This might be the number one statement that drives me up the wall.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a fat person say this (either to my face, to someone near me, or on TV), but it’s got to be in the hundreds of times. Every time I hear it, I think to myself, no, you most certainly have not.
What is this statement saying? Let’s break it down. First, I will tell you that the derivation of this phrase is from the “Fat” language. The language of “Fat” sounds a lot like English, but a lot of words and phrases have very different meanings and origins.
Luckily, I happen to speak “Fat”. I once found an entire passage on the back of a McDonald’s food tray that was carved first in “Fat”, then translated to “Lazy”, and finally to “English”. The top left corner was broken off, so I am not completely fluent. However, I do know enough to translate this statement.
This is what “I’ve tried everything” means when translated:
I have given up. I have tried everything that at one particular moment in my life I thought I had the motivation to stick to, but then I realized I could not do any of them. I do not have the willpower to eat the diet that I need to maintain the weight that I desire. I have yet to even find out what type of diet I will need to accompany my lifestyle in order to achieve the completely un-realistic goal that I once set for myself. I, will be fat forever. There is no hope for me. This is my excuse. It is the best one I can think of. Please feel pity for me.”
The act of saying “I’ve tried everything” out loud to another person is very odd to me. I don’t understand how anyone can hear it and not think that it is at least somewhat absurd. “Everything” is so absolute. There’s obviously no possible way the person has really tried e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, so why would they say it?
To get attention. This attention comes in many forms. It can be welcomed in the form of pity and empathy. It is also asking the listener to sympathize with them in a way that sort of ‘lets them off the hook’. It’s nothing more than an excuse, a justification for… for what? Still being fat, despite “trying” to be otherwise.
By using such a grandiose statement, the listener is forced to wonder to themselves, “what have they tried?” But, the problem is, it is so vague, and such a sensitive subject, that even though the listener wonders what the speaker has tried, they will most certainly not be so bold as to ask them exactly what. They are forced to just listen, nod their head, and offer the pity face. A roll of the eyes would most certainly banish you.
It’s also a kind of self-denial. By saying “I’ve tried everything”, a person is finalizing their journey to become a healthier person. They are very much giving up by making it sound as though they have no alternatives. They’ve decided that what they’ve tried so far, is either too difficult, or it will never work for them. Therefore, they are hopeless.
What type of person says this?
More than once I’ve witnessed a fat person (or ‘fat acceptance’ person) write or say something to the effect of the following:
I hate how so many people think that it’s as simple as diet and exercise, because obviously it doesn’t work. Just look at how many people are fat!”
Wow. Is that some great logic, or what? This is the same type of logic used by the person that has “tried everything”. They are assuming that their habits and willpower are infallible, therefore the only reason that they are still fat, must be because what they have tried does not work, and will never work. They probably haven’t given thought to the idea that it could be themselves that didn’t do something right. I doubt they know what it’s like to really dedicate to something.
I have some alternatives that they can use:
I have tried so many things, but haven’t yet found the diet that’s right for me.”
I haven’t yet figured out what diet allows me to be the person I want to be.”
I’ve tried a few things, and have had little success, but i’m still trying.”
I’m having a hard time losing weight. Do you have any suggestions?”
There you go. Notice the difference? Notice how mine are less final. They are open-ended, and give way to a more positive future. A future of optimism, effort, and health.
Use them. Use them, wisely.