Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fat Acceptance

I've gotten a few comments and emails over the past year and a half from people who want me to stop trying to lose weight and just accept my body as it is. Some of them call it "Fat Acceptance." Stop dieting, start living. A nice commenter named "Anonymous" left me this link the other day: The Fantasy of Being Thin. It's an interesting article on a Fat Acceptance site, which basically says that losing weight won't solve all your problems, so quit trying. And I agree that being thin isn't the key to a wonderful life. Like I said in my last post, I don't want to let my weight stand in the way of doing the things I want to do. I can go get that massage, I can dance, I can dress nicely NOW and not just wait until I get "thin." And I've written before about how important it is to love ourselves, and love our bodies for the good they are doing at ANY weight. But when people tell me to quit trying to lose weight, I think they're not getting it.

This is not all about looking good. It's not about just wanting to "fit": in a certain size clothing, a media-driven ideal body image, or even a BMI category. It's about quality of living. It's about being physically ABLE to live my life.

Maybe there are some 400 pound people who are just as happy and content as can be at that weight. Maybe their goals don't include being able to jog 6 miles or ride a normal sized horse or hike the grand canyon (although maybe there ARE 400 pound people who can do all of those things, I dunno). Maybe at 400 pounds they are not bothered by what anyone else thinks, they like the clothing options available to them, and they aren't suffering any physical ailments usually associated with obesity. But more than likely, most morbidly obese folks are going to miss out on things they'd LIKE to do, but can't because of their size.

Focus on health, not weight? That's fantastic. I am all for fitness and eating healthy and exercising. After all, being thin or normal weight does not necessarily equate with being healthy. Lots of unfat folks eat too much junk, smoke cigarettes, and are couch potatoes. They just don't wear their unhealthiness on their sleeves the way we fat folks do. Alternately, a large person can be very fit. I don't deny that. I am sure there are plenty of people fatter than I am who can run marathons and would kick my butt at just about any sport. And I *am* trying to focus on getting fit and healthy. That's why I am changing my eating and activity levels rather than going on some crazy crash diet.

But if you want to tell me I should stop losing weight, you're totally not getting it. For ME, this is not a choice between a) being thin or b) being fat; it's a choice between a) being able to walk or b) being a cripple. It's a choice between a) enjoying life or b) being in constant pain. If I hadn't lost 60 pounds, I would not be able to do much of anything I want to do right now. Do you remember me saying that when I weighed 278 pounds I couldn't walk down the block? I could barely make it to my mailbox. My children suffered because I couldn't take the stairs to tuck them in at night. Now I can walk my daughter to the park on a sunny day. I can grocery shop without one of those carts you ride on. And I can kiss my kids goodnight. So don't tell me I should've just accepted that 278-pound body and been happy, because when a mother cannot even kiss her kids goodnight and tuck them in, it breaks her heart.

And I won't stop losing weight now, either. My orthopedic surgeon has been very clear: my weight has destroyed my knees. At 39, I have the knees of a very old arthritic woman. And had I not lost this much weight I would BE in a wheelchair by now. My work isn't done yet; I've just bought myself a little more time before the knees give out. I have been in pain for months, and if I don't get some more weight off, I am going to be back to the same limitations, unable to walk or take the stairs. I will not accept that. Fat acceptance is nice in theory, but in this case, it's suicide. I won't stay fat and be crippled. I won't sit in a chair and watch life go by. I refuse.

You know those pictures that have been at the top of my sidebar since day one? The "before" pictures? Well I'll tell you a secret. Those were taken in a house on the beach during summer vacation. And do you know what prompted me to take "before" pictures while I was on vacation? I'll give you a hint. When I took those pictures, my kids were down on the beach. And I was not. I was NOT ABLE to go down to the beach and play with my children. I distinctly remember the feeling I had when we drove down to that beach a few days earlier. It was quite a walk from the parking lot. My husband had to drive down to the handicapped parking lot to let me off and then drive back up to the normal parking lot to park. And even from the handicapped parking lot, I could barely make it down to the beach. I made it to the waterline and was exhausted and in agony. I was panting and gasping and my knees were hurting terribly. My kids ran down the beach to play but I couldn't move another inch. The swimming and surfing area was much to far for me to walk. I hobbled back to the car with tears burning my eyes from pain and disappointment. Thereafter, each day the kids went down to the beach with their uncle and cousins, and I sat in the house. THAT is what started me on this plan. NOT vanity, NOT a "thin fantasy." It was the sharp sting of reality that my fat was physically preventing me from living my life. From being with my kids.

The next summer, even with bad knees, I was able to hike and walk and enjoy my family on the beach because I weighed 60 pounds less. But no amount of exercise and fitness is going to fix this problem without getting the weight off of those damaged joints.

I'd never go up to a fat person on the street and say, "hey, you should lose weight." It's not my business. And it's nobody's business to tell me I should stop trying to lose weight, either. Some things I can do while I am fat, and I'll do them. But if I want to walk with my kids on the beach and tuck them in at night, the weight has to keep coming off. I love myself enough to do the work this requires.

