This post would be a whole lot better if I screen shotted the comment that inspired it all, but the original poster removed it from my Facebook wall and now I’ll probably sound like a raving lunatic.

Yesterday I shared a link to the article, When Did “Fat” Become A Four Letter Word? with this comment….

“Instead of picking on someone who struggles to shed their unwanted pounds, why not support them in their efforts? ”

Why this isn’t the predominate mindset, I’ll never understand.

The article and story of Jennifer Livingston is coming right on the heels of Emmie’s elevator experience at FitBloggin and a troll making fun of the FitBloggin’ group photo saying the chairs and floor were “screaming for relief.”

Really?

All of this blows my mind but that’s not even my point. The comment that sparked me to write today was not about how they agreed or disagreed with bullying people about weight. It was a finger pointing blame statement about our culture and availability of food causing us to be fat.

This is where I would share the comment if it wasn’t removed by the author but you’ll just have to trust me when I say it went something like this…

Food is always available and surrounds us everywhere. That’s why we’re fat.

Again, not a direct quote but the gist of the statement was finger pointing the cause of fatness.

When I read it I thought it was odd and misplaced which is why the author probably removed it, but it got me thinking.

Does is Really Matter?

I’m so tired of hearing about obesity statistics and theories why we’re fat.

I don’t care.

That’s right… DO NOT CARE.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” -Viktor Frankl

We can’t change our current culture (at least not immediately) and we can’t change the fact that not-very-good-for-us food is pretty much constantly, readily available, but what we CAN change is our reaction to it all.

At the end of the day I don’t even really think it’s about fat vs. skinny. It’s about us living a little more consciously, actively, and unapologetically while supporting others that want to do the same.

Regardless of their body size.

 
  • AnnG

    I can understand “not caring” about solely pointing fingers at cultural and social “reasons” for why we are fat because that tends to put the focus on the external which, like you said, we cannot change (or control). However, I do think it’s important to understand psychologically why we, as individuals, continue down paths that are not good for us even after we know they are not good for us. if we have interest in changing our habits and embarking on a new path, I think understanding why we are where we are currently matters. Maybe this is what you meant, maybe it’s not…just putting my 2 cents in!

    • RoniNoone

      I love 2 cents! ;) I agree with you somewhat but I also think we sometimes look to the “Reasons” as our “Excuse” and I think that’s what got me all fired up. I’m fascinated by the physiology of it but that’s a little different then “bad food is available.” KWIM?

    • AnnG

      Oh yeah, I definitely hear you and agree. I’m currently going through a weight loss program (not a diet!) that includes help from professionals in behavioral counseling, nutrition and exercise. Just this week I met with the behaviorist and got some really interesting insights in to how my personality traits have impacted my weight loss/gain journey and how I can work on that. I think for me it’s important to look at reasons as things I can impact and excuses as things I can’t. I’d much rather focus my energy on things I can do something about. Bad food existing is definitely an excuse :)

  • Sandy

    Our bodies are no one else’s business. My daughter, a ballerina who looks the part- tall and thin, gets rude comments from time to time from people telling her she should eat, implying that she has an eating disorder or criticizing her for being vegetarian. Why anyone thinks she should care about their poorly informed opinions in beyond me. Eating disorder? Are any of the people making those comments qualified to make that diagnosis? No. And yet, they cause damage. My point is just that people are going to make rude and hurtful comments because they are rude and hurtful people, not because there is something wrong with our bodies. Our bodies are not public property to be voted on and critiqued by onlookers. I know this wasn’t the point of your post; I just hate to see people being spoken about that way and leaving it unchallenged. We do not owe society a certain kind of body.

  • nancy

    This is a hot topic for me. My first diet was at 4 yrs old. Everyone of those well meaning comments or rude remarks over the years are locked in my mind forever. The worst is that society as a whole sees less value with more weight. There are efforts out there but social media will need to come on board.
    Places like this where we can get some sound advice (Roni you have some spot on advice–please keep it coming) and speak our minds helps us in the long run.
    I noticed I think it is the Dove commericial showing young women changing their path in life because of there body image. The more we hear the good messages the more likely we will succeed.

  • Jen

    In my case, it matters because when I lost the 100 or so pounds I was so tormented by the reasons that I was fat, when I gained the weight back, I had to address those reasons. If help that I will forever be on the weight loss roller coaster and I want to lose weight for good not to put my body through hell going up and down. I was miserable when I lost my weight.

