Saturday, 21 September 2013

I live with a fat-o-phobic

Hugo is Fat-o-phobic. 

He has no tolerance for people who are overweight or out of condition. he sees them as lazy, too tired to get out of their own way, Sad sacks, whingers, complainers! He judges, he frowns, he looks away in disgust. He is one of those fat shaming people. He does it unconsciously, which sadly tells me he has been doing it or a very long time. 

Hugo comes from a long line of them.  Skinny people, who have never had to battle their weight, watch what they eat, think constantly about calories or carbs.. People who make comment about shop assistants, look down their noses at overweight mothers struggling with prams and grocery trolleys, make comments about gorgeous little girls in dance costumes actually having rhythm..

OMG the shock of it!! Fat people can dance?? Who knew?

But, There are thousands of people like Hugo out there. Judgemental, ignorant about any form of weight related struggle and fat-o-phobic. Lucky bastards born with the genetics to eat whatever, whenever and how ever much they want with no consequence..  Some are parents, and some even have fat children... Can you imagine the emotional damage these people are doing to their kids? I know, because my mother was fat-o-phobic, and I'm still recovering from being raised as a fat kid. Once that idea is in your head, it takes an awful lot of shifting. Like 50 years or so!

But, I really should say Hugo WAS Fat-o-phobic, because, as we more enlightened people know, when the student needs guidance, the teacher appears..My darling Hugo has fallen in love with a recovering fat person.  Not only a fat person, an "oh my good she was bloody enormous" fat person.

Hugo never knew me when I was overweight, he only knew me as the lady upstairs at work, who walked everywhere, wore a pedometer on her belt, ate healthy food, and went to the gym after work. He knew me as the safety officer who had photos of overseas motorbike trips on her office wall. He knew me as the person who cared about the people she worked with and did everything in her power to keep them safe and healthy. He had no idea that fat lady on the motorbike was me. 

Hugo has lived with us for a couple of years, and now he knows the struggle, knows the effort that I have had to put in to get to this point. He still eats like a horse, but now he eats healthy food, rather than muffins and cake. He understands.

And That is what makes the difference. He supports me. He doesn't frown anymore when I eat a chocolate biscuit, because he knows I'll just eat two if he does. He walks with me on his days off, he cooks dinner when i go to gym class, and he wants me to succeed at my set goals. Since he has been eating Paleo, his allergies and rhinitis have also cleared up, so it's easier to have him in my corner. 

But, Fat-o-phobes are everywhere. I'm actually tempted to start an online counselling session business for fat-o-phobes, after all, I've been dealing with them for 50 years. I've been Ignored in cafes and coffee shops, frowned at in boutiques, surf shops?? pffftttt.. Don't even bother going inside!

I've seen it all- I got told in a bakery line once, "I'll just serve old mate over here, looks like you can afford to wait a little longer, not like you're starving". Yep, you guessed it.. Straight out the mouth of a skinny person. 
If you guys think that quips like that don't hurt, ring me and ask me to relate the story of the shopkeeper at the pool in my home town, he hurt my feelings when I was not even old enough for school, and still I remember that like it was yesterday, 45 or so years later.. Trust me, it hurts and we do remember! 

I know there are people who read this blog and tell their overweight friends about it, hoping to encourage them to make a change, and that's fantastic. But please, be very aware of what you say, of how you say it, and think about the damage and hurt you may unwittingly be causing in the process. 

If you have overweight people in your house, do not single them out. Do not make them feel inferior by making them eat differently. If you are serious about having healthy children, don't buy shit food, for anyone! Everyone needs to be healthy, so everyone eats the same food. Good, healthy, wholesome food. And for gods sake do not EVER brainwash them into thinking that they are not worthy because they are not stick thin. 

Fat people need positive encouragement, but they also will never loose weight until they want to. Until they have that lightbulb moment themselves, that moment of realisation that they can do this. So until then, be supportive, suggest a walk, stock the pantry with healthy foods, cook different and enticing healthy recipes, think of alternative things to do other than meet for coffee and cake. Do not judge, do not push, do not make them feel less of a person because of their excess weight. 

Love them anyway. Because, like Hugo, you might come to realise that some fat people have hearts of gold.. And will show you happiness you never thought possible.

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