*TW: some content that could be triggering to people w/ ED
As a plus size girl, and if you are plus size as well you might relate to this, going grocery shopping can be a whole thing. Besides the planning and budgeting, or lack there of, the simple act of having certain foods in a cart can induce feelings of exposure. Having someone glance at a candy bar in my cart can leave me feeling somewhat vulnerable. Sometimes I feel as though if each scan *bleep* at checkout isn’t a fight against some stereo-type of fat people it means that I am failing in society’s eyes. I have even purposely avoided grocery stores that didn’t have self-checkout to dodge perceived cashier judgment on days where I just really wanted pizza. It’s as though if I am not in the constant battle of dieting and watching my weight then I am “just another gluttonous fat girl” to everyone else. Rationally, I realize that these thoughts are mostly social anxiety and insecurities leeching onto my conscience and as I said before, perceived judgments.
In reality I generally shop for a pretty balanced diet, but I do not “diet”. I eat what makes my body feel good which is usually veggies, fruits, whole grains, protein, maybe a little cheese, but if I want a treat I get it. I have learned from experience that deprivation makes me miserable. When I was younger I went through phases of disordered eating where I wouldn’t eat at all for days at a time for months at a time, which left me unable to work, focus, or carry on conversations. People told me that I looked great and I was losing so much weight – some even aware of what I was doing to myself – but I was actually very sickly and miserable. At some point I came to the realization that hating my body was much more detrimental than actually being a little fat. At this point in my life I am more focused on healthfully eating than calorie counting. I am much more accepting of myself and loving which in turn, motivates me to take care of my body.
Which is why some bro yelling, “Don’t do it!” in front of the checkout line while I look at a package of cookies that I was considering buying for my boyfriend (who is not plus size) is not helpful. I didn’t buy the cookies and I left with a few thoughts:
- Fuck that guy.
- Because he kind of just confirmed all of my insecurities and made a bunch of people look at me while I was holding cookies.
- Why did he feel like that was okay without knowing anything about me?
His intentions were to be funny and helpful, but it was an intrusion. I have experienced much worse so it didn’t bother me longer than a minute or two. This was also not the first time I have had a “helpful” stranger shame me out of buying food at the grocery store. I have literally had a crotchety old lady in the check-out line tell me that I was too fat to buy popcorn and I was probably going to eat it all in one sitting. This kind of thing does not get said to average weight people. Generally it is weird and not socially acceptable to comment on the caloric intake of the food they are buying.
I believe people think they are being helpful when doing these things, but they are inadvertently shaming. Some may even believe that shaming people into losing weight works. I.e. “If you don’t like getting treated like a fat person, then go on a diet.” This negative reinforcement borders on punishment and is in my opinion ineffective in the long term…and also a butthole move. I am considerably better at eating healthy when I am mentally in a good place and have positive reinforcement and most people are.
All people are deserving of self-love, self-acceptance, and respect. A person’s weight is not an issue of morality and shouldn’t equate to them being less of a person, but society treats fat people as if they are morally at their core bad people.
Also, my weight/health is none of your business. Particularly if I am out buying groceries and minding my own business. Apparently as an overweight person I am inviting strangers opinions on my body and diet just by existing. However, I am aware that I can’t expect society to cater to me as a fat person and I’m just going to have to deal with buttholes sometimes. I don’t think I can change much by making a blog post complaining about it. If anything maybe, if you are another plus size person reading this, I hope you just realize that you have value as a human being and are much more than your weight, despite how people may treat you sometimes. You do you.