Why I wish someone HAD fat shamed me

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • The world is hurtling toward a global obesity crisis, according to new research.

    The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, says a whopping one in five people will be obese in the next 10 years and that we were a healthier world back in 1976 – 40 years ago. But now, in 2016, there are 500 million more obese people! Take a second to read that again… 500 million more obese people.

    At 5 stone overweight Stephanie Lowe is not surprised, and thinks that if people told a few home truths to their loved ones we may be able to get healthy eating back on track…

    ‘Now, I don’t want to be all Katie Hopkins about this, but fat shaming should be a thing. Sugar-coating the fact that you are overweight – or fat, what’s wrong with just saying FAT – is the worst thing people can do for you or your health.

    Hear me before you slate me

    I’m 5ft 2″ and have battled between fat and thin all. of. my. life. According to numbers, charts and doctors I should be between 8-9 stone for my height. Instead I tip the scales at 13 stone – that’s a whopping 5 stone overweight – I’m literally toting a nine-year-old child around with me every day.

    Through the years I’ve yo-yo’d from 8 stone (once upon a time) up to 14 stone, but I never noticed because relatives told me not to worry as I have ‘a pretty face’, my favourite shops started ‘plus-size’ ranges and former boyfriends denied the oh-so-obvious weight gain. I’ve bounced from Weight Watchers to Aitkens, flirted with The Cambridge Diet and even foolishly popped a few diet pills in my time. I even took up rowing for three years – which made me fit – but I still wasn’t healthy, I was still eating badly.

    It’s exactly as former Big Brother star Josie Gibson says ‘Education is key, people don’t know how much they’re consuming.’ And she’s spot on. I mean, if you’re not careful you can eat up to 30g of sugar from just breakfast alone.

    Dear mum, fat shame me, please

    Back in the 80s I was a small child – children ran everywhere then – and my dad, ever the fan of ‘dad jokes’, used to call me ‘Wednesday legs – Wednesday gonna snap’. But as soon as I hit my teens the running stopped. It didn’t help that my childhood was powered by ‘notes from my mum’ to get out of P.E., Pop Tarts for breakfasts, sugar-laden Sunny D and midnight snacks of egg butties, all supervised by a dad who would regularly bark ‘get it eaten’ if I dared voice how full I was.

    As such I was never taught to listen to my body, to understand when I was full. Instead I learned to eat until I was bursting, how to hide leftovers and sneak past my dad with a mouth full of unwanted food to spit in the toilet. Not conducive to a healthy relationship with food, huh?

    Compare and deny

    Now I’m older I still don’t know when to stop and I always joke that ‘in my head I’m Elle Macpherson from behind’ but it’s not really a joke… I genuinely don’t believe that I’m that fat. But I am, the scales don’t lie. And if someone else admitted to seeing that I’m fat too, maybe I would stand a chance at controlling it instead of hiding behind self-deprecating humour.

    I wish, back when I started gaining the weight in my early teens, someone had just been honest and told me that I was too fat, not in a nasty way – kids who are bullied for being fat don’t tend to lose weight, in fact they comfort eat. No, I don’t want to be taunted for being fat, just when I complain that I’m fat or that I’ve put on weight I don’t want gushes of ‘no you haven’t, you’re gorgeous, well I can’t tell’. I want, no, I need them to calmly say to me, ‘yes, you have. What do you want to do to change it?’ and then help me.

    I have no doubt it will hurt my feelings initially and I can guarantee that there will be tears, but to know that it’s coming from a place of support not nastiness will make me cry and then make plans to change, not cry and comfort eat. My lovely husband scoffing at my weight gain and shrugging it off with a ‘I still love you’ is only helping me reach for another slice of pizza safe in the knowledge that it’s OK. Well, it’s not OK. And I need my friends and family to be brave enough to admit it to my face too…