Let’s talk about the Before Fat Now Thin (BFNT) people for a minute, shall we?
I have noticed that friends and internetizens who have the most vitriol, the most hate and derision towards fat people are the BFNTs. Oh holy hell are they sanctimonious:
“You know why I am not fat? It’s because I worked my ass off!!!”
“You can lose weight if you tried you are just lazy just like I was!”
“I’ll kill myself before I let myself get like that again”
“You could really do it if you wanted to, I did.”
The BFNT is often more full of loathing, disgust, and prejudice than regular thin people towards the fat community. But I will let you in on a secret; the BFNT has a whole lifetime of self-loathing, hate, shame and rage that he now projects onto other fat people. The BFNT never worked through his body image issues psychologically so those feelings have to go somewhere, they don’t just disappear. Since the hate and shame do not disappear it usually ends up being projected onto other fat people. Every message, every shaming sentence every taunt the BFNT experienced by society filled up an internalized rubbish bin of fat hatred that now can be dumped onto other fat people, Since he is no longer fat, that all has to go somewhere, doesn’t it?
This is not about fat people; this is all about the BFNT still hating themselves and accepting the message society has delivered to him.
Additionally, the BFNT strives to distance himself from the fat community. “I am not like THEM anymore.” He has now reached the island of thin and if he hates enough if he judges enough then that will be enough to remain thin. Just like the schoolyard friend who denies the nerd is his buddy in front of the cool people, the BFNT distances himself from the fat community as he believes it will help him gain better acceptance to the land of thin so he can just forget all about that nasty fat past. “I am not like them anymore… and never will be.”
Subsequently, if the BFNT then becomes a re-fatted person (RFP) the resulting emotions of letting oneself down, failure, regret, hiding, and emotional turmoil are debilitating. He has become again the person he hated and has rejoined the community of people he judged without mercy. From here he has several choices, 1. get back on that dieting horse now re-internalizing the hate and shame hiding from friends and family, eating a lot of crow. 2. give up and live in a place of fat loathing self flagellation with every large size shirt and hiding from the camera or 3. fat acceptance.
I love catching the RFPs on the downswing because it is through their now burgeoning compassion, empathy for the struggle to maintain a health body image and humbled aspect that I find fat acceptance to be very powerful for them. It’s finally here that I can whisper data, studies, scientific facts which tells them, “You are not a failure, dieting has failed you.” And from this place of absolute break down we can build something healthier, wiser and so much more loving of themselves and others.