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Body Acceptance Is Not A Lazy Choice

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. on June 20, 2011

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

Listen to the podcast of this post here:

Earlier this week, I had a really infuriating call with a member of my family.

She told me that despite all this “body acceptance stuff,” I had to start taking care of myself.  When I asked her what she meant by that, she said, “making healthier food choices.”

These ladies don't look lazy in this painting by Peter Paul Rubens. Image courtesy of wikipedia.

This is a woman I see about once every other month at family gatherings.  So the only way that she could have decided that I was making “bad food choices” was that I was fat.  Fat like nearly everyone else in my family, of course, but fatter than her.  So I asked her if she meant a diet.  “No, not a diet.  Just better choices,” she said.  “Come on, you know how to eat right.  And you’re obviously not doing that.”

Obviously.  And yes, I “know how to eat.”  But obviously, she didn’t mean the ole fork to mouth.  She meant what I had been taught to do since age 4 — follow a plan, restrict, obsess, repeat.

What she was insinuating was that “this body acceptance stuff” was just a mask, a cover for my desire to eat more than I should, make bad choices, and be lazy. This is a person who’s known me my entire life, who must assume that I eat normally in front of her and then binge as soon as I get home.  (If I did do that, it still wouldn’t be her business, but I don’t.)

But I don’t think body acceptance is lazy in the least.  Telling people that you don’t and will never diet again, setting boundaries with people around you who are obsessed with fat and weight, sharing your views everywhere you go and facing ridicule and hatred, and making a choice (despite 99% of the world telling you that you’re crazy) that this is your life and you’re not going to live it encased in self hatred — none of that is lazy. Whether we’re dieting, or getting horrific weight loss surgeries or decided to accept and love our bodies, I think fat people are constantly working at something having to do with their bodies. On top of that, fat people have the regular stuff to do that thin people do, like working, taking care of their families, and taking care of all the other stuff of normal life.  Plus, because we face discrimination in education, the workplace, and the medical field, we have added stress and pressure and have to work extra hard as a result.

In fact, I have yet to meet the stereotypical, almost mythical fat person that everyone thinks is the usual fat person.  This is a fat person who doesn’t care about being fat, eats all junk food, never exercises, and doesn’t do anything other than laying on the couch eating and drinking soda.  The only people I’ve ever encountered who fit the mythical fat person description are people who are pretty severely depressed, and they’re not doing this with a blithe abandon that fat people supposedly exhibit (and are often not fat). These stereotypes get perpetuated by shows like The Biggest Loser, which shows its contestants as people who are out of control with no lives, even if they have families and businesses that they run and rather full lives in reality.

I think there’s a myth that body acceptance means not doing anything to take care of your body, and that’s totally not true.  As I’ve seen for myself and for my clients, when exercise is not tied to weight loss, we can do it in a way that is aligned with our bodies and with what we find actually fun.  When we listen to our bodies and trust them and their messages, we can make appropriate food choices.  We can enjoy sex in a different way when we connect to our pleasure rather than worrying over our fat.

So body acceptance, no matter what your size, is the only choice if you want to embrace a happiness that is not centered on a goal weight or a particular size or fitting into a particular pair of jeans.  That being said, it’s not always an easy choice to make, but it’s certainly not a lazy one.

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below!

Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. is a certified holistic health counselor who specializes in transforming your relationship with food and your body. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/stay-in-touch/ to sign up for her newsletter and get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Mulberry June 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm

It’s hard to answer family members as one might like to, especially older family members. But if someone said (say, on the internet somewhere) that being a fat acceptor is being lazy, I’d like to say, “It can’t be all that lazy, or else YOU’D be one.”
Why should YOU hasve to explain yourself – THEY’RE the ones being rude and stupid!

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@FullFashionFix June 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Great Blog about body acceptance not being a lazy choice. http://www.bodylovewellness.com http://ht.ly/5mklB

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Jess@atasteofconfidence June 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm

First of all, I can’t believe this family member made these comments to you. I think you can care about your body and try to eat healthy while accepting your body the way it is now— and I think it is anything BUT a lazy choice. It is extremely difficult and takes a lot of work!

