My Mother Taught Me Fat Shame

I’ve struggled with my body image for as long as I can remember. I went through life for years without questioning why I felt like I shouldn’t take up so much space. Now that I’m older, I’ve wondered why I started to think something was wrong with me. When did I realize that fat was a bad word? As I delved into these questions I soon found a link that surprised me…my mother. My mother was a wonderful mom who only wanted the best for me. I do not blame her because I know she was just following the recommendation of my pediatrician who scolded her about my weight each time she took me for a visit. Each time, this led to a new diet plan which resulted in a small weight loss.   In frequent letters and phone calls with my grandmothers, Mom bragged about my older brothers’ achievements, which were many. Then she excitedly shared my latest weight loss results. Looking back now I realize just what message this sent to my young developing psyche…that it was all about my weight! My weight loss would always be my greatest achievement. <— Click to Tweet Of course, within a couple months I always gained the weight back (and more thanks to the negative metabolic effect of dieting). I hated myself for being fat. I hated myself for gaining the weight back. And I hated myself for, in my mind, disappointing my parents. As a child, I didn’t even realize what was happening – and neither did my mom. Instead, we spun through this cycle throughout my adolescence. And as my...