Convincing People To Embrace HAES & Be Body Positive

[caption id=”attachment_7568” align=”alignright” width=”320”] Debaters! (Image courtesy of NBC)[/caption]

The summer before my senior year of high school, I attended a constitutional law / rhetoric program (a/k/a “awesome nerd camp”) at Yale University. In the sweltering heat of a New Haven July, I learned how to employ logos, pathos and bathos and wield them like mighty swords.

So I wasn’t too scared when I was chosen to debate the topic of changing trade regulations with China. It was a complicated issue that I initially knew nothing about, but I thought that with research, determination, and some artfully crafted stories, I could sway the crowd to my side.

I don’t actually remember what my side was, but I do remember this: out of 20 people, 19 voted for the other guy.

In other words, despite logic and reason and passion being on my side, only one person raised a hand to agree with me.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was great training for being a Health At Every Size (HAES) advocate!

Convincing People Is Exhausting
Advocating something that goes against what people consider common sense is incredibly hard. In our country, the diet industry makes over $60 billion a year, big pharma makes gazillions on diet pills that don’t work, big medical makes gazillions on weight loss surgeries that promise more problems than solutions. That all means that lots of money goes toward convincing people that diets and weight loss are totes awesome. And how much convincing do they really have to do when our fatphobic society promises so much approval and health and freedom from discrimination for people who lose weight?

So here’s what I think about convincing people to embrace HAES and be fat positive — it’s not my job. And I’m sharing this with you because I don’t think it’s your job either.

Some Things To Try Instead
If trying to convince other people to understand the wonders of HAES and the detrimental effects of fatphobia is dragging you down, here’s a bit of advice.

Just Be You
I don’t think we always realize how incredibly powerful it is to model body positivity for others. Allowing yourself to take up space, wearing clothes that you feel good in, knowing you’re valuable, attractive, worthy and wonderful, enjoying food, setting boundaries with others on body and diet talk — all of this is both wonderful and important. When you model that behavior for others (even if you’re not “perfect” at it) you create an invitation for other people to act similarly or ask you how you do it. Rather than convincing someone to embrace a new way of being, you can do it by creating the space for them to try it.

Present The Facts
Presenting facts is still powerful and important. There are certain situations where presenting facts will be important for you, such as when you’re dealing with a friend, relative, doctor etc. who is pushing weight loss. But when you just present facts rather than try to convince people to agree with you, you take the pressure off both of you. (Some awesome fat fact resources to share can be found here, here, & here.)

Give Them Time
Remember back when you thought dieting was the answer to all of your problems? (And hey, if you still sort of feel that way, it’s okay!) I definitely remember when I felt that I absolutely had to lose weight if I wanted to get a boyfriend/change careers/be healthy, etc. I only found HAES when I was so sick of dieting and stressing about food that I knew that there had to be an alternative. And even when I started reading about accepting my body and healing my relationship with food, I still thought that it made a lot of sense but that I still had to lose weight.

I think that for most people, this really is a process. The more we respect that process, the more our advocacy will have the effect we want.

At least, I hope I convinced you of that. :)

Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

Love your body and you’ll be a better advocate. Get great body love tips and more when you subscribe:

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight.


(Listen to this post here, or subscribe on itunes.)

Fat Or Just “Temporarily Embarrassed” Thin People?


Listen to this post here, or subscribe on itunes.

John Steinbeck famously said:

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

This quote makes an interesting point about how the way people perceive themselves affects everything from their political views, to their choices about what is best for them.

[caption id=”attachment_6865” align=”alignright” width=”224” caption=”Image By Golda Poretsky”]I'm Fat. Not A Temporarily Embarrassed Thin Person.[/caption]

Those of us in the fat acceptance community often confront the difficulty of getting fellow fat folks to accept a fat identity. Like some poor folks not seeing themselves as currently poor and poor for the foreseeable future, fat folks often see themselves as temporarily embarrassed thin people. They’ve bought into the very persuasive argument that fatness is merely a temporary state, one that can be easily changed if you just work hard enough or have the luck of finding the right “lifestyle changes” or whatever.

