The media may not talk about it much, but being overweight is a humbling experience at times. This is what I call the humiliation of weight.
When I was 20 I won about a stone and a half during a three month Erasmus program in the Netherlands. My boyfriend at the time kindly organized a surprise party for me on my return. I remember my mom suggesting that I wear something nicer to go to the cinema (she was aware of the party, of course, while I was sure we would go to the usual suspects in my nearby cinema).
My harsh answer was that I was okay with what I was wearing (loose cords and a sweater tied tightly around my waist). Boy have i regretted it The surprise was on the faces of my guests when their jaws dropped to the floor when I entered. My face was puffy and red; almost unrecognizable. And I remember the embarrassment when I looked back at the photos. But I'm one of the lucky ones. I lost weight and life immediately became easier; not only in everyday life, to be back in my jeans, but also in terms of how I was perceived. It's not right, but people interact with you differently when you are no longer overweight.
A culture of ridicule – the humiliation of weight
I recently went to a pool that had a "wave rider" – a kind of huge slope that you can "surf" on for entertainment. I didn't do it, but my friend defied it with her children. Then she came to me and told the story of a very overweight girl who tried to "surf" but it was too powerful for her and she was turned over. This resulted in her bikini top ending around her waist. People laughed and apparently pointed. I was so horrified to hear that. One man even called his son over to watch them and laugh at them. My 11 year old girl witnessed this. It was in those moments that she learned that it is okay to laugh at someone who is overweight and lands on her face while trying something. I still hesitate about it. And I think it is my and my husband's responsibility to discuss with her why we think this is so wrong.
Our culture seems to think that it's okay to laugh at "fat" people. This is known as "fat shaming". I have had clients tell me that teenagers laugh and take pictures of them without permission, and that salespeople or bartenders pretend they are invisible. Worse still, some have been called the most abusive and degrading names by passers-by in cars or on the street. I can't repeat some of the things I heard here because they are so annoying. I'm sure you have received a lot of app jokes like me at the expense of overweight men and women too. I saw one with an obese woman walking down the street in a bikini. It was apparently funny that she wasn't ashamed and proudly showed her body. But I didn't find it funny. In fact, I found it inspiring that she didn't care. How brave, I thought, in a society that tells us that we have to adjust to a size of 8 or 10 to be successful.
The new step in harnessing diversity and getting away with the humiliation of weight
Thank goodness there's a wonderful movement going on right now. Did you notice? It's a backlash against the fat shame of society. The voice is strong and clear. It says, "I will no longer be ashamed". My sister introduced me to some awesome Instagram sites that include "real" body types (or "naked" faces with no makeup) and I believe this is a great opportunity to show off our teenage children. We have to try to balance things – not just for our children, but for us as well.
When it comes to motivation, we include all body types. We want you to be healthy and fit, but we're not “stuck” to an “ideal” size and hope to convince you (it's all part of our program of learning healthier habits AND attitudes). .
In fact, I've heard many times telling friends and family that the most beautiful women and men I've met are those who lose excess weight but are still 12 or 14 tall. You are happy in your own skin. You do not need to reach that “perfect” size 10. There is nothing more sexual or attractive than that. We are here to encourage you to get healthier while learning to love the body that you are in.
There is no ideal.
It varies from person to person.
If you eat well, sleep well, and get enough exercise, then this is the point. It's not about a figure on the scales. Read in our current blog why you should NOT weigh yourself here.
Get real on Instagram
Comparing “perfect” bodies and faces is a path to nowhere, but we keep doing it. If it is you, maybe it is time to delete Instagram from your phone? Or instead, learn how social media provides a platform even for those willing to show how proud they are of their bodies, regardless of their size. These women try to fight back edited Instagram photos that pull waists and accentuate hips and breasts. cut out the arm fat or cheeks and add protruding bums and lips (don't even get me started with the Kardashians or I'll scold this here!). The body positive exercise has begun, and it's not about telling people to be unhealthy or to shame people for being thin. Instead, it's about helping us all have higher self-esteem and appreciate our bodies for the incredible things they do for us.
Get Inspired – The Other Side of Weight Loss
Chessie King: @chessiekingg (blogger)
Amy Schumer: @amyschumer (actress and comedian)
Real Women Project: @real_women_project (group of women who are real)
Positive body image: @positivebodyimage (canadian twin girls)
Winnie Harlow: @winnieharlow (model with vitiligo, a skin condition)
Love your lines: @loveyourlines (celebrates stretch marks)
Honor Curves: @honorcurves (a woman's journey to get fitter and healthier while embracing a new love for her body)
Jameela Jamil: @jameelajamilofficial (actress / model / presenter & activist)
Celeste Barber: @celestebarber (Australian comedian who brilliantly parodies celebrity culture) – They will make your pages laugh (well, it was me!).
We are happy to help you feel fitter, healthier and love the body you are in. Talk to us about how we can do this – book a review today.