Combating Holiday Weight Shame

You Forgot Your BullshitThe article “Tell Loved Ones They are Overweight This Christmas” is making the rounds again. I will not be linking to it because I have no interest in driving traffic there. I will say that should my loved ones take this advice the follow up article will be “I Told My Loved One She Is Overweight and She Told Me to Sit Down, Shut Up and Mind My Own Damn Business.”

The article says that in a poll of more than 2,000 people, 42% of 18 to 24-year-olds would not tell a loved one they should lose weight because of a fear they would hurt the other person’s feelings.

According to the article, this suggests that ” too many people shy away from the issue”.  According to me this proves that 42% of 18-24 year olds have common decency and/or realize that it is impossible for a fat person in our culture to not know that society has a negative opinion about our size.  Stated another way, 58% of 18-24 year olds did not eat their bowl of No Shit Sherlock Flakes on the day that the poll was taken.

According to their so-called expert (who works for an organization that appears to make money pretending that they successfully make fat people thin), “if someone close to you has a large waistline then as long as you do it sensitively, discussing it with them now could help them avoid critical health risks later down the line and could even save their life.”

No, it won’t.  Discussing it with them will do nothing for their health but may very well ruin their holiday and your relationship, so there’s no need to put on your “Concern Troll Man” tights and cape and self-righteously pretend that you are the super hero who saves fat people from ourselves.

Every person who deals with this kind of bullshit (whether it’s holiday related or not) gets to decide how they want to handle it. You are, as always, the boss of your underpants.

Let me suggest that you don’t have to put up with weight shame (during holidays you celebrate or any other time). You don’t have to put up with body snarking, body stigma, or concern trolling. You don’t have to allow a running commentary on your body, health, or food choices from anyone.   You don’t have to accept treatment you don’t like because people are your family, friends, or because they “mean well”.  And you don’t have to internalize other people’s bullshit, you don’t have to buy into the thin=better/healthier/prettier paradigm or be preached at by people who do.

Loving your body is an act of sheer courage and revolution in this culture. Instead of another article about how to avoid holiday weight gain, here’s what I would like to see all over Facebook, and hear on the radio, television and at gatherings all over the world during the holidays and every other time of year:

My body is not a representation of my failures, sins, or mistakes. My body is not a sign that I am in poor health, or that I am not physically fit neither of which is your business regardless. My body is not up for public discussion, debate or judgment. My body is not a signal that I need your help or input to make decisions about my health or life.  My body is the constant companion that helps me do every single thing that I do every second of every day and it deserves respect and admiration. If you are incapable of appreciating my body that is your deficiency, not mine, and I do not care. Nor am I interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter so, if you want to be around me, you are 100% responsible for doing whatever it takes to keep those thoughts to yourself. If you are incapable of doing that I will leave and spend my time with people who can treat me appropriately.  Please pass the green beans.

As always I think that preparation is the best friend of the fatty. If you suspect that you may be the victim of holiday weight shame then I suggest being prepared.  Here are some ideas:

Know what your boundaries are and decide on consequences that you can live with ahead of time.  Don’t threaten things that you won’t follow through on.  So try something like “My body is fine, your behavior is inappropriate. If there is one more comment about my weight, I am leaving.”  Practice it before you go so that you are ready. The common thread among my friends who have done this is that they’ve only had to do it once and then their bodies (and wishes) were respected, and they all report feeling incredibly empowered.  As always, your mileage may vary.

Consider talking with members of your family who have been repeat offenders prior to the holiday.  Or send out a holiday newsletter e-mail explaining your commitment to Size Acceptance and/or Health at Every Size and that comments about your weight are not welcome.  Remind yourself (as often as necessary) that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you – their concern trolling behavior is inappropriate.

Do what it takes to take care of yourself, have a friend you can call for support, create a mantra, or keep an index card or note on your phone with inspiring quotes.  Keep putting the problem where it belongs – which is on the concern trolls and not on your body.

