The Charmed Life of a Fat Girl

Having blogged on the topic of Health at Every Size for a while and reading all the comments I get back, I think that I can safely say that suggesting that people love themselves and be grateful for their bodies at whatever size they are now, and that one option for those seeking greater health is to focus on healthy habits instead of body size, is extremely controversial.  It seems crazy to me that this would be controversial but according to most of the people I talk to,  it’s a big flaming sack of duh.

I see a lot of people who blog about self-esteem and body image and body positivity take on the people who want to argue about this.  I greatly appreciate that they do that kind of arguing, I think it’s an important thing to do.  I rarely do it- at least not here.  It’s hard for me to walk away from those fights because this issue is important to me and I’m armed with a ton of research and sky-high self-esteem.

The reason I don’t fight here is simple.  This blog is not for them and I will not let it get hijacked for their purpose.  There are more than enough places for people to argue that I should hate myself, live in guilt, shame and fear, and be treated without respect until my picture of health fits their frame.  If those people read this blog and it makes them think, that’s great, but I’m not writing for them.

I’m writing for all of the people out there who have lost hours, days, weeks, months, and years of their lives (not to mention thousands of dollars) that they will never get back feeling bad about themselves and their bodies.  I’m writing to give an option to people who have been sold the idea that they should do unhealthy things to get thin under the guise that they’ll be magically healthy once they get there.  I’m writing for people who have bought into the idea that their size makes them unworthy of respect and dignity.

I am much less concerned with whether the world thinks that people of size deserve respect than I am that people of size know that they deserve respect and that they can demand it.  I’m writing for the 8 out of 10 women who don’t like their bodies.  For the third grade girls who told a researcher that they would rather get cancer or lose a parent than get fat.  I’m writing for people who are looking for a way to scrape together enough self-esteem to just stop hating themselves for a minute.

I must have written a hundred times that the diet industry makes 60 BILLION dollars a year convincing us to hate ourselves and buy their stuff, even though they have a success rate of less than 5%.

But they aren’t stealing that money from us – we’re giving it to them.  They only make 60 Billion dollars a year because we choose to believe what they say – however improbably, or at least give them our money however dubious we might be.

So I am writing for people who want another perspective – who look around at our culture of failed intentional weight loss, unrealistic expectations, negative body image, low self-esteem and say ENOUGH.

The school bully doesn’t steal your lunch money – you give it to him because he seems big and powerful and you feel small and scared.

I write to show people that you have the option to scrape together all the courage and self-esteem you can muster, stand up (on shaking legs if necessary), look the school bully in the eye, and tell him that you don’t care how big and powerful he is, he cannot have your lunch money any more.

A friend of mine who is a recovering alcoholic once told me that one of the tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous is that you can’t keep what you have unless you give it away.  I lead a charmed life – I have friends, health, success, high self-esteem and everything that I desire.  I write because I know that to keep it, I have to give it away.  If you want some it’s all yours.

Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 7:03 pm  Comments (7)  

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yes! Please! I’m always up for a good, heaping helping of inspiration or good advice!

    Kudos to you for taking the high road with regard to the haters with unfounded accusations, especially the ones who don’t seem to have read the whole article they are commenting on!

    I just had to share the perfect example of what you were talking about, and I found it, ironically, right at the bottom of YOUR article in a Google Ad that I know you had no control over. Here’s what it says:

    “Ads by Google
    The Entire Real HCG Diet
    Lose 1-2 pounds per day the healthy way. HCG only $49! Free Shipping.”

    One to two pounds per DAY??? Healthy? Really??? Frankly, I think that most evidence says that you are pushing your body’s capacity to expel toxins and other waste even when you are losing only 1-2 lbs per WEEK.

    I think I’ll keep my money away from from THAT one, for sure!

    Thanks for being a voice of rationality, Ragen!

    • Thanks! Those diet ads just kill me.

  2. I like that you don’t include those comments here. It would be interesting to read, but at the same time, I often get turned off of blogs not because of the posts, but because of the comments. It just wears me out and bums me out to see the lack of tolerance and compassion. Thanks for keeping your blog such a positive place!

  3. I really appreciate your clear focus on what this blog is and what it isn’t.

    And the issue of body shame is so, so deep-seated. Although I managed to mostly avoid internalizing any self-hate about weight, I’ve been becoming aware of the other ways in which I feel shame about my body not being “right” or “good enough”.

    Lately it’s been turning up as a hateful voice saying “You’ve been doing your postural alignment exercises for more than two years now, so how come one hip is still higher than the other? How come your right foot still everts? What about that restriction in your shoulder, that doesn’t seem like you’re ever going to get rid of that…” I look at the photos the physical therapist takes at the beginning of each session to check my alignment and I feel ashamed: look, you’re still warped and off-kilter! If you were a better person blah blah blah same old same old.

    Never mind that the therapy has completely eliminated the back pain that I used to experience regularly and which used to put me into a back brace popping prescription painkillers. Never mind that I’ve put 2,000 miles on my bike in less than a year of commute and utility riding. Never mind that I can do a standing forward bend and put the palms of my hands on the floor, without pain. According to the “you’ll NEVER be good enough” voices, I should just give up now.

    So, again, THANK YOU for being such a clear, articulate, unwavering voice and for continuing to say what you say.

    • Thanks for your reply. I know that there can be times when it’s really difficult to focus on the positive so I hope you don’t mind if I say congratulations on completely kicking ass. There are people who don’t put 2000 miles on their bikes in a lifetime and it sounds like you are making a ton of progress in other area. Rock on :)

      ~Ragen

  4. It’s hard work standing up to the bullies, but in the long term, it sure is better than letting them have their way. Sometimes I think we need to remind each other of why though, and you’ve done that beautifully here.

    • Thanks, glad that you liked it!


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