We often think of New Year’s Resolutions as a chance to make up or change the things we didn’t like about the year before. This is normally directed at ourselves since most resolutions focus on how we can change who we are by making ourselves better. Living in a body that you hate, due to your weight or any other reason that you want to change it, normally leads you to enter the New Year down a path filled with self destructive behaviors that in the end do more harm than good.

Learning to love ones self or have a healthier relationship with your body can be a really positive way to start the year if you are not doing it from a negative place. One of the best ways that this can be found if you find yourself wanting to diet is to do the exact opposite and ditch dieting. A health movement that has become part of the forefront of the fat rights movement is Health at Every Size. This is in so many ways one of the simplest ways to not only have a better connection with your body, especially if you have or still are suffering through disordered eating patterns or weight loss attempts. This is about finding that connection with your body that is lost during weight loss attempts that create an inner conflict between your body and your mind.

This was the last step that I needed to finding complete happiness within myself. Learning to listen to my body instead of listening to others about how I should take care of myself was the tipping point to finding what I was looking for. This means finding joy in moving my body, eating intuitively or listening to hunger cues and knowing what I need to nourish my body while feeling good living in it. This means having a connection that stops denying the body I live in.

Basic Principles of Health At Every Size®

  1. Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes.
  2. Recognizing that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects.
  3. Promoting all aspects of health and well-being for people of all sizes.
  4. Promoting eating in a manner, which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger, satiety, appetite, and pleasure.
  5. Promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss.

From the Association for Size, Diversity and Health

Links

Health at Every Size by Dr. Linda Bacon

HAES Community - Local resources and more information

By Amanda Levitt, founder of Love Your Body Detroit, a local grassroots on the street activism organization.

Find more at fatwaitress.com or on twitter @_Fatwaitress_

LoveYourBodyDetroit.tumblr.com

TW: weight loss, dieting

With New Year’s and its attendant resolutions just around the corner, articles about weight loss are cropping up in all the usual places (i.e., everywhere you look). One of the most comprehensive and personal essays on the topic can be found in this week’s New York Times Magazine. In a story called “The Fat Trap,” Tara Parker-Pope, a longtime health writer and the editor of the Times’s Well blog, writes about both the latest research explaining why most people cannot keep weight off and about her own struggle to lose weight. In spite of healthy habits and an obviously above-average acquaintance with nutrition research, Parker-Pope estimates that she is “easily 60 pounds overweight.”

To explain the dissonance between her behavior and her reality, Parker-Pope looks into the National Weight Control Registry, which keeps tabs on 10,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year. To put that number into context, consider that 30 percent of Americans—almost 94 million people, by my calculation—are currently trying to lose weight. If the ratio of successful to wannabe losers doesn’t underscore the extreme difficulty of lasting weight loss, the regimen of a National Weight Control Registry member ought to do it. Parker-Pope shadows a 66-year-old female registry member who has kept off 135 pounds for five years. This woman says that she is “always aware of food,” weighs herself every morning, weighs all her food, writes down everything she eats, counts every calorie and gram of protein that passes her lips, exercises from 100 to 120 minutes six or seven days a week, calculates exactly how many calories she burns during exercise, and avoids junk food, bread, pasta, and dairy.

Parker-Pope remarks that these efforts sound exhausting, but she skirts around the fact that they somewhat resemble the symptoms of an eating disorder. Similarly disturbing are descriptions of extreme weight-loss studies in which participants were allowed to consume only 500 calories a day. (Parker-Pope makes it sound unexpected that researchers found signs that the participants’ “bodies were acting as if they were starving”—but they were, in fact, consuming a small fraction of the calories than the average human being needs to live, which is pretty much the definition of starving.)

Fat has become so deeply pathologized in our society that behaviors considered indicators of anorexia or orthorexia when performed by thin people are endorsed by the medical establishment when performed by fat people. But, as Parker-Pope notes, it’s only the extremely “hypervigilant”—the word used by another National Weight Control who writes down everything she eats and says she can never “go back to ‘normal’ ”—who are capable of keeping weight off. As Parker-Pope emphasizes in “The Fat Trap,” researchers have discovered that genetics and hormonal changes make lasting weight loss impossible for the vast majority of fat people. 

But rather than looking at this evidence and concluding that perhaps trying to make fat people thin is the wrong approach, Parker-Pope—along with some of the scientific establishment—simply digs in her heels. “[W]ith a third of the U.S. adult population classified as obese, nobody is saying people who already are very overweight should give up on weight loss,” Parker-Pope writes. In fact, many people are saying exactly that. The Health at Every Size movement, founded by researcher Linda Bacon, encourages fat people to pursue healthy behaviors (like eating a balanced diet and exercising) for the sake of health and well-being rather than weight loss, an approach that leads to more and greater physiological improvements than dieting. As Parker-Pope already knows personally—she mentions having exemplary cholesterol and blood pressure levels and “an extraordinarily healthy heart”—it is possible to be both fat and healthy.

