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Fat: When You Put Your Head In The Sand Your Ass Is In The Air

Recently I got into a little to do on twitter with Jason Falls. If you don’t know Jason, you should. Jason is often on twitter, and almost always with a kind word.

Sadly there is an assertion online, and in person that obese people are somehow not to blame for their obesity. I understand that it’s painful for someone to admit that they’ve done harm to their own body, but if we’re busy blaming pituitary glands and bum thyroids, we’re doomed to a life of morbid obesity and an early grave.

I have a thyroid disorder. For ten years I’ve had an out of control thyroid due to Hashimotos Thyroiditis. The most weight I’ve gained? Six pounds. I am told that is typical.

Jason Falls Jessica Gottlieb Twitter Fat Mean Bigot

Fighting fat is a battle worth having. Diets suck, when you’re dieting all you do is think of food. Exercise is hard, moderation is difficult, but since when is life supposed to be easy? Are no struggles worth having?

I have friends with weight problems and it would be cruel for me to pretend like it’s not a problem. I am not a skinny woman. I don’t strive to be a size 4. I’m a curvy adult woman with a little flab and a dose of goo, but I feed my body with food. I love myself enough to eat a piece of fruit, organic meats and dairy items, and a lot of vegetables. I love sweets, I love dessert, but you can’t have everything. If I want ice cream there’s a shop at the corner, I walk there, I walk back. If I’m too tired to get the junk food I don’t eat it.

Having it all is a myth that kills us.

Jason thought that I was attacking fat people. Please don’t think for a moment that I don’t like you or think less of you if you’re fat. I know you’re less healthy than you could be, and underneath any sort of bravado there’s a sadness that you can’t move as well as you should. I don’t mock people or think that they’re feelings aren’t relevant.

Your feelings matter.

If you want to feel good, move your body. If you want to feel great, put food in your body. Skip anything that comes from a box. Buy food that spoils, buy it each and every day and enjoy the flavors. Taste a peach in the summertime and kale in the autumn, enjoy cake but know the ingredients and control the portion size. Dessert is not here to make you full.

The short cut to feeling good is to change your behavior.

I support your lifestyle changes. If you’re trying to get healthier I’ll walk with you, I’ll shop with you and cook with you. I will support you every step of the way. I will not pretend that buying a weight loss pill, food, package or plan will help you.

Please don’t talk to me about skinny or thin. Let’s talk health, let’s talk about enjoying our food and leaving a smaller footprint. You don’t need a 100 calorie snack pack, you need an apple. You don’t need a low carb diet, you need less processed food. Unless you’re diabetic you don’t need to eliminate sugar, you just need to watch it.

And you need to move. You need to make your children move, a lot. Your kids aren’t getting dehydrated, they don’t need a sports drink or a juice, they need water and a yard.

Your friends tell you when you have salad in your teeth. They also tell you when you’re killing yourself.

I don’t hate fat people, but the fat acceptance movement infuriates me.

32 thoughts on “Fat: When You Put Your Head In The Sand Your Ass Is In The Air”

  1. I’ve seen this problem from a couple different angles, having gone from medically obese (at 200 pounds) to athletically lean (at 17& bodyfat) and now smack dab in the middle.

    I think that there’s a space for getting healthy, and encouraging people to do so. The issue comes with HOW it’s done.

    I had a training client who went from 450 pounds to 220 when I started training her. She explained to me that she was a Fat Acceptor in that she didn’t think that she should be treated like a lesser human being or harassed because she was fat; however, she did want to make changes lead a healthier life. As a 250 pound woman, she was still overweight but there was no sign she could hang on herself that said “I’m working on it.” So she was hollered at by passing cars, snickered at by adults, and people would take items out of her cart at the store.

    Yes, we need to have less junk in school, we need to eat better, we need to move around more. This is all true. I know you’re friends with Meme Roth, and while I agree with the message, every time I read about her or see on TV she’s dripping with cruelty and namecalling. She might be a doll in person, but if she actually cares about her message, then it’s getting crapped on by the messenger.

