Is There Any Right Way to Ask Someone to Lose Weight For You?

A Big Bag Full of Nope (1)In case you’re not familiar, Humans of New York started in 2010 as a photography project by Brandon Stanton to “create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.” A lovely fat acceptance story about an NYU student named Stella made the rounds of the Body Positive community a few years ago.

That’s why a recent post was so utterly disappointing.

Most of the people responding seem to assume that the subject is male, but I don’t think that can be discerned from the photograph. What we can know for sure is that they’ve found someone amazing and their fatphobia is getting in the way, and that’s entirely their problem but they are going to make it their partner’s problem if they don’t get their shit together, like, now.

Let’s take this bit by bit:

“At first I told myself I could get past it. I said, ‘Let’s just see how it goes.”

You decided to kick off a new relationship with lies of omission. Going out on dates with someone while secretly harboring bigotry against their body is fucked up. If you’re a fatphobe, then you shouldn’t get to lie about that and enjoy the company of fat people.

“We had excellent dates. Everything else about her was exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want to ruin something good for that one little reason.”

Then you shouldn’t have. You should have hauled your ass to therapy and handled your issues.

“But it’s been 1.5 years. And I feel horrible, but I just can’t get past it.”

Yeah, well, you should feel horrible. You’ve been hiding your appearance-based bigotry from your partner for over a year and a half. That’s a horrible thing to do.

“And I feel like a bad person for being bothered by it.”

You are a bad person.

“I can’t bring myself to tell her.”

A fatphobe and a coward. That’s fucking great.

“We’re going to couple’s therapy next week, but I still don’t think I’ll be able to say it.”

You’re torturing her. If it were me, I’d want you to break up with me, not tell me why (I shouldn’t have to hear or care about your bigotry issues) and go do your self-work on your own. Regardless, this lying shit has to stop.

“Is there any right way to ask someone to lose weight for you?”

Wrong question asshat, unless you accidentally misspelled “How do I overcome my fatphobia without hurting my partner?”

Happily, most of the responses are clear that this person is the one with the problem, not their partner. Of course in a fatphobic world there’s always someone ready to defend fatphobia — often with healthism — and the comment section is no exception with people suggesting that it’s reasonable to ask her to lose weight because they believe it will make her healthier.

That’s bullshit, but even if it were true (it’s not!) it’s super healthist…

Click here to read the rest of this story!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

NEW!!! Wellness for All Bodies Program: A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Over the course of eighteen self-paced, content-packed, quick videos you’ll get the tools you need to create healthy relationships with food, movement, and your body, and you’ll map out a path to health that makes sense for you, in an easily digestible format. Built-in tools allow you to track your progress and keep notes individually or as a group.
Click here for all the details and to register!

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!

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

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

Published in: on October 31, 2017 at 10:12 am  Comments (7)  

The Way You Are

The way you areBefore I forget, last week I had an absolute blast in Lexington, Kentucky talking about Fatphobia and Capitalism (spoiler alert, capitalism attacks fat people from every directions!) teaching a dance class (which was extra fun since I’ve missed dancing so much with all this triathlon training) and talking about how The World is Messed Up, but We Are Fine! Massive thanks to Ashley and Tiffany for hosting me!

I’m also super excited to announce that I’ve been selected to be a Keynote speaker at the Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association (MEDA) Conference. The conference is in Boston March 16-17. I was a plenary speaker a couple of years ago and it was such a fantastic experience that I can’t wait to go back!  My talk is Size Acceptance and Eating Disorders – A Critical, Crucial, Core Conversation.

If you missed me in Kentucky or can’t wait until Boston you can hear me right now on Erica Ormanovich’s podcast “The Way You Are.”  Erica took her own experience of recovering from an eating disorder and devoted herself ts to spreading the word on Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and body positivity. As I’ve written about before, fatphobia can play a huge part in triggering eating disorders and preventing recovery, since it’s difficult to believe that your recovery is the most important thing when the world is telling you that the most important thing, by far, is being thin by any means necessary. When hating your body and being terrified of becoming fat is considered normal, full eating disorder recovery can be impossible.  Too often people think that fat activism only helps fat people, but the truth is that fatphobia hurts people of all sizes – it’s not just the shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression of fat people (thought that is certainly enough of a reason to end fatphobia,) it hurts people whose fear of being fat takes up time, energy, and money that could be spent on other things, it hurts people whose disordered relationships with food, movement, and their bodies are normalized and encouraged. There are so many reasons to dismantle fatphobia!

