Body Love Wellness is a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Through our non-judgmental, Health At Every Size counseling programs, we help you get off the dieting roller coaster and transform your relationship with your body.
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.
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.
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!
If there’s one meme that makes me particularly nuts about weight loss gurus, it’s this one:
[caption id=”attachment_6239” align=”alignright” width=”254” caption=”Yes. I’m sure having two slim parents and millions of dollars has nothing to do with your physique. (Image from pinterest.)”][/caption]
"I lost weight, so you can too!"
This concept is so ludicrous, but we all believe it.Â In a weird way, it makes sense to us.Â We think, here is a fellow human who is thin and/or lost weight.Â I’m a human, so it should work for me too!
But we forget that being human may be where the similarities end between us.
Here are some things to consider:
1) Genetics — About 70% of weight variation is based on genetics.Â [ref]Linda Bacon, Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight (Dallas: Benbella Books, 2008) 137[/ref]In other words, fatness is incredibly hereditary.Â If no matter what you do, you still have your mom’s thighs or your dad’s double chin, that’s because genes have a huge effect on relative fatness, and where it shows up on our bodies.
2) Circumstances — This should be pretty obvious too, but people lead really different lives, with varying obligations, stress levels, health concerns, work schedules, access to food, access to workout equipment, access to sunlight, etc.Â And these circumstances all play a huge role in how one’s body might respond to whatever “plan” is being pushed on it.
3) Metabolism/Bodily DifferencesÂ — People’s bodies are really different.Â The calories in/ calories out model that is so cheerfully touted is not based on reality.Â People’s metabolisms, their ability to lose weight, gain weight, gain muscle, etc. is all highly individualized.
4) All Weight Is Not Created Equal — People lose weight and gain weight for a lot of different reasons, and sometimes even they don’t know why.Â Some folks who obsess about losing their “baby weight” may have lost it anyway because they’re genetically predisposed to do so.Â Â A lot of us know that guy who lost a few pounds after he stopped drinking soda, but that doesn’t mean that will happen for someone else.Â And the “stopped drinking soda guy” may have drunk more soda in a day than you do in a month.Â Sometimes following Health At Every Size principles results in weight loss for some folks, and it may result in weight gain for others.Â And it’s hard to predict what will happen to whom.
5) The “I Did It” Folks Are Outliers — Only about 5% of folks who lose weight actually keep it off past the 5 year mark, and usually they didn’t lose all that much weight to start.Â The huge, vast majority of people who lose weight gain it all back, often plus more, within 3-5 years.Â So these “I did it!” folks usually fall into 1 of 4 categories (a) statistical anomaly, (b) still in the honeymoon phase before hitting the dreaded 3 year mark, (c) didn’t lose much to begin with, and (d) totally lying.
Basically, everyone is really different.Â Remember this the next time you start to fall for the “I Did It, So You Can Too” Phenomenon!
Be a part of our Beautiful Body Love Pinterest Contest!Â Click here for details.
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 â Goldaâs Top 5 Tips For Loving The Body You Have Right Now!