Preface: I was always a skinny girl. Not slim, but skinny. I was accused of being anorexic by doctors whose heads were up their rear ends. I have many health problems and am medicated for them. After a particular surgery in 2002 as well as a new medication regime, I gained 30 kg in three months. I went from a BMI of ‘underweight’ to a BMI of ‘Obese’ in 3 months. I spent an entire decade being overweight. I have spent close to 2 years trying to shift the weight, with some great results. It’s been a timely, and somewhat painfully slow process, as I can’t exercise due to my Fibromyalgia. But I’ve done it; I’ve lost over 20kg. And I’m not finished. I have had many compliments and supportive comments made re my loss. So I was unprepared for what comes next. Below is my response and reaction to body shaming
After careful thought and consultation with a friend, I need to address something that’s really bothering me. Those of you who’ve known me forever will be aware that up until the age of 22 I was stick skinny. 3 months after an operation I gained 30kg- yep, 10kg a month. Those who met me after 2002 only know me as overweight and I’m fine with that.
I have spent the last 18 months doing everything I can to lose weight slowly and wisely: no fads, shakes, pills, lemon detox. Just eating clean and eating ‘treat’ food in moderation. It has paid off (although I still have a ways to go) but I have lost over 20kg.
I have kept my journey to a limited amount of people, as I don’t feel my weight is anybody’s business. Now that I’m more ‘streamlined’ I’ve had over 4 people in separate situations tell me that I should remove all the ‘fat’ photos of me that are on FB and that I should only post ‘current’ or ‘pre-weight gain’ pics because (direct quote) “People don’t need to know what you WERE or SEE what you were.”
These people are essentially telling me to edit a decade of my life, make it disappear, pretend I didn’t exist while I was overweight. I WON’T be deleting photos from the ‘heavier’ days. How can I be true to myself if I pretend I wasn’t a much bigger person than I wanted to be? I was still the same person on the inside, so I’m not deleting a near decade of my photographic history to try and hide the fact that for a long time I was really overweight. I will quietly continue my weight loss journey and refuse to be ‘body shamed’.
Imagine if I DID delete all photos of me when I was really overweight? What message does that send not only to me, but also to my female friends? Would they feel compelled to delete photos from a period in their lives when they weren’t happy with an aspect of their body?
By deleting photos of me pre-weight loss, I’d be lying to my friends and myself. I’d be setting a shocking example as well as sending a message that unless you’re literally picture perfect, you’re not ‘good enough’. It’s that simple. So yes, my current photos are a closer representation of what I currently look like, although I haven’t posted a photo of me at my current weight yet. I don’t feel the need to do so. But I refuse to be body bullied.
I didn’t write this to get attention or to get pity because people have been exceedingly rude to me, I wrote about it because I wanted to highlight the fact that you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If I DID put up a recent picture of me at my current weight, I’d be accused of being shallow and fishing for compliments. If I KEEP the ‘fat’ pictures as they were so kindly referred to, well then I should be ashamed of whom I am. Yes: who I ‘AM’, not who I ‘WAS’. Because who I ‘WAS’ still ‘IS’.
Have you ever experienced this kind of body shaming? Do you think it’s unreasonable and offensive to tell someone to remove all the photos from their ‘Fat Years’ and only upload pre-weight gain and post-weight gain photos?