I’ve battled other people my entire life, over my size. I don’t really remember being thin. I gained over 70 pounds in one year around the age of 11. The doctors still really don’t know why, and since then, I have battled my weight every single day of my life.
I’ve gone through hell and back because of my weight. I’ve been made fun of publicly, I’ve been humiliated, I’ve been physically hurt, I’ve been called names by strangers. I have had people stop me in the street to tell me they have some magic pill to help me lose weight.
One day I was walking to the metro, to go home from work. A car stopped short right next to me (not a comforting thing when you are in DC). This woman quickly jumps out of her car STOPPING traffic. And starts flagging me down “HI! YOU ARE FAT AND I CAN HELP YOU!!!”
I have had members of the fat acceptance association try to recruit me. I have been asked by doctors why I let myself go. I have been told by complete strangers that they feel sorry for me.
I have been told far too many times that I’m lucky that my husband fell in love with me. People who hint that my husband is pretty amazing for looking past my weight. When we started dating we had an uphill battle with some people in our lives who did not want him dating me, because of my weight.
It’s been that way my entire life, maybe not to that extreme, but every day it seems to be a battle for me. Even over 100 pounds lighter (but still obese) I get stares, I get looks and I get comments.
There are days where it would be easier to wear a t-shirt that says “YES I know I’m fat” or “You think I’m big now, you should have seen me 120 pounds ago” or some really bad word all together. It’s frustrating, even the people who say they don’t see my weight, I have a hard time believing, it’s not because of them, it’s because I’ve been through this for 22 years of my life, and it’s hard to trust and believe anyone who tells you they don’t see your size.
I have tremendous sympathy for obese people. Not in a feeling sorry kind of way – but in a – I totally understand kind of way. The things that overweight people go through are far more than they will ever tell you or ever admit to. Most people will make fun of it, say that we should just work out or just stop eating. People have told me to pray it away, to try different diets, pills and surgery. I have been to over-eaters anonymous, weight watchers, jenny craig, TOPS, and jazzesize. I am an expert on being fat.
I think that the assumptions are generally the worst when it comes to being overweight. I have had assumptions made of me from even the most well intentioned people. When I meet someone new I become overcome with fear of if they can get past my weight. I go into doctor offices with a written out list of all the things I am doing and how much weight I’ve lost, I am constantly on the defensive.
If you are not overweight, and have made assumptions about people who are obese or overweight, I am going to encourage you to hold those assumptions. Know that MOST of the people you see who have weight to lose, know they have weight to lose. Not only that, chances are that they have tried more than you will ever try in your life, in regards to being healthy. They have cried themselves to sleep, they have contemplated ending their life, they have tried every single diet out there, they have worked out more than you could ever imagine. Chances are they are completely different than the assumptions you have made. And I promise, it’s a lot harder than you could ever know.
I wish I could say this has gone away with the vegan community. Granted, I have met some of the most gracious and wonderful people – the world outside of vegan is different all together. I would be lying if I told you that it’s sometimes hard for me to tell someone I’m a vegan because people assume that all vegans are thin – not just thin – sickly thin. There are times in which I feel that by telling someone I’m vegan, gives people this bad impression of veganism. I run through in my head the person saying “OMG I know this girl she’s vegan and she is huge!”
Granted, sometimes I get to tell my story, but there are situations almost every day that I can’t just go into my entire story. For many, I am just a fat vegan, and for many it just means that ALL vegans must be unhealthy.
Going vegan in and of itself does not promise weight loss. It will certainly help with health – eliminating animal products is one of the healthiest things you can do. But just going vegan? Won’t make you thin overnight. Learning to eat right, working out is still an important part of being healthy. Being vegan is more than losing weight – being vegan is an entire lifestyle.
Being vegan is not about my physical appearance, or my health. Being on a plant based healthy diet, is all about my physical appearance and about my health. There is a difference. And yes, you can be a fat vegan. You can be a curvy vegan, or a skinny vegan. Being vegan does not mean a certain look or a certain size. It means a certain lifestyle – a lifestyle of compassionate living. And you can be compassionate at any size, and any state of health.
I believe with out a doubt that eating a healthy plant based diet is a huge key to unlocking many health problems, including obesity. And I believe that being vegan is not a size, it’s a way to live life, a way that can include any person, no matter their religion, race, background, income level, size, shape or weight.