Weight Discrimination- What You’d Miss

 

We ran errands together the other day, and it happened again. I wanted to say, “Psst…hey you. Yeah. I saw what you just did.” Weight discrimination isn’t just a legal issue- it’s a heart issue. And it’s going to cost you.

When you dismiss her because she’s fat, or rake her over with a look of silent disgust, she sees you. And so do I. And I want you to know that you just missed out.

Loving Mama

You’re missing her beauty. You’ve apparently overlooked her gorgeous blue eyes, and her enviably thick mane of hair. Maybe you didn’t notice her beautiful fair skin with a scattering of freckles, or the natural light streaks in her hair. I’m sure you didn’t see her delicate hands and the simple mod wedding set that would have tipped you off that she has really unique taste and an artistic eye.

You’re missing her many, many talents. She designs sewing patterns and creates toys, quilts, and clothing for her own children and for friends as well. She throws the most amazing and well planned birthday parties ever, with a gift for putting personalized touches into the details. She’s got a fantastic sense of style; her eye for design always impresses me. She is a thoughtful and funny hostess who has a gift for warming the room with hilarious stories and observances.

party-mama

You’re missing her heart. She’s one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. She has the ability to communicate with children in a way that connects with their mind and soul, because she still remembers how she thought when she was a child. She’s genuinely kind- the sort of person who you’d want your child to bump into if they were lost. She has an uncanny ability to sense when another person is hurting. Maybe it’s because she has lots of experience with being overlooked and undervalued.

You’re missing her value. She is the truest friend I’ve ever had. She’s been beside me for my wedding, for the birth of all of my children, and through my lowest times. She is loved by her own family- she has brought five amazing kids into the world, and mothers them vigilantly and with compassion.

You’re missing that she’s my little sister. We shared a room for over a decade; we shared clothes in high school and college. I was her matron of honor. We share genes, and a lifetime supply of funny stories and confidences.sisters

You’re missing the point. Remember Martin Luther King’s Dream, that one day men will be judged by the content of their character? That’s where you’ll find the true quality of a person. Measuring value by external factors like weight, age, or skin color is going to bite you in the long run. If you are passing judgement and rejecting people based on what you see on the outside, you are missing out on a world full of amazing and beautiful people. Worse, you’re perpetuating an ideology that will one day turn on you.

[bctt tweet=”If you’re rejecting people based on their outside, you’re missing out on amazing and beautiful people. http://bit.ly/1NKgJiC”]
We are all aging one day at a time, and even the most well kept physique and pristine face are going to wither. And even then, she will be beautiful to me.

wedding pic

You’re missing compassion. When her body started rebelling years ago, she fought it hard. She still cares. It just flat out sucks to be uncomfortable in your own skin. But sometimes you come to a point where you just have to accept that there are not convenient answers or fixes. That there are things you can’t control about your own body and your own life. So you hold your head up willfully each day and walk through life to the best of your ability with what you are given. And you just get used to people silently and not so silently revealing their character by how they treat you. On one hand, it’s a shame. On the other hand, it’s much easier to spot the people who have both compassion and character enough to love the imperfect souls of this world.

You’re missing her determination. When we were in our mid 20’s we both decided to get fit. We did Weight Watchers together. She was vigilant. Plus, she showed me up- she joined a gym with my brother and working out multiple times a week. I lost 20 pounds, and she lost 5.

And we’ve played out this scenario over and over through the years. We carried babies, we tried different eating styles, we changed our eating habits to be healthier as we learned more about nutrition. She does not consume corn syrup, pringles, candy, etc. She cares. She tries. But our bodies just don’t operate the same way.

If you still believe that obesity always means a person is lazy and eats too much, then you’re sorely misinformed. Just like there are many different factors that play into hair loss, infertility, or migraines, there are many medical factors that play into obesity. And science has still not unravelled them.

[bctt tweet=”Just like there are many factors that play into infertility & migraines, there are complex medical factors that play into obesity. http://bit.ly/1NKgJiC”]

Maybe you just honestly didn’t realize this because you can do a few laps around the block and watch your calories and drop weight like the experts say. I get it. It’s lucky genes. Lucky you and me. But please don’t assume it works that way for everyone. It just doesn’t.

These few sentences don’t really do her justice. But I thought you should know that she is loved, she is mine, and I am proud of her.

Don’t miss out!

I don’t want you to miss out due to weight discrimination. Make room in your heart for all sizes and ages and colors of people-don’t miss some of the truly beautiful people in this world.

Please give the imperfectly wonderful people in your life a hug today and tell them that they’re beautiful to you. They need to hear it.

To pin:

I saw it yesterday- she was dismissed because of her weight. I want you to know what you'll miss if you judge someone by their weight.

P.S. Since this is really my sister, I will not allow unkind comments.

