Sacrifices For Our Future Thin Selves

It's Me!  As drawn by the fabulous!
It’s Me! As drawn by the fabulous!

Last Friday I was heading out of San Francisco after having been part of an amazing conference.  I was driving across the Bay Bridge and feeling really happy when One Republic’s song “I Lived” came on the radio.  It was one of those moments that was movie-perfect.  Moments like this make me profoundly grateful that I discovered Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size.

A disturbing trend in the ever more disturbing “War on Obesity” is people – be it healthcare practitioners, government officials etc. –  who are perfectly willing to try to convince fat people to sacrifice our current happiness and quality of life for what they insist will be the high quality life of our future thin selves. Before I found Size Acceptance there was a time in my life when I absolutely bought into this.

This can take many guises, from people who suggest that fat people should think of ourselves as temporarily inconvenienced thin people, to people who suggest that fat people’s lives should be made more difficult as a way to “encourage” us to become thin. You can see this happen in lots of ways:

Refusing to show fat people being successful at anything other than weight loss.

These are people who say, with a straight face, that the key to making fat people thin is a complete and total lack of positive representation and role models in popular culture.

The Displacement Diet

These are people who suggest that fat people shouldn’t have fashionable clothes, or seats that fit us on public transportation or theaters etc., and that fat people with disabilities should actually be denied mobility assistance because apparently if we create a world where fat people can’t leave our homes or participate in society, the obvious outcome is that we will become thin.  Okie dokie then.

Prescribing to Fat People What They Diagnose In Thin People

Consider for a moment if someone who wasn’t fat told you that they were severely restricting calories, exercising 8 hours a day, eating large amounts of food that are “forbidden” on their current “diet” and then exercising all night to “make up for it”, and manipulating their weight for their weekly weigh in with dehydration. Would you cheer them on and tell them to keep it up?

That’s exactly what we do when we promote The Biggest Loser.

What these people are actually saying is that fat people should do really unhealthy things now – because if those unhealthy behaviors make us thin we will then be somehow magically healthy.  Stop the logic train, we had some passengers fall off. By this “logic” we should just give all fat people meth or cocaine.  Oh wait, they’re basically working on that already.

Suggesting That We Hate Ourselves Thin

Many people are perfectly happy to try to lower fat people’s self-esteem and create body image issues – suggesting that we see our bodies as flawed, ugly, unattractive, and the source of all of our problems.   I must have missed the study data that shows that self-loathing is causally (or even correlationally) related to future thinness.

In addition to convincing fat people to sacrifice our current happiness for our future thin happiness, this technique is also unfortunately successful in convincing fat people to believe that instead of fighting size-based oppression, we should try to solve our oppression by appeasing our oppressors.

I remember a time of my life when I was willing to sacrifice my current happiness for the happiness that I was sure would come along with my future thin body.  There was a time when I was waiting for another body to show up so that I could start living.

Now of course I know the truth about weight loss, but more importantly I know what a mistake it was for me to put my current happiness and life on hold in the hopes that happiness and living would show up once I had successfully manipulated the size of my body. I stopped waiting around for another body to show up and decided to take the body I have out for a spin. I am actively (often successfully!) pursuing life, liberty and happiness right now, in this big fat body, and I’ll never look back.

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9 thoughts on “Sacrifices For Our Future Thin Selves

  1. Incredibly well said! It makes me so sad that I wasted so many years making myself miserable by fighting my body and allowing myself to believe the BS we’re taught to believe by our fatphobic society. I was so unhappy and really brainwashed by our culture and media – I believed the lie for FAR too many years. Even one day is far too much time to give to the people who want us to hate ourselves thin. Even if it worked, which it doesn’t, it’s no way to live and losing even one day of happiness in this short short life is one day too much.

    One day, on our death bed, we won’t look back on our life and regret not fitting in size 6 jeans – We will regret how many years we spent miserable thinking that “some day I’ll be thin and happy” and hating ourselves and living in pain and misery because we believed the lies.

    I believed the lies we are all taught. I want my years back. But they will never come back so all I can do is live life to the fullest now – smile easier, laugh harder, live out loud. THEY can’t have my happiness, never again.

