Friday, April 16, 2021

How I lost 100 pounds with one word: obesity vs. fat-shaming spurs weight loss

When I was young, it was very common for kids to body shame and mock: "four-eyes", "tinsel teeth" "scarecrow" "shrimp." For us chubby kids, there was an entire patios: "whale-o" "tubby" "lardass" "fatty" "pig" "blimp." I guess the memo about name-calling being wrong hadn't reached my elementary school. It was so common that I got used to and expected it. It never didn't hurt though. 

For most of us "overweight" kids, it was just "baby fat" and puberty brought weight loss. But we didn't know that at the time. Fast-forward to high school and some of us have now grown into ourselves and look pretty good. But not all of us realized it. Alas, that old playground taunting had left us with permanent body image issues. And the body-shaming didn't end in high school, either. Almost all of us girls and many guys dieted, ate too little and worried about our weight. Some fell to anorexia and bulimia. Old hurts may heal but that scar tissue is a bitch. 

Now fast forward to later adulthood and some of us have begun to put on weight again. Age, hormones, health problems, depression, having babies will do that to you. Some of us didn't realize it because we always saw ourselves as fat even when we weren't. And this time the extra weight isn't going anywhere. There's no puberty to magic it away. In fact, obesity is looming. And that one word is what pushed me into weight loss. 

Of all the words, "obesity" hurt the most. On some level I knew, even as kid, that the name-calling was just ignorant babble. But this wasn't a classmate teasing. It was a nurse telling me that my weight put me in the "obese" category. She wasn't doing it to hurt or be mean. She was giving me objective, medical truth. And that made all the difference. 

I hated knowing that I was obese. I hate the word obesity, more than any of the name-calling. Because it's a clinical fact not subjective opinion. No amount of ignoring will make this label go away. The names hurt, but I never let anyone see me cry. I wouldn't give 'em the satisfaction. So what the shamers didn't accomplish, the compassionate professional did. I cried. Then I dried my tears and got to work on the diet. And that's how I lost 100 pounds. (Pictures are me top 2001, middle 2011 and bottom 2015)

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