Sunday, December 4, 2016

… So”Fat Acceptance” is OK to Say, but “Overweight” is Bad?!

October 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Fat Acceptance

Image courtesy of BodyPositive.com: Boosting body image at any weight

BodyPositive.com: Boosting body image at any weight

Forgive me for sounding naïve here (and I realize I might get flamed for my “naïveté”) but why is the term “fat acceptance” an established and regarded expression, but yet the word “overweight” upsets so many in the movement?

There are very few words in the English language that rile me up as much as “fat”; I hate it. It just sounds cruel and judgmental and downright mean.

I believe no one should be discriminated against for their weight (or race, religion, sexuality, etc).

I also understand that those in the Fat Acceptance (FA) movement want to take the stigma out of the word, so that “fat” isn’t a bad word … but it makes no sense to me.

Granted, I come at this quizzically, from the disordered eating recovery/Weight Watcher paradigm (full disclosure: I honestly only learned about the fat acceptance movement from blogging here with Kate Harding) …

But still … I just don’t see the appeal of the word “fat” — in any situation.

How is that word supposed to make someone feel good about themselves? I admit, I just don’t get it.

To me, “overweight” (while not exactly pleasant, either) is far less harsh than “fat,” which is part of the name of the movement.That said, I also understand Fat’NSassy’s comment in my “Tackling ‘Triggers’ in the Blogosphere” post, where she said:
“Overweight?” Over what weight????? Many of us in the size acceptance movement really hate that term because it implies there is one correct weight for everyone. I am 220lbs but would never call myself overweight because I am at the weight Mother Nature intended me to be. There is no one acceptable weight and if there was, the CDC who is in the back pocket of pharma would be the last to find it!”

Well said, Fat’NSassy. I respect her words, and I also noted that she used the words “size acceptance movement,” which sounds more to me like the Health At Every Size (HAES) movement, which I can understand much more easily. I think most of us can understand/relate to that; not everyone is meant to be a certain size. We’re all built differently, and that’s OK.

Truthfully, I really wish Kate Harding was still blogging with us, because I’d love some of her insight … insight  from her, or any of our readers in the fat acceptance movement, as to why “overweight” is so irksome … but keeping the word “fat” in the name of the movement is OK.

I’m asking these questions because I really want to know; I think it’s important–if we’re going to talk about triggers and triggering words, I think it’s only appropriate to ask.

Because really, shouldn’t the movement only be called the Size Acceptance movement? Why does the word “fat” have to come into play at all? Why make the distinction at all?

I look forward to reading all the comments tonight!

WATRD

Comments

296 Responses to “… So”Fat Acceptance” is OK to Say, but “Overweight” is Bad?!”
  1. Synna says:

    Fat’n’Sassy said it quite right.

    In my mind it comes back to defining the world as either ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.

    Over (weight)- meaning above, greater than, higher etc which implies that there is some sort of expected weight and by virtue of there being an acceptable weight, weight that falls outside that range is therefore unacceptable.

    This is what size acceptance and fat acceptance are all about. We are allowed (and should be) ok in the skin we are in. Language that says our bodies are not ok they way they are is not acceptable.

    I can only speculate about your last point, in that the term ‘size acceptance’ is more inclusive than ‘fat acceptance’. Thus size acceptance may be more palatable and attract those that would not identify as fat.

    To me they pretty much equate to the same thing.

    • mamaV says:

      @synna — this makes total sense to me. I prefer size acceptance to fat acceptance…and I believe the FA movement would have more supporters come aboard if this term was widely utilized.
      mV

  2. Synna says:

    ADD:

    Fat is a descriptor, (as used in SA/FA)

    Overweight (see above explanation) is a judgement

  3. greenbunny78 says:

    I am sure I will be flayed for saying this- but I don’t understand the fat acceptance movement at all. I mean, I get the idea that people should NOT discriminate against others for their body size- any more than for any other reason, and I whole-heartedly agree. But that is where what I understand breaks down. I get the feeling that people in the fat acceptance movement DON’T like to be told to eat healthy- get mad when someone suggests that perhaps they are eating emotionally and should keep better track of what they eat, and are mad when people mention the word ‘diet’.

    To me, this is idea of people not taking responsibility for their potentially life-threating/damaging habits, is like saying that alcoholics should have a movement that allows them to drink themselves to death, rather than accept that, for them, they can’t just have ONE drink, and have to leave the stuff alone, forever.

    I don’t mean that people should starve, so please don’t take me literally. I just mean that, though I know many state that the health risks of obesity are nonsense, I contend that the problem with reading and relying on studies is you need to know who conducted the study. Its a case-by case thing, in my opinion. Some people can be 300 pounds and not have health problems. But that isn’t true for everyone. And there is also those cases of people you see on tv- who have gotten so big that they need help getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, washing. I can’t believe that someone who has that going on is not potentially damaging their health- or haven’t already. Not just the typical heart disease and diabetes things we hear. Things like bone density being affected by inability to move and strengthen the bones. Or sleep apnea, which is potentially life-threatening.

    Someone who was an alcoholic is not eligible for a donor liver if they need one unless they have been sober a while. Why is it acceptable to make someone who used alcohol as their “coping mechanism” take responsibility for the damage they did to their health, but its not ok to say that to someone who is obese? Where is the line, exactly?

    And I don’t believe in “dieting” Its stupid, and completely not productive. And I get very frustrated by our “quick fix” society. Eating healthy doesn’t mean only eating vegetables. It doesn’t mean NEVER having a treat. I have treats EVERY day- because I like them! I would probably be skinnier if I didn’t- but life is too short to give up the things I enjoy! But I think if I only enjoyed cookies if I ate the whole batch, that would be a problem. And I would have to find out why I do that (and I have, in the past)

    So, could someone please help me understand what this is about- beyond the prejudice part, which I agree with!

    • raven says:

      @ greenbunny78:

      well, if you believe that fat people (and, in fact, all people) deserve to be treated as people & not be discriminated against, then you believe in the basic precept of fat acceptance. b/c that is exactly what fat acceptance is!

      now on to the more complicated bits… here’s why *i personally* don’t like to be told to eat more healthy food as a fat person or tell me i’m eating emotionally.

      1) you (general and nonspecific, not you greenbunny78) don’t know my eating habits. you (general) don’t follow me around and see how much of what things i eat. so how can you pass judgment on whether i should be eating ‘more healthy foods’ if you don’t know my regular eating habits? as a fat person, i get this A LOT! from people i know and from people i don’t know. and not a one of them has any idea what i eat on a daily basis. they tell me to eat this or that (fish is a favorite suggestion even though i am massively allergic to any food that comes from the water so i can’t eat it) b/c THEY ARE ASSUMING THAT I DO NOT EAT A HEALTHY DIET BASED ON THE FAT THAT I AM FAT. they may see me eat a cookie and assume that i eat cookies all day every day. they may see me eat an apple and assume it’s the fist apple i’ve eaten ever. and that just gets very frustrating.

      2) even if you (general) did know exactly what went into my mouth every moment of every day… it’s really none of anyone’s business but mine what i choose to eat. b/c, yanno, i’m an adult. and therefore legally in charge of my own body. it’s kind of like when you have that one well-meaning (b/c i’m sure aalllll the ppl that tell the fatties what they should be eating are well-meaning) great aunt gertrude who keeps telling you how to dress even though it’s totally not your style.

      make sense? now on to another complicated bit!
      you said:
      “To me, this is idea of people not taking responsibility for their potentially life-threating/damaging habits, is like saying that alcoholics should have a movement that allows them to drink themselves to death, rather than accept that, for them, they can’t just have ONE drink, and have to leave the stuff alone, forever.”

      when i read that statement, what i hear is this…

      all fat people are stupid b/c they can’t see that they are clearly about to die of some horrible obesity-related disease! and though i don’t actually know what they are eating, i assume that it is horrible and evil damning food that is baaaad. and they are delusional if they think the food they are eating could possibly be good. they are all addicted to food and are overeaters in a major way. all of them. yes. and even though we all need food in order to live, the fat people need to be monitored by outside sources. b/c, unlike the skinny people, they cannot control themselves. those poor lazy, stupid bastards.

      ok, maybe that’s not *exactly* what i hear… but the main points stand. when you say that… it comes across *to me* as condescending and ill-informed. b/c… see above… 1) you don’t know my eating habits and 2) even if you did, it’s still none of your business.

      moving on! ok, so even if we say food is like alcohol… which it’s not… but just for fun we will go there. so food is addictive to some, but not all. ok. i spend all day long on and ice cream bender. i eat all i have in the house and i must have more! so i get in the car to go to the store to get more of that evil drug. and i’m so full of ice cream that i lose control of the car and hit an innocent bicyclist!! oh wait… it doesn’t work that way. ok, so we have established that my ice cream addiction is only hurting me. but omg i am about to die of fat! in fact, all fat people clearly have a horrible ice cream addiction. oh wait, now we’re back to point 1 above. and in addition to point 1… do you (still general here) know my blood chemistry numbers? did you consult with my doctor so that you know that my ice cream addiction is killing me? can you assume that even if my ice cream addiction is killing me as certified by my physician, that *all* people who eat ice cream are clearly addicted? can you even say that all people with an ice cream addiction as certified by their addiction specialist are going to die from it?

      i’m thinking that the answer is no. food *is* an addiction to some people. and some people eat emotionally. and some people are unhealthy… but here’s the thing…

      you CANNOT tell by looking at someone or even knowing how much they weigh if they are healthy or if they have a food addiction/emotional eating issue. yet a lot of people assume that ALL fat people are overeaters who don’t eat healthy food and ALL thin people can’t possibly be overeaters and must eat healthy food.

      whew! that turned into a novel… but i hope it can help you understand things from one fat acceptance Official Fat Chick (TM) point of view. in a kinda silly and tongue in cheek kinda way.

      • greenbunny78 says:

        You are right- and people do tend to generalize. And I try not to. And I get the anger at the idea that as a fat person you don’t eat well or exercise- I have several friends who would be called fat who are very active and eat healthy diets. What confuses me, though, is people like that one post a while back where someone KNOWS that they turn to food as a coping mechanism, and know it might not be such a great idea, but decide its ok, because not doing it gives them a panic attack. And this individual thought that its ok, that is their coping mechanism, and we all have one. Except my coping mechanism used to be to starve and binge/purge. I can’t see how that is any worse for me than binging without the purging. Its an unhealthy relationship with food. And its no ones business, really. And I don’t think anyone should comment on what another eats, or doesn’t.

        I don’t think I am saying this right. I don’t think people should have commentary on another’s size, or what they eat. What I don’t get is people who REFUSE to be healthy, as if that is their revenge or something. I don’t understand how people who see food as more than just their energy sorce (though that’s most people, these days) can simply say that an anorexic should just ‘eat a sandwhich”.

        Growing up, my mom had a subscription to BBW (big beautiful women) magazine. She was all about FA, really- for herself. And it was ok that my sister did nothing but snack on the couch, and my mom made excuse after excuse for her- but me she ragged on. And when it became obvious I was anorexic, she was MAD at me. Accusatory.

        For me, they are the same, these complex relationships that come with our food, whether we binge, eat emotionally, binge and purge, or starve. They are connected, and having dealt with a few, and also having been fat for a while because my ED shot my metabolism to hell, I have trouble when people have a trillion excuses NOT to be healthy- when I worked SO hard for my own health. Does that make sense?

        • raven says:

          i understand where you are coming from on the health thing since you have worked so darn hard to become healthy and have a healthy relationship w/food. but… (you knew that was coming right? heh)

          it still doesn’t give you (you personally) the right to control someone else’s behavior. there are plenty of ppl in my life that make choices that i don’t understand or agree with. and not just about food! but it’s not my place to tell them how to live their life. i don’t have to like it. and i don’t have to support it. i don’t have to jump up and down with joy about it! but i do have to shut up about it and let them live their own lives. yes it’s hard for me to understand some things. and no matter what i do or don’t understand, it’s still ultimately their decision. they aren’t beholden to me to live life according to my rules. (b/c, of course, if *i* ran their lives, everything would be perfect. /sarcasm)

    • lissa10279 says:

      I’m with you, I agree NO ONE should be discriminated against … but I also think adding a loaded word like “fat” is discriminatory in and of itself, and alienating, too. I am not part of either movement, but would be much more comfortable with “size acceptance” — personally.

      • Zenoodle says:

        Lissa, I think the point of using the word ‘fat’ in FA is to reclaim it as a neutral descriptor… like someone upthread said, the difference is that ‘fat’, if used as a descriptor, is just that, whereas ‘overweight’ is defined with reference to an arbitrary judgement point — it varies according to a person’s preconceptions… even the people ‘in charge’ of which BMI levels mean what changed where the ‘boundaries’ apparently lie for over/under/etc-weight. I’ve thought about this quite a bit since reading FA blogs… I’m actually not fat, I guess I’m what would be described as ‘ordinary but not Hollywood slim’ or whatever. I wondered about the fat vs size acceptance tags… I tend to say both. I kind of came to the conclusion that accepting your size involves accepting that fat is not an inherently evil thing to be ashamed of our ‘fought’ — it’s just a bunch of cells. As Raven was saying, you actually can’t tell if I am healthy/not, lazy/active, etc, from looking at me/knowing my size or weight. So if we got to accepting that, we would also be accepting that fat is just fat, and that being fat is just being fat — the health descriptors are things that can often be totally separate. I have very healthy skinny and fat friends, and I have pretty unhealthy skinny and fat friends. Fat is not helpful in figuring out which is which, and also freeing oneself from ‘badness’ being associated with fat makes us generally less frightened of our own bodies and the changes that may occur that impact on how much adipose tissue they carry. I guess I see ‘fat acceptance’ as accepting me whether I *have* or *do not have* ‘fatness’ … hoping that makes sense as it’s pretty late here!

    • wriggles says:

      I get the feeling that people in the fat acceptance movement DON’T like to be told to eat healthy

      HAES.

      get mad when someone suggests that perhaps they are eating emotionally

      We all ‘eat emotionally’, because;

      a) we always have emotions and that effects our energy and even nutrients demands.

      b) emotions are part of the eating process itself, they are part of the feeling of saiety, when we feel full and satisfied, there is an emotional element to this.

      What you’re talking about is when your emotional demands keep pressing on your energy demands, ie. your hunger.

      The issue is cause. Trying to reduce hunger under those circumstances is like trying to prise your shield from your hands when you are under attack.

      Focusing on food in this instance is an avoidance strategy, because dealing with emotions is excrutiating for most of us, that’s just the way it is.

      Also you said we are ‘mad’ about diets, but you said they are stupid. Does that comment mean you’re mad about diets, or you’re just telling it like it is?

      • greenbunny78 says:

        It was an observation. I do think dieting is stupid. There is a difference between eating a balanced diet, and being ON a diet. My dad always used to say the word was ridiculous- we are ALL on a diet, because a diet is what you eat, by definition.

        I have trouble saying what I want to say, how I want to say it- my thoughts are constantly interrupted by my kids. I have more to say, but I can’t get it out- my son keeps asking me questions every time I try to think. I apologize if my thoughts don’t come out as coherently and intelligently as I might like them to.

        • Meems says:

          There is a difference between eating a balanced diet, and being ON a diet.

          Yes, of course, but eating a balanced diet doesn’t automatically equal weight loss or having a “normal” BMI (even with an active life and regular exercise) for all people. To me, that feels like a disconnect you’re having here.

          I also find it really frustrating that fat people who choose to eat non-nutritious diets are harassed and criticized while naturally thin people who eat the same way are given a pass just because they’re thin and we equate that with healthy, regardless whether or not it’s true.

    • tom brokaw says:

      lol. Are you going to believe 95% of doctors and medical professionals or are you going to believe kate harding?

      Clearly you are insane for not believing kate harding.

      • Meems says:

        Tom doesn’t seem to understand that doctors are also human and have human fallibility and biases. I don’t think that “95%” statistic was pulled from anywhere other than thin air, but even if it’s true, these doctors’ opinions are based on biased studies, outdated information, and cultural indoctrination, not truth.

  4. Spilt Milk says:

    greenbunny, if you would like to understand something, perhaps you should do some research? Check out Kate Harding’s blog, or her book, or many of the other Fat Acceptance blogs out there. They have FAQ sections that might help you. Because at the moment, you’re making a lot of assumptions about FA and weight issues in general which show that the reason you don’t ‘get’ or agree with FA is because you’re too ignorant of the basic principles.

    And back to the original question – I see Fat Acceptance as a related subset of Size Acceptance (because FA folk accept those who are naturally thin as well, although the title using the word ‘fat’ doesn’t explicity include them.) I’m fat, and I like the word fat. I like it because it’s simple and true. The only reason we see it as negative is because it carries connotations (lazy/ugly being the two biggest) that are negative. The whole point of FA is to remove those judgements. When a bunch of people start OWNING the word fat and using it with neutrality – or even positivity – it starts to show others that we will not see it as an insult anymore. It’s a descriptive term about body size – nothing more, nothing less. It’s empowering to reclaim language and that’s why I choose to do it. (As for the euphemism ‘overweight’ – it’s problematic for the reasons already outlined, and also it bothers me because it’s euphemistic. It implies there’s something shameful to hide about being plain old fat.)

  5. Julie says:

    I am going to read all replies here to your post with great interest as I too, think that size acceptance is a much better term than fat acceptance. I understand the ambiguity behind overweight and know why that would not be appreciated – but I look forward to learning more about the rest.

  6. raven says:

    well i certainly don’t speak for all of fat acceptance, but *i personally* like using the term fat. and here’s why! 😉 i’m feeling kinda silly tonight, what can i say?

    i like to reclaim the word. fat usually has a negative connotation. (actually, i think overweight also has a negative connotation, but maybe a little less of one than fat does) it’s like if i say i’m fat, i’m saying i’m lazy/ugly/stupid/a sinner (gluttony anyone?)/undisciplined… well, the list goes on and on but you catch my drift. but anyone who knows me who hears me say that i’m fat is generally horrified that i would call myself fat, b/t i’m none of those things that are typically associated with the word ‘fat.’ so that, in turn, (hopefully…) forces them to think about why they are so horrified that i call a spade a spade. b/c i am well and truly fat. as much as i am brunette or female. i am fat.

    now *i personally* am not terribly offended by the term overweight. or obese. however…
    if you (general) are going to refer to me using a bmi term, use the right one. i’m not overweight. i’m obese. yep. I AM THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC. now, as to why i would rather refer to myself as fat than obese? well, frankly, i think the whole bmi thing needs to be tossed out the window of a fast moving car directly into oncoming traffic. so i don’t really like using terms from a system that i don’t want to support.

  7. wriggles says:

    You’re asking a question you already know the answer to which is why you have a problem with the word ‘fat’.

    I come at this quizzically, from the disordered eating recovery/Weight Watcher paradigm

    That is why, and your feelings of discomfort will remain, until this is resolved, you could actually use it as a meter. It’s also very early, it does take a long time to really grasp FA and it’s implications, you’re not taking any longer than any of us in FA.

    I don’t feel negative about fat, because I am and if I want to feel bad about myself, I will, I don’t need to use my size to do that. Other people’s size doesn’t offend me either. The post about the grey slacks didn’t bother me one iota.

    I don’t describe myself as ‘overweight’, anymore than I would describe myself as ‘undertall’. I call myself what I am, not what I am not, or what other people, who are nothing to me, think I should be.

    The medical profession are not god almighty, if they feel like calling me this or that, in their own territory, that’s up to them, but in my own life, they have no authority over my identity that I don’t choose to give them, because it’s my life and I’m accountable for it.

    shouldn’t the movement only be called the Size Acceptance movement? Why does the word “fat” have to come into play at all? Why make the distinction at all?

    The fact this comes up time and time again, goes to show why fat needs to stay, the fact that so many want it to go.

    It will go on it’s own when the negativity is gone. Annihilate the hatred of fat, not the word.

    I don’t care for the term ‘size acceptance’, I am not a size, I am a person. I’d rather talk of ‘self acceptance’, when you are fat and you no longer wish to (or never started in the first place) feel self hatred and discomfort, you’re ready to accept yourself as a fat person. If you were fat, obviously you wouldn’t be ready.

