Dieting/WLS, Fat, Guest Bloggers, Self-Image

Guest Blogger M. LeBlanc: The Fantasy of Staying Exactly As I Am (or, This Far and No Further, This Fat and No Fatter)

I’ve got a problem. And since I suspect I’m not the only one, I want to start a dialogue about this psychological artifact of Fat Hate and try to figure out what the hell we can do about it.

You see, I’m doing pretty well at accepting my body. Which is, to be sure, a fat body. I buy nice clothes that fit. Most days, I feel good about myself and the way I look. Many days, I feel downright sexy. I don’t diet, although I can’t really attribute this to fat acceptance because I’ve basically never dieted in my life. I’ve interacted with food in fucked-up ways, and tried to deprive myself of food, but always pretty much gave in by dinnertime. I have started thinking of myself as a “fat chick” in a non-pejorative way and have rid my friends/boyfriend/family of the “you’re not fat!” monkey response. I told my doctor to bug off when she prodded me about losing weight (Her: are you exercising/eating a balanced diet? Me: Yes and Yes. Look, my diet’s great. I feel great. I think I’m just fat. Her: (look of horror) I hope not! Me: (mentally) God, what a horrible thing, to just be naturally fat.)

But I still feel the instinct to diet and/or to exercise for the express purpose of losing weight. All. The. Time. Is it because I want to change the way my body looks now? Nope. It’s because although I have made peace with my fat self, I can not endure the thought of being any fatter than I am. And I think, you know, someday I’m going to get pregnant, and I’m going to age, and I’ll be even less fit than I am now, or I’ll have health problems, or I’ll have kids or a bad back or bad knees and I won’t be able to exercise. And then I’ll be fatter. Horror of horrors. I think to myself, yeah sure I look good now, when I’m young, with good skin, no wrinkles, good muscle tone, in great health. But what about in ten years?What about twenty?! The horror.

It’s an ever-changing boundary. I’m sure that if I were given a picture of my current self five years ago (when I weighed about 30 lbs less), I would have been shocked and horrified. Now, I’m cool with it. Because you know what, self-hate is a lot of work. And I don’t doubt that however I look in ten or twenty years, I’ll probably manage to be okay with it.

But still, I can’t manage to get away from the bigger-is-worse, smaller-is-better paradigm. It’s kind of hilarious, but I feel like I should lose weight now so that if I gain weight in 5 years, I’ll be back to where I am which I have decided is an “okay” place to be. The upper limit of okay. But okay.

I call it “This Fat and No Fatter.” I didn’t really put a name to the mentality until I started browsing the “women for women” section on Craigslist a few months ago and noticed a disturbing phenomenon. Unlike the m4w section, in which a lot of the posters mention a particular size of person they find acceptable (or say that they don’t care), but a huge portion of them don’t, discussions of acceptable body size are absolutely ubiquitous in the w4w section. It’s either 1) thin or “average” women looking for the same, or 2) fat chicks looking for women “my size or smaller.” These discussions are often disturbingly specific, like “no larger than size 16” or “up to size 22” or “under 210 lbs.” And I realized, because self-hatred is hard, women are forced to accept the bodies of other women who look like them to avoid cognitive dissonance. But any fatter? No way.

This mindset has been plaguing me since I was a kid. My dad used to advocate that I diet when I was a teenager because it would be “harder to lose it” when I was older. I don’t know whether this has any basis in fact whatsoever, but I believed it. Actually, I think I can affirmatively say that it’s total bullshit, because dieting doesn’t work, period. The only difference is that if you start dieting when you’re a teenager, you’re more likely to engage in disordered eating and have a fucked-up relationship to food for the rest of your life. But it ain’t actually gonna make you thin. I also think the approach was part of a “she’s okay now, but what if she keeps getting fatter?” mindset. Which I’m sure he’s hysterical about now but, since I told him I didn’t want to hear another word about my weight oh, about, ten years ago, I don’t have to listen to it. (To be fair, my dad lives in an environment with an even more fucked-up attitude towards fat than we have; would you believe that he, at 5’5″ and about 190 lbs, was told that he needed to lose some weight before the manager of the place would let him join the gym? That he needed to diet before he could safely exercise? Jesus.)

I can’t shake it. Even though I know, intellectually, that I’ll probably feel just fine about my body in five years or ten years, because self-hate is way more work than learning to love my body as it is, I feel, emotionally, that my future body will not be objectively okay even though my current body is objectively okay.

The power of social narratives about body image, shame, and humiliation, are incredibly strong. Because those social narratives govern how I feel about the future, while my own experience governs how I feel about the present and the past, feelings of shame dominate, and they infect the present. I feel like getting married while being fat, or being pregnant while being fat, or being a mother while being fat, or being sick while being fat, are all going to be impossibly awful and shame-filled experiences. Even though I’ve already had boyfriends while being fat, graduated from law school while being fat, tried a case before a jury while being fat, had to use crutches because I sprained my ankle while fat, performed in front of hundreds of people while being fat, interviewed for jobs while being fat, lived while being fat.

Fat acceptance isn’t just about accepting your body as it is now. It’s about accepting your future self, the one who might weigh a little more and look a little older. And she’ll be okay, too. Not just good, but great.

M. LeBlanc, if you don’t already know her, blogs at Bitch Ph.D., lawyers in Chicago, and frequently raises the level of discourse in comments here.

149 thoughts on “Guest Blogger M. LeBlanc: The Fantasy of Staying Exactly As I Am (or, This Far and No Further, This Fat and No Fatter)”

  1. Oh I so get this, I’m 41 on the cusp of (peri) menopause and I catch myself thinking God when I go through menopause and then gain the supposedly requisite poundage then I’m going to be really fat, not just the ok fat I feel like I am now. And that’s complete bullshit. And yes when I was my supposedly fat younger self I got the “yeah now it’s hard but you just wait until you’re middle aged and then it will be even harder, so you had better lose the weight now or you’ll be like fat fat instead of just fat” bullshit from everyone around me.

  2. Thanks for the thought provoking post. I too can be OK where I am but no more.

    I think it is about fear and trust.

    I fear that I can’t handle it, whatever it is, and I then worry about gaining weight. It is almost like I create fear. In reality, I don’t trust myself and my body. I need to trust that I can take care of myself. I also need to relinquish the illusion that I can change my body but eating in a certain way and it is my responsibility for my weight. It is not. My body knows what it needs and will go wherever it needs to go despite my attempts at intervention.

    It is hard but necessary to remind myself that I cannot control my weight. It is liberating when you think about it.

  3. I finally updated my own blog with a post that goes along these lines somewhat. (Follow the link in my name that I finally remembered to put in, but I do talk about weight loss in relation to my mobility.)

    I do have a feeling that I’m fatter than my real set point because of my disability and poverty. My real fear isn’t ZOMG getting fatter, but I am afraid of losing more mobility. I’m also in mortal terror of going beyond a 28 bordering on 30 because I won’t be able to afford clothing anymore. Literally, I can barely afford to shop at Wal-mart. So “hither shalt thou come, but no fatter” is a real issue for me.

    If money weren’t a concern, I think fatness would be less of a concern than losing more mobility.

  4. This couldnt have come at a more appropriate time. Ive recently gained upwards of 15, 20 pounds since Feburary (tragic breakup story–’nuff said) and Im still gaining. Ive had to up my wardrobe size, and I confess a feeling of panic. Along the lines of “OMG Im getting uglier and uglier nooneisgonnalovemeagaaaaaaaiiiin” kind of panic. Ive got to constantly tell myself this is normal: Im doing a lot of emotional eating (Im currently in mid-draft for my own blog on this), and my activity level dropped significantly, so its only natural, and also, IT DOESNT MATTER. My weight gain doesnt change ME at all.

    But yeah, that cognitive dissonace you speak of here is definately a big part of my life right now. And Ive only JUST started the whole FA self acceptance thing, so its hard.

  5. I feel the same way. I’m an inbetweenie, and thinking about starting this whole “self-acceptance” process over again if I become fatter is daunting. I do think, though, that even if I do get fatter (and I probably will) and am “horrified”, that I could learn to accept myself again.

    And as a kid I always had to put up with the “you’re going in the wrong direction” comments from my parents as I gained weight. Hence the “now I’m okay but Dog forbid I should get any fatter” mentality.

  6. I think about this occasionally, not so much because I have any internalized preference for being smaller (so maybe this is off-topic-ish? Hrm.), but usually in terms of “fuck me, if I get any fatter, shit is going to get *really* hard.” It would mean I move from the borderline of reasonably accomodated fatness into the world of only finding clothes that fit online, definitely buying two airline seats, and not fitting into my office chair.

    I mean, I’ve been this weight/size, slightly more or less, since I was sixteen…so probably not gonna happen unless something drastic happens. But it’s scary when I think about it.

  7. I’m coming at this same problem from the other side.


    That’s my “magic” number. 219. It’s what I weighed four years ago when I kicked WW to the curb for the last time. I felt great. More importantly (in a really fucked-up way), I thought I looked great. I had jeans that made my ass look awesome. I was still fat, but I wasn’t *this* fat.

    I’ve had three kids in the four years since. I now weigh somewhere between 270-280.

    THAT fat was acceptable. THIS fat isn’t. And I can’t seem to get past that.

  8. I suffer from this mentality, too. I’m okay NOW, but my partner and I want to have several children. What if, like my best friend’s mom, I gain 80 lbs with my first pregnancy and never lose it? What if I gain 40 lbs with the next one? I try really hard to combat the idea that I need to lose X number of pounds before I conceive, so the pregnancy gain won’t be “as bad.”

    I also heard the stuff about weight being “harder to lose” when you’re older, and maybe there’s some truth to it (in the sense that the basal metabolic rate of a teenager is higher). But no matter how hard it is to lose, the weight is probably not going to stay off — and early dieting can fuck you up long-term.

    When I was a kid, my y mother told me that if I didn’t “take control now” (and this was in elementary school, before I was what any sane person would consider fat), I would be like one of those half-ton people on daytime TV, who become attached to their couch and then need to be air-lifted with a crane. Thanks, Mom!

  9. When I was in high school, I hit 275 pounds and felt like an absolute whale. Then I went away to college and lost weight and felt better. I promised myself if I ever got to or above 275 again, I would kill myself. Because I “deserved” to not live “that kind” of life ever again.

    Fast forward a few years when I stepped on the scale and it flashed back at me 290.

    I won’t say I’ve reached full-fledged FA, but I accepted myself enough to not keep my horrifying promise, and I think that’s a start.

  10. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes yes yes. Absolutely, yes.

    And: I’m so glad it’s not just me.

    I found FA, and I got moderately. good at accepting myself. I was making progress. And then I gained ~7 lbs, and I thought, “Okay, I’ll lose it.” And then I got depressed, and now I’m about 20-25 lbs. heavier than I was when I first found FA. In fact, I’m officially plus-sized (as opposed to ‘a short inbetweenie who can get by at Old Navy’) for the first time in my life. And it’s like I have to start all over again– shutting up that negative voice every time I look in the mirror. And it SUCKS.

  11. Wow, this is exactly what I’m struggling with now. Thank you for talking about it here. I’m getting closer to accepting myself as I am now and am generally feeling awesome these days. But I am trying to quell my fear of getting fatter, particularly from pregnancy. I know it will happen, but I can’t even imagine it. I’m currently at my highest weight so I just can’t picture it. I know in my head that I have to let this go and I’m trying. I need to live my life irrespective of my weight. Because what’s the alternative? Going on a diet before getting pregnant? Um, no. So, who cares? I have to let the chips fall where they may.

  12. Oh god, this is so so timely for me! Thank you so much for sharing your feelings on this.

    I’m 25, which is the age my mother was at when I was born and the age she realized that she was downright fat and getting fatter. And you know what? I’m downright fat, too, and have been for a few years. And I’m pretty sure I’m getting fatter and going to continue to get fatter. And I am absolutely struggling with that in a way I didn’t struggle with baseline fat acceptance.

    My mother worries about me so much because “she sees me going down the same path she’s on”, and “It’s harder to lose weight when you’re older than when you’re younger”, but I look at her and it’s undeniable that I look exactly like her at my age – that I am going to get fatter, just as she did.

  13. My concern is like Tari’s if I pack any more junk in my trunk I’m going to have to make some serious alterations to my lifestyle.

    I keep hoping that if I get inspired to actually find a physical activity that doesn’t bore me to tears I will lose some weight, but neither one of those things are seeming especially likely unfortunately. I don’t know what to do about the hope.

  14. Yep, me too. For me it’s also tied in with feelings of shame over the knowledge that, if there is a change, OTHER PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY NOTICING MY BODY CHANGING AND MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ME BASED ON SAID CHANGES OMG OMG OMG! (Which, as I write that, is oddly reminiscent of puberty though of course I wouldn’t have had such a self-aware take on it then.) It’s the perception of change that frightens me most. I’m worried that if people initially accepted me as X, and then they look at me and see that it’s no longer X but X’, their brains will reach for an explanation… and I don’t like the readily-available explanations that I expect most people will reach for.

    But maybe I’m not giving them enough credit, either.

