+

Just The Fat Facts, Ma’am.

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. on November 8, 2010

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

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.

Check out my TEDx talk on “Why It’s Okay To Be Fat” here:

(Link to the study on healthy lifestyle and mortality risk is here.)

Additional Recommended Reading:

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

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. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.


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

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

kaligrrrl (@kaligrrrl) June 24, 2012 at 3:47 am

@PantherAlyxx @Ishfery: was it this one? http://t.co/cCUP0S93

Reply

@MissPoppyCox June 23, 2012 at 11:32 am

LIKE! #healthyatanysize #fatacceptance http://t.co/qINkCgvo

Reply

(@DrKathleenYoung) (@DrKathleenYoung) June 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Just The Fat Facts, Ma’am. — Body Love Wellness http://t.co/TO1EDEZe

Reply

Penny Piquant (@PennyPiquant) June 21, 2012 at 9:13 am

Just The Fat Facts, Ma’am.: http://t.co/ARdwjzEB

Reply

@anitariott June 21, 2012 at 5:10 am

“But all of this goes against the conventional wisdom that fat is bad and deadly! – Your “conventional wisdom”… http://t.co/8Im0bhh5

Reply

@mem_lewis May 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Just The Fat Facts, Ma’am. — Body Love Wellness http://t.co/1fAr4jEz

Reply

@Scarlet_Ibis April 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm

http://t.co/mvW0VE9j YES YES YES YES YESSSS!!!

Reply

Angela Pabón (@AngiePaibon) August 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm

@Voldie7 mira el link del blog :) http://t.co/su1VYfx

Reply

Heather November 8, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Hi Golda,

I wondered if you saw this:

http://www.kval.com/news/business/106860453.html

The gist is that San Francisco is barring fast food restaurants from giving free toys away with meals in excess of 600 calories.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. For me, the Happy Meal is sort of iconic. It was a real treat to go to McDonalds and get a Happy Meal. And back then, we got them with a small coke and a package of cookies. It seems to be in line with how they’re teaching kids in our school system. My 8-year-old is already terrified of becoming fat, and talks about avoiding “bad” food.

I love what you said above – ALL kids need access to healthy food and exercise.

Reply

bodylovewellnes November 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm

[New Post] Just The Fat Facts, Ma’am. – via #twitoaster http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2010/11/

Reply

shannonerin November 16, 2010 at 8:35 pm

RT @bodylovewellnes: [New Post] Just The Fat Facts, Ma’am. – via #twitoaster http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2010/11/

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 18 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post:

SUBSCRIBE

Sign up for your FREE weekly updates, special offers and free giveaways.

Plus, you'll get my Top 5 Tips For Consistently Feeling Great In Your Body.

Just enter your email below and click "subscribe."
+