My partner changed my mind about overweight people

Over the years I've had to change my thoughts on a number of things, as experience whispered in my ear "I think you're wrong about that, Buddy."

Even though my name isn't Buddy, I find it's always best to listen to good old experience.

One thing I've done a total 180 on is fat.

Fat has to be the most emotionally charged three-letter word in the language, sadly.

I have done some terrible things to overweight people in the past. I've watched as they unload their shopping trolley and if there's any chips, ice-cream or white bread revealed, I'm shaking my head and muttering, "well, there's your problem, tubby."

Dare to eat chips and gravy in front of me if you're overweight? I've got my judging pants on, salad-dodger.

Who are you to judge

I don't know how I felt entitled to make those judgments. I've been up around 120kg in my life.

Now, when I hear the weight activists arguing for acceptance, I hear exactly the same narrative as other oppressed groups arguing for their rights.

And there's a very healthy, active movement out there. Google , , , , and , to name a few. Look up activists Kelli Jean Drinkwater, Kath Read, Erin Cox. There's heaps of them.

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The basic argument is no-one deserves to get commented on when they go outside. But fat people do. They routinely get shamed from passing cars, on the footpath and on planes. It's isolating and sad and wrong.

Society's pressure

And there's the notion of the "good fat person." If you're really trying to lose weight, wearing a muumuu, and seem well ashamed of your podge, people will back off and just offer diet advice.

The goal is to get back to thin – that is, "good" and "attractive" as soon as you can. But you'd better be trying!

Almost exactly a year ago, at the age of 31, my partner had a hysterectomy. Now, thanks to hormones and a tough recovery, she's a good 25kg heavier. Watching her pain and embarrassment at not feeling presentable in polite society is heartbreaking.

Conflicting states

And here's the problem with fat and our society.

I don't think anyone should be judged for how their body is, yet I will help my partner as she now engages in a battle to get back to where she was, pre-op.

I much prefer being 90-odd kilograms myself and people I haven't seen for a while saying, "wow – you look good, it's like you got younger" to the "hey, big fella, another beer?" I'd get back in the big boy days.

It's counter-intuitive. You know it's wrong, ultimately, but you also want those extra kilos to go away so life's just…easier. You know it's everyone's right to look how they want, but you, personally, don't want to be fat.

Complex issues

To say that, even though she's way over her fighting weight right now, my partner's "still beautiful", is a world of incorrect. Yet I say it, I believe it and she sometimes needs it. It's believing two opposite things at once, such is the power of the world around us to shape our mindset.

There's not many people who make their living as "influencers" on Instagram with a beefy BMI. Somehow I find myself looking at and think I'd better do some more ab work.

 

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My 18-year-old daughter, on the other hand, brushed up against a teen eating disorder, which she's now pretty much beaten. The residue is a waifishness which now flitters around her like a fairy. How she looks is bang on for right now. She's been asked if she models, a lot. I see the sly satisfaction of the reinforcement. Skinny is cool. Everyone says so.

It's disgraceful.

Personal choices

Right now, we're hobbling around the house because we're training so hard. We like wine but we've investigated a drink called the "Skinny Bitch" – less kilojoules and sugar. We watch our diet carefully. There's a wedding coming up, right!

So I believe no-one should be judged and our attitude to weight is a societal disaster, with victims everywhere. Yet I am working out and will drive my girl to pilates at 6.00am on Monday because I want her to be happy and comfortable in herself.

I know it's messed up and I'm living with double standards.

Will things get any easier in the future? Fat chance.

Have you been shamed for your weight? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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