My family is full of overweight people, on both sides. (Of the family I mean, not like they are overweight on both sides of their bodies. Because that would be weird. If they weren't I mean. Oh, never mind.)
And my step-monster never hesitates to comment about my weight. Or anybody else's for that matter. Sometimes she'll just blatantly say, "Wow, you've put on some weight!" Which is not helpful.
I mean really?! When has anyone ever said this to anyone and gotten the response of, "Have I? Oh my goodness, I had no idea! Thank you so much for pointing this out to me. Now I can take steps to remedy the situation. You are so helpful!"
It's not helpful. It's hurtful. And it makes me want to eat another cookie.
Sometimes it's more subtle. Like she'll slowly look me up and down and then ask, "So are you still walking every day?" Or like the last time I saw her, when she gave me the once over then said, "Your DAD has lost a lot of weight!"
Which, really? If he had, I couldn't tell. But whatever.
Anyway, so I've been aware that this woman has been putting me, and others, in our places for years based on weight. I've determined in the last year or so that the reason she must do this is that she has a lot of faults, but she's always been thin. She's not the smartest person, or the richest, or most beautiful, or the most well liked. But she's thin. So she must feel a confidence boost by bringing up the issue of weight whenever she gets the chance.
What I hadn't been conscious of, until our Thanksgiving celebration the other day, is that my mom's side of the family does this too. I swear, we hadn't been with my grandparents two minutes before Grandpa brought up the fact that a particularly heavy member of the family has lost 30 pounds. And then he immediately launched into a story about my obese uncle sitting in a chair and breaking it.
Now, okay, that's kind of a remarkable story. But honestly, it hit me then that this side of the family too is obsessed with weight. Yet the majority of the people in the family are overweight. So whatever Grandpa is trying to accomplish with pointing all this out, it's not working. Well, I mean, unless his goal is to make all his progeny overweight.
Which proves my point that really, it's not helpful, and it's not appropriate, ever to talk about anyone else's weight. It doesn't accomplish anything. The person already knows he or she is overweight. And telling them about it (or telling everyone else about it) only serves to make the person feel worse. Which probably will make them eat more.
It's given me a lot to think about. Like do I talk about people's weight? If I do, what is my motivation? Is it even okay to talk about people losing weight? Because doesn't that imply that they needed to? Doesn't it imply that they were somehow less than before they got their act together and lost the weight?
I mean, it seems like a compliment on the surface. "Wow you've lost a lot of weight! You look great!" But does it mean they looked bad before?
Either way, I've been pondering the implications of 39 years spent in a family which is largely overweight (no pun intended) yet contains several members hell bent on putting everyone else down for their obesity. I haven't quite figured out what to do about any of it, but I figure just being aware of it is progress.
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