Right after I posted my last entry—in which I refer to my body fat (not “my body as fat”, mind you, but the actual measurable fat on my body)—I got a PR email asking me to take part in Fat Talk Free week.

I also got one comment from someone who feels I shouldn’t talk about trying to reduce fat, presumably because the implication is that if I don’t like the fat on my own body, I also have opinions about the fat on other people’s bodies.

Now, I’m not addressing the issue because of one comment, but because I’m truly interested in where we draw the lines in the whole body image/health conversation.

A few times now I’ve been accused of buying into a “thin = best” mindset and thus contributing to the mountains of disorder-triggering crap out there that’s designed to create an unrealistic ideal and make women feel bad about themselves. People love to point me to Kate Harding’s website, which I guess is supposed to make me understand that talking about my own interest in losing weight or getting in better shape is anti-feminist and also hateful towards people who are the same size as me or larger.

Which is . . . bullshit.

For one thing, if I say I want to lose fat from my body and you also have some fat on your body? I am not saying that I think you too should lose that fat. I totally get how it’s easy to feel defensive about it, because I often have a helpless knee-jerk reaction when people who talk about parenting choices that are different from mine. It’s easy for me to fall into the trap of believing that the mom who co-sleeps thinks less of me for putting my kid in a crib, but unless co-sleeping mom is a judgmental douche, the only relevant fact is that co-sleeping is the right personal choice for her. Even though she wouldn’t choose to put her kid in a crib, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t support my choice to do so.

I may not choose to be the same size as you. It doesn’t mean I care what size you are.

Fat has become such a loaded word that it seems some people feel you have to be a certain size to even be allowed to use it. Well, guess what? We all have fat. We have essential fat and storage fat and our fat stores energy and it cushions and insulates our bodies and it peeps out from the tops of our jeans sometimes. When I talk about wanting to reduce fat, I’m not sitting in a corner sobbing over pictures of rail-thin supermodels saying “I’m soooooooooooo faaaaat!” and I’m not saying I think you’re fat and I’m not saying fat people suck. I’m saying I want to reduce my own personal fat.

Why do I want to reduce fat? Some people might say I’m perfectly healthy and should just be happy with myself. Aside from the obvious point of that decision not belonging to anyone but me, I think there’s a difference between unhealthy, unhappy drain-circling with regards to body image, and a concentrated effort on taking steps to improve one’s health.

For me, being healthy is not just about fitting in my jeans, it’s about how I feel when I’m eating the right foods and working to make my body lean and strong. It’s about the increased energy, the self confidence, the mood elevation, the new levels of patience, the feeling of being on top of my life in so many good ways.

And, you know, it’s about fitting in my jeans TOO. I like the way I look when I’m not eating crap food. I like being able to wear the clothes I own and not having to buy new ones. I like maintaining, not gaining.

Over the last couple months I’ve watched my eating slide off the rails, and I’ve seen the effects it’s had on my body and my state of mind. I don’t like it. I’m working to fix it.

It’s about me. Yeah, I’m using the F word, but I just don’t see how what I’m saying is a negative thing to read. I want to lose fat and get back to the shape I was in before I spent several weeks eating Doritos, is there really something wrong with that? Is it politically incorrect to stop eating Doritos?

What are your thoughts on talking about fitness and weight loss while still supporting the cause against chronic body image dissatisfaction? The last thing I want to is make anyone feel bad about themselves when I’m talking about what I’m doing to make myself feel better, but . . . I don’t know, I’m not sure I’m willing to own that repercussion.

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Hulda
Hulda
12 years ago

Your body, your fat, your decisions.
I like reading your writing. Sure I could definitely stand to lose some pounds but I don’t feel like you’re talking about my fat at all, that would just be weird ;)

Erin
12 years ago

Yes to everything you’ve said. Seriously.

Sharon
Sharon
12 years ago

It’s nice to fit into your jeans and feel good about yourself, but it’s about health and taking care of yourself. Extra weight is a risk factor in so many illnesses and diseases. If you said “i’m going to stop smoking because it will kill me” should you be criticized because you made a smoker feel uncomfortable? Would you have to feel bad because you seem hateful towards smokers? I feel the same way about weight. If you want to make yourself the healthiest you can be, you should do it without worrying about who you offend. No one else can make you healthy. Good for you Linda. You see areas in which you can improve and you work on them.

Janet
Janet
12 years ago

I’m a big person, but used to be athletic before I had my last 2 kids. I’m not offended at all by your comments, and I really think you have a positive view, not an unbalanced one in the slightest.

I loved loved loved the pictures of your triathalon. I was so inspired that I’m breaking my bike out of mothballs this weekend and I’M DOING IT !!! I’m going to get pumping again.

Fat and all

Cari
Cari
12 years ago

I love this post.

You are working to be the healthiest you that you can be, and if the healthiest you happens to be thin, good for you. I think people who are comfortable with their bodies are much more willing to embrace and celebrate your efforts in dieting and exercising than those who are not so happy. Anyone can always choose not to read whatever they don’t agree with.

I, personally, love reading about your healthy (and fat-reducing) efforts and find you to be an inspiration. It sucks that there is such a thing as chronic body image dissatisfaction, but you are most certainly not perpetuating it.

This post says it all brilliantly. Keep up the great work.

serror
serror
12 years ago

Rock on Sundry!

I never feel judged by your writing. Nor do I feel that you are perpetuating unhealthy image issues here.

I think you are a great example of some one who has worked hard in the right ways to get to the fitness and weight loss levels that you personally want to be at.

Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

You said it. It’s about your body, not anybody else’s. You are doing an awesome job!

TJ
TJ
12 years ago

I liked this post. I’ve had friends act like my choosing to diet was a personal betrayal to them and to my gender as a whole. I don’t like not only not liking how I looked, but feeling ashamed of not liking how I look. So I’m coming at it from a new angle now. I can’t afford a new wardrobe, and I have a LOT of cute stuff one to two sizes down. I’m not betraying my gender, I’m being ECONOMICAL in my quest to reduce the fat deposits that make all my cute tops bulge in really unfortunate places.

ECONOMICAL.

beach
beach
12 years ago

OMG …seriously….political correctness has entered the f zone. I totally get your quest for health and how empowering it is to be fit and feel good.I have Never Ever felt you posts on your weight loss or fitness were in anyway judgmental or “I am better than you are cuz I look good in my jeans” but I guess when your blog is being read by so many, everyone comes away with there own take on it. Please continue to write about your journey with fitness and health….for me it is inspiring!!

shriek house
12 years ago

AMEN and well said.

beach
beach
12 years ago

also I love when you write about your sobriety journey also….all good stuff!!!

Gertie
Gertie
12 years ago

In all the years I’ve been reading your journal, I have never EVER felt that you were talking about anybody else but yourself. Your former drinking issues, your two preganancies, your haircut, your travel destinations, your decision to lose weight or your desire to increase fitness has always been written from your perspective and about your goals. I cannot recall one single incident in which the choices you were making for yourself were supposed to be adopted by others.

I myself am very fat and get quite irritated when I am shushed or poo-pooed for even using that word. For fuck sake, I AM fat, I am not ashamed of it, and it is NOT a dirty word!

Take heart that your entries are received as inspirational pieces and not criticisms of others.

Soleil
12 years ago

I think the notion that you should censor yourself on YOUR OWN BLOG just so that a few people with self-esteem issues don’t feel bad about themselves is pure crap. In fact, it’s paternalistic. The message people should take from your blog (and the one I take!) is one of inspiration. We all have issues with our bodies and to read into your post about your body fat as somehow insulting to anybody else is ridiculous.

Olivia
Olivia
12 years ago

It’s not politically incorrect to stop eating Doritos, but it is un-American. And unpatriotic. You stop eating Doritos AND THE TERRORISTS WIN.

Christine
Christine
12 years ago

OMG! WTF with the sensitivity? Really? THIS is what people find offensive?

Dude, I LOVE reading about your weight loss/fitness journey and I get lots of good ideas on what to eat and what DVDs are good etc. I am on my own personal fitness journey and I just can’t imagine how anything you say (or what anyone else says) regarding what you are doing to get to your own personal fitness goal can be taken as negative.

Please don’t stop. It’s inspiring.

Dawn
Dawn
12 years ago

De-lurking to touch on one of my favorite taboo subjects-body image.

