Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dear fat people thoughts

So, yes, fat shaming is a thing and it's a horrible thing. That's like shaming someone who is suicidal. Or shaming someone who has a drug addiction. Wait... isn't it OK to shame that person? Well ask yourself, do you think that most people get addicted to drugs because they are just bad people or stupid? People who seek drugs to fix problems have mental disorders or chemical imbalances and they use the drugs to self-medicate In a way, food issues are similar. People need to understand that people metabolize food differently, etc. Some of us are more prone to gaining weight than others. Some of us are more likely to have mental battles with food than others and that is chemical related - quite literally the brain telling you to eat sugar (especially) when you don't need it.

In my experience, for me, and for me only can I speak for. I feel I'm most like a drug addict. And I can control my addiction or give into my addiction. Controlling my addiction helps me have better health, better relationships, better mental health, but those temptations are not just temptations, they are chemical wirings in my brain that speak to me to eat  bad things short term that will, in the end, make me feel worse long term. My body is only worrying about short term "feel good" fixes... like a drug. That sugar will boost my spirit, my energy, my mood... for an hour or two... then I need another hit which then leads to this sugar high and crash and leads to all sorts of "icky" lethargic feels, depression, and serious health effects - high blood pressure, blood sugar issues, heart disease, achey joints, etc.

So, my goal is to control my addiction by not feeding into my addiction. I need to monitor my sugar intake so that I can control those "voices" that are brain chemicals telling me I need to eat more sugars. I try to get good sleep and to keep stress low as controlling those factors help me make better decisions. But like all addicts, it's a tightrope walk. I managed for a year, slipped a few months, managed for a few months, slipped for almost a year... and now I'm managing again - always learning new ways to help me deal with my sugar addiction which led to obesity.

And while I say I can only speak for myself, I know I am not alone in this addiction and more and more research is supporting this understanding of why so many of us have a hard time with losing weight and keeping it off. And sugar is everywhere, so managing to constantly say no to the ice cream, cakes, cookies, breads, rice, potatoes, pastas, etc. Is very difficult. And while a non-addict can have a bit meal (or a swig of alcohol) and not feel tempted to have more and more. An addict never knows where the tipping point of when is too much that will lead to a complete falling off the wagon. Do you need to think about that when you eat a small slice of cake or a plate of pasta? I do, every. single. time. Now imagine how hard that is.

So, this new video that is viral about fat shaming is a difficult one for me. If you haven't seen it, here it is:

The comedian is crass, but so are many. That's not my style, but it has it's audience. And I have to say in the beginning, it's not crude, mean, fat shaming. "You are killing yourself" (True). "You are robbing your family from you by not being healthy." (True). Try to make better decisions. (True - though can be hard). It sounds a bit like she shows true concern for the well-being of an obese person (or at least I saw it that way). Later, it devolves into fat shaming - 100%.

As a fat person most of my life, I see how my fatness affects my loved ones. It's not the fat itself, but how it makes me as a person - moodier, tired, depressive, unable to take part in things, etc. And when I'm deep in the throws of the sugar addiction, even when I KNOW how it's affecting my family and my own self, I do not have the power to snap out of it. Shaming me on that makes it even harder for me to get out of those woes.  Loving concern does help.

That is where I have a hard time with the line of what is fat shaming and what is trying to help someone who is struggling with a food addiction.

Yes, 100% that a person has value, all of his or her value as a fat person as a thinner person. BUT... enabling an addict is not helpful. Shaming an addict isn't helpful.

What we need is understanding. Even many fat people don't have understanding or many formerly fat people. I know MANY thin people who used to be fat and some of them think fat people are lazy - all of them. Because now they can say. "I was fat. I got off my butt and started working out. I stopped stuffing my face. So can you." While this is true, it's forgetting how those mental battles work. And, it's assuming that every fat person is the same. We are not. I know why I'm fat and why I struggle. I can speak for me and me alone and even with saying that, it's hard for me to not pass judgement too. It's hard for me to watch people I care about dying slowly by not taking care of their body because that is/was me too.

So, let me say, I do not try to fat shame - now or ever. But I also have a hard time saying, "it's okay to not care about our bodies." I would want a drug addict to kick their addiction, so I would want a food addict to kick his/her addiction. But shaming them won't help. But enabling them to keep destroying their health isn't helping them either. So what do we do?

Empathize. Understand. Trying not to judge. Try not to make assumptions. Forgive.

Self-love is important and crucial. So, I understand the movement to allow and encourage even the extremely obese to show love for themselves and their bodies. My hope is showing that self-love will lead to self-healing and to taking better care of the body (which may or may not lead to weight loss) And why? Because even as this awful video said, "We only get one body."

And what I also don't want to happen (as a backlash to all the fat shaming) is to have people shame or put down obese people who are trying to lose weight (for whatever reason they are doing it). And that is happening! People shaming Melissa McCarthy for giving into the media's fat shaming and trimming down. It's her body!!! Who said she is trimming down to stop the ridicule? She is doing it for HER REASONS! (and as a former Melissa McCall - I would have been proud if ever someone accidentally called me her name instead).

I don't want people thinking I'm giving into the thin is best motto or giving in to fat shaming.  I'm dropping weight and eating healthier and moving more for my health and my mood and for my family because Melissa as a fat person is unhealthy, unhappy, depressed, and not overly nice person to be around. And it's not because I feel the world is shaming me. It's because of the brain chemicals that get messed up by too much sugar in my brain make fat, sugar hopped up Melissa.

My goal is to be healthy for me and for my family. I think that is what we all should be aiming for - our best health  - no matter the size and I think we need to stop ourselves from passing judgment and try to have better understanding of everyone's life struggles - period.

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