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.

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
157 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Eileen
12 years ago

Just like to add, my mom, who is like the only person in my life, that drives me insane to the point of disowning them, then Im all theres lotsa ppl who don’t have moms so I should love mine lots and lots..god, long intro SHORT, my mom, gorgeous, has some extra lb’s, aint gonna lie. But when her size 14,or 16 aint fittin her she’s like damn! lay off of whatever it was that made her notice the gain. Also, she pops frikn vito’s like they are gonna evaporate, shes a ridiculously huge portion eater, but still, gorgeous. Plus shes all spunky and stuff and borderline annoying which my god I am sure Iz reflect a buttola amount of that as well, but still. She’s healthy, exercisy, for being 55, but may have to tweek a portion thing here or there, especially recovering from having thyroid cancer and all, the thyroid turns into that snotty bitch you just wanna jack up and threaten it’s life but you can’t, with it being CANCER and all. So.. yeah..some ppl are just built diff… it’s how the world goes. Me, 29, worked my ass off to be a 8, because my life runs better when I feel better. If I notice a gain and want to curtail a habit, guess what Im NOT gonna do..be all up thinmint in this place, still, why with the “BUT I have this to say commenters.” Please, tell me what YOU have to say about SOMEONE other than YOself’s weight. Please.. enlighten me, in a logical way.

p.s. im sure there are typos and quotes and periods out of place. I blame this stoopid new laptop. so yessa.. sorry. ;)

wordygirl
12 years ago

I love reading your posts about your healthy-body efforts. I’ll be honest, I also like that they’re somewhat sporadic: I don’t have any blogs on my blogroll that are solely about weight-loss or fitness training, etc. I like that it’s a part of your life, and that you share it with us. Your posts are incredibly inspiring and often serve as a kick in the pants for me (and heaven knows my pants need the kicking). It’s never occurred to me to be offended at your use of the word fat, or to think that you would judge me for not making the same choices you make – in fact, I am SURE we’d be friends IRL ;-) I have totally read blogs that DO make me feel judged (see here: http://kblog.theschellingerhoudts.com/2009/09/16/controlled-crying/ and also here: http://kblog.theschellingerhoudts.com/2009/08/30/a-simple-act/), and yours is not one of them. Rock on, Linda, and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.

Christy
Christy
12 years ago

If anything, I wish I had your motivation. My third baby has sort of put me over the top in terms of my ability to get things done (including exercise). I would love to lose about 15 pounds and tone up. I just don’t feel like giving up my m&m’s right now. With three daughters, I do avoid the F word and talk about exercise and eating in terms of being healthy. Though, in my head I’m thinking I wish I looked better in my jeans.

Lori O
12 years ago

It’s your blog. You can say whatever you want. And there’s nothing wrong or offensive about what you are saying. I love reading about your challenges/goals. It motivates me, and not because I think you’re skinny and I’m fat and I want to be like you, but because I know there are other people out there like me, and it makes those challenges/goals not seem so insurmountable when someone else is doing it too!

Lesley
Lesley
12 years ago

Many, many, many fat people eat whole and healthy food and amounts, exercise a lot and yet still are “overweight”.

Exercise – as I’m discovering – doesn’t burn many calories. Moderating food intake is the key to getting and staying lean. Exercise is about building strength and endurance, as well as shaping and sculpting. It’s got very little to do with weight loss (though the two hand in hand are a good idea).

Eat too much of anything – including foods that are “good for you” – and you will gain weight. It doesn’t matter what you eat.

To maintain my healthy weight – i.e. the weight that enables me to zip up my pants and walk and sit comfortably in them – I need around 2400 cals a day. That’s a lot of food, btw.

But heavens, when I was gaining, I packed away 3,000-4,000 cals a day, easily. Granted, a lot of that was junk (ice cream, chocolate, chips) but I also used to overeat healthy food. I never measured or weighed anything. I’d always make more than I needed.

I also needed to learn to eat more healthy fat and protein and healthier carbs. A low fat high carb diet never worked for me.

