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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Amy M.
Amy M.
12 years ago

I’m not that easily offended, but I can see how some people would be sensitive about this issue. I’m in the range of “normal” BMI, but I’ve been guilty of saying “I’m so fat!” because after 2 kids, I am “fat” compared to my old body. With less time to exercise & prepare meals, I’m definitely feeling more lethargic and prone to eat quick-to-make, processed, less-healthy things.

I hope you don’t stop talking about it. We can sidestep body image talk all we want, but people will always be self-conscious about something on their bodies; whether it be excess fat, body hair, cankles, whatever. Very few people (men & women) are completely happy with their bodies & I hope I can be one of them someday!

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

I love this post. I’ve gone through a weight-loss ‘process’ a few different times- once after I got married, and then after I had my daughter. I did it the old-fashioned way- eat less, move more. I didn’t have a ton of weight to lose- just enough to make myself HEALTHIER. 20-30 pounds so my blood pressure wasn’t sky-high and I didn’t have so much damn back fat.

Every time, I had to deal with comments from the peanut gallery about how I was doing it, why I was doing it, I didn’t need to do it, etc. I DO NOT understand the judgment about something that should be celebrated! HEALTHY IS GOOD!

So I applaud you- for the triathlon, for taking care of yourself. If only everyone cared for their body like you do!

Nhalia
Nhalia
12 years ago

You have been a source of inspiration for me. You are a busy mom, looking to get as fit as you can. You have made amazing improvements, and I have enjoyed sharing your ups and downs, as well as your victories and milestones. You look amazing and I’m super happy for you.

I’m just flabbergasted that people would think your journey to fitness has anything to do with them, or that you judge them because you chose to work out. I’m…just amazed. If it makes you happy, more power to you. Its your life, this blog is about you…how is your joy in accomplishment of a goal you set for yourself considered hatred towards another?

They need to get over it, really. This PC crap has gone too far…

Becky
Becky
12 years ago

Sundry..again you say what I am unable to put into words.

Rock on. I have never once been offended or thought you were promoting unhealthy body images. You have simply been stating what YOU are doing with YOUR body.

Ashley
Ashley
12 years ago

I have found that, whenever I tend to get rankled about someone else’s choice or way of life, whenever I start to feel threatened, it’s because I have projected my own anxieties onto them, and I imagine they are thinking what *I* am thinking about myself. Which, as you said in the case of the cosleeping vs. non example, is really not the case (unless the person is a douchebag, in which case our interactions need not continue anyway). I find that what bothers me in other people simply does so because it is also true of me, or that what they have just spoken about touches a deep source of insecurity in my own heart. So if I get offended by your talking about your pants size and get all defensive and up on a “don’t perpetuate body image issues” soapbox, it’s because I myself have some insecurities about my weight, and your speaking about yours has reminded me of them, and that makes me uncomfortable. So to assuage that discomfort I criticize you.

Second, and this is just me– I think it’s okay to want to look good in your jeans, even if that “good” is a largely impossible standard that creates a lot of body image issues. What I am saying is not that that system is okay (far from it), but that we don’t live in a vacuum, we’re all imperfect and human, and sometimes we just want to feel pretty, even if it’s the evil pretty that our favorite Hollywood movie would recognize. Yes, that may perpetuate some unfair standard of weight or hair color or whatever, but oh well, we’ve got more important things to worry about in this day and age, don’t we? If it’s not okay to want to fit in clothes that, however unfortunately, were designed to fit and flatter size 0 supermodels, then where do we stop? I mean, I appreciate the whole Dove “real beauty” campaign, but I think at the end of the day if you want to swear off meeting impossibly false societal standards of beauty, then we will all soon be wearing colorless, nondescript cloaks and covering our greasy heads and swearing off makeup and deodorant because OMG THE PATRIARCHY IS HORRIBLE AND WE’RE TIRED OF BENDING OURSELVES TO THEIR STANDARDS. Let’s get over it, already, you know?
All that said, once again, Linda, you rock.

