Exercise, Fat, Media, Sweet Machine

Breaking news: Fat people are not permanently attached to couches

Remember Kate Dailey’s extensive coverage of fat issues last week (aka the Newsweek fatsplosion), and her call for photos of fat people engaged in healthful activities? Well, the first round of pics are up in the Newsweek gallery, aptly titled Happy, Healthy, and Heavy. The introduction says, among other things:

Are all fat people athletic? No. But neither are all skinny people. The point is, weight doesn’t preclude the ability to put one’s body to work in fun and challenging ways.

The photos are terrific (I especially love the underwater one), and the people quoted are fat-positive (there’s even an acknowledgment of disability issues). There is a bit of thin-shaming and good fatty/bad fatty talk that mars an otherwise fabulously body-positive presentation.

Dailey tells us that the photos are still pouring in and that the gallery will be updated to include more in the future. Meanwhile, check it out — and thanks for helping to bust stereotypes, Kate Dailey.

158 thoughts on “Breaking news: Fat people are not permanently attached to couches”

  1. Kate Daily was on the Today show this morning about Fat Acceptance and sounded great. Matt Lauer was kind of a jerk and joked that she would not be appearing on the show again. And I was kind of disgusted with the poll they had for the story on their website. They either entirely missed the point or are trying to create controversy.

    I thought the implication was the fat people don’t diet and therefore don’t watch what we eat. I guess we all just polish off entire pizzas and pies.

    But maybe that is just me. I equate watching what I eat with eating healthy, not dieting.

  2. Yeah, there are a few problems, but that photo gallery is just freaking inspiring! I trained for a half-marathon last year until I developed a very painful SI joint injury (like, sneezing made my eyes well up painful) due to overtraining. At my peak, I was running 27 miles a week with long runs of 8+ miles. I remained a steady 138-140 lbs (at 4’11”, that makes me overweight) the whole six months I was accumulating miles. In other words, not a pound of difference between when I was averaging 25 miles a week and when I was doing, like, 8 miles a week (during a good week).

    I do NOT, however, believe that I needed to maintain that regimen to “prove” that I’m a “good” overweight person. For one thing, I was injured so badly on that that I couldn’t work out AT ALL for two months. I did actually gain weight then, mostly due to being depressed, frustrated, and sedentary. Now, I alternate between running and elliptical, because I enjoy the exertion but like being able to, you know, actually function on a day to day basis. Also, I can read novels on the elliptical (and sometimes go several minutes over just so I can finish a chapter).

  3. I bet it will do a lot to help people aware of how fat “obese” is too. There are a lot of people who just don’t know what a BMI of 30 looks like.

    That horse is beautiful (pic two or three I’d guess; and I didn’t like the skinny-shaming for that pic) and I love all the scenery photos. Plus the cute one of Mom and two kids biking.

    Oh dear, I like them all! Want more!

  4. Perfect? No. Inspiring and a step in the right direction? You bet.

    I’m with the other posters that I hope it will open eyes to what BMI overweight/obese really looks like – not what most people THINK it looks like.

  5. This is so inspiring it almost made me tear up. In the defense of the equestrian, she seems to be criticizing skinny women who unnaturally keep themselves that way for the wrong reasons, not all skinny women. A lot of the other comments were so FA-perfect I couldn’t believe it was a mainstream publication.

    In clicking around Newsweek, I found what appears to be a “rebuttal” from a few doctors about how obesity should not be accepted, because it’s been correlated with numerous diseases. How can a rebuttal to a series of pieces about how you actually CAN be fat and healthy, and fat shame is damaging to people’s health, simply say “Actually, fat IS correlated with disease?” How is this a dialogue? Fly in the ointment but overall they’re doing great work over there.

  6. OMG – the underwater one is me! I submitted on a whim, never thought I’d hear anything back. This has totally made my day. :)

  7. A few weeks ago, MSNBC had a segment on about…something having to do with fat vs. thin. I heard about it from my best friend. Anyway, they had Linda Bacon on and she was more or less not allowed to speak and when she was, everyone else in the segment talked about how wrong she was. It was frustrating and disappointing.

    I am heading over to the gallery now!

  8. Yeah, I think it’s true that many people don’t realize what “obese” looks like. I’m right on the border between overweight and obese and have taken to just using myself as an example when talking to friends about health an weight.

  9. I watched the Today show segment as well, and it was pretty painful. They tried to pull a “gotcha!” moment on Kate Dailey when she said something along the lines of, FA is not saying everyone should be sedentary, but maybe a healthy activity level for a person who is 235lbs will only lead to 10-12lbs of weight loss. They deliberately missed her point, which I think is basically the same point FA would make, only without the culturally mandated kowtow to weight loss, as in: “a healthy activity level for a person who is 235lbs may not lead to an ounce of weight loss.”

  10. OMG! I didn’t think they’d post my photo (I’m the one pulling the train of kids on my bike). There’s my obese butt on a bike! I feel kind of honored to be in such good company. I see a place for commenting, but I don’t see any comments…what am I not getting?

  11. Kris, you have the cutest commute ever!

    Has anyone tried to comment? Dailey said she’d close them the second they got nasty, so it may just be that they’ve actually been taken down but that the comments box is still up. Or maybe nobody’s commented yet?

  12. And what I meant to say in my little Woot post above was that the underwater diving photo is a friend of mine (who I used to work with), so I’ve already seen that photo and many others she and her husband take on their dives.

  13. Do you suppose the comments got bad that fast? Mmm, yeah, who am I kidding. I didn’t want to be the first one to comment on my own picture, though I suppose I could try it in disguise. Going to go comment as mustachioed_krismcn!

  14. Anastasia, you inspire me! I’ve always thought I was “too big” to go scuba diving, even though I’ve been fascinated by sharks and other elasmobranch family members. I’m going to have to rethink these arbitrary limits I seem to have put on my life in this body. Thank you for being brave and showing the internets what’s up!

  15. congrats Anastastia Laity! You look GREAT :)

    I submitted a picture of myself on a camping trip- but I’m eating a soydog in the photo. I hope they still use it, regardless of the “omgz fatty can’t stop eating!” stereotype…

  16. Thanks, FJ! I’m blushing! I haven’t heard the word “cutest” to describe anything about me in… forever, really. One of the side effects of being TALL and LARGE.

  17. I agree about the issues you pointed out, but wow that slideshow was inspiring to me! Exercise is very tied up in my brain with shame and self-punishment. Even though I am relatively thin, I am self-conscious of my soft, untoned body and relative lack of athletic ability. (Bad flashbacks to middle school gym class…) I love that this slideshow busts some people’s stereotypes about fat people, but I also love that it shows people without perfect “athlete bodies” (whatever that means) enjoying physical activity.

  18. I’m number one! No really, I’m pic number one! (How often do you get to say that for reals?)

    Those pics really are inspiring – and I think a great “mainstream” version of the BMI project that is likely to get exposure to a lot of people out on the internet not specifically seeking out Fat Acceptance sites.

  19. LOVE LOVE LOVE the horseback riding photo. As someone who has grown up around horses (and competed extensively), I know that riding is a sport with A LOT of body image issues. You hear quite a bit about ballet and gymnastics as big self-esteem killers, but riding is a sport that comes with a great deal of pressure to be thin as well.

