Skinny vs. Obese….

I’m a pretty good student.  Actually, I’m a stellar student, and today I almost threw that out of the window to walk out of class.  I attend an amazing university, and I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be here.

One of my classes this semester is focused on exercise and nutrition.  I was looking forward to this class because I’m so interested in health and wellness, and I feel as though I have a pretty good grasp on it.

Sadly, I’m not enjoying the class at all. It’s not because it’s difficult, nor is it uninteresting. It just fees horrible to be silently judged due to my size. It happens at times, but I can count on it happening every time I enter this class.

It’s hard to imagine that people still believe that obese people must eat fried chicken, Cheetos and Oreos for dinner after they spend the day being completely sedentary. Seriously, I know that stereotypes exist, but this is a class filled with bright minds. How can they possibly believe that all skinny people are healthy and obese people are lazy?

Being obese increases health risks. I get it. I’m not saying that people who weigh 300 pounds are healthy, but as someone who lost a sizable amount of weight, I know that I have decreased my chances of having a heart attack or stroke. My blood pressure is perfect, as is my good sugar and cholesterol. I exercise several times a week, and I eat fruits and vegetables.  I rarely spend more than a few minutes sitting on my sofa watching TV, and often times, I take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator.

I eat more than I should if I want to lose weight, but I treat my body with more respect than many people I know who are smaller than I am. I know that it’s not a competition between me and anyone else, but when I sit in class listening to average sized people talk about the obesity epidemic while they eat Doritos, I get a little indignant.

It’s annoying to be judged so quickly and harshly, but it’s reality for those who weigh more than average. I know this better than most, yet I still find myself amazed and disgusted.

Are you/have you ever felt awkward because people were stereotyping people your size?

10 thoughts on “Skinny vs. Obese….

  1. Nicole

    Kenlie,
    I totally get where you’re coming from. Every time I go through drive thru for my hubby and kids (I choose not to eat it) and I am the only one in the car ordering for three people. The pre-pubescent in the window has that ‘look’ on their face.
    Everytime I’ve tried to do a group class at a gym or Rec Center and I’m ALWAYS the largest one in the room. I see the looks. Actually I can HEAR the looks. What is that fat girl doing in this class?
    I left a class midway once, not because I couldn’t handle it, but because it was a room that we all faced the mirror and I couldn’t stand how loud their looks were at me. I’m sure it just solidified what they were thinking, but I didn’t care.
    I am over 100lbs overweight, but I don’t have health problems related to the weight. My blood pressure is spot on, so are my thyroid, my sugars and my cholestorol. I’ve ran a 5k; I’ve walked a 10k in under 2 hours. I LOVE my zumba classes (at home, I bought the dvd’s) I love to dance.

    However, those looks can sometime out shout my own confidence.

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  2. Kenlie Post author

    We’re human, Nicole. I understand where you’re coming from. I try not to let it affect me, but sometimes it does. It used to a lot more than it does now because I know what I’m made of, but it’s frustrating to be stereotyped like that.

    I have that class today, and I’m just trying to focus on the positives (the nice people and the things that I have learned that make sense) to get through it.

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  3. Laura

    I get this. I totally get this. I’ve walked out of university classes before too. There’s just something about the academic environment that allows for wilful-misunderstandings.

    But unlike you, I wasn’t a stellar student. Back at university, working on a 2nd degree to upgrade my GPA — and just registered for an online nutrition course to fulfill some science requirements. Definitely wouldn’t be brave enough to register in this course if I had to attend class.

    But, even outside class I’ve had to deal with my share of ignorance on the subject (especially among my close friends) — I tend to find it my duty to “educate” these people. [Probably not as easy to do when you’re in a class, and in the minority] But I find it’s so much easier to defend yourself from derisive talk, than derisive looks.

    I agree with Nicole, too… the looks are the worst!

