What Fat People Know Best

You Cannot Be SeriousAs fat people, we are constantly being told that everyone is a better witness to our experience than we are.  We are told that we’re not competent witnesses to what and how much we do or should eat, or how much we do or should exercise.  Our bodies are held up as proof that we must be lying or deluded and that we can’t possibly know, or be doing, what’s “best for us”.   We are told that everyone from Dr. Phil to Dr. Oz to random people on the internet know more about how we think and act than we do. Some people even act like they’re doing us a favor by pretending to be us and putting words in our mouths.

When we tell people that constant social stigma is damaging to our health, we are told that if we don’t want to be mistreated we should become thin.  Doctors tell us to eat less and exercise more without asking us what we eat or how much we exercise, and people call us liars if who we are doesn’t meet their stereotypes of us, and call us delusional if we refuse to hate ourselves. We are told that if we don’t accept someone else’s account of how we think, eat, and exercise, then we’re “in denial”. It’s a system designed to make us powerless.  They tell the world who we are and what we do and how we think (often in ways that profit them), and if we disagree they call us liars.

So if you start to question yourself, to wonder if Dr. Oz really is a better witness to your experience than you are, then I implore you to stop and think.  You are not wrong, it is not you. It’s a system set up to make you feel that you are not the most credible witness to your own experience.  It’s wrong, it’s oppressive, and we don’t have to buy into it.  The next time somebody feels like they need to tell you “something you don’t know” about being you – your body, lifestyle, behaviors, or health – feel free to tell them (outloud or in your mind) that it’s not you, it’s them; that you know everything you need to know about being you, and when you want their opinion they will be among the very first to know.  You are the best most credible witness to your experience.  When it comes to you, you can allow for the possibility that you know you best.

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Things That Don’t Justify Concern Trolling

Picture thanks to reader Morgan!
Picture thanks to reader Morgan!

Yesterday I blogged about how it’s ok to be fat and to not try to be thin no matter what your situation.  Predictably, today I heard from people who want to concern troll fat people using a couple of very common, very ridiculous justifications:

The first is based on the suggestion that if the person “wants better” or “healthier” for someone (here “better” and “healthier typically means “thinner” but sometimes mean something else) then that person should definitely step in and start doling out advice whether it’s wanted or not.

Not so much.  What we want for other people is our business and has actually nothing to do with them. Other people’s health is not our business unless they ask us to make it their business. It doesn’t matter if someone thinks they can make psychic health predictions based on other people’s size, it doesn’t matter if the object of their concern trolling has diagnosed health issues and they disagree with that person’s decisions about how to handle those issues. It simply doesn’t matter.

People are allowed to want people to be “healthy” by whatever definition they are using. They do not, however, have the right to actually make other people’s health their business unless and until their input is requested. Other people’s right to make choices for themselves without unsolicited advice is not subject to whether or not anyone thinks they are making the right choices. 

When it comes to personal health decisions, other people’s autonomy does not have to be “balanced out” by someone else’s desires to try to control those decisions regardless of their reasoning.  I do think that there can be exceptions made to this rule (I’m thinking of intervening when someone is dealing with an eating disorder or addiction), but we shouldn’t be surprised if the person we are talking to tells us to search for our beeswax elsewhere.

The second justification I often here is some version of “Fat people are at higher risk for health issues and that costs me tax dollars so I have every right to talk to them about their health.” 

Horseshit. Even if it was true. If you want to make an argument about tax dollars then I want to see a list of the things that your tax dollars pay for, broken down into things of which you do and do not approve and the interventions you are involved in for each thing you think makes your taxes too high, as well as your letter submitting to the authority of anyone who says that they know better than you what you should do to be healthy, including your willingness to let them tell you how to live so that they can bring down their tax dollars, otherwise this is just a weak justification for fat bigotry.I blogged about this in detail here.

