Updated: Nov 5, 2022
Ever since I can remember, there has never been a time when I can think of myself as a slim, young and gorgeous girl. I've always grown up a plump, happy girl and contrary to popular belief, I never thought of it as a 'bad' thing. That was until I hit the age of fourteen. And it's not like in my junior years I did not go through fat-shaming moments, I just did not give much heed to it. Just simply played it cool and although it did sting a little, it didn't matter much back then. I guess you could blame it on the childhood naiveté that helped me not care. But boy, you hit your teens and that one comment " You need to reduce" really punches you in the gut and sends you into a frenzy of hot-headed emotions.
The emotional turmoil hit me when I used to (and still do actually) go for these family get-togethers during the holidays, birthdays or any of the other events which consist of a good amount of adults, and no matter how hard I try to hide myself from exposing myself to ANY of the adults, unfortunately, there never has gone by an event when either an adult or one of the kids have not commented on my heavy physique. Normally I wouldn't care much about such comments, when said in public, brings out really different emotions. An achy feeling engulfs you as if has someone slapped you in the face and has burned you with a freakishly, steaming hot steel pipe. And you'll try and convince yourself that no one paid any heed and that one crass comment is no big deal, but deep down you know that the damage is done. It's in that very moment when all your self-esteem just collapses. The hours you took to get all dressed up and the joy you felt on the eve of attending a party just vanishes! And now all you just want to punch the person for that comment and then huddle under a comfy blanket, crying your lungs out while stuffing your face with ice cream.
That is just one scenario. Be it in school, where you have a teacher who will wholeheartedly pass out a comment in front of the entire class or even a student mocking your shape while you quietly walk down the school hallway or heck even in some mall, having a random, strange sales staff shame you about how fat or thin you really do not feel great.
I do value my health. And I'm sure most of us do too. There are many pining moments when I wish I was this girl with a perfect slim figure that does not have to undergo those horrid moments of fat-shaming. I fantasize about those scenarios when I can buy clothes without having to worry about whether or not it will make me look slim or to go to the doctors without having to wait for that anticipated embarrassing moment when the doctor says "your weight is pretty high".
I do my bit of working out and dieting. But let's be honest. Whoever has ever undergone the process weight loss knows that it's not easy, to be on a diet and undergo workouts, skip the desserts, switch to low carb products and did I mention diets? What's worse, in spite of doing all of that, still you will hear someone pipe up and generously share a body-shaming comment.
I've literally done everything, from HIIT's to diets, juice detox, water cleansers, intermittent fasting, even gone as far as to consume supplements and did I mention diets? You name it and I've done it. YET it just does not happen that easily. And after struggling so much, only to hear those harsh comments about how you "just need to shed some weight" to look good really makes you lose your mind. Can't a person not look good with her heavy physique?
Bottom line is, it's not about informing us about how to look after our body shape. For me, being in shape is something mandatory solely for the purpose of good health and sometimes it actually helps, that little bit of criticism, really boosts the motivation. It is, however, the way someone says it, the time at which they say it and the number of times they say it. No one likes to hear how fat you are while you are at a public gathering for thousands to hear and enjoy. It is humiliating and insulting even if it is for a VERY brief moment.
So, if you have ever thought of body a shaming a person or have body shamed someone for being too thin or too fat, don't ever do that. The toll it takes on the emotional state of the person is exhausting. And more importantly. why people are compelled to pass their unnecessary comments in the first place is a question to which I doubt we'll ever receive an answer to. It genuinely doesn't feel great hearing it no matter how well we try to brush it off. I hope you guys enjoyed and learned something from this piece.
Love Michelle Almeida