Announcements, Health at Every Size, Media

Call for Submissions: New and Improved BMI Project

Exciting news, y’all: I’ve been contacted by a national magazine that wants to take the BMI Project to their pages. Whee!

Instead of trying to track down people in the existing Flickr stream, I’m asking everybody who’s interested in participating in this round — whether you were in the first one or not — to e-mail them directly. (Also, if you’ve sent me a photo in the last few months and haven’t seen it go up, please know that you weren’t rejected or anything; I just haven’t posted any new ones because I’ve been insanely busy with other stuff. So if you’d like to see your picture in a magazine, please feel free to send it along!)

One caveat: this is, like virtually every national magazine aimed primarily at women, the kind of publication that runs some articles on dieting and takes ads from companies you might not like. They also do some good body-positive stuff, and I’m freakin’ thrilled that they want to feature the BMI project. I’m excited to work with them, and I hope lots of you will submit your photos and stories — but I just want to be clear that we’re not talking about Bust or Bitch here. If you’re philosophically opposed to even appearing in the same magazine as an ad for a weight loss product, you won’t want to participate.

Now on to the request from the editor. If you’re a healthy person with a BMI in the overweight or obese category, please send the following info to

(you can calculate it here)
Waist-to-hip ratio (you can calculate it here)
Full body photo:
Email address:
Phone number:
Please feel free to write a little something about why you think you’re a healthy and/or fit person regardless of your BMI. For instance, do you run daily or do you have stellar cholesterol and blood pressure numbers? Tell us!

If you have any questions for me about this, put ’em in comments. (Well, any questions other than “Which magazine?” ’cause that’s SUPERSECRET MWAHAHAHAHA.) Thanks, lovelies.

Update to address some concerns:

1) They do not have some nefarious secret agenda here. The reason I can’t reveal the magazine’s name is a simple matter of not letting their competitors know what they’re working on.

2) They will not publish any photo without permission — which means they also will not publish any photo until they’ve talked to you and told you exactly who they are.

3) They love the BMI project, they get it, and they want to use these photos exactly the same way I did: to illustrate how deeply flawed BMI is. I have no reason to think the article will be exploitive, or I never would have agreed to work with them.

3) You’re the best judge of how healthy you are. If you think you’re healthy, and yet you’re in one of the “fat” BMI ranges we’re told is intrinsically unhealthy, then there’s no reason not to send a photo. You may or may not be asked to participate, but they’d like a wide pool of submissions to select from.

Having said that, the purpose of this article is stereotype-busting — so yes, if you’re an athlete or your doctor is wetting her pants over your blood pressure reading, that will probably make them more likely to take an interest in you. But they’re not asking for perfection here — anyone who makes an effort to practice HAES, feels pretty good, and doesn’t appear to be at death’s door in photos should go ahead and submit a pic, if you’re interested.

4) Size of pic doesn’t matter — right now, they just want to see what you look like. If they want to include you in the article, they’ll contact you with specs.

5) Deadline is 2 weeks from today.

104 thoughts on “Call for Submissions: New and Improved BMI Project”

  1. Can you say which national magazine this is? If not, is it more like Redbook and Good Housekeeping or is it more like Elle or Glamour?

  2. Please excuse if this is a dumb-ass question, but what do you mean by healthy? Are we to determine it on our own standards? Are physical health qualities the only requirement? Would it be acceptable for me to submit my picture given that I have some mental health problems and Acid Reflux (which you can’t see on the outside of me), am in the “Overweight” category, but exercize 4x a week and have pretty good flexibility thanks to yoga?

  3. I think I’d like to do this. I’ll make DF get a full-body shot. I don’t know how many entries there would be for a 6′ 0″ 260 lb woman, have to do my part, yanno ;)

    (oh man, I’m such a ham! ;) )

  4. I am assuming a healthy woman in the overweight category who happens to be 8 months pregnant at the time wouldn’t count? This is a little bit of a serious question, since people do make a ridiculously huge deal about pregnancy weight gain, but it’s probably not relevant to the BMI thing.

  5. Well, number one, congratulations on getting a big muckymuck magazine to want to do something like this. I’m sure that was no small (haha) feat.

    So let me see if I understand this. They only want “healthy and fit” fat people, right? Not people of all sizes and shapes and states of health and walks of life? (Asks the woman whose Flickr stream picture shows her sitting next to her thin significant other.) What constitutes “healthy and fit” for them? If you walk everywhere to do your shopping but you have PCOS and postmenstrual migraines and find yourself napping on cloudy days when you should be accomplishing something, does that count?

  6. I wish it were Bitch.

    I don’t know, I think it’s great that people who might never otherwise have heard of FA will see it.

  7. Here’s what I sent:
    Name: Jim Martin
    Age: 31
    Height: 5’9″
    Weight: 230 lbs
    BMI: 34
    Waist-to-hip ratio: 1.05
    Full body photo:
    Email address:
    Phone number:702-***-****
    ALSO: I’m training for my second half-marathon. I’m currently running about 30 miles a week and my training runs average about 10.5-11 minutes per mile speed wise. At last checkup, my blood pressure was 116/72 and my overall cholesterol was 124. My blood sugar was also below normal. I have plenty of energy every day and eat a pretty healthy diet, aside from occasional sweets. I have at or near the same body weight since the summer of 2006.

