Responses to COVID-19 Fatphobia

You know what sucks - learning that we're in the middle of a deadly pandemic and your biggest worry is that you might end up looking more like me.Sorry to have been away, I have a recurring neck issue that… recurred. Usually I knock it down with ice/traction/anti-inflammatories/PT. The physical therapy is a super important part of that and isn’t an option right now. Unfortunately, typing for an extended period of time really exacerbates it, hence the lack of blog posts. But I’m doing everything I can at home and it’s starting to feel better and so I’m back! Thanks to all the readers who checked up on me, I can’t tell you what it meant to me!

The anti-fat posts and memes that are going around (often under the guise of a “joke”) are absolutely ridiculous. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to deal with them and so I thought I’d put together some responses that you can cut and paste.

Before we get to that I want to be clear that this is absolute horseshit. When you point this out, people are likely to get defensive and double down on the harm by trying to victim blame you. That’s also horseshit. And, of course  Someone saying that it’s a joke doesn’t make the situation any more acceptable, since we shouldn’t be expected to be ok with “jokes” made at our expense.

You aren’t obligated to educate people and you aren’t obligate to keep educating them while they keep harming you. So you can choose just to ignore stuff, you can also choose to leave the first comment and then disengage at any time. You are not the problem – fatphobia is.

As always, feel free to reword, mix and match etc.

Educational Options

If it’s happening on social media, one option is just to leave a reaction/emoji that captures your feeling – crying, rage, etc. It’s subtle and doesn’t leave room for much pushback.

This post is harmful. It’s fatphobic and also harmful to people who are trying to deal with eating disorders on top of the rest of the stress.

I wish that we could find ways to support each other that aren’t fat-shaming and triggering for people with eating disorders. This situation is difficult enough!

Pointed Response

Honestly, fat-shaming/food-shaming like this is really hurtful. I wish people wouldn’t do this.

You may not be thinking about it, but things like this are really hurtful. I know that everyone is trying to deal with their stress, but it would be great if you could find a way to do it that isn’t fatphobic.

Full On Snark 

You know what sucks – being in the middle of a deadly pandemic and learning that your biggest worry is that you might end up looking more like me.

Fuck this fat-shaming bullshit.

I hope everyone who is reading this is doing as well as possible and I hope that you don’t come across too much fat-shaming bullshit as you deal with everything else that’s going on!

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 .

Getting the Healthcare that Thin People Get – And More

margaret + aaronI have written a lot about strategies that fat people can use to attempt to overcome their healthcare provider’s weight bias in order to get competent evidence-based care. From cards that can help people have conversations, to lies that may have to be told in order to get necessary care. As always, I want to point out that fatphobia (medical and otherwise) becomes our problem, but it is not our fault and it shouldn’t be happening. We shouldn’t have to gear up for a doctor’s appointment.

I have found that one of the most helpful things to ask a Healthcare Provider when they attempt to prescribe weight loss for a health condition is:

How do you treat this issue in thin people?

I hear from blog readers all the time who were able to use this question to get healthcare beyond the suggestion that they should try to look different (of course it isn’t foolproof, sometimes the HCP is simply unable to get beyond their weight stigma.)

This is good, but there’s actually quite a bit more to it. Getting the care that thin people get isn’t good enough, because that care is created FOR thin people. We deserve more than that. There are so many areas of healthcare that need to be fixed.

Let’s start with medical research. Research is typically done on “average weight” people, without even an attempt to understand how medications or procedures could best be created/used for fat people (despite the fact that we keep hearing about how many fat people are in society.)

Should dosage be increased by weight? Is this pill ineffective after a certain weight (like Plan B which starts to lose effectiveness at 165 pounds and becomes completely ineffective at 176 pounds.) The fact that they don’t even bother to consider fat people in most health research is a serious type of institutionalized oppression. (And, of course, fat people aren’t the only ones – people of color, trans and non-binary people, and women are a few of the groups who aren’t adequately represented in research, those with intersecting marginalizations even more so.)