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Published in: on November 20, 2014 at 7:23 pm  Comments (7)  

Why Don’t We Charge Passengers By Weight?

One person one fareA really common response to my piece yesterday about flying fat people is to suggest that, as one person put it, “the only fair thing is for airlines and trains etc. to charge people by weight – just weigh the person and their luggage and charge by the pound.”

I think that when you really look into it, charging people by weight isn’t fair, and doesn’t make sense at all.  Let’s move right past the highly questionable notion that people are self-loading freight and look into the reasons why this is a truly terrible idea:

First are the potential issues of discrimination based on size, gender, ethnicity, and ability/health (are we weighing mobility devices, casts, service animals, medical devices and medications that people have to travel with?) Then there are parents who have to pay for the weight of every diaper and baby wipe they need, not to mention juice, milk, snacks, toys, and whatever else they need to keep their kid as happy as possible in the air.

There’s also the issue of how it would work practically – would you enter your weight when you buy a ticket (and have to know the weight of your luggage weeks or even months in advance of your trip?) and then be weighed and have to pay more or get a partial refund if your weight had changed in the meantime (can you imagine the lines – the people who couldn’t afford the extra etc?) Also, what if your weight changes between the departing and returning trip? (If you believe all of the freaking out about holiday weight gain, the airlines should make a killing on people coming home after holiday travel.)

Women who bloat during their menstrual cycle would have to pay more to take the same trip during different days of the month. People on medications that cause water retention would have to pay more to fly than those who aren’t on that kind of medication.  Body builders would pay more or less for the same trip depending on if they were on the bulking or cutting phase of their training etc. People who are coming from or going to cold climates (or who are too cold based on the temperature of the airport and plane which they can’t control) would have to pay more to wear appropriate clothing/coats/boots etc.

Not to mention that if the problem we’re trying to solve is everyone having enough space on the flight then this doesn’t help at all since body weight does not indicate space need – some 300 pound people can fit in current airline seats, some 200 pound people cannot. The only thing that this does is charge some people more for the exact same service.

The airline should charge a single price for one person to travel from one destination to another in a seat that accommodates them, I think that’s the only fair thing.

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Published in: on November 18, 2014 at 9:54 am  Comments (16)  

10 Things More Annoying Than Fat People On a Plane

Share the SpaceI fly a lot and it has been made clear to me by people’s ridiculous complaint letters that get published on the internet, and even a few fellow passengers, that some not-fat people are irritated that fat people want to access the same modes of transportation that they do, and that it’s much more convenient for them to blame fat people for existing than to blame plane manufacturers for ignoring the fact that fat people exist when they make the planes, and most airlines for ignoring the fact that fat people exist when they make their policies. I have more to say about this in a minute, but first I’d like to suggest that, even if you are engaging in fat bigotry while you fly, here are 10 things that are way more annoying than flying fat people. All of these are things that I’ve personally witnessed:

