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Why Cancer Research UK isn’t fat shaming

If you’ve never walked a mile in my shoes how can you tell me about it?

Being fat, being overweight or obese is not a comfortable pair of shoes.

First, there is the physical. Carrying just three stone (which makes you obese), never mind six or ten extra stone, around is like spending all day carrying a child. Everyday things, getting in and out of a car, walking upstairs, going to the gym or sitting in a chair is hard work. Your back aches, your legs ache, your feet hurt, and your thighs rub together until they are red raw and bleeding.

And then there is the emotional. Hating the fact that you are fat, whilst repeatedly trying and failing to lose weight. Fat is a barrier; it keeps others at a distance and is a safety blanket to keep yourself hidden.

But it also acts to attract hate. Being picked on, stared at, laughed at and fat shamed.

However, explaining the medical issues that arise from carrying too much weight around is not fat shaming. It is explaining scientific facts. If you lose weight, type 2 diabetes does go into remission, blood pressure does reduce, and from the latest Cancer Research UK study, you may have less chance of getting cancer.

30 years ago, people who used alcohol to deal with life were told to ‘just drink less’ – we now know they do not have a thirst issue, and that they need support and emotional help.

If you are using food to deal with life, taking away the substance without dealing with the life issues is not a solution. Making the assumption that all a fat person has to do is to show some discipline, just eat less and lose weight, shows we do not have understanding.

We are still telling those who use food to deal with life to ‘just eat less’ – until we realise that fat people do not have a hunger issue and that they need emotional help, we should all be shamed.

– Bar Hewlett, co-founder of LighterLife.

If you’d like to talk to us more about this issue, please get in touch on 0800 2 998988 or contact@lighterlife.com.

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