Fat Acceptance: Body Love or Bad News?
By Tina Haupert
I love my body—and I encourage other women to do the same. That's why my feelings are a bit conflicted when it comes to the fat acceptance movement. As a healthy living blogger, I spend my days writing about treating my body well through good food and regular fitness. I know what it's like to feel like the heavy friend—I lost 30 pounds before starting my blog, and I've kept it off since 2006.
I don't just blog about my daily eats and workouts. I write about striving for a balanced lifestyle—one that involves lots of greens with room for goodies too. I want to enjoy a plate of nachos without feeling guilty about it. And I want to be a healthy role model for my readers, both physically and mentally.
I don’t know a single woman who can say she does not feel pressure to be thin. And if she's not thin and beautiful, she feels bad about it—and embarrassed. When I worked at Healthworks as a fitness specialist, I met with an overweight member who apologized for the way she looked. She felt she had to acknowledge what she imagined I was thinking—like I was already making assumptions about her because of her weight.
It's no secret that fat people are treated differently. If someone is fat, you know it. And it may lead you to make assumptions about their personality: They're lazy and they don't care about their health and appearance. If they cared, they wouldn’t be so fat, right?
The fat acceptance movement seems to be a positive and supportive thing for people who are sick of crash dieting and snide comments about their weight. I'm all for feeling good about yourself, but what I really don't understand about the movement is the fat part. Fat is such a loaded word with so many negative connotations. How is that word supposed to make someone feel good about themselves? What about a self-acceptance movement? Why does the word fat come into play at all?
Regardless of size, I'm all about making healthy choices part of my lifestyle. Not all women are a size 2, and not all overweight people are unhealthy. You can't tell from looking at someone how many vegetables they eat or how many miles they can run. If you're eating a balanced diet and exercising moderately, your weight is probably what your body is meant to be. Size acceptance isn't an excuse for making unhealthy choices. But feeling bad about yourself every day isn't healthy either. So from my point of view, as long as you're eating lots of carrots, you can have your cake too. If you're taking care of yourself, your body should stay at your Feel Great Weight.