  1. Gets off the plane, walks up the jetway, walks through the door into the airport and stops dead. Dude, are you serious? This activates my throat punch reflex. Remember all those people who were behind you on the plane? They’re still behind you on the jetway – move into the airport, find a seat or place out of the way and get your bearings. If the person stops in the doorway and checks their cell phone I become homicidal.
  1. Person using a wheelchair is waiting for the one accessible stall in the bathroom. There are about 10 open stalls that are not wheelchair accessible. Woman comes out of accessible stall, looks at woman in wheelchair and says “I’m not disabled, but it’s just so much easier to use that restroom when I have all this stuff and shrugs.” No apology. Woman in the wheelchair says “Well, as long as you’re comfortable I guess I’ll just hold it.”
  1. Roller bag, laptop bag, big ass bag from Disneyworld, bag from the bookstore in the airport, giant coat. First she ignores the rule for how many things she can carry on. Then she ignores the flight attendants imploring people to put only one bag in the overhead bins. When they make the announcement again she looks at me, smiles and says “Do you think that’s for me?” I don’t smile and say “yes.” She says, “If they ask me to move it I will.” Moments later the flight attendants announce that they’ll be checking bags because there’s no more room in the overhead compartments. She looks at me and cheerfully says “Sounds like they’ve got it taken care of!” I say “Sounds like you’re incredibly selfish.” We didn’t talk after that.
  1. Guy stops dead in the middle of the main walkway at a large, busy airport. Puts his suitcase down, opens it up and proceeds to – at a pace that could be described as leisurely, meandering, some might even say moseying – take off his jacket fold it up and lovingly put it away, rearranging his suitcase to make sure that the space for the jacket is optimal. Meanwhile people are veering around him like a fender bender on the freeway at rush hour, almost tripping over him and his sprawling stuff.
  1. Woman across the aisle from me spends the entire flight ignoring every signal from her seatmate (checking her phone, reading Skymall, answering with a noncommittal and progressively more irritated Mmm Hmmm etc.) trying to convince her that she needs to do the [Massive National Self-Improvement] Forum. I’ve also seen this scenario for multi-level marketing business opportunities. Way to put the “captive” in “captive audience.”
  1. Mistreating gate agents – everything from condescension to screaming at them. First of all, it’s not cool – they don’t control the weather in Chicago so how about you ratchet it down a notch. Also, even if you don’t have it in you to be a decent human being, let’s examine the situation – you need a new flight, they have a computer that can get you on a new flight, how about trying to act like you have some home training instead of irritating the crap out of this person right before the rest of us have to work with her.
  1. Threatening loudly to report the flight attendants for making the preflight safety announcement entertaining and funny because “the safety announcements are a serious thing.” You, sir, are a dick. If you’re that concerned read the safety card provided in the seatback pocket in front of you and STFU. (I’ve been told by another Southwest Airlines passenger that if someone complains about this they actually reward the flight attendant – I hope that’s true.)
  1. “I know I should have brought diapers but I was in a hurry this morning and so I was just hoping she would make it through the [3 hour] flight. Do you have anything I can use? And some wipes too – it’s a poopy one!” Flight attendant acquires a diaper and some wipes from another passenger with a baby. She starts changing her baby on the tray that comes down from the seat in front of her.   Flight attendant mentions that there is a changing table in the restroom “That’s ok, I’m cool here!” Flight attendant asks if she wants some paper towels to put down “No thanks, I think the tray will be more comfortable on her skin.” Finishes, doesn’t even wipe the tray with a baby wipe, just returns it to its original position and hits the call button and tries to hand the flight attendant a heaping handful of poo-covered refuse.
  1. Grabs the flight attendants ass. May he rot in hell.
  1. Fatphobes on a plane. Yes, I see the exaggerated eyeroll, yes I hear you make comments to your friend. Aren’ t you clever. Three cheers for appearance-based bigots. Or not.

You may note that I’ve left off things like crying babies, tantruming toddlers, etc. That’s because I don’t think that people existing in an airport or on a plane should be treated as an annoyance. The items above are all behaviors that people choose to engage in, not people simply existing in a space. If you think that you somehow deserve a seat and seatbelt that accommodate you while you fly but you think that other people don’t deserve the same thing and/or should have to pay twice as much as you for the same service, then congrats on being a magnificent douche. If you blame fat people for existing rather than airlines for not accommodating them, then I think that you are far more annoying than any two year old freaking out because their parent brought ducky and not goosegoose in the carry-on bag.   If you want to know if a fat person’s health issues are their fault to determine if they deserve room for an oxygen or a preboard with their mobility aid, then allow me to suggest that you never leave your house or interact with other people ever again because you are just a horrible human being.

As for me, I’ll keep pushing for airline customers to get the same experience regardless of their appearance, size, or dis/ability.