  20. Thanks SM. It wasn’t perfect, but pretty damn close! Congrats on everyone who submitted. This brought tears to my eyes for some reason. I’m going to send this to a few people I know. I can’t wait to see more of these!

  21. I went into panic mode when I saw picture number one. I appreciate the idea of helping people realize what BMI overweight and obese looks like, but showing people of the size of most of the women in the pictures doesn’t really help with acceptance of people who are my size. Even if they realize that BMI is bunk, I think people would say that in that case they’re only talking about people who are /really/ fat, so just the women in picture number eight. The woman in picture number one is even smaller than plus size models. I don’t even think of myself as very fat (5’6″ and 230lbs, size 18 pants) but I have a double chin and a gut and a lot of these women just don’t. I know it’s important for BMI-fat people to have body acceptance just like it is for thin women, but I’m having flashbacks to being the fattest girl in my class and to girls sitting next to me and pinching their belly fat. Is Shapely Prose, too, composed mostly of women who are so thin? “Seeing what overweight and obese in the BMI category really looks like” just sounds to me like “show them that we’re not really fat,” and honestly I agree. And what’s more, it reminds me of the recent events at We are the REAL deal, when as someone said, it seemed to be body acceptance of the kind “isn’t it horrible when women who are actually pretty (for here, women who aren’t very fat) are taught to hate their bodies?” I’m not inspired at all, I’m just freaking out.

  22. returnofconky – I don’t suppose you live in Southern California, do you? I would love to get you into diving! I also put it off for YEARS “until I got thin,” but finally decided not to let it stop me. Knowing I’m good at something physical (even while fat!) has really helped prop up my self-esteem over the years.

    Yay for Kate Dailey – I’ve been so pleased by her work on this topic!

  23. Visibility is so important. I wish I had a photo to submit. Three cheers for those of you who sent one in — thank you!

  24. We should all make an effort to link this everywhere possible, and make sure people click. The more page hits on this story, the better – it’ll encourage the editors to pursue this line of reporting.

    *cheers all the happy pictured Shapelings*


  25. Is Shapely Prose, too, composed mostly of women who are so thin? “Seeing what overweight and obese in the BMI category really looks like” just sounds to me like “show them that we’re not really fat,” and honestly I agree.

    Quixotess, have you read these posts? Because we’ve definitely talked about these issues before. Which is not to say that we shouldn’t have the conversation again, but you seem to think we’ve been conning you, which we haven’t.

  26. @ Cheryl Trooskin-Zoller

    “Wow. Neat collection. I hope that when they “include more in the future” they manage to include some people of color.”

    I’m a person of color! I’m mixed race. I would also venture a guess and say that Lauren in pic 7 and Dee in pic 11 could be as well.

  27. I don’t even think of myself as very fat (5′6″ and 230lbs, size 18 pants) but I have a double chin and a gut and a lot of these women just don’t.

    This woman is almost exactly your same measurements; does she look more like you? I am not trying to argue you out of your surprise/freakout/anger — I just want to point out that one of the things that this gallery does (as the BMI project does) is demonstrate that weight (and height) don’t actually tell us much about what a body is going to look like or be capable of. I think that’s a positive thing for people of all sizes, though of course you are absolutely right that fatphobic people will still attempt to say “Okay, but those aren’t the headless fatties on TV.” That’s true. And every person of every size deserves respect, dignity, and equal rights. Here at SP we tend to think it’s also useful to point out how overblown the rhetoric about obesity is in order to deflate the very panic that makes people so fearful and angry about fat in the first place.

  28. Hey Quixotess – I (pic number one girl) totally didn’t come at this with an angle of “I’m not really fat, see!” And to be fair, I do wear anywhere from a size 10 to a 14 (mostly closer to 14) – which is exactly where a lot of “plus sized” models fall. I also am often caught in photos with double chins. I also dealt with a good deal of ridiculing for my size growing up, both behind my back and to my face. But really, this isn’t a competition. I know that my experience isn’t the same one that a larger woman has faced, although there many be many common threads. I thought the gallery had a good mix of people from both the overweight/obese that people don’t usually picture when they think of “fat people”, to women of much larger size that were still represented as active, fit people. And I think all of those images are needed in the media right now, not one any more than the other.

  29. Anastasia, I live in Oregon actually – grew up on a tiny coastal town known for a singularly awesome 80’s movie with actors who later played hobbits and presidents.

    If you have any cool diving links, I’d be excited to check them out! Just knowing that there’s people my size out there doing this kind of stuff makes me more inclined to give it a shot. I don’t make it to SoCal very often, but one of my coworkers is moving back down there soon, so that could change!

  30. Today after the gym, a friend of mine dragged me to a Power Jump class. I was basically beaten to a pulp and gasping for breath the entire time while the very fat lady next to me breezed through it like it was grocery shopping. Fit indeed. Still the class was a lot of fun and the trainer was great. I’ll go back next week.

  31. Why, oh why won’t I learn to stay out of comment threads? I’m ready to set fire to a stack of newsweeks and, having followed Kate on jezebel, I’m looking for the virtual matches also. Sheesh. What is it about hate that people loved so much.

  32. It’s nice (and by “nice” I mean “ridiculous”) that on the day they post the Fat and Fit photo series this oped has also showed up. I mean, it’s wrong in all the usual places for all the usual reasons, but the contrast is just so striking.

    It’s like they ran out of peanut butter and had an irony and jelly sandwich for lunch.

  33. My favorite pic was the yoga one. I’m glad Newsweek showed those three ladies, because their bodies are the ones that are the most reviled and we need more pictures of much larger fat people like myself, out there doing what everyone is doing, not just headless dehumanized bodies used to illustrate the “obesity epidemic.”


  34. Oh jeez, I know you haven’t conned me. That would be a paranoid thing to say, and as I do not have paranoia, if what I said sounded like I thought that, I need to take a time-out until I can be reasonable.

  35. LO – freaking – L! Get a load of this portion of someone’s comment on the op-ed piece exhorting us to fight obesity on all fronts:

    “Unless and until foods, food production and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries have strict rules imposed upon them and strict enforcement of those rules, Americans, will continue to suffer unnecessary and preventable sickness and death.”

    Say it with me:

    Death. Is. Not. Preventable.

    Hilarity on the intarwebz!

  36. The Newsweek photostream pleases me, particularly the yoga photo because that’s what I look like. To see bodies like mine where the heads remain attached? Wondrous.

    Kate, your Jezebel post was kickass, but what made it extra-fantastic in that “I’m looking for the sharp corner of the coffee table so I can throw myself upon it” way was how the comments (save the odd sane ones) turned into fucking diet talk. I mean, perhaps I’m exaggerating because I was biting my fist so hard in rage, but…mercy, mercy me. A perfect example of how fucking hard we cling to the FoBT.

  37. Jane, that’s exactly what I was thinking. And that whole discussion about dieting to help control PCOS is totally off base. I’m fortunate to have a doctor that isn’t fat-phobic (finally!) and when I brought this up, he basically said to me, well it’s not a good idea to binge on sugar every day, obviously, but no, restricting the foods you eat will not get rid of PCOS.