Aidan Donnelley Rowley
12 years ago

Wonderful, brave post. As long as we are staying within bounds of healthy, I think each and every one of us has a license to strive to be whatever size we want to be for whatever reason. Health, jeans, who cares. Our desires and opinions and goals are not always commentaries on what other people should be doing. It’s interesting because I have written a handful of posts on my own blog (newish – I am a rookie in these woods) and I have encountered a similar response. Our decisions are ours. They are not always veiled opinions on how the rest of humanity should act. I applaud your motivation to be healthy and happy and look good. But, more than that, I applaud your honesty and gumption on this thorny topic.

marna
12 years ago

Linda –

I don’t for two seconds think because you want to lose weight because you aren’t happy with your body fat means you don’t embrace, love, or look down upon those of us who are obese.

And really — we shouldn’t care. That’s like being a non-drinker and looking my nose down on the lot of you who are drinkers.

And really this is your space to write about whatever the heall you want. If someone doesn’t like it or it makes them feel bad they can close the browser and stop reading.

Right?

marna
12 years ago

@Shannon on October 10th, 2009 3:26 pm
“Many, many, many fat people eat whole and healthy food and amounts, exercise a lot and yet still are “overweight”.

Marna: I have to chime in here as an obese women (aka very fat) — You are right many many many at people eat whole and healthy foods and amounts, exercise a lot and are still overweight. However, regardless of how much we want to bullshit our way through life and sugar coat the truth if you EAT more and take IN more than you BURN you are going to be overweight REGARDLESS of how much HEALTHY and WHOLE foods you eat. I tried to bullshit myself for years, I blamed it on my genetics, my metabolism, good Lord I tried to blame it on brown fat cell theories. The reality was I wasn’t putting my fork down, and I wasn’t exercising enough. And for me it’s going to be a battle for the rest of my life because for the time first time in my life I am honest enough to admit that I am addicted to food, I use it like a drug — like an alcoholic uses booze.

And when I follow a food plan, eat well,reduce calories AND exercise I lose weight, it’s simple physics. When I don’t follow “the plan” — I either don’t do anything or gain.

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

I think it’s great that you write whats on your mind…because this is where you are supposed to do that…even if that includes how you feel about your own body image. You are not saying that everyone else should be like you. Listen – you need to do what makes you happy and feel good about yourself. Writing about it is a way a supporting yourself in the process. The pic of you finishing your triathalon says a million words about your sincerity. You are grinning ear to ear. Now not everyone looks like that after such a tremendous feat.

Mrs.  Flinger
12 years ago

I write about wanting to get fit often. Which, alone, could be an issue. (Why am I writing about it so much without actually having achieved it?)

However, I also have a daughter who I want to encourage a healthy body image.

These two are not mutually exclusive.

So my emphasis on being fit is one that I think can encourage people, including my daughter, to be healthy as opposed to skinny.

It’s a subtle but really important difference.

Lawyerish
12 years ago

Well! I could go on about this topic for DAYS. I’ll try to rein it in, though.

I agree with several people who have commented that there is a huge difference in writing about your personal fitness “journey” (blergh, I hate that word), as you do, and in berating yourself for being fat or falling short of some wispy ideal (“oh, I’m SO FAT”, “I am gross and worthless”, “I have to run 80 miles to burn off that carrot I just ate”). The latter is “fat talk”; the former is not.

I happen to be hyper-sensitive to “fat talk” and to disordered body perceptions and eating, and truly, that is not you. Not even remotely. You’re not halfway to the Renfrew Center just because you are conscious of your body and really into fitness. I don’t sense anything pathological in where you are right now, and I would say so if I did.

I mean, I personally support people being kind to themselves and giving themselves a break for having periods of slack in diet and exercise, and I don’t have any problem telling you that, either — hey, dude, you are doing awesome, you just finished a tri and a 5K and I think you can handle some alfredo sauce and Doritos. But that doesn’t mean what you’re saying is “fat talk” and it sure as hell isn’t negative toward anyone else.

