First some quick follow up from yesterday’s post – you can now sign a petition asking Disney World and Barney’s not to give Minnie Mouse a model make-over that makes her 5’11 and a size 0. Please consider signing and passing it on.
On to today’s blog: I was having a conversation with a very good friend of mine the other day and the subject of diets came up. Specifically, the fact that they almost always fail. She said that losing weight is probably not the only way to be healthy, then she said “but there’s a very small percentage chance of a small business succeeding – just because something is hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.” She was being totally respectful, but it struck an old nerve with me.
One of the most difficult things for me when I decided to stop dieting and pursue Health at Every Size was the idea that I was being a quitter. I have never backed down from anything because it seemed like it might be difficult or because the odds were stacked against me. Whether it was in sports, school, love or business, I’ve spent my life doing things that other people told me were impossible.
So when I first found out that dieting almost never works long term I decided that I would beat the odds. I continued to try but nothing was working. I didn’t want to be a quitter, I wanted to believe that I could beat the odds if I just tried hard enough.
I believed that the people who didn’t succeed at diets were just weak-willed, I believed that I could lose weight through the sheer force of my will and by just trying hard enough.
I believed that weight was a simple matter of calories in/calories out. I believed that if I could create a calorie deficit with a combination of calorie restriction and activity then I would lose weight, so I didn’t understand why I kept creating a deficit but didn’t lose weight. I’ve since learned that it just doesn’t work that way. The body is much more complex than a calories in/calories out model.
That lead to another realization – this wasn’t just about hard work or force of will. This wasn’t about practicing harder or running more sprints or studying more. This wasn’t just about my will, it was about my body. A body that I hated because it wouldn’t get smaller, instead of appreciating it for everything it did for me.
I started to do more and more research and everything I found turned up the same results – intentional weight loss failed most of the time, and there was no proof that it would lead to health even if it succeeded. However, weight-cycling (yo-yo dieting) was very hard on the system and studies were showing that it lead to long-term health problems. Dieting began to look more and more like playing Russian roulette with my health.
When I found Health at Every Size I realized that what I had been doing didn’t make sense. To go back to the small business model – I have started a few businesses and helped hundreds of others through my consulting practice. I started one business that was going great until there was a regulation change that made our business model non-viable. So I closed the business. I didn’t feel like a quitter. Plenty of people tried to tell me that the business could be saved, but I did the research and made the best decision I could based on facts and logic.
For me, that’s exactly what Health at Every Size was. I was making a decision based on my personal priorities using information and logic. I wasn’t quitting – I was opting out of a social construct supported by a $60 Billion a year industry that had an abysmal success rate. I was and am clear that healthy habits don’t guarantee good health for anyone because health is multi-dimensional and never entirely within our control. I’m also clear that health is not a moral, social, personal obligation or a barometer of worthiness. Health is intensely personal and each person’s prioritization of health and choice of path is never anybody else’s business.
What I’ve learned is that I’m fine gambling with when it comes to money and love, but not when it comes to my health. I think that feeding my body well and doing movement that I enjoy is much more likely to make me healthy than trying to make my body smaller. As W.C. Fields said “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Then quit – there’s no point in being a damn fool about . So when it comes to risking my health and happiness on a 5% chance of becoming thinner, I’m out. Call me a quitter, I’m ok with that.
Dance Class DVDs are (finally!) available for pre-order
My Dance Class DVDs are now available for pre-order (with free shipping!) Click here for the details
Check Out the Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual. The E-Book is Name Your Own Price!
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”
Get Special Deals from Size Positive Businesses
I do size acceptance activism full time. A lot what I do, like answering over 5,000 e-mails from readers each month, giving talks to groups who can’t afford to pay, and running projects like the Georgia Billboard Campaign etc. is unpaid, so I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and/or want to support the work I do can become members for ten bucks a month To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them – your contact info always stays completely private.
The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is always completely free. If you’re curious or uncomfortable about any of this, you might want to check out this post. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen