Or Maybe Fat People Aren’t Doing It All Wrong

Talking NonsenseEvery day we are lied to about dieting, weight loss, weight, and health by people who profit from the lies. We are told that anyone who tries hard enough can lose weight and maintain that weight loss.  This despite the fact that there isn’t a single study, anywhere, in which more than a tiny fraction of the subjects were able to do so. Still, anyone who claims to have a method of weight loss that works seems to be able to get airtime, and to get their idea reported in the news as if it’s fact, despite the actual fact that there is simply no evidence to suggest that it will work.

There are obvious issues with this.  The most obvious is that it contributes to a world where governments enthusiastically oppress fat people and try to recruit others to do the same.  It sets fat people up for a life of yo-yo dieting, and putting the lives we want on hold until we get thin, which will never happen, thus ruining our lives and making the weight loss industry money (to the tune of over $60 BILLION a year,) selling a product that they know doesn’t work.

But there are also consequences that are more insidious. With all the weight loss plans out there we are told all kinds of things will lead to weight loss – the gym, “healthy” eating, vegetarian diet, boot camp workouts, vegan diet, crossfit, paleo diet, yoga, pilates, yogilates, intuitive eating, meditation, you name it and I can pretty much guarantee that someone has made diet out of it.

Of course the truth is that fat people participate in all of these things and remain fat, and that there is no reason to believe that any of them will lead to long-term weight loss. (And let me be clear that not everyone who is involved in these things sells them as a diet, but there are people who do.) But such is our trust in the diet industry that instead of using the opportunity to question stereotypes and beliefs about weight loss and body size, people simply claim that fat people must be “doing it wrong.”

If we are fat athletes, we must be doing athletics wrong (because, we’re told, the only “good” outcome of being involved in fitness/movement/athletics is a thin body.)  If we’re fat vegetarians we must be doing that wrong.  If we’re doing a diet but not getting thin we must not be able to properly measure a quarter cup of rice. If we’re meditating but still fat we must be doing meditation wrong.  The belief is that a fat body is evidence that we are doing life wrong. And that’s oppressive, and it’s bullshit. If you did something to get thin and you didn’t get thin (especially if you lost weight and then gained it back) then welcome to the “Almost Everyone Club,” you should know that what happened to you is exactly what we would expect to happen based on all the research that exists.

Fellow fat people, we’re not doing it wrong, we’re just being lied to. There are lots of things that my body is not, but what my body is, is amazing and worthy of respect.

My fat body is not a representation of my failures, sins, or mistakes. My fat body is not an indication of my level of health or fitness, neither of which is anyone else’s business anyway. My fat body is not up for public discussion, debate or judgment. My fat body is not a signal that I need help or input to make decisions about my health or life.  My fat body is the constant companion that helps me do every single thing that I do every second of every day and it deserves respect and admiration.

I will wield my beautiful fat body like a weapon.  I will love it, I will care for it, I will move it, I will show it in public, and I will viciously defend my body against anyone who seeks to classify it as anything but amazing.

The Body Love Obstacle Course

This is something I’m super excited about.  Jeanette DePatie and I (along with some amazing people who we will announce soon!) have been working on a new program called The Body Love Obstacle Course (BLOC.)  It’s about how every aspect of our lives is affected by the way we feel about our bodies, and how we can use that fact to create the careers, relationships, and lives we want, and handle the obstacles that the world puts in our way. As a preview we’ve released a free video that includes some information about the BLOC as well as an exercise to help you get more body love right now! You can check it out here!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

17 thoughts on “Or Maybe Fat People Aren’t Doing It All Wrong

  1. I participated in the yo-yo dieting starting at age 12, and at various times also included starving myself, bulimia, and over-exercising. I ended up gaining more weight each time I dieted. I literally had to stop dieting to stop myself from getting fatter. That’s my experience with how diets work.

  2. At first when i saw Intuitive Eating on the list, I got really offended! And then I remembered how when I started Intuitive Eating it was absolutely using it as a diet and now I’m just glad to see it on there.

  3. This reminded me of a “diet” I once heard about:

    Eat with chopsticks to lose weight! After all, Asians eat with chopsticks and “there are no fat Asians!”

    (insert maniacal laughter, here, because, yeah, there are fat Asians, and always have been)

    Also, I read recently that dieting is the leading indicator of future weight gain. It made me think, if the general population really has become fatter, on average, over the last several decades, might it have anything to do with the fact that we are encouraging people to diet more and more, and at earlier and earlier ages?

    If that is true, then the real cause of the “obesity epidemic” may very well be the “weight-loss” industry, itself.

    That, and moving the BMI charts down, so that people who were previously labeled “normal,” are suddenly labeled “overweight” or “obese,” even if they haven’t gained any weight.

    And the horrible phrase that “we can all stand to lose a few pounds,” as if dangerously thin people don’t even exist. When you’re fighting an eating disorder, and you’re at the dangerously thin stage, you don’t need to hear that phrase, because either it reinforces you need to diet, or else you feel completely erased, as if you don’t even exist as part of the “we-all” group who can stand to lose a few pounds, and I really, REALLY hate that phrase. Especially when it back-fires to make people who are already thin diet, and screw up their metabolisms, and start gaining weight in response.

    1. I’ve been wondering that same thing, if there’s a connection between the dieting culture of the past 100 or so years and any increase in fatness among the general population in that time. If there really is one.

      And I remember my father (who went on many diets over the years, lost probably hundreds of pounds, and always gained the weight back) saying everyone would look better if they lost 10 pounds.

      1. The average weight has also almost certainly gone up partly because we’re getting a lot better at treating and preventing wasting diseases like cancer and tuberculosis.