Our bodies, our business.  We may have trusted advisers, we may welcome the input of others, but we are under no obligation to do so and there is no justification for concern trolling.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? 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

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

It’s ok to be fat as long as…

You Forgot Your BullshitIn response to my blogs about Tess Holliday and the importance of fat role models, and a 16 year old’s body positive art, I’m getting a lot of people who say some version of “It’s ok to be fat as long as you’re happy with your body”  or “It’s ok to be fat as long as you’re healthy.”  The idea being that if a fat person is not happy with their body, or not healthy (by whatever definition we’re using) then it’s time to try to lose weight.

While of course we are each allowed to make choices for our bodies (Underpants Rule!), I think that this line of “reasoning” deserves a closer look.

First of all, we know that being unhappy with our bodies and having health issues are not exclusive to fat people – there are people of all sizes who hate their bodies, and people of all sizes with health issues, which means that being thin can neither be a sure preventative, nor a sure cure. The idea that if a thin person is unhappy with their body or is not “healthy” then they should focus on things that would make them happier and/or healthier, but that a fat person in the same situation should focus on being thin is sketchy at best.

And that doesn’t even take into account that the most common outcome of intentional weight loss attempts is weight gain, and thus even if someone thinks that being fat is the problem, recommending intentional weight loss is statistically the worst possible advice.

We live in a world where many National governments (including in the US, my home country) suggest that fat people should be singled out, stereotyped, stigmatized, and blamed for everything from global warming to health care costs (actual evidence be damned.) Under those circumstances someone being fat and not liking their body isn’t exactly shocking.

The problem, to me, occurs when people (often the same people perpetuating fat hate and stigma) suggest that fat people should try to solve social stigma and oppression by changing our bodies, rather than by working to end stigma and oppression. This is tantamount to telling a kid to give the bullies their lunch money and hope that they stop beating her up (when we know damn well that the bullies will always find another reason to pick a fight after school, and find more and more that they can take. )

As far as health goes, health is an amorphous concept, it is not an obligation or a barometer of worthiness. Nobody, of any size, owes anybody else “health” or “healthy behaviors” by any definition,   Health is also never guaranteed and never entirely within our control.  Genetics and the effects of past behaviors (like repeated dieting attempts!) can affect our health.  Access plays a major part – that includes many things including the ability to get and afford things like evidence-based healthcare, the food we want to eat, and any types of movement that we would like to do (in ways that are both physically and psychologically safe). Finally, the link between weight and health (yes, including our knees) is more complicated than what is often suggested by the media and even healthcare practitioners, and the idea that becoming thin is the same thing as becoming healthy, and weight loss behaviors are the same thing as healthy behaviors is simply not what the evidence suggests.

It’s ok to be fat, full stop.  It doesn’t matter how you currently feel about your body, or your current health status, it’s still ok to be fat and to not try to become thin.  If we don’t like our fat bodies, we have the option of working on loving them as they are.  If we are having health issues, we can research the options for dealing with those issues (including asking our doctors the magic question – “what do you do for thin people with this issue?”)

Each of us gets to make choices for our bodies, and if we want to do something regarding other people’s bodies or health we can work on creating a world without appearance-based stigma, shame, and oppression, and we can work to make sure that everyone has the food, movement, and healthcare choices that they want available to them.  And then we can mind our own business, because public health should be about making information and options available to the public, and not about making the individual’s health the public’s business.  Nobody has any right to create qualifications for when it is ok for fat people to exist.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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Mikhaila Nodel’s Beautiful Body Positive Art

I spend a lot of time on this blog pointing out things that are messed up, ranting about people who are doing harm with their fat phobia etc.  When I give talks to teen girls, I’m always so saddened at how many of them have internalized what our culture has told sold them about their themselves – the body hatred, the insistence that they will never be enough without a lifelong commitment of massive time, money, and energy to the goal of looking like a photoshopped picture of someone else. Today I want to talk about something awesome that a number of readers sent me, that makes me incredibly happy.