Lesley
Lesley
12 years ago

When people genuinely feel good about themselves – not trying to feel good or talk themselves into feeling good – they aren’t defensive or threatened by other peoples’ choices.

I’m just going to throw this out there – adding, I’m speaking for myself! – but whenever I’ve been the weight that works for me, as well as healthy, energized, lighthearted, level headed, not perpetually in PMS mode, fitting into clothes, feeling great in my clothes, etc etc., I don’t have to try to feel good. I FEEL GOOD, period. When I feel that way I’m not envious, threatened or jealous of anyone.

Whenever I’m carrying more weight than I need, I am enervated, de-energized, and moody, can’t zip up my pants or skirts, am forced to wear elasticized waisted clothes and baggy shirts, and feel like hell when I go clothes shopping. I do not feel good at all. I can’t even try to like who I am because I DON’T FEEL LIKE ME ANYMORE.

Sarah
12 years ago

Wow. I must be really insensitive, ignorant or dumb. I didn’t realize that talking about your own fitness goals, weight goals, body-image goals was demeaning to every one else. Every one who is NOT YOU and doesn’t have YOUR BODY. Only we know what our bodies can do, how they feel, how they respond to food and fitness and doritoes. Really, I really must be ignorant. I didn’t know that this argument was out there. Not that I’m spending all my spare minutes of time blog-hopping the fitness and FAT sites. There, I said it. FAT. Is there discrimination against thinner people now. Regular, every day, non-celebrities who just happen to be thin? Really? Cause sometimes it’s genetic people? Ever heard that argument before?

Wow. I never sound this insensitive. Because really? I’m not. I guess it all boils down to the fact that I feel badly that you even had to write a post like this, yet I understand. We all have to watch out for each other. But that doesn’t mean we all have to watch each other. You know what I mean?

Your desire to melt some fat off your bod is more of a desire to FEEL good rather than LOOK good. But the LOOKING GOOD does not go unnoticed. It may even be the driving force behind banning the Doritoes, for goodness sakes. But what takes over – the increased energy, and patience, and mood, and sex drive (thank goodness) – are the reason to continue to skip the snack aisles in the store. The reason to PUT DOWN THAT FRENCH FRY and pick up an apple.

Well done. On all of it. I can’t believe that F word is so taboo. I mean really, what the fuck?

Sarah
12 years ago

…and wow…that’s a ridiculously long comment…my apologies…wine, anyone?

Ashley
12 years ago

This post honestly surprised me, I can’t believe that you even need to go on the defensive. When I read about “your” observations of “your” fat Linda, I honestly just don’t even take it anywhere but “dude, way to go figuring out your feeling shitty” or “FUCKING WAY TO ROCK IT!” We spend all this time trying not to cross all these murky lines, it’s completely ridiculous. If you want to talk about your fat or non-fat FUCKING TALK IT UP SISTER, I’M ALL EARS!

Victoria
12 years ago

I like reading your blog whatever you talk about.

*shrug*

Sundry
12 years ago

In thinking about this a bit more, I wanted to add another point, which is that I do understand the frustration and shared unhappiness with hearing someone just . . . really slam themselves, in the form of I’M SOOO FAT type of comments. These days when I talk about something bodywise I want to focus on, I usually *try* and phrase it as a goal (ie, stop eating total crap, get back to the lean weight I was at 2 months ago) rather than a general statement of malaise. Because even though I’ve been there (the longer I eat crap, the more I start to feel those inarticulate everything-sucks wailing-wall I’M SOOO FAT feelings), I know it’s more constructive to focus on what I’m going to do to change things.

That’s one area where I guess I totally disagree with the Stop Fat Talk people — they use an example of “I need to lose ten pounds” as negative fat talk. To me, that sounds like a specific goal to work towards, which is a lot more positive than “BLARGH I look hideous in a bathing suit!” or whatever.