You can listen to my episode of the podcast here and, while you’re there, you can check out other amazing interviews!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

NEW!!! Wellness for All Bodies Program: A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Over the course of eighteen self-paced, content-packed, quick videos you’ll get the tools you need to create healthy relationships with food, movement, and your body, and you’ll map out a path to health that makes sense for you, in an easily digestible format. Built-in tools allow you to track your progress and keep notes individually or as a group.
Click here for all the details and to register!

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!

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

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

 

Published in: on October 30, 2017 at 7:25 am  Comments (1)  

Victory! Fat Suit Halloween Costume Off the Shelves

victoryToday for Say Something Sunday I have an update on the terrible fat suit Halloween costume that I wrote about earlier in the week. I was late to the party hearing about this and amazing fat activists lead by Kristen Hardy were already hard at work fixing it.  Per Kristen’s Facebook page;

GREAT NEWS!
I just got off the phone with the Customer Care Manager of Value Village.
Following our complaints about the “fat ballerina” costume, Value Village has removed the costume from ALL of their stores in Canada and the US, as well as set up an advisory committee for 2018 onward to look at ALL of their Hallowe’en costumes to make sure that they are in harmony with the company’s commitment to inclusivity.
Thanks to everyone who contacted them about this!

It’s important to remember that, while it’s often the slow boring of hard boards, activism works! Massive thanks to Kristen Hardy and the other activists who put in the work to get this abomination off the shelves and to further work with the company to stop the sale of other offensive costumes! Do you have an activism victory? Feel free to leave it in the comments.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

NEW!!! Wellness for All Bodies Program: A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Over the course of eighteen self-paced, content-packed, quick videos you’ll get the tools you need to create healthy relationships with food, movement, and your body, and you’ll map out a path to health that makes sense for you, in an easily digestible format. Built-in tools allow you to track your progress and keep notes individually or as a group.
Click here for all the details and to register!

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!

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

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

Published in: on October 29, 2017 at 12:07 pm  Comments (6)  

Google, Cupcakes, and Terrible Ideas

facepalmSomeone at Google thought it would be a swell idea to launch a new feature into iPhone users’ Google Maps so that if someone asked for directions to a place that was “not far away” (by Google’s definition), they would get not just the directions they asked for, but also the number of calories they would burn (by Google’s estimation) if they walked instead.

Then, as the icing on the cake (sorry, couldn’t help myself), they decided to translate calories into… wait for it …mini-cupcakes.

There are many, many ways in which this is terrible. First of all, it’s ableist AF. Any time we suggest that “encouraging people to walk” is a good thing, while ignoring that there are plenty of people with disabilities (visible and invisible) and health issues that mean that walking may not be a good choice or may be impossible, we engage in ableism. Not just because we create a situation that explicitly leaves people out, but because we perpetuate a society that conflates performance of “health” as a measure of goodness or worthiness, but we’ll get back to that in a minute.

For those who have a predisposition to, are suffering with, or recovering from, eating disorders, this can be completely triggering. Not just calorie counting, which is bad enough, but specifically the idea of having to “earn” food through activity is a significant eating disorder red flag.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that this is total bullshit. Bodies are complicated; estimating the number of calories an individual uses to walk a mile is difficult at best. Trying to come up with a single figure that will work for everyone is impossible. Google claims “the average person burns 90 calories by walking one mile” with no information about where they got that figure. I assume that they just found a calorie chart and took the average since this calculation involves, at the very least, weight, and pace and, depending on which chart you look at, can differ by more than 90 calories based on these variables.

You would think Google would care that they are giving people completely erroneous data; they’re Google for god’s sake!

Finally, there’s the old “nobody asked you!” issue. People asked Google Maps for directions, and instead, they got information about calories and cupcakes. To make matters worse, there was no way to turn the “extra” info off and just get the direction they were looking for in the first place!

So, as is nearly always the case when we introduce diet concepts into the greater culture, we do harm with basically no benefit. Luckily, the pushback was swift and sharp:

Read the rest of this story here!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

NEW!!! Wellness for All Bodies Program: A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Over the course of eighteen self-paced, content-packed, quick videos you’ll get the tools you need to create healthy relationships with food, movement, and your body, and you’ll map out a path to health that makes sense for you, in an easily digestible format. Built-in tools allow you to track your progress and keep notes individually or as a group.
Click here for all the details and to register!

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!

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

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

 

Published in: on October 28, 2017 at 9:42 am  Comments (8)  

Dressing Up As “Fat” for Halloween?