As long as we’re coming up with analogies, I think the theory that a thin/fit person talking about their fitness goals is in some way imposing their ideal on others (or outwardly expressing their ideals about people other than themselves) is akin to someone thinking that, because I am a distance runner I consider non-runners to be lazy slackers. While in fact, of course, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if other people run AT ALL.

Mel
Mel
12 years ago

It doesn’t matter what you write about on your blog, because it’s YOUR blog, YOUR opinion. That’s the bottom line for me.

I read a few blogs. And if I disagree, I disagree, that’s it. If I REALLY don’t like the way a person writes or their general take on life, I stop reading…end of story.

I don’t understand anyone that posts a comment and gets all up-in-arms and mean about it. If that person thinks they have a point to add that may have been missed in the author’s thought process than fine post a comment in a non-demeaning, polite, manner. What’s so hard about that? But I guess there is a portion of the population that was never taught manners or acceptance and that is the only topic that gets my blood boiling.

Swistle has manners – she’s nice girl! ;-)

I love your writing because it is always clear that it is your opinion and you don’t preach your opinion like some do.

Love ya, keep it up. (OH and you are an inspiration to me, not demeaning in any way!)

patois
12 years ago

I always go with the belief that I can say and think whatever I want about myself. And I think everyone can say and think whatever they want about themselves.

As for me, I, too, have seen the slide occur in the past few months. I don’t want to have to buy new clothes either. Which is perfectly fine for me. You? You can do whatever is perfectly fine for you.

Joy
Joy
12 years ago

As a mom who has worked with varying degress of dedication over the past 6 years to get back to my pre-baby fitness level, I find your entries empowering and I leave them invigorated with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility. I think blogs can be rife with the sort of “troubles talk” that our beloved feminism has identified as both a part of women’s culture and also a potential underminer of our goals.

Yours, however, is most emphatically NOT that sort of a blog. Yours is a journal of methodical ass-kicking and a call to action for more ass-kicking. I luuurrrve your entries about bodies and working them and owning them. Don’t stop!

Miellyn
12 years ago

First point: My current weight is not a consequence of my current lifestyle choices, but of bad choices in the past. The adjustment I would need now to lose the extra weight I built up in 20-odd years is way beyond my happiness level. My current lifestyle choices are pretty good, although I do enjoy food a little too much still. So don’t judge peoples current lifestyle by their current weight.

Second point: You do not offend me when you talk about losing fat, inches or ounces. I don’t see why I should be offended. Nobody should feel defensive about their bodies when somebody else writes about losing weight. Would they feel defensive if somebody wrote that they thought drugs are the new way to heaven and they are not taking drugs?

I think people who find that kind of thing offensive are very insecure about their choices, probably because there is so much judgement going around about being fat.

And you judged too, when you said “but extra weight usually – not always, but usually – has something to do with lifestyle choices, and it seems silly to deny it”

There are very few people that enjoy being fat, and eat too much on purpose. It mostly doesn’t feel like a choice at the moment you do it. You have to reach a certain point in your mind to be able to see it like that, and then enough internal discipline to stop doing it. Eating is often a mental addiction..

When you are fat, you expect to be judged, because experience teaches you to.
It’s like when you are used to people hitting you, you cringe when someone raises an arm, even if it’s just to wipe their nose…

Sundry
12 years ago

Miellyn: I don’t understand how what I said is a judgement. I absolutely understand the FEELING of not having a choice — I am an alcoholic, after all — and yet I recognize that the choice is mine, whether it’s food or exercise or booze or whatever. It’s not a criticism, it’s a reality.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

My heart stopped beating for the first time when I was 21. I was diagnosed with my heart condition, put on medication with the threat of a pacemaker, and told I’d probably never be healthy enough to run more than 20 minutes.