Not that I blame fat people for believing that fat is temporary. Everywhere you turn, weight loss is being sold as a reality, something that works, a solution to the stresses of being fat in a fat-hating society.

The facts that weight is about as genetic as height, that 95% of people who diet gain the weight back within 3 to 5 years, 83% of people who diet gain back more weight than they lose, and 70% of weight variation can be accounted for by genetics[ref]Linda Bacon, Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight (Dallas: Benbella Books, 2008) 137[/ref], are all very hard to hear. When you’re constantly being sold the idea that fat is unhealthy, unattractive, undesirable, and worthy of discrimination and ridicule, you don’t want to hear that fatness may just be your lot in life. It’s very hard to identify as fat in a society that makes thinness a pinnacle of achievement.

I get that. I totally get it. It is hard to be fat in most of the world, and fat people may feel like they need the hope of eventually becoming thin to make it through.

But there are benefits to identifying as fat, or identifying as just having the body you have, rather than being a temporarily embarrassed thin person.  I want to identify a couple of these benefits for you now.

  1. Political Power — The more folks are willing to identify as fat, the more political power we can have. When we approach our fat bodies as embarrassments, we don’t recognize that we’re worthy of rights like protection from discrimination at work, truth in advertising from the diet industry, etc. There is power in identifying as what you are rather than what you hope to be.
  2. Fun— Fat positive community is a total blast. It’s a true pleasure to hang out with folks who don’t talk about diets and are focused on loving their bodies as they are.
  3. Actual Health — When you stop trying to lose weight for your health, you’ll be able to focus on actual health. Using principles like Health At Every Size can help to actually improve your health and lower your stress levels.
  4. Happiness — When you are unhappy with your current state and always striving to change it, it’s hard to just be and enjoy the life you have. You can be present to the good things in your life and the wondrousness of your body when you let go of the idea that you are a “temporarily embarrassed” thin person.

So my bit of advice for this week is to stop seeing yourself as a temporarily embarrassed thin person and begin to see yourself as having a body that is perfectly normal and natural. Begin to see the power in identifying as fat. Allow it to change your worldview for this week. Let me know how it goes in the comment section below.

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get her NEW free gift — Golda’s Top 5 Tips For Loving The Body You Have Right Now!

The “War On Obesity” and The Weight Of The Nation


Listen to this post here, or subscribe on itunes.

Back in the early days of dating my boyfriend, every once in a while he would turn on Fox News just for a laugh and to see what they’re saying.  This usually ended up with me yelling at the TV then yelling at him to change the channel, then, and I’m not proud of this, throwing (hopefully) non-destructive pillows at the TV.

So, as you can imagine, I’m not watching the new HBO “documentary” called Weight Of The Nation for the sake of my own sanity and the well-being of my TV.

[caption id=”attachment_6783” align=”alignright” width=”210” caption=”Image courtesy of HBO.com”]weight of the nation image hbo[/caption]

You may be thinking, “Wait a second, Golda.  Maybe this documentary will be an unbiased look at the so-called ‘obesity epidemic.’  Why not watch it?”  And I want to thank you, reasonable reader, for thinking such a reasonable thing.   But a few things have clued me in that this is a one-sided documentary, including the tagline, “To Win, We Have To Lose.”  That alone let’s you know that this will be a documentary about obesity being on the rise, fat being bad, and weight loss being the answer. The fact that none of that is actually true doesn’t seem to matter.  

Here’s the thing — I actually love debating.  But I’ve found that debating the existence of a problem is often no fun at all.  For example, it could be fun, in a way, to debate what we should do about global warming.  But debating with someone over the existence of global warming tends to be a tedious and fruitless debate.  Similarly, debating with someone over the existence of the obesity epidemic, which doesn’t actually exist and is a completely unhelpful framework for discussing improving people’s health, is no fun when that debate is with someone who’s invested in the idea of the obesity epidemic and the need to eradicate obesity. Plus, debating with the TV is never any fun. 