    Which, duh, because I have had this issue since I was a skinny teenager. It went undiagnosed for many years and then finally when the diagnosis came it was like this huge weight lifted. I couldn’t fix it but it was good to know. Still, because at that point in my life everything centered around my fat and how everything wrong with me was because I was fat and gross, I blamed myself and practically starved myself trying to get hormones under control. Shockingly, it didn’t work. PCOS has nothing to do with weight.

  38. Kate Harding, on September 10th, 2009 at 11:50 pm Said:
    It’s nice (and by “nice” I mean “ridiculous”) that on the day they post the Fat and Fit photo series this oped has also showed up.
    Oh, I had a little something to say about that. (And Kate Dailey said she’ll blog about my response tomorrow.)

    I just went to the Jezebel post (amazing!) and tried to do some history of medicine related reasoning… I’m very tired so I hope it makes sense. (If it turned pink does that mean it’s in moderation?)

  39. I had feared that this would be a gallery of Super Fatties, and I’m happy to be wrong. I especially like that it includes folks who are ordinarily active, rather than just trained athletes.

    And oh, the comments over at Jezebel are giving me heartburn, in more than one sense.

  40. I hope it’s ok if I piggyback on this thread that Ask Amy in the Chicago Tribune today has a letter from a girl whose boyfriend is her food police. Amy responds with, “It’s obnoxious to announce a verdict on what (and whether) others choose to eat.” I love her response–it’s so pro-normal eating!

  41. I love, love, love the fat yoga picture.

    Quixotess, I had a similar reaction to the first picture (with all due respect to Emily S – it’s a lovely picture and I think it’s a valuable one, I was just worried they would all be women who aren’t particularly fat). But maybe try watching it again once your panic has subsided? Starting at the end maybe? Because I think it does have a pretty good range of sizes… including women with double chins and guts.

  42. @Quixotess – I’m just about the same size as Emily S., and while you’re right, I don’t think most people would look at me and see “omg fatz,” it still does a number on my head sometimes to try to figure out why I should like myself or my body when I’m (nearly – depends on the day) obese and there’s clearly something wrong with me. I think people in all categories of “overweight” and “obese” need to get some perspective on what we really look like because we’re usually our own worst critics (to be a bit unoriginal).

  43. And that whole discussion about dieting to help control PCOS is totally off base

    Ugh. That makes me nuts. I’ve been told that so many things “would clear up the symptoms just like that.” Dieting was supposed to fix everything, but made my symptoms worse. Ditto birth control pills, progesterone, metformin, surgery, accutane, byetta, and synthroid. And every doctor has acted like I’m defective because none of this shit has worked.

  44. Thanks so much for these links– I used them to start the conversation about FA and HAES with some of my friends. And I got great responses!

  45. Re the sanity reducing comments syndrome: I basically think that all schools everywhere should run intensive workshops on the concept of multifactorial causation and that correlation doesn’t equal causation. Possibly adults should have to attend ‘maintenance’ workshops where these concepts are explored yearly, to remind us all that complicated things can’t be made simple just because it’s more faux-convenient! Essentially, with every single comment thread which drives me crazy (SP is almost the only site where they don’t!), no matter what the subject, the oversimplification of a phenomenon with multiple factors at work is at the base of much of the tripe spouted. Rargh.

  46. Sniper, on September 11th, 2009 at 1:21 am Said:
    And that whole discussion about dieting to help control PCOS is totally off base
    Ugh. That makes me nuts. I’ve been told that so many things “would clear up the symptoms just like that.” Dieting was supposed to fix everything, but made my symptoms worse. Ditto birth control pills, progesterone, metformin, surgery, accutane, byetta, and synthroid. And every doctor has acted like I’m defective because none of this shit has worked.

    I have a friend who is becoming a nutritionist, intends to ‘crusade against obesity’, has been diagnosed with PCOS, and thinks dieting is the answer to all her prayers. She also blames herself for getting it because she’s inbetweeny-fat. :-( Despite the fact you’d have thought this would have been the kind of thing on the syllabus (that it’s not so simple) — or maybe it is and the other messages are just so strong they overpower it — she really seems to believe that if only she can get her dieting ‘right’ all else will be fine. I kind of slightly suspect it’s a lot to do with her motivation for becoming a nutritionist, in order to help her ‘be better at eating’. I could see the sense in eating certain things or excluding certain things maybe helping in some (but not all) cases, but I really can’t understand how what should perhaps just be translated as ‘it might be worth cutting X down (or increasing Y) for a while to see if it helps, but it doesn’t for all’ in the end gets translated as ‘go on a diet to deprive yourself of nutrients and you will magically get better’. :-(

  47. … Which reminds me that my very frail, tiny and skinny Grannie tried out an ‘eating for arthritis’ scheme which was supposed to help with her rheumatoid . She did, to be fair, seem to think eating less acidic stuff helped her a bit, but she lost so much weight (and kind of became ‘orthorexic’) it was terrifying. Not to mention not good for her bones and stuff… so oh great, despite a whole life of eating really positively and ‘normally’ for want of a better word, it’s still possible to be shamed into dieting/and ED in your 70’s. Fucking hell.

  48. Oh my frakking gods. I just read all the comments on the original article. It pains me that people that stupid and ignorant are able to string together English sentences so well.

    Quoth the commenter: “People who eat healthy food, even with occasional feasting on burgers and pizza, and that work out regularly, are never much overweight. They do so through out their entire lives.”

    I was once, before the age of 25, able to get down to a size six by never letting a single unhealthy thing past my lips, exercising, and staying hungry pretty much all the time. When I started eating enough healthy foods (veggies, beans, tofu, fruit a couple of times a week, etc.) to not be hungry all the time, I very quickly got up to a medically-overweight size 10 and maintained that for years with that diet.

    When I started eating veggie pizza and non-deep-fried take out Chinese once a month each, plus the occasional piece of bread or cookie, I went from barely overweight to almost obese inside of four months.

    These people are crazy. Do they, like, know other humans?

    I don’t even want to get started on how mad I am about all the people suggesting an inverse relationship between fatness and morality/motivation. RAGE.

    Obviously I should never have started reading comments sections, eh? Ignorance was bliss.

  49. Also I appear to have compulsive comment syndrome today/yesterday… sorry

    Don’t apologize! I, for one, have started to scan the side for your pumpkin-hued, bat-winged avatar!

  50. PCOS is genetic. You can’t diet away your DNA!

    I thought these pictures were lovely, even though I got a leetle cranky about the caterer’s good fat/bad fat dichotomy. I guess I need more butter!

  51. For everyone who is commenting on the PCOS thing, there have been a couple of posts in the Fat-o-sphere about this recently, by myself and by SleepyDumpling at Fat Heffalump.

    And to summarize – PCOS is genetic, dieting won’t cure it, and if your doctor tells you it will then s/he is an ass. And holy crap is it annoying to see practically every mention of PCOS coupled with “its all your fault fatty”.

  52. It’s really tough for me to remember that thinner women on fat-acceptance websites aren’t the same as the thinner girls in my class who talk about how bad their jiggly thighs or pinchable bellies make them feel, since the message is just the opposite.
    @Becky: It is a little better than I thought it was.