    Honestly, if harassment was the way to a healthy body, overweight people would not exist.

    And if anyone thinks I’m an apologist or don’t know how difficult it is, I lost 60 pounds over a two year period and have kept off 50 of those pounds for over six years. It’s a bitch. :)

  2. I agree with the slackmistress. My battle with weight and health is constant, and sometimes I am up and sometimes (now) I am down, but none of it makes it OK to be nasty to me. I’m the same person regardless of what end of the BMI I’m on, and harassing me isn’t ever going to make me healthier.

  3. I accept most everyone. I allow myself to not accept sexual predators and other such evil people. But other than that, I’m an accepting sort of girl. Even republicans ;)

    For a LOT of people it goes much deep than just watching what they put in their mouths. It is an addiction. It is meshed with their ability to cope with life. That’s why addiction transferrance (sp?) is a known problem with people who have had weight loss surgery and can no longer cope with food. This is a deep seeded issue that has roots in their foundation as a person.

    I am overweight. Do I fit in the above catagory? No. I fit more into yours. I’m a busy lazy mom who let herself fall by the wayside to the tune of 50 extra pounds after the 3rd child. But now, I am taking the reigns and am in week 7 of my lifestyle change. And I feel great. Chubby, but great. And I also have a medical problem that makes weight loss difficult and slloooowww (PCOS).

    As far as discrimination is concerned, I have mixed feelings on this. Insurers don’t want to cover the obese because they are a risk, just as smokers are. I get that.

    But social discrimination for the obese is a horrible thing :( And I will fully accept friendship and social bonds with any fat person just like I would with any African American, Muslim, or Homosexual. We are all people. We all have a story.

    Kumbaya and all that crap.

  4. Assuming someone is unhealthy because they are fat or even worse, assuming someone is healthy if they happen to be thin and beautiful (which you actually did – told me someone with deathly food allergies and asthma was “perfect” even after I questioned it and said that no one was perfect) shows that this isn’t remotely an issue of health for you, but about judging a group of people by appearance.

    Don’t get me wrong…I judge others, too. Mostly about Crocs (LOL) We all judge about something.

    I think it’s sad there needs to be a fat acceptance movement, but better they band together against the massive, sweeping, socially-accepted discrimination and hate instead of being alone and picked on individually.

    Plus I would think that most people who aren’t white, European males would be not-so-quick to judge sweeping segments of the population that can be called out and judged by their looks – regardless of truth or facts. (There are so many historical and current examples of that kind of crap happening worldwide it’s not funny.)

    Oh, and scientific reports sponsored by diet or weight-loss companies do NOT constitute truth OR facts, but I think everyone knows that! (They do, don’t they?) No? Uh oh.

    (p.s. The person I mentioned us talking about in the beginning of this comment is an amazing person and I *adored* her. But I do think it’s ironic that if that amazing woman were fat, you would blame her asthma on the fat in a heartbeat. Because she is thin and beautiful, you forgot it existed.)

  5. Your ideas about diet and eating healthy are totally just. I won’t lie and say I don’t eat processed foods. To be honest I was raised on them. Boxes and cans and frozen dinners. I lived off of pop tarts for years. I allow my child to eat the stuff too. But I think you are totally right. I wish that I had learned more about nutrition growing up. Each point you made is a valid point.

    America just has to stop letting the food companies own us. Me included.

  6. I love what you’ve written. I think we need to accept people regardless of what their appearance is, but I don’t think we need to make them feel warm and fuzzy about harming themselves. We don’t encourage smoking and we don’t have a smoking acceptance movement, why on earth should obesity be different?

    It hurts me the most when I see obese children because I can literally see the lifetime of hardships ahead of them. I was one of them and I wish someone had been there to steer me in the right direction. It has taken me a lot of hard work to be at a healthy weight (from being both over and underweight), but it is my body and my life and it’s worth it.

