I got Fat Shamed Last Week, and then this happened

November 20, 2017

fat shameLast week someone I just met fat shamed me. In person, to my face, while I was working in a position of authority. I was shocked but I was also sure that it was happening for a reason, to show me that I have fallen off course. My initial thought when this happened was that before you assume that someone is overweight because they have no self control, be interested in them and their story. You may find out that they have recently lost 90lbs, or started fertility treatments or have an illness that makes losing weight difficult. You don’t know their full story. #allbodiesaregoodbodies


I shared this much on Facebook last night and the outpouring of love and support has been very inspiring.  55 likes and 25 comments so far.  The comments range from “People are stupid” (they are) and “I’m sorry you had to go through this” to “I get this all the time too”.  This is happening all over the place.

After posting to Facebook I got in the car for an hour long drive with my family.  Mostly it was quiet in the car as we tried to get the kids to fall asleep.  As the comments kept pouring in on my phone (don’t worry I wasn’t driving), I starting remember all the times in my life when someone has fat shamed me, although this time I had the actually vocabulary for what it was.  I remember one of the first times was when I was trying on my prom dress and a particularly cruel comment came from my dad about how I should “lose 5lbs”.  I wrote about it last year without calling him out but then he flat out asked me, “Was I the one who said that to you?” Yes, Dad.  He claims he meant is jokingly because in his adult circles of men the answer to any problem was “Hey, just lose 5lbs!”. For a 17 year old girl, the comment didn’t come off jokingly at all, and I immediately tried to lose 5lbs without having a clue how do to it.  (I remember thinking Teddy Grahams were low fat?) At the time I was 136lbs.  AKA, not fat and not overweight.  Unfortunately, as I sat in the car and remembered this story, I realized I had been not necessarily “fat shamed” all my life, but definitely “appetite shamed” by adults in my family ever since I was little.  I was never fat, but I did have a big appetite and I was constantly being scolded for having seconds or eating the leftovers on my brother’s plate with the warning of, “You’re going to get fat”.  I was between the ages of 8-14 when this was happening. And guess what, I eventually did get fat.  Thanks a lot.

Once at the beach when I was 16 or 17 a family friend commented (out of nowhere) that if I could lose weight around my bra strap area (which she pinched with her fingers) that I could wear a bikini.  Again, I was 136lbs and probably in the best bikini shape of my life.

Once I became a health coach and started sharing my story on social media it was like I gave every fat shamer permission to comment on MY weight.  I would get looks up and down my body as if it say, “YOU are a health coach??”.  Yes, Yes I am.  You know why? Because I understand the journey. Not because I am perfect. I am in the trenches with you.

Last week, I showed up at a meeting where I knew only 1 person in the room and I was there representing my networking organization.  The “weight loss coach” and I met and I mentioned to her that I’d heard of her and that I was a certified health coach.  She immediately told me that my method with my clients didn’t work (it does) and that she had a better method (okay….).  I laughed it off and kept it polite because #1) I don’t like to argue with people about weight loss methods because there are so many that can work depending on your body type and #2), I wasn’t there in a health coaching capacity.  She asked me how much weight I’d lost on my program and I told her 40lbs.

After the meeting ended in which I didn’t eat (I was cleansing) and I gave a 10 minute presentation in front of the room, the “weight loss coach” came over to me and said, “I looked at your body, and I see how you’re built.  I think I can help you lose weight.” For which I assumed the subtext was, “I see that you’re still fat despite being a health coach.”


In my head I thought, “Is this skinny bitch FAT SHAMING me?? I’m not even that fat?!”  (I’m actually a size or 2 smaller than the average American woman) She was fat shaming me and ultimately I think she meant well.  But she was missing VITAL parts of my story that would have given her the context for my weight.  Those details are private and not something I’m bringing up at a networking group.  She also didn’t have my agreement that I WANTED to lose more weight.  Perhaps, I am happy where I am.

It was the first time that as it was happening I realized, this is what fat shaming is.  Of course it’s happened to me before but I never knew what to call it.  Thanks, overly politically correct media for giving me the words.

Here’s the thing, I have gained weight recently.  I’m not sure why but it can be any combination of slacking on my diet, working out less, starting a new job, taking new medications etc.  I’m in the process of figuring it out.  I knew because my clothes didn’t fit the same and I was concerned but fortunately I wasn’t totally horrified by it (personal growth right there) until this woman fat shamed me.  I immediately went home and started planning how I was going to get back on track.  It worked.  She shamed me and I took action.  Now I feel really horrible because I thought I was going to write a piece about how this terrible thing was said to me and I dealt with it and I loved my body just the way it is, blah blah blah.  But I don’t.

I got on the scale and saw a number I was definitely not comfortable with and got to work.  So far I’ve released 7.2lbs since the fat shaming incident.  For my personality this kind of shame jolts me into action, but I recognize that fat shaming doesn’t work as a kickstarter for everyone.  Many times this comments get buried deep down inside us in that special place we remember all the hurtful stuff and comes up when we’re not feeling our best.  I still remember the restaurant I was at when I was first told, “You eat too much…for a girl.”

My husband shared with me the times his gymnastics coach fat shamed him as a child. I remembered times when directors of plays did it to me and teachers and so many family members.  I remembered when I was pregnant and people would stop me on the street to ask if it was twins (that’s fat shaming too right?).  I remember the first time I was offered a seat on subway post pregnancy and thought, “oh shit, I must still look pregnant.”

Then, I tried to remember if I had ever fat shamed someone.  Probably I have without even realizing it.  Hell, we live in a culture where you can say all sorts of nasty things online and just run the risk of being un-friended or un-followed.  I’m not proud of it at all.  Especially now that I have a daughter, how do I end the cycle for her? How do I make sure she’s healthy and happy without shaming her the way I was all throughout my childhood.  How do I say to my loved ones who have gained weight, “I’m concerned about you, I want to help” without being an asshole and fat shaming them?  I’m still thinking about that.  I don’t have the answer just yet.

In the end, I remembered a quote I heard Idina Menzel say about not hitting a high note during a live-performance of her infamous “Let it Go” song from Frozen.  She said something to the effect of, “I am more than the notes I can hit.”

Well, I am more than a number on a scale. I am more than a clothing size on a label. All that is MARIE can not be defined by those constructs. I am on a journey until I go in the ground. I am #humanAF.  If you don’t like it, then un-friend me or un-follow.  If you are truly concerned about me, say that.  I am proud of my body.  It has given me 2 healthy children and showed up EVERYDAY of my life for 36 years.  I am strong.  I am imperfect. I accept myself for who I am everyday.  I forgive all the fat shamers in my past. I forgive myself for eating cookies and gaining weight.  I forgive my genetics for giving me big boobs and hips and thighs.  

I am on a quest to always be improving and finding new ways to be healthy.  

I am me. I am free. I am loved.  I am grateful and I am curious.  I am here to speak up.  I am here to share my experiences in the hopes it comforts one person reading.  I am brave.

Thank you for reading.

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