Welcome, New York Times Readers!

Here are a few links to get you started:

Don’t you realize fat is unhealthy?

Rachel at The F Word explains a little about fat acceptance for newcomers here.

I explain why, unlike Rachel, I do use the term “fat acceptance” almost exclusively, as opposed to “body acceptance.”

What we promote here is actually called Health at Every Size, not “health at any size,” if you were thinking of Googling for more information. Here’s my favorite article on it.

Please check out Big Fat Blog, which has been around since 2000 and without which none of the blogs featured in the article would be here.

And finally, we love comments — but please read our horrible, draconian, free speech-hating comments policy before you give us a piece of your mind.

184 thoughts on “Welcome, New York Times Readers!

  1. Hurray for what you and others are doing and saying! “Laura Lard Takes No Prisoners,” one of my stories in Cruising the Green of Second Avenue (publ. by wildchildpublishing.com), has our eponymous heroine telling a waitress, “[Salad] is not the food of my people. Where I come from, a decent meal should be heavy enough to hold down a circus tent in a hurricane.” She has enough confidence in her image to make the cosmetics sales ladies at Bloomingdales wet their panties.

    I’m a skinny guy, so maybe my opinions don’t count. Laura’s story line, however, is that her being fat is an attribute, and she defends it by doing an Elliott Ness against the Prejudice Mafia. Writing this, a part of me expressed a strong belief that public sentiment wants to remake the obese, corpulent, oleaginous, turgid, stout and plump minority into the size, shape and silhouette of the chosen. Health and science demands it, the evangelists say.

    That scares me. It’s just a matter of time until I become a target because I’m a casual smoker, whiskey drinker, fiscal conservative and social liberal. Oh—wait a minute! I already am a target! Beware the Prejudice Mafia. They’re watching you.

  2. Hey Walt, of course your opinions count, but I do want to point out that most fat people don’t eat appreciably differently than thin people. I’m going to have a salad for lunch and I’m fucking excited about it.

  3. P.S. I adore salad. Give me a bowlful of baby greens or deep green romaine, and just enough dressing to enhance the taste and make it hold together, and I’m a happy person.

  4. Walt – I’m thin, and I eat a lot. A LOT. Instead of the recommended “six small meals a day” I eat six BIG meals a day. I never overeat, but most of my food could probably hold down a circus tent, Salad is only a nice first course, never a substitute for a real meal. That’s how my mom eats, that’s how my sister eats, and we’re all very thin. So I appreciate what you’re saying, but I think it’s important to recognize that if I had different genes I might be fat, and a fat person who eats a lot, might be thin with different genes (even if they continued to eat a lot).

  5. Yeah, I’m constantly surprised by how often self-described allies want to turn to supposed euphemisms that are actually more insulting than just saying “fat.” (Malphemisms, perhaps?)

    I hearby declare that the FA journey of 1000 miles begins with learning how to say “fat.”

  6. Sarah, right, exactly. Some fat people eat a lot. You eat a lot. Some thin people eat salads for lunch. I eat salads for lunch. (Only for the last couple weeks, though… stay tuned for a post about how incredibly wrong I was about salad. But regardless, I am a light eater and could hold down a circus tent with my bulk and my muscles but not with my lunch.)

    The only difference is that when fat people eat a lot, it’s indicative of their moral failings, and when they eat salads, they’re liars.

  7. Holy cats, Kate, that HAES article better be making an appearance in the FAQ. It gave me the warm fuzzies. Rarely is an experiment so cut and dried (and utterly ignored).

  8. It’s not that I don’t use the term “fat acceptance,” it’s that I identify as both a fat acceptance activist and a body size acceptance activist. While the two have much in common, fat acceptance is about much more than a personal relationship with one’s body and self-image. For me, fat acceptance is personal, yes, but it’s also deeply and intrinsically public in that it fights the political, economic and social marginalization of an oppressed class.

    Just to clarify…

  9. congrats for getting in the NYT. i’m glad to have discovered some new reading material :-)
    (i’m not exactly fat but could do with some body acceptance)

  10. I need to get used to the word fat myself- most people, when I refer to myself as fat get all pouty, and “Noooo!, you’re not fat! You don’t really think you’re fat, do you?”
    Well, I’m a size 18. According to health officials, I’m quite obese.
    I need to rework my definition of fat to include “Fat and Happy”

  11. Just read about this in NYTimes. Great timing, cause last night I actually started screaming “no, no, no” at the tv when I saw the new spokesperson for Jenny Craig…Queen Latifah. Does anyone else feel as betrayed as I do?

  12. Great article! I’m happy to expand my online reading material too. I have lots of curves and appreciate your “Healthy at every size” attitude. We need to get the word out, the NYT is a good start!

    Best wishes to you.

  13. FJ: “Malphemisms, perhaps?”

    Dysphemisms, actually.
    /English professor
    /big fat dork

    Looking forward to watching the continuing response to the article, by the way, and continuing to overuse my “Share on Facebook” button! ;)

  14. Sweetmachine, when you’re right, you’re right. I do particularly like the “you’re not ten other things I associate with fat” bit. Now I know why I got MORE upset when peoplel told me I wasn’t fat than when they told me I was!

  15. Thanks for that link, Emily. I haven’t made it through all the archives, and that’s a very relevant post.

  16. I’m sorry, but what the fuck is up with the illustration currently being used to promote the story? It’s a little girl stuffing her face with cake.

    I guess they couldn’t get a picture of a baby-flavored donut?

    Sigh.

  17. Although I think it is important for people to have a healthy self-image, I respectfully disagree with your blogs regarding your fat philosophy.

    First, it’s a bit dangerous; the medical studies used to justify the health-neutrality of your stance are completely cherry-picked. For every legitimate study you cite, there are countless others that contradict them. Just because there is no 100% evidence that fat is bad (and nothing in science is ever certain) doesn’t mean that it is Very Probable that is not healthy to be overweight. 50 years ago, people were making the same arguments about smoking.

    Second, the theory that some people are genetically meant to be fat is questionable. Yes, some people have bigger frames than others, but that is not the same thing as body fat. I know way too many chunky people with thin wrists and ankles for the big-boned theory to work. Likewise, as far as metabolism goes, do we suddenly have a country full of people whose thyroids stopped working? Probably not.

    The reason I harp on this point is because of my personal experience. My mother was thin and came from a thin family and I was a thin child until she married a big guy from a big family while I was in grade school. Over the next decade, we both went from thin to chunky – mostly because we adopted the lifestyle of eating our way through the day and finishing it off with dessert. When I left home, I changed my eating patterns (including becoming a vegetarian for ethical reasons), started getting more physical activity, and thinned out. Meanwhile, my mother has gotten even bigger along with my wonderful, but dangerously overweight father. It makes me sad thinking they may die young from an entirely preventable underlying cause.

    Finally, I find it odd that some people think that the rise in obesity is some kind of government conspiracy. Watch news footage from the 1970’s or earlier or find old photos from Life or National Geographic that show crowds of Americans. One thing you will notice is that they all look rather thin. No, they weren’t on heroin or malnourished. They were just eating less processed sugar-laden garbage than we do and spending less time sitting in front of TVs, computers, and steering wheels.

    I suspect that fat acceptance is a defense mechanism that protects us from the disquieting realization that the modern American lifestyle is not just kill the planet, it’s killing us. I’m not saying that being thin will solve all our problems – unhappy, obnoxious, over-consumptive thin people abound, but accepting fat is like trying to justify owning an SUV that gets 15 mpg.

    The good news is that once we correctly define a problem, the solution becomes obvious.

    If I am way off the mark, please correct me.

  18. Awesome, Amanda! I’m also a big fat dork and former English teacher, but clearly not as skilled with etymology as you are, since I obviously mixed my Greek and Latin. :)

  19. I am not saying that fat people are immoral, or disgusting, or refuse to help themselves. Yes, some of it can be contributed to genetics, but do you think helping people say “it’s ok, I can eat anything” is productive? I dont disagree that people should love themselves, but i feel that most will just let themselves go. Which is down right a shame. The honest truth is that “fat” is on the rise, and it shouldn’t be. Some people are fat from the start, ok, we get it. But most overweight individuals are just that, overweight. Help them help themselves, don’t empower them to do bodily harm.

  20. Dan, you’re extremely off the mark. Let’s start with your use of standard straw fatties: “big bones” and “thyroid condition.” You know, when I point out that some people are short, nobody starts bitching about how I think every short person has a pituitary condition. Have you noticed that?

