Tag Archives: dieting

For Lent, Give up Dieting

For Lent, I’m giving up dieting. Well, not really. I haven’t dieted for quite a few years, based on my own reservations which the fat acceptance movement helped me put into words and even back up with scientific research.

But I want to encourage everyone to do this. For Lent this year, give up dieting. Give up on hating your body. That’s 40 days, 40 nights and absolutely NO food guilt, diet products, or self-flagellation related to the body that you were born with.Don’t give up chocolate or carbs. Give up the notion that foods carry moral values of “good” or “bad.”

Now, you Catholics know the irony of this suggestion. Lent is originally associated with fasting, sacrifice for God and avoiding the temptation of Satan. Now, I have no problem with folks fasting for religious purposes, but since Vatican II, Lent has been less about fasting and more about giving up a vice or a temptation and replacing it with something that brings you closer to God.

My challenge is that eating normally is not a temptation or a vice and that loving your body and yourself is the first step in having a closer relationship with God, the Divine, the Universe or however you represent your highest authority.

And it’s okay to engage in the practices of Lent even if you’re not Catholic. I was only Catholic for a few years and I still give things up for Lent. Sacrifice is often healthy for the soul but sacrificing food to lose weight is not healthy for the body.

So go without dieting and obsessing about food for Lent and see if you come out on the other side any worse for wear. Something tells me you won’t. Something tells me you’ll discover a freedom unlike any other–the freedom to improve yourself in ways that really matter.

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Filed under fat, Health, Size Acceptance

First Fat Faux Pas

I remember the day that I learned it was not okay to hate your body.

I was new to the women’s center. It was probably before I got hired on, when I was a volunteer intern. I said something negative about my body in front of everyone there. It seemed so run-of-the-mill to put myself down that I never even paused to think about what I was saying.

So, I was shocked when I was first called out for it.

“Put a quarter in the jar,” K demanded.

I must have looked utterly dumbfounded. “Why?”

“In here, we don’t talk poorly about ourselves because of how it makes others feel,” K replied.

Who was this person to think that she could tell me what I could and could not say. Hadn’t she ever heard of free speech?

I have a right to criticize myself, don’t I? Sure. A right. But what about common courtesy? What I didn’t know then, but I know now, is that in American society, courtesy about our bodies was tossed out the window a long time ago.

My friend K showed me that for every wrinkle, every curve on my body that didn’t meet society’s expectations, there was someone in the room with more wrinkles, bigger curves or a funnier looking nose.

This memory came up while reading a recent Shapely Prose article in which Kate is dealing with a post that has garnered comments of the “I love my body, but…” variety. She has put succinctly why it is NOT okay to put yourself down or talk about your ‘diet’ in front of others. And I quote:

  • There is someone fatter than you. (Okay, technically, one person actually does have to be the official fattest Shapeling, but since we don’t know who that is, just go ahead and assume it’s not you.)
  • There is someone whose shape is less conventionally attractive than yours.
  • There is someone who has all the same problems as you but is also a member of other oppressed groups.
  • There is someone with one or more disabilities.
  • There is someone recovering from an eating disorder.
  • There is someone currently struggling with a full-blown eating disorder.
  • There are a couple thousand someones who are here because they’ve struggled with low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, and/or disordered eating patterns over the course of their lives.

So when you say, “But MY body is disgusting because of X” or “I still need to diet because of Y,” what you are saying is that X and Y are disgusting and unacceptable characteristics, full stop — and the problem is, you can bet someone here shares those characteristics, or is worse off than you are, by your standards.

This is the standard of self-love that Kate sets for her community. I have a confession to make. I have utterly failed to encourage the same self-loving, healthy environment for my friends and family that the Women’s Center offered me.

Around me, people constantly talk about how much weight they need to lose and how much dieting has helped them feel better about themselves. And it breaks my heart everyday. Not just because of what they are saying about their own self-image but what that translates into when they look at me. It pisses me off that the diet, medical and media industries have influenced others to look down on me. Because I’m way better than that.

Wake up people. What you say does matter to the people around you. Stop vocalizing your self-hatred. Its time to dump the calorie counting, ditch the diet books and stand naked in front of the mirror with glee. Its time to embrace every butt dimple, to love every chin we have and to exhault the joys of back fat at the top of our lungs. Its time to shake what God gave us and love ourselves because we are healthy, happy, smart, independent, fuckable, sassy, proud women.

Anybody who’s selling you something called “health” that doesn’t involve loving yourself and your body first, is a charlatan.

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Filed under Feminism, Health, Self Image, Size Acceptance