A dear friend of mine and a Tampa Bay Moms Group fitness challenge participant posted this article in our group this morning- On Concern For Your Fat Friend’s Health from the blog, Your Fat Friend. It’s a little long but well worth the read. I’ll admit I skimmed it the first time but took the time to sit down and read it again. Really read it.
I’ll be honest. Many times I do see overweight people as being fat. Just like I see a black man as a black man. I see a bratty kid as a bratty kid. An old, white lady as an old, white lady. Yes, they are different people underneath but you can’t see that when you look at them. Read a book and you’ll see the words an author uses to describe someone. They describe the way they look first. Throughout the book, you learn to see the real person. I’ll also be honest in saying that there are times I see overweight moms and want to tell them about my fitness challenges. But I don’t because I don’t know them or their circumstances. I’ll also admit that I am able to see beyond that. There was a woman standing in CVS last week and I first noticed how pretty she was. Then I noticed her weight and I wondered if others could see past her weight and see the beauty of her face. And there is more than that. She could have an amazing personality….or she could be a first rate bitch. You can’t tell by looking at people on the outside but we can’t walk around getting to know every single person we see on the street and the outside is what we see first.
As a society we judge. It’s not right, but we do it. We look at pretty people and assume they know they are pretty and sometimes we hate them for it. What we don’t know is that they may look in the mirror and see an ugly person wishing they were pretty. There was a mom who I didn’t know that joined my Real Fit Mom closed group on Facebook. She was always posting about going to the gym and how much she could squat. She annoyed me. She annoyed others. I can’t speak for everyone but for me, I sneered at her because she was actually getting off of her ass and going to the gym while I sat on my ass on Facebook. Then I got to know her and I absolutely love her. My best friend walks with her head held high, she’s confident and people assume she’s a bitch. I’ve been walking behind her and have heard catty women say it flat out. But, she’s one of the sweetest, caring people I know.
We look at (ok, I’ll just say it) fat people and automatically assume that if they’d just exercise and eat healthy that they will lose weight. We look at them and assume that they aren’t healthy. But, as the author of the above blog post states, that’s not always the case. Just because someone has extra weight, doesn’t mean they aren’t healthy. Even if they are, it’s not our business to tell them, or our right to judge them. Chances are, they already know. That’s between them and their doctor. Furthermore, not everyone CAN lose weight. I have two family members who used to be thin. Both, for different reasons, gained weight but right now, neither one can lose it no matter how hard they try because of health issues. Your Fat Friend may not be able to lose most of her weight like many others, but there are thousands who can. I see it every day in fitness groups on Facebook filled with women from all over the world. Most of them do it with time, exercise, healthy food, persistence and a shit-load of motivation and drive. I’ve seen children do it as well. Not everyone has to be fat but for those that do, don’t look at them and assume they are going to die because they are fat. Chances are, they could have better cholesterol and lower blood pressure than you do.
I decided to read a few other posts from Your Fat Friend and found The Divine Liberation of Calling Myself Fat. She knows she’s fat and she’s comfortable with it. She can joke with her close friends about it. She knows she’s healthy, she knows she’s fat and she’s ok. Other people will wind up hurting her feelings throughout her life, but she’ll get through those moments and most likely blog about it which can be extremely therapeutic. Not everyone is that secure and we need to remember that.
I believe that, as a society, we are becoming too sensitive about things. However, I also believe that we’ve become too comfortable hiding behind our computers. Before you say something online, stop and think if you’d say it to someone in person. If you would, and if it’s a mean comment, are you saying it because you’re having a shitty day or are you really just an asshole? Either way, it’s not right but at the end of the day, you have to live with yourself and your actions- whether those are being a nasty person, an emotional eater, a determined fit mom, a pretty fat girl, an ornery old lady or a black guy wearing Harry Potter socks.