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Published in: on November 17, 2014 at 9:59 am  Comments (26)  

Thirteen Year Old Girl Refuses Weigh In

You Cannot Be SeriousReader Laney e-mailed me this story:  when she was called in front of her class to be weighed, Ireland Hobart Hoch decided to be brave, and said no.  Even when teachers and other students pressured her to do it, even when they sent her to the office,  Ireland Hobart Hoch refused to be weighed to have her BMI calculated.

“I really wasn’t comfortable with anybody but my mom and doctor knowing my weight,” Ireland said. “For another person to know — that’s not important to them.”

The adults involved used this as an impetus to look into the issues with publicly weighing kids at school and using BMI as a health measure and, based on the research, changed what they were doing with quiet dignity, modeling for the students that it’s ok to make mistakes and important to correct them.

Just kidding, they freaked out like feral cats in a bathtub.

“If it’s a math test, is a teacher not going to include something that is vital for a student’s math skills?” asked Jennifer Peterson, president of the Iowa Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

A student’s height/weight ratio is not vital to any skills.  A measurement of a student’s height/weight ratio should not be compared to an academic test.  Jennifer Peterson should have to find another job.

“I think there are some body image issues with this girl,” Ellen Latham, Southeast Polk’s curriculum director said. “The more attention to it, the more it challenges her.”

How do these people get to be in charge of children?  Ireland made a very rational argument about why she wasn’t willing to be weighed, and their response is to call her “this girl” and claim that she is the problem? (And I shudder to think what they would have said about her if she were fat.)  Fuck that.

“The use of BMI is widely recommended by the Institute of Medicine, by the Centers for Disease Control and almost every other agency because of the obesity epidemic,” said Gregory Welk, professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and scientific director for the Cooper Institute’s FitnessGram.

The use of heroin as a (“non-addictive”) substitute for morphine, and Lysol as a douche were also highly recommended but that didn’t make them good ideas.  Suggesting that the existence of a certain number of fat people somehow justifies the use of a deeply problematic measurement of “health” makes absolutely no sense.

But what does the CDC actually say?

The CDC “acknowledges that little is known about the outcomes of BMI-measurement programs and their utility for young people.”

“Little is known.”  And we’re strongly recommending it why? What has research found about the results of focusing on the weight of kids instead of focusing on health for kids of all sizes? Let’s take a look:

Research from the University of Minnesota found that: None of the behaviors being used by adolescents for weight-control purposes predicted weight loss…Of greater concern were the negative outcomes associated with dieting and the use of unhealthful weight-control behaviors.

A Canadian study found that eating disorders were more prevalent than type 2 diabetes in kids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that hospitalizations of children younger than 12 years for eating disorders rose by 119% from 1999 to 2006. (Children UNDER 12) There was a 15% increase in hospitalizations for eating disorders in all ages across the same time period.

A study is looking at the effects of “school based healthy-living programs.”  Turns out that these programs are being instituted in lots of schools, despite the fact that, per the researchers,  there is little research on the effectiveness of these programs or any inadvertent harmful effects on children’s mental health. This study found that these programs are actually triggering eating disorders in kids.

Fat adults have been the unwilling, un-consenting victims of experimental medicine for years.  Now society is moving on to experimenting on kids (that’s the definition of an intervention where “little is known about the outcomes… [or their] utility”)  .

So let’s be clear on what’s actually happening here.  The CDC, the state of Iowa, and her school wanted to practice experimental medicine on Ireland Hobart Hoch, and she refused to consent.  Good for her, good for her mom supporting her, and shame on all of the so-called experts bloviating about things they obviously don’t know anything about.

Activism Opportunity:  Find out if your kids’ (nieces/nephews/grandkids etc.) school utilizes BMI and/or weight based health initiatives. Insist that they provide you evidence of efficacy in improving kids health and avoiding harmful outcomes like disordered eating and eating disorders.  When they can’t (because none exists) insist that your kids be pulled from the program.  Bonus points if you get other parents involved.

