Fatphobia On The Campaign Trail

ATTHED~1I was watching the South Carolina Democratic Debate and couldn’t help but notice that the moderator decided to bring up the so-called “obesity epidemic,” asking Bloomberg if he was planning to address it as he had in NYC. He backed away from his ridiculous actions in NYC (“what’s good for New York City may not be good for the country” blah blah blah) but then enthusiastically backed the idea of eradicating fat people. Joe Biden jumped right on board.

This is a common theme among politicians in all parties – using fat people to gain political points. It seems to go like this – the politician wants to do something that scores them points and avoids having to spin a possible downside. Since the country is already whipped up into a fat hating frenzy, they just go after fat people with some random untested policy that promises to rid the world of us whether we like it or not. Luckily for them the diet industry has spent years convincing people (including fat people) that we should not be trusted to tell our own stories, so this works out great for them.

As a reminder, Bloomberg was celebrated for supporting a ridiculous law based on beyond shoddy evidence saying that people in restaurants can’t buy sugary drinks more than 16 ounces.  No word on how much ice has to be in the drink and of course people can add as much sugar to their giant coffee or tea as they want, and it doesn’t affect convenience stores so you can go across the street from the restaurant to a 7-11 and buy a quintuple big gulp 2-gallon barrel of  Mountain Dew (and I’m not shaming you if you do it, I’m a writer – I’ve been there).  It apparently doesn’t matter that there is not strong evidence that the ban will do anything for health outcomes of anybody, or do anything other than cause restaurants to pay for an extra cup and straw for people to buy 2 drinks putting more garbage into circulation. But what the hell, he gets to say that he is “doing something about obesity.”   To show how foolproof this is, Mayor  Bloomberg announced the initiative on the same day that he went around celebrating…wait for it… Donut Day. So he spent half the day saying that businesses should be limited in the size of drinks that they can serve because of big bad fatties, and the other half of the day getting photographed eating donuts.  And people still cheer his “hardline stance” on “ob*sity.” Nice spin if you can get it.

As the campaign season goes on, fat people will continue to be reminded that candidates will be cheered for making campaign promises that they will commit tons of time, energy, and money (including our own tax dollars) in an effort to eradicate us from the earth.

Fat people are people, we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and that includes not being used to score cheap political points. Let’s put an end to hunting season on fat people, and let’s do it now.

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 stuff you might like:

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 – register on the member page)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Body Love Obstacle Course

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.
Price: $99.00 Click here to register
($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)

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.

 

 

 

Comebacks to Shutdown Fatphobia – Part 5

What ABout the _obesity_ epidemicHere’s the latest installment of my series of comebacks to the fatphobic nonsense we have to deal with. If you have a phrase you’d like me to create a comeback for, or if you have a comeback that you love, please leave them in the comments!

Read the first four installments here:

Part One
Part Two

a
At your weight I don’t care what the lab results are, I will never say you are healthy. – A “doctor” recently.
With that attitude, I don’t care what your degree says, I will never call you a competent doctor.
a
My mother to my husband – u have to make her go to <diet group she went to> My husband handled it beautifully by telling her it was my choice and nothing to do with her.
Me to my mother: If you want to remain in my life you will respect my decisions about my body and stop trying to convince my husband to treat me with anything less that respect.
a
When I am out and ask about gluten free items on the menu (I have coeliac) and people say “how is it going, how much have you lost” I generally tell them all about the awful symptoms of coeliac that I have lost! Puts the off their dinner, serves them right for asking.
Well, in addition to the extreme diarrhea and the ability to eat out at a lot of places,  I’ve lost a ton of time having fatphobic conversations like this. Celiac sucks and diet culture just makes it worse.
a
“But what about skinny shaming!?!?” Any time someone mentions fatphobic things.
Skinny shaming is wrong, but this conversation is about fatphobia and I’d appreciate it if you would not derail it. If you want to talk about skinny shaming, we can have a separate conversation about that.
a
While I don’t support shaming bodies of any size, I do want to point out that in this culture there is a vast difference betwen the way that thin and fat people are treated. “Fat-shaming” in the way that you are thinking of “skinny shaming” is only part of what fat people face – they are hired less and paid less than thin people, they don’t have the same access to clothes, transportation, social events, or medical care, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our culture oppresses fat people and privileges thin people and the fact that so many conversations about fatphobia gets derailed by thin people who want to make it about them is an example of the probem.
a
You’re just making excuses!
Nope, I don’t need excuses – there’s nothing wrong with my body or my choices. You’re just putting your nose where it doesn’t belong, now would be a dandy time for you to stop.
a
Lizzo is only popular because people are trying to justify fat being good!
Lizzo is talented AF and the only reason people say things like that is because they’re  upset that racism and fatphobia didn’t succeed in keeping her out of the spotlight she deserves. *cough* Jillian Michaels *cough*
a
You can’t have short hair. You need to have long hair to go with your large body
I’m not actually taking applications for someone else to be the boss of my hair so you can keep your thoughts to your own head.
a
Once you realize that you aren’t obligated to use your hair in some kind of attempt to create an optical illusion to satisfy other people’s fatphobia, you realize that you can wear your hair however you want!
a
My mother to me, on hearing that my daughter was in hospital after just 5 days on Atkins “tell her I will pay for her to go to <diet group she went to> and give her £XXX for new clothes when she makes her goal weight” I was in the hospital car park at the time, and I think my anger and language scared some people.
First of all, I’m absolutely co-signing anger and language that would scare people as a response to this. Here’s another option just in case it’s helpful:
a
I will not allow my daughter to have her self-esteem and well-being used to bribe her into diet culture. Your weight loss talk is no longer allowed around my daughter. If you wish to spend time with her and stay in her life, then you need to celebrate her body just as it is.
a
Are you gay because you’re too fat for men to be attracted to you anymore?
Oh wow. It sounds like you lack the basic critical thinking and logic that would be required to have this conversation with me.
a
Oh sweetie, everyone doesn’t suffer from fatphobic bigotry like you. I can get a dude anytime that I want one, I just don’t want one…because I’m gay.
a
My diet worked for me. I just got a stressful manager at work and couldn’t do it anymore.
I used to say stuff like that too. It turns out that almost everyone loses weight short term and almost every gains it back longterm. The diet industry has done a great job of claiming credit for the weight loss and getting us to blame ourselves – or our stressful manager – for the weight regain. I don’t make excuses for that corrupt industry anymore.
a
Some asshole makes pig noises or cow noises
I have no trouble believing that you have the manners of a barnyard animal, there’s no need to prove it with sound effects.
You see a fat person, then you make animal noises? See, that’s just bad foley work. (Note: this may only work in LA.)
a
That’s your opinion” or “I don’t agree with you” after I’ve just explained whole bunch of published peer-reviewed research. As if I’ve not been working in this field for more than 30 years.
I understand that research can be confusing – especially when it conflicts with the stereotypes and prejudices that we hold. Look, if you ever want me to explain it to you just let me know. Until then, I’m kind of done wasting my time having these conversations with you.
a

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 stuff you might like:

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 – register on the member page)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Body Love Obstacle Course

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.
Price: $99.00 Click here to register
($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)

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.

Is The Academy For Eating Disorders Promoting Diets For People With Eating Disorders?

Trying to make people thinner is in direct opposition to any competent approach to eating disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery.Today begins National Eating Disorders Awareness Week  The theme is “Come As You Are. Hindsight is 20/20”  It’s part of NEDA’s work to correct the eating disorders community’s history of exclusion of people who aren’t thin, white, cis-het younger women.

Unfortunately the  Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), which describes itself as “a global professional association committed to leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment, and prevention” did not get the memo.  Their choice to post an article suggesting a restrictive diet for people with eating disorder symptoms is an excellent example of precisely what not to do, so I’m going to break this down.

