Karen's Blogs

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Dealing with Fat Phobia

I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the world, but, as we all know, fat phobia is alive and well and living in the USA. It is real, rampant, and culturally accepted. However, there are ways to deal with it that don’t bring you down and make you feel badly about yourself. Learning them might take time, but they do work.

I had a client in Massachusetts who loved to ride her bike. Yes, she was technically obese, but she hiked and loved camping and just about anything to do with the outdoors. One day when she was coasting along, some boys started to tease her and call her something like “fat bottom.” She just kept on biking. No surprise that when she passed them another day, they yelled the same things at her. A feisty woman, she yelled something back like “stupid heads” or the like and this went on for a few weeks until the boys got tired of the game.

Speak up, don’t swallow your anger—or eat! Most people, especially women, lack the courage to confront people who put them down for their weight (or other things). This is a shame. The women feel badly and the fat-phobes get off scot free. It is important to say something to people who badmouth you about your weight. They are being rude, uncompassionate, and intolerant. Which is worse, being fat or being a nasty human being? The latter, of course. You don’t want to end up feeling badly and crying, turning inward the hatred they have dumped onto you. That is the worst thing you can do.

When I think of fate-haters and the people they put down, I consider Jews, Blacks and other groups who have received the same kind of mistreatment. The times I was called names because I was Jewish, it never occurred to me to feel badly about myself. I was furious at the folks who were anti-Semitic. That’s the attitude you want to go for. Healthy folks who are spoken to in prejudiced ways know there’s nothing wrong with them and everything wrong with the people who are trying to hurt them. Hold on to that thought.

The point is not to internalize the negativity. Fat people who have low self-esteem do internalize negative things which are said to them, not only about their weight. Yes, it’s hard to live in a society in which you’re constantly told there’s something wrong with you, but it’s doable if you don’t believe it to begin with. So work on getting your mind to accept yourself as you are. If you hate your fat, you will be hurt when others trigger that hate. If you don’t hate it, you’ll see that sad, ignorant people can’t hurt you one bit.

Skills for Goal-setting for Dysregulated Eaters
When Food Isn’t Satisfying

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