Content warning: weight stigma, weight loss, mental health issues.
If you know me, you are probably at least a little bit aware of the fact that I am against intentional weight loss. You should be at least aware that I am both very fat and if you start talking about weight loss even for yourself, I will not comment on it. You might notice that I don’t offer you congratulations if you talk about your intentional weight loss achievements. You might notice that I talk about liking myself, my body, and my appearance and not about how I hate it. If you know me online, you might see me share body positive articles, or blog posts about how awfully I’ve been treated at times in my life for fatness. You might know that generally, I feel intentional weight loss, dieting, diet culture, and weight loss surgery are actually quite harmful to most people based on the research and science available about it.
I know that in most cases, body positivity or my lack of intentional weight loss is not supported by many friends and family. Our culture hates fat people, even and sometimes especially when we are advocating for ourselves, or happy and healthy. Even if you like me or love me, you may think I am dangerously wrong or very unhealthy. You may stay silent about the issue because it seems too hot button for you, for me, or in general. You are right.
When you’re silent, I notice. When you offer no verbal support over time, I notice. If you’re active on my Facebook with likes, I notice that you don’t like my blogs like this one. If you are silent to me about me but talk about your own intentional weight loss attempts – I notice.
It doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, necessarily. Or that I can’t love you, or enjoy an afternoon with you. But I know that on some level you essentially are not a safe person to be around, for me. I know that you hearing that is likely to upset you and perhaps offend you. It shouldn’t; I understand that my knowledge and boundaries are threatening for most people. I do not try to force people to accept my knowledge. I do not ask people to change their minds if they feel the knowledge is harmful. I don’t want to harm someone.
And in this way, your silence is golden, also. As harmful as your lack of support can be, I’m glad you care enough to not bring up the topic. I am glad you see that we do not see eye to eye. I’m glad that your choice to ignore the available research on intentional weight loss is at least self-aware enough to realize that your choice is harmful to me and to not talk about it.
Golden and violence – the silence is both.