I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Helping Them Understand (I think I’m back in action, ha!)


I just had a very surreal experience. My friend, business neighbor and sometimes mentor came to me for advice. You see, she doesn’t see her son and his girlfriend very often but happened to have dinner with them over the weekend and she now is full of guilt. She knows that she hurt them with her words/suggestions, but it wasn’t her intention at all. They were having a conversation and I am not sure how it came up but she was trying to offer to pay for a trainer for them, but it came out wrong and her son said something to the effect of “we don’t want a trainer or your suggestions/advice about our bodies.” I don’t think she even got the part about paying for it out, but it doesn’t matter.

She tells me that her son and his girlfriend are 300 pounds. They don’t eat healthy, they don’t exercise. They aren’t healthy and because she has diabetes she fears her son will soon as well. She just wants them to get married and start a family and she thought her suggestion would help them get on their way towards their future. They want to get married, but her son insists they won’t until they can buy a house. (My husband and I struggle with waiting to have a kid until we can buy a home/become financially stable.) My friend insists that she just wants her son, who is so smart, to have a happy and healthy life! But her words came out wrong and now she feels terrible about it.

So she came to me for advice and to help her write a letter of apology. But I have to tell you, I made sure she understood their perspective, too! I asked her if she would ever suggest to me to lose weight? She said that it would depend on the situation and our relationship. So I said, “If you knew I was getting married, would you try to suggest/offer/help/insist that I should lose weight?” She didn’t answer. So I said, “When you tell someone that they need to lose weight you are telling them that their body is somehow wrong or bad. That their body is the enemy and they should work against it. This then makes them unhappy about their bodies (she says they already are) and thus causes stress and possible illness.” I was so glad that she was listening. I then went on to explain some statistics and explain that only a small fraction of the population can keep weight off after losing it. That no matter how hard we work and do everything by the book, most of us are simply going to be fat. That fat bodies aren’t bad bodies. That no one chooses to have a fat body. And that fat in and of itself is not unhealthy. I did assure her that because diabetes runs in her family and that she has it that yes, her son should be aware and checked regularly.

However, when she insisted that they eat terribly unhealthy, I interrupted her and insisted that she doesn’t know. She can’t know without being with them 24/7.  I explained to her that I had had many doctors insist I was lying about what I ate and how that made me feel. She realized I was right and did say that when they eat at home that they eat very well. Ah! I explained that yes, I get discriminated against for being so fat, but that it’s never kept me from doing anything that I’ve truly wanted to do.

She began to cry and kept insisting that she just wants a good life for her son. So I tried my best to console her with some facts: She set her son up to have a much better life than she had growing up. That she is a fantastic role model who carved out her own business in a big city while she was very young and a single mother, too! That by her excellent example she really set her son up for success! And he’s only 30 and has so much of his life ahead of him. She said that she knew this and she just really felt terrible about hurting them. She struggles with her own health management and works out regularly, sees a nutritionist often and relies upon her church for support. I explained that she has to let him find his own way. That success and all that life has to offer will find it’s way to him and that they will get married when they are ready.

She is going to come back later to write the letter and I have to say that while I was caught off-guard when she brought this to my attention and asked for advice, I am actually glad that she came to me of all people. Who else would stick up for the fatties rather than push the typical dieting agenda? I can only imagine the awful things someone might say in support of her wanting them to be healthy. I refuse to bow to those ways ever again and will not allow anyone I consider to be a good friend push those agendas on someone they love either. I feel as though a great opportunity has been laid before me and I must take it and help her understand the fat perspective and how to nurture a relationship with her son that has been cold and distant for some time. I have no doubt that their weight and her opinion of it has created a lot of the distance. Who would want to hear about that shit whenever they see a loved one? NOBODY!!!

I will let y’all know how this works out, one way or another. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being. Thank you and thank you!

Also, if this is something you’re dealing with on the other end, please check out this fabulous post with tips from LiveOnceJuicy!

Edited To Add: She never came back yesterday, but this morning she asked if I would just write it for her. This feels weird, but again, such an opportunity for getting the fat positive message out there, ya know? If anyone has suggestions, please let me know! Thanks again!

posted under Bullshit, fat, Fat Acceptance
6 Comments to

“Helping Them Understand (I think I’m back in action, ha!)”

  1. On March 31st, 2011 at 8:08 am vesta44 Says:

    Good for you! Hopefully, she will begin to understand where her son and his girlfriend are coming from and she will be supportive of them instead of trying to change them.
    I’m trying to be supportive of my grandson, who thinks he’s fat – he’s almost 15, 6′ 2″ already, and weighs 203 lbs. I told him that’s not fat, but even if it was, who cares? As long as he’s eating a wide variety of foods that satisfy him and moving his body in ways that he enjoys, then he’s fine and to tell everyone else to mind their own business. He knows I’m fat and that it doesn’t bother me, that I live my life and tell people who don’t like the fact that I’m fat that they can either look elsewhere and/or eat shit and bark at the moon. I’m hoping that attitude will grow on him as well, but I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like so I’m not sure how much I can do.

  2. On March 31st, 2011 at 8:36 am Not Blue at All Says:

    And we need more sassy grannies like you in the world! Thank you for being you and sharing yourself with us, too! <3

  3. On March 31st, 2011 at 8:55 am jery Says:

    It was a smart move on her part. You’re such a level headed person that it only makes sense to seek advice from you. Duh! Nice post. Hope it all works out for her.

  4. On March 31st, 2011 at 8:59 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Aw, thank you! I didn’t realize it was YOU when I first saw your comment. I was like, “Who is this and how would they kno—OH!” Ha-ha! Have a fab day off!

  5. On March 31st, 2011 at 10:07 am Twistie Says:

    As you say, she made the smart move of coming to you for advice, help, and perspective. Her gaffe would have been reinforced as a Good Thing by most people, but you… you were able to articulate to her why what she said was so hurtful, why it was painfully shaming and at least mostly inaccurate, and the several ways she needed to get her head out of her own nether regions to fix this problem. All in a loving way, too, no doubt!

    She doesn’t sound like she’s quite ready for FA, but by coming to you she has shown herself ready to hear that there is another point of view. That’s a huge step. Perhaps one day she will even realize it was the first step on a road to radicalization. I hope that day comes soon.

  6. On March 31st, 2011 at 10:35 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Thanks! And perhaps you’re right about that first step. I know that she struggles a lot with her own health due to her diabetes and such. We’ll see what she thinks of the letter I wrote. Ha!

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:

Subscribe to my feed