Fat Acceptance Is Just As Bad As Fat Shaming


Let's talk about weight

Carrying extra weight on your body is a problem--a BIG problem for half of people in the UK and two-thirds of Americans. Only a tenth of obese people can accurately identify their degree of weight problem, and doctors regularly underestimate weight problems in overweight patients due to the mass problem in society. On the reverse end, Instagram and Pinterest's explosion fitness trends and memes has lead to an epidemic of eating disorders and conditions of being underweight; a third of fitness models weigh less than their target healthy weight. Most people misunderstand health and view it in an unhealthy way, resulting in an epidemic of obesity and obsession with unhealthy fitness fads

90% of obese patients don't identify themselves as obese
90% of obese patients don't identify themselves as obese

The weight problems of the developed world stem deeper than processed foods and internet addiction--society at large has an unhealthy view of heath, fitness, and self-esteem. Contrasting debates of fat shaming vs acceptance only further fuel the problem by forcing people to choose a side between shamefully deciding to join the healthy or further rooting into the mental illness denial of weight problems in the first place. Therefore fat acceptance is just as bad as fat shaming because neither one manages the root issue nor encourages a healthy adoption of weight loss

What is healthy?

The best place to address your health is a scale, a ruler, and a BMI (body-mass index) chart. While every everyone fits differently into the BMI chart dependent on body type and muscle density, this is still the best place to start. Generally someone who scores lower or higher than 19-25 (up to 30 for women, especially if they're pregnant) is considered to be unhealthy, either under or overweight. If your BMI exceeds 30, you are generally considered to be obese, and YOU should not be accepting of that. My BMI usually ranges between 23-25, with the lowest (and honestly I felt sickly and restricted my diet too much) at 21

Fat Acceptance Is Just As Bad As Fat Shaming

Once you understand where you're starting from, then you can further look into what your body type means for your health, what food and workout regimens work best for you, and what a healthy weight looks like on you. Determining whether you fit into an ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph body type will greatly affect your BMI as endomorphs tend to be healthier with higher BMIs and ectomorphs on the lower end. Also taking into account and TREATING any preexisting conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid problems is important for your specific health

Fat Acceptance Is Just As Bad As Fat Shaming

Not all fat is equal

That's right--your belly fat is much worse for your health than my butt/thigh fat. Studies prove that belly or gut fat is the prime culprit of health problems in obese patients. A woman with a BMI of 30, but an hourglass waist under the goal of 30" (76 cm) and who stores fat in her but/hips/thighs is not considered to be obese while a woman with a BMI of 25 with an apple body type who stores the majority of her fat in her stomach is putting herself at risk of heart disease, diabetes, et cetra...So no, it is not fair that your genes predetermine your health risk factors in where your body stores fat, but it is your responsibility and duty to yourself to understand what is healthy for yourself

Your waist measurement may be your worst health concern
Your waist measurement may be your worst health concern

Why fat acceptance is just as bad as fat shaming

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and orthorexia nervosa are eating disorders that center around body dismorphic disorder; people who are unhappy with their bodies develop eating disorders where they starve themselves, deprive themselves, or binge on and throw up food in an effort to control their body weight and hunger. Obesity often develops from mental illness such as depression and bipolar disorder and ignorance or denial of physical illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid disorders. Either way you look at it, weight problems are psychological, so society needs to address its mental illness associated with weight before we can positively encourage ourselves to live healthy lives and accept solutions, not problems

Fat Acceptance Is Just As Bad As Fat Shaming

Physical health and mental health walk hand-in-hand, so you cannot achieve one without the other. In order to heal society's weight problem, it also needs to heal the unhealthy way it views weight

Why fat shaming is bad

Obviously fat shaming is bad, but shame for being overweight is not. You've probably heard the comparison to heckling smokers and drug addicts, but there is truth in that. Shame is a normal human emotion essential in motivating catastrophic decisions such as immense weight loss. But just as the denial of eating a dozen boxes of Oreo's negatively impacts your health, so can heckling, bullying, and external shaming, especially if something like comfort-eating to help with depression lead to your weight gain in the first place

