fat shaming

All posts tagged fat shaming

“Little miss cankle” Haters gonna hate! Trolls gonna troll #sizeacceptance #fatacceptance

Published June 16, 2015 by Crystal

My blog yesterday upset one of the fatshamers of twitter.  And their insult was “Shouldn’t it be LittleMissCankle instead of cackle?”

I wasn’t phased, I replied with “doesn’t bother me, I ran the London Marathon this year ;-)”

Their final retort, before I blocked them, because frankly, I don’t need to interact with self loathing trolls, was “Did you actually RUN the marathon, or did you walk? You can’t say you ran it if you walked. That’d be lying.”

The reason I’m sharing this is because it just goes to show that nothing will satisfy a troll.  I didn’t run the whole marathon, it’s true.  But I did run about 19 miles of it!  And really, it doesn’t matter whether I ran 26.2 miles, or walked every single yard.  Whether it is walking or running, the distance is the same, and training for a marathon requires months of dedication and several sessions a week.  I may not be the fittest I could be.  I may not be super slim and a runner of the highest calibre.  I may not be the healthiest person in the world.  But I committed to a major sporting event, and I completed it.  But that wasn’t enough for the troll.  It didn’t fit their image of a fat accepter sitting on the sofa for 14 hours of the day, and sleeping the other 10.  It didn’t support their belief that fat people are bone idle.

Of course, my body my business, it goes without saying, but the fact is, that even when you do make an effort to push yourself, even when you do eat well and move for health, and so on and so forth, someone somewhere is going to hate you and criticise, and accuse you of lying.

Fat shaming isn’t about concern for health and happiness, for anyone.  It’s about hate, and anger, and judgement.  It’s about people being affronted at the idea that people can live happily in their bodies that aren’t the socially acceptable norm.

I admire the Fat Acceptance activists.   The ones who will stand up against these trolls. But for me, I won’t interact.  I will blog, I will share my experiences, but yesterday’s twitfuckery shows there is no point taking part in any argument with people who use the #fatacceptance hashtag to spew hate.

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Do people lose compassion when they lose weight?

Published May 31, 2015 by Crystal

I’ve spent a year in a state of flux.  Wanting to lose more weight, losing nothing.  And now it feels like the scales are falling from my eyes once more as I see, that for me, dieting does not provide the answers I hoped for.

But more than that.  I am tired of the hate filled criticism and body shaming that comes from “reformed fatties”.  You know the ones, the people who found a method that worked for them, and for whom strict regimes of diet and exercise have proved that all you need to do is “Eat Less and Move More!”  Or the experts who will tell you “I used to eat junk and now I don’t and all you need is a positive mind to get a positive body!”

The messages filter in.  They are easy to believe.  This time I will do it.  This time I will stick to a plan because here are examples of other people who have done it.  Clearly I just need will power and dedication.

But what these people miss is that weight is a symptom of something else.  It is not the cause of everything that is dark and evil.  So when someone like Steve Miller is telling folks to tell their fat friends and family they are fat, he is wanting to address a symptom without looking at the real issues behind it.  And if those issues aren’t addressed, then what chance is there of permanent change?

It’s why I lean towards people such as Geneen Roth and Beyond Chocolate once more.  And Geneen is great at describing me without knowing me.  She talks about how we keep going back to the past, and act as if we are still the people we were.  If we learnt to use food as a way of protecting us from the fear of feelings, chances are, that is what we are continuing to do.  To actually bring ourselves into the moment, and to be aware of where we are now, how we feel physically, can break the habit of reaching for food to numb the fear or pain. It is hard.  It is exposing.  And it is something that we can only come to when we are ready. But it can bring about real positive long lasting change.  Because we are addressing those root causes.

If someone is genuinely concerned about a fat friend or family member, surely the important thing to do is just be there?  “How are you?”  “How are things?” “What is going on in your life?” “What can I do to support you?”  surely these are questions that will bring about a more positive situation than “You’re fat”.

The success stories of former fatties can bring about a belief that we can change if only we do x, y and z, and that can be great and helpful.  But the stories where former fatties forget their past, and forget their humanity are tragic.  Fat shaming does not bring about positive, long lasting change.  It might bring about quick change.  It might motivate for a few weeks, but until one is motivated to address the limiting habits of their past, nothing is going to last.

