For me, mental health and size acceptance are heavily intertwined. I guess it’s why I’m so passionate when an idiot weight loss loud mouth keeps criticising and ridiculing those who are supporting and voicing that support for size acceptance.
As a woman who lives with mental health, and heavily linked weight issues, the size acceptance movement has been a revelation in my life. Depression can highlight the tiniest thing we hate about ourselves. It turns those little perceived imperfections into mahoosive flaws. Mole hills into Mountains. And in looking at myself and loathing every piece of me, the answer in my distorted life would be weight loss, because sure, isn’t that the answer to everything? But then the dieting would be obsessive, and incredibly all or nothing, and if I felt I let myself down, by cheating in some way, then in my self loathing and disgust I would “undo all the good work” by reaching to food for comfort.
Size Acceptance came at a desperate time in my life. When finally it dawned that diets were not working. When I needed another way to live.
Size Acceptance came through the discovery of intuitive eating. It came with a voice saying “You are more than your looks, and more than the food you eat.”. It came with a voice that said “Love can change things, and you are worthy of loving yourself”.
And the big fat point, that this idiot weight loss so called expert willingly misses, every single time he has a go at the Size Acceptance brigade, is that Size Acceptance is about learning to LOVE yourself and be the best you can be for yourself, mentally, emotionally, physically. It’s not a quick fix, and it’s a work in progress for me. But over 8 years, while I have not lost every pound that I don’t need, I have learnt that my body is a wonderful thing, and it has supported me through these years with depression. It keeps me going through all the ups and downs, the highs and lows. It has put up with manic episodes, a broken ankle, high weight, low weight, starvation, binges. I have learnt that my body deserves more, and my mind benefits when my body benefits. So I started to incorporate exercise. I signed up for the London Moonwalk, and I trained and trained. I completed one, and signed up for a second. I completed the second and now I’m training for the London Marathon. At the times where food seemed to be confusing or angst causing, I would follow a plan, to help support my goals. And gradually I have learnt what benefits my body in terms of food.
But I’m not perfect, and I’m not losing weight super fast. I still have episodes where I become obsessive and anxious around food, and my depression brings about paranoia, and suddenly I am hideous and a failure because I am not slim.
And then I remember the messages that the wonderful, awe inspiring, loving, Size Acceptance Brigade are putting out there. I remember that I am worthy of self care and love. That my body is my business. That I am fine as I am, where I am.
And when depression is banging at my door, THESE are the messages I need to hear. To be lovingly encouraged to do my best in the moment. Sometimes the best I can do is get my kids to school and go back to bed. Sometimes my best is a 10 mile training session and an early night. Sometimes my best is fruit and veg and a body feeling vibrant. Sometimes it’s chips and wine and a night in front of the telly. But in all those moments I am the same person, worthy of the same things. I am not a better person when I eat more fruit and veg. I am not a loathsome slob because I can’t face getting out of bed.
Now I’m not saying every fat person suffers depression. But I know I’m not alone. And I know that Size Acceptance has saved a big chunk of my life. It has helped me off the hamster wheel of self loathing and disgust, and it supports me when I feel less than great.
Fat is a substance, like hair, nails, bone. It’s part of my body, but it isn’t all I am. I don’t need someone to save me from my fat. I need someone to love me regardless. I need someone to understand that some days I can, and other days I can’t, and that’s ok. Because loving my body and accepting me as I am now is what enables me to make lasting changes.
“No excuses for fat”? How about “No excuses not to love yourself right now and see where it takes you”?