But the deeper issue is one that Parker-Pope brings up near the end of her piece: “Nobody wants to be fat. … [T]o be fat is to be perceived as weak-willed and lazy. It’s also just embarrassing.” Unfortunately, most people agree. But it seems to me that a society that stigmatizes people for a physical attribute that they can’t change is the real “fat trap” we ought to be trying to escape—not the physical attribute itself.

This is my ‘coming out’ post.

No, I’m not gay. I’m coming out as fat.

How does one ‘come out’ as something that is patently obvious to the naked eye? Well, I guess you do it by acknowledging that for twenty-nine and a half years you have been hiding behind your fat, or ashamed of it, or trying to pretend that it doesn’t exist. You’ve tried covering it up, sucking it in or dressing in ways that emphasise you in ‘flattering’ ways rather than dressing for comfort or for sheer pleasure.

Today I am saying that I have had enough of trying to live as though my body is not mine.  This is my body. It is fat and I love it. It is the vehicle in which I move through the world. It is what allows me to dance and sing and hug and speak and run and walk and swim and ride and love.

I am not proud of being fat, just as one does not take pride in being short or tall or having brown eyes or blonde hair. Fat is the state of my body – it is made up of more adipose tissue than people who are not fat.

Today I embrace the concept that just because you CAN modify your body doesn’t mean that you should. Especially if the process of doing so is dangerous.  Today I accept that 95% of diets don’t work, that 80% of people who lose weight will regain what they have lost in the first year and the other 15% within 5 years. Most people will regain what they lost and more.

I see now that crash dieting and yo-yoing up and down with my weight have caused lifelong problems in my health and real problems with my eating & exercise habits including using food as a reward and exercise as a punishment.  I accept that years of not accepting myself meant that I went through periods of starving myself and then binge eating.

I also accept that the fact that I am fat may or may not be because of medical conditions. Or that being fat caused some or all of my medical conditions. Either way, I know that I am no less deserving of respect or love because of the composition of my body, and the cause of it should not be a reason for judgment, whatever it is.

Today I understand that dieting is a multimillion dollar industry designed to make me feel ashamed of my body so that I will spend my hard earned money changing it.

Today I commit to improving my health, not my weight. I know now that health can be achieved at every size and does not have to be premised on losing weight.  I know that if I eat well and move my body in ways that I will enjoy, my health indicators will improve just as, if not more, rapidly as if I go on a crash diet and lose an amount of weight deemed appropriate by increasingly arbitrary means.

Today I accept for myself – I am fat.

Obviously my life will not magically improve now that I have truly begun walking the road of self acceptance.

To start with, fat is hated in today’s society, and as an outspoken fat woman who is confident in her body, I know I am likely to come across people who take issue with that.

I also know that the prevailing opinions about fat and health as different to those articulated by me in this post, so I’ll probably cop some stick about that too.

And at the end of the day, the health question is a tricky one for me, because I’m trying to balance my mental health with my physical health.  There is always more I could be doing to improve my physical health whether it be eating better or exercising more. But I also have bipolar disorder, which is a fairly significant condition which requires me to treat myself a little more gently than I would generally prefer. I know from experience that sometimes a night of takeaway in front of the TV will prevent an episode from occurring. And I’m okay with that.

I accept that I’m not always going to love my body, every day, day in, day out. Loving my body will be an ongoing process, and I’ll have days where the thousands of messages out there telling me I’m not good enough, subhuman and not deserving of love will get to me. And that’s okay. As long as I am willing to pick myself up when I fall, and allow myself to be supported by the many wonderful people I have met so far along the way who believe as I do.

Many of you know that I have been exploring fat acceptance over the past eighteen months or so, and I am so grateful to the many people who have helped me understand the movement.

Some of you would have seen me alluding to it but not really knowing what I was on about.

Some of you would never have heard of fat acceptance or even realised that it was necessary in today’s world.

I’m not going to go into it in detail now, but suffice it to say that there is plenty of stigma in the world if you don’t fit into society’s perceptions of ‘acceptable’, and it doesn’t stop on the catwalk or in clothes stores. It is so pervasive in society that strangers think it is acceptable to yell out at me ‘pedal faster fatty’ when I’m riding my bike, or make disgusted faces at me when they see my knees in a dress or arms in a singlet.   This stigma needs to be fought and the way we are doing it is through a movement called fat acceptance. I will talk about this more in the future.