    I can’t speak for others on this point, but I feel like I colluded somewhat, to bring myself to the position of needing fat acceptance, most fat people have to some degree. Therefore it’s important for us to be seen to be part of reversing that.

  8. raven says:

    oooooh! i am just now getting around to watching the colbert report that i dvr-ed and professor amy farrell talking about just this subject! in case anyone wanted another take on things from someone famous enough to be on the colbert report. 😀

  9. lissa10279 says:

    Hi everyone, I won’t have computer access again til tonight but I will say I don’t think ANYONE should be discriminated against for their weight — or anything (race, gender, religion, sexuality,etc.) …

  10. Forestroad says:

    Raven, very nicely put.

    I think taking the attitude that fat is like alcoholism implies that everyone who is fat has a disease. Everyone who is an alcoholic does have a disease. Not everyone who is fat will have metabolic disorder or be any sicker than a skinny person. If you want to have an intervention about people’s unhealthy eating habits, aim it at people (fat and skinny alike) who have unhealthy lifestyles. Don’t stereotype fat people based on media hype. Also, choosing to get healthy is just that–a choice. If you have cancer, they can’t perform chemo on you without your consent. It is not my responsibility to be as healthy as I possibly can…if that were the case, I would never get in a car or teach skiing or many of the other potentially hazardous things that I do.

    I can’t really add to the discussion about fat versus overweight bc I think the point has been made, but I’ll reiterate that I agree, fat at its heart is a non-normative term simply referring to adipose tissue, even though for many it has taken on a negative connotation. Lissa, maybe spend some time over at the fatshionista flickr page, or the newsweek photo series on healthy fat people being active if that floats your boat more, and then ask yourself what is so horrible about being fat? These men and women are healthy and beautiful…what is bad about that? Try and shed your own connotations of the word…it can be done. Also, fat is something you can define for yourself, and that can be empowering. You are overweight if you have a bmi of 25-29.9, but you can claim the term fat for yourself at any weight. Even if you’re not fat, you can start loving the fat that you do have. I am not fat, but I have love handles and thighs, relative to me and most of my peers I even have fat thighs, and acceptance of the term fat helps me feel ok about that.

    On FA vs SA, I think for some it is an issue of privilege (not to bring up that word again on this blog). Fat people are among those most discriminated against because of their size, and it’s necessary to bring attention to that discrimination. In doing so, the theory is that it will benefit all groups as the idea of size equality catches on, but it’s important for the most oppressed to have a movement fighting for themselves. Kind of like civil rights. The idea behind it was equality based on skin color, but the movement had to focus on the most oppressive system (oppression of blacks) in order to overturn the system and effect real change, and I think most other minorities and white people would agree that that made America better for everyone, because oppression hurts everyone. This is not coming out very eloquently, but I’m drawing from things I’ve read on the fat-o-sphere so with a little surfing you should be able to find a lot more information.

  11. Lori says:

    I’m sure others have covered this, but to me it is that the “over” part of overweight implies wrongness. Fat is just a descriptor, like tall, or brunette.

  12. Candice says:

    I think these comments cover it really well. The reason people don’t like the word “fat” is because they’ve been taught it’s a bad thing to be. It’s the other end of the spectrum equivalent of thin, except you don’t hear people saying that “underweight” is better than “thin”. (In fact, the two don’t actually correlate the way fat and overweight do.) There’s nothing inherently negative about the word fat unless you believe that fat itself (the tissue and having certain amounts of it) is inherently bad.

  13. Lori says:

    I do like the term “size acceptance,” too, and I use it interchangeably with “fat acceptance.”
    @Wriggles: “Undertall!” LOL

  14. vitty10 says:

    Why do I call myself fat? Because that’s what I am! I am not overweight, I am exactly what weight I should be. I use ‘fat’ simply as a way to describe the way I look. The opposite of ‘thin.’

    I think that people have a problem with that because when they hear ‘fat’ they are hearing all of the negative stereotypes that go with it, like lazy, stupid, smelly, ugly . . . I am none of those things. I think that’s a part of why so many of us hear “but you’re not fat” from friends and family, because they are thinking about those stereotypes, not necessarily what size the person is.

    • mamaV says:

      Hi Vitty: I like your down-to-earth way of responding to this. Here is where I get stuck — what word is appropriate to use with kids?

      I have a daughter (9) and a son (6). I (had been) using “overweight” with them because it seemed more appropriate since society attaches all the ugly connotations to the word “fat” as you listed. Since listening to the FA individuals here, I have been flip flopping between the two terms, and I am wondering if that is confusing, ok for kids….my gut tells me no because at their intellectual level, I think it is more important for them to learn respect for people of all sizes…and the reality is that the word “overweight” is generally viewed as more respectful to the general public.

      What do you think?
      mV

      • Forestroad says:

        Hmmm, I don’t have kids, but that sounds like a tough one, MamaV. I know people who have been horribly embarrassed by kids pointing to them and asking “mommy, why is that woman fat?” Maybe until the FA movement succeeds in taking back the word fat, it’s better to teach them the term that is socially acceptable for now and wait till they are more mature to address how complex the issues around “fat” and “overweight” are, as clearly us fully grown people are still grappling with it on this blog 🙂

        • Nikki says:

          Why is it necessary for kids to point out, “Why is that person fat” at all? I don’t have kids, but in my classes I’ve always taught the kids from day one that people come in all different shapes and sizes and that negative personal comments are never appropriate. I have had very few problems with students making bullying comments to each other, or even non-intentionally insulting comments to each other. And we’ve had big kids in our classes, as well as burn victims, differently abled kids… pretty much every kind of kid you can think of. I will say, I teach 1st and 2nd grades, so I’m not sure this kind of approach would be effective with 3/4 year olds.

          • Shulamit says:

            I’m a preschool teacher; I’m also fat. Occasionally a child will ask me if I have a baby in my belly. At first it embarrassed me, but as I got more and more into fat acceptance, I came to see it as a natural way to teach kids a lesson about bodies coming in different shapes and sizes. If a child asks me now if I have a baby in my belly, I smile at hir and say sweetly, “No, that’s just my stomach. Everyone’s body is different.” If a child asks me, “Are you pregnant?” I reply “Nope, just fat!” In almost every case the child is asking an honest question, without intending to cause offense, so there’s no need for me to feel insulted.

            Last year one of my colleagues told me that two of her Pre-K girls were hanging out by their cubbies, talking about how they didn’t want to get fat. As my colleague put it, “I can’t unplant that seed but I sure as hell am not going to water it.” As a fat, hairy-legged, radical feminist my presence exposes the children to non-normative gender expression (as do the many queer teachers at my preschool). I hope my positive, nurturing fat embodiment might provide some balance to the negative fat associations that they will soak up as they grow.

          • greenbunny78 says:

            kids are brutally honest- they don’t know what tact is, yet. So if they see something that differs from what is “normal” for them, they have questions about it. A kid who has fat parents might ask the question “why is that person so skinny?”. There is no malice on the part of the child (at least not a younger one- a older child starts to have a better understanding of these things)- they just want to know. Just like if they have never seen someone in a wheelchair before, they want to know why. My son asks questions like this all the time- he is 6. He just wants to know. And I do tell him that people are all different. But, why is is a negative comment for a kid to ask why someone is fat, if we are trying to be fine with the term? That confuses me

          • raven says:

            it is confusing sometimes! a lot of people still consider fat to be a negative. that’s why.

            now *i personally* don’t consider it bad. i call myself fat as a way of normalizing the word. and if i am talking about someone else that i know doesn’t consider fat a dirty word… i’ll refer to them as fat for the same reason. so the problem w/a kid asking why someone’s so fat is that you never know how that person is going to feel about it. for someone like me, it would be no problem. i might even answer the kid myself something along the lines of ‘this is just how i’m made… kinda like how i have brown eyes.’ but to someone who isn’t into f.a. or buys into the idea that fat=bad… it might be considered fat shaming.

            which is why i am trying SO HARD to promote body acceptance/fat acceptance whatever you want to call it. so that fat becomes a universally neutral descriptive term.

          • Nikki says:

            I see it as negative when children use the term “fat” because they are using it as an insult. It’s the same with the word “gay.” There’s nothing wrong with being gay, but there’s something wrong with using it as an all-purpose insult against others. That’s why students are simply not allowed to make comments about the personal appearance of others (unless it’s clearly positive, such as “I like your sweater” or “Those shoes are nice”). The kids really don’t have a problem seeing the difference between the two… it’s mostly adults who want to pick everything apart and look for subtext.

      • vitty10 says:

        Hi mamaV,

        I don’t have kids so I’m not sure what is appropriate or not. I would like to think that you can teach kids about the word ‘fat’ as long as you’re explicitly clear that it is simply a word to describe people and not to be used as an insult. However I’m not sure how realistic that is since kids get the message that fat=bad very early. I like Forestroad’s idea of sticking to the more socially acceptable term until your kids are older and can understand ‘fat’ as a descriptor rather than an insult.

        In the end I think that kids can learn whatever you teach them and I commend you for teaching them to respect people of all sizes. The kids who point and ask “why is that lady so fat” learned that from somewhere. My 11-year-old niece learned from somewhere that she can’t wear a 2 piece bathing suit because her tummy sticks out. Maybe she would feel otherwise if she was taught respect for all body types.

  15. julie says:

    I don’t mind the word fat, also ok with chubby. Overweight and obese sound clinical, more for the medical journals than everyday use.

  16. Lyn says:

    I am fat. I am “overweight” because it is, I think, a medical term (even if you don’t agree with the charts). However I am not going to call YOU overweight because YOU have to determine YOUR ideal/happy weight.

    But, if someone says 400 pounds is their ideal/happy weight, can that possibly be true? Are they, then, NOT “overweight” because THEY like being 400 pounds?

    • Synna says:

      There is actually a blog called Living 400lbs – Its even in the left sidebar here. I respectfully suggest you check it out in search of answers to your question

  17. wriggles says:

    greenbunny78

    I apologize if my thoughts don’t come out as coherently and intelligently as I might like them to.

    None necessary, as far as I’m concerned, I just feel that this dieters v FA ,plus healthy eaters in the middle, all sensible and correct, isn’t the way it is.

    I think the majority of us were dieters, for a very long time in many cases and we’ve done the writing down what you eat and everything else.

    I just want you to try and understand why and what we’re saying, even if you don’t agree with it.

  18. Emily S. says:

    As a proponent of Fat Acceptance/Size Acceptance, and an in-betweeny fat person, here’s why I hate the term “overweight”.

    The terms “over” or “under” implicitely state that something is not right. If you overeat, you’ve ignored your body signals. If your tires are underinflated, you risk popping a tire. Underappreciated, over-watered, overheated, undercooked.

    So by labeling a person overweight or underweight, you are implicitely telling them that their weight is a problem that needs to be fixed.

    I do, in fact, like size acceptance better than fat acceptance, because it is more inclusive. But I also understand that as a marginalized group, they can name their rights movement whatever the hell they want to.

  19. Holly says:

    I didn’t read through all of the comments, but I would like to know more about the FA movement. Regardless of whether it is “fat” or “overweight,” I do NOT think people should be looked at differently because of their size, color, religion, etc. My mom is overweight and has been her whole life, and it’s broken my heart to see her struggle with this – much less when kids used to throw out snide remarks about her on the playground.

    This is what I guess I need more help understanding…while I don’t think people should be judged or looked at differently because of their size or weight, is the FA movement saying it’s okay to be overweight? It’s only a question – I’m not trying to offend anyone! The reason I ask is because, as I said above, my mom has been overweight her whole life. She is 58 and takes 19 PILLS a day. 19. I worry about her health each and everyday of my life, and while I KNOW if you are termed “overweight” it doesn’t neccessarily mean you are unhealthy, a lot of times, it does.

    Like I said, I would like to learn more about the FA movement and what it involves. But above ALL, I agree with the notion that we need to accept our bodies and get AWAY from the idea of skinny = beautiful!

    • Synna says:

      Thank you for expressing a desire to learn more. Kate Harding, The Rotund, and many other Fat/size acceptance writers have written many excellent pieces that I would mutilate if I tried to reproduce them. Please look them up.

    • Meems says:

      Holly, I think it’s great that you want to learn more! Kate Harding’s blog is certainly a good place to start, especially to learn more about the common belief that being “overweight” or “obese” causes health problems. If you’re concerned about weight and health, this entry is a good place to start:

      http://kateharding.net/faq/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/

      Something that gets brought up pretty often is the cause/effect nature of weight and health problems. In some people weight does cause health problems – and in your mother’s case it’s possible that this is true – but in other cases, it’s the health problems that actually cause the weight gain. So yes, someone is both fat and sick, but it’s not the illness that caused the weight and losing weight won’t make a person healthier (this is especially true in cases of PCOS and type 2 diabetes). Basically, correlation does not equal causation.

      But, regardless of any of the health stuff, FA promotes equal rights and treatment for all people, regardless of size, and this includes medical care, which is often very lacking for fat people.

    • wriggles says:

      is the FA movement saying it’s okay to be overweight?

      No, we’re saying it’s as OK to be fat as it is to be any other weight.

      We are supporting the spirit of the person if you like and that is inseperable from their weight. We are saying you are your character, not negatives ascribed to your weight, whatever your size.

      I KNOW if you are termed “overweight” it doesn’t neccessarily mean you are unhealthy, a lot of times, it does.

      Same for those of any other weight. I recently accompanied someone to hospital, remarkable how fat people are not over represented.

      It’s the desire to single out as intrinsically unhealthy that is the problem.

      Nothing wrong with being skinny if that’s your body type, what we need to do is include people in.

      If you want to know more about fat acceptance, whenever anything about fat people comes up, exchange the word fat or obese or whatever, for slim and think about whether you’d wish to be addressed in the same manner.

  20. Hil says:

    I agree that the word “fat” is very loaded, but I really don’t think there is a better non-normative term to use. “Overweight” is normative, “obese” has a clinical definition, and “large,” while useful in some contexts, wouldn’t really apply to a fat person who is short and small boned. I am all for reclaiming the word “fat” as a neutral descriptor.

    I am aware that the term is still really loaded for a lot of people, and I would never call someone fat who didn’t first describe themselves that way, but I am in favor of normalizing the term.

    As a non-fat person, I can help by *never* calling myself fat when I’m feeling bad about myself or I’ve gained a few pounds. Calling myself fat when I am objectively not reinforces the idea that fat is an insult. On the other hand, I try not to treat neutral, descriptive uses of the term as though they must be inherently insulting.

  21. ‘Tis I, Kim Brittingham of “that one post a while back where someone KNOWS that they turn to food as a coping mechanism”.

    Greenbunny78, you’re not the only one who’s confused. So am I. Because I want so much to respond to your comments about my earlier “I eat to soothe my panic attacks” post, but I’m not entirely clear on the points you’re making. I’d love it if you’d comment again and help me understand.

    You say it confuses you that “they turn to food as a coping mechanism, and know it might not be such a great idea, but decide its ok, because not doing it gives them a panic attack.” (“They” and “them” being me.)

    First, you say I’ve “decided it’s O.K.” to eat in response to my anxiety. (As if to imply that it’s not O.K.)

    The point of my post was not to say that it’s either O.K. or not O.K. to eat in response to anxiety.

    The post was merely my attempt to:

    a) explain why I overeat, and

    b) point out that obesity (most often assumed to be the result of overeating, although this is not universally true) gets far more negative attention than other perceived “bad habits”.

    Folks like Toby Cosgrove and Regina Brett are not as quick to suggest gung-ho initiatives that deny employment to those who binge-purge, bite their nails, or compulsively masturbate. And yet these things, along with overeating in my case, can all be coping mechanisms. My post questioned why overeating is not placed on equal ground with other coping mechanisms. Why should obesity be especially demonized?

    If you’d asked me directly, I would’ve told you that, in fact, no, I don’t happen to think it’s “O.K.” that I often turn to food to soothe myself. I find it distinctly not O.K.

    It’s not O.K. with me that my legs ache when I stand in line for more than fifteen minutes. It’s not O.K. with me that clothes in my size are less available than perhaps clothes in yours. I’m not thrilled to have developed this addiction. I’m not thrilled to have been born with a tendency towards high anxiety. I wish I was made of stronger stuff that makes it possible for me to sit with my terror every time it strikes, and not reach for food. You’ll forgive me, though, I hope, if sometimes I fail. Yes, it’s true. Occasionally I will reach for the cookies instead of going mad. These surrenders to food are what keeps me fat. But when it comes down to it, I’d rather be fat and functioning in the community than sitting in a padded cell somewhere. That’s been my choice.

    And speaking of choices, even if someone did blatantly proclaim that it’s “O.K.” to use food against panic attacks, I wouldn’t attempt to argue with them. To each her own. I didn’t have a problem with Dr. Kevorkian, either. If someone wants to eat or even drink themselves to death, that’s their prerogative. Yes, I realize this is such a radical position that it may be hard for you to digest. Nevertheless, I’m a big believer in personal liberty. While drinkers should not be permitted to drive while intoxicated (because that potentially infringes upon my right to continue living if a drunk driver slams into me), it’s not my place to tell a person how to live or die. Even if it’s slowly, and by way of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls.

    Now I don’t personally know any fat person who’s trying to kill themselves with food, but society seems hell-bent on saving us from ourselves as if we all are. As raven suggested, we’re not running you off the road in an ice cream daze, so why should you care so much how healthfully we eat? I can’t believe the Tony Cosgroves of America are sitting up nights wringing their hands over all the fat asses in America who won’t live to see tomorrow. Trust me, as a fat person who’s lived in this country for 38 years, I can guarantee you, we obese are not so widely treasured as all these “benevolent” people and their programs would have you think. The diets, the surgeries, the suggestion that we should be marginalized and stigmatized, all for our own good – very little of it is done in the name of love.
    So when you, greenbunny78, say “What I don’t get is people who REFUSE to be healthy, as if that is their revenge or something,” I can’t help but wonder where you’re finding these people. In all the time I’ve been writing about fat-related issues, I’ve never come across any fat person – or thin person, for that matter – refusing to be healthy, and eating as if in revenge against society. That sounds to me like an image created by someone or some entity who wants to further the cause of fat hatred. Yes, they’re out there. Usually, they have something to sell. And they’ll tell you anything to make you think all fat people are heedless gluttons, and tell you that being a heedless glutton is the worst thing a person can be (just before they get into their Hummer and drive off, leaving the planet choking).
    Greenbunny78, I respectfully sugges that you to ask yourself how often you really encounter these vengeful eaters, and whether or not you really know what’s behind their obesity or their eating. Clearly you believe these fat people who “REFUSE to be healthy” are out there – but have you actually spoken to many of them? Or, is there any chance that you’re jumping to conclusions about fat people when you happen to see them wolfing down plates of nachos in Chili’s? Like raven said, you can’t possibly know how a fat person eats most of the time; so I can only hope you’re not assigning a “refusal to be healthy” to a fat person when you observe her eating fattening food. And even if you did follow her around and see her eating poorly on a consistent basis, can you be so sure it’s because she’s on a “fuck you” crusade?
    You wrote that you “have trouble when people have a trillion excuses NOT to be healthy – when I worked SO hard for my own health. Does that make sense?”
    Actually, it does. It reminds me of the rarely spoken but certainly existent skinny-girl justification for hating fat women – especially when fat women are seen to be on the receiving end of love, respect, sex, prosperity, success. How dare she eat whatever she wants and sit on her ass at night watching The Office and still get the good things in life, when I have to watch every morsel I put in my mouth and spend hours at the gym every night just to be this beautiful and earn what I have. It’s not fair. If she’s not willing to suffer for beauty like I do, she shouldn’t be able to enjoy the same privileges.

    I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this is not where you’re coming from – you seem far kinder than that, and too smart to be that petty. However, I’m struggling to understand why the health of someone else, a stranger, millions of strangers, matters so much to you. Why are you comparing your own efforts with the choices of anybody else? I feel like there’s more than regard for your fellow (wo)man here – by the fact that you refer to “excuses” people don’t get healthy, as opposed to reasons. And the fact that you are emphatic about how hard you worked for your health. Why so frustrated by (perceived) unhealthy people?

