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Where do you fall on the "fat acceptance" scale?

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Old 01-30-2009, 12:26 PM   #1
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Default Where do you fall on the "fat acceptance" scale?

I've been doing some thinking about the whole "Fat Acceptance" movement, and was wondering how you guys feel about it. On the one hand, there are some good things: fighting against size discrimination, and learning to love your body and not hate yourself because of your weight. Also, focusing on health rather than size.

BUT!!!!

I am really not okay with the FA advocates who say that trying to lose weight is wrong. Some FA sites say that "you cannot accept fat while actively trying to destroy it" (aka dieting). One author of a recent weight loss memoir wrote about how she was banned from posting on a Fat Acceptance forum JUST because she was trying to lose weight (she wasn't trying to get others to diet!)

Anyway, what do you think about it? Can you truly love yourself BY losing weight? By making your life better through weight loss as a means?

I just wrote about this on my blog yesterday and am getting some fantastic feedback. I knew you guys would have lots of insights too so I'd love to know what you think of FA.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:30 PM   #2
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I am all about accepting yourself and loving yourself and others regardless of size, but I think if you really love yourself you would want to be around as long as possible and if that means losing weight that is what that means. I do NOT think that you are NOT accepting of yourself just because you try and lose. I mean I love myself regardless of size, so much so that I am trying to do what is best for me and my health.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:35 PM   #3
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Some people are okay with being fat. Some people aren't okay with it. I am not okay with being unhealthy, not okay with my appearance being outside "the norm". I do love myself but want to feel better and look better.

I think you can love yourself at any size. I don't see accepting yourself AND trying to lose weight as mutually exclusive. I can understand though people that are okay with being fat, that love themselves and don't want to lose weight being uncomfortable around someone who doesn't want to be fat anymore.

It is such an individual thing. For me loving myself means treating myself as kindly as possible and that means getting healthy AND losing weight.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:36 PM   #4
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Neat topic.

I fell in love with myself by losing weight - it's been a honeymoon. Making time for me, myself a priority, rewarding and celebrating me - ectect. I really liked myself before I lost weight. I wasn't constantly miserable, I generally had a good time. I can't honestly say I loved my body, although I liked myself. I didn't dwell on the topic much, didn't speak of my size, neither embraced it or really acknowledged it.

Once I decided to lose weight, I accepted that I was an unacceptable size - that's where I hit a mental rock bottom. To find my drive and will to continue I personally chose to hate the fat in order to lose it. That was no fun, to learn to despise my size. Fortunately it was short lived and I no longer feel that way. But God, those first days were the hardest days (isn't that a Grateful Dead lyric? ), when I discovered I was miserable. I probably was all along when heavier, but wouldn't admit defeat.

I lost my weight pretty quickly, I've been very determined. My drive came from that new hatred. Isn't that awful?

But like I said, the new hatred led to a love affair with myself eventually, once I discovered I was capable of it.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:44 PM   #5
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I believe that people are "meant" in a genetic, biological sense to be a much, much wider range of sizes and shapes than our culture presents as what we are "meant" to be. Much, much, much wider range.

I believe that an overweight or even obese person who is very active is much healthier than a person of normal weight who never gets off of the couch. Tied into that, I believe that it is possible for even a very obese person to be active and physically fit despite excess body fat.

I believe that, for most (and NOT all) obese people, developing healthy habits like not overeating, watching portions, eating healthy, unprocessed foods, and getting regular exercise will result in a natural weight loss.

I am not at all sure that most people in the "Morbidly Obese" range will ever get to a "Normal" weight range just with healthy habits...based on what I've read on the Maintainers board and my personal experience, it seems to take a more concerted effort than just being as healthy as you can. It's THAT transition...from "healthy" to "normal BMI"...that might be considered a "diet" from an FA perspective, and I can sort of see their point there. It won't change my actions, but I can see why they would say it is destructive.

I believe the BMI scale is flawed, and should be modified to remove the term "normal" altogether and move the "Healthy" range up to the levels actually shown to have the lowest rates of mortality (22-30) rather than the arbitrary numbers today. Edited to add: The lowest mortality rate...the BMI at which your risk of dying is the lowest...falls at a BMI of 27.3...an "overweight" BMI.