    1. I was going to comment on Ragen’s article and how much I have learned from her and how inspirational she is to me! But Stacy, your post hits home too as I feel the same way! I will have no regrets except for the wasted time-a lot of it. SHAME on society for allowing these terrible, offensive behaviors to continue and even give them a spot light! I am so happy I came across Ragen’s blog. I have shared her advice with numerous people, all helping one another at a time. I will be forever positively changed by Ragen’s words. Thank you so much Ragen!!!!

  2. AMEN to all of this. A few years back I nearly died from congestive heart failure (misdiagnosed for years as asthma) — one thing I took away from that experience, and from my recovery since, is the importance of living NOW. Don’t wait for “when I get thin” or “when I get rich” or “when I get my dream job” or even “when I find my true love” or “when the kids are grown” or “when I have kids”. Live NOW.

    I know that sounds completely corny and I wish I could do a better job of conveying how strongly one feels it after nearly dying. I spent so many years waiting to live until I was thin … and now I just wonder, why the hell did I do that?

    1. May I try to guess the why without sounding patronizing? It’s probably because society is pretty Goddamn dickish about letting fat people live their lives in peace and freedom. Even without internet trolls sending hate mail and death threats every time they notice your existence, it’s hard to be alive and happy and full of love when the world you live in LITERALLY declares war on your fat ass… but not you, of course. That would be evil. Just your fat – it’s gotta die or we’ll fucking throw eggs at you, deny you health care whilst blaming you for being unhealthy and the fucking CHARGE you because *fart noise fart noise* money!

      I can’t say I’m sorry for anything you’ve been through – you seem like such a strong and enlightened person that I wouldn’t want to change you. I wish you well and pray that anyone who tries to shame you for yourself suffers a week-long butt rash. (I ain’t playin’, Thor – make it happen!)

  3. I think everyone knows by now I get around most of the time via mobility device. I wanted one 10 years ago, when I was 375lbs. I tried and tried to convince my doctor that I needed his consent to work with the SSA to pay for a mobility device. He refused saying that if I stopped walking completely then I would only continue to gain weight leading to further health complications. So what did I do? I very, rarely went out and did anything leading me to be depressed, withdrawn and extremely isolated. I also gained weight, of course. Did his idiotic prescription for walking help at all? No. It made it my whole life worse.

    Well when my knees finally gave out because of a childhood injury, I had a new wonderful PCM who was only too happy to work with me, my, insurance company and the SSA to get me onto a mobility device. It wasn’t “easy” but it happened. And guess what? All the sudden I was out again! I was a regular fixture in the Gaslamp Disctrict of San Diego, Balboa park, and our amazing Oceanfront Boardwalk that spans Pacific and Mission beaches. I would get high fives from passer by’s who loved my jokes and good humor. There was a group of these young surfer guys who I would sit and hang out with for hours on end telling jokes and watching them surf. I was alive again. I stopped being a shut in and started loving the body I had. I took responsibility for myself, got what I needed and started my life over.

    1. *feels a little jealous* I want a high-five, can I have a high-five? Every time you talk about yourself, you make me feel good about the whole world.

  4. I was thinking this last night, that hungry people don’t have the will to govern themselves, so they are the easiest to brainwash. They “need” “The Master” to tell them what’s ok and not. I suspect that’s how WW continues to exist, even though you have a high attrition rate, there are plenty more to fill it again waiting in the wings. This may also explain during times of famine or war why uprisings are so disjointed, non-functional, or even non-existent. Perhaps the whole “Me culture” is based on too much dieting?

    I had the opportunity on Sunday (2 days ago) to meet a Holocaust survivor (the youngest). She lives in the same city as me, and she was giving a talk about her experiences and new book she wrote, called Only a Bad Dream?. Very moving, and she spoke of a time when she was at a zoo in Germany in the recent past (last few decades) and she had to leave because she had too many thoughts of “which one of your grandfathers raped me, which one of your fathers beat my mother”. The grand take-away message that she shared with me personally is that you have to love yourself first, then all else will fall into place. You also have to just walk away from things, otherwise you will get so angry you could punch or kill.

  5. This really makes me want a blog/group purely for posting pictures and stories of fat people’s success that have nothing to do with weight loss. Just round, smiling, triumphant folks.

    1. That sounds great, Sara! If there’s anything I can do to help, I use Gmail as damianatheraven. (Take THAT, you spamscanners and trollbots!)

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