The Why of Fat Shaming and How to Handle It

“Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind.  It means you don’t see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being.  To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.” 
Eckhart Tolle
The Reality…
Tonight, I had the privilege of attending an Evening with Eckhart Tolle in Miami.  The experience was very powerful to say the least.  In anticipation of the evening, I have been re-reading Tolle’s best-selling book “A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.”  I really love his perspective on the ego and the way the ego strengthens itself through identification with external things, such as possessions or even the physical body itself.  Tolle suggests that in western culture, the physical appearance of the body contributes greatly to our sense of who we think we are, and our relative worth as compared to others.  Hence, our self-worth can be dependent upon our physical strength, external appearance and level of fitness.   As a result of our cultural conditioning, many overweight and obese people have a diminished sense of self-worth because they perceive their body as ugly or imperfect. 
The Challenge…
So, what does all this ego and cultural conditioning stuff have to do with fat shaming? 
Fat shaming is typically discussed in terms of normal weight people criticizing or harassing overweight people about their weight or eating behavior.  A completely unacceptable reality of our society, right? Remember the playboy model who took pictures of an overweight woman in the locker room at the gym, and posted it online for everyone to see along with some completely derogatory and insulting commentary? “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either” were her cruel and inappropriate words.  That case involved an invasion of privacy and there were criminal implications, but wouldn’t it be interesting if everyone who fat-shamed other human beings were held accountable in some manner?  

The playboy model is the perfect example of a deeply unconscious person who seeks to strengthen their own ego by belittling or making others “less than” through criticism or ridicule.   
In my experience, fat shaming is not only coming from the fit and slender people.  There is also a lot of “self-shaming” going on in our society because of our cultural conditioning.  If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds or more, have you personally felt a diminished sense of self-worth because of your weight, or felt “less than” someone better looking or in better physical shape?  Do you have negative thoughts and internal conversations with yourself because your body is less than perfect?  I used to do that to myself regularly, but the weight didn’t come off permanently until I disassociated my sense of self-worth from my level of attractiveness and physical fitness. 
The Solution…
For the overweight or obese person who has experienced the pain of fat shaming, I offer the following:
1.     If you experience fat shaming, try to intellectualize and internalize the inner workings of the person who has subjected you to fat shaming.  They are unconsciously seeking to strengthen their own ego by making comparisons and establishing superiority.  This has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them.
2.     Realize that all structures are unstable, temporary and will eventually yield and fall away.  This includes your physical body and the near-perfect body of the person subjecting you to fat shaming.  Every living body is destined for the same fate.  And placing too much value on external physicality is the cause of great suffering for many when the inevitable deterioration occurs.
3.     According to Tolle, your greatest protection against a deeply unconscious person is to focus on your own consciousness.  Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways of going beyond your own ego, and also dissolving the collective human ego (and the collective human ego is most definitely a conversation for another day….).
4.     Finally, pay attention to your own internal conversations (thoughts) and make sure you are not engaging in your own form of fat shaming via self-shame.  If your goal is to become a healthier version of your current self, your thought patterns will need to change from self-shaming thoughts to thoughts of self-love and empowerment.
The Invitation….
To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight?? 

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