  7. Interesting post. I am fat and I know it’s my own fault. I also know it was much easier to get in this shape than it has been to change it. But, I am changing it, one step at a time. I don’t blame anyone but myself for my weight problems and no one but me can lose the weight. It has to be done by the person who created the problem.

    As for fat acceptance, I feel we should accept all races, social statuses, and even body types. If you aren’t attracted to a large person, then don’t date them. But, don’t think we aren’t smart, funny, loving people because we are big. We are just people, like anyone else.

  8. I’ve battled with my weight my entire life! I have crash-dieted and exercised ferociously and it’s unrealistic. What I am doing now is making better choices and walking more and I’m going to start yoga in the mornings which will definitely help tone up my post-baby tummy. My husband, however, is VERY overweight and I try to be encouraging but really I just want to make him get on a treadmill. He’s so lazy and unhealthy and it’s pissing me off. When I tone up and look hot he’s going to feel like a monster next to me.

  9. Jessica, while I agree that it is not okay for people to be unhealthy and for there to be a movement that supports such a lifestyle, I can’t help but feel that you are being narrow-minded.

    Yes, obesity is bad. Yes, being overweight (but not necessarily obese) is bad. But what you fail to recognize (or at least mention) is that a lot of people really are victims of circumstance. I’m not trying to sympathize with them and say that we need to leave them alone because they are suffering. I am simply saying that we need to take a step back and look at the big picture.

    Remember how you asked me what an Anthropologist does? I never got a chance to fully explain it, but this is as good a chance as I’ll ever have.

    An Anthropologist – more so than any other type of social scientist – is able to fully delve deep into social problems and explore them in their full complexity. The wonderful thing about Anthropology is that it is self-reflective, and – above all – self-critical. So, if you were an Anthropologist studying obesity in America, you would have to take a step back and realize that, 1. You are standing outside and looking in from a privileged position; 2. There are terribly severe implications to saying that obesity stems more from choice than it does from life circumstnaces.

    With that said, consider this: People have health issues which lead to weight problems. A way to combat this, much like you have, is to remain active and eat well. However, not everyone can afford to buy organic. Not everyone can afford to go to the gym. Poverty, health issues, and personal life circumstances are all factors that constrain people’s agency in life. Failing to see that and simply say that it is a result of personal choice places a literal blame on these people. And from there comes stigma. I can’t tell you how horrible I’ve felt when my friends parents saw slightly overweight people and called them “pig fuckers” who need to get off their lazy asses and exercise.

    I for one can tell you that after my dad had a stroke and our income severely diminished, we didn’t have fruit at home all the time. Fruit is and was expensive. We didn’t have organic food. What we did have was home-cooked meals that my mom made on a daily basis. We never indulged in copious amounts of fast food. It just wasn’t the way we were raised. We were lucky. But when a neighborhood is so depleted of resources and the only thing that’s affordable for a low-income family is the dollar menu at McDonald’s, you come to realize that the choice is not one of indulgence, but rather one of survival.

    There are projects going in LA right now that strive to get more grocery stores into low-income neighborhoods where there are more fast food establishments than should ever be in one place.

    So try to consider what goes on behind the seemingly objective “personal choice” to be overweight. And also realize that you’re coming from a very particular place in the world, where you are able to say that you have the ability to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

    I still adore you, though. I just thought you needed to consider other sides to the argument.