This is how you make a problem worse
This is how you make a problem worse

Fat shaming is bad because it is negative. Negative things are not motivating or encouraging and they further increase negative feelings such as shame and doubt if you fail (such as when you hit a plateau or start gaining weight back). When you actively shame people for their weight, they only further feel worse about it, often negatively reinforcing poor behavior such as comfort-eating. If someone were to lose weight due to fat shaming, you would only increase their anxiety and doubt once they finally hit their goal. Fat shaming has lead to a new disorder called orthorexia where people become obsessed with food, particularly healthy food, that leads to anxiety and depression when they "cheat" or eat anything considered unhealthy. So say you were to encourage 50% of society to lose weight through shame, you would only cause more problems when they lost all that weight, because they would not be secure in their weight or weight loss

A clear example of fat shaming on the internet
A clear example of fat shaming on the internet

"You're so fat, you're hideous and nobody wants you" is fat shaming and bad for people. This negativity causes someone with a weight problem to feel inferior and depressed. If someone you're concerned about is overweight, try something more personal and realistic such as "Your diet is bad for your health and I think you're setting a bad example for your children" or "I'm concerned that ignoring your pre-diabetes by eating Twinkies is only going to be worse for your weight problems." It is clear that 90% of obese people don't accurately identify themselves as obese, so society as a whole needs to be more realistic and serious about these issues, but nobody needs to point fingers or blame anybody but themselves

New childhood obesity campaign
New childhood obesity campaign

If you're one of those people who fat shames yourself into working out or starving yourself, that's not healthy either. Poor self-esteem is a huge factor when it comes to weight issues. Always consider therapy to help better understand yourself and treat yourself fairly

Why fat acceptance is bad

If I bought you drugs, I would be an enabler; If I bought you alcohol, I would be an enabler; If I accepted your obesity, I would be an enabler

Body positivity is a good thing and good self-esteem is healthy, but a positive view of something negative is unhealthy. Fat acceptance is a PC form of denial, and denial is a poor way of dealing with negative emotions. You should not accept that you are obese; I should not accept that you are obese; society should not accept obesity. When you accept something bad like bad health, you are doing yourself a disjustice and only worsening your problem. Denying your weight problem or doing nothing about it is just as bad for your health as feeling so poorly you have no motivation. Both are equally bad because they're both unhealthy ways of viewing weight, and neither one encourages you to lose weight in a positive, healthy way

Size 22 model Tess Holliday
Size 22 model Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday is a horrible role model--note I did not say she is ugly or disgusting--because she encourages poor health both mentally and physically. As the world's larges plus-size model, she is as caustic for the developed world as a billboard with an underweight model like Twiggy plastered across it. There is no secret that Hollywood and the fashion industry as a whole have presented an unhealthy view of beauty to the world, so that secret should not stop at the plus-size industry. Beauty is subjective, but health is not; you can choose whether or not to view Tess Holliday as beautiful, but you owe it to yourself not to accept her as healthy

Focus more on the body positivity movement, but only the mentally healthy aspects of it. Accept things like your body type and your cellulite (100% of people have cellulite fat cells) because you are never going to change them, but realistically accept that you need to change things like your obesity or drug problem because they negatively affect your health. Stretch marks, scars, birth marks, bad teeth, skin tags, and birth defects such as cleft palettes belong in a third category of something that is mentally healthy to both keep or change; if something causes you emotional distress and would vastly impact your self-esteem by easily changing it, then go ahead. Accept what you can't change and change what you can't accept