In a my ideal world, people would move toward being extremely healthy...being moderately to very active, eating moderate portions of vitamin-and-nutrient rich foods, getting plenty of rest, etc...and would let weight fall where it would. Would FA consider that a "diet" and discourage people? Because I think that would be misguided.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:01 PM   #6
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First of, Great topic. Second off: Awesome posts by ALL that posted before me. Wow, ladies. I am proud to be among such awesome company. I feel very inspired. Ok, so my thoughts...

Well, it all pretty much breaks down to how much we allow ourselves access (and thus influence by) to the media doesn't it?

We are all products of our society, as our parents are and their parents were. We are all programmed constantly through television/radio ads, time bought by the highest bidder, which means that we are influenced in this way, not by those we would rather have influence us whose products may benefit us, but rather by people who control the most cash flow, regardless of the corruption of their agenda and the life-giving capacity of their products.

Basically, we are controlled by the media. We are moist robots. Our dreams, hopes, aspirations, and life perceptions are all strongly influenced by the what we hear and see. We are products of a society that emphasizes cheap production and cheap prices (ie. fast/convenience food). Then when we get fat from buying all the things we have seen advertised they can also make us hate ourselves by giving us unrealistic examples of what we "ought to look like" through models, actresses, sports figures, etc... They tout the newest diet plan, clothing brand, clothing style trend, and we are yet again controlled just by the amount of time we allow ourselves to sit in front of the television, read magazines, or listen to the radio. This is a vicious cycle and if we don't break it we can spend our entire lives and waist away our youth and numb ourselves out by only focusing on working to make money to buy stuff we've seen advertised or to make ourselves like people who don't actually exist in the real world.

I said all that to say this: I don't believe we should rationalize and accept the mediocrity of our current states (ie. being fat) just because it is easier than making less convenient life choices to attain to a healthy body weight and fitness level thus preventing any number of deadly diseases caused by obesity and the swift degradation of our bodies brought on by it. I think we should fight every day to learn as much as we can about these bodies and about this planet, we should be intelligent and responsible because these bodies and this planet are a precious gift. I think we should fight to reach our potential in any way we can. I would imagine that the only reason "fat acceptance" has become such an issue is because these fat people who want to be accepted are watching a lot of tv and reading a lot of magazines. They are tired of the consumer roller coaster but they just don't have the will or the knowledge to make it stop. Knowledge is power. Don't rationalize being overweight.

Fat Acceptance? Absolutely not. This doesn't mean you should look down on others, because none of us are perfect and obesity is not the only tell tale sign of a person who makes poor lifestyle choices. I think though, if we just get off the couch, stop watching so much tv and reading so many destructive magazines (both of which are only motivated by ad sales mind you) then we can really begin to come back to ourselves and stop being moist robots driven only by meaningless ad-driven wants and "needs".
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:06 PM   #7
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I'm with FB....this journey can be called a love affair Not to mention I have really uncovered who I used to be. I was just covered with a bit of fluff.

I thought I loved myself the way I was before but the pride & love I feel now are totally different. To answer your question....yes you can still love yourself the way you are but want to better your life (IE. dieting). This weight loss thing doesn't magically melt the fat away & you discover things about yourself you have never known.

I've never heard of the "fat acceptance" movement before *BUT* it sounds like it has it's extremists like any other activist group. I just feel like it's a cop out.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:17 PM   #8
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I accept that I'm fat

The problem with blanket fat acceptance and the abolition of weight loss is there is no ability to draw a line. Someone who is 30 lbs overweight can be considered fat and so can someone who is 300 lbs overweight.

You can love yourself despite being fat, which I do and it was something I learned near my highest weight. I believe it helped me lose weight. You can accept that people are talented and deserving regardless of weight. Someone who weighs 900 lbs should be thought of as a human being with rights just as much as someone who weights 120 lbs.

