I wrote a jokey article a couple of weeks ago about the perils of fat people when it comes to summer… not only do we have to battle with our boobs in the heat, but we also have to sit alongside beautiful people with bodies to die for – read it here.
Yes, the post was jokey but the response from my readers made me feel unexpectedly proud and I wanted to write another blog post based on it. The vast majority of responses were from people telling me their experiences of body-shame on the beach and how they’ve learned to cope with the feeling of guilt about being fat in a judgemental society.
This leads me to my first question – are you guilty about being fat? Do you feel guilty whenever you go to pick up a piece of cake? I know for sure that I do. I have two types of guilt – guilt for my own health and guilt from other peoples judgement. Guilt for my own health is usually (and annoyingly) pretty late to the party. Grabbing another piece of cake is a balance between willpower and short-term blissful happiness of feeling creamy sugary buttercream go into your mouth (mmmm buttercream), but guilt usually makes a late appearance. Late, but long-lasting unfortunately.
It’s the guilt from other peoples judgement which is the interesting one. I think, for me anyway, the main evidence of this is whether or not I secret eat. Guilt from other people wouldn’t exist if the other people weren’t there. If I got locked in a supermarket by myself overnight salad would not even enter my mind. However, it’s the looks from my friends/family whenever I go to eat a piece of cake which makes me feel incredibly guilty. It almost sometimes makes me feel that it’s not even worth it. However, where this becomes dangerous as it’s more often than not that I’ll find myself sticking my fingers into a jar of peanut butter when I get home.
Second question – does the guilt help you? I’m undecided on this one. Guilt has evolved because it helped us in the past. The more guilty you felt for doing something wrong (and potentially harmful – i.e. eating a piece of cake), the less you did it and the more you survived. Makes perfect sense. However, we’re not living in a simple world any more with a couple of animals to kill for meat and a bush to grab berries from. We live in a complex society of thousands of yummy restaurants on our doorstep and a happy-to-judge society. Guilt, for me, can be a positive and a negative. The positive is that I know in myself that if i truly didn’t give a shit I would eat like there’s no tomorrow. The element of guilt, whilst sucky, actually keeps me from becoming super obese. However, the negative end of the spectrum makes me feel sad, and we all know what being sad does to my eating habits… Cream, cream city bitch.
I think feeling guilty is fine balance. You need a little bit there to keep you on track from not getting too fat, but you don’t want too much to feel constantly bad about yourself.
What do you think readers? I’d love to hear from you all 🙂