burden of taxes to support the system.

    This impacts employers in that obese employees require more time out of work due to an increased amount of doctor visits and health incidents. They are also at a greater risk of emergency PTO due to their greater health risks.

    What are the personal and family dynamic impact for being overweight or obese?

    The person impacts are the greatest. Imagine being unable to play football with your own child or cheer them on as they pass the finish line at a marathon they trained for. You were unable to ether because you were in the hospital, had a doctor visits, or just physically unable due to your mobile limitations. Imagine your children and grad children only remembering how sick you were and how immobile you were growing up and that is their childhood memory of you.

    Those who are severely obese depend on their family to help take care of them. This includes home care and transportation to the doctor and hospital. This would then require them to take time out of work, school, or time away from their personal obligations.

    Overweight and Obesity overview

    We know, for a fact, that obesity negatively impacts the individual, family, and local community. Studies have proven it greatly increases health risks and is an ever growing financial burden. And, that’s not being “mean.” That is just the facts, and facts and truth don’t really care about anyone’s feelings. BUT, we can and should. This issue in America NEEDS to be addressed, but shaming someone is not the answer.

    There are several ways WE as an individual and as a society can address the obesity issue; instead of “fat shaming”

    Don’t be a liar. Lying to your loved one about their obesity is NOT LOVING. It is the exact opposite. It shows that you are content with their HEALTH RISKS! If they ask, you should respond with, “what answer are you looking for me to give?” And avoid the “fat” word. It is unnecessary. Instead, direct the conversation toward their weight and its health risks, if they don’t have health issues already.
    Validate honest feelings. If they express concern about their weight, validate it by agreeing with them subtly and saying “I understand its been hard and frustrating and I see your upset.” Don’t try to drive right into any self perceived solutions. The biggest step is getting them to accept the need for change and building the self will to do it.
    Support their efforts. Encourage healthy habits and support small realistic goals. Join the fight with them but having their same health diet, working out with them, walking up and down the stairs with them. Join their positive health journey. And when, or if, they fail, you continue it and support them getting right back with it.
    Don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t dare tell someone to eat right, as you eat McDonalds. You need to stfu and fix yourself. Don’t dare tell someone they need to workout if you never workout. Don’t even say things like “Oh you are doing good, good job” when you are unwilling to do the same; kinda shows you as a liar in that you don’t even really value your own advice.
    Celebrate progress. When those small realistic goals are reached, celebrate it, but in a personal yet healthy way. Reward with gifts and outings like retail therapy or going to a concert. Even if they didn’t hit their goal specifically, yet, they are still making progress, celebrate that.

    WHY do people “fat shame?”

    There are a number of reasons. The friend or family member may do it to make themselves feel better about their lack of fitness or self-control. Others may just love that control and reaction over someone elses’ feelings by putting them down. Yet others may feel superior in their fitness and health level and are just condescending assholes. Regardless, is there any time to shame someone for being obese?

    Can it be shameful?”

    If that person LOVES their obesity. That is shameful. For all the reasons laid out above. That would be the same thing as someone who LOVES being a burden on their employer, friends, family, community, and society. Someone who LOVES the attention and sympathy they get from all their health issues. This person, should be shamed because THAT mentality of their obesity is shameful.

    Often times, these shameful people are supported by others who say dumb hateful things like “Just love you for you.” Or “just love the skin your in.” And totally dodge, hide, and avoid the serious health concerns of the person they claim to care for. They would rather make that obese person feel all warm and fuzzy for the short term, then be actually caring and support healthy change long term. Those “friends” are shameful too.

    Now I’m going to be honest. To some people, beauty is relative. Which, it may be, but “beauty” in the context of health is very easy to understand. In the context of human health and fitness, obesity is not beautiful. There it is. I said it. In the context of human health and fitness, being healthy and fit is beautifully gorgeous or hansom. The same understanding of “sexy” too. This is a thing that is not defined by the individual. You do not determine yourself to be “sexy”. An outside, 3rd party does. In the context of human health and fitness, “sexy” is a healthy and fit figure and appearance; validated by the community who live in the context of health and fitness.

    If you struggle with obesity,

    I support your desires to change. I do this site for the average Joes like you and me. I want to share my perspective in the hopes it sparks a healthy fire for healthy living and to change your perception and outlook on life. All we have are memories of our friends and family from the past. How do you want the people you care about to remember you? Do you want to experience that feeling of pure joy and excitement of being able to experience LIFE, fully and completely, with them? Dig deep. Find that inner fire. Hit the reset button on your friends, if needed. Take charge and command your healthy life. Enlist your family to support YOUR goals and your efforts. Make LIFE your GYM 😉

    If you are overweight or obese, there are several causes that you can directly impact and control. Such as stress. Stress is a MAJOR factor in obesity [3]. Next is poor dietary habits. The quality of food and the portion sizes are completely up to you. Eliminating unhelpful counter productive influences such as loser friends that just tell you “your sexy and beautiful” when you are morbidly obese on the verge of serious health risks, is also up to you. You could put them in check, and enlist them in improving your health. Being more active and moving more, is up to you.

    Even having genetic or medications that “cause” weight gain is still in your control. See, the human body doesn’t “create” calories and turn them into fat. Your body is depended on what you eat, to convert it into fat. Reducing calorie intake and improving the quality of food, no matter the genetic issue or medication, will positively impact that!

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