[caption id=”attachment_6784” align=”alignright” width=”200” caption=”I started yelling at the TV at a young age with the McLaughlin Group (image courtesy of snl.jt.org)”]The McLaughlin Group 1980's SNL image[/caption]

I know that I should be watching this “documentary”, if only so that I can snarkily tweet about it. But I won’t be.  Watching stuff like this makes me feel really stressed out.  It makes me feel personally attacked, which the so-called “War On Obesity” really is.  The War on Obesity is really just a war on fat people.  If weight loss efforts don’t work for 95% of people, and making a fat person thinner doesn’t bestow any health benefits beyond a few months, what are we really talking about here?  We’re talking about a concept that basically says, “We don’t like you or the way you look, so we declare war on you.  We consider you a scourge and seek to eradicate you.”  Couch it however you want, but this is the War On Obesity, and it is truly vile.

So how do we fight back?  This fight is already happening, of course, in so many different ways.  Every time we fight for anti-discriminatory legislation, or put up fat positive billboards, or write letters, or just live our lives in full view of others as fat positive, we are fighting back.

I really admire the fat folks who can watch something like Weight Of The Nation and take action.  I admire the fat folks who can do this on a regular basis, diving into the comments sections of fat positive posts to fight fat hating comments. (By the way, if you want to do this, there’s an amazing facebook group called Rolls Not Trolls which does this in a somewhat organized way.)  

But if you’re like me and can’t hack it, I want to say that that’s okay too.  Activism takes many forms, and all of them are valid and needed.

Finally, you might dig this response video from The Association For Size Diversity & Health (ASDAH):

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get her NEW free gift — Golda’s Top 5 Tips For Loving The Body You Have Right Now!

EXTENDED! Giveaway For “No Diet Day!”

Sorry, you missed the giveaway!

Luckily, it’s not too late to check out Stop Dieting Now: 25 Reasons To Stop, 25 Ways To Heal. Just pick up the paperback here or get your own fully-optimized e-version on Amazon (kindle) or Barnes & Noble (Nook, epub) for only $6.97!

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL NO DIET DAY!

All dieting is null and void on Sunday, May 6th, but let’s make a long weekend of it!

In honor of this most important annual holiday, I’m offering you a FREE PDF copy of my book, Stop Dieting Now: 25 Reasons To Stop, 25 Ways To Heal.

It’s FREE today through Monday (May 7th) TUESDAY (May 8th) only!

This book will support you in:

  • Healing from the dieting/bingeing cycle.
  • Understanding why diets never seem to work in the long term.
  • Simple techniques for freeing yourself from negative body image.
  • Easy ways to lower your stress levels when it comes to food.
  • How to know when you’re hungry and full and act on that information.

And so much more!

Happy eating!

No Legislation Without Fat And Female Representation

Listen to this post here, or subscribe on itunes.

Unless you’ve been living under a lovely rock this week (and I would love to crawl under there with you), you’ve heard about the Congressional investigation into the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate spearheaded by Congressman Issa.

Here’s an image showing who was allowed to speak.

[caption id=”attachment_6053” align=”aligncenter” width=”300” caption=”Congressman Issa’s All Male Birth Control Panel”]Congressman Issa's All Male Birth Control Panel[/caption]

Here are a few words from a woman who originally was asked to speak and then denied that right by Issa:

The only people asked to speak at this conference were men. Not only were they men, but they were all religious leaders who are anti birth control.

So much for fact finding, huh?

As I looked at this panel, my thoughts went to an earlier panel, convened in 2003 to consider “Obesity And Dietary Guidelines.”

Here’s the first panel:

[caption id=”attachment_6054” align=”aligncenter” width=”300” caption=”2003 Congressional Obesity Fact Finding Panel Part 1 (image courtesy of C-Span)”]2003 Congressional Obesity Fact Finding Panel[/caption]

Hmmm, why is this so familiar?

And here’s the second panel:

[caption id=”attachment_6055” align=”aligncenter” width=”300” caption=”2003 Congressional Obesity Fact Finding Panel Part 2 (image courtesy of C-Span)”]2003 Congressional Obesity Fact Finding Panel Part 2[/caption]

So Congress looked into the question of obesity, and thought it completely reasonable to (a) not include any women and (b) not include any fat people!

