Kids Truth

When I was morbidly obese there were several incidents where innocent children spoke the absolute truth about me. One time, I was standing at the appointment window of my oldest daughter’s pediatrician’s office when I heard a little child say clear as a bell, “Mommy, do you see the fattest lady in the world?”

I looked around to see who the fattest lady in the world was – and apparently it was me. The little girl had her finger pointed right at me and my big yellow floral jumper. I whirled back around and tried to pretend I didn’t hear or see her. But inside my heart started beating fast and I felt like I was going to pass out. How embarrassing to have that little girl say outloud what I KNEW everyone in the room must have already thought.

Another time I was in the church nursery watching the five-year-olds during the service and a little guy named Caleb said, “Miss Diane, why are you so fat?” I laughed and said I didn’t know. He then went on, “My mom says you must be fat because all you do is sit around and eat.” I stood there and looked at that little guy. I smiled on the outside but on the inside I was crushed. Did his mom really say that about me? Quite possibly she did, since kids that age often repeat what they’ve heard at home.

There were many other times kids said mean things to me unintentionally, but I’ll spare you those incidents for now. I feel like I reacted gracefully to those comments. After all, they were children and I know that my kids have said some things to other people I wished they hadn’t. So I wasn’t mad at the kids at all.

I was mad at myself. I knew those kids were right. I was fat and obese and every other proper or improper word you labeled large people with. But at the same time that I knew that fact, I felt helpless to change my path.

It was so hard to hear the truth and feel like I couldn’t do anything about it. Instead of running home and trying to workout to one of my Richard Simmon’s Sweatin’ to the Oldie DVD’s, I went home and made a sweet treat for myself. I tried to drown the truth in chocolate but it didn’t work.

I did learn that mean comments and remarks weren’t motivating to me. They didn’t motivate me to change, but instead motivated me to eat. I hope that you’ve never had comments made about you that hurt your feelings. If you have – I’m sorry.

Do snide comments or remarks motivate you or discourage you?  Diane

40 thoughts on “Kids Truth

  1. sharon driggers says:

    Oh Diane, I know how cruel comments can be and how they hurt! But you are so right they often just drive us to do more of what is hurting us to start with! I think it is a reminder to us to not judge a book by its cover. You are such an inspiration!

  2. Sandy says:

    What a good reminder to all of us not to say anything hurtful about people. Even if we aren’t around children it is a bad habit and cruel. Sometimes children don’t get the whole story. When my children were small I did my turn of teaching Sunday school. I never felt competent to teach other people’s children. Childcare is one thing, lessons and teaching are not my gift. So I had expressed that often to a good friend, the pastor’s wife. One morning in class her sweet little girl said “Miss Sandy my mom says you aren’t a very good teacher, but I think you are.” It just crushed me that she would say that. As it turned out what her mother had said was Miss Sandy doesn’t think she is a very good teacher so you should tell her that you think she is. What a funny reminder of why we shouldn’t plant ideas in our children’s heads.

  3. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    I just read a very sad story on a blog yesterday about a snide comment. I very intentional comment. I don’t understand what motivates people to be so cruel. Hugs to anyone who has been on the receiving end.

  4. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    To be so cute, kids can certainly zing us with the truth! I had a similar experience with a friend’s child, and it hurt even though she adored me and wouldn’t have wanted to hurt me. Children’s comments didn’t discourage me, but it was a whole different story with adults. As I wrote in an essay recently (coming to Woman’s Day magazine in Oct.!), a thick waistlines didn’t equate to thick skin.

  5. Diane says:

    Kids do tend to be blatantly honest. I have only gotten a “You are fat ” comment for a child about 4 times in my life, but every day I get some little kid asking “What is that on your forehead ? ” Or “Is that a burn on your face ?”. These will still happen long after I lose weight. Make up only covers it so much, laser surgery to remove it can take away my sight in my right eye , so you quickly learn that the opinions of other really are none of your business. You are who you are because of how you define yourself and nothing more. With weight loss, this translates to the fact that you have to do it for yourself, and not because of the needs and wants or opinions of others. If not your weight upsetting them, it would be something else !

  6. vickie says:

    On your Dr Oz blog (http://www.dianecarbonell.com/2010/07/kids-truth/) you said:

    “That mother could have used her daughter’s innocent exclamation as a teachable moment, where she explained to her about what was and wasn’t appropriate to say out loud. She didn’t use that opportunity right then, and I’m doubtful if she did later. She may have even told her friends what happened and laughed about it.”