Content Note: This post may be triggering to those dealing with disordered eating or eating disorders.

TL;DR –  AED, an organization that claims to be a leader in eating disorders community, promoted a study that included only 3 subjects, was authored by people with a direct financial interest, supports prescribing food restriction to people with eating disorders, and touts a person eating only one meal a day as a positive outcome. That’s unconscionable.

Ok, let’s get into it.

There is so much wrong with this situation that I’m finding it difficult to fit into a post that is any kind of reasonable length, so I’ll just hit the highlights lowlights, with possible additional blog posts to come. If there’s something you’d like me to write more about, please feel free to leave a comment.

It all started when they posted “research”  on Facebook:

Let’s start with some basics of the article they posted:

The “study” sought to find the effects of a very low carbohydrate diet on fat people with binge eating symptoms.  They literally prescribed diets to people with eating disorder symptoms.

Two of the researchers profit from selling low-carb diets – with one of them making it central to his practice as a so-called “ob*sity medicine specialist” He also has a spouse who owns a company that sells low carb food.

The study included a grand total of three (count ’em – 3,) participants. Each was given a slightly different intervention with different follow-up periods, with the longest being only 17 months (despite that research shows that most people gain back their weight within 2-5 years.)  The official research methods term for this is “a hot mess.”

One of the participants reported an outcome of “frequently eating only one meal per day.” The paper’s authors reported this as a positive result.

Now let’s talk about how utterly, completely, howl-at-the-moon inappropriate it was for the Academy of Eating Disorders to share this article (especially without any critique)

The authors justify their “research” by stating that “many patients with ob*sity and comorbid binge eating symptoms present with the desire to lose weight.” As AED  well knows, many patients with thinness and binge eating symptoms present with the desire to lose weight. Yet those desires to be thinner are not encouraged, nor are those thin people put on restrictive diets, because it is quite simply malpractice to prescribe food restriction to someone dealing with disordered eating or an eating disorder.

This is a perfect example of a concept that Deb Burgard, PhD, FAED first pointed out to me: “we prescribe to fat people what we diagnose and treat in thin people,” and AED should know better. Trying to make people thinner is in direct opposition to any competent approach to eating disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Chevese Underhill Turner, founder of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and author of Binge Eating Disorder: The Journey to Recovery and Beyond commented on the AED post (copied here with her permission)

This is just one of the many studies showing reduction of binge eating through restrictive eating. Noom (which a group of ED researchers consulted on) recently made a big deal about reduction of binge by those using the app.

News flash: BED is a restrictive eating disorder and binge eating in the course of other EDs is always paired with restriction or purging.

Those of us in higher weight bodies who binge(ed) are expert at extended dieting and restriction. These studies are asking participants to engage in the behaviors that are already part of their eating disorders and then reporting them as “evidence based treatment.” Thus, more harm and less healing.

As an AED board member representing the Experts by Experience Portfolio/Committee, I am embarrassed this was posted on AED’s social media. I am also sad for those participating in the study and the long term harm to which they were exposed. This is ethically irresponsible in our field IMO.

One of the three (3) case studies included in the article reported that “she frequently eats only one meal a day ” While this should be a wildly obvious red flag in a subject with eating disorder behaviors, the thoroughly-steeped-in-and-profiting-from-fatphobia authors report it as if it’s a positive outcome because “She stated she frequently eats only one meal a day without experiencing any significant hunger, nor feelings of deprivation, or desire for chocolate.” You’ll find the same claims on pro-anorexia sites  – are these researchers and the AED endorsing that as well?

The conclusions also give the amount of weight lost (in the short term, they’ve conveniently skipped the long-term follow up that research shows would likely find all of three (3) participants having regained all their weight.)  Celebrating weight loss in a study about eating disorders is so ludicrous that I almost can’t believe I just had to type that.

