Monday evening, I got a call from a local man who was looking for me to do a group session with his wife and daughter. ‘Tim’ had received a referral to me but had heard I “was tough”. His real concern was his 14-year-old daughter who was currently Zooming school at home and had apprehension about attending high school for the first time in January in person. He was booking this as a group family session because he didn’t want her to feel singled out for being overweight and wanted her to feel comfortable.
“Tim how overweight is your daughter, and you do know obesity runs in family’s correct, bad eating habits, lack of movement, etc?” Honestly his talking around the facts was getting to me.
“Oh, she is not obese, she used to do soccer when she was younger and was always athletic, now just has a few extra pounds and in our house, we are very about body positivity.”
He should have given me a barf bag.
“Tim, stop it. What is her height and her weight.”
“She is about 5’4” and 175.”
“Tim your daughter is clinically obese but that isn’t the worst of it. Your ‘body positivity’ house policy I know has positively made your daughter prone to health problems such as diabetes, heart and respiratory conditions and her poor eating habits are wreaking havoc on her skin and changing hormones of becoming a young woman. She cries herself to sleep at night because she is fat and feels no one will like her while she tries to hide her body in large sweats and looks at the skinny girls in their cut off t-shirts and wonders, why not me? And instead of getting her on a good diet and an exercise regime, you tell her it’s all ok and how much you love her the way she is, and she becomes more depressed and now you are finally concerned because you see that depression in her and are worried. You should have been worried when she was 10lbs overweight and not waiting until it was 50lbs. Because that is what she is, 50lbs overweight. So, Tim, how overweight are you and your wife?”
He was completely silent. I actually thought he had hung up and had to check the phone to see if he was still there.
I could hear him crying now. I had been harsh, but I was pissed. This ‘body positivity’ kills and needs to be stopped. We have a national epidemic of overweight and obese people who are struggling physically and mentally, and we are ignoring it to not hurt people’s feelings now.
I told him to call me back when the family felt ready to tackle the truth of their obesity problem and hung up.
He hasn’t called back, yet. Maybe I was harsh but at least made an impression that I hope one day helps him and his daughter. As a former fat girl, I so get the lost lonely feeling she has and even though I am not a religious person, I pray this poor girl finds what I did, joy in moving my body which freed my mind.