Fat Acceptance Is Just As Bad As Fat Shaming

Why fitness extremes are bad

Unsurprisingly, fitness extremes contribute to society's healthy problem just as much as the fashion industry and your judgmental relatives who gift you cook books and scales for birthdays and holidays. Viewing people online who are much more successful at something than you can be demotivating if you are so far away from that goal you feel like running down an endless hallway; comparing yourself to someone with a different body type or who is killing themselves to look so perfect (when they only look perfect while flexing in that particular pose) is unrealistic. Yoga is healthy, but unless you're naturally born with the bone structure and ligaments to get into a full back bend or work for 2 years to perform a full handstand, starting a workout regimen based on a glamorous picture you saw online isn't going to pay off. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) causes the largest percentage of workout-related injuries because people try it as a fad without knowing their limitations

Fat Acceptance Is Just As Bad As Fat Shaming

Same as viewing yourself and your weight in a healthy way, aim to view internet content, pictures, stories, and challenges in a healthy way as well. Find a workout regimen that works well for you that you can stick with. For example: I do yoga because I like low-impact exercise that helps with my joint problems, but my best friend likes kick-boxing because she needs something intense and aggressive to help her lose weight, and neither one of us would be happy with or able to stick with the other's workout

Fat Acceptance Is Just As Bad As Fat Shaming

Fitness models aren't always healthy, so comparing yourself to one is not healthy. Most fitness models regimen their diets to a point where they have so little fat they are unhealthy, feel physically sick, and gain weight easily by returning to a normal diet. Working out for more than an hour reduces and can reverse health benefits gained from working out. Juice cleanses and fat diets cause more harm than good for most people, so understanding all the health benefits and consequences of fad diets is important before undertaking one

What you can do to help

Remember that fat acceptance is just as bad as fat shaming because both are negative, reinforce unhealthy thought-processes and actions, and prevent people from moving forward in a positive, healthy direction

A positive message
A positive message

If you are someone who struggles with weight, accept your problems and formulate a healthy way of fixing them. Study your body type and what makes you feel good, and identify your target weight. Find someone with your body type to compare yourself to and aim to look like. Research, try, and identify what workouts will work best for you. And when it comes to food, remember that the key is moderation; learn to cook, eat what you know is good for you, and treat yourself every once-in-a-while. If you use a lot of excuses like "I don't have time for that" or "Healthy food costs too much," then research what options you have to work around your excuses, and hold yourself accountable

Make healthy choices that feel good
Make healthy choices that feel good

If you are someone who influences others (whether online, in a book, or among friends), then focus on positive, moderate encouragement. Never be ashamed of your awesome body, but understand that not everybody has the bone structure to look like you, nor would they necessarily feel healthy at your body weight. When offering advice, think twice about whether that advice is healthy, positive, and going to encourage someone in a better direction. Try to avoid roping people into conversations they feel uncomfortable with, sounding like a crazy health nut, or making someone feel like a failure for not living up to your expectations

And if you are a bully or troll who thinks it's funny to mock or ridicule people for their weight, then get yourself to a therapist who can help you get a job and move out of your grandmother's basement

Fat Acceptance Is Just As Bad As Fat Shaming
Add Opinion

Most Helpful Guy

  • Anonymous
    I will state that I didn't read it all. But I got the gist. I'm overweight, and I whole heartily agree. We should not be telling people it's okay to be fat, we need to lead them into healthy lifestyles so that they don't die young. Now, I can deal with fat shaming, but not everyone is like me. Hell, somebody makes fun of me I joke right back about myself. Not because I feel defeated, but because I actually find it funny to go along with it, hell, I'd even do the truffle shuffle! I know I'm on the track to losing weight and will eventually get down to where I should be. Anyway, don't be mean to them, but help them to understand that they need to lose weight or they will risk dying early.
    Is this still revelant?
    • Well that's a good attitude to have and I'm sure it will help you in all aspects of your life. A sense of humor is something you can't teach

      I wish you success on your weight loss journey. It sounds like you're off to a good start

