I don't get to talk about why I'm a vegetarian. I get it. It's a tough subject to bring up because no one wants to listen to a militant vegan shout at you for eating honey (it happens...)
But you know what I do get to talk about, that I really don't want to talk about?
I have a lot of feelings about this one, and they all boil down to the fact that it has taken me a lot of years to be really okay with the fact that my body looks the way it does, the way that society tells me I should not be happy about. And your diet talk and body talk brings all those shit feelings back. So please try to understand when I change the topic, or disengage, or walk away from this conversation.
I have been trying to put my feelings toward this into a blog post for awhile now, because it's getting really unbearable at work and with my friends. (Probably because it's going to be "bikini season" soon and please just shoot me now...)
And then I saw this post on Everyday Feminism, and I saw my feelings get put into words! Smart, good words that made sense, that I can use in my brain, and in my heart, and in my life.
All "8 Reasons Why I Don't Want To Hear About Your Diet" were SPOT ON, but one really hit home for me.
#4. I am bigger than you.
This one. This one hurts the most. When you talk about how much your fat body disgusts you, and how eating this cookie is going to make you so fat, or how you really need to lose this "extra weight" you shame yourself and you shame me. I'M FAT! I ate that cookie! My lunch was pizza with extra cheese instead of a salad with dressing on the side! I am doing and being all the things that make you cringe, that make you talk about your stupid diet!
What do you see when you see my body existing beside you everyday? Do you think I'm gross? Do I disgust you with my happy fat? If I asked you that, you would probably say no because you are my friend, but every time you use fat-shaming language to talk about your body, you are fat-shaming me. I get that you aren't even thinking about me when you talk like this, but maybe you should consider the people around you when you "bash your own weight" (as the author says).
The part that hurts my heart the most, and that makes me turn away and disengage, is the underlying message you are sending to me about your body, and my body, and other women's bodies around you. That I must be skinny to be happy. And that's bullshit.
Did you know that there isn't a single scientific study that proves that weight loss is the magic "cure all" for health problems that people claim it is?
Did you know that there is no long term data showing that there is ANY weight loss system or diet plan out there that allows participants to keep the weight "off" for a sustained period of time?
That the data we have actually proves that something like 95% of people who diet will not sustain their weight loss.
AND that most people who diet actually gain back MORE weight than what they lost?
So not only do I not want to hear about your diet talk because it hurts me, it also reminds me about the shit messages that we are bombarded with everyday that make us hate ourselves and buy more stuff to feel good about ourselves and then end up hating ourselves even more.
No thanks. I have happily excised myself from this vicious cycle and I don't need my friends and people that I care about trying to pull me back in.
I really enjoyed her point at the end, when she writes that she will not congratulate her friends on their weight loss, because...
"While I wish you well, I know the odds are stacked against you, and I don’t want to contribute to any shame you’re likely to experience if/when the weight returns.
I value myself and I value your friendship, and it has nothing to do with your presence or lack of muffin top.
p.s. Quotes taken from 8 Reasons Why I Don't Want To Hear About Your Diet
Also, I realize I have not touched on some other issues surrounding diet talk, or dieting, or being a small fat person talking about this, but please take this as author bias only, and not a specific attempt to subvert or misdirect. There are of course other conversations to have, and I am only scratching the surface. These opinions are mine alone, and are incomplete. But I'm trying!