Sure Could Use a Little Good News

And I have some! This blog is a bunch of cool things, really not very related to one another. Read on because I’m about to reveal the super secret blog project that we’ve been talking about for a couple of months, I also have some cool news about levels of obesity.  But first, as I write this (and remembering yesterday’s blog) I’ve just finished  watching a show called “NFL Films – In Their Own Words”.  It’s a show for which they have compiled clips of a player being mic’ed on the field, being interviewed etc.  I’m watching it because I  like anything that has to do with athletes and this episode is about Warren Sapp.  At 6’2 and 330 pounds I watched him him run drills and play in games and he is amazing! His explosiveness off the line, his agility, his strength and speed are all impressive for an athlete of any size.  A reporter asked him about his size and he said “I don’t have to look like some kind of god.  It’s about going out and performing for three hours, it’s about your will.”  You tell ’em Warren.

So, the good news that I wanted to write about today is that studies are showing that, despite the crazy doom and gloom ohmygoddeathfatzarecomingforeveryone predictions that we will all be obese within the month or whatever and how horrible that is, in actuality rates of obesity are leveling off.  Now, let’s not forget that part of the rise in obesity happened when a panel of people with strong financial ties to the dieting and pharma weight loss industries were able to convince the National Institutes of Health to lower the weight that is considered “normal”, making about 25 million people overweight overnight.  Also, it’s interesting that the articles about this leveling off are finally admitting that nobody knows what caused the rise in obesity and nobody knows why it leveled off.  Of course there were also reports that it had leveled off between 2003 and 2008 so the whole thing is highly questionable (especially when the conversation is driven by those who profit from a weight centered approach to health, and obesity hysteria). Now, we know that bodies come in all sizes, and I don’t actually care whether there are more, less, or the same number of obese people. What makes it good news to me is that every article that I’ve read about this has mentioned that dieting has not resulted in thinner people.  What I am excited about is that maybe this will halt some of the obesity fear mongering and cause a retrospective look at the last 10 years, which I think will show the epic failure of the dieting industry and hopefully that will lead to people to being open to a discussion of a health centered paradigm.  A girl can dream.

Super Secret Project Revealed!

You may remember me asking for pictures of fatties doing cool physical things.  Here’s why.  I became really frustrated with the lack of active online conversations about fitness where I felt comfortable.  Forums about fitness ranged from subtle fat bashing to outright hostility, even in the best of circumstances I had to wade through a ton of weight loss talk to get to the actual fitness advice, and there was no advice to be had by people my size.  At the same time I get a whole bunch of e-mails from people asking for fitness advice – everything from weight training questions to what do to about chub rub.  I started thinking about what I could do to solve this problem so I talked to a couple of the awesome women who I’m lucky enough to know – Jeanette from The Fat Chick and Jayne from Slow Fat Triathlete – and we hatched a plan. On March 3rd we will be launching the Fit Fatty Forum.  This is for anyone, of any size and any ability who wants to talk about fitness in an environment free from weight loss talk.  Whether someone’s goal is to walk to their mailbox or run a marathon, there will be a place for them on the Fit Fatty Forum.  This will be free to use, moderated to be a safe space, and will include discussions, a picture gallery, a video gallery, and an Ask A Fit Fatty section where you can ask your questions to an expert.  I’m super excited about this.  I’ll be giving you more information as the launch date comes up.

Support All Kids Billboard Project Update

Y’all we are so close to getting that $5,000 More of Me to Love Matching donation which will pay for small billboards in downtown Atlanta and signs at bus shelters. We just need 217 more individual donors.  Today is “Ask a Friend Day”.  If you’ve already contributed, consider asking a friend to donate a Solidarity Dollar  (or posting http://www.SupportAllKids.com on your Facebook and/or Twitter) and asking people to Stand Up for these kids.  I know is that when our giant billboard and all of our posters go up to support the kids of Georgia who’ve been shamed, stigmatized, and humiliated for the last 9 months, I will be so proud and grateful to have been part of it.

