Sadly, approximately 40% of Americans have enough excess fat to harm their health. This number is constantly on the rise and with the new promotion of different body types and the “Big is Beautiful” movement, it does not look likely to be going down anytime soon.
Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used as a screening tool for overweight or obesity. A person with a BMI of 25-30 is considered to be Overweight and one with a BMI over 30 is Obese. But BMI cannot always be a good indicator of obesity. For example, a person with a lot of muscle weighs more and would seemingly have a higher BMI. But, obviously, a person who is very large and fatty is obese.
Obesity is often viewed as a “disease of excess adiposity”; the fat builds up around vital organs. Just being fat is not necessarily the issue but, it is the illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, hypertension and certain cancers that are brought on by being obese for a long period of time. Obesity does effect everyone as it has an estimated annual health care cost of about $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States. Obesity has an estimated annual health care cost of about $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States.
Obesity is often viewed as a “disease of excess adiposity”; the fat builds up around vital organs. This is why being overweight and/or obese is a problem. It is not just the mere unattractiveness of fat hanging and visible cellulite that has to be addressed. It is the illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, hypertension and certain cancers that are brought on by being obese for a long period of time.
So, what is “Fat Shaming”? Fat shaming is when someone makes fun of or criticizes an overweight person for being fat. When I was younger, it was just called, “Teasing” or “Picking on”; maybe even “Bullying”. I was always heavier than normal; even as a baby. In school I was constantly picked on for being chunky. My nickname throughout middle school was “Whale” for being fat and I even was called “Beaver” for having two larger front teeth. Today, I am still not thin and have the same size teeth. Yet, I constantly receive compliments for my “beautiful” teeth and “curvy” figure. Yet, even back then, I never said anyone was “Fat Shaming” me because I was indeed fat.
In this new generation of severely emotionally sensitive individuals we are constantly enforced to be politically correct and careful not to label someone because we may hurt their already delicate feelings. Yet, the question still arises….
“Is it okay to Fat Shame Someone who is Obese”?
I will address both sides of the argument here….
The argument that it IS okay to fat shame
Yes, we should be allowed to shame someone for neglecting their bodies. We shame someone with bad hygiene, messy hair, bad breath, for smoking, etc.
“Fat Pride” promotes dangerous and deadly weight levels. This is like promoting other unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Just as smokers were pushed outside and to designated areas to smoke, they were shamed and shunned to the sidelines; as they should be. No one wants to smell your smoke. Not only this but, the advertisements for cigarettes were hidden from children and only put in limited magazines. So, why should we have obese models pushed onto us and be almost forced to accept it?
Stop making people, especially Americans, believe that it is normal to be extra-large, with fat hanging , to be slow moving and out of shape. Encouraging obesity is encouraging laziness and therefore telling people that it is socially acceptable to get even larger and larger.
Obesity is not a condition that one is born with and stuck with for life. Besides the few cases of obesity brought on by medications or hormonal problems, it truly is caused by a lack of self-control, discipline within the person. The same way that the skinny, geeky boy is teased for not being able to climb the rope in gym class or the girl who is teased or rejected for having a flat chest or bum; these issues can be fixed by exercising, building muscle and eating more. It can be changed by trying harder and practicing. You have to practice your craft to be good at it, to keep a job or to obtain a degree. One must exercise their body as they would their brain in order to get strong.
The so called “fat shaming” that is done by public health campaigns is not to insult anyone. It is to raise awareness of potential health dangers. They are not there to hurt anyone’s feelings nor to flatter anyone’s ego. The whole body positivity thing is only good for kids and teens to a certain degree. In order not to damage their developing and ever changing emotions. And even then, it encourages them to force their imperfections (those that are due to neglect) onto others. Not to mention, you are encouraging other young boys and girls to be inactive, unhealthy over indulgers.
Why should we be encouraging poor health and laziness? Are you not embarrassed? Aren’t you uncomfortable? Shouldn’t you be ashamed of being obese?
The argument that it is NOT okay to fat shame
Obesity can stem from mental illness. Some use drugs, alcohol or exercise to relieve stress but, fat people use food for comfort. Just like any other addiction, a food addiction, especially a sugar addiction, is highly difficult to kick. Professor Michelle Cardel, who is a registered dietitian at University of Florida, believes that acceptance and self-compassion based therapies are promising new developments in the “BEHAVIORAL” treatment for obesity. Apparently, we can combat the behaviors that cause us to over eat and to be sedentary. Just as we use behavioral therapy in Psychotherapy for other mental and emotional conditions, we can use it in Obesity disorders that are caused by emotional eating or depression.
Fat shaming is a form of Bullying. Bullying is never okay. Just as our mothers taught us; “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”!
The media/society obsesses over the skeleton like models and actresses. “Body positivity” is another way to promote less than perfect body types that magazines tell us that we must have. The overweight person is reminded every which way they look that they are not a desirable size and shape. A woman especially even with a smaller frame finds it difficult to find clothing in her size. Imagine how hard it is for a larger woman to find something to not only hide their imperfections but, to look and feel great in. And then add on the negative criticism they face while shopping or merely walking around in public amongst women of a desired shape.
Being that some believe that obesity is a chronic health condition, would we shame someone with conditions such as diabetes or lung cancer? Likely not. So, why put someone down for a health condition? The obese person is fully aware of their size and shape. They own mirrors and scales. They do not need to be reminded of their state.
Whichever side you choose, just don’t be an asshole. You do not have to be the one to blatantly shame a person for their differences. But, if you need to make a point or express concern for someone, don’t be afraid to do so in fear of hurting one’s feelings. And, just because society tells you that you have to celebrate everyone’s way of life, do not change who you are. If you don’t agree with it, say nothing or save your opinions for when it calls for it.
Either way, whatever size and shape you are, embrace it. Unless you are bothered by it, don’t change who you are because someone says you should. Be your best self and live YOUR best life. However you choose that to be!