I think it’s important to talk about fat, along with body image, acceptance, and personal health. No one gets anywhere by ignoring the white elephant in the room.

I’m going back to finish my bachelor’s degree with hopes of becoming a registered dietitian. Not because I want to turn everyone into a skinny waif, but because I want people, and especially children, to be HEALTHY. People should be more concerned with what the foods they are consuming do to the inside of their body more than what they do to the outside of their body.

The 110 pound waif who can somehow consume fast food burgers everyday and not gain weight? I’m much more concerned about that person’s health and well-being than the average size 8 person following a balanced diet. Which person has a higher likelihood of cardiac disease?

We all should be proud of the way we look-it’s part of having a healthy self esteem. If that means the loss of a few pound here or there, GREAT!! If that means getting your hair dyed, GREAT!! Feeling good about yourself shouldn’t come at the expense of trying to fit into a box of what anyone else may think is right or wrong.

I always love your writing, and the poise and honesty you give your readers.

Melissa
12 years ago

Amen sister! Regardless of what size you are, if you gain ten pounds, that’s ten pounds you have to try and fit into you clothes. It’s not even really about being “fat” or “thin”, it’s about looking good in what you already own!

Lauren
Lauren
12 years ago

I love that you just posted this. I am a member of Delta Delta Delta at my campus, and we were just forced to go through the body reflections program. Forced, it was mandatory. While the program makes participants realize the dangers of constantly pursing the thin ideal (which are apparently, ultimately death, or no time for a social life because you are exercising all the time), it fell short of providing any sort of support for those who do not feel like they are even at the healthy ideal, and those who NEED to use fat talk to encourage themselves to reach their goals. The program failed to provide healthy eating alternatives, but was peppered with scenarios in which girls only eat one meal a day to have “the perfect beach abs” or because “their boyfriend will break up with them if they get fat”.

The Body Image program generalizes how women (especially college girls, as this program is piloted for Tri Delta, a national collegiate sorority) see their bodies, and forces upon them ways they should see their bodies. To not fat talk encourages society to ignore the fact that some people struggle all of their lives to maintain a healthy weight that they are comfortable with. There is fat talk, that says, “I’m 5’8, 90 pounds and I just ate a french fry so I better hit the gym because I’m fat”, and this is the kind of fat talk that is referenced by the Reflections program. It does not include those who fat talk as a means to help themselves maintain and reach a healthy body weight. While the thin-ideal can be dangerous, this program grossly underestimates those who actually pursue such an ideal, and completely ignores those who have to actively work to achieve even the healthy ideal.

OmegaMom
12 years ago

Nothin’ to add but “Woot!” and “What she said!” and “Yeah!”

Adrienne
Adrienne
12 years ago

I wish MORE people would talk about healthy eating and taking care of their bodies. Our country is fixated on quick fixes – pills, surgeries, etc. to control symptoms of chronic diseases that could be prevented more often than not if people took better care of themselves, specifically through diet and exercise. Something like 80% of the healthcare related expenses that are bankrupting individuals and companies in this country are related to our resistance to being responsible for the choices we make about our lifestyles.
You are setting an admirable example for your family, friends and readers. And for that, I, personally, applaud you.

Rachel
Rachel
12 years ago

Amen!

Swistle
12 years ago

As you know, I disagree. I think that when people talk about how fat they are, or put their own fatness in a negative light, they are ALSO discussing where they feel The Correct Fatness Line is for the general public. But I don’t mind if we disagree on this—that is, just because I do think that, that doesn’t mean I think it’s TRUE. Just that that’s the way I think it is.

I also think that the emphasis on thinness = health is WAY OUT OF LINE, but that’s another topic.

Kate
12 years ago

Your writing has never been directed at your readers in the manner of “I think this about YOU guys…”. For petes sake, you don’t even know what I (or many of your readers) look like!

Listen, the truth is that your writing makes people think. For me, it makes me think about how *I* could be better, whether it’s parenting, fitness, living healthier, photography… whatever. But some people just aren’t willing to look in that mirror. It’s too painful. Others are inspired by your words, your choices and your thoughts and get out and DO something with that inspiration, instead of criticizing you and your’s.

