OMG You’re So Fat!

*Tap or press on underlined slangs for translations*

I still remember details of my first day in the United States, like how the cab driver almost cursed me out because I gave him a dollar bill thinking it was a $100 bill, and how people reacted like they had seen a ghost when they first saw me.

I had a minor eating disorder right before I moved. At just 90 pounds, I was obviously underweight for my height, and borderline sickly looking. So when I first arrived, I got many comments like “OMG you’re so skinny!”. Because most of the commentators looked like they’d put on a few pounds since the last time I saw them, I so badly wanted to say “OMG you’re so fat!”. But Christ in me, and self-control, and all that jazzextras

Years passed and I aged, and started to like food a little more, and birthed two little humans. Towards the end of my second pregnancy and into the first few weeks after delivery, I developed mild preeclampsia – a condition that causes fluid retention, with swelling in the face, hands, feet, and ankles.

Below are true words that were uttered from fellow humans during that period. I added context after each quote, though they really don’t matter. Inappropriate is inappropriate, and taming the tongue is important regardless of the context. Here we go…

  • You are swollen everywhere compared to Jolade (another pregnant lady), and you’re not even due anytime soon.
    I delivered my baby two days later, while Jolade delivered her baby two months later.
     
  • What?! Is this you? Your face is swollen, OMG! WOW. I really can’t believe this is you. Anyway, how is the baby?”
    This was nine days after my baby was born, and I had to be readmitted to receive treatments for preeclampsia.
     
  • I didn’t even know you had the potential to be fat. Don’t worry, you’ll soon lose the excess weight.”
    Okay, but what if I don’t lose the weight, Ms. potential discoverer?

Are these quotes making you cringe yet? Here are some more fun ones from other random occurrences…

  • “You’ve not yet found a man to marry you? Don’t be too picky o; no man is perfect, just manage them like that.”
    This was said to my friend who had just ended an engagement with an abusive man.
     
  • “Don’t worry eh?okay? God will do it for you too! Twins!”
    A new mother said this to my friend, who had been struggling with infertility, on Mother’s Day last year. No, it is not a spiritual comment; it is insensitive.
     
  • “Why don’t you get your hair done? It looks very rough. This is why no man has asked you to marry him.”
    Okay, that progressed really fast. Concerned aunty, that I choose to wear my natural hair doesn’t mean it’s not “done”.

Dear friends…

Body shaming is NOT okay. Let’s stop the “o ti add oyou have gained weightcomments. There’s more to a person than their weight. Besides, what if they are currently suffering from low self-esteem because of their weight, and your comment is like adding hot pepper to fresh wound?

Dear friends…

Whether a person has one child, or 27, or none, or all boys, or all girls, is none of your business. Please don’t ask “so when is Junior going to have a baby sister?” or “when are we coming to eat jollof at your wedding?” The unhealthy pressure to get married and have kids needs to stop. Focus on planning your own cute little balanced family with two boys and two girls.

Dear friends…

There’s so much more than I can list; like how we have become desensitized to other people’s feelings especially because we are hiding behind the mask of social media, or how we talk down to those younger than us because “they no dey sell seniority for market”you can’t buy age from the market. The list goes on.

The good news is that usually, people really do mean well. But that’s not good enough, especially for the woman who is already depressed from not being able to have a baby. As humans, it is inevitable that we will say things that may hurt others; I know I’m guilty. But let us try as much as we can, to consciously consider others’ feelings before we speak.

“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29.

I’d like to hear examples of ridiculous things people have said to you. Also, please be kind and share my posts with friends you think might enjoy them.

P.S. For those of your who didn’t know me during my “OMG you’re so skinny!” days, I will be posting my photos at 90 pounds, and right after delivery on my Instagram stories.

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43 thoughts on “OMG You’re So Fat!

  1. One of my college professors had a saying:”God gave us two large ears and one small mouth for a reason, to listen more and speak less” Folks need to realize that every ‘appearance’ has a hidden story eg. You can say the famed Ronaldo has gained weight since he stopped playing football but few realize that the weight gain is a complication of a thyriod condition he suffers from.

    Concerned Aunty who said: “Why don’t you get your hair done? It looks very rough.” should go and hug transformer! The brain underneath her “well-done” hair is clearly not working as well as Chimamanda’s under her natural (undone) hair

    • *** snaps fingers at facts ***
      Indeed every appearance has a hidden story. I laughed out loud at the “hugging transformer” comment. We all can do better, myself included.

    • This post was all too relatable. Luckily, I could laugh about it! I detest comments about my figure: If you gain some weight you’ll still look cute.
      I was married to an abusive man, so for me, I’m living a contented life raising my kids. Constantly hearing “You need a man to help you.” I’m good! We coparent well and I have a good job.
      Great post!

