“I’ve never seen a fat skeleton before”
In high school (16 years old) I was that person who was the best swimmer and runner. Sports was everything to me and I even went on to represent my school and district in special carnivals. My claim to fame is that I ran on the Sydney 2000 Olympic games athletics track before the Olympians did! I was 13 at the time and the only photo of me doing this is of me with my head down. What an idiot. In the summer months back home in Australia, I would do swimming and athletics training, the winter months I would continue swimming and also rugby. However when I left high school, I stopped all sports and put on a lot of weight. It really was the beginning of an ongoing battle with my weight. 16 years later, here I am still fighting my weight.
Over the years I’ve joined countless amounts of gyms, tried all the fad diets. They are all bullshit and honestly a waste of time. If it says you’ll shred the pounds with ease, that’s code for ‘This diet is bullshit’. Trust me on that one. It was only when I combined exercise and good food did things actually change for me. In 2014 I lost nearly 100lbs. Following this my story was like many others. I gained weight again, lost it, gained it, lost it, gained it, lose it, gained it and lost it. I’m sure it happened more times, but I couldn’t be bothered to type it. You get the point. And all of that is ok because of that silly saying ‘Fall down seven times, get back up eight’. It’s silly but also brilliant. Heck if it was easy, we wouldn’t need to get back up so many times.
For many years after high school and when I gained/lost weight, I always felt like the token fat friend. I was also the funny one as this would hide the fact that I was the biggest person in the group. It may surprise you, I can’t remember many times in my life when someone has called me ‘fat’. You get called other names that always seem to start with ‘big’ such as big lad, big man and big fella. When people would talk about health and weight issues, you would feel like the world is zoomed in on you. Even though they aren’t, if feels as though everyone is staring at you. I found it the most difficult when slim people would complain about being ‘fat’. If they are ‘fat’, does that mean I’ve graduated to ‘fucking enormous’?
Sadly though, when I do get called fat, everything stops. We all know that there are particular words in society that you shouldn’t call people. They have a stigma attached to them and as a society we believe that they simply should not be said. If those words are directed at someone, you know it’s supposed to hurt them. Calling anyone, particularly someone whom is overweight ‘fat’, is one of those things that should not happen. However it does. And today at the ripe old age of 32, it happened to me.
It’s Halloween and in my office we all dressed up. I absolutely hate dressing up as I always feel like an idiot and embarrassed. However everyone was excited about it so I thought I’d make some effort in the means of a £6 skeleton shirt from Tesco. I didn’t try it on in the store, however when I got home I realised it was about 2-3 sizes too big. It was a tent, but it’s Halloween so it just adds to it. We had a group photo taken which was sent to out clients for a laugh and typically I looked horrendous in my skeleton tent.
One client simply responded with ‘Did Andy forget to dress up? I’ve never seen a fat skeleton before.’
Why? Just why. Why the fuck would you say something like that?
I moved away from my desk and said out loud, ‘Fucking hell. I’ve just been called fat by a client’. Everyone stopped and looked at me with confusion. What do you say to someone who has just being humiliated like that? ‘It’s ok, you’re not fat’? ‘Oh Andy they are just being a c***’. The truth is that nothing will fix the situation or make that person feel ok. The look of horror, disgust and heart break on my colleagues face summed it up. A line was crossed that shouldn’t have been.
I typed furiously trying to be witty. ‘Well my medals from all my marathons add the extra kilos’. ‘It’s all the post race food I’ve eaten from the 30+ marathons and 8 ultra marathons I’ve completed’. ‘Do you even know anything about me you fucking c***?’. ‘In the last four weeks I’ve lost a stone, what a fat fuck I am for doing something about it you ignorant prick’.
Every sentenced I typed, I deleted. Nothing I could write would have been good enough. I don’t need to justify my weight gain/loss, especially to someone I don’t know and whom has just called me fat. So I did what any 32 year old who has just being called fat and humiliated in front of their colleagues would do… I went to the toilets and cried.
Overweight people are the easy targets. Think of the biggest person you know. Mentally write a list describing them physically. How far down that list do you put their weight. Before hair and eye colour? Did you mention their height? Hopefully you put it as far down as possible, however it’s ok if it’s near the top. The reason I asked you to do this, is to see that the size of someone is always thought of. It’s generally the first thing people notice. Is that wrong? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m more than my weight, as are you. That’s something I tell myself every day and something that many other people in my shoes do as well. We need to because it helps during the moments when people telling us that we are fat.
After I wiped my tears, I went back to work. I looked at that email about 20 times before deleting it. Typically I tried to get out of my run, however my fiancé told me not to let such an idiot ruin my run. And I didn’t. I stuck to my plan, we ran together and then I began to write this blog. While life goes on, it will be difficult to forget what happened today.
I struggle with my weight and have done so for 16 years. I don’t like to be called fat and I don’t think anyone should be called that. It’s not a very nice thing to say to anyone, so please don’t. Whether you have a six pack, morbidly obese or are somewhere in between, we are all more than the number on the scale. We certainly are more than a body type. I’m a runner and that’s pretty epic. If you do get called fat, ignore them because they are not worth your time, emotions or even a blog post. Clearly I need to take my own advice which I am more than happy to work on.
I do appreciate you reading this blog and understand it’s not the usual style for me. However it’s a message I wanted to make public. The next blog will be a race review of Maverick Oxfordshire.
Until then, my name is Andy and I hope you never get called fat… Also a good race!