P.S. Since this is really my sister, I will not allow unkind comments.

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  1. says

    Well said! I’ve had very similar experiences. I’ve tried various diets to help lose weight. I exercise, and eat a real food diet (better than lots of skinny people I know) and it just doesn’t help the weight come off. I wish people would offer more grace and less judgement!

    I will say, though, that after I started taking Juice Plus+ last year, my body started healing from the inside out. After about six months, I noticed that my body was starting to reshape and rebuild. It was very encouraging, even though it is still going slowly.

  2. Kim says

    Your sister sounds like a wonderful person! I hope lots of people will read your post and look past what’s not important to what is. As someone who was thin when I was younger, but struggle with my weight now that I’m older, I know firsthand how differently people treat you based on physical appearance. It’s almost like extra weight makes you somehow invisible to some people and that they think you don’t notice or feel hurt by their words or actions. I hope your post encourages others to be kinder and more aware of how they treat people, regardless of how much they weigh.

  3. says

    Gwen, you are so right on this! I’ve seen this over and over again, and it makes me so sad. :( People are so mean and hurtful when they refuse to be friends or be kind to someone who is overweight. They truly don’t know what they are missing out on, amazing friendships that could last a lifetime. My cousin married a woman who is larger in size, always has been, and she is a kind and amazing, beautiful woman. It’s other people’s losses, I’m afraid.

  4. Shari Parsons says

    Very well written! Thank you! Unfortunately, I am one of those people who notices physical appearances and may make snap judgments. I don’t want to – that is not my true heart – it is my fleshly nature reacting. I think that some of it comes from my days working as a nurse and having to try to wash and keep clean, over-weight patients. I had compassion but I still had a gag reflex every time. I do try hard to look for positive attributes in people just as you described about your sister – lovely skin, beautiful eyes, nice smile etc. and focus on those. There can be beauty in over-weight people just as there can be ugliness in thin, so-called ‘beautiful’ people. God looks at a person’s heart and so should we.

  5. Cindy Young says

    Red and yellow, black and white, chubby and skinny, deaf and dumb,…they are precious in His sight…..and should be just as precious in ours. What a wonderful tribute to your sister, Gwen. it sounds like you are both blessed to have each other!

  6. Tracey says

    Thank you for this! I stumbled across your blog today just when I needed it! I am the “fat sister”. Thank you for reminding me of my worth. I may be fat but I am not useless. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately and your article really helped. God bless you. Your sister is blessed to have you.

  7. bobbi dougherty says

    What a beautiful post. I wish one of my sisters had written it. :} It is so nice to hear. :)
    Thanks

  8. KRISTY says

    Beautifully said. Thank you so much for writing this. I shared it with my teen daughter to remind her not to judge people, or she will be the one missing out.

  9. Elizabeth Vanden Beukel says

    I read this with tears in my eyes. I am your sister…that’s my story. I’ve tried for years to tell people our weight is just a very small part of who we are. The scale doesn’t weigh our gifts, talents, abilities, passions…it just weighs our body mass. But many people don’t get it and it’s so hard for ME not to buy into the idea that I’m a second rate citizen, that not as good as that other slimmer mother/grandmother.
    You’ve written this article so eloquently and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you!

  10. Shelly Petersen Giron says

    Brava!!! As someone who has had the same struggle and seen the ‘looks,’ I get it! I had bariatric surgery and managed to lose 100 pounds–and keep them off for 5 years. One bad fall and a traumatic brain injury later, and I put 25 back on and I feel nothing but shame. My husband loves me the way I am. My kids tell me I look great, but because of all of the crap that I have put up with, I can’t see myself as beautiful with any extra pounds. I am so glad that I was able to raise my kids to love themselves as they are. They don’t see my self loathing, I keep that to myself and it’s not every day. I don’t know your sister and I love her! You are amazing!

  11. Sarah says

    God bless you! You have written a beautiful tribute to your sister, one which shows how much you respect and love her. Bravo…

  12. Debbi says

    When people look at me and see my weight I often wonder what they think. I am sure there are more who see a woman who eats to omuch and exercises too little instead of a woman fighting MS who is usually in too much pain to move. Who is only at her daughters band concert because she would rather die than miss it and took twice the normal pain meds in order to be there.
    I make a point to learn what is beneath the surface of people. I wish more would do the same.

    Thank you Gwen. Thank you for a little insight into your wonderful sister.

  13. Heidi says

    Gwen, you don’t know how much this means to me. Thank you for writing it. Thank you for telling me how you feel. And thank you for seeing the real me. I love you.

  14. Karen says

    What a lovely tribute! You should not be embarrassed from the compliments. It is a reflection of the love you have for your sister and the relationship you share with her.

  15. Susan says

    This beautiful tribute to your sister shows as much of your character as it does hers. Sounds like you are very lucky to have each other!

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