Blog CPR.

One of my students mentioned my blog in class today, which illuminates two pretty crucial things for me:

  1. I exist on the Internet and sometimes forget that. EEK!
  2. I haven’t updated my blog in over a year.

#2 isn’t surprising at all, I resolved to write regularly in 2014 and I pretty much managed that until the last quarter of the year, I made no such promises about 2015, which is a pity because I’ve done a lot of cool stuff.

So in the interest of not getting old projects just go belly-up for no good reason aside from my own impossible laziness (I’ve expended all my work ethic elsewhere, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.) and also keeping a better grip on this academic year – I’m going to endeavor to write again.


Theses, writing, weight-loss, and sweet metaphors

Today in class, my new American Studies thesis students were challenged to answer this question, how will doing a thesis change me as a person and affect my life?

They came up with a  lot of good answers. They talked about confidence, work ethic, intellectual achievement, playing to their strengths, and managing their time. When it came to me to tell them what I believe the answer is, I told them something like this:

The thesis is a learning experience on a large scale. It’s yours, you own it entirely. You are the captain of your own ship, and as a result your successes will be yours and so will your failures. The way the thesis will change you is that when you are presented with a seemingly insurmountable task, whether it’s related to career, personal life, family life, romance, projects, or journeys, you will be able to look at it as a whole and know that you are capable of doing the work to get where you need to be. You won’t doubt yourself. When you’re presented with something that, at the outset, seems near impossible, you will push forward. You will know to break it into manageable pieces, work on it everyday, slowly and steadily. Even when you’re tired, and fed up, you will always see the forest beyond the trees and you will always trust that you will get there. The thesis will teach you that you have every bit of will, and grit, and motivation you need to do whatever you set out to do.

Large scale research and writing is very difficult. There’s a reason why not a lot of students sign up for majors that require work of this nature when they’re undergraduates, and there’s a reason why the students who do are exceptional. There’s a reason why when they write this thesis, which is, for many, their first major research and writing project, that they work closely with TAs, professors, advisors, and each other. Part of what makes this a valuable experience is knowing that they can fall, they usually don’t. But if they get lost, or need a hand – one will be there. We joke about this – “help will always be given in thesis class to those who ask for it.”

I did my first large scale (or it looked large at the time) writing project in IB2 (12th grade). It was called an Extended Essay and it’s basically a miniature version of an undergraduate thesis. I then wrote an undergraduate thesis, and capped it off with a master’s thesis. While I was doing that I started helping other people write. I love helping other people write.

Research driven academic writing might seem dry and sad to a lot of people, but I believe it provides one of the most poignant, useful metaphors for getting through life I have ever encountered, which brings me to my point.

As of today I have lost 80lbs. When I started losing weight the idea that I would ever get to 80lbs down seemed impossible. Even from my current vantage point, there is still so far to go. Starting a weight loss project where I decided to set about losing 200lbs (half my starting weight) was scary, it was scary because I didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know if I had the physical capacity or, perhaps more importantly, the emotional and psychological wherewithal. I knew all the data about dieting and about massive weight loss, that it often doesn’t work, and many dieters don’t make it past 10%, many people never reach their goal, and many people end up gaining to weigh more than they did at the beginning. Losing weight is socially, emotionally, and culturally stressful. At the outset, in the first 20lbs (which came off quick, but were invisible) I interrogated my choices a lot, I questioned whether my motivation was good enough, whether my choices were noble rather than being selfish or, perhaps, not even mine.

However, in the last 60lbs, I’ve learned so much about myself, and my motivations. I’ve learned that my motivations are complicated and are in a perpetual flux. I’ve learned that this is a project, it is a large, seemingly daunting project, and I’ve learned that in order to get where I want, and achieve what I set out for I have to be committed. While there are days were I don’t count calories so closely (or count them but don’t worry about them) every day is in service of the larger project. Not only the physical elements of weight loss (the eating, the working out) but the emotional and psychological parts. In order to get up everyday and want to keep doing this, I have to know that I am capable.

