This is a repost from my Facebook account but I figured it was worth posting here ...
Long post alert! This post is probably the most personal thing I've written ... and it's not funny; it's not light-hearted. For some reason, I've had people begging me to comment on that fat-shaming video. I guess I get to be the Voice of the Obese or something ... So, rather than address the video itself (in which an unfunny, aging Jenna Marbles-wannabe rants about how much fat people make her sick) I decided to instead address the issue of obesity and why some people just don't get it:
Obesity is not a disease. Alcoholism is not a disease. Drug addiction is not a disease. These are all the results of various addictions and addiction, in and of itself, is not a disease. The inconvenient and oft-ignored truth is that addiction is a symptom of (usually undiagnosed) mental illness. Period. I won't discuss drug addiction or alcoholism, since these are not issues I have dealt with. I will instead focus on the issue of morbid obesity.
Yes, there is a small handful of folks who are significantly obese because of some severe glandular, hormonal, or metabolic issue. The truth is, though, that most people are morbidly obese because they have been consistently abusing their bodies with food over an extended period of time, likely binge-eating, yo-yo dieting, crash dieting, and literally swinging back and forth between feast and famine. Here's a secret, skinny folks ... people don't get to be 300/400/500+ pounds because they need to take a walk and cut down on the Coca-Cola. They get that way because of a systematic method of pushing their appetites to their brink ... appetites that they feel absolutely powerless to control.
"They just need to use willpower! Here's a selfie of me at the gym! Hashtag Beast Mode!" You can't even fathom the amount of willpower it takes for a fat person to be the size they are. 300lbs.? You can't imagine the daily struggle to not be 400/500lbs. Every meal is a battle. It consumes every hour of your day ... the fear, the anticipation, the anxiety, the anger, the feelings of worthlessness, the weakness ... Thinking about your weight every day, starting every morning thinking "this is the day I get on track" and then feeling like absolute shit when it's all wrecked by evening time. This isn't an excuse ... trust me, it's not ... it's a cry for help from a community that has been belittled, beaten down, and made to feel ashamed because of something they honestly feel they cannot control. Ever wonder why the percentage of people who lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off is statistically zero? It's because we're trying to treat the wrong thing. The answer is not a diet soda, a nightly walk, or putting down the Snickers bar. The answer is probably therapy, medication, or whatever it is you can do to address the underlying mental and emotional issues that causes someone to habitually abuse themselves.
For me, it's a byproduct of my diagnosed OCD (unfortunately, I didn't get the "I have a really clean house" OCD ... I got the "I obsessive make lists about pointless shit, rearrange everything by color, and will repack my suitcase 85 times" kind of OCD) and, to a lesser degree, my clinical depression. The whole Lays' "betcha can't eat just one" motto rings true. If I open a bag of something, I feel absolutely compelled to finish ... even if I'm full, even if I don't particularly like it ... It's this weird mental drive that makes me feel like I HAVE to eat it because I may never have it again ... like I'm preparing for some weird famine that never comes. And if I know there's an open bag of something in the other room - cookies, chips, carrots, almonds, whatever - I will obsess about it until I finish it. Am I crazy? Probably. Recognizing and addressing the issue was the first step. Medication is helping. I am proud to say that I've legitimately lost about fifteen pounds without dieting - just by curbing the binge-eating. I'm working on it. I'm trying to get better. Who WOULDN'T want to get better? Trust me, the morbidly obese aren't having a grand old time. They're miserable. "I can't walk up a flight of stairs! Whoopee!" They just don't know how because they usually haven't addressed the root cause of the problem. Yes, the only way to lose weight is diet and exercise, period ... That's easy. What's difficult is when you feel like you're literally at war with every thought and every impulse. Willpower? Bitch, you can't even understand the willpower it takes to even get through a day.
So, fat-shaming does absolutely no good. You're not going to belittle someone into losing weight. All you're going to succeed in doing is making them feel even worse for something they feel powerless to control (and, likely, making yourself feel better since we ALL love to feel superior to others). And the opposite is equally destructive. No, being morbidly obese is NOT okay. Fat is not beautiful. Fat is not healthy. Fat is not normal. We don't need shaming or affirmation. We need help.
We need empathy and support. We need kindness and grace. And we need people who have enough love and mercy in them to push us to get the help we need ... mental help. Emotional help. Medicinal help, if necessary. We need understanding and guidance because we often feel dreadfully alone.
So, instead of an "edgy" (yawn) video about how much you hate fat people ... instead try to put yourself in their shoes. You don't know where they are in their journey. Maybe they recently started treatment. Maybe they're feeling good about themselves because they recently lost 100 pounds and they're actually doing it ... and here you come with your hateful judgment. Do you not realize that THAT is enough to put someone into a tailspin? THAT is enough to cause someone to say "fuck it, what's the point?" and throw in the towel? Words have power ... words have meaning ... and when you use those words to tear down, you have no idea the detrimental effect you can have on the lives of others and their struggles.