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Am I Taking this Fat Acceptance Thing too Far?

February 7, 2010

I’ve been at this blog thing for about a month and it has been an ever evolving exercise to figure out what this blog is supposed to be about.  I imagine this will be the case for awhile (maybe forever).   In creating this blog, I stumbled across two new worlds: fat acceptance and HAES (health at every size).  Let me put the disclaimer out from the jump… I am not an expert or even well versed in either of these worlds, but I have read enough blogs and articles to more than pique my interest.

What I started to discover was an on-line community of fat people who were happy with their fat selves… and they didn’t seem delusional and they were not promoting gaining weight or everyone being fat or unhealthy behaviors.  They were just being… and since they were fat, they were just being fat. What I took from all of this was a promotion of  self acceptance and I realized quickly that acceptance would give me so much more gratification than losing 20 pounds or 50 pounds (as I’ve done both and have never been gratified).  And so I did a little more digging and reading (still not an expert) and decided that this would become my focus.

I want to get to a place where I accept and love my fat for what it is and for nothing more.  Most of my life, whether I was successful or not, whether I was really trying or not- I wanted to lose weight. When I had a 1200 calorie day, I wanted to lose weight.  When I had a 3,000 calorie day, I wanted to lose weight.   When I was doing EVERYTHING wrong, I still wanted to lose weight.  And my reasons were sometimes health related but mostly it was hinged on the ensuing happiness that would follow if I lost weight.  My fat was ugly, disgusting, something I hated and was ashamed of.  I say this in past tense because I am consciously trying to work towards ridding my psyche from this kind of fat hate (not there yet, if you were wondering).

But it seems that one unintended consequence of learning to love my body just the way it is and therefore loving and accepting my fat is that I’m gaining weight… or at least that’s the way it feels in my clothes.  It’s one thing to not lose weight or actively try and lose weight… it’s a whole other thing to GAIN weight.  And maybe this flies in the face of the fat acceptance movement, but it’s my truth.

The last couple weeks, squatting to pick something up has become more difficult and uncomfortable.  I’m out of breath and break a sweat climbing 3 flights of stairs or walking 5 blocks.   And as much as I want to find body acceptance, I don’t want these things.  I know there has to be a way to find fat/body acceptance without my health deteriorating.

And I know it’s not about finding body acceptance that’s causing this… it’s me.  I know that.  I’ve taken this journey of fat/body acceptance and used it as an excuse to do whatever the hell I want, eat whatever the hell I want, and be as lazy as I want.  And I can feel my health negatively changing because of it.

So call it what you will, but here is my new plan because clearly vaguely proclaiming my journey to fat/body acceptance does not make for good outcomes for me:

I will not actively focus on losing weight, but I will actively try to be healthy.  This means- no binging, no overeating, no emotional eating, and exercising to the degree I want to exercise but not exercising to burn X amount of calories.

I will not count calories.  I will not measure burned calories.  I will continue on the journey to love my fat body as is and to eradicate all the negative energy I’ve connected to my fat over the years.

I want to continue on the road to acceptance, but not at the sake of my health… so this is me, trying to find a middle ground.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2010 3:58 pm

    Same thing happened to me when I got into reading about Fat Acceptance. I think the energy it takes to hate yourself/force yourself to do things is enormous when you’re still in that dieting cycle, and the relief of dropping out of the cycle can kind of go to your head. But FA doesn’t necessarily advocate that as a long-term position! But what I do find FA enables, is to not beat yourself up about having a bit of a hiatus from healthy living… sure, you might have gained a little and lost a little fitness but that’s okay because throughout life we all fluctuate. What’s important is that you keep loving yourself because that will give you the motivation to make the changes you need to feel healthier and more energetic – so much nicer than being motivated by fear or hate.

  2. February 7, 2010 4:29 pm

    I had this experience too. I think prior to FA I was doing a lot of healthy things for all the wrong reasons, especially exercise. I couldn’t exercise without feeling like I was doing it because duh I’m a fatty so I need to exercise. I had to stop doing the types of exercise that had that mental association for me and start doing exercises that I could associate with fun and enjoyment. (I used to do long periods on the elliptical machines and spin classes. Now I do zumba and am training for a 5k. I may be able to return to the old exercises at some time, but now I just associate them too much with burning calories, and I don’t want to have those negative thoughts and feelings about myself.) I think there is a process of adjusting to doing things that maybe you have always done to try to be thin and instead doing them to be healthy (mobility, mental health reasons, etc.) and for enjoyment.

    I enjoy your blog, thanks for writing. 🙂

  3. February 7, 2010 7:26 pm

    Man, I didn’t start losing weight the first time until I tossed every piece of “skinny clothes” and decided to just be me in the now and not worry about the future me. That was really the catalyst for me, not trying to fit into a future but trying to fit into the present. All of which to say, accepting yourself is key to uhm….living. That said, what made a huge difference to me was getting physical. I had such a long and varied past of physical failures that I just felt like I couldn’t do anything so getting exercise successes was huge for my self esteem. I think signing up for that tri-athalon is the bravest and most wonderfulest thing ever and an awesome way to see your body in a strong and kickass light.

  4. February 7, 2010 7:26 pm

    And seriously I have twice as many teeth as that avatar.

  5. February 8, 2010 7:40 pm

    Phew! I’m so relieved that other folks have had this experience and I’m not alone! Thanks ya’ll.

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