Why Did Namita Thapar Call Shark Tank 2 Contestant Shikha Sharma Aggarwal ‘Gimmicky’?

While there is large scale consensus that faulty eating habits cause obesity, that’s not the sole reason. There may be genetic, psychological, environmental, social and cultural factors and other disorders behind the excess weight issues.

Tell her to eat less. No man would agree to marry her.

You’re not taking care at all. Look at him, how his girth has expanded.

Do something about your paunch; you’re looking even fatter. 

My friends mock me, call me ‘moti bhains’.

Ah, haven’t we all heard these comments or made them? It is so easy for us to fat shame people around us, call them names and laugh over the ‘tyres’ around their waists.

Shikha Sharma Aggarwal’s Fat to Slim

The pitch by entrepreneur Shikha Sharma Aggarwalin the 20th episode of Shark Tank season 2 hit a raw nerve somewhere. She is the director of Fat To Slim which claims to reduce body weight and make one slim by just following their special diet without doing any exercise. She also claimed to have helped resolve PCOD, diabetes, and even infertility issues in her clients.

But is it really that easy to transform from fat to slim without doing any physical exercise? Wasn’t she herself resorting to fat-shaming women by saying that ‘aunties’ in housing societies who do brisk walking every day don’t transform into glam models with hourglass figures? It was quite callous of her to say ‘aalu se aap bhalu nahi banenge’ (you won’t become a fat bear by eating potato) insinuating that fat people are like bears.

To her credit though, she didn’t advocate any fancy, imported, expensive foodstuff or crash diet but advised eating what is regularly available in our kitchens.

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While there is large scale consensus that faulty eating habits cause obesity, that’s not the sole reason of it. There may be genetic, psychological, environmental, social and cultural factors and other disorders behind the excess weight issues which are conveniently ignored while mocking fat people. And the culprits are not just strangers but often our own family, friends and so-called well-wishers.

Weighty issues that mold our thinking and behaviour

A cousin has inherited obesity from her mother and passed on the trait to her daughter. When she started looking for a suitable match for her daughter she was repeatedly advised by relatives and friends to first put her on a strict diet, make her do jhadu-pocha or send her to some ashram to make her lose some weight and then proceed on this groom hunting expedition. ‘Arre itne motape ke sath is ko kaun pasand karega (who will like her with her fat body)?’ they would tell her.

This is when the girl fulfilled all the other parameters of ‘sushil-sundar-sanskari-ladki’. Nobody worried about her health – physical, mental and emotional. Nobody considered the fact that her weight issue was not her fault; it was genetic. All they cared about was that nobody would want to get married to her making her more prone to mental health issues.

A loss of self esteem

There’s no denying that obesity is not good for health. Excess weight causes multiple diseases and may hinder even simple routine body movements. There’s also a well-established connection between obesity and mental health. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and loss of self-esteem and confidence. Obese people often tend to be anxious about being judged for their bodily appearance. Popular comic artist Bharti Singh recently cried on a TV show about being body shamed at the time of her marriage to Haarsh Limbachiyaa who is slim and tall.

Double XL, a recent movie featuring Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi also depicted how obese women are shamed and judged for their weight. It questions why women’s weight and size decide their career choice and demands the need for promoting a sense of body positivity. One should be more concerned about the adverse impact of obesity on mental, physical and emotional health rather than the appearance of a person. One should control diet and do exercise to become fit and active, not just to lose weight and become slim in order to achieve social acceptance and become marriage worthy.

Gimmicky?

Shikha Sharma Aggarwal’s concept of no-exercise, only-diet-control for fat loss failed to appeal to any of the sharks and they declined to offer her any investment. Anupam Mittal refused to accept her claims and said that one template doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. A visibly annoyed Namita Thapar called her claims ‘gimmicky’ and told her to stop misguiding people with her concept of no exercise.

Have you also experienced fat shaming and suffered from anxiety and loss of self-esteem due to that? How did you deal with it?

Image source: YouTube

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Seema Taneja

Curious about anything and everything. Proud to be born a woman. Spiritual, not religious. Blogger, author, poet, educator, counselor. read more...

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