This blog is supported by its readers rather than corporate ads.  If you feel that you get value out of the blog, can afford it, and want to support my work and activism, please consider a paid subscription or a one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free.   Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

39 thoughts on “Sure Could Use a Little Good News

  1. Hi

    For your Fit Fatty blog space, have you run across hoop dance? There is a web site called http://www.hooping.org which is a daily on-line magazine and social space for hoop dancers around the world.

    In the discussion forums there is a specific forum called Curvey Hoopers (of which I am a member), and inside that forum you will find larger people having a great time dancing with their big hula hoops and posting videos and threads about all sorts from costuming to choreography.

    There is in fact a second similar space called Hoop City, I think that URL is http://www.hoopcity.com, and they also have a forum for bigger hoopers. Hoopers are very accepting people, and they come in all shapes and sizes and have a blast regardless.

    Sue

    1. Hi Sue,

      I was actually on that website when I took my first hoop class (from Rowan TwoSisters at punkrockhoops.com) and then blogged about it. I didn’t see the curvy hooper forum but that is super cool.

      By the way I know have my own giant hoop and while it’s become very clear that I’m not a hooping prodigy, I’m having a blast with it 🙂

      ~Ragen

  2. LOVE the idea of the Fit Fatty Forum!! We so need those pictures and examples of folks like us that are getting out there and doing what they love, right now, not 5 (or 50) pounds from now. Go Ragen!

  3. I love the idea, I’m battling anorexia, binge purge type, so i’m probably not really your audience. I’m here because i love your body acceptance, PEOPLE not ‘appearance’ based approach. I’m sick of body hating and shaming, sick of people judging one another on the outside cover. And so stuck in my disorder – I’m trying to get back into exercise in a healthy way because I need it tohelp my osteoporosis, but so over all the talk about losing weight and calories burnt etc. Thank you. 🙂

    1. Fiona, I’m sure Ragen would be the first to say that you are very welcome here. Fear of fat hurts everyone, just in different ways.

      For me, approaching exercise in a healthy way was harder than healing my relationship with food. I think there are more resources to help with food issues, while, as you’ve seen, the exercise industry is saturated with weight loss messages and an obsession with striving relentlessly towards goals. (Not that goals are bad in themselves, but they have been the strongest fuel for my disordered thinking.)

      One thing that helped me was taking an “absolute beginner’s” yoga class. Most people take this class for four weeks and then move on to more challenging classes. I took it for six months, because approaching exercise without striving was a big challenge in itself.

    2. You are part of the target audience – Ragen is the inclusive type.

      The point of the forum is to get as many people comfortable with seeking advice on health and fitness without having to wade through triggering talk.

      I wish you well on your journey.

    3. I’m battling Bulimia (binge/starve) & had anorexia for a year before it transformed into bulimia. I think we are a good audience as we need a lot of help in refocusing so we can stop the cycle & be healthy. Instead of trying to stop binging by white-knuckling my way through the day, I have decided step one is instead to stop hating myself & to refocus my mindset, & this blog is very helpful in that. It has taught me a lot in just a few weeks! And I’m so over that talk too, though I do still participate in calorie counting & binging & such. I will get there someday. It takes time.

      1. Hi there,

        Congratulations on where you are in your recovery, I know it’s a process and I absolutely believe in you. If there is ever anything that I can do to support you please just let me know!

