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My Response to Dear Abby on an Overweight Woman

08/11/2014 05:59 pm ET | Updated Oct 11, 2014
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Dear Abby,

It is funny how a few months ago you went viral for one of your letters. An "unhappy couple" was upset about living in a neighborhood with gay couples and asked your advice. You shot the couple down quickly for their beliefs and you gave a great response on judging people.

It went viral and was one of the most popular "Dear Abby" responses.

Yesterday a woman wrote to you asking advice about wearing a bikini. She was a plus-sized woman (about 60 or 70 pounds overweight), who wore a one piece bathing suit in public and a bikini top/shorts at home. When she goes to her mom's house, her mom tells her she cannot wear that in front of her family. Her mom said the outfit makes people around her uncomfortable. The woman claimed that no one in her family except for her mom truly cared and her mom felt that being larger is different for women than men.

You responded to her by saying that it is her mom's rules and she should respect them. OK, I get it. I mean, keep in mind that "OFFENDED DAUGHTER" said no one else was upset except her mom. But you are right, people should respect rules in other's homes.

Then you did something that bothered me.

You told the woman she probably should not feel so comfortable in her own skin. You wondered what her physician thought about her obesity and you said that her mother would be prouder of her if she lost weight. Here are your exact words...

While you say you are comfortable in your own skin, it would be interesting to know what your physician thinks about your obesity. I suspect that your mother would be prouder of you if you were less complacent and more willing to do something about your weight problem.

So here is the thing. Where in the original letter did the woman say she was not doing anything about her weight? Where did she say that she was thrilled about being 60-70 pounds overweight? "OFFENDED DAUGHTER" said that she felt comfortable in her own skin.

Are you insinuating that you should hate yourself until you lose weight?

Should she wear a sweatshirt and sweatpants by the pool to hide from her embarrassment? Should she stay clear of a pool until she is at a goal weight you design for her? Please, tell me.

I will tell you what my physician told me when I went to see him when I was 70 pounds overweight. I sat on a chair nervous to see him. I kind of knew what he was going to say. I already heard it from the receptionist and the nurse.

When he walked in he looked at me. He took a deep breath and said...

"Wow. I never thought you would be less than 300 pounds. You look amazing!"

See, when I was 60-70 pounds overweight I was already well on my journey in weight loss. I was once well over 400 pounds. How do you know where "OFFENDED DAUGHTER" was on her journey? You assumed. You assumed that the woman asking you a question should not love herself at her weight. You assumed that she has not lost any weight because she is still overweight.

Well, even if she did not lose any weight why shouldn't she love herself?

People lose weight for themselves, not to make others proud. The mother in question probably would never be happy with her daughter. "OFFENDED DAUGHTER" will never be good enough for her mom. She will never be thin enough.The mother is probably the reason that "OFFENDED DAUGHTER" is overweight.

What if she was in shape but had warts on her stomach. Would it be okay to wear a bikini?

Or her boobs were not proportioned. What is she was ugly and her mom did not want her to wear a bikini because she was ugly?

Wearing a bikini is not about health. There are many women in all shapes and sizes who wear a bikini. You are saying that the mom is correct that she should not wear a bikini around family. You are saying the true answer is for the daughter to lose weight so her mom will be proud.

You are insinuating the daughter is not trying. You truly seem to be saying that she should not love herself because "OFFENDED DAUGHTER" is overweight.

No offense, but that is a horrible response. Here is the response you should have given...

You are not wrong for wanting to be comfortable. But please remember that when you visit someone else's home, that person's wishes take precedence -- even if it used to be your childhood home.

By the way, your mom should not care if you wear a bikini. If your family does not care, why should your mom? Be proud in whatever you wear. This is not about your health but more about your body image. I am not a physician so I cannot determine your health nor can I say if you have been losing weight or not. Honestly, your mom should be proud of you no matter your weight. It is a shame she is not.

Sorry but your answer was disappointing. You did seem like someone who was not quick to judge. I was wrong.

Sincerely,

Tony Posnanski