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Fat-shaming at Work

Fat-shaming at Work
Fat-shaming at work – snide looks or comments about what women eat on the job – is alive and well, according to the New York Post.


Monitoring and commenting — directly or indirectly — about what colleagues eat during the workday reminds us of a form of bullying in which you’re either the bully, the bullied or the bystander.  Only here, when dealing with eating habits, you’re either the shamer, the shamed or the spectator.   It’s just one more unwanted worry at work for people who have enough on their plates.


Does this kind of Mean Girls stuff happen in your workplace and, if so, where do you fall?


  1. L Walker

    Tory, I have spent a good part of my life being overweight; not just a little overweight, but A LOT overweight (100 lbs overweight). I experienced fat shaming. In the last few years, I have lost that weight and I am a very fit woman for 53. I eat right, exercise (both cardio and strength), and even earned a certification as a Health Coach so I can help others with their journey (if they ask for help, that is). I still experience body shaming. Those folks that are overweight call me “skin and bones” (which I am not). Those that don’t exercise call me a “crazy nut” because my cardio exercise of choice is running; a lot of running. And just like when I was heavy and chose to eat a donut, people free free to comment on the healthier foods I eat now, and whether or not I choose to participate in Pizza Day at work. What I eat now is no one else’s business just as much as it was no ones business when I was heavy. I am just as insulted now as I was then. Is it better to be called “heavy” or “crazy?” Neither feels good.

    What I am trying to say is that the problem is not just fat shaming. It’s people who just cannot keep their mouths shut…period. My mother always taught me that if I don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. Where did that sentiment get lost? Fat people get made fun of. Skinny people get made fun of. Blondes get made fun of. The list goes on and on and on….

    • SueB

      L Walker- I’m experiencing a similar situation. I recently lost 30 pounds- I never was shamed for being overweight (it distributed well) but have had such interesting reactions now that I’m back down to where I like to be. I find myself hearing, over and over “don’t lose any more weight” — when I’m no where near “underweight” and weigh more than I did in my twenties, when no one questioned my weight. I haven’t lost weight in at least a month, since I hit “goal.” (By BMI, I am smack in the middle of “normal” weight). I too am a runner and find people questioning it and worrying about my knees — I’m 55– my knees are fine, by the way!

      A colleague recently read and announced the nutrition facts on my frozen entree (I keep some in the office in case I didn’t pack a fresh lunch). I mean, really? She criticized the sodium level… Oy. What business is it of hers — or the 5 other people who witnessed it?

      So it is quite something that people feel so free to critique the diet and physiques of others — I’m pretty sure that whether one is critiquing someone who is overweight or healthy, the mission is to feel better about oneself, it just isn’t a very good way to go about it!

  2. Daisy

    Yes, this does happen at my work. People will walk in the kitchen area to get water or walk thru to exit to the bathroom, but will always look at what I’m eating. Some will comment on how wonderful my lunch smells, while others will just look to see what I’m eating without saying a word. One gentleman goes as far as saying “What’s for lunch? out loud! I am not a slender person, but I could care less what they think of my lunches. It does sting a little tho!!!

  3. JFP

    “Fat shaming” is a new term. It has always been part of life. If it is a problem for you, think about coming back with a witty remark to put this person in their place. If you sit there and fume silently, it will only hurt you. Let them know you are not a silent target for their amusement. They may kot know you consider it inappropriate.
    Whining to others will not help you find your strength. This is part of life – So stand up for yourself!
    If you don’t stand up for yourself early on, no one will be inclinded to do it for you!

  4. Miss

    L Walker – THANK YOU!! This is exactly what I was about to post when I saw your post. Why does anyone think it is OK to make a snide comment about anyone’s weight?

    Ladies, lets stick together. Men make these comments as much as women. How about we set the example? This put down behavior is exactly why we hear more about what women politicians are wearing than what they are thinking and doing. Let’s stop this behavior and start focusing on our intelligence and talents. Please? Ask me about the book I am reading or if I saw the article in the New York Times about… (not diets) ha, ha.
    Thank you ladies.

  5. Linda

    No, this does not happen at my workplace because they know they will get cussed the **** out. We are extremely cautious about scrutinizing one another.

  6. Katie

    Tory, this happens all the time at my job. If not daily then weekly. I’m the assistant to the COO/CEO for a real estate development/property management company. It’s a male dominated environment where colorful language is the norm (something I’ve never grown comfortable with). The men (who are far from perfect) comment on why certain women of certain sizes don’t eat a salad more often. There are women in the company who are just as guilty. I’ve had someone comment on my lunch (it was a burger and fries) and asked “how could I eat ALL of that?” Full disclosure – I’m overweight so I don’t know if I was targeted because I was overweight or because of what I was eating at the time. Regardless, because I’m on the other side of the comments, I feel that it’s no one’s business who is eating what (regardless of the eater’s size). If we all focused on our jobs instead of what each other is doing on their own time, imagine the productivity we would all have!

  7. buche

    I’m neither. I’m the one who defends the one being bullied, all the time, no exception when I see it happening. I’ve been known to say WTF are you harassing her for, with a few more explicit’s. And I’m not one to use explicit’s, much. I believe this came from my years in middle school and high school where I was bullied, and everyone would just stand around and watch. Even in third grade I was gang jumped by seven girls, and still have scars on my face to show from it. This was in the 1960s. So, now I don’t put up with that sh…, against any woman or girl. Boys either. Much Love to you Tory and All..

  8. As someone who lost 30 pounds (thank to Tory & The SHIFT) I have to say I keep my comments to myself, but I DO think to myself what a bad “CHOICE” that person is making. I try to remind myself I don’t know their “story”, but I want to say something, like, “I have been in your shoes, and it isn’t so hard to make little “shifts”. As a former “chubby” I can tell you, I don’t need anyone to remind me I am making bad choices, I know I am. I can also tell you, I know I am fat, you don’t need to look at me, I know. What a tough spot to be in now that I am at a comfortable weight – it isn’t easy to maintain, but it is all about the choices, and the SHIFTS. Argh.

  9. Dinar

    Lynne Thanks for this! I wasn’t able to attend ALL of George’s sieanmr so this little summary is quite handy! I can always count on you for relevant, cut-to-the-chase info in a friendly, easy to understand format!Hugs and Rainbow Blessings!

  10. Jennifer

    oh my how awful is our mentally disturbing society. Dont like me? dont look or comment. fuck off

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