Back in 2003, I was working as an attorney and happened to read about the hearing. This was before I had an inkling that there was such a thing as fat activism, but I remember remarking to a fellow lawyer (who was pretty slim) that I thought it was wrong to have a hearing about fat people without any fat people present. The response I got was something like, “Of course, there aren’t any fat people there. Fat people obviously don’t know what to do about the obesity epidemic!”

At the time, her response really hurt. Even if I wasn’t a fat activist, I didn’t like seeing my body as part of a societal problem. And I thought my colleague was wrong. Legislation is supposed to be well-thought out. Our representatives are supposed to see the intended and unintended effects of the legislation they write, and part of that process is hearing from experts. After a lifetime of being fat in our society, I was an expert on fatness. I knew what it felt like to lose and gain weight over and over, to have trouble finding clothes, to feel like a second-class citizen solely based on my body size. There were millions of us that could have shared our story, so why weren’t we asked?

And the decades-long, sad history of the war on fat is that it has been waged on women’s bodies especially. The message we get, again and again, is that we should take up as little space as possible. That our voices shouldn’t be heard too much, and that voice is only valid if reverberating from a slim, youthful-looking, fair-skinned body. The war on fat is part and parcel of the war on women and the war on people of color.  The message we get is that we should let men (and only men) figure out what’s best for us.

Congressman Issa’s panel wasn’t just a blip, a weird moment in political history.  Neither was that obesity panel.  It is all part and parcel of the war on women’s bodies, and on the right of privacy, and bodily autonomy.  We have to keep fighting for real representation.

[caption id=”attachment_6056” align=”aligncenter” width=”550” caption=”Still True Today — Elizabeth Cady Stanton (public domain image)”]Elizabeth Cady Stanton [/caption]

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining! And, please join her and twenty of the biggest names in HAES(R) and Fat Acceptance at the Body Love Revolutionaries Telesummit.

Fat Pride Is For Everyone, Even You (Yes, You!)

If you haven’t been privy to the awesome images coming from Marilyn Wann and the STANDards campaign, you need to check it out now. It’s okay, go ahead. I’ll wait!

Glad you’re back!

[caption id=”attachment_5919” align=”alignright” width=”160” caption=”Me & Michelle Matthews (fatsocialworker.blogspot.com) Stand 4 Kids!”]stand4kids golda poretsky & michelle matthews[/caption]

As you scrolled through the images, maybe you noticed that the people taking a stand for kids really represented a wide range of people. Some are very fat and some are a little fat and some are pretty thin. Some are small children and some are elderly and many are in between. Some are doing pretty athletic stuff and some are sitting happily.

It seemed that a really diverse group of people were submitting photos for the campaign, so I found it interesting when Marilyn posted this on Facebook last week:

"I notice that so many of us (and I can imagine myself having this feeling if I came across such an invite)…anticipate that we will be excluded for some reason. Confronted with this open invite to share a photo and a credo in these STANDards, people are telling me they must be too thin, not the right gender, not healthy enough. I am not going to exclude anyone for any reason."

How interesting that people were assuming that they’d be excluded from this campaign because they’re too thin or not healthy enough.  I find this sad because I hear this a lot from people.   I’ve had clients tell me that they know it’s silly, but that they feel too fat for fat pride or too unhealthy for Health At Every Size®.  Like, other people can love their bodies because even though they’re fat, they’re not too fat.  Other people can practice Health At Every Size® because they’re already pretty healthy.  I also find that people toward the thinner end of the spectrum think they’ll be excluded from fat pride because they’re not fat enough.

So I want to deal with these objections in turn.  Check for the objection that applies to you and please take what I write to heart!

THE OBJECTIONS

I Can’t Be Part Of The Fat Pride Movement Because I’m Not Fat (Or Not Fat Enough) — Poppycock!  Well-meaning people of all sizes are welcome in the fat pride movement.  Those immersed in fat pride understand that discrimination against fat people is bad for society as a whole, negatively impacting thin people as well.  We want to live in a world where assumptions are no longer made about people’s bodies based on their relative fatness.  We want to live in a world where thin people don’t hurt their bodies out of a fear of being fat.  And we know that having allies is good for the movement.  Your voice and your presence is wanted and needed. So, welcome!

