“You Should Lose Weight Because…”

Kiki DressNot-fat people have this interesting delusion that for some strange reason it’s never occurred to fat people to lose weight. And they indulge in this delusion by telling fat people reasons they should lose weight because clearly the fat people just need some good arguments for it.

Okay, I’m being a little harsh. After all, the not-fat people are well-meaning. They’re just trying to be helpful. Their hearts are in the right places, but their logic is off drinking a kale smoothie.

So, let me help you non-fat people out a little bit. Here are two things that you shouldn’t say to a fat person in an effort to convince them to lose weight (actually, it would serve you very well to just NOT try to convince a fat person to lose weight in the first place; you do you, okay?). These are the two I’ve heard the most and therefore, they’re the ones I despise the most.

You’d be prettier if you lost weight.

No, scooter, I wouldn’t. I’d be THINNER if I lost weight. Unfortunately, my physical defects, scars, stretchmarks, crooked nose, crooked teeth, bad skin, etc., would not be affected in any way by a weight loss. In fact, my defects could be increased if I lost weight too fast because then I’d have loose skin to go with it.

Also, the general look of my face wouldn’t change much as I tend to not carry much weight in my face to begin with. This questionably attractive mug would remain questionably attractive.

So, no, I would not be prettier if I lost weight, just thinner. And thinner ain’t necessarily prettier.

You’d be so much healthier if you lost weight.

This statement operates under two false premises. One, that thinness somehow equates to health. It doesn’t. Halle Berry is thin, but she has diabetes. Ditto Mary Tyler Moore. Valerie Harper is thin and she’s got brain cancer. Maura Tierney had breast cancer. Teri Garr has multiple sclerosis. My mother is thin and her cholesterol has always been sky high.

Are there health problems related to being fat? There can be. But many of those health problems can also be related to being sedentary and eating like shit, which thin people are also guilty of doing.

My point is that you can’t typically tell by looking at someone’s size whether or not they’re healthy.

Which brings me false premise number two. You have no idea what my health is. Unless you’re my doctor (and you’re not because I’m currently between doctors at the moment), you’ve got no clue what my blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse, cholesterol, or any of that is. You have no idea what my diet is or how much I exercise or what illnesses, disorders, or syndromes I might have.

So when you tell someone to lose weight for “their health” you’re making an awfully big assumption about that person’s health.

And you know what happens when you make assumptions, don’t you?

Here’s the thing. When you (uninvited, as it usually happens) argue for someone to lose weight to “be healthier” or “be prettier”, you might mean well, but in reality, all I’m hearing is that you want that person to lose weight because you’re uncomfortable with the way that person looks. You’re speaking in a code programmed by society.

So, the next time you non-fat people try to be helpful, help yourself.

Shut up.

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