It may be that the thing that was most objectionable in my last post was joking about my fat being grabbed and making it sound like I was so grossed out by myself or something, and if that’s how it came across that’s my fault for overshooting for humor. I don’t mean that my self esteem lives and dies by the inches someone can pinch off my waist — but I’ll totally stand behind the fact that I don’t ENJOY someone doing that.

Anyway! Really interesting conversation, I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

SJ
SJ
12 years ago

First of all you are an inspiration to me, and I can totally relate. When I eat like shit, I feel like shit. When I eat healthy, I feel like I can do anything. I’d much rather fit into my favorite jeans comfortably instead of pouring myself into them and barely being able to breath. It does wonders for the spirit and self esteem. And everything else you’ve written about? Well I agree.

Keep on keeping on. This is your weight/health/wellness story and no one elses.

Oh, and by the way, I totally loved what Beth in SF said: “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.” That could pretty much be expressed by anyone, whatever ever size they are….

Melissa
12 years ago

Wonderful post, and so true.

How did writing about your fitness goals become about anyone else? Or about being thin? It’s always been about YOU and your HEALTH. What always strikes me are your personal motivations of strength, pushing yourself physically and mentally, and trying to be as healthy as you can be. You should not have to defend yourself for that.

Personally, I think it’s awesome to see a mother of two participating in a triathlon. I’m about to have a second baby in a few weeks, and while I have no plans to do a triathlon myself, I want to get back in good shape so I can be active with my two boys and be a good example for them as they grow up. Thanks for inspiring those of us who seek a healthy lifestyle!

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

Leave it to you to dig up the controversial (sp?) :) But hey…that’s what life is about. I’m heavier than I’d like to be, I’m heavier than my doctor would like me to be. I laughed hysterically when you talked about the fat pinchers and the duck-billed girl part spreaders….because you’re funny and you’re humor comes from real life. You have made great efforts to reach personal goals. Along the way you have motivated some people (and pissed some people off) but it’s your life and you have the right to talk about it. I keep hoping that I will find a way to get motivated, to reach the healthy place that I want to be at. Until then, I’ll keep reading and watching your journey and being amazed. From the many years that I’ve followed your blog, the one thing I can say is that I don’t think I’ve ever seen (read) you set out to offend or hurt anyone or any group of people. Keep writing, keep people talking and keep motivating!!! And if people don’t like the fat word…fuck ’em!

Angella
12 years ago

DUDE. You know we’re on the same page. Remember the “Fat-Skinny”debacle on Bodies last year? And sweet little me threw out the F-Bomb online?

I have felt positively hindered about posting about health/weight issues on my own site because when I do I get chastised by people, including people I see in real life. Blergh.

I think we should be able to talk about the feelings about our *own* bodies without people projecting it onto themselves.

Lori
12 years ago

When I read one of your posts about any of your fitness goals or activities what I feel is generally annoyance at my own laziness. But that’s on me.

I am not FAT but I do have more fat on me than I currently would like. But the excess is there because of the aforementioned laziness primarily. Also because I’m getting older and genetics and …

Also: This is your blog. Write what you want to write.

Michelle
12 years ago

I find you to be very motivating and I’ve never felt like you were somehow judging me by trying to be a healthier you.

I’m a fat girl working on becoming fit and your stories help me. Also? I totally laughed my ass off at you being mortified at some gym hottie grabbing your fat and I think that gave me a little ab workout so …thanks for that! :)

Laura
Laura
12 years ago

Could not agree with you more.

Lisa S.
Lisa S.
12 years ago

As a writer, you’re really under no obligation to be concerned about anyone’s reaction to your writing other than your own.

But, Linda, I’ll freely admit that when I see pictures of you (fit, glowing, hitting all sorts of athletic goals) and then read things about “the flab hanging around my belly” … the first thing I thought on reading the prior entry was, “If recent triathlete Linda feels that disgusted about herself … Christ, what hope do we mere mortals have?”

