Britain’s Plan To Fight COVID-19 With Fatphobia Is Terrible

Britain has launched a program called “Better Health” that is claiming that it will improve health by perpetuating fatphobia and convincing people to engage in so-called health interventions that almost never work (and promoting for-profit companies that do the same.)

It utilizes the “eat less, move more” theory that has been proven not to work since at least 1999. and that even Canadian Health Professionals who sell weight loss have admitted doesn’t work. But encouraging people to attempt intentional weight loss despite the fact that there isn’t a single study where more than a tiny fraction of people succeed at significant long-term weight loss is, sadly, nothing new.

Tying it to the equally questionable idea that fat people are at a higher risk for COVID-19/more severe symptoms because of their body size (and not because of the unequal treatment we receive in society, and the very medical weight stigma at the root of this program) is new, and terrible.

Quick history lesson – during the H1N1 outbreak, fat people had poorer health outcomes (and everyone jumped on the bandwagon to figure out exactly what about fat bodies was the cause.) It turns out the actual issue was that fat people were systematically treated later with antiviral medication than thin people. Per a study on the subject “After adjustment for early antiviral treatment, relationship between ob*sity and poor outcomes disappeared.” More about the issues with the claim that being fat increases COVID-19 risk/severity can be found here and here.

Besides which, we don’t know that making larger people (temporarily) a bit smaller will do anything to change their COVID-19 risk, nor do we know that if encouraging people to restrict food and exercise to create a situation where their body has to consume itself to survive could actually make things worse. The idea that if we make fat people look more like thin people then their health outcomes will be the same is not remotely scientifically sound.

They are making the incredibly dubious claim (with absolutely no evidence) that if every person who is considered fat loses 5.5 pounds (an amount many menstruating people gain and lose each month, and that I could personally lose right now with a haircut and a loofah) it will save the NHS $135M in five years.

In fact, the only arguably “smart” (though still terrible) thing they did is make this only a 12-week program. Almost anyone can lose a little weight short term. Then, like almost every study on weight loss, they’ll stop tracking results before the vast majority gain it all back (with many gaining back more than they lost) and claim success, blaming the *almost everyone* who gains the weight back.

This will do an incredibly amount of harm in the following ways:

First, any time there is a national campaign against fat people, it increases the stigma that fat people deal with. Studies have shown that this stigma is correlated to many of the same health conditions to which being fat is correlated. Making people hate their bodies does not improve health outcomes.

When programs like this correlate weight loss with health it sets people up to give up on supporting their health when they, almost inevitably, fail to maintain weight loss. Health, by any definition, isn’t an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or entirely within our control, but setting us up to believe the lie that the only way to pursue health is through weight loss, and then fail (often repeatedly) at weight loss does not improve health outcomes.

Many of the things that people are claiming may cause fat bodies to be at higher COVID-19 risk are actually correlated with weight cycling (yo-yo diet) which is by far the most likely outcome of multiple weight loss attempts, which Britain’s program will actually increase.

Consider weight cycling as an example. Attempts to lose weight typically result in weight cycling, and such attempts are more common among obese individuals [62]. Weight cycling results in increased inflammation, which in turn is known to increase risk for many ob*sity-associated diseases [63]. Other potential mechanisms by which weight cycling contributes to morbidity include hypertension, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia [64]. Research also indicates that weight fluctuation is associated with poorer cardiovascular outcomes and increased mortality risk [6468]. Weight cycling can account for all of the excess mortality associated with ob*sity in both the Framingham Heart Study [69] and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) [70]. It may be, therefore, that the association between weight and health risk can be better attributed to weight cycling than adiposity itself [63].

In addition to the calorie counting push being destined for failure based on all the research that exists, this kind of campaign does real harm to people who may develop, are living with, or are recovered from eating disorders.

The government is insisting on putting calorie counts on menus which has been found to do nothing to change food choices but increases the chances of triggering an eating disorder. (Also incredibly triggering is a massive media campaign that focuses on the idea that thin(ner) is better.)

Perhaps most frustrating of all, it is entirely possible to create public health interventions without weight stigma, thus actually increasing the upside while eliminating the downside for people of all sizes. (Though, of course, those don’t generate profits for diet companies, or shift the blame from the government’s piss poor handling of a global pandemic onto fat people for simply existing.) We should hold our leaders to this standard and refuse to participate in these farces that claim to be about wellness but are deeply, inextricably linked to fatphobia.