  8. Come on guys, you know what “healthy” means. And unless they’re a fitness magazine, they mean the same thing. No women’s magazine, no matter how steeped in patriarchy, thinks that a “healthy” woman never gets migraines or heartburn.

    I’m happy to do this, as a sort of proselytizing among the uninitiated, but I am going to take a new photo — much as I love the one in the BMI project, they won’t want a headless one, and submitting the same one with a head would be shall we say a little obvious. :) Post-SSRI weight normalization means I’ll be clocking in at a lower BMI, which feels a little weird, but what can you do.

  9. I forgot to finish my first thought, which is: if you mean a different thing by “healthy” than they do, fuck it, who cares? Write something about how you’re healthy because you have a good outlook about your body, or because you feed yourself when you’re hungry. Write about how you’re healthy because you deal with fibro every day without buckling under. Or don’t write anything at all. Maybe they think you can’t be “healthy” if you have less-than-optimal blood pressure, but you don’t have to abide by that definition. Even if you don’t feel healthy, they’re not exactly going to send people after all submitters to make sure they’re adequately living up to women’s magazine health standards. :) So if you want to participate and have a photo you like, just send it in.

    This goes for thin folks too, which I assume they’re also wanting. I doubt they’d reject Dani’s photo because she’s got a chronic illness, so assume they’d extend you the same courtesy.

  10. Fillyjonk-

    I actually see where people’s concerns would be coming from. The way I see it there are two options since we’ve been told it’s not of the Bitch or Bust variety
    #1- a womens magazine. Those lovely things that sell the idea of the thinness, either through their “improve yourself” crap or the fact that they pick fashion to show that costs thousands of dollars and doesn’t come in anything bigger then a 10 because OMG once you hit double digits there’s a bunch a fatty fats who shouldn’t wear anything fashionable because they haven’t “earned” it.


    #2- a fitness magazine. And as of yet. . .I haven’t seen a single fitness magazine that is chill with the fat being fit. The emphasis I see on being “fit” is for those who are skinny. . .and for the everyone else it should be weight loss.

    And plus, asking people to do this without giving the info as to the magazine asks for essentially blind trust. You send in those photos and info and you lose all control over them. And whilst it might be paranoia on some people’s parts, I think it might be somewhat justified when you question “Am I willing to blindly give over possession of something like that to someone I don’t know?”

  11. I’ll weigh in tonight. If I’m up to 133 then I’m officially overweight again and I’ll take a picture and send it on in. If I’m 132, I’ll eat a meatball hero, weigh-in again, and then I’ll take the picture (-;

    Congrats on the project going national. This is great news!

  12. Thanks, FJ — you’ve said pretty much everything I would have said if I’d gotten here sooner.

    One unfortunate point: no, they actually don’t want thin folks; just “overweight” and “obese.”

    Eden, I think a pregnant woman would be a very cool inclusion! I can’t speak for them, of course, but I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t send that.

    And yes, they only want fat people who are somehow demonstrably healthy and/or fit — so things like a regular exercise routine, normal blood pressure/cholesterol/whatev do count for something. I can’t do anything about that — that’s the magazine’s prerogative, and I have zip to do with choosing who gets into this.

    One thing I can do, however, is edit this back to the original version that came from the editor, which said “tell us why you think you’re healthy.” I changed it to “why you are healthy,” because my paranoid mind read “why you think you’re healthy” having an implied “but we’ll see about THAT” at the end. I didn’t realize there’d be so much confusion over the definition of healthy. Basically, if you feel pretty good, and you have no indication that you’re going to drop dead any time soon, give it a shot.

    As for pic size and deadline, I’ll have to ask.

  13. “Am I willing to blindly give over possession of something like that to someone I don’t know?”

    Which is a very valid question that everyone should be asking. But it’s not the same as “do I count as healthy enough.”

  14. Exactly. That IS a valid question. But whether you’re healthy enough is something I can’t answer. I know they’re not going to demand your medical records, so it’s a pretty subjective call.

    And here’s something that might help: if you want to know who it is, you can e-mail the address in the post and ask before sending a photo. I won’t guarantee that they’ll respond to that, but they probably will — because the whole point of not publishing the magazine’s name here is just that they don’t want other magazines to know they’re working on this. They’re not trying to keep everything shrouded in mystery, even from the participants.

  15. My honey and I don’t have a camera at this time, but I hope that I can send you a picture of me as overweight and rather fit. I’m sorry that they’re limiting the BMi project this way. I could look at my old pictures and see if one is full length, but I think that it would be better if it was current.

  16. I’m torn. On the one hand, I think it will be invaluable to see the BMI Project in a magazine whose readers might otherwise not have ever seen Happy Fatties (TM). That might actually be a boon to FA and HAES that we couldn’t ever achieve online. On the other hand, I’m not sure if I would want a full-body shot with my actual information in a national magazine unless I thought that the article explaining it was absolutely respectful and willing to defend me/us. Is that something this magazine is able to guarantee?

  17. Phledge, I think that as a med student, you’d probably be very attractive to them!

    And yes, I think this will be a very good thing, overall, for FA and HAES. Certainly, the article is going to privilege healthy fatties, which is something we try not to do here — but a mainstream magazine even acknowledging that there’s such a thing as a healthy fatty is a pretty huge step forward.