    Lissa10279, with all due respect, when you say “I just don’t see the appeal of the word ‘fat’ – in any situation,” it sounds like you’re revealing a distaste of fat itself.

    Those of us who are fat and use the word liberally believe that to do otherwise is implying that fat is “bad”. Like Lori said, “fat” is merely a descriptive word like “pink” or “wet” or “short”. If we were to suddenly stop using the word “short”, or start whispering it, you’d get the idea that being short is necessarily undesirable.

    One could argue that your statement equates to “I just don’t see the appeal of fat – in any situation.”

    Fat is what it is. It’s only a dirty word if you use it in that context. Words do matter, a lot. Just something to mull over, and offered in kindness.

    • lissa10279 says:

      I don’t see the appeal in the sense of –why use the word?! Why use it AT ALL?

      I can see why “over” can be upsetting, but I still think “fat” is worse. I just do.

      Loved the dialogue here, though, and it’s given me a lot to think about. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your insight.

      • Forestroad says:

        Maybe you think referring to someone as fat is disrespectful? Do you think that someone who refers to themselves as fat doesn’t respect themselves, or is being insensitive to other fat people? What if you’re in a community where all of the people have accepted the term fat as a non-normative term that may indeed describe beauty (check out Leonard Nimoy’s latest photography project)? Do you think we should give up the term fat bc it has too much negative baggage, and coin a new one that describes someone with lots of adipose tissue in a non-judgmental or perhaps positive way?

        • lissa10279 says:

          I do think it’s disrespectful. I was taught never to call anyone that, and no one has ever called me it (at least not to my face!!) but the word still has a negative connotation.

          I liken it to this: I’m Jewish, and if someone tried to tell me that a swastika was “just a symbol, nothing bad” I could not for the life of me ever, ever believe it. I just couldn’t. That symbol is ingrained in my head as a Nazi symbol, of hatred towards my religion. I could never look at it as “just a symbol.”

          Likewise, the word “fat” to me will never, ever be just a word. It’s loaded.

          To me “overweight” is a much more realistic, less harmful word. But it’s all a matter of perception.

          Even if all the people IN the community accept it, it still has that negative connotation outside the FA movement.

          • Meems says:

            Lissa, I see what you’re saying, but I don’t think that using the word fat is comparable to arguing that a swastika is just some symbol (and yes, I’m also Jewish). You’re right that the word fat has a lot of baggage that comes along with it, but I see it kind of like the word dyke – something used as an insult that is being reclaimed by those people it was aimed at.

            And like others have said, overweight is a very problematic word, too. I’m only overweight based on BMI – I am not overweight for my body and build. The word “over” implied that we have surpassed a healthy weight, which I know that I haven’t based on my lifestyle, health, and my doctor and nutritionist’s judgments. Overweight is a normative term that does, in fact, place judgment on people it is used to describe.

          • lissa10279 says:

            Meems, I’m technically “overweight” too, but I don’t view myself that way. I’m healthy, fit, and am comfortable in my skin (most of the time). You know what size I wear, but I won’t share it a second time! Like you, I’m not overweight for my body/build, but I am according to BMI. I don’t like that term too much, either, but fat seems so much worse to me …

            I guess that is a better example; I was just trying to think of something really offensive to me.

          • Emily S. says:

            But if we shouldn’t describe our size as “fat”, and we don’t believe it is “overweight”, then what are we? Should we just use silly euphemisms?

            Maybe you think we should use words like curvy or voluptuous or Rubenesque?

            That reminds me of the time I saw my size 2 friend, and complimented he on her outfit. I thought she looked lovely – it showed off her hourglass figure. I told her she looked so beautiful and curvy.

            She said “I don’t want to look curvy! I want to look thin!”

            I told her curvy was a compliment.

            She said she thought curvy was just a nice way to say “fat”, and that wasn’t anything she wanted for herself.

            And I hate that common descriptor words are now considered insults. And that we’ve shied away from “fat” to such a degree that other lovely words are now bearing the weight of our stigmas.

            Fat was not a word that was invented to insult people, unlike many of today’s “off limit” words. Fat is just a descriptor. And unless we can use it without cringing, we are admitting that to just to BE fat is shameful.

          • Meems says:

            That’s something that’s been driving me a little crazy: I’m currently single and trying out online dating. I’m genuinely curvy (“perfect” hourglass) but neither especially fat nor especially thin and I feel as though I can’t accurately describe my body because everything that’s true about my body is assumed to be an euphemism for fat. I guess pictures are better anyway…

          • wriggles says:

            But if we shouldn’t describe our size as “fat”, and we don’t believe it is “overweight”, then what are we?

            Yes, this Emily.

            You can run from yourself but you can’t hide. No matter how you look at it, the force field behind the word “fat” has to be broken, there’s just no way around it.

            I’ll be willing to bet most people who’ve turned the meaning of fat around in their head, felt just as badly as Lissa, you can break through this with a bit of effort.

          • lissa10279 says:

            I like being curvy 🙂

          • wriggles says:

            Then imagine me being offended by the word curvy! 🙂

      • raven says:

        think about it this way…

        what if, over the next 10 years, somehow and some way (now is the time for suspension of disbelief… you have been warned!) the name lissa got this HORRIBLE connotation. people whispered it behind their hands. the mere name of lissa meant that anyone named lissa was shunned and looked down on universally in our society. calling someone lissa in passing was considered insulting…

        would you change your name? the name your parents gave you that you’ve had for years and years? or would you work hard to change the idea that people named lissa were disgusting?

        • lissa10279 says:

          Raven, that’s an interesting way of looking at it, but a sudden horrible connotation is a lot different than something I have always known … so the analogy doesn’t work for me. I wouldn’t change my name, no.

          • Emily S. says:

            Lissa- YOU might have always associated fat with bad things, but the word itself hasn’t always had that association.

            There are a lot of words out there that have been created with the pure intent to hurt people. Slurs that aim to degrade people of different ethnic backgrounds, people of different sexual orientations, women who choose to dress or behave provocatively.

            But “fat” isn’t one of those words. Fat has only been an insult for a few decades, which really isn’t very long in terms of the history of the english language.

            On top of that, it is the ONLY word we have to describe the body type that carries extra adipose tissue. Every other word we have is a euphanism that really means something else, or has a definition beyond just the extra tissue (like overweight and obese having definitions based on BMI, which may or may not be related to fatty tissue at all).

            There are people today who use the word “woman” or “girl” as an insult, like “you throw like a girl”, or “crazy woman drivers”. That doesn’t make “woman” or “girl” an inheritely insulting term. That just makes the insulter an asshole.

          • lissa10279 says:

            Thanks for your insight, Emily. It was helpful to see it this way, too.

    • lissa10279 says:

      I re-read your comments, Kim — I see your point, and it’s not a distaste for “fat” but rather all the (negative, media-driven) implications the word has to bear. Maybe I’m just looking at it through a lens that is different than other people’s … I have to accept that possibility.

  22. Lori says:

    Hopefully not too far off topic: Does WATRD have a FA blogger in the mix, since Kate left in August? If not it seems an unfortunate omission, on a body image blog. Are there any plans in the works to invite one?
    The author of Living 400 lbs. (don’t know her name, sorry) would be a great choice,. There are lots of good FA writers out there.

    • mamaV says:

      Hi Lori: Check out Kim Brittingham, she just joined us last week! I love Living400 lbs too — but I have not reached out to her…hmmm perhaps I should.
      Thanks for the nudge 😉
      mV

  23. Meems says:

    @Lissa, I’m going to continue down here so the thread doesn’t get out of control.

    I genuinely don’t think fat would be an accurate description for you regardless of whether or not the term had baggage. I do wonder if part of the strong reaction is a fear of being thought of as fat or any of the negatives associated with it (lazy, ugly, dirty, etc.) – I know I sometimes have those fears. And yes, fat is also subjective. Most people probably wouldn’t call me fat, but I’m sure some would.

    I think the big thing for me is how inaccurate “overweight” is. It implies that we should do something to be of the “correct” weight. I don’t call myself overweight, because the term makes me feel as though I’ve failed at controlling my weight. You know, and because I’m not really overweight for me 🙂

    • lissa10279 says:

      Thanks, Meems, but I just don’t like the word, period. Like I said, it’s not from personal experience that I loathe it, it’s just a not-nice word to me. I used to describe my pre-WW self as “heavy” and that was true; my mom will disagree (and my husband and friends …) but I WAS just that: heavy. When I lost weight, I saw that was even more true. So the word just rubs me wrong.

      • lissa10279 says:

        And I have “failed at controlling my weight” in the sense that I have 10-15 lbs on me that I didn’t have 3 yrs ago and don’t love now … so in that sense, I would agree I am technically “overweight” even though again. I’m over a comfortable weight for me so that is “overweight” — which is, indeed, subjective.

        • cggirl says:

          Ah you know you’re right about how using “overweight” this way is subjective. I assumed you were talking about those BMI guidelines, because I’ve seen a lot of people who are technically “overweight” according to that but really are thin, just have a lot of muscle tissue and perhaps heavy bones, and you’d be SHOCKED that health guidelines put them at overweight.

          But here you show another example of using that word, as a personal thing where you are the one deciding over what weight. I didn’t even realize people used the word that way, but it’s interesting to know.

          For what it’s worth, as I’m sure you know, there will always be those “last 10 pounds” because there’s always some weight we were able to get to but not healthfully maintain, you know? Well, I’m sure you DO know, and I’m sure you DO know you’re a success not a failure! 😀

  24. wriggles says:

    Size acceptance is fine, but as a substitute for fat, it just won’t work, for reasons stated already. When you give fat that negative power and don’t dismantle it, it just follows you around.

    The shame will pass to size acceptance if it substitutes for fat. The problem is not the words but the meaning.

    I find it difficult to get my head around people who choose to be offended by word that goes back centuries and if you look it up in the dictionary as many positive meanings.

    • lissa10279 says:

      Wriggles, I just don’t see how “fat” is, or was ever, a nice word. Sorry, I just don’t see it …

      • Lori says:

        But that’s the part that people aren’t getting. Unless you think fat is not an okay thing to be, what is there to object to about hte word? Nobody just randomly objects to the word “potato” or “velocity.” It’s not the word you object to; it’s the perjorative meaning you have attached to it.
        You can hold on to that meaning if you want to; surely no one can stop you. But you can put it down if you want to, also.

        • lissa10279 says:

          Well, I definitely would prefer everyone in this world to be happy and healthy and fit, but I know that isn’t reality. People come in all shapes and sizes, but I just think there are nicer words to describe someone who is heavy, other than fat.

  25. To me “fat” is a descriptive word, just like skinny, tall, short, etc, etc. I came to terms with the word “fat” a LONG time ago. To me it’s only cruel if that’s the way the user of the word means it. When I use the word “fat” to describe me, I don’t mean it in a….well, mean, way. It’s the truth. at 5’1″ tall and 276 pounds, I’m fat. No getting around it! Overweight doesn’t bother me either. The only thing I have control over in the whole PC world is how I respond! I can choose to let words hurt me, or I can choose to move on!!!

    • lissa10279 says:

      Thanks for sharing your insight, Natalia. I think it just depends on the person, how they feel about the word.

      • Lissa, you are so right! It def depends on the person. There was a time many moons ago that anytime a person said the word “fat” I was sure they were talking about me. Somebody could have said “Look how fat that rope is, it’s much fatter than the other one”…I would get all red in the face and think it was somehow about me! lol So, I had to get over it!!! 🙂

        It’s an interesting topic!

  26. cggirl says:

    Lissa, I do get what you’re saying, and I – for one – tend to look at a person’s intentions with what they say. So if you were to describe me as “overweight” i wouldn’t think you’re trying to judge me by using that word, because I can tell from the tone of your writing that’s not what you are trying to do.

    I do also understand that “fat” is only bad because we consider it a bad thing to gain weight. It’s easier for someone like you lissa to ban the word, because it genuinely doesn’t describe you in the eyes of most people. But for women who really are pretty large and would be considered fat by most of society, I think it’s empowering not to have to hide from a word that merely means they have a lot of adipose tissue. And a word like “overweight”, it is judgemental in how it’s defined – though i KNOW you don’t mean it as such so again, i am not offended if you describe me like that – but i understand why for a lot of women just being like, “yeah, so im somewhat fat, so WHAT? i’m also somewhat tall, and somewhat curly haired, etc” – that can be more empowering.

    I wouldn’t use that word on someone if I don’t know that they feel that way about it though, because given how most people consider the word fat, i think it’s safe to assume most women would not want to be called that, and would prefer to be called overweight or larger or curvy (though thin women can be curvy too, duh) or even i’ve heard a lot of women simply call themselves thick, and all of these seem safer choices than “fat” in most cases EXCEPT in the size acceptance or fat acceptance community.

    Also, as a sidenote, I for one find it selfishly encouraging to know that someone like you – who seems thin to me, and has a different approach than me, is in fact technically “overweight” and working to accept herself. It’s like that BMI project online, with the pictures of people to show how random the “overweight” or “normal” or “underweight” or “obese” distinctions are. And it supports the idea that no, going with non-dieting HAES will not automatically make someone gain tons of weight or make them eat with no end, and going with WW will not automatically make someone lose tons of weight or solve all their eating issues. It’s not that one approach makes you fat and one makes you thin, not at all. It’s more that we each have a different road to get wherever we’re getting, and each have our own genetic makeup that determines some of what we will look like, but we have a lot in common, and one of those things is dealing with arbitrary weight guidelines (or dress sizes for that matter) that can cause us to freak out when there is no real medical (or even aesthetic) reason to.

  27. lissa10279 says:

    Thank you, I def. am not trying to be judgmental so I appreciate you seeing me as not being so 🙂

    I guess I can see what you’re saying–that they want to own it … as a descriptor.

    Aw thank you … I’m definitely a work in progress. Plus, it’s imperative to note my eating issues only began AFTER WW … I don’t blame them on WW, but it is the truth. It drove me to obsession and now I’m coming to terms with it all.

    Well thought out comments, as always, cggirl! 🙂

    • Lori says:

      My friends & I used to joke that WW was like our own mini-eating disorder, because we had to spend so much of our day thinking about eating, not eating, how much of what we ate, go look it up in the book, etc. Maybe those jokes weren’t so funny.

      • lissa10279 says:

        Lori, exactly. WW spurred my DE behaviors…but I also recognize that now, and am trying to distance myself from the obsession, while maintaining the proactive behaviors it taught me: eating healthy foods, portion control, etc.

  28. You know I cannot help but comment. Here is my opinion because it matters to ME, lol. No matter what term you use it has the same meaning,. I am okay with fat, chubby and chunky. I have a hard time dealing with overweight,obese and unhealthy. Why? Because they are a reality check and take the ability for me to accept my situation lightly away. For me being able to say I am fat or a fattie is my way of saying ” I know my situation I know I am fat and I am working on it”. There is something in being able to say it first about myself that makes me feel better about it. I learned a long time ago that if I address it before someone else does then it is alot easier to take.
    Really I think thinner peole have a harder time with the word fat the fat people do. Sorry to end up who knows where but just thoughts from a fattie working on it! 🙂

    • lissa10279 says:

      Congrats on getting healthier! But Shannon, you just hit the nail on the head: you recognize your weight situation and are working on it. But wouldn’t FA say you don’t NEED to work on it? Maybe I’m misunderstanding?
      Maybe thinner people do have a tougher time with it; it’s a word that is negative and I can’t help but see it that way.

      • Nikki says:

        To me, fat acceptance is about acknowledging #1. That everyone is entitled to equal rights such as fair hiring practices and access to health care, regardless of their weight and #2. Acknowledging that adults are allowed to make their own choices about food and exercise.

        You seem to be on board with #1, but not #2.

        #2 means acknowledging that being “fit and healthy” may not be everyone’s top priority, and frankly that’s none of your business (the general “you,” but also some people on this board to be honest).

        If I choose to work overtime at my job instead of working out at the gym, and I gain weight as a result, I have a right to make that decision and no one else has the right to judge me or discriminate against me based on that choice.

        If I decide to eat processed foods because they are easier to cook or they’re cheaper, or I just plain prefer the way processed foods taste, then once again, that is MY business and no one else’s.

        These discussions about “Why are people fat?” have a tendency to turn into people defending themselves by saying, “I’m overweight, but here’s what I eat and here’s how much I exercise per day/per week…” People do this because they are CONSTANTLY JUDGED by others. So I think FA is, at its core, about setting the judgments aside and ensuring that all people are getting equitable treatment.

        Which is a long way of answering the question, “wouldn’t FA say you don’t NEED to work on it?” Well… yes. You don’t NEED to do anything except take care of yourself the way YOU see fit. If you think you NEED to lose weight, go for it. If you think you need to put in some extra hours at your job instead of hit the gym, do it. If you need to eat pizza tonight instead of hummus and whole wheat crackers, game on. If you need to sit on your butt and watch mindless reality TV for a few hours because it was a long ass week, have at it.

        But no one else can ever tell me what I need to do, the same as I can’t tell you what you need to do.

        • lissa10279 says:

          That’s true, Nikki, no one can tell you (or anyone) what to do. And I do support #1 and #2 IS a priority of mine, and I recognize it’s not everyone’s priority.

        • cggirl says:

          Well I I agree with #2 of course.

          But I also think some of us do work on our health to varying degrees and are still fatter than society seems to think we should be. So I think that’s why some people end up defending ourselves. Because when you ARE someone who cares about their health and works on it, and knows that there are additional, unhealthy things we could do to get thinner but we choose not to do those, we choose to focus on positive healthy things for health itself, then people just assume we aren’t because they figure if we were, we’d be thin by now. And that’s annoying.

      • Lori says:

        I can’t speak for the whole movement (for that you’d have to talk to Kate…kiddind, kidding) but for me the powerful message of FA is that there is nothing about me that needs ro be “fixed.” Not that I can’t strive to excel in any direction I choose: morally, professionally, physically, whatever. But I am still okay just the way I am.

      • I suppose you are right. They may say it is all good just being fat. Here is where I draw the line…HEALTH ! If you are 250 and 5’4 but have good health then in my opinion be happy and feel good about yourself. You can be big and beautiful and happy. However there is a grey area in all of this. I knew when my blood pressure went up that it was time to do what was needed to fix it and get healthier. For me it was to lose some weight and start exercising.
        People can defend the FA movement all they want but when it comes down to it effecting your life, your familes lives and your health enough is enough.
        If you were to go to the doctor and he said that you have Cancer you would not scream out “Great I am a part of the Cancer Acceptance movement” and do nothing! You would do what you needed to get healthy and fight it. Fat is not different once the HEALTH line is crossed. We all are aware of the health dangers that come with being over weight.
        You do not need to be a size 5 to be healthy there are plenty of size 18+ out there that are active and in good health.
        Enough ranting again 🙂

        • Nikki says:

          If someone is 250 lbs. and they have high blood pressure and diabetes and other health related problems and they continue to eat processed foods and not exercise… how does that affect you personally?

          Please don’t say it causes your health insurance costs to increase… people with families, people with congenital birth defects, THIN people with cancer and heart disease… all of these are costing more than fat people.

          I’m not even going to touch the Fat = Cancer argument, because I find that patently absurd. But I’m curious. Why do unhealthy fat people bother you?

          • Nikki
            Fat unhealthy people don’t bother me. For me personally it bothers me if MY health is an issue that is where I draw the line. So in my opinion that is where accountability for better health comes into play. If your weight is making you sick then you need to take some accountability. If you are over weight and healthy then great be happy and healthy. The truth of the matter is if my health is bad due to my weight it effects my family, my friends, me, my health care costs and more. I am all for accepting that big can be beautiful and happy and healthy but just because we may accept it does not mean we are not accountable for the health mess it can get us all in.
            I personally an very happy my doctor told me I needed to lose weight and start exercising to lower my blood pressure. It has worked and my chances of having a heart attack have decreased. Ignoring the health issues that can come from being over weight does not make us smart in a FA movement it makes us ignorant. You are right THIN people do create health care costs but so do fat people no one is exempt to this rule unfortunately. Ultimately fat or thin we all need to take better care of ourselves.