I'll accept your fat. I won't tell you to lose weight, and I won't discriminate against you for your size. If you want to quit dieting, I won't think any less of you. You have to do what makes YOU happy. But I won't accept living a limited life due to MY size. I have to take care of my body, and in this case, that includes losing weight.

76 comments:

jen said...

I think that each person has to ask themselves what they really want their life to be like. You have really good motivation to make changes -- you're not living the life you want to live right now.

But even if you just wanted to get thin so you could wear cute jeans, I don't see why you should have to apologize for that, either.

I'm sure the person who sent you the article had good intentions but they don't get a vote in how you choose to live your life.

VNR said...

Hi!

I've just started reading your blog and I love it! Your pictures are a real inspiration!
I couldn't agree with you more. People have said that to me before- "just learn to be happy with yourself the way you are". I hate it. I am happy with myself- I just happen to believe I can do better. I know the people saying these things are just trying to help with a mental state, but everyone has the right to put in the work and make themselves the best version of themselves they can be- whether that means losing weight or improving in any other facet of their life. I don't think they realize how negative that kind of statement is to someone with a goal.

erin said...

I LOVE this post, and I am so glad I found your blog (I think I found it on a list made by Dietgirl). Like VNR said, I am happy with myself, but I KNOW I can do better and live a better life. I don't have children yet, but when I do I want to be able to chase them around the park and race them to the mailbox, and at 261 pounds, I certainly couldn't do that. Now, at 205 pounds, I'm in great shape, but like you I know I need to lose more to stop putting so much pressure on body.

Thank you so much for posting this.

Teale said...

As always, great post!! I've loved reading your blog since you started this journey, and you continue to inspire me!

Gigi said...

Amen! I'm all for boosting self-esteem but not at the expense of my health. And as any seasoned "dieter" already knows, losing weight won't solve all our problems but it will solve the weight issue.

David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts.com said...

This is a great, heartfelt post. One thing I can say for sure is that you definitely have your head screwed on straight and you know what's REALLY important in life. This is why I know you'll succeed. Best wishes to you and your family.

- Dave

clickmom said...

Don't let some one's negativity get you down! You are doing a phenomenally difficult job for all the right reasons. No one can be physically happy in a body that is breaking down, and anyone who claims to be comfortable ina body that is twice (or more) the weight it was meant to carry is fooling themselves. Those heavy folks may recognize what wonderful people they are, but they are confronted with all the pain and health issues that the rest of us batle when morbidly obese. I speak from experience, my highest was 282. I thought I was going to die. I couldn't breathe when I sat down. I couldn't hardly reach my feet to put on my socks. I'm on my way down too. Not because anyone said I had to do, but because I want to enjoy all life has to offer. And that means being able to move and breathe freely, without doubling or tripling my chances of getting just about every disease known to medicine, while being this same phenomenal human being I was at every single weight going up and back down too.

Scale Junkie said...

Ah yes, the well meaning people. What about the fact that there aren't that many old fat people and the old people I've seen have been in scooters with oxygen or struggling to walk a few feet across a room. I want to get the MOST out of this life and the only way to do that is to take care of the body you have.

I do agree that there should be more acceptance for all body types but as a woman who topped the scales at over 425 pounds it is MY humble opinion that people of that size who say they are happy are telling themselves and the world a big fat lie!

rock on Lyn!

CJ said...

having fat acceptance doesn't mean trying to make everyone else stop losing weight. I do it for my health. I feel so much better when I eat right. If looking better and fitting in to booths, airplanes, or whatever happens to come along, then that's the byproduct!

You do what you want to do! I accept you just the way you are!

Once Upon A Dieter said...

It's about living for me, too. I was never skinny, not even when I was active as a teen and normal weight (in the medical charts range). I was always in the higher end for my height . I'd read those books that said I should aim for 120 or 125 pounds and fret. Now, I'd be happy to be 140 and 145, and 154 (as I was on my wedding). I was plump, but not fat. I had a poochy belly, but I could do yoga without bumping into mounds of fat.

Being this weight interferes with movement. It makes me so self-conscious, I curtain activity and turn reclusive. It keeps me from LIVING. and yeah, my knees HURT and my hips HURT from carrying this weight. My feet hurt.

I don't need to look like Jennifer Anniston from the neck down. I just need to be able to easily paint my toes, walk up stairs without feeling like my knees are being stabbed by evil elves. I just need to be able to easily get up from the floor. I just want to be able to get in restaurant booths and buy clothes without resorting to specialty fat lady shops.

Hollywood's ideal, fashion magazines, those are nuts. Those are the far end of the weight and looks bell curve. I just don't want to be at the other extreme of teh bell curve. I just wanna be...average...normal...flexible,
and without worrying that my knees will utterly fail me due to carrying so much poundage.

