Weight Loss and Fat Activism.

On my tumblr recently, I received the following question:

Hey 🙂 don’t really know where to put this as it’s not a problem, but a response to something you have posted on this blog. Feel free to move it if you think it’s in the wrong place! 

You said you don’t understand why people intentionally gain weight. I was just wondering whether you understand why people intentionally lose weight? And whether you think it’s wrong for somebody to intentionally gain/lose weight? 

I’m not exactly intentionally gaining weight, but I’ve gained weight, and I know I’m going to gain more weight, and I’m not going to do anything about it because I actually quite like it. I’m not actively eating more to gain weight or anything, but I’m letting myself gain weight, cos I’m miserable when I have to watch what I eat, and I have no problem with getting bigger.

How do you feel about that? Just interested cos what you said earlier made me wonder! 

Lots of love xxxxxxxxx

My answer was as follows:

Generally speaking, no, I don’t know why people want to lose weight.

That being said, I know why I personally want to lose weight. But my situation is a lot different than most casual dieters who just want to get rid of 10, 15, 30 pounds. I’m one of a very small percentage of people who weigh this much. (exact weight unknown, but it’s a lot.)

(Edit 9/25/2011: I originally listed myriad reasons why I personally wanted to lose weight. But after careful consideration, I’ve decided to take that list of reasons down. For many reasons, but predominately because it has nothing to do with the main point of this post.)

To me, gaining weight is very, very personal, because it’s all I’ve ever known. I would never wish what I’ve been through on anyone. But at the same time, I respect people’s autonomy, and if that’s what they want to do, they have every right to.

I hope this helps!

I caught some flack from this, for even deigning to talk about wanting to lose weight. So I need to make something clear to anyone who reads this blog, wherever you come from.

Wanting to lose weight does NOT make you a bad fat activist.

You do not have to be fat to believe in fat acceptance.

Your body is your own to do whatever you want with.

I said very clearly in my post that even if I reach my goal size, I would still be fat. However, that’s completely irrelevant. Even if I were to shoot for being a size 6, I could still be an advocate for Fat Acceptance.

You don’t have to be a female to be a feminist. You don’t have to be a person of color to believe in racial equality. You don’t have to be LGBTQ to believe in LGBTQ rights. And likewise, you DO NOT have to be fat to support fat acceptance.

I don’t think being my size is bad. I don’t think it’s ugly or undesirable or wrong. But for me personally, it’s not where I want to be. And I am entitled to that. It does not make me any less a part of the movement that I fight so hard for.

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8 Responses to Weight Loss and Fat Activism.

  1. Debz says:

    I am in the exact same position as you – I am a size 32 (which at 5’3 is massive) and I run a blog regarding fat life, fat acceptance etc. but I am dieting currently(only have been for a few weeks and who knows if it will last), Id like to be a size 22ish for ALL the exact reasons you stated!! Good luck with your goal!! XXX

  2. Fiorentina says:

    thanks for this……I am writing this as anonymous as I am a member of the FA movement and community and yet I underwent weight loss surgery to lose weight for many of the same reasons you listed for wanting to lose weight. What a great post.

    • Adipose Activist says:

      I’m actually very curious to hear your story, if you don’t mind telling it. I’ve heard so much negativity in the fatosphere about weight loss surgery and how the cons far, far outweigh the pros. Were you pressured by your doctors to get the WLS? Was it entirely your choice? Which procedure did you get? Was it successful? Do you have any regrets?

  3. atchka says:

    While I don’t think that wanting to lose weight makes you a bad activist (merely a human being with complicated motivations), I do wonder how you could entertain the idea of going from a size 30 to a size 18, knowing the research behind the failure of weight loss. Is it more of a “I wish I could be…” thing or is it a “Well, I could be one of the successful ones…” or what? Are you talking about WLS? Dieting?

    I guess I’m just curious if the abysmal failure rates have any impact on how you think of weight loss.


    • Adipose Activist says:

      Now this is a completely valid question and I’m really glad you asked it.

      I’m absolutely mindful of the failure rates you speak of. Obviously I have to be if I like to be in the Fat Acceptance movement in any sort of academic way.

      For me personally, since the weight was put on through food addiction and not from any sort of genetic predisposition or medical problem, I think that when and if I decide to buckle down and really try, the weight should come off fairly easily. I just haven’t made that decision yet because frankly, I love sweets and carbs WAY too much.

