Charmaine Brown has been in and out of physiotherapy for years, not because of her weight, but because her muscles can easily get overstimulated and tear. Brown is a shirt size 2XL but a pant size 13. She admits her stomach is big, but her size does not slow her down at all.
“Even though I have a large stomach, my legs are not fat,” said Brown.
Overweight people are traditionally associated with being lazy and overeating. Since a controversial video went viral last month, more overweight people are speaking out against that stigma.
In September, Canadian YouTube channel host Nicole Arbour posted a video Dear Fat People. Arbour attempted to “jokingly” tell overweight people that they need to lose a few pounds. The video now has over six million views on YouTube and over 30 million on Facebook.
In the video, Arbour says things like, “they forgot to tell you that plus size stands for plus heart disease, plus knee problems, plus diabetes.” She said an overweight family she met smelled like sausages.
Brown says she works out, but it is not as easy as if someone Arbour’s size does it.
“My heart already works hard to pump blood through my fat body. When I stimulate it, of course it’s going to reach the max heart rate faster than a smaller person,” said Brown. “Our bodies already lift a lot of weight, so we don’t remember that we have to start small.”
Emily Robichaud has been overweight for most of her life and says the video is disrespectful.
“Nicole Arbour’s comments were not at all true and she really needs to check her facts and do a little research before she decides to post a mean video like that.”
But what does the research say?
A long-term UCLA study shows girls called fat at a young age were more likely to become overweight once older.
Due to the increase of fat shaming, The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance has coined a new term: sizeism. According to the association, it is the fourth highest form of discrimination in the United States.
Studies show that fat employees actually receive fewer promotions and may earn less money than thinner coworkers.
A study of over 620 doctors showed that more than five per cent saw obese patients as unattractive, ugly, awkward and noncompliant. A third of those doctors also described their obese patients as being sloppy, lazy, and weak-willed.
Some people are shocked by the concept you don’t have to be skinny to be healthy. Having healthy habits like eating fruits and vegetables while not smoking leads to a longer life, whether you are overweight or not. Since 2005, studies in popular magazines like the New York Times have shown that overweight and slightly obese people tend to live longer than people with a so-called normal weight.
A more body-positive video was posted by Buzzfeed a few days after the Arbour video, titled I’m Fat, But I’m Not… The video features overweight people explaining how they are anything but lazy.
“At the end of the day, people are just people,” the video says. “You never know where someone is with their body. You should have a lot of kindness and empathy for other people and what they’re going through.”
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