Steve Miller continues to bang on about the cost of obesity on the NHS.  So what is his real motivation for fat shaming?  Sure sounds like it’s financial rather than personal care.  He makes money from writing about fat shaming.  He makes money from fat shaming folk into becoming clients, and he complains about fat people costing him via his taxes.

He also calls people who disagree with him “rodents”.

Is this someone who really has your interest at heart?

I am running the London Marathon this week! How did I get here?

Published April 21, 2015 by Crystal

(I always feel I need to mention that I am running and walking, so let’s get that out of the way!)

As the #droptheplus campaign rages on, the polarised views of the opposition get louder and more aggressive.  Actually, they are always loud and aggressive, but I am just noticing more.

But one thing that really stands out is the self righteousness of the “Reformed” or “Former” Fatty who speaks out against #fatacceptance.

The sneering comments such related to what the #fatacceptance army might eat.  The judgements on their clothing choices.  The outright anger that they appear to be totally disregarding their health in favour of food and watching movies.

And I pray constantly I will never forget where I came from.  That I will never forget the journey that brought me here.  I have blogged about fat acceptance several times, this is probably the most relevant.  Maybe it helps that I am not the super fast magazine transformation story.  My journey is taking years, and continues to teach me things about myself.  I have learnt, for example, that intuitive eating has taught me many things, but I personally still like the accountability of a food plan and a weight loss group.  I have learnt that I know what foods benefit me, but it still takes time for the message to be picked up.  I have learnt that that ALL or NOTHING need in me is strong, and if I am not perfect, then I will quickly go to the NOTHING bit because “what’s the point?”, and it is a work in progress to drop that need for perfection, and to not drop to NOTHING when I don’t hit perfection.

This last week is a prime example of not hitting ALL, and ending up with NOTHING.  I had the meeting with the psychologist on Tuesday, talking through all my experiences of my latest depressive episode, and to discuss treatment.  Of course, talking through things can be a trigger, and it was exhausting, and left me physically and emotionally drained.  There was mention of a new drug for me, mirtazapine, which sent me into a panic too.  I was also struggling with my training sessions, as if my body had finally given up after 6 months, and I was panicking about staying fuelled for the marathon.  So I made some bad food and drink choices over the week, and as a result have gained a couple of the pounds that I lost the week before.  My instant thoughts, in that ALL or NOTHING mentality are “This is pointless, I will never lose any more weight.  I may as well give up.”  After all, haven’t I dieted before, only to gain again?  Haven’t I tried before and before and before?

But this time I have maintained a big loss over all.  I am currently 6 pounds higher than I was in November, but I am still 2 stone lighter than I was 2 years ago.  And I feel good for it.  I feel good when I eat foods that support my fitness goals.  Physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I feel good when I make a choice that will bring more than instant gratification.  This time I am running.  More than I have ever run before.  More than I could run before October 2014.

It is #fatacceptance, or #sizeacceptance that has brought me to this place.  It is #fatacceptance that gave me the confidence to sign up for my first Moonwalk, and saw me finally cross that finish line, exhausted and tearful;

MoonWalk_London_2013-_MoonWalk_London_2013-7080137_DSC_8162

(I was THE TARDIS by the way, hence the blue).

I kind of worry about those campaigners against #fatacceptance, and #HAES.  I worry that they throw the baby out with the bath water, out of some sort of detestation of their former fat selves.  A fear that if they accept fat people, it somehow undoes all their hard work in the gym and the kitchen.  But the truth is they should be proud of themselves, for the changes they have put in place to make their lives the best it can be for them.  They have discovered a love and passion for exercise (which I get, I totally absolutely get).  And they really understand how foods can hinder or help them reach those personal goals.  Self discipline is a great thing.  Challenging ourselves is an empowering thing.  Putting the effort in and achieving something I never ever thought possible is a euphoric feeling I cannot top (so I’m onto challenge 3 in 3 years).