Did you find 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Getting Jiggly With It! Movement In A Fat Body

Movement/fitness/exercise by any definition is never an obligation or barometer of worthiness. But for fat people who want to move our bodies – whether it’s because we enjoy it, or because of the benefit(s) we get from it (even if we don’t enjoy it,) whatever our reasons a fatphobic culture can create barriers, misinformation, and other difficulties for us. In this workshop we’ll explore tips, tricks, and information to help us move our bodies for our own reasons. (This workshop can also be helpful to fitness pros who want to create a fat-positive practice!)

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

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)

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 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 (and I can do it remotely!) You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Converse’s Size Lies

CONVERSE SHAPES FOR EVERY BODY the ad proclaims. It continues “What if clothing was free from gender? If you define the clothes, the clothes don’t define you. A new type of clothing designed for every body.”

What if indeed? I am absolutely in favor of clothing companies making size and gender inclusive clothing. But this…isn’t that.

First of all, the largest size is XXL. So apparently Converse thinks I and everyone else over an XXL does not exist? Or that we are non-corporeal somehow?

But lets talk about the clothes. Their gendered clothes come in a variety of colors, patterns, and shapes. In this “genderless” collection you can get clothes in any color you want, as long as it’s black, white, or a color they call “field surplus” (which I can best describe as drabbest green,) and basically shapeless. I also notice that a lot of their straight-sized, gendered options sport a huge logo on them, but in order to tell that these clothes are Converse one would have to get “back the fuck up” close to wearer to read the tiny tag. Normally I would never complain about lack of a company’s self-promotion on their clothing, but in this case it makes me wonder if Converse isn’t proud to call these clothes their own.

No offense to people who like these clothes, which of course is totally valid, but the first thing they made me think of was the punishment clothes they made us wear in school if we forgot our PE clothes.

Also, as someone with cis-privilege I definitely don’t mean to speak for Trans and Non-Binary people, but my understanding is that creating genderless clothing isn’t about creating a few pieces without much color or shape, it’s about taking the gender labels off, making all the clothes in all the sizes and then of course dismantling the cis-sexism and transphobia in the world so that all people can dress in all the colors and shapes, not none of them.

Then we’ve got the “all sizes” lie. The idea that these clothes are for “all sizes” is 100% pure bullshit. Besides the fact that the sizing is absolutely bonkers (in what world is a single size equivalent to cis-men’s M-2X and cis-women’s XL-XXL?) it’s simply a lie, which I already covered in this piece, and in this video:

We need actual size and gender inclusive clothes (looking at you SmartGlamour!) not this lip service nonsense that creates even more exclusion by getting our hopes up and then dropping them off a cliff.

Did you find 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Getting Jiggly With It! Movement In A Fat Body

Movement/fitness/exercise by any definition is never an obligation or barometer of worthiness. But for fat people who want to move our bodies – whether it’s because we enjoy it, or because of the benefit(s) we get from it (even if we don’t enjoy it,) whatever our reasons a fatphobic culture can create barriers, misinformation, and other difficulties for us. In this workshop we’ll explore tips, tricks, and information to help us move our bodies for our own reasons. (This workshop can also be helpful to fitness pros who want to create a fat-positive practice!)

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

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)

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 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 (and I can do it remotely!) You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!


Dietitians Urge Professional Organization Not To Accept Fatphobic Guidelines

I recently wrote about the ridiculous and fatphobic guidelines put forward by Canadian Health Professionals in a desperate bid to save the income they make from “weight loss” despite the fact that they completely fail at it.

Now a group of dietitians has started a petition asking their professional association, Dietitians of Canada, not to accept these guidelines.

They write, in part,

Studies need to account for weight discrimination rather than weight alone. When studies accounted for weight discrimination, the relationship between high BMI and negative outcomes became negligible. And yet, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many experts cited obesity as a risk factor for poorer outcomes…

We can improve outcomes for people living in larger bodies if health care providers provide the same degree of care when diagnosing, testing and treating medical conditions, similarly to thin patients. 

If Dietitians of Canada (DC) is committed to have diversity and inclusion shape the future of the association, DC would critically evaluate the current evidence that not only highlights the harm caused by weight-normative approaches, but also the doublethink made by OC.