I was inspired. And I dragged my ass out and walked/ran two 1/2 marathons in the last 3 months because of you, woman! So don’t you dare stop writing and talking about stuff like this.

Valria
12 years ago

Hello, I’m Fat. Nice to meet you!

It doesn’t matter if your a size 2 or a size 20, if you gain 5 pounds and your clothes are tight(er), you feel it.

Besides being fat I know what a week of eating healthy foods feels like. Energy, Mood, Self-Esteem, general all round satisfaction and self loving it feels like to actually “Nurture” yourself. When you fall off that wagon because you didn’t get fresh groceries or the office ordered in pizza 18days in a row I also know how lethargic and tired and CRANKY I can be and I’m fat in both instances and completely understood where you were coming from in your “Refocusing” post.

Maybe cause I’m always refocusing and turning this train around but I certainly didn’t think you were telling me I was a lazy sloth eating too many Doritos……cause that would be like you had a web cam here so something and thats just weird.

Rock on Linda, your an inspiration to a lot more people then who are looking to be offended to give themselves an excuse to delve into the Ben and Jerry’s……

ooooh,mmmmm Ben and Jerry’s….gotta go!

cindy w
12 years ago

Hmm. So, I used to be obese, then I had gastric bypass surgery 7 years ago & dropped about 100 pounds. I’ve also gained about 15-20 of those pounds back (eating what my toddler eats = BAD), which is why I’m working like crazy to take them off again. I’m happy as a size 12, I really am. I’m never going to be skinny, it’s not in my DNA. And that’s fine. But I’m not happy when my 12’s don’t fit anymore.

Because of all that, I tend to be super-sensitive about all things weight-related, and I’ve got some major food issues. But I also recognize those issues as my own, I know it’s all in my own head. If a female friend who’s skinnier than me mentions that she wants to lose weight? I don’t interpret that as an indication that she must think I’m HUGE, because… well, because she’s not saying that. People who *do* feel that way maybe need to take a look at their own personal issues about body image and stop dragging others into their baggage.

kalisa
12 years ago

You’re probably the most health-conscious person I “know.” People who have a problem with you talking about exercise & eating habits and percentage of body fat probably should be reading somewhere else, since these things are obviously important to you.

You go out of your way to not only DO things in a healthy way but to also TALK ABOUT it in a healthy way. People must have some serious body image problems of their own if they can’t see that.

Erin
12 years ago

This is such a great topic. I’m glad you wrote about it because it’s very hard to talk about.

I do not see anything wrong with frank discussions about weight, but I know that many people do not feel that way. In general, I avoid the topic sort of like how I avoid discussions about religion & politics in certain environments (i.e., work).

BUT, if we cannot talk about fat, or weight, or it’s relation to fitness and health… then I think we’re doing ourselves a huge disfavor. I agree with Swistle’s comment about thinness does not equate weight. I don’t hear that in what you say, and I don’t think that notion is very accepted anymore. I think a healthy weight is totally relevant to health-in-general, so we can’t simply toss the topic out of the discussion because it’s tough to talk about.

Erin
12 years ago

oops… I meant “I agree with Swistled comment about thinness does not equate HEALTH.”

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Delurking to say I think anyone who would criticize your issues with your OWN body has some issues that no doubt run a lot deeper than they probably care to admit.

Leah
12 years ago

Anytime I use the F word, Simon says, “You’d better watch out or a real fat girl is going to beat you up.” He’s mostly joking and, in his own special way, trying to tell me I’m attractive to him (which is a different issue altogether, as weight is not–or should not be–directly related to attractiveness (especially when the person in question has BIRTHED YOUR CHILD)), but there’s obviously some substance to what he’s saying, as you know from what happened on Bodies with the whole “fat-skinny” incident. I talked about this a little bit when discussing my postpartum body a few months back, and it’s definitely crazy how quick people are to take someone’s reflections about her own self-image and turn them into blanket value judgements about everyone else.

Kind of related: It always weirds me out when people respond to someone else’s weight loss or gain (as with pregnancy) with a negative comparison to themselves, e.g., “Your belly at 20 weeks looks like mine when I was skinny!” The whole thing just makes me uncomfortable. Why not say “You look great!” instead of imply “You look so much better than I do”? Why do we make it so hard for people to feel good about themselves, or to say out loud, as you have, how they’d like to better themselves?