  18. Funny that you call out Bust…I’ve only read one or two issues, but I’ve never thought of that magazine as particularly size-friendly. In fact I remember putting it down for a couple of years after the first very NOT size-friendly issue I picked up.

  19. Kate wrote:
    Certainly, the article is going to privilege healthy fatties, which is something we try not to do here — but a mainstream magazine even acknowledging that there’s such a thing as a healthy fatty is a pretty huge step forward.

    For this reason alone, I’d say that this isn’t really a “New and Improved BMI Project.” Certainly not “improved,” as one of the best parts about *your* BMI project is the sense of, “Look–there are actual human beings behind these numbers! Human beings you can humanize and respect!”

    Whereas any emphasis on the relative health of those human beings is going to suggest conditional respect (i.e., only those the magazine thinks look “healthy” are going to be visible, and the rest of the fatties will remain headless, dehumanized, invisible).

  20. I *just* popped into the ‘overweight’ category in the last month or so (past 140 lbs), but my blood pressure is still hovering around 100/60 and last time I had it checked my cholesterol was 120. So I’ll get a decent body shot and send it in.

    This is, despite its limitations, pretty awesome.

  21. I think I will send mine in then – my only qualm is that I am not fat (pre-pregnancy I had an underweight BMI) and I guess I would wonder if I am somehow co-opting fatness? On the other hand, so many pregnant women beat themselves up for having gotten fat, so maybe I’ll let them make the call.

  22. Thanks, KH and FJ. I guess I get a little paranoid about the “healthy” thing, since it seems like most of the traditional media defines “healthy” as “nothing worse than getting a cold once a year and the occasional Advil-relieved headache.”

  23. Yeah, Meowser, I totally hear you.

    And Miriam, I understand what you’re saying. But you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Here’s what I’m focused on right now: A mainstream magazine is coming to us for help with putting together an article on why BMI is bullshit and people categorized as “overweight” and “obese” can be perfectly healthy. I’d kind of like to enjoy that for five fucking minutes instead of having to apologize for working with a publication that isn’t generally fat-friendly and doesn’t hold to all the same values and policies as this blog.

  24. Lol, I haven’t weighed myself in 2 months as part of my size acceptance journey, but I think I’ll dust off the scale and go for this because I know I’ve ended up in the overweight category after I gave up dieting, but I don’t think I’ve ever been happier and I’m probably a ton healthier as well. I also run really far at least 5 days per week and I’m a vegetarian, which hasn’t led to any weight loss, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. The only thing that has ever let me be skinnier is starving myself or doing crazy things like fasting, and I’m so over that.

    And Kate, I totally agree with your attitude on this article, I think it is great that this is happening even if it isn’t perfect. Baby steps!

  25. O.o

    I think i’m actually more leery of hard copy than i am of teh intartubes. I’ve had my name in print before, and i wasn’t overly pleased with the results. :P

  26. And Kate, I totally agree with your attitude on this article, I think it is great that this is happening even if it isn’t perfect. Baby steps!

    I agree! This is amazing and I am anxious to see what the results are…hopefully the magazine is going to do the right thing by the participants.

    I would love to participate myself, but I’d be lying if I said I was ready for that kind of attention…I don’t even use my real name on my blog for fear of discovery, so putting myself in a national magazine spread seems a bit more than I can handle *lol*

  27. And do you have to be an American/living in the States, or do they want us international fatties too??

  28. This is awesome! It may not be perfect, but I’m glad that a women’s magazine is at least starting to take note of this kind of stuff. I would totally participate if I wasn’t one of those stealth “normal” BMI people lurking on here….. ;-) (umm, please note my use of scare quotes, to show that I realize that “normal” BMI is a completely arbitrary range)

  29. Very exciting indeed =)

    I’m definately considering sending my picture in (assuming they don’t just want Americans). But I’m a little nervous that they might try to include “balance” by having an “obesity expert” talk about how we’re not really as healthy as we think we are. And I don’t like the idea of having my body negatively criticised in a national magazine. Maybe I should email them and get some more information.

    Even if I end up wussing out, I still think this is awesome. It’s really an exciting feeling to think I’m a (small) part of this movement that is really starting to make a positive difference in the world.

  30. Yays for Kate!!! This is brilliant and promising and hopeful.

    I’d participate, but I’m not at a place where I’m willing to let a national publication introduce me with my stats in a way I don’t get to have veto rights, or at least an active voice in the framing. Although it’s really tempting…

  31. Kate, I don’t have a camera and I haven’t looked at a scale in years, but I’m going to go right out and find a scale to stand on and get someone to take a picture I can send you.

    I can completely understand those concerned about how we’ll be portrayed, unhappy with the emphasis on healthy fat people, or not quite ready for prime time. I absolutely respect those who don’t feel they can participate for any of those reasons.

    That said, I share Kate’s optimism about this. A mainstream national magazine wants to see what fat and healthy looks like. They’re willing to accept that there IS such a thing as fat and healthy. I, for one, intend to show them what an obese woman with great blood pressure who can walk for several miles without getting winded looks like.

    If it makes just one woman stop beating herself up over the numbers on her scale and start looking at how to be healthy and happy on her own terms, then I will consider any editorial misinterpretation or potential public embarrassment well worth it.

