On Jamelia and Being Overweight

Jamelia’s Comments on Plus Size Clothing and What It’s Like Being Overweight

Jamelia loose women

So, another celebrity has decided to make a name for herself by being unkind. There’s a bit of a trend for it at the moment. But I shall refrain from mentioning another celebrity’s name that might have a K and a H in it.

On Loose Women Jamelia stated that she didn’t believe that Plus Size clothing should be available on the high street:

“I think everyone should have access to lovely clothes, BUT I do not think it’s right to facilitate people living an unhealthy lifestyle.

“I don’t believe stores should stock clothes below or above a certain weight.

“They should be made to feel uncomfortable when they go in and can’t find a size.” *

Today’s blog post was going to be a different blog post. But it will be going up tomorrow instead as I really feel quite strongly about this. In fairness Jamelia is not just commenting on overweight people, she is commenting on underweight people too.

We do have an obesity epidemic in this country. It is a well known fact and problem. It is also a battle I know all too well. I hold my hands up and say I am overweight. I hate the ‘F’ word, but yes fat. Do I want to be this way? No. I hate it. It is an on-going battle.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have overcome many weight battles and that I am now a Cambridge Weight Consultant helping others loose weight. That I am also back on a dieting journey after the birth of my daughter (see Weigh, Lose or Stay #1). I know what it’s like to be fat, I know what it’s like to be slim. I know what it’s like to constantly battle your weight, to loathe the scales and the clothes that seem to be shrinking, but of course aren’t. If I was truly honest and opened up about this I would say that being overweight is painful. For me, emotionally painful.  I don’t plan to ever give up battling.

We all know it is unhealthy to be overweight. But there are so many reasons that people are. Often as I have said painful reasons, whether physical, medical or deep emotional ones.  How can shaming and ostracising people ever be the way? I would go as far to say that most overweight people if they were truly honest want to lose weight. It doesn’t mean they’re always able. In some instances people have to find peace with who and what they are, and I salute them for that. Simply because it’s not something I have ever truly managed.

I’m not here endorsing obesity, I help people lose weight remember? But there are some overweight people who work out more regularly, or eat a better diet than slim people. Who are in fact healthier. Not everything is ever as it seems.

‘Celebrities’ all too often wade in with their opinions on matters without any comprehension of what they’re talking about and also how their words might affect people. Often vulnerable people and sensitive subjects. I would go so far to say I can’t imagine Jamelia has ever been overweight, I could be wrong. But I doubt it. Because if she had I would think she would have more compassion.

As I noted earlier, Jamelia also mentioned underweight people too. While I have no experience of ever being underweight, there are very deep emotional issues there too. Eating disorders is an obvious one, perhaps someone is naturally very slim, but there is often big problems also.

I am honestly shocked that anyone would think it is a good thing to push people in society with weight issues – whatever the reason – out of the mainstream. To make them feel more ashamed, more alone and more shameful. What happened to kindness and understanding or empathy?

Jamelia has since gone on to issue an apology:

“I didn’t make it clear that I was talking about extremes, I was talking about above size 20 and below size six, those sizes being available,” she said.

“Knowing that I offended people really upset me.

“Knowing that I made people question themselves and their choices, it really did upset me. All I can do is apologise for that.

“I do stand by what I said. I’m a real woman with real opinions. I get paid to voice my opinions.

“It’s been absolutely awful but this is my job. I believe we are all entitled to our opinion.” **

Hmm so if people are over a size 20 or below a size 6, it’s OK to be mean to them then? She’s right of course, she is entitled to her opinions. We all are. But that does mean that she should be ready to accept the backlash that comes with those opinions.

I for one am getting a bit fed up of C list celebrities thinking that it’s OK to be unkind for the sake of a bit of news column coverage. I’m of course not only referring to Jamelia, there have been a few news stories lately of this nature. Perhaps when they have a bit more understanding and education about the issues they are commenting on, they should get a bit more air time. Perhaps… Or perhaps we should all ignore them they will disappear and find another more fitting career.

*Source: Closer Magazine
**Source: BBC News

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8 thoughts on “On Jamelia and Being Overweight”

  1. Great Blog Post! The story really touched a nerve with me too. I’m all for seeing yourself in a positive light. I’m also all for health. Of course no one thinks it is a good idea to be so overweight or underweight that you put your health or life at risk. However between that there are lots of stages, lot’s of sizes. We have to make people feel good about themselves as they are. Once that happens they are in a place where change becomes a lot easier. We are never going to look the same. Thank the Lord! Some will be smaller, taller, wider, curvier – That is a part of the wonderful tapestry of life. People in the public eye should embrace it x

    • Yes I agree, why would we all want to look the same? I just think it was a case of Jamelia commenting on something she had no comprehension on.

  2. That comment made me sooo angry! I too have struggled to maintain a healthy weight all my life – sometimes because I overate, but also at some times because I needed to take steroids for severe allergic reactions. I learned then never to judge anyone – who ever they are – because you just don’t know why they are that weight. Also I have learned on my weight loss journey that one comment like that can destroy a week’s effort and delight in a pound off on the scales. People who are over- or under-weight need encouragement and support to feel good about who they are, and we should never underestimate the good a positive comment can do. I can remember at least one time when walking through town after a disappointing week at the scales, dead set on a ‘commiseration doughnut’, when I met a friend who straight away said to me ‘you are doing really well, you have lost even more weight’ She didn’t know how my thoughts were turning at that point, but she did help me walk away from that doughnut.I applaud all positive input to encourage healthy eating, and could not have got this far along my weight loss journey without the help of my weight loss consultant and my supportive friends, but comments like Jamelia’s just make me want to force feed her chips until her clothes don’t fit and then interview her again after SHE has had to work as hard as some of us to to become ‘normal’ size again.

  3. Disastrous, ill thought, ridiculous comments by Jamelia, I was shocked she feels shaming people out of the high street could be positive. Yuck. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  4. I believe that a lot of the reason people don’t lose weight is cripplingly low self-esteem. It’s hardly going to make them feel better if they look shit and like style forgot them, is it? People who look better, with better clothes, have better self-confidence, leading to better self-esteem, better belief in yourself, and that you can choose to change if you want to. But it’s your choice. Shaming someone into changing isn’t going to be a lasting permanent change, it’ll be a temporary one when someone hits the first bump in the road. Jamelia’s comments really made me cross. How cold, and judgmental to suggest that anyone who isn’t a size 8-18 is essentially banned from clothes shopping where do you draw the line? Someone who is 5ft 0 wearing a size 18 will almost certainly be a higher BMI than someone who is 6ft and wearing a size 18. Should we ban anything above a size 14 if it’s from a petite range? What if you have to take medication for a medical condition that makes you put on weight? Clothes on prescription? Sometimes willowy teenagers who are too tall for kids clothes, can fit into a ladies’ GAP size 2 pair of jeans and no longer feel like some sort of mutant for being so tall. It’s a ridiculous suggestion. It makes me proud to have a warm, kind heart with its fat-clogged arteries than one made of stone.

    • Ha great comment Rachel, yes better to be happy and warm hearted than skinny and unhappy. There is so much wrong with her comments it’s beyond comprehension. The problem isn’t with clothes and your point on low self esteem is very true.


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