For the folks who are losing it

The first two paragraphs of the thought below deserve a content note for violence and fat hatred, though the rest doesn’t. Please protect yourself as needed.

I got my first death wish this week. One of my anti-diet Facebook posts was apparently shared in a Facebook group for bodybuilders that spends some of their effort hating and abusing fat people, creating a multi-day deluge of trolls. I’ll spare you the tide of hatred, except for one comment that was head and shoulders above the rest: “I hope you die soon so that I don’t have to educate you.”

There are people out there who would rather see fat people literally die than re-examine their held beliefs about bodies, weight and worth. Though these people are outliers, they represent a somewhat stronger form of the beliefs we all hold around fat and fatness.

And when do those beliefs make their strongest appearance? When we’re in the middle of losing weight, that smug time of change and achievement when we fully believe that the system works and anyone can do it if they just try as hard as you do.

If you’re in the middle of losing weight, you probably spend a lot of time irritated at me and what I say out loud. It’s pretty cruel of me to crush your dreams of being thin or healthy right when it’s coming together for you, right?

If you’re in the middle of losing weight, you probably spend a lot of time irritated at me and what I say out loud. It’s pretty cruel of me to crush your dreams of being thin or healthy right when it’s coming together for you, right?

We know from many, many studies that yes, diets or “lifestyle changes” can work.

In the short term.

I’m not just harshing your groove because I’m a mean person who likes to steal the joy of “getting healthy” and “taking control of your life” and “making different choices.”

I don’t want to steal your joy. I want you to have lots of joy in your life! But I also know that around 95-99% of weight loss fails in the long term, and that gaining that weight back over and over sets you up for additional health problems and the despair of “failing” repeatedly, and I want better for you.

You don’t deserve to be lied to.

You don’t deserve to feel like you’re a failure when the task is an impossible one.

You deserve to eat the foods your body wants and needs, and to move your body joyfully, and to choose the “healthy” behaviors that you want and need.

You deserve for your body to be seen for the miracle that it is, no matter what size or shape it is. You deserve not to be shamed, oppressed or penalized for the body you inhabit, period.

And you deserve not to spend your time, money, resources, emotions, and efforts on a framework that’s broken by design.

So, who’s the real jerk here? The diet and “lifestyle change” companies that are lying to you about your long-term prospects of success, and blaming you for having a human body that will do what human bodies do, while gleefully sucking up your money. Not me, and not other fat people.

(Featured image: courtesy Anastasia Taioglou on Unsplash)

Let’s dig deep.

Every Monday, I send out my Body Liberation Guide, a thoughtful email jam-packed with resources for changing the way you see your own body and the bodies you see around you. And it’s free. Let’s change the world together.