Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fat is NOT a Dirty Word but Maybe it’s the Wrong One?

August 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Fat Acceptance

I wrote this over a year and a half ago before meeting Kate (Shapely Prose) and being a part of We Are The Real Deal.

A few people sent me a link from the NY Times entitled In the Fatosphere, Big Is In, or at Least Accepted and wanted to know what I thought.

Why my opinion?

I don’t know, but, OK, I’m always up for sharing my 2¢ :~)

The article showcases fat acceptance blogs like Shapely Prose and The-F-Word. There is a huge online community and they have an RSS feed called the fatosphere.

My first response was cool, to each there own. I envy their self-confidence. Big IS beautiful IF you are confident and happy in your own skin.  I hate to use sizes in an example as they are very arbitrary but, I’d much rather see a happy, healthy, confident women wearing a size 18 then a depressed, malnutrition, insecure size 2 any day.

However, fat acceptance is skirting a fine line for me. It’s intertwining body image, health and fatness, and that can get confusing. A thin person can be as, if not more, unhealthy then a fat person and vice versa. So why focus on fat acceptance and create a fatosphere. Shouldn’t we be spreading the word on health acceptance, teaching people proper nutrition, the benefits of whole foods, how great it is to be active? Shouldn’t we be creating a healthosphere?

In my case, I was fat for one reason and one reason only, I ate too much. It’s plain and simple. I was unhealthy, tired, inactive and depressed. I used food as an escape and made unhealthy choices. Some people may not have considered me “fat”. I averaged a size 14 for the majority of my 20’s. But size is just a number. I overate. I didn’t exercise and I was overall unhealthy. Someone else who had my same habits might have been a size 2 or even a 22. The point is, I was unhealthy, my size was irrelevant.

As with any issue, there are going to be to extremist sides. Those that feel all fat people are so by choice and they need to lose weight and those that think all fat people should be, excuse the pun, fat and happy. I, just as with most issues, like to think you need to realize that one size does not fit all.

Overall my feeling is this…  if people are happy and healthy that’s all that matters, size truly is irrelevant.

This guest post is submitted by Roni



96 Responses to “Fat is NOT a Dirty Word but Maybe it’s the Wrong One?”
  1. Mish says:

    I think what you’ve written is a valid point. In some ways I was happier when I was 100lbs heavier because I wasn’t part of the pressure filled world that demanded..or so I be skinny.

    HOWEVER, I wasn’t healthy.

    I think it’s treading the line between being healthy and content with your body. Being fat shouldn’t be an excuse to curse off the rest of the world because you don’t want to be part of ‘that’ group. It should be not matter where you’re at you’re healthy—thats for any weight.

    Good topic. I just wish people would stop focusing on fat/ thin and focus on healthy/balanced.

  2. webgal says:

    I have to say I agree. I’ve been trying to change my perspective from weight to health for a while now. I eat healthier and I move (and even jog). Both good things. And I’m proud of both. It’s just hard to dismiss the size issue. It’s hard to convert from a lifetime of wanting to be a certain size or weight to a level of health.

    Ultimately, I think health is the best measure. It’s just a hard point to get to intrinsically. But I strive for that every day. And I read blogs like this to help me get there.

    Thanks! Roni, you rock, as always!

  3. Candice says:

    I think the health thing is hard for people because it’s not quantifiable. People want to know how much they should eat, how often and long they should exercise, etc etc. Trying to think holistically about health is hard, but it’s worth breaking out of that 1200cal/day, run 5days/week mindset. I would like to see more writing about what HAES looks like. I think people need more examples because they’ve been bombarded with the strict, quantifiable diet/exercise regiment image of health for so long.

  4. krissie says:

    For me, I wasn’t motivated to get healthy until I accepted where I was and loved myself. As long as I beat myself up for being fat, that’s exactly where I stayed. Fat. But somewhere along the way, I decided that I wanted better, that I deserved better. Because I love me. Not because I am ashamed. I didn’t make any progress toward health until I was accepting and embracing myself where I was.

    I’m still on my journey. I don’t know what the scale will say when I get to the finish line. But I do know that I am stoked about where I am. I am eating really well. I can do the Biggest Loser Yoga video with only a few modifications. I can shop in normal stores. I am finally treating my body as I treat everything I love. I’m taking care of it.

    I love this post. I’ll probably read it over and over. Thank you.

  5. Julie says:

    I so appreciate your post and agree with all you say. I have been incredibly struck by the at times almost vicious nature of some posts on things such as ‘thin privelege’ and ‘fat acceptance’ and how they often are presented in a way that seems to pit women against one another based purely on what size they are or aren’t. At times I actually feel “afraid” to comment on or present what I think is a more balanced viewpoint for fear of being ripped to shreds.

    I totally love your concept of health acceptance.

    Thanks for your post.

  6. run4fun11 says:

    Wow, great post. I really agree with you. Healthy and happy are both important. For the past two years, I was fairly healthy in the food/fitness, but not happy. I always thought I was fat and there was more weight I could lose. This past year though, I realized even if I did reach a certain size, the happiness it would bring me would be temporary. I’m starting to learn to be happy in the present, and not wait until the future. I’m only 20 years old…so I guess its good I’m realizing this now..better than than never

  7. scarlett says:

    Fat Acceptance isn’t actually primarily about health or looks or big being beautiful. Those are side lines. FA is about fat people being given the same dignity that everyone else is, regardless of their weight. It is about fat people not being discriminated against because they are fat. Health is not a moral imperative. If you choose not to be ‘healthy’ (however you want to define it) that does not mean you are a bad person. It is simply another choice in the long line of choices we make in our lives. If someone does not want to exercise, does not want to eat ‘healthy’ foods (which seems to change every other year) and chooses not to do what their doctor tells them to do, that is their choice. That is what FA is about.

  8. Beautifully said, Roni. I understand and respect the idea behind fat acceptance, but I think it is slightly counter-intuitive in that it is actually emphasizing size, when the whole point should be looking past size and into health.

  9. LT says:

    Lara, I find it ironic that you think that fat acceptance is “slightly counter-intuitive in that it is actually emphasizing size, when the whole point should be looking past size and into health.” when your name is followed by “Thinspired”.

    So… does being “Thinspired” “equal “looking past size and into health”?

    Size does not equal health. Rinse and repeat.

    FA is about accepting people of all sizes and ending discrimination based on a person’s body size. The term ‘fat’ is used as part of the movement to embrace the word that has been used to vilify people and that it’s really just a descriptor, like ‘tan’.

    I suppose “Size Acceptance” would have made the movement more palatable to the masses, however, since it’s really a movement to end discrimination against fat people (omg, obesity booga booga), it makes more sense to have “Fat Acceptance”. I see it as those with thin privilege will also benefit from the movement, same as those with male privilege benefit from feminism.

  10. Yum Yucky says:

    My question to Fat Acceptees is this: “If you could magically trade in your size 18 for a size 8 today, would you do it?”

    I think they’d say “Yes! Trade me in”. Then out the window goes the love of Fat Acceptance.

    • The Black Marilyn Monroe says:

      @ Yum Yucky: I think you are missing the point. I will concede that some (but certainly NOT all) fat people might trade their size 18 or an 8 if they could, but the point here is that THEY CAN’T. Even if someone were to starve themselves down 10 sizes for a short while, the chances are more than likely that they will regain all of it and then some within a short time. That being the case, why shouldn’t that person who wears a size 18 work on being as happy and confident as possible at their current size rather than endlessly trying to starve their way to a goal that is impossible to achieve? Don’t they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity even if they would not make such a choice and are okay with themselves at a size 18?

