Thursday, August 6, 2009


Growing up fat, you develop certain attitudes and habits that you may not have otherwise. One of the things you do is try to develop a radar for people who are going to mock or torment you openly and loudly. You become hyper-vigilant and sensitive to actions which might indicate an oncoming attack and respond in a paranoid fashion to comments or actions which may be covert attempts to refer to your weight.

For instance, if you go to a friend's house and everyone is served a piece of pie, but your piece is the smallest of all, you will probably conclude that your friend is trying to tell you that you really don't need that pie. The truth may be that your friend didn't pay any attention to how big the pieces were and you just happened to get the small one by random chance, but you'll be questioning the action regardless. Of course, some "well meaning" friends may actually mean what they appear to mean, but will deny it if you call them on it.

This sort of oversensitivity is the consequence of all of the prejudice and abuse that is heaped on fat people. They're filled with anxiety and easily get their defenses up because they're attacked so often that they see attacks where there may be none. This stress only serves to increase the chances that they will eat later for comfort in addition to undermining their ability to develop trusting relationships with people who might support them and help them gain the emotional equilibrium to embark on a healthier lifestyle. The next time a person of average weight thinks that mocking or belittling a fat person is a form of shocking them into dealing with the problem, they might do well to remember that they're only doing harm.