I took back my life a little over a year ago. I began exercising regularly, I improved my diet, I made a vow to try to focus on the positive instead of the negative, and my life has improved drastically as a result. Although I am still quite overweight, my health and fitness have improved to the point that most of my limitations are gone. It’s a great feeling.
As a part of the changes I joined a number of facebook groups filled with others who are facing or have faced similar challenges. As a result, I see a lot of articles about “fat shaming,” “fit shaming,” and “fat acceptance.”
I’m not sure why we need all of these labels. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just get along? No amount of fat shaming could make me lose weight. It made me feel even worse about myself, which led to poor self esteem and misusing food as a comfort device. fat acceptance isn’t terribly helpful either. Someone telling me that they love me “just the way I am/was” still made me feel like a fat slob. We don’t tell slim people “I love you despite your fitness.”
I’m encountering a new phenomenon online (not in my personal life yet) in which a once unhealthy individual is being shunned by friends after adopting a healthy lifestyle. That’s “fit shaming.” I don’t know whether the shunning is due to the individuals’ unpreparedness to face their own health issues or whether it’s because the newly fit person talks a lot about her new lifestyle (I know I’m certainly guilty) and the old friends can’t relate.
We’re all people. We all have strengths and weaknesses. There are people in my life who are suffering from lifestyle-induced illnesses just as I was. I accept them as people – not “fat” people. There are people in my life who get tired of hearing about my runs and races and my new shoes, I’m sure. I’m fortunate that they still talk to me anyway.
I feel accepted. Most of the time I felt loved and accepted at 300+ pounds. I don’t think people like me more or less because I’ve lost weight. I’m not ashamed of where I am. I’m not ashamed of where I was. Every step of this journey teaches me more about myself and about others.
Fat or fit, gay or straight, black or white, we are worthy of love and acceptance. Meet people where they’re at. Leave the judgment for God. Let’s all get along.