      I’m completely aware of the idea that diets don’t work, but I’m at a point where I’ve been able to maintain my weight for 2 years without any real effort. The only thing that’s truly stopping me from trying to lose weight at this moment (besides absolute laziness, which I admit completely) is that at this point I can’t afford to eat healthy. That argument about low income people being more likely to be obese? Completely true. I eat like crap because it’s what I can afford. I’m expecting that to change fairly soon, especially with having a new job and all. And I need to start exercising. I don’t. At all. I am almost completely sedentary when I’m not at work, and that’s not healthy for any size.

      So the trick for me is going to be to find a physical activity that I don’t hate. That I won’t give up on. That I won’t stop after 6 weeks, 6 months, a year.

      Honestly if I can eat better and exercise even a little bit, I have a feeling the weight should come off on its own. I have no interest in portion sizes or daily/weekly weigh ins. No interest in diet programs. Very little interest in WLS (although to be fair, I do plan on exploring all options, so I’m not going to discount WLS entirely.)

      I don’t think it’s ever going to be an official ‘I’m going to start losing weight as of x date!’ I think it’s going to be more of a ‘well, I’m going to change up the things I do in my daily lifestyle, and we’ll see what happens.’ If it’s not meant to be, I really can’t fight that. But I definitely need to make some changes, because i really, really don’t like how sedentary I am. That needs to change for me personally. If that causes me to lose weight, you’ll hear no complaints from me! And if I never get down to an 18, so be it. That’s just, in a perfect world, where I’d like to be.

      Hope that answers your question!

  4. I’d been saving this in my Google Reader for a long while because I was having trouble articulating my thoughts. I’m not sure if I’ve gotten there yet, but it’s really not fair for me to continue to sit on it, so here goes!

    I empathize with you immensely. For most of my adult life, I was around a 16-18. I mean, back then I thought I was a total fat cow, but in hindsight, I was totally fat but I was also in pretty good shape. I walked EVERYWHERE, I ran up and down stairs without breaking a sweat, I worked on my feet for eight hours a day. I was active. And then some shit happened (depression, abusive relationship, etc) and I ended up a size 22 and not terribly happy about it. But worst of all, I allowed my life to become a sedentary one, and now I don’t feel like my body is capable of doing as much. That’s the worst bit.

    A part of me really yearns for my old “set-point.” Shit was a lot easier then. I never had to worry about fitting somewhere (something I do have to concern myself with now). I never got cow-called. More brick and mortar stores actually carried my size, and I didn’t have to factor in shipping costs to my clothing purchases. I lived in this little bubble of pseudo-inbetweenie privilege, and it felt good.

    But I realize that it was a privilege – and the reasons you list for wanting to lose weight are privileges, too. That’s okay, but I think the reason that some people might feel hurt or betrayed by your assertion is that you don’t acknowledge that these things are privileges. Further, fat acceptance is about a lot more than accepting and learning to love oneself. Fat acceptance is also about addressing the real discrimination that fat people face in the world. FA has taught me that if I can’t fit into an airplane seat, it’s not because I’m too fat for it, it’s because we live in this weight-biased culture that fails to accommodate me. So when you say that you want to lose weight so you can sit at a booth in a restaurant (without qualifying it), you are implicitly saying that it’s okay that the world is manufactured for thin people, and that the solution isn’t to accommodate everyone, it’s to make those of us who are “too fat to fit” smaller.

  5. Erikka says:

    I find it interesting that you want to get down to my current size (18), because I have the exact same problems and thoughts that you have. If I wanted to, I could go down to a size 10 or so. (I am an expert dieter and have loss up to 40 lbs and more) The thing is if I do that again I have to watch everything I consume and its just too much work. With dramatic weight loss like that you can never stop dieting. You don’t just diet until you go down and then go back to eating and enjoying life, It is a constant thing. However, no matter how much I eat or exercise I stay in a size 18, so logically I feel that this is the weight I was meant to be. I say all this to say I think every fat girl has these thoughts even when you know logically that this is where you’re supposed to be. When I did lose the weight I was happy but in the back of my mind, I felt like I had betrayed everything I had worked for. I had the same argument saying that I was not betraying the fat community but in reality, you are. From your reasons they have a lot to do with other people and circumstances than having to do with your own personal reasons. I would rather except “because I want too” instead of all these thing that make you feel awkward because we all feel awkward but we shouldn’t have too. I know you feel this way before the weight loss but coming from someone who has been there at least three times and regrettably is dieting again (because I have an extreme yo-yo dieting problem) it’s not the same afterwards.

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