Except... we're not. We're totally not. Fat people have no secret agenda to "make the rest of society fat". Those of us involved in the Fat Acceptance Movement don't have any hidden ulterior motive to try and assimilate you into FATNESS. Because it simply doesn't work that way. Scientists and dietitians and creators of weight loss and diet programs have not found a safe and effective way to permanently turn fat people into thin people. Alternately, there is no proven way to take a thin person and make them permanently fat. So don't lose sleep over it.
I know that for some of my readers, this post is going to come off eye-rollingly 101, but I don't touch on the subject of fatness and Health At Every Size all that often outside of my FATshion outfit posts, so I really would like to go there.
These truths we hold to be self evident:
- You cannot claim to know anything about my health just by looking at my size. No, I am not riding the fast train towards Diabetes, I do not have high blood pressure, my knees are doing just fine supporting my weight, and I have never once had a doctor express concern that I may develop any of those conditions. I don't have a family history of diabetes, and while, yes, there has been hypertension in my family history, I have personally found that avoiding stress and getting enough sleep and exercise has kept high BP at bay.
- You cannot tell anything about my diet or activity level just by looking at my fat body. I have known many thin people who are sedentary and many fat people who are avid joggers, swimmers, tennis enthusiasts, ultimate frisbee players, belly dancers, hikers, and yes, fitness instructors. Fat people don't inherently avoid exercise or stuff their faces full of twinkies all day. I have known fat vegans, vegetarians, locavores, omnivores, and eat whatever is around-vores. The same goes for people who happen to inhabit thinner bodies. Plainly put - people are unique and different from eachother. This includes our bodies.
- If you are a person who used to be fat and has lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for over 5 years, congratulations - you are either a unique and special snowflake, or the higher weight you used to be was NOT your bodies natural set-point. Our bodies do have a natural weight-range that they settle into, based on many factors. These include, but are not limited to: genetics, environment, whether your body has birthed children or not, lifestyle and career, metabolism, access to fresh air and pure food, income and socioeconomic status... the list goes on. I have maintained the weight I am at for awhile now because that is the weight my body settled at. Sometimes I eat quite healthily, sometimes I forget to eat regularly, sometimes I eat large amounts of calorie-dense foods because they are delicious and pleasurable. My exercise level also fluctuates depending on my mood, the weather, my amount of free-time to participate in athletic activities, etc. Through all of those fluctuations, my weight remains steady between 225 and 230 lbs. I am between 5'2" and 5'3", this weight puts me into the "morbidly obese" category. Many people have certain connotations associated with the term "morbidly obese" and from what I have seen, they don't include a body like mine that enjoys physical activity, home-cooked meals and good health.
- Headless fatties who are portrayed in the media to illustrate the "obesity epidemic/crisis" are people. They DO have heads... and names and personalities and families and lives and are whole people. Please remember this when spouting off about "personal responsibility" and how all those OBESE people are costing YOU money because of their assumed ill-health and grossness. Thankyouverymuch.
- My health and my body is not public property. It is no one's business but my own. The fact that I put myself out there and publicly give details about my life is MY choice. I don't owe it to anyone to be the "good fatty" who does everything right and is still *gasp*... FAT. I don't owe it to anyone to be visible and upfront and honest about my health. It is MY choice.
- With that said - I do think that the governing body of our country has a responsibility to provide decent health care and resources for its citizens. I support universal health care and am 100% for whole foods being served in schools, people getting off the couch and out into the fresh air, advocating cooking at home with wholesome ingredients, fresh seasonal produce being available to people of all races, income-levels, and sizes. All too often I see these ideas trotted out under the guise of "fighting obesity", though, and that saddens me to no end. So many well-meaning people who truly want better health for all, whose hearts are very much in the right place are putting their focus on the wrong thing and/or are getting dangerously close to suggesting that a portion of the population is somehow "wrong" for existing the way they currently are. Those are some mighty dangerous waters we're swimming in. Michelle Obama, Jaime Oliver, Michael Pollan, Lenore Skenazy - please, please, please stop focusing on eradicating fat in our nations children (and everyone in general). It's not going to happen and it shouldn't be expected to happen. We're on the same page in so many ways, but when I see headlines that read "Is It OK to be Fat?" or "Obesity Killing Millions" it's hard not to get a little worked up and a little defensive... See what I'm saying?
- By eschewing the diet & weight-loss mentality I have not "given up" or chosen to just be FAT FAT FAT. I have simply decided to do what's best for my sanity and my health by leaving behind disordered eating practices and unrealistic "goals". I don't owe it to you or my mother or society at large to fit into some arbitrary little niche of what is acceptable. I'm listening to my internal voice and harnessing my power and strength to buck a system that IS NOT WORKING.
a little bit of related reading/viewing for you:
- But don't you realize fat is unhealthy?!
- IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY: Death Fat contextualized
- The Fatty Commandments: What Do You Want?
- Eat food. Stuff you like. As much as you want.
- The fantasy of being THIN.
- On dressing femme, being a “bad fat”, and changing the FA blogosphere.
- Joy Nash's videos: A Fat Rant, Staircase Wit, et all.
- Embracing the morbid.
- a community of women challenging "fashion rules", wearing what they want, being unapologetically FAT, and supporting eachother!