Dear Fat Shamer,

I saw your video this week and I’m not going to link to it because frankly you didn’t say anything that we haven’t all heard a million times before and I’d hate for someone else to see it and have their soul vomit like mine did.

I was that person who you were abusing. Fat and with no medical condition to blame it on. And I am the same person, I just look different now. I pass. So people don’t judge me when I buy McDonalds or cake.

You know you can’t tell how healthy someone is from what they look like? People are quick to talk about the obesity epidemic which is based on the BMI which is a bullshit construct but no one talks about the anorexia or bulimia epidemic, it just passes on by, because they look ok. Until they die. You can’t tell how someone eats by what they look like or how much they exercise or how fit they are. All you can do is distill a really complicated situation into a false black and white one based on your lack of experience.

I hate that it’s people like you that makes people like me afraid to run outside. Or walk in a gym. Or exist. I hate that it’s people like you who are proud of it. Like shame every succeeded at anything. If I look back now at the person I was, people like you are the reason I wanted to disappear into the wallpaper. People like you stopped me in clothing stores and said ‘there’s nothing for you here – you should leave’.

Did you know a slim person can be internally obese and a fat person can be internally fit? Did you know my young children tell me that if you eat too much you will get fat. Do you have any idea how much of my life I spend fighting against that? And you know what I tell them? Being fat isn’t bad. Yeah I own that shit. Because the quality of the human isn’t defined by their size. And I tell them that if they don’t eat enough food they won’t be able to do awesome things like run and jump and play. And I mourn that I even have to have this conversation with them. Because they are four and seven and what the actual fuck?!

And you know what?

I resent that I pass for a stereotypical person now. I resent it when I pass someone who looks like I used to look and I can see that they want to be invisible because I might be judging them. I resent the fact that people judge my choices differently than they used to. Because I am the same person I was back then.

Dear Fat Shamer,

I hate that your video went viral but no one will see me say to them. You matter. You are worth it. Your size doesn’t determine your worth. You are beautiful. You are valued. And you have more strength than anyone else I know. And I am on your side.

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Written by: Zoey Dowling

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  1. Thank you for posting this. It certainly resonates for me.

  2. I know this is an old post, but I am just starting to learn to run. To jog. I actually move slower jogging than I do walking. I jog 100 steps then I walk. Then repeat. Pitifully slowly jogging gets my heart rate up to 180. I am pouring sweat. I am giving my everything to do this pitiful amount of exercise. And I am 62kg. I'm a size 10, an 8 on a good day. I *look* like a runner. I'm not. I see people much bigger than me running whole kilometres at a time and I desperately want to be them. And I can't, because I'm not fit enough. I'm not as healthy as they are. And people seeing me run? God knows what goes on in their heads, trying to justify the skinny=fitness myth. Probably assume I'm coming back from injury or something asinine. I'm not. Never exercised enough to get injured in my life. I'm just unfit. End of story. But I'm trying my damndest, and I will get better at this.

    • Good on you for getting out there and doing your own thing - even if it feels like the most unnatural thing in the world at the moment! We have a Learn to Run program starting in March if you feel like you need coaching and support. But if not just keep on doing what you are doing and it will get better!

  3. Zoey, me too. Me too. And even externally "passing" now, I still think I am the before photo. And I'm probably my own biggest fat shamer. But I've got to stop. Because if I'm going to empower anyone else, I have to empower myself. Thanks for your words.