Once upon a time, there was a girl no older than 12 and someone commented that she should watch what she ate. This happened right before her sporting event. Luckily, for that 12-year-old girl, she wouldn’t have to worry about anyone thinking she was fat after the meet. That’s because on the wall ball court, some kids and herself were hanging out between races and a boy sucked in his stomach as a joke. People were saying how he looked weird and how only girls could casually suck in their stomachs. Those people were right. No one noticed how long that little girl sucked in her own. From 12 years- old, until who- knows- when, a girl was self conscious because an adult made a comment towards her before her sporting event that she was required to wear a bathing suit for. If you make it clear to a 12- year- old that her weight is not what it should be at, what are you setting her up for? Maybe a teenager who walks around with a towel to her stomach when she wears a bikini, or has to make sure her outing won’t include her eating or drinking when she wears a tight shirt.
“Do you really want to eat that?”
“I could go for another slice of pizza.”
–> “There are carrots at my house.”
“Put a t-shirt over your bathing suit when you’re not in the pool.”
“Now why don’t you go eat something.”
“I wasn’t going to tell you that you had gained a lot of weight to your face.”
“You didn’t go to the gym, go on a walk… Now.”
These are seven ways to tell someone you think they’re fat, by your opinion, without actually being blunt about it. And yes, I’ve heard them all. I don’t think of myself as a person that is overweight or “in danger” of being so. Do I have a layer protecting my abs? Absolutely. Can you notice when you look at me? No (and not just because I wear big t-shirts). Do people still honestly say I have abs? Yes. Are there people who say those people are wrong? Yes. Are there still situations when I feel like I shouldn’t eat a meal or wear a shirt that’s too tight because I know I’ll be judged by the people closest to me? No doubt about it.
I wish I could tell you what goes through someone’s mind when they say something to someone about their weight. Do they think it through? Do they say it because they’re self conscious themselves? Or do they, simply, not care? I’d like to believe that if someone was genuinely worried about my weight, they’d express those feelings in a private setting, and make me understand that I’m not a bad person. Because in some cases, I do feel like a bad person. I’m a bad person when I have ice cream AND cookies, or go for seconds at dinner, or get something to eat besides a salad. Sometimes I feel like I should be more self conscious. Maybe put on a larger sweatshirt, not wear a skirt that pulls attention to my stomach, or take tiny bites when I eat in public so that people don’t see me lift the whole sandwich up when I eat- there’s also too much attention at a high table and if others see you not eating graciously what will they think? And then there are other times when I feel like I’m as big as a house. If I get seconds, I’ll have to buy bigger pants the next day. If I have a cookie at 3:00, I should eat a smaller dinner. I should see how long I can go without eating until my stomach is in so much pain I don’t know if it’s because it’s empty or because I have to throw up. But throwing up would be good, right? It’s an easy way to lose weight, right?
So, what to do when someone does hit you with one of those comments? Ignore it. Easier said then done, I completely agree. But by not giving this person the time of day, you are cutting them off from bringing you down. These days, everyone is trying to keep their cup half full. Me? Mine is half empty, but you can read about that in the “My Cup is Half Empty” post. But, if someone is constantly telling you that you are half empty, that you could be better and you need improvements, why should they have the privilege to be in your life for all of the other reasons they see as “right”? Don’t live with your bully.