  32. As long as the magazine handles it well, this could be really awesome for getting out the message that BMI is crap!

    (I’m an attention whore who just got a new camera, and the possibility of being cute and fat at people in a national publication thrills me deeply. Of course I’m going to submit a picture. :) )

  33. Astrobabe, I’d like to give my answer for why I would give my “blind trust” to a magazine when I don’t know which one it is or what the gist of their politics are.

    Because I trust Kate, FJ and Sweetmachine. If they are encouraging submissions to this project on their blog, I will abso-fucking-lutely give my full trust in them not to exploit me.

    Simple as that.

  34. Bree, I have no idea what they’re looking for, exactly, and I suppose a lot will depend on the pool of submissions they get. So once again, all I can tell you is, if you’re interested in participating, send a pic!

    Non-Americans, I don’t see there being any problem with you submitting. It’s possible that if they have a wide enough pool of submissions to choose from, they’ll favor Americans over non-Americans. But I don’t think they’d immediately dismiss someone for not being American.

    Also, everybody NB: that e-mail address goes to the editor, not to me. So I won’t even see what submissions they get, on top of having no control over whom they choose.

    Because I trust Kate, FJ and Sweetmachine.

    Rose, thanks for that. I suppose I should say I can’t 100% guarantee that the article will be everything I’m hoping for, ’cause I’m not the one writing it or choosing the pics… I’m just going to be interviewed for it, and I agreed to post this call. But like I said, I have no reason to think this will be exploitive, or I wouldn’t be participating.

    Realistically, every interview about fat acceptance-related subjects is a gamble. I know some people have gotten burned badly. FWIW, though, I’ve never been burned so far — every article I’ve agreed to has been very fair and respectful of me, even those that did include quotes from the other side. (Hell, the NYT piece included quotes from Papa Willett himself, but it was still a great article overall.) And I’ve turned down interviews with a few outlets where other people have gotten burned, so I might even have some good instincts about this stuff — OR I just might be really lucky. Either way, I can tell you that I’m very comfortable with everything this editor has told me, and as a bonus, we know someone in common who speaks highly of the editor. I think that bodes very well, though I obviously can’t guarantee anything.

  35. Forgive me if this question has been addressed and I missed it, but are they only excepting 18 and older? I’d love to participate but unfortunately I am 17.


    This is so awesome!

    Okay I’m sure my chances of getting picked are slim, but then, I want to support this whole thing by at least sending in my pic and info.

    Hm… you know if we really wanted to to we could share our pics and what we write about ourselves here, too, just for fun, if Kate + FJ + SM think that’s appropriate that is….

    Man. What to wear?

    *runs off to find Passover dress and camera*

  37. Y’know, I totally trust Kate and Sweetmachine and FJ, but I know that it’s not impossible for an editor to convolute and obfuscate their actual goals. I would hate for anyone to ultimately have a problem with what goes down, and then take that out on The Girls. So that’s my take, and I respect others’ decisions. I also appreciate your edit, Kate, because it does answer a lot of concerns I had.

  38. Hm… you know if we really wanted to to we could share our pics and what we write about ourselves here, too, just for fun, if Kate + FJ + SM think that’s appropriate that is….

    Sure, go for it! Link and comment away.

    And Phledge, thanks.

  39. oooooooooohhhhhh things are happening! this is awesome. I would like to participate, but being cameraless means its unlikely i can take a recent high-res photo of myself.

    still… I’m probably what theyre looking for on the most part. Healthy, not lacking in excercise or energy or healthy, varied eating.

    im sure I could fit something in about how my fiancé practically worships my curves, but it might undo the feminist aspect a bit by placing the judgment of my body in men. or something.

  40. I just submitted my picture for this. It’s easier for me than for others, because I used my publicity photo for my roller derby team, and I gave them my real name but also my nom de skate. I have a whole persona I use for roller derby, and as the league PR manager, I’m really a complete publicity whore for them.
    So I sent them a photo of me showing off my lacy underpants, wearing roller skates, because it’s not me, Bridget– it’s B-17, the Queen of Bombers.
    For me as an athlete, my weight is no longer a personal thing– it’s not about me, it’s about my performance, it’s about where I fit on my team. I would no sooner lose weight than a linebacker would.
    So even if this turns out awful, and they write about onoz teh fattiez r so delooded– it’s not me, it’s B-17, and B-17 will knock them over with her over-200-pound ass, and roll over their fingers with her skates.

    I’ve been lurking on the site for a little while, anyway, and just wanted to say hi, thank you for the BMI project, this has all been part of an important transformation in my life– I finally started buying clothes that fit, I started skating and being athletic for the first time in my life, and yes– I finally gained enough weight to be officially obese, while at the same time finally not hating myself for being “fat”.
    But I only quit an awful calorie-counting “support group” website (that had made me a diet plan featuring 1500 calories a day, calling that “healthy” for me) last month. Late last month.
    It’s a hard shift to make, this attitude change, and I’m not all the way there yet.

    (If anyone’s curious about the lacy underpants, my publicity photo is here: )

    Nice to meet you all.

    Slugs and Kisses,

  41. This is the picture I submitted

    I basically just commented that even though I’m 5’5 and 249lbs (BMI of 41), I’m still pretty healthy. I eat a varied and healthy diet, I chase my 4 kids around and I’ve always had incredible blood pressure readings (118/73 area). I also mentioned that I just recently started feeling a lot better about myself, since stumbling onto the fat acceptance blogs. I was able to stop focusing on my weight and thinking about how fat, ‘unhealthy’ and ‘unattractive’ I was and focused on how I felt vs. what I looked like. I commented on how it had done heaps for my self esteem and mood.