    As for studies being cherry-picked, you’re right: for starters, we picked the ones that aren’t funded by organizations that promote bariatric surgery. Our point isn’t that every piece of evidence shows that being fat is even more salutary than being so-called normal weight (though there are studies that say just that). Rather, the point is that science is hardly monolithic on this issue, and that it’s a lot more complex than people want to acknowledge. Studies that show, for instance, that fat people don’t eat appreciably more than thin people are not the ONLY science out there, but they’re STILL SCIENCE, even if you find them weird or dissonance-inducing. (Oh, and in that particular case, contradictory studies don’t actually exist.) Moreover, the studies that do show a correlation between fat and ill health show just that — a correlation. That doesn’t mean that adipose tissue is a cause of disease, or a disease in and of itself (people seem to be confused on which one they think it is, and just choose the one that seems most rhetorically useful).

    If you’ll read into HAES a little bit, you’ll see that not only are we very much in favor of physical activity and eating right for your body, but research shows that this is healthier than focusing on weight loss. In other words, no offense dude, but your parents would be be better off listening to us than to you.

    The “look at TV footage” thing isn’t really worth addressing, although have at it if you want it, guys. (Also, who has the numbers on real weight gain in the last few decades? It’s around seven pounds, but I’m sure someone has a link to the data.)

  21. Fat is still uncommon in third world countries… I wonder if all fat people in the US can visit these third world countries and see how people eat. They are not starving or exercising all the time. I think moderation is still the key to happiness. Please do not deluge yourself that fat equates happiness. That is pretty sad. Why not just accept that you have a eating problem like an alcoholic at an AA meeting, that you just are too fat for your own good.

    I’m fat, and I realized that I’m eating to my early grave. I am trying all the time to come to terms with that. Of course I’m not as happy as I like. But I know my efforts will and should help.

  22. (FWIW, guys, I’m approving these because I think we need to today, but Kate, delete all this if you’d rather.)

    jasol, you should probably read, you know, ANYTHING on the blog. I wouldn’t have approved this except that “most overweight people are overweight” was just too funny to pass up.

    G, did you seriously just say that people in third world countries aren’t starving?

    You’re engaging in a classic move, one that we’ve all rejected (or are trying to reject) here: thinking that if you at least broadcast how much you hate your fat, you’ve martyred yourself into acceptability. I can’t convince you not to do that. If you look around, though, you’ll see that the commenters here lead active, happy lives, not governed by food (compulsion OR neurosis) or by worry about their bodies. It is possible, even for you. I know it’s hard to process.

    And if you truly are “eating yourself into an early grave,” HAES and intuitive eating can help. Or you may need to seek treatment for an eating disorder.

  23. Well, Dan, just to comment on one of your points. I, too, have been a vegetarian for ethical reasons for more than half of my life. And I have been anywhere from 140 – 260 pounds, all on the same diet/activity level. The point I’m making is that it isn’t the same for every person. You may have lost weight becoming a vegetarian. I did not, nor did I lose weight when I was working out 4-5 times a week, nor has my health been affected. Everything about my “health” is the same as it was when I was only ‘overweight’ by medical standards. Now I’m just fatter – not to mention happier. Again, this has nothing to do with me being more worthy as a person because I happen to be “healthy.” I find that although I tend to eat better than many of my friends, they happen to be thinner than me. Neither one of us (me or my thin friend) is any more morally superior.

    I will leave it up to the more eloquent posters to comment on your other points, which I disagree with. You ought to look at the change in BMI charts, to begin with. And I don’t think that everyone looking the same or falling into your definition of healthy/attractive is a good solution.

  24. Also, Dan,
    Junkfood Science has an amazing series of articles on the so called “Obesity Paradox” where fat people have a longer life expectancy than thin people.

    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2006/11/obesity-paradox-1.html

    So if you’re into reading more views of science I would highly recommend that blog. There is a lot of good analysis there, especially of how studies that are often inconclusive are reported as sure things in the media.

    And since it apparently can’t be repeated enough, just a reminder: Correlation is not Causation.

  25. Dan- the contention is not that being FAT because you EAT TOO MUCH is ok- the contention is that not all fat people eat any different from thin people- I had a special K meal replacement for breakfast (I’m a college student- I eat on the run) I had a bowl of low-fat high-fiber chili with a few crackers for lunch. It’s not time for dinner yet. Before I even go home for the day, I’m going to the skating rink. I had been (before I had to quit for financial and school/time reasons) a roller derby girl for well over a year for the Tragic City Rollers. I still go to the rink and skate to stay in shape and not lose all the endurance I developed.

  26. Fat is still uncommon in third world countries…

    Oh, to have the health profile of a third world country.

    Also, is it my imagination, or is every third asshat who comes in here named Dan? Or maybe there’s one really, really clueless guy named Dan.

  27. Hmmm well Dan here’s my personal experience.
    ( Kate, FillyJonk & or SweetMachine if this is out of place please delete, just had to get this off my sweaty fleshbags )

    I am fat, I weigh over 300 pounds. I have been fat my whole life. My adopted mom told me when she got me at the hospital I was chubby and they told her it was baby fat. As I grew I kept putting on weight. This was not in my mothers plan of having adopted the perfect child. I was put on diets, many multitudes of diets. I was given diet pills as a child. I was not allowed to go into the kitchen for fear I might eat something.
    My parents were both excellent cooks, my mother just had the knack and my stepdad was a gourmet chef. He was big fan of steamed Vegatables and salads all manner of good and healthy eating.
    Soda was not allowed in my house, and we did not eat out. Growing up, I lived in the country on a 6 acre plot of land. We had a lake to swim in as well as an indoor pool. I used both extensively. I also rode my bike everywhere. I never really lost weight.
    As I grew older and I stayed fat, I was put on a liquid diet that almost killed me. I even tried speed in college, but found that even the big bad scary meth did nothing but put me to sleep. HAHA pissed off the person I was getting it from too, supposed to be really good stuff and all it did was cause me to snore LOL.
    I never have been able to lose more then 30 – 50 pounds.
    My doctors have talked about so many things. They say my only true option may well be WLS. I refuse cause it scares the fuck out of me.
    SO Dan, tell me how to correctly define my problem so that my solution becomes obvious. I tried suicide at one point, but even failed at that. So I gave up and decided to just BE.
    To be happy to just be here and alive and get the most and best out of the life I am destined to have. You stated you are worried your parents could die young. Well it could be from anything, not just the FAT.
    Thanks to Kate and all the others out there, I am realizing what I need to learn is Fat acceptance and health at every size. Love who and what I am and try and make me the best me I can be. To stop trying to attain a goal set by you or others who think like you.
    You Dan have never lived in my skin, do not presume to tell me how obvious my solution can be.

  28. Also, is it my imagination, or is every third asshat who comes in here named Dan? Or maybe there’s one really, really clueless guy named Dan.

    *can’t….stop….laughing…..*

  29. To be clear on the comment that some new readers have made: I, personally, am not happy because I’m fat. I’m happy and I also happen to be fat. The two are not really linked anymore, which is the big difference in mindset for me.

  30. Before I went back to school, I spent several years working in refugee resettlement. And let me tell you, there were plenty of fat refugees from all kinds of ‘third world’ countries.

    But even if that weren’t the case, using the example of people who suffer from food scarcity and lack of adequate medical care as some kind of proof that fat people in the west just need to eat less is both gross and nonsensical.

    You know what’s great for weight loss? Dysentery!

  31. And just an FYI I still eat as healthy as I can afford. I do not eat fast food, I live on Brussel sprouts and salads and water. I don’t eat breads or many pasta’s I try and stick with veggies and whole foods. I suffer from PCOS and my doctor has told me I need a lot of protein and little in the way of carbs. I strive to eat like this all the time but sometimes I cant. I have three big dogs I walk and I dance and I have a wickedly active sex life with the old man.
    SO NO I am not sitting on the couch growing larger with each baby donut I shove in my gaping maw of a mouth.

  32. The point is that it is possible to be fat and happy at the same time. My fat is just part of what I am. There’s a lot more to me than just that, just as everyone has multiple characteristics and multiple identities (and I do claim a fat identity, among others). I’m not happy because of my fat. Indeed, I still have issues around being fat in a fatphobic world. But I am not going down the path of self-hatred ever again. I’d rather be fat and confident than fat and hating myself, and those are the two choices my body has given me.

    Also, my body is no one’s business but my own, and possibly my lover’s. And not really his, except that he enjoys my body so damn much!

