Heartbreak

My Brazilian Family Is Obsessed With Being Thin

Photo: iordani / Shutterstock
My Brazilian Family Is Obsessed With Being Thin

I can’t say my family does not love me, but I know that there is generational karma in my family that I am willing to break — karma that has caused me a lot of pain.

For my family, to be well is to be thin. If you are fat, you need to do something about it. I know it’s not a problem only with my family but with Brazilian culture in general.

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I remember at school, a friend saying that you can have as many problems as possible, but if you are thin, everything is fine. Being "fat" was the primary issue and the one that you should be most concerned about.

Also, when I grew up, the belief was that if you are thin but have failed at everything else, you are still worth more than someone fat who has their complete life on track.

I grew up being told if you can’t manage your weight, you are nothing.

I grew up hating my belly.

At 16, I was anorexic at 42kg (92 pounds). At 26, I was the heaviest I had ever been in my entire life at 90k (198 pounds). Because of the way I was raised, I battled with weight my whole life. Even today, I'm still not at peace with my body image.

There isn’t one conversation with my family where the conversation about weight doesn’t come up. It’s awful, and I hate it. Either we're talking about other people who are fat or recently got fat or what we're doing or not doing to get fat or deal with our fat. It’s all about weight, all the time.

I don’t know why family is so obsessed with being thin. I am not their therapist to analyze and heal)them, and honestly, I don’t care. What I do care about is what I am going to do with my life because I don’t want my kids to suffer as I did. I want them to have a healthy relationship with their bodies and all bodies.

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I can’t change the past and all the struggles I've faced with my family, but once I start a new family, I have the choice of making things different. I'm in therapy, and that’s what helped me to deal with my toxic familial culture. 

I'm still not 100% healed from my upbringing, and I still feel like I need to be thin to be accepted and loved by my family. I still want their approval and, more importantly, their acceptance.

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I know they're not conscious of what they are doing, and if they read this article, they would probably be shocked by my admissions. Because when you don’t have consciousness, you can’t see what's right in front of you.

And when you believe in something as strongly as they do, as they do, there is very little other people can do to change your opinion. They believe that being thin — not for health reasons, but appearance  is everything.

Their beliefs and attitudes are painful. When the people that should love you the most call you "fat" to hurt you is hard. How can one word carry so much pain? Because for my family, it means I am not good enough — and all I ever wanted was to be good enough for them.

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Tamires Criscio is a Brazillian full-time writer living in London.

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This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.