    Not sure if it’s interesting enough for a magazine, but I decided to take the plunge.=)

  42. Hmmmm, I think I will see about submitting a photo with me participating in one of my hobbies. Now to pose with my shotgun or the M1 Garand :D

  43. Part of my thoughts on this article is that the women who read these types of magazines need a BMI project more than anyone.

    Those types of magazines tend to be pretty reactionary. They usually have more space reserved for ads than actual articles, and the articles are usually about how your either too unattractive to keep a man or you’re a lousy lay, or whatever other way you’re lacking as a “real woman” but hey, maybe these products we’re selling you might help turn you into the kind of woman who will finally get a guy. Open your wallets and your lonely hearts will follow, ladies! Yuck! I hate those Cosmo-type magazines to pieces! (and I have no idea what the magazine is, I’m just using Cosmo as an example)

    But hey, if they’re trying to be down with body acceptance, even in baby steps, I think it’s a very positive development. The BMI Project is a good place to start. As for me, I’m 135 lbs with no meatball hero necessary, so I qualify! Yay! I’m going to pose in my new Butter by Nadia red wrap dress for the picture.

  44. Wow. I’m a pretty obsessive reader of fashion/beauty and fitness magazines, with a miserable body image, and I just want to say that I think a project like this could help a lot of people. Thank you.

  45. Very cool.
    As a person with diabetes, I don’t qualify as “healthy” in this context, but I think it’s awesome.
    That said, in principle, I think it’s entirely possible to be healthy and have a chronic disease. But that’s not the point trying to be made here.
    Rock on, you disease-free Shapelings!

  46. LOL, I calculated my waist/hip ratio and it suggested that I “get started on your own by eating right and getting regular exercise.” Maybe I should be running for an hour for 6 days a week, instead of five… or maybe it was that extra dash of teriyaki sauce I put on my brown rice with broccoli and tofu. Woe is me, I’m so glad they told me to consult my doctor since I obviously know nothing about exercise and nutrition with a waist/hip ratio of 0.82.

  47. fillyjonk, your first couple posts seem to have addressed my concerns – my BP and blood sugar are textbook, and whereas 3 years ago I was bedridden and at death’s door, and now I can work a full time job, have regained a lot of my lost mobility (it was from a condition completely unrelated to fat that I was sick) so damn hell YES I’m healthy. I may not be “fit” or into exercise, but I never was anyway. Of course I look every bit of my morbidly obese category as well – no one is going to see a body shot and think “Well maybe she’s just overweight” lol but – well all they have to do is say no, right? :)

  48. I’m not a healthy woman by any measure. I live with a pretty bad thyroid disorder and I’ve gone from very bad hyperthyroidism to hypothyroidism in a few months. So metabolically and hormonally, I live on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride all the time.

    But I’m also very fit. I need to counter the impact of muscle deterioration by building them up. I’m physically stronger than I’ve ever been before as a result.

    It’s up to the magazine if they consider me the proper fit for this story, but I don’t feel that disease disqualifies me. I think I’m a good example of a person who has very limited, if any, control of her metabolism but can fight chronic illness through healthy eating and fitness without weight being the measure of success.

  49. I sent my pic and stats, I’ve been this size, within 40 lbs or so, for the last 30 years and it isn’t changing any time soon (and I sure as hell haven’t dropped dead from TEH FATZ yet). I’m hoping this is another step in the direction of FA, and if it helps one woman my size realize that she doesn’t have to hate herself for her size and that she isn’t going to drop dead any minute just because she’s fat, then it’s good (I say my size, because I’m way over 300 lbs and I don’t think there are a whole lot of us this size).

  50. WTG Rose. I personally consider myself still recovering from a full year where I ate literally one to two bites of solid food per day, 1000 calories total counting fluids, and as I said, bedridden/immobile. (The weight piled on regardless.) At any rate, now (diagnosed and treated) my BP and sugar are great, but I’m still rather weak – as far as I’m concerned, I was anorexic (in body if not in mind or weight) and I’m still re-feeding – it takes years to rebuild the heart and lungs and brain after starvation like that. So I eat with no guilt whatsoever, and I am SO much stronger than I was when I first came out of it. I’m just saying, I’m still regaining my strength and that means food – good food and enough of it. Hell, I kept track at random a few days the past few weeks and it seems my daily calorie intake is no more than average – 2000 or so. Sometimes junk, but not by far most of it. In fact, according to the calorie in/calorie out myth, I *should* be able to take 600 or so more calories per day and merely maintain weight – at this rate I should be losing a pound per month or more. Not surprisingly, I’m not losing any such thing lol.

    It is of course up to them if they consider me fit or healthy, but considering where I’ve come from, death’s door (literally) I feel damned healthy and I’ll say so :) Not that I relish the thought of my picture being put up anywhere, but if it were selected, I’d take one for the team :) (Sorry, guys, but I’m NOT photogenic AND I lost my upper teeth to the disease and have since had no money for a replacement plate for the faulty one first given to me, so I feel I look like a total freak in photos.)