Now, obviously: all of this sucked. I didn’t like being “an invalid” when everyone else in my peer group was just an average college senior, I didn’t like being winded from the act of walking the four flights of stairs to my apartment, I didn’t like staring at the ceiling at 3am feeling my heart race and wondering if I could sit up or if that would make me pass out. I didn’t like wondering if I’d have to go the ER that day, or not, as if that was a normal part of peoples day.

But I really, really , really didn’t like the weight gain that came with the meds I was on to keep me alive.

Now, 8 years later, I’m not on those meds anymore. My heart works fine, thanks to some good doctors and some progressive scientific research — but all of that is different comment. Now, in my life: if I eat unhealthy, if I don’t drink enough water, if I rob my body of nutrients it needs, it makes it harder for my heart to beat, and I feel that. I feel it race, I feel it working harder, and I remember –GOD do I remember — what it feels like to be really, really ill. Some of it is so clearly some sense-memory PTSD, but also it’s fact: being dehydrated makes my heart work harder. My heart doesn’t have that kind of energy, therefore I’ll have another glass of water, thanks.

But I have this feeling when I gain weight, too. I associate that feeling with being unhealthy, and that makes me remember what it feels like to almost die. When I tell people I’d like to lose weight, or I’m working to refocus my eating, my working out, my whatever, it’s not a commentary on their lives and their asses. It’s a commentary on my body works, and what is best for me. And I’m not sure why I need to take ownership of how other people interpret something so personal. It doesn’t bother me if people don’t feel the same way about nutrition and fitness that I do — how could they? They don’t have my history and my neurosis — but why does it bother them that them that I DO feel this way?

We’re all on the same team, people. We all want to live the best, happiest life we can. How that manifests from one individual to another… who cares, really? Why not just support each other while we each deal with our own stuff?

Miellyn
12 years ago

People feel judged when you tell them they have a choice about something they don’t think is a choice. No matter if you know differently.

jonniker
12 years ago

I have to be honest in that this is all very mysterious to me. (Here, by the way, is where people think *I* am a judgmental ass, but I swear, I am just stating my own personal experience, and I don’t care if other people feel/live differently.)

I don’t have body image issues. I never really did. I’ve never had an eating disorder, and I don’t dislike the way I look, pretty much ever. When I want to lose weight, it’s mostly because I’m lazy (IRONY ALERT) and want to feel better and buy whatever clothes I want without any effort at all. No matter what my weight, I still feel pretty good and I still think I’m attractive, no matter what my weight, and though I will admit that I like it a little better when I’m thinner, it takes up significantly less brain space than it does in some people’s. As in, it takes up the same amount of space that turning on lights does.

I don’t love the body talk, not because I am personally offended, or feel like you’re saying something to judge all of us, but because it’s just not something I really care a lot about. I like to eat right, and I like to exercise, but it’s just because meh, that stuff makes me feel good.

(Note: I am not saying you or anyone else here has body image issues, just saying that many of my contemporaries do, and somehow I managed to dodge that particular bullet. To be clear.)

What I will say is that whenever I say to you (and I have in the past) that you shouldn’t beat yourself up or worry about what you ate or — as I said once — “self-flagellate” (hee!), I am not saying I think you’re wrong for feeling the way you feel, or that I’m personally bothered by it. What I am merely saying is that I think you’re great no matter what, and that I just don’t really see/care about that stuff. In the words of Meredith, I think you can swing some alfredo sauce and Doritos without really batting an eyelash, but if you DO bat an eyelash, I don’t mind. It’s your body.

Ergo, I sort of come to the conclusion that people who DO get upset about what you’re saying are maybe … I’m not sure, less secure in their feelings on fat or hyper-sensitive to it for whatever reason, I’m not sure. I think it’s stupid, though, of that I AM sure.

Oh and PS, when I am/was on Weight Watchers, and/or have lost a bunch of weight, I AM like you in that I like to rein it in as soon as possible. Not because I’m in the closet wearing a hairshirt or anything (MUST. BE. PUNISHED.), but because JESUS, it was SUCH HARD WORK to lose all that weight and I sure as shit don’t feel like doing all that AGAIN. (See also: ironic laziness.)

jonniker
12 years ago

Oh and PS, my extra weight is the result of a lifestyle choice, pretty much. Of course it is. And of course it usually is. I fail to see how that statement is offensive.