  33. That whole “you never saw fat people in concentration camps!/Ethiopia” meme is hokier and shittier than Phoebe Price’s acting career. Sure, you might not ever see any fat people in times of famine, but I’ll bet my stash of alcohol that you never see any healthy, or happy, people in extreme famines.

    Thanks, trolls, but I’ll speak to my doctor with regards to any problems my weight will cause – at this point, precisely none. And she says weight is 80% hereditary as well, so I’ll take her medical expertise over yours and invite you to blow your “blah blah fat people use glands and genes as excuses PUT DOWN THE FORK” rhetoric out your ass with a hefty serving of Alli for good measure.

  34. Dan’s letter was almost textbook fat-hating troll. Starts out pleasant enough, let’s fight science vs. science (translation: let’s only use my science which is correct, not your science which is wrong), here is an example from me/my family/someone I know about how we dieted successfully – you can, too, and delves into spurious items about how being fat is suicide and p.s. we’re killing the environment.

    Do you think they publish a pamphlet on how to do it? Because that was classic.

  35. Does anyone actually have any NUMBERS to prove that fat=early grave?

    I’ve ALWAYS wondered about this- I come from a fat family, and they’ve all lived to be in their 80′s.

    I mean, am I going to die at 25 (next year) because I’m fat? What are the numbers, people?

    There are none!!

  36. But even if that weren’t the case, using the example of people who suffer from food scarcity and lack of adequate medical care as some kind of proof that fat people in the west just need to eat less is both gross and nonsensical.

    PRECISELY.

    Do you think they publish a pamphlet on how to do it? Because that was classic.

    Heh. No kidding.

  37. Oh, and Rachel, I totally got what you were saying — and edited the post to make it a little more clear what I was saying. I only included that link because the part about fat/body acceptance was the only thing in your excellent post that I wouldn’t have written myself. :)

  38. My post seems to have vanished into the ether (I’m not getting a message saying it’s in moderation as I did last time) so I’m going to repost.

    Dan, actually, twin studies show that weight and BMI are both approximately 80% hereditary – approximately the same heritablity as height. As for cherrypicking studies – I suggest you read the Obesity Myth by Paul Campos. He does not cherry pick studies, he takes the same studies the anti-obesity people are using, and examines them to show that their conclusions have been way overblown. Sandy at Junkfood Science (which Sniper already linked) does the same thing. As for people getting fatter – there has been no statistically significant increase in obesity over the past 7 years. And the increase in obesity previous to that was caused by the government changing the definition of obesity, as well as an average weight gain of approximately 10 pounds that tipped many people over the borderline between overweight and obese (and unfortunately, I can not for the life of me remember where I found the Paul Campos paper that stated that).

  39. FWIW, guys, I’m approving these because I think we need to today

    Good by me. I’m laughing my ass off. Metaphorically, of course. Still fat.

  40. I keep trying to post a comment, but it keeps disappearing (without a message telling me it’s in moderation). Just checking to see if this will post.

  41. I, personally, am not happy because I’m fat. I’m happy and I also happen to be fat.

    Nicole, that’s an important distinction. I had that critique about the TRL show last night too, but forgot to mention it; at one point they have the activist say something like “the size acceptance movement is about saying ‘it’s great that I’m fat.’” It’s not that for me. It’s about saying “it’s true that I’m fat,” without any sort of moral valuation. And also maybe “it’s great that I’m great.” :)

  42. Congrats to everyone at Shapely Prose for the NYTimes coverage!

    Now the onslaught of O NOEZ U R ALL FATZ AND U R ALL GONNA DIEZ begins…

    What always struck me as strange is that if we are all supposed to be so *unhealthfully fat*, why do we have an increasing life expectancy? Or am I thinking about this in the “wrong” way – that without those fat people, everyone would be living to 120? 140? Thin immortality?

    And the comment about how genetics makes no difference … sheesh. Even medical and scientific people are grudgingly accepting that indeed, genetics does make a whopping big difference.

  43. BTW, does anyone have a CLUE what Chelsea’s talking about?

    (ETA: Disregard that question, I couldn’t figure out why I approved the comment when it was so obviously incoherent, so I deleted it.)

    And confidential to the troll I just deleted: you buy passage on a plane, you dumbfuck, not real estate.

  44. Jasol:

    Help them help themselves, don’t empower them to do bodily harm.

    It’s obvious you don’t realize that the people who follow diet programs obsessively and exercise compulsively are being empowered to do harm every time they turn on their television or open a magazine or hear an ignorant statement about weight (like this one). When you say “help them help themselves,” the people who read this blog, both thin and fat, hear, “help them perpetuate a feeling of misery that will never be quelled no matter how long or how hard they try.” The science just isn’t there, and apparently, neither are your writing skills.

    Also, in response to Dan’s comment, no one becomes a vegetarian for ethical reasons unless you are talking about eating the animals from the veterinary clinic where you work. Perhaps you meant morals. I’d comment on other things you’ve said here, but it appears you haven’t read anything this blog has to offer, so why don’t you educate yourself further and then come back with some enlightened questions.

  45. you buy passage on a plane, you dumbfuck, not real estate.

    Seriously? Someone brought that shit up? Man, these guys should put together a comedy act for whatever lame performance competition is out these days…

  46. Not too off-topic, I hope – along with the other things that have been suggested recently (like the FAQ), would it be useful to have a “favorite posts” area that was reader-selected? Maybe that’s too similar to the “top posts” section, but I wasn’t sure if that’s by current clickage or what. It could be another area to direct people like the many-headed Dan to, and I’d like to see what everyone else got the most out of too as well as easily find the ones that really chirked me up.
    For instance, I love the one about healthy eating of “bad” foods that somewhere goes on about full-fat dressing and how hey, in using it you’re still eating a whole fucking plate of spinach, but I can never remember enough about it to know where to find it.
    (And if that wasn’t you, I shall now slink off to the closet with my box of cereal to eat in shame.)

  47. And confidential to the troll I just deleted: you buy passage on a plane, you dumbfuck, not real estate.

    Holy dog on a pogo stick, that old shit again?

    Hey, did I tell you about the time I was in an elevator, and two tall dudes reached over my head to shake hands and ended up grabbing my hair and I had to fucking yell to make them let go? Man, I hate tall people. Why don’t they amputate their legs? Why don’t they go around squatting all day. Don’t even tell me you can be tall and happy at the same time.

    :roll:

  48. i notice that the whole ‘fat americans outnumber fat [any other nationality here] by 20 to 1 – explain that! if we’re not just encouraging a fat lifestyle!’ argument tends to derail a lot of common sense thinking. ‘i would accept that some people genetically disposed to be different from me, but HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT?’ and you can almost hear the panicked undertone, ‘i could not accept a fat body on my own skeleton. HELP ME!’

    okay – first? the very existence of this blog proves that AMERICANS DO NOT ACCEPT A FAT LIFESTYLE. hello?? how many anti-fat jackasses have to come and troll-post here to prove that.

    secondly, no other nationality is as obsessed with fat and dieting as americans are. so is it the obsession with fat? or the obsession with dieting? that is making americans, as a whole, fatter than other peoples?

    well, as there is COPIOUS scientific evidence to show that nearly every diet ends in a 10% increase of fat stores in the diet victim, HOW ABOUT WE BLAME THE DIETING for a change? really.

    it’s pretty fucking hard to turn a thin person into a fat one – but it can be done. just yo-yo them on diets long enough; barring some really unwise genetic properties (starving repeatedly without resetting the thermostat lower? prepare to die!), well – you’ll probably get there.

    there doesn’t seem to be any trick to the converse, though. if you wanna get fat? diet. if you want to get thin? tough shit.

  49. well, as there is COPIOUS scientific evidence to show that nearly every diet ends in a 10% increase of fat stores in the diet victim, HOW ABOUT WE BLAME THE DIETING for a change? really.

    Yeah, this is a great point and deserves a post all on its own (it’s probably had one, but maybe it deserves another). SM and I were just discussing changing our refrain from “diets don’t work” to “diets totally work… TO MAKE YOU FAT!” Because seriously, you guys, there are two huge differences in food attitudes and availability since whatever mythical time when trolls think everyone was slim. One: yeah, we use more HFCS, portions have supposedly increased (I’d believe it at restaurants, and people may eat out more often now), possibly fewer people living in food insecurity though I’d have to check that. Two: obesity panic, children put on diets and fat-shamed at early ages, increased thinness of media images. Now, diets have been proven to make people gain weight in the long run. And research also shows that naturally thin people can’t eat themselves permanently fat, and that fat people and thin people’s food intake isn’t appreciably different. So if I were going to start with the premise that we’ve all gotten SOO FAT recently and we NEVER USED TO BE FAT AT ALL, which one would I be likely to finger?

