I get a lot of questions about set point theory – the idea that each person’s body has a genetically determined set point that is difficult to go above or below. I think it’s an interesting theory and not implausible – I do think that bodies come in varied sizes just like everything else in nature. I think the evidence also pretty clearly shows that dieting messes with our bodies, since at least a year after dieting studies have shown that the mechanisms the body has for the express purpose or regaining and maintaining weight are still different than in someone who didn’t diet.
While I think this is interesting to think about, I also think that when it comes to size diversity and acceptance it’s important that we keep our eye on the ball. We have to be careful that we’re not making it sound like you have to prove that your fat is “not your fault” in order to deserve to be treated well. It doesn’t matter what size someone’s body is or why it is that size, it’s absolutely none of anybody else’s business, and everybody deserves to be treated with basic human respect. (Those wishing to make a “won’t somebody think of my tax dollars fatties are so expensive blah blah blah” argument can head to this post. )
Too often I see people try to espouse not that we should treat every body with respect but that we should do a better job figuring out who deserves abuse, stigma, and shame from society. Let me help out: NOBODY. Nobody deserves to be treated the way that fat people are treated in this society and it doesn’t matter why they are fat. The idea that this is about behavior or personal responsibility is utterly laughable – there are plenty of sedentary thin people whose diet is based in fast food (which is fine and also nobody’s business) but people don’t scream epithets at them from their cars or argue that they should lose their civil rights until they exercise or try to calculate their “cost” to society. Nope – this is about bullying a group of people because of how they look – and when has that ever gone well?
Imagine if we were honest about the fact that whatever size we are, and regardless of why we are that size, the truth is that we are unlikely to ever be significantly smaller in the long term and that it’s completely ok to be fat. Maybe then we could stop talking about if our fat is our fault consider that the size we are is the size we’re supposed to be and start building an amazing life with the bodies we have now.
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I wanted everyone to be able to afford Fat: The Owner’s Manual – Surviving a Thin-Obsessed World with your Health, Happiness, and Sense of Humor Intact so it is now available in soft cover and e-book which is “name your own price
Become a Member, Support The Work!
Member support is crucial to the work that I do. Last month’s member support allowed me to answer 5421 e-mails from people who had questions about Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size. Some of them had simple questions, some of them were in the middle of a life crisis – member support allowed me to support them all, thank you!
Members also get cool discounts from fat friendly merchants. This month’s member deals come from More of Me to Love, Jodee Rose, Jeanette Depatie, The Fatimas, Dr. Deah, www.biggirlbeachwear.com, Dr. Cheryl Fuller, www.favewear.com, and of course me! If you are a member and haven’t received the e-mail with details and passwords just let me know!
I do HAES and SA activism, speaking and writing full time, and I don’t believe in putting corporate ads on my blog and making my readers a commodity. So if you find value in my work, want to support it, and you can afford it, you can become a member (you get extra stuff, discounts, and you’re always the first to know about things) or you can support my work with a one-time contribution. The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free. If you’re curious about this policy, you might want to check out this post. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen