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Body Shaming, Fat Shaming and Skinny Shaming

Fat Shame, Skinny Shame and Everything in Between

 

When I was a child I was considered the “tall and skinny girl.” Around the age of 11 things changed.

Like most 11-13 year olds, it is normal to gain 30-40 lbs due to hormone changes the body goes through for puberty and growth spurts.

With a little bit of weight gain, I had relatives start to picking on my weight, saying, “you should start working out to lose weight” and “you’re chubby.”

With a little bit of weight gain, I had relatives start to picking on my weight, saying, “you should start working out to lose weight” and “you’re chubby.”

 

At school the boys in class would go around the room and list who was the prettiest and who was the fattest. This made me very self-conscious – was I the fattest?

Fat Shame

These comments started the downfall on my body image.

I no longer felt beautiful or worthy. I believed the lie that no boy would ever like me unless I was thin and pretty.

When I was 13 years old, I was so desperate that I got on my knees before God and started to bawl and asked if he would make me skinny.

When I was 13 years old, I was so desperate that I got on my knees before God and started to bawl and asked if he would make me skinny.

 

The comments turned into a reason to induce an eating disorder. I would ponder ways I could do it.

Maybe I could restrict food and cut out anything sweet. I thought about purging because I had a major fear of throwing up and it could help me get over that fear. Thank God I did not do any of the above.

That same year I developed health problems. I had horrible stomach pain and nausea on a daily basis that made it hard to eat.

I went to numerous doctors and had to switch my diet and started some medicines that started to help.

Your body is beautiful

 

Within 4 months I went from 125 lbs down to 104 lbs. With the weight loss, the body shaming comments stopped.

This made me believe that because I was now skinny, that I was beautiful. Pretty messed up right? In my mind I correlated beauty with skinniness.

Skinny Shame

My weight has pretty much stayed in the 115-130 lbs range for the past 10 years of my life. This past year I have been working out to give my body energy and strength.

Women’s Health UK describes it perfectly, “Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. Not a punishment for what you ate.”

Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. Not a punishment for what you ate. – Womens Health UK

 

Exercising helps me to release stress from the day and allows me to build muscle strength that is required to lift patients (I’m an ER nurse, enough said. lol).

Believe it or not, my exercising has too caused body shamming comments.

Two months ago I had a guy friend come up to me and say, “Have you been losing weight and working out? You’d be ridiculously hot if you gained 25 lbs because you’d be curvier.”

I know he was trying to be nice, but it then it caused me to think about my body. Did I need to be curvier?

I have other people come up to me and say, “You’re so tiny! You need to gain weight. Eat a cheeseburger. I wish I had your body. I’d kill to have your body. You look like a skeleton. Do you even eat? Have you lost weight because you look amazing…etc.”

You’re so tiny! You need to gain weight. Eat a cheeseburger.

 

I have a love-hate relationship with those comments.

The problem with their “compliments” is that they are fueled by societal standards of beauty.

Thin=Beautiful

Fat=Ugly.

Usually when these comments arise, I nervously smile and say, “thank you” or “Yeah I eat all the time.” Isn’t that what I’m supposed to say?

For me the comments fuel the validation that I appear thin and make me feel worthy, accepted, beautiful, and included because I was being praised for it.

They are often triggers for me to restrict caloric intake or workout more to maintain my figure. They also make me insecure and wonder if I were to gain weight, would I look horrible?

stop body shaming

 

If you notice that I’ve lost weight and praise me for it (when you have NO idea how I lost the weight), what are you thinking about when you’ve noticed I’ve gained weight?

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of body shaming someone else. Seemingly innocent comments such as “you look tired” or even “you’re looking healthier lately” can trigger feelings of body insecurity in another person.

Seemingly innocent comments such as “you look tired” or even “you’re looking healthier lately” can trigger feelings of body insecurity in another person.

 

If you notice someone in your life has lost weight, compliment them on how they are glowing, how happy they are and avoid complimenting them on their weight loss.

Those compliments can easily make someone hate their “fatter” self and push them to eat less and less, and exercise more and more.

I don’t “look like a person with an eating disorder” because I don’t technically have one, but I’ve battled disordered eating patterns my entire life.

I still have renew my thoughts on a daily basis that I am beautiful and I can eat what my body craves.

Losing weight for someone could be good or could be bad. It could mean someone is starving themselves, over exercising, or in the cycle of purging.

Gaining weight could be a good thing. For example, gaining weight after a chronic illness that made it almost impossible to gain weight or gaining weight after recovering from an eating disorder.

So why am I posting a snapshot about my body image struggle and body shaming?

It’s for awareness. No one, let me repeat, NO ONE should ever be put down because of their appearance.

Every body is beautiful.

We need to stop this negative beauty standard that people have created.

We all need to bring awareness of how comments affect people forever. We are all created beautiful and were made for a purpose.

You are loved, you are beautiful, and your worth is not dependent on your body shape or size.

About Julie Newmeyer

I strongly believe someones self-worth isn't dependent on their appearance yet on their inner self. If I'm not writing you will likely find me in the ER nursing patients back to health, cooking new and creative meals in the kitchen or catching up on sleep.