    (Hint: the answer’s different if you use your brain.)

  50. Hehe– Somewhat off topic-
    The fiance has started to pick on me for the fact that I’m very, VERY forgetful-

    Saying that maybe my years as an anorexic and other years on “diet of the month” might have started eating my brain…

    Seems to make sense.

  51. First, congratulations on the NYT article – and my condolences on the increased spam it’s going to bring for awhile. I know you guys have the skills and equanimity to handle it, but it’s still not fun.

    Second, just an observation on the Same Old Trolls: how come, when they accuse you of cherry picking studies to support your point, they don’t counter with cherry picked studies of their own to support theirs? (My suspicion is there aren’t any.)

  52. Man, the trolls are AWESOME today. I’m not approving any of them, which has led to several people posting the same thing over and over, but I approve of the mockery here, most whole-heartedly!

  53. TropicalChrome, because EVERYBODY KNOWS that all the science says fat is unhealthy! Why actually read studies and see what they say when you can just accept the conventional wisdom?

  54. Yeah, we’re probably going to stop approving now that we’ve got a couple representatives to kick around (thanks for volunteering, guys!). Note to future trolls: you will have to be truly astonishing if you want to rise above the pack.

    (There, that should ensure some material for a future DH of the Day post.)

  55. Now the onslaught of O NOEZ U R ALL FATZ AND U R ALL GONNA DIEZ begins…

    Seriously.

    Which made me wonder: Why do they “care” so much? I put the quotes around care, because I don’t really think they do. The fat haters sure don’t care about our mental health and i don’t really think they care about our physical health either.

  56. Dear Disbelievers/Haters,

    Know what? I work three jobs. I work half days in an office, which admittedly isn’t very physical work. Then I go to my retail job, which is a little more physically demanding, since I am on my feet and constantly moving throughout the shift. On days when I’m not working these two jobs, I usually pick up some extra work through the local day labour agency – much more physically demanding jobs, usually housecleaning or helping out on a local farm. I walk to all these jobs, except the farm job, which is 40 kilometres outside of town (otherwise I would). I get 1 day off a week. Oh, also, I practise weight lifting and yoga at home.

    Know what else? I can’t even remember the last time I ate fast food, and the last time I had a potato chip was at a birthday party in August. The only sugar I eat is the teaspoonful I put in my morning tea. I can’t stand sugary foods, actually, and I especially can’t stand sugary drinks, like soda pop or even juice. Outside of those things, my meal intake is pretty healthy and average-sized. Although the truth is, I am often too tired or busy to get in three meals a day, so it’s often more like two healthy, average-sized meals, and then a couple of pieces of toast at the end of the day. Like most people who struggle in three jobs just to make ends meet, I’ll admit my protein intake isn’t very high, and consists mainly of peanut butter and beans, but I do manage to get a lot of veggies and fruit and whole grains into the mix. Also, doughnuts give me heartburn so I haven’t touched one since 1995.

    Know what else? I’m still FAT. Been fat all my life – or at least, I’ve know I was fat since I was six years old, which is when a hospital dietician put me on my first calorie-counting diet. I knew I was fat at 12 when I went to Weight Watchers, and I definitely knew I was fat at 23, when I started sticking my finger down my throat to upchuck every morsel I ever ate. I stayed fat. I’m still fat. In fact, last summer, before I was able to scrape these three jobs together, I had to use the local food bank just to get enough food to eat a meal a day. Yup, still fat.

    The thing is, kate’s blog is one of the few touchpoints of sanity in my daily, fat person’s life. Although I’m 39 now, and I thought I had reached some measure of self-actualization before I made it here, I am continually astonished by the positive changes I’ve been able to make in my life since I started hanging out here.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is this: if you can’t deal with the concept of fat acceptance and everything else kate, sweet machine, and fillyjonk are trying to do here, if you’re not willing to educate yourself outside of what you read/hear/see in the mainstream media, and you still insist on believing people like me are lazy, eat too much, and are just plain lying about it, then…well…fuck the hell off.

  57. I apologize for obviously offending several readers. That was not my intention…I was just adding to the discussion as an outsider looking in. I won’t make that mistake again. Litith Sativa’s post does make an excellent point that my story is not everyone’s story – biology is more complicated than that. Thanks for the perspective.

    Regarding health issues, I guess I am a product of medical community propaganda – the fat acceptance movement still has their work cut out on that issue.

    Lastly, thank you to the many readers whose comments help dispel the pervasive myth that all fat people are jolly.

  58. I should know better by now than to try being nice to obvious assholes. I think a lot of it is not wanting to overstep my bounds here, not that I’m likely to do that. I think I’ll feel free to let loose from here on out! I guess I worry that I might offend the one person who truly isn’t being a douchehound and who is honestly trying to learn.

    God, I love it here!

  59. WOW. Just read the HAES link – exactly HOW have I never read this before?!? Now, I’ve done a lot of reading about HAES, and I live it and talk about it (ad nauseum) to friends and fam, but this was amazing. I mean, it’s from the fucking USDA website! How many times have those of us who’ve talked about fat acceptance gotten the oh-you-are-so-delusional eyeroll (or the concerned-poor-baby head tilt)?

    Sweet fancy Moses.

  60. Lilah, yeah, I worry about that too… Kate’s better than I am at recognizing the signs of someone who has no desire to engage critical thought. That’s why I sometimes approve people like Dan — because I think it’s possible they’re actually asking questions instead of trying to prove their inherent superiority.

    I’m kind of a chump, huh?

  61. My first reaction to troll #1 is the same as many of yours. No one here is saying “It’s good to be fat.” What we ARE saying is “It is not BAD to be fat.” It astonishes me that so many people don’t get the distinction between “good” and “not bad.” I like FJ’s comment:

    It’s great that I’m great.

    Maybe that should be a slogan of the month or something.

    As for the troll plea to “Help them help themselves, don’t empower them to do bodily harm” umm, that’s EXACTLY what Health at Every Size is to me.

    It’s helping me to help myself, by ending destructive thoughts about my body and self-image, by encouraging me to find a health variety of foods to eat because I like them (not because they are “good for me” and “will help me lose weight) and to exercise because it feels good (not because it is “good for me” or “will help me lose weight.”). And if that isn’t helping me help myself, well, I don’t know what is.

  62. Oh also…I have two cats, one thin, one fat. Both eat the same diet, get the same amount of exercise, and live exactly the same lifestyle. Still, one remains thin, one remains fat. I wonder if it actually could be genetics, or does my fat cat just have some secret moral failing that I don’t know about?

  63. It’s fat to be fat!

    ETA: Oh, and Dorianne, of course your fat cat is morally inferior. Do you even have to ask?

    Also, it sneaks donuts while you are asleep.

  64. Becky: oh, very much so. As far as I can tell, it’s the “Big Lie” – a propaganda technique where if someone in authority repeats lies often enough and loud enough, everyone believes it, even if there’s no evidence backing it up. Which is why I’m waiting for someone to bring up the studies that show causation, not correlation.

    But that would be work.

    (And there are lots and lots of Big Lies when it comes to this subject, health only being one of them, but perhaps the most important.)

  65. Dorianne, the one cat is obviously eating large amounts of baby donuts. The reason you haven’t noticed is because it eats them in the closet and scarfs them down quickly. It gets them from the secret underground baby donut delivery network.
    :lol:

  66. Which made me wonder: Why do they “care” so much? I put the quotes around care, because I don’t really think they do. The fat haters sure don’t care about our mental health and i don’t really think they care about our physical health either.

    They care about their insurance premiums Tracy. Which would totally be SO MUCH LOWER if we would all quit being so fat at our doctors, because insurance companies are aaaalllll about passing the savings on to policyholders.

  67. because insurance companies are aaaalllll about passing the savings on to policyholders.

    And because nobody but fatties EVER gets sick.

  68. insurance companies are aaaalllll about passing the savings on to policyholders.

    As an insurance industry professional, this is the funniest thing I’ve read all day. And some of these here trolls are damn funny, so that’s saying something.

  69. I see I wasted my time looking up those links and typing up that response for Dan. Oh well, maybe somebody who is actually interested in reading and learning will see it..