    I’m still…like, I’d like to read something on the topic of the treatment of thinner fat women vs the treatment of fatter fat women by /the latter./ As it is, I might seek out some writings on hueism, which as far as I’m aware is a subject with more extensive writings.

  53. Sniper- I’m sorry to hear that nothing is working for you. Birth control actually did seem to help control a lot of my symptoms but when it was discovered that I had a rare blood clotting disorder and birth control was making me clot, I had to go off of it and that’s when my symptoms got so out of control that I could no longer just ignore the few weird things and had to go seek a diagnosis. My symptoms went from barely noticeable to completely taking hostage of my life within months of stopping the pill.

    I should stop hijacking this thread with PCOS talk. I just get so unnerved every time I read comments from people that are so misinformed.

  54. Hee, thanks Sniper and Piffle! Unfortunately when I am posting here I am also not doing my work, which is bad. But I love being here, which is good! And I really have a bit of a thing for my cute be-batwinged monster, although I kind of thought he had his willy out when I first saw him (I later realised it’s probably meant to be his nose!)… not sure what that says about me! :-)

  55. Quixotess – I would really like to read more about the spectrum of fat and how it relates to treatment. I know that all of us, at all stages in between, have to have unique challenges (many of these challenges relating to the implicit male gaze, of course).

    From my perspective, I see the treatment of a lot of thinner-fat women as “lost potential”. As in, you would be so pretty/hot/sexy if you just lost a little weight (or if it weren’t for those thighs, or that pooch, or the double chin). I can’t count how many times I’ve been told a variation of that.

    On the other hand, I see and hear very fat women being referred to as repulsive, “boner killers”. God, I hate even repeating those words.

    Both of these statements frame our bodies as it applies to male gratification. Both of our bodies have immense value outside of these parameters.

  56. I was writing long rants over at Jez for all the good it’ll do me (where’s my Sanity Watchers sisterhood?) I realized I have a question which is a little on the 101 side, so if it’s not okay here, just say so.

    I’ve always kind of assumed that I actually do have some ability to gain or lose weight, usually bobbing around a number that’s my normal weight. I can go up about 5% through the donuts and the lasagnas, and down about 5% through the ferocious martial arts or cool backpacking excursions. Neither extreme lasts very long–I usually just drift back to the 2-3 lb range that is my normal. Does anyone else have this experience? Because it annoys me to read the Jez peeps and others saying, “You can too lose weight; I gained 15 lbs and lost it all just fine!” Fifteen pounds seems to me to be within the standard deviation for most people’s natural weights, no? It’s nothing like losing 40 or 60 or 100 lbs. Likewise, gaining 40 or 60 or 100 lbs isn’t just because someone forgot to cancel the Schwinns man ice cream deliveries. It usually involves serious shit: illness, medication, pregnancy, crappy former diet blowing up, recovery from substance abuse, recovery from anorexia. Anyone have any different experiences? I hate to make assumptions based on the fact that it works that way For Me.

  57. not sure what that says about me! :-)

    Don’t worry. It’s probably just a sign of a filthy mind.

    Again on comment threads, back when I started gaining weight, I believed everything I read and everything doctors told me. Why would they lie? Calories in, calories out just makes sense, you know. I figured I was probably gaining three or four pounds a week (or more) because I only walked an hour a day, or drank 2%, or maybe it was those four cookies I ate in a “binge” after days of deprivation.

    Luckily for me, I may be pretty dense but I won’t disbelief the evidence of my senses forever. The fat hating commenters, however, see only what they want to see and believe only what they want to see, and they fucking refuse to even consider that making war on “obesity” might not be the best course for, you know, actual fat people. Ah, but it’s not about the benefit of actual fat people, is it? It’s about feeling superior, smug, and virtuous.

  58. Starling – I think it’s possible that a lot of people think 15 lbs ago, they were fat. And now they’ve lost 15 lbs, and kept it off, and aren’t fat anymore. Therefore other people can go from being fat to being not fat, just like they did.

  59. I just posted this on my FB. I know, I’m a total geek.

    Anyway. I posted it either right before or after one of my “friends” posted this silly article in the NYT about the “elephant in the room” that is the food industry (which in the article is conflated with obesity.)

    It’s just this bubble-buster, after seeing this and then seeing my real-life “friends” just. Don’t. Get. It.

    So maddeningly tiring.

    I like the pics in this series. Makes me wanna take pics of me on my bike or swimming. :D

  60. Because it annoys me to read the Jez peeps and others saying, “You can too lose weight; I gained 15 lbs and lost it all just fine!”

    Well, sure. If some kid lost 15 pounds by taking up a sport and not eating junk food three times a day (like half the skinny people I knew in college), then surely we fat chicks can lose 15 pounds 10 times by, I dunno, eating one cake for breakfast instead of two.

    It’s all about the LIFESTYLE CHANGE PEOPLE!!!!

    (I need to get off the tubes.)

  61. The gallery was fantastic – I loved ALL the photos – but did you read the story linked to it? OMFG. It doesn’t contain anything regular readers here don’t know but a major publication pulling together all the research showing that diets don’t work, HAES is the most effective way of living, etc – be still my beating heart!

  62. Sniper–oh, man. I never realized. Should I give up the German chocolate cake, or the red velvet? Oh, I know, I’ll just eat only half the carton of ice cream!

    If we could just rejigger the definition of Teh Obese to include only those people who actually consumed as much as people seem to believe, we’d have this ‘health crisis’ solved.

  63. Jerriselaina–the same thing just happened to me on Facebook, and it has me bummed. I’m trying to decide how to respond, and have about decided not to, especially since the poster is a PhD in biology. I guess I’d rather preserve the friendship, especially since any response would be met with, “Of course I wasn’t talking about YOU….” (heavy sigh)… Anyway, thanks for saying how I’m feeling!

  64. Sniper, on September 11th, 2009 at 3:12 am Said:
    Don’t worry. It’s probably just a sign of a filthy mind.

    Well that would make sense :-)… but to the extent I am seeing phantom avatar willies?! Eek!

    Starling, on the weight range thing… I reckon my weight normally stays within a 5% range too. I used to have an ED which wheeled around between binge-eating, anorexia and some kind of bulimarexia type thing, before passing through what was described by a wankerdoctor as a ‘normal level of food neurosis for a woman’, to what it is now (attempting HAES). I only ever lost or gained a significant percentage of my weight during DisorderTime/initial recovery phases/relapses. Oh and when I get norovirus, which seems to happen a lot and affects me really badly (including one time when I was sick with post-infective complications for 2 months and became like Skeletor… whereupon I got ‘thin compliments’ despite being a strange greyish waxen looking figure who literally could not walk the ten minutes from town to my house without sitting down for a rest in the middle and cried a lot).

    But yeah, so I didn’t know about setpoint theory before I came here, and when I read about it, it made total sense. I had to half kill myself to lose about 30% of my bodyweight, and it blew right up (to bigger than I had been) very quickly after I started to recover, before settling back out again in a particular range. I could have saved myself a whole lot of trouble if I had managed to not live in this silly cultural environment which peddles thinness as the answer to all our prayers, or if I had had access to education about bodies based on real science and had been taught weight is just a descriptive thingy & not some kind of moral pronouncement! At school I distinctly remember a homework of being made to write food diaries so they could underline all the ‘bad food’ in red pen and ‘good’ in green. (I was humiliated in front of the class for all my red lines — THANKS Home Ec teacher!).

