health

"The moment I was fat shamed while I was struggling with anorexia."

WARNING: This post contains discussions of eating disorders.

As soon as the words came out of her mouth I felt my blood boil in a way that it never had before; “you’re too fat”. Three simple words that were said in nothing more than a joking context by a work colleague at the time.

I had never been fat-shamed before and it took all of my energy not to smack her right across the smug face or burst into tears. Not only was I furious because, as everyone knows, it’s never appropriate to joke about someone’s weight, but also because at the time I had spent the last six months in the downward spiral of an anorexia relapse.

READ: “The worst fight I’ve ever had with my parents was over how my dinner would be cooked.”

Those three words sent my undernourished brain into a tailspin. At the best of times my thoughts were all over the place and I couldn’t tell where Madelaine finished and anorexia began but, in that moment, I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach. I was frozen.

While I angrily vented to a number of people throughout the day during which I received reassurance that it wasn’t true, I couldn’t help but be furious that someone had voiced my biggest insecurity. It was like going on X Factor only to find out you are tone deaf.

You see it wasn’t common knowledge that I was suffering with an eating disorder; that I could tell you the caloric content of everything I had eaten that week, what I weighed everyday for the last six months, or exactly where I sat on the BMI chart (which FYI is total BS). Maybe that’s what offended my eating disordered voice the most; that despite all of the hard work and effort it had apparently not made a difference.

Anne Tonner talks to Mia Freedman about watching her daughter struggle from anorexia. Post continues after audio…

While I later received a half-hearted apology which resulted in a number of uncomfortable days working together, I can honestly say that I am over a month into my eating disorder recovery and accepting my body and all that it can do for the first time in a long time.

I would like to take this opportunity to make a public service announcement that, no matter your intention, it is never, ever OK to fat-shame somebody.

If you or a loved one is suffering with an eating disorder, Mamamia urges you to contact The Butterfly Foundation. You can also receive crisis support by phoning Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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