But let’s not assume that because we diet and exercise we are morally superior to those who don’t.  And let’s not forget human decency in all this, and by that, I mean how we treat other human beings.  We all have our struggles in life.  One of mine is depression.  And it is heavily, heavily integrated with my self acceptance and self esteem, but body positive language helped me, and continues to help me.  I truly believe it can help others.

I want to continue to lose weight and improve my fitness.  And I will be unashamed in that choice.  But I won’t place shame or judgement on someone who’s goals are different to mine.

So on Sunday I run (run walk) 26.2 miles. And it is without shame.  In spite of my bigger body, in spite of my louder breathing, in spite of the length of time it will take.  I do it without shame, and for a wonderful cause.

Slimming club attendees, you’re in for it now. Apparently, you too wear cardigans!

Published March 18, 2015 by Crystal

Mr Miller is busy censoring his facebook page.  His latest outpouring of vitriol was against slimming clubs.  Apparently he was invited to do a talk at one (why anyone would ask him is, in itself, quite a miracle) and he refused because apparently seal clapping and cheering a 1 pound loss isn’t his thing

steve miller

What is the Weight Loss Masters chosen strategy?

stevemiller1

Oh yes.  There it is.  Attack.

Attack.

Attack.

Attack.

And of course first it was the Size Acceptance, and Fat Acceptance folk that he attacked.  Not with the desire to have a grown up discussion.  Not with the aim to learn or educate.  But to name call, to slur, to misrepresent what both size acceptance and fat acceptance mean to different people, and to accuse every single supporter of size acceptance as harbingers of death and doom.

He doesn’t want to discuss.  He doesn’t want to engage in discussion on what he has to offer.  He has blocked me from commenting or enquiring on his facebook page, and he has blocked me from following or viewing him on twitter, though somehow I can see all he posts, so not sure how that works.

Anyway, onto today’s issue.  Attacking those who attend slimming clubs.

Now I have heard from multiple places and numerous books, that maintaining a weight loss is largely impossible.  And slimming clubs indicate this in the regular returning of members to some club or other.  Having lost a stone, or two, or ten, they go back to their “normal lifestyle” and the weight comes back on.  Sometimes a few pounds, sometimes all the weight, sometimes a little bit extra on top.  And thousands upon thousands of us are on, or have been on, a perpetual cycle.  Losing, gaining, losing, gaining.

It doesn’t look good for slimming clubs, or any type of diet, on the whole.

But I want to defend those clubs.  Because at points in my life they have helped, and I am not going to knock that.  I have maintained a 2 and a half stone loss over the last couple of years, and that loss was down to a combination of Weight Watchers and Slimming World.  Find a great motivating class leader, and a large chunk of the effort and stress is reduced.  Find a class with engaged participants, and you can feel like you are part of a big family who want to see you succeed.  They celebrate the mini victories as well as the large.  They support each other through illness, and grief, and stress, and hurt.  They applaud that one pound loss that seems to have taken weeks and weeks, even though you have been following the plan one hundred percent.  Even though your body is confusing you and you just don’t know what to do.  There are many, many positive reasons for people returning to a slimming club.

Of course the downsides can also be plenty.  For me and my compulsive and anxious character, weighing regularly on scales started to have a very negative impact, and I became well and truly stuck, still am, but things are moving again, and I’m relaxed.  For me, the weighing and measuring became a massive ball ache.   Fat free yogurt?  Give me a break.  Artificial sweetener by the tonne?  No thank you.  But there are things I keep in mind, and I have changed my eating habits over time.  More veg, less pasta and rice, more protein.  That sort of thing.  Nothing overly prescriptive any more.  But slimming clubs have been a support to me in the past, and I can see why they continue to be.  For someone who finds it a real struggle to get out of the house and meeting other people, getting to a slimming club may be their only social activity in a week.  For someone feeling unsupported by their family, an alternative family with a similar goal might be what helps them keep on when all the odds seem against them.  And for people who have grown up with no clue how to cook, weight loss clubs can offer invaluable advice on creating healthy and filling meals for morning noon and night.

So why is Steve so against all that seal clapping?  I mean, he wasn’t against a little seal clapping when his Fat Friends clients on the telly!

It seems a big issue Steve has is the small weight losses celebrated.  Because apparently, a fat person can lose at least 3lbs a week for at least the first four weeks. (read through the conversation beneath his status).