I Can’t Be Part Of The Fat Pride Movement Because I’m Too Fat — Hogwash!  There is absolutely no weight limit on loving and accepting your body.  Hating your body and trying to change it never got you anywhere before, right?  So why would anyone in the fat pride movement want you to continue that?  There is no separate set of rules that apply to you because you weigh a certain amount.  Your voice and your presence is wanted and needed. So, welcome!

I Can’t Be Part Of The Health At Every Size® Movement Because I’m Not Healthy Enough and/or Too Fat — Hooey!  Health At Every Size® is not Health At Certain Sizes And Only If You’re Healthy Enough.  It’s freakin’ Health At Every Size® and it’s not a misnomer!  HAES® recognizes that intentional weight loss isn’t a good idea and does more harm than good.  So the best thing for anyone’s health is, in a nutshell, eating well, getting appropriate exercise, and accepting their bodies.  Of course, you’re human, and sometimes humans get sick, but that doesn’t mean that  HAES® no longer applies to you.  In fact, accepting HAES® can help you clarify to the health professionals in your life that fixating on your weight will not help you heal.  Healthy or sick, you are an important part of this movement. Your voice and your presence is wanted and needed. So, welcome!

I hope I convinced you that Fat Pride and Health At Every Size® is for you.  And, I really hope you’ll join me for the Body Love Revolutionaries Telesummit which starts tomorrow night!  You don’t want to miss it.  Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll take away:

Learn what to do when confronted with negativity about your weight.
Find out how you can live your best life without the highs and lows of weight loss efforts.
Connect with other people who are committed to being body positive.
Get fashion tips from people who know and love exactly the body you have.
Body positive exercise advice for all fitness levels, body types and abilities.
Get historical and political perspectives on anti-fat efforts.
check Learn how queer activism can inform fat activism.
check Sex-positive and fat-positive advice for the awesome sex life you deserve.
Hear the body love journeys of your favorite bloggers.
Learn how to create fat-positive community locally.
And so much more!

To join us, just register here.

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight.

Occupy Fat Street: We Are The 68%

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.
www.bodylovewellness.com

Listen to the podcast here:

Click here to listen in itunes.

This post really could be an indictment of the way that fat always equals bad in the symbolism of Progressive movements, including Occupy, but it isn’t.  And as much as I wish that fellow Lefties would take up the call of fat acceptance rather than fatphobia, for now it’s a dream deferred.

But I do think that the Occupy movement and the fat acceptance movement have a lot in common.  In essence, the Occupy movement is trying to break down a prevailing myth.  The myth is that with enough smarts and fortitude and hard work, the American dream of prosperity will be realized.  People have been led to believe that it  just takes hard work, dedication, putting your nose to the grindstone, and various other cliches and you too can make it in America, when the reality is endemic income disparity, high unemployment, lost homes, hunger, poverty, and discrimination and all the while huge multinational corporations are in cahoots with much of the government to keep things that way.

[caption id=”attachment_5707” align=”alignright” width=”225” caption=”Here’s my 68% rant!”][/caption]

The reality could not be more different than the myth.  And yet, the Right’s only response is, “Get a job, ya hippies!”  The Right continues to attempt to discredit Occupy’s argument by insisting that the myth is real.  If the Occupy folks would just work harder and do things right and stop being so lazy, they’d all be living the American dream, the Right argues.

Does this sound familiar?  Have you ever been told that if you just worked harder at it and did things right, you’d lose weight and keep it off?  It’s pretty much the argument of every diet pusher when their diet fails.  It’s the argument of every doctor who, despite supposedly having a knowledge of the way the body and metabolism works, insists that diet and exercise will work if you just work hard enough.  It’s the argument that supports continued discrimination against fat people because if fat people really are just lazy and not working hard enough, then it’s their fault, and the diet companies, and pharmaceutical companies, and doctors, and the AMA etc. don’t have to do the work of realizing that the whole system is based on a lie and that it’s dangerous and needs to change.