Losing large amounts of weight is so much like writing. It’s so much like writing that everyday gets easier because I realize more and more that this difficult thing is just like the difficult things I’ve done before. The difference between success and failure is patience, commitment, grit, and knowing that no matter what happens as you go, it is the process that is valuable. When you’ve finished a thesis, and smack it down with the familiar thump of a 100 pages, when you hold it for the first time as it finishes printing and it’s warm and smells like toner, it’s finished and and while it still needs to be graded, and (you hope) read – your relationship with it is finished. Everyday, every mile, every pound I lose feels like a page of a thesis. Meeting a micro-goal is like finding that book you really need, or writing a literature review that you don’t fucking hate.* Weight loss for me is a writing process, it’s a story about my body that I am wholly in control of, it requires my dedication and motivation, and requires that I not let other people derail my ideas, or hijack my work. This isn’t about other people’s ideas, this is my project and I’m writing it with my body. Every success is my success and while I undeniably have excellent people around me to support me, when it comes down to it, it’s mine. When my feet hurt so much I can barely walk, when I’m so bored of eating the same weird foods, and when all I want is just not think about it, I’m the person who has to. And I do because I’ve written, I’ve written long, complicated things, I’ve watched students follow wild trains of thought to magnificent conclusions, and because the body follows the brain.

Writing a thesis changes you in that you learn that if you need to write, if you want to write, you sit down and you write.
It affects your life because you learn that if you want to do something, you look at it as a whole, you think about what’s it’s really made of; the research, the skills, the time, the process, and you make a plan and you follow through with that plan.

*Unclear that this is even possible.

Cutting Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face, or Why #boycottingtarget Is Completely Stupid.

In the last few days, a significant number of fat fashion bloggers have ignited a movement to boycott Target due to the fact that their  latest designer collaboration, with Altuzarra, will not feature large plus sizes. I should specify that no Target designer collaboration has featured over a size 14/16, but they’ve all included size 14/16, which (and I hate to say this) isn’t really a “small size.” It’s mostly going on at the Twitter #, #boycottingtarget. Man, I love a good #. This is where it started.

The bubbling fury at Target’s refusal to provide stylish clothing for very fat people has really rallied a wide array of women to action. I think this is ridiculous, and I think it’s ridiculous as a fat person. As a fat woman who takes her clothing very seriously. I have three major reasons for this:

1. If you’re a plus size, and you want designer clothing you can have it. You take yourself into Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Lord and Taylor and any of the major department stores and shop a selection of Vince Camuto, Calvin Klein, Tahari, Adrianna Papell, Sejour, Ralph Lauren and others. Designer clothing comes in big sizes, and it’s never been more available. Yes, it can be expensive, but anyone who pays full price for department store clothing is a shopping like a moron. Further, the excuse that there are no plus size options is beyond trite. Asos. Modcloth. Torrid. Lane Bryant. Old Navy. TARGET. I could go on, and on. AND ON. (In addition to dozens and dozens of independent online stores.) People are getting paid real, actual money for wearing fat girl clothes stylishly and you’re going to tell me there are no options? Give me a break.

2. Target has a perfectly acceptable selection of plus size clothing in-store and especially online. I say this not as a skinny person who has failed to understand your plight, but as a 6′ tall, 300+lb person who’s spent most of her adult life hovering around 400lbs, and has never been smaller than a size 20. I’ve bought jeans, dresses, blouses, skirts, tops, and even pajamas at Target, I’ve rarely shopped their online selection, because I’ve rarely needed to. Further, I’m not a fat style slacker, I’d rate the importance of my appearance in the top 10, fuck it, top 3 most important things in my life. (Incidentally, it’s this very vanity that gets me in the gym, spends too much money at Sephora, and, what many people would consider, too much time on hair and makeup.) When I say there are good clothes at Target, I know what the fuck I’m talking about. If you’re failing to find acceptable clothing at Target, you don’t know how to dress yourself. Go straight to fashion prison, do not go past “go”, do not collect $200.

