Fat Shaming: Not My Problem, Not Yours Either

fat shaming meal

This week my fellow Canadian Nicole Arbour, started a YouTube fight with all the fat people in the world. I guess that includes me! She made women, and probably some men, really angry. She was labelled a Fat Shamer.

If you don’t know what “Fat Shaming” is, here’s a definition from PsychologyToday.com, where they define it as, “An act of bullying, singling out, discriminating, or making fun of a fat person. The shaming may be performed under the guise of helping the person who is overweight/obese realize they need to lose weight or they will die, become ill, and/or never succeed in life or relationships. Fat shaming is an individual bias against people who are considered unattractive, stupid, lazy, or lacking self-control.”

Well, if that’s the definition, then I’ve certainly been fat shamed my entire life, except for the few short years I maintained a healthy weight and of course during that time many people thought I had an eating disorder, was on drugs, or perpetually dieting. None of their assumptions and concerns had any truth to it.

body care

Dear fellow overweight and obese persons, this world is full of a lot of mean and cruel people. If mean people aren’t shaming you for one thing, they’ll shame you for another. Are you short, skinny, red haired, blonde, White, Black, Asian? Are you a human being? Then guess what, someone at some point in your life will shame you for something.

Is shaming ever alright? No.

Shame: “A painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety; b) the susceptibility to such emotion”(Webster’s Dictionary).

shame Brene Brown

I don’t give into so-called fat shaming because 1) I know I’m fat. No one is telling me something I don’t already know; 2) I and only I am to blame for having become obese many different times in my life; 3) I’m the only one who keeps me overweight; 4) If I have a problem with being fat, then I am responsible for doing something about it in a healthy way.

It’s important to learn how to process and manage our emotions. Whether or not you give into fat shaming depends on you and how you handle uncomfortable emotions. You could lose 10 or 100 pounds, but that won’t change how you deal with guilt, blame, bullying, discrimination, or any other negative behaviour society’s meanies throw at you.

Regardless of what you weigh and the percentage of body fat you carry on your body, it’s important to know your identity in Christ.

Colossians 3: 1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Maintaining a healthy body fat percentage is important, but it doesn’t define who you are as a person. God doesn’t want our body shape and weight to determine our value on this earth.

It’s also important to realize that not everyone who is concerned about your weight is fat shaming you. If someone’s weight becomes an issue of life or death, any caring or concerned person will speak up and encourage you to seek help. I would never let a loved one become so obese they could no longer stand, go to the bathroom, or became bed ridden. There are also those who have let their unhealthy habits worsen their diabetes, cause high blood pressure, or ruined their immune system. No one is trying to guilt you into health, those around you are simply stating the facts out of concern and love.

Proverbs 20:15 “There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.”

Instead of taking truth filled health advice as bitter poison; look at it instead as something precious.

QUESTION: How do you handle your emotions when people confront you about your habits? Do you “shoot the messenger” or do you give thought and prayer to their words?

ACTION: Ask God to reveal any sensitive areas in your life where you are resistant to help. Ask God to help you confront habits that need to be changed. Ask God to help you address those who give you wanted or unsolicited advice or information.