          • Nikki says:

            I suppose I got confused because you used the word “you” a lot in your response… to me, that meant you were generalizing your experience to others.

        • cggirl says:

          Shannon i get what you’re saying. But everyone’s experience is different. For me, I wouldn’t have to “start exercising”. I already exercise a LOT. But it has yet to make me thin. But I do think it has MANY health benefits and I enjoy it so I keep doing it.

          So maybe it was accurate for someone to tell you to “start exercising” but if someone looked at my curvy body and said that to me, I’d want to smack them because WHY THE HELL ARE THEY ASSUMING I DON’T EXERCISE ALREADY? Just like why do they assume the thin girls they see exercise, rather than maybe they are genetically inclined to be thin and don’t have to exercise, or maybe they have some eating disorder and are on the verge of fainting while we stare at them and admire their “fitness”. Not saying that’s true of any thin woman I see, just saying we make assumptions about everyone…

          • mamaV says:

            Great point cggirl — I have many gym friends who are all shapes and sizes. Some work out one heck of a lot more than me and are in much better shape, but they don’t “look” like it because they are heavier. But if people really looked at their bodies, they would see they are firm and toned — just a larger size.

            On the other hand, I have potential to be “skinny fat” — if I don’t work out the wiggles start and cellulite is more apparent. I am tall and thin in clothes, but if I don’t exercise I am flabby. Irritating no doubt, back to the old thin privilege aspect of life.

            I can imagine you just want to scream ” I WORK OUT DAMN IT!!” 🙂

        • cggirl says:

          Oh and also Shannon the high blood pressure thing is a good example – you might have that related to your weight. But other people might not, and when we look at someone we don’t really know, so I don’t assume.

          None of this is to argue with what you’re saying, just to point out that we don’t usually know these details about people anyway.

          • I was just sharing my experience. Not every over weight person has a hea;th issue. That is what I was trying to say. If your weight is creating a helath issue, whatever it may be. We need to address it and I am thankful my doctor had enough sense to tell me the steps I needed to take to improve my health. I am still overweight, may always be but my health is good.
            Again I agree we should not judge anyone and assume they are unhealthy due to their weight. I was just sharing my personal experience.

  29. vitty10 says:

    Hi Lissa,

    I don’t want to get totally nit-picky here but something you said rubbed me the wrong way a bit, maybe you could clarify a bit. Earlier you said “Well, I definitely would prefer everyone in this world to be happy and healthy and fit, but I know that isn’t reality. People come in all shapes and sizes.”

    I’m getting the feeling that you don’t believe that fat people can be healthy. Could that be why you don’t like the word “fat” because it implies unhealthiness to you?

    I could totally be talking out of my ass here, but I am genuinely curious. Not looking to start a fight or put words in your mouth, but how do you find answers if you don’t ask questions?

  30. lissa10279 says:

    Hi Vitty and I’m sorry if I rubbed you (or anyone) the wrong way with my comments. That was in regards to someone asking me if it wasn’t ok to be “fat” and I answered honestly–“fat” does imply unhealthy to me (which is why I hate the word) BUT I’m 100% aware someone can be healthy and and “fat.” Which is why I prefer the word “overweight”. As I noted, I’m “overweight” technically, but healthy and fit. I don’t know if that will get me flamed for speaking truthfully but that’s how I feel. I think that’s why I don’t buy into the FA movement–because not only do I not like the word “fat” but it implies something “unhealthy” and thin or not, I wouldn’t want to support something that doesn’t promote good health because that is important to me, and while no one should be discriminated for their weight, I also can’t imagine that someone weighing 400 lbs is “healthy.” They might be happy and accept their size–more power to them! But as someone on a mission to be healthy … I struggle with supporting it.

    • raven says:

      i see this as 2 issues…

      first, it doesn’t seem that you really and truly parse that fat people can be healthy. i am fat but healthy. as i previously stated, i’m in the bmi category of obese. the only reason you think that fat implies unhealthy is because that’s what you’re choosing to believe. unless you consult with every 400lb person’s physician individually (i am just using that number since it’s the one you used), you CANNOT POSSIBLY KNOW IF THEY ARE HEALTHY OR UNHEALTHY. i know that society and the media and lots of other sources (maybe your mom, your dad, your peers, who knows?) tell you that fat=unhealthy. but fat people all over are trying to be heard. YES, some of us are unhealthy. BUT SOME OF US AREN’T! i don’t know how much plainer we can make it. either you believe we can be healthy or you are calling us all liars.

      second, i hear you that health is important to you. but it’s not important to everyone. you probably have a hard time grasping that concept since it seems that it’s VERY important to you. and i think that is just human nature… to want everyone to be as passionate as you are about the things you dedicate yourself to. frankly, i wish my m-i-l would quit smoking. b/c i’m passionately against smoking for myself. but i have to just shut up and get over it. b/c it’s not what she wants to do. i don’t have to take up smoking myself. but i ABSOLUTELY DO have to support her right to smoke if she wants to. i struggled with that too. so i totally get where you’re coming from. and i hope that you can someday support the rights of people to make their own decisions about their bodies when it comes to health.

      • Nikki says:

        “i hear you that health is important to you. but it’s not important to everyone. you probably have a hard time grasping that concept since it seems that it’s VERY important to you. and i think that is just human nature… to want everyone to be as passionate as you are about the things you dedicate yourself to.”

        That is an awesome quote. Well said, raven.

        • lissa10279 says:

          I agree, that is well said. It IS important to me, very important. And it doesn’t have to be as important for everyone else.

          But I can’t sit back and say I agree that someone weighing (my arbitrary figure) of 400 lbs is “healthy” … but my feelings on “what is healthy/what isn’t healthy” was not the point of this post.

          I just wanted to understand why those in the FA movement choose to use the word “fat” in the nomenclature at all. And now I can see why — but we need to agree to disagree.

    • vitty10 says:

      Maybe ‘rubbed the wrong way’ was the wrong choice of words. More like my ears pricked up or something. Anyways I think we will have to agree to disagree on this point. You don’t like the word ‘fat’ because it implies ‘unhealthy’ to you. I don’t like the word ‘overweight’ because it implies that something is wrong with me even though I am plenty healthy. I hope that you don’t let a simple word get in the way of helping to ensure that everybody is treated equally.

      And Raven, you are all kinds of awesome!

      • lissa10279 says:

        Absolutely, Vitty — that single word won’t get in the way, but I did want to know why that word was “OK” for the FA movement to use, because it didn’t make sense to me before.

  31. Nikki says:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/flash/zoomGallery?section=gen&photoGalleryId=4535846

    Click image #8. This guy weighs 340 lbs. and can do the splits touching his nose to the ground (photo included). Still think fat people can’t be “fit and healthy”?

    • Gina says:

      Nikki – that guy is a sumo wrestler (an athlete). So it’s hardly surprising that he is flexible. He has no doubt been training for years and is hardly representative of the general North American population.

      As for whether he is “healthy”, that’s a question for this doctor to answer. FA likes to say that you can’t tell if a fat person is unhealthy just by looking at them, so it’s equally true that you can’t tell if they are “fit and healthy” just by looking at them, don’t you think?

      • Nikki says:

        I absolutely don’t think you can judge whether someone is fit and healthy just by looking. The photos are to prove it is possible to be fit and fat. Sure, the sumo wrestler is an athelete, but 340 lbs. is not “a little fat.” By BMI standards, he is morbidly obese.

        The idea that it’s okay to be a little overweight, but not FAT fat, is totally ridiculous. You’re either on board with “it’s okay to be fat” or you aren’t. Trying to make distinctions between healthy fat vs. bad fat, or a little fat vs. FAT fat, are stupid. I tried to think of a better adjective, but I couldn’t.

        • Gina says:

          Nikki – I disagree that the photo proves that the sumo wrestler is “fit and fat”. It only proves that he is fat and flexible. Until I see further evidence, I’m reserving judgement on his cardiovascular fitness.

          I also disagree with your second point about the “all or nothing approach” to fat acceptance. I think that a person could be a “little fat” (say up to 20 pounds overweight) and be perfectly healthy. Any more than that and IMO their weight becomes a health issue. I have a friend who is 6 foot tall, was 20 pounds overweight and felt physically uncomfortable because she has joint issues. So even at her height, an extra 20 pounds was problematic for *her*. I have another friend who is about 20 pounds overweight, is an aerobics instructor, and is fit in every other respect, so her extra weight is not problematic for *her*.

          I would think that most doctors consider an extra 10-20 pounds on an otherwise fit and healthy person as no big deal. Any more than that and their weight is a potential problem.

          • Nikki says:

            Gina, I see you have put up three posts, I haven’t read the others, but here is how I feel about the “all or nothing” approach to fat acceptance.

            No one is asking you personally to be fat if that is not comfortable for you. Fat acceptance is about not judging other people by their body weight and not denying them rights based on their body weight.

            I don’t think people are concerned about fat because of the health aspect. I think people are concerned because they think fat is ugly to look at. Just as an example, take The Biggest Loser. They make 400 pound people weight in without their shirts on, in sports bras and skintight shorts, even though the contestants have ALREADY BEEN WEIGHED IN earlier that day. They are wearing those clothes because it is considered a “spectacle,” like a circus sideshow. Maybe that’s not how you look at fat people, but I think if the people posting comments about “Oh, I’m so concerned for the health of others” really examine their own biases, they will find a lot of their problems with fat are based on the fact that they find a fat body aesthetically unappealing.

            Like I said earlier, runners are at great risk for joint problems, they comprise a high number of the knee and hip replacement surgeries performed in the US (this was reported to me by my mom’s dr who replaced her knees about 2 years ago), runners tear cartilige, etc. Are you worried about all your friends and family members who run daily? Should we ban magazines that promote running? Should we declare an epedemic?

            I am assuming your answer to these questions is “no.” Well, I thought you were concerned about peoples’ health?

          • Gina says:

            Nikki – your logic is faulty. You are confusing injured athletes with people who are fundamentally unhealthy.

          • Nikki says:

            Your argument is that a person who would normally be thin is getting fat as a product of their behavior — eating too much, eating junk, not exercising. They get fat and then experience health problems. (Notice I said your argument, I don’t actually believe this.)

            I’m saying a runner is a person who would normally have healthy joints, knees, hips, and cartilige. But then they experience health problems (noted above) as a product of their behavior (running).

            How is my logic faulty?

  32. Tempe Wick says:

    Here’s the problem with being “fat and healthy.” The damage that excess weight does often only becomes apparent years later. So yes, someone can be 300 or 400 pounds, be able to do yoga, have healthy blood pressure, etc. But. The human heart, lungs, joints, etc. were not designed to take that sort of stress over an extended period of time.

    It’s kind of like a smoker who says they feel fine–they go to the gym, they eat healthy, there are no suspicious spots on the X-ray. That’s certainly true for a lot of smokers. But it isn’t the fact that they smoke today that’s the problem. It’s the cumulative effect of smoking for years.

    The same is true for obesity. As many have noted, there are morbidly obese people who are physically active, have low cholesterol and blood pressure within a healthy range. Excellent. But when I read about this, something inside says “Get back to me in 10 years.”
    I just don’t believe that carrying around 100 or 200 pounds of excess weight for say,10, 15 years or more is not harmful.

    • Nikki says:

      1. I am willing to bet that in 10 years, #s 8 and 9 in that slideshow will still be kicking my ass in the physical activity department, despite the fact that they each outweigh me, possibly by hundreds of pounds.

      2. Where are the stats that say older obese people are having more medical problems than older thin people? From the stats I see on the news all obese people are going to die before they turn 40 anyway, so I’m not sure they’ll even have time to prove whether or not longterm obesity is problematic.

      3. Like I asked upthread, what do you care if people are unhealthy and obese? If you truly believe that they deserve equal rights then does it matter if they are healthy or not?

    • lissa10279 says:

      Well said, Tempe Wick.
      “I just don’t believe that carrying around 100 or 200 pounds of excess weight for say,10, 15 years or more is not harmful.”

      • Nikki says:

        So many activities are not good for the body, but we continue to engage in them.

        For example, peoples’ bodies aren’t meant to go running for miles and miles every day. That’s why many runners end up with knee and joint problems.

        Professional boxers and football players are constantly injured, they get concussions and broken bones, yet no one is concerned that they are doing something that is harmful to their health.

        I think people are choosing to be “concerned” about fat people because it’s just “not nice” to be fat.

        • Hil says:

          “I think people are choosing to be “concerned” about fat people because it’s just “not nice” to be fat.”

          Agreed. The common assumption that obese = unhealthy does not, in my mind, explain why people view “fat” as a dirty word. Not getting enough sleep, lack of cardiovascular fitness, and stress are all clearly documented risk factors for chronic disease, but nobody beats themselves up over those things or makes sweeping generalizations about other people based on them.

          Like Lissa, I have a personal interest in health and nutrition. I write about those subjects frequently on my own blog…but that isn’t the focus of WATRD. This blog is about positive body image and self-acceptance. And ALL people, ALL bodies–healthy and unhealthy–are worthy of respect and acceptance.

    • vitty10 says:

      How much excess weight is it ok to be carrying around? 50 pounds? 5 pounds? And how is ‘excess weight’ determined?

      Nikki and Hil, you are completely right. I know many athletes with destroyed knees because of their sport. Nobody bats an eye at them. But as soon as some fat person has bad knees it’s time for the blame and finger pointing and ridicule.

      High blood pressure runs on both sides of my family. Thin and fat alike get it. When both of my parents got it nobody said anything because they are not fat. But if I get it you can be sure that every other person will suggest some sort of weight loss plan, completely ignoring my family history.

      “I think people are choosing to be “concerned” about fat people because it’s just “not nice” to be fat.” <– THIS

    • wriggles says:

      The ‘problem’ as you put it, with being/feeling healthy now, is you it doesn’t guarantee how you’ll feel/be in 10 years, can you gurantee your health for 10 years? Presumably, you feel fine now.

      The same is true for obesity.

      As opposed to what? The older you get the more likely you are to succumb to the process of ageing, whatever your size. That’s the human condition.

      If you swap, ‘normal’ for ‘obesity’ and ‘underweight’ for ‘morbidly obese’, what you’ve said works just as well.

      Weight, is too varied in it’s categorisations to lend itself as a meter of health comparison, ditto, race or class, because all those categories are more varied within than between.

    • Meems says:

      There’s a problem with saying “the human heart (etc)” because not all humans are built the same. Perhaps your body or my body would not function well at 300 or 400 lbs because that is not the weight our bodies want to be. But if someone has the exact same eating/lifestyle/exercise habits I do and outweighs me by 100+ lbs, my conclusion would be that that person’s body is simply built differently from mine. It might be “excess” weight on my body, but it isn’t on theirs.

  33. Tempe Wick says:

    “2. Where are the stats that say older obese people are having more medical problems than older thin people? From the stats I see on the news all obese people are going to die before they turn 40 anyway, so I’m not sure they’ll even have time to prove whether or not longterm obesity is problematic.”

    I’ll see if I can come up with some stats for you. For me, this is personal. As we’ve all noted, heredity influences our body types. Looking at my older relatives who are or have been overweight, I see two things. 1) The older people get with excess weight, the worse their conditions (again, this is my family. I’m making an assumption that since I share common genes, I have a good chance of the same outcome) 2) the ones who have lost weight have improved health (lower blood pressure, no edema, not having to take insulin anymore to control blood sugar).

    3. Like I asked upthread, what do you care if people are unhealthy and obese? If you truly believe that they deserve equal rights then does it matter if they are healthy or not?

    Well, that has to do with how I was raised. I was taught to believe that being a decent sort of person meant showing some basic level of concern for your fellow man. The concern I feel for people who are obese and unhealthy is the same as I feel for smokers, people who engage in unsafe behaviors, who eat a poor diet, etc.
    I pretty sure I’ve never said that equal rights had anything to do with a person’s health.

    • Synna says:

      anecdotes =/= data or ‘stats’.

      I’m fat, and I don’t need your concern. In fact hearing about how I’m going to die before I’m 40 etc from TV, random strangers, doctors who haven’t examined me is quite patronising. We fat people are humans, capable of making our own decisions and living our own lives, thankyouverymuch.

      You (generic) can’t tell the status of my health just from looking at me.

    • wriggles says:

      For me, this is personal.

      And what is it for the rest of us? We also have families too.

      Do you know any group that gets healthier as they become elderly?

      I come from a line of long lived fatties that remained fat and alive, till they died. I am not complacent, nor do I wholly believe in genetic determinism.

      Which is why I’ve noticed that they didn’t have a lot of ‘pseudo-science’ telling them they were sick and unhealthy yadda yadda yah, before they died.

      What I’ve concluded from this is, live life to the full until you die, and don’t allow anyone to make you lay down and die, before you actually do.

      As for your manners, when people tell you not to call them things, if you insist carelessly on doing so, you aren’t polite at all, if you can’t care about what you call people, do you really think you give a fig about their health?

  34. Lori says:

    Does it matter for our collective purposes, if fat is unhealthy or not? This is a body image blog. I’d like to think that means support for positive body images. Not “support for positive body images, unless you are fat. ” That certainly isn’t where this discussion started, but I fear it is rolling that way.
    I don’t think hating your body is at all effective in making people thinner. I can’t actually think of anything that makes people thinner in the long run. Dieting, statistically speaking, tends to make you gain more when you gain it back — and, again statistically, nearly everyone gains it back.
    Loving the body that you have seems like a good thing for every body. For fat people, this means accepting their fat. Hence, Fat Acceptance.

    • vitty10 says:

      Thank you Lori. This is a part of why I had reservations about the success of this blog. I’m not sure that having a positive body image and weight loss go together. I am trying to love my body the way it is now, not how it might be if I decide to attempt to change myself.

      • Nikki says:

        Ditto Lori and vitty. Claire wrote a post awhile back asking why the FA crowd and dieters weren’t able to share a forum such as WATRD. I think the reason is because people who believe in FA can’t come on this site without reading blog entries about how anything over a size 8 is unacceptable and wading through comments about how fat people should just go on a diet and quit causing problems already.

        • Gina says:

          The reason why FA people and dieters can’t get along is that they fundamentally disagree about the value of dieting. FA people state categorically that it “doesn’t work”, whereas dieters believe that it does.

    • mamaV says:

      Hi Lori, Vitty10, Nikki, and Gina: Thank you for bringing this topic up because in all honesty we are going through a “real-time” evolution here. I will be formally updating our mission statement to reflect this, but I wanted to discuss it here for feedback;

      We have listened to many FA community members since the launch of this site, and thanks to their persistence and patience, we have learned a great deal. The result of that is I would say we are supportive of HAES, and 100% against fat discrimination — but are where do we stand on the Fat Acceptance Movement itself? This is evolving as we speak — but we are skating towards disagreement in methodology.

      For example, I can tell you as the founder of this blog I do not agree with the tactics used by some FA supporters, I think they are shooting themselves in the foot and I have expressed this opinion in an effort to help (ie. pointing out thin privilege is a negative strike on their cause, not because it isn’t true- of course it is, it is blatant in this country — but because the “average” American citizen can in no way shape or form relate to the concerns and emotions of FA (in fact they think its nuts — I say this because as I ask individuals I encounter about it — I get wild eyed looks of “are you serious?!”).

      Here’s the point – If FA wants to truly make changes in this country, they need to lay off “placing the blame” on the non-fat population. Instead hone in on the unfairness in their lives, in the lives of their children, in order to grab the hearts of people and help them “get it”).

      The sad part is, Kate Harding is the leader of FA, but it is my opinion that her supporters do not reflect her cause (at least they have not done so here). She is sharp, articulate yet kind and reasonable. She needs to send the message to her blog community that SP is a place to vent, raise hell, feel safe, feel good about oneself — but when they are out in the real world, they need to put their game face on in a strategic effort to have their voices heard.