  51. The pic I used is the one on my blog, in the outfit I made for my son’s wedding (I have to say, it’s one of my better pics…

  52. Purple girl, it’s a great pic :) And you sent one in too?! Oh, all kinds of awesome. If we both got picked, just imagine if we had some big network get-together? FINALLY? Heheheh!

    I still have to take my pics. Hubby will do them.

  53. Just my opinion re: Bust… I first read about SA/FA and Shapely Prose and Joy Nash’s Fat Rant in Bust…which sped me down the path to accepting and loving my body. Bust runs ads for plus-size clothing companies with sexy photos. They recently put Beth Ditto on the cover. So, if you’re interested, you might want to give Bust another try.

    The magazine in question isn’t Oprah, is it? (Shudders)

  54. I kind of suspect it’s Glamour Magazine,

    It’s not. :)

    And honestly, I’d really like to discourage speculation about the magazine on this thread, because it just doesn’t matter, practically speaking. If they want to use your photo, they’ll contact you, and you can find out who they are, and talk to them about any concerns you have. At that point, if you don’t want to participate, you don’t give them permission. It’s that simple.

    People are making a whole lot of assumptions based on their guesses of what magazine it is, when all I said was “a national magazine with a primarily female audience” — and that describes like eleventy billion magazines. I’m really sorry I can’t just tell everyone who it is, but I can’t. And I know guessing is a natural response to a lack of solid info, but I can pretty much guarantee it’s not going to help anyone figure out what to send. What you should send is a flattering full body shot in which you look happy, and a few words about your general health, exercise routine, etc. From there, they can decide if you fit their needs — and if you do, they might even end up asking for different pics. So really, don’t worry about it.

    (Note: Dee, that wasn’t just directed at you. And I love your pin-up shots!)

  55. Dee’s kind of on to something, though… maybe we should shop it to Glamour. They’ve had a few moments of transcendent feminism. Granted they don’t have much to transcend.

  56. all the ladies who have posted photos are LOVELY. and funny. dee, the pin-up idea? BRILLIANT.

    b-17? you are gorgeous. i want to be just like you when i grow up.

    *scampers off to find information about roller derby in toronto.*

  57. By the way ladies, I ended up discussing this BMI project with my husband, and it was kind of an “in” to discussing this general topic of HAES with him, which I haven’t done that much of. So that was cool :)

  58. maybe we should shop it to Glamour.

    Well, we can’t do that with the BMI project, obviously, since it’s already a go with another magazine.

    But yeah, pretty much ALL of the glossy women’s mags — even the worst offenders — make at least token attempts at body positivity. It’s incredibly complicated because of A) the cultural context and B) pressure from advertisers, but I think a lot of the stuff we talk about here — HAES, improving your self-esteem, exercising for the fun of it — is stuff that would actually appeal to a lot of lady-mag editors. It’s just a matter of figuring out where your sellout threshold is, as an FA activist wandering into the lion’s den.

    Mine’s pretty fucking low, frankly. :)

  59. Ack. Sorry for guessing. It was just too tempting

    No prob, Dee! You just happened to be the most recent person to guess when I decided to mention that — and like I said, the temptation is natural, and I TOTALLY get it. I fuckiing hate secrets — keeping them or being on the other side. But c’est la vie.

  60. oh dear. Dee, if i get fired now for checking out ur hot valentines photos at work i’m holding u responsible :)

  61. OK, B-17, I realize this is beside the point but you are HOT. Awesome pic.

    I have mixed feelings about whether I should submit a photo. My current weight is, to be totally blunt, the result of dieting. And, further complicating matters, I’m one of those people who has kind of a bad relationship with food so I actually do believe that my “high weight” was a result of compulsive eating. So I honestly can’t say where my weight is going to end up if I ever get my relationship with food normalized. In that respect the photo I would send them would feel like kind of a lie.

    On the other hand… I do run regularly and strength train, and I really enjoy the feeling of being a big, strong, kick-ass woman. I think the idea that you can still exercise vigorously and enjoy it at 180 lbs., although something of a “duh” observation around here, would be something that may not have occurred (or at least truly sunk in) to your average women’s magazine reader before.

    On the minus side I am smack in the middle of the “overweight” BMI range. So the visual would not be as effective as some of you folks who are right on the cusp, where the BMI is more obviously absurd.

  62. Or over the cusp. Personally, I’m nowhere near the cutoff for “obesity.” I’m just over the line for “type 2,” (BMI over 35) in fact. That said, I think that a lot of women’s mag readers would be challenged by the concept of a post-diet, fit 180 pound woman. Go for it.

  63. Thanks, Dee. I was sort of coming to that conclusion myself, that as much as I have problems with body acceptance and as much as I hate diets in theory but have kept going back to them in practice–which puts me way behind a lot of people here in terms of fat acceptance progress–I am still pretty “out there” in comparison to the average woman and I think the image could be beneficial.

    I also think, as you allude, that there is benefit in readers seeing healthy or even not-so-healthy women with BMIs of all sizes, with names and faces and profiles that prove they are human beings. That is really the most important part of the message that I hope will be conveyed by the article.