    And I wanted to comment:
    It might well be that this mother KNEW her child. And knew that if she tried to side step the issue, the child might have gotten louder and more verbal. So it might be with that particular child – mom had to acknowledge what the child SAW at that moment and then later work with the child one what to ‘do’ with the information next time.

    My kids are (quietly, just to me) very verbal about fat. Mostly when they see a family of ‘fats’ because my kids get VERY upset that moms pass down their obesity habits. So, again and again, when we see a family of clone, obese bodies – we have the same converation about HOW that happens.

    And to be honest, I want my kids to SEE fat and understand how fat gets there.

    I do not want them to think it is ‘okay’.

    but of course, I do not want them to make comments.

    I want my teachable moments to be about how easy it is to get ‘there’ and how hard it is to get away from ‘there’ in today’s society/habits.

    And I do want my kids to SEE and understand so they stay/get out of the ‘fat’ chair at the doctor’s office so it is available for the person who needs it.

    I make a point of making eye contact and smiling or saying something positive to ‘obese’ people every where I go. There is always something positive to say. And my comments are heart felt – I find something that I really feel positive about – hair, earrings, weather if all else fails. I often wish there was some type of hidden signal to say – I was there too – maybe not the exact same size, but most of the same habits.

  7. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    I know the kids didn’t mean it, but I can see how those comments could slice right through you. I’d start crying. I’ve never personally had a kid say a snide remark to or about me, but then again I’m hardly ever around kids. I do remember my sister, when she was three, telling a waitress “You have the yellowest teeth I’ve ever seen.” My mother was mortified.

  8. Alissa says:

    Mean comments never motivate me. I’ve had enough of them to know how bad it hurts. So I’m sorry you had to go through that. 🙁 I wonder what Caleb’s mother is saying about you now! 🙂 I am not a parent but when I am, I want to make sure that weight and fatness are not talked about in our home because kids only say things they have learned at home. I have been around plenty of children whose parents are mean spirited and the children act just like them. It’s learned- not something kids do naturally. So sad!

  9. Marsial2010 says:

    Only once have I ever had a child say something hurtful about my weight, but I chalked it up to childhood and let it go. However, I have had several adults, who definitely should have known better, say really mean and hurtful things to me. Their remarks neither motivated or discouraged me….only made me wish that it was not a capital crime to dispose of someone who was that ignorant. I sort of murdered them….I cut every single one of these people out of my life, effectively making them dead to me.

  10. Emergefit says:

    When I was heavy I was never a “prove them wrong” guy. I heard the comments, and they got to me (especially because I was previously an in-shape person), but it was only when I saw myself as fat that I flipped the switch.

    Usually negative comments just made me hide in a pile of donuts, pizza, and alcohol. Sad.

    The more I read your blog Diane, the more I appreciate all you have been through. I also, now that I have been reading for a few months, recognize all the good you are doing for people who need this type of information. Charge on!

  11. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, so sorry for what you went thru. I know many of us have too. I had mean words said to me as a youth when I was fat from kids & adults. In elementary school/junior high/high school .. we are a reflection of what is given to us in the home or at least I was…. tough to change that at a young age…. As adults, we have more control of our own destiny.

    But yes, out of the mouths of babes!

  12. Desert Agave says:

    Oh, I agree, cruel comments are discouraging, not motivating at all. I’m sorry you had to hear those comments. I’ve mostly been lucky, haven’t had much along those lines thrown my way, but the couple times it did happen really stick with me.

  13. Tish says:

    I’ve certainly come across my share of words from the mouths of babes The latest happened two years ago when I was the school librarian in a primary school. One of the little kindergarten cuties asked me about the baby in my tummy. Despite my denials, she kept insisting. Turns out her mommy was 9 months pregnant. ouch! I did start my diet about a month after that, so maybe it helped me come to the point where I made the decision to do something. Little children are totally forgiven. Adults who intentionally make hurtful comments are another matter.

  14. Deena says:

    Discourage. All my life my weight has gone up and down. At the times it was up I’ve never felt motivated by any kind of comments made about my weight, not when I was called chubby or big boned or fatty or any of the other terrible things people say. All those comments did was embarrass me and make me not want to leave the house.

  15. Carla says:

    Those comments can be so hurtful. A couple of years back I got one from my mother in law! We had finished eating supper at her house, and I went into the living room to read a book. While she and another woman were in the kitchen I heard her say in a loud whisper, “Did you see how much Carla ate?! Why does she eat so much!” I was so hurt that I left her house crying. But it was a serious reality check at that point. I truly thought nobody noticed how much I ate or how much weight I put on!