    • Heather#2(?) says:

      This seems to be a non-sequitur. Even if everyone in the FA community would want to be thinner, it doesn’t mean that there’s anything inherently better about being thinner. It would mean (I believe) that society has just made it that horrible to be fat. Perhaps, in a different society (and there probably are some historical ones and current non-Western ones) people would trade in reverse.

      FA is personal and political though. I think, you’d find a lot of people who wouldn’t accept your trade and on top of them a lot more people who think society should be accepting of fat (even if that particular person wants to be thin in the interim b/c it makes things easier).

    • Carla says:

      @Yum Yuck – I totally agree. It all boils down to if you cant be or do what you want, the safe thing to do is to accept who you are as you are. If you can just flip a switch, most people (if not not all) would say “count me in!”.

      If I can switch from being a size 6/8 to a 4 overnight I would. Then again, I was very unhealthy even as a “modest” size 14 at 5’6″.

    • lara says:

      Jesus Christ, doesn’t that just misunderstand the whole idea of privilege?

      If you were to ask me if I would want to trade in my skin color and become a white person, I’d probably have to think hard for a little while. Because white is the beauty norm, white is what I see in magazines, white is what people assume I am online or on the phone.

      You could just as easily have a blog devoted to Race Acceptance that focuses on not straightening your hair and wishing that you had Beyonce’s light skin. And if you were to ask the members of such a site, “Would you trade it in and become white?” I don’t think you would always get a resounding “NO.”

      “_____ Acceptance” is an issue of becoming okay with your placement in a group that is the object of prejudice. But, you know, NOT being the object of prejudice, would kind of top any kind of acceptance, you know what I mean?

  11. lissa10279 says:

    It’s such a shame that our sense of self-worth is still so often determined by the size/shape of our bodies, regardless of our size.

    When I was heavier, I was one of those people who were blissfully unaware of my size, probably because I was plump, but not really “big.”

    After losing weight, I experienced life in a thin person’s body … and that ended up created my disordered eating issues. I actually was probably happier as a chubby person … I was much more carefree, and didn’t think about food all the time. Sure, I ate more than I needed to (I didn’t understand about nutrition or portions) but I exercised a lot, too. I wasn’t unhealthy at my old size, not really.

    And now that I know so much about good health and nutrition, it’s hard to “forget about it” and just live. So I think the bottom line is to find that balance … and it’s something I struggle with day in and day out.

    I’d rather have a few pesky pounds on me than be obsessed like I was at my worst … but now those pesky pounds are there *and* I’m still obsessed … so for me, I have admittedly not found balance yet. A work in progress …

  12. scarlett says:

    @Yum Yucky –

    Would I trade being a size 18 to be a size 8?

    No way in hell.

    Not everyone wants to be thin you know.

  13. Ellie says:

    I’ve had similar thoughts while reading Shapely Prose. But then I checked myself.

    Fat people are constantly bombarded with the fact that they don’t fit in, are less than, ugly, not ok. I mean, the posts on the blog make this very evident – our media, for one, is constantly giving the “thin is the only way” message, as are retail stores, etc.

    So to say “gee guys, you should focus on health, not fat” really isn’t fair. It’s other people (those of us who aren’t fat) who need to stop focusing on it. And maybe then, we can drop the whole topic and focus on just health.

  14. krismcn says:

    I just found this post confusing and I think I’ve figured out why: you say fat is not a bad word, fat people can be beautiful (as long as they’re happy!), fat acceptance should really be health acceptance, though you equate fat with unhealthy for yourself. You present the idea that all fat people should be happy as “extreme”.

    I think this post is muddled because you can’t get over your own anti-fat bigotry, as much as you want to be seen (or see yourself) as fully accepting of all bodies regardless of size. I see this attitude all the time from people who aren’t vocal HATE TEH FATTIEZ trolls, but still harbor fat hate nonetheless. The idea that it’s ok to accept fat people, but only if they’re fat IN SPITE of “eating right” and exercising regularly, otherwise it’s NOT OK, is implicit in your post (the ol’ Good Fatty vs. Bad Fatty comparison). Scarlett is right, FA is about according the same dignity to fat people as everyone else, period. Not just the healthy fat people, or the happy fat people, or the sexy fat people, or the able-bodied fat people. ALL fat people get to be treated as fully human. It’s NOT Health Acceptance, sick fat people get to be treated like people too. It’s NOT Active Fatty Acceptance. Lazy fat people get to be treated with dignity too. Radical I know, but there it is.

    I try not to confuse FA, which is a civil rights and human dignity movement, with HAES, which is a lifestyle choice. I also embrace a HAES philosophy; I eat right (for me), I exercise regularly (aren’t I lucky to be currently able-bodied!), I try to get enough sleep, I try to keep stress at reasonable levels, and I do all this without regard to whether it will make me thin or not (SPOILER ALERT: it won’t), and I do it all while fat and human. And it doesn’t make be better, or worth more, than anybody else.

    • ronisweigh says:

      I think you find mine post confusing because I find Fat Acceptance confusing. But reading many of these comments I’m starting to understand it a bit more.

      I think we are coming at this from too different perspectives… my message, what I’m trying to stand for on my blog, is to live the best life you want to live. For ME that means eating right, staying active, feeling good about myself and my body. That may not be the case for everyone and I totally get that.

      Your comment…

      “I try not to confuse FA, which is a civil rights and human dignity movement, with HAES, which is a lifestyle choice”

      Makes a lot of sense to me.

      • Has teeth, will bite says:

        You do realize that in saying you “eat right”, you sound very judgemental? You just assume we all accept that there are “right” and “wrong” ways of eating. And lets not play around, we all know that “eating right” is a code for “eating so that you stay thin”. I bet you don’t truly believe that for some of us, that equals not eating?

  15. hotgriddle says:

    I’m not really sure what to make of the disclaimer on this post. Are you saying that your opinion on this matter has changed in the last year and a half or is this still how you feel?

    • ronisweigh says:

      Neither. I just wanted to let everyone know that it was an older post and that I have since met Kate (since I did mention her blog in the post) and become part of this group. It’s not a disclaimer just a note.

  16. Saki says:

    @ Yum Yucky, I am also someone who would not change. When I was young, children and young girls are thin, grown mature women were FAT. When growing up, all the women I respected, and wanted to emulate, were strong country women who could do anything they set their mind to, and handled life and the problems with care and grace. They had wrinkles on their faces, beautiful care worn hands they were fat.

    Just as I have no desire to Botox or have plastic surgery to remove the fact that I am looking more and more like the women in my family, I have no desire to worry about a number, or how many XXX’s are on my clothing.

    • Candice says:

      This is really interesting to me because a lot of the women I knew growing up were fat, too (at least half) – BUT they all hated themselves for it and continually talked negatively about being fat.

      How wonderful it would have been to know at least one fat woman who was happy as she was.

  17. Lauredhel says:

    And this AFTER this blog has been critiqued for ableist attitudes?

    Guess what – I’m happy and unhealthy. Guess I’m not welcome in your shiny temporarily-able-bodied healthosphere-o-fun. I’ll be over in the feminist fatosphere.

    • amandaw says:

      Make no mistake: “health” is a weapon used to beat down disabled people, a standard used against them in the same way the size zero model is used against you.

      No one is obligated to be “healthy.” “Health” is a bit of an arbitrary marker; there are vastly different and conflicting ideas about it in various corners of society, and science just does not support any one of them as a whole. And “health” is already promoted across society, to PWD’s detriment: we are told that we are less-than, we’ll never measure up, and we’re bringing down society with our failure to be “healthy.”

