Friday, September 18, 2015

Fat Shaming or Honesty?


Happy Friday.

Romans 12:1-2  - I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

There is a lot of talk about fat shaming going on these days.  Some trainer or personality says all the news about plus-size models is bad because these women are unhealthy. There is a Fat Life show on TLC (I don't watch it because I don't think being that heavy is funny).  I confess that I have not listened to the video that caused the ruckus, but since I am heavy, I will say this....

The truth is, it takes courage to help someone that you love or care about understand that being so heavy is terribly unhealthy!  So, I am going to attempt to come at this weighty issue with a different perspective.

For the past 12 years, I have been very heavy. I thought I was FAT when I was younger because I was told I was by an abusive mother and other relatives... but it turns out, I was slim (just not skinny). I hate when that happens.  Anyway - let me give you some facts about me.
  • I've always been a short person with broad shoulders. No I am  not big-boned, I just have broad shoulders. Great for gymnastics. 
  • I loved to dance, was fairly good at it, BUT when I was growing up, GOOD dancers were tall (well, at least 5'7".
  • There were times in my life that I was heavy growing up. My way of protecting myself from certain abuses that were going on... probably largely due to depression/anxiety.
  • I carried my living child to term when I was 40. Pregnancy and I did not get along and I gained a lot of weight and had complications... fast forward to NOW.
  • I'm 51, 5'2" and I weigh 240 lbs. Yep. You read that right. The problem is, people don't want to hurt my feelings and say I am fat/plump/unhealthy, etc... but I AM!  
Right after my child was born (I'll be 52 in October, he'll be 12), I lost a ton of weight, and in fact, I really only had about 40 lbs to lose back then. Slowly but surely the weight has crept on. I've droned on and on for YEARS about getting in shape and losing weight, but I haven't. AND I didn't "SEE" myself as one of those big women.

But then I saw this picture, and I was devastated. THIS is what others see:


I am sitting on the far left, with my back to the photog. I am twice as wide as the person sitting next to me. I am the fat woman. And it's embarrassing.

You are reading thinking, "she's being hard on herself", but I'm not. I'm being HONEST!  I am sick of people saying "you have such a pretty face". We all know that is code for, "thank God your face is holding up, because the rest of you... not so much!" LOL Truly!

So what is the point of my title? My point is complicated. Why is it taboo for a friend/family member to say, "maybe you should have a salad and fruit instead of a burger"? Why is it taboo for a friend/family member to say, "you need to work out and get some of that weight off"?  Why shouldn't a doctor be saying, "lady, you have got to get a grip... you are hurting your joints, your organs, etc..."

People who love you SHOULD (in my opinion) care about you enough to let you know when you are walking down any path that is unhealthy. And since I have 110 lbs to lose - I can say, for certain, that it would be less aggravating if people helped me, reminded me... because honestly I don't always think about it.

I am not saying it is easy to approach things. I am not saying it is ANYONE else's fault I am heavy. It is only my fault. I've been depressed the past 7+ years I guess... living here has been hard on me in every way. Though we are coming up on 10 years in North Texas, I have never lived ANYWHERE that has taken me so long to adjust. Clearly I turned to food. I'm a great cook. Sure, I cook healthy - but if you eat and never exercise, you will gain weight. I've gained ten pounds a year since we moved here. Sigh... I've talked about it the whole time. My husband and son are heavy too. I've badgered them about it (well, I think it is loving, they think it is badgering... I'm sure some days it is).  Well - talk is cheap.

Sadly, our insurance doesn't cover Nutritional help unless you have diabetes. You know, because that makes sense to NO ONE! I wish I knew a nutritionist. I don't want to count points. I don't want to read a complicated book. I just want someone to say eat ____ calories, here are some menu examples. You know?

I am awake now, thanks to the picture above. I have seen others and thought, "I look fat"... but this was taken by someone else.. and it embarrassed me.  The person would hate that thought... they are kind. But it's true. I have tried many things and failed. But I can not sit idly by while weight gain kills me. I have a young son, and grandchildren.

So if you know someone who is heavy (especially if they haven't always been), what can you do -
  • Tell them you are concerned.
  • Offer to walk with or exercise with them.
  • Love them, but be honest with them.
  • Please DO NOT tell them they aren't fat or heavy (whatever word you want to use). I mean it. If they say, I am so fat... you say, "I love you, but you do need to lose some weight, how can I help!"  
  • Encourage them.
This is NOT fat shaming. This is honesty. This is LOVE! And love is not always easy!

I am in a better place now.  I am coming out of the depression.  I am clear about who my friends are and who they are not.  Being here in Texas, being lonely for true friendship.... it's been a crazy ride mentally (and physically). I am assuming this is what needed to happen in my life to help me SEE many things differently. I can tell you this...  The Lord guides me. HE is saying, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS! He doesn't berate me if I don't work out. But He is not happy with laziness or gluttony. Right?!   Regardless of your answer, I feel I must Obey HIM!

And listen, if you are a friend who tells me I am beautiful in spite of the weight. Or if you are my husband who thinks I am sexy in spite of the weight - I love you dearly.  I appreciate your wanting me to feel good about myself I do!  I'm a good person. I'm a good friend, etc. I have many great attributes. But please... Please do not tell me I'm not heavy and that I am healthy. It's a lie.

We have become so politically correct that we are afraid to be honest with our friends. We can't encourage because we might say it wrong.... and we dang sure can't disagree with one-another... OR CAN WE? I say, let's kick PC to the curb and co-exist in a world that is full of honest people who help one another with NO negative repercussions.

So what'd you think? I'd love to hear your opinion on this topic.

If you are heavy, seek counsel in a doctor/nutritionist/friend. Make a plan. You can do it. I am starting to... It isn't easy, but with God, ANYTHING is possible.

Please pray for me as I need to be diligent about walking and moving more. My legs are starting to swell from lack of movement. I'm fearful, but know this is the wake-up call I need.

One more thing - I am in NO WAY suggesting that you be mean to anyone. That you purposely humiliate them in public or private. I am saying - we have to be honest with ourselves and our friends/family. If not, what kind of person are we?

Hugs & blessings,
Em

2 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, what an amazing post. And so honest Em.

    I never truly thought about the implications of not saying something to someone I love about her weight, to tell you the truth. I guess in retrospect it is unfair and a disservice to the person you love. My sister is battling wieght issues --- but knows she is and "is going to try," acc to her. I've never said anything bc I feel like it is adding to her stress over it---but the suggestions you give are so awesome......

    Thank you for this!!

    And on another topic---I can now com bc you don't have WP any more. But I don;t see hoe to subscribe...do you have email sub?

    xoxoxo

    "See" you soon my friend and thank you again

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    1. Thank you Chris. I do have two ways to follow on the right hand side. I will look for the subscribe widget.
      I'm new at Blogger. I used to use it. SO much has changed.

      Em

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Em