  • Laura James

    I get so frustrated by living in Australia, as eating healthily and consciously is such a difficult mode to manage. Not only is it very expensive, but it’s not encouraged a lot of the time! I am 24, and I do everything I can to stay away from horrible take away and unhealthy food. I even stopped going to the mall to do my grocery shopping as right outside the grocery shop there is a Doughnut King. To avoid temptation I have been going to the smaller shopping complex that just has a few shops and the grocery store. The problem now? A massive MacDonalds is now being built right. across. the. road. There are two other MacDonalds not even a 5 minute drive away.
    I am so annoyed by this, and I actually made a vow when I found out it was being built that I would NEVER buy anything from that Macca’s.
    When you work so hard to be mindful and even change your shopping habits to help stay away from that crap, it’s a real blow when a massive store like that opens up right next door.

  • Geri

    I agree with Sandy as you know I have been on both ends of the spectrum of weight. As a teenager I was called a perfect square 12x12x12, or if you stand sideways you will blow away and many other statements like that. It was known as bullying back then, I just thought it was mean. I ate was not anorexic just was tall and thin at the time it was not a popular thing to be. Now I am overweight and know how it feels to be looked at that way again. It is hard to explain how my heaviness brought back all those old feelings for me as a teenager crying over being too thin, wearing two pairs of pants to try to look like everyone else. How silly how awful people are to criticize someone for there looks. I am loosing weight and trying my best to be as healthy as I can be not for the criticizers but for me. Sorry did not mean to rant on your comments page.

  • LAUREN

    it’s simply a response to the demand of easy grab it and run food choices. everyone is so busy that cooking, sitting and being in the moment, savoring good, healthy bites of food takes too much time in today’s world. I see my weight loss journey as a way to get back to the healthy…we are armed with the knowledge, the helpful sites like yours, the choices of good healthy food and we only need the desire. The time it takes to make a healthy yummy meal is there is we choose to make it as important as everything else in our life. Being healthy and feeling good inside are my main reasons for changing my lifestyle! I AND MY FAMILY ARE WORTH IT!!!!

  • cheryl

    couldn’t agree more!

  • cheryl

    choices choices choices! life is full of them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kdjaffe Karen Jaffe

    I am reminded of the quote by Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It’s up to us individually to make a decision about what is important to us and then live our lives according to our own priorities. Once you’ve made that choice, you make the choice to go along with the consequences that go along with that. In my case, I choose to be healthy, therefore I work hard at it and it’s not always easy . . . but to me, totally worth it!

  • http://twitter.com/FatGirlvsWorld Robby/FatGirlvsWorld

    Food is both the problem and the solution.
    Changing our attitudes toward our own bodies, and how we treat it is the first step. The second step is changing our attitude toward food.
    What should follow is a change in our perception/treatment of people who have disjointed and disordered attitudes towards their own bodies, or their relationship with food.
    I think far too often people who have never had issues with their bodies or food treat those who do with scorn or pity instead of compassion.
    When people are compassionate, they are more able to say “How can I help” versus “You can’t help yourself.”

  • Ang

    I agree totally. It doesn’t matter why we’re fat. All that matters is that we are, and as a nation, we’re getting fatter. We need to get off our butts, stop eating crap, and work on being as healthy as we can be. I’ve been big most of my life, and have been the butt of too many jokes and hateful comments. For a long time I lived under a rock and was miserable. Now, I’m living for me, and doing the best I can to be as healthy as I can. If I wind up losing 100 pounds, that will be great, If I can only lose 50, but still am moving, eating well, and living life, then that’s what matters. Thanks for being brave and sharing your story. it’s people like you that motivate me.

  • Rachel

    I have a hard time with not knowing why I am fat. If I don’t know WHY I am doing something, how am I supposed to fix it? This is my personal opinion on myself. I am a why person with everything though. I have to understant the situation before I can move forward; so weightloss isn’t any different for me.

    • Rachel

      I also have to say that the biggest lesson I have ever learned concerning food was that weight IS NOT THE PROBLEM. It is merely a symptom of the problem. There is a bigger issue at play and it is surfacing as food. Once I learned that, it became much easier to see that I am a bored eater. If I am bored for too long I will overeat, period. I know this and do my best to keep myself busy and I stay thinner.

  • http://www.healthhabits.ca Health Habits

    “It’s about us living a little more consciously, actively, and apologetically while supporting others that want to do the same”.

    Well said.

    In the past couple of weeks there have 2 diff stories on fat shaming/bullying in the mainstream press.

    In regard to the Jennifer Livingston story, I was left with the impression that while Ms. Livingston & her husband may have overreacted a little bit, the guy who sent her the “you’re a poor role model” comes off looking like a big a-hole who has an axe to grind and too much time on his hands.

