Bits and bobs from a British glasses-wearing, sweary, fat, disabled, atheist ex-Catholic, anti-capitalist, pacifist feminist lesbian with eclectic tastes.
I normally blog at incurable-hippie.blogspot.com.
submitted by absolutelyarsenic:
We’ve all heard it before.
“Being overweight or obese isn’t healthy.”
“This is a medical issue.”
“I’m just concerned for your health.”
For the most part, if a serious medical issue is being discussed, people offer half-hearted advice, which is good, considering most of them aren’t doctors. But once weight comes into play, suddenly everybody is an expert on everyone else’s body, and they won’t hesitate to tell you that if you are overweight/obese, you are undeniably unhealthy and you are going to die young and ill. And if you try to counter it, or tell them that such a statement is out of line, you are often met with something along the lines of, “I’m just concerned about you.”
That’s where the problem begins.
Fat-shamers tend to present this argument as though the fat person in question needs this advice, that this is something that they’ve never heard before. If someone doesn’t tell them that they’re unhealthy, they’ll never know, right?
I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that, as a whole, overweight people know the health risks that come with their weight . We’ve all heard the argument a thousand times, whether it’s directed at us or not. By telling me that my weight is unhealthy, you are implying that I need to hear this from you, that what you’re saying will bring my health issues to my attention and prompt me to fix them.
My health issues are already at my attention. Fat people, for the most part, know they’re fat. If a person has a health condition and you don’t, chances are they’re more informed about the condition than you are. If they’re not trying to lose weight, then either they accept their weight and the health risks that come with it, or it is not possible for them to lose the weight to make them “healthy”.
Many overweight and obese people simply CAN NOT lose weight, often for medical reasons. I, for example, am on multiple antidepressants that give me low heat tolerance, low blood pressure and low blood sugar. Those side effects make it dangerous to overexert myself. If I work out, I pass out. I’ve gained weight since I started the medication, but I’d rather be fat than be stuck in the living hell that is severe mental illness. I may die from heart disease eventually, but seeing as the alternative is being suicidal, I’ll gladly accept the weight.
Or perhaps the person in question is like my mother. She is overweight. Not only does she have Crohn’s disease, she is severely allergic to all gluten, nuts, fruit, and soy. This limits her diet greatly. The healthy recipes we see in the magazines would kill her. She also has brittle bones from her Crohn’s medication, so exercise is out of the question.
But I digress. The points I’m trying to make are that
One, the “fat is unhealthy” argument is an insult to the intelligence of fat people.
Two, many people can not get “healthy”, or their weight is simply the lesser of two health issues.
And three, it’s none of anybody’s goddamn business why we weigh as much as we do.
If someone asked an underweight person why they were thin, and the person had anorexia or was severely ill, the person asking the question would feel a bit embarrassed, maybe even ashamed. But if a fat person’s weight is connected to a medical issue, it’s apparently still okay to make rude remarks to them about their weight.
It is never okay to assume things about a person’s health based solely on their weight. And I think everybody needs to accept that.
 I would just like to ammend this statement a little bit - “overweight people know the perceived health risks that come with their weight” - In my time studying Health at Every Size, I have learned that correlation does not imply causation. “Just because a disease is correlated with obesity does not mean that it is caused by obesity.” (x) Just wanted to clarify. This is a brilliant submission, I think it says a lot of things about fat health that are often unsaid or not understood. Thank you so much. - Haley