Any discussion of weight loss must eventually address the “Fat Acceptance Movement”. It also goes by other names such as “Body Acceptance”, “Body Positive”, and “Body Positivity”.
In a not too distant past…
Years ago when someone gained so much weight that their clothes stopped fitting, almost always two seemingly logical things followed:
1) The person RECOGNIZED IT AS A PROBLEM. One reason it was a problem was that it was unhealthy. No doubt that a woman of 5ft 4in whose weight passed 200 lbs. (or a man of equivalent proportions) would be told by every doctor she ever saw that her excess weight jeopardized her health almost ensuring she would eventually succumb to any number of obesity-related medical conditions.
But let’s be real here. When someone accumulates DOUBLE the normal weight for their height, age, and gender, they KNOW something is wrong (or at least they did in the past). They don’t really need a doctor to say it.
And when others saw such a person they sensed the same thing – that SOMETHING WAS WRONG. People with such proportions (5-4, 200+, or more generically, “really fat”) would have certainly been on the receiving end of glances of astonished onlookers trying not to stare.
2) They took measures to SOLVE THE PROBLEM. For health reasons they might have sought a solution to this problem for the same reason one might have tried to quit smoking. They sought to solve the problem because they didn’t want to be disabled, sick, or dead.
And frankly, many probably sought to solve the problem because they wanted to FEEL BETTER, LOOK BETTER, and LOOK HEALTHIER.
Introducing the Fat Acceptance Movement
But now we have fat acceptance activists trying to change all that old misguided thinking.
While some say its roots go back to the 1960s, it really burst into the mainstream in full force starting with (maybe triggered by) People Magazine’s June 1, 2015 cover story about “The World’s First Size 22 Supermodel”.
So popular was the movement that in 2016 “Plus Sized” model Ashley Graham appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. See Ashley Graham Makes History as the First Size-16 Model to Cover Sports Illustrated.
By 2017 the fat acceptance movement mushroomed in social media with countless bloggers and “models” promoting the movement.
No matter when it really started, with it making covers of magazines like People and Sports Illustrated it is certainly in the mainstream now.
What is the Fat Acceptance Movement
The very name of this movement fairly accurately defines it. The “Fat Acceptance” movement ACCEPTS being fat – REALLY FAT. They promote the idea that obesity is just a normal human characteristic and ought to be acknowledged, accepted, and even praised as such. They speak of obesity as practically no different than eye color, hair color, height, gender, or race.
In stories of many of the online figures of this movement you’ll often read things like:
I’ve come to accept that I am always going to be considered plus-size (BoredPanda.com)
From a young age, I was aware that I was bigger, I didn’t look like a lot of my friends did (People.com)
They concede that they’re “just big” and that’s just how it is, and that there is nothing they can do about it.
A fairly strong implication (sometimes stated directly) of the fat acceptance movement is that since obesity is just a completely natural, normal condition, there is nothing to “fix”. If you are fat, you should just accept that that’s who you are.
Any thought or mention that a fat person might want to consider losing weight is said to be “fat shaming”, even if it is the fat person himself/herself who is saying it.
An answer to the Fat Acceptance movement
I won’t spend any time or effort here arguing the health risks associated with obesity. I think everyone knows the risks are real and relatively undisputed. Google “health risks of obesity” if you don’t believe me.
It doesn’t mean that EVERY obese person will suffer one or all of those known health issues related to obesity. Not every smoker dies of lung cancer either.
And the whole claim that obesity sort of just happens naturally (i.e. “I noticed that I was JUST BIGGER”, “I would always be considered plus-sized”) is misguided. Obesity doesn’t “just happen”, and no one is “just bigger” (at least 5’4″, 200+ lbs doesn’t “just happen”).
Almost always when someone is as obese as these fat acceptance activists it is simply because THEY CONSUME FAR TOO MANY CALORIES.
Sure, some medical conditions may make it HARDER for some to maintain a healthy weight, but it is still possible. If you don’t eat you WILL lose weight.
But fat acceptance people work out in the gym…
Many of the fat acceptance activists try to rebut the claim that they are unhealthy by pointing out that they have personal trainers and/or work out in the gym every day, and so on.
That’s great. But exercise without nutritional control is of little value, especially if the nutrition component of one’s health routine is far out of balance. If one is that overweight, their excess fat is by far their greatest health risk. Therefore the healthiest thing such a person can do is lose that weight.
Let’s be clear…
Since this can be such an emotionally charged subject let me directly state things that shouldn’t really need to be said.
Fat people shouldn’t “hate” their bodies
First, I am NOT saying or implying that someone who is fat should hate themselves or their bodies. Obesity is a health condition to solve, that’s all. Just recognize that and take measures to solve the problem.
Not everyone is the same
Of course people come in a wide array of shapes and sizes… WITHIN LIMITS! Some are simply never going to be extremely slender no matter what they do, and some are never going to be extremely fat no matter what they do. There really are body types that one should take into account. But obesity – especially in the extreme – is an illness to be cured, not a natural body type.
A case study
I have a friend who was a “fat girl” in high school. At around 5 feet 5 inches she topped out around 250 pounds. That was around five years before I knew her.
As she tells the story, one day she just decided she didn’t want to live like that and made the conscious choice to make changes.
She did two things. First and foremost, she meticulously counted and limited her calories. In her plan the calorie count mattered much more than anything else, like the quality of the calories, the time of day she ate, etc.
The second big part of her plan was WALKING. That was her only exercise. She walked A LOT… 1-2 hours on many days.
By the time I met her her weight was down to around 120 lbs. — basically perfect for her height. Frankly, she was head-turner.
AND, when I met her she STILL was very strict about her calories. If she had big evening plans for dinner or partying, she budgeted her calories the rest of the day to allow her a little extra consumption in the evening.
I already pointed out that calorie count was more important to her than anything else, like quality of calories. But it is fun to also point out that she really didn’t like “healthy” food all that much. In fact, she LOVED junk food (Twinkies, cookies, french fries, etc.) AND SHE ATE junk food… so long as she didn’t blow her calorie target.
She was well on her way to being just like a Tess Holliday or Loey Lane, but she turned it around.
Hope for the obese
As I mentioned previously, the stories of many leading fat acceptance advocates contain the element of resignation (“I just noticed I was bigger”). Personally I can’t help but believe that in at least some of their cases they started off trying to fight the weight gain but then just gave up.
And in those cases where they gave up, they gave up because their weight loss efforts did not yield success.
Managing one’s weight takes effort, discipline, and KNOWLEDGE. A major problem can be that the KNOWLEDGE one attempts to apply to the problem is simply wrong. They bought into all the new, modern diet/weight loss culture that results in more weight gain than weight loss.
For those who gave up: There is hope. TRY AGAIN. Read this site to help deprogram all the wrong crap out there. It’s ALL ABOUT THE CALORIES. If you will accurately track your calories and ALWAYS run a deficit, you WILL LOSE WEIGHT. You don’t have to be fat if you don’t want to be!
Return to Weight Loss in the News from Fat Acceptance
Return to Home from Fat Acceptance