Wednesday, June 18, 2014

An open letter to the random guy at HEB yesterday who encouraged me to make lifestyle changes, for my health

Dear Sir,

I am so sorry for having the gall to flaunt my fat body in public. Granted, I was wearing a floor-length skirt and fairly modest shirt so I'm not sure whether “flaunt” is the right word, but given your tone the sight of me in a burka would still have probably been an assault on your eyes. I'm sorry the neckline of my shirt was betraying a hint of cleavage. Rest assured, sir, that I was not “trying to be sexy” nor do I think that that “makes up for my fat ass.” To be perfectly honest with you, it is sometimes difficult to make sure that 100% of my chest is 100% covered all the time. Rather a lot of surface area, you see, but I do make an effort.

I'm sorry I disgust you. I appreciate your concern over my romantic life, but allow me to reassure you that I'm doing okay in that regard. Even though in general, as you so eloquently put it, “no man wants to get up on a whale like you,” my husband appears to be the exception to that rule.

Yes, I was buying a Hershey Symphony bar. Terribly unhealthy, I know. Usually I wouldn't share such details with you, but I am on my period and, as a caricature of a woman, I was craving chocolate. I certainly won't try to justify it or in any way claim it to be a healthy choice. It isn't. My reasons for buying it were purely emotional and a matter of habit; I buy myself a bar (or two) of chocolate once a month around this time.

I certainly agree with you that eating McDonalds all the time is unhealthy, but to be frank I'm not sure where you get off assuming that I eat McDonalds. I haven't set foot in a McDonalds in a year and a half. In fact, the only times I have eaten fast food in the past year and a half have been the occasional baked potato from Wendy's, when on road trips and such. You see, I have celiac disease and couldn't “stuff my face with hamburgers” even if I wanted to. You also said that I should stop being lazy and learn to cook a home-cooked meal. Well, you will be pleased to learn that in fact I do know how to cook a home-cooked meal! I would be happy to challenge you to a cook-off anytime. I am not confident in certain of my abilities, but as far as my cooking goes I am fairly sure of myself. I cook dinner for myself and my husband 29 days out of 30. I will admit, however, that we do make room in our budget to go out to eat once a month at one of three local restaurants with options that are safe for me to eat. You know, with the celiac disease and all. Now, my home-cooked meals aren't always as full of lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables as I wish they were. Regrettably, such ingredients are quite expensive and we do try to be frugal. I do, however, do my best to make sure that the meals I prepare are nutritious and balanced, even if I do have to use canned and frozen vegetables from time to time.

You also suggested that I should “put down the potato chips, get off the couch, and exercise.” Well again, sir, allow me to assure you that I rarely if ever buy potato chips and I do make an effort to exercise regularly. I don't manage it every day, but I do exercise for an hour three or four times a week. Now, I don't do this exercising at the gym. I exercise behind closed doors, with my hand weights and Jillian Michaels videos, or I go for long walks. When I go for walks, though, I have to be careful to make sure that I don't look like I'm doing it for exercise. Slightly ridiculous, I know, but in my experience when I exercise in public I am bombarded by insults from people like you. It's a shame, because I really would like to get into heavier strength training than what I do now and wish I could join a gym so as to have access to the necessary equipment. However, I am given to understand that unless I am already in good shape when I join a gym, the experience will not be a good one. I went to a local gym a few months ago, because I was considering risking it and joining one anyway. Regrettably, I was promptly accosted by a personal trainer who asked whether I was looking for a personal trainer and, when I answered that for financial reasons I was not at that time, said I was just a lazy cow who just wanted a gym membership to feel good about herself but would never do anything to lose weight. Needless to say, I did not return.

Here's the thing, random guy at HEB. I know I'm fat. I certainly don't need you to tell me that. I am not making excuses or blaming genetics. I am actively making an effort to become healthier—not to become thin and not to make myself more attractive to men (and believe me, I use the word lightly in your case), but to improve my quality of life and strengthen my body. You do not know me, and you do not know my background. It is not your place to go up to random strangers at the supermarket, fat-shame them, and claim it's out of genuine concern for their health, much like it is not my place to comment on the fact that you reek of tobacco, your cart is full of beer, and you have a belly to match (even though you are increasing your risk for liver disease and lung cancer, and are also a disgusting hypocrite). You are fatter than me, yet because I am a woman you think it is okay to hold me to a different standard than the one to which you apparently hold yourself. This is not okay, and this will never be okay.

So I propose the following: You will mind your own damn business, and I will mind mine.

Have a nice day, asshole.


The fat chick in the candy aisle