Fat Shamers- What Were You Even Thinking?

Saturdays With Shivani

Dear Fat Shamers,

You aren’t really dear but then all those years of letter writing has made it a spinal reflex so please don’t get carried away. After a lot of deliberation and a lifetime of jabbing (good natured ribbing as some of you prefer to call it), I’m finally writing this open letter in the hope that it makes you think and mend your ways (I’m an incurable optimist who continues to believe in people).

Apart from being an optimist, I am also the kind of person who likes to organise her thoughts and that has led me into slotting you into four categories:

  1. The conversation checklisters are the breeziest ones who just have to comment on my weight to check that box on the list of topics they keep for making conversations. They may or may not mean any harm and are blissfully unaware that their words sting.
  2. The self-validators are those who want to feel good about themselves for the efforts they have been making to lose their weight. They have to gloat and pontificate on the latest diet/ exercise regime; anything to feel better about themselves.
  3. The fake well-wishers who veil their comments to make them sound like concern but you aren’t fooling me.
  4. The real well wishers are the toughest to handle. They talk from a space of well-meaning intent but unfortunately their choice of words can be caustic.

While you make up your mind which category suits you best, I want to ask what shall make you stop? When will you finally grasp the impact of your words? Or do you just assume that all those rolls of fat on my body make me impervious to your insensitivity? What kind of skewed logic is it to try to encourage me to take care of myself when you are actually giving me reasons to hate myself?

You have always come in my way of self-love and given me reasons to avoid the mirror. Please know that it didn’t end there. When my self-esteem took a beating, it affected all spheres of my life. Could you see my thinly veiled vulnerability, the hurt in my eyes, every time I came up with a smart repartee to your verbal jab? Please know that I have struggled long and hard to shed the weight of your words and be the person that I want to be.

I’m luckier, probably stronger because I know many who are unable to do that. They go through their whole lives believing in words like yours; some even end up harming themselves physically and/or mentally. They never live up to their potential because they never had the confidence to discover it.

If you are reading this, please know that fat shaming (or body shaming) isn’t cool. It tells us more at all and while I am at it, may I please request you to choose your words carefully, to be kinder and empathetic in future. Hope it isn’t too much to ask.

Thanking you in anticipation


P.S.: since it’s the first week of the month, as promised, here’s the update on my strength training-

My trainer called me ‘consistent’ and ‘a good learner’. I’m used to these adjectives but never with exercise so I’m over the moon with this appraisal.

I gifted myself new set of gym clothes because I finally fit into what’s available here. That’s as nonchalant as I can be to tell you that I may have dropped a size.

I still haven’t bothered to weigh myself because numbers bog me down. For now, I just want to focus on showing up every morning and tuning off the world for that one hour and be in a zone where all I can hear is my trainer’s voice. Believe me, it works.

Have a great weekend. Love and light.

Dr. Shivani Salil


  • Bang on! And sometimes just when you meet someone after a long time, the first remark is always about your body weight.. Ya to kitni patli ho gai ya haye kitni moti hogai… Matlab kya kare batao..

  • Rucha Marathe

    Loved the 4 categories … everyword of it is sooo true ..