Are We Sending Fat People Into Hiding?

Today was a full day of errands for me.  I was driving down the main road by my house with my friend and her boyfriend.  We were at the stoplight and we see this large woman on her bike, donning shorts and a tank top, riding her bike across the street.  She wasn’t dressed immodestly at all, and it was hot out today (welcome to San Diego in January).  I saw her and I said, “Good for her.  I need to get my bike out and ride to places too.”  Then my friend’s boyfriend said,

“Yuck…she needs to stay in her lazy car so that no one else has to see that.”

It took every bone in my body to not tell him to get out of my car and walk the rest of the way to the grocery store.  Being overweight myself, I’m no stranger to the cruel comments made towards people like me.  Even though a lot of us seem to be okay, it does kind of sting.  Here, my friend’s boyfriend was saying this and it made me wonder if he had ever thought that about me when I run with his girlfriend.  Plus, I’m pretty active.  I play roller derby, I skate, I swim, surf, (try to) skateboard, I’ve ran two 5K’s and working on my third, take dance classes and I take a walk every day.  I’m a lot smaller than I used to be and I’m darn proud of myself for that.  I still have a long ways to go.  I’ve accomplished a lot in the last two years since I decided to live an active lifestyle and yet, I let comments like the one above, shame me into hiding on occasion.  Especially if I feel bloated.  The whole self-conscious issue bears it’s ugly head all over again.

We, as a society, have been taught to be prejudiced against overweight people.  Especially in the realms of finding a potential mate.  Now I have to preface that I am not “pro-being overweight”, I believe that each and every person needs to adapt to a healthy lifestyle and eat well in order to reach physical and mental harmony.  But think about how many times we have gawked at someone who is morbidly obese, especially if they aren’t wearing proper fitting clothes.  I’m just as guilty for laughing at the morbidly overweight on People of Walmart website.  We could excuse ourselves and say, “Well, they were out in public like that so they should be ready for that.”  I suppose this is an extreme scenario.  But how many times has a person looked at an overweight person riding a scooter and think, “They need to get up and take a walk around the block a few times” while having a look on their face?  And how many times has a girl been judged because she’s not a size 0?  Come on now!  It’s not just overweight people, it’s the issue of body image all over the place!  You really want to hurt someone?  Comment on their weight.

It’s the situations I have stated above that discourages some people to go into hiding and remain holed up in their homes while slowly gaining weight.  I let my weight hold me back for the longest time when finally I said, “F*ck it, if people are going to judge me…I just don’t care anymore.  It’s their problem.”  And since I stopped caring what people think of me (for 98% of the time), I’ve lost more weight than ever, I’m more active than I was in high school and I’m much happier.  Caring less about what other people think has taken care of my mind and soul and it seems as though the physical part is taking care of itself.  I will no longer go into hiding out of fear that people may comment on “the fat girl running” or “the fat girl skating on the street”.

To the people who are guilty of making those hurtful comments (like my friend’s boyfriend whose remaining anonymous), stop it.  What good are you doing by bullying and intentionally hurting people?  It’s an obvious reflection of how you feel about yourself and shows you have a world of other issues to deal with.  To those who have thought “the thoughts” but would never dare to say them out loud, start the process of changing the state of your mind.  If you see an overweight person and they’re giving it their all, smile at them.  If they are struggling and look like they could use a motivational ear, smile and say, “Keep going.  You got this.”  Who knows, your kindness could change that person’s life and help them to finally reach their goals of getting healthy.

My parting words to whoever is reading this and they’re trying to lose weight, it took me a long time to learn that weight loss starts from the inside out.  Take care of your mind and soul and the rest will follow suit.  I’m striving to be healthier in my every day life and losing weight is just an added bonus.  Mold your mind to become stronger against negativity on your journey to be healthier and not only will you feel good about yourself, you will also be empowered.

Not to mention, if the only “negative” thing people have to say about you is your weight, you’re already a pretty fabulous person and too cool to let comments like that get to you.

Stay healthy and stay strong, my friends.

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