Is it healthy physically or emotionally for the person who weighs 900 lbs to not lose weight? I don't think so. Of course we all have our own issues where weight affects our health at varying degrees. My own weight never affected my health in ways I could see. A couple years ago I learned that one of my knees has osteoarthritis which is something you should not see in someone barely over 30. Other people have sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, mobility issues, etc.

I've lost well over 100 lbs and yet I'm still fat, does that mean I don't love myself? Does that mean I don't accept myself? Does that mean I think being fat is bad? I think being fat can prevent you from doing things you may want to do like I want to start rock climbing but for a woman who weighs 200 lbs, its a bit difficult to do because even though I'm strong, I'm not strong enough to haul myself up by my upper body. I want to continue running but running is a bit difficult at my current weight. For others being fat may mean they wake up every morning surprised that they are still alive, for me its a minor inconvenience.

Overall, I'm happy where I am. I don't have to shop in plus size stores anymore. Things like hiking are a lot easier. I don't have to fret about getting on an airplane. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to lose 30 or 40 more lbs. It also doesn't mean I want to weigh 100 lbs.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:26 PM   #9
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Being obese isn't healthy. Period. Not being able to get into a booth in a restaurant isn't normal. Being terrified to fly because you're afraid you won't fit in the seat isn't normal. Not being able to walk stairs isn't normal. Blame it on the media all you want, but these basic facts remain.

Certainly there are a wide range of acceptable body types. Carrying around an extra 100 pounds isn't one of them.

Personally, I don't believe a single one of the people who claim to be perfectly happy with themselves when they are morbidly obese. It's a defense mechanism designed to take the pressure off their fear of failing and to make it ok to give up.

I was a perfectly nice person at 292. Now I'm a nice person who is able to do all the activities that weren't possible at that weight. I don't believe anybody is happier with limitations.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:41 PM   #10
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julie isphording used to have a radio show in cincinnati, and her tagline was "you're already outragously wonderful, but why stop there?" i always liked that.

there are a couple of ways to read the fat acceptance movement statement about not being able to accept fat while trying to destroy it. for starters, accepting something and wanting to keep it around are two different things. acceptance, for me, is about recognizing the reality of what is, and not pretending that things are other than what they are. for me, this meant recognizing that i am strong, funny, obese, neurotic, artistic, etc. being fat does not preclude me from being anything else, nor vice versa. however, this doesn't logically mean that i can't/shouldn't change those things about myself that aren't productive, healthy, or self-loving. for some people, dieting is about self-loathing (and we all know the pitfalls of diet as a temporary fix to a chronic disorder.) however, losing weight and becoming the healthiest person i can be is self-loving and supportive. for myself, i've come to a place where i recognize that a lot of the behaviors that got me to my highest weight were fundamentally about a lack of self-acceptance. bingeing (again, this is me specifically, not all overweight people) was a kind of punishment in itself.

ditto mandalinn on the neccesity to alter our ideas on what constitutes "acceptable." to your original point, no, i disagree with those who say that if you are actively working on reducing your weight, you're not a bona fide fat acceptor. making peace with who you are can take on a lot of different looks for different people - this sort of stance seems very narrow to me.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:07 PM   #11
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Fat acceptance... hmmm... I have accepted that I am FAT but that doesn't mean I am happy about it. Being obese isn't healthy and puts a lot of limitations on what people are physically able to do. Yes, I think people should love themselves for who they are but that also implies that they should love themselves enough to want to make healthy choices.

I think for a lot of people weight gain is an emotional thing and can accompany things like depression--- you are depressed, you eat more, you feel more depressed, you stop doing things you used to love doing---or, maybe you aren't even physically able to do them anymore... and the cycle continues.

So losing weight and believing in yourself with each new healthy choice you make can give you added confidence. Before you know it you are back doing all those things you loved before... you are happier... you are healthier... and it's like you are rediscovering yourself. Falling in love with yourself all over again (like some of the others have said.)
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:14 PM   #12
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I often disagree with society's definition of "fat". Just this week I have seen Jessica Simpson criticized because she has gotten up to a size 8. How awful! How can she stand it? Like mandalinn, I believe the BMI scale is off. People at a healthy weight are often looked upon as overweight.