    Copious RARGHS.

  65. Emgee and Jerriselaina, that sucks. I have had a kind of similar experience recently too, so you really have my sympathies. I have actually ended up terminating one friendship (though I must add there was more than the one occasion of head-exploding anger that was induced, and it went beyond that person posting articles to actually attacking me and my intelligence/credibility/trustworthiness/etc). Hopefully the people you mention will read your posted articles too and at least have a moment’s pause for thought. You never know, if they encounter more FA stuff over the next few weeks/months/years, there could be a seachange in their thoughts and understandings! Hopes

  66. “so oh great, despite a whole life of eating really positively and ‘normally’ for want of a better word, it’s still possible to be shamed into dieting/and ED in your 70’s. Fucking hell.”

    Yeah, it’s really shocking the first time one is hospitalized for an ED, because the range of ages is so wide-from 12 years old up to womyn in their seventies. The second time around seeing the older womyn there wasn’t shocking anymore, but seeing little girls who are literally skin-and-bones in a mental institution is something I don’t think I could ever get used to-hopefully there won’t be a third time for me to discover… And I don’t know why it shocks me so much-I guess it’s a little bit of denial, because I was at my worst when I was just a few years older than twelve…My parents and youth group advisers never took my cries for help seriously and to the truth, when I see those girls getting help so early, I’m a little jealous-I wish my parents had cared enough to see how sick me when I was when I was their age!

  67. Oh man all great pics, but Nicole, your horse is to die for. If you read these comments, please come back and tell me what breeding he has. I need me one of those! I am another fat horse rider and have gained so need to get myself a chunkier chunky for my next horse. He is just perfect!

  68. I need a photo of me at ballet class. I shall try to acquire one for the next time.

    PCOS is genetic. You can’t diet away your DNA!


    Quixotess, I’m really sorry you still felt excluded after looking at the slideshow. I’m wondering if they got more photos of bigger fat people being active and didn’t include them because they were trying more for the “The obesity epidemic is composed of people you don’t think of as fat” angle, or whether not as many fatter people submitted photos to them. Neither is great. It was probably a bit of both, I suppose.

  69. Speaking of the comments on Kate’s Jezebel article – why do so many people think that all of Europe is a monolithic block? The European Union alone counts 25 states now – and that’s not even all of Europe. But no – VernerHarukijan spent a month somewhere in Europe and that of course makes hir an expert. And because he/she did not see fat people, all of Europe is slim. So I must be a mythical beast, then.

  70. Keechypeachy, I’m not Nicole, but I have to put in a plug for my dream horse, the south-german coldblood (a variant of Noriker…).

    I’m still sick about not getting my back better quickly enough to ride the one a co-worker of my husband had a share in before she decided to switch to a smaller horse (because she’s really too small for a draft-type horse)! She had offered me the chance to ride him, too! *sigh*

    For those of you talking about PCOS (and I know a couple of you know this already), I just started a group on the ning site for us. It’ll be SO NICE to get a chance to talk about PCOS with other people who have it without the diet-insistance most support sites have.

    I meant to send in a picture of me working in the garden (at a BMI of somewhere around 41), but I forgot to get my husband to take one in time.

  71. As an exercise sceptic, I was won over, I really liked this gallery.

    What gets on my wick is are the people feautred living on fatplanetalphacenturi?

    Why do we have to pander to people overwhelmingly obvious delusion? It’s hard to see bad coming out of something so good, but I can’t escape the feeling that pandering to the haters somehow cannot help but validate this elective psychosis in some way.

    As for obesity acceptance, can these tiresome shitheads understand once and for all, they are the ‘obesity acceptance movement’, because that describes exactly what they want-jeez if you’re too stupid to know what you want, why don’t you see if you can locate your arse before you start talking out of it.

  72. “a lot of angry readers demanded to see one fat person who could climb a mountain…”
    Each angry reader climbs a mountain a day!

  73. Not quite on topic: I comment here very rarely, because in a way I feel like I am sneaking in – I don’t really “belong” here, as I am 5’4′ and 148 lbs. Technically “overweight” according to BMI, but I am not subject to fat-shaming, workplace discrimination, “helpful” suggestions about dieting from aquaintances (or strangers), or any of the other daily shit that fat people go through. I can’t stay away, though, because (besides having a girlcrush on FillyJonk) I need the good medicine against the daily, constant, insidious message of our culture that if you are not a perfect match for the cultural image of a beautiful woman, you are UGLY. Nothing in between. I need an antidote the to poisonous attitude that we must never stop trying to be thinner, must never have a higher priority, must never feel good about our bodies until we have reproduced the unrealistic images we are shown.
    It has been a journey for me. Two years ago I wrote my first blog post, about the habits I planned to develop that would make me thin. (Didn’t work, natch.) Those early posts embarrass me now, but it seems intellectually dishonest to delete them, so I leave them up, and remind myself how far I have come.
    In rsponse to her diet chat, I said to my co-worker (an otherwise lovely person) that I am done with diets, with calories counting, carb-counting, Big Loser, morning weigh in, all that. Her shocked response (“But Lori! We’re so close!”) gave me an epiphany: weight reduction (or, more broadly the quest for “beauty”) has replaced religioun in our secular culture. The obligation to work for spiritual perfection has been replaced by a literal obligation to strive for physical perfection.
    Shapely Prose is where I come for sanity. For proof that it is the world that’s crazy, not me. For that I thank all of you.

  74. Aurora,

    You definitely belong here! I’m in straight sizes and I can’t begin to tell you how much Shapely Prose has changed my way of thinking.

  75. Zenoodle: ‘normal level of food neurosis for a woman’

    Whaaaaaaaaat?! WHAT THE HELL?!

    *Roars, grows 50 feet tall, stomps off to crush the city flat in all of her indignant FA-Rage*

    NO AMOUNT OF FOOD NEUROSIS IS ‘NORMAL’! *Breathes nuclear fire, kicks over buildings, etc etc and so forth*

  76. Lampdevil, them’s some good superhero powers! I wish I had been this angry at the time, rather than extremely sad and feeling like I had even failed at having a creditable ED. I was also told by a psychiatrist that although I had lost almost a third of my bodyweight in a short period of time, looked scary and could barely function for thoughts of food/restriction/exercise/guilt etc, since I hadn’t *quite* got down to the region of 5st (only 6!), my anorexia wasn’t ‘serious’ and I would ‘grow out of it like many other silly girls’. Essentially, despite being miniscule, I was being ignored for coming forward with an ED, because at 6stone, I was apparently ‘too fat’ to be an anorexic. WTF. I did, luckily, eventually manage to see a much nicer GP at the same practice, who referred me to a paid-for-by-uni psychotherapist who I hadn’t known existed; seeing her was a turning point in the long process of recovery I could well have missed out on (and I’m sure many others did miss it).So, yay not all medical people are bad, but they seem to have their work cut out if they’re having to mop up after the GRARGH-inducing ones as well as their normal workload!).