The Princess

Jessica @ Pudget: Losing Weight On A Budget said...

I absolutely love this post! You are such an inspiration. Thanks!

The Practical One said...

I think you can be assured that the "accept your fat" comment probably didn't come from a thin person. I think it was a person that is obese and is trying for all the world to convince themselves and everyone else, that begin fat is ok.

To the person who sent the message, whoever you are: - fat is ok - but only as it applies to you. We can support you in that. But, when someone is making an effort to drastically change their life with no small effort - your support in the opposite direction is all that is needed. If you can't do that... as they to say... shut your pie hole!

BigBootyJudy said...

I totally agree with everything you have said - when behavior = pain, the behavior has to change. For me, I'm tired of not doing things because I'm too self-consious. For instance, the kids wanted me to take them to the public pool all summer and I kept putting them off because it is super hot where we live so it isn't like I could just sit in the sun and watch them swim, but no way could I get into a bathing suit and swim with them. This weight loss journey for me is as much learning to live outside my comfort zone as it is to actually lose weight. Next summer, we're swimming!!!

DL Weight said...

I am letting the tears flow...wow

So true! Every bit of it.

I also saw the anon poster and thought it was a bit lame to be anonymous, but that's not the point.

You gotta do what's best for you. Your body will thank you for it.

Merry Mary said...

I completely agree! Great post.

Karen in Tennessee said...

Lyn,
Wow, you said it all perfectly. I don't care about being skinny. God bless Ed...he never says a word about my weight...but how much fun am I to be with when I can't walk 100 feet? Last summer we went to a field event with our retrievers. We had to hike so far and when we got to our destination I was terrified to sit in any of the chairs so I kind of leaned up a big piece of metal machinery. When it was time to go I had to ask Ed to go get our vehicle and drive across the grass to come get me. I was in so much pain I could not walk back...and I was having chest pains. And I knew if I fell I could not get back up on my own!!! This is NOT living for me. I want to be able to sit on the floor and play with my goddaughter's toddler AND get back up. I want to be able to attend events with our dogs and not worry how far I will have to walk. I want to be able to live a full and happy life and not be limited because of my weight. Maybe I will be able to achieve all my goals at 220 pounds or maybe I will have to keep losing after I get there. But, I will NOT give up until I can LIVE, really LIVE, my life!!!

Bethany said...

I have a friend that's really into this fat acceptance movement. She even goes to these conventions every year. She is not supportive with my weight loss efforts and has basically asked me not to even discuss it with her. How bizarre is that? I have a heart condition that could be helped by losing weight. I have extreme limitations on what I am able to do physically because of my weight. I'm with you, Lyn. If those people don't want to lose weight, more power to 'em! If they're happy that way, bully for them. However, if they were to be entirely truthful, I think most of them have simply decided losing weight was impossible and have completely given up trying. They disguise their failure to do so by calling it "acceptance." I don't buy it. Not for myself, anyway, You're the only one who knows your true motivations and nobody else even needs to try to figure it out. You're completely right--it's none of their business. I almost think they feel threatened by the ability of others to lose weight when they can't (or won't) themselves...Keep up the good work. Only you know what's best for you!
~Bethany

Ron said...

Excellent post!

Charlie Hills said...

Well said. If someone is overweight and either 1) happy with it, or 2) happy enough with it and has decided to accept it, then I'm all for that. Everyone deserves the right to be happy with who they are.

But, like you, I don't understand the need to try and derail others. That seems to go against everything they truly stand for: the individual having the freedom to make a choice and the freedom from persecution over that choice.

It really seems that if some large person doesn't accept their fat, they take it as an invalidation of their own choice. It then changes from simple "We Accept Ourselves" to "Everybody Must Be Like Us" and that's a very slippery slope!

Tamzin said...

HERE HERE! :)


Great post and well spoken. Thank you

Amy said...

I can't begin to express how disgusted I am with anyone; fat, skinny, whatever who felt that they could try to go against your goals by commenting against what you have worked so hard to do.

You have poured out your heart here and encouraged so many. Not just about weight loss but also emotional issues.

Fat acceptance is great if you're just fat- overweight. When it negatively affects your quality of life, it's time to accept that you need to do something about it. Some people have different thresholds for what they consider a compromise of quality of life.

And the whole healthy but fat thing is so subjective. There's a difference between fat/overweight and morbid obesity- that's why it's morbid! At 239, I can benchpress 100#, do 15+ pushups on my toes, go to the Y 5+ times a week, and do 30 intense min. on the elliptical so some may say I'm healthy. But not my doctor, and not myself who wants to be able to bend to my full range of motion without my fat getting in the way, does not want to develop diabetes, and yeah, I'd like to find better clothes (and my favorite shop is Goodwill so I'm no clothes horse!).

Thank you for what you share here. It's helped me.

Tony said...

This post speaks volumes. I want to lose weight because of my health and only because of my health. Losing weight has made the quality of my life so much better. I can actually do things and I don't feel crummy all day long.

antgirl said...

