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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 03:21 PM
Number of posts: 4,362

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Bill Maher and fat shaming.

This is edited from a reply in another thread. I wanted to share this to the board at large.

I used to weigh 365 pounds. I weighed 300+ pounds for about 25 years, after getting there about 5 years out of college. The looks and comments that I got about my weight didn't do me a damn bit of good, and didn't make me want to lose weight any worse than I already did. They just hurt. That's all. They didn't go any good, and they hurt.

After decades of trying, and after having 2 stents put in my coronary arteries, I finally came up with a diet plan that worked. I lost 150 pounds in 3 years. I made the mistake of not exercising, and actually developed type 2 diabetes when I lost a lot of muscle mass. I started working out this summer in a pit of despair over an ex-girlfriend, and have gotten my fat/lean mass into normal range for the first time in probably 30 years. Yesterday, I put on a suit that I wore as a best man when I was 23 and in good shape, and it fit well. Yes, for some reason, I carried it around for 30+ years. Anyhow, I'm down to 211 and that includes about 10 pounds of new muscle. So I'm not overweight now. I'm still trying to get another 20-25 pounds of fat off, but I'm in better shape, I think, than most men my age. I'm even having trouble getting my insulin dosing right because the diabetes really seems to be waning. It may go away entirely with more exercise and weight loss. I'm hoping so. I consider myself to be really lucky to find something that worked, and to have a body that was able to respond to diet modification and to exercise. That's not the case for a lot of people.

Every time I see someone who's really overweight, I ache for them. I wish that they could find their own method of weight loss, if that's what they want. I know how they feel. I know the looks, I know the comments, I know the rude jokes. I know how so many people give themselves permission to treat overweight people horribly. I know how any time someone overweight eats anything in public, they're going to get looks and comments. I know the awful physical feeling in my back and knees. I know the self-loathing every time I saw my reflection, or folded my clothes, or had to buy a 3XL shirt or pants with over a 50 waistline. I know how much it hurts, physically and emotionally, every day.

And fat shaming just makes it hurt more. It does no good. It does not serve as motivation. I remember being a shirt and tie guy at a department store and approaching a customer looking at the extra long ties. I asked about her husband's measurements and said, "it sounds like he has the same issue I have looking for ties" which I intended to say was a long torso. She looked at me and said, "a fat gut?" with an incredible amount of contempt. Later on, she expected me to ring her up with a smile. I refused to ring her up and got someone else to do so. She complained to the manager and he started to dress me down in front of her - until she called him a "little f**" for not firing me on the spot. Only then, he tossed her from the store. That was over 20 years ago and it still pisses me off, and hurts.

You might call say Maher's spiel is "tough love" and it was pulled out of context. I say that anyone who advocates fat shaming is a piece of crap. And all too often, "tough love" is just an excuse for someone to be an asshole and feel virtuous instead of ashamed. There is no rationale for fat shaming. PERIOD.
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