I went through a spell where I was into "fat acceptance". Mainly because I did not think it was possible for me to not be fat. But as time went on, I had to admit how much my size hurt me. Basically, I made myself disabled because I was not able to function as I wanted and needed to.

We should love ourselves. We should also love ourselves enough to give ourselves the best life possible.

My weight has stopped me from having the fullest life possible. There have been too many things that I wanted to do but could not. I need to lose weight to be healthy. To have a BMI of 24.9, I will have to weigh 135 pounds. I seriously doubt that I will ever weigh 135 pounds. I can not even imagine weighing 135 pounds. I can imagine losing enough to be obese instead of morbidly obese. I may even get to be “over weight”. That sounds thrilling!

Can I and should I love myself as I am? You bet! I also need to love myself enough to be healthy. I am trying.

Lyn’s blog entry about this is great. I am taking a line from it as a motto.

“I won't stay fat and be crippled. I won't sit in a chair and watch life go by. I refuse.” – Lyn in Escape From Obesity

I refuse too!!
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:27 PM   #13
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I just loved Lyn's blog on this.

My personal thought is the FA movement was on the right track, but took it a bit too far. We shouldn't be victims of discrimination, but we cannot condone conditions that lead to ill health or death. That is irresponsible.

For the longest time, I was one of those "healthy obese" people, until it all came crashing down on me a few years ago. I realize now that if I continued the direction I was headed at the end of 2008, I would be digging my grave with a fork and spoon.

I am not meant to be skinny. I am meant to be healthy. I am meant to be active. I am meant to be unafraid to live life. Loving myself unlocks all of these wonderful gifts for me.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:39 PM   #14
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For me...fat acceptance is more about fighting the discrimination that goes on. Its about not letting people get away with making smug remarks, hurtful remarks to someone else. It is about helping people to realize we dont all look like supermodels...and we dont all want to. Gods save me from looking like that druggie Kate Moss.

We as a society need to realize that it doesnt matter what you wear, or where you live, or what size you are....that doesnt decide whether or not you are a good person. You decide.

People are too judgemental in my opinion. If someone is fat and happy..(.and I know its possible as 3 of my friends are over 300 lbs, have good careers as nurses, husbands and kids and would never entertain the idea of trying to lose weight, and would be offended if I suggested it) I say if they are fat and happy then more power to them. We each have one life to live and if that is how they choose to live theirs that is their choice and in my opinion doesnt give anyone the right to cut them down.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:45 PM   #15
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Awesome thread! I have been thinking about this alot lately actualy. I have seen people in the media talking about the whold fat acceptance movement thing and I have for years heard friend and aquaintances boast about how thay are fine with being fat and that They will never change because there is nothing wrong with it. I myself think I am beautiful regardless of my weight. And I strive to be a good person on the inside.

That being said...I think that anyone who says that being obese is ok and that they have NO health problems and they face no challenges from being extreemly overweight is full of it. That might fool someone who was never overweight but we know better. I think people who have to use wheelchairs at the mall because they cannot support their own weight are not ok. I think that if you breath heavy from tieing your shoes it's not ok. I think that if you have to be cut from your home to go to the hospital it is not ok!

This generation is said to be the first generation of people to have a lower life expectancy than the one before. It has everything to do with obesity! The health risks are numerous and serious. My grandmother is 92. How many obese 80 year olds do you know? I have never seen any!! There is a reason for that.

Now on the other hand, I think that just because you are 40 lbs heavier than the average supermodel should not put you in the overweight department. We are and should be all different shapes and sizes. Curves are georgeous and they should be worshiped. And if you are skinny well good for you to. No one should be descriminated against for their weight or for any other health problem. It is simply wrong. Weight doesn't make you a good or bad person.

I think alot of these conspiracy theories about fat not realy being related to health problems and foolishness about obesity being promoted is foolishness! I think there are people who do not want to take responsability for their own lives and their own weight and they want to make it seem ok so they dont have to change.

But that's just my opinion.
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