Each person decides for themselves.

I'm with you though. I wanted to lose weight to be healthier emotionally, mentally and physically. I focused on health instead of being skinny. That approach worked way better for me and most of it came off. So, going at the issue sideways is a legitimate approach.

Each of us decides for ourselves though what is a worhtwhile path and what is not. Getting healthier was and remains extremely worthwhile. I got my life back in so many ways. It's worth every bit of effort I put into it.

Someday I think, most of them will change their minds. As humans, we're allowed to do that. :)

Hanlie said...

Amen, Hallelujah and Bravo! You've hit the nail on the head!

People tell me that I don't look that bad, but they don't know about all the things I can't do because of my weight! Most importantly, if I don't lose weight this year, I will never be a mother. That is just unacceptable!

I'm going for health and quality of life. Looking good is just a bonus!

Mariah said...

Bravo! BRAV-O!!! I've been reading you for a while...just never commented. Excellent post!

Lauren said...

awesome post. And I love it that the person who felt you needed to know this also needed to remain anonymous. I recently wrote about self acceptance vs. fat acceptance and I'm totally with you.

Twix said...

"Fat acceptance is nice in theory, but in this case, it's suicide."

Yep! You get it! High five!! :D

We can accept our bodies as they are now but we can no longer go on living if they/we don't make a change/s. To truly accept yourself you must not be in denial of yourself.

emmabovary said...

You've stated quite well what I've thought each and every time I read an FA blog. The FA movement seems to think that the only reason anyone diets is based on vanity. A lot of FAers must be young and have not yet suffered the consequences that decades of being overweight can bring on. Many of these blogs talk about how they, too, are "healthy" and "active". While it may be true that a morbidly obese person can be relatively active at 20, I can guarantee that 14 40 or 50 they will not be able to maintain movement and activity as well as a person at a healthy normal weight. (You've said this very well in this post.)

It is indeed personal choice. If you wish to remain morbidly obese, you must also choose a life the works around that, i.e. limited activity and mobility, society's comments, limited choice in one's professional and personal lfe...the list goes on and on, as we all know. My gut feeling is no one is happy being morbidly obese, but the FA movement has given a sort of group consensus to this lifestyle and therefore a sense of legitimacy.

Not for me, in any case. I will fight the good fight, as you do, until I give myself the health and mobility I deserve in this life.

Vickie said...

I have often wondered if there was a way to GET THE POINT ACROSS TO THE FAT ACCEPTANCE PEOPLE - and I am not sure they were listening - but you certainly found a way to say it - kindly and nicely - but to the point. This might be the best post you have ever written - and there have been a lot of good ones.

MizFit said...

as always, my friend, your writing is so amazing.

any musings on a book of your own?!

(ooh and stop by if youre so moved today...shout out to yourself as someone already mentioned you!)

Michelle said...

It's funny you posted this today. I was actually thinking this morning about the fat acceptance movement and about how they want everyone to hit their 'natural set point' and how people who diet, lose weight and keep it off for 5 years are basically freaks. And then I thought of you and how you've mentioned your pain and how hard it was for you to be fat, and not just emotionally, but physically.

Most people in the FA movement maintain that they eat well, are active, etc. but then they defend eating junk food or fast food or just vegging out with the family instead of exercising. It seems like to them, it's either you diet and exercise or you spend time with your family and have good mental health.

I admit, I don't always have a healthy view of food. After losing 60 pounds, I plateued and I sometimes beat myself up for eating more than I feel I should... but I used to do that when I was fat, too. And it's not just about the weight, but about putting things into my body that it doesn't need.

Fat Acceptance, in how they preach it, is nice on paper but indeed very dangerous in reality. Intuitive eating, how they preach it, is dangerous in reality. Their idea of what a diet is and what it does to you emotionally and physically is skewed.

Best of luck, Lyn. Keep doing what you need to in order for /you/ to be happy :)

Liesl Kruger said...

I personally feel that many people have accepted being overweight only because they do not feel capable of being thin or do not want any form of discomfort, be it food deprivation or exercise. I was that person 8 days ago. I was lying to myself. If they could have a magic wand waved and instantly be thin, i would bet anything that 99% of them would do it. Maybe they wouldn't admit it, but deep down, I think that overweight people (myself included) are so jealous of thin people that we try to convince ourselves that we are happy being FAT. I am NOT happy being fat. I want to be thin. I want to wear cute clothes. I want to try on clothes in a normal size. I want to eat and not feel nauseous because, oh dear, I went and over-ate again and now I'm sick. Obesity may be caused from many issues.... emotional etc. But a lot of it, and I speak completely for myself, is because of gluttony and because of an obsession with food. You are doing SOOO well. You are an inspiration to me and I completely agree.... Life is so much better when you can share it with your children and are able to WALK. YOU GO GIRL! You're awesome.

Anonymous said...

