Welcome readers of the New York Times. The-F-Word has been featured in a story about the growing movement of fat acceptance bloggers, popularly known as the Fatosphere.
If you’re new to fat acceptance or dubious that one can be fat, fit and healthy, I encourage you to read a primer written by Kate Harding called “But don’t you realize fat is unhealthy?” I also invite you to check out any of the fantastic and insightful blogs that make up the Fatosphere.
I realize the notion of fat acceptance is a radical one for many people. I respect differing opinions and encourage debate of the issue, but I must ask that you respect that this site is first and foremost, an eating disorders awareness and educational site. Many of the readers here either have or have had degrees of disordered eating and/or an eating disorder. Please be sensitive to this in your commentary.
No one in the fat acceptance movement is suggesting fat people ought “give up” or lounge around eating Twinkies all day – far from it. Many members of the fat acceptance movement promote a health and wellness concept known as Health at Every Size (HAES). The approach encourages people to kick the vicious and often unsuccessful yo-yo dieting habit and to develop a healthy relationship with food and eating. Subscribers learn to to listen to their bodies for cues on hunger and satiety and exercise is promoted not as means of weight loss, but as physical activities to be enjoyed with myriad and multiple health benefits. The end result is that you settle into your body’s natural setpoint range – which may or may not be thin – that is maintainable without dieting, obsessing over food and/or killing yourself at the gym.
The term fat acceptance is somewhat of a misnomer and many folks, such as I, describe themselves as body acceptance activists. Most fat acceptance sites, like mine, are staunchly anti-diet and many express grave concerns about the rising popularity of weight loss surgery, but we are not anti-thin nor do we dismiss the body insecurities people of all sizes are made to feel they have.
The New York Times article accurately summed up much of what people in the fat acceptance movement believe and promote. Sadly, the story did leave out one crucial and foundational part of the movement: The crux of fat acceptance is in fighting the stigmatization and social, political and economic marginalization distinctly and acutely experienced by fat people.
Regardless of whether fat is healthy or unhealthy, fat acceptance activists believe that people of all sizes deserve and have a right to equal access in employment, education, access to public accommodations, adequate and competent health care, adoption, and housing.
So, read on with an open mind and critical eye. What you read may resonate with you, too. And kudos to NY Times writer Roni Caryn Rabin for taking the time to really understand what it is we’re after here.
P.S.: For anyone wondering about the image in my header, which also appeared on the front page of the New York Times’ website, it’s taken from a 1954 Pillsbury advertisement. The ad and caption are here.