Most Helpful Girl

  • Anonymous
    Yesssss this is so accurate. Being at the extreme of either end of the scale is unhealthy. You need to eat to fuel your body appropriately. If you eat a balanced, whole-food diet, with the occasional treat, you will probably find it hard to overeat, because you will feel too full.
    Being healthy is more important, and easier to accomplish, than worrying about weight constantly.
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • LordPK20797
    Well fat acceptance is fine if you have such slow metabolism that you’re gonna be fat no matter how well you work out. There are plenty of fat People out there with metabolic disorders and they can’t control that. So they have to accept themselves as fat. Ho Howeber there are also people who are fat because they are lazy and don’t eat healthily. But don’t assume someone is lazy and doesn’t take
    fitness seriously just because they are fat. You don’t know their background.
    • I know a few people with thyroid issues and PCOS or other physical conditions that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight, but the prevalence of these conditions is minuscule compared to the vast majority of overweight people. Even with these conditions, it is possible to put forth effort into living a healthy life, and arguably is more important for them than someone without a disorder to make healthy choices. If society as a whole took better care of themselves, then there would be less stigma against people with these disorders because it would be more obvious something was wrong. The more people in general let themselves go, the more people with a disorder get clumped into the "lazy slob" category. From all the obese people I know, it is more about lack of commitment and will power than seriousness. They know it's serious, but are often in denial about how bad the problem is

  • Gedaria
    People are going to be over weight, same some are skinny. Nothing you can do about it, we all have bits that some people take an exception too. That what society is made up of. What do you want all bodies to be the same, question !! Who does the judging !!!
    • Even if everyone took care of themselves and weighed a healthy weight, we would still have different bodies. I would still be short and curvy if I gained 100 lbs, so it doesn't make sense to think it would be any different the other way around. Look back 100 years when people were health and you'll see just as much variation

    • Gedaria

      True. Why people do this, oh look at her she is so ... Who do they think they are. For me I see women and I am so jealous not because of what type of body because they are female. I know it sounds daft but to me this body shaming is real hurtful !!!

    • Psychologically speaking, autogynephilia and weight-related body dysmorphic disorder are considered separate diagnoses. The medical operations used for these patients are separated between cosmetically desired and medically required

    • Show All

  • NerdInDenial
    Don’t forget a big reason due to fat increase is lack of quality sleep
    • Yes! I must've forgotten to add that!

      Lack of sleep contributes to obesity because you end up compensating calories and sugar-heavy caffeinated beverages to stay awake and maintain energy levels throughout the day

      My sister (who has a very similar body type as mine) has always weighed less than me, partially due to her sleeping around 4-5 hours a might more than me. Lack of sleep, especially to the point of insomnia can lead to and worsen mental health issues such as depression and anxiety that can cause binge and comfort eating

    • Scientifically, the body loses the ability to control Ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that causes hunger and leptin controls hunger. These two hormones become imbalanced due to lack of sleep.

  • 5yrup
    blah blah blah how about mind your business lol, i seen to be the only person that couldnt give less of a fuck about others' bodies. we all die and decompose anyway so preaching about health is rich coming from literally anyone unless you're immortal.
  • Puppylover_129
    I promote eating in moderation. Even if I'm eating McDonald's, I have a side salad (i make, I don't like fast food salads) there's nothing wrong with eating pizza or fried foods, the problem begins when you eat a whole pizza, or a half a fried chicken bucket yourself. Splurging yourself in junk isn't healthy and wrong. Also, I think kids should play at least on sport. Id personally never want to look Tess Holoday. there's nothing wrong with having a fat, nobody is obligated to have a six Pac, but you should have limits. She seems to hold it mostly in her bottom half. But just eating in moderation and eating a balanced diet can keep you good.
    • Totally agree with the fast food salad thing. Once they add fried chicken, cheese, bacon, and dressing, fast food salads are worse for you than the burger. If you're going to splurge, make it count so you can satiate your cravings

      I think pizza is a high problem for people. I can normally eat 2 or 3 slices, but 4 or more is too much. I watched my morbidly obese friend eat an entire pizza after stopping halfway through to say he was full--that isn't healthy

  • JackJPershing
    Fat acceptance is worse than fat shaming. Fat acceptance is like telling people that you don't care if they get diabetes and heart disease and die young. Fat shaming has the potential to persuade people into getting healthy. It can be an act of love.
  • elizamichale2
    Good take. Everyone should just be having a very balanced life coz any inclination towards any extreme is bad
  • ItalianGuy77
    Here is the thing I want to get my extra weight off as much as anybody and when people say accept real fat people I say fine but they need to remember if they stay fat they will die young more than likely that is the reality everyone needs to face
  • DeeDeeDeVour
    You hit the spot with "If I accepted your obesity, I would be an enabler."