  15. Oh I so get this, I’m 41 on the cusp of (peri) menopause and I catch myself thinking God when I go through menopause and then gain the supposedly requisite poundage then I’m going to be really fat, not just the ok fat I feel like I am now.

    Mimi, I’m 48 and have just gained said requisite poundage. In fact, my gyno asked me about my weight this time for the first time ever. After 15 years of gaining a pound or two a year, whammo I gained 20, and he asked me what was up, and I said, menopause, and he said “ya think?” and I said my diet hasn’t changed and my lifestyle hasn’t changed, and he said “okay.’

    It sort of horrifies me in exactly the way m. leblanc is talking about, but it’s surprisingly easy to draw on hitherto unknown reserves of self-acceptance.

  16. Being pregnant right now, I can totally relate to this. I went up about 10 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight when my son was born. Of course, I was off of an SSRI when I got pregnant and went back on during the pregnancy and stayed on, so I’m not sure how much of the weight gain was attributable to that and how much to having a baby, but I have to admit that I don’t want to go up another 10 pounds after this baby. I like my clothes and how they fit, and I don’t want to get new ones. If my boobs get any bigger, I seriously have no idea where I’ll find a bra, particularly a nursing bra. And, just generally, I like the way I look at this size. I think women who are larger than me look good, but good for them. I can’t imagine myself looking good if I were much larger. Right now I’m about a size 18, and I feel very “acceptably” fat. Nobody yells rude comments at me. I haven’t had a doctor harass me about my weight. I still have men sometimes flirt with me and I can buy my clothes, most of the time, from both the regular and plus size sections. I have no problem fitting into airline seats or restaurant booths. My family members don’t express “concern” about my health. I like being this size, both because I’m used to it and because I don’t really feel like I face any social penalities for it. I don’t want to move into the realm of being “unacceptably” fat. I know that 10 pounds wouldn’t get me there, but still. Who knows what the future holds for anyone or any body, you know? It’s something to come to terms with.

    So I’ve got this idea in my head that I cannot go over whatever my highest pregnancy weight was from my first pregnancy. The funny thing is that I have no idea what that was, because back then I didn’t care a whit about it. But I definitely have a “this fat but no fatter” thing going on right now. I keep telling myself that as long as I’m reasonably active and eating well, it doesn’t matter how much I gain, and that wherever my body settles after another baby is fine, but honestly what I want is to go right back to the size I am after the baby is born.

  17. I struggle with this, too. A lot. When I first discovered fat acceptance, I was in the “that’s okay for THEM,” camp. And then I moved into this weird place of, “I’ll lose some weight and then I’ll stop dieting and be into FA at the size I get to.” (Which I know is a really f-ed up way to think.) And then I became okay with my current size and weight, for the most part (still struggling a bit), but became fearful that I would suddenly get lazy, never go to the gym again, stop eating fruit, and gain 50 pounds. And I settled comfortably into this “I’ll eat healthy, work out, and maintain THIS weight.” Which has started to feel uncomfortably like dieting. It’s really a relief to hear you write about it, because it’s such a difficult stage on the way to total acceptance, which seems like such a hard goal to get to. If I don’t fit into one of my skirts, or I see a photo of myself where I’m bigger than I thought I was, I go into this spiral of shame and panic and set myself back several steps (and months), and I’m not sure how or when I’ll ever get to a place of peaceful acceptance.

  18. Slightly derailing — I appreciated the observations about size specs in women-seeking-women ads. I’ve noticed this, too, in various online gay girl fora as well as in personal ads. I’ve been surprised at how opinionated many women apparently are about potential partners’ overall size (that being most prevalent), breast size, body hair, fashion…

    I realize we’ve all grown up in a society with a narrow definition of beauty (or even acceptability), but I guess I’d thought that women who are already rejecting the heterosexual ideal wouldn’t be so eager to make such shallow, objectifying, misogynistic, and (I believe) self-hating demands of another woman. Wrong-o, it would seem.

  19. I swear to God, every time I’m having a funk, there’s a SP post that addresses exactly what I’m going through. I’m looking forward to more responses to see what sort of solutions or helpful hints are put forth because mercy, do I need some right now.

  20. My dad used to advocate that I diet when I was a teenager because it would be “harder to lose it” when I was older.

    My mom told me that all the time when I was in high school! She was on a diet (she would’nt call it a diet, she said she was making some “lifestyle changes”) and was always telling me how hard it was for a woman her age (she was in her 40s at the time) to lose weight, and that I needed to lose weight while I was still young.

    This is making me think of a friend of mine who is struggling with the weight she’s put on as a result of her medication (she was diagnosed with bipolar 2 last year). She has great self esteem, but is having a really hard time accepting her new body, especially because before she got on her medication, she was dieting, and had maintained what she considered a satisfactory weight. She was on the lower end of the plus size range, and now she’s having to buy clothes in bigger sizes and she’s having a had time with that. She even mentioned getting gastric bypass or lap band surgery. She probably won’t do it, because she can’t afford it (she and I are struggling grad students), but the fact that she was even considering it makes me sad for her.

  21. This is wonderful to hear about everyone’s stories. I know Kate has gotten a bit tired of the “101” stuff, but it is good to hear it when you’re still struggling.

    I don’t diet, and I seem to gain 5-10 pounds each year. And that makes acceptance so hard, because even when I clear my closet and buy clothes that fit, they just start becoming too small, and over and over.

    That’s a really big thing about weight. It’s the only thing that changes, barring a conscious choice or serious accident or disease. I mean, your eyes never grow closer together and your skin doesn’t change colour and your nose get longer each year. Weight changes make you look different, and it’s a bit hard to get your head around the idea that you are and will continue to be equally beautiful no matter what you look like.

  22. Forestroad wrote: thinking about starting this whole “self-acceptance” process over again if I become fatter is daunting.

    But that’s just it – self-acceptance NEVER STOPS. You never stop the process because your self keeps changing. Just thinking about it makes me tired, too, but so does thinking about the work I’d have to do to keep hating on myself so actively.

    When we’re kids, we’re told we change and become “grown ups”, as if growing up puts us in some kind of static state where we stay until we’re suddenly “old” (for some value of old, but that’s a whole ‘nother guest column!).

    Except it doesn’t work that way. Perimenopause hit me a couple of years ago with all the subtlety of a hand grenade in a bucket of oatmeal. I’m watching my body shape change and it’s difficult and scary because I have absolutely no control over it. I only get to go along for the ride – and I hate roller coasters. Especially hormonal ones. But I digress.

    I agree – self-hatred is hard. It’s a little easier when it’s fueled by fear, but eventually the adrenaline edge wears off, and just like it was before, it’s back to you and your body.

    And to everyone, I find inordinate amounts of comfort reading your stories and realizing over and over that it wasn’t just me. Somehow knowing it’s not a special hell invented just for me makes so many things easier for me to make peace with.

  23. I’ve been doing this tricky thing of getting further into FA at the same time that I’ve been losing weight, not by dieting but by focusing on HAES and intuitive eating. My primary goal has been to feel better (stronger, more fit, better energy) physically and get depression under control. But depression has been keeping me well above my set point, so I have been very slowly dropping sizes, and that’s where this is resonating. I had a Spring where various bad things happened and my depressive eating came back and my activity level dropped and I was so anxious not to gain any back. A couple-few pounds were okay, but not enough to show–and how crazy is it that a weight I was delighted to be at 6 months ago should now be completely unacceptable?

    No one else has picked up on the question of women’s attraction to other women’s bodies yet, but that struck a chord: my partners, both women, are both substantially smaller than me, and even though I know, absolutely, that they were each attracted to me when I was 40 pounds heavier, I feel so much more secure about it when the difference is smaller.

    (But it makes a bigger difference when I feel strong and capable in my body.)

  24. Because those social narratives govern how I feel about the future, while my own experience governs how I feel about the present and the past, feelings of shame dominate, and they infect the present.

    This is so brilliantly put.

  25. Yes I can relate to this. Every time I’ve ever gone up a dress size I’ve had to go through a period of re-accepting my fatter body. I won’t say it was easy, but I knew it was necessary for me to continue to move forwards (towards FA) than backwards (towards dieting and self-loathing) for me to be sane-ish and happy-ish. (Or, at least, saner and happier than I would be if I went backwards).

    2 things helped. Firstly, chucking out my bathroom scale. (Major liberator). Also, advising medical types who deem it necessary to weigh me not to divulge the number to me when they do. Secondly, to keep reminding myself that, 10 years into the future, I knew damned well I was going to look back at pictures of myself now and say, “What the fuck was I worried about? I was gorgeous!” I knew I would want to smack my younger self for wasting so much time angsting about her appearance so I resolved to cut the angsting time down as much as possible, and just truck on.

    I appreciate that those facing poverty or mobility issues have different or additional concerns than appearance but for a lot of people, fat and thin, a lot of how we view ourselves comes down to what I think of as The Tyranny of Numbers. Poundage; inches; BMI; blood pressure and cholesterol readings. I still baulk if I have to get out a tape-measure, which is ridiculous in view of how far I’ve come in terms of self-acceptance but there it is.

  26. This was a terrifying post for me because it reflects my own secret thoughts. I too would be horrified five years ago at my now fatness, of which I now am mostly accepting. And I often feel sexy and great. But at 36 I am developing knee problems and exercise is harder and I could see myself slipping into a fatter realm. And I am also terrified of pregnancy for this reason, especially since even if I became pregnant today, I”d be an “old” (fat) mom. I don’t judge other women this way anymore. I find fat on other women beautiful, even when they are fatter than I am. But I am still scared of it for myself, despite being avidly FA for a couple of years. Anyway, I feel really anxious at this moment, (being reminded of looming peri menopause is a factor!) but it helps to remember to stay aware that self love is a process, and can include all the body’s guises, shape and sizes.

  27. I haven’t read any of the comments, but we are given many avenues for self-acceptance in this life. I think it sounds like a lot of what you are wrapped up in is change in general. Motherhood means lots of changes physically, NOT just in terms of weight gain. There is no guarantee you will emerge from pregnancy heavier, or even permanently heavier. But you get to give somebody life….hang on to that.

    Aging means lots of changes, too. I personally mind the gray hair more than I do the fatness, and the only thing that really scares me is maybe not being able to take care of myself because of arthritis in my hands.

    You go through a lot of changes internally in life. Why SHOULDN’T you change externally? Do you really want to be stuck at some age–12, 17, or 23, or 30? Even if you want to, you can’t…so my advice is don’t try.

  28. This thread made me think of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes when Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates’ character) says something along the lines of “I wish I had the courage to get it over with and get really fat!”

    I have been struggling some lately because I hurt my back and have had to stop running- there’s been quite a bit of the Oh My Goodness I Can’t Get Any Fatter thinking. :(

  29. I’ve been Fat Accepting most of my life, even after my size went up over 26, but I still wasn’t completely comfortable with going up over that size because it makes it so damn hard to find clothes. And I find that I go back and forward about it.

    Just had a baby, and after a rather horrifying experience with Being Fat With Gestational Diabetes In Pregnancy (argh. I had lots of medical problems. Almost all of them had M.D. after their names.) I ended up losing almost 50 lbs. (I don’t recommend the GD diet, trust me– it’s a great way to lose a lot of the fun of having a baby! Plus of course my first fear was that if I went back to eating like a normal person, even while breastfeeding, I’d blow up like the Michelin Man as a result of diet rebound. I’m still worrying, and I’m still eating.)

    On the one hand, I feel better, physically, now than I did before I got pregnant; I’m more close to the weight I think of myself at, which I was 3 years ago. On the other hand, I look down at my reconfigured belly everytime I pump breastmilk and think “Oh my god, look at that, I have to DO something about this argghhh…”

  30. I was just reading some yoga philosophy about worry and dread that posited that one’s being has a very difficult time distinguishing between what it has *actually* experienced and what it *imagines* for itself.

    So, constantly worrying about something, imagining its repercussions, making it “real” in your mind by playing it over and over again in your head (as I am definitely wont to do over issues of body acceptance) even though it very well may not happen, causes almost as much stress to your body, mind and spirit as ACTUALLY experiencing that thing. It might feel in the moment that you’re preparing yourself for possible futures or getting yourself mentally ready for what might happen to you down the line, but as far as your brain is able to tell, you’re really taking yourself through this stressful “experience” time after time.

    Coupled with this reading today, it has me thinking about staying in the moment as much as I possibly can with my body—it might well happen that I actually get fatter later than I am right now–could happen. And it may be something I grapple with in terms of acceptance, as I have every other step along the way—but to obsess about it now and create scenarios in my head about how it will affect me might be equivalent in terms of stress to making myself experience that grappling/struggle/challenge over and over and over again unnecessarily.

    I’m not trying to be cavalier about this in any way—or adopt a “eh, just don’t think about it!” stance. I’m just acknowledging that maybe as a matter of self-protection, I might have to stop myself from dwelling on the “ohmigod what if I get fatter” potential future.

