“I’ve pretty much been ‘heavy set’ my entire life although I prefer the term fat! I mean, really, let’s call it what it is. You can mask it all different ways but it’s all fat! Fat is the last bastion of legal prejudice. See, people can still use your size to ‘keep you out.’ For example: Potential employers can not hire you saying you are a health risk. Airlines can charge you for 2 seats. And lastly, people feel free to just say whatever they want under the guise of “it’s for your own good.” So what kinds of things are for your own good? Let me give you a list of things I’ve found offensive:

• You have such a pretty face… (it means: you COULD be really pretty if you matched an ideal!)

• Have you thought about going on a diet? (Every fat person is aware of their size. They don’t need to be reminded. And, guess what, sometimes their weight has nothing to do with diet. Many kinds of medications have weight gain side effects. Some have other medical conditions that prevent any kind of weight loss. In other words, what seems obvious may not really be. Shut up until you know for sure! You’re ‘help’ can set one back in terms of their self confidence)

• If you just exercised more, I’m sure you could be thinner! (Again, the obvious isn’t always a fact. You have no idea by looking. So, again, keep it to yourself!)

• Have you always been ‘heavy?’ (How is this relevant? I think the thought process behind this is that if you weren’t before and now you are, surely, you’d lose the weight. Rrrriiiiggghhhhttttt!)

• You’d feel so much better if you lost weight! (S-o-o-o-o not true. I’ve been both. I didn’t feel better when I was thin. I don’t feel bad at my current size. Either way, feeling good is mostly a choice. I CHOOSE to be happy!)

• I ordered for you off the lite menu… (this varies: I brought you the low calorie__________ or I made you this___________ but I used fat free, low sugar substitutes. Let’s be clear: I am an adult. I don’t need anybody making my decisions. I appreciate the thought process but I will decide for me.

• You dress well. Is it hard for someone your size to find clothes? (We live in a fast paced, ever evolving world. Take a look around. EVERY store pretty much has a section of larger sizes for both male and female. EVERYTHING is available on the internet. Business savvy dictates that specialty stores are needed and big revenue producing. It’s no harder to find larger than it is to find a size 0.)

• You shouldn’t eat that. It’s not good for you. (Again, I decide for me. If I’m happy with my choices, follow. And, to be fair, I may be on a diet plan that allows me choices that ‘aren’t good for me.’ Don’t judge based on what you THINK.)

• Such a shame, you’re so heavy. (Really? A shame for whom? You should be aware that I’m not unhappy. I’m pretty confident in my abilities and yes, in my appearance. I may be fat, but I put forth a good ‘picture.’ I take pride in how I dress, in my make-up and my hair. I always put on my best presentation! AND, by the way, many notice that. That includes men. There are many men who find me attractive. Confidence is the best outfit that one can wear. It comes in different sizes, but has nothing to do with the size you wear!)

My best recommendation is this: If someone isn’t asking for your opinion or your help, don’t give it. If you think they want it, but won’t ask, just tell them if they need anything you’re available. Don’t assume the way you feel about something is the way everyone feels. Look at everyone through an open mind. Many who differ from you, can you teach you much! Thin isn’t always healthy and fat isn’t always unhealthy. I never assume that the thin, beautiful woman is a happy one. We all have something we want to change, or that we aren’t comfortable with. I don’t assume that the obvious one is that one thing they had in mind. And you pointing that out can make a situation worse. That isn’t ‘helping.’ Be mindful and thoughtful of the other person. Don’t inflict your ideals on others unless they specifically ask for your opinion/guidance/advice/help. LISTEN to them to make sure you understand how THEY feel and offer yourself once you fully understand.

The truth is this. We are all alike and we are all different. It’s a beautiful thing if you allow it to be. Be open-minded and be kind. Positive words and thoughts can move mountains. Discouraging words can destroy someone’s world. A smile can change one’s heart. You have the power to do all three. Pick carefully!”

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