According to the Lancet, based upon the (utterly bogus) BMI, 68% of Americans are overweight or heavier.  That’s more than two thirds!  Imagine if all of these people had a new awareness.  Imagine if all of these people (and their thin allies) began to see that fat wasn’t bad, that diets don’t work, that discrimination against fat people is wrong, and that people having a diversity of bodies is beautiful.  Imagine the healing that could happen for all of us.

I think it would be exciting for some of us to share our fat stories of being one of the 68%.  I shared mine above, and I’d love for you to share yours here, on the Body Love Wellness facebook page, and anywhere else you desire!

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

I Think I’ve Caught The Fat Contagion!!! (Signs & Symptoms Elucidated)


by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.
www.bodylovewellness.com

Listen to the podcast here:
[display_podcast]
Just by reading my blog, you, dear reader, are taking your life into your own hands!!!

You’ve probably seen the recent pseudoscience reports that obesity (gasp!) is contagious (double gasp!!) and by having fat friends and relatives you’re increasing your risk of catching THE OBESITY!!!

ZOMG SCIENCE!!!

*  *  *

Sorry, I just fainted from fear!  But worry not, I’m back.

I’m not going to go into the details (because more fabulous researchers than I have already debunked these reports) but, in a nutshell, these reports about “contagious obesity” are based on faulty science that infers causation from mere correlation.

In other words, as Dr. Jon Robison pointed out in his review of this b.s., it’s like finding that bald men have more heart attacks, assuming that baldness is causing the heart attacks, and then prescribing rogaine as prevention against heart attacks.

Just to give the Fatty Contagion Theory some social context, using contagion (or germ) theory to make a particular group appear threatening and “other” is part of a longstanding and hideous tradition.  It’s been a popular principle behind insidious social crusades like anti-gay discrimination and racial segregation.  Whether the theory is that you’re going to catch a perceived illness or lifestyle or whether a particular group are carriers of a harmful illness, contagion theory just paints a thin veneer of “concern for your health” over a much nastier sentiment of “I hate your group and I’m going to find a reason to cast you out of society.”

Personally, I have a theory for why the Fatty Contagion Theory is getting some press lately.  You see, us fat folks are getting extra loud and proud.  We’re holding Kiss-In's, creating awesome fashion events, winning Oscars, telling diet pushers to suck it, and variously telling the world that one can be fat and all manner of awesome all at once.

What’s obvious to me is that the real contagion of fatness is Fat Pride.  I get emails from people every week who have caught a virulent strain of Fat Pride.  It’s a dangerous contagion for sure.  It’s resistant to all the known remedies for Fat Pride, including diet pills, surgery, and even shaming.  It is sweeping the nation and if we don’t do something about it soon, we will all be consumed by these horrendous symptoms.

Symptoms Of Fat Pride:

  • liking ourselves
  • thinking fatness is hot
  • stopping dieting
  • wearing awesome clothes
  • creating awesome clothes
  • liking how we look
  • fighting fat shaming
  • fighting fat discrimination.

These are just some of the symptoms.  There have been other reported cases involving yelling “Kiss Me.  I’m Fat!” but such reports have not been corroborated.

Please leave a comment below if you believe you have become yet another statistic in this dangerous Fat Pride epidemic!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Struggling with food and body image issues? Looking to transform your relationship with food and your body? Then sign up for your free Body Love Breakthrough Session by clicking here.

Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. is a certified holistic health counselor who specializes in transforming your relationship with food and your body. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/stay-in-touch/ to sign up for her newsletter and get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

© Golda Poretsky 2010

Just The Fat Facts, Ma’am.

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.
www.bodylovewellness.com

Listen to the podcast here:
[display_podcast]
This post originally appeared a few months ago, but not as a normal, Monday post and without an associated podcast.  I hope you dig it and share it with friends!

Recently, this blog has gotten a lot of new readers who may be new to Fat Acceptance & Health At Every Size.

As a consequence, I’ve been fielding lots of comments of the “how can you be promoting fat?!” and “haven’t you heard of type II diabetes?!” variety. So, rather than trying to respond to these commenters individually (and as a way to provide support to people who want to respond to these comments in their own lives and blogs), I’ve decided to write this post. I’ve outlined 9 typical statements by commenters, together with an explanation of why each statement is wrong, wrong, wrong.