3. When you boycott Target, you not only cut off your nose to spite your face in that you stupidly deny yourself the aforementioned plus size clothes, but also the home wares, accessories, furniture, storage solutions, and assorted other awesome things that Target does really well. Beyond that, by not shopping at Target, you trap yourself in a situation where you will need to purchase the things you once got at Target, unless you plan on going without towels, lamps, toilet paper, and socks.

The sickest part of this for me is that a huge number of grumpy, entitled fat people who refuse to shop at Target because the designer dresses aren’t big enough will take their business to Walmart. WALMART. I don’t know if you’ve been in a Walmart, but it’s the worst. Not only does Walmart personify bad business practice with beyond dubious labor policies, and crushing local business, but it doesn’t come close to Target’s selection or charitable community work. Beyond that, shit in Walmart is so fucking tasteless, that I won’t go in there, also the lighting is horrifying, but I digress… Remember Target, the store who LOST BUSINESS THIS YEAR because they refused to let customers carry guns, meanwhile at Walmart (your new favorite store) the towels and ammunition sit side by side, HOW RAD.

I fail to see how any Liberal can take their money from Target over dresses being too small, and give it to Walmart, so they can pay women less, and flood America with tacky, tasteless shit. I realize that between these two behemoths, we must chose between two evils, but honestly, it doesn’t take a genius to see which is the lesser of two evils. The one with the cute lamps, stylish clothes, positive labor policies, and striving to make style affordable and accessible. But wait, you forgot about that important, ideological stuff because you were whining about dresses.


“How?” and What Comes Next…

I’ve decided to be very open about the weight loss experience I’m currently having. I’ve decided to do this because the support from people I know, even tangentially, is helpful in reminding me in the difficult times that I am not alone, similarly, I’m very open with the people closest to me about this experience and my feelings through it, because I need their support, I won’t pretend I don’t.

May 8th was my three month (or twelve week) gym-o-versary, I did not think I could stick with it this long, or that I would have this much success.  I’ve lost 41lbs since February 8th.

The reason I am writing about my workouts, my diet, and my fat  is because, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s consuming me right now. I feel the need to work through things that keep coming up, the myriad of emotional experiences I’m having (and that I didn’t expect), and articulate in a public place my plan for the next four months.

People keep asking me how I’m doing this. The sad part is that there’s no magic, which is a real bummer because I’d like to attribute all my success to magic. The “how” is as simple as this: I workout at least six days per week, sometimes twice a day, 2-3 hours are spent doing weight training and about 6 or 7 are spent doing cardio. I work with a trainer, Ashley (basically the greatest person I could have hoped to work with, she’s incomparable, I love working with her so much, and just think she’s awesome.) Each week we go through a new work out, I learn to do it, she assesses how I did that week (did I lose or gain – weight, inches, confidence, skills) and then I do the workout two more times before I see her again.

When I do cardio it’s either on a treadmill, climbing high hills at surprisingly decent speeds or biking. My goal is to never leave a “half” workout (30-40 minutes) without burning 500 calories or more, or 700 calories or more for a “full” workout (60-70 minutes). My best days are between 900-1000 calories.

In terms of diet, I count my calories, every single one, every single day. I calculated my BMR (the amount of calories I would burn daily if I didn’t even get out of bed.) and I eat below it. I’m about at the point where my daily calorie intake could drop, but frankly, it’s hard to eat enough each day anyway. I make an effort to not eat “junk,” but don’t really deprive myself much. It’s helpful that my roommate, Marianne, is a significant part of my process and vice-versa as it means we cook together and for each other. Most dinners involve protein and salad. We eat a lot of salad. I also eat a lot of yogurt, fruit, smoothies, cheese, glasses of milk, and as few carbs (mostly bread and pasta are to be avoided, this is nearly impossible.) as possible. We generally don’t have sweets or candy in the apartment, but do eat lots of strawberries. I also eat Chipotle once a week, because there are some things I will never sacrifice. A life without burritos is not a life worth having.