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Published in: on November 15, 2014 at 5:29 am  Comments (30)  

Fat Crash Test Dummy Drama

DefendWhen I talk about fatphobia being life threatening to fat people, I’m often told that I’m being over-dramatic. I don’t think so and here’s an example. Several news outlets ran a story recently about the manufacture of fat crash test dummies. It turns out that fat people are 78% more likely to die in an automobile crash, and the increase may be in large part because crash test dummies are built to model thin bodies, and thus car safety systems are built to protect only thin bodies. To combat this, a company called Humanetics is developing fat crash test dummies.

Here are some responses to this story:

“Instead of making obese test dummies they should actually use the 78% higher chance of death in an automobile accident to encourage weight loss for obese people.”

Even if there was a single study that exists where fat people were able to become thin long term, the message “Change your body size or you’ll die needlessly because we refuse to make safety equipment for you” is not encouragement, it’s criminal negligence.

“Hope none of this was paid for by our taxes”

Let me translate from asshole to English “According to statistics 70% of people are fat and I’m completely comfortable with their tax dollars paying for the safety of the 30% of us who aren’t, but you better not use their taxes or mine to pay for their safety. I’m an incredible asshole and I approve this message.”

“Why not put a whole extremely obese family in there to start with? Dad weights 400 mom weights 300 kids weight 280 and the dog weights 220. Lets see those test results!!!”

Asshole to English:  “I think that killing fat people and their pets is three-exclamation-points hilarious!!!”

“It shouldn’t be necessary to make obese crash test dummies. Overweight is one thing, obese is another. Its unhealthy and a drain on the healthcare system.”

Asshole to English Translation: “I think it’s cool to kill off entire groups of people if they meet my definition of unhealthy or if it makes healthcare cheaper.”

And this is what happens when we make appearance based discrimination into a national pastime, having wars against everyone who looks a certain way, funding research to figure out if a group of people who share a single physical characteristic can be shown to be more expensive than others etc. We get a world where people take to the internet (anonymously, of course) to suggest that some people don’t deserve to live based on their appearance.

Luckily this isn’t everybody. One thing to remember when we read comments like this is that these are left by a few people who, without much going on with their lives, have made online fat bashing their main activity during their free time (and, it would appear, many of their work hours as well.) They pounce on these kinds of articles, sharing them with each other and rushing to say that absolute most abhorrent thing that they can think of.

Obviously (or, it should be obvious), people of all sizes buy cars – many taking the safety rating of the car into account – and we all deserve to have a vehicle whose manufacturer actually included us in the safety system design. These crash test dummies are definitely a step in the right direction.

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Published in: on November 14, 2014 at 7:34 am  Comments (49)  

Dillard’s Bad Santa

A woman in Florida photographed a sign in a Dillard’s Department store that said ““Dear Santa, This year please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don’t mix those two up like you did last year. Thanks.”  If you’re thinking that the women shopping for clothes were appalled, you’re almost right.  The sign wasn’t in the womens department, it was in the girls department.  That’s right, cute stripey leggings and Christmas sweaters with a side of body hate, just what every little girl wants, whether she celebrates Christmas or not.

'Dear Santa' Sign Stirs Controversy

Dillard’s told WPTV that “the sign was put in the Girls department in error, and has since directed all stores to remove the sign from sales floors entirely.”  This leaves me with two questions:

1.  Where was the sign supposed to go?

2.  How could you think it was ok to put this sign anywhere but in a fire?

Gods forbid any woman or girl go more than 5 minutes without being reminded that, even if it were possible to be too rich or too thin, she definitely isn’t getting it done. And best to start as early as possible, why settle for just commercializing a holiday when you can use it to reinforce poor body image and fat hatred in little girls?