This is the best blogpost you have written so far. So much of what you posted resonated with me! Thanks for always being open with us.

Heather said...

great post! I used to visit a lot of message boards on ivillage, and ran into some of the people you described who think that we should just accept ourselves the way we are. while I agree that we should be accepting of everyone, why should I have to settle? If I had accepted myself at over 200 pounds, I would be miserable right now and never have realized the awesome accomplishment I achieved and how good I feel now. I would never have pushed myself to lower my bmi into the healthy range and exercise on a daily basis. so to me, sometimes being accepting is really just settling.

Linz said...

I totally agree with you. Acceptance is great, but really it's about what you need and what you want. It's great advice, and a very heartfelt post.

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Absolutely fantastic post. I've never understood the militant nature that some FA people can take. But then again, I have trouble understanding anyone taking a militant stand for anything... except awesomeness, I'm all for awesomeness :D

You aired your views very clearly, and I have to say I can't disagree with you. It just goes to show that there really is no single archetype, no ultimate profile. People do what they do for a myriad of reasons.

Keep being awesome, Lyn!

Lucrecia said...

I can relate to a lot of this. I'm shocked people would tell you to stop doing something that is healthy for you and making you a happier person. Its kind of like telling someone to just stop working, money can't buy happiness afterall??

Hope said...

AMEN SISTAH!!

Ria said...

I love this post, and I'll second MizFit . . . your insights would make a great book!

I have such mixed feelings about the fat acceptance movement. On one hand, I certainly agree that beauty is found in many (perhaps infinite) shapes and sizes and our society would be a better place if this were recognized. In my own case, constant pressure to be thinner certainly contributed to my becoming morbidly obese . . . I never felt good enough even when I had a BMI in the healthy range, and at some point I simply threw in the towel. I understand now that I only hurt myself by doing this - I just added real, physical limitations and discomforts to the psychological disappointment of not fitting into society's ideal. On the other hand, although health also may be found in many shapes and sizes, at least for me that range is not infinite. The "fat acceptance" voices telling me I'd be so much happier if I just accepted myself at 300 lbs sound a lot like the "you can never be too thin" voices that told me I was just too big when I weighed 160 lbs.

K said...

WHooo... GOOD ENTRY.

I think, like most things, fat acceptance has its positives and negatives. The one BIG positive of the movement is the push for acceptance of overweight people by society and its committment fighting discrimination against fat people by employers, companies and people operating in daily life -- to take the stigma away from being overweight.

The big negative is, as you said, people who try to force THEIR beliefs down other people's throats. I think it's great if someone is overweight but can love themselves and their bodies as-is in this fat-phobic world, but to tell someone else that they should give up their plan to lose weight is just pushy and none of their business.

Everyone has the right to do what they want with their own bodies, imo. Any why shouldn't pure vanity be a "good enough" reason to lose weight if that's what you really want? When I started my journey, I was 20 and I had ZERO health problems despite being ab 100 lbs over weight -- I lost weight to look good, be more physically active and feel more socially comfortable. Some fat acceptance promoters support the idea that it's wrong of me to have lost weight without first developing a health problem. Otherwise, the right thing to do would have been to just stay fat and work through my feelings while still polishing off entire boxes of doughnuts and buying bigger and bigger clothes each year. W00t what a life that would have been. Yay. Weightloss doesn't need to be "justified" by a health problem.

It comes down the happiness -- if someone can look into the mirror and look themselves in the eyes and honestly say they are happy with the condition of their life, then there is ZERO reason to change anything -- weight, job, partner, whatever. But if you get up each day and feel nagging and accute unhappiness, then it's time to change. My unhappiness was caused by my weight -- not because I was physically sick, but because I just didn't like the way I looked and I didn't like the fact that I was getting bigger with each passing year. So I decided to make a change. Society didn't force me to do it, my family didn't insist, i wasn't locked in a fat farm and fed only lettuce and celery for 6 months -- *I* decided losing weight is what *I* wanted because *I* was unhappy being so overweight.

Has losing 80lbs made my life perfect? Of course not, but my life is inarguably MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH x's 1000 times better than it was when I weighed 265lbs.

Lyn -- this entry was GREAT, but you had ABSOLUTELY no reason to "defend" your decision to lose weight by detailing your health problems. NOne at all, imo -- no one has the right to make you justify your weight loss.

Juice said...

You go girl! As always I am inspired by reading your posts.

H8cake said...

I couldn't agree more! I love the way you explained your position, very balanced. I think that's the important thing here. Super skinny anorexic people are not balanced. Morbidly obese people that get that way by overeating are not balanced either. Both of these situations lead to problems. I was one of those people who had just given up, thought I couldn't lose weight. Then the health problems started. Now after 20 years I've found out that I can lose the weight and be very happy doing it. I always thought it would mean a lot of suffering, but it doesn't have to. I would never mistreat an obese person, I've been in their shoes. I would never try to talk someone out of losing weight when it would make them healthier either.
I totally agree with Mizfit... you have to write a book Lyn! You are a very talented writer!

miamommy said...

