A stranger called me fat

Author: Heather Anne

A stranger called me fat. And I cried. I cried a lot. Not because I cared about his opinion, but because he was right.

And sometimes the truth hurts.

His actual term of endearment was “chunky.” I’m not really sure if that is better or worse than “fat” but I’m pretty sure they are just about equal on my list of things I’d rather not be called.

It was my husband’s birthday and I had hired a baby sitter, planned a big birthday dinner party and, of course, bought a new outfit. I had actually bought the outfit several weeks before when I saw it on sale and I said to myself “eventually I’m going to fit in to this.” So, needless to say, I was very excited when the morning of my husband’s birthday party I tried on the outfit and it fit! It wasn’t perfect, I still had a “mommy tummy” in it, but after some convincing from my husband, I decided to cut myself some slack and go out feeling confident.

And I did. I felt great. And we had a great time. We ate, we danced, we drank and then we went out to eat a little bit more. We stopped at our favorite late night taco stand and that is where I encountered the fat-shaming stranger.

He himself was overweight, and probably about 23. And wearing a fraternity t-shirt (nothing wrong with frat boys, just trying to paint the full picture.) He looked me up and down and preceded to say, “you’re kind of [explicit] chunky.”

To say I lost it would be an understatement.

After 5 months filled with sweat, hard work and kale, here I was, on a night that my confidence level had been at its highest, being sized up by a complete stranger. I ended up being thrown over my husband’s best friend’s shoulder and dragged away from the guy who I wanted nothing more than to punch in the face.

And then I cried. Lots and lots of leechi martini filled tears. The whole way home. And then the next day. And then the next day after that.

And then 3 days later I found myself sitting in front of a basket of fries and hating myself. Once again I was emotionally eating and I was letting a pimple-faced frat boy fat shame me into overeating. See, I’ve always been an emotional eater. When I’m happy, I eat. And when I’m sad, well… I eat even more. And that’s what I was doing. I was letting the words of a stranger affect me to the point that I had lost sight of my progress.

Because there has been progress. Lots of it actually.

It’s been about 18 months, and roughly 80lbs, since I’ve looked in the mirror and liked what I saw. They say the glow of pregnancy is the most beautiful thing in the world. But for me it wasn’t. I’m not going to blame all 80lbs on the baby, because honestly, a lot of it was there before she was. I got married, I got happy, and I got fat. And then I got pregnant. My belly swelled, my thighs expanded, my ego deflated and I felt defeated.

But then I decided to do something about it. I started exercising, I started running and I started eating right. The eating right part was the most recent development in my healthy journey. But within 2 weeks of completely changing my eating habits I had lost an additional 12lbs and I was thrilled! I was eating good, whole foods and actually enjoying doing it. I was sure that I had set a plan in motion that was going to lead me straight to the results that I wanted.

But then I let a stranger stop me in my tracks.

What’s the moral of this story? I don’t really know. I don’t know if I have one. I guess the moral is that I pulled myself away from that basket of fries and I made myself my favorite healthy chicken salad for dinner that night. I guess the moral is that I know what it feels like to be fat shamed and to begin to hate myself based on someone else’s opinion of me. But I’m not going to let that happen anymore. I’m not going to let my personal worth be devalued by the words of a stranger, or a friend, or an enemy, or well… anyone. And you shouldn’t either. Maybe you are reading this and you can’t relate. But maybe you have been there; maybe you know exactly how I felt. Maybe you feel that way right now. And maybe, but hopefully not, you are going to be put in a position where you are made to feel that way soon. And if you are, stick up for yourself. Tell that person where they can go. And make it some place horrible. Like hell or Ikea on a Saturday, because they are basically the same. Because honestly, no one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself. So don’t let them.

Frat-boy fat-shamer didn’t know how hard I’m working. He doesn’t know about the miles I’ve been pushing myself to run, the calories I’m counting, and the clean meals I’m eating. But telling myself that he didn’t know any of that doesn’t mean his words don’t still hurt. Because they do. But they are starting to feel more like a sting rather than a slap.

Am I overweight? Yes. Have I lost weight? Heck Yes. Do I still have more weight to lose? Oh God Yes. Can I do it? HELL Yes.

My chunky butt on a run. I got this.

[Oh… and that healthy chicken salad, I posted the recipe for you. You’re welcome.]
Avocado Cilantro Chicken Salad Recipe


Heather Signature.jpg

32 responses to “A stranger called me fat

  1. Heather you have been amazing!!! I love watching your Fb feed and inspire all us mommies!!! You go girl!!! I also gained a ton a weight during pregnancy and feel your pain and you have motivated me to get back to my happy too 🙂



    • I’m so glad you have found my posts inspiring! That mean so much to me 😊! And I’m really glad that I could be an inspiration to help you kick off your own fitness journey!


  2. Heather you are AMAZING! I too was shamed by a stranger just 1 short week after I had Sophia and it nearly destroyed me! I never realized how cruel people could be and it has really made me self examine myself, and how I am quick to judge others! I have to applaud you for stepping out of your comfort zone and telling the world about your stories! I feel better knowing other moms face the same issues I do! Keep up the encouraging words and yummy recipes!!!


    • I’m so glad my post was able to make you feel better! I always find it nice to know that other people have gone through the same things I am going through. I will DEFINITELY be keeping up the encouraging posts and of course the recipes!


