Fat People Need To…

none of your businessFirst of all, thank you so much to everyone who offered congratulations on the marathon (did I mention that I completed a marathon?)  There has been some confusion about my desire to do the marathon and what it means to have done it and I want to try to clear that up.   This is from an e-mail that I received today:

“Congratulations on finishing a marathon!”


“I’m glad that you understand that fat people need to be out there exercising and eating healthy, not just sitting around being lazy.”

Nooooooo.  No no no no no no no no. World of no.  Galaxy of no.  No.

This whole “Good Fatty/Bad Fatty” thing has to die. I do athletic things because I enjoy them (or at least because I want to do them), not because I am under any illusion that I should have to “perform” as an athlete to deserve basic human respect.  Fat people are allowed to be athletes and we are allowed to talk about it and be proud of our achievements but being a fathlete is no more laudable than if we knit awesome sweaters or if we can quote every word of Eddie Izzard’s Dressed to Kill.

I/we/fat people don’t “need to do” anything.  Paternalism is running rampant right now, crushing fat people in its stampede to judge somebody else and tell them how to live their lives (and do it fast before someone looks at you!)

If I washed down a macaroni and cheese casserole with 2 liters of Mountain Dew and a couple gallons of ice cream and that was just breakfast, and I haven’t exercised since 1985, it STILL wouldn’t be anybody else’s business, and it still wouldn’t be their place to tell me what I “need” to do. Because I’m allowed to live that way if I want.  Just like people are allowed to get pass-out drunk every weekend, or jump out of a helicopter onto a super steep mountain wearing skis, or be a cast member of Jackass. We don’t lose our right to chose how highly to prioritize our health, or what hobbies we choose because of our body size.

If someone is thinking about making an “as long as my tax dollars have to pay…” argument, then they can head over to this post.

If they want to tell me how much money I cost the workplace, then this post is for them.

If you’re still here I’ll break it way down for you:

If you’re looking for your beeswax, you won’t find it on my ass.

My body size, my level of health, my diet, are none of anybody else’s business unless I choose to make it their business.. Just like theirs are none of mine.  We live in such a “judge-or-be-judged” culture that people always seem to be looking for some way (any way!) that they are better than someone else. They have more money, they have more style, they have more friends on Facebook.  So I think that when they see a fat person they heave a sigh of relief because they are obviously better.

This is not helpful.  This is not useful. This is not getting us anywhere.  I would suggest that those who are feeling the need to help strangers be healthier work on making sure that everyone has access to the foods they would choose to eat, safe movement options (both physically safe and psychologically safe – free from shame/stigma/bullying etc.) and good, affordable, evidence based healthcare. Or they can worry about their own health.  But seriously, mine is none of their business and I don’t “need” to do anything to be afforded basic human respect and my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and neither does anyone else.

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If my selling things on the blog makes you uncomfortable, you might want to check out this post.  Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

64 thoughts on “Fat People Need To…

  1. Congratulations on doing the marathon! That’s an awesome achievement and is one of my goals for the next year.

    I agree with you 1000%, the good fatty/bad fatty thing needs to stop. It helps no one and it often makes things worse.

    After having my baby in July I’ve lost a lot of weight because I was (and still am) really sick. I have an inflamed gallbladder with severe gallstones they refuse to take out because they insist I just need to not eat fat. Doesn’t matter how many times I say I can barely eat anything. The people in my life who are unaware how sick I am have repeatedly congratulated me for losing weight and “getting healthy,” telling me how awesome it is that I’m making my health a priority by fitting into a smaller size jeans. Even after I say the only reason I’ve lost so much weight is because I’m so sick people just ignore it. They still insist I must be healthier because my body is smaller. This mindset hurts people.

    1. Oh inkspots! How awful! Shall I send my native guides to help your doctors find their lost (and clearly shrunken, or they wouldn’t fit through such a small orifice) heads? I have a clue where they might be hiding.