  • blacknwhite2
    I’ve never bullied someone for being overweight but I also never told them that being fat is okay. It’s not okay.
  • minions84
    I don't get why so many people are fat. I mean my daughter is getting fat and neither one of are fat. I don't want to accept it because I don't want her to look like that chick from this is us.
  • windknowsmyname
    yeah cause fuck losing weight, let me stay big and expect everyone to accept me. 5here preferences and idea partners shouldn't be about looks
  • giovannimontolivo
    Tbh looking like a fitness model (as long as they are natural) is not that hard. Yes it takes hard work but you can still live an enjoyable lifestyle.
  • MisterAnon69
    Obesity is the #1 cause of cancer but this fact is surpressed because it is seen as fat shaming when it is an important fact that can save lives.
  • ihop2454
    Just let people live there life however they want it doesn't affect you so it shouldn't matter
    • In the last 50 years, people in the United States have become so fat on average that they have and are widening seats on airplanes and in stadiums. Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed to cover the cost of obesity. And obesity costs millions in gasoline every year

      So cultural obesity affects everyone in society

  • Excellent
  • Anon-ymous1
    Ehhh... I'd say it's worse, not "just as bad."
  • Secretgardenblood
    Good take
  • BonnieBunny
    Man, humans let themselves go
  • Anonymous

    Sure you can be fat and still be confident, but you should try and lose weight so you can be healthy...
  • Anonymous
    Look it's none of your business what people do in their personal lives.. No one asked you to be friends or date someone you don't want
    Just be civil to everyone
    • Anonymous

      Well you can't force people not to eat. Also who defines what obesity is? I've seen normal/average weight people called fat and told to lose weight.

    • Anonymous

      When I said average person I mean someone who has a normal weight in comparison to his height and BMI.. I've seen people that are perfectly normal and at a healthy weight yet people tell them to hit the gym or lose weight (like my best friend; she's about 5'6 and 130 lbs if I recall correctly) yet some people advise her to exercise. That's because we live in a society where only skinny is acceptable; and a skinny underweight like VS models

    • Anonymous

      Nah she's just "Pear-shaped", stores fat in her thighs.. in my opinion advising someone of normal weight to exercise or lose weight isn't perfectly reason able and in my opinion it's what's wrong with modern beauty standards. That people either have to look skinny or have visible muscle and squat or lift weight at the gym
      Again I'm not sure what you mean by overweight/obese (I guess you mean someone who's 200 lbs, then yes I agree that extra weight is dangerous for their health)

    • Show All
  • Anonymous
    Fat acceptance is actually worse than fat shaming. Being fat is objectively bad, as in it is both unhealthy and ugly as fuck. As negative as fat shaming is, from time to time you run into a case where it motivates a person to actually stop being fat and improve themselves. While fat acceptance just tells people its ok to be fucked up, and gives them false comfort. If you get rejected for a job, do you go on and keep trying, or do you form a "turned down for a job" movement where other losers like you will come together and lie to each other that its fine? People should fix their fucking problems, instead of wearing them proudly like a flag
  • Anonymous
    maybe its a business health ploy. And you HUMANS are just not smart enough to figure out what's really going on.

    They use the media to encourage, accept obesity while at the same time they promote people (be active) to eat contaminated, GMO healthy food so that they have a greater chance of getting sick or hurt then they have to pay for medical.

    People who run the media, education run the health industry and etc.
  • Anonymous
    Thank you I feel better now.
  • Anonymous
    We should try to the best of ou ability to be fit and fat free to lead a healthy and happy life.