    In regard to the “fat-shaming” PSA commercials put out by the Minnesota Blue Cross, I couldn’t believe how many HAES followers completely lost their minds and thought that a commercial encouraging parents to stop filling their grocery carts with frozen pizzas was a form of prejudice directed at the Rubenesque amongst us.

    Unfortunately for me, I made my opinion public on the Jezebel blog and was inundated with a flood of emails letting me know just how big a sphincter I was and that I should go to hell, etc….

    No one deserves to be bullied, teased or treated unfairly because they carry extra body-fat. Unfortunately there will always be jerks who like to hurt other people. And there will be jerks who truly think they’re being helpful by telling an overweight person that they’re overweight.

    Like you, I don’t care why my clients are overweight…genetics, bad habits learned as a child, inaccessibility to healthy food, etc…

    If you want to be leaner…great.

    Change what you can change and stop obsessing over what you can’t.

  • Christine Caffrey

    Although I get the gist of what you are saying, I worry that your post is blaming fat people for not reacting well. You said, “we can’t change our current culture (at least not immediately) and we can’t change the fact that not-very-good-for-us food is pretty much constantly, readily available, but what we CAN change is our reaction to it all.”

    We are stigmatized and marginalized, and have so little power, so sometimes it is hard/impossible to react the way you are suggesting. We are also a diverse group and not all of us have the same resources or education to achieve health.

    In my opinion, to say that it is up to the individual to get in the mindset to be healthy further shames people.

    Maybe this is not how you meant for the post to sound?

    • RoniNoone

      As I said in the post I new I’d come across a raving lunatic and I did. My reaction was really to the misplaced, finger pointing blame comment on an anti-bully based on body size article. All we hear about from the media is america is fat because blah blah blah. Obesity is on the rise because blah, blah blah. It’s maddening. To me at least. So my lunatic post was more of a statement about supporting people regardless of there size and stop focusing one thing about them –their body size– because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

      Now, your comment comes across as if people shouldn’t take any personal responsibility. I really DO think it is up to the individual and I don’t think that shames them at all. Why would it? I’m not suggesting people need to change, I’m simple suggesting helping and supporting those that want to change regardless of what their current body size or fitness level is.

    • Christine

      Thanks for responding. I agree that one can achieve (or not achieve) health at any size. I do think most people see health as their responsibility, and yes, getting help and support from other people is ideal (this is why I read your blog!). But (and here is where I risk sounding like a raving socialist lunatic), I think most people also need help and support with achieving health at the societal level–through schools, work settings, healthcare settings, town/city planning, etc. It is one thing to have a healthy mindset, but actually implementing it in our society can be really difficult. I think in the media, individuals are too often the ones blamed for causing obesity or other health ailments and made responsible for curing them (this idea that if only they made their health a priority, the epidemic would be solved–which can make people feel ashamed, especially fat people because they are stigmatized). For me, I think these health issues are more the responsibility of society. I want society to see health as a right of its citizens and strive to ensure that everyone can achieve it (raving socialist lunatic yet?). Clean up our environment, insure everyone, enhance wellness programs in all work settings, make all school meals healthier, make towns/cities walkable, etc. This is the help and support I think people striving to be healthy really need. Anyway, I’ll stop here. Thanks for posting. It is a really important topic, and I appreciate you creating a space for my socialist rant.

    • RoniNoone

      Christine – I kind of agree BUT here’s where we differ. Society isn’t there yet and I don’t have time to wait for it. Know what I mean? Instead, I do what I can regardless and try to support others that want to do that same and hopefully by us circumventing the broken system we actually help fix it. Now how’s that for raving lunatic statements. ;)

    • Christine

      :) I totally get what you are saying. I am a raving socialist because I work in the health policy field, and I spend my days trying to fix the system. I am optimistic most days–we have made some progress in recent years (adding calories to restaurant menus, revamping school lunches, adding wellness programs to work benefits), but like you said, we are definitely not there yet. And for some, our system is making their health even worse (uninsured, unhealthy neighborhood or work environments, underfunded school programs, etc)–it is those people that I worry about because their societal context is linked to their unhealthiness. They have a major river to swim upstream even when they have the will to be healthier. I am getting us off on a tangent and away from the intention of your post. I appreciate you conversing with me.

    • RoniNoone

      No problem, I appreciate a healthy discussion and you got me thinking about lots of things!

  • dan

    The benefits of exercise go so much further than weight loss alone! After I lost 25 pounds I felt like I was reborn as a new person! It’s true that everyday tasks become easier when you’re physically fit too. It’s just so worth it to make the effort to exercise.

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