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Does putting on weight affect your mental health?

Community Champion
Community Champion

I have been watching a program on sbs about What does Australia really think about obesity.?

I was very moved that people who are overweight experience more mental health issues and depression that people who are not overweight.

The program informed us that overweight people get negative comments every day and are subject to fat shaming when ever they go out in public.

I wonder if you have ever experienced fat shaming or heard Brooke being shamed because of their weight.

I worry that someone’s weight may be causing mental illness not due to the weight but how other people judge them.

For much of my life I was over weight. In my first workplace my female colleagues told me I could get a boyfriend if only I lost weight and dressed better wore make up .

I was told my thighs were too big to wear shorts. I have been called fat and lazy and complete strangers have given me advice.

If you feel you can share how your weight makes you feel and any experience when you were shamed and judged for your weight. I am really interested to find out more about how mental health is affected by being overweight.

14 Replies 14

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Quirky,

This is a great topic to discuss. My wife saw the TV show but I missed it.

I've struggled with my weight all my life. The only thing positive I can say about my body is that I have a large chest along with its lower spare tyre. As a young airman I did weight lifting and kept fit but regardless the spare tyre stayed.

I've learned the following-

  • That there is a photo of me at 2yo eating a piece of bread- I was chubby then.
  • That I've read that apart from liposuction the minute fat cells can remain there dorment when losing lots of weight but spark up when we begin to gain it again. So, we can fool ourselves that we wont look like we did
  • That embracing ourselves for who we are is so important. Us overweight people will unlikely loose a lot of weight so the worry isnt worth it
  • Fat shaming is a big issue and I've tackled it the following way-

Before my wife and I got together an ex brother in law mentioned her to me "she really needs to do something about her weight". Yep, he was slim, never had a weight issue in his life. He has red hair and red beard. My reply to him was - "so are you taking steps to change your hair colour"? "why" he asked. Well red hair is unpopular and I presume you were teased when a child for having it, am I right".

"Yes I was, often teased and I hated it". So I assume you'll dye it then to hide it so other people dont have to look at it"?

He stared at me and realised my point. But here's the thing- he changed the topic. A few minutes later he was about to leave my presence to go home. "Oh, by the way- my wife has a lovely shade of brown hair dye you can have if you think you'll need it". He walked away.

Now before anyone thinks I was cruel I dont think I was, I equalised his judgemental comments. I never used to be so assertive/combative but after decades of tolerating this kind of attitude that I place in the same league as racism, religious judgements and any other discriminations I ended up deciding that fighting back in a tactful witty way is best because you dont actually display anger or nastiness but you do take the matter up to a point whereby they realise their judgements are unfair and cruel.

I've survived much better with this approach. The following thread explains it a lot.


Standing up to abuse/judgemental attitudes takes courage and not all of us can do it.

Great topic Quirky


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Tony and quirky

I like Ur responses and commentary

I've been told to wear make-up to attract men, told to do x or y and heard ppp say disgusting things about people's weight , when tbh these comments are incorrect

Being bigger doesn't make someone more attractive, and these comments don't work

A lot of ppl from what I understand put on weight after feeling unsafe in their body

As my friend once said to me about her weight gain ....My body was protecting me from harm. How can I hate or shame my body, for trying to keep me safe?

Meant to read bring bigger doesn't are someone less attractive

There are many ppl who love and enjoy their appearance at all sizes

Tony, one thing the program mentioned was how we have as a society chosen to make a stand racism ageism, disability but apparently it is ok to make fun of people who maybe overweight.

People have said they are afraid to outside or go swimming or doing physcial exercise as people will comment.

We all know slim people who eat chip, junk food and fast food but no one goes up to them and tells them what they should eat.

The fact that someones body because it is bigger than the average becomes ok to comment on and ridicule,.

Years ago in my late teens when I was maybe 6 kgs overweight, I had a male I had been dating fora couple of weeks tell me he could never find me physically attractive and I should lose weight. He had a choice but why got out with me for a few weeks tell me he liked my company and then said if I didnt lose weight I would never get a boyfriend. I became depressed after that put on more weight!! NB it wouldnt matter if I was 30kg or more overweight he was rude and inconsiderate.

I have told people if you want me to gain weight tell me I should lose weight. Some people dont understand that but if you have been or are overweight you will know what that means.

Community Member
Greetings Quirky, White Knight and Sleepy21, I did not see the program about Australians thoughts on obesity but I understand the show has revealed the ugly truth about judgmental people. When I see a person I see a soul inside a human form and just like cars, humans come within different exteriors. About two months ago I saw a very thin woman who was open mouth staring at a large lass pushing a wheel chair. I found myself wishing a dirty blow fly would enter her open mouth. Later in the day I met the lass and she is a disability worker and she is also a positive role model. Don't judge a book by it's cover, book saying for you cool cat quirky.

sleepy and Tony thanks for your comments.

Sleep ever culture and society has a different concept of what is slim, attractive over weight etc.

Being happy with who you are and accepting that will help your physical and mental health.

I'm convinced scientists will discover some stomach differences between slim and larger people. I've worked with men 12 hour shifts that were much slimmer bit ate more quantity of food with higher carbs and fat.

So I'm not convinced it's all diet.

My wife and I embarked on a low carb low fat low sugar diet 3 weeks ago. I've lost 2 kg. Hardly remarkable and disappointing. We will continue with the new lifestyle but it is really hard.

Yes, I've had many depressive moments in my life from being overweight



I think we feel bad when we are overweight because of how others treat us. Also when we are bombarded with images and text saying fat is bad slim is good, it is hard to have self confidence.

Quirky, how others treat us has a negative affect and then we spiral into sadness and eat more as a comfort.

I mentioned above how we can confront those that verbally hurt us by reacting in an equalising manner. That isnt always possible with many of us. I have been lucky to have a prison officer as part of my background and in such an environment you learn to erect those shields or counter abuse. It is an option I have, another string to my bow that I feel grateful I developed. It still isnt however, a natural action, it is something that I still feel uncomfortable using but less comfortable if I let it go and dwelled on the fact I didnt say anything.

Unfortunately humans have great deficiencies where it comes to empathy and simple facts like that humans come in all shapes and sizes. Take the TV series the Bachelor- all entrants are slim.

My wife is much more solid than my ex partners. I have to be honest and say that when younger I was more attracted to slim females. However, I was not compatible to them and made the mistake of marrying or living with them, with many problems arising from lust overshadowing such compatibility. I'd known my now wife for 25 years before we dated. I actually matchmade her with her first husband and was best man. My now wife was almost a best mate to me and when both became single we immediately fell for each other with common interests like love of animals, caravanning and crafts. She is the kindest most beautiful person in the world. But more importantly her cuddliness is something the slimmer past partners never had.

Mmmm, cuddliness, amazing how one can find positives out of what some see as undesirable.