      The other major FA area we are “waffling” on is being able to state that we accept fat for ourselves…sure, its fine for you, and others, but for me?? Hell no. You have all called this out in some of Lissa’s posts, and I have admitted it myself when I addressed the 200 Pound Oprah situation (ie While I was saying Oprah needs to just love herself, she looks great, what is her problem out of one side of my mouth — the other side was realizing that I was a hypocrite. I was judging Oprah on not accepting her body, while I could not honestly say I could accept this for myself). And there in lies the problem – a very major one I’d say. This is why all of you need to keep driving home your message here. You are influencing thoughts, feelings and opinions, you are making people stop and think.

      I believe the first step toward change is admitting all these feelings, duke-ing is out with all of you, and seeing where we land.

      Please let me know your thoughts, I am sure you will have many. The reality is that you are as important in our mission statement as we are… we all care so much about these body image topics but sometimes they are so complicated emotionally that its hard to see how and where change will come from — but we simply must try.
      THANKS for caring,
      mV

  35. Tempe Wick says:

    Synna,
    I have not responded to you or anyone else in the nasty sort of tone you do here; I would appreciate the same.

    Wriggles,

    I do hope you were not addressing me here, because at no point have I called anyone something they asked not to be called:

    “As for your manners, when people tell you not to call them things, if you insist carelessly on doing so, you aren’t polite at all, if you can’t care about what you call people, do you really think you give a fig about their health?”

    • mamaV says:

      Hi Tempe Wick Thank you for reminding everyone to keep the tone respectful. If you or anyone else receives a reply or read a comment that you feel is a personal attack and/or violates the comment policy email realdealgirls@gmail.com so we can take care of it.
      Thanks,
      mV

    • wriggles says:

      Tempe Wick,

      I do hope you were not addressing me here, because at no point have I called anyone something they asked not to be called:

      So you didn’t notice writing:

      As many have noted, there are morbidly obese people

      That’s the point, you’re not noticing it. People need to leave off the idea that because people are fatter than the usual, their feelings don’t count.

      The use of this term is uncalled for in a non medical space. This term was coined to create a specific effect only, if you are using it you are party to that, nobody uses the term ‘morbidly thin’, even though the health prognosis of those at either end of the metabolic scale is similar,(indicating that underlying problems have a tendency to create changes and adaptations in your metabolism) -the thinnest are not under attack in the same way.

      I have said already, put yourself in the place of that person and ask if you need to be spoken to in the same manner. I don’t feel the need to ask the thinnest people whether they mind being described in terms that are meant to demoralise them and make them feel tainted.

      Exchange fat or obese for thin or slim and see if you’d like to be addressed in the same manner, that is the basis of politeness, not othering people then asking them how they feel about it.

      There is no weight limit on respect- at either end of the scale.

    • Synna says:

      Tempe,

      The tone of my reply does not diminish its message.

      http://www.derailingfordummies.com/#hostile

  36. Tempe Wick says:

    Now, about the original topic. “Fat” to me is simply a descriptor, no more or less. I say “I’m fat” for the same reason I say “I’m black” or “I live in California.” They are all statements of fact. Overweight is okay for me, but it’s not the word I choose to use.

  37. Milla says:

    Well, I can comment here from all kinds of perspectives. I am an ED person in recovery. I am a firm believer in HAES. And I am a healthcare professional.
    As Fatn’Sassy said, “overweight” implies that there is a correct weight all people should be according to their height and imposed by a monetarily and appearance biased medical industry but without being based on sound scientific evidence ( the same is true of the term “obese”). These terms pathologize something that is not pathological. Being fat is not a disease, it’s merely a physical characteristic. Like thin or short or tall or brunette,
    It just has been used a long time as a hurtful or negative adjective.
    In fat acceptance, the word fat is taken back and from a perspective of empowerment much like gay men to back the words gay and queer and use them to describe themselves from a perspective of strength.
    Believe me, I still shock myself sometimes when I describe myself as tall, fat and brunette and it takes getting used to specially coming from severe ED’s and being bullied all my life because of that physical characteristic. But seriously? I find it very freeing and empowering because now people cannot use that word to hurt me anymore.
    Best,
    Milla

  38. Tempe Wick says:

    Wriggles,

    I just want to make sure I’m hearing you correctly. What I’m taking from what you’ve said are several things.

    1)You feel the phrase “morbidly obese” is meant to “demoralise people and make them feel tainted.”

    2) You are insulted by the phrase and conclude from my using it that I think fat people’s feelings don’t count.

    Am I on the wrong track here? I’d like to make sure I’m not before we continue this exchange.

  39. Shelly says:

    ok, I have to disclose that I am just now reading up on fat acceptance because frankly, I was annoyed before by the term. I havent had time to read all the comments, but I was also wondering what exactly fat acceptance was so I ventured over to kate harding blog and got even more pissed off at her FAQ page. She discriminates against those who are asking the FAQ (who actually might just want to know more) by answering the questions with a preconcieved notion that everyone is judging fat/overweight (dont know which to use because I am afraid I might offend someone) because they eat donuts and junk. That pissed me off. I will read her blog more in depth within the next few days.

    I understand that there are many reasons why people struggle with their weight, including those beyond their control, but damn, I feel like an ass because I am THIN. I feel like the term FAT acceptance alienates me because I must automatically be happy. Like others, I like size acceptance, and I dont think they can be used interchangeably.

    anyway, I have a lot to learn.

    • Nikki says:

      I’ve been banned from the kate harding site diet talk, but I’m okay with that. Now that I am commenting more here, I realize how valuable and necessary it is to have spaces that are exclusively pro-FA. The people there all agree on certain concepts (i.e., privilege) and it makes the conversations a lot more interesting and in-depth.

      If I were you, I would check out the Schrodinger’s Rapist post and the following 1,000+ comments. Because the majority of posters agree on terms (in this case, male privilege), the points that are made are really insightful. When there is a commenter who doesn’t agree on the terms, the whole thread gets derailed (kinda like here).

      So I guess my point is, there is value in having a forum like WATRD, because we can argue and hash things out, but I’m not sure we can really go beyond that to the level of commentary at Shapely Prose until we come up with fundamental perameters that we all agree on.

      http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%e2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%e2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

  40. Nikki says:

    LMAO, after reading shelly’s post I read the FAQ at Kate Harding’s site. Tempe wicke I really don’t mean this in a mean way, but I would refer you and several commenters on this thread to FAQ #5:

    Q. OK, I’m mostly with you. It’s not nice to hate fat people, BMI is flawed, it’s possible to be fat and healthy — but come on, isn’t there a limit? I mean, when it comes to really fat people, isn’t it our duty to remind them of the health risks and encourage them to lose weight?
    A. No.

  41. Tempe Wick says:

    Nikki,

    Kate Harding’s FAQ applies to her site, not this one. If you would like to be comfortingly told that being morbidly obese/fat/overweight (which ever term you choose) isn’t detrimental to your health, and those doctors are all wrong, you’re not going to find that here. That’s why I’m here and not there. I don’t find an echo chamber very interesting.

    • wriggles says:

      If you would like to be comfortingly told that being morbidly obese/fat/overweight (which ever term you choose) isn’t detrimental to your health, and those doctors are all wrong, you’re not going to find that here.

      That is you!

      You wish to cling to comfort that commercial interests and other experts have promised you, out of the goodness of their hearts no doubt.

      Yet, you seek to undermine in others, what you seek for yourself. You claimed earlier to be well brought up and polite, yet seem to find it hard to address people, with thoughtful consideration, even after being helped out with that.

      When you insult and degrade yourself, you can at least have the moral right to dole it out to others.

      As for fatness or any other state being detremental to health. I have repeatedly explained that healthist dogma such as, is this or that person, intrinsically ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’ belongs to those who share this view, I and others, don’t. Try to understand that not everyone agree’s with your terms let alone your ideas. It is you that wants an echo chamber from those who’ve told you they disagree with you.

      As for doctors, I think you’ll find that when you visit one, it is called a consultation – not a dictation-this means that it is mutual. You are an equal and responsible partner, you are not a supplicant facing your master.

      And, whatever procedure they wish to perform on you, regardless, or drug or treatment they wish to prescribe for you, you actually have to consent. That requires you to think and consider, not just to take their word as law as I’m sure you’ve noted already. So why would it be different for anyone other than you?

      The medical profession are as accountable for their words and actions as the rest of us, if they call people something designed to insult and break their will, they should be treated the same way as anyone behaving badly, they are human the same as the rest of us.

  42. Nikki says:

    It was just so applicable! Because the thing is, you and everyone else expressing their “concern” think it’s unique, but it’s actually so NOT unique, and so ingrained in our society that being REALLY FAT must be REALLY UNHEALTHY, that kate included it in a frequently asked question post.

  43. GeorgiaMist says:

    I do not ACCEPT being FAT. I am FAT. I am OBESE (having been morbidly obese).
    Fluffy, chubby, tubby… fat.bese, overweight… call it what you will.
    It’s unhealthy. It’s uncomfortable. It’s often debilitating.
    I don’t want to ACCEPT it — I want to change it. I AM changing it.
    Don’t tell me to accept something that makes me sick and unhappy. If YOU choose to accept it, fine. Your choice.

    • vitty10 says:

      Nobody told you to accept anything. You are an adult (I assume) and you can choose whatever you want for yourself.

      • GeorgiaMist says:

        Ah, but that is exactly what YOU are doing. You’re demanding “fat acceptance” of others. That’s why you’re posting here.
        If you choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle by accepting your obesity and doing nothing to change, so be it.
        That’s your decision.
        I wil not ACCEPT that for myself. Obesity is unhealthy. It’s that simple.

        • Synna says:

          For you,

          Obesity is unhealthy FOR YOU.

          Fat acceptance does not mean no one can ever exercise and diet. That’s a common strawman set up to discredit the philosophy.

          Fat acceptance says that people should be comfortable in the skin they are in and treated with respect. That our moral worth as human beings is not decided by our weight.

          No where does FA say that YOU personally have to never engage in behaviours that will increase your health. If you have consulted a reliable doctor/health professional and your weight is contributing certain health issues and you want to lose weight go for it.

          • GeorgiaMist says:

            Obesity is unhealthy for everyone. That’s a medical fact. Ignoring that fact doesn’t change it.
            You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to make up your own facts.
            Of course treating people with respect is tantamount — regarless of weight, sex, religion… whatever.
            But respecting someone doesn’t change the fact that many people are harming themselves with eating, and / or drinking excessively.
            Apparently, FA wants to associate “moral worth” as you call it with acceptance of obesity.
            Well, worth has NOTHING to do with one’s weight. Worth has EVERYTHING to do with character.
            Don’t try to obfuscate the real issue of obesity with approval.
            And stopp belittling others because they choose to change their lifestyles in order to be healthy and live longer, stronger lives.
            It’s your usage of the word “ACCEPTANCE” that I find problematic.
            Acceptance implies defeat and resignation. I do not “accept” either. I’m saddened that you do.

          • Nikki says:

            Gina commented on my post upthread about the 340 lb. sumo wrestler, how he was an athlete and so it was possible for HIM to be obese and healthy, but not the average person.

            Now we have Georgia Mist telling us that NO ONE is healthy and obese. Um, sorry, you’re wrong.

            I think it’s silly that people are posting stats that show obese people can be healthy, posting photos of obese people who are healthy, and yet everyone is so brainwashed by THE OBESITY EPEDEMIC that they refuse to consider they might be wrong.

            Btw Lissa, I was reading your post about kids and candy this morning and immediately stopped reading when I saw “THE OBESITY EPEDEMIC” in all italics… I won’t even post a comment there to tell you, but I found that extremely offensive.

            For cripes sake, how can anyone possibly think this is a constructive place for anyone who believes in FA???

          • Gina says:

            Nikki – I didn’t say the 340 lb. sumo wrestler was an athlete and so it was possible for HIM to be obese and healthy, I said I’m reserving judgement on his health.

            how can anyone possibly think this is a constructive place for anyone who believes in FA?

            I thought it was a blog for discussing body image, self-esteem, and other health-related topics, not an FA blog. There are plenty of those around if you’d like to join one.

          • Nikki says:

            From the mission statement, “Fatties, skinnies, and disordered eaters who want every girl to feel beautiful and strong.” Should we change it to “every girl except those who weigh more than 20 lbs, because then you’re not healthy”?

            Also, in the following post it is stated that this space is inclusive of FA:

            http://watrd.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/1397/

          • Nikki says:

            correction, “every girl except those who are more than 20 lbs. overweight” per your comment above.

          • GeorgiaMist says:

            Sumo Wrestlers are not always healthy. Their average life-span is 60 in a country where men generally live into their 80s.
            Good article here:
            http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/spotlight/2001-08-08-sumo-retirees.htm

            But I get your point. You’re obese. You like being obese. You want others to lay off and leave you alone to your own devices.

            So be it.

            I don’t want to die of heart disease / HBP / stroke etc.

            I WAS morbidly obese — and nothing will make me want to return to that level of heartache ever again.

            I prefer to live.

          • Meems says:

            Obesity is unhealthy for everyone.

            Wrong. Please read this: http://bit.ly/11yU1k and look at the sites and studies she links to.

            Apparently, FA wants to associate “moral worth” as you call it with acceptance of obesity.

            Erm, no. Actually most FA advocates want to remove any moral judgment associated with size.

            Acceptance implies defeat and resignation. I do not “accept” either. I’m saddened that you do.

            No. Acceptance implies that I refuse to injure my body to look a certain way. It implies that I refuse to hate, belittle, or denigrate myself simply because I do not see a certain number on the scale. It implies that I understand that 95% of dieters (and yes, this includes people who have made “lifestyle changes”) will gain weight back within 5 years.

            I live a good life. I have friends, I’m active and healthy (if you refuse to believe that, please have a little chat with my doctor). I date, travel, and don’t spend my life feeling guilty if sometimes I choose to eat dessert or have some fried food. I try to eat well, sure, but that doesn’t mean I can or will live my life eating salads just so I can fit some arbitrary (and yes, it is fairly arbitrary) and narrow definition of health. So don’t feel sorry for me. Do something to make yourself happy and stop worrying about other people so much.

          • Gina says:

            Meems – I’m amused by the fact that you equate diet and exercise with “injuring your body” and “living your life eating salads”.

            Carry on.

          • Nikki says:

            “But I get your point. You’re obese. You like being obese. You want others to lay off and leave you alone to your own devices.

            So be it.”

            Hey Georgia Mist, super-kudos to you for your awesome assumptions, I’m actually 5’6 130 lbs. I just don’t think it’s right to judge other people and deny them rights based on their weight, when that actually isn’t the best indicator of their health anyway.

            I’ve never told you that you personally shouldn’t diet. In fact, I’ve said if you want to lose weight to be more comfortable you should go for it.

            I’m not out to get you. The diet and exercise industries and health insurance companies are out to get you, but you’ll find that out eventually, I’m sure.

          • Meems says:

            You misinterpret. I do exercise. Regularly. But if i wanted to lose weight, I would have to double or triple the amount of exercise I do now, and yes, that would probably cause damage to my body. In fact, I know it would, because I’ve done it before and was constantly run down and achey. Overexercising is not good for the human body and can lead to a form of anorexia.

            I eat normally, which means that my diet is generally healthy, but I don’t deny myself dessert if I really want it. That doesn’t mean I gorge myself on sugar and fat every day – or ever. If I wanted to lose weight, yes, I would have to eat pretty much nothing but salads.

            I never said that this is true for everyone, but I’m much healthier the way I am than I would be if I forced myself into a “normal” BMI category. You can’t take what’s true for your individual body and generalize it to all people, which is exactly what Georgia Mist did.

            By the way, not that it should matter, but looking at me, I doubt you’d think I was anywhere near obese. I’m not skinny, but I don’t look fat, either.

          • GeorgiaMist says:

            ROFL. I don’t “diet” — Diets do NOT work. Changing your lifestyle DOES work.
            I can eat ANYTHING that I want. I choose to make healthy decisision based on my wants and needs.
            I chose to give up soda, tea, and coffee. I chose to drink water instead. Oh yeah… I really miss those sugar-highs and caffeine headaches. Not.

            Injuring yourself by actually working out a bit harder? I walk two miles a day, use 1.5 lb. hand-weights, use resistance bands, and jump on a mini-tramp daily. It’s not difficult and it’s not harming my body at all.

            And it sure as heck isn’t going to lead me down the garden path to anorexia! That’s laughable!

            Any excuse not to try — that really seems to be KH’s mantra. How much money has she made on the backs of other people health issues?

            Look, if you want to be ‘accepted’ (whatever the heck you mean or want it to mean) for being obese / fat / overweight / porky / chunky / fluffy / Rubenesque … that’s great.
            But please stop railing against those who do not blindly ‘accept’ that way of thinking.

            You talk about ‘discrimination’ as is if it’s something unknown to the rest of us. I weigh 237 pounds. You think I haven’t heard whispered (or even shouted) comments about my weight? It was even worse when I weighed 298.
            I cared then but I don’t care now.
            What I DO care about is how *I* feel in my own skin.
            My body tells me that the time has come to remove this outer layer and start living close to the bone.
            If that offends you — oh, well.

            PEOPLE are beautiful regardless of the outer layer of skin that covers the skeleton — that’s where the real person lives — inside the heart, soul, and mind.

            Shedding weight doesn’t make one less worthy.

            If you don’t want to lose weight — more power to you. That’s your choice and you will live with it. Or die with it.

          • Synna says:

            no one has said you cant diet or improve your health. What we are saying is that what works for you isnt waht works for everyone. That is the meaning of acceptance.

    • lissa10279 says:

      Georgia Mist, congrats to you for taking matters into your own hands; I admire that so much. You have to read “Do More than Accept It” — a few comments up. INCREDIBLE piece that talks about “Acceptance” and how it can be detrimental.

  44. Tempe Wick says:

    “Yet, you seek to undermine in others, what you seek for yourself. You claimed earlier to be well brought up and polite, yet seem to find it hard to address people, with thoughtful consideration, even after being helped out with that. ”

    “When you insult and degrade yourself, you can at least have the moral right to dole it out to others.”

    Please stop with the histrionics. I have not insulted or degraded anyone. Your disagreeing with my opinion does not equal my insulting and degrading people.

    “As for fatness or any other state being detremental to health. I have repeatedly explained that healthist dogma such as, is this or that person, intrinsically ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’ belongs to those who share this view, I and others, don’t. Try to understand that not everyone agree’s with your terms let alone your ideas.”

    I understand that. What you seem not to understand is that this isn’t a “walled garden” as someone put it. (I forget who said that, but it’s appropriate). This is not an exclusively FA space. You are going to read things here which you disagree with or dislike. *I* read things here I disagree with or dislike. That’s the nature of life.

    You don’t agree with my terms or ideas, which is fine. But you seem to be suggesting what I say should be edited so as not to offend *you*. I would really like to think I’m misreading you and this isn’t so, but that’s how it comes across.

    You’re acting as though I’ve done something really outrageous, like calling your mother a whore or something. I’ve maintained reasonable basic standards-I haven’t been cursing, using ethnic slurs, calling anyone names, etc. Yet, your tone would suggest I had. Unless you dial it down a notch, I think we’re done here.

    “As for doctors, I think you’ll find that when you visit one, it is called a consultation – not a dictation-this means that it is mutual. You are an equal and responsible partner, you are not a supplicant facing your master.

    And, whatever procedure they wish to perform on you, regardless, or drug or treatment they wish to prescribe for you, you actually have to consent. That requires you to think and consider, not just to take their word as law as I’m sure you’ve noted already. So why would it be different for anyone other than you?”

    The medical profession are as accountable for their words and actions as the rest of us, if they call people something designed to insult and break their will, they should be treated the same way as anyone behaving badly, they are human the same as the rest of us.”

    Clearly you are in a lot of pain; I hope venting here has helped and you get the help you need.

    • wriggles says:

      I have not insulted or degraded anyone

      If you count those you consider as unacceptable to be ‘anyone’, I think you have.

      My views on what you have to say, are another issue, I do disagree with you and if I live in such a ‘walled garden’ why does the post lissa just linked to say that we in FA are pretty tough?

      GeorgiaMist also said we are making her do stuff, like wow, we’ve got fat superpowers!

      ….like calling your mother a whore or something.