    *Joins in with growing to 50ft tall and stomping*

  77. You definitely belong here! I’m in straight sizes and I can’t begin to tell you how much Shapely Prose has changed my way of thinking.

    Heck, SM’s not even “overweight”! And she has a crush on me too so you’ll fit right in. OH YEAH I WENT THERE

  78. I have nothing constructive to add, but Lampdevil:

    *kicks over buildings* is possibly the best *does things* I’ve ever seen. (Although *rends garments*, which I saw on twitter a few weeks ago, is stiff competition.)

  79. Hey – Aurora! I’m 5’4″ and 145-150 too!

    I come here because I’m still struggling with disordered eating, restriction, stubborn body dysmorphia. Because some days I wake up and hate myself and am so tempted to starve my body away – even though I know it won’t work. I come here because when I finally come to terms with my body, when I get it all the way through my head and manage to eat and exercise intuitively, I might gain weight, a lot of weight, and that needs to be okay.

    I’ve just barely started to say to people, “Yeah, I don’t diet anymore.” “I don’t think there are bad foods.” I’m almost to, “To hell with tiny pants!”

    And I love the slideshow. Every picture made me grin, and if I had know ladies (and gentlemen) like you before I started down the rocky road of dieting/disordered eating, I might have gone and climbed a goddamn mountain instead.

  80. You know, I think every step forward is good… but we have got to get over this GoodFat vs. BadFat bullshit. If someone looked at me would they be able to tell if I am a rule-abiding, vegetable-eating, exercise-loving fatty or if I’m a cheeto-stuffing, couch-surfing, control-lacking fatty? No, they wouldn’t. And it’s not any of their business either way.

    I do healthy activities and I’m still fat. I do unhealthy activities and it hasn’t made me fatter. I just hate this sudden feeling that I need to justify being fat. “But.. but… but… I eat healthy and I exercise, I do everything right… puhpuhpuhplease believe me!” We need to be careful about the road we’re going down here. Totally obsessing over anything can turn into a bad situation, and I think we need to be aware that forcing fatties to declare their good intentions is not the side we want to be on.

  81. Of course you belong here, Aurora. I’m in straight sizes too, not currently “overweight” or “obese”, but I have been in the past and may be again in the future. If I don’t want to be defined by my weight when I’m fat, I can’t let myself be defined by it when I’m not fat, either. It’s important that I recognize I’m carrying around plenty of thin privilege, and not to make it Alllll About Meeeee The Not-Really-Fat-Person (ref We Are The Real Deal for comparison), but I can still work to be an ally.

    Sometimes it’s even helpful to advocate fat acceptance from a position of thinness — other people can’t dismiss you as a self-justifying fatty. I’ve been in several online discussions about the issue where I’ve gotten told, “you’re just saying that to make yourself feel better about being obese and lazy and gross!”, and it’s very effective to say “Sure, except for how I’m not fat.” Of course, they should listen to your ideas instead of your BMI, but if they were doing that, we wouldn’t need FA in the first place.

  82. *Gets back, reverts to 5-foot-5 Lampdevil, has a seat* Phew…

    MissPrism, Zenoodle, glad to have inspired some laughter. Among my friends I am occasionally known as “Pamera”, and I’ve certainly destroyed a few cities in my time.

    On a more serious note, I deal with anger and sadness by being silly, really. And statements like that one make me both angry AND sad. I’ve spent enough time on this blog (and others!) soaking up the principles of Fat Acceptance, and it’s so damned jarring to be reminded of what closed-minded disgusting assholes people can still be. I can barely comprehend a doctor endorsing ANY form of disordered eating, or, or… Fwah, yes I CAN comprehend it. It comes up all the time. My brain just wants to reject the wrongness of it so strongly.

    Kate, SweetMachine, Fillyjonk, all of you… thank you for getting me into this frame of mind that I now have. Despite how often I find myself transforming into Pamera, I’m more content and whole and fit and ME than I’ve ever, ever been.

  83. Heck, SM’s not even “overweight”!

    I might be! I haven’t been weighed since a doctor’s appointment several months ago, but at the time I was only 4 pounds away. Thanks, Lexapro!

    I am, of course, living proof that ESPOUSING FA MAKES YOU FAT.

  84. In rsponse to her diet chat, I said to my co-worker (an otherwise lovely person) that I am done with diets, with calories counting, carb-counting, Big Loser, morning weigh in, all that. Her shocked response (”But Lori! We’re so close!”) gave me an epiphany: weight reduction (or, more broadly the quest for “beauty”) has replaced religioun in our secular culture. The obligation to work for spiritual perfection has been replaced by a literal obligation to strive for physical perfection.

    A big fat YES to this one! The women at my yoga studio are constantly fasting/cleansing/generally not eating in this quasi-spiritual intense quest to “purify,” “clean” and thin the body of excess. It has some very iffy spiritual overtones if you ask me.

    I mean, I have no objection to spiritual fasting (do it several times a year myself). But the quasi-religious diet or “health” oriented fasting squicks me.

  85. I’m sticking my hand up in the air and waving it about in response to Starling’s “Anyone have any different experiences?”:

    Until I was about 35 (I’m 56 now) I was so skinny that I’d be mocked for it, and larger women used to tell me they hated me. Between the ages of 35 and 39, though, I gained about 50 pounds and went from a size 8 to a size 16. (Ha! in those days it was possible to wear a size 6 or 8 and be called “skinny”! Ha!) It really wasn’t for any of the reasons Starling listed. Someone I worked with saw me for the first time in about a year and said “What have you been eating?!?” She didn’t believe me then, and many people don’t believe me ever, but I swear: this happened without any change at all in my eating or exercise habits. Truly. In a way, I was prepared for this change. My aunt, my father’s sister, sympathized with me when I was 12 and devastated because a boy had broken up with me because I was too skinny. She showed me pictures of herself at my age. She had become much larger in mid-adulthood. She told me my grandmother went through exactly the same change. My aunt never had children; my grandmother had 4 children. There seems to me to be no explanation for my change in body type except that I inherited it…

    Reading the posts and comments on this site makes me feel better! Thanks to everyone!

  86. Chava, I spend the last week of August at a yoga retreat center, which was wonderful…except for the fact that their bookstore had a whole section of diet books and they ran specific programs for healthy eating…with the purpose of weight loss. I found it extremely off-putting.

  87. The women at my yoga studio are constantly fasting/cleansing/generally not eating in this quasi-spiritual intense quest to “purify,” “clean” and thin the body of excess. It has some very iffy spiritual overtones if you ask me.
    A couple of other co-workers regularly engage in what they call a “cleansing” prior ro beginning a new diet. It involves alternating days on which they can only drink water and consume 7 almonds (seven is a mystical number, traditionally; the number of God in medieval times) and days when they may eat skinless chicken and lettuce or celery. This goes on for a week. Sort of a Week of Atonement, or an equivalent of a spiritual cleansing by ordeal. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes; it is why people express such moral outrage about fatness. The quest for slenderness has supplanted the quest for spiritual perfection.

  88. @ Cindy (who’s all the way up there)

    Death isn’t preventable but that doesn’t mean there isn’t preventable death.

    If I walked into the middle of the highway with my eyes closed and died that would have been a preventable death. If I smoked constantly, and had unprotected sex with partners who’s STD status I did not know. Those are also preventable death.