Of course this gets the inevitable “can’t you take a joke?” response. Anytime someone points out that an attempt at comedy may be hurtful, it’s almost immediately suggested that they lack a sense of humor, have a stick where normally there is none, that they need to learn to take a joke, etc. First of all, nobody is obligated to celebrate humor made at their expense so pardon me if I don’t think it’s hysterical to tell girls that they should ask Santa not to look like me.

Also, I’m having trouble distinguishing between the kind of body shaming that paralyzes girls and women, encouraging them to view themselves as constantly inadequate, spending tons of time, money, and energy approximating a stereotype of beauty, and that has encouraged a 119% increase in eating disorder hospitalizations for kids under twelve, and the kind of body shaming that’s somehow hilarious.  And let’s be clear that a couple talented people advertising people  could have come up with ten funny iterations of this that aren’t based on body shaming faster than you can finish a pumpkin spice latte.  Perhaps rather than complaining that people need to take jokes and pick battles we could invest time in creating funny things that don’t stigmatize people for how they look.

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Published in: on November 12, 2014 at 4:44 am  Comments (18)  

Facebook Feeling Fat?

If you’re on Facebook you may be aware of an update option where you choose “Feeling…” and then one of the pre-filled answers that include a little drawing to match your current feelings.  A member of the Fit Fatties Forum noticed that one of the options is “Feeling Fat”

Feeling Fat

 

 

 

 

 

While I’m happy that the face is smiling, this is irritating to me because fat is not a feeling.  It’s true that people have different definitions of what is being fat, and some people take the attitude that people aren’t fat, they have fat (I’ve already discussed my feelings about why that is problematic).  We can definitely discuss these things but what should be clear is that fat is a descriptor of appearance, and not a feeling. “Hmm, do I feel happy, frustrated, or fat today?”  does not make sense.

Generally when we use physical descriptors to describe how we feel, it ends up being derogatory and based on stereotypes (“I’m feeling blond” to describe something doing something ditzy, “I’m feeling fat” because someone hit the buffet or skipped their workout or whatever.)  Usually when people say that they feel fat, they are basing it on stereotypes about fat people – like that ridiculous “fattest thing I’ve ever done meme that went around a while ago.

I will admit that I sometimes get annoyed when a size 2 friend complains that she has to get out her (size 4) “fat jeans” because she’s bloated or whatever. It’s not that I don’t want her to feel her feelings, it’s that I know that all of my jeans are “fat jeans” and that the difference is that if an airline loses her luggage she can find “fat jeans” in her size at almost any women’s clothing store and I’ve been in huge malls where there wasn’t a single pair of jeans in my size.  It matters because suggesting that one can “feel fat” at any size  gets in the way of those of us who are trying to fight fatphobia and reclaim fat as a physical descriptor without a heaping helping of stereotypes and stigma along with it.

Thin women who “feel” fat are allowed to feel that way, and to talk about that if they want, but I would ask – is it necessary?  What are you hoping to gain?  Are you hoping to hear “You’re not fat“? Knowing that it adds to the crushing weight of oppression, stigma, and bullying that fat people deal with in our society, how important is it, really, for you to call them your fat jeans?

And why does Facebook feel the need to help out with this? I checked and there are NOT options on facebook for feeling short, tall, blonde, brunette, or thin.  Just fat.  And you know how that leaves me?

Feeling pissed

 

 

 

 

 

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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Published in: on November 11, 2014 at 10:22 am  Comments (24)  

Holiday Diet Tips To Skip

facepalmThe approach of the “holiday season” means being bombarded with ridiculous diet advice (the holidays being one third of the Dieting Axis of Evil along with “New Years Resolutions” and “Bikini Season is Coming”.)  Since you’re likely to have to deal with this whether you celebrate the holidays or not, I’ve compiled a list of so-called holiday diet tips from actual serious online articles, with thoughts on why we might be better off skipping these tips:

10 Holiday Diet Tips You’ve Never Heard Before!

You’ve totally heard these tips before, probably in the same forum in which you are currently reading them, exactly a year ago, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that.

