I believe that fat people are more than just the fat they carry. They are more than the stereotyped image of the fat person who is lazy and eats all day. They have lives and families. Yet they seem to be open targets for public shame and humiliation. It seems that so many people are all too willing to poke fun at someone who is fat because of some preconceived notion that all fat people choose to be that way. Just because fat is so obvious. It cannot be hidden. It can't be tucked away within ourselves or stuffed in a box and stored under the bed. It can never be a secret.
I'm pro-fat acceptance because I am pro-human rights. Fat people have a right to feel comfortable in their own skin. They have a right to leave their houses without shame or fear of being mocked. Other people do not have to like it, but they certainly do not have a right to make someone feel less than human because of it.
"Though a heavy weight may be the result of imprudent lifestyle habits or underlying disease in some individuals, there are also many large people who eat sensibly, exercise regularly, and have excellent health readings—and many thin people who don’t. Regardless, a low weight—or healthy lifestyle habits—shouldn’t be a requisite for respect…
Let’s switch our emphasis to encouraging health-promoting behaviors for all, and let the fat fall where it may. Everyone, fat and thin, can reduce their risk for health problems by making good lifestyle choices. It’s time for a new peace movement: one that supports people in developing healthy lifestyle habits, regardless of their size. It’s called Health at Every Size.””
(Dr. Bacon has multi-disciplinary training, including graduate degrees in physiology (specializing in nutrition), psychology, and exercise science. She is committed to educating people on the scientific evidence that underlies our understanding of weight.)
“Fat people, it is commonly held, should be punished because they offend our aesthetic sensibilities. They take up too much space on subways, buses, airplanes, and elevators. They consume more than they contribute to society. They become ill and need to be taken care of, or they die early and their families are left unsupported. The only way fat people can gain some acceptance and forgiveness for their crime of overeating is to at least try, or look like they are trying, to lose weight. They must never eat an ice cream cone in public, never be seen eating a normal sized portion of non-diet food!”
Albert Ellis, Michael Abrams, Lidia Dengelegi, The Art & Science of Rational Eating (via euphoricelixir)
It is laughable that this quote is actually being used the way I found it being used. The book being quoted actually argues things like:
“We will show that the actual evidence robustly points in another direction. It shows that there are many different types of people, all shapes, sizes, and styles, and obesity, rather than being symptom of neurosis, may say no more about a person than her height, hair color, or skin texture.”
“In this book we shall argue against these notions by showing that obesity stems more from genetic and biological than from neurotic roots, and that most personality traits “causing” obesity actually originate from people lambasting themselves for being fat. “
I was particularly fond of the following quote (even though I do not advocate dieting), because of its emphasis on the individual’s need for self love:
“Changing one’s weight or eating style has been shown to be a most difficult long-term behavioral goal. The obese individual has a far lesser chance of permanently becoming thin than the heroin addict has of becoming clean, the crack user becoming drug free, or the alcoholic staying dry. With such an imposing obstacle to clear, the dieter had better learn to accept himself as he is, prior to making a grand effort to become thin. A person prone to self-downing actually discourages himself from changing traits that he loathes. If one hates oneself, one tends to be particularly unmotivated to work at self-improvement. “If I am no good, how can ‘rotten me’ improve my rotten traits?” Rational-emotive therapy encourages self-acceptance, not merely self-efficacy, and not self-esteem. As noted above, both of those forms of self-rating work badly. To achieve self-esteem you have to perform well. To achieve self-efficacy you have to constantly do better than others. By definition then, self-esteem and self-efficacy require relative ratings. But self-acceptance means that you view yourself as a “worthy person” whether or not you have great accomplishments. You do not rate you, your personhood, and do not blame yourself for not being better than you are. Of course, you work to improve your acts and traits in order to enjoy yourself and increase your standing in life. But it is unreasonable to disparage yourself simply because you are not the way that you presumably should or must be. “
And those quotes are just what I read from Amazon’s book preview. I am now going to have to buy this book and read it. I have found a new appreciation for Dr. Albert Ellis. I think I shall give REBT a more serious look after today.
The following are quotes from an article regarding health and fat.
Fat? Who Cares! Why Weight Doesn’t Matter
By Peter Jaret
“Overweight women who walked more than four hours a week had a significantly lower risk of heart disease than those who didn’t exercise. This says to me that the most important risk factor isn’t being fat; it’s being sedentary.”
“One important study, an analysis of more than 5,000 participants in a national government sample, showed that 35 percent of obese women don’t have the constellation of health problems typically linked to higher weight. Specifically, they showed no more than one sign of these issues: high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL [“good”] cholesterol, elevated glucose levels, insulin resistance and systemic inflammation. And there are some health concerns, such as osteoporosis, that are much less common in people categorized as overweight or obese.”
"There’s something researchers call the “obesity paradox”—that people who are heavier tend to survive longer than thinner people with the same disease…Why isn’t entirely clear. But the findings call into question the widely held belief that being overweight or obese is always dangerous and suggest that it may be protective in some ways."
"When researchers at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke looked at more than 12,000 middle-aged men and women for a study published in 2005, they found that obese men and women whose weight fluctuated over a two-year period were four times as likely to develop hypertension as the obese people whose weight remained stable. An earlier Italian study reported that women who had lost weight at least five times in five years were more likely to have high blood pressure than those whose weight remained stable."
"My colleagues and I did a study, reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, that confirms the usefulness of this approach. We randomly divided 78 obese chronic dieters, all female, into two groups: One followed a conventional weight-loss diet; the other enrolled in the Health at Every Size [HAES] plan, which emphasizes eating in response to hunger cues. Both programs lasted six months, and subjects were evaluated two years after the study’s beginning. By six months, 42 percent of the conventional-diet-program participants had dropped out, but only 8 percent of the HAES members had departed. The dieters did lose weight in the first six months, but two years later they had, on average, regained it all. Women in the HAES group did not lose or gain weight; they stayed the same weight throughout the two years. By the end of the study period, the HAES women showed significant improvements in their LDL [“bad”] cholesterol and systolic [the top number] blood pressure; the dieting group ended up where it had started. In addition, 53 percent of those following a diet reported feeling like failures; none of the HAES women did. So I think our message needs to encourage people to become healthy rather than focus on weight loss.”
"We need to resist the notion that being thin is the path to happiness. It isn’t. Trying to become thin can make people very unhappy. We’ve become so obsessed with weight that it’s a major revolution for people to say, “Hey, I can choose to see myself as attractive.” We’d all be much happier if we honored size diversity and focused on healthy choices, letting our weight fall naturally where it may."
Some more reading if you’re interested:
Genes take charge, and diets fall by the wayside
Obesity police busted? Study says fat folks can be healthy