      Before you respond, I invite you to think about how you would feel if my words were written by you, as a woman oppressed by narrow and impossible beauty standards, and the words you’re about to write were written by a man, trying to rationalize why it’s OK or it doesn’t count or it’s not how he sees things.

      • ronisweigh says:

        amandaw – I’m not sure I understand your metaphor about the man. Sorry.. I’m having a rough day and lack of sleep.

        And you are right you and anyone else does NOT have an obligation to be “healthy”. As I said.. To each there own.

      • belledame222 says:

        Not to mention, in the U.S. in particular, not cost-efficient. and that goes for people over their supposed ideal BMI as well; one more excuse for you to be turned down for insurance, for instance.

    • ronisweigh says:

      Guess what… this post just MY opinion, I’m allowed one, just as you are.

      I’m happy and healthy and I WELCOME you to keep reading. I’ll be over hear spreading a positive message and striving to be the healthiest I can be.

      Hopefully our paths will cross again one day.

  18. Yum Yucky says:

    Let me clarify for before I get another lashing. (LOL) I know some wonderful women who are overweight by the world’s standards. Some of these women are awesomely beautiful, fashionable, and oh so smart, and have a great life – I envy them in a lot of ways. Please forgive me, if I don’t quite understand the concept of loving to be fat. But this is what Fat Acceptance is for, I suppose, to learn. Perhaps I’ve learned a little more, but most of the concept still does not compute in my brain (perhaps in time).

    Another heavy woman I know buys McDonald’s everyday, wears an oxygen mask at night for sleep apnea, and can’t walk too far. There’s nothing acceptable about that, and I fear that the “cool” concept of Fat Acceptance may fuel this unhealthy fate for SOME women.

    I think there’s a fine line and the message of Fat Acceptance is still being ironed among people like me. I do appreciate everyone’s insight.


    • amandaw says:

      Oh no. How dare someone not be perfectly healthy. That is just not acceptable.

      Would you say this to your grandmother?

    • living400lbs says:

      It’s not necessarily about “loving to be fat”. I want to tell the doctor my throat is swollen and inflamed and ask if it’s strep throat and actually get a throat culture or at least a look at my throat instead of a weight loss lecture. I want to tell the doctor I’m persistently fatigued and get tests for anemia and thyroid disease, not a suggestion of antidpressants and weight-loss surgery. I want employers to see my computer science degree and 15 years experience and ask me technical questions, not if I’ve considered going on The Biggest Loser.

      I realize it’s a stretch to consider a fat person might actually be a human being, but that’s what I am. The problem is that many people figure fat people are just fat, not people.

      Oh, and one doesn’t wear an oxygen mask for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea’s treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure machine, which is essentially a fan to keep the airway open. Oxygen would indicate something other than sleep apnea is involved.

    • belledame222 says:

      But here’s the question: how much likelier is it that people are going to zero in on her unhealthy habits or even her apnea when she’s fat than if she were (as is completely possible) thin, with everything else the same?

      Currently I’m a size 16-18 and my eating habits could be healthier, and I could use more exercise. Some years ago, I -did- get a lot more regular exercise and was overall in much better shape. But, I was about the same size/weight as I am now. And my blood pressure’s remained the same throughout all of it; usually somewhere south of 120/80; and last time I had my cholesterol checked it was in good shape as well. Luck of the genetic draw is most of it, I’m sure.

      The problem is that fat has been conflated with “unhealthy” to the point where people automatically assume if you’re the one, you’re the other; and furthermore that there must be a cause-effect between the one and the other, when neither is necessarily the case. And further, there’s a moral judgment associated with both.

      If I never have to hear “she just doesn’t want to take care of herself” again…

    • wriggles says:

      Another heavy woman I know buys McDonald’s everyday, wears an oxygen mask at night for sleep apnea, and can’t walk too far.

      I am fat and I don’t have those problems, do I have to pretend I do to help you justify your choice to involve yourself in healthism?

      I also know a lot of slim people with health problems, I’ve visited them in hospital too. Luckily I don’t confuse having illnesses with what someone weighs, therefore I don’t feel pity/censure for them being thin. I feel sympathy for their plight, as individual human people.

      And another thing, fat acceptance is what the people in fat acceptance say it is.

  19. Lara says:

    I think a key point here is that FA is a civil rights issue. Whether or not somone is overweight and healthy or not healthy is not the issue here. I think many people don’t realize that society often does actively discrminate against people who are overwight just as people of color, people with disabilities, different religions etc have experienced over the years (and still do..) Even if people don’t realize they are doing it, it often happens.

    • belledame222 says:

      Right; it’s not as though not being able to get into your economy airplane seat or being summarily fired is going to improve health, self-esteem, or all the other WONDERFUL things that are automatically supposed to come with being thinner, as opposed to peoples’ attitudes toward you when you’re thinner…

    • lara says:

      haha, girl, having both of us around is going to be con-fus-ing. I read this and I was like, “Did I write this? I don’t think so…” I’m surprised they let us both have the same username.

  20. cggirl says:


    I think krismcn pointed out a key thing there, hope that helped. HAES is awesome and IS all about health 🙂

    Also, I don’t know you or anything but from the “about” section of this site, it seems you have 3 blogs and a fourth site – a community website – all dedicated to weightloss? And the blogs’ titles seem to be about weight or being skinny, not health, though you may or may not think those things are related. I’m not saying that’s wrong of you, they’re your blogs, I’m just saying that sort of proves what I often feel – that people mostly worry about being thin to be THIN, not healthy. I would also argue that devoting that much time and energy to this topic, to the point of having 4 websites about it, does not epitomize a healthy balanced relationship with food and weight. BUT, I don’t know you, and of COURSE I have no right to tell you you shouldn’t do that. I’m just saying I myself probably would not be taking advice from someone in that situation, because that is not the situation I strive for for myself.

  21. cggirl says:

    (Oy I realize that came off mean, like “I’m not taking advice from YOU”. I didn’t mean it in a mean way, who said you’re even trying to GIVE me advice? just meantthat I haven’t really read your sites in depth NOT because you aren’t a nice person or an interesting blogger, it seems you are, but just because of – well – what i said in the comment… which became clear to me after reading a bit about your background and looking a bit on the sites… )

    • ronisweigh says:

      cggirl – I totally don’t think that was mean. I hear you and my choice to name the site BlogToLose was because I was building a community for those that WANT to lose. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to lose and finding a community of people to support you. Just as I don’t think it’s wrong for those that that want to support the Fat Acceptance movement to find a community of like minded individuals to bond with.

      I do have 4 sites… only one is devoted to my personal journey on weight loss and discovering a healthy relationship with food. The other is about cooking… specifically cooking food I think is HEALTHY for my family including my son. Something I do strive for. The other is about geek stuff so it’s not in the same realm. 😉

      That being said you don’t have to take my advice if it’s not what you are striving for. That’s a given. I’m very much a person that does not have to convince people my way is the right way. It’s the right way for ME. I share it and others may find it’s the right way for them. Those that don’t can find another way.

      Thanks for you comment and again… totally NOT mean. 🙂

      • cggirl says:

        Ah you know I think the fact you don’t feel the need to convince everyone around you that your way is right, and just see it as right for YOU, is indeed a great confident attitude and one I try to adopt myself. So we do have some common ground there for sure! 🙂

  22. Yum Yucky says:

    I’m curious of what people in the Fat Acceptance Movement think about airlines trying to charge extra fees based on the weight of the individual? I heard this on the news, but don’t know if it’s taken effect – or if it ever will. Does this issue fall into civil rights? I haven’t really formed an opinion about it one way or the other.