(Though I AM cutting myself some slack in that I’m nursing right now, and BOY HOWDY, my body seems to like to hold onto those pounds. But I take full responsibility for putting them there after Sam was born and my mind/body was set to “EAT. FAST. FATTY. SO. WHAT.”)

jonniker
12 years ago

I will say, though, that I agree with Swistle, despite my comment above: I don’t think that everyone who disagrees with you on this is somehow envious. Perhaps people’s life experience makes them think about things differently or … well, any number of things. Ergo, please allow me to amend my earlier statement, for it was unfair.

Sometimes things people say/do upset me for no reason, but that doesn’t make those feelings “stupid” or invalid.

honeybecke
honeybecke
12 years ago

Okay, people are way too sensitive about FAT. I am not just FAT, I am obese. I don’t mind when people talk about their body and their fat, and it doesn’t make me feel bad. I know that people like to be as healthy as they can and I am not going to go all crazy and sensitive on them if they start talking about fat. My very best friend of 28 years lost 120 lbs and just ran her first marathon and holy hell did she work hard to get there. I was supportive and listened to her talk about her progress and weight loss and I never once felt weird or like I needed to be doing the exact same as her (although, of course I should do it to be healthy, DUH) but anyways I just wanted to tell you Linda that seriously, you go girl. Do what you want to do and people who email you about how you are adding to the disorders or thin trend or what ever the fuck, are just totally off their rockers. That’s THEIR issue. Anyone should be able to tell from what you wrote that it was about YOU and what you were doing to better yourself. You write about what ever the hell you want.

Michelle
Michelle
12 years ago

I believe the issue lies solely around defensiveness. Those who are saying you are “judging” people who are not the same size as you are simply defending what they are already uncomfortable with (their current size). The number of overweight/obese people out there far out-number the people who are underweight or too thin. You are doing something HEALTHY for your body. I wish everyone would do those same things.

Our bodies are made to eat right and exercise. Before we ever heard of fast food or convenience/processed foods, man had to hunt and gather for food. If we all took a tip from our roots we would be moving more, eating less, and growing/making our own foods at home – which is exactly what you are trying to do.

You go Linda! You rock!

Maria
12 years ago

Sometimes your health/fitness/fat comments bother me. You know why? Because *I* wish *I* had more energy and motivation and drive to head to the gym to do something about what I perceive to be my own flabby butt and wiggly tummy.

Does that have anything to do with you? Hell no.

I just mentioned you the other day to my husband, who’s doing that crazy P90X thing. The point is pushing yourself, and you’re awesome at that and inspiring.

We all need to push each ourselves, whether it’s about health or fat or education or love.

Blabbermouse
12 years ago

Oh my god. People are insane. You’re amazing. You’re inspiring. You are making choices that are RIGHT FOR YOU.

I don’t even think of you as a promoter of THINNESS. You promote health. Fitness. And self-confidence.

How DARE you????

You’re awesome. Keep on, sister.

Courtney
12 years ago

Yipes, I’m coming in late on this discussion. Here’s my (worthless) two cents: It’s your blog, where you write (extraordinarily well) about your challenges, motivations and successes. If people don’t want to read about how eating well and fitness are a challenge you are willing to take on daily, THEY DON’T HAVE TO. That’s the magic of the internet; the computer user is in charge of where it goes and what their eyeballs are exposed to…

jodie
jodie
12 years ago

I’m joining this discussion late too, but just had to add my two cents – while your post didn’t lead me to assume that you look down on those who are “bigger” than you, reading you refer to your body fat makes me roll my eyes (in a nice way!). And you know why? Because I’m jealous. Plain and simple. I’m a good 15+ lbs heavier than I want to be, but I’m in a different place now, two kids and nearing 30 yrs old (wahhh!).

