An Open Letter to “Fitness Professionals” from a Fat Guy

So I have a FB friend who today posted about the poor 13 year old girl in Brampton who died with COVID. The young lady who died was overweight, so of course that gives anyone the right to blame her for her predicament.

My friend is a “Fitness Professional”, and she posted that her heart goes out to the people who cannot control their health during these times. But for the people who CAN (ie fat 13 year old girls and people like me) control their health or at least some elements of it, success and getting more of us out of this pandemic healthy is up to us. She looked at a picture of the girl and said that it was easy enough to see that this poor girl was extremely overweight for her age, and this was probably the primary factor in the severity of her body’s response to getting COVID-19.

I like this FB friend of mine. I think the world of her. But I am so fucking livid right now I cannot see straight.

This is one of the most ridiculous and self-serving posts I have seen on FB in the past little while. And that says a lot. As a person that has dealt with the physical and psychological issues behind weight issues for upwards of 50 years, I can tell you that dealing with these challenges is not corrected by simply taking a walk and trying to change your eating habits. Make that 10-fold for a teenage girl. How did she diagnose this as a death contributor? By looking at a picture??? Did she get a detailed family history? Did she talk to her doctor? Of course not. And yet she has no problems getting up on Social Media and giving us her completely unfounded opinion on why this poor girl died.

I am really fucking tired of self-labeled “Fitness Professionals” pretending they are educated in all things weight related and proceed to regale us fatties with how we need to just “buckle down” and “just exercise” or “just eat properly” as if it was something we just completely overlooked. This is a battle, darling – one that has occupied most of our lives and where we have had to endure people like you treating it like a common cold that I can treat. You are providing no useful service to anyone with this. Quite the opposite. This is a shameful, uneducated post from an educated person, and that is the most disappointing element of all.

Let me save other “Fitness Professionals” a bit of time here, by posting some helpful guidelines from the people you think you are helping with these posts.

  1. There is not a person in the first world that is not aware of the health effects of obesity. We get it, believe me. We are not ignoring you. Regularly posting things that everyone knows just makes you look weird.
  2. We have had to live our entire lives with this. Society has its own sort of perception of people like me – we are disgusting, fat, slothful, lazy, incompetent, stupid. By being so visible and taking up so much room, in a strange way we are also quite invisible. People kind of clock you and their eyes slide off you. I feel bullied, slighted and ridiculed. Being judged firstly and continuously by the way we look, as if we all set our minds to being fat, and despite our body’s every effort to stay thin we kept fattening ourselves up because it just looked like so much goddam fun. You telling us that it’s as easy as eating right and exercising conveniently reduces our struggle to a mere oversight on our part. If it was that fucking easy everyone would be thin because believe me, being fat is not the choice you seem to think it is.
  3. Even though it may not look like it to you, we are trying. We have never wished for anything harder. There are any number of physical, genetic, biological and – god help us – psychological elements to obesity that you will never understand, because if you did, you would not be acting the way you are.
  4. Society approved people get the privilege of dignity by default; fat people must earn that dignity, as I once tried to, years ago ― running on the treadmill until my knees ached, swimming, dieting – literally everything – until I said that this circular hell of calories-in, calories-out wasn’t worth risking my safety or my sanity.

I am the luckiest of all fat people. I can make you laugh. I am the jolly fatty. I am a decent musician and can entertain people. And I am grateful for all of that because if I couldn’t do any of those things all people would have ever seen is my fatness.
I am not going to shroud any of this in kindness though I probably should. I am far too angry. I am, however, hoping that the next time a “Fitness Professional” decides to ply their delightful demonization of fat people out in public, that they think about this post and remember that I told them to go fuck themselves.

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