    Preventable death ≠ Preventing death

  89. Can some obese ladies who do yoga or other hardcore stretching exercises help me? About a year ago, I started eating the occasional pizza, burger, or desserty thing along with my healthy foods. I’ve gained about 15 or 20 pounds and gone from overweight with big thighs, butt, and boobs, to obese with all of those big things and a brand new big belly. This is a problem because I am too dumb to figure out how to do yoga and stretching with it there. The awesome yoga ladies on the slideshow made me wonder if there are modified poses or techniques for yoga if your belly is getting in the way and being painfully squished.

    Obviously I can do any number of athletic things (hiking on Sunday), but I have been really wanting to get into yoga. Everyone I know who has ever done it for any length of time raves about it for strength, flexibility, and calm.

  90. Rachel: There totally are! A couple of years ago, all of a sudden I went from hourglass to apple shape! I had problems with yoga bits (I wasn’t doing it before the shape change), but I found some tips on this in the MegaYoga book by Megan Garcia (I think that’s the title, anyway…).

    Every so often I toy with the thought of trying to get good enough at yoga to become a certified yoga teacher and specialize in HAES-oriented, plus size yoga. But that might also have something to do with procrastinating on my thesis.

  91. I agree that it can be very valuable for not-fat and even ‘too-thin’ people such as myself, to advocate for FA and HAES. It has extra shock value that can really jar people out of their comfortable judgmental though patterns.

    What originally brought me to fat acceptance was that my own body constantly disproved all the obesity epidemic booga booga, pseudo-science, public health/nutrition ‘truths’ – and I couldn’t understand why what didn’t apply to me should apply to everyone (or anyone) else. What kept me here was the great writing, getting to see the world and body issues from a point of view I hadn’t before, and wanting very much to help make things better in any way I can (and I can’t just let bad science and bigotry go unchallenged, can I?).

    I’ve never been made to feel unwelcome here because I am medically underweight and have never once ‘felt fat’. I appreciate that – it just goes to show what a wonderful community SP is.

    While FA is very much about fat people of course, ultimately I see it as a humanist issue. I think there’s room for everyone.

  92. I’ve also had a “different experience”. I’m 56 and had significant weight gain around and after menopause, which has coincided with great worry and stress as I have been taking care of my father, who died of Alzheimer’s disease the day before yesterday.

    I didn’t feel like I was doing things (eating, moving) any differently but my weight went up and my shape changed notably. This actually reminded me of when my body changed shape when I was about 12-14. It just did it.

    My doctors are horrified and their alarm bells started ringing harder and harder as my BMI went up through overweight and well into obese. It sure makes me dread going to the doctor.

  93. spuffyduds, on September 12th, 2009 at 12:43 am Said:
    In response to far upthread: I would pay a great deal of money to see a band named “Zenoodle and the Phantom Avatar Willies.”

    OMG if ONLY I had at least a tiny modicum of musical talent! That’s brilliant! :-)

  94. Katia, I feel for you. We are just dealing with the early to mid stages with my stepdad and boy oh boy it is hard already. I can only begin to imagine the lose and relief you are feeling now.

  95. Solange Lys: thanks. I think that fits in the general idea that “gaining more than 10% of body weight” is in the category of Things that Are Not Under Conscious Control. Also, Things that Aren’t Related to Cheese Doodle Intake.

    Who is the complete idiot who fed an entire generation the lie that we control our body weight? Issues of hunger, satiety, energy reserves and energy production are not the sort of things our bodies allow us to mess around with, any more than we run our own digestion, heartbeats or sexual instincts. The body sees it as a question of survival. So the idea that we can just up and decide to stop eating enough that we eliminate huge amounts of our energy reserves is nutso-crazy. We’ve finally gotten smart enough to realize that our sexual needs will screw us up if we try to squelch them with repression and guilt; how is it that repression and guilt are considered the go-to techniques for handling appetite and consumption drives?

    I know I’m preaching to the choir, but why don’t some of these nice well-educated doctors and biologists face the fact that if weight loss were so simple, we’d all choose to be the socially-accepted size? /rant

  96. Heee, Lampdevil. Also, your city-destroying reminded me of Quincy is destroying San Antonio [has sound], and now I will be giggling all day. Man I love that thing.

    if I had know ladies (and gentlemen) like you before I started down the rocky road of dieting/disordered eating, I might have gone and climbed a goddamn mountain instead.

    Fuck that’s beautiful.

    Speaking of the comments on Kate’s Jezebel article – why do so many people think that all of Europe is a monolithic block?

    Because they are parochial idiots and seem to genuinely believe that having lived [x] years in ONE country that is not America has given them this mystical magical insight into All Countries That Are Not America, particularly if the two coutries are part of one contiguous land mass, no matter how different they may be. It makes me want to kick people in the face when Americans (or Canadians, I suppose, though I’ve never seen one of them do it) start trying to tell EUROPEANS about EUROPE (e.g. how there are no fat people in Denmark, and they know because they spent two years in Lyons or something). SHUT UP YOU SOUND LIKE AN IDIOT.

  97. Caitlin, I think that’s something everybody does, not just people from the U.S. I live in northern California, and if we could convert both national and international misconceptions about my state into fresh water, we’d never again have to worry about drought.

    (Also? Parochial tourist idiocy knows no boundaries. Just sayin’. I used to live in the Haight in San Francisco, and believe you me, there is no nationality without obnoxious fools.)

  98. “I know I’m preaching to the choir, but why don’t some of these nice well-educated doctors and biologists face the fact that if weight loss were so simple, we’d all choose to be the socially-accepted size? /rant”

    This very issue is what destroyed most of my confidence in the medical profession.

    I believe doctors (and scientists) are mostly good people that do their best, they are highly educated and usually quite intelligent, and of course medical science is an amazing thing and we’ve made huge strides in treatment and techniques of all kinds.

    But there is OBVIOUSLY SO MUCH we don’t understand about the human body, and for medical health professionals not to think it is so.. that it’s all figured out, it’s simply calories in/calories out for every person (well then sir, WHERE THE FUCK ARE ALL THESE CALORIES I AM TAKING IN GOING? Not into the production of body weight! Explain! No, I am not lying about my intake!).. just boggles the mind.

    If they are so sure of themselves and yet so misguided about this simple issue, what other important health/science ‘truths’ could be decided more by pet theories and personal opinions/experiences than by proper scientific theory?

    It frightens me.

  99. People in other parts of the world are just as ignorant about North America. Certain of my husband’s (British) friends and relatives have thought that Texas is in the midwest, Washington DC is in Washington state, and Toronto is in the US. Also, they’re not really aware that there are ethnic and regional differences in culture. It’s probably natural not to remember details about places you’ve never been or only visited briefly.

  100. I used to live in the Haight in San Francisco, and believe you me, there is no nationality without obnoxious fools.)

    Oh, I believe that.

    If they are so sure of themselves and yet so misguided about this simple issue, what other important health/science ‘truths’ could be decided more by pet theories and personal opinions/experiences than by proper scientific theory?