The paper’s authors actually state a conclusion that “Clinicians may wish to consider a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet for patients with [fatness] who report binge eating and food addiction symptoms, especially when other interventions have failed. ” I don’t think the inappropriateness of recommending an intervention based on three case studies  with inconsistent interventions, one of whom is currently only eating once per day,  can possibly be overstated.  And the study authors may stand to profit if clinicians follow this advice. AndAED shared this with a quote from the study and not a single word of critique.

Weight Stigma is sadly rampant in eating disorders community, and so this is not the first time that a massively ill-advised study that puts fat people’s health and lives in danger was undertaken by members of the eating disorders community, but the fact that AED simply posted it uncritically is unforgivable. Far too many people have done far too much work around the intersections of fatphobia and eating disorders for them to be out here promoting food restriction for fat people with eating disorders.

Finally, let’s talk about AED’s Unconvincingly Feeble Response(s)

After their Facebook post received dozens of outraged comments from experts in the field (and no comments in support,) AED first tried to go with the tried and true “congratulating ourselves for just starting a dialog, folks” defense

The purpose of posts on our social media is to make people aware that research is happening. We have not stated support for this particular study, but feel it is important for people to have exactly this sort of discussion.

I have no trouble believing that AED is fully committed to weight stigma as a basis for eating disorder treatment, but I don’t believe for a second that they think posting a study – completely uncritically and accompanied only by a quote directly from the study – is NOT the same as supporting it.

So to me this response says “We’re fine harming fat people as long as it leads to an interesting discussion.” It’s a reminder that organizations that claim to lead in eating disorders are willing to harm fat people – including perpetuating eating disorders in fat people – because they are more committed to the eradication of fat people than to the prevention and treatment of eating disorders in fat people.

After more outraged comments, they threw this spaghetti on the wall:

AED Leader ship is considering the removal of this post from an AED member this morning. However we wanted to be very clear that we do not endorse the Research presented but felt that Aed Members should be aware of the initiative.

This response is not remotely good enough, and erasing the dangerous, harmful mistakes that AED made, and all the labor that was done to correct them, is not the answer.

Apology, acknowledgment of the labor was done on the thread, a clear statement of the mistakes that have been made, and a plan for how this will be avoided in the future would form the bare minimum of a good start to fixing this.

An organization that claims to be a leader in eating disorders community participated in the promotion of a study that suggests that behaviors that would be considered red flags for eating disorders in thin people should be prescribed to fat people, and that celebrates adherence to food restriction and an outcome of a patient eating only once per day. That’s unconscionable.

AED has been given every opportunity to know better, and has no excuse for this harmful, oppressive behavior. This is nothing short of shameful.

When they continued to get negative feedback, they replaced the original text with this “official response”

Dear members, below you can find our official response to this most recent discussion.
—-
The AED Social Media Committee would like to sincerely apologize for any harm caused by sharing this research article. We’ve read all your comments and appreciate your valuable feedback. Our committee is comprised of volunteers that dedicate their time and energy to serve our cause and although it is our goal to promote and disseminate high-quality research, it is not intended to cause harm to our members or anyone else. We want to emphasize that we do not support the statements made in this specific research article. As a committee, we take this situation seriously and will review our current policies and procedures in order to prevent this from happening again in the future.

They actually went with the “not intended to cause harm” line.  Seriously? They tout their organization as a leader in eating disorders community, but want us to believe that they weren’t aware that suggesting restrictive diets and weight loss to people with eating disorders is harmful? Ser- I say again -iously?

Are they saying that they think a study of three people given different interventions constitutes “high-quality research”? Because that’s what it sounds like to me. And saying “we do not support the statements” isn’t the same as saying “we want to assert that this research is inappropriate and dangerous.”

I’m not going to be nice about this. I’m not going to calm down. I don’t have time for them to dawdle on their way to reaching conclusions that are foregone because people are suffering and dying because of the fatphobic eating disorder treatment model that AED members promoted with this study – then doubled down on, and still have not truly apologized for. And it’s not just this study – AED members have been involved in a number of weight-stigma based articles, journals, and conference presentations. It’s time for them to draw a hard line against weight stigma in eating disorders preventions and treatment.