I know that it’s MY thing — nowhere have you ever passed judgment in this blog on how other people look. I don’t begrudge you the right to live their healthiest and best life. I don’t think your ability to live your healthiest and best life affects my ability to live my life.

My reaction was based purely on thinking, “Heck, if this person can do these great, healthy things and they’re still self-critical, how impossible will it be for me?”

I’m just a reader having a reaction to the words a writer used to make her point. Consider it a compliment — if nobody’s responding to what you write, you’re not doing it right!

Kimberly
12 years ago

Agree with you 100%. I’m naturally on the thin side, and when I talk about wanting to tone up, change my diet, etc. with women who are feeling defensive for whatever reason about their fitness/size/weight (and really, who hasn’t felt defensive about that at one point or another, I definitely have), I’ve gotten a similar reaction. My need to be fit/lose X lbs/rock my bikini should never be construed as judgment of anyone else’s choices, period. What I want for me, is 100% about me.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

usually I find your fitness related posts rather inspiring. And this post made me laugh. I don’t think you should stop talking about it!

Justine
Justine
12 years ago

Sweet baby jebus. I didn’t think anything of the posts. In fact, I totally related to the everywoman feeling of total discomfort when you talked about the fat pincers.

Now I feel like, a little obligated to say I’m not a super sensitive cry baby like whoever it is that emailed you. I hope whoever they are are reading and know that not all of us plus sized ladies are sit around waiting to be offended and hurt everytime people talk about fitness and their own goals. Am so sick of the fat rights movmeent or whatever it is telling us we’re all wrong for wanting to lose weight or changing our diets or whatever it is. T

he author of this blog is never judgmental about other women’s bodies – that’s what Bodies in Motion is all about, it’s aimed at all women – that’s real body positivity right there.

Laura M
Laura M
12 years ago

I agree with Olivia. Fight the terrorists, eat MORE Doritos!

You’re on the right and sane track, Sundry. I agree with you. Don’t let the naysayers derail ya. Stick to it.

Frannie
Frannie
12 years ago

Remember when you could write about ALL those woes you had just a few years ago and not have to discuss how you received a PR email telling you how wrong of you to write about your thoughts? I miss that! I’m 24 weeks pregnant and I can relate to your posts because I loved running and being fit, yet now all I want to eat is everything in the 25 mile radius and I worry a bit if I will be healthy later…
I think if YOU actually started telling people what they should DO during the week, you’d be alienating 99% of your readers. How can they assume that you judge others’ weight anyway by simply by wanting to improve, albeit with a little overexaggerated self-criticism? I agree, they’re projecting.

Carey
Carey
12 years ago

I think maybe this is a problem inherent in the blog. You can’t see who you’re talking to. I admit, I do a mini-eyeroll whenever a relatively thin and fit woman cries to me about being fat. Because if she’s fat, what am I? And if it’s soooo terrible, omg, I must be repulsive! It’s a little insensitive to bemoan your fatness around someone who is 10 times fatter than you are. Would you complain about your disgusting fat belly flab to a truly obese person? I don’t think you would. But when surrounded by your fit triathelete compatriots, perhaps you would. We readers, we’re faceless and bodiless to you. I’m not proposing you change a gosh darn thing. You have the right to write anything you please. If others don’t like it, they can stop reading. I wouldn’t want you to. Your true and uncensored thoughts are why most of us come to read your blog. We like YOU whether we agree with everything you say and do or not. I guess I’m just trying to explain the reaction. Keep up the good work!

Colelynnb
Colelynnb
12 years ago

I live in the land of the Cleveland Clinc with Toby Cosgrove who says lovely things such as “that if it were up to him and if there were no legal impediments, he would not hire obese people”. He talks of the “fat bias”. It does exist, it sucks and it makes people ultra-sensitive.