    1. I’m a very tolerant person. I’m don’t try to discriminate against overweight people. You’re criticizing her, but I don’t think you’ve done your homework. People go to McDonald’s dollar menu, because it’s easy. I’ve done the same thing many times, but my body can tell that it’s not good for me. Buying fresh is not expensive, people just think it is. Is saving a couple dollars a week from eating McDonalds over fresh foods. I challenge you to go to your neighborhood store and buying enough fresh vegetables and chicken to last a week (without over indulging). Compare that price to if you ate at McDonalds every day of the week. Too many people make excuses for what’s wrong with them.
      Since when does someone need a gym membership to stay in shape? That’s just another excuse for someone. Or, ‘I don’t have the time’. It’s all an excuse. A person just does not want to make the time. It only take 20-30 min a couple times a week. Everybody has that, no matter what they say. A person can go for a run, or do some calisthenics, find things around to the house to use as some resistance training. There are more then enough ways to exercise.
      Overweight people and skinny people can both be unhealthy, it’s how a person takes care of themselves. The studies on being ‘fit and fat’ are misleading. A person can be considered over weight, but is inaccurate. They take into account if someone is considered to be just 5 pounds over weight. A person can be 5 pounds over weight and still be healthy. If a skinny person is unhealthy, it’s usually because they don’t take care of themselves.
      I know it’s hard to change peoples thinking, but I feel it’s important for people to be informed. I would like more people to take care of themselves (fat or skinny), but people are going to do what they want.
      I don’t want any of this to come off as I’m attacking, I just see the trend of friends and family that are overweight, and I see that they are really hurting. Not just physically, but emotionally too. I’ve always tried to support them and encourage them. My best friend is obese, and he is finally to the point where he is making a conscious effort to be healthier. He’s lost 60 pounds in the last year and still loosing. That’s just from walking to work everyday and eating better.
      I am a fan of let people live their life, but when I see a friend or family doing harm to themselves, I just can’t sit idly by.

  10. These posts keep turning up and I always say the same thing. Unless you know someone really well, you don’t know why they’re fat.

    Some people are fat because they are lazy or eat crap food.

    Some people are fat because of medical conditions that you have no understanding of.

    Some people are fat because of the medical prescriptions they take for real medical conditions.

    Some people are fat because they have serious injuries that prevent them from moving.

    Some people are fat because they are born into families that have been fat for generations just like people born with hereditary heart problems.

    The solutions you propose are, well, condescending unless you know you are preaching to a person who is fat because they are lazy and/or eats poorly, and they also demonstrate some class bias. It always amazes when when people speak as if they know why someone is fat. As if their fat allows you to peer into their medical records.

    And please don’t forget,there are PLENTY of unhealthy thin people in the world.

  11. By the way, I don’t think that obesity is okay. I’m particularly alarmed by how overweight today’s children are. I never saw that when I was growing up. Everyone played outside and remained active. Now we see kids turning to video games and junk food more than ever.

    It’s a definite shift in our culture, where it becomes easier for a parent to have the TV babysit and to pop dinner into the microwave because of long work days. Added to that is the constant fear of child abduction. When I was growing up in the small town of Acton, near the Antelope Valley, no one ever worried about their child being abducted. We would just play in the street and come in before the sun set. But now things are getting worse, particularly in urban areas where watching your kids is not the easiest thing.

    It’s truly sad.

  12. I sat in the pediatrician’s office when my daughter was only 6 months old. He told me that she was obese and that obese children become obese adults. I thought babies were supposed to have a few little fat rolls on their thighs and pudgy little cheeks. I still do not believe my baby was obese. I never was fond of the skinny baby look. I stuck to my maternal instinct and changed doctors. Kayla began to walk and the weight dropped right off. I received criticism from my own mother for not allowing my daughter food that was not made by me and absolutely no candy or sugary snacks. Her snacks were carrot sticks and apples, etc. My daughter will turn 18 this month. She has never, ever had a weight issue. She is healthy and gets plenty of veggies and exercise despite her severe asthma, as she has chosen to be vegetarian. Teenage girls are very susceptible to eating disorders to be thin at any cost. I raised Kayla to be healthy, and she does have the occasional junk food, but if you offered her a bowl of ice cream or a pomegranate she will choose the pomegranate every time. She can’t wait until Christmas morning because her sock is full of satsuma oranges and pomegranates, with a couple candy canes.
    My mother thought I was too restrictive. I read somewhere that the first 5 years are the critical habit forming years so I was determined to teach her good eating habits. My younger sister is morbidly obese and in my estimation is at least 200 lbs overweight. I have to estimate because she will not tell me her actual weight and she cuts the tags out of her clothes so no one can see what size clothing she wears. She can barely walk now. She has serious knee problems that are going to require surgery, but no good ortho doctor would perform surgery on someone of my sister’s size. She is facing some difficult decisions in the future. I was not the perfect parent, but I will give myself an A for teaching healthy eating habits.