I keep track of everything with obsessive diligence, I weigh myself more than once a week, I measure my body with a tape measure, and sometimes I even take photos. I also keep track of all my workouts, how long, how far, how much – so that I can see whether I’m improving and beat my personal records. It all seems terribly boring, even reading this now, it’s damn excruciating. I find myself wanting to yell at myself: “Get a damn life! This is pathetic!” but then I realize that I’ve committed myself to this exercise, and now I’m bound by own investment to continue it.

That said, my parents and coming to visit in the beginning of September (my parents live far, far away and I rarely see them.) and I’ve decided to make the beginning of September the next milestone I’m reaching for. My goal: to lose an additional 50lbs by September 8th. This will put me at a total of 91lbs since I began. Ashley seems fairly certain I could pull off 100, and if I exceed my goals, that’s great.


Where Does Fat Activism Really Happen?

Obviously, I’ve been following along with quite a lot of FA (Fat Acceptance*) stuff on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and various other parts of the Internet for some time, but I have lately been truly galvanized by the back and forth at #notyourgoodfatty on Twitter. I have been exceptionally moved for three main reasons:

1. Being in the midst of a major weight loss project, I feel personally resentful that people who don’t know me see fit to judge my life and behavior. It makes me angry. (40lbs in 3 months).
2. I realize that I’m at a moment where I need the support, camaraderie, and visibility of my fat peers more than ever because part of my weight loss experience, though empowering, also makes me very vulnerable. I am more aware of my body than before, and having the chance to interact with brilliant people who seek the same self love I do is helpful.
3. I am stunned, shocked, and repulsed by the righteousness, hypocrisy, and thoughtlessness from people who have lost weight, large or small amounts. I know that my weight loss is much faster and easier for me than it would be for many, and yet, I would never presume to tell anyone that it is “easy.” Describing major, long-term weight loss as “easy” is nonsense.

Recently, I’ve noticed that in addition to criticism of fat people, and now they chose to live, there is a rash of criticism of fat activism itself. The root of this seems to lie in the fact that a great deal of fat activism occurs in online spaces, and people don’t believe that fat activism “extends beyond the keyboard.” This falls into a larger conversation about whether hashtag activism is productive and what social media has done to and with activism and advocacy in a larger picture. What I can say is that the Internet is real, online spaces are real spaces, and things that occur there are, and can be, very real. You may disagree with this, but I say this from the perspective of someone who has actually studied this. Internet scholars in fields of communication, cultural studies, and IT agree that the boundaries between RL and notRL grow ever thinner. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who met their partner online, got a degree online, deals with online money, or perhaps most importantly, was present for and affected by the Arab Spring.

Firstly, in order to work through this, it’s important to have a working definition of “activism.” I’ll use the Merriam-Webster definition as a starting point: a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.

Now, I would readily argue that fat activism hits this definition head-on, both online and off. While you may never have seen a large group of fat people marching in your city, I assure you that they are visible. Just yesterday, San Francisco had a fat flash mob. SF is a pretty special place though, but there are examples in NY through the NAAFA, and in Toronto (and these examples are the product of a couple minutes of investigation.)
There are tangible examples of fat activists going out and physically promoting their cause.

One of the major challenges that fat people face is one of visibility (I know, there’s a joke here.) with regards to the constant emphasis that we have dress to make ourselves smaller, or actually take up less space than our bodies do. Furthermore, because there are hardly any fat people in cinema, or television and when they are they are portrayed badly, as jokes, and for their fat, it’s easy to see how feeling invisible and perpetually shamed fuels this activism. With that said, visibility and being visible forms a valuable part of fat activism.