Beth in SF
12 years ago

Oh my gosh, I am so with you on this one. I used to be stick skinny, I weighed like 95 when I graduated high school. But, post-collegiate office-job post-baby life has left me a few pounds heaver. Like, 50 pounds heavier. So, I say, I’m so fat, I need to lose weight and people automatically go to, no you don’t! You’re so skinny! Because they remember the old size 2 jeans me, and they don’t realize I’ve become this new size 12 jeans blob. I and I CANNOT stand when someone who is bigger than me getting mad because I think I am fat even though I’m smaller than them. It’s like you said, we all have fat. And you don’t have to be a certain size to say so. Thank you.

Beth in SF
12 years ago

And just for the record, it’s not that I’m unhappy with being a size 12, I am unhappy with how out of shape I am at that size.

kakaty
12 years ago

I’m easily twice+ the size of you Linda, and when I read your posts like yesterday I don’t get ANY of the negative connotation. Maybe I might if it was the first time I ever read your site, but you have made it abundantly clear this this is a health/wellness thing for you and that you KNOW what makes you feel better and you need to get back on track. You’ve been tremendously inspirational to lots of “fat” and “thin” people alike. And I never once have interpreted anything you say to mean thin=healthy.

What I think is happening is your statements are getting caught up in the whole “calling thin people fat” thing that goes on in the tabloids. It’s one thing to say you yourself feel tired, and flabby and unfit because of your decisions. Totally your right and it’s great to read about someone who doesn’t let a month of eating Doritos slide into a 20-30 lb weight gain (ahem – because I have NEVER done that or anything). Your honest and it’s a healthy honesty. I think people confuse this with celebs like Jessica Simpson, Khloe Kardashian and the like being called “fat” in the press which is a whole other thing.

I think their is a good movement in the “industry” to combat some of the horrible body image issues that run rampant in woman (Glamor Mags new road, rules in Milan and the like for models), but I really do think this issue is one that the media created and they now need to fix. Anyone crapping on someone who wants to be healthy and fit because they see it as a personal affront to their own size clearly has some serious issues to deal with. It’s not your problem, it’s theirs.

BethanyWD
12 years ago

Can I get a HELL YA!

For me, it’s all about how I FEEL when I eat like crap. And, yes, it is a combination of what’s going in my body as well as the shape of it. It just is.

I agree with Swistle that sometime (too much) in our society Thin = Healthy. Because I know plenty of skinny people who eat like crap and don’t exercise.

Your most interesting point is that this is FOR YOU, not for anyone else – not your husband, not the “media”, not for what your friends might think.

And it’s better to figure this out at 5 lbs over your “happy weight” verses 20 lbs.

Titanium
12 years ago

This is just too good NOT to jump in. Alrrrrighty then!

I’m a mom, a certified personal trainer, athlete and someone who likes to play outdoors WAY more than indoors… and my power-to-weight ratio is not what it should be. A little perspective from this corner: the spectrum runs a bit like this; pathological….healthy….fit

Whether we’re talking about blood pressure, resting heart rate, body composition or the way our favorite jeans fit.

Can I climb mountains while whistling “Fat Bottom Girls” to myself? You betcha. Should I dial it in and make it a whole lot easier on my heart? Abso-frickin-lutely. It’s not wrong to self-evaluate, take an honesty pill and put the Dorito bag down. Hell, I had to put my Hershey special dark chocolate on its wrapper so I could type this.

Bottom line: weight, size, clothing fit or how many minutes/hours it takes to run a mile… vary from person to person. Some people are striving to climb off the couch of pathological obesity (been there) and aspire to a modicum of basic health and longevity. Some of us are dusting off the workout bag and deciding that there are some things left that we want to do in this life, and by golly, we’re gonna have to work our butts off to accomplish them.

Hats off to you for taking the gloves off and rolling up your sleeves on this project. There are a lot of emotions tied to body image; not a single woman alive is exempt from this. You’re on the right track, working on your goals and you’ve handed out invitations for like-minded people to join you as you take it to the next level. Count me in.

http://titaniumpersonaltraining.blogspot.com/2009/08/newsflash-exercise-wont-make-you-thin.html

Cara
12 years ago

I think the fact that we get so easily bent out of shape over the F word is probably a symptom of the chronic body image dissatisfaction in our society, not the cause.

psumommy
12 years ago

THANK YOU.

