So, what happens when you've finally learned to love your body, but then people weigh in (pardon the pun) without you asking? And what if those people confirm your worst fears about society?
Here is one woman's (u/euisalk) story, which Reddit found extremely relatable:
AITA (Am I the as*hole) for telling people to stop congratulating me for losing weight?
I have recently lost a lot of weight. I've been fat since childhood. Growing up fat was hard. You're the brunt of jokes, mean and snide comments, any little pain you have at the doctors must be because of your weight.
You're not allowed to complain about being too hot in the summer. Your food choices are scrutinised to death: eat a salad, well done!!!! Its so healthy!!!! Good on your for trying to lose weight!!! Eat a burger? That's why you're fat. You should try swapping the bun for lettuce. You should swap your fries for a salad. Are you sure you don't want something else?
Christ on a bike, it was exhausting. I got to a point in my 20s where I decided I didn't care anymore. I was fat and that was that. I stopped efforts for intentional weight loss and started moving my body because I enjoyed it and it alleviated my depressive episodes.
I also went vegan for lent 3 years ago and never stopped after the 40 days. I've subsequently lost a lot of weight. I haven'y weighed myself in about 5 years, but I've lost a lot of weight. Went from size 18/20 to 10/12. I'm ambivalent about the weight loss, angry about the treatment of it.
People are nicer to me. Like they'll greet me where they didn't before. I walk into a store and the staff comes to offer me help. My instagram likes have never been higher. Men hit on me and point out other aspects of my personality other than being funny.
Nobody seems to care what I eat anymore, they even encourage me to get dessert now. People treat me with basic human decency because my body is smaller than it used to be and it f*cking infuriates me.
I've changed in no way. I'm the same person I've always been, but the way I move in the world has improved because my body is smaller.
I went to a family event for the first time post pandemic. Jaws literally dropped. 'omg OP you look soooo good!!! You have to tell me your secret!' I asked people to stop commenting on my body as it was making me uncomfortable. They persisted until I snapped.
I told them, very curtly and firmly but never shouting, that it's disgusting how they treat me. How the cousins who never invited me on girls nights now want me to hang with them. How people are now talking to me about things other than work and taking a genuine interest in my life.
How they're not even trying to conceal their fatphobia. It makes me sad that I could have had the love and support of my family all these years had I not been fat.
People did the whole 'nooo it was your health we were worried about!!' And I pointed out how 2 of my cousins were either a high functioning alcoholic or being on this side of coke addiction yet none of them were ever treated with the disdain I was. Their concern was not my health, but my looks. Please spare me lies to my face.
It got awkward and silent and my family left soon after. My parents went off on me in the car about it for making this awkward. They said I should have just said thanks and not ruined the family gathering. AITA (Am I the as*hole)?
Reddit ruled a very easy NTA (Not the as*hole) and then offered some truly insightful thoughts.
Yeah lol, people who deeply believe the lie they tell themselves that 'Oh I don't have anything against every single fat person i see I just am worried about health!' have a really hard time when confronted. Deeply NTA and I honestly wish more skinny people could get harshly told that they need to stop giving other people, friends or strangers, their opinions about their body.
Good for you!! sincere congrats on responding to folks this way. I hope you feel proud of yourself. What you've described in this post is you deciding to love yourself in really meaningful physical, mental, and political ways. Huge congrats and keep it up.
And absolutely you are not the as*hole. I'd consider putting up some more boundaries with your family of origin to make it clear that you're not interested in their fatphobic shenanigans, no matter your pants size or dietary choices.
Rarely am I this proud of an internet stranger. NTA in the least! As someone whose weight yoyos all the time, I get so irritated at comments about how good I look minus ten or twenty pounds, or the laughable times when I'm actually heavier than normal and someone asks me if I've lost weight. So damned insulting to comment on someone's body even when you mean well. Good for you for caring more about yourself than people pleasing.
And OP responded:
Another reason I hate the comments is because it puts sooo much unnecessary pressure on me to stay this size! Like will they go back to treating me poorly if I regain the weight Sending you hugs.
I'm a man going through exactly the same thing. People who haven't experienced it will never really understand, but you are NTA. It is a uniquely terrible feeling to get confirmation that the thing you always knew was a problem for people was actually the problem no matter how much people insisted to your face it wasn't and no matter how much you knew intellectually that it was. Seeing it proven to your face hurts all the same.
scatteringashes also relates:
As someone who dropped to an acceptable weight who then gained a bunch of weight during pregnancy (because I was trying to preserve my body, and my body did it's job and went, we are trying to protect a baby here wtf are you doing???? ) it is so disheartening to see firsthand how conditional everyone is about how they treat fat people.
Like, it was one thing when I was just always fat. It hit differently when people have a 'success' state of my body that can be pointed to, which means all other states are 'failure' and it suuuuuucks.
And Liskasoo shares a perspective from the other side:
Many years ago I did unconscious bias training for work. I prided myself on treating people equally and without bias, but it made me realise that in fact I did have a bias toward people I perceived as fat.
I wasn't unkind, but I treated them differently, and tended to assume that they were less intelligent, perhaps more lazy, and just 'different'. I was patronising.
It's even worse because I was really skinny/underweight (digestive issues) and people judged me for it all the time, so I should have been more aware. When I put weight on, I got treated differently, and as if I was 'normal'.
I was horrified with myself and have done everything I can to get better, but it's made me hyper alert to it, and it's astonishing how common it is. People make ridiculous assumptions about people based on their physical appearance, and it's awful.
It's especially horrible when it's medical staff who should know better - like you, one of my friends at work has pretty much every problem dismissed by her doctor and blamed on her weight. She's just not listened to.
On top of that, when someone's weight changes it's never okay to compliment their appearance based on the change. People lose and gain weight for all sorts of reasons, and those include illness, medication and grief, and unless you know someone extremely well, and are congratulating them on achieving something they've worked for, it's not on.
If you think someone looks great, say so. Tell them they look well. Don't say they look 'better'. Anyway. I'm sorry for the way they have been with you, and for the way I would have been many years ago. 100% NTA.
In conclusion, I'm going to leave you with some closing thoughts from OP herself:
Just some final thoughts from me: Fat people deserve to live lives with the same decency and respect afforded to thin people.
Fat people, be happy. Curate environments where people love you no matter what you look like. Have confidence to challenge your Dr if they're not listening to you and ask for a second opinion (being shamed into deference may kill you - it almost did w me). Nobody is a bigger expert on your body than you.
You should not have to lose weight to gain respect. You cannot tell if someone is un/healthy based on their looks. Being fat is not inherently unhealthy, just as being thin is not inherently healthy.