Action Items:

1. DC should not endorse the o**sity guidelines by OC because many RDs oppose them. 

2. DC would commit to learning from grassroot organizations (eg. Association for Size Diversity and Health and National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) that have been advocating for the wellbeing of people living in larger bodies for many years.

Additional notes:

O**sity is used throughout the article deliberately to recognize how hurtful and stigmatizing the term is to people living in larger bodies. Many grassroot organizations have spoken out against the labeling of o**sity as a disease.

Please consider signing and sharing the petition:
https://www.change.org/p/dietitians-of-canada-should-not-endorse-the-clinical-practice-guidelines-by-obesity-canada

Did you find 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Doctor’s Office

We’ll discuss tips, tricks, and techniques for getting evidence-based, weight-neutral (and sometimes even fat-positive!) care from doctors and other healthcare practitioners, even in a fatphobic healthcare system. There will be lots of time for Q&A, a recording with captions will be provided, and there is a pay-what-you-can option.

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

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)

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 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 (and I can do it remotely!) You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Fatphobia in Eating Disorders Treatment

Recently, The Renfrew Center drew fatphobia in eating disorders treatment into sharp relief with a horribly fatphobic article in their summer newsletter. Sadly, the article was only one example of the fatphobia that exist within eating disorders treatment centers.

In my latest piece for The Mighty I explore the issues with the Renfrew article and three other ways that fatphobia surfaces in eating disorders treatment programs.

You can read the full piece here!

Did you find 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Doctor’s Office

We’ll discuss tips, tricks, and techniques for getting evidence-based, weight-neutral (and sometimes even fat-positive!) care from doctors and other healthcare practitioners, even in a fatphobic healthcare system. There will be lots of time for Q&A, a recording with captions will be provided, and there is a pay-what-you-can option.

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

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)

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 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 (and I can do it remotely!) You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Fatphobes in Size Acceptance Clothing

As activists and educators make progress in the fight against fatphobia and diet culture, more people and companies who profit from them are pivoting. Examples that come to mind are Weight Watchers, the OAC, and Canadian doctors. Then there are all those people trying to peddle intutive eating and HAES for weightloss which is completely antithetical.

In all of these examples, these organizations are tripping all over themselves to say that they are against stigmatizing and shaming fat people. And obviously, fat people should not be stigmatized or shamed.

But…all three of these groups also sell weight loss (despite the fact that there isn’t a single study where more than a tiny fraction of people succeed at significant long term weight loss.) While they claim, again with extremely questionable evidence, that they are selling weight loss for health, they also often use messaging that shows that they are selling weight loss interventions, including interventions that risk our lives and quality of life, as a solution to fatphobia (with testimonials about how great it is to be able to shop in straight-sized stores, ride roller coasters etc.)

While we often celebrate this as progress, there are also three very serious issues with it.

First, they are still selling the idea that fat people should change themselves in order to make our bullies happy. The equivalent of recommending that we give a bully our lunch money and hope he stops beating us up, except instead of our lunch money it’s the majority of our stomach and other parts of our digestive system that we’re giving up.

Second, they create confusion by intentionally misrepresenting concepts like Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, Body Positivity, Size Acceptance and Fat Activism. Now, this is a different kind of confusion that people like Jillian Michaels create when they lie about the concepts to fit their narrative, but it’s still harmful and it dilutes the concepts and hampers the fight for social justice.

Finally, and perhaps the most harmful thing is that they make their advocates into fatphobes in Size Acceptance clothing, smiling at us and saying what basically amounts to “I don’t want to stigmatize you, but I think the world would be better if nobody like you existed and so I’m actively trying to eradicate people who look like you from the Earth.” That’s not possible, but organizations like these put fortunes of money into convincing people that it is, even getting fat people who are still deep into internalized fatphobia to shill for them.

As someone who is both queer and fat, this sounds a lot to me like “I don’t think queer people should be stigmatized, I just think that they should all undergo “conversion therapy” for their own good.

They are conditioning us to accept a world where lipservice is given to not stigmatizing us, while billions of dollars are spent attempting to make sure none of us exist.

It is literally impossible to not stigmatize fat bodies while promoting a platform that insists that being thin(ner) is better.

You can’t have a platform of not stigmatizing fat people while still actively preaching that existing fat people should be turned thin, and future fat people should be prevented from ever existing.

The only way to be truly non-stigmatizing of fat people is to stop trying to eradicate us and prevent us from existing. Embracing a diversity of body sizes, creating spaces that accommodate and affirm fat bodies, weight-neutral healthcare…these are anti-stigma actions. Co-opting the language of Size Acceptance in order to sell diets is not.

