Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox.
[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]
What kind of people shame fat people? Have you ever thought about it? By understanding why they do what they do, you can let of the hurt and shame you feel if it happens to you. Being able to do that will help you put the shame where it belongs.
As far as I can see, people who shame fat people come in two varieties. First, are folks who struggle with eating and weight themselves. They have contempt for their cravings for “bad” food and out of control eating. They are virtuous when they eat healthfully and wicked when they eat unhealthfully. They try to hold themselves on a tight lease with food. Some of them succeed and some don’t. They come from a place of fearing fat so much that they must hate it to keep it at a distance. Their shaming is not about you but about themselves, as if to say, “I hate what you represent and never want to be that way.” You are a stand-in for the body they never want to have. Believe me, these folks are as preoccupied with weight as you and project their fears outward onto you.
The other kind of person who shames fat people really has no clue of what it would be like to have an eating problem, though they may struggle in other areas of their life or not. They think that will power and self-control are the be all and end all of life and expect that since they have “it,” everyone should. They can’t empathize with you as a fat person because they believe they have the self-discipline to never gain a great deal of weight. They are really clueless. I know someone like this who cannot imagine (a real empathy failure) what it’s like to be fat—and, moreover, doesn’t want to know. He thinks slimming down is simple because he’s lived his life as a thin person.
The fact that these folks all fear and hate fat is part cultural, part family, and part personality. It really helps to understand that it’s not about you but about their emotional deficits. Some are the nicest people you want to meet and would go out of their way not to say racist, sexist, or ageist remarks. They’re open-minded and tolerant on subjects other than weight because weight is a struggle for them. Other shamers simply look down and make fun of others to feel better about themselves and because they are narcissistic and don’t care to know what you feel.
When I hear someone shaming another person about anything, or when I feel a desire to shame, I know without a doubt, what’s going on has nothing to do with the shamee and everything to do with the shamer. Next time you feel shamed for your size, recognize that what is being said is not about you, but about the person shaming you.
This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.