I’ve loaded this post with links to blogs, studies, research, and other valuable links to inform anyone who’s interested in learning the truth behind the so-called ‘obesity crisis.’
What is Fat Acceptance?: According to the Wikipedia page, Fat Acceptance is: ‘a grassroots effort to change societal attitudes towards fat, obese, and overweight people.’ That’s a good start, but of course there’s more. Fat Acceptance means different things to people but the common thread is more or less that EVERY body type is worthy of respect and basic human dignity. Fat activists fight for the normalization of fat bodies into mainstream society. It’s not saying that fat is better, it’s not demonizing being thing, it’s just the simple acknowledgment that fat bodies are here and they’re never going away, and that people in fat bodies are just that–people.
But isn’t that glorifying/encouraging obesity?: The entire concept of ‘glorifying obesity’ is utter crap. This is usually said when a picture of a happy fat person is seen. No one is glorifying or encouraging anything but refusing to hate your body no matter what it looks like. Even the parts that don’t work, even the parts you’d like to change. It’s being allowed to love and appreciate your body RIGHT NOW.
But being fat is unhealthy!: No. It’s not. Being unhealthy is unhealthy. But if you’re going to judge someone’s health by their BMI (which is a completely invalid measure of health) or how much space they take up on the subway, you’re completely missing the point. There’s a stigma in today’s society that all fat people lack self-control, don’t care about themselves, only eat fatty foods, and a bevy of other stereotypes. My blog serves to remind us all that these stereotypes do not encompass all fat bodies, and even if they did, that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with fat people.
That’s bullshit. Don’t you watch the news? Obesity is linked to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, (etc., etc., etc.): Well, the entire world believed the sun revolved around the earth for how many thousands of years? Just because you’ve heard something your entire life, or it seems like common sense, doesn’t make it true. Common sense is easy (and often wrong). Backing up common sense with valid research isn’t so easy.
- There are many, many more factors involved in weight loss and weight gain than calories ingested vs. calories burned.
- “If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that doesn’t increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead.“
- Dieting doesn’t work. Study after study proves that 95% of dieting efforts fail, and a majority of those who try to lose weight end up weighing more than when they started.
- The ‘obesity epidemic’ is blown way out of proportion. Obesity rates have stayed the same since the turn of the century. In some areas, obesity levels have actually gone down.
- Smoking is much more likely to cause heart disease than being fat is.
- Diabetes is caused by Insulin Resistance, which occurs in people of ALL sizes, not just fat people.
- In fact, 75% of obese people will NEVER get Type 2 Diabetes.
- Weight cycling (constantly dieting, gaining and losing weight over and over) is more dangerous than staying fat.
- Obesity rates rise as income levels fall. So just suggesting ‘eat healthier’ or ‘join a gym’ simply isn’t reasonable or rational for many families who struggle to put food on the table
- Focusing on health instead of weight is a much more successful and long-lasting route to better health than dieting.
What I celebrate more than anything is body autonomy. The importance of making people aware that it’s not okay to judge other people’s bodies. You cannot assume simply from looking at a person how healthy they are. Even if you could, it’s not your job, your place, or your right to comment or judge them on it. Every person owns a body, and they are completely entitled to do whatever they want with it. Unless they’re asking for your help, there is no need to comment.
Speaking of health, there are so many facets to healthy living, and physical health is only one part of the equation. Mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, those are just a few of the many parts of wellness that anyone needs. And it is up to every individual person to decide what that means for themselves!
Do you have to be fat to be involved in Fat Acceptance?: No! I think it’s important that people who aren’t fat include themselves in fat acceptance. I highly stress intersectionality, and fat bodies are a marginalized population. I think that ALL bodies are good bodies. Fat, skinny, tall, short, disabled, scars, cellulite, you name it. There’s no size requirements you have to be to agree that all bodies deserve respect. That being said, the quickest way to invalidate the struggle of one body type is to put down another body type. You will never see any of the ‘real women have curves’ or ‘she looks anorexic, she should eat a sandwich’ comments on this blog. ALL bodies are good bodies, ALL bodies deserve respect. There is NO WRONG WAY to have a body.
Are there any other resources you recommend for more information on Fat Acceptance?: Absolutely. Here are some of my favorites:
- Health At Every Size
- Dances with Fat
- The Rotund
- Kate Harding
- The Fat Nutritionist
- Two Whole Cakes