When Mikhaila Nodel realized what a hard time her classmates had with their self-esteem, she created the Cosmic Cuties.  In an interview with proud2bme Mikhaila explains “‘I kind of invented them as a species. They’re born from space dust and slow down the universe and fight sexist crime. They’re these feminist goddesses that watch over all women and are there to protect them.”

http://cosmiccuties.com
Mikhaila Nodel http://cosmiccuties.com
http://cosmiccuties.com
Mikhaila Nodel http://cosmiccuties.com
cosmic cuties 3
Mikhaila Nodel http://cosmiccuties.com

She has created zines where the Cosmic Cuties talk about fatphobia, gender, body hair, and more!  You can see them all at http://cosmiccuties.com/!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? 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

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!

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

A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development, you can follow the progress on Facebook!

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

Tess Holliday, Promoting Obesity, and Fat Role Models

Hot Damn, Tess Holliday Is On the Cover of People MagazineTess Holliday is a 5’5, size 22 model who is on the cover of People Magazine (like many models before her) for being rocking awesome at her job, which is to let fat women see the clothes that are being sold to us on a body that looks like us.

But heaven forbid we let a woman believe that her achievements are more important than random people’s judgments. So cue hand-wringing about the completely ridiculous notion of “promoting obesity,” the armchair psychic doctors who can tell someone’s health just by looking at their picture, and the won’t-somebody-think-of-the-children nonsense about who should and shouldn’t be a role model.

Let’s begin with the bottom line:  It doesn’t matter how fat someone is, or why they are that fat, or what the outcomes of being that fat may or may not be.  We deserve to be treated with respect and we have the right to exist in our fat bodies without shame, stigma, bullying, or oppression.  it is completely ok for us to be fat. Yes, even if we weigh [insert random number of pounds that seems like a lot to you here]. Yes even if you think our weight is “our fault.” Yes, even if you would never ever want to be “that fat”.  Yes, even if you can’t understand how we do …whatever you can’t understand how we do. Yes, even if we have problems that can be correlated with being fat.  Yes, even if people say that we cost society more.  Yes, even if we actually cost society more.  It is totally, completely 100% ok for someone to be fat.  Nobody needs anyone’s encouragement, justification or permission to live in their body.  Period.

Even if someone believes that all fat people engage in behavior that doesn’t prioritize our health, this doesn’t hold up.  People get to make choices about their personal health. That means that they are allowed to drink like fish, jump out of helicopters wearing skis, be cast members on Jackass, take stressful jobs, not get enough sleep, eat what they choose, be sedentary, etc. at whatever weight they happen to be.  Anything else quickly becomes an very  steep slippery slope.

In order to agree with the idea that fat people make poor role models because we are unhealthy you have to believe a couple of things. First, that you can tell someone’s health based on their weight, and second, that people who aren’t healthy shouldn’t be role models. Both of these are totally wrong.

First of all, you cannot tell how healthy someone is based on their size.  There are healthy and unhealthy people of all sizes, for lots of different reasons, none of which is anybody else’s business.  But even if someone is so misguided as to believe that body size is a reliable indicator of health, this “bad role model” idea is still bullshit.

Health is not an obligation or a barometer of worthiness, it’s not entirely within our control or guaranteed in any circumstance, and “health,” by whatever definition, should not be a prerequisite for being a role model or to be acknowledged for one’s achievements. The idea that someone, of any size, should have to meet some level of “health” in order to be appreciated for their talent or be a role model is horrifying, and is the definition of healthism. Not to mention that, as it plays out in reality, the double standard on this could not be more clear.

I don’t think that people who suggest that fat people shouldn’t be role models because they think we’re unhealthy actually care about our health, I think that they are trying to use healthism as a cover for their fatphobia.

Again, even if people believe that fat people are fat because we engage in behaviors that are unhealthy, or that we could be not fat if we tried and that would be healthier, that still doesn’t justify this.  We can look up to people for their achievements, appreciate their talents, we make them our role models based on their accomplishments, even if we don’t agree with every choice they make about their personal health – because those choices are between them and the people they choose to include. (And let’s not forget that many people’s choices are limited by lack of access due to factors including oppression -racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, sizeism etc. – as well as socioeconomic factors.)