  70. And because nobody but fatties EVER gets sick.

    Better not tell them about my thin best friend who had cancer…or perhaps my mother’s thin best friend, who also had cancer. Or my thin aunt who needed brain surgery. Or my thin cousin with the pregnancy complications…

    Wait a minute…all these people are women! Maybe we can deny health insurance to women to keep the premiums down! Because clearly being a woman causes illness and in general the only people who should have access to health care are those who are never going to use it.

    I love the OMGMYINSURACEZ!!!!!11111!! folks. And by love I mean want to stab in the eye with a fork.

  71. For what it’s worth, I’m REALLY enjoying reading the trolls’ posts. So I certainly wouldn’t mind if you let a few more through, just for the laughs.

    Plus the well thought-out responses to all their ignorant comments could be good for the lurkers to see.

  72. I’m sorry, but what the fuck is up with the illustration currently being used to promote the story? It’s a little girl stuffing her face with cake.

    I guess they couldn’t get a picture of a baby-flavored donut?

    Mine isn’t the only illustration used to promote the story. If you look at the print and online edition, they herald three other blogs’ headers – in the print edition, my header is featured two pages later where the story continues.

    And I like the graphic – obviously. Food is much more than sustenance. To me, the ad denotes the pleasure we derive from food; pleasure which has been all but forgotten in light of the anti-obesity hysteria. Perhaps the Times had other ulterior motives for using the image, but I think the image speaks to people in different ways.

  73. In Finland we don’t have a health insurance system, we fund medical care from tax money.

    And yes. In Finland there’s a lot of public outcry that fatties are spending all the tax money!!!!!!

  74. Mine isn’t the only illustration used to promote the story.

    Rachel, it’s the one used to illustrate the article on the front page of Times Online, so I think that’s why folks are mentioning it.

    And I can see why people are reacting to it as they do, considering what we’re used to getting for illustrations. But consider, guys, this is the opposite of a headless fatty — it’s the face of a non-fat child as she truly enjoys a piece of cake. I’m all over it.

  75. “I love the OMGMYINSURACEZ!!!!!11111!! folks. And by love I mean want to stab in the eye with a fork.”

    I love you.. I love you madly.

  76. I’m jolly. I’m cheery. I just love being told that my experience can’t have happened and that my decisions are ass-backwards, by people who know nothing about me but my BMI catgory, for the millionth time. Ho motherfucking ho.

  77. your veterinarian should give you what’s known as a “body condition score” for your cat

    Holy crap. There’s a BMI FOR CATS! (Thanks for sharing that article, Elusis.)

  78. Don’t know if anyone has noticed that “In the Fatosphere, Big Is in, or at Least Accepted” is now #10 in the Most Popular Emailed Stories of the NY Times. Hurray!

  79. I wonder if there’s any data on the relationship between weight and lifespan in cats. My cat was large, though not exactly fat, and he lived for 18 years and eventually developed a thyroid condition that made him scarily skinny before he died. If he’d been human everyone would have been all, “wow, you look really great!” for the last six months of his life.

    Jeez, now I’ve got my fatness issues wrapped up in my cat death issues.

  80. My sister decided that she was a binge eater and wanted to go to counseling. My father went with her to the first appointment, so the therapist could get an idea of family eating habits. My mother is in the throes of a fibro flare up so did not attend, but that didn’t stop the therapist from passing judgement on her eating habits. There is no way, says the therapist, that she could be so fat eating as little as she reportedly does. The therapist said she is hiding food and eating secretly, which my father found hilarious, as he does all of the shopping for the both of them. I pictured the secret fatty ninjas, busting through the roof with brimming tubs of ice cream. I am so glad that this mystery is cleared up for me now! It was the baby donut delivery service, striking again! Now with a side of weaksauce! Oh, and her moral failing.

  81. Jeez, now I’ve got my fatness issues wrapped up in my cat death issues.

    Wow! It’s like two bad tastes that suck together.

    Lastly, thank you to the many readers whose comments help dispel the pervasive myth that all fat people are jolly.

    I do believe Dan is saying that thin people are naturally sour and unpleasant. I have to say, I know several very pleasant thin people. I married someone who is the walking, talking, eating, definition of thin, and he’s very sweet. Can’t we please stop slandering the thin like this?

  82. Dan, here’s another way of looking at it:
    Let’s assume that it is true that the fatness of the population is all very recent and due to behavior and extremely unhealthy and changing the paradigm to allow people to accept and live with their fatness is just plain dangerous…
    (God help me, I’m about to use a Dr. Phil-ism)
    So, how’s that workin’ for ya?

    What I mean is, fat could hardly be more stigmatized in this culture, the diet business is booming, people are obsessed with the losing of weight, but it isn’t working. Long-term fat people aren’t becoming long-term thin people despite the overwhelming social incentives to do it.

    So would you at least concede that maybe the current plan of shaming people into repeated cycles of calorie restriction doesn’t accomplish a damn thing?

    (And that’s leaving aside that fact that no one needs anyone’s permission to get off the hamster wheel and accept his/her own body.)

    (I’m sure Kate and others have written much more eloquently on this subject.)

  83. Gotta love the trolls who disguise themselves as caring human beings. GAACK!!

    I’m one of those who uses the term “Fat” LOTS. Hence the subtitle of my blog “fat witch with a gun”. Hmmmm, I very rarely get trolls, can’t possibly be all the firearms I own? LOL.

  84. Still laughing @ Tari’s

    Good by me. I’m laughing my ass off. Metaphorically, of course. Still fat.

    I’m stealing that, k?

  85. Congrats on the article cite, Kate!

    Dear trolls: Fat is not a moral issue, and the health evidence is mixed at best. And in any event, why would you want someone else to hate themselves? For their own good? Take a breath. Ask yourself why you care so much.

  86. and eventually developed a thyroid condition that made him scarily skinny before he died.

    Hyperthyroidism is very, very common in cats 18+. My XH and I had a cat who X had kept since he was a teenager, and once the cat hit 18, he started eating everything in sight while getting progressively skinnier and skinnier, until he was literally all bones. (X finally put him to sleep at age 21 when he couldn’t walk even one step anymore without yowling in pain.) He’d been a bit pudgier when he was younger, too, X told me.

    So sorry about your furbaby, BTW.

    BMI for cats, my fuzzy ass. The thinnest of my three cats is the one with the heart condition. And my heaviest is built like an oil tanker with fur and begs to play fetch every second he’s awake. They can blow me.

  87. I just finished reading The Gospel of Food, and I think we should mail a copy to all the trolls. Or is that entire book cherry picked?

    Willet’s name was mentioned in it as well I believe, and not in a good way.

  88. How sad is it that my personal fat issues are spilling over onto my dog? You can’t feel his ribs anymore like you could when you got him and I’m occasionally like “Man, I hope he isn’t getting fat.”

    I hate what society has done to my brain.

  89. I just love that my cat was problematic in her obesity when she was a happy girl on diet cat fud, but is now probably “healthy” because she’s finally shed those extra pounds.

    Due to cancer.

    Which would have killed her long ago if she hadn’t had the extra pounds to give her something to lose when her intestines started shutting down.

    I can’t help but read that whole cat obesity article with my nose turned up, as if I’m faintly smelling the specific tang of the author’s own shame around the posibility of herself being fat, and how her fat pets might reflect on her.

    Also note the massive orthorexia popping up in the comments. “If you just feed your cat Magic Cat Food, and an all-raw diet every other day plus twice when the moon is full, they won’t catch t3h fat!”

    I love that there are a couple of commenters saying “hey, I have six cats, they all eat the same food and have the same recreational opportunities, and some are fat and some aren’t. They’re just different.”

  90. My fatter cat (who does overeat when she can) can still jump to the top of the fridge from the floor (a little over five feet). I’m not worried about her.

    Although 17+ lbs IS a lot to pick up and carry.

  91. I pictured the secret fatty ninjas, busting through the roof with brimming tubs of ice cream.

    Acknowledging the seriousness of your comment–cause seriously, accusing someone of not only lying about their eating habits, but that they’re hoarding food? Beyond foolishness–I still giggled hard at that line. Especially because I have an active imagination and could see it in my head.

    Does that giggle mean that I’ve reinstated the myth that fat folks are jolly?

  92. “Help them help themselves, don’t empower them to do bodily harm.”

    See, this is exactly why people keep thinking being fat is a moral failing. We must have obviously done something wrong- which is why we’re fat- but we’re just too ignorant to realize we’re not allowed to be that way; so they must DO THE RIGHT THING and teach us the error of our ways.

