At least 100 times since I've started my vigilante effort to help women quit dieting, I've encountered people who oppose the idea.
They look at me skeptically and say things like, "fat people are lazy." They believe that if someone is not trying to diet, the heavens punish them with extra weight. They believe fat people only exist because they failed to abide by [insert diet of choice].
Last week we talked about shame. I talked about all the reasons that shame doesn't work to make you thinner. Just like shame doesn't work for you, it doesn't work for other people.
I'm going to use the systemic and complicated problem of poverty to explain why.
1. It looks like giving up but it's not.
We often feel like quitting the guilt and shame we feel for failing our diets is basically the same as "giving up." The equivalent in capitalism would be like becoming a "welfare queen."
Have you ever met somebody who is truly poor? They will stop at nothing to get out of it. I mean hate or love it, but that's the game.
To quote, the great 50 cent, "I wanna live good, so shit, I sell dope for a fo-finger ring. One of them gold ropes."
Poor people already definitely feel crappy about not having enough. It would NOT be COOL to tell somebody who is working at McDonalds that they really should finish their college degree and work somewhere else. It's similarly rude to talk to a paying customer in McDonalds that they should not be eating there even if you're "concerned" for their health.
Like we talked about last week, the feeling bad is actually useless. Feeling bad about being poor or feeling badly about being fat or feeling badly about eating french fries doesn't actually make you better.
2. We're looking for simple solutions but they're not that simple.
Another thing one-percent-ers like to do is give budgeting advice that just doesn't apply to people who don't have enough to make ends meet.
My most favorite and most infuriating is the "latte factor." The latte factor is that really "small" thing in your budget, you know like your $4/day lattes, that prevent you from saving money.
Look, I've purchased at least one cup of coffee for a guy on the street but he certainly was not picky about it and he did not request a latte. I didn't think to myself, "Sheesh. If only this guy could kick his coffee habit, he wouldn't be homeless."
Feeling fat or being fat is not as simple as skipping your latte. In fact, cutting out more calories could cause your metabolism to slow down even more. But again, if you see someone one time having a latte, you don't know if it's something they have every day. You don't know what their basal metabolic rate is. You don't know if they've already lost plenty of weight.
3. We think we know the answer for people but we don't.
Shaming people who are fat and don't diet is the same as shaming poor people for drinking lattes. There's no proof that diets work or that the poor can't budget, yet we believe that we know how to solve their problem.
It's not your job to know how solve everybody's problem. Consent is real. Give help and advice only when people really need it.