This is Thin Privilege

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Thin Privilege is not feeling obligated to risk your mental health to please your parents

   [TW: abuse, eating disorders, weight loss, body policing]

Hi, I recently found this blog, and I wanted to share something that happened to me.

   I’ll start off by saying that I’ve always been big. I’ve always been tall for my age and I am fairly stocky and muscular despite my height; I’m a big girl in pretty much every sense of the phrase. When I was about 11 years old, my parents separated. The divorce that followed was tumultuous, messy, and something no 11 year old should have to go through. This caused me a lot of grief and stress, so I took comfort in food. Middle school was when I started gaining a lot of weight, and I hated my body as a result. I would daydream about waking up one morning and realizing that all the fat had disappeared overnight, and now I was skinny and pretty like the other, more petite, girls. But this never happened; I have been chubby ever since.

   Once I got to high school, I started to accept my body a little more. I decided that, unless my weight was directly affecting my health, there is no reason to worry about it. I was much happier after I adopted this attitude, and I felt like I had finally made peace with my body.

   However, this didn’t last for long. In the spring of my sophomore year, I was 5’9”, 15 years old, and weighed 196 lbs. I felt fine and I wasn’t experiencing any health problems related to my weight. I was even on the swim and water polo teams at my school. But my (thin) parents suddenly decided that my weight was negatively affecting my health and making me feel like crap, even though I had never even mentioned my weight to them. They sat me down in this weird intervention and told me they were going to put me on a dieting program. They said they were concerned about my health and they told me I would feel much better once I lost weight. I didn’t want to do it, but being reminded of the years of hating my body made it so all I could do was cry and reluctantly agree to it. Looking back, the whole thing involved a lot of manipulation and coercion, despite their good intentions.

   We went to the center for this weight loss program (it’s a well-known one, but I won’t say the name), and after weighing me and measuring my height, they determined (using BMI) that I needed to lose 46 lbs. Long story short, I ended up eating nothing but frozen microwave meals from this company for the better part of a year. I became miserable and depressed. I missed my dad’s home-cooked meals. I hated not being able to eat what everyone else was eating and I felt excluded. I began to hate my body again, too. When I stopped losing weight as rapidly as when I started and my weight plateaued, I felt like a failure. It didn’t help that I was also dealing with undiagnosed depression and anxiety at the time. People kept asking me if I felt any better after losing 20 pounds, but I didn’t feel any different physically, I just felt worse mentally. It got to a point where, after meals, I would think about going to the bathroom and forcing myself to vomit. I never actually did, fortunately, but I thought about it all the time. It scared me.

   About 8 months in, my dad told me he could no longer afford to buy the planned meals anymore, and I stopped the program. This may have been true, but I think he also sensed how unhappy I was. I am now going on 17, I have not been on a diet since, and I am so much happier. Since then, I sought treatment for my mental problems and am learning to accept my body again. I’ve probably gained all the weight back, but I don’t care. I much prefer the feeling of being able to order a milkshake unapologetically and without feeling like a sinner (This is partially thanks to the body positive movement on tumblr. And people say “sjw’s” don’t accomplish anything…). I’ve realized the diet programs are bullshit and they profit off of people who have been taught by society that they won’t be loved or valued unless they are skinny. My problems haven’t disappeared, but leaving the toxic “dieting culture” behind was a great, big step in the right direction. However, it still makes me fucking livid that I was pressured into doing it in the first place, by people who care about me.

I don’t really know how to phrase this in a thin privilege sort of way, but I saw something that actively kinda pissed me off earlier. In Supernatural S9E08, Sam and Dean go to a chastity support group as part of their investigation. One of the women in the group is fat. After the meeting while they are talking to some of the people who were present, the larger woman is seen in the background at the snack table taking some cookies. At that point the camera actually zoomed in to show that she was wrapping up six cookies into a napkin and placing them in her purse, at which point the group leader excused herself to go stop said fat woman.

It was never brought up again, and the character was not seen anywhere else in the episode. She literally just existed for a “lol fatties hoard all the junk foods!” moment. Totally ripped me out of what is normally one of my favorite shows.

Hm…

So I was watching the first episode of Drop Dead Diva because my friend recommended it to me. I was, however, a little disgruntled by the fact that the first time you meet the lawyer—an intelligent, pretty ‘overweight’ (the show’s blurb’s word choice) girl—is when she’s reaching into a fridge, right past a grapefruit and straight for a cinnamon roll. She bites into it and makes a big show of how much she’s enjoying it. Contrary to that choice of breakfast, the thin and perfect girl who [quote] has never been more than a size two [unquote] (even though she looked more than a two to me….) was eating grapefruit. 

