Agony Aunt Andrea Moon: ‘Fat shaming’ is unhealthy

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A lot has been written about obesity and how it is now an epidemic draining the NHS. One political party even suggested “fat shaming” to bully people into conforming to the “norm”.

Thankfully, that hasn’t officially happened, but it is already rife in society.

Name calling and humiliation are daily occurrences which only encourage self-loathing. Shaming is the weapon of the playground and is very unlikely to produce positive results.

It’s the usual story, I was “well-made” as a child, encouraged to “eat up” by my war-baby parents, alongside the contradiction of crispbreads in my lunch box.

I was rubbish at sports until I discovered aerobics in my teens. I joined a gym and always kept fit, but it’s not easy throwing yourself round when you’re carrying the equivalent of your best mate on your shoulders.

Before marriage I tried a detox holiday camp, Gillian McKeith’s plan, then three months on a milkshake-only diet – none of these are for the faint-hearted but I did lose five stone in six months.

Not bad for a girl who never met a dinner she didn’t like. Of course once I stopped the diets and ate “normally”, the weight started to come back on with a vengeance. Then I got pregnant, with twins. Oops!

Still blaming baby weight four years on, and having done a lot of research I applied for a gastric band on the NHS.

Unbelievably at 5ft 6ins and 21½ stone I was two stone under eligibility. How is a size 28 not big enough? The average size for British women is 16. Professional models are rarely over a size 8. But that’s another story.

After much heated discussion we took out a loan to have private treatment (a painful luxury) and lost 3½ stone in a year, I would have preferred 7½ but it wasn’t to be.

Two years on and several band tightenings later, I’m still struggling to eat about 800 calories a day (and to pay off the loan).

Its like a wrist watch round the top few inches of your stomach making a pouch which tricks your stomach into registering fullness faster.

My job is to deliver newspapers when our deliverers are sick or on holiday, so I’m always on my feet, especially with six-year-old twins.

But the weight and the hunger is still there. Not every big person is a drain on the system.

Although a healthy body should be everyone’s aim in order to enjoy life, it is positive mental health that is more important and that is not nourished by shame.