So every time you see someone comment on an article about a fat person like Tess being celebrated for their achievements with some crap about their health, or how it’s promoting obesity, or how they shouldn’t be a role model etc. you can choose to acknowledge to yourself that this is sizeist, healthist, and total, unadulterated, bullshit.  If you want to go a step further, you can leave a comment saying so.

Just so there is no confusion, I am saying that it is totally, entirely, completely ok to be fat, and it’s totally, entirely, completely ok to have fat role models.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? 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

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!

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

A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development, you can follow the progress on Facebook!

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

Dressing for the Body You Have

The Body You HaveThis sign was posted on the window of a Social Services office.  We’ll get to that in a minute.  But first, awesome activist Crystal Vasquez e-mailed to inquire as to just what the sam hill they were thinking, and received this treasure of a response (posted with her permission, of course)

Ms Vasquez, Thank you so much for your correspondence. I am truly sorry if you were offended and/or inferred that a sign encouraging people to dress appropriately was directed at a particular group, or individual, in any way. I assure you it was not, nor do we want any client to dress in less clothing (“skinny” or “fat”) than another for any reason. We want all who visit our agency to feel welcome. Our concern is as much for underdressed individuals, no matter what size or shape, as it is for those who are subjected to the inappropriate (sometimes grossly, i.e. – bra and/or panties) attire they’re wearing. While we do not necessarily expect visitors to dress modestly, we do hope they’ll adhere to most societal norms of acceptable attire and not degrade and/or embarrass themselves and/or others by doing otherwise. Unfortunately, that is not always the case and we do try and find ways to address these situations, hopefully without being offensive. I’ve attached a sign that was the catalyst in an effort to do so with a seemingly humorous approach. I’m sorry it’s so easily misconstrued and do appreciate you bringing this to my attention. I’ve forwarded you an email sent to staff (below) regarding this matter. I did not reference fat shaming, nor skinny or fat clients, (since the intent of the sign was to have all visitors appropriately attired, not any particular group or individual) and hope you won’t mind the use of larger people in describing the offended. I did not want anyone aggrieved by the use of “skinny, fat, shaming” anymore than I would want anyone offended by the sign. I find those terms offensive and unacceptable myself and I did not use them. Many people struggle with underweight issues, as well as overweight and/or eating disorders. Every effort should be made to avoid offending anyone, which is what we strive for. Again, I’m sorry that wasn’t your experience. We will continue to make our agency an inclusive, safe, and non-offensive place for one and all. Again, thank you for your correspondence and concern regarding this matter. Sincerely, Melissa Stokely

Huh. Well, I guess this is a step above using the Shaggy song “It Wasn’t Me” as a damage control strategy, but it’s not exactly Olivia Pope either. A lot of this note has that “talking points in a blender” feel, but let’s look at some of the greatest hits:

I am truly sorry if you were offended and/or inferred that a sign encouraging people to dress appropriately was directed at a particular group, or individual, in any way.

Oops, this is not an apology.  An apology occurs when you say that you are sorry for your bad choices, not when you say that you are sorry that other people had appropriate reactions to your bad choices.  And the sign suggested that clothes that are appropriate for some bodies are not appropriate for others, so the idea that this wasn’t “directed at a particular group, or individual” seems to be, at best, the message that she WANTS to convey, not the message that she HAS conveyed.

Our concern is as much for underdressed individuals, no matter what size or shape, as it is for those who are subjected to the inappropriate (sometimes grossly, i.e. – bra and/or panties) attire they’re wearing.

Their concern would be touching were it not wrapped up in big ball of shaming with absolutely no attempt to assist the people about whom they are so concerned. This is an office that deals with people who are struggling with poverty. If we are to believe that they weren’t trying to be shaming, then we must point out that they are aware the people are living in poverty such that they may not have access to a mirror (per the bottom line of the sign there are mirrors available in the bathrooms for those who don’t have them at home – because of course It’s totally easy for people dealing with poverty to come to the Social Services office, check their reflection in the mirror, then go home, change clothes and come back.)