Did you find 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Doctor’s Office

We’ll discuss tips, tricks, and techniques for getting evidence-based, weight-neutral (and sometimes even fat-positive!) care from doctors and other healthcare practitioners, even in a fatphobic healthcare system. There will be lots of time for Q&A, a recording with captions will be provided, and there is a pay-what-you-can option.

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

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)

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 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 (and I can do it remotely!) You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

No, Schools Should Not Perform COVID Weigh-Ins

LIFEIS~1Jeremy Vine, host of the aptly named British Talk Show, “Jeremy Vine,” recently tweeted:

“Should schools weigh pupils to make sure they shift the pounds they’ve put on during the lockdown?

Health experts want two weigh-ins in September and then in the spring to keep kids on track. But could this just create a generation of calorie counters? #JeremyVine”

There was almost no support for the idea among the replies, which I think shows good progress in terms of the way that we talk about children’s weight and health (which are two separate things). But the fact that it was a topic in the first place indicates that the work is not yet done.

In my latest piece for The Mighty I wrote about all the reasons why this is a completely terrible idea:

You Can Read the full piece here

Did you find 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Doctor’s Office

We’ll discuss tips, tricks, and techniques for getting evidence-based, weight-neutral (and sometimes even fat-positive!) care from doctors and other healthcare practioners, even in a fatphobic healthcare system. There will be lots of time for Q&A, a recording will be provided, and there is a pay-what-you-can option.

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

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)

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 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 (and I can do it remotely!) You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Canadian Doctors Admit Utter Failure of Weight Loss Interventions, Then Double Down

APANEL~1A Canadian panel has released new guidelines for “obesity management” that seem to be based on the adage “admit what you can’t deny, deny what you can’t admit,” while co-opting the language of fat activism in an attempt to keep their profession profitable.

Let’s start with them admitting what they can’t deny.  As the paper’s lead author told The Guardian:

“The common medical advice to eat less and exercise more doesn’t really help most patients…whenever people decrease their calories, they activate a bunch of hormones and neurochemicals within their brain, within their gut, that drive the weight to come back on. So we’re failing people all the time when we say go on a diet so they can lose a little bit of weight, [because they often] regain all of it, if not more,”

This is something fat activists have been saying for literally decades, but I guess thanks to the “experts” who have been harming fat people and profiting off of this idea for those same decades for finally catching on? Still, this is a victory for fat activists.

That’s the “good” news, but here’s the bad news. Instead of just admitting that bodies come in lots of sizes, Obesity Canada and the Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons (the group who drafted the guidelines and who, it should be pointed out, all have a tremendous financial motive to say this) are pushing the idea that being fat is “a complex chronic illness” that needs to be treated with a “variety of methods” including dangerous (and expensive!) and often completely ineffective diet drugs and surgeries.

If you want to know how absolutely ridiculous this is, take a look at their new “definition” of “obesity”

“It’s not about the amount of body fat, it’s not about where the body fat is. It’s not about the type of body fat,” said Arya Sharma, scientific director of Obesity Canada and one of the more than 60 authors. “It’s just a very, very simple question. And that is: Does this person’s body fat or excess body fat affect their health? If it does, we’ve got obesity. If it doesn’t, we just have a large person with a lot of body fat.”

This is anything but a very, very simple question. Since fat people get the same health issues that thin people do, the assumption that body size is what is affecting health is the root of the problem and, it must be pointed out, the root of the profit. (Especially considering the health effects of constant stigma as well as the treatment disparities caused by medical fatphobia.) But of course we are talking about a world in which being “Board Certified in Obesity Medicine” is a thing. so a LOT of people have a stake in maintaining “fatness” as a profit center.

To put this into sharper relief: if a thin person in Canada develops a health condition they are simply a thin person with a health condition. But if a fat person in Canada develops that exact same health condition, they now have two health conditions and one of them is the size of their body – which is the same size as it was the day before.

This does not smack of scientific rigor. It does sound like a desperate attempt to keep a branch of medicine (that has only succeeded in harming fat people) alive and profitable. They still seem to be recommending “counseling” interventions that have been shown to be no more effective than just giving every fat person (or, I guess now every fat person with a health issue) a pony as well as interventions that can and do kill fat people.

