The Secret Humiliations Of Being Fat

The stuff that’s NOT talked about.

Melanie Rockett
Jul 11 · 5 min read

Fat people face a lot of public humiliations … from people who say nasty things behind your back, loudly enough for you to hear, to being passed by for important job promotions, to not being invited to events because you’ll “spoil” the photo ops. This is the stuff that is actually talked about.

What is not often mentioned is the private or secret humiliations fat people suffer.

I know, because I used to be classified as morbidly obese … at my highest, I weighed about 280 pounds. My scale maxed out at 250, but even though my ears were plugged, I heard my Doctor say 280!

Though I suffered many private humiliations, I remember two very clearly because when I lost some weight I actually noticed when they stopped.

The first humiliation was putting on panty hose.

Here’s the thing, when you are really fat your thighs become one giant mass of flesh. You don’t have TWO legs, you have ONE upper leg. Because of your thighs you can no longer put your knees together … and your feet splay out.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Panty hose are tight and in order to get into them, your feet have to come together to fit through the top. THAT is the start of the struggle, how to get BOTH feet into this tiny little tube. And then once you get them both into the top part, how do you get your feet into the leg openings?

If someone were to be watching, they might laugh. For me it often brought on tears of frustration, anger and … humiliation. I would flounder like a beached whale on top of the bed struggling and struggling. Something that takes slim women less than a minute would take me 30 minutes or more. When I finally had the pantyhose on, I would lie on my bed panting with exhaustion.

Then magic … one day I went to put on some panty hose and was totally blown away. No more beached whale flopping around on top of the bed. I sat on the side of the bed and put on my pantyhose like a normal person. I had lost 100 pounds and felt great … this pantyhose moment was sheer nirvana!

Now, I’m guessing that most men have never had the opportunity to go through a pantyhose struggle, but I DO know that they too suffer from the …

“Putting On Shoes” Humiliation

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

When you are fat and your stomach protrudes, bending over can actually cause you to start regurgitating. Yep, you are on the verge of throwing up. If you have to bend over to take your shoes off or put them on in public, you become gridlocked on the discomfort and you try not to gag out-loud.

It is embarrassing and humiliating to put on shoes in public because you not only look awkward, but you feel hideously awful. You are uncomfortable to the point of getting sick!

My most-of-the-time solution to this problem was to wear slip-on shoes. I could just “toe” the shoes off, and could actually step right into some of them. I’d have to bend over a bit to get a few of my slip-on shoes in place, but it was only seconds and while it was not comfortable, I didn’t gag.

I wore sandals year round, yep even in winter, even in Vancouver’s rainy season. Vancouver is one of those cities where you see people wearing parkas in the middle of summer and shorts in the middle of winter. In all the years I wore sandals in the winter the only comment I ever got was, “aren’t your feet cold?”

My walking shoes and running shoes were BIG challenges. At home I had a bench. Sitting made it a little easier. The biggest problem was when I had to put on my runners from a standing position.

gag, Gag, GAG!

I tried my best to only wear runners when I knew I wouldn’t have to remove them. But I remember clearly when one day some friends picked me up to go for a walk. It turned out to be a really rainy day and they were thinking of buying a condo, so we ended up going to several open houses. You had to take your shoes off at the entrance.

That day I gagged my way through three open houses before I simply didn’t tie my runners up anymore … I just let the laces flop and walked carefully so I wouldn’t trip.

Years later, after I had dropped 100 pounds, I was once again on an open house tour. As I bent over to put on my shoes and tie them up, I realized … NO gagging. I let out a big sigh of utter relief!

No more humiliation over putting on a pair of shoes.

If you have a fat friend, there’s not much you can do to help with the pantyhose, but it would be a generous kindness to have a chair or bench situated near the entrance. Sitting doesn’t solve the whole problem, but it does make things much easier.

What secret humiliations have you experienced because of your weight (past or present)?

This story was originally published on the

Melanie Rockett has been a freelance writer for over 40 years. About 15 years ago she was diagnosed with Diabetes — and began a long journey of discovery. Today she lives a sugar-free life and has lost 120 pounds. Her website is all about living sugar-free and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Do YOU want to live sugar-free? Get regular story updates as well as fabulous sugar-free recipes by joining the Sugar Free Zone on Medium newsletter.

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Freelance writer for 40+ years. Blogs at (How To Sell More Books) and (Living A Sugar Free Life)


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