  23. shannon says:

    Randomly, you rock, Lauredhel. You know, I personally don’t think it’s healthy to have the calorie content of an orange memorized. We spend a lot of time and energy on weight in our culture[I live in the US]

  24. MizFit says:

    Late to the party but only because I’ve been reading and mulling.

    Intellectually I 100% get FA.

    My experience as a counselor & trainer has been otherwise.

    I’d swung to the ‘if given the chance…’ comment ala YumYucky above.

    And then I met a few people recenty who are 100% happy in their skin and would opt out for a single digit size for *anything*

    Which has left me…late to the party.

    Because I’m reading and pondering.

  25. I am not very familiar with the FA movement,so I’m prepared to get flamed for my opinion. I think many people (my sister and husband included) claim they are just fat and cannot do anything about it. Meanwhile, they continue to eat crap and never exercise. This is not “acceptance”, this is denial.

    It bothers me that kids are getting gastric bypass in their teens because they “have no other choice”. How about getting some exercise and eating healthy? How can a parent allow a child to get so big that they feel surgery is their best option?

    We as a society do not need to focus on being thin, but rather on being healthy–making better choices and moving more. Size is irrelevant if you are living a healthy lifestyle.

    • Yum Yucky says:

      …and here’s the (real) deal. Unless there’s some type of underlying medical problem, true healthy living will not keep you at a size 18. Never heard of it. Never seen it. Never will.

      • krismcn says:

        Are you kidding me with this? Now we’re really getting down into the fat hate trenches. So, when I said up-thread that I both “eat right” and exercise regularly, but I’m still fat, what? I’m lying? I must be lying, right? Otherwise I shouldn’t be fat anymore. Or maybe I’m stupid? I don’t really understand that my all deep-fried-and-whipped-cream diet isn’t “healthy living”. Shit! If only someone had explained to me in simple terms, slooooowly, that my thumb wrestling workout won’t cut it. (On the flip side, you don’t know anyone who’s thin but eats a calorie dense diet and rarely exercises? I sure do. How do you suppose they do it? Maybe it’s the magic fairy dust they sprinkle on their cheeseburgers!)

        I get that FA may be a new concept to some people, and it takes a while to sink in given the pervasive anti-fat, obesity-epidemic-moral-panic, thin=attractive/morally-superior attitudes we steep in daily. Given that, I expect this kind of comment on just about any other forum where the word “fat” comes into the conversation, but on a body acceptance blog??

      • Maybe not a size 18, but I think you can eat healthy, be very active and still just be a bigger size than a 4 or 6 or whatever is “thin.” Some people’s bodies are just going to be bigger no matter what. Not everyone is meant to wear a size 8.

      • Lori says:

        Lady, do you have any freaking idea what a size 18 looks like? It may seem unbelievably large to you, but I’m a size 18 who exercises every day, eats well, and is healthy. I take a medication which causes me to be 20-30 pounds heavier than I am when I’m not on it, so maybe to you that’s a reasonable excuse, but I have to say that I seriously doubt if you saw me in the street, you’d look at me and go, “Oh my goodness, that woman MUST have an unhealthy lifestyle!”

        And, there are people much larger than I am who are also healthy. I honestly cannot believe that–and there isn’t a better word–idiocy like this is making it onto what is supposed to be a blog about positive body image.

      • belledame222 says:

        Yeah, I must be lying, too. I don’t live like an Olympian triathlete, but for damn sure I’m no unhealthier than a lot of people half my size. Believe what you want, of course.

      • cggirl says:

        Mary – I used to think like you. Like “oh well you can be healthy if you’re a bit chubby, but not if your X size or X weight”. But then I realized drawing a line like that will always be arbitrary, and that I don’t really know the personal health details of the people around me, so I stopped making statements like that. Just ’cause I feel like, who am I to make that generalization?

        I will say that I too, even though I’m very pro-HAES, and very pro fat acceptance, I still think there are statistical correlations between extremely high body fat and certain “unhealthy” habits, and/or certain health risks, as I define health and know it… I don’t know if I think this because it’s true, or because I’ve been brainwashed to think so, but either way it causes me to make judgements on people based on how big they are, and whether I imagine that level of fatness to be possibly still healthy or not. And then I catch myself and realize that it’s prejudiced of me, and that it’s not my business anyway, and that the only reason I’m ever concerned with it is because I have my own issues about my own body fat 🙂 haha. Plus, judging someone before I know the details is the definition of prejudice, and that’s not what I want to be! So, I tell myself, “stoppit” and don’t say things like that that generalize or place an arbitrary size or weight limit on health. You know what I mean?

      • cggirl says:

        oops i said “your” instead of “you’re”. and other typos…

        Oh also, I mentioned statistical correlations – i should point out, the correlations – i think they are true. but those don’t prove causation, but yes – whether i’m just brainwashed or whether it’s really true – i do believe statistically speaking there is a significant effect of “healthy” choices (as i see them at least) on weight for many people. It’s just that that doesn’t tell me anything about any SPECIFIC fat or thin person, because i don’t know their genes or medications or conditions OR eating and exercise habits, so I can’t know anything really based solely on their size. (not that it’s my business anyway).

      • @cggirl

        I don’t know where I stand on it honestly because it is different for every person. When I made that comment although I made it general it was really me thinking about my own experience, for what that’s worth. I’m a size 18 right now and while I am pretty healthy I’m not as healthy as I could be. The extra weight causes me a lot of problems and while I’m not aiming for a single digit size, I would love to reach a 12 or whatever is comfortable and gives my body some relief.

        The whole point, I think, is that we shouldn’t be making the judgements for other people. Of course in our world I guess that’s crazy to think of doing that. We all create our own identifications of what we think is beautiful or healthy and no matter how those things were influenced we judge others off those ideas.

      • Also, can I just say – sizes are bullshit. I wear the same size as people 20-50 pounds lighter than me. And that happens all the time. Size and weight really aren’t related. It’s easy to use sizes as a concept to discuss things, but in reality even one specific size can represent tons of weights and body shapes.

      • cggirl says:

        Oh yeah Mary, I so agree that it’s different for everybody. AND that sizes are bull. Haha. You’re right that you have to do what feels right to you, in your body. 🙂

    • wriggles says:

      I am not very familiar with the FA movement

      And yet you keep talking as if you do, sounds like denial to me.

      You are amongst many, like you keep thinking crap and never exercise their brain cells to grasp this tiny little concept.

      As long as you can listen thoughtfully and intelligently, initial ignorance is irrelevant.

  26. I also believe that healthy is an excellent choice – and don’t understand not having that as a goal. Size is irrelevant – health isn’t. Quality of life, ability to spend time with one’s children & grandchildren (if you go in that direction) and being able to participate in activities with family and friends seems like a great goal. Not everyone who is thin or exercises or talks about weight loss knows the calorie content of an orange.

    I know my lifestyle isn’t for everyone – but I do feel that although sometimes (maybe even more often than that) obesity is not something that can just be shed with a change in nutrition and an increase in exercise, usually HEALTH can be improved with those same things.

    I do think that people who ‘choose’ to be unhealthy cannot really be happy – but am, of course, willing to state that is just my opinion as someone who is much happier when she’s healthy and able to do all those things I want to do with my friends (hiking, biking, walking around downtown for hours, etc.).

