By simply scrolling through apps like Tik Tok, a viewer can find comments on great creators ranging from “Well, maybe if you’ve just lost a little …” to “You can easily lose weight if you’re just in a calorie deficit.” Those comments however, they are not made into the videos of thin creators, no one gives them advice on how to “mass”.
It is inappropriate to comment on a person’s weight in general, but it is especially inappropriate to assume that plus size people need to lose weight. There’s a stigma that plus size people are inherently unhealthy, which just isn’t true. A person’s height is not an indicator of their health and wellbeing; Indicators like heart rate and blood pressure give a better picture of a person’s health.
TV shows like My 600 Pound Life created the stigma that all tall people gained weight through their own negligence when there are actually more reasons people gain weight – especially for women and people who identify as women. People can put on weight because of genetic factors, disease, disability, and even birth control, so simply pointing out what someone is eating or how much they are eating as the sole reason for their weight gain and then giving them weight loss advice based on that assumption is offensive and demeaning .
Additionally, since people view weight gain as a personal mistake, they neglect the idea that all people are made differently and gain and lose weight differently. Everyone could be following the exact same diet and fitness routine, but each person will get different results from this diet plan.
While it may seem that people giving weight loss advice to complete strangers on the internet are innocent and helpful, it is actually very anti-fat. Smaller people are not confronted with unsolicited diet recommendations to the same extent as taller people. Smaller people still see comments like, “Oh, you need to eat more,” but they don’t hear these comments as often as taller people hear that they need to lose weight.
In this sense, the question is also raised why people “have to” lose weight. If someone is perfectly healthy at the size they are, what is the motivator to lose weight and why does a total stranger feel the need to tell someone they don’t know needs to lose weight? The comment of losing weight and then offering weight loss advice comes from a place of fat phobia and discomfort at the idea that fat, healthy people can exist.
The final consideration that is ignored is whether someone actually wants to lose weight. There are tall, perfectly healthy people who don’t want to lose weight. This could be because they are comfortable with their appearance, they are recovering from an eating disorder or generally disordered eating habits, or the reason could be private because nobody has to justify their appearance to anyone – especially strangers on the Internet.
Jillian Craig is studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Would you like to talk more about it? Let Jillian know by tweeting her at @ JillianCraig18.