Thinky Thursday Recap: Your Voices

Below are some quote excerpts from the comments on last week’s Thinky Thursday question. I’ve tried to pull out some of the hard stuff and some of the good stuff. The point of asking this question, which was guaranteed to be a bit loaded, was to hopefully help identify some of the ways in which our parents, even with the best of intentions, are often our first introduction into self-loathing. And if not our own parents, then the parents of the children who aren’t taught to love and respect the differences in one another. Parents, give your children tools to deal with differences — their own and others. Without them, they will internalize your fear and make it their own.

The question was:

Thinky Thursday Question – Thursday, 9/23:

For those that this applies to, when did you first realize you were fat? Who, if anyone, pointed it out to you? When did you first hear this as a derogatory statement, if applicable?


Your Answers

“I am not fat. I did, however gain 30lbs in less than a year after being excessively skinny all of my life. No one said anything about it until I went to Texas to meet my mother for lunch. Dana and I walked into the restaurant and my mom stood up and after 4 years of not seeing each other say’s, “Wow, you have really gotten fat!” to which I responded, “Hi, mom. It’s good to see you too.”” — Ryan

“That’s when I knew I was fat. When my mom told me.” – Nly

“All my report cards said I set an example because of how quiet and well behaved I was. So I thought I had to conform to this image. I hated it. Now I’m 38, size 22 and I’m beautiful. I wear gorgeous clothes and even more gorgeous shoes. I have lots of gorge handbags and I don’t take myself seriously. In fact, I’m more childlike than I have ever been – and I like it that way!” — Claire

“I look back I have to wonder how much of it was fat, and how much did I self-consciously impose. How much of it was about me having bad teeth as a kid or being so she and easily embarassed? Being a tomboy? Dressing weird (even for the 80′s/early 90s)? But at some point, even if it was all separate at one time, everything came to be about fat.” — Withoutscene

“I started to think of myself as fat somewhere between the ages of 4 and 7. I was bullied for it in school, and my parents may have had some of those quiet, concerned conversations that parents have about things like that. Maybe the doctor said I was above the growth curve for weight. I don’t know. What I do remember is that I loved to dance. When I was 4, I’d pretend to be a ballerina and listen to a record I had – with Swan Lake on one side and the Nutcracker on the other – over and over again. I asked my mom if i could take ballet lessons, and she said I was too young. When I was seven, my mom said I was old enough for dance lessons and wanted to sign me up. But, by that time, the idea of wearing a leotard in public terrified me. I thought I’d look awful and the other kids would laugh at me. I thought of myself as too fat to take dance lessons, not because I didn’t think I’d be good at it, but because I was ashamed of my body.” – Deeleigh

“I never seemed to dwell on Fat or Ugly. They just were and that was life. Too much other stuff sucked to worry about that. I do, however, remember sitting in the car while my dad went into the store. I scooted down so “they” could just see my eyes. I thought someone might think I was cute if they could just see that part of me.” – Renee

“I was always the tall and more developed girl so I felt big and clumsy and remember my boyfriend at 13 taking me a walk in his neighbourhood and his young friends obviously put out by this shouting over he didn’t tell them I was fat – in a UK size 12 (US size 8 ) pair of jeans I was anything but, however the comment stuck and added to my body image paranoia! Now I am a UK 20 (US 24) and feel so much better about myself at 33 than I ever did at 13, 19 or 21 when I was smaller. I wish I could go back and tell that girl how fabulous she looked and take her body image woes away but I can’t. However I can break the cycle and I won’t pass on the paranoia to any children I might have.” – Glam_rach

“I was on the swim team and placed in every meet, and often got third place because I forgot to touch the wall. Yep- so many people yelling down at me, ‘Touch the wall!’ that I couldn’t discern what any one voice was saying. I played tennis. My young body could do so much even if running a mile wasn’t one of the things at which I excelled. Still, it wasn’t until my sexuality became manifest that my fat became such a heartbreaking experience. And it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I put an end to the heartbreak.” – Abby

“I actually can’t remember a time when I didn’t know I was fat. I remember my mother telling me I should ask one of my skinny friends to help me exercise when I was 8 years old and I remember her asking me if I “really needed that” when I opened the fridge when I was about 6 years old.” – Bronny

I can’t remember ever NOT being told I was fat. We’re talking pre-kindergarten here. The first specific derogatory remark I remember was from kindergarten, where the other 5 year olds called me fat as an insult. I was wearing my favorite red and blue dress, and I had thought I looked great. The other kids apparently thought otherwise. (I wore that dress for my kindergarten school picture and I still think it was a great dress for a 5 year old.)” – TropicalChrome