    2. Oh, Sweet Margaret. People can be SO awful sometimes. 😦 I’m so sorry. First – congratulations on your baby! But condolences on being sick. I hope you can find a different doc that will treat you from an evidence-based POV. If your doc thinks that existing gallstones will disappear because you eat less fat, he is SORELY mistaken and you need to seek out a new doc if at all possible. Here’s some information from the WellnessWatchers page (http://www.wellnesswatchersmd.com/askthedoc/articles/gallstones.php):

      “Gallbladder disease almost always means gallstones, particularly if your cholesterol is high and you have recently lost weight and or made significant dietary changes. Altering normal bile flow with sudden weight loss can result in the synthesis of more gallstones. A high fat or spicy meal is the typical final precipitating factor that makes gallstones symptomatic. Fat triggers the release of cholecystokinin the hormone responsible for making the gallbladder contract. If the contraction is forceful enough, a stone of approximately the same diameter as the opening of the common bile duct is thrust into it and may ultimately cause a blockage requiring emergency surgery. That is precisely how famed country western singer Tammy Wynette died, due the inevitable ensuing infection.”

      Good luck!!

    3. *SHUDDER*

      I so sympathize. 😦 I spent five years with a chronically inflamed gallbladder because the GI I saw at the time said, “No stones, you’re fine.” When I finally ovaried up and asked for a second opinion, I was in surgery within two weeks. Mind, when it first reared its head, I spent NINE MONTHS unable to do anything but clutch my abdomen, and cough due to all the GI disturbance.

      Are you in any position to demand a second (third, fourth) opinion? Hell, if it comes to it, pitch a screaming fit that you have a newborn to care for, and you can’t because you can’t eat a damn thing.

      Why do people still cling to the idea that a fat-free or low-fat diet is the cure to all ills? Personally, I enjoy it when my brain functions normally.

      1. I’m currently without insurance, so I’m pretty much stuck with the doctors I’ve been dealing with until I can get some coverage and go elsewhere.

        I had this problem throughout my pregnancy as well. My son was born weighing 7 pounds 11 ounces, I has gained 6 pounds for the entire pregnancy. I had a drain tube placed for 6 weeks, they were originally going to do surgery after my son was born. The drain tube fell out when I was 35 weeks along, I wasn’t having symptoms so they just assumed I was all better.

            1. Can you get her to push? I mean her-life-is-in-danger-you-idiots push. Because she needs to, and if the surgeon won’t listen, she needs to ref you to a different surgeon.

    4. Wow…isn’t it dangerous and irresponsible to refuse to remove an inflamed gallbladder? My aunt decided to treat her cholecystitis with a special diet…and her gallbladder ruptured and she had to be hospitalized (luckily she recovered)! At least it was her choice…it’s hard for me to comprehend that a doctor would make that decision.

      I had my gallbladder removed as a teenager. I didn’t have any stones, but I had lots of pain and nausea, and an ejection fraction around 10%. I didn’t like the idea of having any part of my body removed, but it turns out it was a good decision–after surgery, the pathology report showed that I had “chronic cholecystitis” (the walls of my gallbladder were scarred and thick). The gastrointestinal doctor said scarring/thickening cannot be reversed.

      1. It is dangerous. I’m sick almost everyday, very limited on what I can eat without getting sick. I’ll be changing doctors in January, so hopefully this will be taken care of.

    5. I had an instance when I was very ill and loosing weight without trying. I got lots of pats on the back also… I’d just look at them and say, “Oh, please don’t congratulate me.. I lost it because I’m dying” They always took a step back. I then reminded them that to assume weight loss is welcome, it very well could be the side effect of a terrible illness.

  2. It sometimes amazes me how insensitive and self-aggrandizing people can be! How someone can have such a sense of self importance that they feel they can congratulate a perfect stranger on “prioritizing their health” based on one behavoir is beyond me, nevermind when you throw a stereotype and some bigotry in. Incredible.

    You are awesome because you FINISHED A MARATHON! Not because you weight X lbs and you finished a marathon, not because you finished it in X amount of hours, but simply because you FINISHED A FREAKIN MARATHON!
    You’re an inspiration, not because you’re a fat athlete but because you are an incredibly talented and driven athlete (and person in general) who faces so much oppression day to day and just keeps pushing through and being awesome.

    So congrats on FINISHING A FREAKIN MARATHON! You rock 🙂

    1. The last musher in to the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race gets the Red Lantern Award. Now, some may think this is mockery, recalling the red lantern that used to hang from the very last car on a train. But really it’s a recognition of tenacity, because the musher hung in there in a race so tough that at least one team has to scratch every year, even though only the best mushers can even enter in the first place. If you finish, you win.