That said you are biased against your own fat not my fat. Everyone has their own perfect healthy weight that is why the charts have a weight range.

Swistle
12 years ago

I’m seeing in the comments a lot of “it’s about THEM” talk. And I think that’s like when a woman comes dressed all skanky to a party, and the other women who object are accused of being “jealous.” I think people can be allowed to object to the skankiness without having their own attractiveness evaluated harshly, or having unfair and unkind assumptions made about their mental states.

Just so, in this case I think it’s not nice for people to say that if someone disagrees with them about the meaning of words, they must be fat, out of shape, insecure, and have massive body issues. I think someone can also disagree because they disagree. I think issues of heath and fatness are loaded issues in our culture, and I think it’s possible to discuss semantics without being dismissed based on physical appearance—or, worse, on ASSUMED physical appearance—or, worse yet, on the assumption that certain kinds of physical conditions are objectively speaking negative and can be used as insults.

Swistle
12 years ago

Oh! Oh oh oh! But I’ve gotten so caught up in the interesting issues you bring up, that I think I need to specifically say that I saw NO NO NO related problem with your funny and interesting post about having your body fat measured, which I think is in a WHOLE DIFFERENT REALM than the kind of thing you’re talking about here. And I think those silly PR emails are like Google AdWords, where they just pick up on some key term.

Jasmine
12 years ago

I agree with the fact that it’s your body, your decision (duh, to anyone who disagrees). But, I have said before, to my best friend, that if she says certain things about her body and wanting to get rid of its fat, it has implications for what she thinks about all those the same size as her and larger (which includes me). However, she often takes a VERY unhealthy angle when speaking about modifying her body, in that she shames herself, calls herself disgusting, lazy, and unattractive, when none of these things are true. Then and only then I think is it ok to try to get shamers to realize the implications for those around her. You, on the other hand, have not approached it in this way. You have a healthy frame of mind for the changes you’d like to see in your body. So, good post, but I think there are some exceptions out there.

rosetta
rosetta
12 years ago

In the pictures you’ve posted of yourself most recently you are very fit and look really thin. So what I see, in pictures, doesn’t match how you’re talking about yourself. I realize I don’t see you in real life and that it’s your body, but I have lots of women friends who are in great shape and look good and still put themselves down as being unhealthy/fat/needing work. It gets tiresome. You don’t hear men go on about these things the way women do, and there’s a reason for that.

So yeah, as an outside observer, I feel like your self-descriptions don’t match what I see in the pictures you put up here – a beautiful, thin, fit woman who can race fast and hard.

Mandy
Mandy
12 years ago

You eloquently say what I’d like to say re: the F word and blogging. I tend to fall into the OhI’mSoFat crowd every so often but I need to keep myself in check by reminding myself- Hey, you’re doing this for how you want to FEEL not how you want to LOOK. Your explanation here is great and the work you do to maintain is inspiring. Tell whomever to F off.

Nicki
Nicki
12 years ago

You know what? I am roughly 30 to 40 pounds overweight and I know precisely why I am that way. I also know that when I read your posts I see a woman who is working hard at being fit and healthy (with the obvious added benefit of not passing out when she buttons her pants due to the tightness issue)and who is doing so while experiencing the difficulties of day-to-day life and emotions and all of that. Personally, I take it as an inspiration and am trying to make the changes I need so that I too can be healthy and fit. Never have I felt that you were making assumptions or criticizing others for their weight or body size, etc. Clearly, that stems from someone else’s insecurities and they are projecting it all on you. Keep doing what you need to do for you, and I, and others here, will continue to read and be inspired by you. Still not going to swim in an open body of water, though. That one can be all yours. *grin*

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

I agree with your post.

What I noticed though was this: You mention your own similar knee jerk reaction to people talking about their parenting choices. And your readers have seen that. When Heather A. posted about her natural birth experience I felt like your reaction was defensive in nature. Yet I didn’t read her post as judgmental, but I can see how if that’s not the experience you had you might see it as such.
(I did feel that your reaction to that “woman giving birth” necklace thingy a week or more ago was justified, that woman’s language did sound judgmental.)