When I exercise and eat right, it’s to feel better. Exactly. Yes. And I can’t tell you HOW MUCH I HATE it when people instantly take what I’ve said and make some negative comment about their own body. Or I’m critisized for thinking I need to exercize. Which is funny, because no matter what shape you’re in YOU NEED TO EXERCISE. Whether it’s to lose weight, or to get into better shape, or simply to maintain.

vague
12 years ago

I have definitely never gotten the impression from your blog that you have any negative or judgmental thoughts about anyone else’s body. In fact, I have found your writing about your weight loss and fitness to be very refreshing and inspiring. It’s been one (among many) things that finally convinced me that I could do it too.

I just came back from my first time swimming laps at the pool, in fact, and with all the pool water in my sinuses right now I’m really identifying with your posts about your early swimming efforts. But I know I’ll get better at it, too. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences.

caleal
caleal
12 years ago

I typed a few different responses to this, but the bottom line was always this: You’re an inspiration, I think. I think that the people who are feeling bad because of your words would feel bad no matter what you said. You’re not putting yourself out there to put other people down, and it’s apparent.

Personally, your words never make me feel bad about myself, they make me feel like fitness and healthy eating are much more accessible than I think they are. And I thank you for that. I mean, c’mon, you did a triathlon (super sprint, whatever). And you’re a person, a real person with kids and a job and commitments, and you did it. You make these things accessible, and I really hope you don’t stop because of some distractors who are going to be angry no matter what, be it at you or the next person.

Tony
12 years ago

Respectively, I just think some people can be too sensitive.

If I complain about struggling to pay my mortgage, does that mean I’m being insensitive to people who don’t make as much money as my wife and I do and can’t afford a house like ours?

My wife and I had to laugh earlier tonight when we played one of the Baby Genius Nursery Rhymes for our daughter. They changed “This little piggie had roast beef” to “This little piggie had tofu”. Are you freaking kidding me?

The world is just way too politically correct.

Annie
Annie
12 years ago

Hmmm… tough one. Growing up, I was always thin with very little body fat. I was an athelete. I grew up with a younger sister who was obese almost since birth. I learned to NEVER call her a “big fat liar” or say “omg I’m so fat!” in her presence. Knowing that if I did, she would automatically feel horrible. So… I love your blog and I don’t think that you’re offensive in any way – more inspiring than anything. However, I “get” that the F word can be damaging to certain people.

Amanda
Amanda
12 years ago

Thanks for posting your thoughts on this. You have motivated to comment for the first time! I think you are inspirational, and you write about the topics of health, fat, nutrition, etc in an educational and helpful way. You have hit upon an issue that truly gets under my skin – the acceptance of unhealthy body images in the OPPOSITE way. We are so concerned about healthy body images (rightly so) that we tell each other that we’re just fine the way we are, when truly a lot of us aren’t, health-wise. So thanks for standing up for a healthy way of living and putting yourself out there for criticism, because you are an encouragement to many.

Katie
Katie
12 years ago

This post (and your last post) really resonate with me. I have recently (the last 6 months or so) stepped up my exercise. Got a trainer, getting up at 5:30am to work out, started going to spin classes which I NEVER thought I could do, etc. All in a quest to lose the baby/belly fat and feel better about my body. But I am a junk-food junkie. And I guess I thought I could just increase my exercise and it would be a “breeze” to drop those 15-20 lbs. Well, guess what? All that exercise has toned my muscles, but the belly fat has stayed right where it was. I am just coming around to the fact that I have to change my diet. Something I’ve been really super-stubborn about changing. Your blog is inspiring for me in a lot of ways, but I have really enjoyed learning more about your fitness journey. I’d love to hear more about what you’re doing with your diet. Not your “diet” to lose weight, but your diet and what you choose to eat and fuel your body with. Anyway, best to you. Keep it up!

