Making Every Day “No Diet Day”

Success and DietsAs we wrap up another International No Diet Day, I’m reminded of a time when every day in my life was “Totally Diet Day.” I used to hate my body like it was a job – like I was getting paid to do it. It didn’t make me happier, healthier, or thinner – just miserable and tired.  I can tell you for sure that I don’t miss those days at all!

One of the most common questions I get is how I made the transition from diet culture to Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size (which are two different things.)

I recently wrote about it for the Better Humans platform in a piece called How To Leave Toxic Diet Culture Behind And Pursue Actual Health. 

So that was my path, but I thought it would be fun for y’all to talk about the great things that have happened in your lives since you quit dieting. If you are so inclined, please leave all that awesomeness in the comments!

 

 

LuLaRoe Founder Profits From So-Called Weight Loss Surgeries

WTF are you doingFour LuLaRoe consultants interviewed by Bloomberg reported that they were pressured by founder DeAnne Brady or her sister Lynnae to go to Tijuana, Mexico and have so-called weight-loss surgery.

Sam Schultz, the sisters’ nephew explained “Lynnae charges $5,000, but it only costs $4,000. You pay her through PayPal, she gets a cut, then takes you to Mexico.” Consultant Courtney says “the sisters referred to themselves as the Tijuana Skinnies.” Stacy Kristina, a LuLaRoe consultant, told Bloomberg “I was told by DeAnne herself that she likes her leaders to be a size small or medium.”

Let’s be clear about what’s going on here: Not happy enough with cheating fat consultants out of their money through her pyramid scheme, LuLaRoe’s leader was making $1,000 a pop for sending fat independent consultants have a surgery that may leave them thin, or maimed, or dead – and nobody knows which until it’s all over.

Read The Full Piece Here!

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

One Weird Trick for Swimsuit Season

Pink Argyle Bikini
Picture courtesy of the fabulous Jodee Rose http://jodee.deviantart.com

Golda Poretsky (of Body Love Wellness) tweeted;  “Rec’d a link to “How Not To Look Fat In A Swimsuit”. Wld ♥ to see “How Not To Obsess Abt Looking Fat In A Swimsuit & F-ing Enjoy Yourself” several years ago.  The result is this post, which is a Danceswithfat annual tradition. Today I saw my first bullshit “swimsuit season is coming” diet ad, so today is the day I post this.

Seriously, let’s talk about this.  It seems that a lot of the people I know, of any size, start to panic the first time they see swimsuits out on the floor of their favorite store;  their pesky cheerfulness belying what seems like their “true purpose” of prodding us into paying the diet industry for products that don’t work, and considering a move to Alaska.

I’m doing more open water swimming these days (which involves a wetsuit) but when I am in the gym at the pool, I  wear my bathing suit with no worries.  Here are a few reasons why:

1.  It’s my BODY.  I live with it 100% of the time.  It does awesome things for me like breathing, and heartbeat, and swimming and I decided long ago that I am not going to allow anyone to convince me to hate or be ashamed of something that I am with 100% of the time for the rest of my life.  I get to choose how I feel about my body and I choose to

2.  Because it’s a pool and when I go to the pool, I wear a swimsuit. It’s not for vanity (though it would be fine if it was!) – it’s practical.

3.  I do not care if people are offended by my body.  People are allowed to be offended by whatever they want and it’s really none of my business.  I’m offended by people who are offended by my body, but it turns out nobody gives a damn which is as it should be.  It is my BODY, if we all treated each other with basic human respect it would be impossible to be offended by the mere existence of people because of their body size.  The very idea is ludicrous to me. Regardless, it is not my job to protect people’s delicate sensibilities – if they don’t want to look at me they are welcome to follow any of these options.

4.  Hypocrisy is an ugly thing.  It always seems like the same group of people who are telling me that because I’m fat I have some obligation to exercise (which is bullshit by the way) are subsequently offended by my body in a swimsuit.  The message apparently being that they want me to exercise, but in my house with the shades drawn and wearing an outfit fashioned from a bed sheet.  Screw that.  Don’t like it?  Your problem.

5. It is maddening to me that the diet industry makes over 60 BILLION dollars a year convincing us to hate themselves.  They create fear and uncertainty by saying things like “Swimsuit season is just around the corner, are you ready to wear a swimsuit?”  Well, let’s see here…  Swimsuit?  Check.  Body to put it on?  Check.  Yup, I’m all set thanks.  Plus I think I’ll keep my money you bloodsucking leeches.

6.  People can see me.  So they know how big I am whether I’m in a swimsuit, or jeans and a t-shirt.  If they are shocked at my size in a swimsuit, they should have been paying better attention.  That’s just a big flaming sack of not-my-problem.

I realize that my swimsuit preferences are not everyone’s which is awesome.  Not everyone, regardless of size, is comfortable with how much skin a swimsuit shows.  There is no obligation to rock a bikini or a swimsuit of any kind in order to love your body.  Here are some more ideas to help you stop obsessing and start having fun in the sun (or the oh-so-lovely incandescent glow of the overhead lights at the gym).

1. Alternative Swimsuits.  These are often created for women who want to keep to specific religious clothing guidelines or who just want a more modest look.  I did a quick Google search and found http://www.modestkini.com/.  I’m not affiliated with them at all so I make no guarantees, but it will give you an idea of what’s out there (and some of their plus size swimwear is actually modeled by plus-sized women.  Woot!)

2.  Fabulous Cover ups:  If there’s a particular part of your body that you prefer to keep covered for whatever reason, an (aptly-named) cover-up might be just the thing.  Here are some examples (again, no affiliation, check out the vendors before you buy!)

