The power of words… and what I HOPE I’m teaching my kids…

Did you know that your words have power?  They do.  and with any power, you can choose to use it for good or evil… you’re call.  we have free will after all… and that pesky freedom of speech thing too.

Lately, there has been lots of talk in and around my “circle of influence” about word choices that push a button for me.  I’ve stayed quiet because I REALLY DO NOT LIKE DRAMA and because I’m not sure that I really have a “right” to weigh in.  It started with what appears to be – IN MY OPINION a half-baked marketing plan to promote a book with a chapter titled “Money is allergic to fat people”

now, I happen to know some very wealthy people who also happen to be overweight or even obese so clearly money isn’t allergic to ALL fat people… but it’s the mindset that bugs me.  The argument I’ve seen talks a lot about the word choice of “fat” but that’s honestly not where it hits home for me.  There are NUMEROUS studies out there talking about how overweight and obese women make less than their fitter counterparts.  Those same studies; however, find that the reverse is true for overweight men. Interesting…. So it’s not that money is allergic to “fat people” apparently, money is only allergic to overweight women.  hmmm… now before you get all crazy, I’m sure that there are men out there who will disagree – I’m just relaying information – don’t kill the messenger.  Also, I’d like to point out that there are other factors that relate to the size of your paycheck – most of which you have VERY little control over – height, symetry, etc.

But alas, I digress.

The bigger problem – as I see it – is the attitude.  and it is RAMPANT.  The idea that someone who is fat, obese, overweight, fluffy, curvy, big-boned, pick-your-own-word-of-choice is somehow “less-than” or undeserving.

We see the stares of disappointment all around us- even from our own bathroom or dressing room mirrors.  We know you judge us.  We hear your not so quiet whispers.  You think you are better.

In fact, I was heart broken last night when someone I held in a very high regard took to facebook to say something along the lines of  seeing a billboard that said ‘Obesity is a disease not a decision’.  He then went on to comment about wondering who’s running around with a gun making people eat.  I was devastated.  comments flooded this post prior to him removing it and the majority were giving virtual high fives and using words like “lazy” and saying that all obese people should just “put down the KFC and stop going to McDonald’s” … oh if only it were that easy.

Another comment on the post said that by ‘claiming’ that obesity is a disease, we are adopting a victim mentality… WHAT?

Here’s my thoughts on the whole debacle…

  • disclaimer – I am NOT a “fitness blogger” just a girl on a journey
  • disclaimer – no one asked for my opinion
  • disclaimer – I’m not picking sides – consider me Switzerland.  These are my opinions and are not meant to support or contradict anyone else’s post on the subject.

As anyone who has ever struggled with dis-ordered eating, it CAN feel like you have a gun to your head.  You feel lost and helpless and it is even worse when you don’t know what’s wrong with you.  I grew up with some of those feelings but had no way to identify them or even recognize it was a problem.  The message I received was that I was weak and undisciplined because I was constantly trying to fill a void with food.  It was my coping mechanism.  and even though I knew what I needed to do, I felt powerless.  It is cyclical… feel bad… eat… feel bad about eating… eat some more until I would just stop eating.  and then that would be followed by eating every thing in sight and the cycle would continue.

I actually believed that I was weak.  I believed that I should have the strength to control these episodes like “everyone else” was.  I felt like there was something wrong with me but had no way to identify it…and without identifying it, I couldn’t address it.  It wasn’t until I ‘met’ Leah Segedie and joined the Mamavation Sistahood that I finally figured out what the hell was going on with me…  I was no longer powerless.  I knew my enemy.  I could create a game plan and FINALLY for the first time in… well, forever-ish feel like I am in control.  I didn’t see my obesity as a disease that made me a victim, instead it now had a face and when you know your enemy, you can fight your enemy.

