Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Would you tell a friend they're fat?

Would you tell a friend they're fat
Anyone on social media may have noticed that there have been a few topics floating about in the last week regarding our attitudes to our bodies and those of the people around us, and they could not be at further ends of the spectrum.

First up, there is the somewhat controversial ‘Tell a friend they’re fat’ day, brought to us by weight loss ‘expert’ Steve Miller. 


*I do not own this image*


I use the term ‘expert’ loosely as he only holds qualifications related to hypnotherapy, and nothing in regard to fitness or nutrition. But anyway, this guy is advising people to tell other people they’re fat. Note, I say people, it applies to everyone.

Now, I was a fat teenager. I was told on a pretty much daily basis that I was fat, ugly, that I’d never get a boyfriend... the list goes on. And that was by bullies. To this day there is that insecure bit of me who looks for the underlying snide remark when I’m paid a compliment me and hates having attention drawn to my body.

So imagine if 14 year old Lizi was sat down by her 14 year old friends (as it would have been one of those pre-planned, sit down and stage an intervention style conversations that every teenage girl adores) and told ‘actually Lizi, we think you’re fat too’. I cannot even imagine how bad that would have been.

I’m not saying that Steve Miller is out there to target the insecurities of teenagers, but his message is for everyone, and is being discussed all over social media, on TV shows and in newspapers – it’s readily available to young people. And that’s why I have such an issue with his message. He’s trying to make it OK to tell someone they’re fat. To normalise it. And, in my opinion, that isn’t OK.

I do genuinely understand his message, that it can prompt a shock factor which could make someone who has an issue with their weight do something about it. In some instances, if the friend uses the perfect balance of tact, support and factual information, to tell an overweight friend who is ready to listen that they are concerned for their health, it may work.

But not every person is tactful, has the time to commit to supporting their friend on their weightloss journey or has the empathy and experience to understand how their friend is feeling. Not every overweight person who wants to lose weight has the confidence to take the first step and to them, being sat down and told they’re fat is just confirmation of their insecurities.

If you you’re genuinely concerned about your friends’ health and you know for 100% fact that they want to lose weight (as believe it or not, not everyone does), then support them. Cook healthy food together, exercise together, motivate each other to lead healthy lifestyles. Just don’t ever put your friend down. Despite what Steve Miller seems to think, not everyone ‘needs to hear it’.

However, I don’t just want to leave a post on a negative which is why I want to talk about the #ThisGirlCan campaign. I think the message is absolutely fantastic and something that women should all aspire to as it’s all about being active, no matter what your shape and size.

#ThisGirlCan is all about women doing exercise without judgement. I won’t say ‘real women’ as that implies that some women aren’t ‘real’ (don’t even know who decided that women with curves are the only ones who class as ‘real’ – idiot), but the video portrays normal women, doing loads of different types of exercise. There’s no judgment, there’s no fat-shaming and it’s based around how normal women look when they exercise.




And I think it’s a bloody fantastic message.

Very few people look like the images you see plastered over Instagram with the hashtag ‘fitfam’ when they work out. Trust me, I spend enough time looking for gymspiration and being left feeling inadequate. But I watched the #ThisGirlCan video and it was that moment when you realise that nobody is perfect, yet every woman in that video looks pretty damned pleased with themselves and that should be me. After I had a bit of a wobble about my own fitness goals earlier this week, this is the video I needed to see.


I know this was a long post and if you’ve stayed with me to the end, firstly, thank you and secondly, go get a brew/glass of wine/G&T, you deserve it! 
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