How not to deal with fit shaming people after losing weight

“Stop losing weight, you are too thin!” is the sentence I keep hearing day after day from friends, co-workers and acquaintances I meet. Let me share with you 5 different situations I have to face fit shaming during a regular week and the lessons I’ve learned during those encounters with the good intention bullies.

Fit shaming situations and lessons I’ve learned

Day #1:

How not to deal with fit shaming people after losing weight
More people in my office building would use the stairs if we had one of these escalators.

It is a beautiful Monday morning and I am heading towards my office while taking the stairs (like always since I’ve changed my lifestyle to a healthy one). The only one taking the stairs this morning (and on other mornings) with me is one girl who works on the 1st floor and recently got into heavy cardio workout 3 times per week. While we chitchat about it’s being Monday already, I suddenly hear her say the dreaded sentence:

“Stop losing weight, you are too thin!”

Instead of ignoring it this time while thinking how Mondays hate me too I reply with a brand new well-prepared answer for these situations I haven’t tried saying and failing before:

“I am 58kg/128lbs! I don’t believe that’s thin for my height (163cm/5 ft 4 in)!”

Her reply:

“Well, it is too thin!”

Lesson #1:

I can’t win with these people.


 

Day #2:

Stressful day at the office, being busy. Suddenly an ex co-worker drops by to say hi. She recognizes that this is not a good time for chitchat, so she cuts it short. She is already at the door, almost opening it, when casually instead of “Goodbye”she drops the bomb:

“Don’t lose more weight, you’ll disappear!”

How not to deal with fit shaming people after losing weight
This is how I imagined a stressful day at the office when I didn’t work in an office.

It is not her first time bringing this to my attention, I see her a few times a month, so it’s not like she hasn’t seen me fit. But today is the day that I choose to reply to her comment.

“I am not thin, look at all my muscles! I am 58kg/128lbs!”

She turns back, approaches me and tells me that 58kg/128lbs is almost nothing. So to prove my point of me being in a normal weight range for my height, I ask her how much does she weight.

She tells me: “You are not a woman if you are under 60kg! I weight 63kg!” and she leaves in a hurry, leaving me standing there and calculating in my head her BMI. She is way taller than I am (175cm) so if she weights 63kg it makes her BMI 20,6 which is lower than my BMI of 21,8. Yet, it’s still me, who is being bullied into not being a real woman because of her low weight.

Lesson #2:

I am being bullied about my weight by other women now that I am fit. While being obese, none of the women around me asked, mentioned or made rude remarks about my weight.


 

Day #3:

Running errands on a usual weekday when I bump into an old friend of mine. After a few sentences on how our lives are currently, she leans closer, lowers her voice and asks:

“What do you do to look thin like this?”

It’s like she’s expecting me to give her a well guarded secret that I somehow came across during my weight loss journey. I lean closer to her and say in a calm voice how I changed my nutrition, I eat healthy, I eat less, I regularly exercise.

“Oh, I see. I can’t do that. I don’t have time to workout. / I like cake too much. (*insert here a long list of personal excuses*)”

Lesson #3:

People say that they want to know my secret of how I’ve lost weight and became fit, when in reality they just want to hear that there is an easy way for them to do it that they haven’t heard of yet. The moment they figure out that it is discipline and hard work, they become uninterested.


 

Day #4:

Leaving my office for a lunch break when I meet a co-worker on the stairs going in the opposite direction. We say hi, I compliment her looks and she notices that we have matching pants! She complains about the pants getting too baggy after only two wears and I say that mine are fine. Then she looks at me from head to toe and says:

“Oh my god, look at you! You are so thin! I am not talking to you anymore!” says jokingly and leaves me there standing alone on the stairs.

Lesson #4:

If there is a grain of truth in every joke, I wonder if some women really stopped talking to me and started avoiding me out of envy after I’ve lost weight and became fit.


 

Day #5:

How not to deal with fit shaming people after losing weightAt the office again, having a coffee break (or in my case: green tea break) with my female co-workers. One of them says:

“Oh you are so thin! I can see on your face that you’ve lost weight!”

Today I’m trying out a new reply strategy, so I say:

“Thank you, I get that a lot! In fact, I get called thin every day!”

Suddenly one of my other co-workers, who is trying to lose weight herself by occasionally going on strict diets turns to me and says:

“Really? I bet your family thinks that you are too thin.” she adds.

“No, it’s not my family, they accepted the new fit me. Women around me point out every day how thin I am.”

Lesson #5:

People have no idea that fit shaming even exists. Even the woman who fit shame me are not aware of the fact that they are acting like a bully. They would never call their obese co-worker fat or obese, yet they are without a second thought calling me thin.


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2 thoughts on “How not to deal with fit shaming people after losing weight

  1. Or try this one: Thin? That is so interesting! The speculation among nutritionists is that “fat” is the new “normal,” and that when you are at a normal or idea weight like I am, people these days think you are thin. I guess the nutritionists are right!

  2. More power to you!

    I think it’s really sad that more people don’t aspire to personal excellence.

    Over sixty years ago, John F. Kennedy complained that we were becoming a “nation of soft bodies,” and tried to encourage the public to be more active.

    Apparently it didn’t work, as so many of us live the couch potato lifestyle and chow down on starchy junk food all day, and obesity has come to be accepted as the norm, along with the diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health problems that go with it!

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