Words have power

MY OPINION – I personally think that the word “Fat” should only be used to describe a THING – never a person.  That’s my opinion.  You might disagree and say something along the lines of “If the shoe fits” or “the truth hurts” but I believe that you CAN be truthful without being harmful.  Knocking people – any people- down is counter productive and that’s exactly what happens when you use generic blanket statements or resort to name-calling.  There are a plethora of other words once widely accepted as a way to describe certain groups of people that you would be drawn and quartered for using now.  Words that have a negative connotation… and that’s what calling me ‘Fat’ feels like.  I know – it’s 3 little letters… but in my mind, and I’m sure in the minds of others, when someone calls me fat, I hear them call me fat, lazy, worthless, less-than… the list can go on but you get the idea and this post is long enough already.

What I hope I’m teaching my kids – choose your words carefully and think before you speak.  Period.  Think of others.  Have compassion.  Until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, you have no idea what they are struggling with and WE ALL struggle.

YOU matter

MY OPINION – Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?  think about THAT for a minute… I’ve been hurt by a few select people and their insensitive remarks. That said, I can choose to hang on to those feelings of resentment and anger or I can choose to let it go.  Hanging on to negative feelings only hurts me… I can sit here and judge those involved, condemn their lack of compassion, question their motives… but at the end of the day, who does that really hurt?

What I hope I’m teaching my kids – You matter.  You matter to me and most of all, you should matter to YOU.  If something is hurting you, remove it from your world or remove yourself from the situation where you can.   At the same time, sometimes, you have to speak for those who can’t find their voice.  Speak your truth but do so from a loving place because when you fight fire with fire, you both get burned.

Accidents Happen

MY OPINION – I tend to have a bad case of “Foot-in-mouth” syndrome… (pass the ketchup please) and I know that I have said things in the past that have hurt and offended.  I know that I have been thoughtless in my word choice because I’m human (I know… you are shocked) I also know that when someone tells me how I’ve hurt/offended/whatever them by my words or actions, I take it to heart.  A fixer by nature, I want to fix it and make it right… and that isn’t how the entire world sees things…

What I hope I’m teaching my kids – The most important words you can say to someone might just be “I’m Sorry” – but only if you mean it.  In order to mean it, you HAVE to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective.  An apology means nothing if it is followed with a “but” as in – “I’m sorry I broke your toy, but you were being mean to me” that just places blame back on the other person and in effect says – I’m not sorry – you deserved it – I’m justified.  Even if you didn’t mean to hurt/offend/whatever someone else, if they ARE hurt/offended/whatever, and they perceive you as the cause, you should apologize – a simple “I’m sorry I made you feel that” can go a LONG  way.

I don’t know that there’s anything of value here in my ramblings… I guess what I’m saying is be aware.  Becompassionate.  You can have a significant impact on the life of another and only you can choose whether or not that impact empowers or destroys.  If another struggles with something you’ve never dealt with (or even if you have) don’t presume that you have all the answers.  Build up… don’t knock down and let’s take a moment to spread a little love.

And… in the wise words of thumper…

“If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all”



  1. I love this post. I think all of us need to write something like this to get it all out this week. We’ve had to deal with so much hate from the outside world about this very issue.

    We all have so much to contribute in this community. And just the fact that we are all holding hands and holding each other strong regardless of the ignorance out there just shows that we are what matters. Our community rocks! We rock!

    Here’s something you may not have known about me. I don’t have any grandpas, but I have two grandmas. Both strong women. They are very different on the ignorance scale. My grandma on my dad’s side is deathly afraid of black people because she’s a racist. I don’t deny that AT ALL. This same woman goes to church and sings songs and prays daily, but she has hate in her heart. My grandma on my mom’s side is the opposite. She loves everyone and her Irish Catholic blood means she has a temper and fears NO ONE. And by the way, don’t get in her way when someone has been wronged. She’s knock you down. She cusses daily and goes to confession just as often. One I have LOADS of respect for. And one of them I’ve learned a great deal from. But it’s really about who’s heart is open and fair to others.

    I love you. You always have a friend in me. XXOO

  2. Yup, this. X40.

    Nicely put 🙂

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