“You’re not THAT big.”
I’ve heard way too many times over the years. It is often paired with, “You look good.” And it really gets to me.
It likely isn’t said with any other intent than trying to be nice. Maybe they are even being sincere. I’ll take motive out of the equation and make it solely about why it bothers me.
I’m big. That is a statement of fact right now. I’m 5’8″ and 215-225 pounds on any given week. That is obese. I say fat which seems to still bother some people, but it is just a synonym to me.
What bothers me is the comparison. “Not THAT big.” In other words, we live in a time where being morbidly obese is big but obese is somehow normal. I’m not fat shaming at all. There are healthy fat people. However, extra weight comes with issues from health to general aches and pains. Those are facts. In general, obesity is a marker for dangerous health risks and that is why I work on my weight, regardless of how I look.
My point is “not THAT big” is not complimentary. It’s not healthy for me to be this size. I get that my weight is someone else’s goal and if they are 300 pounds now, 225 would make them healthier. That doesn’t mean I’m not too big and need to get to a weight where I’ll be healthier.
Or maybe I’m being too sensitive. Do other fat people have an issue when they hear this? It could be my insecurities.
I heard this last night at an event I was working. Who knew people read this blog outside of family, friends, and some social media groups I’m a part of? Well, that was the one that struck me.
I saw a friend and she said to her friend, “This is the guy that writes FatMan Chronicles.” The friend said, “Oh, I really related to your blog. But you’re not THAT big.”
The shock of the statement was more about the first part. And I know that this wonderful woman was being complimentary. She thought I’d look bigger in person. She told me she has always struggled with weight and that she appreciated my approach.
All that is awesome. She didn’t mean anything by the statement and it was likely more spur of the moment.
It’s what I said earlier – it is somehow normal to be my size in our world. I’m not ok with this at all. If this is normal, our health, as a society, is at great risk. We will have even more rampant heart disease and cancer. Even forgetting the ridiculous monetary cost, including rapidly rising health insurance premiums, think about how many loved ones we will have to care for that are prematurely sick. That future scares me. And I’m part of the problem.
Now that I’ve painted that bleak picture, there’s so much hope. I run several days per week and I see others like me out there too – running, biking, walking, hiking. People with some (or a lot) of excess weight. They are trying and so many are fighting the good fight. We all, likely, need to eat a bit less and most of us are working on that too.
Hopefully, we don’t get used to thinking obese guys like me aren’t THAT big. We need to bring our average weight down because our collective health depends on it.