A letter I wrote in August 2012 to all those who hate fat people.
Oh, sorry, do you not like that title? But you do hate looking at fat people, right? You also hate the thought of fat people taking more of your hard-earned money for their health problems. Or maybe you just can’t understand why someone would let him/herself go like that. So you’re not a Hater, you’re just grouping those unhealthy slobs as a group you would rather not deal with.
Don’t worry, I get it. I grew up with the food pyramid, which described what to eat and how much. I was just as offended by obese people as you are. I thought they were stupid and ugly. If I had to use a public bathroom, there was no way I was using a stall a fat woman just used, I mean, she probably farted or something–because fat people always fart. I also believed that fat girls would never fall in love. Have you ever seen a fat Disney princess get the prince to fall in love with her? Remember Ursala? She wasn’t just evil, she was a tank, am I right?
The Food Pyramid was awesome too! It put my favorite food group, right there at the bottom–grains and starches. I could not get enough. I love breads and pasta! When I discovered Panera Bread Company–it became my new favorite restaurant. I also love fruit–apples, oranges, strawberries, peaches, bananas, and locally wild-growing black raspberries. And my mother made sure I had meat at every night for dinner. And vegetables? I loved carrots and tomatoes and green beans–I liked picking them fresh from the field across the road and eating them raw! Sure my mother baked cookies and pies from time to time, but they were for my teacher or for me to share with my classmates or most likely, for her co-workers. We rarely had sweets around the house. As far as eating out, she refused all my pleas for a happy meal. If we did decide to eat out, it was Pizza Hut, once a month at most.
So why was I considered a fat girl at ten years old? I was active. I scaled the copper-wire piles in the backyard, climbed around in the barn to find our barn cats, and loved sledding in the winter. In the summer, I loved swimming and took swimming lessons. And at my babysitter’s house there were always enough kids to play tag and hide-in-go seek with. What was wrong with me? What did my mother do wrong? I am sure she was wondering that. I must not have been active enough. So I joined a girl’s softball team for a summer and she got me into 4-H, showing a beef heifer my first year. And I had to take care of that calf every day–catch the calf, feed, brush, lead her around the drive way all before dinner.
After dinner, I did my homework and went to bed. My eating habits didn’t change–I was hungrier to be sure, but I wasn’t eating anymore sweets than I had before.
I didn’t lose weight no matter how active I become. I remained the fat smart girl–what an oxymoron–I focused on my grades because apparently that was all I was good at.
Now I am all grown up and still one of those foul fat people you hate so much. If you were to follow me around for a day, you’d be devastated to see that I usually skip breakfast and eat my first meal anywhere from 11 to 1 in the afternoon. Today for example, I am eating two egg pizzas (from Eat Like a Dinosaur by Paleo Parents) made with omega 3 eggs, sausage, pepperoni, some marinara sauce (with natural sugars from the tomatoes , and a topped with just a bit of cheese. As a side to these two egg pizzas the size of cookies, I sauteed some vegetables: carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash in olive oil and seasoned. Oh, and I am drinking a cool glass of water. Not bad, right? If you were feeling generous, you would probably applaud me for making healthy eating decisions that would pay off in the long run.
But what about when you would see me in public? I like to go out for dinner or lunch with my husband every once in a while–we usually like to go to our favorite local restaurant on Fridays for lunch. You would be appalled as we shared a basket of cheese curds, and I ate two baked cod fillets and ate a side of homemade chips. “What do you think you’re doing?” you’d probably cry out. “You’re ruining all your healthy eating decisions you made all week! And by eating this way publicly, you’re promoting stereotypes about fat people!” Maybe I have won some of your sympathy for my horrible condition in that you would be concerned at all why fat people disgust you so.
I probably wouldn’t say anything, just turn red an leave the room. I am not much for confrontation, which is why I am writing this letter after all.
As you take a stroll around my kitchen and snoop in my refrigerator and freezer, you would notice, if your powers of observation are as astute as they are when carefully observing everything I put into my mouth, that we don’t have any bread in our house. “What is the meaning of this?” You would ask like a over-concerned parent. I would then explain that our family is following the guidelines for the Paleo/Primal diet, which omits grains, legumes, and most dairy in addition to staying away from processed foods and refined and artificial sugars. “You can’t stop eating grains! It will make you sick.” I would probably give you a nervous smile and shrug, “Actually, I found I have a gluten intolerance.” You’d sputter something about buying into the gluten-free scam and then “tsk” at the high-fat coconut milk ice cream I have in my freezer. You would accuse me of cheating and eating horribly and being the misguided and stupid fat person that you always knew I was and storm out of my home.
I am not writing this letter to apologize for offending you or disgusting you with my obesity. I would like to see you realize that you’re getting all worked up over something that is really none of your business. “But you cost me more money for being obese!” Not really. If I could I would mail you a copy of some Paleo/Primal dieting information, to explain the diet better and how my body is processing things differently and that over time, I believe, I will be much healthier looking. But for now, I can say that I no longer need the super-expensive asthma medication I have taken for the last five years. My asthma hasn’t been a problem for me for the last month, just a couple weeks after starting this Paleo eating style. My GERD is not as big of a problem anymore either. Instead of taking a Prilosec every day and still having strictures and acid coming up my throat, I take a Prilosec maybe twice a week as needed.
But have I lost weight? Yes! Not a huge amount, mind you, it has only been a few weeks now. And eating this way is sustainable. We often can enjoy eating burgers without buns and ketchup. And if we really want something–like an order of fries, we get it, share it, and watch what we eat for the rest of the day and week.
After not eating grains for 30 days, I tried eating some pasta and it made me really sick. I used to think the gluten-free movement was a fad as well, but that pasta made me really, really sick. We are also eating a lot less. I used to be able to polish off a tin of Pizza Hut’s Meaty Marinara and the five bread-sticks in a meal–when I tried eating that same size tin of Meaty Marinara, it took me 4 meals to eat it and I never did eat all the bread-sticks.
Furthermore, regardless of my diet that I would encourage you to look into, I am still a person. I may be fat and ugly in your eyes, but I still have feelings and I still want to be seen for my technical skills and personality. If you can’t see past my weight, then I can’t see your personality because of your hateful and shallow judgement of others. Has my opinion changed? I still struggle to see past what people are eating, regardless if they are thin or fat. I am not so blind that I don’t notice other obese people. I worry, but I don’t think they are stupid or lazy. I like to think if I try to make a change, then if they really want to, they will too. I have had two very close friends of mine who struggled with their weights for sometime, lose a lot of weight and inspired me and made me believe in myself. And now they are inspired by me, I think, in that they are going to give this Paleo thing a try to maintain their already-healthy bodies.
I don’t think you can really make people change the way they live by insulting them or belittling them or looking down on them. I don’t think telling them what to do all the time or pushing the blame onto fast food places is the right way to go either. I think encouragement and example and being supportive of any effort they choose to put forth is the way to go. When I see obese joggers in my neighborhood, I don’t like to stare and make them even more self-conscious, but I want to give them a thumbs up for their effort.
I would encourage you to stop being a hater and be a supporter. But I suppose some haters gonna hate, in which case, I hope you grow up instead of wasting your energies on complaining and trolling fat people.
As I always say, you might have the right to say whatever hateful things you want, but it doesn’t mean you should.
And for my fellow fatties out there, sorry for my jump to judgement, old habits die hard. I hope that you will find the motivation and support you need to reach your weight goals if you are working towards one. Don’t be discouraged and don’t give up. If one diet doesn’t work for you, try something new. Do your research.