  31. I am resonating like a tuning fork to this! 10 years ago I would have been horrified to have been the size and shape I am now and the idea of pushing 300lbs would have just about struck me dead… But here I am and it’s not so bad. It’s not ideal; I would like to feel healthier, and I’m sure that eventually i will feel like I want to make the effort it will take to benefit, as I have done in the past. But right now I’m feeling pretty good about every wobbly hairy inch of me and I just can’t be arsed going to the gym every morning when I could be cuddling Mr Factor!

    It is the first time in my life I have ever felt this accepting of the self I am here and now, and not when I’ve lost 4 stone. HAES is really doing it for me!

  32. Very timely post for me too. I’ve gained about 20 pounds in the last year and I am realizing that pants that I bought a year ago don’t fit anymore. This has never really happened to me before – I’ve never gained or lost this much weight in such a short period of time previously. Fortunately, I’ve found FA and am at least able to begin accepting myself at this higher weight (even though I still have terrible days of angst about it).

  33. I stood on the scale today – I know, not an encouraged activity. And it’s exactly because of this. I think, okay, I am fat – but I really don’t want to get fatter. I just bought nice new clothes. I still want to fit them a year from now.

    I recently lost a lot of weight – almost 20 lbs – because of an illness. Basically I *couldn’t* eat anything without excruciating pain, so I didn’t, and ended up on a starvation diet of 600 calories a day, 800 on a good day. I felt tired and miserable and out of energy and I had to go to the doctor like every other day and all I was hearing was “oh wow, did you lose weight!?”
    Then, after the surgery, I told people how it all went and they were “well at least you lost some weight, that’s a good thing! :D”

    But then, this is all about the three digits for me. I calculate in kilos. And somewhere last year, I passed the 100 kilos line, and kept going – and then at the end of my illness, right before surgery, I was 100.4 kilos. And I couldn’t help but feel, “yay, I’m close to below 100!”

    Today, I’m 104.3. And I thought, damn. I know I shouldn’t think it – and I know it makes perfect sense for my body to get back to its previous weight after a starvation-level diet. But I still keep thinking “I don’t want to be fatter than this. I still wan to fit these nice new clothes next year.” I can’t shake those thoughts. I call myself fat, I accept my current fat… but I totally know what you mean about not accepting your future fat and how difficult that is.

    It doesn’t help that I’m actually not eating that healthy or exercising at all, so I just feel like a real bad representative of fat acceptance and HAES. Thén I remember I’m not supposed to put myself down like that. And I keep going in circles.
    But nobody ever told me this was gonna be easy, so. No matter how complicated it gets on the psyche, it’s still infinitely better than wallowing in 100% self-hatred.

  34. For me it’s like, when I really said okay, let’s try intuitive eating it was scary, to completely give up control like that and just let things go. So I made a deal with myself that I’d give it x months and if I hated it I could go back to dieting. Of course, I haven’t hated it, and my weight stabilized around a slightly higher number than it had been before.

    But I totally feel the “this fat and no fatter” because I feel like okay, I read the science and science says that I’m supposed to have this set point and once I get in the range, it’s supposed to be impossible to gain OR lose easily. And I know intellectually that set points move for a million reasons: aging, menopause, pregnancy, medication, and who the fuck knows.

    But my feelings of strength in FA and HAES, at least at first, were like okay it sounds crazy but I believe in SCIENCE and this is what SCIENCE says. Even my doctor can’t argue with facts. But if SCIENCE is wrong and it is easy to gain a million pounds, then it’s also wrong that I can’t lose weight and keep it off.

    Again: I know this is a total misunderstanding of the SCIENCE, and I know experientially that diets don’t work, but for some reason on a weird gut level it’s all tied into the idea that once you let your body regulate itself, it will stay pretty much the same. To not have that be true feels scary and out of control again. Issues, man.

  35. I’ve always found it easier to accept fat on other people than on myself; I’ve finally gotten to where I accept my own fat, but yes, I’m right there in the “this fat and no fatter” camp where my own weight is concerned. I had just started to notice the inconsistency a few weeks ago–thanks for this post!

  36. Personally I am just sad right now because of how much my lack of money is affecting my eating and my weight. It was very easy to feel healthy and intuitive and all that when I could afford the veggies that fill me up and make me feel good. Now it’s pasta, rice, whatever’s really cheapest. (There are places to get a small amount of free veggies but they’re all a $4.50 subway ride away — defeats the purpose.) I dream of veggies and fruits, and healthy eating. Remember if you’re lucky enough to have your choice of foods, that’s a very solid position and that’s something to feel great about in and of itself. And I will hopefully be there with you again, someday soon.

  37. I’ve been lurking on this blog and loving it for such a long time.

    Now I think I have the courage to bring something up and ask if anyone else feels this way, because it is somewhat related to this psychological acceptance thing:

    I have gone through a lot of stages of FA. I like how I look, I am proud of myself, I no longer diet and I’ve gotten way into HAES (which resulted in me gaining 15 pounds of scale weight: more muscle, mostly the same amount of fat, and the ability to lift my son over my head like Wonder Woman! Woooo!).

    However, having reached that stage, I am left with a distinct physical feeling of uncomfortableness: when I sit in my cubicle at work, the fat rolls around my stomach press together and it drives me up a wall. I don’t care about how they look, but only about how it feels (really uncomfortable when sitting and programming all day). I have fantasies of liposuction, and I could afford it, and I dont want to get much taken out, just this ONE FREAKING ROLL that chafes me and makes me unable to sit comfortably no matter what kind of loose clothes I’m wearing. So . . . . can I get minor lipo and still be into FA? Am I deluding myself?

  38. It isn’t like the FA movement isn’t any less likely to throw limiting numbers around, as I found out when I wanted to do some fat activism and was informed by Marilyn Wann that ‘a 200 pound person doesn’t understand real discrimination’.

  39. Hanna, I don’t have an answer to your question, but have you tried Bodyglide or powder for the chafing?

    It sucks when you have to sit down at work all day and be uncomfortable.

  40. Arrrgh. I remember being 16 and about 150 pounds and being sat down for the “I just don’t want you to end up like my sister” (obviously Dad giving the talk) who’s about 300 pounds and has knee and hip and general fitness issues. The time I gained about 5 pounds (from my now average 130ish) I got the WHAT are you eating??? lecture (age 21).
    I know I’m not fat per se, but sometimes being ordinary absolutely sucks.

  41. I read your blog every week because it is absolutely facinating. I’m a novelist working on a fat character for my third book, and since I’ve always been fastidious with diet and exercise, I don’t know what it’s like to carry an extra pound. I’ve never seen such distorted rationalizing and self deception. This is a treasure trove for imagining layers and layers of motive. Thank you for the deep dish!

  42. It can be really disconcerting to have your body just change on you because of meds or having a baby or hormones. You’re used to how your body looks and moves because you’ve been watching it change gradually and now here’s something new just out of nowhere.

    Over the past two years I’ve developed what I suppose is called a “spare tire”, and every time I look at my belly it’s like an alien invader. What the hell happened to the body I’d been living in before that? Now I need new shapewear to make everything fit the same way. I wouldn’t mind having a spare tire if I’d always had one, but it’s just odd to find something new like that.

  43. I definitely relate to this… thanks for posting.

    I have also found that lesbians can be very critical of other lesbians’ bodies, and compare themselves directly with potential dating partners. Men judge women against other women, not against their own bodies, so maybe that’s why lesbians can get a bit more dysfunctional.

    My last girlfriend weighed 95 pounds and she used to warn me not to get above a size 12 because I would be “soooo huge” compared to her. And she only dates women below size 12. We had a big fight about it, and we broke up shortly after that… but I still feel sort of traumatized by her having requirements for my future self. I hope I can accept myself in the future no matter what I look like, but it’s scary to feel like your partner won’t accept you if (when) you gain weight.

  44. I’m 5’5″ and 135 pounds, which basic logic tells me is certainly not fat. Yet I still find myself in that phase that Sweet Machine so cleverly described as the “works for thee but not for me” phase of FA, probably because I developed an eating disorder about a year ago which I’m still hoping will go away. I would hate myself if I gained anymore weight and I always feel like I can lose some. And lately I’ve found myself worrying about how to avoid being fat when I’m older, which is insane, because I’m only 17 (I do have issues with an eating disorder, however, so craziness is expected). I feel like a huge hypocrite, preaching fat acceptance to friends who are always putting down their body and talking about HAES to family members who are talking about how great Weight Watchers is, yet living in fear of getting any fatter myself.

    It sucks being a teenager sometimes. Thankfully, blogs like this exist so I can retain at least a little bit of my sanity.

  45. I can not endure the thought of being any fatter than I am.

    This is why I remind myself not to diet anymore.

    My last diet I lost 10lbs, regained 15lbs.

    Before that? Atkins; lost 30lbs, gained 40lbs.

    Before that? I <3 NY Diet; lost 50lbs, gained 80lbs.

    AND SO ON.

    My dad used to advocate that I diet when I was a teenager because it would be “harder to lose it” when I was older.

    My doctor and mother would tell me that too. After watching me yo-yo through my early teens the doc suggested that yo-yo’ing might be bad, and perhaps I should just try to “maintain” my current weight until my height caught up with my weight. At the time I didn’t have the guts to tell the doc that, um, was what I’d been TRYING to do for years….

    No, I don’t want to gain weight. I have had 5 clinical depressive episodes, and gained (and kept) about 30lbs with each of the first 4. The last time I was on Wellbutrin — I was thrilled that it not only helped the depression but also I didn’t gain yet another 30lbs!

    (I am not actively taking steps to keep from losing weight either! I don’t wake up in a cold sweat worrying that I haven’t eaten enough, or that I might have exercised too much…. ;)

  46. This is why I remind myself not to diet anymore.

    I was going to say this. Honestly, many times not wanting to gain weight is my main motivation for not dieting, and not any noble FA reasons. I’ve never really been a dieter, and my weight has been very stable for the last 10 years, aside from some fluctuations going on and off of Zoloft and having a baby. It hasn’t varied by more than about 20 pounds.

    I think partly it’s that I’m so used to have a stable weight that I don’t like the idea of gaining.

    I do think, reading people’s comments, that I’m going to request to be weighed backwards at my prenatal appointments, and to not be told about my weight gain unless it’s signalling a health issue. Because I can easily see myself become very obsessed with the number. I’m just so non-assertive around medical personnel that I find it hard to imagine myself requesting to do things in a way that doesn’t fit the normal protocol.

  47. Godless Heathen,

    I clicked over and read your post. Thank you for sharing that; I do relate. In my case, I have a desk job, so my knee problems didn’t keep me from working. Physical therapy was therefore a possibility, and — in my case — a solution. It’s insane that you don’t have the same opportunity.

  48. Hm. Interesting comment on finding another woman attractive based on the “objectively okay”ness of her body… I noticed the association in the opposite direction. I dated a much larger woman and thought she was just gorgeous (still do!) and that’s been very influential in appreciating how my twig-like partner now can find me gorgeous even though, yeah, I’m pretty durn squishy, and if I don’t sit up perfectly straight I get belly rolls, and all that. I’ve seen the same phenomenon mentioned elsewhere but didn’t realize it could (must!) go the other way until you said it.

  49. (First time ever commenting, so please let me know if I’m doing it wrong.)

    Thanks so much for this post. I just last week came out to my friends as bisexual (I’m 29) because I could not admit to myself or others that fat on women is OK enough to be attracted to. For many years now I’ve been very comfortable with being attracted to and dating larger men, but only after reading FA blogs for over a year could I get past my own fat enough to admit I find women my size attractive.

  50. Sarah with the orange monster avatar — I’m struck that we’re the exact same height, weight, and first name; I’m just 7 years older than you. Good luck beating the “craziness”! I am sending you a mental version of the delicious chocolate cupcakes I made yesterday in advance celebration.

  51. I wonder if sitting on one of those ball chairs might reconfigure how the fat sits to help Hanna?

  52. I definitely had this. A lot. As well as the “if I get over X number, I’ll kill myself.”

    And then two things happened: I went through a breakdown and started self-mutilating and considering suicide, and then later on I gained about sixty pounds, and then another twenty on top of that. Realizing I didn’t want to end my life made that former statement seem so incredibly stupid and ridiculous. And facing the fact that my world wouldn’t end if I hit 280 was really an eye-opener too.

    Sarah, please please please think about getting outside help for your eating disorder if you haven’t already. The likelihood of it “just going away” is probably not all that great.

    Hanna, maybe you need a different/better desk chair?

  53. This was a great post.

    I hope I can handle the inevitable well.. I think I will as long as I have SP to turn to. My body never changed much as I moved from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood – so while I feel positive about weight gain, I have no frame of reference, and it is hard for me to imagine what the changes that come with aging and pregnancy will be like. I am trying not to waste any energy on fear of my future self!

  54. Yeah, I’m struggling with this one right now, after several months of not jogging or even walking because of bad shin splints, and gaining 20 lbs (so I’m finally back to where I was 10 yrs ago when I went on my first “lifestyle change”), and having to buy lots of new clothes. I can’t gain any more weight, because I will not be able to find bras.

    I asked the doctor last week what I should think about before getting pregnant, and she said “lose 20 pounds”. I’ll be ignoring that advice, thanks.