  16. Shawnee says:

    I was bullied pretty badly growing up by peers and all my boy cousins. I was always taller and chubbier than all the girls who were my age. Once I hit Jr. High it was even worse. But now, in stead of just fat, they threw in derogatory words as well. This not only made me feel fat, but also made me feel unworthy to ever be loved by a man. So I sought love in all the wrong places when I got to high school. I lost a lot of weight my senior year, but I still felt totally disgusting, unlovable, and trampy. I’m not sure what I did to deserve it, but I am pretty sure all of those kids had jerks for parents. I think by the time the kids got to Jr. High it’s safe to say they were jerks too. Fat won’t be a word in my house when I have kids. Not if I can help it.

  17. sian-girlgetstrong says:

    Kids just don’t have that filter on them. I am glad it motivated you, for others it may make them hide more so hopefully your post will boast someone that they are not alone.

  18. Hope says:

    Oh, I can so relate. I can’t count the number of times I heard people saying things about me behind my back, and the teasing that went on. It still probably hinders me to present day. Now, for example, I have to remind myself that the girls at the pool aren’t laughing at the cellulite on my legs, they’re laughing at something else, because my mind automatically assumes that they are laughing at me.

    I’m so sorry for the things people have said to you. Sometimes even the littlest of people can crush you.

    (P.S. Thanks so much for your encouraging comments. I always appreciate them. Referring to my last post, I think it would be harder to lose friends over weight loss than it would to lose them over behavior problems, and I hope I never lose them for that, but time will only tell.)

  19. Dr. J says:

    Motivate me! For some reason, my parents generation didn’t like our being different and we took a lot of small minded criticism for that.

  20. Sandi says:

    A woman once said to me “every time I see you, you get fatter and fatter.” I weighed about 195 then. It mortified me and I lost down to 150, then got pregnant and my weight problems really started. If mean comments do motivate I don’t think it’s the right kind of motivation. I think that has to come from inside. A person has to really want to be healthy not just thinner to be pleasing to other people. Wanting to be healthy is what made lasting changes for me.

  21. Tammy says:

    Those comments do hurt. Now when I see overweight people,especially the obese,I really feel for them. I take time in my mind to pray for them since I know how it feels to be overweight. I ask God to help them lose weight and get healthy.

  22. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    No. They don’t motivate me. They hurt. When I hurt and I’m deprived of confidence I eat sweets. Unless I am currently motivated not to. Which I am now.

    But healing the hurt takes something separate from attacking my weight. They are separate emotional problems.

  23. Pam says:

    I realize that kids are open and honest, but when they remark about someone being FAT, I think its their parent’s fault for not teaching them nicer ways to look at people. I realize my child is only three, but I have a friend whose niece has been making FAT comments to her since she was about my son’s age, and I still say its the language that is used in her presence.

    Children emulate their parents, period. Teach your kids to be accepting and don’t put size tags on people, and they won’t, either.

    I guess I am one of the lucky ones, only people my own age have ever been so rude, and its always been in attempts to hurt me for whatever reason, and I have never let them.

    • Pam says:

      I guess I should edit myself to say that kids get this from other sources like TV and other adults as well, but I still feel like the parents should stress compassion far more than they seem to these days.

  24. Leah says:

    I’ve had very few comments made to my face, and mostly by children or peers when I was younger. I usually ignored them, but I found as I got older and my children started noticing my weight I was bothered by it. Not motivated, just bothered. I didn’t want my children to start being kids who would make those kinds of comments to others, so we nipped it in the bud and taught them not to say things like that.

    Now I’m still not motivated by criticism in general, but I am getting better at seeing if there’s any truth to it that I can apply to change my life for the better. If there is, I try to humble myself to that fact and get motivated by it. It’s not easy to be sure.

    Your stories of the things said you about your weight just break my heart, Diane. I’m so glad you can share them now and help others with your experiences.

  25. Kenz @ All The Weigh says:

    I’ve lost over 100 pounds in the last year, and I still hear comments from time to time. Last week I posted about a couple of teenage girls who were laughing at me as I laid next to the pool. It happens, and it sucks…but the difference now is that I can look myself in the mirror and know that who I am is okay.

    Sure, my body still needs time to catch up with my mind, but I’m doing my best…so ultimately, what they say doesn’t matter. It hurts, undoubtedly, but it no longer defines me.