Great post!

I think fat is as fat does. I didn't feel anymore fat at 309 lbs than I did in high school when I was a size 12. Only, at 309 lbs, I am certainly limited in what I can do physically.

I really think the FA peeps are projecting their own feelings of insecurity on those of us who want to be healthier. I accepted my fat for many years. It was only recently I said enough is enough and I can do better.

I think it is very important to love yourself and recognize that even 100 lbs lighter you will still be the same person inside. But, to tell other people to stay fat so you can feel good about yourself? I don't buy it.

Anonymous said...

you should try sticking that post up on your kitchen door to motivate you when you feel like giving in.....

now if only i could get you to channel that anger into doing longer harder workouts

i would like to see you walk for an hour two or three times a week and then do 45 minuts on the bike another two or three days respectively..a minimum of 4 work outs a week every week...i think that is what you need along with your 1400/1700 calorie diets to get the scale to consistently move down.

Maha said...

Part of my motivation is vanity. I love summer clothes, and for the last couple of summers I've not enjoyed wearing them. They didn't fit right, or my body didn't shine. Well, my body is back and I'm loving it. Is that wrong? No. I enjoy the extra looks I might get (I am 39 after all and married with kids and those looks don't happen as often as when I was younger). I don't care what anyone says, having a little extra attention now and then feels good and is a huge esteem booster.

So what if losing weight has it's vain purposes. As long as you treat others well and love yourself, who cares your motivation? For the FAers, they're simply not ready (or willing yet) to go down this path. That's great to accept themselves, but don't try to rope others into it. It's like a drug addict trying to get you to do drugs so they aren't alone. They'd be better off to quit and join the crowd. There's healthier ways to rebel.

Another huge reason I know I'm on a lifelong path of weight loss and eventually maintenance, is health. My sister, significantly overweight (she might even be categorized as obese), just had a hysterectomy. It was caused by the combo of being post menopausal and overweight. Guess what they found? Cancer. According to the doctors, this is not genetic (and no one in our family history has ever had cancer), this was CAUSED BY THE FAT (I don't know all the medical stuff, but it has to do with fat producing too much estrogen). She feels horrible knowing she could have prevented this by getting her weight under control. Now she's at risk for breast cancer.

Congrats to you, Lyn, everyone and me for making healthy choices!

Lyn said...

Anonymous~

Just curious... have you read my blog? Because if you did, you'd know that your recommended 'execise program' for me would put me in a wheelchair or on crutches for 6 months. That's the point of this post... that for some of us, the weight actually prevents us from doing things so basic as being able to walk. My orthopedic surgeon is on top of it, and I have a program that does work (biking 30 min 6x/week and strength training 2-3x/week) but I haven't been sticking with it due to pain issues. But I'll get there, regardless... and the motivator isn't anger. It's self love. (I don't think the tone of my post was angry whatsoever, just factual and heartfelt.)

Lady Downsize! said...

Exactly! It is about being able to live my life, and like you I am doing this to avoid walkers and wheelchairs, and to breath, and simply walk around with family and friends without sweating due to both exertion and anxiety over falling flat on my face. Sometimes those who preach ‘fat acceptance’ are just as intense as those who preach the need to live in a size two body (like those criticizing Jessica Simpson’s recent weight gain – good to her for doing what she wants). However, isn’t all of what each of us tries to do about being comfortable in our own bodies? If some are comfortable in an obese state, fine, but I’m not one of them. I accept my body, what I’ve done to it, and that this is not what is was designed to be. After all, it is rebelling in all the aches and pains, threatening diabetes, risking heart attacks and strokes… Man, this turned into so much more that I it's become today's entry on my blog.

Amber said...

I think if someone is posting on your blog and telling you to stop losing weight in the name of fat acceptance, that person is completely missing the point of the FA movement. The point of the FA movement is to diminish discrimination of people based on their size, whether it's 90 pounds or 400 pounds. I think "size acceptance" is probably a more appropriate term. It shouldn't have anything to do with a person's personal decision to live life in the healthiest way they can, rather it's about the way we view overweight people as a society.

Lyn, from reading your blog for a while now, I actually think you're an advocate for size acceptance. When you write about Ted Nugent's infuriating comments toward fat people, or how fat isn't stupid, or how it's wrong to judge an overweight woman at a buffet when you have no idea what might really be going in her life... all of those things scream size acceptance to me!

You keep doing what you're doing. I think you have a great understanding of people and a deeply compassionate heart. You never judge others in your posts. I think these anonymous so called FA advocates can learn from that.

Donnalouise, Donna or DC said...

