I'd Rather be Called Fat
Yesterday I received a harsh comment from a reader identified as “Carlie” on my Am I Too Fat? blog post, I don’t believe the comment was intended to sound as cruel as it appears, but in any case I have decided to respond to Carlie below. I fully support Carlie’s comment on my blog, and I absolutely applaud her for not submitting this comment anonymously. Carlie did make some excellent points and I would like to address them here – not only for Carlie’s sake, but for my readers as well.
Here is Carlie’s comment in its entirety:
That person’s comment may have been hurtful, and obviously pointless as anyone can blog, however I feel the need to point out to you and your supporters that obesity is not something that we should congratulate or casually overlook. You are, as you say, “full-figured,” and “curvy,” but your weight is in fact unhealthy. I applaud your resilience in the face of cruelty, but I also encourage you and your overweight readers to seek a healthier lifestyle to accompany your love for fashion. Love yourself by loving and respecting your body.
And here is my response:
I will not deny that to some I may appear overweight; however, I am not, in fact, obese. Yes, my weight has fluctuated over the years, but I have never been considered obese, nor will I ever allow myself to reach that point. I have always struggled with my weight and the reality is that I probably always will. I may not be a size 2, but frankly I’m perfectly fine with that.
Next time, please ask me if I do anything to take care of myself, instead of making a false assumption about my habits. I’ve always led a very active lifestyle. For more than 18 years I was a dancer, completing over 6 hours of classes each week. I also played varisty basketball and golf in high school. When I went to college I stopped being as active and put on a little more weight.
Once I graduated and started working I befriended a coworker who introduced me to Zumba. I’ve always referred to myself as a Clydesdale, I’m solid and big, but strong and beautiful. I have lost an amazing amount of weight, something I never thought possible, by participating in Zumba classes three times or more a week. If you (or any of my other readers) are in the area I’d love for you to come check it out with me. Nancy is an amazing instructor, and you should read her story here.
As for my diet, I have really focused on establishing healthy habits. I do love my coffee, but otherwise I try to drink only water. It’s so hard! I definitely need to drink more water, but I’ve cut out soda and sugary drinks. During the week I eat home cooked meals, and if I need to grab something in a hurry I try to grab fruits and veggies while at the grocery store. I don’t eat fast food, and when I do eat at restaurants I try to opt for salads, chicken or their light menu options.
I am so proud of the changes I’ve made in my lifestyle over the past year. I can now say that I actively work out, that I eat healthy and I’m continually making minor healthy changes to my diet. I’m also proud to say that I am happy with myself and my body.
Carlie, you are absolutely right in saying that obesity is a problem and each of us should try to make healthy changes to our diet and exercise regularly. Sometimes it takes a little extra push especially when weight has been a struggle for someone. But please, do not pass judgment on those who are a bit bigger, just because they might look like they are neglecting their health. Because you judged me by looks alone, you automatically assumed I was failing to make healthy choices in my lifestyle.
To Carlie: I would love to be more educated on making healthy lifestyle changes, and I would love if you would share important tips or helpful links in the comments section of this post.
To my other readers: I ask that you not personally attack Carlie for sharing her concerns, even if it came across more harshly than intended.
Finally, I hope that each and every one of you will make conscious decision to eat and live healthier.
(I’ve also included two photos of me, the left side was taken in November 2011 and the right side was taken in November 2012. I’ve made great strides in losing weight and becoming healthier.)
Great work using touchy and difficult situations to raise important issues and maintain a focus on our need to both strive for healthier living and loving our bodies regardless of size… Keep up the great writing!
Thank you so much Tyler!
Love, love what you said in response, so true!! As for someone who has struggled with being overweight for awhile, and I have changed to healthy eating and exercise, but the weight does not come off so I just keep living the healthy lifestyle, and try not to worry about any longer.