        ~Ragen

    4. I just want to say thank you to you all, and that I hope so much that you can continue in your recovery paths. Another reason I’m here instead of say, an anorexia forum, is because of the ACCEPTANCE and support here. Because of the sharing rather than competing in healthy ways. Because people here haven’t forgotten that there is a human being behind every single ‘story’ like a lot of people have, and worse, they have forgotten there is a human being inside every single body no matter how fat, thin, or whatever they might be. Thank you for helping me feel not alone here xx

    5. Hi Fiona,

      Congratulations on where you are with your recovery, it’s definitely a process and it can be so frustrating at times. You are absolutely welcome on the site – we are dedicated to inclusion – all sizes, all abilities, all fitness levels. We are calling it the Fit Fatty Forum because we are three fit fatties and because people of size are so often left completely out of the fitness discussion, it is our goal to make sure that everyone who wants to talk about exercise from a health at every size perspective knows that they are welcome, so if you are interested I definitely hope that you will join us!

      Hugs!

      ~Ragen

      1. I would love to join you – long distance of course, but your message is one that the world needs to hear. I’m on a journey to self acceptance – to being kind to myself, looking after my body, being thankful for all it can do, rather than trying to squeeze it to conform to an unreal expectation. I hope I can convince as many people around me to join us in this. I know that the feeling of growing fitter and stronger really does help me in this – the more I focus on what i can DO and how GOOD i feel, the less I care about what size I am or what anyone else thinks of me. I think it’s sad that people who are fat are left out of exercise so much too – with so much body hatred already thrown at them, to not experience the joy of moving and living in your body is such a loss. Thank you for being such a pioneer of REAL change that we really need – to lead to a kinder ,more accepting world.
        (sorry if I’m not quite making sense, long day, very tired !)

  4. Oh wow, this is awesome! I agree, it is hard to find forums that just focus on health and not on weight and yes, there does tend to be a lot of fat bashing (or body hatred in general). I’ll have to join, maybe it will finally motivate me to do something.

  5. Ragen, your forum announcement made my morning! After casting off all the weight loss sites as too depressing, I’d been looking for something to fill the void of where to find good, supportive fitness information. And now you’re about to hand it to me!

    The only gracious thing I can do is say “thank you,” and show up when the virtual doors open.

  6. This IS exciting news…thank you for all you do, Ragen! I just joined the local chapter of Toastmasters and am giving my introductory speech 2mow, titled…”Finding my Inner Athlete”. Although the audience will be small, I’m hoping that my story will challenge at least one person’s perception of fit fatties. Can wait for the forum 🙂

  7. Would love to post to my Facebook and Twitter accounts asking my friends to donate at least a dollar to http://www.SupportAllKids.com, but most of my Facebook friends know nothing about the negative billboard campaign, and the SupportAllKids page on the blog doesn’t really tell them. Is there any place that shows photos of what Strong4Life is doing (other than their own website and Facebook page), explains how damaging this is and THEN asks for a donation? If anyone wants to put together some links, I’d be glad to use them.

  8. I’m super, super excited for the new Fit Fatty Forum. I’m about to get into MMA-style boxing. Or at least, the training part of it because I don’t want to actually hit people. When I tried to find a gym, all they talked about was training for actual fights, which I’m not interested in. Then when I tried to find information on the workouts with bags and weights, etc, all of the info I found was about how cut you could become and how much weight you could lose. Sooooooooo not the point. Anyway, my new bag and gloves will be arriving next week. I’m excited to get started, but the idea that there will be more experienced fatties on the forum to give me advice is SUPER EXCITING! =D

  9. Hey Regan, thanks for all the work you do. I started out a very incredulous medical student, but have come around through reading this blog and doing my own research. I am now writing a MPH thesis about obesity stigma.

    I just wanted to share my latest blog entry with you – introducing people to the concept of obesity stigma in the context of pregnancy:

    http://doctorzetcetera.blogspot.com/2012/02/body-image-pregnancy-and-obesity-stigma.html

    thanks for the inspiration, for broadening my horizons, and for making me a better healer.

    -Mali

    1. What a great blog. Thank you for being open minded and jumping in with both feet where you see injustice. The blog is great, there’s something going on with my computer and it won’t let me comment but it was a really great read. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

      Thanks!