Start Our Program Now and Get a Head Start on Your New Years Resolution

If you start earlier, you can fail at weight loss sooner while giving the diet industry (who are fully aware of the massive failure rate of their product) a boost on their fourth quarter earnings.  Or, you know, not.

Eat a Big Bowl of Fiber Cereal and Drink Lots of Water Before A Party to Avoid Snacking.

Spend the party in the bathroom with your friends awkwardly knocking and asking if you’re ok while you miss out on delicious snacks.

Buy Your Party Dress a Month Early and a Size Too Small for Inspiration to Lose that Last 10 Pounds

Frantically search through your closet on party day for something, anything, that fits and is party appropriate, end up going to the party uncomfortable in a dress that’s too small.

Save Your Calories For the Party by Eating Very Little During the Day

Show up at the party absolutely ravenous, bribe a cater waiter to get your hands on an entire tray of shrimp puffs, scarf them in the bathroom.

Make low-calorie egg nog with skim milk, egg substitutes, and artificial sweeteners.

Oh…I just…I can’t even…Just…  Ok, by the underpants rule you can totally make this beverage if you want and I will support you in drinking it, as long as you support me in not drinking it.

Only Eat Desserts that Are Truly a Sensual Experience for You

This author has a different relationship with food than I do…  I don’t find orange sherbet to be sensual at all but I will eat the hell out of it.

Don’t Taste The Food While You Cook – Those Calories Add Up

Serve your guests delicious-looking appetizers that taste like a salt lick, or like nothing at all, who knows?  If only there was a way to tell how the food tastes before we give it to other people…  The person who wrote this article obviously never watched Hell’s Kitchen or Chopped.

Choose Foods that Won’t Make You Feel Guilty the Next Day

Here’s the super secret trick to guilt-free eating:  Eat. Don’t feel guilty about it. Done.

Bring Fruits and Veggies to Parties and Work and Remind People About Their Weight Goals, They’ll Thank You!

They will not thank you.  They may, in fact, throat punch you. There’s nothing wrong with bringing fruits and veggies to the party, there may well be something wrong with being what we Southerners call a “superior sumbitch,” you may be able to avoid that by skipping the second part of this advice.  Instead consider “Bring fruits and veggies to parties and work and then shut up about it – find something more interesting to talk about than weight goals.”

Enjoy Fat Free Mock Versions of Your Favorite Holiday Foods, You’ll Never Miss the Full Fat Variety

I doubt that very much, and I do not think that the words “mock” and “food” should be put together.

Divide Foods into Naughty and Nice

Use the holidays to ease yourself into a disordered relationship with food.

Don’t Read Articles About Holiday Diet Tips

You caught me, this one didn’t come from an article, it’s my advice – take it or leave it.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Buy the book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on November 10, 2014 at 10:48 am  Comments (64)  

My Psychic Commenter – Fat People and Disabilities

How cute is this person rocking their scooter?!

How cute is this person rocking their scooter?!

I received this comment a few days ago (presented here exactly as it was sent to me, all of the ellipses are part of the original comment)

“honestly, I am happy to see that you love your body no matter the size…..but… being fat puts alot of extra pressure on your joints…so you might not be “unhealthy” but you won’t be able to walk when you’re older….”

Her concern for me is staggering, bless her heart (and I say that in the true Southern tradition.)  You know, so many ableist psychics leave comments here but none of them ever give me lottery numbers. Jerks.

So even if this was a forgone conclusion, the worst thing that I could do is attempt weight loss since the vast majority of weight loss attempts (including all of mine) end in weight gain.  In fact, it was only when I stopped trying to lose weight that my weight finally stabilized.  But to me the way that this is most messed up has nothing to do with that.

It’s possible that I won’t be able to walk when I’m older.  It’s possible that I won’t be able to walk tomorrow.  If that happens, I’ll join a number of people who currently can’t walk.