      I’m not sure what you mean, is it like if I asked you if your daddy’s a pimp or something?

      Clearly you are in a lot of pain

      Oh absolute triste agonistes, thanks for noticing, you really do care.

      Incidentally, I still say the med prof are happy to insult us with their terms. They’ve been told to knock it off on numerous occasions, and they’ve listened too.

      • Tempe Wick says:

        Wriggles,

        You and I clearly live on two different planets. I hope you’re enjoying yours. Have a nice day.

      • GeorgiaMist says:

        I never said you at FA were making me do anything. Honey, y’all just don’t have any influence on me at all! LOL!

        • wriggles says:

          Honey, y’all just don’t have any influence on me at all! LOL!

          Exactly.

          The problem with POV such as yours and Tempe Wick’s is that the frame you present it in, only allows for your POV and no other. She says I’m on a different planet, because that’s how it feels when someone is outside your frame and has come to different conclusions.

          Like say, a fundamentalist Christian, who believes it is their god, who epitomises all good, or it’s everything they’re against, which is bad.

          It’s either/or, it doesn’t allow a full grasp of any other view.

          If someone said to that person, I’m a quaker, their mind puts that with bad, because that is not their exact belief; if someone says they’re agnostic again, their mind puts that with bad, solely because it is not exactly their beliefs. Everythng that is not their exact belief sounds like BAD. It’s a narrow ledge.

          I don’t see FA as defining itself as against you, that would not make any sense, it is something else in it’s own right.

          As fatness is widely regarded as a temporary state that must be fought, using calorie manipulation weight loss dieting, fast or slow.

          FA starts from the recognition that it is not a temporary state and takes it from there.

          It recognises what a lot of people already know -sometimes instinctively- that however bad things may be or seem, your credo just tends to add to whatever problems you may or may not already have. It’s just that now, fat people many of whom have spent a long time weight loss dieting etc, are also having to accept this, from their own experience.

  45. Tempe Wick says:

    “It was just so applicable! Because the thing is, you and everyone else expressing their “concern” think it’s unique, but it’s actually so NOT unique,

    Actually, I don’t believe that opinion is unique. I’m curious as to why you made that assumption.

    “and so ingrained in our society that being REALLY FAT must be REALLY UNHEALTHY, that kate included it in a frequently asked question post.”

    And gave a flippant answer, rather than actually addressing it. I believe being really fat/overweight (substitute whatever term you are comfortable with) is not healthy for the vast majority of people in the long run. You disagree. Neither of us is going to change our minds, so I’m not sure if we need to continue this.

    • Nikki says:

      I’m not kate harding’s biggest fan (although it must seem like that) but she can give a flippant answer because she is LIVING FUCKING PROOF that you can be obese and healthy. I mean, seriously. The photo of her doing crow pose. How can you not be in awe?

      I don’t understand how I can look at a photo of an obese woman doing an intense yoga pose and a photo of a 340 lb. man doing the splits, and say, “Wow, I weigh a lot less than they do, but they are so much more fit and healthy than I am” and yet everyone else absolutely insists it is not possible to be fit and healthy (and yes, people are insisting this! See Georgia Mist’s comment, “Obesity is unhealthy for everyone”).

      • GeorgiaMist says:

        Unless you are privy to the discussions between KH and her physicians, you do NOT know how healthy or unhealthy she may be.
        Flexibility has very little to do with the unseen killers of the obese: Diabetes, HBP, Congestive Heart Failure, Heart Disease…
        If Yoga is how you measure someone’s health, you really are in for a very rude awakening.

  46. Gina says:

    [Kate harding] is LIVING FUCKING PROOF that you can be obese and healthy. I mean, seriously. The photo of her doing crow pose. How can you not be in awe?

    Count me as one who’s not in awe.

    That photo of Kate, just like the photo of the sumo wrestler, proves only that an obese person can be flexible – not that they’re “healthy”. Kate is obese and a heavy smoker. She doesn’t sound too healthy to me.

  47. Nikki says:

    It takes muscles to hold your body up like that, as well as internal balance and mental control. The crow pose actually doesn’t require that much flexibility.

    What is your guideline for being healthy? Do I have to be able to run a mile? In that case, is every person in a wheelchair unhealthy? I feel like you’re being arbitrary about this.

    • Gina says:

      OK – Kate Harding is an obese smoker with good upper body strength, internal balance and mental control. I still don’t think she’s healthy – because she’s obese and a heavy smoker.

      Your second point about running/people in wheelchairs is so ridiculous, I’m not going to waste time answering it.

      • Nikki says:

        Why is it ridiculous? You said that you don’t consider the sumo wrestler healthy because you don’t know what his cardiovascular fitness level is. Well, how would a person demonstrate their cardiovascular fitness? Running? Walking? Bicycling? Those are all things that able-bodied people can do. So I’m curious, what’s your barometer for cardio-fitness?

        • Gina says:

          My barometer for cardio-fitness for able-bodied people* is being able to run, swim, hike uphill, cycle or perform another form of cardio for at least one hour while maintaining a heart-rate of 75% of max or above.

          * This is not to say that I consider “every person in a wheelchair unhealthy” as you would have it, simply that I don’t know anything about fitness tests for the disabled.

          • Nikki says:

            Wow, I think I fail your test. In fact, I’m sure I fail your test.

            And yet, I’m at a “normal” BMI, have low blood pressure, no heart disease, and I chase after 20 seven-year-olds all day as my full-time form of employment. And yet, I’m not healthy.

            *buries face in pillow and cries*

          • raven says:

            then it’s time for you to wake up and smell the coffe! (and donuts, of course… b/c i’m fat you see… so i must eat donuts all the time. /sarcasm)

            by your barometer, i am fit! i also have good cholesterol levels, and am not even pre-diabetic. and i’m fat. officially medically obese. also, i don’t smoke or drink.

            well i think that about covers it.

          • Lori says:

            Did you really mean to say that you consider every person who can’t run for an hour to be unhealthy? That’s a lot of people, and goes far beyond any medical standards of health. And who really knows what “percent of max” they are at when they are hiking? Sounds a little obsessive.

            If that’s your standard for yourself, so be it. But why do you feel you need to impose it on other people?

            I’ve said here once before, I thnk the question of whether fat is unhealthy or not beside the point. The point for me is striving to love ourselves, fat, thin, tall, short, or in-between THE WAY WE ARE, in the face of constant messages that we (all shaoes & sizes) are not good enough. Much of what I read in these comments seems to say, “Fat people mustn’t love themselves, because then they’ll never be skinny!”
            Self-loathing: now THAT is unhealthy.

          • Gina says:

            Did you really mean to say that you consider every person who can’t run for an hour to be unhealthy?

            Lori, if you re-read my post you’ll see I was talking about performing a form of cardio including running – not running exclusively – for at least an hour. I recognise that not everyone can run, that’s why I included different forms of cardio.

            That’s a lot of people, and goes far beyond any medical standards of health.

            That’s really only the minimum fitness level needed to participate in an advanced exercise class. It’s hardly news that many people aren’t fit.

            And who really knows what “percent of max” they are at when they are hiking? Sounds a little obsessive.

            If you wear a heart-rate monitor while performing various forms of cardio, you get a pretty good feel for your exertion level when you’re not wearing the monitor, for example, while hiking.

            If that’s your standard for yourself, so be it. But why do you feel you need to impose it on other people?

            I’m not imposing my standards on other people. Nikki asked me what my barometer for cardio-fitness was, and I gave an honest response. I fail to see why you have a problem with that.

          • Lori says:

            I don’t have a problem wih you setting standards for yourself. I have a problem with the suggestion that anyone who doesn’t meet your standards is unhealthy..

            Now, question, NOT accusation: Wjy would you wear a heart rate monitor while hiking? Honestly, I am not being snarky. I don’t understand what the purpose woould be.

          • Gina says:

            Lori, if you re-read my answer you’ll see I said:

            “If you wear a heart-rate monitor while performing various forms of cardio, you get a pretty good feel for your exertion level when you’re not wearing the monitor, for example, while hiking.”

            It’s called rate of perceived exertion and is pretty accurate.

    • GeorgiaMist says:

      My aunt smoked until the day she died, literally. Her physician, on her death bed, asked her to squeeze her hand. She squeezed so hard, she put the physician on her knees.
      She still died a few hours later from CHF due to smoking and morbid obesity. The fat layer that wrapped around her heart destroyed her heart muscle.
      Yet, she remained strong as an ox to the very end of life.
      She died at 55. Not a very long life.
      What good is being strong if your dead at 55? Please, I really do want an answer to that.

  48. Synna says:

    Yep derailing is alive and well.

  49. Lori says:

    Wow, this thread really got nasty while I was away. I’m just sayin’.

  50. lissa10279 says:

    This most certainly did get out of control … it certainly wasn’t the intent. The real issue at hand was my genuine concern with why the FA movement accepts the word “fat” — period. And somehow things got way off track. Please keep your comments respectful … this is an open forum and nothing good comes from cutting one another down.

    • Meems says:

      What’s bothering me here is that people can’t accept our own experience of our own lives. This isn’t really about whether or not I (or anyone defending the word “fat”) am actually fat myself. Nor is it about how healthy I am. If someone else chooses to start eating more nutritious foods and exercising regularly – good for him/her! If weight loss comes of that, great! But that doesn’t mean it will for everyone, and it doesn’t mean that I am somehow stupid, lazy, lacking in willpower, or resigned to being fat for the rest of my life just because I choose to make every effort to like myself the way I am. Going through life hating yourself is much more sad than going through life fat.

      • lissa10279 says:

        It’s not about accepting your experiences or not. We accept people’s experiences and can learn from them. Weight loss isn’t the point of this post–or this blog. I just don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to better yourself–in whatever capacity that might be (getting a degree, taking a course to fulfill a curiosity, traveling, or yes, even losing weight). I don’t think ANYONE here advocating “hating yourself.”

        • Gina says:

          On Lissa’s last point, it always puzzles me when FA advocates refer to dieting or wanting to lose weight in terms of self-hatred.

          • lissa10279 says:

            Amen, Gina–I don’t see why one has to be equated with the other. “Self-hatred” and “want to lose weight” don’t always belong in the same sentence, and this is coming from someone (me!) who admits to having disordered eating/body image issues I’m working on every day.

            I wasn’t BORN heavy; I got that way over the years. Then I took control of things and lost weight. I’ve gained some back, which frustrates me, but why is it a crime to want to be as healthy as we can be? That was something Roni blogged about here a while back … it shouldn’t be a crime to want to lose weight, so long as you’re doing it for yourself (and not trying to fit some intangible, media-fueled ideal).

          • Gina says:

            Precisely.

          • Meems says:

            It’s not a crime, but you keep equating healthy with thin and that’s not always true. I can’t speak for you, but being thinner does not automatically mean being healthier.

          • lissa10279 says:

            No, but again, no one can tell me that someone tipping the scales at 400 lbs could be in “good health,” I’m sorry … I think we just need to agree to disagree here.

            “Thin” and “healthy” are not mutually exclusive. There are lots of thin people who are not categorically “healthy” — but since “healthy” is such a subjective term, let’s just leave it at this: thinner doesn’t equal healthier, but I see no harm in tryingt to lose weight if it will make someone feel better inside and out.

          • Meems says:

            I never said that thin and healthy are mutually exclusive. Plenty of thin people are healthy, and plenty are not, just as you said. The same is true of fat people. It’s also frustrating when people pull out the “no one can be healthy at 400 lbs.” card. You’re talking about three percent of people who are considered medically obese. This is not really what the argument is about, since the vast majority of people who are considered obese have a BMI or 30-35.

            The thing is, while I would never suggest that trying to get healthier is a bad or unreasonable goal, sometimes weight loss is. This is the kind of thinking that leads to eating disorders in some people.

            In the end, since I usually like your posts, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

            As a side note, I really dislike the phrase “tipping the scales.” It just seems disrespectful to me.

          • GeorgiaMist says:

            Why must every phrase now have to pass the PC test for appropriateness?

            You embrace the term “FAT” but feel disrespected by “tipping the scales”?

            Odd.

          • Meems says:

            Lots of personal pet peeves ar odd. Fat is a descriptor. It only has baggage because of our cultural hatred of fat. “Tipping the scales” is a phrase that places a judgment on the weight in question. You don’t have to agree with me (given that we seem to agree in pretty much nothing) but all I expressed was a personal dislike of the phrase.

          • lissa10279 says:

            Points taken … I didn’t mean any harm with “tipping the scales”
            and will edit that out since it seemed offensive. It wasn’t my intent.

          • Meems says:

            I didn’t think you meant anything by it – it’s a pretty commonly used phrase. Just a pet peeve of mine. 🙂

          • Meems says:

            This is not exactly what I said. Maybe others have said it directly, but what I said is that disliking yourself because you are fat is not a healthy way to go through life. Weight loss doesn’t fix body image problems, nor is it always healthy or reasonable. I’m not saying no one should ever lose weight – what I am saying is that weight loss as an end goal is not necessarily a way to get healthier or “fix” yourself.

          • lissa10279 says:

            OK, on that, we agree. And weight loss as an end goal might NOT be a way to “fix oneself.” I’m living proof of that.

        • Meems says:

          Lissa, I do hear a lot of contempt for people’s former (fatter) selves from people talking about having lost weight. The way people talk about themselves before having lost weight makes me sad. Hate is probably too strong a word, but I do see some pretty clear disparagement of former fatter selves.

          I’m also really uncomfortable with your categorization of weight loss as a way of “bettering” oneself. Thinner is not automatically better.

          Regardless, if you want this to be a place where people feel that they can participate in discussion, accepting that my experiences are true for me should be encouraged and accepted.

          • lissa10279 says:

            Maybe so, but I can say that being thinner didn’t necessarily make me happy–it brought a whole host of problems/emotions I didn’t know how to deal with (hence, my recovery blog).

            I used losing weight as an example (one of several) of ways of “bettering” oneself. If someone is clinically obese and makes the decision to lose weight for her health, how could we NOT support her in her efforts?! Isn’t that being a good friend/supporter? Thinner might not be better … but for someone clinically obese, losing weight could mean the difference between seeing her children get married and have children… or not. I don’t mean to speak in black and white terms — it’s not that simple. But I still don’t see anything wrong with being supportive of someone who wants to lose weight.

            And yes, you are welcome, at any time, to voice your opinion. We just don’t agree, and that’s ok. Differing voices make the world go round, right?!

          • Meems says:

            We’re going to just keep going round in circles with this one, I think. For the record, though, I’m not anti-weight loss period – I just think that a ore universally attainable goal is getting healthier through exercising and eating a more nutritious diet without the expectation of weight loss.

          • lissa10279 says:

            And I don’t think anyone here would disagree with you on that assessment.

            I need to get to bed, but thank you for your comments. It does help to see/hear other sides. And maybe the middle ground is closer to our reach than we think.

  51. heidirose says:

    Incredible. I come back to “WATRD” for the first time since Kate Harding left (mainly out of curiosity to see if it’s improved at all) and you guys are seriously still this ignorant? Your question seems to indicate that you have absolutely no understanding of the practice of reclaiming vocabulary, which is frankly an extremely basic concept and one that you would have grasped easily had you conducted a bit of research on the topic. (Actually, it seems like common sense to me, but I’m leaving open the possibility that not everyone is familiar with the type of movements in which this is necessary.)

    Lissa, I appreciate your “genuine concern” for the FA movement. It’s also very nice of you to wish that Kate, and her readers, were still with you. But it’s also extremely condescending, and so is the fact that you think it’s appropriate to ask this kind of very easily-resolved question in a forum like this. These attitudes – blatant unacknowledged privilege and ignorance – are why Kate and her huge following left you, and why I won’t be back after leaving this comment.

    I suggest checking wikipedia from now on.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reclaimed_word

  52. Meems says:

    @Georgia Mist

    I’m so sorry – I totally missed the part where any of what I previously wrote was directed at your choices. I was talking about myself and my eating habits. I mentioned you only once and it was to say that your decisions in terms of how to eat and exercise apply only to your body and no one else’s.

    I don’t have to justify my eating habits to you or anyone else, however, I happen not to drink caffeine. Never have; it wrecks havoc on my skin so I don’t see the point. Yes, I eat dessert when I want it, and for me that’s not especially often. Some people have a sweet tooth; others don’t. I happen not to.

    Injuring yourself by actually working out a bit harder? I walk two miles a day, use 1.5 lb. hand-weights, use resistance bands, and jump on a mini-tramp daily. It’s not difficult and it’s not harming my body at all.

    This is not even remotely what I mean by the type of exercise that would cause bodily harm. That comment wasn’t directed at you or your habits. I easily walk two miles a day just getting where I need to go (often carrying a messenger bag full of books and my laptop) and on top of that run a few days and lift weights 2-3 days per week. This level of exercise is totally fine for my body.

    What I was saying is that IF I wanted to lose weight (and I have done this in the past), I would have to double or triple my exercise while also cutting back on calories. I would also have to stop lifting weights. Two to three hours of running, 6-7 days per week, especially on just 1400 calories is not healthy for me. I can’t tell you what is ok for you because I’m not you.

    And it sure as heck isn’t going to lead me down the garden path to anorexia! That’s laughable!

    Maybe it won’t for you, but it did for one of my very close friends. So please, if you’re going to laugh at someone, laugh at her, because seven years of therapy has only recently brought her back to a place where she has a healthy relationship with food and exercise.

    Like I said before: Your experiences only apply to you. You can’t assume that they are generally applicable and true for all other people. If you’re eating well, exercising reasonably, and losing weight, then great! But it doesn’t mean that doing the same will lead to the same results for anyone else.

    Shedding weight doesn’t make one less worthy.

    You’ve got me here – I can’t disagree with this statement.

    If you don’t want to lose weight — more power to you. That’s your choice and you will live with it. Or die with it.

    Passive aggressive much?

    Look, my response wasn’t a personal attack on you. You don’t have to agree with everything I say, but like I wrote farther down in a response to Lissa, I simply don’t see how weight loss in and of itself is the healthiest of goals, because what is making the difference in your health – the weight loss or the better diet + increased activity? There’s probably a huge overlap.

    The point of Fat Acceptance isn’t to encourage people to be healthy OR unhealthy. It’s simply to encourage us not to hate (or dislike, if you prefer) our bodies for looking a way that society tells is it shouldn’t. Tons of proponents of FA are also followers of Health at Every Size (HAES), which encourages exactly what I’ve been talking about: eating nutritious foods and finding an activity that you enjoy and keeps you active without doing any of it with the express purpose of weight loss. Again, it may happen for some people, but it would be an awful shame if someone “did everything right” and then stopped because they didn’t see a change in the scale, wouldn’t it?

    • Gina says:

      I would also have to stop lifting weights

      Why??? Increased muscle mass raises one’s metabolism, which is why strength training is part of a healthy weight loss regime.

      • raven says:

        i can’t speak for everyone, including meems since i don’t know her…

        but for some ppl i do know, it doesn’t work that way. the muscle builds and the metabolism doesn’t raise. or at least it doesn’t raise enough to cause weight loss. so you actually end up weighing more than if you didn’t lift weights. so perhaps that is why meems would have to stop lifting weights if weight loss was the desired result?

        • Gina says:

          Raven – the goal isn’t *weight* loss, but *fat* loss. If someone gains a few pounds of muscle, that’s a good thing.

          • raven says:

            actually, meems was specifically talking about weight loss… direct quote here:

            “What I was saying is that IF I wanted to lose weight (and I have done this in the past), I would have to double or triple my exercise while also cutting back on calories. I would also have to stop lifting weights.”

            if you are talking about fat loss specifically, that wasn’t specified that i could tell.

      • Meems says:

        Gina, Raven has already answered your question. There is actually a pretty significant difference between a goal of weight loss and fat loss. The reason I’d have to stop lifting weights to lose weight is that, despite being considered overweight/obese (I’m right on the border), I have a fairly low body fat percentage and fat loss isn’t necessarily a good thing for me.

