Since the end of January this year, I have lost over a stone in weight. This was a huge (forgive the pun) deal for me, as I have been overweight my entire life. To my parents, it was never a problem, they loved me regardless and my mom loved filling my plate up with food – not to mention the grief she would give me if I didn’t return the plate empty to her. I got bullied for being fat amongst other reasons (I never did see the point in bullying people for wearing glasses…) and it was a constant source of self-hatred for me.
That is, until I got a boyfriend at age 14. Hey, this guy is hot and he wants to go out with me, I can’t be that much of a munter right? My second boyfriend (eventual fiance) at age 17 however, was not so blinded by love. He loved to make a point of how fat I was in comparison to him – yes, he was very slim, but that didn’t bother me, so why did my fat bother him so much? He even called me fat in front of my mom, cousin and her then-boyfriend. I was so humiliated I tried to mask it with humour by sitting on him and pretending to ‘squash’ him – it was too late. The damage was done. Despite leaving him and moving on, the self-loathing soon turned into apathy. I didn’t love my body, I didn’t hate it, I’d never lost weight so I was stuck like it. New partners called me sexy, attractive, beautiful – I would just thank them and leave it at that.
The start of this year was a tough one. We lost our dog Shandy quite quickly to a womb infection, and I slipped into the usual pattern of despair. I broke down and ended up in hospital with deep gashes in my forearm, an attempt to deal with the pain of losing her. A few weeks after that, as I started to recover, I came across a subreddit (of which I won’t link) that made fun of fat people, fat acceptance and the HAES (Health At Every Size) movement. I was horrified at first, that these people could be so cruel to strangers that they had never met, vilifying them for their body type – and I was frightened, paranoid that I was a potential candidate for their site.
So, I decided to cut my calories down, starting with my favourite vice (soft drinks) and moderating my portion control. I joined a gym. I started moving around more. In one week, I lost 12lb – a mix of water weight and easy fat. And soon, I found myself hating the same people who those redditors hated.
I become a self-hating fatty fat hater.
I detested the excuses, the pity parties, the need for validation on their part. I had found it so easy to shift weight, why couldn’t they? I was vocal about it on Tumblr, wherein I upset several Social Justice Warriors™ and alienated quite a few friends of mine. It didn’t matter, because this was something I thought I believed in and screw everyone else, right? (The good ol’ Tumblr way!)
The fanaticism died down. I had a few good months of eating better, exercising more and feeling so good about myself. I could fit into old clothes, I cared more about what I looked like, and felt like I could be seen on my Other Half’s arm. Then, the depression waltzed back in. Soon, I found myself craving my old vices again, sugary treats, takeaway pizzas, eating simply for the sake of eating and feeling good. I ate, I didn’t eat, I gorged, I didn’t drink enough, I ate, I didn’t eat – the disordered eating matched my disordered brain.
Still, I visited That Subreddit and found myself hating myself and hating everyone there. Fat, lazy, stupid, uncommitted – we should all be shot. Which leads me to today. After visiting the psychiatrist yesterday, I found that the visit, coupled with my new dosage of antidepressants has lifted a veil.
Then, the video. A video popped up on my YouTube recommendations this morning by a vlogger named boogie2988, someone who I once watched flip a table during a game of Magic and not realising he was playing an obnoxious character rather than being just obnoxious. The video is titled ‘WHY do people HATE fat people?’, and I felt compelled to watch.
It felt like a punch to the stomach. I had been so hateful, pulled along by people who act so superior because yes, they put in the effort to look good, but does that give them the right to tar every single fat person with the same brush?
No. It doesn’t.
They are in a position to help those fat people throw out the excuses and maintain healthier lives – instead, they mock and jeer. I’m not an idiot – I know there are plenty of overweight and obese people out there making excuses for their weight. A thyroid condition only accounts for 20lb excess weight. PCOS makes losing weight difficult but not impossible. Your physical health affects your mental health too. As for what boogie said about HAES, it is certainly a lie. Your body cannot be healthy at 100lb overweight, just like it cannot be healthy at 100lb underweight. And yes, there are people out there with the perfect BMI score who end up suffering from other illnesses that are non-weight related, but it’s not a pissing contest!
We only get one body. Some of us are trying to repair the damage done, while others continue to live on with what they have. That is a choice that only they can make, and unless they are spouting bullshit ‘science’ or are being a dickhead in other ways, then no-one else has the right to attack them for it. It’s taken me a few months to realise this, and I feel like such an idiot for ever falling into the trap of projecting my self-loathing/new-found superiority onto other people. I have always found myself at time following the crowd when it comes to things like this – people with borderline personality disorder are notorious for being easily swayed.
Even though I’m aware of my condition, I still have a lot to learn about my own behaviour versus my disorder. I am still going to keep fit, and eat better. I’ve switched to diet pop and sweetener in my tea. When my mood is good, I want to work out and sweat like I just rolled 98 on an Onion Knight roll (Final Fantasy XIV in-joke there, I apologise) but sometimes that just isn’t possible for me and I need to accept that. I need to accept myself and know that I’m doing the best for me – fuck what the internet thinks.