Fat shaming is bullying

Last updated 05:00 23/06/2014

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Fighting fat in New Zealand

Fight fat by turning off the power switch Change attitudes around junk food, not the price Better food labels needed to help healthier choices The forces at work to turn us fat Ten ways to eat better More gym, less junk at schools Getting kids off their butts Fat shaming is bullying Your home can be your gym What obesity looked like 60 years ago

I'm obese and have been since I was a baby. I was 16 stone on my 16th birthday. 

I was evidently a windy baby, so for my first year I was put on a diet of whole cow's milk, thickened with corn flour, scraped raw liver, and carrot juice.

Maybe it stopped the wind but it didn't help my size. 

Part of my problem is possibly genetic - my uncles and cousins are all tall and slim while my father and I are short and plump.

I've probably lost more weight from dieting than most of you have ever weighed, but sadly, unless I'm absolutely strict to a diet with the word "NO" in front of me everywhere I turn, the weight slowly goes back on. 

Somehow I have outlived many younger and fitter people I knew.

I have low cholesterol, and at 67, am yet to have any heart problems.

I have never enjoyed being fat, but I have had a happy and fulfilled life, for which I am very thankful.

I can clearly remember in my teenage years struggling because I was always good enough when my friends wanted a ride anywhere or wanted burgers, but when it came to anything to do with girls, I was left out. 

It was not from a lack of exercise as we biked everywhere, 10 kilometres a day to school, we biked everywhere in the weekends, and there was no TV to watch so we were outdoors until dark every day. But the weight just stayed.

I realised I need to accept myself as I am and look after myself.

I have developed diabetes and yes, I do cost the country for my annual check up and medications, yet I see another side. 

Because of my diabetes I get regular health checks, which is not the case with many men these days, and my medications keep my blood pressure down, my kidneys in good order and control my weight better than I ever could. I get supported and respected by an understanding doctor. From this point of view I feel blessed.

Sadly, I see the media making it a big issue of obesity, and many people giving their opinion as to how to deal with these fatties. 

Once I asked if I could have my stomach stapled. I was sent to a specialist who gave me half-hour of lecture on self control. Unfortunately he was bigger (fatter) than me, so I never went back. 

Another time I was seeing a dietician, who was encouraging, until I reached the inevitable plateau. Next thing I know I'm being told not to come back. This was a real setback and on went the weight again.

Giving advice or shaming fat people does nothing but help the "normal" people feel good about themselves.

No fat person enjoys being fat, getting puffed out after exercise, being criticised, being discriminated against, and being told what they should be doing.

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Shaming fat people or hounding them is bullying them, even if it is with the best motive. All the media attention does not help. 

How about being a bit more positive towards these people, encouraging their self esteem and just maybe they will start caring for themselves a little more.

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