Food for thought: Unhealthy Vs. Fat

So here’s a topic that bothers me. Being unhealthy vs. being fat.

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I’ve been overweight for most of my life. I’ve always been fat. Now, there’s no reason to sugar coat it. It just is. I’m not tall, I’m not skinny. I am short and I am fat. These are facts.  Being fat describes a physical quality of you, and has nothing to do with what kind of person you are so I’ve learned to not be offended by it and also not to pretend that it is not true. That being said, often times people use this word with the intent to harm or offend the person they are calling fat. But it shouldn’t be a word we are scared of or avoid. We might as well embrace it. I learned to.

It also has nothing to do with your health. Nothing, to do with your health. I have never had any significant health problems. I have great blood pressure, and never have been told I am pre-diabetic.No sickness I have had has been related to my excess pounds. But when people look at a fat person, they assume they are unhealthy.  Thinness is equated often with health, and many cases that is just not true. In fact, I know many thin people who are quite unhealthy. Also many fat people. Size has nothing to do with it.

So why do I bring it up? I was talking to a really good friend this morning, and they were telling me how great they thought I looked in a recent picture they saw of me. At first I was flattered and graciously accepted the complement, until they went on to say, “If it was this time last year, you would have been the most unhealthy one in that picture, and now look at you!”

Now, I know they meant well and no harm.  They probably were thinking of a nice way to say “Hey, you don’t look half as fat as you did last year” which of course is great to hear, but not commonly uttered. Fat is a word people are afraid to use in fear of offending.  But honestly,I was offended by the alternative. I would have rather they said that if it was last year, I’d be much ” fatter, bigger, heavier, larger, ect”.   Or simply, “you look awesome, keep it up!” Not the unhealthiest, because the later just isn’t true.

It just struck a cord with me, and made me realize how false some perceptions really are and how you really can’t judge people by outward appearances. That when you meet a person you have no idea what battles they are fighting or what they are going through. It made me wonder if I had every said anything similar with good intentions, without realizing the effect it might have on that person. Really makes you think, and for me makes me think about choosing my words a little more carefully.

Next time someone tells me I’m “fat”,  I’d kindly thank them for pointing out the obvious.  Next time someone calls me unhealthy, I’ll just politely correct them. And that folks, is  my food for thought of the day.

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