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notblueatall June 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I don’t have the link handy, but whenever I hear stuff like this I think about an article Melissa McEwan wrote about being fat and how hard it is and how brave you must be just to function in this world. Great stuff!
And a lazy choice? I dunno. It’s super hard to accept your body as it is, despite the fact that the world looks at you in disgust or with hate. I don’t think it’s the lazy choice. It’s not for everyone. But when everyone’s brainwashed into believing fat = bad there is only so much you can do. Just breathe and know that they mean well and if you have the sanity points to spare you can come from that place of good intentions and explain that there is so much more to health than what we’re “told.” But in the end it’s up to them to decide if they want to question the marketed reality or take the red pill and escape the conformity matrix. <3

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Vj Washington June 20, 2011 at 11:59 am

Golda:

You know, I think that the individuals who truly believe that “body acceptance is a lazy choice”, HAVE to tell themselves this in order to make themselves feel better about larger-sized individuals who’ve decided to no longer buy into the body hysteria (yeah, HYSTERIA) that is firmly in place in our culture.

I mean, misery does love company, true? We can’t have larger-sized individuals feeling GOOD about themselves….I can’t pick them apart/won’t have a captive audience to buy my latest fast-fix for their “problem”/won’t be able to “bully” them into shape with my latest “fitness” video/book/programme….

Oddly enough, this can also be applied to the obsession with plastic surgery….

As always, another great post, Golda!

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Lindsay June 20, 2011 at 11:48 am

Thank you for this post. One of the big challenges of body acceptance for me is being seen as lazy or giving up or letting myself go. Amongst family members all being “good” or “bad” foodwise or talking about their diets and bodies I just say nothing anymore. I am too afraid to tell them how I feel, but I will no longer pretend to participate in something I don’t want to participate in. I think we are actually very strong because we are fighting against a very vocal majority who are happy to remind us that any woman satisfied with her body ( especially any larger woman) is clearly flawed, delusional, etc. It is easier to just do what everyone else is doing. But it is sad too that so many people feel they HAVE to change their bodies or at least never stop trying in order to be acceptable. I still fight with it a lot but over time it does get easier.

Great post :)

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O.C. June 20, 2011 at 9:34 am

Oh yes, you’re absolutely right! In fact, I’d say that sticking with size acceptance not only is not lazy, but sometimes can be absolutely exhausting. It’s exhausting recognizing with absolute clarity how our society hates us, and works toward our extinction. It’s exhausting to recognize and deal with that hate internally, to work toward our own better mental and physical health. And it’s exhausting to have almost every conversation about this, whether with a well-meaning friend, family member, or doctor, turn into a debate, that we can so rarely “win”, being that we’re fat, and therefore clearly ignorant, stupid, uninformed, and, as you say, lazy.

I get so tired.

I sometimes wish I could give it up.

But this size acceptance is the truth, and I can’t do that. No matter how “lazy” THAT choice would be.

Thanks, Golda, for standing strong.

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JeninCanada June 20, 2011 at 9:33 am

^ I’m with Jenna! Great post, Golda.

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Jenna June 20, 2011 at 9:04 am

Excellent Post. It is so much more work to actually accept oneself and adopt a healthy lifestyle that does not include dieting. It’s funny how so many conversations I have with fellow women who put down their bodies or diet talk and the tension is not relieved when I do not support them… when they are met with silence. It could be so much easier if I did the ol’, “yeah and my thighs are out of control! I shouldnt be eating this either!” If I just merely joined in… it would be so much easier to to join in to relieve the tension, to bond with them in mutual self-deprivation and self-loathing. But I do not.

Its so much harder to go to the gym, to swim, to eat vegetarian, to have my morning protein shakes and have most people with one look assume that I have a completely different lifestyle when I am “making good choices”. I could start smoking a pack a aday to kill my apetite, get lap band where I am throwing up all the time, eat prepackaged diet foods full of chemicals, or eat with the obsession of constant hunger… if I did that… I would be “making good choices” and basking in the glow of admiring others, approving of every self denying choice but hey at least they dont judge me now….

yeah… its so lazy to fight against societal assumptions and prejudices…. I see this shit all the time. it makes me crazy. but i will not succumb.

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@CurvyYoga June 20, 2011 at 3:23 am

"Body Acceptance is Not a Lazy Choice." Great post from @BodyLoveWellnes http://t.co/Tk51RR2

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