If they won’t hold themselves accountable, we need to. Change needs to happen, and it needs to happen yesterday. When you have every opportunity to know better and do better but you don’t, your actions become malicious.

Here’s how you can get involved:

If you want to share your valuable feedback with AED, they deleted their post on Twitter, but you can find the Facebook post at:
https://www.facebook.com/AcademyforEatingDisorders/posts/10156525062721653

AED is online at:
https://www.aedweb.org/
info@aedweb.org

If you want to share your valuable feedback with their sponsors/partners, per their website they include:
Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center      info@timberlineknolls.com
Eating Recovery Center       info@eatingrecoverycenter.com
McLean Hospital         mcleanweb@partners.org
The Center for Eating Disorders At Sheppard Pratt       info@sheppardpratt.org
Veritas Collaborative       info@veritascollaborative.com
McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center      info@mccallumplace.com
UCSD Eating Disorder Center for Treatment & Research       edcoutreach@ucsd.edu

Get involved in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week,  you’ll find everything from shareable graphics to panel discussions that you can watch.

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 stuff you might like:

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 – register on the member page)
Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Body Love Obstacle Course

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.
Price: $99.00
($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)

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.

Celebrating Black Fat Activists

A few nights ago I had a case of blogger’s block and I asked Facebook for topic suggestions.

Tigress Osborn suggested “Black History Month and the Black fat activists and the advocates for fat visibility who don’t get the same opportunities as our white counterparts.”

Mél Monheaux suggested “The black history of body positivity.”

I want to start by acknowledging and appreciating their generous labor in making those suggestions.

I benefit from white privilege in every aspect of my life, including in my work as a fat activist. One thing that’s been asked by many Black folks in the movement is that those who wish to work in solidarity to dismantle racism use our spaces to center the work and voices of Black activists. For that reason, I’ll only be linking to the work of Black folks, without diluting their work with my (inherently privileged) perspective. I also want to acknowledge that no community is a monolith, and apologize in advance for any perspectives that are missing here. I welcome others to add links to the work of Black fat/body positive activists in the comments.

For white readers, I also ask that you not only read the work linked below, but also follow those doing the work, seek out ways to center their work in your spaces, and pay them. I also ask that you keep your comments to linking to the work of Black fat/body positive activists only.

The Body Positive Movement Both Takes From And Erases Fat Black Women

Stop Excluding Black Women From The Fat Acceptance Movements

Weighting To Be Seen: Being Fat, Black, and Invisible in Body Positivity

Wear Your Voice Magazine’s #BodyPositivityInColor Series

Yoga Star Jessamyn Stanley Talks Queerness, Fat Acceptance, and Deleting Social Media

Black Women Started The Body Positivity Movement, But White Women Corrupted It

What do we need for a new freedom?: A proudly fat, disabled, bisexual enby’s vision for #Juneteenth

Who is the Body Positivity Movement Leaving Behind?

Fatima Jamal’s New Documentary Celebrates Being Fat, Black, and Trans

Black Fat Women Matter Too          Follow up piece here 

Meet The Women Redefining The Body Positive Movement

The Daily Realities of Being Fat, Black, and Queer in Public Spaces

Fat, Black Women’s Bodies Are Under Attack. Why Did It Take a Thin White Man to Get Our Cries Heard?

Black Men Carving a Place in the Body Positive Movement

Insta-FAB! 10 Bold and Beautiful Body-Positive Influencers You Should be Following

These Black Be Body Positive Leaders are Changing the Game

8 Body-Positive Black Role Models to Follow on Instagram Right Now

 

 

 

 

Compassion From Doctors Isn’t A Substitute For Evidence-Based Care

Herma HesseI was reading a conversation online where a fat person was saying that they wanted evidence-based care from their doctors. A man replied that he teaches nurses and that he makes it a point to teach those future nurses to treat “ob*se people” with “compassion and never cruelty.”

