I've been thinking about this for a long time. Really long.
In January 2011 I attended a PriorFatGirl event and heard Elle's Story. And I'll never forget the feelings I had when hearing about it. She talks about how her parents invited her over (for dinner I believe). While there, they confronted her about her weight. I was angry when I first heard it. Angry with a capital A and it wasn't even my story! How dare someone who cares about you sit you down and tell you you're overweight? And while she explained that her parent's were only concerned about her health and she understands, I still thought it was horrible. I mean really? How could they?
Earlier this year I heard Elle talk again at another PriorFatGirl event. She told the same story. Only she had years between her and the confrontation and I had years between my start to get healthy. The story still made me angry. And let me tell you that she does a good job of telling her story form both her side and her parent's side. How her parents were concerned about her weight and how it was affecting her health. About the path she was taking with her body not being a good one. About how much they cared and how hard that had to be for them. Yet I was still angry for her.
Now that I have a good 80 pounds between me and my heaviest weight I'm in a different place. I look at the few pictures I can find of myself during that time and I'm amazed. How different my face looks. How different my body looks both in clothes and out. How I was smiling, but wonder if I was really happy?
I can't help but wonder why no one told me I was fat? Was my weight creeping up so slowly that no one noticed? I sure didn't. Not until one spring in college when I went to buy cute clothes and realized that by the time I got the size I needed, they weren't cute anymore. I realized it when I started walking that spring to lose weight and some random stranger called me fat and told me to do something about it. Hello! Don't you see me walking?
Maybe they did try to tell me I was fat? I do remember receiving a call from a local weight loss center after I moved back to my parent's house. I hadn't signed up for anything, but someone had signed me up and given my phone number. I remember the heat of my embarrassed face and the weeks long wonder who did it and was it my family? Maybe in their own way they said little things to me about not eating so much or to go out and do something? Honestly nothing sticks out in such a way that it would have made an impact.
So while I can say now that I wish someone had said something, I have to be honest and tell you that I likely would have reacted in anger and hurt had they done so. For anyone, friend or family, to call me out as fat, even though it was couched with concern about my health, I would have been upset. But maybe, just maybe, I would have made the connection that I had to take control earlier. Maybe I would have taken the plunge to join a gym or talk to my doctor or something. Maybe I wouldn't be fighting this as a 42 year old, but rather at 20-something.
Have you ever sat down with someone and told them you were concerned for their health in any manner? How did you say it and how did they take it? Would you ever try it again? I'm having a hard time figuring out what I'd say to someone in my life. But I do know that I'd likely need to figure out a way to tell them of my concern, even if it meant they were mad for a while.