August 23, 2017

Telling me I’m fat won’t help. Here’s what I need instead...

Telling me I'm fat won't help

A culture of fat shaming


Tabatchoy. Buchokoy. Baboy.


These are names that Filipinos give to people who don’t fit the “acceptable” size.

Who decides which sizes are acceptable? Well, I’m not sure myself, but there’s a prevailing idea that perfect abs, buns and thighs are the best, but as long as no one calls you fat then probably your body type is acceptable.


Am I healthy?




There are several ways to measure size such that we get an idea about our health status. Examples are the BMI and the waist-hip ratio (which I'll be discussing in some other post, so make sure to keep in touch). These measures help determine our propensity for having disease, and we can use these as basis for our health goals. However, these shouldn’t be our sole basis for measure. We shouldn’t just look healthy; we should also feel healthy. 

Think about it, what if you’re within the normal BMI and waist hip ratio but in order to reach this  point and stay at this level of physical fitness you’ve allowed yourself to feel deprived. You can only maintain this lifestyle for so long but eventually, it will backfire, like it did to me.


So what am I suggesting? I’m suggesting that you embrace a lifestyle that’s healthy not just for your body, but also for your mind.






A Personal Experience


Let me tell you my story...


I used to eat healthy and exercise regularly but still hated myself for having flabs. I worked hard but I just did not look like those fitness gurus on Youtube. So, I hated myself and punished myself by forgoing the yummy things in life and working out tirelessly.


What I did to myself left me feeling deprived, and for the longest time I've been in a yoyo of overeating, dieting, and over exercising.


If you’re reading this and you’ve experienced the same thing, I feel you. Wouldn’t you want to finally be able to love and accept yourself imperfections and all?


I'm not saying that you should allow yourself to indulge in unhealthiness. What I'm saying is cut yourself some slack. Reframe your thought patterns. Instead of thinking that you are depriving yourself of the "good" things, think that you are opening yourself up for better things. You can do that by focusing on health and not just weight loss.



Telling me I'm fat won't help


You're fat
via Pixabay

It's really a struggle losing weight, then gaining more. Personally there are times when I wouldn't want to go outside because I'd fear being called out fat. I'm not sure how this applies in your culture but in ours (I'm Filipino), calling out how you're body has changed accompanies most greetings.

"Uy hello! tumaba ka!"  
"Oh hello! you've gained weight!"

If you're fond of greeting people this way, (well I'm sort of guilty too, and to those whom I've offended, I'm sorry), I'd like to express: we’re not blind. We can see ourselves in front of the mirror and we can recognize that we’re getting fat. We can feel our clothes shrinking and that’s enough to alarm us. The belly folds are uncomfortable. Promise. We can feel our endurance failing us and it's difficult. We don’t need you to tell us we’re fat. Do you think we feel great after binge eating on that large box of pizza or large bucket of fries?


We are not indulgent lazy gluttons without the desire to be fit and healthy. Some of us want to fit in those clothes again, feel comfortable again, simply be healthy again. I'm one of them and we need help.



Here's what I (we) need instead


If you're close to people who are trying to get back to their flair, or trying to be healthy, here's what you can do to help them (us).



1. Affirmation


We need you to tell us we’re beautiful and that you’d want to spend more time with us in this lifetime so you need us to start making healthy choices. We need you to tell us we're amazing people, but we need to start making good, healthy choices today if we do not want to suffer the consequences when we're older.



2. Encouragement


via GIPHY

We need you to help us get motivated to move our bodies, by inviting us to go swimming, play a sport, walk in a park, or mall-walk, depending on our likes/dislikes or personality. Help us enjoy physical activity, not like it's punishment for eating that extra slice of pizza.



3. Non-temptation


via GIPHY

We need you to stop tempting us to binge eat. Please stop making excuses for us like:


"Just this once.."
"It's the holidays anyway..."
"You can just lose the weight eventually..."

We appreciate that you're only trying to help us feel better about wanting to eat but we would also appreciate it if you help us not to eat so much. Stop inviting us out to unhealthy places and instead, try to bring us to restaurants with healthy food options.






4. Non-judgment

If we don’t eat, stop telling us we’re being anorexic. Maybe we’ve binged a few hours/minutes before and we're just too ashamed to admit it. Please understand. If we say we’re full, believe us and stop pushing us to consume that last piece of cake or last scoop of ice cream.


5. A Workout Buddy


7 ways to help a friend who's on a diet
via Pixabay

Sometimes we want to exercise but feel like it's such a chore or that it's boring. If you're really concerned about us gaining weight, show your support by offering to exercise with us. Sometimes a workout buddy is all we need for us to start moving.


6. Genuine Care



Whether we'd like to admit it or not, we, like most people, just need genuine care. We long to be valued for our totality, and not judged merely by our appearance. We need you to look beyond the fats and flabs and see us for who we really are. If you're really concerned, you'll avoid fat jokes and "you're fat greetings", and you'll make the effort to think of creative ways to help us start a healthy lifestyle, without coming offensive.

7. A friend


healthy friendship
from Pexels

In all of this, you know what we need the most? A friend. Someone who's willing to support us every step of the way, who will be there with us through the journey of living a healthy life. Someone who's willing to be honest and say the truth, to tell us if we're going the wrong way and help us get on the right track. Trying to live a healthy life is definitely easier when you have somebody to journey with.


Yep, you heard that right. We need you, friend. :)


Disclaimer: I know there's also skinny-shaming, or whatever kind of body-shaming, but fat-shaming is closer to home and that's why I've limited this post to that. If you have a piece on body-shaming, be it size, hair, skin, etc., you may have it published on this blog as a guest post. Just send The Wise Lark a message on Facebook :)

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If you know a friend who needs this, or you want to affirm someone who has helped you in your fitness journey, share this on Facebook and tag that friend! :) Let your friends know you care!

9 comments:

  1. the stigma around weight is just so disappointing. You've really identified it well

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    Replies
    1. People should be kind to each other and not dwell on appearances too much. :) If they're really concerned, then they should try to inform the other person about health in a nice way.

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  2. I love this! People need to realize that if someone decides they want to make changes in their lives they need positive support. Criticisms are just detrimental to their mental health!

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    Replies
    1. Yes :) Thank you so much Kimberly! <3 Glad you loved it!

      Delete
  3. Just like a fat person, a skinny person get shamed too but that isn't the way out. No matter the size, when it comes to health what we need is good information and support and not some sorta criticism. Nice post you've got here

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah! And it's not just being skinny and being fat. Being flat-chested, or having too big busts or having no butt, frizzy hair, acne, etc. HUHU! People should stop being mean and start being kind.

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  4. I never had a problem with my fitness body shape, because I've been skinny for my entire life. I totally get you haha. Here in the Philippines, we make "You grew fat." our usual greeting when we meet each other. Don't worry! You don't need to be in shape just to be complimented. After all, even if you aren't fat, people will still tell you, "Tumaba ka." lol. Live happily, and don't be conscious of your body!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah so true! No matter what happens they'll say that. Then somebody else will say "you look skinnier" you'll be confused HAHAH thanks so much Charlotte :)

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