Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm fine the way I am and so are you


Photo By mike Williams

I love all of the fat positive sites and forums that I see. On tumblr alone I follow several body positive blogs including awesome photo blogs where anyone can submit. One forum is "Curvy women and the people who love them". Love them, huh? So why do we seem to have such a hard time loving ourselves? Why do I see post after post about losing weight? If you love your body, you don't seek to change it. You don't say "I love my body but.. i'd love it more if it were smaller" or "i accept my body but omg i can't gain more weight!". Body acceptance, fat acceptance is about loving your body regardless of it's size or shape.
And I know, I know.. we're all going to jump on the health bandwagon. Some of you have said you feel like crap, you're always tired, you're depressed, etc and you feel the need to improve your health- eat better.. exercise.. to that i say great!! Seriously! I'm all for getting healthy!! But let me drop some facts for you:
98% of people who lose weight will regain it within 5 years. The majority within 3 years, and 2/3 within one year. Many of them will gain more weight than they lost. 
Dieting is bad for your health.
Dieting makes you gain weight in the long run. The more diets you go on, the heavier your body will be- the body resets it's favorite weight every time you diet- and it always sets it higher. Why? It thinks you're in a famine and it makes the body more and more efficient at storing fat in order to prepare for future famines.
The fat gene (and weight is 80% inherited) is a good thing- it's allowed us to survive as a species. Throughout history, during times of famine, 2/3 of the given population would die because they couldn't store fat efficiently enough. You are a product of millions of years of evolution. Don't knock mother nature- she'll knock you back.
You do not have to lose weight to wear a swimsuit, a short dress, shorts, sleeveless shirts, or any other article of clothing. You do not have to lose weight to find love. You do not have to lose weight to go sky diving. You do not have to lose weight to live your life the way you want it. Do those things NOW because now is all you have. You can't live your life for everyone else- because of their bigoted and superficial expectations of what a body should be and should be able to do. There are fat dancers, fat aerobics instructors, fat weight lifters, fat ballerinas, fat singers, and fat models.
Studies show that fat people do not eat more than thin people. Fat people do not exercise less than thin people.
Fat people are not inherently unhealthy and thin people aren't inherently healthy. You do not have to lose weight to be healthy.. which is good since you probably won't lose weight anyway (though there's that 3% chance and you can make that chance healthier by simply following HAES).
Eat right and exercise if you care about your health.. but DON'T care about the number on the scale. It says NOTHING about you or your health or your happiness. It is a meaningless number.
I, like most of you, have spent my entire life hating myself. Engaged in disordered eating (dieting) which turned into an eating disorder (starving, binging, purging, diet pills, etc). And no, no one cared because I was fat and therefore eating disorders were expected.. it made me a "good fattie" because I was trying.. because I was properly ashamed of myself- properly disgusted and I knew that my worth and my place were lower than other's. This is no way to live- this is the ONLY life you get.. do you really want to spend it being anything less than ecstatic? Anything less than loving yourself completely and wholly?
I will eat healthy foods and exercise because I love my health. I will have chocolate cupcakes if I feel like it and fried greasy french fries when I want to because I know that a healthy eating style is a balanced one. I will never shame my body or anyone else's. I will wear a bikini at 265lbs and not give a fuck what anyone has to say about it. And mostly.. when I see fat hate flying around like it's migration season I will speak out against it because I don't deserve to listen to fat hate- hate that, while directed at your body, spills over onto mine. Spills over into an overall culture message that fat is bad and gross and evil and unhealthy. I'll fight it because my child doesn't need to grow up in a world like that. I will never tell my body that it's not good enough. I won't celebrate if I lose weight, I won't cry if I gain weight.. I will just be.. because no body is better than another body. A thin body is not better than a fat one or visa versa.
So please.. can we cut it out with the diet talk and body shaming in groups that are supposed to be all about body love and acceptance?

(/rant)

4 comments:

  1. Just because a person wishes to be "smaller" doesn't mean they hate the way they look.

    There's a parallel in the gay community. I've heard many interviews where, and I'm paraphrasing, "I love the way I am, but if I could choose not to be gay, I would. It would be so much easier."

    Body acceptance is about doing the best with what you've got. Wishing you had something else doesn't mean you hate what you've got. You can still dream. After all, I love my job -- but I still wish I had a million bucks. :)

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  2. Larry- if you want to change your body then you haven't accepted your body. More so, the efforts that it would take to change your body for the vast majority of people are harmful. So if you're willing to harm yourself to change your body then that's a far far cry for self acceptance. While we all occasionally wish we had something else, body acceptance means recognizing that those thoughts are pointless and counterproductive to acceptance.

    In your analogy- a million bucks would be better than what you have now. In the same way, people who want to lose weight for appearance reasons believe that a thin body is inherently better than a fat body- now what's wrong with that? It contributes to a culture of fat hate that says fat is bad and thin is better.. which is kind of the whole problem to begin with the basis of discrimination, body hate, and a culture which can literally kill you for being fat. (not because fat kills.. but the diet drugs and surgeries surely can as well as the side effects from abuse, low self esteem, etc). Again.. if someone wants to be healthy then that's great! but don't care about a stupid number on a scale.

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  3. I think the entire acceptance/ liking/ not caring about ones weight really goes many directions .. i know extremely thin people that wish they could gain weight .. and heavy people (mostly) that even though they are ok with how they are society makes them feel like they should WANT to change .. i am kind of in between .. i think I am at my body's ideal weight as i keep fluxing back to about where i am now .. but i would like to get in better shape more so that i personally feel comfortable in certain clothes i see/ want.

    I really do not expect to ever be 120 lbs again like i was when i was in HS.. but it would be nice to loose my swimmers ring (also known as the spare tire) just so that i like the way certain shirts *look* on me - not because others say i look bad in them just because i am not comfortable in the way i think I look in them.. does that make sense?

    I do whole heatedly agree though that if I want a damn cupcake I am gonna have one haha I do not believe in depriving myself just because I am *fat* I just try and only have 1 .. but if I want 2 i will eat 2!

    Great post and very true statements made :)

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  4. Debbie- you're very right about people trying to gain weight as well. Body acceptance goes both ways!

    And I hope you learn to love your "spare tire" ;-) because it's part of your body and your body is perfect!

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