This one’s a bit graphic, but those responsible for handling cadavers for medical schools won’t bother work with larger bodies, which means that future doctors don’t practice on fat bodies. (Considering that they had no problem flying a fat body 5,000 miles for an exploitative television show it seems like they already know how to solve this.)

Then, of course, there’s the fact that surgeons often tell fat people that they can’t do routine procedures on us because they are “too risky,” then recommend…wait for it…weight loss surgery. Not only is bariatric surgery often more dangerous than the surgery that the fat person actually needs, and not only are those who have had the stomach amputation surgery at additional risk for the surgery that they could have just had in the first place, but the idea that surgery is no problem if you want to mutilate your digestive tract in the hopes of creating a disease state that will force you to starve, but an arthroscopic surgery to fix your knee is just way too risky, would be laughable if it wasn’t being used to harm so many people.

At the absolute least, fat people deserve care that is based on research that includes fat patients, with equipment that was made to work for fat patients, from doctors who were educated on how to work on fat bodies, and are not operating out of weight stigma. It’s really not that much to ask.

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 .

Let’s Play Diet Ad Bingo!

While many of us are spending lots more time at home, I thought it might be a good time to play a little Diet Ad Bingo:

I have become incredibly annoyed with all of the diet ads that I get bombarded with every day (dude, magical weight loss tea is not a “movement’ that people can “join”, what the effing crap.)

Whenever they are online I mark them as “misleading” or, at least, “I don’t want to see this” and hide them.  But some I can’t delete,  so I decided the next best thing to deleting them is making them into a game.

In that spirit, I offer the Diet Ad BINGO card below. You’ll note that “Disclaimer” is the free space because, since they don’t work, they all have some sort of disclaimer/fine print (like “results not even close to typical” or “this diet may kill you.“) As always, people are allowed to diet if they choose (underpants rule!), and people are allowed to poke fun at the diet industry which makes over $60 Billion a year selling a product that is such a failure that they are legally required to say that it doesn’t work every time they advertise it.

Happy BINGO-ing:

Diet Ad Bingo

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.

Three Cough Drops Are Not A Snack And Other Terrible “Health” Advice

MYHEAR~1There is so much terrible information being spread about healthcare right now (some coming directly from the “president”) but this mess, found by Beckie H, might take the proverbial cake (Trigger Warning – discussion of food and dieting/disordered eating behaviors)

Three Cough Drops

Here’s the text:

What to do when you’re SICK and want to stay in fat burn

  • Most liquid cold/cough syrups tend to be sweetened with sugar
  • Chose [sic] a capsule or tablet (pill form) when possible
  • Select sugar-free for throat lozenges
  • If you need to have liquid medications, you should consider omitting an optional snack–you may need to watch the addition of any condiments–you may want to try selecting vegetables from the lower and/or moderate carbohydrate sections.
  • Zycam – no carbs so this will NOT take you out of fat burn
  • Hall Cough drops (3 sugar free) = 1 optional snack.
  • Robitussin Sugar-Free Peak Cold cough and chest DM has zero calories and zero carbohydrates.
  • Dayquil capsules are also calorie-free.
  • Mucinex DM is calorie-free
  • Alka seltzer Plus Cold Medicine tablet = one condiment.

Ok, first of all, nobody has to give a shit about staying in “fat burn” ever, and especially not when they’re sick (with a reminder that it’s a near-certainty that they’ll gain all their weight back in a few years anyway so they might as well have that cold medicine.)

There are legitimate reasons to care about some of these things (for example, if someone is dealing with blood sugar issues.) But most of these are ridiculous under any guise. The idea that three sugar-free halls equals an “optional snack” means that the snack was going to be something like a half teaspoon of peanut butter. In what world is 1/2 a teaspoon of peanut butter “optional?” If you’re measuring your food down to the 1/2 teaspoon, none of it should be optional – you’re going to need every last bit of it (which is why this kind of behavior can be so destructive to our relationship with food.) Plus, if your snack was food, it would have some nutritional content  – vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, fat, carbs etc. – whereas three sugar-free halls just have the ability to suppress coughs – an important thing to be sure, but not life-giving. So this is not a reasonable exchange under any circumstances.