What I guess I wanted to say was, deep down I think sometimes it’s really hard to look at these things logically and to suppress our knee jerk reactions. I KNOW you don’t mean anything judgmental in your own (inspiring) quest for fitness…but perhaps a reader’s insecurities with her own weight are heightened when she sees you (who looks AMAZING as you are right now) saying how you need to get back on track. Should you not say that? No…but it’s to be expected that someone is going to say “Shut up skinny bitch, you already look better than me.”

Long and short of it…I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong, but I think it will rub some people the wrong way.

Melissa
12 years ago

frankly, i find your motivation…to be motivating for ME.

Liesel
12 years ago

Amen. Amen, amen, amen. I am a thin woman and I feel as though I’m not allowed to have body issues, the same as you so clearly articulated in your post. The assumption is that I must work out, I must eat well all the time, and I must be in shape. Thin people struggle with weight and eating and motivation to be healthy as well and we ought to be able to discuss those frustrations without someone rolling their eyes or assuming anorexia is just around the corner.

joaaanna
joaaanna
12 years ago

I am fat. Very fat. And I have recently started making efforts to eating healthy. And you are right, it changes your mind and energy and pant size. I have found some terrific recipes out there and have fallen in love with most everything that is whole-grain. Do I fall off the wagon every now and again? Yup. But I feel so much better when I eat lots of veggies and whole grains. Avoiding diet pop, anything with HFCS, aspartame and trans fats is the trick for me. Good luck – Do what you need to do for yourself.

Portia
Portia
12 years ago

There is such a huge difference in saying “This size/weight is not acceptable for a woman of my stature — ANY woman of my stature — and it must change,” and “I personally don’t feel comfortable or healthy at this weight and want to change for my own comfort.” Note that I didn’t say “health,” but “comfort,” because I think you need to be comfortable with how you look.
When I joined Weight Watchers, I was a size 8. I weighed 140 pounds. I was in the (very top) healthy BMI range. I pretty much kept WW a secret because the people I told thought it was ridiculous that I had joined. But I was eating TERRIBLY and I wasn’t exercising. I felt incredibly unhealthy, and generally completely out of control. (It was reflected in the rest of my life too — my apartment was always a mess, I was always forgetting to do important things, etc). For me, starting a weight loss program was a CRUCIAL part of pulling my life back together and making me realize that I could change stuff I didn’t like about myself.
Now I’m ten pounds thinner, but still striving for my goal weight: not because it’s some magic number that equals hotness, but because, well, I’m eating ten times better, but I’m still not exercising. And I want to get in shape so badly. I don’t feel like me when I’m not exercising. And you are a huge inspiration on that front, Sundry — every time I visit your blog I’m motivated to get off my butt and go DO something!
If I reach a point where I’m exercising regularly, eating well, and FEEL good about my body, then it won’t matter whether I’ve hit the goal weight or not. Right now, it’s just something that keeps me from backsliding.
For me, losing weight was more of a mental exercise than anything else. I can’t even say I look all that different — probably most people wouldn’t notice the changes, but they’re huge to me. If you’re comfortable and happy with your body and the way your clothes fit, then rock on!

Alyce
Alyce
12 years ago

Swistle is saying what I am thinking in a very nice way. I stutter and stammer when I try to convey my feelings about this.

Full disclosure: I am a fat woman (the kind of headless fatty you might see pictured with an article about the obesity crisis)

I am OK with my body and what I do with it (movement-wise) and with what I feed it (whether Doritos or a dressing-less salad or organic baby greens farmed by consenting adults).

I am OK with you viewing and doing and treating and feeding and speaking about your body any way you want.

