Keep Your Comments To Yourself
“Want a brownie? You sure could use a few!”
“Damn girl, where do you put it all?!”
“How do you eat that and stay so slim?!”
“Have a bite of my burger! It’s not like you don’t need it.”
I hear these comments fairly often. People feel the need to make them in a variety of situations. Maybe it’s when I’m waiting in line at a café for my coffee, and someone else in line notices me checking out the pastry case. Maybe it’s when I go out to eat with friends and order a salad while someone in my party orders something heavier. Maybe it’s from a waiter when I clean my plate.
“Want a carrot? Man you should be only eating those!”
“Damn girl, you clearly put it all in your hips!”
“How can you eat that salad and still be so huge?”
“Have some of my veggies! Lord knows you need them.”
Would anyone say these comments to an overweight or obese person? I’m betting no. If someone did, he or she would be called rude, inconsiderate, and disrespectful. He or she would be shunned by society and called intolerant and unsupportive.
What is the difference? There isn’t a difference. Both sets of comments that you see above, whether about a slim person or an overweight person, are comments about that person’s body. And both are NOT acceptable. If you want to make comments about your own body, that’s fine. But don’t make comments about mine.
I remember being grateful for comments about how skinny I was during the worst of my ED. They reaffirmed that I was skinny, that I was doing the “right” thing. But there is no right and wrong thing. No matter how many people thought I looked great, that did not change the unhealthy practices I engaged in to look that way. The opinions of others should not matter.
But you know what? It feels like they do. Comments from others really get to me, as much as they shouldn’t. I’ll order a salad because that’s what I truly want, and then someone notes that I am a slim girl eating a salad, and suddenly I feel like I’ve committed some sort of crime. Suddenly I feel like declining my co-worker’s offer for a piece of office birthday cake is the rudest thing I’ve ever done.
I have to remind myself day in and day out that I shouldn’t have to make apologies for living a healthy lifestyle (Brittany wrote a great post on this last week). Yes, sometimes I still turn down dessert or heavy food even though I truly want it. But I also love my daily salad lunch. I’m not giving into my eating disorder when I pass up a lunch out for that salad. I’m not giving into ED when I truly enjoy eating a Clif bar mashed up in sugar-free Jello chocolate pudding after dinner as opposed to one of my dad’s ice cream sandwiches. It’s not fair that the opinions people give me on what I choose to eat or when I choose to go to the gym should stress me out. It’s not fair that they should make me second-guess myself when without those opinions, I would’ve gone about my business without a second thought.
I’m all in favor of constructive criticism. It’s one thing when my mom expresses concern to me that she doesn’t think I’m eating enough carbs or thinks I should take a rest day. She knows my history. It’s another thing when a completely perfect stranger feels it is OK to make comments about my body just because I’m slim. Do strangers feel like it’s okay to call obese people fat? No. That is absolutely unacceptable. So don’t make comments about my body. Don’t make comments about anyone’s body. You have not earned that right.
It’s not much to ask, is it?
Have you ever had to deal with people making comments about your body, whether about being over- or under-weight?
Do you agree that there is a double standard – that it’s OK to call slim people skinny but not obese people fat?