    I also keep remembering, though, how only a few photos of people who were just barely “overweight” or “obese” were able to crack the consciousness of run-of-the-mill assholes at sites that picked up on the original post, and make them think “hey, maybe this is a little fucked up.” The rest they just dismissed with misogynistic crap about how they “agreed” with the classifications, meaning no, they weren’t interested in fucking those particular women, and they didn’t bother to examine their prejudices (Like it would have been nice if they thought for one second “Hey, that 300-lb. woman seems to be upright and mobile and happy and may even have her own unique look and personality–I thought she was supposed to be not only nameless, headless and either housebound or photographed from behind at a food court, but also one hot-fudge sundae away from a crane and a taxpayer-funded oversized coffin?”) any further. Which was really frustrating.

    But then do I really think that should stop any of us from applying, regardless of where we are on the BMI scale? No, as I think about it further, it doesn’t. In some ways it’s like catering to the assholes’ need to see only women they find attractive.

    Gee, am I navel-gazing enough here? :) Anyway, thanks.

  64. I sent mine as well. My camera is crap, and I sent two pictures to compensate.

    I surprised myself by actually liking the pictures I took. (grant you, I deleted 90% of them, but still!)

  65. You know what’s amusing about that BMI calculator Kate linked to? “Even a small weight loss (just 10% of your current weight) may help lower the risk of disease. ”

    I’m a fairly small person at 175lbs. An 18 lb loss is not a small amount, though. 18 lbs is really significant and difficult (and celebrated in some groups). Do these numbers actually come from somewhere or do they pull them out of their hats? They seem pretty random, like the old one about 100 lbs in a year being huge, but 2 a week being okay.

  66. Thanks to everyone who expressed positivity about my pic and the roller derby!! And to the woman who said, she was well within the range of overweight and not like those girls on the cusp– honey, I’ve got a BMI of 31.1. I’m squarely in the “obese” category– and yes, that’s a current photo of me. Five feet seven and just a bit over 200.

    Any of you Shapelings who are athletic and looking for a good team sport, I might pimp roller derby at you a bit. It’s a really hard sport and you can get hurt, but you can get hurt biking or rock climbing too. Derby is great because, as I pointed out in my submission, every body type has an advantage. The tiny girls are hard to hit and can get up fast, but the bigger girls are hard to knock down in the first place. Tall girls, short girls, skinny girls, fat girls, top-heavy girls, bottom-heavy girls– anyone who can keep up with the rigorous training schedule and become comfortable using her own body’s endowments to their full advantage has the potential to be a star player. So I’ve found the sport to be a really key part of my accepting who I am, as well as improving my relationships with other women. All the other girls in the photos are beautiful in all different ways–
    Five feet nothing, six feet one, a hundred and five pounds, two hundred and forty pounds. They’re all beautiful.

    But on a more sad note, one of the girls on the team was just hospitalized for anorexia. I won’t say which. So we are all very aware of how important it is to support each other, and know that even the strongest women can still fall victim to those demons. Tonight is her first night back at practice, and I’ll stop blathering on here and go get ready now.

    But there are roller derby leagues, amateur grassroots women’s ones, in about 300 US and Canadian cities, as well as in a few cities in the UK and Australia. So there’s probably one near you.

  67. Awesome! I just looked at your pics and am basically in love with all of you.

    Best wishes to your teammate who is recovering from anorexia…

  68. Coming in late on this one, but I am of two minds about it.

    On the one hand, I can see that what could result from this – a positive article showing that fat people can be healthy, that we haven’t all carked it at 25.

    On the other hand, I think it could easily play into the “good fatty” vs “bad fatty” syndrome. Good fatties, being of course, those who do ‘all the right things’ and therefore deserve health and a condescending back-pat.

    ‘Tis true, I am a cynic.

  69. Fatadelic, of course it can play into that. But when you consider the fact that most people outside the fatosphere don’t know there’s such a thing as a fat person who exercises, I’ll take the baby steps toward dismantling stereotypes where I can get them.

  70. I submitted 2 photos, one from the front and one from the side:

    I couldn’t get my feet in, but I’m wearing a long skirt, so it’s just skirt from my waist to the floor.

  71. I so wish I could skate. I never really cared that I couldn’t after I left elementary school and stopped being invited to roller-skating parties, which were always miserable for me because I couldn’t skate and assumed that was because I was a fat unathletic failure. That wore off. But now, I totally wanna do derby!

  72. I never could skate either. We had all kinds join our league, in the first season and the second season– women who used to be great at skating as kids, women who’d never skated well, and even a few women who’d never been on rollerskates in their lives. Some picked it up right away, some took months. It took me nearly six months of working very hard to become reasonably competent at it. (I won “Most Improved Skater” at the end of our first season, and I am not kidding when I tell you I cried like Miss America.)
    A pair of girls who joined at boot camp this summer were really terrible. Neither of them is very much good still. But the one girl’s attitude was, “So I suck. Fuck you, I’ll hit you anyway.” She falls a lot, but she gets up as many times as she’s knocked down, and that’s what’s important.

    Almost all leagues are usually pretty excited about new volunteers. Some are only open/recruiting at certain times of year. Some make you learn to skate on your own, others teach you. It depends on your local one. But odds are very good that you do have a local one. Just Google your city name plus “roller derby” and you’re likely to come up with something. Or, go here, and scroll:

  73. Oh, I’ve got TWO local ones. Just scared about the skating.

    Or, more to the point, scared about being bad at something. I’ve turned out to be pretty bad at hooping (belly dance moves also conflict, so I’m starting from <0), and I find it really demoralizing. Which is something I have to get over.