1) Fat is unhealthy. Fat is not inherently unhealthy. In fact, being underweight, in many ways, is more dangerous than being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. Furthermore, a great deal of evidence suggests that health problems linked to fat are actually a result of dieting, and the incredible strain that dieting puts on the body. A recent study found that people who lost 15% or more of their body weight had an increased risk of death compared to people of the same size who didn’t lose weight. In addition, fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events and not suffer as much blood loss due to treatments such as angioplasty. Fat has even been shown to protect against a variety of problems, including “infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.” Fat people also have lower rates of emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hip fracture, tuberculosis, anemia, peptic ulcer and chronic bronchitis.

If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard any of this before, that’s because this information doesn’t make anyone money. It doesn’t support the $60 billion a year diet industry nor the multi-billion dollar weight loss surgery industry nor the multi-bajillion dollar pharmaceutical industry.

2) Fat people all have eating disorders, eat poorly, and don’t exercise. No study has ever supported this conclusion. And let’s just get clear on something. You cannot tell anything about a person’s eating habits or fitness level or relative health from their size. I have 300-pound clients who eat all organic, whole foods and train for triathlons, and I have 120-pound clients who are generally sedentary and have binge eating disorder. People of all different sizes have all different habits, and a quick survey of your friends and relatives will show just that.

3) If fat people would eat properly and exercise, they wouldn’t be fat. Contrary to popular opinion, people come in all shapes and sizes. Just like people are short and tall and in between, people are fat and thin and in between.It’s called diversity. It’s called genetics.It’s called, in some instances, the result of constant dieting.

4) Weight loss is a healthy goal, deserving of promotion. Not true at all. First of all, diets don’t work. They really don’t. The one or two people that you know that lost weight on a diet and kept it off for more than 5 years are statistical freaks. Dieting wreaks havoc on the body, affecting everything from your immune system, to your cardiovascular system,to your stamina and mental health, to your stress levels to your body image. Oh, and don’t get me started on the incredible dangerousness of weight loss surgeries. If anyone tells you that their plan promises long term weight loss, they are lying to you. If they promise weight loss and fail to mention whether it will be long term or not, they are deceiving you.

5) Promoting fat acceptance makes people fat. No studies have ever shown that approving and loving your body causes one to gain weight. In fact, Health At Every Size practices, which include body acceptance, actually make people healthier. When you can show me that shaming people about their bodies improves health, then we can talk. And by the way, the way we shame fat people has led to an exponential rise in discrimination against people in the workplace, health care and education.

6) There’s an obesity crisis going on and obesity is on the rise. Actually, it’s not. Also, see item 1, above.

7) Childhood obesity is a serious problem. Actually, it’s not. Childhood life expectancy continues to rise. And every attempt to make kids thinner has failed. And, you might want to follow the money behind Michelle Obama’s obesity initiative to see how corporations are benefiting from the b.s. The real danger for fat children is the threat of bullying, and the toll that that takes. Finally, access to healthy, organic food and safe places to play are important for all children, not just fat ones.

8) BMI is an appropriate and scientific way of determining health. If you consider the way BMI works for more than a minute, you realize that it so flawed as to be completely useless.

9) But all of this goes against the conventional wisdom that fat is bad and deadly! Your “conventional wisdom” has been paid for by the diet industry and pharmaceutical companies for decades and decades. It’s time to get over it and start thinking critically. I encourage you to read this blog and other fantastic fat acceptance blogs and begin the process of unraveling your internalized and externalized hatred.

Additional Recommended Reading:

P.S. This post was inspired by Kate Harding's excellent post “But Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?”

Want more size positive info? Get great body love tips and more when you subscribe:

© 2010 Golda Poretsky. All rights reserved.

Just So We’re Clear … Some Fat Facts

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.
www.bodylovewellness.com

Recently, this blog has gotten a lot of new readers who may be new to Fat Acceptance & Health At Every Size.