In fact, Dr. Sharma (who, full disclosure, has positively shared my work on a number of occasions despite our disagreements) told The Globe and Mail:

“There’s this idea that if you’re using medication or using surgery, then you’re somehow cheating,” he said. Yet he noted no one would think someone is cheating or “taking the easy way out” if they took insulin for diabetes or received a kidney transplant if they had chronic kidney disease.

It’s not about the easy way out – it’s about risking our lives and quality of life for no reaon. Since evidence-based interventions for the actual health conditions that fat people (and thin people) get already exist, these body size manipulation interventions are completely unnecessary and serve only to create profit for healthcare professionals and harm fat people (including not just being blamed for intervention failure, but also risking our lives and quality of life.) I imagine they’ll also be using this as a loophole to sell these interventions as a solution for cultural weight stigma, but that remains to be seen.

Now, do I think every doctor who believes this is driven only by craven self-interest? Not necessarily. It’s possible that they are so high on their own supply of fatphobia that this seems reasonable to them, but that doesn’t make it any less harmful or wrong. The important thing here is that this will result in the continued unnecessary harm to fat people, despite good research that weight-neutral healthcare can be effective without the risks.

While there is some value here, both in finally admitting that the typical “eat less, exercise more” recommendation is, and always has been, useless, as well as at least claiming that they want to reduce the stigma fat people face, the result could actually cause more problems for fat people.

First, I note that they were not in a hurry to take responsibility and apologize for all the fat people who have been harmed by doctors’ insistence – despite a complete lack of evidence- that this is a successful intervention and those fat patients who failed (which was nearly all of them) were to blame/liars/lazy/weak-willed etc.. Intead choosing to simply move forward to subjecting fat people to more dangerous (though often no more successful) interventions. The organizations behind these interventions have long been trying to increase “access” to dangerous and expensive surgeries and drugs and so they will no doubt use these guidelines to try to do that, putting more fat people’s lives at risk while driving the very profitable interventions that they sell.

So how can we use this? Well, in doctor’s appointments we can point out that even experts have now been honest that diets don’t work, and then when they recommend these dangerous interventions we can pivot and ask for the same interventions that a thin person would be given.

In the meantime, we must keep fighting for a world where the diversity of body sizes is respected and affirmed in healthcare and the world at large.

Did you find 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Doctor’s Office

We’ll discuss tips, tricks, and techniques for getting evidence-based, weight-neutral (and sometimes even fat-positive!) care from doctors and other healthcare practioners, even in a fatphobic healthcare system. There will be lots of time for Q&A, a recording will be provided, and there is a pay-what-you-can option.

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

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)

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 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 (and I can do it remotely!) You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

CNN Report: Medical Fatphobia Could Undermine Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccine

Weight stigma in medical care kills fat people and then blames us for our own deaths.A CNN article (that I will not link to here because it is such a dumpster fire of fatphobia) explains that fat people are often left out of drug trials, including for vaccines, and that we’ve known since at least 1985 that the vaccines produced through these trials can be less effective for fat people.

The article’s conclusion (as evidenced by its headline): The existence of fat people will undermine the effectiveness of a vaccine for COVID-19.

This is just blatant fatphobia. They’ve known for 35 years that the current process of creating vaccines puts fat people’s lives more at risk, but have done nothing to solve that problem. Now, when it could affect the lives of thin people, they are trying to pile the blame on fat people for existing.

The article notes that vaccines are also less effective on older people and so a protocol was developed to solve that problem. For fat people – nothing but a transfer of blame.

Fuck that. Fuck a bunch of that. Fuck all of that.

Medical weight stigma kills fat people and then blames us for our deaths. I’ve talked about it here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Now they are trying to blame us for the deaths of others because the vaccines they create fail us. Fatphobia is the problem, not fat people. They know we exist, they should start treating us with equality instead of with blatant disregard for our lives including a general policy that killing us is completely acceptable, including if it’s just easier or more profitable.

The focus should be on creating a vaccine that works for people of all sizes, not making a thin people vaccine and then blaming fat people for its failure.

Did you find 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Doctor’s Office

We’ll discuss tips, tricks, and techniques for getting evidence-based, weight-neutral (and sometimes even fat-positive!) care from doctors and other healthcare practioners, even in a fatphobic healthcare system. There will be lots of time for Q&A, a recording will be provided, and there is a pay-what-you-can option.

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

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)

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 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 (and I can do it remotely!) You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!