I digress…..I guess what I’m trying to say is I think the people that are “offended” by your comments need to reexamine themselves and why they’re offended. I’m not offended by anything that you’ve written, and I totally get that for you its about being healthy and feeling good. Any eye-rolling from me is done out of jealousy, but it also motivates me. You have had two babies and you can do it, why can’t I?

Tela
Tela
12 years ago

Talking about good health is important. If you ask me there aren’t enough people talking about it. Maybe if people felt uncomfortable about themselves on a regular basis they would improve their own health. Keep it up!

mommymae
12 years ago

i just posted about this same thing recently. someone on twitter tried to call me out for saying i wanted to lose the last of my baby weight. she said i was unhealthy & have body issues, etc. i know that i don’t, but was kind of shocked that people think it’s okay to say that out loud. i honestly don’t care about what other people weigh, but if i did say that i thought overweight or obese people were unhealthy, i would be considered mean, yet it was okay for her to say something to me? i’m 32, had my 4th baby a year ago & yea, i want to fit in the clothes i already have, BUT most importantly, i want to be healthy & fit so that i can enjoy playing with my 4 kiddos.

MEP
MEP
12 years ago

I have never seen any of your posts as anything except an account of your FITNESS goals (which, BTW, you are doing a kick-ass job of attaining). Aside from saying you like how you look, body image or body acceptance hasn’t really factored in. But this post was written from a somewhat defensive position, and you see what happens — people look for something to be offended about. It’s obvious you actually DO accept your body, and the notion that it’s strong and beautiful and powerful, even if it doesn’t look like a supermodel’s.

But that’s because you knew what you had to do to attain your goals, and you have TAKEN ACTION. I get real frustrated with some of the bloggers on Bodies in Motivation because it’s just post after post of “I ate everything in the world and I’m fat and I suck and I’m starting again tomorrow.” Repeatedly. There is zero forward motion. THESE are the people who could use a hefty dose of body acceptance. IT’S OKAY TO BE FAT. It’s not okay to constantly beat yourself up for being fat and making “poor choices,” or to make promises to yourself about what you are getting ready to do with your life, just so you can break them and hate yourself even more — all because you feel fat standing next to someone else. Or your jeans don’t fit. It’s sad.

marcoda
12 years ago

Short Answer: It’s bullshit that wanting to make oneself healthy should be viewed as an attack against others.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

You know what? Here is a concept – Live and Let Live.

Why do people have to take everything so personally? You are making changes to your life, body, mind and good for you! I don’t take anything YOU say as a reflection of how you feel about ME or anyone else – man how self centered would that make me?

TranceJen
12 years ago

On my website I talk about fat, the removal of fat, and my near-constant attempts to lose fat an awful lot. I’ve received similar comments, asking if I meant to make fat people feel like shit, because obviously I’m not Obese. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous. It’s such a hugely personal issue for every woman, but that doesn’t mean we should project anyone else’s body image ideals onto ourselves, nor should we feel negatively about the idea of someone being more fit/thin than we are. So many women do, though. “Skinny bitch” seems to be a common refrain, and why? Skinny doesn’t automatically make a person a bitch. Nobody wants to be judged solely on the basis of weight, yet most women I know throw “skinny bitch” around wildly and cruelly. I commend you for what you’re doing. Keep on keepin’ on, ya skinny bitch.

Erin
12 years ago

I know I’m super late to this conversation, and there’s no way I can catch up, so forgive me if this has been said already…I think it’s NEVER wrong to want to eat right and be healthy. If professionals—doctors, trainers—believe that it’s healthful and safe for a person to focus on losing fat, then what’s the big damn deal?

We all have a different equilibrium, and you know you’re at yours when you’re eating well and feel good physically. And if you’re 5’7″ and 165 pounds when you feel that way, awesome. If you’re 5’3″ and 110 pounds when you feel that way, awesome.