  55. I just want to interrupt a moment, to say that this place is amazing.

    I have spent the past three days reading and crying, crying and reading and also laughing – a lot. I feel like I have a hundred or so new best friends…. so I thought I’d introduce myself.

    I’m mcm and I am fat.

    [back to lurking till I learn a lot more.]

  56. I think at some deep, buried level, fear of fat is really a fear of mortality. Everyone knows we fatten with age. Our struggle with fat, both at the societal and individual level, is really our struggle with age. With horror we look back at “how thin” we used to be. We really mean “how young.”

  57. Lori,

    You might think about writing a letter to bring in at your first prenatal appointment, outlining your wishes about being backwards on the scale. That’s what I do now, when going to new doctors, and it’s helped. It’s less confrontational than having a scene with a nurse in front of the scale and the rest of the office. I bring in two copies, one for my file and one for the doctor to read.

  58. This is so weird and coincidental that this is the subject of the post today because lately I’ve been feeling just like this. Like I couldn’t possibly handle being ANY bigger. I’m having a hard enough time trying to convince myself that I’m okay the way I am, at the weight that I am, at the size that I am, but my thoughts keep creeping back to the “horrific” possibility that I could become bigger. so, I don’t know – it’s good to read that other people feel the same way even while trying to accept themselves.

  59. mcm, so glad you’re here! I did the same thing when I found Shapely Prose. (Read and cry and pore, I mean. Not introduce myself in the clever and endearing way you just did because… well, ha, I wish. Anyway, welcome!)

  60. jenny rose: you are completely right. fear and trust is definately what it all boils down to…

    fear for the future, fear that others will not accept you at a higher weight, fear that you cannot handle it and that right NOW is the highest weight you can handle…and a lack of trust in yourself. in myself. i’ve been dealing with this issue since i came to fa a few years ago, and i secretly have been afraid of stepping on the scale for fear of how much weight i have gained. it’s an irrational fear (my clothes have remained the same fit), but it’s fear just the same, and a distrust in myself that i will not be able to handle it, or that i will not be able to accept myself at any size.

  61. Rose – Congratulations on admitting this to yourself and your friends!

    Mother Wonder – I never thought of it that way before, but I think you’ve caught on to something! It reminds me of one of my favorite poems by Gerard Manly Hopkins about the little Margaret crying for the falling leaves and not realizing that the reason that she was crying was because they made her think of her own death one day-she is crying for herself and not for the leaves at all.

    I am also really struggling with this. I am losing weight and I’m starting to restrict again and the only people that know are my therapist and my nutritionist and I don’t get to see them very often. I do so much better when I don’t weigh myself and I’ve got to say I’m a little angry with my mom for taking the scale out of hiding at precisely the time when I told her I was getting depressed again. (We had an agreement when I came home that she would hide the scale well and she did until a few weeks ago.) I know that I should tell her that she needs to rehide it, but I’m not sure that I’m strong enough to talk to her about it, because I don’t want another one of those hideous talks where she tries to be supportive, but utterly fails. But even more so than that, I don’t want to have to admit out loud how much I struggle with my weight and my eating.

    The good news to everyone who’s thinking of stepping on the scale backwards at the dr.’s office-the few times I’ve done it, I have never once had any kind of bad reaction with the nurses or anybody. In fact, the first time I did it, I ask the nurse if I could and she laughingly replied, “It doesn’t matter to me-the number will be the same no matter which way you face.” THAT, at least, is a relief! Though it’s also a bit scary to realize that the majority of our worries, if not all, is all in our head.

    As for will I gain weight? That’s the thing. I know the day that I decide that I am truly serious about my recovery that I will undoubtedly gain some and as I get older-a lot. But what’s really hard to realize is that recovery is something I have to recommit myself to everyday, which just plain sucks.

  62. I’m so glad to read this post, because I’ve really been struggling with the fact that I’ve gained about 30 pounds since the beginning of the year, when I was already 80 pounds “overweight.” I got a (sedentary) job after being unemployed for 3 years and was no longer doing a lot of yard work for my mother. It’s natural for me to have gained the weight I guess, but I don’t like that I’m getting to the point where I’ll have to buy a whole bunch of new clothes I can fit into.

    The thing is, I like my body and carry myself with confidence, but now I’m realizing I thought somehow that that would inoculate me from gaining any more weight than I already have. When will it stop? I admit to being scared.

  63. I relate to this so much. I like the way I look (and I absolutely love to look at large women), I mostly like the way I feel now, etc. But I wouldn’t want to gain weight for several reasons mentioned here: I don’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe (and get rid of the clothes I love now), I don’t want to have a bigger bra size, if I was bigger there would be some things I just couldn’t do etc. And although I don’t have mobility issues, I think they’re a valid concern for many. It’s one thing to say I’m OK with my body, no matter how it looks – but what if weight gain actually did bring a lot of mobility issues, and thus reduced the quality of life a lot? It’s hard to accept something like that.

    I also relate to feeling physically uncomfortable about some fat, for example in a sitting position or while doing sports, no matter how much I’m not concerned about the way it looks. I find it painful, for example, when my thighs chafe against each other, and I get sores on my skin when they do. It’s the physical discomfort that worries me, not the looks. And I find it hard to accept the discomfort. I mean, I can accept my body, but it doesn’t really take the feeling of discomfort away. And the thought of the discomfort increasing is a scary one. So, I struggle with this too.

  64. This post is hard to read because that is exactly the way I feel about myself. “I don’t mind staying on this size if I can keep it indefinitely”. I don’t feel ready to think anything else about myself right now. The reasons are that I’m at the top end of standard-sized clothes, and also, that my mother has had really bad health / weight / mood issues that I’m afraid of reproducing. I can’t help comparing myself with how she was at my age to spot differences and see if at some point I’ve broken some sort of “family curse”.

  65. “I felt tired and miserable and out of energy and I had to go to the doctor like every other day and all I was hearing was “oh wow, did you lose weight!?”
    Then, after the surgery, I told people how it all went and they were “well at least you lost some weight, that’s a good thing! :D”

    Totally had the same experience. 8 years ago I was in a very bad place, depression and a suicide attempt led to a nerve-related injury that had me in and out of the hospital for chronic pain. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t eat and the pain meds killed my appetite so I dropped a LOT of weight in a short time (30 lbs in less than 3 months.) Of course it made a drastic change in my appearance, and people’s reaction to it never failed: I’d discuss my injury, my pain and emotional problems and inevitably people would focus on the weight loss: “But you look great!”

    It was just another emotional dagger that sliced right through me–that they knew I had been through hellish emotional and physical pain but the weight loss was supposed to be a positive result. I very much resented how they didn’t see that my weight loss was a reflection of how fucked up my body and mind were. I couldn’t believe how they had it totally backwards: It was a horrible thing, not this silver lining just because I dropped several dress sizes.

    Now I worry about what the same people think of me now that I’ve gained far and beyond more weight than I lost while sick. It makes my own FA difficult, never mind my future fat, when I know these same people–my friends, family, acquaintances, even strangers– will probably never truly accept my fat if they openly felt that way before.

  66. Past me would have been horrified at the weight of present me, thinking that it would be so much harder to move, etc. But it turns out that is not true, I feel the same as always, I feel good, and the extra weight is not just fat but also muscles to carry that fat. If I didn’t get disapproval from society, I’d be just fine. Looking back at how my expectations about my own body were inaccurate could mean that the future projection is also off – and the bone of contention is not how I feel inside but how I feel about how people will treat me when I’m further off the current ideal.

    (What’s up with Margot’s comment?)

  67. This hits home in a big way for me, too.

    After threeish years of being injured, horribly sick, and horribly depressed in turn, I gained a lot of weight on top of my already padded size 16 self–50 pounds?–which put me at around 230, well over the 200 lbs I’d once told myself I’d better never go over, Or Else.

    I survived, of course, although I felt icky about my shape on top of the problems of depression and having very little physical strength. After a year of being on proper medication and slowly building up my physical strength from the almost nothingit had been, I’ve lost fat–not a lot, but enough that I’ve started having hopeful dreams of fitting into old jeans–but at the same time being pretty okay with how I look, both because of being a smaller size and because of having muscle strength and better posture.

    But then there’s that little voice of “Oh god, I hope I never get that fat again. Here is fine but NO FATTER.”

    Which, well. I have joint problems in my left leg my doctor won’t address because I’m fat (apparently fat can travel back in time to cause hip dysplasia and prevent it being treated properly–who knew) and it’s painfully likely I’ll be walking with a cane within the next 5-10 years. Mobility loss might mean muscle loss, which for me definitely means more fat. Add to this that I’m only 30 and I’m certain to gain weight later.

    Reconciling this has… not exactly been happening. It’s compounded by my gender identity (androgynous). I feel like I can’t present as the gender identity that fits me at this size–much less a higher size–because the fat makes my shape blatantly female. I don’t feel *right* being blatantly female.

    The cherry on top of the whole shit cake is that I live in a country where finding clothes in a size over 16–much less well-made, well-fitted, non-polyester clothes–is very, very hard.

    So, yes. I wish I knew how to reconcile all of these things and not let it take up considerable amounts of my mental space, but I have no damned clue. I’m very much taking it one sometimes painful day at a time. At least I’ve kicked the whole crazy-making calorie and diet restriction thing to the curb…

  68. (What’s up with Margot’s comment?)

    hopefully she’s learned something about a group of people who have a different existence than her own? I hope anyway.

    I HAES’d myself right out of the plus size range of western sizes (am now size 10 US?) but am still wandering the 3L’s here in Japan which is a special plus size online only rarely available size. I too worry that if I gain any more weight my clothing choices will become non-existent and I’ll have to start importing clothing from western countries. I have to do this with shoes already and it’s extremely expensive (US size 10.5 feet :/ ). I think that it’s a very real issue when there is that “reality” wall between “I accept myself at the size I am now and I’m healthy and it’s fine” and hitting the barrier where the rest of society comes barging in with restrictions out of your control.

  69. Hello Again All – Thank you for permission to speak these things aloud…

    I am gonna take a shot here at posting a comment. (I am a little embarrassed about my writing skills when I think about posting on SP.) That disclaimer out of the way.

    Can I love my body? All 380 pounds of it? Embrace it?Accept it? Can I do this when no one else does? Can I love it at 400? 500? (if those numbers come) Am I out of the rage of acceptable fatness? Am I super obese? Can I love my body if I an categorized as super obese? Am I even allowed to consider this? Dare I?
    Can I ever experience myself as a worthy person if I do not?

    I have to love and accept my body. I am not ready to engage in a debate about the scientific/medical merits of accepting my 380 and whatever weight is next for me. ( Thanks to all who post warnings about reading the comments on other blogs,,, something about sanity points etc)

    But I have to. I have no choice at this point. I know too much about the self hatred manifesting in my intestines strangulating and rupturing (happened two years ago) ( not gonna defend the scientific reasoning here ) I just KNOW!

    My body is actually pretty impressive considering all the things it’s been through.

    Part of me thinks that this HAES/ intuitive eating/ movement I enjoy stuff is going to result is some weight loss. Maybe it will, maybe it wont. I do know if I make HAES about losing weight, or preventing me form gaining more, I am back in the self hatred shame spiral that has done havoc on my self worth.

    What I want is to be able to go back to my dance lessons ( I was going to salsa class at 330 three times a week ) I want to be able to spin a girl around a dance floor for a couple of songs before I need to sit. I want to ride my bike around New York City again. Even if I have to buy a trycycle.

    I had my first night where I couldn’t catch my breath a few weeks ago so I recorded a farewell video to my family in case I bite it with a sudden Heart attack or whatever. I told them that I am sure that not fighting my weight was the right thing for me. I know they cannot wrap there minds around that. Hopefully they won’t have to watch it ever. It was more for me anyway.

    But I do know for sure not fighting is my only option. If I fight, I lose (then gain).

    I have to love my body now. I have to be at peace that there may be more severe consequences (even death) as time goes by. There may be heavier weights, less mobility. But I will be free of the self hatred and for some of the time, dare I say it, free of the shame.

    However, I think if I focus on being healthier, give myself credit for the little things, let my body settle where it is at peace, then I get to maybe squeeze a lot more happy stuff out of whatever remaining days I may have. And with my track record, I might just have another 50 years left.

    I wish I felt this way 100% of the time.

  70. The weird thing for me about accepting my body is that no one else around me seems willing to accept this.

    I leveled off as a size 24 about 12 years ago (I’m 43) and really never weigh myself. When I got a new job this year, employee health weighed me for the first time in probably 3 years. I had gone from 250 to 285- but I’m the same size. It was shocking and took time to adjust that I didn’t think I would need. Taking a good look at who I’ve become in the time since I last weighed myself- I can reveal 1) I now walk at least 3 miles daily (in combination w/ bussing to get places) and 2) I do a lot more outside than I used to– ie chasing my kids around the playground, taking them bike riding, etc. The health office personnel gave a “Tsk.” when I was weighed- of course it made me freakishly nervous about whether size would be acceptable in my job– I’m a nurse.

    And what really makes me crazy is that through all these years, peers o’mine chase that sad lettuce leaf across a plate and dole out salad dressing by the molecule– and yet they seem to roller coaster weight all over the place– but feel free to comment on my “health”.