 

I saw this costume today:

It’s advertised as “Men’s Inflatable Ballerina Adult Costume”

The description reads: “Twirl about in the silly Men’s Inflatable Ballerina Adult Costume. The adult costume is perfect for Halloween trick or treating or fall parties.”

Let’s start with the name of the costume. It pisses me off A LOT that they don’t even have the decency to be honest about what they are doing.  Ballerinas wear clothes that fit them, not inflatable suits that make it difficult to move. This is a fat suit with a half-assed ballerina theme.

Now looking to the description, what exactly do they think makes the costume “silly?” Bodies come in lots of sizes for lots of reasons and none of those bodies are “silly.” There are amazing fat ballerinas and there is nothing “silly” about them. Not to mention “perfect for …fall parties” What the hell kind of parties are these people attending?  It’s just shitty fatphobia.

It’s enough of a problem when people wear fat suits to see what it’s like to be fat instead of, you know, listening to and believing fat people about their experiences. But this isn’t that. This is literally putting on someone else’s body – a body that, as it exists in the world, is subject to a tremendous amount of shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression. Costumes like this add to that shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression by perpetuating the idea that there is something about being fat that should be laughed at. Then, having used their body as a tool for fatphobia, the wearer removes the costume and returns to their  life of thin privilege.

This is bullshit. Don’t do it. Let’s dismantle fatphobia, not dress ourselves in it.

UPDATE:  Thanks to amazing fat activists these costumes have been pulled from the shelves. See the details here!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

NEW!!! Wellness for All Bodies Program: A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Over the course of eighteen self-paced, content-packed, quick videos you’ll get the tools you need to create healthy relationships with food, movement, and your body, and you’ll map out a path to health that makes sense for you, in an easily digestible format. Built-in tools allow you to track your progress and keep notes individually or as a group.
Click here for all the details and to register!

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!

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

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

 

Published in: on October 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm  Comments (10)  

When Your Fat-Shaming Meme is a Flop

WTF are you doingAs a fat woman on the internet I’m well aware that the first rule of being a fat woman on the internet is “Don’t read the comments. Never, ever read the comments.”

This is, of course, because the comments are typically a cesspool of fatphobia and bullshit. Well, not this time. This time, the comments are a virtual treasure trove of smackdown gold. (I’m seeing this more and more and I couldn’t be happier about it!) This time a dude took time out of his life to attempt to create a fat-shaming meme, and then it all went so very wrong.

You can read the rest of the piece here!

Upcoming Talk

Hey, are you in or near Lexington, Kentucky?  Because I’m going to be.  I’ll be speaking in Lexington on the 25th. Click here for all the details. (I’m also open to doing other talks while I’m there so if you know a group that would like to host a talk or dance class, or a class that would like a guest lecturer, e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!)

Last Chance for Fat Activism Conference!

Did you miss the fourth annual Fat Activism Conference?  Good news – for two weeks you can still get access to all the materials (recordings, transcripts, and handouts) for listening, reading and downloading!

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

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

 

 

Published in: on October 11, 2017 at 12:32 pm  Comments (3)  

Lying to Doctors for Healthcare

Bad DoctorI talk a lot on this blog about how to advocate for yourself with healthcare providers – facts and figures that you can use, and phrases that help etc.  I want to make sure I’m clear that fat people shouldn’t have to do any of that, and that the ability to do it is a privilege and a luxury that not everyone has.

I talked about this recently on Christy Harrison’s fabulous podcast Food Psych. I have a lot of privileges that allow me to stand up to doctors – I’m white, cis, currently able-bodied and neurotypical, currently have “good numbers,” and am typically assumed to be hetero which, because of racism, transphobia, ableism, healthism, and homophobia gives me a ton of privilege. Add to that,  I good memory for facts and figures (if not for names and dates!) an education in research and statistics, a lot of doctors to choose from (thanks Obamacare!) and the ability in these situations to be furious and remain calm and logical (which, because so many doctors have screwed up ideas of which patients should be listened to and respected, gives me a better chance of being listened to and respected.) That’s a lot of luck of the draw stuff that helps me out.

So a question I get a lot, especially after my recent post about self-advocacy at the doctor’s office, is what about people who don’t have this as an option. It can happen for lots of reasons – from a lack of choice of doctors, to not being a physical mental space where someone can self-advocate (and, again, there’s nothing wrong with that since we should have to prepare for a doctor’s appointment like we’re on the frickin’ debate team.)

