Dispelling myths - the 'good' fatty vs the 'bad' fatty


Trigger Warning - I'm going to talk about the emotions we attach to food and weight which may be triggering for some people. 

I often take a long time to get to sleep and I whir things over in my mind instead of counting sheep. I was thinking about how I could be thought of as a 'virtuous' or 'good' fatty by some because I have quite a healthy diet, but then I realised that's bullshit. I always have a retort in mind about how healthily I eat if challenged by some fat-phobic prick, but I don't owe anyone an explanation, and neither do you. I have become so conditioned to explaining my body to people who deserve no such thing and I've only just realised it. Such is the weight of expectation (pardon the pun) on fat people to be in a state of apology or explanation for our bodies that I expect some of you reading this have a set of go-to retorts for when you're challenged by some fat-phobic jerk. Am I right?

Let me pedal back a bit. I learned to attach emotions or virtues to food at a very young age. My mum was fat and didn't want me to have a hard life like her, so she took me to the doctor to be put on a diet before I was the age of 10. (I don't blame my mum AT ALL - she was a very young single mother doing the best she could and no one could have known how it would affect me). Unfortunately I grew up messed up in the head about my weight and food. Food was the enemy. Add to that people around me who were often nasty and fat-shaming - family members, kids at school, people from my mum's church - I grew up feeling 'wrong' somehow, and I felt that way up until very recently. The language we use around children can SO damaging and it makes me really angry to recall what I went through generally. People feel they can say anything to children about their bodies and it's so wrong. The messages you put in young people's heads last a lifetime. 

It can be hard to break away from the negative feelings we have around food and our bodies when the media (and sometimes friends, families, colleagues, randoms in the street) tell us or infer that we are 'bad' for having excess adipose tissue. We are judged and made to feel bad for our food choices, even if they're good choices, as if we're supposed to give up eating altogether. Yeah, right! It's so pervasive that I feel the need to have a retort at hand for any insulting idiot who comes my way, when in truth it'd take hours to explain my weight story, hours of my time that person doesn't deserve (nor likely want to hear) as my fat body alone is proof to them of my 'failure'.

When you have a non-normative body you become public property, free to be discussed, poked, prodded and abused. If you dare fall short of the unspoken standard for bodies, it irritates people who are in the mistaken belief that we owe them our thinness. 

It's incredibly arrogant behaviour when you think about it, and it should make you angry. No one has the right to police your body. Your doctor can make suggestions if they pertain to your health (and then it's up to you whether to follow that advice or not) but unfortunately much of the medical profession is as hung up on aesthetics as your every day Neanderthal who yells abuse from a speeding car. It's often not our health which is a problem, but our size, which is why weight loss is prescribed for everything from a frozen shoulder to ingrown toenails. In truth, much of the health trolling/health 'concern' fat people receive has eff all to do with our health and a whole lot about thin people not wanting to see us.

We don't owe anybody shit - not our health, nor our explanations. The only person we are accountable to is ourselves. There's no such thing as a 'good' or 'bad' fatty. Whether you exist on a diet of mung beans and quinoa or place a chair in front of the fridge and get comfortable, no one has the right to tell you or infer that you are more or less of a person as a result. There is no 'good' or 'bad' weight. We can only determine as individuals what is the comfortable weight for us, where we feel vital and good in ourselves. What feels good and healthy for one person might be another person's 'too much'. We need to take the emphasis off weight and place it squarely onto health, where it belongs. Here I sit, morbidly obese by medical standards, with great health markers - low to normal blood pressure, great cholesterol and blood sugar. Of course I have the occasional bag of crisps and a pizza here and there, but I don't feel guilty for eating them in the slightest because I know most of the time I eat healthy food which nourishes me and makes me feel good. My body may not reflect what I eat because being fat isn't as simple as calories in and calories out. I really don't give a toss if some tosser in the street thinks I inhale doughnuts 24/7. People like that mean nothing to me so why should I care?!

If you love vegetables and eat clean, or if your three main food groups are pizza, pizza and pizza it doesn't change a thing. If only we lived in a world where we judged people's goodness on character and not on the label in their clothes.

What's your say on this?

Obviously this is an emotive topic, so let's have some polite debate.

Many thanks for reading.

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