        • julia says:

          If your muscle mass is what’s making you “overweight/obese” (by the BMI chart only), and not a high bodyfat percentage, then I’m not quite sure what your point is. What you’re saying is that you’d have to lose muscle tissue in order to lose “weight” – to me, that means you shouldn’t try to lose weight – be it fat or any other sort of tissue. You aren’t facing the same situation as someone who wants to lose fat, and has made a personal determination that they have more fat than is conducive to their own good health.

          And frankly, your idea that to lose weight you’d have to run for 2-3 hours 6-7 times per week on 1400 calories is what makes my head explode when people in the FA community talk about dieting. Why are the only examples given of dieting these sorts of completely non-sustainable, unhealthy crash diets that would be guaranteed to have negative long-term effects?

          • Gina says:

            Thanks for asking that question, Julia. If Meems has the physique of a bodybuilder or athlete, I don’t understand why she’s talking about losing weight.

            And frankly, your idea that to lose weight you’d have to run for 2-3 hours 6-7 times per week on 1400 calories is what makes my head explode when people in the FA community talk about dieting. Why are the only examples given of dieting these sorts of completely non-sustainable, unhealthy crash diets that would be guaranteed to have negative long-term effects?

            Because FA wants to “prove” that “dieting doesn’t work”?

          • vitty10 says:

            No. Because, like a lot of fat people, I already don’t eat excessively, and I already exercise moderately. Therefore, if I wanted to lose weight I would have to eat less, which could possibly put me into the 1400 calorie category. And an increase in exercise could possibly mean that I would have to work out 2-3 hours a day, on top of my extremely physical job and the fact that I have to walk everywhere because I don’t drive.

            That is just me though, I don’t expect that everybody’s body works the same as mine does.

          • Gina says:

            I’m sorry vitty, I just can’t believe your claim. Unless you have an unusual (and extreme) underlying medical condition, you must be eating way more than you say you do, be living on processed carbs, or get way less exercise than you claim you do. Something doesn’t add up here.

          • vitty10 says:

            I give up.

          • mamaV says:

            Hang on vitty10 — don’t give up. I believe you, and you don’t need to defend yourself because you know who you are.

            Gina has the right to her opinion and she is reflective of the beliefs of the vast majority of the population. So, here is the question — what can any of us say to convince someone like Gina that not all fat individuals are consuming too much food? How can we convince people that bodies are different sizes and that is it, end of story, stop asking questions? We can’t say its a lost cause because then what the heck are we doing here??

            Hang in there, we support you so don’t focus on one persons point of view (easy to say hard to do) 🙂
            mV

          • Hil says:

            Dude. You don’t know her. You are not her doctor. Back off.

          • mamaV says:

            Hi Gina: Please read my response to vitty10 above.

            I can’t say I totally understand where you are coming from…but I sort of do. We all know fat people who claim not to over eat, yet they do (not refering to vitty10, just making a general statement). But those individuals are obviously hiding their overeating because they are ashamed, perhaps eating for emotional reasons, etc. Visualizing this makes me sad, so I tend to not judge it — do you get where I am coming from?

            Here’s my question for you — let’s put aside those with weight issues due to medical conditions. Do you believe that all fat people overeat and do not exercise? do you believe everyone could be the appropriate weight according to BMI if they stopped overeating and increased exercise?

            If you say yes, I think your opinion does reflect what the vast majority of the population thinks and I think it is important for the community here to boil this topic down to this level in order to face it. The truth is no one can say you are right, and no one can say you are wrong — there are statistics “proving” both sides of the arguement, and I think people read what they want to read into statistics.

            Thanks!
            HB

          • Gina says:

            Since MamaV asked me for my opinion, here it is…

            Putting aside those with weight issues due to medical conditions, yes, I believe that all fat people overeat and do not exercise. And yes, I believe everyone could be the appropriate weight defined by BMI or body fat percentage if they stopped overeating and increased exercise.

            And by “stopping overeating and increasing exercise” I mean eating and working out in a sensible and sustainable way, not Meems’ “straw diet” (Iove that term – thanks Julia!) of doing intense aerobic activity for 2-3 hours a day on a starvation level of calories.

          • Meems says:

            Julia, it’s not “an idea.” It’s my experience and you’re going to have to just accept that I know my body. I’m not talking about anyone but myself and it’s really irritating that you seem to think I believe that all people must eat/exercise like this in order to lose weight.

            I’m not trying to lose weight. My point is that there are plenty of people who are medically obese but are in my situation. I’m not a bodybuilder, but have a somewhat muscular build naturally. I’m really not all that unusual.

            And Gina, I’m talking about weight loss because many people in this thread are, too, without differentiating between losing weight overall and losing fat. I’m not totally convinced that anyone has to be within a specific body fat percentage range in order to be healthy, but there is still a difference between losing weight and losing fat.

          • julia says:

            Meems,

            Almost *anyone* would lose weight if they did aerobic activity for 2-3 hours a day and only ate 1400 calories. That’s because they’d be starving their body.

            Unless you are about 2 feet tall, there’s no way you’d be providing your body with enough nutrients to support that kind of activity level.

            So, sure, you’d initially lose weight, but then you’d quickly run out of energy, send your metabolism into a tailspin and probably start hallucinating about food.

            I don’t have to be your doctor to know that if you tried to lose weight in that way it would be unhealthy.

            You could also “lose weight” by amputating a leg – which would be equally unnecessary and ridiculous as a weight loss tool.

            So, I’m sorry if my having a problem with your “straw diet” irritates you – but it didn’t really sound very different to me than the multiple comments I’ve seen on FA blogs that say “I’d have to eat nothing but salad all day to lose weight” or “I’d have to starve and torture myself to lose weight.”

            I fully support any individual’s right to treat their own body however they see fit and their right to be treated by society as a whole with dignity and respect no matter what their size, race, sex, or hair color; but those sorts of comments irritate me, because they are designed to bolster the “diets don’t work” meme, and my personal experience is that weight loss diets can and do work, and don’t have to be physically or mentally torturous ordeals.

            The problem that I see over and over again is that people take the idea that “if x is good, then more of x is better” and they try to apply it to weight loss, where it just doesn’t work that way – exercise too much and eat too little and you won’t lose weight in a sustainable way, plus, you set yourself up for a harder time down the road – and then they say “diets don’t work” rather than “gee, maybe I went about that the wrong way.”

            Again, I couldn’t give less of a hoot what anyone else who isn’t me wants to do with their own body, and I made the exact same mistake I describe above for years, and saw lots of others make it, too. My point is simply that there is more than one way to go about weight loss and some of them aren’t so bad.

            If your point is really that there are those who are medically obese because they’re athletic and the BMI chart doesn’t take muscle mass into account, and it’s not really desirable for them to lose weight, then I agree with you completely. BMI is a crap measuring tool in many many ways.

          • Meems says:

            My point is simply that there is more than one way to go about weight loss and some of them aren’t so bad.

            And my point is that those “not so bad” methods of weight loss don’t result in losing weight for all people – even those who are medically obese, and even those who may have a higher body fat percentage. BMI is a crap measuring tool in pretty much all ways I can think of (especially given that it wasn’t ever intended to measure an individual’s health or fitness level), but even other methods of quantifying weight/fatness/health, etc, don’t take into account that body size is on a bell curve, and some people are just going to be bigger no matter what.

            I don’t think we are really in disagreement on this one – It’s just frustrating for me to hear over and over (though not necessarily from you) that obesity is always unhealthy.

          • julia says:

            I’m definitely in agreement with you also that obesity is not always unhealthy. I’m currently an extremely healthy “overweight” (according to the BMI) person, and have been a very healthy “obese” person – and in my younger years I was an extremely UNhealthy “normal weight” person.

            I should also have been more explicit that I’m very much *not* trying to say “everybody can lose weight if they just try hard enough” as that is another message that irritates me. Weight loss is not always appropriate or desireable, as in your case, and everybody’s body chemistry and personal situation is different, absolutely.

            I just feel that sometimes people want this to be an either/or kind of discussion – either fat acceptance or weight loss, either 100% healthy or 0% healthy – I’d kind of like to see more nuanced discussions on these topics. It feels a little too “us vs. them” sometimes, you know?

            We’re all us, in my book.

          • Meems says:

            Totally fair. Like I’ve said in other parts of this discussion, I think that health is the best goal. Weight loss may come from adopting healthier habits, but it also may not, and when weight loss is the only goal it is too easy for people to slip into disordered behavour…which, of course, has a negative impact on health.

          • Meems says:

            *behavior

          • Gina says:

            When weight loss is the only goal it is too easy for people to slip into disordered behaviour…which, of course, has a negative impact on health

            I agree with this 100%. That’s the kind of thinking which leads people to extreme dieting measures.

          • Gina says:

            Julia – I have referenced your argument in another comment above, but just wanted too say I love your “straw diet” argument, which we see again and again in FA blogs. When I and other people say that diets do work, we’re talking about sensible and sustainable diet and exercise regimes not running 2-3 hours a day on subsistence calories.

  53. Synna says:

    Just wanted to point out (again) that this thread is an excellent example of how to *NOT* do body positive discussion, and how to totes make a blog hostile to those it seeks to include.

    • wriggles says:

      how to *NOT* do body positive discussion

      As they say, WORD!

      How can you have a body positive discussion when some bodies have to be a recepticle for everything that is supposed to be loathsome about the human condition?

      • Nikki says:

        You mean it’s not positive for Georgia Mist to tell me I’m obese even though I weigh 130 lbs? Or for Lissa to say I don’t really need to lose weight, but if I want to “better” myself by losing weight, maybe that’s not such a bad idea?

        I’m just going to take Gina’s advice and not come back until I can run for an hour without stopping. Have fun ladies!

    • Tempe Wick says:

      “and how to totes make a blog hostile to those it seeks to include.”

      What do you mean?

      • Synna says:

        Tempe –

        Here’s the problem with being “fat and healthy.” The damage that excess weight does often only becomes apparent years later.

        Julia –

        And frankly, your idea that to lose weight you’d have to run for 2-3 hours 6-7 times per week on 1400 calories is what makes my head explode

        And many others that I’m not going to cut and paste.

        These are the comments I reference

  54. mamaV says:

    Hi All: I am reposting my response to Lori from up above so you all can comment;

    LORI’s ORIGINAL COMMENT:
    Does it matter for our collective purposes, if fat is unhealthy or not? This is a body image blog. I’d like to think that means support for positive body images. Not “support for positive body images, unless you are fat. ” That certainly isn’t where this discussion started, but I fear it is rolling that way.
    I don’t think hating your body is at all effective in making people thinner. I can’t actually think of anything that makes people thinner in the long run. Dieting, statistically speaking, tends to make you gain more when you gain it back — and, again statistically, nearly everyone gains it back.
    Loving the body that you have seems like a good thing for every body. For fat people, this means accepting their fat. Hence, Fat Acceptance.

    ___
    MAMAV RESPONSE:

    Hi Lori, Vitty10, Nikki, and Gina: Thank you for bringing this topic up because in all honesty we are going through a “real-time” evolution here. I will be formally updating our mission statement to reflect this, but I wanted to discuss it here for feedback;

    We have listened to many FA community members since the launch of this site, and thanks to their persistence and patience, we have learned a great deal. The result of that is I would say we are supportive of HAES, and 100% against fat discrimination — but are where do we stand on the Fat Acceptance Movement itself? This is evolving as we speak — but we are skating towards disagreement in methodology.

    For example, I can tell you as the founder of this blog I do not agree with the tactics used by some FA supporters, I think they are shooting themselves in the foot and I have expressed this opinion in an effort to help (ie. pointing out thin privilege is a negative strike on their cause, not because it isn’t true- of course it is, it is blatant in this country — but because the “average” American citizen can in no way shape or form relate to the concerns and emotions of FA (in fact they think its nuts — I say this because as I ask individuals I encounter about it — I get wild eyed looks of “are you serious?!”).

    Here’s the point – If FA wants to truly make changes in this country, they need to lay off “placing the blame” on the non-fat population. Instead hone in on the unfairness in their lives, in the lives of their children, in order to grab the hearts of people and help them “get it”).

    The sad part is, Kate Harding is the leader of FA, but it is my opinion that her supporters do not reflect her cause (at least many have not done so here). She is sharp, articulate yet kind and reasonable. She needs to send the message to her blog community that SP is a place to vent, raise hell, feel safe, feel good about oneself — but when they are out in the real world, they need to put their game face on in a strategic effort to have their voices heard.

    The other major FA area we are “waffling” on is being able to state that we accept fat for ourselves…sure, its fine for you, and others, but for me?? Hell no. You have all called this out in some of Lissa’s posts, and I have admitted it myself when I addressed the 200 Pound Oprah situation (ie While I was saying Oprah needs to just love herself, she looks great, what is her problem out of one side of my mouth — the other side was realizing that I was a hypocrite. I was judging Oprah on not accepting her body, while I could not honestly say I could accept this for myself).

    And there in lies the problem – a very major one I’d say. This is why all of you need to keep driving home your message here. You are influencing thoughts, feelings and opinions, you are making people stop and think.

    I believe the first step toward change is admitting all these feelings, duke-ing is out with all of you, and seeing where we land.

    Please let me know your thoughts, I am sure you will have many. The reality is that you are as important in our mission statement as we are… we all care so much about these body image topics but sometimes they are so complicated emotionally that its hard to see how and where change will come from — but we simply must try.
    THANKS for caring,
    mV

    • Hil says:

      Thank you for your response, MamaV. I see a shift in your attitude toward this controversy, and I really appreciate that.

      I see a huge difference between making a personal choice to lose weight and *talking* about that choice in a body image forum. I, for example, am currently sustaining a modest intentional weight loss, but I don’t feel that talking about how I feel so much better in my size X jeans is appropriate in a body image site. I’m not asking bloggers to hide that they’ve lost weight if that’s part of their experience, but I would ask people to think about (1) whether its relevant to the discussion at hand and (2) whether it implies any kind of judgment of other people. I think a number of recent posts have brought up weight loss and obesity prevention where it had no relevance to a discussion of body image.

      I think a LOT of people are feeling judged here right now…FA people feel pretty insulted by some of the language in posts and comments. Dieters, on the other hand, feel as though FA supporters are implying that they, by virtue of their attempted weight loss, must be doing something unhealthy to their bodies. I know you try to maintain a liberal comments policy, but I think it might help matters significantly if we had a rule against making either blanket or targeted judgments about other people’s health. I’m all for letting people speak to their own reality, but judging other people isn’t cool.

      • mamaV says:

        Hi Hil:

        I think a LOT of people are feeling judged here right now…FA people feel pretty insulted by some of the language in posts and comments. Dieters, on the other hand, feel as though FA supporters are implying that they, by virtue of their attempted weight loss, must be doing something unhealthy to their bodies.

        This is key. We must go through this uncomfortable process in order to come out the other side with an organized plan for change. It’s going to hurt, and I don’t think we should try to push that away.

        Not to get too zen on you — but this is a core belief of mindfulness — just let the feelings be what they are, by trying to push them away they grow stronger. If we deal with them, we learn from them (crap, I have been doing this since we launched this darn blog because it has been ugly!!) 🙂

        At times I wonder why the hell am I doing this, but then I remember all the pain expressed here and I know it matters. We need a forum such as this, we need to care enough to fight through this to find unity)

        As you said, judging other people is not cool. If anyone feels a comment is totally out of line, email realdealgirls@gmail.com and we’ll take a look (I seriously hate to think of anyone suffering over a mean spirited comment –trust me I have been there!).

        But realistically, isn’t it impossible to have this discussion without judging?

        I am in an odd, but interesting position on this — I am neither fat or a dieter. I am thin, so I am viewing from the thin privilege perspective, but inside I don’t feel angry, or judged –you know what I feel — sad for a moment, but then it turns to excitement. Excitement because we must get down to these core differences in order to create change.

        Commenters such as “Gina” (sorry to pick on you Gina) who seems to wholeheartedly believe that if you are fat, you overeat and don’t exercise. Period. Guys, she represents the vast majority of the world.

        So what do we do with that? Keep kicking her teeth in? Keep pushing to try and change her view point?

        NO! We build a community made up of those who believe — I should say KNOW differently. Those who know it is not that simple, and that obesity is not the “fault” of the individual. So we just keep doing that, let the naysayers come and go, but the core people that really, really care will be here and start making a difference one person at a time.

        Ok, off my soapbox.
        mV

    • Meems says:

      Here’s the point – If FA wants to truly make changes in this country, they need to lay off “placing the blame” on the non-fat population. Instead hone in on the unfairness in their lives, in the lives of their children, in order to grab the hearts of people and help them “get it”).

      I honestly don’t see blaming going on – at least not here. I do think that there is often a knee jerk reaction when we feel attacked or as though people make presumptions about us and our lives. If I sound defensive thats why…and that’s why I keep reiterating that no one persons experiences (mine included) can be generally applied to any other individual or population.

      But I appreciate what you’ve written here – especially the acknowledgment that many of us still struggle with accepting “imperfect” bodies in a culture in which thin = healthy and thin > fat.

    • Synna says:

      1, Kate Harding is one woman, not the leader of fat acceptance. She happens to have a well read blog and published a book (or more). No votes have been taken to declare her leader. She does not and never has claimed to speak for all. (And saying she does is intellectually lazy)

      2, Where the hell have fat people ‘placed the blame’ on non fat people? MamaV you seem to like setting up false dichotomies so you can come in an play peacemaker. Its been a tactic of yours in other threads, and I feel for this place to grow you need to stop using this as a tactic.

      3, Would you (MamaV) also say that other unprivileged groups aren’t allowed to talk about and deconstruct privilege? Because that seems to be what you are asking fat people to do here.

      4, I link this again because it’s an invaluable breakdown of how *not* to do progressive, inclusive discussions and says everything I would raise as further points. Right now I don’t have the time or energy to continue fighting to have my experience count as valid on a *freaking supposed positive body image blog*

      http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

      • mamaV says:

        Dearest Synna: I am no peacemaker and I am sure the other regulars around here LOL at the thought of it.

        The day that you decide to lead a collective blog such as this, is the day you can tell me how to do it. This is no easy task and what we are doing here is different than any other forum on the web — a fact I am quite proud of.

        BTW — I hit “delete” on your other mean spirited comment that included not one, but four links such as the one above because it only serves to…hmmm, how shall I say? Derail the conversation.

        Move along now,
        mV

        • Synna says:

          You asked for our thoughts. Those are mine. The link you deleted was VERY relevant to the post and is in fact the very link that you so graciously allowed through above.

          It just seems to me that you can’t accept valid criticism. You did not address my points and fall back on ‘if you dont run a blog you can’t criticise me’ argument. Again, its intellectually lazy to do so.

  55. Hil says:

    “What can any of us say to convince someone like Gina that not all fat individuals are consuming too much food? How can we convince people that bodies are different sizes and that is it, end of story, stop asking questions? ”

    One thing I would note is that most people accept that there are some people who are naturally extremely thin. My sister is one of them–her natural weight has always been in the “underweight” category. Generally speaking, people are quick to judge her based on her size, but when they learn that she eats normally, has always been thin, and takes after an extremely thin parent, they’re pretty quick to accept that her size is normal for her. If there are some people who are naturally thinner and smaller than most, then it stands to reason that there are also people who are heavier than most….that’s how bell curves work.

  56. tom brokaw says:

    Here’s all I need to say to you FA shills who repeat ad nauseam this idea that fat or thin, you can be healthy and the evidence lies in some outliers in both groups.

    The outliers are imaginary.

    Some women have given birth and some have not. No man has ever given birth. The fact that some women have never given birth doesn’t prove that sex doesn’t have anything to do with the ability to give birth.

    Some thin people are healthy. Some are not. No obese person is healthy. The fact that some thin people are unhealthy doesn’t prove that obese people can be healthy.

    The logic of FA is laughable.

    And please, don’t trot out the tortured and incorrect “but NFL linemen are obese and healthy!”

    No they are not. You obviously don’t follow much football. Do your research because people in football have been talking about the health effects of heavier and heavier linemen for years now.

  57. wriggles says:

    Mama V,

    I think Lori makes an excellent point.

    If this is a body positive blog, then it has to include all bodies, or it fails it’s remit.