Could that get any more insulting or stereotypical? Because she’s fat, she HAS to be eating a cinnamon roll, and she HAS to make faces while she eats it because she’s enjoying it SO much. 

Reading your blog has called to my attention these kinds of things, things I perhaps wouldn’t have noticed before. The stories featured on here are heartbreaking but I’m hoping that due to the bravery of the individuals who have shared their stories, more awareness will spread. This sort of stereotyping shouldn’t even exist, but unfortunately it does. 

Today I spent a lot of time on the internet reading rider requests (the list of stuff the musicians and their teams need at a venue to perform, including technical equipment, security, transportation, dressing room stuff, etc.) because I am incredibly nosy and quarantined with pinkeye.  They’re all pretty similar after a while—pork-free deli platters, SUVs with drivers and captain seats, throat coat tea, nice booze, clean dressing rooms.  Adele’s stood out, because she asked that everyone who received a complimentary ticket to one of her shows be required to donate twenty dollars to charity.  But all the commenters on her rider wanted to talk about was the food on her list.  I’m no music-industry expert, but from the hour I’ve wasted reading this stuff I’ve learned it’s expected for A-list performers to request a shit ton of food and drinks, not just for themselves, but for their crew, entourage, and guests.  Adele, because she is an A-list performer, requested the usual shit ton of booze and food for herself and her people.  But she’s fat, so she must be hording ALL the food, and eating ALL of it, by herself, every night, at every show.  Obviously.  The comments are filled with crap like, “she’ll never lose weight eating and drinking like that,” and “why didn’t she include workout equipment?” (a request I have yet to see on ANY of the riders I’ve seen so far for musicians, fat or thin).  All because she had the audacity to ask for two bottles of nice red wine and bite-sized assorted chocolate bars, like every other freaking famous musician like her, ever.  Because no matter how talented, hardworking, and successful someone is, they are are always FAT first.

Thanks, brother

Thin privilege is the ability to talk about moving out of your house, without having someone tell you if you stopped eating so much you could afford it.

I’ve always been a big girl, and I’m recently trying to change my hatred of myself. However living in a family full of large people who are also as self hating as yourself, it’s extremely hard. I was discussing moving out of the house into an apartment, and my brother decided to chime in with his two cents. “If you stopped buying so much food you could actually save money and move out.” When I come back with how I’m trying to live my life in a body positive mind frame and that his opinion wasn’t needed or requested, I got a scoff in return followed by “I’m in a lot better place than you right now,” (he’s lost some weight because he works in a warehouse) “but whatever keep living in the dark. It’s health advice, I don’t care if you’re fat, you aren’t healthy.”

Thin privilege is the ability to feel comfortable to talk about anything money related without being told to not spend money on food. Thin privilege is being openly body positive without having someone’s ‘concern’ about your health because they think you’re too heavy.

(On mobile, so can’t just submit)
Thin privilege is you family not hounding you when food disappears at a regular pace. 
My family consists of somewhat big people, but my mom had been sick, my dad had to change his diet because of diabetes, and my brother is playing football and lifting weights. So they have all been losing weight… I’m on hormonal birth control, so I have been gaining weight. 

My dad bought some boxes of yoohoo (for my mom, brother and I). This was the first time we have had them. My brother had his last night.I had mine that morning. My mom had yet to have one. My family saw that there was one yoohoo left and instead of realizing that this is how elementary school math works, they stay yelling at me demanding to know how many I had instead of just asking if my brother had one, and start telling me that I eat too much of everything (even though I eat about as much as them)and that I’m just greedy and lazy which just makes my depression worse when they already know I’m suicidal…

the societal challenge to end obesity among children, the number one nutrition-related problem in the US” <—- Actual text from federal research website. This sort of thing is incredibly common in research and the way researchers talk about obesity (when I am in the room, even) is still upsetting every time.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I’d rank things like, say, food insecurity a little bit higher on that list. 

And yes, I get that from a purely numbers-game perspective, there may be more fat people than people dealing with food insecurity (btw overlapping groups) but I think it shows pretty clearly how the US prioritizes these things. 