      ~Ragen

  10. I am SO SO SO SO SO SO excited about the Fit Fatty Forum! I cannot wait!!! I am toying with the idea of training for a(nother) half marathon. What a great support that will be! 🙂

  11. The Fit Fatty Forum sounds awesomesauce! What a great idea.

    I do have some thoughts that have been forming in my brain for some time now about the rise in obesity that started the whole ZOMGFATTIES!!!!! hysteria in the first place, and the reason the trend has leveled off in the past few years. I may be talking through my entire chapeaux collection, but could this be about the Baby Boomer Generation aging?

    After all, the rise in waistlines on average seemed to start showing up right around the time the first boomers started hitting their mid thirties, a common time for people to begin adding poundage. Add to that the fact that we Boomers (I was born a year or two before the end of the baby boom, so yes, I’m one of us in this case) are living longer than previous generations, and suddenly it makes a certain sense that there would be more fat people, more people with diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease – since these conditions are more closely associated with age than behavior – and higher rates of death associated with these ailments since we’re getting on and we all have to die of something.

    Many of the common illnesses that killed people young have been either wiped out or are far better controlled than they used to be. That means more of us live long enough to develop heart disease and cancer, because we didn’t die at three of scarlet fever, or at fifteen of tuberculosis.

    Obviously, this is just a theory and I could absolutely be proved wrong. Hell, I may already have been proved wrong without knowing it! But I do think it’s an interesting thought, especially when you consider how youth conscious the enter Boomer generation has always been.

    Food for general thought.

  12. I’d love to see more exercise classes for all ages that focus on enjoying the exercise, not about getting to a set level or competing.

    I think a lot of people who think they dislike exercise would find that if you remove the competitive aspect they find it more fun.

    I loved playing badminton as a teen and joined a club with my dad to play, but they concentrated on competitions more than general play, so I was given lower priority as a novice than the more experienced players and never progressed to the point I’d be able to consider competing.

    I’m still looking for some place to play again – but only at a casual level.

  13. Ooooh! Sign me up for FIT FATTY!!! Hey would it be alright if I Posted a link to you and all the cool stuff you got goin here on my website? It’s right up your ally I think. What I’m really shooting for is to build a community of acceptance mongerers. We really need to not only support and build up one another but also; we really need to celebrate our selves. It breaks my heart to think of all the plus sized people out there who don’t know they have the right to equality. That they have the right to walk down the street feeling safe that they wont fall prey to open blatant bigotry. NO FATTY LEFT BEHIND!!! We should have a parade…. a march….the million fatty march on the White House followed by an apology from the fist lady her self for being so hypocritical as to incite prejudice in our Great Nation where equality is what sets us appart.

    1. Hi there,

      It sound like you are up to some really cool things, keep me posted for sure. It’s absolutely cool to post a link to me – the best compliment that I can get is someone passing my work on!

      ~Ragen

  14. I would really like to talk about exercise in a safe environment. 🙂 I don’t want to be an athlete, or even “get fit”, but I have lots of problems doing exercise, and I feel unhappy about it. 😦

  15. I am very excited about the Fit Fatty Forum – it is so hard to find spaces to talk about fitness without the weight issue everywhere.

  16. I’ll definitely be joining this forum too! My story (like others you’ve heard time and time before) is decades spent dieting and weight cycling. For instance, I’ve lost over 100+ pounds not once but twice in the last decade. Currently, I’m no where near my highest adult weight, but I’m no where near my lowest either and overweight again by those damn bmi charts. No, I’m not happy “where I am”, but I’m working toward mindfulness and acceptance, and doing things differently with behavior, attitude and a HAES approach. My fitness activity of choice is long distance “running”. Last year, I completed 9 events of marathon distance or longer; I’m registered for my (4th year) favorite local 12 hour run in three weeks. I may be getting older (51), slower (walking is still a pace), and heavier, but I’m still out there doing the distance and moving this body. I’d like to think of myself as being “Za-fit-ig”. 🙂

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