    • Lori says:

      And if being healthy WERE a choice, that would be lovely. As an active, healthy, and relatively young (albeit fat) person, I can also often operate on the delusion that health is a choice. But, really, it’s not. It’s so easy to look at somebody fat and assume any health problems they have are because they must live an “unhealthy” lifestyle, but we know that weight gain is both a symptom/side effect of many health problems (including things like Type II diabetes) rather than a cause, and that many health problems are treated by medications that cause weight gain. As somebody who has the “choice” to be healthy and fat or suffering from numerous severe panic attacks every day but 20-30 pounds thinner, because of the way the SSRI that treats my panic disorder wonderfully affects my body, I know that things are not quite as easy as the healthy lifestyles = thin bodies equation makes it out to be.

      And, every single one of us will, if we’re lucky, one day be disabused of our idea that health is a choice. Because, unless we die young in an accident, we are going to get sick, probably numerous times, no matter how many veggies we eat or how many hours we spend at the gym. And, every single one of us will eventually die, even if we keep our BMI at 18 our entire lives. Some of us–and I’d include myself in this–are fortunate enough to have the privilege of not suffering from a disability or chronic illness that disabuses us of that notion at a young age, but not everybody is that fortunate.

      I’d love to think that all I need to do to keep being able to run around with my son, take 4-5 mile walks, go for 2 mile jogs, salsa dance, and swim (all things I do and enjoy as a size 18) is to continue to make the “right” choices. But, it’s not that easy. I’m particularly fortunate to come from a family that has very few health problems, other than a strong history of anxiety disorders and high blood pressure that responds really well to medication. But, my thin MIL has arthritis and, despite watching her diet her entire life and never going above a size 6, can no longer walk her dog without pain at 53, while my size 16 mom is still able to enjoy hour long aerobics classes at 51. My mom has made pretty healthy choices, and is a fat, healthy older person who is very active and mobile; my mother in law has also made pretty healthy choices, and is a thin, not-so-healthy older person who has had to curtail a lot of activites because of various health issues. How healthy they are or aren’t, in both cases, is simply not a choice.

      I’m totally rambling, but I just think it’s extremely important to be aware of the fact that, for many people–and eventually for all of us–health is NOT a matter of lifestyle or choice.

  27. Yum Yucky says:

    @krismcn, I accept your opinion and do see your points. But like I said, this is what it’s all about. If people don’t voice their opinions, no matter how messed up it may seem, there can never be understanding and education on the facts.

    If my opinion is going to change, and it may, I need to be able to express my thoughts, hear what others have to say, and (possibly) be corrected. And just like Fat Acceptance, the Body Acceptance Movement is also a new concept. So whatever way you slice it, there’s going to be ruffled feathers all the way around.

    I know some people are mad at the comments of mine and others, but I consider it a necessary evil. All of this has to be hashed out if there will ever be change.

    I don’t hate fat people. Heck, I don’t hate anybody. (except maybe my ex-boyfriend from back in 1998)

    • krismcn says:

      No, you don’t hate anybody, you just say hateful things.

      I should have never risen to the bait.

      • Yum Yucky says:

        Oh gosh, if we met in person without ever having had this discussion we’d probably hit it off just great. It doesn’t matter what you look like.

        Yum Yucky hereby apologizes to the entire universe for any hateful words she spoke. I’ve seen real hate. I’ve experienced hate up close and in person. It’s an ugly thing. And it’s not who I am.

        Everybody just be happy, however you define it.

    • lara says:

      Dammit, Yum, I thought our relationship in the 90s was special, girl!

      Ha, but seriously, I think that if you ever have to follow up a comment with “I don’t hate you,” you might want to make sure that your initial comments don’t come off as hostile or insensitive.

      Saying “I don’t know much about the FA movement, and my initial response is to think [this], but clearly you disagree with that response and I’d like to learn why” might have been a wording that would more clearly express your intention of mutual understanding and education.

      I don’t know, even if that was the underlying idea behind your initial post, your wording seemed like a pretty tactless way to approach a subject with which you are acknowledging that you are unfamiliar with.

      (I’m writing from a position of privilege, in that my body adheres to the modern standard of beauty, so your citation of a specific size didn’t hit home in a personal way to me, but don’t you see how it could? If I WERE a size 18 who exercised regularly and ate well, your comment would have been pretty damn hurtful.)

  28. This is definitely a heated issue. My 2 cents: We should all have freedom of choice to live the way we want (as long as we’re not harming anyone else). As body size is often not about choice, it shouldn’t even be a consideration.

    And yes, on the face of it, Green Mountain appears to be all about weight loss. But that’s only for women who believe their goal is to lose weight. Our goal is to change the focus to taking care of ourselves the best we can. Usually that’s about changing the focus to health but if someone isn’t interested in being healthy, that’s ok, too. Their choice. We rarely run into those women, though, probably because they’re not interested in coming to us in the first place.

    There’s also the question if anyone really knows what’s healthy. Take healthy eating advice. I’ve lived through a lot of changes in that advice over the years, and think it’s going to change even more in coming years. So one person’s judgment about whether someone else lives healthfully or not may not be based on fact, even if it is the “fact” commonly believed today.

    I agree that fat people are discriminated against, and the words “fat acceptance” are good because they put the focus where it probably helps the most. Although many short people say they’re equally discriminated against for their size. And that’s not a choice, either.

  29. magicbean says:

    See, this is the thing that troubles me:

    ” (as long as we’re not harming anyone else) ”

    (I’m hoping Amandaw will chime in on this one since she seems to have considered this a great deal…)

    So, OK, you can choose to not be healthy. I see that. But poor health choices *do* affect me – maybe I have to get a job I hate and stay home in the evenings to take care of my ailing family instead of following my dreams. So do my alcoholic mother or father with lung cancer from smoking or cousin who has health problems from eating nothing but potato chips and soda get a free pass out of moral jail because health choices are personal? Or do I get free pass for choosing not to care for them and then dumping them on the state to care for? Someone, somewhere will care for you when you don’t have great health – and that’s excellent and right because everyone will be sick, old, and unable someday because that’s what being alive entails. But If you are *knowingly* choosing bad health…aren’t you selfishly placing on others an obligation to forget their own needs and care for you? It seems to me that you can choose poor health, but it doesn’t seem responsible to then demand that everyone care for you when you are unable. It’s the “knowing” part…and no, we don’t always know when we are making bad choices…but sometimes we do know.

    We are all in this web where our choices *do* affect other people, aren’t we?

    Help me think this through.

    • As I wrote that clause, I suspected someone would pick up on what you are saying, magicbean. Don’t know what to say about that except that I am clear that trying to force someone into doing something doesn’t work in most cases. What does work is less clear.

      We just try to educate people about their choices, and trust that they will choose in their own best interest. When someone has an emotional or psychological problem, however, that’s not something we can always trust.

      But if we get back to the gist of this whole discussion, we can say that imposing personal views about someone’s health practices or size is likely misguided as it’s not always clear about what is actually healthy or best for us. In this case, fat people can be healthy, and thin people can be unhealthy, so size is not a valid measure even though it is widely accepted as such.

    • DRST says:

      But poor health choices *do* affect me – maybe I have to get a job I hate and stay home in the evenings to take care of my ailing family instead of following my dreams.

      In such a case, yes, that would affect you, but not because of the person’s personal choices but because you are related to them. Whether you decide to care for a sick relative or not is an individual and private decision, not something you can base policy on. You can’t extrapolate your individual life situation with a person you have a relationship with out to everyone on the planet.

