Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Open letter to "fat" kids

Dear Beautiful Little Person,

I hear someone's been telling you you're fat. It might have been someone at school, or your brother or sister, or your parents. They've probably also been talking about how much exercise you do and what you eat. They've almost certainly been telling you what shouldn't be eating. Most of them are probably genuinely concerned about your health.

But here's the secret - it's your body. It's an amazing, strong and beautiful body. It can do all sorts of cool things. And because it's yours and yours alone, it's amazing and wonderful in its own unique ways. If you look after your body, get to know it really well, teach it new tricks and give it every opportunity to show off the tricks it knows, it will look after you. And it will look after you, and be able to learn new tricks, regardless of what shape it is, or what it is or isn't able to do compared to other people. This is what exercise is really about. Doing what you and your body love to do. Your body has different needs to everyone else's. It might need more rest than other people. It might prefer to go crazy for half an hour, or it might prefer a long walk. The new tricks you teach it might be cartwheels, or spins in your wheel chair, or playing handball. Get to know what you and your body love doing together, and do it as often as you can.

People also make a big fuss about food. There's a reason for that - it's important to be good at eating. But being good at eating isn't about what you shouldn't eat, it's about what your body needs. Just like exercise, different bodies need different food. It can be really hard to work out what your body needs, so a good place to start is to try to eat as many different kinds of food as you possibly can. That's hard when you're a kid - lots of kinds of food taste yuck when you're younger, and seem to taste better as you get older. While you're waiting for broccoli to start to taste good (and it really does!), keep trying different foods, and remember the ones you like. The more variety you eat, the happier your body will be.

As you grow up, try to pay attention to how foods make you feel. Which breakfasts make you feel good at school, and which ones leave you starving even before recess? Do some foods make you feel terrible a couple of hours later? (Drinking fizzy drinks gives me a headache about 2 hours after I drink them - I don't know why, but I mostly don't drink them anymore!) Eat the things that make you feel good, give you energy and have a huge variety of good stuff in them. Then you'll be good at eating, and you'll be looking after your body.

Your body is beautiful and wonderful and powerful exactly as it is. It doesn't matter what shape it is. It will change shape over and over again through out your life. That's not what matters. Look after it, don't compare it to other bodies and enjoy it.


  1. This is beautiful. Thank you.

  2. So much love for this. Brilliant piece.

  3. Oh Ariane... I cried. I wish I had read this when I was a fat kid.

  4. It took me till I was 27 to realise that being fat didn't make me worthless.

    Thank you so much for this.

  5. Glad you included "spins in your wheel chair" as a cool trick. Because it really is. ;)

    1. Absolutely! I watched a bunch of kids playing with one kid's wheelchair. The owner was the coolest kid in the world, showing the others how it's done. The other kids were surprised to find how much harder it was to control the chair than they thought, but it was all good fun.