  71. At Margot: I’m not sure how your comment got through moderation, but it’s self-righteous and downright mean. Unless I’m mistaken, you’re a novelist who uses Shapely Prose as a “treasure trove” of “distorted rationalizing and self-deception.” Apparently, you need to read the perspectives of intelligent fat people, since you’ve never “carried an extra pound” and can’t get inside the head of the fat character you’re writing. Guessing by the dismissive, judgmental fat hatred that’s oozing from your comment, you won’t be capable of writing a sympathetic fat character. Your readers, diverse as their bodies probably are, would smell a rat immediately.

    In the meantime, you should probably take these attitudes elsewhere, while the folks at this blog continue their thoughtful discussion of body image and the challenge of imagining and accepting one’s “future body.” It’s a pretty nuanced discussion which most people, regardless of size, can relate to.

    Thanks M. LeBlanc. As a regular-sized woman, I identify with these concerns completely. Pregnancy in particular is something I’ve always imagined as a body-destroying life event.

  72. I would be honestly surprised if Margot has any readers. A writer who finds it so difficult to get into the head of someone who has extra adipose tissue she has to read a blog she openly sneers at for an entire year to get a perspective strikes me as an unskilled wannabe. Published authors have been able to write bizarre aliens, mythical creatures, and the opposite sex with striking success; a fat person should not be particularly difficult. It does, however, require empathy, something Margot should consider exercising more frequently.

  73. I don’t diet, and I seem to gain 5-10 pounds each year. And that makes acceptance so hard, because even when I clear my closet and buy clothes that fit, they just start becoming too small, and over and over.

    OMG. This, this, this, this! is my exact problem. Whenever anyone starts talking about their “set point”, I completely freak the hell out because I don’t have one. From year-to-year, my weight hasn’t gone down since the day I was born, and I’m not sure whether that’s a problem or whether it’s what my body is supposed to be doing. (I don’t mean when I was a kid or a teenager, I mean now when I’m almost 30.)

  74. Re: Margot- Not to mention that being that fastidious with diet and exercise such that you “never carry an extra pound” can be pretty self-deceptive too. Sometimes when one isn’t good at what they profess to do, it can still be kind of satisfying to exclaim, “Well, but look how great I look!!!!!”

    This post was incredibly well-timed. I’ve been thinking about this too, how I really don’t know what I’m going to look like ten or fifteen years from now, but I don’t want to be unhealthy, and I don’t want to be hating myself. Especially if I do have children- jeez, am I afraid of that. That is, giving my kids a messed-up relationship with food because I’ve never reconciled mine.

    I’ve been trying to talk to my mom about HAES and food-shaming, and how much better I actually have felt since discovering FA, and she said, “That’s good- but I know you still want to lose weight.” Thanks, Mom, way to be subversive and triggering.

  75. @Margot-

    and since I’ve always been fastidious with diet and exercise, I don’t know what it’s like to carry an extra pound.

    Lucky you. Do you think that everyone here is fat because they are not fastidious with diet and exercise? Do you think that diet and exercise are the only things preventing you from carrying an extra pound? Then despite your mining of this “treasure trove,” you’ve completely missed the point.

    And for the record, the readers here are actual people, not oddities for you to hold at arm’s length and study. If you must do that, because you truly lack the empathy to get inside someone’s head without doing it, at least have the decency not to admit it.

  76. Pauline, have you tried something like BodyGlide? It was suggested above for another commenter who mentioned chafing, and when I used to run, I used it myself to keep my thighs from rubbing painfully. I see it in sports stores a lot, and I think you can get it online too. It might help you a lot with the physical discomfort!

  77. I was thinking about this, and I think part of the reason why pregnancy is such a flashpoint for body anxiety for women is that it totally rids you of the notion that you are in control of your body. I know that, for me, I’m still relatively young and quite healthy, and the vast majority of the time I feel like the boss of my body. I want to do something, and my body does it for me. And, it does it with a minimum of complaining, so I don’t even think about it.

    Then you get pregnant, and suddenly you can’t eat things your brain thinks you should eat. Suddenly you don’t have the energy to do things you really want to do. And, suddenly your body is grumbling and complaining at having to do things that it used to do without a peep. I’ve just been realizing lately how much I take my health for granted. I take being able to decide that I want to go for a four mile walk, or want to have a three-hour marathon cleaning session, or want to stay up late watching a movie, or want to skip lunch because I’m really engrossed in something else for granted, because normally my body just does what I want. Now all of a sudden my body is kind of asserting its authority, and if I push too far, it pushes back. If I work out more than my body wants, I literally feel so exhausted that I have to sit down. If I skip a meal, I get so nauseated that I can’t function. If I spend two hours housecleaning instead of breaking it up into smaller session, I’m sore and exhausted the next day. And, I do not like it. I hate it, actually. I like being in charge of my body, and I want it to stay that way. I think that in some ways the fear of the body’s appearance changing is also a fear of the body’s function changing.

    But, if we’re lucky we’re all going to get old, and that’s going to mean being more and more at the mercy, for lack of a better term, of our bodies. I do think that in a lot of ways my fear of gaining another 10 post-baby pounds is a fear of my body changing, period. I love how I feel, most of the time. And I know that it’s only going to be natural and normal for me to have less energy and more aches and pains and more illnesses as I age. I can see how easy it is to fall into the trap of “If only I can maintain the same weight/keep my body looking the same way, I can make it keep functioning the same way.” It’s so easy to attribute knee pain to the 20 pounds gained in the last decade, rather than to the wear and tear of another decade itself, because then at least you have some control, and it’s not just your body pushing back at you in ways that you don’t like.

  78. Hey all, I let Margot’s comment through so a) you could kick it around some, virtually speaking, and b) so that she could maybe (maybe maybe) get some experience, you know, interacting with fat people instead of just observing them from a distance, anthropology style. Unfortunately, I forgot to make a comment saying I was letting her in so you could go to town — I apologize for that.

  79. What TropicalChrome said….”And to everyone, I find inordinate amounts of comfort reading your stories and realizing over and over that it wasn’t just me. Somehow knowing it’s not a special hell invented just for me makes so many things easier for me to make peace with.” Like everyone else has said too, this topic is very timely for me. I’ve been consistently gaining weight for over two years now, but I also had a big life change two years ago. I worry that I won’t stop gaining weight. I woke up yesterday morning, stretched, and listened to the horrible sound my knees made. I worry about mobility and traveling. Like many others, I’m getting to the end of the 26/28/30 plus size range (and my apologies to anyone who already struggles with this and gets upset with me complaining about my present privilege.) A few months ago, I tried to put on the skirt I intended to wear to work. It was incredibly too tight. And, I started to cry, because it was the biggest size skirt I had from when I was younger and at my heaviest. That meant that now I was heavier and, of course, disgusting fatty fat. Then, I realized, that was 10 freaking years ago. Christ, I should be lucky to still have that skirt, like it, and wear it for as long as I did. Of course my body would have changed within 10 years. And, as I learned here, I don’t fit clothes, clothes fit me. Everyday is a battle, but I’m giving it the best I can.

  80. Oh man. This is all SO TRUE! For me, I get to a point where I’m happy with how I look, but if that starts to change, I freak out. And coupled with all that are genuine health concerns, where I think, gee, if my weight has suddenly changed a lot and I don’t know why, shouldn’t I look into that? (I’m talking about big changes with no apparent reason, not like little changes with age, or big changes when you know it’s medication or hormonal changes or whatever….) But you know, if I suddenly lose a lot of weight and don’t know why, ya think I really worry about the health implications of that? No. Because I too buy into the notion that it’s a good thing if I lose. Oh well. At least I’m not the only one with these thoughts. :) Nice to know. Thanks for the great post!!!!!!!!

  81. RE: “Hey all, I let Margot’s comment through so a) you could kick it around some, virtually speaking, and b) so that she could maybe (maybe maybe) get some experience, you know, interacting with fat people instead of just observing them from a distance, anthropology style.”

    I have no idea if Margot is a good fiction writer. I doubt she’d be much of an anthropologist, since we practice two very important principles she seems to lack. 1) Participant observation: hanging out with and living the life of the people you’re interested in knowing about in order to learn through personal experience. 2) Relativism: evaluating and judging the lives of the people you study through their own value system rather than your own.

    She may be making a stab at 1) by commenting (and that would mean she’s having the experience of having smart writers point out her weak understanding. She doesn’t seem to be doing so well at 2).

  82. Good point, AnthroK8. I probably should have said David-Attenborough-style, except that I didn’t want to malign my favorite international treasure.

  83. Margot, way to totally miss the entire point of the blog. Pretty remarkable that you can read here for a year and still not, you know, absorb any information. Most of the writers of my acquaintance are a little better at that reading for comprehension thing. You may want to brush up. Please let me know your pen name so I can avoid picking up any of your books.

    As to M LeBlanc, thank you so much for the spot-on summary of the ongoing conversation in my head. Just this morning I was staring at the rings on my fingers and wondering if they felt tighter. Last week I threw out a pair of beloved pants that no longer fastened comfortably. It does seem that most of the non-dieters I know including myself creep a couple pounds north every year. For me, for the past ten years, it has been just about exactly that, with a notable dip down one year due to health issues, followed by the inevitable rebound bounce. Is it time to adjust “set point theory” to include this concept of annual creep? It appears to be a widespread (har) phenomenon.

  84. “Good point, AnthroK8. I probably should have said David-Attenborough-style, except that I didn’t want to malign my favorite international treasure.”

    Well she Margot could totally be doing it anthropology style (we do it in the field, you know, unless we are archaeologists, and then we do it in trenches). She just doesn’t seem to be very good at it.

    Which I suppose would be the same thing we could say about her attempts at trying to match the incomparable Attenborough. Not even close, not likely to win a cigar.

  85. Thank you for posting this. I have had the same thoughts recently, especially since 1) I started having babies and 2) my mother started menopause and went up a few sizes.

    I have thought to myself–I better “shape up” to prevent “future damage”. But the reality is aside from starvation and plastic surgery I and just going to look older and gain some weight. Even with having two kids I haven’t really gained–everything just rearranged in a new saggier way.

    LORI-For both my pregnancies I got weighed backwards or not at all (I love my midwife). Seeing my weight go up triggers dieting behaviors in me which are especially unhealthy when trying to grow another human. You are so right though–pregnancy was the first time I felt I was not in control of my body the way I thought I was.

  86. Excellent post!

    I think the fear of being any fatter than I am has actually had much more of a hold on me than the fantasy of being thin ever has or will have. Because even at 290 pounds I was still in a size 18/20 (because I’m so tall) and so could fit into clothes that I could actually go try on (and that I could afford), and could still fit into a single airline seat, still had the occasional appraising eye turned my way as if I were “acceptably” “sexy”, etc. I think it was the idea of having that relative amount of privilege vanish that scared the crap out of me.

    And let’s be frank, it *is* about privilege, because there’s privilege in being an in-betweenie or a smaller fatty–a little residual whiff of thin privilege where people tell you things like “you’re lucky to have that ass and that rack; it sucks being a size two beanpole” or “at least you’re not as fat as that whale/you’ve still got a waist/you’re still person-shaped” (which makes people fatter than me what, exactly?).

    I don’t mean to limit this just to in-betweenies, though. I think that, like the fantasy of being thin, this fear can take hold of you at any size. My size 6 sister, while she has no desire to be thinner than she is, runs for her life on the treadmill for hours every day for fear of what will happen when she doesn’t–she can’t afford to replace her wardrobe, she doesn’t want a repeat of the time she went up to a size 8 and her boyfriend started poking at her tummy and asking why she wasn’t exercising, and she doesn’t want to curtail her “restaurant orgies” (her phrase), which she thinks she will have to do if she gets bigger, since clearly only thin people are allowed to go out in public and eat food of whatever kind in whatever quantity they like (funnily enough, she doesn’t bat an eyelash when *I* eat whatever I want, but there’s magical fear thinking for you). And while I don’t have any anecdata to offer about the death fatz end of things, I imagine that kind of fear still absolutely exists. “I’m acceptable *now*, but what about ten pounds later? Or a hundred?”

    When I found FA it didn’t take me long to come to terms with my body but it took me a while to realize that I had such a great fear of having a worse body (relative to my current “bad”, if acceptably bad body?) and that this was, in some ways, standing in for true body acceptance–my body acceptance was actually incredibly fragile and just as conditional as my body hatred had been before.

    I’d dropped any notion of dieting, but had run right to the other extreme and started to become afraid of accidentally dieting. Basically I completely twisted every post and article on why diets don’t work around in my brain and took them to mean that, if dieting makes you fat, I should do the exact opposite. I kept thinking about the time I quit drinking sugary sodas (which I still think was a good health decision for me), lost twenty pounds, and then gained back thirty. I mean, what if I go with a salad because it’s what I want or I just forget to eat like I sometimes do and then I lose a little weight and gain it all back and then some? What if I *don’t* eat this cheesesteak or that brownie; will my body go into starvation mode and pack on more pounds? I’ve essentially been in anti-diet diet mode, where I’m just as obsessed with food as if I were trying to lose weight–and it is seriously getting in the way of practicing intuitive eating, not to mention of making “healthier” choices about food (which is something I want to do because I worry about all of the excess salt and the artery-hardening stuff I’ve preferred my whole life), since I keep thinking that, if I don’t want to get any fatter, I should keep eating exactly what kept me at a stable weight for five years. Even if that food in those quantities isn’t the right choice for me anymore.