I’ve been fat my whole life, and knowing that I was never going to be accepted for my body I have worked very hard at being accepted for my mind – to the point where the whole of my identity was in my intelligence, my job, my study, my political views and my faith.  My body played no part in it at all.

But now I realise that my body is not just a part of it, it is integral to all of these things.  Body politics are important to me now because a my body is important to me and nobody should be able to make a judgement on the kind of person I am – lazy, gluttonous, over-indulgent – because of the size of my body.

This is the day when I accept my fat body in the hopes that 2012 will be a year where I can truly begin to love myself again.

contemplatingchicken:

ecrivaine:

metrofats:

Last weekend, MetroFats held a very successful skills share around body-shaming during holiday visits with family. We discussed the following questions:

  • What about holiday gatherings is hard for you? Is it just about body size, or is there other stuff too? What kinds of…

Listening to that Fatcast.

Also, sadly, the Anne Lamott essay is fat phobic. I found it really, really triggering.

Yeah, I was a little weirded out that an essay where she says she “couldn’t forgive” her mother for becoming fat was linked on a post for people to deal with their fat-hating relatives? The only thing I could figure is that she was drawing a comparison between the beginning of fat acceptance (i.e. sometimes it’s enough to declare a cease-fire with yourself, even if you don’t love yourself right away) and the beginning of forgiveness (sometimes it’s enough to … declare a cease-fire with your relatives? your dead relatives?)

She does say, “But by the same token [speaking of her mother’s ashes], I’m not wild about my stomach either; but I get along with it better.” I can see how that comparison would hold emotional resonance for some, because sometimes it’s easy to feel like your body has betrayed you by not being what you wanted/needed, and even when it’s functioning at its best it’s not enough — which sounds very like the mother in the article. I guess the problem with making that comparison is that most people can change their actions, but it’s damn hard (impossible?) to change your body’s biology. (Full disclosure: I can also sympathize with that particular statement, because I’m not feeling too great about my body right now, so even acceptance of what currently exists is a tiny victory for me.) It makes sense to blame a person for hurting you, to expect either kindness and remorse or severance, but none at all to blame your body for what it does or cannot do. 

(And, of course, another thing I see implied in this article, which I think would probably be painful and angering to some degree: the business of being obligated to forgive an abuser, which I am skeptical of when it is proscribed as a one-size-fits-all emotional healing. I think for some people in some situations, it’s the proper path. In many other situations, I think the demand for forgiveness is made so a person who hurts can keep doing so with a free conscience.)

Thanks for pointing this out, ecrivaine and contemplatingchicken. The original post has been updated to reflect & address these criticisms. One of the skills share attendees shared that viewing family members with some compassion made their remarks less painful to her, and the essay was originally mentioned specifically in that context. I wanted to avoid sharing too much of her personal story but I think I erred on the side of caution with unintended consequences. I’m really sorry you were triggered, ecrivaine.

Surviving the Holidays in a Fat-Negative Environment

Last weekend, MetroFats held a very successful skills share around body-shaming during holiday visits with family. We discussed the following questions:

  •  What about holiday gatherings is hard for you? Is it just about body size, or is there other stuff too? What kinds of thoughts and feelings do the holidays provoke?
  • How do we cope with body-shaming in the moment?
  • How do we evaluate whether to set boundaries around body-shaming with family members?
  • What can we do to take care of ourselves before and after a stressful event where implicit or explicit body-shaming is likely to occur?

Here are some ideas that we came up with:

  • An excellent place to start is the Spending the Holidays With Your Family Fatcast by the marvelous Lesley Kinzel and Marianne Kirby. Lesley and Marianne suggest having a buddy to vent to via text message (or venting on Twitter), taking some time to hide in the bathroom when things get to be too much, and deploying the abrupt subject change (i.e. “Have you gained/lost weight?” “Nope. How’s your cat?”)
  • Get some perspective: your family is doing their best, even if their best is terrible. Karen recommends this essay by Anne Lamott. [EDIT: Lamott expresses some fatphobic sentiments in the essay that some readers have rightly noted as triggering. When Karen brought it up during the discussion, it was in the context of understanding and/or having compassion for parents who make hurtful remarks which can make it easier for her, personally, to not be so hurt by those remarks. I’m sorry for not making that clearer in the original post, and I’ll learn from this mistake. -M]
  • Eat often! A glucose-depleted brain is a brain that has a hard time coping, and if you’re eating often you don’t really need to worry about eating the perfect thing, because you’ll eat again soon anyway.
  • Hanne Blank’s Big Big Love has an excellent chapter on setting boundaries with your family.
  • Use the Fatosphere to bolster your body-positivity before and after stressful family events. Here are some places to start:

Adipositivity

The Museum of Fat Love

Fuck Yeah, Visible Belly Outlines

Fuck Yeah, Trans Fats

Fuck Yeah, Chubby Couples

Fat People of Color

Deathfatties

Also see the links to introductory fat acceptance resources on our website!

