Fat Advice

Why do people who are thin think it is their job to advise people who are fat on how to live?  I was on the bus talking to a woman I know about our similar interests, when she asked me what exercise I do.  It happens that I swim 4 times a week and, since I didn’t know where she was going with that question, I answered her straight.  She looked surprised that I would exercise so much.  She then told me that she uses the treadmill.  I told her I couldn’t do that as much, since I had hurt both knees many years ago.  She then started suggesting other forms of exercise for me – e.g., a recumbent bicycle.  I told her I had used to have a recumbent bicycle, but I found that it hurt my knees as well.  She finally told me that, well, at least swimming was good exercise.

Then she told me that several years ago, she stopped eating sugary desserts.  Now, it happens that I stopped drinking soda and I also stopped adding sugar to my tea, but now I could see where this was going.  She was trying to subtly or not so subtly advise me on how to lose weight.

I think people who are thin need to be reminded that people who are fat already know that they are.  If it were easy to lose weight and keep it off, believe me, they certainly would do so.  Our culture shuns fat people; it makes fun of them; it shames them; it discriminates against them in jobs.  Losing weight isn’t easy.  Several years ago, I lost 80 pounds, but that weight has been gradually coming back.

Please don’t offer me advice on how to lose it again.  I have tried this diet and that diet and this exercise and that exercise.  I am tired of viewing myself and my body as being in constant need of fixing.

Hey, I am a worthy person, anyway.  I have lots of things I can talk about with you.  Ask me about them.  But please, unless I ask you specifically about any of my problems, don’t just offer me advice – especially about being fat.  I am too sensitive about that.

The woman is nice and intelligent and I am sure she thought she was helping in a very subtle way.  It still hurts a bit.