Fat Shaming

Do you think fat shaming works?


This is a question that has been rolling around my brain for a couple weeks now. I have been watching a show called Ruby. It is actually a really fun show to watch, though sometimes my husband cringes when she starts getting excited (think high pitch southern drawl). When she talks to her physical doctor or even some of the people who are supporting her through this journey, I hear a lot of what feels like fat shaming to me. I am not talking about the medical advice or even the scary health risks talks. No, I am talking about the conversations they have with her about this is just what she has to do because she is obese (for example them getting to eat junk around her and she had to stick to her healthy eating, pissed me off that they were “allowed” because they were skinnier) and the snickering they show that total strangers do while she walks by. The worst was where they showed a man openly and loudly talking about how disgusting she was. This is all fat shaming to me and I have a hard time with it.

It’s encouraging that we, as a society, are getting less and less tolerant of abusive behaviors, from domestic violence to discrimination against gays and lesbians to racial and ethnic slurs. Bullying is finally being recognized for the deeply destructive force it is. Seemingly, progress is being made toward a world where, legally and socially, it’s understood that all people have a right to be respected. Except, perhaps, those who are overweight. Sadly there are still many people who make fun of, shame or otherwise mistreat others who weigh more than they do. Somehow, discrimination against people who are obese remains socially acceptable. But it shouldn’t be — it’s hurtful and, more to the point, quite harmful.” (Source)

Do you not think obese people have not already shamed themselves? That they haven’t seen what eating junk food and not exercising has done for them? Do you think they want to be humiliated by not being able to fit in one airline seat or afraid to sit in certain chairs? I can tell you as an obese woman myself, most of us have already shamed ourselves enough. So why do professionals, strangers and even good meaning family/friends still fat shame?

I follow a lot of weight loss bloggers. I love success stories and I love to see what they are capable of doing now that they lost the weight. I love tips on what to eat and what exercises they are doing. It really helps me feel inspired. What doesn’t inspire me is telling me how disgusting and how horrible you looked as a bigger person. That just makes me want to click that un-follow button. I can understand saying that you didn’t feel comfortable or confident or even you felt bad in your own skin. But did you really just become beautiful the minute you lost the weight? No, you were probably always beautiful, just heavier. Why make people who are at the beginning of their journey hate themselves as well by spreading this ugly rumor that if you are bigger you are uglier? I also follow bloggers in the middle of their journey that have told horror stories of people driving by them while they are out exercising and making fun of them for being fat. Total strangers. What pops into your head while you are driving down the road and see a bigger person exercising that says, “let’s make fun of that person trying to get healthy and lose weight.” I can’t believe how cruel people can still be to obese people.

It is hard enough being obese in this world. We have to fight for clothes that don’t look like something our grandparents would wear (as well as pay out the nose for these fashionable clothes) and if you are pushing in the morbidly obese sometimes long dresses are all you can wear. It has gotten a little easier to be fashionable as a bigger woman but trust me when I was growing up, skirts and overalls were my thing due to never finding anything else in my size, I use to cry in dressing rooms as a teen. As an obese woman I worry about things that normal sized people probably take for granted, sitting in lawn chairs (those things have a weight limit), fitting into airplane seats (I have never had a problem, but I still worry), not fitting into a wet suit so I can snorkel on my vacation (the top size in women’s is a size 14 and the suits for men have a 3x but it still runs super small) and if I can get into a kayak in Mexico because of the weight limit. So don’t think for a second that we don’t feel shame or embarrassment or that most of us are making a choice to be this big. Sometimes it runs deeper than just get up, move your ass, put down the ice cream and lose the freaking weight.

In a recent study, a group of obese women were asked to keep a daily journal recording instances where others made them feel bad about themselves. It was all too common for women in the study to report experiencing insults and humiliations every day. Imagine — every day. They were shamed by strangers as well as colleagues, friends, family members and loved ones.” (source)

Some of us who are obese are really struggling with real problems. I have been fat shamed myself. I spent most of my teens years absolutely hating and trying to hide my body because I was fat shamed. Did you know the PCOS causes weight gain? I didn’t either till recently. I started gaining huge amounts of weight when I started my period at age 13. I watched my pant size go from an 8 to a 14 in what felt like one year. I learned later on in life that as a woman with PCOS I am insulin resistant.

