Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why It Hurts

It goes like this. Friends who have "liked" and appreciated your Fat Acceptance posts on Facebook suddenly, probably not even thinking much about it, post something about the "Childhood Obesity Epidemic" or "Children need to maintain a healthy weight." And it is as if they've punched you straight in the stomach or slapped you in the face.

These friends have absolutely no clue that a) you spent at least half of your childhood and teenage years and probably at least some of your college years dieting/starving, after which the weight came right back, and then some. These friends also have no idea that you were actually pretty athletic, at whatever weight you were, and walked your slimmer friends into the ground (not literally) and played volleyball intramurally and climbed statues and gave killer massages to say "healthy weight" is rather a misnomer because you were healthy. It is just that some doctors and insurance charts kept pushing you to lose because your numbers didn't match the numbers on the charts. But you didn't know that then. It just seemed weird and wrong.

These friends do not know that the slimmest you ever were was 123 pounds when you were 12 years old and 5'6", and you had a very bad case of bronchitis and could hardly eat. Ironically the charts listed this as a "normal" weight, but your ribs were sticking out. As you recuperated, you gained weight. And you felt a lot better, but you knew at the same time that you weren't supposed to feel better if you were getting heavier.

So your friends who echo these phrases have absolutely no clue about the childhood of  fat kids who feel healthy and get exercise and eat pretty much what their thinner friends eat. And yet they echo the set phrases of whatever campaign has set its sights on mouthing off about fat kids, most of whom are perfectly all right. Why are they fat? Genetics? Metabolism? Sleep patterns? Chemicals? Who knows? Because guess what - any attempts to control their weight end up causing them a) to gain weight b) to develop eating disorders.

However, if your friends are so very concerned about them, they might consider joining a campaign to give all kids access to places to exercise and the freedom from bullies that would let them do so. It won't cause them to lose weight, but it will give them opportunities to move.

And for goodness' sake, hope that your friends are aware that their fat friends probably were healthy when they were young, or would have been if they weren't being put on every diet known to peoplekind, and then some. time your friends automatically get set to write about "childhood obesity" or "kids needing to maintain a healthy weight," hope that your  friends think about  their fat friends, whom they may be hurting without even realizing it.

And hope that they write about something else.

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