    • I just met a simplenaijagirl. I didn’t know there was a ‘simplenaijaboy’. Anyway, nice to meet you.
      I so resonate with your ‘hug transformer’ line.
      But I think the last line of your comment is … [I don’t know what to call it]. Body shaming et al is not nice whether face to face or written.

  2. Gosh…those awful statements made me cringe.

    During the burial of a friend’s husband some years ago, an acquaintance told me that I should stay back with the Widow after the funeral since I was the only one who was single and childless.

    I can’t even get into the ‘you’ve added weight!’ comments.

    Thanks for shining a light on this issue.

  3. When I was in graduate school, I gained about 10 pounds, and was at my heaviest ever. When my mom saw me a few months later, she said “how you get so fat?!” She could not stop talking about my weight. I was sooo self-conscious. But, it’s funny how making statements about your weight in Jamaican culture is no normalized… I grew up around those statements, but it still hurt to be on the receiving end.

    Thanks so much for sharing this!! ❤

  4. Lol……..the ones I get are “are you working on another kid?” and my answer is usually “can I bring him over when he’s here” or “you look pregnant, are you pregnant?” and I answer “nope, I’m just fat, thank you” or “don’t you want another kid?” and I answer “as a matter of fact, I want a dozen more, can you parent them all?

    Most of the time I pay people no mind and I really don’t take it personal. But I’m always very good with a come-back to silly comments and weird observations.

  5. I haven’t been much of a foodie. So, saying weird things about my weight doesn’t get to me. But, a lady has looked into my eyeballs to ask why I am so short.🤔

    Being non-confrontational can be a weakness. Guess what I did. I coined a story around the incident and posted it on my Facebook wall.

    Come and see comments. The lady slid into my inbox and began to rant. I found my way out , anyways.

    I am also reminded of a colleague who is adding flesh in some places-butt, cheeks, arms and body. She’s been eating unapologetically, also.

    Amebo me, I’ll say, “You are a suspect.”

    Now, this continued for a week, until I was told she was trusting God for the miracle of having a second human.

    Hence, I didn’t want to be fooled by the smiles. I guess she was depressed. So, I put an end to it all.

    If we care for others as Christ has instructed, we must be sensitive and not put them under unnecessary pressure.

    Thanks for sharing. No vex abeg, my comment long.😀

      • ‘The same Christ in me, and self-control thing oo.’

        You’re welcome, Dearie.

        One more thing, I think people who indulge in some of these attitudes have something they struggle with. They are also not at peace with a part of their lives. Talk about personal insecurity.

        We are all helped of God.

  6. How are your legs supporting your body? They are so skinny..Gosh

    You’re so skinny. Look at those tiny thighs.

    When are you having a second child?

    Your chest was so flat before you got pregnant – you must be happy with how you look now.

    wow, please give your wife money to go make her hair.

    Should I keep going, simplenaijagirl?? 😉 Emotional intelligence is a thing! If you did not pick it up as a kid, teach yourself as an adult.

  7. This was a lovely and relevant read! I don’t know why Africans in particular feel so entitled to another’s body as if their comments really matter. For me ever since I was born till this day I get “you’re so skinny are you sure you’re eating” … “you look weak somehow”… silly comments that have got nothing to do without anything cause my thinnest is due to a very fast metabolism that even I can’t keep up with. So I’ve learnt to just filter the comments through and carry on with my day. I don’t think people will become sensitized anytime soon unfortunately cause it’s just been engraved in cultures and people do it without even feeling bad…😅

  8. Wow such insensitive comments, it’s messed up
    The one comment I keep getting has to deal with my not adding weight
    These days I pride myself on not dignifying them with answers,I can’t be bothered
    obennyne.com

  9. Hmmmm…all I can say is may God help us to develop sense and emotional intelligence. Weight watchers, womb watchers, relationship watchers are too plenty in the African community. Funny enough, the person telling you about your own weight might be pushing 250-300 pounds. As usual, great reminder for me to be extra cautions and only mind my own business.

    PS: I remember you in your 90 pound days 😀

  10. I have had trouble with my weight since I had Master 4 but I try, honestly. Having someone coming up to me and having the audactiy to rub my belly whilst telling me I am hiding my pregnancy… I was so shamed. I am not the biggest person either but my weight mainly carries on my belly. People really have to stop this now!

  11. I had this professor that used to say after explaining somethingin class ‘even a fool will understand. Any questions?’ Who will ask questions after that, eh?
    But we sha had this coursemate that always put up his hand to say ‘sir, I have a question…’ Guess the guy didn’t want to waste his tuition, insults or not.

  12. Girl, thank you for being this real. Fat shaming is absolutely not acceptable… I have been body shamed a lot, I have learnt how to live with it now.

    Especially when you meet people you haven’t met for a long time… I sometimes avoid meeting friends or prepare myself for the comments I will receive.

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