Look, I’m not going to list the millions of things that are worse than being fat. If you can’t name 20 things that are worse than being fat in the next five minutes, then frankly you need a brain transplant.
But there is one thing that is worse that I will talk about. And that is being a judgemental asshole.
Let me give you some facts here, just from my own life. I’ve posted numerous photos of me from when I was younger. In fact, the one that most shows how fat of a child I was can be seen to the right. I’m the larger child on the left.
The list of supposed “weight related diseases” includes the following: High blood pressure, heart disease/stroke, diabetes, gall bladder issues, osteoarthritis, gout and sleep apnea.
- Heart Disease: I was diagnosed with heart disease in 2003. I had blood pressure readings that were 200/100. My doctor at the time could not believe that I’ve never had a heart attack given how high it was. But, she did an EKG to see if there was evidence of a heart attack. The test came back clean. HOWEVER, in 2014 after I had been living with my sister for a while (i.e. after I left my abusive husband), in fact FOUR MONTHS after I left him – my blood pressure was normal. Read that again: MY BLOOD PRESSURE WAS NORMAL. It wasn’t my weight giving me high blood pressure, it was being emotionally and mentally abused and living with high levels of anxiety every single damned day FOR TWENTY YEARS. Oh, and the whole “salt is poison to those who suffer high blood pressure?” I’ve actually been deficient in sodium (i.e. salt) since before I left my ex. I have shown no signs of heart disease or stroke.
- Diabetes: Yes, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Both parents have it, so it isn’t that big of a surprise that I would have it too. However, after serious research, I have been able to bring my A1C (the number that doctors use to assess your diabetes) down to 5.7. When my test came back with that number, my doctor at the time asked me if I felt comfortable quitting the diabetes medicines. I did not, because I wanted to see if it was sustained beyond just one check-up. Sadly, this was before I left my ex, and frankly the emotional roller-coaster trying to recover and heal has pushed my numbers up. But they are STILL only in the 7 range. 7% or lower is considered the goal for most diabetics. And in the almost three years since my 5.7% range, it has only risen to 7.5%. I unfortunately have not – until recently – had access to the minerals that have helped me to get that low A1C. Now that I am taking them again, I expect my numbers to go down AGAIN.
- Weight loss: I have struggled to lose weight since I hit puberty. At one point, I was even given the horrible drug phen-fen. I took exactly one dose. I experienced heart palpitations badly enough to scare myself. I immediately told my mother I would NEVER take another dose. It took 20 different OB/GYNs before one actually told me that my issue with my entire menstrual cycle was due to a seriously high level of estrogens – overbalanced is far too weak of a word to call my hormonal balance. I didn’t start to lose weight until 2012. And I was doing absolutely nothing different than I had been doing for years (i.e. eating a healthy balance of foods). In fact, the weight loss concerned my doctor at the time because we could not find a cause (like cancer or a thyroid imbalance). I finally noticed that the last test we did (one to check if I was in early menopause) showed a “normal” level of estrogen. Which meant that I had less estrogen in my system than I have had since puberty. I lost almost 100 pounds before I left my ex. I have gained about half of it back, but now that I have the supplements again (including potassium and magnesium, which are BOTH major components of a healthy metabolism – and I’ve been deficient in both, as well as in chromium), I expect the weight loss to start again.
- Gall bladder issues: Let me tell you something. My sister (who was quite slender growing up) has had to have her gall bladder removed, as has my eldest nephew. I believe my mother has problems with it too. I, on the other hand, have had no such trouble. And I don’t expect any down the line either.
- Osteoarthritis: Now, technically, I have this disease. However, there are two caveats: a) I’ve been in 5 car accidents and two other non-vehicular injuries all to my lower back (specifically the L4/L5 and L5/S1 locations), the first of which happened when I was 13. and b) I have a genetic predisposition to arthritis of the back and the feet. I have been doing physical therapy exercises since I was 13. In fact, that was what kept me relatively pain free until I was in my 40s. The pain has steadily worsened since then. I am still doing the exercises, but may not always be able to complete my full sets due to the pain. I am working with my medical team to find a way to actually make it possible to lower the pain levels to that which can be more easily endured. Having spoken to many specialists over the years, they have mostly blamed my accidents for the damage. Secondarily, I surprise many people with the fact that I am still able to walk. Many people with only ONE car accident can’t walk because of the pain. I was told I should be wheelchair bound by my mid-30s. I’ll be 48 this year – and I only rarely need a cane.
- Gout: Never developed this disease, and have no expectation of ever doing so.
- Sleep Apnea: I have actually been tested for this. I do not have sleep apnea, because I never stop breathing. I do, on the other hand, rarely if ever experience REM sleep. It was the major thing found during the sleep study. I am trying to find ways to encourage me to get to the mental frequency levels that will allow REM to naturally happen. REM may be connected to depression, but not necessarily to weight.
In other words, most of those supposed “weight-related diseases” are not supported across the board.
Actually, more recent studies have been completed that actually tell us that our whole idea about fat and health may actually be WRONG.
For example, one study has found that if the groups of obese people are separated according to their genetic predisposition to such diseases, the percentage of those who have those diseases match our thinner compatriots separated in the same way.
Another example, a study found that obesity may actually be more healthy than being thin.
Plus, it has been proven repeatedly that if a person has an active and compassionate support network, they tend to be more content. And those who are mentally and emotionally abused (which includes being bullied….because, let’s call a spade a spade here, not a digging implement…because that is a bully’s MO).
I want you to think here. Every single time you commit an act of body shaming (doesn’t matter if the body being shamed is thin or fat), you are abusing someone. I’m fairly sure that you don’t consider yourself an abuser. Take a moment here, please. Pick your most vulnerable weakness, the one you try so desperately to hide and protect. Think if it were put on display for everyone in the world to see. Then think about you being on the receiving end of the kind of poisonous hatred about your vulnerability that you spew so carelessly at someone whose body is different from yours.
I’m not asking you to think because somehow I will change your minds. In fact, I’m fairly sure no one will change based on this post. But, I am warning you that fat shaming (like any other form of hatred or abuse) has a limited life-span. Because we are standing up for ourselves. We are no longer willing to simply quietly fade away out of fear of you. We don’t fear you anymore. You are no longer the invincible dragon. No, you’re the silly little lizard trying to be something he is not.
I don’t put up with it, either here or in real life. I will not give it a voice on my blog, nor in my life. And hopefully, if I can reach someone else out there who is being shamed for their different body (whatever size, shape or ability your body is) and help them be more content with who they are, then maybe I made a difference.