    I have to say, I’ve never seen it from the point of view of thin privilege myself, with respect to those who do and I can understand it, I just think it misleads and doesn’t contain the complexity of fat or thin experience.

    I think we all understand and know that the state of thinness/slimness, is privileged.

    However I see it from the view of internalised fat hatred. What people can’t seem to understand, is that if you set out to stigmatize a group, you affect society as a whole, there is an overspill, and that overspill is what has brought you to feel there is a need to have a body positive blog.

    I’ve seen from a young age the potency of fat hatred is such that it cannot be contained within fat people, so when you see for instance the body hatred and eating disorders of plump, slim and thin alike, you are seeing the effects of the same thing people -of all weights, as people like Nikki show-in FA are rejecting.

    That’s why I’ve never seen FA as a movement solely for fat people, it’s more, from fat people to everyone because we and our bodies have been at the sharp end of it.

    The reason why the word fat is so important, is because the shame invested in it is oppressing us all, that’s why we are trying to be more positive about our bodies, which after all are and contain ourselves.

    I appreciate the efforts of everyone, even those who’ve disagreed, what has to be appreciated though is that far from us having a safe space mentality, it’s the frame used for the obesity crisis rhetoric and it’s weight loss through dieting that can only support itself, as I already explained. Fundamentalism can only validate itself, because of it’s weakness; it’s weakness is in it’s exclusivity.

    Tempe Wick used a great term, ‘walled garden’ to describe FA, but it’s the other way around, the walled garden is the mainstream view of fat=unhealthy/bad.

    As we’ve seen on this thread, you cannot win in a frame designed specifically to allow only for the extremism of the obesity canard.

    It is not easy for any of us, most of us have been where you are. We know the distance we’ve travelled, and yet it frustrating at times, because that gulf is one of conditioning, not innate to any real distance, which is actually, smaller than it seems.

    FA itself is still evolving, it’s a grassroots movement not handed down from on high.

    Without body acceptance for all, body positivity has to be compromised, because the energy invested in hatred will always overcome that, if it didn’t, only fat people would hate their bodies.

    • mamaV says:

      Hi wriggles: You made a key point:

      That’s why I’ve never seen FA as a movement solely for fat people, it’s more, from fat people to everyone because we and our bodies have been at the sharp end of it.

      Why do you say that “FA is FROM fat people to everyone?”

      Does this mean that thin individuals can not or will not be considered “real” activists?

      I am not asking you this in a judgmental, angry way — I am asking it in a compassionate, realistic way –can fat people ever truly, honestly, let thin people be an EQUAL part of the moment, perhaps even be leaders of the movement? Or is this just pie in the sky thinking that is never going to happen because, as you say, fat hatred is ingrained through society?

      I ask this because this is another core reality we need to face. We need to build trust. On both sides. Trust that the thin group really, really are on your side and trust that the fat people really, really welcome those who are not fat into their group and that they understand they NEED thin people to win this war.

      I see this odd dichotomy — Fat people want thin people to not to have fat hatred. Individuals on this blog, myself for example, are saying “I don’t and I feel your pain (on the level I am capable of as a thin person) I say “how can I help you!? Tell me what to do?”

      What do I hear back? “You don’t get it. You’ll never get it. Do your research.Someday you’ll reach this pinnacle we have all come to and you’ll understand”

      Not a great way to build a movement,
      mV

      • wriggles says:

        I say “how can I help you!? Tell me what to do?”

        Allow yourself to be inspired, allow yourself to make connections by asking what this means to me?

        Take the subject of this thread, the meaning of the word ‘fat’, instead of thinking that you have to resist seeing it as merely descriptive, ask yourself, what would it mean for me if fat was just a word?

        It could mean that every person who’s tried to degrade or control me by using it’s negative associations against me, can no longer do so, because my feelings on the word have changed and will not allow it.

        You might be inspired to extend the underlying principle to other terms and ways of thinking used to dimish and dismantle your self esteem.

        This makes you part of the process, on your own terms.

  58. tom brokaw says:

    Here’s another thing I need to say. Diets WORK. They worked on me. They work on biggest loser. Creating a calorie deficit forces your body to draw energy from itself and that comes in the form of 75% fat, 25% everything else.

    They WORK.

    People who claim that diets don’t work always, ALWAYS reference behavior that looks NOTHING like a diet. They talk about binging, they talk about overeating or going back to a diet for a fat body, a body with much greater caloric needs.

    lol, that’s not the diet’s fault. The diet is a tool. Used properly it achieves a goal. You stop using the tool and something else happens. Explain to me how that is the fault of the tool. Would that not be YOUR fault?

    If I drove to LA and then walked back home right away, it would be absolutely ridiculous to claim that the car didn’t do its job.

    • Meems says:

      For the sake of being on the same page, how exactly do you define a “diet”?

      I don’t doubt that dieting worked for you – it does work for some people – but you can’t generalize your experience to all people because you aren’t all people. Have you noticed that the majority of people who were on The Biggest Loser have gained weight back? Sure they lost weight, but the insane amounts of exercise they do on the ranch aren’t maintainable in the real world, even if the diet is (and I honestly don’t really know how they eat).

      BTW, creating a calorie deficit is not as simple as you imply, since calories aren’t as well understood as we’d like to think and human metabolisms are very changeable. (This is all in Linda Bacon’s Health at Every Size.)

      • tom brokaw says:

        A diet is whatever caused you to lose weight. Whatever created a deficit.

        The thing you went on when you gained weight (eat more, create a surplus) is not a diet.

        Don’t blame diets for your own failure to accept that keeping weight off involves a permanent change in lifestyle.

        Externalizing blame to the diet allows people to hide. It lets them run from personal responsibility.

        I call bull on that. If you gained weight back. You failed. You chose to gain weight back. Period, end of story. Energy doesn’t spontaneously erupt in your body. It doesn’t get passively absorbed. You had to consciously ingest it.

        I’m convinced that if more people accepted this responsibility, more people would be thinner and yes, healthier. If you accept responsibility but still want to be fat – well then, whatever. That’s your choice as an adult.

        • Meems says:

          I love that you choose to call me (personally) a failure at dieting when I’ve specifically said that I’m not even trying to lose weight. I’m perfectly healthy the way I am. Judgmental much?

          Given your previous trolling, it’s pretty clear that you’ve decided you’re right and aren’t open to any information that contradicts your beliefs. I’m not going to waste my time.

          • wriggles says:

            Not just you Meems, the millions of people, worldwide who’ve not become and remained thinner. That includes every weight group, slim people are not getting slimmer either.

            Yet Tom believes only he and the choosen few are the only ones capable of the ‘responsibility’ to figure it all out.

            Why is he wasting his time bragging to us? Why doesn’t he use all his talents to cure cancer or something, seriously, our gain, is the world’s loss.

        • Sarah Hannah says:

          “A diet is whatever caused you to lose weight. ” LOLZ. If that’s your definition of a diet, then of course you can say that diets make you lose weight. By that definition, then sawing your head off is a diet because it made you lose weight.

    • Gina says:

      “Driving to LA” a good analogy. As is cleaning your house once, then expecting it to stay clean forever. But that’s exactly the kind of thinking behind claims that “diets don’t work” and “X% of people regain the weight” – it’s simply because the dieter didn’t stay on the program.

    • Meems says:

      People who claim that diets don’t work always, ALWAYS reference behavior that looks NOTHING like a diet. They talk about binging, they talk about overeating or going back to a diet for a fat body, a body with much greater caloric needs.

      Also, this = untrue. The only talk I’ve ever seen of people binging or increasing calories is if the “diet” is unsustainably low, is in what I previously described.

      I’m sure there are people who lose weight through healthful eating and regular exercise who then regain weight by abandoning both those habits, but that’s not at all what people are talking about when they say that diets don’t work.

      • Gina says:

        I’m sure there are people who lose weight through healthful eating and regular exercise who then regain weight by abandoning both those habits, but that’s not at all what people are talking about when they say that diets don’t work.

        I’ve seen plenty of people referring to that kind of behavior to “prove” that “diets don’t work”… “I didn’t have the time to keep up with my exercise routine,” “I went through a stressful period at work,”, “I fell off the wagon” etc etc etc.

        • Meems says:

          Please point me to where people are saying that, because it’s not anything I’ve read…again, unless the weightloss was caused by a diet that was unsustainable in the first place.

          • Gina says:

            Meems – if you spend any time at all on weight loss support forums you will see people saying those things over and over.

          • Meems says:

            I have in the past, and yes, people certainly acknowledge that they’ve gained weight by “falling off the wagon.” That, however, is not what people within FA are referencing when we say that diets don’t work. Besides the fact that many of these diets are unsustainable (Weight Watchers is one of those, in my opinion, since I’ve done the calories at different points levels, and most are quite low – down to 1200/day), what I believe the “diets don’t work” meme refers to are the changes the human body will make in order to maintain a weight within its natural setpoint.

          • Gina says:

            …what I believe the “diets don’t work” meme refers to are the changes the human body will make in order to maintain a weight within its natural setpoint…

            Meems – I’m not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying that a “naturally fat” person who loses weight on a diet will need to continue to eat a certain way and maintain a certain level of exercise to maintain their new, lower weight? if so, you are supporting the “lifestyle change” theory, or my analogy of cleaning your house (losing weight on a diet and expecting to maintain that weight loss without further effort is like cleaning your house once and expecting it to stay clean forever).

          • Meems says:

            No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. What I’m saying is that most human bodies have a set weight range in which they are most comfortable (which may or may not coincide with BMI standards) and when those people whose natural weight is in the “overweight” or “obese” range force themselves to weigh less than their body wants to in order to adhere to a limited definition of acceptable weight, then our bodies compensate by slowing the metabolism.

          • Meems says:

            And, since you weren’t familiar with the research to which I was referring, then you should maybe actually read some of it.

          • Gina says:

            I am familiar with setpoint theory, thank you and I contend that someone can lower their setpoint through – gasp! – diet and exercise.

      • tom brokaw says:

        What is this “unsustainably low” business?

        If your new body only needs 1200 calories per day in order to not lose or gain weight, then that is your new baseline caloric need.

        If you aren’t losing weight you aren’t going to starve to death. Far from it.

        It’s only unsustainable because that individual didn’t have the willpower to sustain it. They were not dying from it. A diet cannot be a starvation diet unless there is actual weight loss occuring. Since you weren’t dying from the new lowered benchmark, you chose to go off a sustainable diet.

        • Gina says:

          And if you don’t like the 1200 calorie baseline you can always raise your metabolic needs through cardio and weight training.

          NB: By “cardio”, I don’t mean running for 2-3 hours a day, six days a week, as some people would have it.

        • Meems says:

          If you genuinely think that people should live on 1200 calories/day if that is what it takes to maintain a “healthy” weight, then you are completely delusional.

          If you aren’t losing weight you aren’t going to starve to death. Far from it.

          And this – dear God, really? You do realize that fat people can, in fact, die from anorexia and other eating disorders. And they may not become thin before dying.

          • Gina says:

            If you genuinely think that people should live on 1200 calories/day if that is what it takes to maintain a “healthy” weight, then you are completely delusional.

            I suppose you addressed that comment to Tom Brokaw, but if you read my comment just below his, I pointed out that if someone’s baseline is 1200 calories, they can always increase that through exercise.

    • wriggles says:

      People who claim that diets don’t work always..

      95% of weight loss diets fail, that means, every time you diet, you have a 95% chance of failure.

      The concept of statiscal significance came about because chance, coincedence, placebo factors etc mean that rarely can most things be described as a 100% fail, because these factors cannot be removed.

      I can sell snake oil and it will not be a 100% failure, because of these factors.

      The point is, would the ‘success’ be statistically significant?

      If diet’s worked, the obesity crisis could not be constructed, unless you can show that every time someone losses 50 or 100 pounds, someone else gains it, I think we can say the fact that fatness is not abating shows the truth about dieting.

      Whether dieting is a tool or not, it is a misdesigned and useless tool.

      Creating calorific deficit, creates rebound weight gain- to make good that loss, this is the way the body is designed and there is nothing we can do about that. It’s like when a person donates blood, the body strives to replace that loss.

      You stop using the tool and something else happens

      Dieting is like a boomerang, the boomerang comes back because you throw it, due to it’s design. The rebound is just the other half of the diet, it’s virtually inevitable. Occasionally chance means, it may get caught in a tree, but that happens so rarely, as to be barely statisically significant.

      If I carved a square wheel, it exists, it’s existence doesn’t stop it from being dysfunctional.

      • Gina says:

        Creating calorific deficit, creates rebound weight gain- to make good that loss, this is the way the body is designed and there is nothing we can do about that.

        But there is something “we” can do about it. A slight calorie reduction (no more than a 10 to 30% calorie deficit, depending on how overweight the dieter is), building more muscle to boost metabolic rate, doing cardio, and – for many people – managing blood sugar levels and insulin response by eating a diet low in sugar and other processed carbs.

        • wriggles says:

          But there is something “we” can do about it.

          I’m not sure what ‘it’ you are referring to. I’m saying there is nothing we can do about the fact that the calorie deficit causes the body to make good that deficit. The deficit, provokes the compensation, the latter is there to negate the former. This is the body’s design.

          10% is easily absorbed by the body’s capacity for metabolic adjustment, 30% is more than enough to bring the rebound effect fiercely into play.

          If we want different outcomes we will have to find ways that bypass or do not bring about this response. I don’t think we can do the latter, but the former probably holds more possibilities.

          • Gina says:

            For someone who is already very overweight and on a high-calorie diet, a 30% deficit should not “bring the rebound effect fiercely into play”, which is why I qualified my recommendations by saying depending on how overweight the dieter is.

            As for weight loss methods that do not cause metabolic slowdown, did you read what I wrote about strength training and cardio?

          • Meems says:

            You assume that people who are overweight are automatically on hogh calorie diets? Hmmm…

          • Gina says:

            In a word, yes.

          • Meems says:

            Well, you can continue to keep your mind closed and your delusions intact…or you can actually believe people’s descriptions of their experiences. It’s your choice and doesn’t affect me personally.

      • Gina says:

        …If diets worked, the obesity crisis could not be constructed…

        More faulty logic. Not all obese people deliberately try to lose weight – perhaps one factor is that they keep reading “95% of weight loss diets fail”?

        • wriggles says:

          More faulty logic.

          You think my logic is faulty? Great!

          Go through it and correct it, then I can learn from you.

          Saying that fat people-and remember, no weight group is getting thinner – don’t diet or try to lose weight even if correct, is an evasion.

          Look at the ones that have/are dieting and trying to lose weight, what can we conclude from the results of this, about dieting?

      • tom brokaw says:

        Please tell me you are all liberal arts majors or something equally inconsequential. Because your hard science skills are atrocious.

        First of all the 95% of diets fail thing needs to stop. A weight loss diet cannot fail because by definition it is a calorie deficit ACHIEVED. An achieved calorie deficit results in weight loss. Brush up on basic physiology. If you went on something that you thought was a diet but did not lose weight – guess what? You didn’t create a deficit, ergo you were not really on a diet. Simple. Or is self reporting being on a diet sufficient to be coded as a diet?

        I guess you’d all think so huh? So then I could claim to be on a weight loss diet, but eat four pounds of butter per day, fail to lose weight and count myself in the column of failed diets? hahhaha. Funny. Yeah it was the diet’s fault that I didn’t lose weight.

        Also, even if it were true that diets fail 95% of the time (which it’s not), how do people come under the delusion that diets are IMPOSSIBLE?

        People who lose weight are not statistically likely to do what it takes to sustain their new weight. Absolutely. THEY do not do what it takes. It’s a choice. Own up to it. I’m not here to say you can’t choose to be fat. Just own up to the fact that it’s a choice.

        You want more dignified treatment from mainstream society? You want better healthcare, better jobs, and everything else you think you are missing because of your fat? I would suggest that the first step is to own up to your choices.

        I can’t speak for all of society but my GUESS is that people in general don’t have much sympathy or respect for groups of people who run from their own personal responsibility. As a consequence, anything you demand is damned by a serious lack of credibility.

        • Gina says:

          People who lose weight are not statistically likely to do what it takes to sustain their new weight. Absolutely. THEY do not do what it takes.

          Absolutely. I’m so sick of “the diet failed me” excuse for regain when in reality, it’s the dieter’s fault for failing to stick to the program.

          • wriggles says:

            People who lose weight are not statistically likely to do what it takes to sustain their new weight.

            They are not statistically likely to be able to start, maintain, lose weight, or keep it off.

            What magical factor/s will occur to change that? You getting pissy, doesn’t count.

          • Gina says:

            They are not statistically likely to be able to start, maintain, lose weight, or keep it off.

            Statistically unlikely to start dieting or to lose weight? I thought one of FA’s mantras was that too many people, seduced by the bazillion dollar a year diet industry, start dieting and lose weight, only to regain. This is the first I’ve heard of all those poor deluded dieters not even starting a diet!

            What magical factor/s will occur to change that?

            You have already quoted the answer to that question. The answer – again – is doing what it takes to sustain their new weight.

            No magic involved. Just consistency.

            You just keep contradicting yourself – no wonder people get pissy!

          • wriggles says:

            Statistically unlikely to start dieting or to lose weight?

            I have already answered that question, you even quoted it yourself, yet you don’t appear to understand that fact.

            Again;

            They are not statistically likely to be able to start, maintain, lose weight, or keep it off.

            If they want to start a diet, they are unlikely to be able to, if they can manage to get past that point, they are unlikely to stay there, if they can get past that point, they are unlikely to be able to maintain any loss that are able to manage.

            This is because the way your metabolism adjusts to dieting- which is itself a metabolic adjustment- is like an obstacle course to thwart your attempt to reduce calories.

            The answer – again – is doing what it takes to sustain their new weight.

            This is not an answer, over an above being able to overcome obstacle after obstacle, what does ‘doing what it takes’ actually entail?

        • Meems says:

          Personal responsibility doesn’t involve being attractive to you. Get over yourself (as well as your idiotic contention that being a non-science major is inconsequential – I have the utmost respect for science, but not all that many scientists are social or political leaders).

        • wriggles says:

          A weight loss diet cannot fail because by definition it is a calorie deficit ACHIEVED. my emphasis

          Yeah, that’s what we all thought, it’s reality that taught us different, the reality of how the body actually functions.

          People can always ignore reality, like creation scientists and those that claim that homeopathy works over and above any placebo effect.

          Brush up on basic physiology.

          You’ve not mentioned any yourself, feel free, no-one’s stopping you, go on, show us a little of what you know.

          Describe what happens in the body when a person goes on a diet, we are all ears.

          If you wish to replace that statistic, the thing to do is replace it with a better one.

          What is the correct probability of a diet attempt to achieve successful long term loss? Do tell us.

          And a word to the wise, which might be a non sequitur in your case, your attempt to use emotive language, will no longer wash, counter with actual facts not rah, rah.

          No human being invents their own body, therefore we must follow it’s design, not impose our irrelevant dictats.

          Remember, counter with actual anatomy/ physiology, it’s time for you to put up, or shut up.

  59. mamaV says:

    Hi All: Just started an Open Forum for discussion — I thought I would announce it here since this is an active convo.

    View here: http://watrd.wordpress.com/open-forum-new/

  60. cggirl says:

    Hi everyone, I know this is an old thread but I did want to say something, that sorta occurred to me after quite some time –

    Lissa, if you’re still reading this at all – I have to say, in spite of my reclaiming of the word “fat” in my own head, I still wouldn’t like it if some stranger – whose intentions or background I didn’t know – called me fat. Because I would assume they mean it the way most people mean it, which is negatively. Though I dunno if I’d feel better if they called me overweight. If it’s me, or someone I know does not mean it in a judgmental way, then anything is fine… But with a stranger – well i guess i wouldn’t want them commenting on my weight with any word, but “fat” probably would not be my favorite. And “obese” would be worse, simply because “obese” means “very fat”.

    And I wonder how many people out there are, like me, fat acceptance supporters and HAES supporters and still wouldn’t not enjoy some stranger calling us fat, or obese, or overweight…

  61. lissa10279 says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post, Shannon!! I recommend everyone taking a look at it!

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