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To The Families Of The Fat Kid

To The Families Of The Fat Kid // fatgirlflow.com

Shut up.

Just fucking stop talking. Stop asking what they ate today. Stop talking about the new diet you heard of. Hold your breath (forever if need be) when a sudden comment of concern arises in your throat. Just, shut up.

You think you are helping. I get it. But let’s talk about what really happens when you try to give your loved ones unsolicited advice about their bodies  and their food intake. When you make them lunch and don’t include any foods that are exciting or tasty that they asked for, they don’t sit in the cafeteria quietly nourishing their bodies, thankful that their parent knows best. They learn that in order to get the foods that they want, they must be sneaky. They find quarters between couch  cushions, or maybe even borrow some from your purse, and they find the vending machine after lunch. What could have just been a treat in their lunch box, has now turned into a full on adventure that proved to them how fun it is to find ways to sneak the food they want, and then feel the overwhelming sense of reward that sweeps over their body as they eat. If you’re lucky, they’ll forget that feeling quickly and let it manifest into shame. Because  that’s what you want right? You want them to feel ashamed of eating that food you didn’t give them. If you’re not  lucky, they’ll seek it out for the rest of their lives, looking for that little high that feels just like sitting in the bathroom eating a snickers bar before the lunch bell rings and they have to run back to class, their stomachs uncomfortably full from eating too much too fast.

When you say to them “I love you, but I’m concerned for your health”, imagine what it is like to always hear “but…” after every “I love you”. Imagine for a moment what it must feel like to be a kid, or a person of any age, who feels like the love they receive is contingent upon how well they’re executing this week’s diet plan. As you watch them exercise more, and eat less ask yourself why you require someone you love to shrink themselves. When they come to you starry eyed and tell you that they had salad for lunch and didn’t drink any (sugar laden) juice, think about the environment you’re creating when each “healthy” meal requires validation from another person. What happens when you are not there to congratulate them on their inhibition?

Have you ever considered the effects of teaching a person that they cannot trust their own body? That each cue they receive internally is just another way to ruin their commitment to thinness? What it must feel like to be housed in a space that you cannot trust to keep you safe? Imagine you’ve been taught that everything your body tells you about your needs is wrong. Do you believe that those feelings stop with eating? Some times when they’re hungry, they don’t eat. Their empty stomachs a small symbol of accomplishment. Some times when they feel uncomfortable they don’t speak up. They’ve been taught that their bodies feeling discomfort is normal, something to be proud of. It doesn’t stop with food.

As you reach for solutions to solve the “problem” of someone else’s body, consider for a moment that you may not have all the information you need. You may not know what kind of impact you will have. Consider that we are all different, and what may have worked for you or someone you know may have a very real, very permanent effect on someone else. When you decide to make it your goal to control another person, however small, just… don’t. Take a breath. Do some reading. And shut the fuck up.

fatgirlflow.com

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Theresa P.

Monday 23rd of May 2016

Well, this is scarily accurate... Parents always shaming me about my eating habits. Forcing me to measure my weight, and after that, some more shaming.. It makes me hate myself. I want to spend my time with my parents, but how can I enjoy it if everytime I met them, they always told me that I gained weight, fatter.. Eventhough my weight was the same as before. I can't even enjoy a scoop of ice cream without feeling extremely guilty afterwards, and end up hating myself before bedtime.

fatgirlflow

Monday 23rd of May 2016

so much love to you <3

Jane Doe

Monday 2nd of May 2016

Why would I say "I love you, but I'm concerned about your health."?

I'm much too authoritative to coddle a kid with such soft words. If I noticed my kid was getting overweight, I'd change his/her diet and put him/her in the gym without any questions asked. No lunch money, and no Ipads, or other creature comforts, until the weight loss goal was met and STAYED that way. Maybe it's a tiger mom thing, but as far as I'm concerned, mom knows best, and the kid needs to obey the rules until (s)he has left the house. But then again, I would never feed my child junk on a regular basis and thereby destroy his/her palate in the first place. My child would to learn to appreciate our ethnic cuisine, which has many delicious yet healthy dishes.

Theresa P.

Monday 23rd of May 2016

Careful there Doe. Treat your kid nice or they'll end up holding some deep traumatic grudge that they don't even realize they had until they're grown up. At least that's how I experienced it. I love my parents, but their weight-shaming ways are just evil and hurtful. Those "tiger mom" things you've said, that's how you treat animals who doesn't have a free will, or maybe a robot, not a human being.

fatgirlflow

Monday 2nd of May 2016

.... are you ok?

Ginger

Monday 15th of February 2016

I see you managed to time travel and caught up with my mother. She always hated my body as it was always "too" much of something for her to handle. She was an out of control crazy but loved to control, monitor, police, and critique my every bite. Shut up shut up shut up was what she needed to hear. But of course I was powerless back then. I don't have a relationship with her now. Would it sound too unkind to say I do not miss her!?

Blair Osburn

Monday 18th of January 2016

OH MY WOW. This resonates so much. For the longest time I internalized it and had decided that my mom would finally love me if I just worked harder to be thin. Every time I failed, I thought "well, I must be a bad person because I can't succeed at this." It's so fucked up that it's understood that people should unconditionally love their children and at the same time, it's widely accepted that the one condition that is fine to have is that your child must be thin to receive that love. Thank you so much for this post, you are the kind of babe the world needs more of.

Btw: I just found you through your YouTube videos and I am smitten! I can't wait to see more videos from you!

fatgirlflow

Tuesday 19th of January 2016

<3 <3 <3

Melissa

Monday 9th of November 2015

Yes, this blog post. I'm 38 and this is the story of my relationship with my parents.

Two years ago, on the day my mother retired from her job, there was a mix up with the flowers I'd bought to be delivered to her office that day. So I called her and congratulated her and (sparing the details of the flower snafu) told her how hard I'd tried to send her flowers on her special day. And I kid you not, she said, "That's no big deal. The only gift I need is for you to get serious about your health. In the past year, you've blown up like a balloon."

And that was my moment of revolution. That was the event that finally sent me down a path of body acceptance. But it was a hell of a painful journey to get here.

Thank you for voicing this problem with the families of fat kids so eloquently. This post brought me another moment of catharsis and healing. xoxo

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