The physical toll of carrying around dozens, or even hundreds, of extra pounds is painful. Your back hurts, your knees hurt, you get winded doing everyday tasks…But for me at least, that physical pain was bearable. It was the emotional anguish that pushed me to strive for a different lifestyle. When you’re fat, especially as a woman, you constantly feel the judgement of others—whether it’s real or perceived. You feel as if you are—at best—inconveniencing someone, and at worst, disgusting them, in every single interaction you have. Eventually you start apologizing for merely existing. To this day, almost every encounter I have with a store clerk, a waiter, or a receptionist begins with “I’m sorry, but…”—a habit I picked up as a young fat woman, when I felt intense embarrassment for my size. I’m over it, and trying to stop thinking this way. You should, too.
Having issues with overeating is incredibly challenging because unlike many other bad habits we might struggle with, it’s impossible to hide. When you struggle with weight, it feels like the world can see the evidence of your failings. This can lead to shame and embarrassment and at a certain point, you slip into a state where you just feel embarrassed all the time. But let me tell you one thing about being fat: it isn’t a crime. And it 100% isn’t an affront to others. We all have different reasons why we may be carrying extra pounds and none of us has to explain them, or justify them, to anyone—especially strangers.
Everyone deserves respect, regardless of their size. But respect should start from within yourself. So I say this to me as much as to you: Stop being embarrassed for being yourself. Stop thinking of yourself as the sum of your worst qualities. Instead, keep your head up, make eye contact when you speak to people, and when you find yourself thinking about your size and that shame bubbles up, don’t nurture it. Remind yourself of your good qualities and nurture those feelings instead.