Clearly, not all skinny people are healthy, and not all full-figured people are unhealthy and obese. Thanks Kate for refusing to be stuffed into a stereotype and for having the courage to be so outspoken and advocating for self-love and acceptance of all women!
*sigh* I really hate that you have to “justify” your appearance like that. It’s infuriating the amount of assumptions people make about anyone they deem “too fat” or “too skinny.” I was having an argument on G+ just before about whether a pictured cosplayer’s slight frame deserved insistence that she MUST be anorexic, and now this. Women can’t seem to win either way.
It’s definitely tough for women out there now. Two of my best friends are very petite women, and it’s been eye-opening for me to see the troubles they encounter – being considered anorexic or just having difficulty finding clothes for their small frames. And on the flip side I know it’s been eye opening for them to see my struggles as well.
I just finished a presentation on anorexia, which was part of a larger presentation about the media’s influences on teens presented to all the freshmen at our school by a group of seniors. Our presentation covered social media, drugs and alcohol, partying, positive and negative celebrity influences, photoshop and false advertising, and eating disorders. I am very happy that you are making these changes and leading a healthy lifestyle! There were some very scary statistics out there about women with eating disorders! I wish we could go back to when figures like Marilyn Monroe’s were considered beautiful and sexy.
I completely agree with you, I wish we could back to the days of Marilyn Monroe! It is definitely a challenging time out there, especially for teenagers and young adults with so much pressure to fit into what society has decided is the “ideal” image/body type. Sounds like a great presentation, and hopefully you were able to positively impact many young adults with it!
I’d say I’m on the other side of the scale – I was a very skinny teenager. Not because I didn’t eat or didn’t exercise, I actually did both. Growing up in Israel, where a “normal” woman figure is much fuller than what western people are used to meant endless remarks about me being anorectic (because it was considered ok to comment on the weight of skinny girls). This created self consciousness that I only recently managed to get over. The problem is that people “assume” things, whether towards fuller or skinnier people.
What triggered me to comment is your wish for Marilyn Monroe times to come back. I on the other side wish the times would come when people won’t judge based on prejudice.
Tali – Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Often times I forget how different other cultures can be, and I thank you so much for your perspective. You put it so eloquently and you are so right, it would be great if we could come to a point where we didn’t pass judgement on others, and not back to a time where one body type or another was “preferred.”
Exactly, very well said! Thank you Kate, and also – I find it really amazing, the way you handle all this weight conversation, starting with the comment made by Carlie. I would never be able to reply in such a calm and respective way. I have much to learn from you:)
Keep it up, and good luck!
It’s infuriating that people assume they can determine someone’s health by their size. You shouldn’t have to justify or explain your eating and exercise habits. You’re beautiful. I hope someday people learn that beauty and health isn’t about size.
Thank you so much for your comment. It is really discouraging to see such negative comments but SO encouraging to hear such positive comments from my readers! Even from just a few months ago I’ve continued to make positive changes to my lifestyle – I’m now a licensed Zumba instructor! http://www.allthingskate.com/blog/01-30-2013/license-zumba
So happy I found your blog! I occasionally write about body image and pay a lot of attention to what I eat and buy at the grocery store. I am running around at work all day and often wonder to myself why I am not thinner. You make a great point that not everyone will just be thin if they live a healthy lifestyle.
honestly i think you are awesome..and you look great in both the photos. people who express concerns do not actually care. it is the same deal with moral policing. obesity is a problem and everyone is aware of it. you were too nice (and clever) with your response here. more calm headed than i could be. i am following you. where were you all this time?! found you via ifb..
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Oh wow! I applaud you for writing this and your other related posts (just stumbled upon it on your facebook). I don’t often talk about my own weight struggles, but maybe you’ve inspired me to reconsider it. I fully support you and this blog 100%! xo
It’s definitely hard to put that part of yourself out there, I still get nervous posting anything so personal for fear of being criticized, but I bet you’d be surprised, your community is a great support! And speaking of support, thank you for yours! 🙂