My beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter is a size zero. She looks in the mirror and sees a straight line from under her breast to her toes. In a nutshell, she is uncomfortable with herself in such a way it’s physically painful for me to watch. She is very tall and slim and says she resembles the letter “P” when she stands sideways.
Ever since the age of five, people have called her a string bean and ask me how she stayed so skinny. She’s angelic and has tiny bones and will probably take after her very thin father.
She’s tried to put on weight. She’s worked out hoping she’d gain muscle. She wears baggy clothing to make herself look heavier. And she can’t stand it when people tell her to go eat something like cake, which they often do.
My daughter has a healthy appetite, as does my son who is six feet tall and weighs about 130 pounds. People make comments about how he looks all the time, too.
The constant asking what I feed them and if my children eat is annoying and sends the message that in order to be thin, you must be starving, or there must be a secret formula.
These are both wrong.
Everyone’s body is different. We all have things that are important to us. Some people are naturally thin and don’t have to do a thing to stay slender.
Some people struggle with their weight their whole lives; some suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia (which has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder). Some people fluctuate and don’t give a damn about what size they are — they simply go out and buy clothes according to their size and are proud regardless.
It doesn’t matter what size anyone is, there’s one thing our society cannot stop doing: commenting on people’s size, even if they deem it as a compliment.
The other day, I posted a picture of myself on Instagram as a way to celebrate myself on my 45th birthday. I had just gotten home from a run, something that’s been a struggle for me to do lately. I was sweaty, had on no makeup and thought, Fuck it. This is me. I’m damn proud I’m still running.
There was a time when I never, ever would have posted a picture of myself like that — sans my makeup mask — without looking in the mirror to see what I looked like. But, I don’t care anymore.
I exercise as a way to keep my head clear and take time for me. It’s the best self-care I’ve ever known and I’ve been doing it for over thirty years. A side effect is that it keeps me in shape.
I also eat a clean diet most days because I have horrible bathroom issues if I don’t. However, french fries and brownies are worth it to me a few times a week because I adore them and in moderation my gut does okay. Because of that I happen to be lean. When you finally find something that keeps your bowels and your mind healthy, you don’t want to mess with it. I like the way I look and feel, but if I gained weight, I wouldn’t give a fuck.
I’m telling you this because everyone’s circumstances are different. There are people who look at me and think I deprive myself and I’m sure there are those who think I could use some help in lots of areas.
Whatever, eat a bag of dicks.
The first comment on that picture was, “Go eat a cheeseburger.” My hackles immediately spiked up because I’ve heard so many people say that to my kids, and they hate it — they eat those things all the time.
People, it’s never okay to comment on someone’s body or tell them what they should be eating. I don’t care how much they weigh.
It’s not a damn compliment. It’s rude.
We never have any idea what someone is going through. When I went through my divorce, I dropped some weight because, hello divorce. It feels good to get those extra ten pounds back and to have an appetite again. I feel great.
There are people recovering from a sickness, or dealing with food allergies and intolerances, or struggling big time with disordered eating.
Comments about other people’s bodies, whether it’s about their size or what we put into them, are not okay. Ever. They are triggers for many people. How we’ve gotten to this place where we feel we can unload our opinions about someone’s diet just because someone posts a picture, walks by us on the street, or has lunch with us, is beyond me.
Stop making comments about what people eat. This is their choice. What works for you might be the bane of their existence. And what works for them might make you sick.
Besides, there are much better things in life to talk about besides what we put in our mouths. So next time you feel the urge, bite your damn tongue. Or maybe bite into one of those cheeseburgers you’re always talking about instead.