First of all (yes, I’m going to say this again) remember that you shouldn’t be in this position in the first place – doctors should not try to prescribe dieting at all since the most common outcome is weight regain, with a majority of people gaining more than they lost – so weight loss does not meet the criteria for ethical, evidence-based medicine. Basically, your doctor is committing malpractice and you’re having to overlook it because of your circumstances, and that sucks, and it’s not your fault.

I want to dismantle medical fatphobia, but I also want the people who are being harmed and killed by medical fatphobia to get help now.  Knowing that, each person needs to decide their own personal boundaries, including taking into account that there may be downsides to misleading your healthcare professional  – it’s sad that sometimes we have to take those risks just to get a chance at decent healthcare, but that’s what happens when we have healthcare in a fatphobic world.

The most common situation that I hear about happens when a doctor is trying to prescribe weight loss for a health issue for which a thin person would get an evidence-based intervention (which is basically every health issue that exists.) Consider asking a question like “Out of curiosity, what is the treatment for thin people who get this health issue?” or “If I lose the weight and still have the health issue, what would my options be at that point?”

Once you’ve established that there is an actual treatment protocol besides attempting to manipulate your size (and there always is,) then you can request a simultaneous treatment, for example “That makes sense. Since dieting can be so unpredictable – especially for people like me with a life long history of yo-yo dieting, and can take a long time regardless, I would like to start the treatment that you just mentioned, and I’ll try weight loss as well, that way we’re doing everything we can for my health.” Then you can do the actual treatment and skip the weight loss. When you come back ask the doctor to focus on the actual health issue and say you’ll keep trying with weight loss.

When the doctor is asking you to consider amputating part of your stomach the stakes get a lot higher.  I once had a doctor tell me that he would withhold treatment unless I went to a stomach amputation recruitment rally (though I’m pretty sure they called it something else.) I refused and argued, but I could just as easily have said “sure, I’ll go.” It’s not like he could have un-set my broken toe if I never went (and unless I was actively protesting it there’s no way I would.)

Sadly in some cases doctors are insisting on stomach amputation (also known as “weight loss surgery”) as a requirement before a fat person can get other medical treatment.  This could not be more fucked up.  First of all, I can’t believe how many people I’ve heard from whose doctor said they couldn’t do a routine surgery because it they claim surgery is too dangerous at their size, and then recommend… you guessed it, stomach amputation surgery.

While people are allowed to choose to have their stomach (or any other body part as far as I’m concerned) amputated, I want to make it very clear that if you are going to choose WLS, then the thing you are trying to fix/improve had better be worth dying for, because dying is a distinct possibility. It’s also a possibility that you’ll be one of the many, many people who has such horrible lifelong side effects that they would do anything to take back the surgery.  To me, a doctor requiring that I amputate my stomach before they’ll treat an actual health issue is time to pull out all the stops  – look for a doctor out of network (or the state, or the country) and try to find a way to fund it, file a medical ethics complaint, do whatever I can do because that is a line that I will not cross.

I’m for healthcare without bigotry and from a Health at Every Size paradigm. Until that’s a reality, I’m for people doing whatever they have to do to get the care they need within their own personal boundaries.

Upcoming Talk

Hey, are you in or near Lexington, Kentucky?  Because I’m going to be.  I’ll be speaking in Lexington on the 25th. Click here for all the details. (I’m also open to doing other talks while I’m there so if you know a group that would like to host a talk or dance class, or a class that would like a guest lecturer, e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!)

Did you miss the fourth annual Fat Activism Conference?  Good news – for two weeks you can still get access to all the materials (recordings, transcripts, and handouts) for listening, reading and downloading!

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

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

Published in: on October 10, 2017 at 12:40 pm  Comments (25)  

When Fat Activism is Poetry in Motion

2017 FAC StickerI think this may be the longest I’ve gone without blogging since I started!  Everything is fine, just super busy (and many thanks to those of you who checked in on me!) One of the big things I’ve been working on is the fourth annual Fat Activism Conference. I am so very excited about this year’s conference, we have an extraordinary group of speakers and sponsored, coordinated by an amazing Organizing Team. I’m doing all the last minute things this morning but I wanted to take a moment and share a preview of something awesome that is new for this year – the Spoken World Collective – where you’ll hear the work of amazing fat positive poets and spoken word artists!

Once the conference is over I’m looking forward to blogging regularly again! For now, the conference starts today and there’s still time to register. It’s online so you can listen live on your computer or phone, and you get recordings and transcripts so you can also listen and read on your own schedule. Click here to register!

Enjoy these amazing poets and spoken word artists:

Published in: on October 6, 2017 at 12:17 pm  Comments (3)