People who are overweight are carrying so much more than extra pounds. They carry shame. Guilt. Embarrassment. Hurt. There is this sense of having failed in a very real sense, and it can take an immense amount of courage to even step out into the light of day.
The reasons people become overweight may differ. I gained 25 lbs while counting calories and breastfeeding on top of the 45 lbs I had left over from my pregnancy. For another person, it may be that they lose weight while dieting, only to gain it back plus more.
I've heard others still who say that they don't know how to lose weight. Others have disabilities, and for them, moving around is very difficult. There are thyroid and hormonal issues, and for many of us, we put weight on very easily.
Perfect strangers often feel they have the liberty to speak about a struggle that is on display for all to see, and people online can post mean comments about pictures that we post. People measure our worth as a person based on the number on the scale, even though there is a human soul at the mercy of these verbal attacks.
Not every battle we fight is this public, and most of us take pains to hide the things we are most sensitive about. Overweight people do not have this luxury. Shaming overweight people is an often socially accepted form of bullying, and it can drive a person to consider the unthinkable.
Shame has effects that go deep and that can cause people to feel worthless and unworthy of anything good.
We wouldn't think of shaming someone who overeats but whose body does not show it. When you see an overweight person, you are likely seeing someone who is in pain, both physically and emotionally.
You are seeing someone who tries more than others realize and who also needs to be accepted like everyone else. The struggle with health is no worse than the struggle with any other problem, and overweight people don't deserve the vitriol.
There are endless, unseen problems with clothing, especially pantyhose. You search for a piece of clothing and end up going online to try to find the desired item. On some websites, I'm a 2X, and on another, I'm an XXXXXL.
I can't make this stuff up.
I can't find a belt that fits.
But I'm grateful for retailers that carry attractive clothing in larger sizes. Even so, there are many times I have not wanted to appear in photos, as if I was not even part of a particular event or social.
And in the world of documenting everything on social media, we, ourselves, can remain conspicuously absent.
We become the ones always behind the camera, the ones telling everyone to smile. If we're not careful, years can roll by without our ever appearing in any of our own digital memories.
Many of us use profile pictures from years ago, when we were a smaller size, or we use a picture of our cat.
Many people have been taught that they're not living up to their full potential as people because of their pant size, and many still are waiting to lose the weight so that their life can 'begin'.
This leads to wasted time and sitting on the sidelines, because you are not 'allowed' to participate in the theater of life.
This leads to a person of size feeling they are invisible.
Unable to be seen.
If this is you, please know you are more than your pant size. God loves you so much He sent His son to die for you, and this is not a superficial love. You are a daughter of the King and such behavior is beneath you. You are worth so much more, valued above rubies (Prov 31:10).
Many people, in the guise of caring about the overweight person's physical health, completely overlook how their emotional health will be affected with the weight of their unkind words.
We're dealing with other people's souls.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
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About the Author
Rosa A. Hopkins has hosted radio shows on 11 Christian stations, is a writer of gospel songs, has promoted Heartbeat legislation, and is a singer and songwriter. Her writings can also be found on her Facebook page. Join 18,000 other readers here.
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