Body Shaming

Saw the beautiful Tess Holliday on television this morning, a large size model with her cover on Self Magazine, the first digital issue.  I couldn’t find a picture of her that I was sure of being open source, so I have used one of my pictures for this post.

This picture was taken in 2012, during the last Christmas I spent with my folks.  I was also at my highest weight.  Sure, I knew my weight, but my family is pretty well trained not to say anything about.  The highest complement anyone in my family can give is, “You look so good!  Have you lost weight?”

I realized long ago, that it was the first half of the comment that was real, because gain or lose I knew the second half had nothing to do with factual perception.  If I was happy, I looked good, very consistently. There have been other comments.

At Disney World some ignorant teen girls were giggling at the fat people who had the nerve to get their picture taken at the entrance.  I turned to them and said, “Don’t you worry.  They will even take your picture. You don’t look so bad.”

From the time I got married, my weight has fluctuated up and down over the years.  The trend was always upward.  Even though I knew it was happening, I never felt FAT.  My weight was little more than a number.  I knew there were health issues of being over-weight, but I never felt ugly, or unlovable.  In fact, I thought I was about average.  I accepted myself.  I was comfortable in my own skin.

When my parents died, I was looking at all their old pictures.  I saw in those pictures how I had grown over the years.  Seeing it all at once like that, I wanted to lose weight.  I knew the health benefits included lower cholesterol, less trauma to my knees and feet.  From those pictures I picked a goal.

In that picture, I liked the way I looked, and I remembered how at that weight, how I felt very fat.  Every family member, except my husband, told me how fat I was.  In fact, at that weight a family member told me I was so fat, that my husband can’t possibly love me, because of the way I looked.  If I thought otherwise, she continued, I was fooling myself.

My first attempt at weight loss after the death of my parents involved a drug used to treat seizures.  A drug with lots of cautions, and would create difficulties for a doctor trying to treat just about anything.  Plus, going off it created a rebound effect.

I am now in my second attempt at weight loss, without drugs, with healthy eating and exercise.  After 10 pounds, my knees knew the difference.  I have now lost about 25 pounds.  It has not been a smooth journey, but kind of up and down, with the trend continuing down.

I agree with Self Editor Carolyn Kylstra, who wrote: You don’t know how healthy or unhealthy a person is just by looking at them, you don’t know what their health goals and priorities are, and you don’t know what they’ve already done or are planning to do for their health going forward. And moreover, you should know that concern trolling—using a person’s perceived health to justify making them feel bad about themselves—isn’t just counterproductive, it’s abusive.


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