So it wouldn’t be, you know, totally beyond the realm of possibility that people don’t have access to a “7 Pieces You Can’t Live Without” Marie Claire wardrobe at home. People may have to come to this office to get the assistance they need regardless of the clothing that is available to them and they should expect to be able to do so without being shamed.

This sign would be inappropriate anywhere, but it is wildly inappropriate in an office that claims to provide support to people who are dealing with poverty and the classism and oppression (and often shame) that comes with that.  Melissa and her sign making-team need to pull their shit together and I mean right damn now.

While we do not necessarily expect visitors to dress modestly, we do hope they’ll adhere to most societal norms of acceptable attire and not degrade and/or embarrass themselves and/or others by doing otherwise.

Well aren’t we just splashing around in a pool of self-righteous judgment.  “Degrade and/or embarrass themselves”?  Every social worker I know is ridiculously overworked, so I’m thinking that if these folks have extra time on their hands, there’s probably work to be done helping people rather than caring about how they are dressed, and making body shaming signs.

We do try and find ways to address these situations, hopefully without being offensive.

The phrase that you are looking for is “Epic Fail.”  If this is truly a problem, how about addressing it by keeping a box of clothes (big t-shirts, etc.) that people could borrow or be given, and offering help on a individual basis, quietly and with dignity (and without a heaping helping of body shaming.)

Every effort should be made to avoid offending anyone, which is what we strive for.

You may be striving Melissa, but I don’t think this one’s got the distance.  Suggesting that the body people have isn’t the one that they want is offensive.  Suggesting that some clothing is only for some bodies is offensive.  Trying to use ridiculous “won’t somebody think of the children” hand-wringing to justify body shaming and manipulating adults to dress in ways of which you approve is offensive.

Hey, wait y’all … I just had a scathingly brilliant idea!  If we don’t like what someone is wearing, we could…wait for it… look at something else.  Or, hey, even better – we could get the fuck over ourselves.  We can do it, I believe in us!

For me, the body I have is the body I want and I dress accordingly (which is to say, however I damn well please) but regardless, I’m just a big fan of dressing however the hell you want. Now, I understand that they’ve taken the sign down. But still, I try never to criticize without offering solutions, so I’ve taken the liberty of redesigning the sign, let’s see if they take me up on it:

The Body You Have Dances With Fat Edit

Speaking of wearing spandex, I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? 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

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!

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

A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development, you can follow the progress on Facebook!

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

Fat People and Our Knees

Ragen Chastain - fat dancer, no fat suit needed.  Photo by Richard Sabel
Photo by Richard Sabel

There’s a thing that happens to me a lot. It’s happening even more now that I’m training for an IRONMAN. Perfect strangers, upon seeing or hearing that I’m a fathlete, will ask me “how are your knees?”, often wincing like it pains them to even think about it.  When I say that my knees are fine, people suddenly become psychic.  “It will catch up to you,”  they tell me. They ask my age and then add five or ten years. My knees were going to go when I was 25, 30, 35, now it’s 40. (Again I ask: If they can tell the future would it kill them to give me some lottery numbers with their bullshit judgments?)

Let’s get a couple of things cleared up before we get into this.  First of all it’s possible that I’ll have trouble with my knees someday, many people – of all sizes – do for lots of different reasons.  As I’ve spoken about before, using the possibility of future disability to try to insult fat people or manipulate our behavior is fucked up ableism that needs to stop right the hell now. Also our joint health isn’t anybody else’s business unless we ask them to make it their business so asking random fat people about their knees is just weird – so maybe don’t do it. I have been known to respond to “How are your knees” by saying “Great!  How are your bowel movements?” or “Great! How’s your erectile function?”

The subject came up recently when I was giving a talk to a group of soon-to-be personal trainers about working with fat people. One of the guys said that he was worried about working with fat people because of the potential for knee injury.

