Today a reader alerted me to one of the most ridiculous reddit threads about me that I’ve seen (and in a group that includes lively conversations about my gastrointestinal health and bowel movements, that’s saying something.) The thread is called “What Does Ragen Claim to Eat” and when I looked at it there were 92 comments. The thing that makes this particularly ridiculous is that the first comment makes it clear that I never talk about what I eat, but the discussion went on for 91 more comments – some wild speculation, some lies, and a random video of a fat woman who isn’t me cooking something thrown in for good measure.
This is a question that I get a lot, from several groups of people:
Sometimes from the trolling “prove it” crowd whose exaggerated sense of self-importance leads them to believe that I owe them a food log.
Sometimes from people who want to know what I eat because they think I’m an example of doing Health at Every Size “right” and they want to do what I do.
Sometimes from people who are genuinely just curious because what they hear about thermodynamics doesn’t agree with what they experience or see.
It doesn’t matter what their intentions are, it’s still not something that I’m going to discuss. There are plenty of reasons.
The most simple reason is because it’s not anybody’s business and I’m not required to discuss anything ever. But I do talk about plenty of things that aren’t necessarily anybody’s business, so why don’t I talk about food?
Because it typically leads to food policing which I have no interest in dealing with, in large part because it just takes away too much time from activism work that I want to do. Sometimes people who don’t have to deal with internet trolls on a daily basis naively think that talking about what I eat will prove something or somehow shut them up. It’s a nice thought, but it’s not how trolls work.
Mostly though, it’s because my personal food choices are just that – personal, not political. They are based on my tastes, my history with food and eating, my nutritional needs, my access, and my privileges. So are everyone else’s and, as such, I’m not that interested in what other people eat unless they want to share a recipe or a bite of something awesome, or I can help them get access to information or food. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not food log dependent.
We each get to make choices about what food we eat (choices that can be limited by our situation, income, access etc.) and those choices shouldn’t be anyone else’s business unless we choose to make them their business.
If you are looking for support around food and food choices from a Body Positive, Health at Every Size Perspective, there are lots of professionals to choose from, Golda at Body Love Wellness, Michelle at The Fat Nutritionist, and Soolman Nutrition and Wellness are a good place to start that work with people using online programs. (I’m sure I’m missing some great folks, please feel to leave them in the comments as long as you are SURE that they are from a FA/HAES perspective).
I think that when it comes to nutrition we should confine ourselves to making decisions for ourselves and, if we are interested in helping others then we can work to make sure that people have access to neutral, unbiased information and access to the foods that they would choose to eat. And while we’re at it, we can work to dismantle our culture’s messed up messages about food.
Alternately, if you want to spend your time wildly speculating about what I eat, there’s always reddit…
Want more support dealing with a fat phobic world? Check out the Fat Activism Conference Three days, 40 speakers, 30 workshops, teleconference style so that you can listen on the phone or computer from wherever you are, recorded so you can listen live or on your own time, only $39 with a pay-what-you-can-afford option to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Check it out!
Book Me! I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!
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Here’s more cool stuff:
My Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
Dance Classes: Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details