Grossly Unfair

I don’t need to be ‘fat-shamed’.

I do that myself, quite easily, every single day.

No-one was more shocked than me, with how much weight I packed on after starting medication for neuropathic pain, back in 2011.

Then the Grave’s Disease, oscillating between hyper and hypo with a string of meds to match.

Then the carb-fest I indulged in during family dramas.

So, yes, I admit it, I’m fat.

I agree it’s not a disability as such, but it’s certainly a side-effect of a disability, in my case, MS.

On top of everything I’m coping with, I’m astounded that some people have a problem with my weight. I’m mobile, I work, I go to University to study, I look after myself and need no external help.

It’s not easy finding nothing to wear in shops apart from lurid tops in garish colours. Or catching a glimpse of yourself in one of those long mirrors – the chubby face, the still-healing hernia, the ‘bigness’ of me, when inside I feel pretty small.

It’s weird – my MS is mostly invisible and I have to prove over and over again that I am in pain, that I could do with some kind words and help. Yet my weight, outwardly visible, is what people remark upon and feel free to make hurtful comments about.

Believe me, I know. And I also know that fat-shaming does not work.

Fat-shaming keeps you at home, exactly the same as MS. It keeps you out of view as much as possible. And it hurts, deeply.

When I stand on stage and talk to a crowd of people, I’m acutely aware I’m fat. But, I put that to one side and give my best. The people are there to hear me talk, not judge me on my dress size. I would like to think that what I have to say about MS is far more important than my weight.

I am not impacting our NHS or our social services with my weight,

I carry it all by myself.

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12 thoughts on “Grossly Unfair

  1. Annie says:

    That’s outrageous… people who fat shame or any kind of shame are deeply unhappy and miserable themselves… pity them and hold your head high. You should be so proud of everything you’ve achieved. By the way I don’t think you look fat to be honest in any pics I’ve seen but maybe you’re like me and only post your “thinner self” 😂 anyway you look great and your beauty shines strong 💪🏻 😊 … as for the shamers ….🖕🏻

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment!!
      It’s really hard. I know I’m fat, and it’s not great, but I also know that I still manage to ‘do good’, despite my weight.
      It’s a topic I’ve repeatedly brought up with my MS nurse over the years, and she knows how badly it affects me.

  2. Sotiria Donti says:

    Ah, Barbara, not able to say how much I share your feelings! I am fat, not huge, but so fat as people feel free to comment my weight with whatever insulting comment they like… I am in a position to answer duly, now in 54 years old, but can’t describe how terrible it was when I was young… And of course the extra weight doesn’t help the mobility already undermined by ms… I cannot explain why other social “defects” as alcohol, smoking, soft drugs, illiteracy, stupidity, and so on, are not getting a stigma… Unbearable, inexplicable, barbarian…

    • stumbling in flats says:

      So heartfelt Sotiria, thank you for sharing.
      It’s a daily struggle with my weight, so am more than aware how hard it is and it angers me that people feel free to comment so openly, without knowing anything about us.

  3. Carina Muss says:

    Do not listen to all those stupid people who try and put you down. They are not perfect themselves, no one is! Sometimes these people pick on something they think would be a vunerable spot and which would hurt the person the most. I have had to put up with a lot of critical comments in the past and the best policy is not to let them see you are upset but to have a good answer back i.e I know you are right, I am a useless cook but I have other more important assets! GOOD LUCK!!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      You are absolutely right! It’s about targeting the vulnerability in someone else. You wonder what kind of people feel content within themselves to do that?
      Thank you for your support! x

  4. Annie says:

    Start looking in the mirror and seeing all the positives. I’m finally getting better at it at 52😂 and believe me I’m carrying too much weight also. Trying to look beyond that… there is so much more!! Happy Saturday… I’m drinking wine and eating crisps ( low fat of course 🤪) xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I love that! I am trying really hard to come to terms with it – I love my life at the moment and there are so many good things going on. It just feels like a parallel struggle with MS sometimes! I remember how horrified I was when I first piled on the weight after the first meds 🙁
      I enjoyed the food in Greece last week so back to the grindstone this week!! X

  5. Judy says:

    I love your book. Being overweight is hard to avoid in this day and age where almost all packaged foods are made with a fair amount of sugar – an arrangement between
    the government (maybe) and the food companies. If you’re interested, sugar is kickable with apple cider vinegar (acv). To start I put a few drops on toast over olive oil everyday to get used myself in the habit, to get to it. and stuck to it even though it put me off a bit in the beginning. After a few weeks/months I tried something I normally LOVE (locally made gluten free chocolate cake) and found I felt it was a bit distasteful rather than the Oh God, delicious! Try acv on savory things and persevere. It will work, but it takes a different amount of time depending on the person. I now love it. A health thing to like.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Judy, thank you for your lovely comment!
      And thank you for the tip, I’ll definitely give it a try. A couple of months ago, I gave up most processed foods and chocolate. It was tough for the first few days and I had the most awful headache, but I don’t really miss them. But it’s surprising how much hidden sugar there is in things we don’t even realise!

  6. Julie Martin says:

    I feel for you. What I would like doctors to understand is that fat does not equal lazy, fat does not equal stupid and fat is not an excuse for them to fob off patients.

    What really angers me is the assumption that I am not putting effort into reducing my weight. I put a lot of time and effort into it. No one diet works for me though unless I exercise a lot and apart from the difficulties ms brings I need a hip replacement. The pain of both is often unbearable but I am really concerned about asking for pain relief due to the weight gain a lot of people seem to experience, I can’t afford to take the risk.

    My GP said to me, “My husband is an anesthetist trust me you do not want to have hip surgery unless you lose weight first”.

    So I am stuck with my weight and my failing hip and being treated like a useless second class citizen which I know I am not. For this reason I avoid doctors as much as possible, if only they could understand the damage they are doing to people like me by making themselves unapproachable with their attitude. 🙁

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hear hear!! Nowadays, we don’t treat everyone with MS the same (we’re all different), yet we continue to harangue every single fat person with the same views and preconceived notions.
      There are so many varied reasons for being overweight and I wish doctors, like you said, could perhaps delve a little deeper and talk to us on an individual level rather than just say, ‘you need to lose weight’. We know it.

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