  3. Good for you and you have support! Some guy called me chunky at a bar two weeks ago trying to hurt my feelings…he had a double chin and I’m a fit gal with a curvy size 8 bottom. I’ve never had kids but I am not naturally a size 0, 2 or 4. As a pro athlete I was a size 6 at my fittest. It stung at first because it was mean, but really, I flipped him off and told him that I felt worse for him because he still thinks women value themselves based on what other people think about their bodies, which NEWS FLASH, only hurts women who subscribe to this train of thought. I kept drinking my beer and eventually he came over to apologize for being out of line…after telling me to go f*** myself, which I kindly informed him that I was brilliant at it with a big ole’ on smile on my face.

    Regardless, we all know we are way more than a just a body and as long as you value your life, no matter what physical shape you are currently in, EVEN if you know it could be better, why care about what the world thinks of your body? You have to remember that life is more than the body it comes in and people like that don’t understand that simple concept. Feel sorry for them and hit em back with a new perspective.


    • I’m so sorry that that happened to you! What a jerk! But I’m glad you stuck up for yourself and told him off! Good for you. And a size 8 curvy bottom is always a good thing. Get it girl! I’m a big fan of girls with curvy bottoms (mainly because I’ve got one myself lol)


  4. Heather, just keep swimming. You have a good heart and a strong spirit. Keep your focus and eye on the prize. And that prize, by the way, is whatever you deem your goals to reach. Keep up the hard work!


  5. LOVE THIS!!!!!!! Keep on writing and running ! 🙂


  6. Thanks Heather for sharing….. It is like your blog was a direct link into my life. I gained 80 pounds with my son and when he was born that was it I ost his weight and nothing more and that first shopping trip to get me out of still wearing maternity clothes was heart wrenching I mean I was double digits and quite high up there too. Now my son is 20 months old and just like you I finally was doing the right things eating, exercising, portion control etc and the weight was moving off, I mean I came to terms with I don’t think I’ll ever be that itty bitty skinny because let’s face it no matter what pregnancy and kids change your youthful body no matter what he scsays and all though I haven’t had the stranger approach I have dealt with the people closest to me and their judgemental comments and of course the worst critic in my life has always been myself . Now that I found out that I am expecting another child due in February I was overwhelmed with sadness that all my hard work to not even get to enjoy a slimmer me and then it hit me my children don’t care if I wear a size 4 or 14 or that I have tiger marks down my sides they absolutely love me for being mom all squishy and all. Not saying I’m going to take this pregnancy as an excuse to let it all go again because I have learned from the first go around but that is ok to be overweight after having a baby I mean he’ll hell your body just created a life and like my hubby would say “he likes snuggling with you your way more comfortable then me I’m all skin and bones” look forward to seeing more posts from you


    • First off, congratulations on the pregnancy! That’s so exciting! I’m so glad that my post was able to speak to you today. I think we are all a little delusional about how our post-baby bodies will be (I know I certainly was!) and it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that certain parts of your body will never be quite the same again. And that’s something I’m still struggling with. But I’m working on not only getting my body back where I want it I be, but also learning to love my body throughout the process of getting there. Because it didn’t take me a day to gain 80lbs and it certainly won’t take me just a day to get it off. So I know I need to learn to love my body at any size. I hope you will keep reading as I continue on my journey towards getting there. 😊


  7. Keep up the awesome work!!


  8. Very brave to share this experience!
    Strange something like this really happened to you, cause you’re pretty! But the world never runs out of idiots….
    And that recipe sounds delicious. Going to try it this week!


    • I was very nervous to post this story today, but I’m so glad I did. The overwhelmingly positive feedback has been amazing. And I wish it hadn’t have happened to me, but I guess it shows that people are mean and anyone can be a victim of someone else’s cruelness. And the recipe is delicious! Let me know how it turns out!


  9. Way to go momma! Great way to motivate and encourage others with your story, you are awesome and keep working are and posting awesome recipes, love it!! Thumbs up back at ya! 😉


  10. Heather,
    Im loving your confidence, your declious, whole food recipes, and your entertaining posts! Keep on keeping on!!! Such a good example for your beautiful daughter to model!



  11. Delicious*
    Obviously I’m not a mom because I cannot multitask.


  12. You are doing awesome! So inspiring. I just wish you could ship that chicken salad! Yum … PS what a jerk – you are beautiful!


  13. ” There’s one thing in life we can all look forward to and that’s change” … as my father told me over ten years ago. Change weather good or bad or inbetween will happen. Most important part of your journey is this change your enduring for yourself. Stay true to the goals in which you wish to accomplish for you. You are your own happiness, you are the goal in which you reach, you are beautiful and need to remember that within you. keep up the positive vibes, goals and hard work! 🙂 we all are our own journey circling this world shaping earth and I thank you for taking time and sharing your journey with us all 🙂 your doing great stay true to your goals for you xo Cass


  14. You are amazing! Heaven knows I’ve had more than a few strangers tell me how they feel about me eating anything other than a salad. It’s so hard to move forward when there are people hell bent to make you fall back. You rock! ❤


    • Geralyn YOU rock! I have been following your fitness journey on Facebook and I am constantly amazed and inspired by you. I am SO proud of all that you have accomplished! Keep up the hard work mama because you look fabulous.


  15. Very inspiring. Don’t let anyone ever shame you into anything. They don’t know your personal struggles, how hard you’ve worked, how hard your uphill battle is, etc. There are those that “get off” somehow by making others feel an inch tall. It could be a total stranger, a friend or a family member. You don’t really know me too well, but I’m incredibly proud of your journey thus far and am anxiously awaiting to follow the rest of it. 🙂


  16. Pingback: A Stranger Called Her Fat | In Her Sneakers

  17. Brittany Grinstead

    No matter what weight your weight is, you still are and will always be the amazing, beautiful, and brilliant sister I grew up with. So proud of you and everything you have accomplished!!


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