      So I say, buy yourself a red lantern and put it on your mantelpiece, because damn it, you did it.

  3. Brilliant post — I don’t know which I love more: “Paternalism is running rampant right now, crushing fat people in its stampede to judge somebody else and tell them how to live their lives” or “If you’re looking for your beeswax, you won’t find it on my ass.” 😀

    And I’m late to the party, but congratulations on the marathon! Not because you “needed” to, but because dreaming of doing something and being brave enough to go for it is ALWAYS an awesome and amazing thing!

    Also, your post on the marathon nearly had me in tears — it’s nice be reminded that people can be truly good to each other, even if they don’t start out that way.

  4. (Note to self: Watch Eddie Izzard: Dressed to Kill until I learn every single word and pause… and then watch it some more) Any excuse to watch more Eddie Izzard.

    I will not, however, be knitting awesome sweaters because I am shite at knitting… but I’ll make fabulous pastries and feed them to anyone who wants to partake, fat or thin. As long as they aren’t total douchecanoes who want to tell me what to do with my life.

      1. Just come on by anytime, Helena. I’m sure to have something delicious coming out of the oven nearly anytime at this time of year. It’s especially true this year because most of Christmas (and seasonally related holidays) is coming from my kitchen this year.

        In fact, later this week I’ll be taking my first steps into confectionary and making candies.

        Some people do marathons, some write computer code, I cook. It’s all good.

  5. First of all congratulations on your marathon!!! You are AWESOME!

    I can wholeheartedly relate to your post. I´m very obese and I can´t count the times when a stranger makes a comment about my appearance, the items in my shopping bag or my (thin) husband.
    Mind your own business!!!!

  6. The only remotely valid thing that I can think of to complete that sentence is “Fat people need to…read Dances with Fat!”  (And I realize that even THAT is obnoxiously paternalistic and inappropriate of me to say. All I mean by it, though, is I wish that every fattie who is hurt/shamed/abused/vilified/ignored/disrespected etc., would find and read your blog and be informed, encouraged and uplifted, as I am when I read your work.)


    1. We’ll take you for what you mean and not for what you say in this case. I think I got the gist of that whole wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey sentence. 🙂

  7. When I first came to Fat Acceptance I read all kinds of posts by fat people looking for fellowship and support from their fat peers for fat issues of all sizes and shapes.

    You rarely see people that feel that comfortable in Today’s Fat Acceptance, I hope everyone has some fat friends that they can PM to replace sharing on Forums and Blogs.

  8. WOOT! Belated congrats on finishing the marathon! 😀 How did you celebrate?

    I’m pretty damn good at knitting, though I’m taking a break to improve my mad beadwork skills. However, a large piece of my heart lives in the candy kettle. Someday, I shall have a copper-lined pot (induction stove) in which to make my annual delectables. For now, though–this weekend, actually!–I will devote myself to pralines. Dozens and dozens of them, in all flavors. I wish I had some unsalted pistachios, actually. Pistachios or pine nuts would be incredible in honey pralines.

    BTW, am I completely insane, or do maple pralines with toasted walnuts sound like the friggin’ bomb?

    (Note to self, still need freeze-dried raspberries for experimental divinity goodness. And it’s about time to get the vanilla-cinnamon vodka sweetened–with local honey–and poured out into moonshine-style jars.)

    1. Okay, now I really need to know what you’re going to do with freeze-dried raspberries and divinity! Divinity is my all-time favorite Christmas candy, but it’s hard to make here because it’s so darn humid and the weather won’t often cooperate.

      1. Ugh, that sucks. 😦 I finally got it to come out right every batch (in dry weather) by using the dough hook on my KitchenAid to mix the stuff! First person in at least four generations to achieve that!

        And the raspberries are for the Hobbit cookbook I’m working on as a fan labor of love. 🙂 I’m creating a sweet recipe for every single named character in the three movies. Should take at least a year and a half. I found out, though, that Graham McTavish, who plays Dwalin, loves Pavlova. It’s basically raspberries, meringue, and whipped cream. Dwalin has a known sweet tooth. (He got his hand stuck in Bilbo’s cookie jar.) Since divinity is essentially a candied meringue, I’m adding powdered raspberries to create Dwalin’s Hands-Off-Or-You’re-Dead Portable Pavlovas. With any luck, I’ll be able to debut the recipe and a photo on January 4, which is Graham’s birthday. I’ll send him a link and photo on Twitter. (He’s SUCH a sweetheart.)