    Quite a few. Doing a degree in science was actually really really enlightening in this regard. My professors estimated that about 80% of the scientific papers that get published (including in the big journals like Nature and Cell) are at least a bit dodgy, ranging to complete bollocks, and from the (few hundred) papers I read I’d agree with them. And they’re what we’re basing our understanding of this stuff on.

  101. The “I lived in Europe once and walked a lot and lost five pounds!” commenters on Jezebel are pissing me off. Then again, they made me realize that, hell, I may not have lived in Europe but I’ve certainly lost five pounds every now and then when my activity level or eating habits changed. Sure I did. I also lost ten pounds a few times for no apparent reason, 25 another time. And gained it back. And lost it again.

    And y’know what? I could barely tell. My health didn’t change a bit. My pants size didn’t change As a percentage of my body weight, 5, 10, 25 pounds are a drop in the bucket.

    So even if these judgy-mc-judgersons are right, that we can all lose 10 or 15 pounds or whatever, WHY SHOULD I DO THAT? It makes no difference to my life whatsoever. None. Even if they are right, about this, their goal is still stupid!

  102. The “I lived in Europe once and walked a lot and lost five pounds!”

    Yeah, that was an eye-roller, but it made me laugh becuase hey, all i have to do is visit Europe 20 times and I’ll be thin! Forever! BWAHAHAHAA!

  103. This makes me so happy. Being thin (or medium-sized) does not mean you are fit. I’m 5’5″ and usually between 135 and 140 pounds, not what anyone would call skinny but not fat either, and I can guarantee you every one of those women in the photos could kick my ass fitness-wise. When we first got our Wii Fit, my mom, who is my height but between 170 and 180 pounds, completely beat me out in every category. She ran faster, had more stamina and flexibility, and was more coordinated and well balanced than I was. Not bad considering she’s 48 and has had chronic lupus since she was 21 and is a kidney transplant recipient. I’m envious of how flexible the women doing yoga are, and I only wish I was awesome enough to scuba dive. This was quite inspiring to me- if I ever get discouraged when trying to work out, I’ll think of the made-of-win fat women who told the world to STFU and kicked ass and took names while being healthy and awesome.

  104. Sniper, the only diet I will EVER go on again is the “Visit Europe 20 Times” diet. That would be an AWESOME diet. No permanent weight loss, y’know, but you sure get to do a lot of cool stuff!

  105. I still do triathlons. I’m still fat. I eat less than ever. I haven’t lost weight. I’m fitter than ever.

    I deleted my blog because I got tired of so many people calling me a liar and then making up their own daydreams about my life and health. It doesn’t surprise me that Newsweek got that same treatment for daring to suggest that fat people aren’t glued to their couch and Cheetos.

    I’m also thrilled Newsweek did something like this. I just don’t think it ever will sink into the thick skulls of much of society, particularly most of those in the mass media.

    Just my two cents.
    – Sarah, formerly known as fatgirlonabike

  106. Gans gut! I’ll keep that in mind if I’m ever out your way, Soprano. :-) I was just looking at an Oktoberfest travel article in the newspaper that looked very appealing. It was even illustrated with a headless fattie: A plump and buxom barmaid holding ten steins of beer, but her head was cropped out of the picture!

  107. Sarah/fatgirlonabike, thanks for posting. I’ve often wondered how you were doing with your triathlons, and it’s really great to know that you’re still out there having fun with them.

    And I’m really sorry you had to take so much crap – people believe what they want to believe, and will cling to that even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I always found your posts inspiring for my own athletic activities – it’s like the Newsweek pictures, it really helps to see other women my size out there doing it (for some value of it!) because, you know, we can.

  108. @Sarah, I’m so sad that you felt the need to delete your blog (though I can completely understand your reasons!). When I found all the fatosphere blogs yours was often referred to and I went in search only to find it gone. So sad.

    I, myself, am fat and ride centuries quite often. People at the finish line are often shocked to hear that, no, I didn’t ride the 20 or 35 miler, no, not even the metric, I rode the whole friggin 100 miles. I’ve done it repeatedly and even people who have seen me year after YEAR are still flummoxed that it has never caused weight loss. God only knows what they think I eat.

    This year, my weight IS down a bit, but it’s due to meds, not riding and sadly, I suspect that I might have to curtail my next century because I’m so out of shape (from the thing that caused the need for the meds, natch). I’m sure newbies who see me will chalk up my poor performance to my being a doughnut eating, soda swilling fattie.

    As for the photo gallery… I did enjoy it, but as someone pointed out… it’s a slippery slope we’re traversing here. I don’t see any reason why the fact that not all fatties sit on the couch should make fat more or less socially acceptable. If you ever want to know who is raising your insurance rates, talk to an athlete… nearly every one of my century riding compatriots has needed PT in the last year or two for some injury or another. Being active can be detrimental to your health.

  109. If you ever want to know who is raising your insurance rates, talk to an athlete… nearly every one of my century riding compatriots has needed PT in the last year or two for some injury or another.

    Hmph. So true. I eagerly await the coming spate of editorials decrying, say, professional rodeo stars for ruining the economy with their reckless ways. Won’t hold my breath, though.

  110. So, I *am* Nicole in the gallery, and I was so thrilled to see my picture up there! I didn’t mean to come off all ‘skinny-hating’, but it frustrates me so badly when someone gets in my face for being fat (and therefore unhealthy) and I’m looking at arms devoid of fat, yes, but also devoid of muscle.

    It’s something especially poisonous in the riding community, because riders who are ‘overweight’ are gossiped about and reviled constantly, especially in showjumping and dressage. So many young girls are horse-mad, and then to have trainers telling you that you can’t possibly compete at any level if “your horse has to drag all that flab around the ring”.

    Anyway, thanks for all the nice comments! Clarence, my horse, is a rescue so we don’t know exactly what he is, but his forequarters and *gorgeous* head are very suggestive of Gypsy Vanners, yes. If he had more hair, especially feathering, I’d say he was Vanner, but we can’t say for sure.

  111. Wow! That’s me rafting the Rogue in photo 10. Just shared the link on Facebook. My trainer said recently that I am naturally strong and athletic. It stopped me in my tracks. Me? Fat all my life, picked last for softball — me? So it put that statement on the mirror and said it to myself every day, and now I know it’s true. The other day I did 60 pushups and a headstand. That may not be much for some folks, but for me it is awesome. I love my strong body!

  112. @Sarah – When I commented in the thread about posting active fatty pictures that I’d considered starting a blog called something like Fatty On A Bike, I had no idea just how derivative and late-to-the-party I am :-). I’m sorry I didn’t make it to your blog before you took it down. Maybe we should start a group blog and call it Fat Unicorns. Then you wouldn’t have to face the trolls on your own. Let’s talk!

  113. Here I was going to send you an email about my 1 nautical mile swim in the SF Bay, and you had this post up. I don’t have a lot of still pics, but my girlfriend did make this video about my swim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcvCwn5zB0M&feature=player_embedded

    Oh, and my official time for the Tiburon Mile was 1:16:33. The Tiburon Mile is one of the most competitive open water swims in the world (according to their website). So, I thumb my nose at the people who say we can’t! (I do it in the video, too, actually.)

  114. @Gina. That is so cool and such an inspiration. I went for a run after I watched your video and increased my distance with 1 km.

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