I had a job last year, working as a cook in an Italian restaurant. My job was making the desserts; gelato, fancy cakes, mousse, tiramisu, and chocolate truffles. I enjoyed the work and I was quite good at it. We reused a lot of old containers to store things around my workstation, and they usually weren’t labeled, because whatever was put in them that day was used up by that night. I kept a good tally in my head about which container contained what, cookie crumbs, or decorations for various desserts. On any given day, I might have 20 different containers of components to decorate with, and I have to remember what each one has. 

One day, I made a new batch of 4 dozen chocolate truffles and put them in a container. There they sat for a few hours until dessert orders came pouring in. My boss came over to help me when things got slammed and fill orders for me. Suddenly, he needs truffles. I point out the exact container they’re in and he fetches it, only to open it and discover cookies. What on earth? But I knew the truffles were in THAT one. I’m so baffled, I open the next few on the shelf and come up empty handed every time. 

My boss starts screaming, “WHERE ARE THE TRUFFLES [MY NAME]?!” Again and again, every time I open a new container. I went through every container we had, and started going through containers that were in a different area, absolutely panicked. What happened to them, I know I put them here just four hours ago. “WHERE ARE THE TRUFFLES,” still going off a foot away, with my boss more and more enraged that they’re not where I left them. I’m confused too. 

My thin coworker walks up, with a container in her hands and gives it to me, “they were over there,” she says and points at her own workstation a good ten feet away. No explanation how they got over there, no apology, no nothing. Just that they were “over there.” and I never saw her or anyone else take that container over there. Finally, we get the truffles down and everything proceeds smoothly. 

Later, I excuse myself to the bathroom, but it’s occupied so I return to my station to continue my job and wait for the restroom to be free, when I overhear my boss tell the female coworker, “For a minute there, I thought [my name] had eaten all the truffles!” Coworker responds with, “With her body, I’d be worried too.” 

I was so shocked, hurt, confused and stunned, I spent an extra amount of time in the bathroom, wondering what had just happened. I’m good at my job, I don’t graze from my work, that’s cutting into my own wages and is quite literally, stealing.After my shift, and talking to a different co-worker, I find out that thin coworker stole the truffles from my station and was eating/stealing them for hours until we needed them. 

Yet, was my thin coworker ever accused of eating all the food from her workstation? From stealing food of customer’s plates? 

This is thin privilege, to not be guilty of stealing food when you are literally guilty of it, and I’m automatically guilty simply because I’m fat. 

I was later fired from that job, with the implication that a lot of food was going missing and that it wasn’t cost effective for them to keep me on the payroll. Thin coworker still works there to this day. 

Thin privilege is not having a mental schedule of when it’s “safe” to eat. 

Thin privileged is being hungry, but wondering if enough time has elapsed for you to be “allowed” to eat again. 

Thin privilege is not having to weigh how hungry you are versus whether or not it’s worth it to have to get food in front of your parents, and how likely you are to be harassed for it. 

[tw for eating disorders, maybe??]

I used to be on a really strict diet, or I guess it was more of almost an ED, where I ate

  • two bites of an apple (I threw the rest away)
  • a slice of vegetarian deli meat, a piece of lettuce and mustard rolled together
  • a single cracker with a quarter teaspoon of sunflower seed butter (I measured)

During the couple of months I ate like this, I really did not lose any noticeable amount of weight. I stayed fat (like a size 18) the whole time, and I did this for like 10 or 12 weeks. 

Soooo, I guess what I’m saying is that being fat isn’t necessarily caused by what you eat.

Trigger Warning! : Rapid weight loss, depression, 

Thin Privilege is not being surprised when clothes start getting looser and having everyone act like weight lose due to depression is a good thing. 

I recently fell into a depression because I had to leave my home and husband while we go threw immigration. Today I put on some shorts that were a bit tight when I first bought them and found them to be a bit saggy. My weight has always fluctuated but I have always remained a fat girl, this being said I was surprised because I had just wore these shorts a week ago and they were not this loose which means I lost a lot of weight in a little amount of time. When I brought this up to my mother she acted as if I should be happy that I am shedding so much weight so quickly. I’m not happy because it’s a side effect of my depression and loosing to much weight to quickly is more harmful that good. I’m fat because I love food and I love to eat and because my family is primarily fat people with the skinny ones being married and when I am unhappy, depressed, and miserable I don’t eat. I lose my appetite and desire to feed myself. This is NOT a good thing and I don’t appreciate people telling me that it’s a good thing to be depressed if it means I lose weight.