WAIT JUST ONE COTTON PICKING MINUTE

I will have to assume Steve is a nutrition, exercise, and general human biology expert as well as a hypnotherapist.  I mean, surely he must know this shit for real, right?  I realised I needed to go and check this chap’s credentials.  Because he is hoping thousands of people will put their lives in his hands to get that fat off.

Look at what he is offering, a bargain, no?  No wonder he wants people off slimming clubs and signing up for his courses.  Why pay £5 with a consultant when you can £40 to hear him tell you what a lardy arse you are?

But back to those nutrition and exercise linked qualifications.  What are those?  Well, it seems I can’t find any.  And I have looked.  I have googled.  And all that comes up is this.  So what right has this man to be determining a 3lb weight loss?  What right has this man to be criticising and ridiculing a 1lb loss?

Now I’m not saying every person who is offering weight loss hypnosis needs to be qualified in health and nutrition, though that would be an ideal.  But what I do think is that putting your health and well being in the hands of a man who enjoys ridicule and spite, in order for you to lose weight, is a dangerous thing.  And a slightly bigger issue is that so far he has not offered statistics for his successes long term.

What percentage of his clients have maintained a weight loss 2, 3, 5, 10 years after initial contact with Steve Miller?  And who’s fault is it if or when the weight has gone back on?  Is it the failure of his clients?  Is it the failure of a product that in maybe can not offer any more than the slimming clubs?

I’ve paid £250 for weight loss hypnosis.  I did lose a stone in the first month.  And then it went back on over time, when I had a major mental health blip.  Because sometimes my mental health affects my choices.

I’ve paid hundreds and hundreds of pounds to slimming clubs over the years.  I am not a magazine type success, but I have had both positive and negative experiences, and while at the moment I am committing to not dieting or joining a club at the moment, I know people who do feel the benefit of support.

I’ve paid £150 for Beyond Chocolate.  While I haven’t lost significant amounts of weight it has helped substantially to my approach to and relationship with food, and in knowing that my failed attempts at dieting aren’t all my fault and the reason I should live with a blanket over my head forever more.

I’ve paid £50 for two pods from Thinking Slimmer, and while, again, weight loss isn’t magnificent, I feel relaxed and chilled, and am impressed by how gently my thought patterns have changed, and how I can leave food without worry.

I have been there, done that and bought the t-shirt of many a weight loss programme or plan.  And I guess that is in part, why I get so bloody furious at the vitriol spouted by Steve Miller. But I also find it incredibly telling that rather than engage with his questioners he attempts to silence them and shut them down.

So here’s there question.  For a man who doesn’t want to prove his product with long term results.  What really does he have to offer?  Other than your empty pockets and a big dose of fat shaming?

Oh yes, and one more thing, isn’t 80/20 a diet? Pretty sure it is….

Poisonous Size Acceptance Troll, apparently, blogging again!

Published February 19, 2015 by Crystal

I was blocked on twitter yesterday by a certain “weight loss guru”.

Apparently, laughing at the odious idea that there should be a “Fat Tax” on clothing, and calling it the most ridiculous idea I think he had come up with, was a step too far.

Apparently, having a belief that every person on the planet deserves respect and acceptance is a poisonous idea.

Personally I believe wholly in health.  For me, and for my journey, size acceptance is about accepting my body as it is currently, and not criticising and ridiculing it, but also learning to love my body and value it, and discover ways to treat it more as the valued home it really is.

Take-care-of-your-body

As I’ve blogged about here and here my thoughts on size acceptance are my own, and may be vastly difference to other Size Acceptance and Fat Acceptance believers and supporters.  But whether it is or it is, human decency, and respect for others, is not some utopian dream that is unattainable.  With more respect, and less hate, change is possible, on a personal level, and in the wider sphere of our lives.

I find it interesting that the weight loss guru never ever responded to any of my questions or requests.  He bangs on about success, but I asked for evidence of sustained success over the years.

I also didn’t name call.  I would call him out on things he was saying, and ask for him to actually look up Size Acceptance, because he missed a whole load of everything every time he used them in his attacks.

