This is something that’s been lingering in my head a lot. As someone who has recovered from my eating disorder, as someone who has restricted her eating, as someone who feared being labeled fat, i understand where these sentiments are coming from. But I wonder if I am in the position to talk back on those who fat shame themselves and speak in negative body image language.
I do understand that these sentiments are reinforced by the greater society. To be frank, I fell under society’s trap too. As someone who wanted to please others, I wanted to please society’s standard of perfect which unfortunately is very limited to one certain body type.
And having gone through a mentally challenging and physically life changing recovery, one of my life goals (if I can even call it that) has been to make sure no one to go through that sucky process. To ever feel the need to unhappily change their body and their eating habits for someone else’s satisfaction.
However, despite such a conviction four years ago, I still hesitate whenever I hear passing comments that reflect this societal pressure: “Oh, I can’t eat that. I’m going to get fat.” “Woah that’s way too many carbs.” “Oh forget it, I’m just going to eat that cupcake and just be fat.”
I can hear these comments so clearly – even among a bustling conversation – crystal clear. They are triggering, not in that they make me relapse, but in the way that I get incredibly sad but also frustrated that so many girls are thinking in such a way. I want to interrupt and say, “You CAN eat that. There is nothing like bad or good food. All food is fuel and you should nourish your body with what it asks for.”
But then I falter – I wonder if I am being patronizing. I wonder if I’ll be looked at weird for giving such a long talk for such a perceived small but for me a consequential comment.
This year has already made me question this passivity. As someone who’s in the mentor role of the boarding school dorm for freshmen girls, I feel a greater responsibility because it was exactly at their age where upon receiving recovery I decided I won’t let anyone go through the same thing again.
At such a young and impressionable age, I feel a greater need to assert these messages because it’s only going to be a matter of a few days, weeks, months or years that these kind of comments manifest into actual actions.
So I ask you join me in this endeavor. To stop all fat shame, to stop society’s need to justify certain food choices and body sizes. And instead celebrate our ability to move, live and love our bodies.