I’ll start out by saying this: I’m not a size 0. In fact, I’m significantly closer to a size 10. I used to be self-conscious about my size, but then I began to unpack my own discomfort. I realized that I have never been the problem. I am happy with the way I look, but I was worried that strangers would judge me negatively because of the way I look. I was terrified that someone would mention my weight and imply that something was wrong with me because of it. After recognizing this, I realized that if someone judges me on such superficial things, I don’t want them to like me anyways. I now realize that years of self-doubt and mental health problems could have been solved if other people didn’t feel the need to share their opinions about my appearance. So why do people comment on other people’s bodies? Next time you feel like making one of these unnecessary comments, here are just a couple reasons to keep your mouth shut:
1. Someone’s weight does not reveal their health
All of these women are Olympic competitors. Their weights differ by more than 200 pounds, yet each athlete demonstrates the ideal body composition to effectively compete in demanding physical competitions. Each woman has trained for decades to reach this point, and each woman is perfectly healthy. Fat is not inherently bad.
2.Your expectations are probably unrealistic
Pictured above is an average size woman holding an average size mannequin. Have you ever walked through a department store and noticed that even small-sized clothes are clipped behind the mannequins’ backs? Yeah. The smallest size of clothing is too big for our displays, and that is a huge problem for shoppers’ self-esteem.
3. ‘Fat-shaming’ does more harm than good
Fat-shaming occurs when you humiliate someone you think is overweight by making critical comments about their size, perhaps because you think it will inspire them to lose weight. Science shows that when you call someone out on their weight, it actually makes that person more likely to have reduced self-esteem, more likely to develop eating disorders, and more likely to become depressed. In fact, obesity was associated with 21 times greater risk of suicidal behavior and 12 times greater risk of suicide attempts (source).
So, next time you see someone that you consider to be fat, please remember that they are capable of making their own decisions and they did not ask for your opinion. The important thing about people is that they are comfortable with themselves. Focus on you and let other people focus on them.
TLDR; Recognize that you know what is best for you, and others know what is best for them.