In response to my post about how we can and should have spaces that don’t allow diet or weight-loss talk -a question I got a lot is “Who are these people who blatantly break the rules?
I think they fall into four basic groups:
These are people who are trying to do harm. Sometimes it’s because they personally hate fat people for whatever twisted reason, sometimes it’s because they are desperate for approval and they are trying get it from other trolls. There are options to deal with them – I wrote an entire guide about it.
Fully Bought-In and Over-Entitled
These are people whose buy-in to the weightloss paradigm is so complete that they believe they should be entitled to talk about weight-loss wherever and whenever they want. They like to start their post with phrases like “It’s ok to love your body but…” and “Except, I mean, you can’t deny that…” etc. They’ll defend Weight Watchers like you bad- mouthed their mother and often weaponize their internalized fatphobia, saying things like “Well, I’m fat but I still think [insert anti-fat belief here]”
The Specialist Special Who Ever Specialed
These are people who think that their weight loss talk is such a special case that they deserve to break all the rules. Their posts often talk about health issues or disabilities or age. This is a double issue because not only are they breaking the rules, but they are adding healthism, ableism and/or ageism to their fatphobia. Weight loss doesn’t get any more likely to succeed because someone has a health issue, disability, or is aging, but people in those categories can face even more pressure to give up on their Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size practice, which makes this rule-breaking even more harmful. People are allowed to attempt weight loss for whatever their reasons might be, but there is no reason that justifies breaking a group’s rules of no weightloss or diet talk.
But The Group Had Fat In The Name
These are people who saw fat in the name of the group, assumed that the group would be anti-fat, didn’t bother to read the rules, and then charged into the posts and comments with their bullshit. It’s not even that they were trying to harm fat people, as much as that they’ve literally never considered that there might be a space where fat isn’t vilified. When called out they are likely to morph into a member of the Troll or Fully Bought In Group.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, we have a right to safe spaces – to create them, to maintain them, to participate in them. We do not owe anyone a debate on our right to exist. We deserve spaces safe from the people and beliefs that oppress us, and we have every right to create and protect them.
Like to laugh? I used this post as the base for some comedy.
Was this helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)
Like this blog? Here’s more cool stuff:
New Coaching Program – Walk, Run, or Roll Any Distance, Starting from Where You Are
Jeanette DePatie and I have created a coaching program for walking, running, or rolling any distance, starting wherever you are now! It includes :
- Our Rock the Road Training Tool that customizes your weekly workouts starting exactly where you are right now, and gives you total flexibility (no more cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all workouts!)
- 6 weekly coaching video calls (you can watch online or just call in on your phone)
- Insights from guest coaches
- A dedicated Facebook group (with no weight loss or diet talk allowed!)
- Access to Jeanette and Ragen via a priority access email address.
Investment: $69 (DancesWithFat members get $20 off, check your member e-mail and member page for the coupon code!)
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 – register on the member page)
This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)
Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)
Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!
Book and Dance Class Sale! I’m on a journey to complete an IRON-distance 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! (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)
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 (still!) training for an Iron-distance triathlon! 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.
9 thoughts on “Four Types Of People Who Break The “No Weight Loss Talk” Rule in Fat-Positive Spaces”
“and often weaponize their internalized fatphobia, saying things like “Well, I’m fat but I still think [insert anti-fat belief here]””
If you’re fat and you still think [insert anti-fat belief here], you’re a fatphobe. Being a fat person (or “former” fat person) isn’t a Get Out of Jail Free card for being shitty, and if you’re supporting things like overcharging fat people for clothes and airplane tickets, barring fat people from certain jobs, spreading misinformation about fat people, and giving fat people substandard weight-first medical care, trust me, you are being shitty.
So glad to see this, and will share it. It continues to amaze me how many people feel entitled to break the rules in fat-positive spaces. And they are often the ones who don’t even imagine that there might be rules to read, or that they are blatantly breaking those rules. And what amazes me even more is that when they are informed -usually quite politely- that they are breaking the rules in a fat-positive space, they usually get all huffy and angry. Do they apologize? Never. (Hey, this might be a subject for a column: How people who break the rules in fat-positive spaces respond when they are called on it.)
That’s a great idea, I’ve put it on my to-blog-about list! I’m always super surprised when they threaten to leave. Do they actually think I’m going to respond “no, your rulebreaking and harming our members is a vital part of this community, break any rules you want, just please please don’t go!”
I really need to learn the phrases, “I don’t do diet/weight talk” and “My weight/size is not an acceptable topic of discussion,” especially from “concerned” family members *rolls eyes*
I’ve found it to be really helpful. I’ve also found the follow-up phrase “this is not a discussion or debate” to be helpful when people want to push back!
Absolutely. I love that. “I’m not discussing this. If you continue to talk about this, I will leave.” I practice mentally quite a bit, and I thankfully have my own transportation so I can follow through 🙂
““It’s ok to love your body but…”
Whenever anyone begins a sentence with that chestnut, I just know that I’m going to want to push them in front of a bus. Or more likely a tractor, since I live out in the middle of nowhere.
Mmkay–switching to my Facebook account since WordPress won’t let me reply to my own comment with my WordPress account.
Furthermore, the idea of “loving my body” is such a foreign concept to me that you might as well be telling me to go dance on Jupiter. I can’t imagine loving my body. It’s a fight for me to even be neutral towards my body. I have to fight all the negative messages about my body several times a day every day and probably will for the rest of my life. Forget “loving” my body. I would be happy to be able to just ACCEPT my damn body and move on. But jerks who begin sentences with “it’s okay to love your body, but…” do their level best every day to make sure that I will never even be allowed to just accept mine.
I don’t miss living in the middle of nowhere, except that there are no longer tractors to imagine pushing fatphobes in front of!