While you may never have seen a group of fat people protesting, you may have seen a shameless fat girl in a bikini, or short, tight skirt. You may have seen a fat person unapologetically take up space, you may have found this disgusting, but for fat activism, this is a form of action. Just by being visible, by not hiding our bodies, and by not apologizing for those bodies fat people push against norms, and articulate, perhaps not with signs or banners or megaphones but, with our visible thighs, backs, knees, rolls, dimples, and cellulite that we are demonstrating our position on a controversial issue.

In addition, the argument online that fat activism is invalid because it supposedly fails to exist offline, can equally be leveled at the opposition. The argument equally applies to fat hate, or those in favor of fat shaming. While many fat people will experience personal interactions on a near daily basis, and they will push back against those interactions, I fail to see where the pro fat stigma movement holds its rallies. Surely, if FA can be debunked due to our apparent silence offline, and thus be declared ridiculous, then the same can be said of the other side, when the most vitriolic language comes off of Reddit and Return of Kings, these movements have failed to transcend into the real world. Apart from the odd asshole calling some fat person “land whale” in a bar, and if that counts, it also counts when she hikes up her skirt, and stomps over to give that asshole a piece of her fat mind.

*Fat Acceptance is a form of body acceptance that refutes the idea that social, sexual, intellectual, or ANY kind of value is tied to the body. It accepts that different people have different preferences, but that bodily autonomy is important, and that abuse, discrimination, bullying, and erasure is harmful and wrong.

Let’s talk numbers…

Now, I know I’ve been posting a lot about fat, and weight-loss lately, but it’s because this is what I’m doing right now and, guess what? It consumes most of my life. That’s right, in just over 3 months I’ve lost 33lbs, and it is the most significant thing I’ve done in the last 3 months. People have been very encouraging, offered a lot of support, kindness, and helpful advice – a great deal of which I have made use of and all of which I am grateful for.  In so many ways, getting started on this and doing well so far means so much, I am very proud of myself, I feel accomplished and I feel better. However, I’ve also realized some really important things:

33lbs means nothing. You can’t tell. I look exactly the same as I did 33lbs ago. There is no evidence of my work in my day-to-day life. If someone wants to say something mean to me, they’ll still call me fat, and they’ll be right, because I’m fat, and I’m just as fat as I was when I started. Kindly people will tell me I look slightly slimmer, and it’s different. It is slightly different, and I have pictures to prove it, but at the end of the day, I have the same fat body I did when I started. The same “look how fat that person is!”, “Oh my god, you’re so huge!”, “You should take the stairs!” fat body.

This might seem strange or shocking, but that’s how it is for really fat people, 30lbs, 50lbs, even 70lbs (If my body looks noticeably different 15, 30lbs from now, I’ll be stunned.) these are joke numbers, they have no impact. Volumes of weight that would completely change the appearance or even life, of a “overweight”, “average”, or even “slightly obese” person are meaningless to really fat people. The reason I bring this up is because of how many people think really fat people don’t lose weight because we’re lazy. It’s not that we’re lazy, it’s that this is so much harder than someone who isn’t really fat can possibly imagine. I go to the gym 10+ hours a week, I’ve spent so much money on training, I count every single calorie that goes in to or out of my body, I keep spreadsheets, I consult calculators all day. I am always in some kind of pain, because working out everyday hurts. The first thing I do in the morning is plan how I’m going to eat during the day, and I obsess over every single bite.


Because I have to, because to lose 33lbs in 3 months when you’re really fat means being really motivated, really diligent, it means there are no cheat days, there are no breaks, there is no day where you don’t push yourself as hard as you can, there is no time where you aren’t aware of every inch of your body.

Does that sound crazy depressing? Does it sound pathetic and sad that last week I got stuck at 370lbs for 3 days, and spent time sitting alone in a locker room honestly contemplating my self-worth over where the scale was stuck, and then chastised myself because that time could have been spent working out? And all for weight you can’t see, for weight that doesn’t make a damn bit of difference.