“I’ve always been fat and other kids in elementary school pointed it out every single day in the nastiest ways they could think of. But I didn’t put much weight in their words because (1) they always said the meanest things they could regardless of whether they were true and (2) until I read Shapely Prose 20 years later I thought of “fat” as such an incredibly horrible word that it could never apply to a real person. Until I read Shapely Prose I might have admitted to being “overweight” but I never would have put up with “fat.”” – Meerkat

“The first time someone told me I was fat was before I started kindergarten – I think I was four.” — hesperide

“A bunch of us were playing in a common area between houses in the family section on the base we lived at near Bad Kitzengen. I remember being confused by it, because I was about the same size as most of the other kids I was playing with, but I was taller than a lot of them, even the ones that were older than me. It sounded like the kid was calling me a bad name, so there was a big fight, and I kicked arse, which got me in a lot of trouble with my parents, because the other kid’s parents called them and complained. When they asked me, I told them what the other kid had called me, and both of them essentially agreed with the fat statement. I was remember being quite shocked by this, and suddenly feeling like something was wrong with me.” — hesperide

“I’m not fat, but I have a huge (and gorgeous) bum, that is not at all typically proportioned to the rest of my body. One of my earliest memories (where I must have been younger than 4, judging from the house I remember living in at the time), was of standing on the edge of the bathtub, trying to look over my shoulder into the mirror, to see how big my bottom really was, and sucking in my stomach, contorting in various ways to see if I could make it look skinnier.” — Rachel

“I was actually skinny in an knees-and-elbows kind of way until I hit puberty, around 5th grade. Up until that point I played outside and rode bikes and such, but around that age I started having some crippling emotional issues (only compounded over the years) and I started staying indoors and reading constantly in an effort to forget the problems. My mother and the doctor put me on a diet, which I hated; meanwhile i started sneaking food. Looking back at pictures, I was never very big at all; pudgy and ‘solid’ yes, but I wish I hadn’t spent so much time hating myself because I really was (and AM) beautiful.” — G

“In grade 2, kids started bullying me and telling me I was fat, calling me a fat pig and all sorts of names. I never liked my body again, in spite of my family best efforts to convince me I was. As a teen it became worse, my breasts were huge and I was made fun of. Boys were asking me if ”they” were real. I never got asked out. My gym teachers were mean, so were the doctors who told me I was ”abnormally fat and will die young”. I hated my body since then, trying all diets (but I ditched diets two years ago, yay). Even if I got boyfriends who told me I was beautiful, and with who sex was a great experience ( calling me sexy, irresistible, sensual, graceful, I was in delight) I never found myself beautiful again.” — Dominique

“I remember being 4 or 5 and trying to stand in a way that made me look less fat.” — Krissy

  1. The first time I thought I was fat was when I asked my mother for some food at the age of four. “I’m hungry,” I told her, and she snapped back at me, “No, you’re not!” Ever since then, it’s been a non-stop hell.

  2. Sorry, I pushed ‘send’ too soon.

    It’s really too bad that some of these people have been heckled about being fat since before kindergarten. These are kids that still have a tremendous amount of growing to do and, whether they are fat or not as adults, they NEED to be able to grow without interference. Putting kindergarteners on a diet? Please.

  3. Hi all, I have a very positive story of fat discovery and acceptance.

    I grew up in an abusive home and learned body-shame very early. I developed anorexia as a very thin 14-year-old as a way to gain affection from my parents and, more importantly to me, as a way control something (anything!) in my life. I struggled with this eating disorder for the next 12 years and although I seemed “successful” on the outside, I was often sick and desperately unhappy.

    It wasn’t until I nearly died from my disease at the age of 26 that I turned my life around. I did not want to leave my young son and my husband alone. I began to eat again, and I learned to love myself again. I knew I would have to accept my body whatever size and shape it decided to take as it became healthy again, so I read Health at Every Size and every FA blog I could find. I loved the messages of FA and embraced it completely.

    Eventually my body settled at its natural size, which society may label may label slightly “overweight”, but I label “perfect.” I have my grandmother’s beautiful curves; the genetic heritage I denied myself for so long. The quality of my fat life is magnitudes better than anything I’ve known before. I run marathons now, which I never had the energy to do when I was too thin. My world is a much bigger, brighter and more colorful place than it was when I was in the black hole of anorexia. I’m a much kinder, happier, more interesting person now that I’m at peace with my body.

    For me, becoming fat was healthy, it was paying attention to my body, it was finally nurturing myself after so much suffering. For me, becoming fat was *love*.

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