    But roller derby is awesome and you are awesome for being involved in it.

  74. A lot of people are scared/intimidated. Best thing to do is, if they have an open skate or a party or something, go with a friend, and see how it is. Because, of course, another thing to keep in mind is that since it’s an all-volunteer thing, who else is involved influences the atmosphere of the thing pretty strongly. We had a very supportive and upbeat crowd from the beginning, but I’ve noticed that girls who don’t fall in with one of the solid groups aren’t as supported. And some leagues have a different feel to them. So it may not be as awesome, depending on how you feel you fit in.

    The thing about derby that I’ve found to be so great is how many people come into it who have never ever ever been good at something before, and that first time in a scrimmage that they land a really good hit, you can just see it shining in their faces (as they pick themselves up and skate off again)– I DID it! I’m GOOD at this!!
    And then they get totally taken out and go sprawling, but you still can’t take that joy away.
    Derby calls for a different skill-set than most things. :)

  75. I wonder if having PCOS, but having my drug combo figured out and symptoms under control counts as healthy.

    Maybe I’ll send in a pic and find out. Could be interesting…

  76. I’m a nearing-middle-aged woman with average health and some issues surrounding long term psych meds. I’ts not so much that I’m healthy in SPITE of being fat, it’s more that being fat is pretty low on the list of things I’m stressing about, unless I’m feeling pretty depressed. Then it’s something I dislike, but if it weren’t that, I’d think I had an ugly nose or a difficult personality, it’s not about my weight really.

    So I don’t feel like I fit into a ‘healthy BMI’ project, but it’s interesting to see who will, and it is a good idea!

  77. Hey. Haven’t posted in a while but I’m a huge anti-fan of BMI. Especially in regard to what is and what isn’t healthy. I’m a complete idiot when it comes to other aspects to which the body can be measured, I’ll admit this. Can some kind individual please explain what waist/hip measurement is concerned with? I have an underweight BMI but a healthy waist/hip measurement? So I don’t understand?

  78. argh i was gonna get my picture taken this weekend but didn’t have time.

    i thought about using a pic from my wedding –

    but that was a couple of years ago and i want it to be current. and to show some more leg ;)

    well i still have some time…

    p.s. i am reminded by that stupid fitting-in-to-your-wedding-dress thing…. gee, is it still impressive if the bride was and is “overweight”? hm. tho the groom just seems to be thinking “mm, yummy tummy” which is one of the resons i love that pic with him. :)

  79. oh i just noticed your question there robert.

    well, u see, since all of these measurements are bull and say nothing about ur health (or worth as a human being), i assure you that a conflict between one bullshit measurement and another is not exactly shocking news.

    i am reminded by a wonderful quote from The Office.

    i think the same applies to comparisons between BMI and waist-hip ratio as measurements of health.

    Dwight: Very good. You have earned one Schrute buck.

    Stanley: I don’t want it.

    Dwight: Then you have been deducted 50 Schrute bucks.

    Stanley: Make it a hundred.

    Dwight: Wh…don’t you wanna earn Schrute bucks?

    Stanley: No. In fact, I’ll give you a billion Stanley nickels if you never talk to me again.

    Dwight: What’s the ratio of Stanley nickels to Schrute bucks?

    Stanley: The same as the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns.


  80. Hah! Amusingly enough, I just read this whole thread AFTER sending in MY roller derby pictures. Here’s what I sent:

    Name MaMalicious (I did give my real name too)
    Age 40
    Height 5’4″
    Weight 165
    BMI (you can calculate it here) the calculator says I am ‘overweight’
    Waist-to-hip ratio (you can calculate it here) .85 (the calculator suggests that I start exercising!)
    Full body photo: please see attached
    Email address:
    Phone number: 502-345-3447
    ALSO: Please feel free to write a little something about why you think you’re a healthy and/or fit person regardless of your BMI. For instance, do you run daily or do you have stellar cholesterol and blood pressure numbers? Tell us!

    I’ve been rail-thin all my adult life, mostly due to the fact I have Crohn’s disease. About 4 years ago, I finally got into a drug study that got my Crohn’s under control, and now I am always the heaviest person at my doctor’s office. For me, this is a great victory…to quote my doctor, “heavier is healthier for you”. Now, when I have a flare, I don’t get so dehydrated and malnourished that I end up in the hospital. Size 14 feels like a miracle some days, and I love finally having curves. It makes me crazy when people talk about losing weight being directly tied to health, since clearly that is not the case for me.

    In addition, gaining this weight has allowed me to finally feel strong, so strong in fact, that I’m an award-winning blocker for the Derby City Rollergirls here in Louisville. I’m attaching a few pictures of my in my uniforms. I skate or work out 12 hours a week, and I feel great in my body for the first time in my life.

  81. How did I miss this? I so would have participated.

    My BMI is around 40 and I’m training for a 5K. In high school I swam 6 days a week and wore a size 14/16. They’d probably have loved that.

    Can you let us know who this is when the issue is about to hit newsstands? I can understand not wanting to reveal to competitors, of course. But since it’s been over 3 months since the original request, I would assume it’s coming out soon. I would love to see it when it does. :)

  82. Can you let us know who this is when the issue is about to hit newsstands? I can understand not wanting to reveal to competitors, of course

    I’ve been wondering myself, as I haven’t heard from the editor in a long time. I’ll drop her a note.

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