Women with PCOS have what is called insulin resistance. This means that cells in the body are resistant to the effect of a normal level of insulin. More insulin is then produced to keep the blood sugar normal.” (Source) 

I take medication for it but the only way to truly lose weight for me is to cut out most of my carbohydrates. I have to be very strict on what I eat most days. On top of this I also battle an emotional eating problem. I use food to help myself deal with stress. I fight for every pound I lose and it is super easy for me to gain those pounds back. So again, tell me how I just need to move my body and quit eating ice cream??

I am not the only story of obesity, there are many different stories and faces. For some people it is just purely that they don’t eat healthy because they never learned or have never taken the time to learn. Some people have health complications like me. Some people find that once the weight stacks on it is really hard to do the things you need to in order to lose weight. Some people have emotional reasons for why they gained weight. The list really can go on. There is no one shoe fits all.

Now I do believe people should be healthy and I worry about the obesity epidemic. I do. I am an obese person who is worried about obesity but only because I am worried about the health implications. I spend a lot of time worrying about heart issues and health complications from my own weight. I work really hard to do what I can each day to fight all these things. But I can tell you this, fat shaming never helped me do crap. I am always horrified when I see the things people are capable of saying and how much they are capable of hurting each other with words alone. I can tell you this, FAT SHAMING DOESN’T WORK, so stop doing it. Seriously. There are plenty of ways to help the bigger people in your life get healthy without making them feel like crap.

“Weight bias has been documented not only among the general public but also among health professionals, and many obese patients report being treated disrespectfully by doctors because of their weight. Everyone, including doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight and offer support, and where appropriate, treatment,” Wardle added in a university news release.” (Source)

So maybe instead of snickering or making fun of obese people or using shame to scare someone you love into losing weight, we should try a little empathy, a little bit of kindness, a little bit of respect and talking to them instead. Imagine being over 300 pounds and needing to get THAT much weight off. If you have never tried it, you can’t imagine the extreme amount of strength it truly takes to even take the first step. If you only have snide hurtful comments to make, don’t say them. Offer to go on a walking date. Offer to try a new healthy recipe with them. Tell them that you are worried about them. Express how much you love them. Support them. Listen to them when they are having a really rough day. Join a gym with them and go work out so they don’t feel self conscious. Don’t get angry when they back track a bit. This is a huge change for most obese people. I know it has been a tough and downright frustrating journey for me so far. But it has been the love, the kindness and the encouragement from the people around me that push me to fight another day over any kind of fat shaming or making me feel bad about my body. And above all, remember you have your own faults and things you are self conscious about, how would you like it if someone shamed you?


To be honest, I know that skinny people get shamed as well. We are a society who make judgments on bodies like it is no ones business. I am just an obese woman, so I am more able to talk about fat shaming than I am skinny shaming. But I feel the exact same way about it. Don’t shame anyone for what they look like. And if you are that person shaming yourself in your own head, stop it. I have been there, done that and still do most days. Work on being a little more positive with yourself. Take your mistakes and bad moments with a little more forgiveness. Take it a day at a time. Don’t feel embarrassed to talk about it, lean on others and to seek professional help if you need to. This is a tough journey but shouldn’t feel bad about doing it, we should feel good about each step of it.

How do you feel about fat shaming?

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4 thoughts on “Fat Shaming

  1. Fat shaming is a hard one. I definitely did it to MYSELF for so so long. I am trying not to do that, to not look at my worth as just my weight. It's a struggle.

  2. First of all, I love Ruby.That's sensitive! Love her heart! <3 I totally agree with this post! You know one thing I hate? Seeing obese people on tv (news, etc) walking around the mall and such usually eating with their faces blurred out. I always thought that would be so embarrassing! I think we struggle with so many emotions before during and after a weight loss journey.
    xo Krissy @ Sneakers and Sequins

  3. Ruby has a great heart, I think that is why I keep watching her show. Oh gosh I hate that as well, it would be embarrassing, extremely embarrassing. I do struggle with tons of emotions and I do have to reset my journey every once in awhile when I realize I am getting overwhelmed. It is a really tough journey.

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