Nick

Sometimes it isn’t easy being fat. That’s OK.

Being a fat acceptance blogger doesn’t mean you won’t feel down sometimes. It doesn’t mean you will come across things that make you question what you believe. It doesn’t mean you can brush off all the hurtful words as ignorance. But that’s OK.

So over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit anxious here and there when a few medical symptoms have come on. Also during the last few weeks, I’ve been really into myself about being fat yet again. I’ve equated fat as being bad and that to be healthy I need to not be fat. That doesn’t sound very fat accepting, and it isn’t. However I went there and I’m happy to admit to my flaws.

I’m fairly new to the fat acceptance concept compared to some of the other bloggers on AoF (like my wife) and so I still sometimes struggle with the idea. I still have thoughts of “well it’s not healthy to be fat, that’s why I’m sick” or “I feel so tired – if only I wasn’t so fat!” What is important to remember is that even the best of us at some stage can go back to old, more familiar habits without realising it.

When I think more clearly, the issue is clearly a health one. If I exercised more, I would be healthier. If I ate better (fresher foods; foods that don’t upset my reflux; smaller portions which is also important for reflux) then I would be healthier too. Doing these things would help me to be healthy.

“So?”, you say. That’s a weight loss program.

Yes, it is. But what if I lost no weight? You can eat the perfect diet, and do the perfect amount of exercise and still be fat and healthy. What’s so wrong with that? If I have a general level of fitness and a generally good, nutritious diet, then so what?

Weight loss isn’t the goal. Healthiness is the goal. If I aim for health and achieve it, it doesn’t matter if I’m fat or not. What matters is that you accept me no matter what shape I am, or what level of health I have.

To me, that’s fat acceptance as I understand it.

Disagree? Talk to me.

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  • wellroundedtype2

    What you described in terms of health-related changes to diet and exercise isn't a weight loss program, it's a perfect match for the “Health at Every Size” philosophy.
    Making changes that help you feel better are consistent with fat acceptance.
    If weight loss isn't the goal, but some happens, that doesn't have to be a big deal.
    It's taken me a while to get to this myself.
    Taking good care of yourself is a very worthy goal, whatever shape that takes.

  • Kate F

    I agree with you Nick. Healthiness is the goal.

    I have a real problem with anyone (fat, skinny or otherwise) who regularly dine on food like Krispy Kreme donuts, or white bread tiger rolls, or Sizzler chocolate mousse, no fresh vegies or fruit and then wonder why they get sick and have heart attacks. These foods have no nutritional value whatsoever and the donuts at least have problems with saturated fats.

    No-one should be eating that sort of crap (sorry, I'm an organic/unprocessed food nazi) if they want to live to a ripe old age.

    Weight is not the issue here, it's bad nutrition. I know skinny people who have horrendous cholesterol problems; I have a size 8 friend who has dangerously high blood pressure, and my mother who never fluctuates much above 65 kilos has chronic heart disease (her problem was eating gluten and dairy all her life and finding out at 63 years of age that she's allergic to both of them. Her immune system has been attacking itself and wearing her heart down over those years).

    My view (for what it's worth, which is probably nothing ;-) is that everyone should try to eat the freshest, most unprocessed foods that they can get their hands on. Steer clear of sugar, fried anything, and all the processed nasties. Do that, with regular exercise and see where the cards fall.

    Also, finally, I think that we all need to learn how to listen to what our body is telling us about what foods to eat and how much. I think that's a skill many of us have lost.

  • MazelTovCocktail

    People's preception of what is healthy or not has no bearing on actual health factors. My cholestorol is perfect, my blood pressure is on the low side of normal, I run up and down stairs all day and I have a Naziesque like control over my portions – but I am 5'7 and I weigh 216.8 (just logged my weight this morning). I would love to lose weight, but that's for astethics only. I don't really know what to do at this point because I feel as if I'm doing what I should be. I have other factors in my life that I deal with, Celiac Disease, GERD, and hypothyroidism, but I deal with them accordingly. I too am new to the 'Fat is OK' ideology, and I often have a hard time believing it. Just know you're not alone, and even with my doubts, I know that small doesn't equal healthy!

  • http://www.nicholasperkins.com/blog/ Nicholas Perkins

    Yes, learning to listen to my body is a new thing. Also looking at different options is something I've had to consider. Fruit? Never used to eat it. I've had two bananas in two days, instead of toast or something else. Nothing wrong with toast, but why not have some fruit instead?

    I have my 'evil' food on occasion. I can't be perfect, and I don't think everyone can be. But having as much fresh unprocessed food in your diet is a great thing. I even limit my meat these days, just because I feel better when I do.