People using the possibility of disability as a way to try to threaten/manipulate the behavior of fat people is ableist, it’s totally fucked up, and it needs to stop.  People with disabilities/disabled people (there are people who identify as one, the other or both) are not cautionary tales. (To be clear, while I do want to look at the intersections of these oppressions, I am not trying to compare the oppressions that are faced by each.)

At the intersection of ableism and fatphobia lies a mountain of bullshit.  Whether it’s suggesting that fat people shouldn’t want to be fat because then they might become disabled, or suggesting that the world should be made more difficult to navigate for fat people with disabilities, the idea is that there is only one “good” body and any deviation from that is something that is bad and to be avoided.  The truth is that it’s not people’s bodies that disable or other them, it’s a society that is built to accommodate only one type of body and that treats other bodies like some kind of aberration or inconvenience, refusing to accommodate them.  So essentially people who “threaten” fat people with disability are saying “We’re going to continue to oppress disabled people so you don’t want to become one.”  So. Fucked. Up.

This is the faulty logic that leads to a culture where it’s ok to make seats that businesses know don’t accommodate everyone, and then blame the people they chose not to accommodate  – and encourage others to blame them – sometimes going so far as to charge them more to access the same service.  This is the big steaming pile of bullshit that leads to people suggesting that fat people with disabilities/disabled fat people don’t “deserve” mobility devices because it’s “their own fault” – as if the idea that people should have to prove that their disabilities aren’t their fault in order to be accommodated isn’t abjectly horrifying. This is what leads to the terrible treatment of disabled fat people/fat people with disabilities  (taking pictures of them without their consent, making fun of them, yelling at them as they pass etc.) that causes fat people whose lives could be improved by mobility aids to choose not to use them to avoid shaming and stigma.

People of different sizes and dis/abilities exist and it doesn’t matter why.  To me it is far more important to create a world that accommodates as many people as possible, not try to pit us against each other, or justify lack of accommodation as something that is for “our own good.”

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on November 6, 2014 at 7:50 am  Comments (29)  

It’s Not You, It’s Bullshit

Bullshit FairyRecently I’ve written about the government funding discrimination against fat people from spending over $200,000 to get an estimate of a measurement (an exact measurement of which can be obtained with a scale and tape measure), to helping employers discriminate against fat employees, to spending billions on the “obesity epidemic” when it could be solved for free today.

In each of those blogs I did my best to rationally explain why these things were terrible, and discriminatory based on logic, math, research, and the belief that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable – not size, health, or healthy habit contingent.

Because we’re all steeped in fatphobic culture, fat people – even those of us who are Size Acceptance Activists – can get overwhelmed by the amount of fatphobia that exists (and the amount that is perpetuated by the government) and think that maybe it’s us.  If that happens to you I suggest a little mantra that has helped me a lot:

It’s not me, this is some fucked up bullshit.

Feel free to edit it to work for you (It’s not me gosh darn it, this is bull hockey…) but rest assured that if you’re noticing that fat people are facing a tremendous amount of stigma, bullying and discrimination – much of it paid for by our own tax dollars – and you are thinking “holy shit, that’s totally fucked up bullshit” (or, you know, “wow, that’s messed up”) then please know that you are not wrong, it is not you, and it is not ok.

Sometimes when we think about activism and social change we think about petitions and speeches and rallies – whole movements with big activities and lots of people.  The truth is that social change starts with each of us saying “that’s not ok,” and then “I won’t allow that to go unchallenged” and everything else – all the petitions and protests, all the rallies and rabble rousing – comes from that place.  Never forget that in our fatphobic society refusing to hate ourselves is an act of revolution, and every time we see size-based discrimination and say “No.”  Whether it’s with a blog post, a petition, to a friend, or just in our own heads, we are engaging in activism.

This is going to be a long, difficult, painful fight, but we are going to win, and we make progress every time we notice the fucked up bullshit and every time we say “No.”

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on November 4, 2014 at 9:21 am  Comments (17)