  26. Amy says:

    The degree to which those hurtful comments cause pain is equal to the degree to which someone saying “you look wonderful” and “you’ve lost weight” feel good!

  27. Jennifer says:

    I was just at Disney and I had a little girl keep looking at me and asking her mommy why I was so big! I was horrified! Then more and more kids, I was crying in side! But yes it was a wake up call for me! I am a mother of 3 and have never lost the pregnancy weight and though a really bad divorce and abuse though out the years I have treated my self so badly because that I knew! Stress and craziness all around me I needed a great escape and food was the answer! Now tipping the scales at 334 where do you go from here? Today I am proud to say this is my 2nd day of eating right and removing the harmful poisons foods from my life! I am trying to surround my self with positive motivation that will keep my head afloat! I am extremely fearful of failing and never getting the weight off because I have SO much to loss! Yesterday I walked 30 min! And did not eat after dinner. My “Hungary pains’ kept yelling at me, but I new this was just habit and my stomach just wanted to eat because that’s all I’ve done for 20 years! I have to take charge over my body and over my diction of what I am going to eat! Today I am planning on walking again and I’m excited about my new changes and my new attitude! Any help or motivation is greatly appreciated! For 20 years I’ve put me last and have taken care of my kids and if it was the little girl that could not stop staring at the fat lady at Disney that got my mind turned in the right direction, well now I know I am worth the change and I am now each day going to take care of me! One day at a time!! If you have any encouragement to help my new journey please e-mail me at Jenbfree2004@yahoo.com thank you!

  28. Hopefool says:

    I’ve suffered the slings and arrows too, of course, from the innocent kids, the not-so innocent kids and the grown-ups.

    There have been times that I’ve numbed the pain with food, and at other times I’ve gotten angry and crash dieted. Either way the end result was weight gain.

  29. paula says:

    Kids can be so truthful and honest and it stings. I am just like you… instead of motivating me it brings on a binge. I have a friend who weights 300 lbs. We were at the lake and her 4 year old son looks at her and says “you’re fat panda.” He was referring to the cartoon “Kung Fu Panda.” My friend told her son that wasn’t nice and then looked at me so sad and said “he never knew I was fat until he watched that movie.”

    Sadly, those who are not overweight don’t realize the impact of their words to someone who is fat.

  30. Tami says:

    I am so sorry you have those kind of experiences Diane. Those kind of things hurt me not motivate me. My dad said something unkind to me about my weight when I was a teenager and I wasn’t even very over weight at the time. It stung and has stuck with me forever.

  31. Amy says:

    Of course, I don’t like being heavy, but sometimes I think it was good for me to be on the RECEIVING end of those type of comments (I never heard any directed DIRECTLY at me though – except from my own kiddos). Why you might ask? I think it has made me overwhelming more compassionate to those who are heavy. Not that I condone my actions/ or any other heavy persons, as most of time it is our own fault. Yet, it isn’t ALWAYS, and they are still special and a PERSON in God’s eyes. Being fat or heavy doesn’t automatically make you less of a person…that is what I despise about cruel things said in regards to obesity!!!
    So, Diane, any tips for a major slacker?!!! I need some serious motivation aka kick in the pants!! 😀

  32. Michelle says:

    I have had so many similar incidents! There are a couple that really stick out in my memory–one of them was right after I had given birth to our oldest daughter (who will soon be 22). As I was walking into a store, carrying my daughter so that she was looking over my shoulder, an older man and his grandson (probably 4 or 5)were walking behind me. The older man commented to his grandson that my daughter was a cute baby. Unfortunately–for the man and for me, all his grandson could see was big, fat me. He very loudly stated that I was the fattest momma he’d ever seen. Of course the man was trying to cover it up and continued to point out my daughter and say what a cute baby she was, but the little boy was not going to be deterred and continued to loudly voice his opinion about my weight. 🙁
    I’d like to say that incident motivated me to lose the weight, but it didn’t. I did (briefly) lose weight, in a very unhealthy way, after the birth of our second child. But because I didn’t do it the right way, I ended up gaining the weight back and added an additional 35 pounds to it.
    I’ve now been through 5 pregnancies and births and unfortunately I am now nearly 100 pounds heavier than I was even after the birth of our oldest child. My youngest is 6 1/2 so I know I can’t very well say that it’s baby weight. Not to mention that I only gained 15-20 pounds with each of the pregnancies following my first because I was already so obese. :-/
    I wish that unkind comments motivated me but they don’t. I’m more likely to be hurt by them. But like you, I have never been upset with a child for voicing the truth.

Leave a Reply