This guy is well-meaning, but check again because he is completely missing the point. There’s nothing wrong with compassion, and it’s certainly a step up from how a lot of healthcare professionals treat fat people. But it’s not a substitute for competent, evidence-based healthcare.

Believing that being fat is a health condition that requires treatment is a problem, whether someone has compassion or not. It’s a paternalistic view rooted in weight stigma. It’s how we end up getting bullshit “people first language” instead of (potentially life-saving) evidence-based care. Calling me a “person with fat” doesn’t help me, having a blood pressure cuff that actually fits me and getting a prescription that isn’t “be thinner” does.

We aren’t asking healthcare providers to see us and think “oh, that poor fat person” we’re asking them to see us and think “there’s a larger patient, I will give them the same treatment a smaller patient would get.”

It’s not that compassion is a bad thing, it’s that all too often “compassion” just ends up being a condescending pity for the fatty who they believe smart or willed enough to succeed at diets, rather than realizing that we don’t fail diets, diets fail us. It’s giving us sub-part treatment but, you know, nicely.

The kind of compassion we need from healthcare practitioners is compassion for the issues (which can include health problems) that can come from living in a fatphobic world, compassion for the fact that we may have serious anxiety about visiting a healthcare practitioner because of the horrible experiences we’ve had with fatphobic HCPs. We need compassion in the form of armless chairs and loveseats in the waiting room and medical equipment that is built to accommodate us.

Fat people deserve compassion from HCPs but we deserve more than that. Fat people deserve compassionate ethical, evidence-based healthcare with the goal of supporting our health, not manipulating our body size.

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:

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 – register on the member page)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Body Love Obstacle Course

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.
Price: $99.00 Click Here To Register
($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)

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.

 

 

I Can’t Believe People Are Still Pushing Calories In/Calories Out

People are lots of differet sizes for lots of different reasons, including the natural diversity of body sizes, that's scientific fact.I was in a discussion today online where somebody actually said that “being thin is possible for everyone because calories in/calories out is just scientific fact” This ridiculous idea needs to die.

In order to continue to believe this, you have to believe that bodies have size diversity in every single way (heights, shoe sizes, elbow shape, finger sizes, hair colors etc.) literally everything except weight. That simply defies logic. But that’s not all.

You would also have to deny the existence of conditions that cause weight to be gained and maintained – lymphedema, lipedema, hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, PCOS, cushing’s, congestive heart failure, edema, and more.

You’d have to deny the well-documented fact that there are medications (some of them life-saving) that cause weight gain, including some anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, seizure medications, steroids, diabetes medications, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, birth control and more.

You’d also have to believe that the human body works with the same complexity of, say, a gas-powered lawnmower, and deny the known effects of dieting. If you give that lawnmower half the fuel it needs to mow a lawn every day for a month, it will stop halfway through the lawn every single day. It won’t adapt – it won’t learn to use fuel more efficiently, it won’t develop ways to store any extra fuel it gets. It just stops. Fuel in, fuel out.

But if you give the human body less fuel than it needs to perform the functions that you ask of it (also known as dieting) it adapts in a multitude of ways – everything from adjusting metabolism to messing with the hormones that drive hunger and satiety.

Basal metabolic rate falls during weight loss, meaning that as someone loses weight they will need to eat fewer and fewer calories to deprive the body of fuel in the hopes that it will consume itself and become smaller. Starvation is not sustainable and has dangerous downsides, even in the short term.

At the end of the dieting process, a body is biologically different than it was before dieting, having turned itself into a weight gaining, weight-maintaining machine, biologically different than a body that has never dieted because it has lived through what it perceives as a famine, (since your body can’t imagine that it’s sending you hunger signals, there’s food around, but you won’t feed it) and now it’s worried that there will be another one.

Finally, if calories in/calories out actually worked, at least one of the many studies that have been done on it would have shown more than a tiny fraction of people succeeding, but that’s not the case.