  • http://www.nicholasperkins.com/blog/ Nicholas Perkins

    This is what I'm learning slowly but surely. Last week I said I was off soft/fizzy drinks. Natalie asked me why, and when I said it was because it made me feel like crap in the stomach, she was happy. If I had said it was because I was fat and what not, she would have suggested I reconsider that mindset.

    Having a fat acceptance queen as a wife certainly helps me to keep my perspectives on fat and health in check.

  • http://www.nicholasperkins.com/blog/ Nicholas Perkins

    Welcome to the Fat Acceptance club. It's tough to get your mind around when you've been hit with “FAT IS EVIL. YOU ARE THE ANTICHRIST!” messages for years and years and years.

    One thing I would like to say that I've taken away is that I must love me. I'm 29, balding, fat, short, hairy (except on top as I said) man. I still love myself. Are there times where I think “I'd like to loose a little bit off my gut?” Certainly. Does it mean I don't love myself anyway, as I am? No.

    Good luck with your journey and keep in touch with us here. We are all at various stages of our travel through the Fat Acceptance world so you'll see lots of different perspectives.

  • http://healthhabits.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/fatwashing-is-the-new-greenwashing/ Douglas

    I loved your quote – “Healthiness is the goal”

    Personally, I believe that obesity should be seen as a symptom of dis-ease, not the disease itself.

    The problem is that human metabolism is only partially understood by medical science. Every day new research comes out that contradicts yesterdays research.

    Cookie cutter solutions don't work because obesity is far too complicated and individualistic

  • http://www.definatalie.com definatalie

    Uh, I think you're in the wrong place – you look like you're here to promote your anti-obesity blog.

  • Kate F

    I read a section in a great book called “The Cure for All Diseases” (I think) while waiting for my hubby one day and they had a section on Obesity. Expecting the usual sort of fat hatred I read it anyway, curious to see what the Doctor behind the book had to say. Well, I nearly fell over.

    Basically his prescription was, avoid ALL breakfast cereals (something to do with Wood Alcohol which was present in every single brand that he tested and that aggravated existing health problems or caused new ones), sugar, processed food, and alcohol for 3 months. Don't worry about portion size, just eat until you stop feeling hungry.

    If in 3 months you hadn't lost weight then you “were meant to be that size”!!!

    He then said “throw out the scales, throw away your mirrors if you don't like your reflection and get on with your life”

    I don't think I've ever heard a Doctor say that before or since. But it was refreshing. Obviously there should be a section on learning to love yourself no matter what you look like, but I gather that concept was a bit too “touchy feelie” for this guy ;-)

  • bri_fatlotofgood

    I am curious about people's opinions of those who do not, will not and even refuse to subscribe to healthiness being the goal. If someone is not interested in maintaining or achieving 'health' (whatever that actually means) should they be judged? Should they be ostracised? Or is it their personal choice? What do you think?

  • http://www.definatalie.com definatalie

    One of our Axis members has expressed that she has that stance, and I think that's totally fair enough! If I was concerned with everyone else's business, I'd never have time to listen to myself! (I think I'd lose a few friends too!)

    Concern trolling bothers me deeply, because it's not so much that they have genuine concern so much as they want to push their agenda on others. That's totally uncool. Personal choice is ALWAYS king and/or queen for me – and if a person expresses that they have a particular stance on something, I respect that.

  • ludmilla

    That´s really great point of view. Health is the main objective. One year ago I took this decision. I don´t care if I lose weight even eating great food and exercising. But the point is that I feel beach each day more.

  • tracyalero

    I don't think they should be judged at all. It's is just another way to engage in the good/bad dichotomy that is pretty harmful to a lot of people.

  • Kate F

    Hi bri_fatlotofgood

    That's a really good question. It certainly got me thinking about imposing my views of health on other people.

    I'm passionate about organic foods because I am from a family of farmers; many of whom died of cancers (a distressingly high cause of death of farmers in Australia).

    I believe that organic foods should be cheaply and easily available to everyone in Australia because _I_ believe that it will improve people's health and reduce the incidence of chemical induced cancers in Australia. But that's my belief.

    I'm sad to say I've found myself putting my “judgement hat” on when friends of mine have said “Oh, I'm not interested in feeding my baby/family with organic food. It's too expensive/unproven etc etc.” but the thing is, we are sent so many conflicting and often untruthful messages about food that it's now impossible to know what's right and wrong, and so many people are just exhausted by the information given to them about the “best” thing for them and their families.

    Ultimately, I think what one does with regards to their own health should be about personal choice, as much as that distresses me when I see pregnant women smoking. I have to accept that it is their personal choice.

    Ostracizing people for disagreeing with your personal views is something that we've all seen too much of on other blog sites. I think we should encourage “live and let live, and quit worrying about what I do with my body”

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