Everyone goes through a period in their life where they’re unhappy with how they look. When I was younger, I was very small. I was underweight for as long as I could remember. My mom was constantly trying to shove Pedialyte down my throat any chance she could get. I was just a kid. I was more worried about playing with the neighborhood kids than eating dinner. It was as simple as that. In second grade, I was finally a normal weight. I was actually the perfect weight for my age. Then third grade came around and for the first time in my life, my stomach pooched out. I remember trying to squeeze myself between a wall and a chair. I wasn’t self conscious until this day. My uncle noticed me trying to get through the wall and the chair and said, ” wow Emmy, you’re getting to be like me“, as he rubbed his giant beer belly. For the first time in my life, I was self conscious about my weight. In third grade! Things seemed to get worse from there. Fourth grade came around and I went through a growth spurt. I remember walking the halls of my elementary school with one of my friends, we confessed our weight to each other. I weighed 80 pounds and she weighed 70 pounds. We both told each other how unhappy we were with our size. I stayed short and pudgy until 8th grade. It was like someone took a short ball of dough and stretched it as far as they could. My weight didn’t change, but my height did. I had long, dangly, awkward arms and legs. My stomach was flat again. Then, one of my friends told me that her mom had asked her if I had been eating at all. Everyone, besides my family, thought I had an eating disorder. It was ridiculous. I actually ate more than anyone I knew! My body was simply growing.
From my freshmen year of high school onward, I don’t remember anyone not commenting on my weight. I weighed 103 pounds then and 117 pounds now. It’s a normal, healthy, perfectly fine weight for me. But to this day, I’m so used to the comments like: “You’re so scrawny”, “Do you even eat?”, and of course my favorite (major eye roll) ” You need to eat a cheeseburger“. I need to eat a cheeseburger!? Are you kidding me? Even in an adult, workforce, professional environment, I have had grown women tell me I need to eat a f*$king cheeseburger!
If you’re reading this and thinking, “what’s wrong with that?”, I’ll tell you. You see, it’s only ok for them to say these things to me, to anyone who is toned/fit. I am not allowed to comment on someone being larger. Can you imagine if I were to go up to a fat person (yes I said fat) and said, ” Damn, you need to eat more salads!”. The world would start spinning backwards! People would lose it! I would have my face plastered across the internet with the tag lines of “Fat Shamer” all over the place! When someone tells me I need to eat a cheeseburger, I can’t respond with anything. I can’t say thank you, because normally people aren’t ever saying it to be nice. I can’t say, “and you need to run a few miles on a treadmill”, because this is mean. But everyone is allowed to comment on my size.
The “skinny shamming” is so bad at my gym that when I’m weight lifting (yes…I do lift weights) with my boyfriend, men are constantly making sly comments like, ” you better watch out, she’s gonna out lift you”. The other day, an older man even challenged me to pick up the 80 pound weight that my boyfriend had just finished using. Normally I would have forced a laugh and moved on, but I was so fed up that I looked him dead in the face and said, “ok”, and proceeded to pick up the weight. Can you imagine if it were the other way around? “Ok old man, I’d like to see you try to lift as much as me”. Again, I’m supposed to sit back and take these things as a compliment.
I’m here to tell everyone that it’s not ok to comment on any ones weight. A compliment is telling me I’m toned, or fit, or strong! Don’t tell anyone that they’re scrawny or weak. My boyfriend and I get these comments all the time. We’re both smaller built. But we eat healthy, we lift weights three times a week, and we try to run twice a week. We’re active and extremely healthy. So after spending an hour at the gym, I don’t find it flattering for someone to comment how small we are. The next time you want to make a comment on someones weight or size, I want you to think very long and hard before laying out a backhanded “compliment”. It might not be as nice as you think, after all. People come in all different shapes and sizes and we don’t need anyone pointing this out. Live healthy and be supportive of others. Degrading anyone of any size is not nice. In case anyone was wondering.