The Alka seltzer exchange is equally ridiculous – it only works if your condiment was the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of mustard. If your diet hinges on a teaspoon of mustard, I would advise you to ask some questions as to their long-term success rates (I’d advise this under any circumstances but, I mean, a teaspoon of mustard? Come on.)

Weight loss advice is essentially completely useless at any time, but when we add it to a time when we’re dealing with other stressors like illness or, say, being stuck at home during a global pandemic, things can get out of hand, people can be misinformed, eating disorders can get triggered, and health can suffer.

Extracting myself from diet culture wasn’t easy, but it has absolutely been worth it in so many ways, many of which are being highlighted now as I’m able to focus on getting through this difficult time, rather than worrying about manipulating my body size.

My heart goes out to everyone who is dealing with diet culture, disordered eating, and eating disorders during this rough time. We can do our part to help by not spreading diet culture crap, and calling it out as dangerous when we see it.

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.

 

The “I Dieted Successfully, So You Can Too” Mistake

Dieting and SuccessI was recently part of a discussion about weight loss online. I was pointing out the research about intentional weight loss methods – and the fact that what the research shows is that most people can lose weight short term, but almost everyone gains it back long-term with most gaining back more than they lost. Someone immediately jumped in and said “I lost weight and kept it off, so what about that. Anyone can do it if they try hard enough.”

I see this a lot in these types of discussions. Hell, the National Weight Control Registry is literally built on this mistake (by people who should know better, but there seems to be more profit in acting like they don’t.)

The careful reader will note that in the original conversation I said “almost everyone” gains the weight back. The term here is “outlier,” someone whose experience/outcome is far different than what is typical.  The existence of outliers cannot be used to prove that the outcome they experienced could have/can be achieved by others.

So the fact that a tiny percentage of people don’t regain all their weight does not indicate that everyone can have the same outcome. There are people whose parachutes don’t open but they survive. That doesn’t make it reasonable for them to insist that their experience proves that anyone can survive their chute not opening if they just try hard enough.

That’s ludicrous. And yet every time we state the facts about the failure rates of intentional weight loss attempts, here comes someone who wants to talk about how their aunt’s best friend’s babysitter’s mom did it, like that cancels out the mountain of evidence that shows that only a tiny fraction of people succeed at significant weight loss long term.

When it comes to maintaining significant weight loss there are a number of factors that may contribute. A couple common examples:

It’s possible that they haven’t gained their weight back…yet. Most people gain their weight back in 2-5 years (which is why so many of the people you see on diet commercials are within that time frame.) This is the one I see most often. When challenged, I find that many of these people think that saying “I’m definitely not gaining it back” is someone evidence of their future purported success. Spoiler alert – it is not.

It’s possible that they developed disordered eating/an eating disorder (which wouldn’t be surprising since many diets encourage the exact same behaviors that people dealing with eating disorders struggle to stop.) This is a worst-case scenario since they are likely to be congratulated and supported for their dangerous eating disorder behaviors, and terrified to regain their weight because of the positive reaction they are receiving.

Regardless, if “trying hard” to be thin would make us thin, every fat person I know would be thin. The truth is that almost everyone who attempts weight loss will lose weight short term but gain it all back longterm, with many gaining back more than they lost. This means that the vast majority of people who commit to dieting will waste time, money, and energy in a futile – sometimes dangerous – pursuit.  Alternately, we could get off the diet roller coaster and never, ever get back on.

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.

These Coronavirus Weight-Gain Memes Need To Stop Right F*cking Now

These Coronavirus Weight-Gain Memes Need To Stop Right F_cking NowGreetings from social isolation, I hope that everyone reading this is doing as well as possible as we navigate this together. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, so of course, people are using this opportunity to perpetuate fatphobic bullshit.