      If you walk up to me, a random stranger on the street, and start telling me I “owe you” to make healthy choices, then no. You have no say in what happens in my life. We have no relationship, you have no responsibility for me, nor I for you (short of an emergency situation where one of us needs the other to call 911, etc.). If I require a caregiver, it will not be you, so I am in no way imposing on you by my choices, any more than your healthy choices are imposing on me.

      If you’re talking in a systemic manner, then the answer is still no. I pay for my health insurance I have through my employer, and I pay taxes into Medicare/Medicaid. I’m paying my share for medical care for myself and subsidizing other people, so no, I don’t owe it to you in a financial respect to “make healthy choices” as you would define it.

      Particularly since defining what constitutes a “healthy choice” is incredibly vague and depends largely on who you speak to. Vegans will tell you adamantly that eating any animal products is not only unhealthy but immoral. Atkins fans tell you carbohydrates are evil. Many purists will tell you HFCS is the source of all that is malevolent in the world. Some people say a brisk walk or dancing is sufficient exercise for any given day, others insist you have to mind your cardio rates, etc. Who decides what is and isn’t healthy? If you make health a moral issue, then you’re giving whoever has that power even more power to decide not just in strict terms of medicine but also morality, right and wrong and good and evil, which is a power I would prefer to keep away from doctors and leave in the hands of priests, where it belongs.

      When “unhealthy” choices are the equivalent of “immoral” ones, it gives you and the doctor and the nurse the feeling that you can judge my worth as a human being and treat me accordingly rather than focusing on me as a patient deserving of their attention not because of how I look but because I am a patient in need of help. Do you see the slippery slope at work here?

  30. Lauredhel says:

    “I’m kind of surprised that people think that being fat and unhealthy is OK. ”

    Wow, webgal, are thin people allowed to have disabilities in your world, or is that just not OK no matter what your BMI?

    Do you suggest formal punishment for the fat and disabled, or just more ostracism and disgust?

    • webgal says:

      Where did I say that people with disabilities aren’t healthy?

      Thanks for putting words in my mouth, but I speak for myself. Healthy eating and physical disabilities are two different things.

      You can eat healthfully and still be disabled, overweight, or anything else.

      And it pisses me off that you assume I’m not possibly the same.

      I don’t care about your BMI, your abilities, your anything.

      Be who you are.

      • belledame222 says:

        Technically speaking, you know, a lot of chronic illnesses are also “disabilities.” As in, they’re disabling. So, technically, by a lot of peoples’ standards, while you’re ill, you’re not “healthy.” In fact. Just a data point.

  31. magicbean says:

    Thanks DRST. I see the slippery slope of narrow definitions of health. That’s a big, big problem.

    I’m not convinced by some of your other arguments but I’m pondering them. I’m not that comfortable with that individualistic a view of community and decision making. And are you really saying that if someone pays for their own health insurance they have bought the right to make poor health decisions? That cash buys you sovereignty? I wouldn’t recommend telling your insurance company that! Buying car insurance doesn’t relieve you of needing to wear a seatbelt and live within speed limits.

    For reference, I work in hunger relief and do a significant amount of work with adults with developmental disabilities (many people and situations for which the word “choice” never entered the equation). I would never walk up to a stranger on the street and say “You need to do X”, but as part of an organization working for social justice, it’s my job to educate volunteers who come to me how we as individuals help create the reality and food systems we live in and how we can together choose to change them. So like I said, I’m not comfortable with what I *perceive* you as saying: “I can do what I want and you can’t stop me because we’re strangers with no obligations to one another.” It’s without question patronizing and wrong to judge a stranger, but I think also adolescent to believe that one’s narrow self-interest and individual sovereignty is always unassailable and that there’s no larger interest at stake.

    Sorry for dragging this so far away from topic. Would be happy to continue discussing in a more appropriate place.

  32. webgal says:

    Thanks, again, Roni for this post. I truly enjoy your perspective and have learned lots from you.

    I have also learned a lot from the comment stream going on here. I am “fat”. And I try to be healthy. I even exercise, but have my troubles, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to be healthy. I’m kind of surprised that people think that being fat and unhealthy is OK. “Fat” is OK. Healthy is ok. Fat and unhealthy is not OK. (define that however you want to make your point, but I think we all know, or should know, what is healthy).

    All this fat acceptance debating is curious to me. Sure, I think I shouldn’t be discriminated for my weight (am certain I didn’t get a job for that reason). And the same for other people. But as a friend, sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter, and most importantly to me, an aunt, being healthy to enjoy (and be an example to) my family needs to be the goal. For me.

    If those certain militant “Fat Acceptance” people think I’m wrong for that, then so what. Healthy is healthy…no matter what you eat to be there (low-carb, low-fat, vegan, vegetarian, mainstream, weight watchers, etc.) Healthy eating is not a mystery. There’s a science around it.

    Acceptance should be acceptance. I accept that my fat is unhealthy. You can choose to think whatever you want about your weight.

    • Lori says:

      “Fat” is OK. Healthy is ok. Fat and unhealthy is not OK.

      So, just to make sure I’m following, if a thin person has high blood pressure, that’s okay, because it’s probably not their fault. But, if a fat person has high blood pressure, that’s not okay, because they obviously caused it by eating too much and not exercising?

      A thin person with cancer gets your sympathy, but a fat person with cancer is unacceptable?

      It’s okay to have Type I diabetes but not Type II diabetes (if you’re fat and have it, that is…I guess it’s okay for thin people to have), even though there’s a stronger genetic component involved with Type II than Type I?

      At what point, exactly, does a person’s ill health become unacceptable because of their size? Over a size 22? 18? 10?

      Unfortunately, people of all sizes have health problems. That’s life. No magic diet or perfect BMI is going to fix that. It is no more unacceptable for fat people to suffer ill health than it is for thin people to suffer ill health, and the fact that that would even be in question shows why fat acceptance is absolutely essential.

      • webgal says:

        Wow…apparently if I don’t qualify my every statement, I’m open to attack.

        What I meant by unhealthy is in regard to eating healthy foods like veggies, fruits, protein, whole wheat, dairy.

        You can’t eat like crap like McDonalds or prepackaged crap foods from the grocery store and expect to live a healthy life.

        And I don’t care if you are “thin’ or “fat”. My sister is “thin” and unhealthy as much as someone who weighs as much as me and eats crap. I didn’t think I needed to include the whole history of the world in what I wrote.

        A great friend of mine with cancer who is “thin” is also watching his diet. Should he not? Should a “fat” friend of mine with cancer not do the same?

        Health as I meant it was healthy diet.

        I don’t freaking care what their diagnosis is. Healthy eating is healthy eating.

        I know people of all shapes, sizes, ethincities, persuasions and diets get sick. And I don’t discriminate that.

        Picking on my not specifiying every freaking possibility in life is really damn shitty and I take extreme offense.

        So thank you for nit picking and not seeing the general intent of my message and instead picking it apart for your own agenda. Did you miss the part where I said I was fat or did you decide to attack because I said that?

  33. magicbean, I know this example comes up a lot, but I think it applies. I would ask folks who think fat people are an unfair drag on the insurance pool, and therefore have a “responsibility” to lose weight, whether they jump to the same immediate belief about people who engage in risky extreme sports (or really any competitive sport–there are a lot of injuries, physical therapy, etc. that come up there). If not, why?

    Those people–and I’m sure one could think of other examples–are making “lifestyle choices” that are potentially expensive to people in the same health insurance pool. But nobody vilifies them because of it. In my opinion, this is because they appear “healthy” (i.e. thin) and are active. And probably they really are largely healthy (by whatever definition you might want to use). But the thing is, the fat person who takes all that abuse for increasing everyone’s insurance premiums is pretty likely to also be largely healthy–even if his or her diet is just as bad/good as the next thin person’s. Yet that fat person is always the target of this kind of discussion, not other groups of people who–similarly to the fat person, and like almost everyone else in the world–probably make some “good” choices and other “bad” ones. Why?