The reason I think telling you this is important is that I do this gladly, I count, and obsess, and interrogate every pound, every minute on the treadmill, and every calorie willingly, because I want to. What’s more important is that is that I don’t hate my body now, I didn’t before, I won’t ever in the future. I love my body, I love the way I look. I do feel a bit guilty, like I’ve betrayed my fat self, sorry that I felt fine before I started, confident and happy, and yet I’m still asking my body to do this for me, still asking it to climb endless hills to nowhere, and count food.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being denied in any way. Eating the amount I need to eat is easy (except when it’s difficult to eat enough) because when you’re as big as I am, even diet numbers involve giving yourself a lot of fuel. (Want a quick window into what it takes to power my body? To maintain my weight at my current activity level, I’d have to eat over 4,000 calories a day. As it stands, I eat fewer calories than I would burn laying in bed all day. And some days, I don’t manage to eat enough.)

Even with all that I’m doing, and doing it right – a healthy diet, committed, challenging exercise, self-motivated, and being held accountable – the distance to actual, tangible results is hard to fathom. I’ve done this for 3 months, and lost approximately 10lbs per month. I am still 7 months away from being considered “severely obese” rather than “morbidly obese.” I’ll probably be “severely obese” for my birthday! Yay!  March 2015 might see me get into the “moderately obese” category, and from there I’ll still be 70lbs away from “normal.” This is all assuming that it’s even possible for me to maintain this level of commitment until October 2015, or a total of 1 year and 7 months from now. (It’s also important to mention that my goal weight is right in the center of “overweight” and that in order to maintain that I’ll probably have to live like this for the rest of my life.)  Also, this language! Everything I encounter on my journey basically tells me that the grim reaper is sleeping on my futon, and I’m about to fuse to my chair.

This all seems very depressing, but the idea is that people should realize just how difficult this is, it’s not easy, there is no easy way. The scary part of this is that all of this is that it is much easier for me than it is for many people who want to lose weight. I have no medical conditions, no dietary restrictions, no issues with mobility, or mental illness. This is how difficult it is for someone who is confident, comfortable, physically and emotionally healthy, with an awesome support system, as well as resources to spare to pay for the gym, and the trainer. Now just imagine how hard it is for someone with even slightly different circumstances. This is why if someone doesn’t want to lose weight, and wants to be happy being fat that is totally up to them, and no one should be allowed to tell them to do this, or shame them for not doing it.

Good Fatties, Bad Fatties, and why I keep talking about fat.

In the last week or so a very compelling hashtag emerged on Twitter, #notyourgoodfatty. The goal of #notyourgoodfatty was a space where “bad” fat people could share their rebellious experience. I am of the firm opinion that when  non-normatively bodied person loves their body and celebrates it, it is a political act. The people of #notyourgoodfatty did so with exuberance. We discussed wearing what we want (#fatkini), eating in public, enjoying food, enjoying physical exercise for fun and not weight loss, having sex, being sexual without shame, and generally celebrating, loving and caring for ourselves. It was inspiring and truly beautiful.

The notion of “good fatties” and “bad fatties” is a relatively new concept, for a long time all fat people were “bad” and that was that. Now there are “bad fatties,” which is more like “Oh, you bad girl, eating that cake! ;)” and “good fatties,” which is more like, “you’re having a salad and working out! You go girl!” Neither bad or good fatties are truly bad or good. There are inherent problems with both. Good fat people run the risk of feeling tied to their weight loss, feeling as if their value is determined by their ability to lose weight, and often these impulses can take away from quality of life. Bad fat people have to contend with the potential health risks, disapproval from society, and not “fitting in” or trying to. It’s a complex issue, and most people will fall somewhere in the middle, some things we do will be good, and some will be bad. Balance is crucial. 