    Recently I decided to do something about my PCOS and I’ve lost about 20 pounds (just from the medication) and kept it off for a few months, and it has basically just shown me exactly how arbitrary and irrational this thinking is. Because somehow, along with my set point for weight, I’ve also somehow reset my mental notion of “acceptably fat”. Well, I think to myself, 270 is fine, but you CANNOT GET ANY FATTER, because then you would be unacceptable and ugly and a giant loser! It usually takes me way too long to remember that three months ago I was not any less pretty or acceptable than I am now, and that I lived at that weight for a long time and was actually pretty okay with it, and that I’d probably be okay with it again, and okay with anything bigger than that, too.

    Which is a long-winded way of saying I’m still getting to where I want to go, I guess.

  87. @AnthroK8, excellent point. Also, there are codes of ethics for anthropologists, which require at minimum the informed consent of one’s informants, active consultation with them, and respect for their well-being.

    In any case, the brittle arrogance, petty cruelty and self-righteousness of Margot’s parting shot suggests to me that she has far more affinity to Mrs Grundy than to any anthropologist or biologist.

  88. Shorter Margot:

    Your fat your all fat lol your fat. I’m a REAL writer who’s not fat, so I’m obviously superior. I am a Summer’s Eve.

  89. Oh, I guess it’s a good thing I’m not a writer – Margot hasn’t been reading for a year, only weekly for an unknown amount of time. HW = reading comprehension fail, o well.

    Still, pfui. I want to know the names of books 1 and 2 so I don’t ever waste time reading them or, Dog forbid, buying one accidentally. C’mon, Margot, give. Think of it as free PR.

  90. “I don’t know what it’s like to carry an extra pound. I’ve never seen such distorted rationalizing and self deception. This is a treasure trove for imagining layers and layers of motive. Thank you for the deep dish!”

    Really? You’ve NEVER seen such distorted rationalizing and self deception? How about your own? You honestly think coming to a FA blog for a year and getting nothing out of it other than “distorted rationalizing and self deception WORKS FOR YOU as a writer???? Clearly your powers of observation, perception, and discernment need an overhaul. If you have actually been reading the posts and comments of smart, highly capable, and oftentimes hilarious posters here, then you would know that most of us have a firmer grasp of rationality and honesty than you could ever hope to obtain.

    You are spewing the same, tired, old trope that much of the world believes as gospel truth….all the while appearing glassy-eyed and wearing blinders. Way to go! You are average. From your miniscule perspective, I am sure your “novel” will regurgitate much of the same untruths and stereotypes written and spoken over and over again by others who choose not to look any further than their own experiences.

    Your fat character in your novel will most likely be:
    1. Full of self hate
    2. Constantly dieting
    3. Binge on cupcakes, donuts (baby ones for sure), ice cream or similar fare
    4. Rejected by *gasp* A MAN because she’s fat
    5. Teased/chastized/bullied/ridiculed/etc by someone close to her
    6. Single
    7. Read a lot, smart, or really good academically
    8. ad finitum fat stereotypes (of which I’m sure this list could be added to by other distorted rationalizers and self deluders in this forum)

    Your fine research should net you normalcy and averageness. Congratulations! As for me and my distorted rationality and self delusion….I’m sending you a rational and non-delusional FULL BIRD SALUTE~!

  91. I think you all aren’t givein Margot enough credit. Not only is she a Very Good Writer–she’s written two novels AND knows what “fastidious” means!–she’s also so careful about her diet and exercise that she can’t even fathom what it would be like to carry one “extra” pound.

    Certainly she deserves some sort of reward–cash, maybe? a ribbon?–rather than having her motives questioned. I mean, really, we should all be looking to her for advice, especially on this topic, because she will clearly, through her fastidious control of her food intake and activity level, keep her body exactly the same as it is her entire life.

  92. … keep her body exactly the same as it is her entire life.

    Or, perhaps she sleeps in ForeverWare.

  93. @Lori: I’d offer her a cookie, but she wouldn’t eat it. Probably wouldn’t even know what it was, except that she’d sense a vague menace along with a curiously seductive smell… ;-)

  94. @Margot:

    “I’ve never seen such distorted rationalizing and self deception.”

    What do you mean here? Because other commenters are reading it as saying you think that fat acceptance is distorted rationalizing and self deception, but when I first read your comment, I thought you meant that everything that is *not* FA is the distorted thinking. Like, this blog posts a lot of links to non-FA news items and then exposes the distortions (e.g. skewed statistics, blatant stereotypes, etc.) in those, so I thought you meant that this blog is showing you how to debunk *that* thinking.

    This sort of blog post on the process of FA shows that even people who support FA aren’t necessarily there yet, and so M. LeBlanc and others* are admitting to still having distorted thoughts about their bodies. This is the sort of thing that a fat character experience, but maybe “this fat but not fatter” is not a thought that you’ve ever really had as a thin person, so it’s giving you insight into other people. Maybe you think you might be able to use this insight to create a sympathetic and realistic fat character. Just because a writer can’t automatically know what someone of a different gender/race/etc. experiences doesn’t mean they aren’t talented–actually working to get it right and not falling back on common myths (and there are “sympathetic” stereotypes out there, too, though I don’t know what the fat equivalent of an Uncle Tom or “noble savage” is) can be really hard. I’d rather someone lurk around this blog and really look at the distorted thinking that is all too easy to fall back on.

    Margot, you say you diet and exercise and therefore aren’t fat, and this is rubbing people the wrong way. The general consensus here is that while there are several factors that can affect your setpoint, dieting doesn’t make a fat person permanently thin, so if you’ve never been fat, there’s a good chance it’s genetic. I can understand that saying something like, “I have no personal experience with this because I’m naturally thin” might sound to you to be more snobbish than “Well, I work hard, so that’s why I’m thin.” It’s like how girls in higher level math classes tend to claim they got there by “working hard” rather than “being smart” (whereas boys are more likely to attribute their success to their intelligence), because saying you’re a natural comes off as (more) rude (for a woman than a man).

    So, again, I don’t know what exactly you meant when you wrote your comment, so you might want to clarify.

    *I’ll echo other commenters in saying that this is a surprisingly timely post for me.

  95. Looking forward to your crappy third novel, Margot.

    M. LeBlanc, I hear ya. For me, the urge to diet is like a phantom limb. I lived with it for so long that at some level I’m afraid it will always be part of me. I just have to talk it down and remind it that it’s no longer of any use.

  96. I love this blog.

    I wanted to say something super smart and snarky to Margot the Classy Concern Troll, but you’ve all handled that extremely well.

    Again, I love this blog. That is all.

  97. I can identify with the experience of accepting yourself as a fat person, but still freaking out about gaining more. I weighed 190-200 pounds for the first 6 years of my adult life, except for a 10 pound up-then-down fluctuation due to a medical crisis. I can’t say I loved my body, but it was mine and I came to accept it. Then I went on SSRIs for work-related anxiety attacks, stayed on the meds for a year and a half, and gained 40 pounds. It was such a dramatic change that I’d look at photos or look in the mirror and I’d get really upset because “I don’t look like me”. I’ve started doing strength training since then and it’s been really helpful – it forces me to be present in my body and respect its strengths and its limitations, instead of fretting about how it’s different and scary, or not decorative enough.

    I’m another one of those people who, ironically, has lost some weight while practicing HAES, so I haven’t had to come to terms with a permanent higher weight. But now I think I could, if and when I need to. I find it comforting to know, in case of future weight gain, that when I was “morbidly obese” according to BMI (at my towering height of 5’2″), my body didn’t, you know, explode or anything.

  98. I’d like to give aspiring writers props when they do actual research, and if your planning on writing a character from a group you are not part of, damn skippy you should hang out with some of those people before you create a character who is a horrid stereotype rather than fully realized.

    However, I do not appreciate the tone of Margot’s comment, or the way she is making me (and possibly others) feel like monkeys at a zoo.


    I can’t really relate to the post itself, oddly enough. Lately I’m wrestling with “if I could just go down about 10-15 pounds” thoughts (I’m fairly sure my PCOS is out of control again, and it’s summer so I gain my “not lecturing” weight from being in front of the computer or a book all day every day, hence the bloated feeling).


  99. I’ve never commented before. This Margot character is interesting. I wonder about her motives though… She feels a little cold and detached, almost angry. Why would you comment like that unless you have some severe issues? Maybe she just wanted to stir up the community for some “research”, or maybe she’s just hoping someone will reach out to her.
    At any rate, it seems like she really needs a website to help her out with self acceptance. I hope she can find some help.

  100. I don’t believe that people are terrified of what they can control, only what they can’t.

    I think the fear and terror that many people face around their fatter future selves just shows how futile past efforts to lose weight have been for them.

    I know many friends who wouldn’t worry about extra weight, no matter how it was brought on, because they know that they have the ability to successfully lose weight if they want to through their own efforts.

    But I think many other people live with the reality that weight does not always reflect behavior and can’t be a proxy for goodness, purity or worth..

  101. I’ve never seen such distorted rationalizing and self deception.

    Yeah, dieting is really amazing that way, isn’t it?

    This is a treasure trove for imagining layers and layers of motive.

    I’m confused. This is obviously an artful use – one might say “mix” – of metaphor too advanced for non-novelists. Are there layers in a trove? I don’t so much picture troves of treasure having distinct layers. Or is it that the trove gives you treasures that are themselves layered? OMG A TREASURE TROVE OF LASAGNA, PUFF PASTRY, AND BIRTHDAY CAKE! OM NOM NOM.

    Thank you for the deep dish!

    Yeahno, that’s mine. *takes dish from Margot and helps self to the lasagna-cake-n-pastry treasure trove*

  102. I really have to wonder if Margot figured her comment wouldn’t get through, and so she was leaving her parting shot just for the bloggers, or something. It’s a weird[ly stupid] comment.

    I relate more to what one or two of the commenters have said here than the OP — that I have self-confidence issues and life-control anxiety when my body rears itself up and reminds me that I am not, actually, in control of what it does. I dislike those times.

    A Sarah, please let me do your taxes.

  103. Volcanista, sure thing! Your mind is a secret cache for imagining strata and strata of tax helpfulness. A veritable hidey-hole for considering tiers and tiers of internal-revenue-y goodness.

    And Lucy, you can share my lasagna anytime!

  104. Seconding everything said so far about Margot’s comment, and reminding her of this from the Creative Commons page for this blog:

    Noncommercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

    No Derivative Works — You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

    (Perhaps any legal brains in the house would like to elaborate on that. It looks to me like it precludes anyone taking material for a novel directly from this site, but I’m no expert.)

    Anyway. As another ‘peri’ (40) and a UK size 18 so not having suffered nearly the flak that fatter folks suffer, this is something that gets to me sometimes too.

    I had two dire warnings drummed into me when I was younger. One, that any fat I didn’t lose before the ‘change’ would then be impossible to lose – not that I’d ever lost any weight for any length of time before that. Two, that I’d consequently end up with crumbling hips like my fat aunt. Whose build I totally inherited, although I hope not her bones. She seems to have put on most of her weight in her twenties and thirties, but I don’t recall her getting any bigger in the years I knew her, during which she was, because of the hip thing, increasingly less mobile. Plus, there were other things in her life – the sheer stress of being an unpaid servant to six brothers and her ageing parents, plus some very sad personal stuff I won’t go into – that I think had a bigger effect on her health than anything.

    I think the major thing I worry about if I got any bigger is that so far I seem to have escaped the worst of the medical paranoia. But, I worry that were I, say, 50lb heavier, there are things about me that aren’t now seen as weight-related that my doctor might see in a different light. There are other hassles of being larger that I think to myself I could maybe deal with, but arguing with medical professionals isn’t one of them.

  105. I think I put myself across poorly–I don’t think a ‘good’ writer magically knows how to write people who are different from themselves–I realize that it takes a decent amount of research as well as empathy to do properly.

    However, Margot’s sniffy little comment led me to think she’s doing all this research on us fatties like we’re just So Indecipherable when we’re… people with lots of adipose tissue. Living as fat people in fat-hating cultures informs who we are, but that doesn’t make us delusional sub-humans, like she seems to consider us as.

    As a sidenote, I also find it funny she proclaimed that she’s a novelist! as if that gives her extra credibility. Novelist doesn’t mean she’s published, only that she writes novels–which is why I peg her as a wannabe trying to puff herself up to look important as well as give us fatties what for.

  106. Sheeeeit, I didn’t realise I was so unpleasant. I am *completely certain* I have “This fat and no fatter” about my (objectively slim) slightly wobbly bits. Yuck. Lol your privilege, or something. Thanks for the eyeopener. Ew. Well, now I can work on it.