But then, you know what they say;

rudeness

I have said before and I will say again, and again and again;  Real changes have come for me through acceptance of myself, through kindness to every part of me.  Sure I could punish myself slim.  But that never lasted.  The only long term changes, and I mean those that have stayed, have been in the last 2 years, when I really have embraced self/size acceptance.

Our journeys are all different.  One man does not have the answer to change the world, or “The Obesity Crisis” as he keeps calling it.  And you DO NOT need to call yourself all manner of nastiness in order to have a better life.

#MentalHealth and #SizeAcceptance. It is #timetotalk today.

Published February 5, 2015 by Crystal

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”?

You say “Fat Acceptance” like it’s a bad thing?

Published January 8, 2015 by Crystal

The irony of the last couple of days is that currently I am working on losing weight.  I have lost 2 and a half stone in the last 18 months.  OK It isn’t the momentous 6,8,10 stone that some achieve.  It has been slow and steady.  And this Christmas I gained, because I had a mental health issue, and it hit me hard.  But I have, overall, maintained a weight loss.  Not through self hate, not through telling my fat it is unacceptable and disgusting.  But through being kind.  Through noticing how my body responds positively to certain ways of exercise, Through acknowledging how I feel after different foods and days.  It has been through forgiving myself when I have been critical and hateful to a body that has seen me through so much.

I grew up hearing the ridicule, the hate, the spite, from people who felt justified to comment on my body.  “You have such a pretty face, if only you would lose weight”, or “Have you got a sign to warn people?  You know, Wide Load!”  And occasionally those comments would spark in me some action.  I would lose 2 stone, maybe even 3.  But I would still hate myself.  I still disliked my body, this body I had grown to dislike and despise and ridicule as effectively as those that had poured scorn on it from a distance.  I was living in a body I loathed, and when weight loss didn’t fix that, when weight loss turned out NOT to be the answer I dreamed of, I would gain weight again.

I had grown up with food being a comfort, an answer to many of life’s problems.  It’s not an ideal.   But it is what it is and it was what it was. The thing is, no amount of weight loss, founded out of self loathing and hate, is going to change that need to comfort eat when it is all you know.  So I would revert to food.  I was disgusting anyway, why should i deprive myself of burgers.  I didn’t deserve to be slim and happy, and anyway I was slim, but not happy, and what good had that been?

This was a vicious cycle.  It went on, and on, and on, and on, and on.  Each time I lost, each time I would ultimately gain.

So then I came across Intuitive Eating.  A way of tuning in and noticing yourself.  But more importantly, oh so much more importantly, a way of becoming compassionate to myself.

Gradually I learnt how to say kind things.  To acknowledge the wonderful things my body had done.  To thank it for carrying me.  And when it was hard to say kind things, just to not say anything nasty was enough.

And it has taken many, many years.  I am still a work in progress.  But I now, depression aside, enjoy my lie far more than in all those years of diets and self loathing.  If I follow a diet plan now (and I do, periodically, because it supports my needs and  find a way that works for me) it is done with compassion and forgiveness.  It is NOT done with judgement and scolding and criticism.  Because for me, that way to ruin and misery lie.

This is MY story, My experience.  Being larger doesn’t lessen me as a person.  I am choosing to get healthier for myself through ways that work for me.  With LOVE and Compassion and Acceptance of where I am now.  Training to run a marathon, and accepting that some days will be easier than others, but that it will be worth it in the end.

Fat Acceptance is not about getting people to eat themselves to death.  It is about learning to love ourselves where we are right now, and to come to believe and know we are worthy of love and acceptance.  It’s about sticking a finger up at ridiculous unrealistic media ideals that we all have to be some fantastical version of perfect.  It’s about acknowledging that health isn’t simply about size, or exercise, or food.  That there are mental and emotional aspects that impact greatly on our lives and they need addressing as much as everything else.  It’s about learning to live in balance in our own body, and finding what works and what is perfect for us.

I will continue to champion the larger lady, along with the slimmer lady.  The runner, and the writer.  The dancer, and the sunbather. The skater girl, the rockabilly belle.  The academic, and the sales assistant. I will champion every single woman who is living a life that works for her.  Because we are diverse.  No size fits all.  And this planet continues to be a beautiful place full of the unique and individual.