How to Find Strength in the Face of Being Called Weight Loss Names
Weight loss names can be difficult to take. Many people don’t even realize that’s what they’re doing when they use them. Whether they’re trying to be playful and cute, supportive, or outright mean, it hurts to be body shamed. For some of us our body isn’t a sensitive topic at all. However, people who can genuinely say that they are impervious to comments – well meant or otherwise – about their bodies are certainly in the minority.
What is Body Shaming?
Body shaming and being called weight loss names is much more commonplace than many of us might think. There are some forms that are quite obvious. Being maliciously ridiculed for our physical appearance is quite clearly a case of body shaming.
However, there are more subtle versions as well, some of which are actually meant as kindnesses but that are difficult – or impossible – to be received that way. These are most commonplace when people make unsolicited comments about physical appearance or about weight loss techniques or progress. They’re also common in the form of unwanted criticism meant to be constructive or helpful.
How to Cope with Weight Loss Names and Comments
Being on the receiving end of weight loss names and comments, however they are intended, can be very painful. They can make us feel worse about how we look, about what we’re doing on behalf of our health or appearance, and generally cut down on our self confidence and self image. Many of us find ourselves ruminating over comments people make in passing. By the time they’ve already forgotten what they said, we’ve suffered as much as if we’d been physically wounded.
Fortunately, there are some steps we can take to overcome the struggles we feel from being called weight loss names and hearing comments ranging from innocent curiosity to out-and-out cruelty. Yes, it would be best if we didn’t have to experience these issues at all. It isn’t right that we do. But while they still exist, it is best to know how to bolster ourselves against them. Use these tips to keep yourself strong in the face of these challenges.
- It’s them, not you – Always remember that if someone is body shaming you, they’re doing so based on their own issues, not yours. Actions such as cruelty and shaming come from a person’s prejudices, personal issues with self confidence and misconceptions. There’s no reason for you to need to internalize the symptoms of their problems. Certainly, you don’t deserve the treatment, but know that there is no need to take a shamer’s words seriously. It’s not even about you.
- Know that some people think they’re helpful – Some people don’t even know they’re doing it. This doesn’t excuse their actions, but it does help to explain them. When people try to advise you about what you “should” be eating, or if they tell you that you’d look better if you wore this other type of outfit that is more flattering around the middle, they think they’re being helpful or kind. Even comments about “real” or “curvy” women can be meant with good intentions despite the fact that it’s not what they actually say. If it’s someone you trust saying these things, try to have a respectful conversation about why these comments aren’t as helpful as they are intended to be.
- If you feel bold, be bold – If you are in a calm and respectful emotional state in the face of the weight loss names and comments, take a moment to explain why what was said was hurtful and harmful. Do the same if you see it happening against someone else. That said, if you’re in an argumentative state or aren’t feeling emotionally ready to take on that challenge, there is no shame in avoiding it until you are. You aren’t obliged to defend yourself. Remember, it’s about them, not you.
- It’s OK to feel angry – Though it’s best not to respond out of anger, it’s perfectly OK to feel hurt or angry when you’re called weight loss names. It’s acceptable to remove yourself from the situation – politely or not – and it is fine if you want to cope with this anger as you would any other form of anger. The key is not to let it haunt you. You can be angry at the situation, but let the comments go. They’re not about you anyway.