  107. Preach it, everyone.

    Regina T, you were spot on here:

    Your fat character in your novel will most likely be:
    1. Full of self hate
    2. Constantly dieting
    3. Binge on cupcakes, donuts (baby ones for sure), ice cream or similar fare
    4. Rejected by *gasp* A MAN because she’s fat
    5. Teased/chastized/bullied/ridiculed/etc by someone close to her
    6. Single
    7. Read a lot, smart, or really good academically
    8. ad finitum fat stereotypes (of which I’m sure this list could be added to by other distorted rationalizers and self deluders in this forum)

    As a (published) novelist and an editor of (published) novelists, I can tell you that this book gets written and rejected constantly. Also, the “fat” heroine is usually something like 5’8″ and 170 pounds.

  108. I think that it’s a very real issue when there is that “reality” wall between “I accept myself at the size I am now and I’m healthy and it’s fine” and hitting the barrier where the rest of society comes barging in with restrictions out of your control.

    Rebecca – I totally hear you. I had a few years where the only local brick-and-mortar store I could buy ANY sort of bottoms at was Casual Male. (Specifically their drawstring-waist “active pants”.) Bras are still hit-and-miss.

  109. Wow. I’ve been there. Fifteen years ago, when I was new to fat acceptance and hanging out on the usenet group, I was in my early twenties, weighed 185 pounds or so, walked at least 2 miles a day, and worked out 3-5 times a week. And, I felt and looked and felt great.

    Back then, I felt exactly the way you describe in this post, and I felt guilty about it – but I couldn’t help it. I wanted to have the kind of fat body that could prove the assholes wrong, all the time. I could keep up with my thin friends doing pretty much anything and I wanted to keep it that way. I walked so fast that I’d pass everyone on the sidewalk on the way to work – and I loved being like that. I liked being the person who challenged everyone’s assumptions and made men question their “height/weight proportionate” standard. I’d tell people what I weighed – and that I was “obese,” and that I didn’t give a shit – at the drop of a hat; just loved to shock them. I have a competitive personality and a problem with authority. I didn’t think of myself as a “good fattie.” I thought of myself as a badass. What can I say?

    Now, I’m 40 and I just had to have a hip replacement*. I’m up to 220 pounds due to the lower mobility I’ve had in a past few years (and, probably, eating a richer diet than I used to), and 3 weeks post-op, I’m still walking with a fucking cane – and I hate it. But I don’t hate my body at the higher weight. Not at all. You don’t start over again when your body changes. It’s still yours.

    There are good and bad things about being a little heavier. I like where some of the new fat has gone to live (I’m pear shaped and getting up to a C+ cup = woohoo!) but I miss feeling light and bouncy. Of course, the light and bouncy feeling is more a matter of strength, and once I’m recovered, I could probably feel that way at my current size if I worked at it. Or, maybe I’ll get more active again and my weight will adjust downward. I really don’t care. I care about what I can do and how I feel. And, the mirror doesn’t shock. I still look a lot like I used to, and I still like the way I look.

    The only thing that would bother me now is if I started gaining weight for no apparent reason and there was no end in sight. That would be scary. I’d worry about having to deal with increased prejudice, about finding clothes, about impaired mobility… On the other hand, a shift to the top of my normal weight range (I weigh 5 pounds more than I did after putting on the “freshman 20”) isn’t such a big deal. Nothing to be too frightened of.

    *I feel like I should mention that the problem with my hip isn’t due to being fat and active (wouldn’t want to discourage that) but from being in a roll-out accident and ending up crushed under the chassis of a car 20 years ago; trauma induced osteoarthritis.

  110. Or, perhaps she sleeps in ForeverWare.

    Eucritta, I thought I was the only one who remembered that! Source of nightmares, ack.

  111. 66% of US adults are “overweight” or “obese”. Even after weeks of reading here Margot CANNOT IMAGINE what it is like to be 2/3 of American human beings.

    Class, Margot is a bad writer.

    Way to go! You are average.

    Ahahaha, Regina T, exactly. I am so using this from now on.

    Hi, Rose and mcm! Welcome.

  112. I guess what I keep thinking is it isn’t just weight. I’m getting to the age where I see new wrinkles daily, my hair isn’t the lush mane I was proud of once, my face looks different and even my voice has changed. It’s not easy! I keep thinking I have accepted myself, and then I change more.

    But lately, I find myself sort of excited to be on my way to the “crone” stage. I look at my beautiful teen nieces, and I’m excited that it’s their turn to shine. I don’t want to hold on too tightly to that part of my life where I was fresh faced and my tits were up to there when there’s a rich new stage of life out there for me.

    I look at my grandmother’s wedding photo and her youth, and then I see everything she was in old age. Not beautiful. Not thin. Not sexy. How sad it would be if that was all I could see. She was also compassionate, kind, nurturing, and helped me shine. I want to be like that.

  113. In case anyone actually reads this far down the page… I have a little bit of experience with a few of the concerns here.

    First of all, when I became pregnant with my son I weighed 197 lbs at 5’3″ I gained 40 pounds and lost all 40 within weeks. No secret. It just came off because I didn’t have time to worry about the weight while I was taking care of my son. I also was not nursing (which apparently helps burn tons of calories, but wasn’t possible at that time.) No tricks. Just happened when my back was turned.

    I then was the same 197 when I got pregnant with my daughter 2.5 years later. Guess what. I gained the same and it came off again. I didn’t diet. I didn’t do anything more than say, “No, I’m not going to eat an entire bag of chocolate.” It wasn’t a diet, it wasn’t a lifestyle, just eating.

    Every person is different, but what I’ve learned is that FOR ME, the more I worry about it and the more I think I should restrict myself is the bigger a problem I have.

    Secondly, my mom lost a lot of weight when she hit 50. She was naturally skinny most of her life until she battled depression and put on a lot of weight. Once she conquered emotional eating (mindlessly eating lots and lots of chocolate and chips because she was lonely or bored) the weight came off. Plus she started doing ballet. She doesn’t go to a gym or exercise other than ballet and line dancing (which are more for fun than anything). So although menopause CAN and DOES cause weight gain, it does not make anything IMPOSSIBLE. Maybe you put on 20 pounds but then continue with your lifestyle and it slowly comes off. Maybe not. But there are no guarantees one way or another.

  114. I think Margot is a troll, plain and simple. I don’t believe that she’s a novellist, or fastidious, or any of the rest of it. I think that comment was just a lame little construction intended as a dig at SP and fat acceptance.

    Also, I have just realized I am so deeply in denial that I simply can’t conceive of being fatter in the future than I am right now. In fact, i’m convinced that I will be (marginally) thinner.. not thinner enough to make my clothes not fit, but a bit thinner because I’m rediscovering yoga and through intuitive eating I’ve pretty much stopped eating junk food, and this isn’t my ‘real’ weight, anyway, my ‘real’ weight is actually about 20 lbs less than this, and I’ll be returning to it anytime now, I think.

    Oh such bullshit. No, I think i’ll be okay with whatever my future weight is, for the same reason that the OP mentioned.. self loathing is a lot of work! I just can’t picture right now what that would look like, though. My future is a blank canvas. lol.

    And, I just wanted to throw this in somewhere. My daughter works for a major chain of natural foods grocery stores. She went to a conference the other day; the founder of the chain had come to town and was giving a talk about food, health, nutrition…. according to my daughter, he is strongly pushing a raw foods diet.

    Anyway… as part of this conference, they had employees come up and be poked and prodded in order to determine their health. They measured my daughter’s BMI – how publicly, I do not know, but I do know that she agreed to it .. I mean, she wasn’t coerced into doing it. She is (naturally, I think and pray) very thin, and her BMI is 18. She was told that was good, because… and I quote… “we want everyone to be between 18 and 24”.

    um…. or WHAT?

    Or they can’t work there?

    Or they will be targeted for the company’s ‘get healthy’ campaign? Because, there is one. They plan to do a health makeover on the employees at each store who most need it. The store will donate food (raw) and supplements, and measure how much healthier the employee gets.

    You know, I almost prefer the old-style fatphobia (‘no fat chicks’) to the new-style fatphobia (‘you are unhealthy and making the wrong choices, let us help you’)

  115. “I’m sure that if I were given a picture of my current self five years ago (when I weighed about 30 lbs less), I would have been shocked and horrified.”

    This. In my head, all the time. But it’s 40 pounds.

    I am trying to focus on exercising to be healthy, but this voice is always the undercurrent.

  116. Omg, this post is so relevant and well put. Although I’m starting (in the middle of, maybe?) my FA journey and ceased with the dieting and weight loss groups (WW, Sparkpeople, etc…), I started exercising somewhat regularly as to not get fatter. I can accept myself at 213 lbs, but not 220 or greater. Is it wrong to not want to get bigger? Can I still be pro HAES and proFA but anti no fatter than this?

    “I’m sure that if I were given a picture of my current self five years ago (when I weighed about 30 lbs less), I would have been shocked and horrified.”

    I remember becoming very depressed when I reached 180 lbs, and thought that I would never break the 200 pound barrier so I should just chill. If my older self saw my current self, I think she would develop an eating disorder. (I had serious issues 15 years ago.)

  117. Sadly I think I still have far to go before I have to deal with the “This fat but no fatter” issue.
    I’m still stuck on the, “Fat acceptance: fine for other women but *gasp* not ME! I can still be skinny if I try harder this time! REALLY!” issue.

  118. It’s compounded by my gender identity (androgynous). I feel like I can’t present as the gender identity that fits me at this size–much less a higher size–because the fat makes my shape blatantly female. I don’t feel *right* being blatantly female.

    YES. THIS, exactly. I would love to have a chest small enough to be camouflaged in layers, or even just enough to go without a bra on occasion. Instead my Rack of Doom and hips like whoa announce a clear gender to all and sundry. There is a strong contradiction between my mental gender ID and the way my body presents itself.

  119. I guess I had to confront this very issue head-on when I developed Insulin Resistance. Not everybody who develops IR gains a large amount of weight, but it’s more likely a naturally overweight person will, and in the case of the 40+ pounds I gained, it simply will not come off for the most part.

    What really caused me to develop a complex about it was the fact that it was all on my middle-lower front torso (the medical term is “centripetal obesity”), and along with high triglycerides, this kind of weight-gain is a signature of IR. But is any regular reader here surprised to learn that despite the iron permanence of IR-related weight-gain, the advice of the medical establishment to overweight IR people is to lose weight? I’m not, and I know that if I were writing of my inability to lose weight because of IR in nearly any other forum, I would be effectively conjuring at least one or two tongues-speaking true-believers in the Church of Dieting (Praise Be to the Blessed and Holy Diet) out of the cyber-ether to preach their gospel.

    But learning how to accept myself in my new shape proved to be an important part of the spiritual journey of learning how to accept life as it presents itself to me. And that’s vastly more constructive than trying to hammer your life into conformity to a bunch of “shoulds” and “supposed-tas” that were handed to you by people who likely had no idea what they were talking about from the start.

  120. Yes yes yes yes yes.

    Good to know I’m not the only one struggling, on and on and on every damn day.

    Jessikanesis, ooooh yeah. There right with ya.

  121. Hey Sticky, I have the ‘roll on cronehood’ attitude too! Think I was born a crone anyway. :)

    And yes I struggle with the fat and no fatter thing too. I hate shopping for clothes and would rather keep wearing the same ones for years, especially when I find a favorite shirt or pair of jeans. I want to keep walking my dogs and riding my horse as much as my low energy levels let me. I want to be the one on the roof cleaning leaves out of the gutters and all those things I do now at my current size 22 (when I am not on the couch eating baby-flavored donuts, obviously). I want to fit in with everyone and not stick out for any reason. I just like to blend and above a certain weight that gets harder, no doubt about it.

    My endocrine system is totally shot, and I have just started on Growth hormone injections to add to the chemical combo I take every day, but am trying hard not to hope for a little weight loss, or at least some stabilisation, as a result of this. Last time I started a med that makes a lot of other people lose weight, I gained it so fast I could practically see it go on when I looked in the mirror. I went up two dress sizes in as many months.

    So, I live with the possibility of large weight loss or gain at any time and have no idea where my poor body might end up. It scares the crap out of me, to be frank.

    Thanks for this post. As usual it is helpful to know I am not alone in my FA journey, and to Margot the ‘novelist’ I wish for you a lovely illness that suddenly makes all your dieting and exercise completely useless in keeping your weight down, just like the one I’ve got, (not that I diet, or manage much exercise any more, either). It couldn’t happen to a smugger person, and just think what new perspectives you will gain for your writing.

  122. Insulin Resistance (a prediabetic condition) forced me to deal with this very issue. And I’m sure I ended up a better person for having to deal with it.

  123. @Elizabeth: I can’t gain any more weight, because I will not be able to find bras.

    I mentioned this in my comment, but I totally feel the same way. I’m already a J cup, and I have ONE bra I’ve found that fits well, which of course I still need to order online. Probably the biggest part of my “I can’t gain weight” feeling is that I don’t want to be in a situation where I literally cannot find a bra that fits me anywhere, and need to spend several hundred dollars getting bras custom-made or get breast reduction surgery that I don’t have any medical reason for (I have no back pain or other physical problems) and that would likely impair my ability to breastfeed future children.