Fatphobic 4th of July with family

Sorry, this is gonna be a long one. I have to let it all out.

This 4th of July I had to spend with my grandparents and my mom. So we went out to dinner that evening. I thought it would be nice to be out enjoying the nice day. Anyway, the entire time, my grandmother kept focusing on my weight while I was eating stating that I was losing weight or some bullshit. I explained to her that I was not dieting and do not care to diet because they don’t work. She just kept focusing on my size the entire dinner. I felt so uncomfortable about it. It just made me so angry because instead of at least asking about other things in my life. The only thing she cares about is my weight. I love my granny, but she is a pain to deal with sometimes. She is obsessed with weight, I mean OBSESSED to the point that she says she needs to diet and only wants to eat grapefruit because she wants to stay thin. She is freakin 80 years old. Why is she so concerned about staying thin instead of worrying about other things? I just dont get it.

Later that night, she asked my mom what we eat and stuff and my mom said that we ate a burger the other day. My granny was like “you don’t need to feed her a burger ever. That is the wrong thing to be giving her!” Basically, because I am fat, I am not supposed to eat what is seen as unhealthy food, but they eat the SAME foods all the time. I am fucking 26 years old and do not need someone to tell me how to eat for my damn body. I know how to properly feed myself, I dont need a teacher. People seem to think that fat people are stupid and dont know how to take care of ourselves. I hate to say this, but I am sick and fucking tired of people concern trolling me and thinking that I want to be thin and that I should be thin.

The whole entire day was a mess because she constantly keeps focusing on my food intake and what I eat and how much I eat. Then she keeps talking about my body all the fucking time saying that my legs are big and how she has thin skinny legs. I feel like a fucking joke because she just thinks talking about me is alright. I have told her numerous times that I dont like the way she is treating me, but she says “I’m being too sensitive and that she didnt mean it.” I hate fucking thin privilege and I am really angry right now, because I want to be treated as a person not a caricature of stereotypes that people associate with us. I want to be HUMAN! I want to be real and I want to be treated like a person!!!! Is it that hard for people to understand? Even family members?

Thin privilege is never being insulted for giving money to a homeless person.

The other day I was eating lunch at the front of a coffee shop, when a homeless man approached me and asked for some change. I happily obliged, giving him a few dollars (it was all I had left in my purse). But instead of thanking me, he said, “That’s all you’re giving me? What, are you saving the rest of your money to stuff your fat face some more?!”

I was so shocked, I almost felt like crying. Even when fat people do a good deed, we are still faced with hatred and fatphobia. It’s sad how a single comment can ruin an enjoyable lunch break. :(

Gluten Free

Recently I have started a gluten free diet because I have a suspected gluten-intolerance (not the same as Celiac FYI) but it’s not 100% proven because I would have to pay a specialist a ridiculous amount of money to be allergy tested ($800 AU). My GP said that he believed I probably had a gluten intolerance and to adopt a gluten free diet for the foreseeable future as I told him that already doing so had helped with my symptoms considerably. Unfortunately, blood tests cannot diagnose an allergy to gluten, it will only detect Celiac Disease.

Anyway, so I haven’t been eating gluten for quite some time now and it’s made me feel so much better, a big indicator that this was what made me feel tired and gave me stomach cramps that were so bad I had to stay at home from University. But now of course, I have to ask when I go out to eat if certain things are gluten free and I have to explain to people that I don’t eat gluten.

And the number one response? Not ‘oh, are you Celiac? Are you allergic to wheat?’ or something like that. No, nearly every single time the reaction is ‘is it because you’re on one of those diets or something?’ or ‘are you doing it to lose weight?’.

And I have to wonder; would I get these questions if I wasn’t fat? I am small fat, what you would probably call an in-between person (about 50% of the time I fit into the top end of straight-size clothing, depending on the store) but I am also a big person. I’m tall with wide shoulders and hips. I doubt that I would if I looked like the other two people I know who have the same condition, both of whom are below 5’5” and are size 8-10 (I don’t know what that is in US sizes, sorry!)

Another thing that has annoyed me too is looking up gluten free recipes and being bombarded with “GREAT WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT” and “LOW FAT AND GREAT FOR YOU!” as the number one selling points of these products or recipes. Why should laying off gluten immediately be about being thin and therefore some sort of ‘good person’?

Thin privilege is being able to have special dietary requirements and not have people assume this is because you are trying to lose weight.

Oh, and I haven’t lost any weight since the change in my diet. Funny, that.