I asked who in the room had had a knee injury in the past.  Almost everyone (not surprising in a room full of jocks.)  I asked who had been given an option for treatment of their knee injury other than weight loss.  Almost everybody.  I asked them to raise their hand if they had only been given weight loss as a treatment option.  Nobody.  I asked whose knee injuries had responded to treatment and gotten better. Almost everybody. Just like the ideas of weight causing health issues, the discussion about fat and joint health is also much more complicated than many people would have us believe.

There have been a few times in my life, at various weights, when I’ve had knee pain.  When I was less fat doctors looked at things like muscle imbalances and tightness, gait, and sure enough they were the (solvable) problem.

When I had knee pain a few years ago the only explanation offered to me by doctors was that I needed to lose weight.  Because I had the luxury of knowing how they treat these issues with smaller people, I asked the doctor if people who weren’t fat had knee problems.  After some pushing he admitted that they do.  So I said that I wanted to be treated like they treat thin people.  I was told that there was no point in treating any other issues until I lost weight.  What with the who now?  So I left the doctor’s office and did some research.  I started working with a massage therapist and when we cleared up the tightness in my quads and IT bands the knee pain disappeared.  Losing weight would have done NOTHING to help the actual issue.

In fact, continuing to work out so that I could get thin so that I could somehow “deserve” evidence-based healthcare would have been more likely to have exacerbated the problem from one that could be solved through a couple good massages to a more serious issue which would then have been blamed, not on my doctor’s incompetence, but …wait for it… on my weight!

In general I think that a diagnosis of “fat”  and a prescription of “weight loss” is always just lazy medicine.  Anytime someone tells you that weight loss is the “solution” to your health problem, I would suggest that you ask if thin people have the problem that you do.  If they do (and they definitely do), then ask how they are treated and insist that you start with that.

A medical model that suggests that in thin people “knee pain” is the diagnosis and “interventions shown to help knee pain” are the prescription, but that in fat people “fat” is the diagnosis and “attempt to be less fat” is the prescription is seriously sketchy.

And let’s remember that there’s not a single study that shows that weight loss works long term for more than a tiny fraction of people long term.  So prescribing weight loss to cure joint pain (because it almost never works, but it will be great if it does) is roughly the same as prescribing flying.  I’m mean, if you jump off your garage and flap your arms really hard you probably won’t fly, but think of the joint pain relief you would feel if it worked and your feet never had to touch the ground!

I don’t know about you but my healthcare professionals need to do a little better than trying to sell me a big bag of magical weight loss beans. Because it isn’t just phenomenally lazy medicine, it’s also medically unethical without informed consent – which requires your healthcare professional to explain that weight loss is almost never successful and most of the time results in weight gain (and when’s the last time I doctor ‘fessed up to that during your appointment?)

So if you are dealing with joint pain and you’re being told that weight loss is the only thing that can help, you are absolutely, positively, one hundred percent being lied to. It may be that strengthening the supporting muscles,  correcting movement patterns that lead to imbalances, massage, stretching,  physical therapy, ultrasound, surgery, mobility aids or the many other things that are prescribed for knee problems in thin people might help.

Or maybe the pain is something that’s not curable and/or those solutions aren’t something you want to/can pursue (remember that lack of access to healthcare due to everything from oppression – including racism, ableism, ageism, sizeism, classism etc. – to financial situation, to geography and more can limit people’s options) – there is absolutely no shame in that regardless of your size or situation – fat people shouldn’t be shamed because people believe that our knee problems are our “fault” any more than athletes should be blamed because people believe that their knee problems are their “fault.” Everyone should have access to whatever they need to navigate the world. and nobody should be shamed or made to feel guilty about that. We should also have access to compassionate, competent, evidence-based health care and that includes our knees.

Hey, speaking of my IRONMAN, I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

If you’re looking or support for talking about fitness from a weight neutral perspective, you are welcome to join us at the Fit Fatties Forum, it’s for anyone, of any size, who wants to talk about fitness without weight loss talk, diet talk, or negative body talk.

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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!

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