People are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons, including the natural diversity of body sizes, diets may result in short term weight loss but the vast majority of people will regain that weight, and many will gain back more than they lost –  those are the facts.

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:

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 – register on the member page)
Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Body Love Obstacle Course

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.
Price: $99.00
($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)

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.

Nope, You Don’t Feel Fat

Fat is not a feeling, it's a body size. Just like you can't _feel_ brunette, you can't _feel_ fatLive in our fatphobic world long enough and you’ll hear a thin person say that they “feel fat.” This can come from a few places, but the bottom line is the same.

Fat is not a feeling, it’s a physical trait.  Just like you can’t “feel” brunette, you can’t “feel” fat. The problem with people who aren’t fat saying that they “feel” fat is that, while it may not be malicious, it’s still rooted in, and perpetuates, fatphobia in a variety of ways:

Reinforcing a Fatphobic Stereotype of Beauty

When someone says that they “feel fat” because they don’t feel beautiful in some way (a mistake made by Ashley Graham, a model who owes her fame to modeling plus size clothes but does not want to be called a plus size model,) they are saying that fat isn’t beautiful, and that’s just 100% pure fatphobic bullshit.

Temporarily being ever-so-slightly less thin

If someone says they “feel fat” because they had a big lunch, or they’re a little bloated, they aren’t engaging in the realities of thin privilege. Nobody is refusing them medical care because they ate a big burrito for lunch.

Stereotyping

A woman in line ahead of me at a grocery store held up the 2 pints of ice cream she was buying and said to her friend “I feel so fat!” Because I am physically incapable of keeping my mouth shut in situations like this I interjected: “Really, cause it looks like you just feel like some ice cream.”

When thin people say that they “feel fat” because they are doing things that they associate with fat people, even though people of all sizes do them (which we know because they are literally doing them when they say it) it perpetuates stereotypes about fat people.

But it goes deeper than that. We have to be careful because fighting stereotypes can actually perpetuate oppression.  The truth is that the existence of stereotypes is the problem – not whether or not fat people conform to them. The actual issue here is that a thin person saying that they “feel fat” while engaging in behaviors that they associate with fat people also allows them to hold onto their stereotypes about fat people, without engaging in their hypocrisy. Thin people engage in all the same behaviors that fat people do, but if they admit that, then they have to examine their fatphobia – why they think that behaviors that are fine for them should be the impetus for bullying people who look different than they do. Claiming temporary “fatness” can help them to avoid engaging.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

This is a condition in which a person becomes obsessed with a perceived physical flaw. While it occurs in people of all sizes and can be focused around a variety of parts of the body, a common expression is that a person who is thin believes that they (or some specific body part(s)) are too heavy/large/fat. This is a real condition and it can have serious negative impacts on people’s lives. Still, to say that they “feel fat” is wrong – they believe that they are, in fact, fat and, because of the effects of a fatphobic culture, they believe that being fat is bad.

Confusing Being Afraid of Being Fat with Being Fat

I recently read an article in which someone said that, despite being thin, they “feel fat” because they are always dieting and “watching their weight.”

They don’t “feel fat” they feel the fear of being fat, and being treated like fat people are treated (or perhaps like they treat fat people?) That’s a real fear in a culture where being fat comes with a ton of shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression.

Or it may be that they feel the pressure to be even more thin so that they can be the recipient of even more of the thin privilege that a fatphobic society offers.

These are both ways that weight stigma affects people of all sizes, but conflating these things with the actual experiences of being fat creates harm by conflating a fear of being oppressed with actually being oppressed and centering thin people in discussions of weight stigma.

The Solution

The solution to all of this, of course, is to end weight stigma and embrace the full diversity of body sizes. People who aren’t fat saying that they “feel fat” will never help get that done.

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:

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 – register on the member page)
Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Body Love Obstacle Course

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.
Price: $99.00
($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)

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.