    I love my sister. But saying anything to her with regards to her weight only makes her eat more. She has never had a boyfriend and she is 35 and rents a bedroom from me. She has always been obese. My mother never set food limits. I set my own and spent lots of time in softball and volleyball or exploring the woods near our home with the neighbor kids. My sister hides food in her purse to smuggle upstairs to eat at night and we all know she is doing it, but she thinks she is successful at hiding it. My daughter went to the store this week with her shopping and 3 bags of chocolate candy bars, 1 dozen large bakery cookies, ice cream, and 2 boxes of hostess snacks. That is pretty typical for her weekly shopping list. I am very sad for her, and I’m powerless to get her to see what she is doing to herself. It’s as dangerous an addiction as meth or alcohol. If she only gains 20 lbs a year extra, in just 5 years she will be 300 lbs overweight. When will it end? I am scared she will end up bed ridden and 800 lbs. She refuses to eat fruit or vegetables. She never learned to like them because my mother only made her eat at most 5 peas at dinner time. Her idea of a salad is iceburg lettuce drenched in ranch with croutons. My heart is sad for her.
    Being morbidly obese is not healthy. Being model thin is also not healthy. I don’t think name calling and harassment is an effective method of getting anyone motivated to choose broccoli and a bike ride. But she is so hypersensitive to it, I can’t even discuss her knee problems without her getting defensive. I am frustrated and don’t want to watch her slowly kill herself.

  13. Total agree with you on fat acceptance. I will never accept what I’ve done to myself. I weigh 100 lbs more than I did when I was anorexic heading in high school–my best friend lost her period for 8 years and almost couldn’t have children thanks to our starving ourselves campaign to not be like our parents. So, I do think there have been studies that show a genetic predisposition that can’t be totally discounted. There is a history of obesity in my family, but more importantly, I think it starts with family patterns of eating in childhood. I have stopped that pattern with my own kids. They are healthy. They eat. They swim competitively every single day of the year–even holidays. Now I just need to realize I should focus as a mother less on them and more on me so I can be around for them.

  14. I applaud you for having the guts to state your opinion honestly. It’s why I admire you personally and why you’re blog always pulls me back — you call it like you see it, even if it’s controversial or unpopular. I made it through most of my 20s and 30s maintaining an ideal weight — and by ideal I mean healthy and fit, not skinny (skinny and me don’t mix.) Interestingly, the moment I entered agency life, the stress ballooned, so did the stress eating, so did the ass. so I’m a stress eater and I admit it freely. I’m 40 pounds heavier than I should be — I get away with a lot because I’m nearly 6 feet tall but still — I could give you a laundry list of wellness issues that are 100% attributable to the weight gain. Nothing else. I lack disciplined eating and work-out habits — I take responsibility for it. I choose to dive into pasta when clients and colleagues piss me off. My choice, my ass. My mother was morbidly obese for the last 20 years of her life and never took responsibility for it — I cannot let myself go down that road.

    The only thing I would pick at in your post is your self-assessment — I say this with love and respect but hon, I’ve seen you in skinny jeans. You’re THIN. Disciplined, tennis-honed thin. With good bewbies, yes, but that’s not curvy. That’s L.A. hawt. I’m curvy, ok? New Jersey zaftig.