    • Emily S. says:

      And on the topic of “fat people make things worse for the rest of ‘us’ by costing more in health insurance”, if you take that line of thought (taking society’s assumptions about a marginalized group and using it to justify your own “righteous anger”) and apply it to other minority groups you can see why it is truly troublesome.

      Women cause higher insurance rate because they’re more likely to have babies. Childbirth is really expensive.

      Homosexual men cause healthcare to be expensive because they’re more likely to have STD’s.

      Black people are driving up the cost of healthcare because they’re more likely to get that pesky sickle-cell anemia.

      Are we going to start shaming procreating women for having the nerve to raise our healthcare costs?

      Do we now live in a society when anyone who actually uses their healthcare for anything other than preventive care deserves to be shamed for their “poor choices”?

      • belledame222 says:

        Not to mention, I dunno about y’all, but my health insurance (which is the first I’ve had at all in over five years) explicitly does -not- cover most preventive care, bar a few hundred bucks’ worth of basic checkup per year. Our system is not set up to encourage preventive care; it’s set up to play Russian roulette with a system that is less concerned with actually keeping people healthy than in getting the most bang for its collective buck.

  34. LivingTheQuestions says:

    I appreciate the thoughtfulness, particularly of the last few posts. I’m about to say a word more about FA, but first, because I, too, have been thinking about what it means to judge people for being healthy…

    The moral judgments make it tricky, don’t they, when we apply them to individuals? Because the causes of ill health are so complex! Genes, genes, genes, and upbringing, and brain chemicals, and medications… our attempts to connect healthy behavior with “shoulds” end up just becoming a way of categorizing people as good or bad. Really, any individual’s health is too complex and too personal for our moral judgments. And when situations seem so clear to us–as in, this is clearly an exception, and a time when such moral judgments will work with regard to healthy behaviors–humility demands that we pause and admit that there may be more to any one situation than we can see at the moment.

    And on FA: in response to this: “Unless there’s some type of underlying medical problem, true healthy living will not keep you at a size 18.”

    Actually, I’ve been healthy as a horse my whole life, I eat mostly unprocessed foods, I even grow my own vegetables in a huge back yard garden and get lots more produce from a local farm share, I exercise my two big athletic dogs each day, and walk a lot, and kayak…

    And I am size 20. Haven’t been below a size 18 since I hit puberty.

    And, as healthy as I’ve been all that time, I don’t think I’ve ever been AS healthy and thriving as I’ve been for the past year, when I decided to not just accept but even celebrate my fat body. I’m refuse to waste anymore of the precious minutes I have on this planet wishing for a different body or trying to change the one I have. I’m going to focus on eating delicious foods with gratitude and celebration, moving my body for as long as I’m able to do so and in ways that are happy and rewarding, and being as joyful as possible.

    Also: haven’t looked at my weight in many years, and hope never to do so again.

    The “healthy” behaviors I’ve described above don’t make me morally better than anyone else… they just feel good to me, for now. I’ve mentioned them only to illustrate that Health at Every Size, in part, should help to sever that erroneously perceived connection between weight and health. I’m healthy, at this weight, and happy. And tremendously grateful for all of it.

    • Emily S. says:

      And just one more clarification – Fat Acceptance Advocates would way that LivingTheQuestions deserves to be treated with the same humanity and respect as anyone else.

      Not BECAUSE she is fat.

      Not BECAUSE she is fat and healthy.

      Not DESPITE the fact that she is fat and healthy.

      Just because she is a human being. Period. What you want to eat, how you want to move – that is your business. You can make whatever choices work for you. No matter what, you deserve to be treated with respect, as much as anyone else on this planet.

  35. Lori says:

    And, because I think this issue of health is so important, I’m just going to note one more thing: those of us living in industrialized western nations are actually healthier than we’ve ever been. We’re living longer. We’re dying less often of cancer, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. We’re actually doing really, really well, health-wise.

    In a world where about 20,000 children are going to die today due to lack of food, clean water, and basic health care, it is beyond disingenuous to argue that somehow the “health” of westerners who are living longer than ever, with more mobility, less pain, and fewer health problems than ever before, is a huge problem and a reason for justifying prejudice of any kind against fat people. If you’re worried about people’s health, there are 46 million Americans without health insurance; there are the 20,000 kids I mentioned who will die today because they don’t have enough to eat or clean water to drink; and millions more children around the world who don’t have access to basic vaccines that prevent deadly diseases. Worry about them. Heck, worry about men, since even the fittest men have a lower life expectancy than the fattest women.

    But don’t worry about the fat woman who dares to eat at McDonald’s even though she has sleep apnea, because chances are she’s going to live longer than her parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, like all of us have been for the last 20 years (when we’ve also apparently been getting so much fatter). Her health is not your concern, and she’s probably going to live just as long as you, and may be even happier. And for goodness sake don’t worry about me, as a happy, healthy size 18 woman who was just given a clean bill of health after my first prenatal appointment (where they tested EIGHT vials of my blood) and who is, when you look at the actual numbers, probably going to live just as long if not longer than somebody with a BMI of 20, and with no more health poblems.

    • belledame222 says:

      If you’re worried about people’s health, there are 46 million Americans without health insurance;>>

      o but you know it’s their -fault- if they don’t. Socialism! Death panels! Get a job! Kill granny! Bleargh! (sorry, been reading too many depressing accounts of right-wing astroturf mobbing today)

  36. Lori says:

    webgal, I can’t reply to your post, so I’m responding here:

    You can’t eat like crap like McDonalds or prepackaged crap foods from the grocery store and expect to live a healthy life.

    Really? Eating at McDonald’s means that you can’t live a healthy life? Is that ever? Like, if I’ve ever eaten at McDonald’s, I’ve ruined my chance at being healthy? Or is there an acceptable amount of times I can eat there? If I eat there once a month will I be okay?

    And, right, the “prepackaged crap.” Nobody can live on that.

    It kind of seems like you’re saying that the food that we most often associate with poor people is crappy and immoral and bad, and if they get sick it’s their own damn fault. I mean, the poor are actually living way longer, eating McDonald’s and “prepackaged crap” than they did when they were, you know, starving to death, but I suppose no food is preferable to eating the wrong food.

    Sorry, I’m pregnant and nauseated and cranky. But, seriously, being fat is no excuse for the kind of blatant fat prejudice and class privilege being displayed in your posts.

    • webgal says:

      Do you think McDonalds is healthy? I don’t. Yet I still eat there. I know that as long as I eat food there, I’m not eating healthy food.

      Prepackaged crap is find in small doses, but ultimately it is not healthy. It is full of sodim and refined processed foods. What’s good about that?

      I don’t care what your socioeconomic status…just stating facts. Ask any nutritionist. I’m not saying that any food is immoral. It’s just physically bad as a fact.

      If people are starving then it’s a totally different story and why read a blog about healthful eating?

      I’m not sure what my statements have to do with class. You assume too much about my weight and class.

      • belledame222 says:

        I am assuming that the comments about McDonald’s have less to do with you personally than the observation that in general, fast food and prepackaged/processed foods are most heavily eaten by people with little money and little spare time. I mean, it’s called “fast food” for a -reason.-

        This obviously does not mean that no one else eats the stuff. But yeah: there are a lot of assumptions inherent in the whole “just do ___ or else you’re lazy/not really trying!”

