5/06/2011 02:34:00 AM

Fat Acceptance = bad.

I live near enough my family at the moment that we are able to visit on a weekly basis, and since eating is often part of such visits, they are aware of my current diet efforts. My obesity came (past tense yay!) from a family history... nearly everyone on my mother's paternal side has been obese. Even my grandfather, who was always quite thin when I knew him, was morbidly obese until some of his friends forced him to lose the weight. Looking at his history is one of the things that makes me confident that I will not only be able to achieve my goal, but stabilize there. Anyway, my mother did not choose the same path as her father did, and often felt that her parents were disappointed in her for that fact, that they loved her less even.

In an effort to make sure that this weight loss effort isn't due to similar sentiments on my side of things, every time we meet, she makes a comment about how the health problems blamed on fatness are bogus, how she would lose weight only to regain it quickly... etc etc. I don't think she is trying to stop me from dieting, but she is projecting a lot of her frustration with how society receives her in her message of "fat or thin, I love you." and it's starting to wear thin. Especially because it almost sounds like she feels as if I am judging her choice not to manage her weight by choosing to lose my own...

Anyway... all her talk about Fat Acceptance (FA)  (direct and indirect) made me decide to research it a bit, and here's what I think about the FA movement and why it's DANGEROUS. To be fair, first off, there is some evidence that shows that genetics influence one's propensity for obesity. There are also some studies that show that some fat people are just as healthy as non-fat people... I admit this, but genetic influences don't mean that someone CAN'T lose weight, it only means it is more difficult. Also, being healthy at a high weight doesn't mean you'd be unhealthy at a low one... Finally, the statistics which show a correlation between obesity and heart disease, diabetes, and earlier mortality rates in the general population are undeniable, so while there are a few individuals who can be healthy at 30 (35..40+?) BMI, they are few and far between.

Now, while statistics are hard to apply to the individual (i.e. we cannot know if they are one of the above mentioned outliers), telling the world that it's OK to be fat, and that we shouldn't encourage/pressure/whatever obese people to diet/exercise because it "doesn't work" puts the population as a whole at risk... because sure, an individual fat person might be one of those special people who can be morbidly obese and live to be 100... but the thousands of other obese people who are not that kind of person who stop making an effort to be healthy because "It's ok to be fat"... that is where those statistics come from... 

Also, there is evidence that being friends with fat people makes you fat... which makes the problem even worse. In other words, not only does the FA encourage people to not only accept fat people and encourage fat people not to try and get healthier, but they are indirectly causing people who wouldn't be fat in normal circumstances to become so by an exposure to other fat people, because acceptance of others makes one less likely to fight the battle against weight gain themselves. 

I don't really feel this post is quite as elegant as I want it to be, and will likely edit it... but basically... each time I hear my mom talk about something that sounds kinda FA influenced, it makes me what to smack her across the face and remind her that
  1. she shouldn't rationalize her choice to continue to be an emotional eater for all her life (she admits she is, so I'm totally ok with saying this).
  2. she shouldn't expect others not to judge her (and other fat people) when she herself admits that she didn't have the discipline to restrict her eating for all her life.
  3. and, most importantly, my weight loss efforts are not at ALL about anyone other than myself... and she should certainly not take personal offense, as it seems she might be doing, to the fact that I am making them.
Now, to finish this off, I want to say that in general I don't judge fat people. I can't, because I am one. I don't think they are all lazy, or any of the other things that are listed on www.naafa.org as signs of prejudice against overweight individuals when I first meet them, because I don't know their story. I don't know what efforts they are making to become healthier, or which obstacles they have to overcome... It's when I start hearing the talk about "diets don't work" and "I'm as fit as a fiddle" that I start getting judgmental. We only rationalize to try and convince ourselves of something that we KNOW FOR A FACT is wrong. In this case, I believe it's because it's more convenient to believe these lies and distorted statistics than to put the effort in to make a change...and that kind of behavior, ABSOLUTELY shows a weakness in character, and deserves to be judged.


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