Before we start I just want to be clear that I’m not going to suggest that you learn to cook, or lift weights, this blog is about what those things taught me and how that might help other people, whether or not they ever cook or go to the gym.
This week I joined a new gym. I got involved in competitive sports in fourth grade and have been in the gym ever since and my comfort in the gym has really served me . The gym is comfortable to me. Even though I sometimes have to deal with people saying obnoxious things to me, assuming that I’m a beginner exerciser etc. they can’t take away the fact that I know the machines, that I can put together a free weight routine for any purpose, I can create an interval training set at the drop of hat - I feel competent at the gym and that provides some armor.
About a year ago I decided that it was time for me to learn how to cook. My lack of culinary skills meant that eating whole foods was pretty much confined to roasted meat and steamed vegetables. When I got sick of that it was time to eat something with directions that included “dissolve sauce packet in boiling water.” So I didn’t want to learn to create flavor profiles and be a contestant on Chopped, I just wanted to become a competent from scratch recipe assembler. A year later I can put together a lot of simple recipes, a few complicated recipes, I can cook some things without recipes and I’ve even baked a couple of things from scratch. I didn’t realize how this had changed me until I was in the produce section of the grocery store today. A year ago I would have known how to steam a few of the veggies and that’s about it. Now I know a number of ways to prepare a lot of them, how to use them in various recipes etc. It realized that I hadn’t just developed cooking skills – I feel competent in the grocery store. My cart is no more or less “healthy” to the nosy observer than it was before I learned to cook so people will likely judge me the same, but the way I look at myself changed and that helps protect me from people who are laboring under the misapprehension that their beeswax is located somewhere in my grocery cart.
That’s also how I feel about my Size Acceptance and HAES choices. I’ve done the research, I’ve thought it though. I am certain that I have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the body that I have now, and I am certain that includes not having war waged on me by my government for how I look. I am confident in my choices about my health and I am certain that my health is nobody else’s business. That doesn’t mean that I don’t deal with all the crap that society throws at me. But it gives me some armor. I feel good about who I am and the decisions I make and I will not allow the world to steal my self-esteem and cheapen it just so they can try to sell it back to me at a profit (a concept that my amazing friend CJ Legare first pointed out to me.)
In the end what I learned from lifting, boiling, and being fat is that how I view myself really changes the way that I view the outside world, the way I relate to it, and the way I deal with so much of the crap that comes my way from it so it’s worth taking some time to really clarify how I feel about things and how I feel about myself.
Like the blog? Check this stuff out (and you can help support my work which I would really appreciate):
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here to order
The Dance Class DVDs: Buy the Dance Class DVDs (hint: Free shipping was supposed to end on Monday but I haven’t had a chance to make the changes to the pricing so there’s still free shipping until I get it done)! Click here for the details
Become a Member and Get Special Deals from Size Positive Businesses
I do size acceptance activism full time. A lot what I do, like answering over 4,000 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 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.