    Hey, never mind the fact that I never asked for such “help”. And until I do, how I live my life and what I eat is nobody’s fucking business but my own. If I go up to someone and say, “Hey, please help me feel like crap about who I am and how I look,” then yeah, knock yourselves out with the spewing fat hatred all over me. But I haven’t, so butt out.

    And for the record, I don’t even have insurance. So quit blaming me for dragging down the health care system.

    Ugh, sorry, this was more ranty than I intended, but this whole false idea that someone needs to save a fat person from themselves really riles me up. If you want to do some good, donate to a charity, work at a shelter, become a foster parent for homeless pets, etc. Trust me, there are plenty of options. But for Christ’s sake, quit making fat people out to be your personal campaign.

  93. Re the BMI for cats: If I understand right, the body condition scoring system for animals is based mainly on how they look, not on how much they actually weigh. In other words, does your cat have a visible waist, are her ribs visible, and so on. I think body condition scoring also is used to evaluate neglected cats to see if they’re underweight.

    Did someone upthread mention deep-fried baby cat donuts? With a dusting of powdered sugar… or is that fur? Mm. Hand me the bucket, please. Kthnxbai!

  94. In response to some of the skeptics re: the philosophy that eating anything is okay or that never exercising is justifiable if you are overweight, I see the opposite from this site. The message I’m hearing is that a healthy lifestyle is wonderful, but obsessing over your weight is robbing people of living their life to the fullest.

    I exercise EVERYDAY, sometimes I am at the gym for up to 3 hours doing intense cardio classes, running, and lifting weights. I have literally raced up mountains, beating men who are much smaller than myself. In fact I have out danced many a man.

    My point: according to my BMI – I am overweight. I exercise regularly, I have more energy and have a fuller life than anyone else I know (fat and thin included). So YEA!!! for “fat appreciation” – it’s about time that people are praised for choosing to be healthy, not killing themselves to be thin. I salute what you are doing here – it’s so INSPIRING and I’m so happy I found you!

  95. Okay so, I’m sure I’m gonna get jumped all over for this, but here goes. I think y’all are being a bit too hard on Dan. He apologized, for crying out loud. He’s here. He’s probably reading all the different sections of this site. He ADMITS he’s a product of the media brainwashing about fat people… what did he call it? “Medical community propaganda.” So he makes a little crack about jolly-ness and he deserves to get jumped on some more? Come on now.

    If we’re just dicks to everyone who questions FA, HAES, etc., then all they’re gonna do is roll their eyes at the Crazy Angry Fat People. This guy STILL managed to learn something between his two posts, even through all the vitriol. They get it. We’re mad. There’s no need to throw all the baby-flavored donuts AT him. I really don’t think he’s a troll, like some of the other, well, trolls. He even ended his post with “If I am way off the mark, please correct me.” If someone came over to this site from the NYT article (or wherever), read the “don’t you realize” link and all, and still had questions or objections, would we rather them just not ask, roll their eyes, and walk away?

    Taking cover now.

  96. Fay, I see where you’re coming from and it’s nice to have a non-cynical voice, but we’ve seen Dan’s type over and over. He’s not really interested in discussion, conversation, or critical thinking. He is at best interested in having us spoon-feed him lines to object to, so he doesn’t have to do the reading himself.

    If anyone else has a more generous read, do let me know, but this looks like standard concern trollery (“I’m all in favor of people liking themselves, but don’t you realize fat is unhealthy?”) to me.

  97. Fay, I’m not going to jump on you – but I AM going to defend our right to be angry about this kind of crap. Anger is important.

    Fillyjonk gave Dan the benefit of the doubt when she approved his comment. People responded in earnest and he came back like a troll. Having the 101 conversation is difficult on a good day – it’s unfortunately impossible with people who don’t actually want to engage in it. I think Dan falls into the latter category.

  98. Hey Kate and everyone else
    I’ve been reading yours and other blogs on the fatosphere for a while longer than the NYT article, but I thought now was a good time as any to de-lurk.
    I have to say that I’m glad I found these fat acceptance blogs, because I’ve been learning so much. Really, the information I’ve been reading from the fatosphere has made me more interested in getting more physically active than having my back fat pinched or told that I’m “too young to be fat.” Also in my room I have a box of cookies that I’m not shoving in my face, not because cookies are off-limits, but because I don’t feel like eating any cookies since my lunch was very filling.
    I know I need to keep working on strengthening my self-esteem, and gathering more knowledge, so I don’t fall back in the the diet-think again, so thanks to you and the others for making that hope that I can be healthy at the weight I am possible.

    Jen
    PS. I don’t know if any one else noticed, but the ads by Google at the end of the NYT article were all from weight-loss programs. At least they were the last time I checked the article.

  99. “#
    fillyjonk, on January 22nd, 2008 at 8:12 pm Said:
    Oh, and Dorianne, of course your fat cat is morally inferior. Do you even have to ask?

    Also, it sneaks donuts while you are asleep.”

    KITTEN DONUTS.

  100. Fay, I think it’s a couple of things that are leading people to react as they did. Dan’s first post did seem a lot like concern trolling, which happens a lot. But even if he had posted with good intentions, his second comment seemed like a failed attempt at snarking the OMG MEEN FATTIEZ when they challenged his assumptions. I mean, “thanks for disproving the fat=jolly stereotype” is too close to “you’re all just humorless bitches” for my tastes.

    And I know I am late, but congrats to Kate, Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine! I thought the article was fabulous.

  101. I sent it to everyone in my family.

    It’s great. I can talk about this stuff til I’m blue in the face and no one takes it seriously, but one article from the NY Times and my brother is all like “Hey, did you know that there are studies which suggest that genetics determines body size?”

    NO WAY!

    Congrats on the exposure (and sorry for the exposure!)

  102. Oh Dan, you’ve given me my first bright moment of the day since I learned about Heath Ledger.

    And now, I must go feed a baby-flavored donut to my fat cat. I think I might dip it in some deep fried butter first, though…

  103. my brother is all like “Hey, did you know that there are studies which suggest that genetics determines body size?”

    Sigh. Headdesk. Headdesk.

    I have two brothers who think my health problems several years back were “all in my head”. They somehow forgot about the surgery to remove 3 dozen ovarian cysts. Family.

  104. Here’s my take on the core of the matter:

    No one knows a way to make fat people permanently thin. Not doctors or scientists. Not the weightloss companies. Not the pharmaceutical industry. Not even bariatric surgeons.

  105. Jen, the Google ads work off keywords on the page, so if the story has words like “obesity”, “fat”, or “Walter Willetts”, it will probably get Google ads for weightloss nostrums. (Sorry if you already knew this but you sounded like you might be thinking the NYT had chosen those ads, so I thought I’d clarify.)

  106. I’m just trying to figure out what the trolls want: do they really want us to lose the weight by any means necessary? Regardless of whether or not
    *our setpoints might be higher than theirs?
    *getting to a “healthy” BMI might mean starving ourselves?
    *it totally ruins our enjoyment of life because all we do is exercise and count calories?

    I wish they would be honest with themselves and with us: we would rather you be thin and miserable than fat and content. Because it’s just better for you. And me, because then I don’t have to look at you.

    GMAMFB.

  107. Okay so, I’m sure I’m gonna get jumped all over for this, but here goes. I think y’all are being a bit too hard on Dan. He apologized, for crying out loud.

    Except that his apology came across as sarcastic and condescending, not genuine. I, along with a few other people, did make a genuine effort to answer his questions, and he didn’t respond to any of us, just waved us off with a comment about the medical establishment. I had been giving him the benefit of the doubt until then.

  108. I have two brothers who think my health problems several years back were “all in my head”. They somehow forgot about the surgery to remove 3 dozen ovarian cysts. Family.

    Good lord! Sniper, my dad joked last month that, since grad school is stressful, and stress worsens IBS, and IBS has caused me drastic weight loss, by the time I’m done with school, just imagine how thin I’ll be! Ha ha.

  109. fj, please do a post on ‘diets work to make you fat’, i think people miss that point all the time.

    “possibly fewer people living in food insecurity though I’d have to check that.”

    i’m thinking probably *more* people in food insecurity, as the yo-yo diet and ‘only being able to eat some of the time’ are about the same affect, yes? with a slightly different head trip.

