Recently an article has been floating around the interwebz called ‘6 Things I Don’t Understand About the Fat Acceptance Movement’. Most of the Fat Activist bloggers I follow had some amazing responses that say it all. I felt like I didn’t really need to respond because who could ever top The Militant Baker?? But I am slowly coming to the realization that this ‘lack of understanding’ is something that needs to be addressed with my family and friends (who are pretty much my only readers). So here it is. This is 3 things I want you to understand about Body Love. This is where I am at and what is in my heart.
1. I value my health very much, thank you!
I am learning about something called Health at Every Size (HAES). There is a book by Dr. Linda Bacon called Health At Every Size that focuses on being healthy as opposed to being skinny and presents research to show that fat and healthy are not mutually exclusive. Dr. Bacon has a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy with a specialty in eating disorders and body image, a Masters Degree in Exercise Science specializing in metabolism and a Doctorate in Physiology with a focus on nutrition and weight regulation. She has dedicated her life to understanding why we struggle so much with weight regulation when it’s supposed to be as simple as diet and exercise.
“Every discipline I studied revealed the same disconnect: The science of weight regulation directly contradicts cultural assumptions as well as those promoted by ‘experts’.” -Dr. Linda Bacon
This book is teaching me about the amazing things my body goes through to regulate my weight. It’s teaching me about how all my crazy diets and unhealthy habits have hurt my body’s ability to regulate itself. I’m learning about how to reconnect with my body so that it can do the job it was created to do. I am learning that everyone’s body has it’s own natural set point weight wise and not all set points result in a size 2. I am learning that you cannot know a persons habits or lifestyle by their weight alone.
I am very much focused on learning to be healthy but I no longer believe that healthy and skinny are synonymous. Watch this video to learn about why I think it’s ok to be fat.
2. I need your support!
Learning to love myself is hard. We live in a society that has turned weight into a moral issue. Foods have come to be known as ‘guilt free’ or ‘sinfully delicious’. Fat people are judged as being lazy and gluttonous at a single glance. Not a day goes by that I am not bombarded with diet ads and images of ‘ideal beauty’ that tell me that this is what beauty is supposed to look like and that I will never look that way. I am fighting an uphill battle and I cannot do it alone. These are the things that I need from you that will help me learn to love myself.
- My health is my concern. Please know that while comments of concern may be well meaning, they are unfounded and they trigger old feelings of shame that I am working to overcome.
- While I am happy that you are enjoying success from your new diet, I have a hard time hearing about it. The diet mentality is something that I am working very hard to overcome and often diet talk can trigger feelings of shame. Please know that I am not judging your choice to diet or lose weight, I just need extra support while I work on changing my thought habits.
- No more negative body talk! If you are unhappy with the way your thighs rub together or with the number of chins you have in the pic you were tagged in, I don’t want to hear about it. Negativity feeds off negativity and I am trying to starve mine out. I don’t need you to feed it for me.
- I would be over the freaking moon if any of you were to read the book (or at least research Health at Every Size) so that I can discuss it with you.
3. Why should you care? Body love affects us all!
For me, learning about body love has included learning about fat acceptance but that is not the case for everyone. Sadly, I don’t believe I’ve ever met a person (male, female, short, tall, skinny or fat) who could truly say that they loved their body. Body love isn’t just for ‘fat chicks with self esteem issues’, it addresses a problem that has real and measurable effects not just on individuals but on society as a whole.
When you learn to love and accept yourself the world opens up for you in ways you never imagined. You stop holding yourself back from doing the things that you have always wanted to do but felt unworthy of or uncomfortable doing. Instead of trying to shrink and disappear you grow and flourish. You learn to let go of the judgements you have towards other people and by extension give them permission to love themselves. The ideas and principles I am learning about are all things that I would wish for you in your lives as well as my own. So give yourself permission to start loving your body, I’ll be here to help you!
As always, thank you for reading. I want to especially thank my family and friends for being so loving and supportive. You are all the coolest of the cool cats.