Stop Disguising Your Fat-Phobia As 'Concern For My Health'

by Katie Cloyd
Stop Disguising Your Fat-Phobia As 'Concern For My Health'
Scary Mommy and Elke Meitzel/Getty

If you don’t know a single thing about my medical history, coming at me with health concern is phony and rude AF.

I should have known when I opened up my email and saw the words, “Hey Kate!” coming from a stranger. I always go by Katie. Nobody calls me Kate except my closest family and a handful of friends. In an email from a stranger, there’s a 100 percent chance that, “Hey Kate!” means the same thing as, “Hey girl!”

It’s a clear signal that an MLM rep is coming at me with a “cure” for my “problem.” In their estimation, my “problem” is the size of my body. The “cure” is almost always an invitation to spend A LOT of money for them to cheer me on while I starve myself until I’m easier on their fatphobic eyes “healthier.”

MLM cold contact is just a crock of fatphobic bullshit. Every. Single. Damn. Time.

But I should be fair here because it’s not only MLM reps who think they know a whole hell of a lot about my health just by looking at me. Lots of people try to fix fat folks like me. Trainers. Formerly fat people who lost a lot of weight. Thin people who think if they let me on their secrets, I can look like them (which is obviously every fat person’s goal, right?)

A lot of different kinds of people want to fix people like me, and they always have one thing in common.

They go out of their way to compliment my looks, then assure me their only concern is my health.

My health. Like they have a window into my health based solely on the occasional photo I choose to share on social media.

Am I about to give you the rundown of my health history right now?

Hell fucking no.

Whether I am healthy or not is literally irrelevant to this conversation because I don’t owe a single person health before I deserve basic human respect.

What I will tell you is this: When you see a photo of a woman hanging out with her family, enjoying her life and not mentioning her medical history in any way, assuming she has dire health issues that you, as a stranger, need to rush in and correct, is weird as fuck.

You can pretend my health is important to you, but we both know that’s bullshit. I’ve called out this kind of bullshit before, and I’ll do it again. Every day if I have to–for the rest of my big fat life.

In case you’re still at all confused, I’m going to make this abundantly clear with nice, simple, easy-to-understand words:

If you are a stranger who knows literally nothing about my health history, I know that you are not concerned for my health.

Period. You can try to dress up your rude-ass comments in whatever little verbal tuxedo you think will fool me, but I’m not as dumb as you clearly think I am.

If you are trying to sell me something, your motivation for “helping” me is financial. The more product you sell and the more people you recruit, the more likely it is that you’ll earn that hashtag boss babe trip to Cancun. Do you honestly think that I believe that you are rolling into my inbox unprompted out of the goodness of your heart?

That’s funny, because I’ve yet to meet a good-hearted MLM weight loss solution rep who wanted to provide me free product because they’re just so darn concerned about my heaaaaaalth. They always want me to buy all the things or promote all the things. Every one of them. Every time.

If your “business” requires you to target fat people you barely know or have never met, you need to rethink your life choices.

Assuming our misery in an attempt to line your pockets is really not admirable or worthwhile in any way. If a fat person wants to spend hundreds of dollars a month on your pre-packaged meals, they’ll track you down. No need for the cold-calling.

Oh, and PS: I am under no obligation to politely accept your “help,” no matter how you spin it. If you slide into my DMs with your fatphobic “help,” I will probably ignore you. But I might also set you straight with no remorse. Depends how busy I am that day.

Now, if you’re trying to offer me weight loss tips without any kind of financial incentive, I’ll give you one free pass. Maybe you really, truly thought a fat person might want you to barge into their life out of nowhere with your weight-loss wisdom. I guess it’s theoretically possible that you really believe that telling someone you barely know that you assume they’ve got one foot in the grave is less shitty if you make it clear that you don’t think they’re ugly.

In that case, this is…awkward. I wish I didn’t have to be the one to tell you this, but here we are. The “health concern,” no matter how sincere you think you’re making it look, still feels like you’re serving me a big steaming pile of overstepping horse shit and trying to tell me it’s a home-cooked meal. You need to knock that off. It’s time to stop showering unsuspecting fat people with your “wisdom,” and let us live.

Changing the size of a body is complicated, difficult, and emotionally fraught.

For many of us, making peace with our bodies as they are without constantly seeking to shrink is a matter of life and death. Mental health is a very important part of overall health. Many fat people have struggled with disordered eating, self-destructive habits, and mental anguish. The process of attempting to become the thin person everyone tells us we should be sucks. A lot of people feel justified being cruel to people in fat bodies, and overcoming that crushing negativity is a lifelong commitment. You might think the answers are simple. (What fat person hasn’t heard “calories in, calories out” about seven zillions times?)

But that doesn’t mean anything about it is easy. You just have no idea, and frankly, it’s none of your damn business.

We know who to contact if we decide we want to change our bodies. We have doctors. (Of course, some of us have been so mortified in medical situations that we might avoid them at all costs. Your shame and judgment actually won’t help with that, so pretty much just assume that we’re good, and leave us the hell alone.)

My health is my business.

If my doctor, husband, close friends or family raise a concern about any aspect of my health, I take it very seriously. I trust people who have an invited place in my life to keep an eye out for me. I do the same thing for the people I love. If you come around me with a suspicious mole, I’m going to give you the name of my dermatologist with a quickness. I’ll be the first one to shine a flashlight into your sore throat, encourage a cousin with anxiety to talk to her doctor, or help a friend chart her cycle when she is trying for a baby. I believe fully in everyone’s need for a connected village.

But I’ve got my village. We are not in the market for a new idiot. Keep your faux health concern to yourself. Nobody is buying it, you’re hurting people, and frankly, you’re embarrassing yourself.