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Size Matters

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I’ve been hearing a lot about the fat acceptance movement. Many people are touting it, and it seems that if you suggest that many people in the United States (and elsewhere, especially in the Western world) are overweight and that it’s a bad thing overall, it makes you a discriminatory, judgmental jerk.

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I just wanted to say: Thank you for writing this article. I've had much the same thought process for quite a long time now, but could never be as eloquent about it as you are. Having been at both ends of the spectrum (just fourteen months ago I was morbidly obese, but have struggled and fought my way to a healthy weight) it's made it much clearer to me how individual the fat acceptance movement should be. As you say: if people feel that being overweight is something *they're* okay with, then fine, but I don't think it should be touted as something everyone should embrace. I've personally been accused of being a "traitor" to the fat acceptance movement, which still boggles my mind because, um, I was never a member of that movement in the first damn place.

So good on you for this article. I really enjoyed it. Great job!


Smokedawg seems to be confusing feederism with fat acceptance. Feederism is a choice - i.e. I want to be fatter to be more attractive for my partner who is into fat chicks. And feederism does indeed revel in someone becoming fatter and fatter. Fat acceptance, however, is not about *choosing* to be fat. Indeed it's about acknowledging *what is* and making that person the healthiest he or she can be with or without fat.

I do applaud his desire to accept those who are "chubby and cute," but if you are going to embrace the fat person you have to understand that fat people are fat-- not by choice but because that is who they are. Who their genes are. Who their neuroendocrine system is. In short, you must accept the fat if you are to accept the fat person.

Had Smokedawg done just a little research beyond watching "The Biggest Loser" he would find that his stereotype of a fat person with out-of-control blood sugar and semi-solid cholesterol-saturated blood is just that: a stereotype. Indeed he would have come across the Health At Every Size movement which focuses on exercise and healthy eating regardless of weight. The focus on losing weight is not only NOT effective (95% of people who lose weight will gain it back, often with 15lbs extra to boot), but can actually be unhealthy as people yo-yo diet (which just about every fat person around has done) and begin dieting at younger and younger ages (my first diet was at age 5; I am 6-12 inches shorter than all my siblings).

Fat people have always existed -- to which both your "Reubenesque" comment and pre-historic fertility goddess figurines attest. They will continue to exist. Some people are and will be fat because they make poor eating choices and don't exercise (to which the focus should be on poor eating choices and lack of exercise rather than body size). Some people are and will be fat because they are just fat, regardless of how much they exercise and how healthy they eat and how perfect their blood sugar and low their blood pressure and cholesterol are (as my own size, diet, blood sugar and pressure demonstrate). But at the end of the day, it is not size that should matter. The only reason it does matter is because our society has mistaken size as a way of measuring health when size is the wrong metric as well as mistaken size as a choice when very few fat people -- or short people or skinny people -- chose their body shape.

(P.S. I won't even get into smoking not being a choice for most smokers except to say that addiction is the antithesis of choice.)


@ Natty - Exactly. I am naturally built to be short, and plump. No matter how much I exercise, I am built like this (and my migraines seriously limit my ability to do anything high-impact, though I do walk a lot). I am also on medications that make weight easy to put on but difficult to put off, and in this case, it is more likely a hormonal/neurotransmitter thing than anything else. I eat a healthier diet and exercise more than my little sister, who is built like a twig. I also have a lot higher endurance than her. I may not be able to run a marathon, but I can hike all day and still have plenty of energy. Plus, my blood sugar and blood pressure are low normal. So while I'm probably stuck around 130-140lbs and 5'3", I'm healthy at that size, and I'm fine with it.


Great article. I am a big girl, and was working on loosing weight when I got pregnant so soon after 6 years on Depo (the shot to prevent pregnancy). So, while i have no health issues, I do want to loose weight for me, And now that I am pregnant that has to stop. But I will get back on the horse when I am recovered and able to after birth.

Accepting fat people is what is necessary, and I think that is the majority of peoples thoughts when they hear fat acceptance, not applauding being fat - but accepting people who are - either by choice, genetics, or whatever.


Natty and GeekHyena,

Please note that I made a point of focusing on people who are morbidly obese, not a "fluffy" as my wife might put it.

There is nothing healthy about being way overweight, and please don't assume I've researched based on "The Biggest Loser." I'm a healthcare and medical journalist with more than 15 years covering that field.

Also, it's rather ignorant to assume all smokers are addicted. I consume at most 1.5 packs a WEEK myself. My wife makes a pack last two or three days. I know MANY people who no one knows smoke at all, because they buy an occasional pack and smoke in secret. Falling rates of smoking are a bit of a lie...there are many casual and undercover smokers out there. Addiction is an issue, but so too is it an issue with alcohol, caffeine and more.


Barbie and Kat,

Many thanks, and I'm glad you understood the spirit of what I was going for. While the "fat acceptance" movement may not be about promoting being overweight, some of its evangelists are trending in that direction, twisting what I would otherwise say is a fine movement and a fine idea.

Serena Shirley  

I have a tattoo on my lower back ("tramp stamp") with the letters "HFC." It stands for "Hot Fat Chick" which is my own personal mantra. With that said, I agree 100% with what you said. Thanks to Hashimoto's disease, my thyroid gland died around age 13. (very rare, but common in my family) Since then, I have struggled with my weight, even developing an eating disorder. After therapy, I had to accept my body. I have, and I think body acceptance is great, but the most important thing is HEALTH. We have forgotten that physical health is just as important as emotional and mental health. I eat right, I exercise, and I take care of myself. My total cholesterol is 150, my A1C is 4 (so I'm not a diabetic), my blood pressure stays at or below normal range, and aside from the asthma I've had all my life and my thyroid issues, I am perfectly healthy. However, not everyone my size is just as healthy. And I think we need to focus on overall health more than size. That's what "fat acceptance" should be about. Don't strive to be a size 2, or to reach a certain weight, strive to be HEALTHY.


Thanks much, Serena. I did have to start watching my word count, so there's so many areas and aspects I couldn't really go on about...but you do a great job of breaking things down, and I agree with you. Overweight doesn't always mean unhealthy. Also, it's not always something that can be controlled well (though usually it can), but too many people think obesity is no big deal, and that's a dangerous attitude on a society-wide basis.


Such a good review! Really really inspiring.


You hit the nail on the head--it's about accepting people and respecting them.


I thought my body was perfect before baby.. Though baby now is 19 and I still have the baby pudge.. I do FEEL and this is TOTALLY me.. but I feel with my added weight that I am not sexy or appealing. My hubby says yeah I am , but I don't feel sexy looking the way I do...... It's a work in progress, but a struggle as well............ Thanks for the other people who have written comments too.


@Natty: Thank you for saying some of what I wanted to say, but couldn't be bothered to type it all out. The way I see it is if someone is proud to be morbidly obese, then more power to them. If they are happy, regardless of their health situation, then I personally don't see a reason to really complain about it. I'm sure they are aware of the health issues that come along with living that way. I basically accept people regardless of their weight, and I can tell that you do, too. This is your honest opinion and I am glad that you shared it with us. With that said, I just want to thank you for writing this article. It was well written and I do respect your opinion!


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