Last night’s finale of The Biggest Loser opened up a firestorm of fury online. People are angry that a woman could become so skinny trying to win a TV competition. Rachel Frederickson weighed in at a 105 lbs after losing 155 pounds or 59.62% or her body weight.
I’ve really struggled with this whole discussion for one reason, and one reason alone. It has nothing to do with whether she’s too skinny or not. It has to do with that woman’s point of view. And it has to do with where our thoughts are headed as a nation.
Just imagine something with me for a second: Imagine that you were overweight and just went through hell to lose it all in front of a national TV audience. Then imagine that you’ve also been hurt in the past (as most of us have), and were overweight due to some emotional issues. Imagine that you worked your ass off to lose a ton of weight, and then that nation decided to take up arms to skinny shame you.
You’ve never been in the public light before, but all of a sudden people you’ve never met are leaving nasty comments on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. all because you lost weight. Weight that you are so proud to have lost.
“She’s too skinny,” “she’s got problems,” or “she is so unhealthy” would probably make you feel like a piece of crap. All that work and people are saying nasty things to you.
Don’t let your past experiences with food and health give you a platform to publicly shame another human being.
Whether or not she is too skinny is not the issue here. She completed a competition where the goal was to lose weight, and lose it she did. You have no idea what all she’s been through to get there, or even what she’s been through her entire life to be where she is when it comes to weight and health.
You have no idea what she plans to do with her health next. You have no idea if she has trouble gaining muscle. You have no idea if she has eating issues, and you have no idea if 105 is or isn’t an ideal weight for her body.
The key point: You have no idea.
I love this quote from Rachel: “To move forward in this life and to know that I can take control and do anything I want — it’s just, it’s been amazing,”
She’s ready to move forward, but the rest of the World seems ready to shame her for her journey.
Unless you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes, you have no right to judge or make decisions for him or her.
Shaming is shaming, whether the person is overweight, skinny, unhealthy, healthy, has red hair, has dark hair, is black, is white, is gay, is straight, or anything else.
Before you decide to make it your public decision to point at someone and scream your opinion of his or her life, check yourself.
Did you know that the majority of Americans are now overweight or obese? What happens when skinny becomes the minority? You guessed it…people start shaming the minority, and the minority starts to look abnormal.
Here’s an interesting statistic:
In the United States, the average BMI for women is 28.8. In France it is 24.5. That’s a drastic difference, and we’re only talking about an average here. In France, they eat regular wholesome foods, and fast food restaurants aren’t on every corner. You can see more info on this here.
When an entire nation’s view of the woman’s body becomes horribly distorted, it’s easy for us to pass judgments on everyone.
Now before you all get pissed off at me, remember that I was overweight and a size 16 before I turned my health around. I’ve gotten rude comments about my size on both ends of the spectrum. Let me tell you something: “You’re too skinny” hurts just as badly as “you’re too fat.”
Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can break the human spirit.
The only person you should be worrying about is you. So I’m asking for no more “fit-shaming” or “fat-shaming.” Both hurt.
Those of you that are causing the backlash and ranting at this woman have forgotten one thing: She’s a human being with feelings. She’s worked her ass off to win a competition and change her life. You have no idea who she really is, or what she has to work on, or the struggles she faces. You have no idea what she plans to do next now that she’s won. It doesn’t matter if she’s too skinny, or not. It is not for us to judge whether she has a problem.
Do I think she is too skinny? Do I think she has an eating disorder? Do I think she’s sick? None of that matters. What matters is she’s dropped the weight and is ready to hit the road on her journey to health, and I applaud her for that.
What everyone else needs to worry about are the words that we put out there and how they can harm another human being. Rachel Frederickson is a human being with feelings.
She was just like any one of us when she decided to go on a reality TV show and now has been thrust into a firestorm. Just imagine how painful this must be for her. None of us have any right to say hurtful words to another human being, plain and simple.
I’m celebrating her success today. I’m proud that she has dropped the weight, and I can’t wait to see where she goes on her health journey next. You know why? Because the journey on the road to health is a forever one. It’s not over after the weigh-in. It’s not even over when the fat or skinny lady sings.
It’s life-long, so let’s do it together by supporting each other’s successes and speaking positively to all human beings.
Like this post? Check out these others: