Fat Shaming Doesn’t Show That You Care!
Making someone who turns to food more self-conscious will only lead to them eating moreAs someone who has been overweight for most of my life due to various health issues, I have first-hand experience with “fat-shaming.” Once something finishes in the fridge, I’m the first person accused. Family members often greet me with shocked looks at how big I’ve gotten and, of course, it wouldn’t be a family dinner without multiple people watching how much I eat. Although family members may mean well, they fail to understand the detrimental effects that their words have. I often refused to eat because I didn’t want anyone to watch me or I’d hide in my room and stuff my face.
Making someone who turns to food more self-conscious will only lead to them eating more.
The fact of the matter is that fat-shaming does not and will never work. Making someone who turns to food more self-conscious will only lead to them eating more. This was the case with me. Your words will make them feel disgusted with themselves and isolate them from the rest of the family. This, in turn, could lead to dangerous and unhealthy dieting habits-another issue I faced as well.
Express love and support and attempt to make lifestyle changes together.
The key is to express love and support and attempt to make lifestyle changes together. It wasn’t until my older sister took the effort to make me feel comfortable in my body by buying me clothes I would never think to wear on my own, that I started to feel more comfortable in my skin. My sister made me realize that my size did not have to prevent me from being happy. Once I began to develop self-confidence and experience self-love as I never had before, my sister took one step further and got a gym membership for us and took me to the gym multiple times a week. Not only did I have an accountability partner, but I also had someone who cared about my health rather than my size.
Be present and listen to experiences and pain.
That is what is needed. If someone in your family is overweight to the point of deteriorating health, they need love and understanding, not sarcastic comments and hurtful words. Make changes together rather than eating fried chicken in someone’s face and commenting on how they really shouldn’t be eating that. Try and help your family member understand that they might need therapy to develop a better relationship with food rather than throwing away junk food and telling them they will die at any moment. Be present and listen to experiences and pain rather than assuming I am making a conscious choice to kill myself with food.
Here are three simple things that can be done to offer support rather than increase ridicule:
1. Encourage, Don’t Judge
Speak words of love, encouragement, and support rather than being judgmental. Most others judge us because of our weight. If our family participates, it makes everything much worse.
2. Change Together
Make lifestyle changes TOGETHER. Something like losing a substantial amount of weight requires an extensive support system for success to occur.
3. Understand The Root Issue
MOST INDIVIDUALS WHO STRUGGLE WITH WEIGHT ARE DEALING WITH SOME TYPE OF TRAUMA. Help your family member find safe spaces and appropriate avenues to start healing.
These are the ways to express your love for a family member. Fat shaming does not and should not have a place in familial relationships.