This post made me tear up. I love your passion, your honesty, your quest for health...you've moved me! Thank you for popping by my blog. I've posted a link to this post on mine - I want everyone to read it. I saw a news/documentary show on TV a few weeks ago where overweight people wanted things in place for them like we have for disabled people - make chairs wider, make clothing bigger and more afordable, etc... A disabled person cannot make themselves undisabled - but an overweight person can start to live a healthier lifestyle. You're doing it and so am I.

new*me said...

for me it's about making my body as healthy as possible and with still 60 plus lbs of fat around my organs.....I have to keep doing my best to love myself and lose the fat :)

Loved this post!

Lesley said...

Hear hear - well done. You can do it I'm sure.

Lesley x

Deniz said...

Hi Lynn

You hit the nail on the head again. So much so that I've linked to this post on my site - hope you don't mind.

Keep up the good work and achieve all your goals. You inspire so many people to keep working towards their goals too. I'm one of that 'many'.

Deniz :-)

MizFit said...

I have no comment
same old.
you have such an amazing way with words and I adore you, as my people say, chutzpah.

off to vote.

Andrew is getting fit said...

Amen! If you are happy being overweight/obese then more power to you. I'm not and for many of the same reasons you list.

Being thin doesn't magically make your life better but it does give you more options in my opinion!

purl_princess said...

I've just come across your blog. What a great post...

Melissa said...

Well said! Bravo!

cindy said...

I just found your blog, you are a inspiration, good job on the 60lb loss!!

veggievixen said...

i totally get that. it's important to accept your body/yourself to a point, but it's also important to feel healthy & good about your body. all the best to you.

Anonymous said...

Love love LOVE your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights with all of us. I read your blog on days when I feel like I'm not doing my best to live my most healthy life, and it helps me feel so inspired and motivated.

Jane

Winivere said...

Some people don't want other people to look good and some people give up on themselves. I am glad you are neither of those. Stupid people. Let's have kool-aid! LOL

XX

Lindsay said...

Bar none, this is the best argument I have ever read about losing weight. Kudos to you and I am rooting for you so much to succeed.

Karyn said...

Don't know why anyone would think you needed that article. If they have been following your blog, they would know you are not doing this to 'solve all your problems' or to suddenly become happy because you are 'skinny'.

No, it is obvious that the person left the link because he/she had made an assumption about you (and the rest of us) that because we are trying to lose weight, we don't love/accept ourselves.

WAY off base.

somebodys mother said...

I too clicked on the link that anonymous posted here. And I think that particular article had a very good point. That point being don't sit and wait for some magical thing to happen in order for you to have a life: "If only I was thin then I could. . .", "when my kids are grown I will . . ." I was a victim of arguing for keeping my life in a little tiny box and arguing for my limitations. I have to work hard every day to push the walls of my box out everyday.
After reading this article I read some other fat acceptance posts since I had not been to a blog/website on this subject. (Trying new things listen to a different point of view, I never know what I might learn) Wat I learned from reading the posts and comments was quite depressing. I came away with the feeling of having sat in a room full of people who are paranoid, self-centered and just plain mean. Bloggers and commenters taking offense at mostly benign and well-meaning inquiries or statements from others. Blatant statements justifying being nasty to other people because they are sure the person is judging them. It didn't seem so much a discourse on fat acceptance as a justification why these people have a right to treat everybody else in the in a manner that is dreadful. I came away with the feeling of 'it's not your size that makes me choose not to be around you, it's how you treat other people.'
So here I am back where I need to be: where I am supported, where people ask caring questions, where we hold hands and stick together on this amazing journey that is life.

purple_moonflower123 said...

Lyn said: "This is not all about looking good. It's not about just wanting to "fit": in a certain size clothing, a media-driven ideal body image, or even a BMI category. It's about quality of living. It's about being physically ABLE to live my life."

That's exactly how I feel. I really don't care what size clothes I wear, or the BMI, I just want to be able to be active and physically healthy.

Fat 2 Fit said...

I 1000% agree with what you wrote here. It is not about accepting one's fat, it is about living. I won't accept my fat, I will continue to lose weight and do what is needed for me to extend my life. Having all of the extra weight on me is only making my life shorter.

You said it well...thanks for this post.

myweightylossjourney said...

Hi! Thanks for the post. I have never lived by numbers in the past - in fact, I have only owned scales for the last month!!!
My BMI says that I'm obese. This was a complete SHOCK!! I knew I was overweight, but obese?!?!?!
Anyway, I'm on this journey to change the way I look at food, and what it does to my body. I want to be able to do things my friends do, that I'm too unfit / overweight to do. I don't care what size I wear, but I know that if it is smaller, I will be smaller, and thus healthier and fitter.
I'm being pretty pedantic about my numbers these days. We'll see if it helps!

Natalia said...

Well said! :)

TinaMiller said...

Im guessing some people just dont understand all the medical issues that come with being overweight. It is harder for me to walk around - and I have sleep apnea- and I will be damned if I am wearing a Cpap mask to bed every night! That would be a real turn on for my husband, wouldnt it? LOL! If other people are ok with medical problems - thats their choice, but its not mine, and dont criticize me because of it.
I stumbled across your blog just today, and enjoy it very much! Thanks!