I’ll go ahead and say what I weigh: I’m 5’5″ and hovering around 140 pounds. I often feel silly saying I’d like to lose some fat, because I weigh much less than some other people who are working hard to get fit, but that’s just the thing: IT’S NOT ABOUT WEIGHT! I still have tummy flab from having my baby almost 2 years ago, and the thing that bothers me most about it is that I frequently get a sore lower back because I haven’t done anything to restrengthen my core.

It’s about health. It’s about fitness. It’s about feeling good. There’s no need to apologize for that. And if other people who aren’t healthy or fit or feeling good demonize you for it, that’s a reflection on their own state of mind, not yours.

trackback

[…] how her seven-year-old daughter said she wanted to die because of her body flaws. Second, I read an interesting post by Linda of All & Sundry about whether it is okay to talk (and blog!) about fitness and weight […]

TranceJen
12 years ago

Posted a whole blog entry about this issue, if you’re interested. Sorry to steal your topic, but I had to mouth off about it.

Writer Writing
12 years ago

People who read Shapely Prose by and large do not engage in weight loss discussions because many of us have dieted our way to chronic illnesses that we wouldn’t have if we had been able to step on the scale, read the number, and then continue with our lives without outside pressure to be thinner and better. Sadly, those two concepts (thinner and better) are thrown at fat people every day. It’s on television constantly: Now I can run! [Fat people can and do run. Marathons! Imagine.] Now I will meet a man and fall in love! [Fat people do fall in love and get married!] We’re constantly told that our appearance makes us somehow less than human, particularly when we’re legislated against and penalized for our size.

Not all fat people sit around and eat donuts all day long. There are a lot of fat people who exercise regularly and eat “good” food and remain fat.

What you choose to do (diet or not, work out or not) is not anyone’s business. That I stopped dieting when I realized it made me fatter and sicker might not work for you. I don’t know what your own personal body’s natural weight is. You may or may not. Like I said on TraceJen’s post about this issue, sizist remarks of any kind (fat against thin or thin against fat) are rude, unnecessary, and do nothing to promote actual body acceptance.

Anyway, I just wanted to toss my two cents in.

Sarah
12 years ago

Well said!!!

Also, what about personal responsibility? People are always blaming others when they feel bad. If you feel bad about yourself, that’s your problem. It’s not anything anybody wrote.

Everyone makes their own choices.

Alyce
Alyce
12 years ago

Ack! Let me see if I can parse what I was trying to say way up there.

1) you write about your body and exercise in a very positive way; i enjoy reading about what you do in the same way that i am supportive of my IRL friends who marathon or triathlon or roller derby or sit on their ass or what have you; it is fabulous that you get so much joy out of what you do

2) it’s your blog; i’ve never emailed you about this issue; i have never been offended by anything you write about this issue

3) i am cautious, however, of any and all discussions about weight/body/appearance

4) i often make the leap from “he/she said this was the way to do X” to “i am not doing X, therefore i suck”; note: this does not mean that *you* said that i suck; this also does not mean that i am jealous or have low self-esteem

5) this is true of other topic as well, not just fatness; so, yes, to the query about hair styles, as silly as it sounds

again, i commented only because you asked

this is your (kick ass) blog and i would never deign to tell you what to do with it

jolie
12 years ago

I just wrote a post myself about body image, exercise, etc. I feel like people who care about that and who are working to maintain healthy standards and boundaries should be free to talk about those things, just like people are free to blog about anything else they are struggling with, working towards, dealing with, aiming for,etc. The continuous answer is, if you don’t want to read it, go somewhere else.

And btw, I love reading your posts about health and FAT. I find it incredibly encouraging and uplifting to read accounts of people doing the same things I’m doing. Keep it up!

dani
12 years ago

I completely agree with you on this. It seem like, unless you’re obese, people don’t think you have a right to talk about losing fat or getting healthy. Since I’m not obese and probably I get that all the time: “You don’t need to do anything! You’re fine! You’re crazy for thinking such things!” You hit it right on: it’s my choice on what is healthy for me.

