Most of the people in my life have been positive about my weight loss journey, but there’s always one, isn’t there? An acquaintance that I see every once in a while has started announcing that she’s concerned about me whenever we cross paths. “You need to start eating” and “you’re looking too thin” are actual phrases that have come out of her mouth.
This got me thinking about body judgement in general. Even the positive comments, even the questions about how much I’ve lost and how I did it are forms of judgement. Why do we, as a society, feel like we’re justified in picking apart other people’s bodies? Is it an inward reflection projected outward? Do we feel like we’re being kind or boosting self-esteem?
Being told that I look “too thin” and that I am “worrying” someone is very disconcerting. It’s a blast to my already fragile sense of self-esteem. The last time it happened, I informed her what I weigh and what my BMI is and that both of these are right in the “normal” range. Why did I feel like I had to do that? I have no duty to alleviate her apparent worry, I have no responsibility to justify my appearance to anyone. I spent far too long doing that as a fat person. I spent too long wearing plain clothes, hiding in oversized things and carrying myself in a generally apologetic manner.
I was sorry for my size, sorry that I took up too much space, sorry that I would bump into things with my stomach or backside when I turned.
I am not ready to be sorry for my size again. I’m not ready to apologize for being “too skinny” or whatever else people deem me to be. I am done apologizing for who I am.
I’ve learned something very important about body shaming. I always thought that body shaming fat people was so much worse because thin people have “thin privilege”. Sure they might get called things like skinny, sure some people might automatically assume that they have an eating disorder but they can shop in straight sized shops and generally fit in with what the media thinks people are supposed to look like.
All of these assumptions were incorrect. It feels just as bad to be judged for being thin as it does to be judged for being fat. In some ways, it feels worse. I know intellectually that I’m a normal size now but now I find myself looking at my arms and legs and wondering if they’re too small. I’m terrified of regaining the weight I lost but I have people telling me that I should.
This is unacceptable and we need to stop doing it to each other. Before you make that comment to your friend, before you suggest that they have a salad instead of the fries or tell someone how tiny they’re looking look inside yourself. Are you projecting your own insecurities onto someone else’s body?