    As much as I know that this is a problem not with me, but with the people making bras, it’s frustrating, and I do understand how people at the upper range of clothing sizes must feel.

  124. I really understand the ” This far and no further” thing.

    I’m a biggish lass but there’s definitely a size above which I am not comfortable, not happy with the way my body looks, feels. moves. I don’t own scales but I do own jeans and when they start to feel too tight or there’s too much muffin top that’s when I take action, not dieting ( it doesn’t work anyway) but looking at my food choices in terms of quality and trying to build more steps into my day, park a bit further away, take the stairs not the lift. That type of thing.

    I’m in that place now, another 48 year old with rampaging perimenopausal hormones and a changing body shape.

    I tell myself that it’s because I don’t want to buy new clothes. Truth is that I have a personal” So far, no further” point .

    I think I’m OK with that, but I’m really reassured that this discussion is going on here and I’d like to thank almost everyone for sharing their thoughts ( could have done without the so called novel writer but I’m full of admiration for the way she was dealt with)

  125. Regarding the question M. LeBlanc — what the hell can we do about it?
    From my wise vantage point of a 40 year old (no perimenopause yet) I think that what seems like inevitable weight gain has to do with the demands on women (and men, too) in their 30s. It’s really tough to do the whole mindful eating, regular exercising — stuff that is good for it’s own sake – while building careers and lives. Also, it’s hard to balance a HAES mindset with concern about weight gain and fatphobic doctors, so saying you want to ONLY prevent weight gain or investigate what caused a recent weight gain is not an easy thing to do — unless you have a provider who isn’t trying to turn fat people into thin people. Parenting, working full time, trying to build a life with another person or on your own, these all are focuses that can make it hard to not gain weight.

    To the question, what can we do about it, I think it’s reasonable to not think that weight is only in one direction — straight up. It can be up a bit, sideways a bit, down a bit, over here and there and our job is to keep moving our bodies (if that interests us) and keep feeding ourselves in the best way we can (if that interests us) and notice when things grow out of balance. And if there are wonky things our bodies are dealing with, whether in the mental or physical or emotional or spiritual health realms, making sure to get the extra good care (self care and the kind provided by others) we can. It’s hard to do. I don’t know how much weight gain is preventable — that’s really going to vary for each person — but the sooner we make peace with ourselves, the easier it will be to accept the changes that come, in whatever direction they take us.

  126. Oh, and I realize that the ability to take care of ourselves and get help from others is complicated and mediated by constructions of race, class, gender, queerness, culture and much more.

  127. bleargh. It’s hard, yes!

    While never a True Fat Girl, I did lose thirty pounds after the birth of my third child, mostly just because of hormonal changes.

    The positive reinforcement from family and friends was surprisingly gratifying. I did not think I was that susceptible to living for other people’s fleeting approval.

    Oddly, I felt happier with my appearance at 175 than I did at 148. 175 was a Motherly Figure on me, while 148 put me tantalizingly close to Hot Chick territory again (but not quite! because *that*, as you know, is an ever-moving target, a mirage in the desert. lol.)

    Now pregnant with #4, find myself a little disconcerted by watching the numbers climb back up the scale… 15 weeks down, four pounds gained… where will it end?

    Suddenly my mother-in-law’s random comments about other women’s weight seem personal. I can’t see her digs on her late brother’s ex-wife’s weight as being about MIL’s bottled-up hostility about a decades-old family drama.

    I hear her talking about ME. “She used to be so slender and so attractive… George really took care of himself, but she just kind of let herself go.”

    As if George’s glamorously workaholic tendencies had NOTHING to do with the divorce, but Carol’s fat housewifey ass broke the family’s collective heart all by itself.

    Blah. While it’s true in a way to say “it’s not about me,” it’s also a warning shot issued from one woman to another: “Don’t fuck up! Everyone will blame YOU.”

    Crazy shit. Crazy!!

  128. … I wish for you a lovely illness that suddenly makes all your dieting and exercise completely useless ….

    One of my consolations, as someone with significant impairments due to arthritis, is that most people as they age will likely experience at least some modicum of what I do now.

    Now and then when asshats in real life get on my case about my weight or how my debilities inconvenience them, I tell them this, and I tell them – some time in the future when you’ve gained weight and none of your good clothes fit and your joints ache and you’re too tired and sore and discouraged to do what you love or what you must … remember this day. Remember what you’ve said.

    Funny thing, they usually look at me like I’ve cursed them. Which in a sense I suppose I have.

  129. While it’s true in a way to say “it’s not about me,” it’s also a warning shot issued from one woman to another: “Don’t fuck up! Everyone will blame YOU.”


  130. I’m another person approaching this from the other end: the only times I’ve felt out of control are when I’ve lost weight: so I have experience of “this thin and no thinner”, only to get thinner, whereas when I’ve gained weight it’s always made sense in terms of my behaviour. (And I can add another voice to the chorus: when you’re stressed out, short of money, getting divorced, your skin is like a T.Rex’s and your hair’s like hay and your boobs are hanging off a bony gorge, the last thing you want to hear is “oh you look so *well*! you’ve lost *weight*!”) The post really made me think how I might feel were I to gain weight for no known reason, or a reason beyond my control, and I was surprised to find that I wasn’t ok with it. So thanks for pushing my envelope.

  131. to Margot the ‘novelist’ I wish for you a lovely illness that suddenly makes all your dieting and exercise completely useless in keeping your weight down

    I have frequently made that wish for a long list of doctors and real-life concern trolls. Margot and ilk, don’t tell me how fastidious you are until you’ve cleaned up your mind a bit.

  132. The thought that my current weight was okay, but nothing higher, and the fear of failing at that and instead increasing, was what pushed me to continue to lose weight throughout the worst period – and even often now – of my bout with anorexia. That kind of thinking landed me in the hospital and months of treatment, and it just goes to show how disordered and unfair we are to ourselves when we think this way. I may be at the opposite end of many of the readers here, but for none of us do the weight rules or lack of self-acceptance make any more sense. Pshaw, body hate, you suck ass.

  133. Eucritta, it does feel like a curse when you say that to someone, doesn’t it? I actually try to avoid it because I feel like I am edging perilously close to the three fold law we pagans speak of, where anything you send out comes back threefold. Sometimes I just can’t help it, though.

    I had a nice doc I am working with tell the other day that I was unlucky to be dealing with these sorts of things so young in life. The implication being that most everybody has to deal with them sooner or later. My mum, who has enjoyed rude health all her life, tries so hard to understand but can’t really, but I have noticed how much she and those active oldies like her resent any change in their health. It is like, the longer you have it the harder it is to let go of it and learn new ways of being.

    Well, I guess it works for fat too. The longer you have your tiny ass, the harder it will be to let go of that too. Aren’t we lucky getting to learn these lessons so early in life? :P

  134. Even though others have more or less said this with far more skill than I could, I just want to say that this Margot sounds like a not especially bright and rather insecure person who very likely gets far too much of her sense of self-worth from her sense of being attractive to men. I have dabbled in fiction-writing, and I don’t think Margot would even make an intersting character in a story because shallow, ignorant people who are totally full of themselves are a dime a dozen.

    And I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to find out that her first two novels, assuming she really is a writer at all, were vanity published.

  135. It’s amazing how much this post hits home for so many of us. It certainly does for me.

    I’m not fat. I’m at the very high end of the ‘normal’ bmi for my height (for what that’s worth)and I feel like I flipflop back and forth every day on feeling confident and okay, or feeling like I need to just try hard to lose 10 lbs. And I 100% know that I’m going to be fat when I’m older because every single woman on both sides of my family is fat, and started getting that way around their mid 30s. (I’m 26.)

    It’s a constant nagging in the back of my head. When I exercise, I do it to feel strong and relieve stress, but running down the street I will almost always have a thought like, ‘I could lose weight if I just pushed myself harder’, ‘I could get thinner if I just skipped dessert all week’, etc…

    I admire fat on other women, and think that really curvaceous hips and boobs are awesome and beautiful, but I worry that if I get fat, I’ll be the ‘wrong shape’ of fat and hate it.

    It’s something that I consciously fight against. I’m always reminding myself that my size WILL change throughout my life, and that it’s fine. I can’t control it without making myself a living breathing diet machine and I’m not willing to do that.

    I just think it’s horrible how this idea of “I’m okay now, but NO FATTER!” is so pervasive among everyone. It’s also good to know I’m not the only one struggling with it.

  136. I don’t know if anyone is still reading this, but…. so. much. yes. I’ve been struggling with this ever since I started FA.

    I was ok when IE got me back up to my pre-dieting weight. I was even okay when it got me to my previous highest weight. Now I’m 20 pounds above that – about 60 pounds gained overall, in about 18 months. I’m skirting 250, some days above and some days under. That also happens to be more or less the cutoff of death-fat for someone my height. And it scares me a lot, because I’ve pretty much been gaining steadily despite having an active job and slowly adding more fruits and veggies. I don’t know of any relatives my size (though my mom’s side I don’t have contact with). I catch myself worrying that I’m just going to keep slowly expanding like a balloon. What if my set point’s 275? 300? Rationally I know that’s not the end of the world, but that doesn’t stop the fear.

  137. Hi Gretchen, I’m still reading and I hear you! Just keep in mind that the death fatz is not in fact death fatz. You can drop dead at any weight. If you are eating your vegies and being active in your job, you have as much chance as anyone else, in fact if Junk food Science is right, the only thing that can make you more likely to drop dead sooner than you should is smoking.

    If you do think you are gaining too much for no reason, then it never hurts to get some blood tests, since either gaining or losing a lot of weight can be indicative of something medical.

  138. Haha Keechypeachy, you’re right, but when you said “the only thing that can make you more likely to drop dead sooner than you should is smoking,” I immediately started coming up with other high-risk behaviors that might increase your chance of premature death. I was like, “well, I mean, you could eat some uraninite.”

  139. Oh YES, THIS!

    I’ve put on a bunch of weight in the last few years. Between a thyroid problem and a physical disability, my weight has changed significantly.

    Each time my weight goes up, it takes me a little while to adjust and accept my body again. And I think, I’d like to lose a little weight, but I can be okay at this size. But oh, I don’t want to get any bigger. Oh no, never want to get bigger.

    I know that so far, I adjust after a couple of weeks, but there’s always this horror that I’ll get bigger.


  140. I am filled with sadness at the pain underlying so many of the comments above. It is a sobering reminder that fat acceptance is a difficult journey in the culture of thin.

    I am not saying I never have a “no fatter than this” moment, because I do. However, most of the time, I have found that loving my body is only tangentially about how it looks and not at ALL about what it weighs. Accordingly, my weight/size can change, but the love does not. If you love a child unconditionally … does your love for that child change if s/he gets fatter or thinner? Of course not. That is the meaning of UNCONDITIONAL.

    So, what does it mean to unconditionally love my body? It is about focusing on how it feels from the inside (like HOME). It is about how it feels when I do lovely things with it like taking showers, eating strawberries, sleeping, walking, swimming, stretching, having sex, wearing silk, drinking ice water on a hot day, etc…. I am so grateful I have a body that can experience all those things. Loving my body is about the privilege of touching other people and being touched, and about the joy of moving, even tiny movements like breathing. Loving my body is about loving the “there” of me, this is me, this is the space I occupy. I love that I get to do that, that I have a place on this planet that is me. Loving my body is for me a spiritual practice; it takes time and effort to cultivate but it is profoundly worth it.


    P.S. As a side matter, I am not sure I have ever read so many comments about people’s weight since I left Weight Watchers all those years ago… Frankly, it was a little triggering and I gave up weighing years ago, so I can only imagine how triggering it might be for those who are still thinking of the numbers as important. I can’t overstate the importance of ditching the scale in my own journey.

  141. This is so late and probably nobody is following this anymore, but it made me feel so good that I wanted to sing.

    I’ve had a horrible body image practically my whole life. I never, ever would have believed that I could look in the mirror at my body and experience anything but disgust. I did not believe older women who told me that when I was their age it simply wouldn’t matter as much. Mama, auntie, granny, friend’s aunties, I admit it. You were right.

    I thought they were just old. They had no idea what it was like these days. They didn’t have the clothes we had. They had just given up. Their best days were behind them, that’s why they didn’t care. They were married and settled (at the time) they weren’t worried about attracting men anymore.

    LOLOL Poor, young, silly me. And I say this now at 40 knowing that even if a younger female hears what I have to say, she probably won’t really believe me either.

    Not only does it not matter so much, I love me so much now. I flapped my bingo-wings today and laughed myself silly over it wondering why I had hated and feared them for so long. These days I feel younger (spiritually) and more free than I ever have. And this should never be a consideration about how you feel about yourself, but I’ll say it anyway. Men ADORE me.

    I still have moments of fat panic once every couple of months, but considering the lifetime of conditioning I have had to endure I think I’m doing amazingly well.

    You won’t believe me, but keep loving yourself no matter what and it will come. It’s the feeling I was chasing all those years that I tried to fit into someone else’s body. The feeling that I am comfortable in this body and that this is where I belong.

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