Dani
Dani
12 years ago

Linda, I’m just going to say this. Largely because of you I am 33 pounds lighter than I was 16 months ago. Because of you I am way stronger physically than I have ever been. Because you wrote about how you were working out and eating healthier, I started working out and eating healthier because seeing you do it gave me the faith in myself to at least try it. And in the past 16 months of eating healthier and exercising regularly, I’ve done tons of research on it all. I know far more now than I ever knew before but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you say body fat ,you’re referring to a number on a measuring device and not saying that you’re fat or that anyone is fat. I think it’s stinking ridiculous that you catch crap for something like that. Just know this, for every person who reads that stuff in a negative way, there’s a person also seeing it in a positive way – or at least for what it is. I read this blog, I read you on Gather, and I’ve been reading Bodies since you launched it. I love it all, I love following you and others who set out to be healthy, whether there’s fat involved or not…but like you said, we ALL have fat. We all choose our own paths when it come to caring for our bodies and I, being a forever muffin top even though I work out no less than 5 days a week, take no offense when you say the word FAT in any content. Thank you Linda for all that you do for me/us.

Bachelor Girl
12 years ago

Not to be overly simplistic about it, Linda, but man, screw the haters. I, for one, am proud of you and view your amazing progress as an inspiration.

Sundry
12 years ago

Thank you, all of you, for every comment. And Dani, you made me cry.

Shannon
12 years ago

Hi! I commented a couple days ago and wanted to contribute more. I am very new to reading your blog, and haven’t yet had the time to read any of the archives or anything, so I don’t know much of anything about you. I was in no way offended by anything you posted, which shouldn’t matter anyway because as many people have said, it’s your blog! In your post you mentioned Kate Harding and Fat Acceptance blogs and I was trying to put a little of what they believe in my comment, I think Writer Writing did a way better job than me.
This stuff is on my mind a lot lately because my Mom checked herself into an in patient Eating Recovery center two months ago because of her eating disorder.
I just wrote way more stuff, but I erased it because I could go on forever!

stephanie
stephanie
12 years ago

i’m sorry but i think it’s absolutely ridiculous that you even have to ADDRESS this based on something you wrote. what the heck is WRONG with people… ?

shygirl
shygirl
12 years ago

Agreed. It’s absurd that anybody would jump all over you about the “F” word. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and ever since you started this “get healthier” effort, it’s consistently been about getting stronger, healthier, more capable, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and finding out just what you’re capable of accomplishing.

Looks to me like someone’s projecting their own issues on you instead of owning those issues for THEMSELVES. Which is bullshit. You’ve been nothing but positive, and I don’t think you have a single damn thing to apologize for!

Runner Girl
Runner Girl
12 years ago

Your outside (read: athletic, etc) activities are one of the main reasons I read your blog! And of course you’re a helluva writer, too.

I’m a mom and an avid runner/exerciser and I’ve been both super active and super lazy – the latter sucks! It sucks mental and physical energy. When I’m physically active I make better food choices and I feel motivated in other areas of my life. Not to mention it totally boosts my mood.

I have a lot of friends who struggle with depression and anxiety – and it just so happens these people are also totally out of shape. Not necessarily fat, but they can’t walk a mile without losing their breath. My friends who are active never complain about depression. I’m no scientist, but I think there might be some correlation.

The naysayers don’t want to be motivated. They want excuses.

Jen @ lifelove'n'wine
12 years ago

Nothing you have said has been offensive in any way. You haven’t been talking about wishing you could be a size double zero or that you could go without eating. You’ve been writing about fitness, healthy eating, and reaching healthy goals. I’ve commented before about this but I have found your stories about running, the triatholon, etc so inspiring. I’ve started my own fitness plan because of you…not because I need to lose weight, but because I want to be and feel healthier. I have always hated running, and never thought I could do it. After I read your posts I started running and have set a goal to compete in a 10k next August. I knew that if you could push yourself and achieve your awesome goals…so could I!

Gleemonex
12 years ago

I’m still laughing about the metal duck-bill cranking open the hoo-ha. :-)

FWIW: 100% with ya, Sundry.