  15. Jessica,

    Completely agree with you. My motto is: “nothing worth doing is ever easy.” Besides some discipline, living a healthy lifestyle requires planning, prioritizing, and prepararation – what I call the three-‘p’s. But it is soooooo worth it.

    On a personal note, Jon, Owen and I had a great time at your son’s b-day party last Saturday. I was so impressed by the simplicity of it all – sooo NOT LA! Kudos!!!!! Just one question, when is the “big kids” party?!

  16. I agree with everything you’re saying about being healthy, but here’s the thing: when I was 200 pounds, there wasn’t a single thing that anybody could have said about me, no health fact or statistic, and no anecdote that would have persuaded me to lose weight. For me, at least, all that stuff made me retreat into food more.

    All that being said, when I did finally decide to lose weight it wasn’t all that hard. It just took consistency (something I suck at). I’d like to lose more, and I will. But I can totally understand why other people haven’t gotten to that point. And unless they’re sitting next to me on an airplane it’s really none of my business. I’d love to tell them all how much better they’d feel if they were thinner, and how much more fun it is to buy clothes or get dressed for a special occasion, but I know from experience that it would probably fall on deaf ears.

    Am I subsidizing the health care costs of obese people? Sure. But I’m also subsidizing the care of drinkers, smokers, motorcyclists, skateboarders, and clumsy people. It just is.

    When I see obese kids, though, that makes my blood boil. A kid living a kid’s life has no excuse to be fat. My kids have a moderate amount of fast food, play video games, and watch TV. They also hit the playground and participate in sports. There’s a balance out there, but I think some parents have just given up and take the easiest, laziest route. It’s sad.

  17. In the 3 aunts and 10 female cousins on one side of my family, there are 2 cousins who are not fat, obese or morbidly obese. I work my ass off to not be that. Judge, don’t judge-what the fuckever. I know it is there, and one slip up for a period of time and that is my destiny. I have never uttered a negative word about my body in the 2 mile radius of my kids and only promote healthy active lifestyle and healthy eating. Just as I would do to anyone else. Friend or foe.

    My favorite thing here?

    You didn’t once drop that your degree is in this very field. Love that.

  18. You misunderstand fat acceptance. People have a right to be happy and not spend their entire lives dieting and in pursuit of a body type they may never have. What kind of life is that?

    Second of all, you are tackling an extraordinarily complicated issue from a place of insane privilege and you need to acknowledge that.

  19. I have no argument with telling people that they should work hard on trying to take care of themselves. What I do take issue with is the assumption that a fat person has given up on trying to live a healthier life.

    I am sure that some have, but I have watched some family members and dear friends fight to try to lose weight. And I have seen the vicious circle that can come because of the extra weight.

    They want to exercise, but are physically unable. Knee replacements, gout and all sorts of fun ailments make it terribly hard to just walk, let around walk around a block.

    I don’t think that we need to take extreme positions. I am not going to tell people that being fat is a healthy lifestyle. But I am not going to demand that they lose 100 pounds either.

    They have to want to do it and sometimes they need help. I have a relative who could easily lose 80 pounds. She makes next to nothing so she is constantly working, to the tune of 80+ hours a week. I can’t tell her that its ok not to exercise, but I understand how it is truly hard to find time.

    Don’t work and there is no money for rent, don’t exercise and maybe you don’t have that many years left to pay rent.

  20. I think you see in the comments that your stance, as much as I think it was better explained in your post, still strikes a nerve with folks. Fat acceptance movement aside, you seem to still shake a pointed finger at anyone who is fat, even those of us who don’t except it, continually bust our asses to fight it and for reasons, genetic, physical, mental or emotional, just can’t or don’t get where we should be in your or our eyes.

    My only point is to let you know that the all are one way or another attitude doesn’t fly. You’re just gonna alienate folks that way.