As a consequence, I’ve been fielding lots of comments of the “how can you be promoting fat?!” and “haven’t you heard of type II diabetes?!” variety.  So, rather than trying to respond to these commenters individually (and as a way to provide support to people who want to respond to these comments in their own lives and blogs), I’ve decided to write this post.  I’ve outlined 9 typical statements by commenters, together with an explanation of why each statement is wrong, wrong, wrong.

1) Fat is unhealthy. Fat is not inherently unhealthy.  In fact, being underweight, in many ways, is more dangerous than being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.  Furthermore, a great deal of evidence suggests that health problems linked to fat are actually a result of dieting, and the incredible strain that dieting puts on the body.  A recent study found that people who lost 15% or more of their body weight had an increased risk of death compared to people of the same size who didn’t lose weight. In addition, fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events and not suffer as much blood loss due to treatments such as angioplasty.  Fat has even been shown to protect against a variety of problems, including “infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.” Fat people also have lower rates of emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hip fracture, tuberculosis, anemia, peptic ulcer and chronic bronchitis.

If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard any of this before, that’s because this information doesn’t make anyone money.  It doesn’t support the $60 billion a year diet industry nor the multi-billion dollar weight loss surgery industry nor the multi-bajillion dollar pharmaceutical industry.

2) Fat people all have eating disorders, eat poorly, and don’t exercise. No study has ever supported this conclusion.  And let’s just get clear on something.  You cannot tell anything about a person’s eating habits or fitness level or relative health from their size.  I have 300-pound clients who eat all organic, whole foods and train for triathlons, and I have 120-pound clients who are generally sedentary and have binge eating disorder.  People of all different sizes have all different habits, and a quick survey of your friends and relatives will show just that.

3) If fat people would eat properly and exercise, they wouldn’t be fat. Contrary to popular opinion, people come in all shapes and sizes.  Just like people are short and tall and in between, people are fat and thin and in between.It’s called diversity.  It’s called genetics.It’s called, in some instances, the result of constant dieting.

4) Weight loss is a healthy goal, deserving of promotion. Not true at all.  First of all, diets don’t work.  They really don’t.  The one or two people that you know that lost weight on a diet and kept it off for more than 5 years are statistical freaks.  Dieting wreaks havoc on the body, affecting everything from your immune system, to your cardiovascular system,to your stamina and mental health, to your body image.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the incredible dangerousness of weight loss surgeries.  If anyone tells you that their plan promises long term weight loss, they are lying to you.  If they promise weight loss and fail to mention whether it will be long term or not, they are deceiving you.

5) Promoting fat acceptance makes people fat. No studies have ever shown that approving and loving your body causes one to gain weight. In fact, Health At Every Size practices, which include body acceptance, actually make people healthier.  When you can show me that shaming people about their bodies improves health, then we can talk.  And by the way, the way we shame fat people has led to an exponential rise in discrimination against people in the workplace, health care and education.

6) There’s an obesity crisis going on and obesity is on the rise. Actually, it’s not.  Also, see item 1, above.

7) Childhood obesity is a serious problem. Actually, it’s not. Childhood life expectancy continues to rise.  And every attempt to make kids thinner has failed.  And, you might want to follow the money behind Michelle Obama’s obesity initiative to see how corporations are benefiting from the b.s.  The real danger for fat children is the threat of bullying, and the toll that that takes.  Finally, access to healthy, organic food and safe places to play are important for all children, not just fat ones.

8) BMI is an appropriate and scientific way of determining health. If you consider the way BMI works for more than a minute, you realize that it so flawed as to be completely useless.

9) But all of this goes against the conventional wisdom that fat is bad and deadly! Your “conventional wisdom” has been paid for by the diet industry and pharmaceutical companies for decades and decades.  It’s time to get over it and start thinking critically.  I encourage you to read this blog and other fantastic fat acceptance blogs and begin the process of unraveling your internalized and externalized hatred.

Additional Recommended Reading:

P.S.  This post was inspired by Kate Harding's excellent post “But Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?”
P.P.S. There is an updated version of this post, that you can check out here!

Want more size positive info?  Stay up to date with the Body Love Wellness blog by joining our newsletter.

© 2010 Golda Poretsky.  All rights reserved.