3.  Safety in numbers.  Go with a group of people who make you feel good about yourself and focus on the fun and not on any body insecurities you might have.  Think about how fantastic your body feels when you are swimming, or going down a water slide, or splashing in the waves.

4.  Reality check.  One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain “I’ve had thousands of problems in my life, most of which never actually happened”  When I’m worrying about something I try to remember that I am wasting energy on something that is not actually part of reality.  So instead I…

5.  …Expect the best, plan for the worst.  Think about what your true fears are about going out in a swimsuit.  Write them down and then create a plan to deal with each of them.  Are you afraid people will say something mean to you?  Create some scripting and practice it until you feel comfortable. Afraid of chaffing?  Hie thee to Google and read up on the various lotions, powders etc. that can help with that, or look into swimsuits that can help. Worried people will talk about you behind your back? Maybe that’s the best possible outcome since you don’t have to hear it!

In the end of course it’s your choice.  For my part,  I’m not willing to allow my options for fun, activity, movement etc. to be controlled by what other people might think or say.  If my own fears or insecurities are getting in the way I try to find a way over (modest swimsuit), under (cover up), or through (F this, I’m wearing a thong) the fear and insecurity because I’ve found that very often the pure joy lies just on the other side.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies Program: A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

Eat Like Everyone’s Watching?

Reader Jenna sent me this picture. I’m going to write about why it’s total, ridiculous, bullshit.

Eat Like Everyone Is Watching

By way of disclaimer, I’ll say that I have a disconnect with the source material that this references. The idea that one should “dance like nobody is watching” is completely foreign to me, since, as a dancer, I always want everyone to be watching. But still, I think I can be objective here.

First of all, let me translate this from the original language of “marketing lingo” to the much more familiar language of  “culture that is completely fucked up around food”

Eat Like...Fixed!

It may be a bit of stunner, but the only reason we would eat differently when “everyone” (or anyone!) is watching is because we live in a culture that is so fucked up around food that we can’t be comfortable with our food choices. In a culture where every person has access to the types and amounts of food that they want to eat, and access to true and non-biased information about food, and where personal decisions about food are respected as they should be, a food company could not guilt people into eating their bread by suggesting that they should fear that someone might find out that they are eating bread with corn syrup in it and call Pie-1-1 to summon the Food Police.

Now is the point at which someone is going to scroll right to the comments and go into a diatribe about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup.  Don’t bother because…wait for it…it. does. not. matter. Everyone who has found their way to this blog can also find their way to Google and make their own decisions about what to eat (though some people will not be able to eat what they would choose because of issues stemming from capitalism, including poverty and food insecurity.)

We should also be clear that this bread isn’t “good for” plenty of people for many different reasons, and being constantly ignored and overlooked when it comes to marketing kind of sucks. So maybe they could just have said that if you want bread, and have some disposable income, this is a good choice.

Speaking of which, in looking this bread up online the price ranged from $5.78 to $7.99 per loaf. Framing eating this bread as what is required for social acceptability of food choices puts social acceptability out of a lot of people’s reach. It may seem like a small or ridiculous thing but it’s not. Food shaming intersects with poverty shaming all the time, because when it comes to discussions of poverty and hunger, they tend to be co-opted by people who have no personal knowledge of either, but do have an affinity bordering on kink for ordering other people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

As a fat person, this picture basically made me laugh hysterically because it’s pretty common that people ARE watching what I eat, and if I tucked into this sandwich in public it would be on 4 reddit forums and People of Walmart before I could swallow the first artificial-flavor-free bite.

It would be great if, as a culture, we could put the focus on making sure that everyone has access to the foods they want to eat, rather than making sure that everyone is terrified about what other people are thinking about the food they do eat.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

It Is Absolutely Fine To Be Fat

Actual SizeRecently, The Guardian gifted the world with a piece-of-trash article using the International pastime of bashing fat people who don’t hate themselves. The article, “It’s not fine to be fat. Celebrating obesity is irresponsible,” by “journalist” Lizzie Cernik, demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the concepts of body positivity and size acceptance and puts forth a blatant double standard based on sizeism, healthism, and ableism.

Let’s break this drivel down.

“Body positivity began as a powerful antidote to the media’s obsession with skeletal models and beachball-breasted glamour girls…But as we move away from the skinny goals of the mid-2000s and embrace different shapes and sizes, one group of campaigners has taken things a step too far. Fronted by plus-sized models and social media influencers, the fat acceptance movement aims to normalize obesity, letting everyone know that it’s fine to be fat.”

Not even close there, Lizzie. Fat acceptance came first. Groups like the Fat Underground started clawing for fat people’s rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness in the 1960s. “Body positivity” is the newcomer, a watered-down version of fat acceptance. BoPo not only inherited the issues of fat acceptance — including a lack of marginalized voices including People of Color and disabled people/people with disabilities — but then created more issues by putting limits on who is “allowed” to love their body and who “deserves” to be treated with basic human respect.

Next, we have the tired healthism-as-as-veil-for-fatphobia argument: “While nobody should ever be bullied for their weight or food choices, it’s important to make a distinction between health awareness and cruelty.

The problem with this is that “health” is a difficult concept to nail down, especially since research tends to follow the biases (and profitability) of the time. The distinction we need to make between health awareness and cruelty revolves around the perceived risks doctors are willing to make regarding fat bodies. These include the belief that thin people should be given evidence-based interventions for health issues and fat people should risk their digestive health, quality of life, and lives to have a dangerous (and highly profitable) stomach amputation surgeries.

For a breakdown of the rest of the issues in the article, click here!

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.