It is hard for me to practice body acceptance. There is inherent “othering” in everyday discussion of bodies and fatness. That is, when you say that you need to or want to reduce your body, it does imply that current state or larger states are unpleasant. But I avoid this by not reading your Bodies blog, and skipping over posts that refer to what you’re doing.

I am not offended.

[I also have long, complicated thoughts about “health” and “lifestyle changes” and the goodness and badness of certain foods and certain behaviors, and my general disregard for anyone who asserts that they are able to affect real, lasting change on their physical being. Annecdata aside. I am speaking in generalities, not about your blog or specific posts.]

I do

charissa
12 years ago

Hurray!

I’m sorry that you’re getting that kind of negativity thrown at you (that just sucks), but I am happy that I’m not the only one who seems to get attacked for expressing that I have fitness goals.

I’ve been on the skinny-but-also-wimpishly-weak side my whole life, and although I’ve never said I wanted to lose weight, any mention I make of wanting to get stronger gets me the kind of reaction you’re talking about.

Self-betterment shouldn’t be censored! Anyone motivated enough to pull themselves together and achieve a goal should be applauded.

Go you!

Sundry
12 years ago

One thing I’m wondering, here. From some of the comments and specifically Alyce’s comment:

“…when you say that you need to or want to reduce your body, it does imply that current state or larger states are unpleasant.”

Okay. So if I say I want to cut my hair, does that mean I don’t like long hair on anyone else and think everyone should have short hair? Or if I said I wanted get a spray tan, or only wear the color blue, or sell my car and start driving a minivan, is there an implication I think anyone who doesn’t do the same is falling short of a personal ideal I have created that applies towards everyone on earth?

Deanna
12 years ago

As someone who is fat (a happy healthy 280 plus), it doesn’t bother me. You do not moan about how you have to loose 10 pounds and I see pictures of you with nicely toned arms looking great in shorts. You talk about how hard it is not to treat yourself to ice cream nightly once the kids go to bed (ME, TOO!! -hello, dove ice cream bar, my love!) and how hard it is to carve out the time to exercise (me, too!!-waking up at 5am to exercise)

I am fat. I am happy and healthy (shuddup all you naysayers. i do not have hi blood pressure or diabetes etc. and I am active and happy- I *do* wish I could loose a few pounds and/or find some cuter clothes once in awhile but- eh- I really like cheese and yummy food so- eh- whatever)

I guess I just look at it as another blog topic. Interesting to read your take on it and I can be happy for your progress but no offense taken (from one of your “biggest” fans!).

Lesley
Lesley
12 years ago

“…when you say that you need to or want to reduce your body, it does imply that current state or larger states are unpleasant.”

Correct. For me the larger state has never been helpful. FOR ME.

I’m not clear on why the implication is offensive. The “larger state” – rolls, back fat, and belly jelly has been ruinous to my health and sense of well being. I find it perplexing that other people would feel hurt on my excess blubber’s behalf. Although my blubber begs me to feed it, it doesn’t send me email crying that I’ve offended it.

If it did, I might have to slap it around.

Sundry
12 years ago

Lesley: I took that to mean that the person would then be thinking that EVERYONE’S body that was in a similar or larger state as their own was unpleasant. Maybe I got that wrong, though.

Jessica
12 years ago

Not to try to put words into Alyce’s mouth, but I think she’s speaking to the context our culture which currently broadcasts that fat is slovenly, disgusting, and less than truly human. Given that there’s no large spray tan movement that says spray tan is best, spray tan is healthy, if you don’t spray tan you’re slovenly, disgusting and less than human, the decision to spray tan wouldn’t have the same impact. Same goes for the car argument. But we’ve got medical bodies perpetuating the myth that thin always is best, that there’s an obesity crisis (what else do they expect when they change the definition of BMI one night and thousands of people who went to bed “normal” and “overweight” wake up “overweight” and “obese”)… headless fatties make the news all the time, but they don’t bother to point out that there are many ways to define healthy, and weight loss doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of it.