        1. Yes, and the amount of genetically-passed diseases and conditions are also on the rise, because we’re getting better at treating them, and the people who have them live longer, and are able to have more children, because of it.

          So, yeah, there may be more ongoing health issues than in a society where you get sick=you die, but hey, we have better lives, in general, and longer lives, in general, and even with the cons, I take it as generally being a good thing.

          The average lifespan continues to increase, despite all the “you’re gonna DIIIEEEEE” panic that surrounds us.

  4. I swear, I’m waiting for someone to see a drunken thin person at a party standing on his head and singing The Purple People Eater and subsequently declare standing on your head and singing The Purple People Eater the secret to thinness.

    1. And, as an encore to the Headstand Purple People Eater Miracle Diet, next we will have The Soylent Green Diet! It’ll marketed as one of those Hidden Diet Secret Hacks *THEY* Don’t Want You To Know About! It tastes like chicken! Or veal, in my WWI veteran Grandpa was to be believed.

        1. Oh, man. About a year ago, I saw a show that had something that was similar, and I was just sooooo disturbed.

          Prion poisoning. NOT a good thing. I don’t care how “youthful” it makes you, or how ripped you are able to become. If it makes your brain melt out your nostrils, that’s BAD!

          1. I remember that one too. And here I’d thought the Tapeworm Egg Eating your way to It’s A Small World After All was beyond horrifying. That and the and the receiving all your nutrition via an IV when not desperately ill routine. They have nothing on the who prion thing though.

  5. Speaking as a very small person who actually is one of the 5% anomalies I can assure everyone that according to the Health Police and the Diet Police virtually NO ONE who is “doing it right”. EVERYONE is Doing It All Wrong! Fat people are doing it FAR more wrong to them, I admit.

    However their standards of Doing It Right are so narrow, and ever changing, and often person or diet plan specific, that is IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to be acceptable to them. Not actually anorexic? Well then. You STILL need to lose weight! EVERYONE can stand to lose X pounds. OMG! You are actually *thin enough*(butnotTOOthin)? So sorry, but you aren’t quite there yet, mkay. You eat the WRONG things. Or you eat at the WRONG times of the day. Or you eat foods in the wrong order, you piece of pond scum! You may not be fat now, but you soon will be if you keep on like THAT! You do the wrong exercise!

    Goodness gracious me! You eat the right things, in the right order, at the right times of the day according to my opinion, and you exercise in a way I approve of? You are *still* UNACCEPTBLE! Because your body is a PEAR shape! An APPLE Shape! Your body *isn’t* shaped like the proper piece of fruit, according to me! You have boobs! You *don’t* have boobs. Your hips are too big, Unless they are too small, of course. The fact remains, A REAL healthy person doesn’t look like YOU, plain and simple. Period.

    Have an active job, like I do? A job where my Fitbit says I walk 15000-30000 steps per day and traverse up and down 25-60 sets of stairs per day? And burn 2200-3000 calories? And that just from working? Well, I hate to break it you, but that DOESN’T COUNT! It’s *not* “formal exercise” dontcha know! I do SO hate to break it to you, but your body KNOWS the difference between moving around all day at ones job and REAL exercise, where you put on exercise clothes and go and workout, you dumbass! And besides, you do that EVERY DAY, so your body is *used* to it.

    Ah, said a quack of an MD I was seeing for the first (and only) time. 111 pounds is TOO FAT! You MUST lose 8-10 pounds! You have large breasts and a bit of tummy flab! I will ignore everything else I can clearly see of your near naked body. Yes, lalalalala can’t see the solid muscular natural build, with the many toned muscles and that you are downright bony in spots. Doesn’t matter that we can both clearly see ALL of your ribcage! Also doesn’t matter either, that there is so little real fat on the tummy we can almost see the six pack you’ll have with some time and toning exercises or the $$$ and inclination to pay for plastic surgery Eh? What’s that you are saying to me? You have ALWAYS had a rack and a half, no matter what your body size, and that’s just how you are made? I don’t believe you! You are clearly mistaken! You say you lost 70 odd pounds so it really isn’t too surprising that there might be a teeny bit of loose skin here and there? I have just become selectively deaf. I shall also overlook your perfect blood test results, as they were not ordered by me nor were they done in my office!

    Yes, I have been told most of these things while being no more than a Size 2 and weighing within a few pounds of 110. It makes me laugh like a hyena every time it happens. I ought to change my name to Laughing Hyena. Other non fat people would wither agree, or it can be inferred from what they say and do about their own bodies to make them more “acceptable” Oh, and all those things they “promise” the people they try and bully into thinness? A Perfect Life, all one’s problems miraculously solved and every wish granted because the numbers on the scale are lower and the tags on the clothes have smaller numbers and letters further down the alphabet on them? Plus peace breaking out throughout the universe, and ISIS handing out kittens, puppies, and sweets and not terror all because of weight loss? That doesn’t happen either! I have the same problems and good things in my life I have always had.

    1. How do I put in a gif for a standing ovation? I wish I knew how, because this deserves it!


      Wait, that was a typo. Well, pick whatever last syllable that works for you. I don’t speak Italian, anyway.


      1. When people tell me the things that make me Laugh Like A Hyena, I also always think of that old song, Signs, by the 5 Man Electrical Band from the very early 1970’s. This one: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=signs+5+man&&view=detail&mid=CEE08CBAB1A1A579020CCEE08CBAB1A1A579020C&FORM=VRDGAR
        I think of it and sometimes sing it in my head to myself when I read or watch a news report on the Obesity Epidemic any anything related to it. Change some of the words to things like Eat THIS! DON’T eat THAT, and it works really well.

    2. I rather enjoyed that comment. You made me laugh. 🙂 It’s true what you say, nothing is ever good enough. Some of us are just
      considered less “not good enough” than others, by your society.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.