I believe that fat people have the right to be fat, and that if they don’t want to lose weight, or dress to flatter, or cover up at all, that’s amazing. I find many fat bodies lovely, beautiful, exuberant. (Goodness knows I’m crazy about my own.) I don’t really care about the health of my fellow fat people, I only care about my own health. I may be an anomaly here, as I also think people should be allowed to smoke their cigarettes without being made to feel like monsters. I see “caring about someone’s health” in order to tell them how to live as a shitty and oppressive thing to do, and one that masks fatphobia behind false altruism. Ultimately, I believe that whatever body you’re in is beautiful and should make you happy. I also believe that if you’re unhappy in your body, it is your responsibility to identify that and change it, with or without help, in whichever direction. 

Many people on Twitter did not agree with, or feel positive about the bad fatties having such voice, and trolls and naysayers began to post in droves. The posts were hurtful, discriminatory, bullying, and personified what I dislike about the Internet. A space where people can be rude, cruel, hurtful and not care about the consequences of their behavior. The battle raged (and rages) between “fat haters” and “fat apologists”, “the healthy” and “the sick” and so on. Debates about whether dieting works, whether fat people cost the state too much money, whether they’re gross, lazy, slobby, mentally or physically ill dominated the scene. Many powerful fat voices emerged, both men and women, of various ages and various races. Many of them were health care professionals, nutritionists, and really knew what they were talking about (often proponents of HAES (Health At Every Size). The backlash was similarly diverse, a blend of genders, races, ages, and also a mixture of hateful thin people with former fat people, and fitness professionals. 

What is and was most interesting for me about this space is two-fold:

Firstly, both of these sets of voices ended up shouting into a vacuum. The people who need to hear what bad fatties have to say are sad fatties. Fat people who are suffering with diets, struggling to lose weight, and feeling emotional and psychological hurt as a result, these are the people that need the powerful, self-love rhetoric of #notyourgoodfatty. People who want to learn to love themselves, and find their own health. Similarly, people with fat children (you know, it sucks being the fat child to normal parents, I would know.) and fat family who need to understand how their loved ones love themselves. 

On the other hand, the people the opposition need to reach with their thoughts on excuses, and “living life”, “not eating yourselves to death” etc are the fat people ready to make a change. The unhappy fat people who want to be told to let go of their “excuses,” the people who do not want to live of the edges of society, and want to be the healthy they’ve always imagined. The fat people who have had health problems emerge, or who genuinely want to lose weight. Not being they hate being fat, but because they’re on the other side of the system. I believe the narratives of former fat people are some of the powerful, wonderful things one can engage with during a weight-loss process.

I saw both these sets of voices being wasted and only causing more unhappiness and frustration. 

Secondly, I am not a bad fatty, so I felt like a usurper speaking for them, with them. I felt like I’d done something wrong when I started working out vigorously, or when I want to lose weight. I realized this was a problem, both these positions where firmly demanding each person be one way or the other. It felt like there was a strong, “with us or against us” attitude. Now, I know I’m not a bad fatty, but I’m also not a good fatty, sometimes I eat things I shouldn’t sure, but it’s more than that. It’s that while I’m changing my body, I’m not solely in love with the “thin person” (I don’t think this person exists) I’ll eventually be, I don’t have to hate being fat to want to be different. I felt as if I was forced to think of my desire to change as repulsion, dissatisfaction. This is simply not the case. 

I realize that the whole concept is more complicated, my experience with my body is more complicated. While I may workout everyday and eat carefully, and on most days really relish each inch and pound of weight loss, it doesn’t mean I don’t like my fat body. I live under no illusions that my fat body might not be as healthy as it could be, but that doesn’t mean I hate it. Similarly, not hating my body doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy losing weight. Do I like my less fat self more than my fat self? Not really. I feel pretty equal (and great) about both. A lot of people will tell me this is an obvious lie, why would I try and change my body if I didn’t dislike it? Because I can, because I’m vain and I want to shop at J.Crew?

That might be all there is to it.