            1. THAT’S PERFECT! (And do look into the fake gold dust/sugar that Wilton’s sells, because you know Lobelia would. And she wouldn’t tell anybody it wasn’t real, either.)

              1. Oh, I already have! Edible gold mica, here I come! Or maybe star-shaped edible gold sequins. They come in hearts, too!

        1. I totally Am Not Worthy… but I’m giddy at the mere thought of this book.

          If I did a fangrrl cookbook it would probably wind up being tasty tea treats for the characters in Anthony Trollope’s Barchester novels or something equally arcane. But now I want to do it.

          What do you think for the odious Mrs. Proudie? Acid drops?

          1. Thank you! 😀 I got my raspberries ordered, along with some dried peaches I’m going to devour. Now I just need them to get here!

          1. Will do! 🙂 Raspberries are on order, and I need to get my pralines finished. (The best batch so far broke a cardinal praline rule, which is, “Don’t veer from the recipe.” I doubled the butter and cream, and they’re PERFECT.)

    2. “BTW, am I completely insane, or do maple pralines with toasted walnuts sound like the friggin’ bomb?”

      This is clearly a trick question. The answer is ‘both.’ Also, if you need a taste tester for these friggin’ bombs (and there could be no better name for them), please feel free to either send some to me or bring me to them. I’m cool, either way.

      1. You do have a very good point there. Yes, the answer is both.

        I made a preliminary batch, but next time I need to double the maple. They’re wonderful, but only have a very mild maple flavor. They’d be killer on a stack of piping hot pancakes.

        And I’m more than happy to share. 😀 But you have to come and get ’em. 😉

      1. I’ve had a HUGE bottle of Polish vodka (not potato, alas) sitting in the dark for the last six months, with enough cinnamon sticks and split vanilla beans to bring the liquid level to the rim. Tomorrow, I need to bring in my box of empty canning jars and send them through the dishwasher. (I wonder if I can put the lids in a lingerie bag? Hmm.) Once the jars are ready, I’ll add a couple tablespoons of honey, some vodka, and a lid. Voila! Cheap, relatively easy gifts en masse. 🙂

  9. Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyouverymuch. You have helped me get through the day. Looking for my outrage and power now. Thanks.

    Sent from my iPhone

  10. Just so ya know, I can definitely quote every friggin’ line in Eddie Izzard’s Dressed to Kill. LOVE IT. I saw him live a few years ago, and he was magic!

  11. You are perfection! Not only are you my hero, role model and mentor – but I’m lucky and proud to call you my dear friend. You make the world a better place Ragen. ❤

  12. Another rock star post! The reason people fail at exercising and eat better is because they really don’t want to do it, and THAT IS OK! I am active b/c I want to be not to lose weight, and it’s the most free I have felt in years! Congrats on the marathon girl!

  13. What angers me most is the belief that fat people are stupid. Your email, Ragen, saying ““I’m glad that you understand that fat people need to be out there exercising and eating healthy, not just sitting around being lazy.” How patronising is that?!! You and all your wonderful followers strike me as being far from stupid, whatever their shape, size or weight might be! I think there is also a tendency to pity fat people, which is equally annoying. If you like doing energetic things, like dancing, running, sports of all kinds, then great. If you don’t like doing those things, but like reading, cooking, history, art, equally great. We’re not all made to like the same things, and personally, I think there’s nothing worse than forcing people to do things that they don’t want to do. When I tell people who don’t know me that I go to a Zumba class, I can see the look on their faces saying “who’s she kidding?”. I do go, and have been going for over two years. I’ve lost no weight as a direct result of going to Zumba, but I really enjoy doing it. A very slim, petite woman who works in my building was waiting to use the microwave the other day, whilst my lunch was heating up in there. She had a plate containing some salmon and some really unappetising looking carrots. I said “it’s amazing how long 3 minutes can seem when you’re hungry!” and she actually said “well, you could always do some lunges, or some squats while you’re waiting” and she was serious. I said “I’ve never been known to do anything as silly as that” and I could see her face saying “No, I can see that”. I really, really wanted to hang around and see if SHE did lunges and squats while she waited for her sad salmon to heat up, but I had this feeling that she probably would! I’m off back to my book…

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