    “Now, diets have been proven to make people gain weight in the long run. And research also shows that naturally thin people can’t eat themselves permanently fat”

    not by eating, alone, no. but i swear that more people than ever are *so fucked up* in the head about women and fat, that they are taking their normally chubby (pre-height-gain) pre-adolescent daughters, girls who would never have weight problems without intervention, and *giving* them lifelong struggles with weight by FUCKING WITH THEM. girls who then become the fat women their parents irrationally feared, girls who had NO apparent (looking at relatives) predisposition to fat, screwing their bodies up for life by starving them and giving them complexes about what they do look like vs. what they ‘should’ look like – WHATEVER.

    honestly, dan deserves to be fucked with. he’s being a dumb boy with the cheap humor shot, which seems right on par with every other dumb boy i’ve ever met who’s cornered by more intelligent people. but i’m giving him a chance. he did apologize, and yes, he might actually learn something.

  110. Fay, I was the same, until Dan gave off with the jolly fat people remark. I would be happy if he learned something, but part of what he has to learn is that snide remarks about fat people aren’t tolerated here no matter how well-meaning he might be otherwise.

  111. This is waaaaay off topic by now… But I’m going to throw it out there anyway. I’m participating in a study and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD entitled “Study of the Phenotype of Overweight and Obese Adults”. I got recruited because I participated in a thyroid study, but that’s a different story. My endocrinologist at NIH suggested that I might want to participate in this Obesity Phenotype study because I’m always bitching about my weight.

    This study is NOT a weight loss program. It focuses on characterizing the hormones, metabolism, food preferences, sleep patterns and thought processes in individuals with *AND WITHOUT* weight problems.

    The upside: You get every inch of your body checked out for free. Actually, they pay you. If there’s anything wonky going on, they will find it.

    The downside: You have to spend a few nights in the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that it’s not a hardship. The people working there know you’re a volunteer and they treat you really well. It’s sort of like a mini retreat, but with needles.

    Anyway, I’m not a recruiter for them, but if you live in the DC area and would like to contribute to the whys and hows and WTF’s about weight and diet and how they aren’t necessarily related, you could take a look here for more info.

    http://clinicalstudies.info.nih.gov/cgi/detail.cgi?A_2007-DK-0077.html

    If you have questions for me, send mail to katt /at/ obscure.org

    If this information is not welcome here, please delete it and consider forgiving me since I just wandered in from the NYT page. Thanks :-)

  112. SM, Moxie is your cat? She is gawjus!

    “Kitten donuts” makes me think of Trader Joe’s Cat Cookies. That is, TJ’s used to call them “Cat Cookies” — they’re animal crackers shaped like cats — and now they call them “Cats Cookies for People.” I suppose some of TJ’s less, ahem, intellectually active clientele bought them thinking these were cookies for cats, and then wondered why their cats weren’t eating them. Because there’s no MEAT in them, sillies, that’s why!

  113. dan gives much better sex advice than weight management advice, but he doesn’t strike me as a hopeless case. he’s just regurgitating the same shit we’ve *all* been sold, because he’s a skinny dork who’s never had to think about it.

    but i do think he’s got the right attitude, underneath, which is why i’m not giving up on him. his response to this letter is what i’m thinking of when i say he’s not a lost cause.

  114. Congrats Kate – love your blog!

    Fat is still uncommon in third world countries.

    Well G I live in a third world country – Cambodia – and I can tell you that while the vast majority of the country is thin (and starving), the children of the elite who have enough to eat are filling out and getting taller. Because they enough to eat, they find a natural setpoint and that is not stick thin or anywhere close to it.

    There’s a dearth of information and I’ve heard educated people claim that drinking water makes you fat and that sugar is a vitamin. Obviously some nutrition info is required.

    Personally I think its a tad arrogant and presumptuous of you to talk about thinness in the developing world if you come from the developed world. Children here die of starvation and malnutrition. Fat is seen as healthy and wealthy in many parts of the world – hopefully fat will be accepted in the west too eventually. It is not desirable to be starving you know – literally.

  115. “Jen, the Google ads work off keywords on the page, so if the story has words like “obesity”, “fat”, or “Walter Willetts”, it will probably get Google ads for weightloss nostrums. (Sorry if you already knew this but you sounded like you might be thinking the NYT had chosen those ads, so I thought I’d clarify.)”

    Thank you for clarifying jaed. I sort of suspected that but wasn’t quite sure. I just wanted to point the irony of seeing weight-loss ads at the bottom of an article about fat acceptance blogs.

  116. Re: Google ads.

    That’s exactly why I wouldn’t recommend Google ads to anybody in the FA movement. It’d be nothing but diet pills and WLS. I’ve recently started kicking Google ads off my pages in favor of Project Wonderful because I’d rather have indie craftsfolk and webcomics advertising than what keywords generate.

    (Example: links to author mills and vanity publishers when I talk about self-publishing, apocalyptic church groups when my stories deal with religion, sketchy sleep aids when I talk about my insomnia.)

  117. @ hallie- Against my better judgement, I clicked on your link to Dan Savage. I was really surprised and happy to see his response to the first letter. Unfortunately, I scrolled down and saw his response to the third, where he suggested that the woman asking for non-sex feeder porn (just fat people “gorging themselves”), he told her not to pay for that, since she could see it at fast food restaurants whenever she wanted.

  118. That’s exactly why I wouldn’t recommend Google ads to anybody in the FA movement.

    Yeah, and it’s exactly why I don’t have them. I mean, I also can’t have them here because WordPress doesn’t allow ads (that is, WP as a host, not just the software) — but I’ve considered changing hosts and still might. I just don’t think there’s any way to make Google Ads work without completely undermining the message here.

  119. Well, thanks you guys, I see your points. I just don’t get that from Dan’s posts, at all. I thought the “fat people aren’t so jolly” thing was more a response to all the snark he received. But I gotcha.

    And for the record, I freakin LOVE this blog, struggle with acceptance, etc. Just didn’t see Dan as troll-ish.

  120. kateharding: If you do move and try ads, I’d tentatively suggest BlogAds. I’d more than tentatively suggest them if I knew anybody who’d actually used it… they seem more content/message-matching driven than keyword driven.

    It might also be interesting trying Project Wonderful, which is a lot more “indie”… the advertisers are mostly webcomic creators, followed by bloggers and crafters. A few small companies are starting to get in on it, too. The reason I say it would be interesting is that people tend to follow links backwards from it. Since the ads are placed directly instead of bought in blocks and assigned by keywords, you can get “stealth” advertising yourself from people who find your site in the network. Also, if the advertiser also has PW ads on their site, anybody can see the referral hits and follow them back.

    You can get hosting for pretty cheap these days and I’d be very surprised if a blog with this activity couldn’t more than make back the hosting cost in a month. Dreamhost (what I use) is $10 a month and has an autoinstall for WordPress.

  121. I just don’t get that from Dan’s posts, at all.

    Fay, trollishness is often in the eye of the beholder. We just see so damn many of them*, saying the same things over and over, that we’re pretty sensitive to any whiff of eau de troll. The casual troll observer might not pick up the same thing. :)

    *For anyone who doesn’t realize this, all comments by people who have never had an approved comment before go into the moderation queue. Usually, in accordance with the comments policy, we delete trolls right there instead of ever letting them show up on the blog. This means we see a hell of a lot of trolls that our readers don’t get to see — and we’d like to keep it that way. I’d much rather create a relatively safe space and be accused of hindering free speech (eyeroll) than let all the hate through to poison the great discussions that happen around here.

  122. Children here die of starvation and malnutrition. Fat is seen as healthy and wealthy in many parts of the world – hopefully fat will be accepted in the west too eventually.

    Saorla, fat didn’t used to be so reviled in American culture. Before the 20th century, waves of immigration and resulting heightened class divisions brought on by an increasing industrialized culture left many Americans literally starving, too. When people here were starving, fat was seen as a sign of wealth and prosperity. When food became more abundant and the poor filled out, the rich had no way to distinguish their weight from that of their thin, starving lower-class counterparts. Therefore the ideal shifted and thin became in and fat reviled.

    That is, the history of weight in America, in a nutshell.

  123. Thanks Rachel, but you know how it is at the moment. Well I know more what it it to be fat in Europe than the US. I notice the difference since the early 90s not even thinking about the 80s.

    Being western and fat in Cambodia is no piece of cake with the pointing and the laughing but it is not hatred or non-acceptance, it’s just difference. It’s upsetting at times but it doesn’t come from a mean or hateful place so I accept.

