Statistically, it's likely that many of you have already folded your treadmill and dropped a kettlebell on your New Year’s weight loss resolution. So what better time to evaluate the fat acceptance movement?
It isn’t all bad. I like their advice on not becoming paralysed with self-loathing when you can’t zip up your jeans.
I say "Amen" when they preach that you can live as you please; it’s your life, after all.
Besides, you hear them say, the human form is just wrapping—lumpy in the hips or not—for a more valued soul.
These are inherently good messages.
The problem is, the human body still needs to function, and preferably optimally, if you want a long life. Many fat crusaders discredit the health benefits of weight loss in order to maintain their narrative that fat people are victimized.
With this mindset, they aren't people who haven’t failed at losing weight. Instead they've embraced fatness as an immutable identity.
They often latch onto a complementary strain of the fat acceptance movement called “Health at Any Size;" the lie is built into its very name, as it fantasizes that people who need to catch their breath halfway up a flight of stairs are on par with those who bound them two by two.
We all need a sense of community, and young women in particular feel better surrounded by a sorority with a shared vulnerability. They’re looking for a haven from the people who -- I’d have to agree -- have a pathological contempt for obesity.
Unfortunately, however, fat acceptance often encourages complacency and attacks harmless language, convincing people that certain magazine captions are like self-esteem crushing grenades.
Women’s Health magazine—cowering to this pressure—just announced that they’ll strip their cover of allegedly offensive headlines like “bikini body” “shrink,” “diet” and “drop two sizes." This decision sounds a lot like they’re compromising on what it might take to be healthy.
Fat acceptance has succeeded in maligning diets in favour of doing nothing, when a proper diet, if adopted as a permanent plan, can be an effective solution.
Oprah Winfrey, the empress of you-be-you, feel-good chatter, has decided again to lose weight again, motivated in large part by her recent 10 percent (US$43.2 million) stake in Weight Watchers.
Instead of feminists cheering her on, Chick-Lit author Jennifer Weiner, in a New York Times op-ed, criticizes Oprah and her new Weight Watchers commercial.
In the ad, Oprah dares to say, “Inside every overweight woman is a woman she knows she can be.”
This makes Oprah a traitor and part of what Weiner calls the “fix-yourself-fatties chorus.”
“But what if, instead of investing in paid diets and microdermabrasion, we donated our dollars to worthy charities and gave our time to the food pantry or elementary school? What if we thought about adding things to our lives — new foods, new skills, new classes, new walking routes — instead of taking things away?”
The problem with this alternative is that many of us do need to take things away, including several calories per day.
Ms. Weiner’s perverse spin is that dieting is a vanity and joining Weight Watchers is a poor alternative to altruism.
She’s miffed that Oprah has joined a new community, one in which members want to better themselves, exercise the lost virtue of temperance, and live longer. Is the fat acceptance movement now a cult of obesity that treats a woman as an apostate should she try to squeeze into a size 12?
Striving to live better is admirable. Conversely, while you are free to be yourself and eat whatever you like, you don’t deserve accolades for it.
While I sympathize and have compassion for the obese, and I’ll defend them from snark and ridicule, I’ll reserve my admiration for the person (fat or thin) who hasn’t cancelled her gym membership a few days into 2016. This doesn't make me part of the "fix-yourself-fatties chorus."
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