        Finally, you know, there’s a -lot- of cultural shit this is all steeped in, not least of which being the emphasis on individual responsibility for making “choices” that are, well, not existing in a vacuum (again, there are -reasons- why the best food is not the most readily available to everyone, among many other factors). And of course, the simultaneous insistence that it’s the individual’s responsibility for being a “burden” on society because of “bad choices,” and none whatsoever on, o I don’t know, the systemic reasons for so many people making those choices? Everything I’ve read here so far makes it sound as though, nod to advertising pressure on young women to be thin and beautiful, -maybe-, all of this shit just sort of…exists, like the weather, and the only “choices” to be made are what, or what not, to consume.

        And “responsibility” is about being cost-efficient, and there’s not even a question as to why that burden should be on people who have the misfortune to fall ill a little sooner than others and not the people making billions of profit off of the system that, frankly, wouldn’t survive if -someone- didn’t have to be the “bad,” unhealthy, fat, unworthy, losers.

      • Lori says:

        Whether McDonald’s is “healthy” would depend on a number of things. If you haven’t eaten all day, and have $2 on you, McDonald’s is probably going to get you the most calories (energy!) and protein for the money.

        Heck, it doesn’t even have to be that extreme. You’ve got $2 to spend on dinner. You’ve eaten, say, 600 calories so far that day (you had a light breakfast and lunch). The average woman needs at least 1000 more calories to meet her caloric requirements for the day. Spending the $2 on a McChicken sandwich and small fries is probably a healthier choice than spending it on a diet bar from the store that only has 200 calories.

        It all depends on so many things. Yes, eating McDonald’s for lunch every day is going to be less healthy, in general, than bringing a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread and carrot sticks with hummus to work every day. But, eating McDonald’s even once a week for dinner is likely going to have no impact on health for a person eating a balanced, nutritious diet. There’s nothing magical about the food at McDonald’s that renders those who eat it unhealthy.

        It’s like saying that broccoli is healthier than pizza. Sounds good in theory, but if in practice I’ve already had a good amount of veggies during the day, but haven’t gotten enough protein, carbs, or calories, the pizza is going to be the healthier choice. Whether broccoli or pizza would be a healthier choice has less to do with anything inherent in the foods themselves than with how they fit into a person’s overall diet.

        Sure, there are probably few occasions where McDonald’s is the absolute most ideal thing a person could eat, but most of us aren’t eating the most ideal thing we could eat at every given moment. We’re eating well enough. And, McDonald’s, like pizza and broccoli and carrot sticks and even cookies, can all be part of a diet that is nutritious and balanced enough to promote good health and general well-being.

        I assumed this was supposed to be a blog about body acceptance, not healthy eating; I suppose that’s where much of the confusion is coming in.

      • julia says:

        $2 would also buy a very plentiful amount of brown rice and lentils, with a side of frozen veggies and a piece of fruit.

        That $2 meal would have loads more actual nutritional value than anything you’d eat from McDonald’s, plus it would be more filling. You’d also spare yourself the cholesterol, dizzying array of chemicals and additives, and sodium overdose.

        Cheap doesn’t have to mean unhealthy.

        When a hypothetical situation has to be so extremely tortured, in order to “prove” that McDonald’s can be healthy, it’s probably not really a good example.

        Sure, you can be healthy and still choose to eat at McDonald’s… but it shouldn’t be a big controversial statement to say that McDonald’s food is not health-promoting.

        What people choose to eat doesn’t make them good or bad people, and some have more choices than others… but some foods really aren’t that great for you.

        I know plenty of people who have plenty of money and plenty of time, and do, in fact, *choose* to eat mostly garbage.

        Being poor doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to eat crap (poor people have long been aware of the goodness and cheapness of beans n’ rice!), and being economically comfortable doesn’t mean you’re going to eat well, either.

    • wriggles says:

      I think also that it’s important to respect what you eat, calling things crap is OK if you don’t eat them, but allow those who do not to have to tell themselves that they are eating shit along with you are what you eat.

      I’m not a great supporter of MacD’s, but this endless disrespect for food that keeps people alive is extremely tiresome.

  37. FatNSassy says:

    I prefer the word fat to describe my 220lb body. It is “overweight” that offends me. Over what weight? The standard set by Hollywood? Why should a group of stingy corporate males get to define beautiful. Over “health” standards? They look at people in different weight groups and the group that has the MOST people living longest is defined as at the “healthiest” weight. But there will always be many individual fat people who live longer than many individual thin people. That is the way statistics work.

    Furthermore, those “ideal” weight change as we face different diseases. A few hundred years ago fat people as a group would have lived longer because they were more resistant to the most common diseases back then. How do we know what is coming down the pike and who will be at biological advantage? Mother Nature loves diversity, because the more diverse a species, the better its chance of survival. Perhaps Mother Nature knows better than Hollywood, corporate CEOs and tgreedy Pharma! (Who lowered weight standards to sell more pills.) Ya think!!!

  38. Ama says:

    The main reason it’s aimed around the word “fat” is because fat people are maligned. Healthy is good, we love healthy! Fat people are bad and unhealthy. You need to own the language. You need to make it obvious and blatant that someone who is overweight is still a human being, with thoughts and feelings, deserving your respect.

    “Healthy” people who are not fat get that by default. So do unhealthy ones. Who cares, if you look good? All the diet talk around here is almost distressing. “I was fat because I ate badly.” “I was weak.” “I’m on a journey to find the thinner, inner me.” It’s a joke, no matter what size you are still the same girl. Yoyo all you like, be thin, be fat, be normal but be aware that if you are fat, boys won’t date you!

    That is why there needs to be a fatosphere.

  39. schachabybaby says:

    Sure, there are artificial lines that are drawn. If we are labeled overweight, we have simply crossed the line drawn by the Surgeon General, or the AMA that determined that this was an unhealthy weight; hence, OVERweight. The purpose of the line drawn is health. Now, fat, on the other hand is a more populace, if you will, label. And the line drawn is based on an agreed-upon socio-economic-political belief that overweight individuals deserve our scorn, disgust, and hatred. Both lines are artificial. Both are paternalistic. In my view, the term fat is just a more aggressive form of paternalism. Each is based on a culture of hatred of women. The forms that this takes runs the gamut from the seemingly benign weight/height scale, to the many ways we all buy it, like women’s magazines, TV shows, competing with one another (I think the word fat is a big part of this female to female competition), corporate dress codes, and on the sidelines of a kids soccer game, and to violence of all kinds against women. The word fat is the nastiest way we call each other out, and I believe trying to use the word (or trying your damnedest to),

  40. schachabybaby says:

    accidentally hit submit button!

    as a positive way to self-acceptance is just a part of the paternalistic continuum. I don’t believe it can be separated from its original intent, which is to reduce women’s power in the broader world by creating in-fighting. Do I know what a better word is to replace fat or overweight? When it isn’t necessary to define us by our bodies — our very source of power — to one another, it will be another world. I, for one, look forward to that world.

  41. Mulberry says:

    Replacing the term “fat” with something else won’t work. Any euphemism you use is just going to acquire the same connotations as the original word, so why change it? If someone calls me “fat”, I smile and say “Thank you” (I actually am fat). This often knocks the wind out of their sails.
    What personally ticks me off is when some people call themselves names (like, “I’m such a whale/cow/hippo”) in my presence. I feel like either they’re insulting me (because I’m way fatter than those who talk this way), or they’re not even acknowledging my existence.
    What do y’all think?


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