    I just dislike G’s fallacious “starving people are thin” argument and using that to encourage fatties to do like wise. Given the choice, from what I can see the citizens of the developing world value life over fashion. And comparing thinness/fatness as a result of starvation is disgusting and in my view completely unacceptable.

    It reminds me of the infamous Mariah Carey quote: when I watch TV with all those African kids dying I cry. I mean I would love to be that skinny, but, without all the flies and death and stuff”.

    Love FA blogs though – they make my day!

  124. So many people believe that every disease/illness/injury/etc. a fat person gets is because of their fat, and that makes them unhealthy. Wouldn’t that actually make us healthy? Because then, theoretically, if we lost weight, we would NEVER GET SICK OR DIE, ever. But the naturally thin people would still go on getting diseases and die.

  125. On-topic: What an awesome story in the NYT! Very positive, and I was so psyched to see a lot of my favorite blogs mentioned and linked! I hope this opens up the whole FA / SA / HAES movement to a larger number of people who can really benefit from it. I know I’ve benefited so much this past half-year or so since I started reading these blogs.

    Off-topic, re fat kitties: I have 3 kitties. One is thin. He has diabetes and his vet bills + insulin/needles last year alone cost me slightly over $2,000. My other two kitties? Fat, chubby, chunkmonsters. And healthy. Their vet bills? $0.
    (I couldn’t read too much of that linked SFGate article, as it was starting to really piss me off.)

  126. It reminds me of the infamous Mariah Carey quote: ‘when I watch TV with all those African kids dying I cry. I mean I would love to be that skinny, but, without all the flies and death and stuff”.

    Carey, according to Snopes, never actually said this. This “quote” was from a fictitious “mock interview” on a Web site called Cupcake in 1996.

  127. I’d much rather create a relatively safe space and be accused of hindering free speech (eyeroll) than let all the hate through to poison the great discussions that happen around here.

    And can I just say how much I appreciate that. I really can’t tell you how much it means to have this one tiny corner of the world where I can be safe from fat hate.

  128. De-lurking to throw my weight (ha) against the new influx of trolls. I love this blog, it’s really changed the way I look at a lot of things. I am actually a lot healthier now that I don’t constantly think I am fat and need to lose weight; right now, I’m trying to eat less processed foods and workout more because it helps with my depression, not because I want to lose weight – and I actually stick to it more, because if I eat pizza for lunch one day, or have a headache and don’t go to the gym, I don’t just give up on myself like I used to and think ‘what’s the point I’ll always be fat anyway’ . Now I have a real reason to be doing it: it makes me feel good. I’ve even developed my little sound bites I can spout off when people parrot the ‘FAT IS SO UNHEALTHY!!!’ crap.
    Thanks for everything, Kate, FJ and SM – and the great commenters, too.

  129. “They care about their insurance premiums Tracy. Which would totally be SO MUCH LOWER if we would all quit being so fat at our doctors…”

    Meowser, the first time I read this line I got a huge laugh out “being fat at our doctors” as an active verb. You know, “to be fat at” — to flaunt fatness directly toward another person. Maybe you had to be there… in my brain…

    Long time lurker (well, a month or two actually), first time poster. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy hearing from all of you.

  130. Pingback: Big Fat Deal » More On The New York Times

  131. Just visited Kate’s Myspace. Ummm….why do you consider yourself overweight? You seem in good shape to me. And bendy!

  132. Alex from Philly, I am clinically obese (5’2″, 185 lbs. = BMI of 33.8), I wear plus sizes, and I’ve experienced my share of fat discrimination. That’s why I say I’m fat, though I obviously have an easier time of it than fatter people.

    And frankly, I think it’s really important to point out that I am “obese” despite being healthy and bendy and, in some people’s opinions, not all that big. When the media talks about the “obesity crisis” they’re talking about me and millions of people just like me — anyone with a BMI over 30. Yet the average person hears stuff about the scourge that is obesity and pictures extremely fat people — not their friends and neighbors whom they don’t think of as anything more than chubby.

    This blog promotes respect, dignity, and self-acceptance for people of every size, so I don’t ever want to suggest that extremely fat people deserve any of the hate and fearmongering directed at them, while us smaller fatties should get a pass at their expense. But I think a lot of people have a really distorted image of what the “obesity epidemic” actually looks like. It looks a lot like me. And if that wakes people up to how absurd all the obesity hysteria is, I’m happy to keep sticking my clinically obese yet not that fat ass out there.

  133. And frankly, I think it’s really important to point out that I am “obese” despite being healthy and bendy and, in some people’s opinions, not all that big.

    Not to mention “in good shape.” Not actually mutually exclusive with obesity!

    But while this is all really important to say, I do recommend that we preemptively ban Alex due to his comportment on other blogs.

  134. Alex from Philly? Hmmm. That’s the handle of some guy spreading the same abusive post around the fatosphere. Apparently Shapely Prose doesn’t get the nasty troll treatment because Kate is Teh Hawt, or whatever kids are saying these days.

  135. Hmmm. Maybe I should get someone to take a picture of me in Pilates class tonight. Then I could laminate it and wear it around my neck.

  136. I just fucking love “why do you consider yourself overweight.” A lot of people really do think that “obesity epidemic” means “lots of people I don’t find sexy,” don’t they? Newsflash: Kate’s not the one “considering herself” to be “obese.”

    Anyway, I’ve banned him. After the shit he was pulling elsewhere, I don’t even feel like giving him a chance to see if he’ll behave when he thinks Kate’s not a REAL fatty.

    The laminated picture is a good idea, or why don’t you just go around all the time talking about how hard you’re trying to lose weight, and how you can’t eat this or that? Then you’ll broadcast the fact that you know you’re a Bad Fatty, and people will forgive you.

  137. Alex from Philly? Hmmm. That’s the handle of some guy spreading the same abusive post around the fatosphere.

    Shit, sorry guys. I almost deleted that comment but decided to approve it because it’s a question that comes up a lot, and I’m still not done with the FAQ.

    Alex is now banned.

  138. Kate, I’m like you physically. Less bendy but similar physique. I don’t hear people in real life judging me much (but then I stay far away from places that tend to attract The Beautiful People, and I don’t put myself out there), so sometimes I feel like I don’t have a right to presume I understand what some other heavy people go through. But regardless, I know that when a**h***** talk about “fat people,” they’re talking about me, too. And your blog is one of many ways I’m starting to be able to disregard the destructive, judgmental voices out there. Like you, I find it quite offensive when I hear people comment that someone isn’t like “THOSE” fat people, as if it’s a compliment. It’s not a compliment to be judged, even in a positive way, especially by someone whose standards are screwed up. I stand with my fellow fatties on this. It’s like being a racist and saying to your “acceptable” African American (acceptable according to your effed-up, racist standards, that is) classmate that, “Oh, I don’t mean YOU; you’re not like them.” As if everyone has the right to judge everyone else, and we should be grateful that we maybe make it under the wire. That’s just ugliness on parade, and I want no part of it.

    I’m trying to tread carefully here, as I know my experiences are not like those of some others who’ve been really hurt, flagrantly and personally, by people. I’ve only been hurt psychically in the sense of my development and in how internalized fat hatred has shaped the way I’ve learned to feel undeserving of many things in life. I’ve always been bigger than the “pretty” ones, such that I’ve learned to be ashamed of my body, even if some AH doesn’t think I’m “fat enough” to have a problem. So, I’m glad you let that post through this one time and once again brought up the opportunity to discuss that. I hope I haven’t said anything unintentionally assaholic myself in the process.

  139. Hah! Great line from Ms. Conduct on the NYT kerfufflage:

    As I’ve said before, if you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact that they haven’t killed you yet.

  140. No problem here!!! :-)

    Evidence is accumulating that the best treatment for Type 2 diabetes related to obesity may well be the most drastic: stomach-shrinking surgery, perhaps accompanied by intestinal rearrangements. That such extreme remedies would even be considered is a measure of how intractable the intertwined epidemics of obesity and diabetes have become in the United States.

  141. Dan the concerned troll sez: Regarding health issues, I guess I am a product of medical community propaganda

    And we all know those in the health field are not subject to prejudice and cash being thrown at them by the diet pushers.

    Dan the concerned troll sez: Lastly, thank you to the many readers whose comments help dispel the pervasive myth that all fat people are jolly.

    Apparently, you’ve never spent time with me. I’m so jolly, it drives my family nuts. But, when you attack people with hatred, it’s kinda hard to expect kindness in return. Right?

    Thank you for stopping by, Mr. Savage.

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