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  4. mary

    i totally get this!
    everywhere i have ever worked i have been judged by what i bring or order for lunches
    incredible the assuming people do
    you know what they say about assuming.

    still sucks though.

    what is the verse…..judge not lest ye be judged.
    some people need to learn the meaning and stop doing just that!
    xoxox

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  5. Elizabeth

    I completely understand! I have lost 150 pounds and I’m still fat. But, I am healthy and more fit than most of the people I know, even the thin ones. I am at a point where I am just not losing weight, even though I exercise a lot and eat healthy food. A dinner out ruins me for the week, and apparently I’m one of those people who has to eat very low calories to be thin, so I don’t know that I’ll ever lose this last 30 pounds, even though I am trying! I still feel judged, and it’s not easy.

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  6. Gail

    I’ll play devil’s advocate here.

    How do you know that people are silently judging you? Are you letting your own preconceived notions and stereotypes feed that feeling? Every time I think that people are judging me, like at the grocery store or the gym or out walking, I have to remember that, for the most part, people are thinking about themselves.

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  7. Laurie

    I’m getting more and more confrontational in my late 30’s. If it were me in that position, I’d be engaging in dialog to make them tell me to my face what they are thinking, and then telling them my truth.

    But, of course, I know how you’re feeling. It’s easy for people to jump to conclusions and it’s much harder when they actually get to know someone in the position they think they are an expert on. I say, make them get to know you.

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  8. Brooke

    I work with the wellness committee at my work. I’m not the only overweight person on the committee, but probably the heaviest. We were doing a retreat to work on incentive programs and other aspects of wellness for our “employee community” and there were some comments made that irked me. I can’t even remember the reasoning for her statement, but a lady started talking about how healthy her and her family eat. She stated that he department was one of the unhealthiest on campus and it was hard for her. She said that her son said, “Mom I just don’t understand why people can “look”, “be” (I don’t remember) that way, its gross.” And yes, she was specifically talking about weight. This touched every nerve in my body. Using negative words to describe people’s bodies is called shaming. Its a very horrible thing that people seem to be using these days, especially when it comes to body image (fat or skinny). But I tried to take into account that we were adults and I have to work with her, so I bit my tongue and instead when it was my turn I spoke to being healthy in small, productive and positive ways. Being careful about how we ask or tell people about their health. Small steps are important and that the inner spiritual health (whatever their belief) was also important and we should encourage all attempts towards healthier lifestyles.

    Kenlie, go in and approach it academically. I don’t know about you, but I would be open to piping up. I def. have no qualms with saying, “Hey, I’m fat, but I take pride in my body and my health. I don’t fit your mold and I’m not asking for you help, advice or opinions on my weight loss. However, I would like you to open your minds more and I’m open to helping you see more of the situation. People use ignorance as an excuse. If they have NEVER been fat, then what do they really know? They only know what they have been told or what they have read. And we all know that there is more to life and often times more sides to the story.

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  9. Nathan the FFK

    I totally know what you mean. I have been in that situation plenty of times, even at the weight I’m at right now. With that all being said, I think a lot of those feelings were from being insecure in those situations when the reality is that everyone else is busy with their own lives and probably actually not judging me. That was something I had to work on.

    You can also turn it in to a positive scenario! For example, I’m a part of a Healthy Campus intuitive at Florida State University and everyone else either works for campus recreation and are ridiculous ripped or are dieticians. I have brought a bit of a balance to the group because idealistically, those groups don’t always agree on things like healthy living practices. I have been able to take my view from being someone who has lost weight and who was a student to help bring both sides together and help create a healthier campus!

    Those are just some things to think about. Bring your own story in to how you function in that class. And if they do judge you, awe well. They’re missing out on getting to know your awesome self! 🙂 Hope that helps!

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  10. Chloe@SearchingForAHealthierLife

    I hate people who judge before knowing the entire story. Sure, we are all human beings and all of us judge each other in some way or another – but I draw a line at what people look like. We all have our own opinions and that’s fair enough but if it hurts others feelings then that’s not on.

    I hope things get easier 😀 I hate walking into classes where you know you’re not going to have a good time (for whatever reason).

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