One of the most commonly used comebacks to fat hatred is to point out how healthy the plus size target is. It’ll get pointed out that they go to the gym, or race, or do some other active hobby. Their diet will be healthy, loads of salads and cooked from scratch stuff.
Which is a fantastic response to the claims that fat always means unhealthy and that being fat instantly makes someone a strain on medical resources. No problems there right?
If you’ve read my blog before you’ll already know I’m not a “Healthy Fattie”, I’m very much an unhealthy fattie. It is not entirely, or even massively, related to my weight – but my weight does have a bearing.
Here’s the thing, I have Hypermobility Syndrome. A genetic problem which means my muscles are too weak to hold my joints in place too well, it causes a lot of pain as my muscles are overworked trying to hold everything where it should be and fairly frequent subluxations (partial dislocations) of some of my joints. I’ve only been recently diagnosed, so for 6 years it’s been a mystery problem and the treatment has often been counterproductive. Eg. stretches to loosen my muscles.
My mobility is severely limited, and pain stops me from doing a lot of things even when mobility isn’t an issue.
So I don’t exercise, I have a very sedate lifestyle. I spend a lot of time just sitting or lying down. So the weight just piles on as I’m burning so few calories.
I also eat badly, partly there’s a lot of boredom and comfort eating happening, and partly because preparing healthy food takes effort that my body just can’t manage. Just chopping veg causes pain.
On top of all this I have PCOS which can mean you gain weight more easily.
So no, I’m not a Healthy Fattie.
But does that mean I shouldn’t be confident in my body? Should I be ashamed and hide away? Do only the Healthy Fatties get to be public with their appearance?
There’s this idea that only the healthy ones can show their bodies off as then they are good role models, while the unhealthy ones might be encouraging others to follow unhealthy lifestyles. It does ignore that given the main message in society is fat=bad it’s unlikely a few happy and confident fat women are going to encourage others to deliberately gain weight.
What it does do is shows others that you can be happy as you are, whether you are slim or fat. Trying to lose or not. Able to lose or not.
I think we need the unhealthy role models as much as the healthy ones. We need to show that confidence is attainable for all, not just a select few.
Saying that “she’s fat, but it’s ok because she’s healthy/goes to the gym/etc” just tells those of us who aren’t that we are the wrong kind of fat and that we should be ashamed and lack confidence.