How Not To Be A Dick To Your Fat Friends

How Not To Be A Dick To Your Fat Friends

I really enjoyed this article linked above because it touched upon many of the things I frequently feel.  For instance, I know my friends mean well when they say “You’re not fat”.  I also know that my friends are only trying to relate to me over statements that amount to self-loathing (“Ugh.  Don’t you just hate your upper arms?”).  However, neither of these activities are constructive and they both make assumptions that 1) Fat is a negative attribute and 2) that shared physical attributes that bother you about your appearance should bother me, too.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve done both those things, but it makes you think a little bit about how what you say effects others.

There’s all kinds of other goodies in that blog entry.  It is just an all-around excellent read.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Body Autonomy

Hi guys!images

So there’s always this nagging voice in the back of my head saying “a passionate person from one side and a passionate person from the opposite side does not necessarily make a balanced world.”  I don’t want my friends and readers to think that because they have a dietary regimen or because dietary restrictions have lead to weight loss or that because they changed their lifestyle because they discovered they have high cholesterol or because they just naturally have a conventionally attractive body that I want to shame them.  If I thought that, I’d be no better than the oppression I’m trying to escape.  We’re all on different parts of our journey.  We all have different and beautiful bodies.

I truly believe that people are capable of making their own health decisions.  This is a concept of body autonomy.

If you want to diet, I’ll still be your friend.  If you want to eat your birthday cake leftovers for every meal during the days following your birthday, I’ll still be your friend (I have done both of those things.  I really like cake.).

However, this does not mean that I have to keep my opinion to myself regarding things I am enthusiastic about.  Those who are close to me know that I am a caring person who can easily maintain respect for those with whom I have a divergence of opinion or lifestyle.  I do not think that opinions will change if we keep our ideas to ourselves and I will advocate for concepts and movements for which I have much passion.

Dictating that my friends abstain from dieting or insisting that they fit into a mold that works for me is just as bad as the body-shaming food-policing culture I am attempting to break away from

So, in short: Be safe.  Be healthy.  Be confident.  Be yourself.

What is This “Size Acceptance” of Which You Speak?

Hello everyone!

I thought it would be good to start things off by talking about what size acceptance is all about.  Quite simply it is the acknowledgement that fat people are subject to several different kinds and levels of discrimination.  Size activists consequently acknowledge that discrimination based on size is not warranted or acceptable.

A related concept is the “Health at Every Size” movement.  This movement believes that there is a natural diversity of body types and people of any size can be healthy.  HAES advocates encourage eating for pleasure and for health and that physical movement is integral to your well-being, independent of your physical size.

I know that many of you are saying “Leah, shut the front door.  Do you mean to tell me fat people can be healthy?”  And to that question, I answer with a resounding YES!  Here is a small amount of the many tidbits of medical academia that indicate being “overweight” is not a death sentence:

A recent article in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) stated that “(being) overweight was associated with lower mortality.”

An article in the September, 8 2004 JAMA showed that a lack of activity, not weight, was the biggest predictor of heart disease.

Even the New England Journal of Medicine states that: “Given the enormous social pressure to lose weight, one might suppose there is clear and overwhelming evidence of the risks of obesity and the benefits of weight loss.  Unfortunately, the data linking overweight and death as well as the data showing the beneficial effects of weight loss are limited, fragmentary and often ambiguous.”

So there you have it.  A thin couch potato is less likely to be healthy than a fat active person.  Hence, “Health At Every Size.”

But Leah, won’t a healthy lifestyle AUTOMATICALLY lead to a thin physique?  Not necessarily, my friends.  There are active healthy eaters of all shapes and sizes!  What is guaranteed to be unhealthy is a weight loss and gain cycle that frequently accompanies dieting.  What is even more certain to increase mortality are harsh treatments such as diet pills or weight-loss surgeries.  More on that later, my friends!

Let’s review:
1) You can be healthy, independent of your size.
2) Fat people are people, too.
3) Skinny or fat, we all are beautiful and should be treated with respect.

More on why dieting is no bueno and why society wants you to think that being overweight is going to kill us all in subsequent posts.  But first, here’s a photo of me being a ham after running a race.  Because running is a fun, fulfilling, healthy activity for people of any size!  Image

Why Am I Writing This Blog?

chicksdigme

Even as a preschooler, I thought I was more rotund than the other kids. But chicks still dug me. Haha. I crack myself up. That’s me and my dad circa 1989. Farm kids always have
the best show and tell!

I’ve been a size activist most of my life and didn’t realize it. From a young age, I did consider myself to be fat and thought that being fat changed the way others perceived me and the way I perceived myself. I never thought that being judged by my weight instead of my character and accomplishments was fair. Unlike many of my peers, I grew up in a super body-positive household. The subject of my weight as being a negative attribute was never brought up at home (partially because about one-half of my immediate family are fellow fat people like me). I ate a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and was physically active. I was funny, got good grades, was an accomplished musician and had a great work ethic. But to many people, I was fat first and all those wonderful things second.

In college, I delved into the more academic principles of feminism and weight acceptance. I began to realize that there were complex systems in place to shame fat people and to equate what you ate with your own self-control. I read countless medical studies that proved activity levels and diet are what matters NOT an arbitrary weight to height ratio (BMI is the WORST). It made sense that a capitalist society would sensationalize a “disease” that doesn’t actually kill (except in EXTREME cases) because companies want to make profits off diet plans that nearly always fail, and pharmaceutical companies want to profit off medicines that can’t really ever “cure” obesity. Doing my proverbial homework about fat acceptance made me feel EMPOWERED.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve dieted. I’ve looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. I’ve felt guilty after eating a second slice of cake. I’ve said to myself “Why can’t I just be pretty with no modifiers?” when people said “You’re pretty. For a chubby girl.” But I want to write this blog to help set the record straight. To tell people you can be healthy emotionally and physically at any size and to have some fun while I’m doing it. I’m glad you stopped by and took the time to read this and hope we can be friends on this blogging adventure. Cheers!-Leah

pumpkin5

A more current picture of me (and my loving husband). You know, to prove I’m a real person and such.