Lynn said...

I guess I have a different view of "fat acceptance". I know that I had to go through an acceptance of the reality that I was fat. I had to accept that fact so that I would not allow it to hold me back from living life.

It does not mean that I would not get to work and lose weight/get fit. In fact, for me, it meant the opposite. It meant that I had to get working harder. I was putting myself out there among people, even though I was fat.

In fact, I just posted some stuff about acceptance and forgiveness on my blog today...and then I ran across yours...which was great by the way.

I guess I don't know much about the movement you all are talking about...and I don't think it is important that I do as I know that I need to do what is right for me...and that is to eat better...get moving...get some of this fat off of my body.

D said...

Whoa, very, very well written! ((( hugs ))) D

choosinglosing said...

Amen sister, amen!

Anonymous said...

Such a well worded post- I have said so many times that the whole "Love Your Body" and "Accept yourself for who you are" campaigns were *NOT* meant to be used as excuses to not try and change and be healthy and fit, they were meant to keep healthy fit people from starving themselves down to the bone, or from having unrealistic expectations of their bodies compared to airbrushed models.

I had gained 20 pounds, was tired and sluggish, couldn't fit into my clothes, and just said "ENOUGH! I should love myself ENOUGH to take CARE of myself- and sometimes loving ME means CHANGING me". When friends caught wind of me giving up sodas and working out they all gave me the same spiel- "you're perfect the way you are/ why are you doing this?/ there's nothing wrong with you!" etc. etc.

I agree that we have gotten into a trap of thinking that people who work out and eat healthily are "superficial" or "just care about how they look and they want to be thin". No, I want to be healthy and happy, and facts are, I wasn't healthy and happy!

I love reading your blog and you are a total inspiration. Keep up the good work, you rock!

wriggles said...

losing weight won't solve all your problems, so quit trying.

Dieting is not the whole of weight loss, nor is it the only possible weight loss that could ever be.

It doesn't work.

This is not the fault of FA. FA did not put your body in pain.

The people who work out how the body works and how to treat it are scientists.

Why not write to them and tell them about your pain, and then ask them to come up with something that actually works.

Lyn said...

wriggles~

Of course losing weight won't fix all my problems... that's kinda silly. I don't expect my losing 50 pounds to cure my sick children or pay my mortgage, but it *will* provide me with mobility... and my ability to walk is important to *me.* So I will lose weight.

"Dieting" as you are using it certainly doesn't work long term, but changing our intake and activity levels changes our bodies. That is what works for me. Of course, there's the mental part as well, but I'm working on that.

If you'd like to be obese I have no problem with that. Whatever makes you happy! It takes all kinds :)

shaungirl22 said...

I only recently began reading your blog but this is my fav post so far. I don't accept being fat anymore! When I was young we would go camping and ski and tube all summer. It's always been my favorite thing to do. But, since I got up to 251lbs I couldn't do it anymore. We would still go camping but I would just watch everyone else ski and have fun. I would be miserable because I missed all of that so much. I have lost 19lbs so far and I will continue until I can accept what is good for my body. By this time next year I will be enjoying skiing and tubing again with my family! Thank you Lyn for your inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn! I just discovered your blog and have been fervently reading through the archives. Your story is inspirational and you can count me among your supporters 100%! :)
That being said, I guess I am one of those Fat Advocates. But it isn't that I'm an advocate of fat itself, but of fat people, and the abolition of stereotypes and scorn that come with being fat, especially for women. For me, Kate Harding and her kin have just reinforced that fat, despite what society tells us, has no moral value. People aren't "bad" morally for being fat, nor "good" for being thin, and they should be treated with the same kindness as any person. I don't dispute that it can be very unhealthy; your stories are proof that living obese is much more difficult than living with a lighter weight.
History: I have been fat and thin. Now, I am fat, and like you, I am actively exercising and eating right. I'm about 200 now, and I hope to get down to 160, which is thin for me. I have always been genetically "big": I have a tall, muscular frame, carry my fat well, and haven't fit into anything below a size 10 since before puberty. Did anyone roll their eyes just now, lol? Sounds like I'm making excuses, but it's really the truth. I know my body. The BMI charts say I should weigh about 138 but it simply isn't a possibility for me. What FA did for me was remove all the guilt and reprobation around my weight gain and also the "being good" mentality around diet and exercise. It also helped me with confidence in myself, whenever doctors would lecture me about my weight and not believe me when I told them that yes, I do exercise and eat right (my blood work always shows it) and that yes, I am just big. With all that garbage gone, I was finally able to be clearheaded about my health and start taking care of myself. NOT because doctors shamed me or I want to fit into a size 2 and think I'm a rotten person if I don't, but simply because I feel better when I do.
Whoever sent that to you needs to do some more reading about FA. FA doesn't want to "keep you fat", especially if you are miserable. I think most real FAs would encourage you! I know I am :)
Sorry for the length!
~Jenn :)