When I was just at the start of this journey I was trying to quit a terrible diet program. It was one of those “medically supervised” programs where food is extremely restricted and the only difference between the behaviors required by that program and the behaviors I had exhibited while dealing with the eating disorder I was recovering from was that on the program I wasn’t allowed to exercise. (Why yes, it absolutely is medical malpractice to prescribe a diet to someone recovering from an eating disorder – or, you know, at all since almost everyone regains their weight and the majority gain back more than they lost, but I didn’t know that then.) Despite following the program to the letter, I was still gaining (regaining, really) weight. So I went in and told them that I was quitting.
They escorted me into a small room with a big poster about not quitting (literally that kitten on a rope saying “Hang in there baby”) and a woman brought in a binder with pictures of fat women, and she started flipping through it silently. I watched for a while and then she said harshly “You might not know it, but this is what you look like, and these women are going to die alone in front of the television eating bon bons. Is that what you want for yourself? And aren’t you tired of hating your body?”
I realized several helpful things in that moment. First of all – I was tired of hating my body, I was exhausted from hating my body. I had been hating my body like it was a job for years at this point and it hadn’t made me happier, or healthier, or thinner. It had just made me tired.
I also realized that I didn’t find anything wrong with those women’s bodies, in fact I thought that they were beautiful. I didn’t expect that they would never find love or have bad lives. (And I grew up in very rural America so I didn’t know what bon bons were but that whole thing went right over my head.) So it occurred to me in a rush: if I thought that their bodies were beautiful… and if I looked like them as this woman had insisted as if it was an insult…then maybe it was possible to think that my body was beautiful.
Of course that was just the beginning of a long process, but it was a beginning!
Now, I told you that story to tell you this one…
My birthday is in October. (It’s also the month of my Best Friend’s birthday, his husband’s birthday, and their anniversary, so nobody in my family is allowed to date people with October birthdays or have any important events in October, but that’s another story.) Anyway, in my family we celebrate “our birthday month” so today a box with huge red “perishable” stickers showed up addressed to me. Inside were 12 MEA Fine Foods Exotic Bonbons. They were from my mom. Because my mom had heard me tell that story and thought that I should know what bonbons are.
And that’s the story of how I’ll be sitting on the couch, with the woman I love, eating bonbons from my amazing and supportive mom, still fat as hell.
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UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Holidays
Halloween candy and costumes, family gatherings, work parties, New Years bashes, New Years Resolution, and a ton of diet ads… whether we celebrate the holidays or not, the holiday season can be a perfect storm of fatphobia and diet culture. This year the pandemic adds another layer of stress. All that diet culture can really get you down. In this workshop we’ll talk about tips, tricks, and techniques to help us deal and have a happy holiday season on our own terms.
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)
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)