Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me
So goes the phrase my mum used to tell me to say to those who called me names as a child.
It may have helped a bit at the time – providing a tiny bit of respite from the taunts about my size (pie man…), my intelligence (swot…) and my vision being supported by glasses (speccy four eyes…).
Regardless, the verbal assault continued.
Kids seemed to be like that – spotting a sign of weakness and poking away at it to provoke a reaction, which they invariably got.
Maybe those words were meant as a self affirmation for me – to build up my resilience or to convince myself that I’d be ok. If so, they failed.
The recent comments by James Corden and Bill Maher about fat shaming have brought it all back.
Other kids in the same situation might have been able to do something about their size, but not me.
When your self esteem takes a battering every day, and those who love you do their best to boost it, but to no avail, food had always been a friend.
If you’re told over and over and over again something which you already know, something which despite your best efforts you’ve not been able to do anything about, then why bother?
Before I got married I lost a lot of weight. I wanted to look good in our photos, and I felt good about myself. I had some control, and I was seeing results.
Today I’m almost twice the man I was. Not in confidence or self esteem, but in size.
I’ve got back into that vicious cycle again – feel bad, eat, worry about weight, eat, repeat indefinitely.
These days I don’t have my peers taunting me, but what I do have is people stating the obvious – “you really should lose weight”. It’s always followed with a confirmation that they only say it “because I’m worried about you” or “because I care about you”. It comes with the best intentions, but can gave the same impact as someone taunting me for my weight.
Nobody worries more about my size than me.
I know it could lead to diabetes (for which I’m waiting for blood test results), heart disease, poor circulation etc.
I know none of those things are particularly pleasant.
I know I am too heavy and this is not the puppy fat I was continually told as a child that I’d lose as I got older.
The problem is, it’s not puppy fat and my bones are not big. No matter how well meaning those phrases are, they cement something inside me, something which makes resolution pretty much impossible.
The British Psychological Society have released a study that claims that fat shaming is not the answer. I agree.
Fat shaming is simply bullying.
Telling me the obvious and making me feel even worse about myself will just speed up the cycle of hopelessness.
I’ve tried dieting, I’ve tried lifestyle changes, and they work to an extent, but only until the next time I feel bad about myself and find comfort in food.
Quite simply, I have too much to lose. The time horizon to seeing the benefits is just too long, which makes it impossible to motivate myself.
Thanks a lot fat shamers…