According to WorldObesityDay.org, the mission of World Obesity Day is to raise awareness and improve understanding of obesity and the actions needed to address them. It is also a day that encourages advocacy, hopes to improve policy, and asks for people to share their experiences.
However, conversations about weight and obesity can carry a lot of stigma and can often frame those with obesity as a problem that needs to be fixed. RTÉ2fm broadcaster Louise McSharry is one such person.
In a recent Instagram post, McSharry said that her weight has not caused problems for her as much as the way it has been spoken about.
The presenter took to Instagram to speak about her experience with the day and the conversations that happen around her body. Posting a photo of herself wearing workout gear, McSharry said:
"Today is #WorldObesityDay, the day the world gets together and tries to solve the problem of people like me. Except, I'm not a problem. In fact, the more I learn and the more I think about it, the more I realise that my weight has actually never negatively impacted my life.
"What has negatively impacted my life is society's attitude toward it. People's feelings about my body have been negatively impacting me since I was placed on my first diet at age six, and they have never stopped. Their feelings about my body led to years of pointless yoyo dieting which, would you believe, is really bad for your health.
"Their feelings about my body and what it is and isn't capable of meant I never tried out for the school dance team, even though I wanted to, because I had been taught that bodies like mine didn't belong there. It meant I stopped going on acting auditions because an agent told me I 'better get my body together' as she handed me a script at age sixteen.
"It meant I settled for substandard relationships with s**t people because I had been taught that I'd be lucky if anyone was ever attracted to me. I can dance. I can act. I am attractive. My body never stopped me. The attitudes did.
"This week I did yoga in a bra and leggings, something I would never have done ten years ago. Yoga is for thins, I would have thought, and my internalised fatphobia meant I was too disgusted by my body to be in any state of undress, even when totally alone.
"Not anymore. I am not a disease. I am not a problem to be solved. There is no thin person inside me. I am LIVING. Right now. Thank you @scotteeisfat and @scotteeandfriends for asking me to be part of #WorldObesityDayHACK"
Louise received waves of support from her followers underneath the post, including a comment from model and Dancing with the Stars competitor Thalia Heffernan who said:
"F**k yes to all of this. You're a brilliant, beautiful, intelligent woman who is so much more than her weight. Ps. That body has fought cancer and birthed two babies - she deserves to be loved not shamed. And loving this sports bra on you, just saying. Xxxx"
Thalia herself recently received negative comments about her weight from an unnamed account that claimed to be concerned about her "obvious weight gain". The model responded to the comment in an Instagram post saying:
"My body may fluctuate, but it carries me everyday and works to allow me to stretch, move and survive. I think that’s pretty special. There was a time I couldn’t, working out/stretching hurt because my protruding bones would bruise and I felt like they’d crumble under the impossibly small weight of my body."
"There was also times where I was ‘big’ enough to rip the seams of sample pieces on set/on shows. On both occasions I would cry and beat myself up for hours, thinking I was ‘too fat’ to be happy. My size was never my issue."
Simply put: every body is different, weight can fluctuate for any number of reasons, and there are rarely blanket answers that can be applied. One thing that remains true, however, is that commenting on other people's size is unacceptable behaviour.