Portrait of an Unkempt Slob: Why Fat Stereotypes Suck

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An obese topless man on a motorcycle. Original...

“Attempting to get at truth means rejecting stereotypes and clichés.” ~Harold Evans

I’ve noticed a trend in language throughout my lifestyle change. Once I discovered it, I started noticing it more and more and now when I see it, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

I think what irritates me most about the language is I’ve noticed I’ve started using it myself.

There are certain words associated with unhealthy foods that you don’t really see connected to healthy food very often.

Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.

“You should quit guzzling soda.”
“You just wolfed down a biggie burger and fries.”
“You must be shoveling in the twinkies to weigh that much.”
“Chow down wide load!”

I never read the advice “you should guzzle at least 8 glasses of water a day.” I’ve never read that some Hollywood star was “wolfing down” anything unless they were talking about Kirstie Alley, Rosie O’Donnel or some other un-thin celebrity. Nobody’s photo is unknowingly snapped while “wolfing down a salad”!

I guess I find it so irritating because it draws a really disgusting picture of what overweight people are doing.

It paints a portrait (at least for me) of some unkempt slob sitting on the couch with his/her TV tray pulled up next to his/her belly which is protruding out from under his/her too small t-shirt with his/her bucket of KFC next to him/her and about 6 cans of Coke strewn about.

Yes, being overweight is not healthy. Yes some overweight people may guzzle, shovel, inhale, cram, chow down, wolf and pig out but it’s not necessarily the norm and the language we use when talking about obesity really dictates differently.

Not every overweight person is cramming food in their mouths every second of the day.

Not every overweight person has a drawer full of Little Debbies and Snickers in their desk.

Not every overweight person guzzles soda all day long and belches loudly as they wipe their dirty faces on their sleeves.

Maybe it bothers me so much because when I used to eat anything (even healthy things) I would sometimes think others were looking at me thinking “geesh does she really need to be eating that?”

And I would really be self-conscious when I was eating something unhealthy.

Maybe all these years of associating my weight with words like “pigging out” and “shoveling” has made me draw myself as some sloppy unworthy self portrait that doesn’t really reflect who I am at all.

So I’m going to try to do my part to disassociate these grossly misused words with being overweight. If anything it can only make me more at peace with my own body.

What do you say? Are you ready to stop beating yourself up and to learn to love your body? Have you been the victim of negative stereotypes?

Let’s discuss! Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!



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