Is fat acceptance an excuse to pig out?

I was telling Hubby how excited I was that I’d done my first post on the Axis, and the more I enthused about Fat Acceptance, the more I could see his face cloud over. After a while it was hard to keep up the enthusiasm.

Then it struck me: “Do you think me getting more involved in body acceptance is just an excuse for me to pig out?”.

He didn’t know how to respond. Not because I’d hit the nail exactly on the head, I think, but I do think he’s not quite sure what to make of all this, why I want to get so involved or how it might change me or how I HOPE it might change me.

And in that moment I, for the first time, formulated the biggest reason this movement means something to me; what it’s meant in my life.

Let me preface this by saying that size isn’t the only issue here. I’m not the most motivated or dynamic person in the world. I have struggled with depression. I may lean towards a binge eating disorder. I am bad at facing pressure and challenges and stress and tend to escape into inaction, lethargy, reading, eating, or a combination of these things. I am innately lazy. And I really do love to eat. So his concern isn’t a function of being a fat-o-phobe, but of his knowing me well combined with a lack of understanding.

“No, this isn’t me looking for excuses or to stop trying to be healthy. But I’ve spent literally decades on-and-off obsessing about what I eat, how I look, diet and exercise, and about whether I’m good enough. And the net result of all of it was still being fat, and being unhappy. Now I’ve found a way to at least be fat and happy.”

So that was my big epiphany. I’m not giving up on some thing that I tried and failed at which would have, if I could just have been good enough at, changed me into my inner Perdita. I’m walking out of a bad relationship; tired of being lied to and having my self confidence eroded away.

If the physical result of yo-yo dieting (and all the rest) is the same* as learning to love who I am, just as I am; and the emotional result is far more damaging, it’s a pretty damned simple equation.

* and that’s not even touching on the topics of whether long term dieting actually leaves most people fatter, or the long term effect on health, both of which have been extensively discussed in the fatosphere by people far more eloquent and informed on the matter than myself.

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  • Zohar

    I absolutely agree! I’m not very fat, but I am overweight (or, my friends tell me, “kind of big”). I’ve only lately started to realize, though not fully accept, that I’ll probably still be fat in the future, I won’t lose those 20 kg that I “should”. But I can eat healthy, exercise so I’m healthy, and start feeling good about myself.

  • beep

    I don’t know about the rest of fat acceptance, but for me “pigging out” is pretty food shaming language in itself.

  • Mulberry

    People have such stupid, ignorant ideas about fat acceptance. Competitive eating championships (where people pig out for money) often favor those who are rather thin. So pigging out is not such a big deal, except when one of those Awful Fat People does it.
    Being depressed, lethargic and withdrawn may indicate a problem somewhere, but it’s not one that’s going to be solved by weight loss. You could do worse than get evaluated for depression or endocrine problems. Your business of course, but I’ve had similar reactions to things in my life and am just speaking from sad experience, that’s all.
    Best of luck to you and I hope to see more posting from you on the Axis.

  • MoonicaMusing

    Thank you for your concern, Mulberry. I have had those things checked out. My depression is currently under control and my polycycstic ovarian syndrome symptoms are still pretty well in check after my pregnancy and breastfeeding.

    That’s not all of it, though, some of it is just my personality type.

    Interesting remarks on the eating competitions – absolutely true. But sadly of course you don’t have to go to one of those to encounter the phenomenon; I still have to make a concerted effort to not care that everyone at the table has ordered dessert but I still feel as if everyone is checking to see if the fat girl is going to have one too, or do the proper thing and stick to a skinny latte.

  • MoonicaMusing


    I apologise if my use of it offended, but the connotation you point out is exactly the sentiment I was after. I was trying to explain the difference between “love who I am at whatever size and recognize that I have the right to eat for sustenance and pleasure” and the interpretation I feared my SO was making here, without the understanding of what fat acceptance is, of “well if I stop caring what I look like I have an excuse to eat nothing but cake for breakfast”.
    My original use of the term, and that last sentence, are of course exaggerated for effect.

    Oh and on a final note, I hate that I used “I apologise BUT”. I did want to explain my use of the term but I do not intend for it to obscure the apology. If I have caused offense to you or anyone with the term, the apology stands above and beyond the explanation, unconditionally.

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