Merrily
12 years ago

Rock on Sister!

jill
jill
12 years ago

wow…people really got on you about that shit? Here’s what I did….I arranged for a trainer to come to my school to do a boot camp to kick my sorry ass and those of willing co-workers into better shape…Why? just cause:) really your fat talk had nothing to do with it….I’m a free thinker. But I do enjoy your posts on all topics

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t read all the posts (just some), and I do believe that people have the right to be offended by whatever ridiculous thing they want to find offensive. As the saying goes, you can’t control how people behave, you can only control how YOU respond to that behavior.

That being said, if people find a discussion of your body fat offensive, quite frankly, that’s entirely their problem and entirely not yours. I don’t think you should have to justify yourself in ANY way for talking about how you feel about your own body. And your impressive physical achievements stand as testament to what good diet and exercise can help accomplish. And yes, part of your recent successes owe themselves to having less body weight to lug around. Lighter = faster; just look at the world class distance runners.

I would never begrudge someone else’s happiness, whether it comes from body image, their status as SAHMs or whatever, but when we make a choice to be ONE thing, it inherently includes a choice NOT to be something else. The choice does NOT inherently include a judgment of the thing we did not choose, but for the easily-offended among us, I guess it does.

If someone else is happy being fat, good for them, but I choose not to be fat not only because I FEEL better, stronger, and more capable when I am lean and fit, but also because I think I look better. *I* would not be happy fat; I do not like the look of fat. If other people prefer to reduce my preference for being as fit (which generally includes being lean) as possible and/or to be offended by my aesthetic preference for thinness over flabbiness, then that’s their personal CHOICE. I feel no guilt about not make any apologies for MY personal choice.

Neither should you, although it’s very kind of you to explain your position. You have much more patience than I do.

Maureen
Maureen
12 years ago

Just wanted to “weigh” in! Am I the first to make that joke?

I think the one thing I have always gotten from your posts-you seem to be someone who has the ability to see several sides of an issue, and the world would be a lot better place if more people were like you. You seem like a very nonjudgy (I know that isn’t actually a word) person, and I have never gotten the feeling that you would think any less of someone who was overweight.

Tolerance is something that seems to be in short supply lately-the fact that we don’t all think the same way is what makes life interesting. I love reading your fitness posts, and I hope you keep writing them.

Sarah
12 years ago

I really think the whole acceptance of our bodies and embracing our curves and all is great, and has done a lot (hopefully) to curtail some of the crazy eating disorders that were so rampant during the eighties and nineties. And still are, to a certain degree. But what I for sure see a LOT more of in my area of the country is a different kind of eating disorder hitting young people, the disorder of not knowing when the heck to stop eating, and it’s really scary to me. I see so many truly obese little kids, and I’m sorry, body image or no, someone needs to help those kids learn healthier habits or all that excess FAT is going to be cutting years off their lives and hindering a healthy enjoyment of their youth. Period.
I know that sounds preachy, but I have seen so much of it lately. I guess parents are scared to ever say that a kid is eating too much or getting too fat, but dude! This is your kid’s life we’re talking about! You can say it in a nice way, but step in and help!
I realize this not completely on topic, but the whole idea of FAT as a taboo word really triggered something for me. Sorry. Stepping off soap box now.

SKL
SKL
12 years ago

I think the world would be a better place if everyone just owned their own feelings. If my cutting a small piece of cake makes YOU feel fat and whatever emotions go along with that, examine yourself. Do people really think we should all gain 10 pounds just so overweight people won’t feel so alone?

But yeah, it has been politically incorrect to talk about many aspects of self-improvement – and even worse to admit to having achieved some measure of it. And I think that hurts rather than helps. Why give people another lame excuse for not owning their choices (“waah, don’t you know that when you mention fitness, I get depressed and eat another carton of ice cream?”). Just about anything you happen to be getting right – or trying to – is bound to offend someone.

You want to get even more nasty comments? Try blogging about how to get your child’s weight under control. (Not that either of yours needs it, but I’m talking from my experience.) I’m told it is terrible for a mom to care if her child becomes obese or to take steps to prevent it. There are people out there who think I have doomed my toddlers to a lifetime of self-hate and self-destruction because I asked for nutrition advice from other moms. No doubt those moms suspect me of looking at their kids’ baby fat with disgust. I’m not sure why people can’t just see a personal comment for what it is.

Finally, I’d much rather hear bloggers say 100 great things about themselves than one snotty thing about someone else.

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