To be clear, there are serious conversations online about people fearing weight gain during social isolation, which is in itself indicative of the issues in a society that is built on weight stigma and diet culture. The worst of it, to me, are the memes. Because the memes are seen as “jokes” which means that they get shared and people get defensive about it when we point out that they are harmful, and go into that whole “why can’t you take a joke” bullshit. (Hint – it’s not that I can’t “take a joke” made at my expense that harms me, it’s that I shouldn’t have to.)

Of course people are arguing that this isn’t fatphobic, which is patently ridiculous. These memes are absolutely fatphobic because anything that suggests that a fatter body is a negative outcome is fatphobic. Anything that puts fat bodies in a negative light is fatphobic. This is not, in any way, complicated. And there is never any justification for fat-shaming.

But it’s not just the fatphobia – though that would be bad enough to demand that it stop. These are also harmful to people of all sizes who are dealing with disordered eating/eating disorders/body dysmorphia while dealing with quarantine – in a time when they are often cut off from their typical support and resources, memes like this reinforce a fear of body size change due to eating.

There is plenty of humor to be had without doing harm to other people. If someone can’t manage to find it, then maybe humor is just not for them. Definitely don’t share this bullshit and, if you’re up for it, consider saying something when you see them posted,

You can confront directly, or try something a little softer, like “I didn’t realize it, but memes like this actually contribute to eating disorders and weight stigma, so I wanted to pass that along” and/or you can copy this blog post if you think it will be helpful.

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.

Medical Fatphobia – The Ob/Gyn Should Not Be A BYOS (Bring Your Own Speculum) Party

I don't want to hear another word about how fat people have poorer health outcomes until fat people have equal access competent, stigma-free careI talk a lot about medical fatphobia (because medical fatphobia literally kills fat people,) and I’ve now heard from several super fat people who went for their annual visit to the gynecologist only to be told that the gynecologist doesn’t have the proper size speculum. In most cases, the person was just told outright that they couldn’t be helped (prompting them to e-mail me to see if I knew of any options.) But in one case the patient was told that specula that would work existed, and that if the patient wanted to buy one (the doctor suggested Amazon.com) they could bring it in for an exam. Then the doctor refused to refund their co-pay, since they “shouldn’t have expected” that they could be accommodated. With a speculum. At the gynecologist. For a pre-scheduled pap smear.

This is such blatant and disgusting fatphobia that I can hardly put my rage into words. It’s not just specula – thought that feels like a particularly awful aberration since going to the gynecologist is such a stressful situation to begin with, and putting off the visit can mean missing/postponing a cancer diagnosis. But it’s also blood pressure cuffs, knee braces, higher weight capacity beds and chairs, longer needles for vaccinations and other procedures, and on and on and on.

In some cases the needed medical equipment doesn’t exist – larger size knee braces, for example, may need to be custom made. And that’ s completely unacceptable since it is a known fact that fat people do both exist, and have knees.

But in many cases, the items absolutely exist but the healthcare facility has simply chosen not to bother to provide competent care to fat patients. This is, obviously, inconsistent with any belief in “doing no harm” or anything resembling a community health practice.

Plenty of fat patients have been forced to participate in humiliating weigh-ins under the guise of it being “medically necessary” (spoiler alert: It’s almost never medically necessary) only to find that their healthcare practitioner cant’ even take a correct blood pressure because they haven’t bothered to spring for the properly sized cuff (which I found for $30 online from a medical supply company, and $12 on ebay.)

Size discrimination by medical facilities should not be allowed. Patients of all sizes should be able to sit and lie down as necessary for the care. They should be able to get an accurate blood pressure reading – something that is as basic as basic gets when it comes to medical care. Not bothering to have appropriately sized needles shouldn’t be a barrier to vaccination. A visit to the gynecologist should not be a BYOS party.

I don’t want to hear another damn word about how fat people have poorer health outcomes until fat people have equal access to competent, stigma-free care (and of course this is compounded for those who are subject to other oppression and bigotry in healthcare including racism, transphobia, homophobia, and misogyny.)

Fat patients deserve the same care that thinner patients get, there is absolutely no justification for anything less.

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.