I know myself I don’t follow your bodies blog, but that’s because I know doing so would send me back to disordered eating and associated craziness. I am proud of the things you have done for yourself, and it inspires me to do the things that are right for me, even though they aren’t the same things all the time.

Shawna
Shawna
12 years ago

When I say something positive to my mother about a dish someone else has made, she invariably takes that to mean that her version is not as good. A compliment to another is an insult to her and I cannot seem to stop her from having this knee-jerk reaction. When I was in university I noticed that asking a male roommate to do his dishes meant, to him, that he’d maybe put off doing his dishes too long so he’d do them, problem solved. Asking a female roommate the same thing seemed to result in her thinking I was implying that she was not a clean enough roommate, and that maybe I was mad at her. In other words, she took way it more personally than I’d intended it.

I have a feeling something similar is happening here and I suspect it’s not uncommon among women in particular (maybe not common, but not rare either). We just seem so alert to every tiny nuance that can be taken as negative. I don’t know why that is but I suspect it’s all kinds of complicated stuff that’s bound up in how women bond and interact socially. Nature? Nurture? Who knows?

Shanna
12 years ago

I think you’re right on. This is your blog, where you can write whatever you want and it’s your body. If you want to weigh 200 or 98 or anything in between and write about your journey there, it’s your right. People who nag about it are insecure and should probably be doing something other than sitting here reading your blog!

Eileen
12 years ago

For cheeseburgers sake, you clearly, .. clearly are the most reasonable blogger, PERSON, that I know in the havn’t met world, you totally take every perspective, taste it, savor it, share your take on it. THE HELL, if your gonna blog about the things that go on in your mind, do it, cause yeah, hi, we arn’t in there, being its your mind and body and all, and really should be taking the same cautionary health tips OURSELVES, not effing, like.. bicker about it and disect it into some body image hating thing. God. Heres the line.. and Im going to cough out, a few haters are crossing it.

Shannon
12 years ago

I think the issue is just that fat is associated automatically with bad health but that is not automatically true. I think it is just the word association that is harmful. You are saying both that you want to lose weight and also be healthy, those don’t have to go hand in hand. Many, many, many fat people eat whole and healthy food and amounts, exercise a lot and yet still are “overweight”. If you start eating right again and feel better mentally as you were saying you haven’t been lately BUT you don’t lose that extra weight are you going to be dissapointed? If so, I think that is a harmful attitude to have.

H
H
12 years ago

I haven’t read all the comments, so if this has been said already, I apologize. I had an eating disorder in high school and I’ve always been super sensitive to what people say around my daughter, who is now 18. Also, I’m completely Libertarian on the subject of weight – what you do or how you look doesn’t matter to me and I don’t expect what I do or how I look to matter to you. I’m completely tolerant of everyone’s personal choices, size, whatever. Your post made me think about this more – why am I sensitive to talking about it when I’m not sensitive to you looking however you look? I think it is because so many young girls are influenced by what people say. My parents were particularly cruel and definitely contributed to my lack of self esteem, my need to control and often, I ate to spite them because they said something mean to me. (Later, I became anorexic.) Their words hurt and I wanted to hurt them back. I don’t think you need to look a certain way, nor do I judge your desire to look a certain way. I really don’t care if you talk or post about how you feel – that’s your right. Go for it. But, honestly, I wouldn’t want my daughter to read your post(s) about that subject because I’m afraid she’d translate it into something dangerous about how she needs to look and how she needs to behave, rather than finding a healthy lifestyle that is suited to her wants and needs. Maybe this has more to do with how women/girls internalize these comments, how we constantly compare ourselves to others and our desire to please others. I’m not so sure it has anything to do with weight or appearance after all. By the way, my daughter is lean and fit (she’s quite a runner) and has none of the weight problems that I had when I was young. I often feel this is a credit to how I’ve handled this issue with her – but who knows. Maybe I’ve had nothing to do with it at all.