  • Perhaps nothing is more crucial than self-care before and after stressful events (whether or not they are family-related and/or involve body-shaming)! Here’s a list of self-care resources we compiled:

Epic Self-Care Post

Meditation podcasts at www.easeandjoy.com

The Woman’s Comfort Book by Jennifer Louden

The Fat Nutritionist

If you have a resource to suggest for one of these lists, feel free to email it to us at metrofats [at] gmail.com. We wish happy holidays to those who celebrate and look forward to seeing everyone in 2012!

Dinner at Bombay Bistro Rockville tomorrow night at 7!

Please make sure to RSVP on Facebook if you’re planning to attend!

Planning meeting today at 3:00 at the Panera just south of Dupont Circle

Will you be there?

"Fact: Cake is not evil. There is no such thing as a bad food, nor is there such a thing as a good food. Foods have no inherent moral value. They are without cruelty, love or intention. Foods just exist. Our guilt about food is a fully manufactured phenomenon; we only experience it because we have assigned certain ideas to certain foods. If cake is “bad,” then it becomes forbidden, and by denying ourselves what we want, we create more want for it."

Lesley at xojane with the truth about cake. (via drst)

"Second, fat trans* people are left out of most popular queer/trans* publications, porno and blogs. There are so many awesome zines, blogs, and businesses that are creating forums to bring images of queer and trans* people to a wider audience. But how radical are they, really, if they’re only highlighting people who fit standard hetero-normative beauty ideals? Thank god most of these businesses and sites are aware enough to include and highlight people of color, but should it stop there? Yes, it is radical to show queer and trans* bodies of any type. But if the goal is to challenge systems of oppression that favor all things straight, cis gender and white, shouldn’t we keep pushing the envelope? Where are fat people in this equation?"

“Pink Elephant,” by MO (posted on Original Plumbing’s website)

Metrofats strives to work through a lens of intersectionality. If you have suggestions for how to further open ourselves to the fat trans community, please let us know at metrofats@gmail.com. We are always looking for advice.

(via tinyhomosexual)

owlsdontlie:

This post is probably really untimely. A lot has been written about Crystal Renn over the years; some say too much, as it is a testimony to weight obsession and unhealthy attention to women’s bodies in the media. Yet I still find her case to be fascinating, and it’s not even because of what…

I was particularly interested in and reflecting on this paragraph by the OP:

But all of that flies out of the window when a fat person becomes a thin person. That person is no thin ally. They are no allies at all. Apparantly, FA has no problem at all with distinguishing neatly between “naturally” thin people and “thin people that are really fatties in disguise and therefore traitors”. Never mind that FA is all about proclaiming that no one knows just by looking at fat people how they got there or how healthy they are, so we shouldn’t judge. I mean, that sentence right there is almost the core belief of the movement. But when it comes to thin people? Oh, we can judge! Because when it is clear, that someone used to be heavier, it is also clear they aren’t “naturally” thin, and starved themselves to be at that weight. Never mind their personal history (or health for that matter). For me, it really is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Why is it so hard to believe that some people are genuinely happier at a lower weight (and are not just kidding themselves?)? Why is it so impossible that some people really do have health reasons to lose weight? Why does believing in FA necessarily entail not believing in weight loss for anyone, ever?

ecrivaine:

After having this discussion on thefiascomaster’s FB wall, I wanted to discuss this here. I used to absolutely love Staceyann Chin. And then I read this on her FB wall on Feb. 6 2010. I’ve been upset about this for awhile, so I went back and found the original post. She posted, quoting the…

Great read.

(Source: ragvinerust)

bumsquash:

The “fat” in fat acceptance is fine, but in the end I think we are on board not because we are fat, but because we are human. We can’t keep up the pretense of assigning a different category of humanness to ourselves than we would anyone else, on the grounds of weight or anything else.

The…

What are your thoughts on this?

(Source: petbeastro.com)

wedontwannagrowup:

beautiful bbw by thelovelymsyaya on Flickr.

rockinbbw:

Adipose: Of or relating to fat.

Positivity: Characterized by or displaying acceptance or affirmation.

MISSION: The Adipositivity Project aims to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality. The sort that’s normally unseen.

chubbybychoice:

Thought I’d upload this, I did it while working on the shorts concept and thought it was cute.

chubbybychoice:

Thought I’d upload this, I did it while working on the shorts concept and thought it was cute.

(via chubbybychoice-deactivated20130)