    I’m glad we chatted and that I better understand your perspective. Just wish you’d know there are some people who hate being fat, don’t want to be fat, try hard not to be fat but just are. And we shouldn’t be ridiculed because of it.

  21. Let me know when anyone here hits menopause, and piles on the pounds. “Insane privilege” is exactly right. When someone has other struggles–like work, housing, children, illness–the struggle to lose weight seems rather trivial.

    Yes, eating healthy food and bodily movement are important, but your shrill little chick comments demean people who have, excuse the expression, bigger fish to fry.

  22. If the fat movement means loving people for who they are, whether they are on the same path as we are or not, then I say we go for it.

    Overweight is a combination of not enough movement and too much food — totally agree. But we’re lucky that we can go grab our organic this and fresh that. Some people are barely scraping by, only affording ramen noodles and the like. It is expensive to eat well! Bad food is cheap. And convenient. And tasty. For those just trying to get through the day, it’s a struggle. I’m not saying I (or you, for that matter) don’t have problems. I’m just saying I feel lucky that some of my problems don’t include losing my house, raising my kids alone, or caring for my parent with dementia as a few examples.

    Plus there’s one key element that hasn’t been discussed here. People grow up in their own environment. CAN they break free of bad habits, emotional eating and self sabotage? Sure. But ridiculing them and calling them fat and unhealthy isn’t the way. I’ve gone up and down a couple of pounds over the years and I know the times I’ve been at my leanest and strongest, it’s because I felt supported and self-confident. The other times I felt terrible about myself, I just ate even more. Just like someone said, pointing it out as a failure only creates more failure.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post. It’s really good for all of us to talk openly about REAL issues and thoughts.

  23. I’m got a little bit of a hybrid view. Yes, I do think that behaviors directly affect the shape our bodies…of course, constrained by the physical constraints of our genes. But, I have found some valid points in the FA movement. For every trainer/doctor/nutritionist that has simply said, “eat less, move more”, there is obviously something missing (or we wouldn’t have a massive diet industry).

    For me (and I can ONLY speak for me), I had to undue twenty years of body hatred and obsessive diet thoughts. I had to re-learn how to legalize ALL foods and re-learn the real beauty of food (nourishment & incredible tastes of whole foods).

    I also had to learn for the first time that my external body was not the measure of my self-worth. This is where I think the FA movement is spot on. I continue to work on self-judgment and judgment of others based on the external body, as it’s such an automatic response for me.

    However, I finally read on a feminist/intuitive eating blog was that I also had to give myself permission (and really believe it) that I didn’t HAVE to eat everything. I started giving myself permission to eat only what was enough and to work out in a way that makes me feel good. When I truly felt the permission to eat only what I need to thrive and decided I was a pretty good person regardless of size, the scale finally moved downwards.

    The FA movement had good wisdom for me. I decided to give myself permission to work (eat a little less, move a little more) to get to a point where my body is a bit smaller and operates a lot better. I needed to stop my fat and self-hating first.

  24. I have gone back and forth about commenting on this. But here goes…

    My family strives to be fit, healthy, and active. But we are not perfect. We have neither the time nor the energy (read “I” don’t have it) to be all or nothing when it comes to the food we eat.

    I work very hard to come up with menus and meals and to cook dinner most nights. But I feed my family processed foods as well. And I do not buy organic (not because of price, but because I simply don’t care about the status word). It’s just my reality. And I have actually feared admitting this because I don’t want you to tell me that I’m killing my child by doing so, because quite frankly, I’m not. I’m doing the best I can with the resources and time I have and you would be hard pressed to call my child unhealthy.

    I’m judgmental. I think a little judgment regarding right and wrong is too lacking in this world. I do judge obesity (not always, but in certain instances)…

    I judge the 300+ pound mother buying her overweight daughter powdered sugar doughnuts and full-fat chocolate milk at the convenience store for breakfast.

    I judge my aunt and uncle who are obviously overweight/borderline obese, but spend every waking out planning what they will eat next and not moving at all.

    I judged my grandmother who put on a few pounds, then a few more, and then became diabetic and used that as her excuse to become morbidly obese.

    So I mainly judge personal experiences. And I had it drilled into me at an early, early age that if I didn’t take care of myself, I’d end up like my Grandma and her brothers and sisters. And I do mean drilled (think of being in college and the first thing your mother asks you is if you’ve gained any weight!).

    Eating at McDonald’s every now and then, buying a frozen pizza, opening a can of Chef Boyarde will not kill me, my son, or my husband. Doing that every day, three meals a day, seven days a week… Well, that’s another story.

  25. And with regard to the whole “fat acceptance” movement? If everyone were just plain NICE to each other, movements like that wouldn’t exist!

    So I’m not down with that or any other movement that tells me I have to treat people a certain way… I try to treat everyone I meet the way I want to be treated.

  26. It’s a matter of degree, and a matter of health.
    A friend of a friend just lost her husband to morbid obesity so at the moment, I’m quite against fat acceptance as well.
    Having said that, I know that I’m judged for smoking, and all it makes me want to do is have another cigarette.
    Is that the right way to look at it? I’m the first to say it’s not. Still, I hate being judged on that one aspect of myself. I’m also raising two kids, working, and doing what I can for others in a myriad of ways.
    Right now, quitting smoking is one of the last things on my mind. I think about it, I toy with different ways of trying to figure out how to quit or cut back or what have you, but I’m not really doing much about it.
    But I do have to accept that people will judge me harshly. I have to own that, too.

  27. I think it’s freakin’ hilarious when people who have never been overweight, attempt to boil it down to being just about food. I’m surprised YOU would not be as highly educated enough (as you claim to be) to know that people use food to cope. Much like an alcoholic uses alcohol to cope. To ‘just make better choices about food and exercise’ is a ridiculous statement when dealing with someone who has psychological issues entangling them in the cycle. One needs to heal the psychological issues first before a healthy relationship can be established with food.

    Why don’t you know or acknowledge that?

  28. I agree in general, and I’ve never been obese. I have chronic migraines though and have been prescribed medicine that has caused me to gain nearly 30 pounds while literally eating one low calorie meal per day. That was a side effect of the medication. I am vain, I guess, since I didn’t want to live with being overweight. I asked my doctor if we could try something else. We did, and I lost the weight quickly.

    Coincidentally, I have Hashimoto’s too, and I have gained as much as 25 pounds before getting that under control, so your experience doesn’t mean everyone with a thyroid condition will only gain six pounds. When I was on my migraine medication and felt “fat” (still only wearing a size 10) I felt uncomfortable in my skin and that people were judging me if I ate out at a buffet.

    You don’t know the circumstances of people’s weight gain and after my experience, I don’t judge anyone. Even chemotherapy can cause bloating and weight gain, as it did for a child in my son’s third grade class last year before her death. I would bet there were people who saw her out with her parents who thought she was another “obese” child who drinks too many sodas.

    I know there are more people who just eat too much, but I don’t know everyone’s circumstances, so I won’t judge anymore. That’s just my two cents.

  29. Fat Acceptance is a movement based on a few assumptions. Fat is not bad; it is not unhealthy per definition. Some people will always be fat, and some people will always be thin, nothing to do about it. And those people, who have always been fat and will always be fat, they deserve respect and confidence just like anyone else. And they don’t get much respect, what with the whole world telling them they’re doing something wrong that made them fat, telling them that they are ugly, lazy and somehow worth less than a person who is not fat. And posts like this one are really not helping fat people get the respect they deserve.

  30. I think it’s important to note that there are different types of thyroid problems – hyperthyroid can make you lose weight. Hypothyroid makes you gain weight. It is important to stay active. You have some good ideas – walking to the ice cream shop, keeping kids active.

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