I’m late! Be Body Positive Day was August 5th. Gah!
The purpose of BE BODY POSITIVE DAY is to do something enjoyable that expands your love for your unique body. You can do an activity alone, with family or friends, or just change the thoughts in your mind. The point is to spend a day doing the things that give you pleasure because you deserve to feel good about who you are! Authors Dr. David Sobel and Dr. Robert Ornstein write in their book Healthy Pleasures, “In short, the healthiest people seem to be pleasure-loving, pleasure-seeking, pleasure-creating individuals.” We believe that loving yourself and your body is not only a privilege but a right for EVERY person!
What does it mean to me to Be Body Positive? To me it means loving my amazing body as it exists right now. Recognizing what my body does for me every day. Foregoing intentional weight loss and self hatred and opting instead for eating foods that make me feel good and moving my body in ways that make me feel good.
To me it means rocking that green dress and doing my best not to care about what anyone else will think. It means buying a bathing suit that I like, instead of the one with the skirt, or the one that will ‘make me look 10/15/100 pounds slimmer!’ It means swimming with my seven year old without any reservations about showing my thighs, upper arms, or backfat.
I’m gonna go ahead and review a book even though I haven’t finished it yet! I am already in Rad Fattie love with the author, Ragan Chastain, of Dances with Fat fame.
A few things that I stand for: I believe that everybody of every size should be treated with respect. I believe that it is impossible to tell somebody’s health based on their weight. I believe in giving people correct information and affordable options for eating and movement, and I believe in respecting whatever choices they make whether or not they are the choices I would make.
Her book is FAT: An Owner’s Manual, Navigating a Thin-Obsessed World with Your Health, Happiness, and Self-Esteem Intact. In this book you will find tips and tricks for dealing the a**holes that life throws at rad fatties.
Chastain is a three time National Dance Champion, among other things, and proudly FAT. Her book is much like her blog, concentrated into magic. Sections include ‘But But But Syndrome’, ‘Oops, That’s Not a Compliment’, ‘Food Police on Parade’, and ‘Tyra Banks Shows Us What NOT to Do’. And that’s just in the first half that I’ve read.
Chastain, through her blog and the book, gives fatties a script for reacting to jerkfaces, suggests retorts for several different types of fat hate with different levels of replies: the considerate reply, the pointed response, the bridge burning retort, etc. And we also get a bit of the science and logic about fat and health that is conveniently omitted from all those news reports. Namely that there is no scientifically proven link between fatness and every disease known to humanity! That all the diseases supposedly caused by fat routinely occur in slender humans too! That Big Pharma, doctors and ‘scientists’ have 6.2 billion reasons to prevent us from loving our bodies as they are. (Yes you read that right, FYI the Weight Loss Industry is a $6.2 billion annual business. If your doctor is pushing Weight Loss Surgery, ask yourself how much of a commission they’ll make…)
Intentional weight loss methods are a con game. They do not work, they actually harm our bodies and destroy our metabolism and ability to recognize our body’s natural hunger cues. All the diseases associated with being fat are also associated with being under constant stress. Hmm, I wonder why a group of people who are routinely dehumanized and gleefully insulted might display the same symptoms as people under high levels of stress?!?
My biggest epiphany about weight came in high school, when I realized that a lot, if not most, of the slender beautiful popular girls were starving or vomiting to maintain their weight. That they were just as miserable as I was in my fat body, if not moreso. That they were trapped in this expectation. I knew I did not want that life, but I didn’t stop hating my body until after giving birth. Almost 10 years later.
I’ve been reading and practicing Self-acceptance for a few years now, but quietly. I am not a confrontational person by nature, but I am learning to love and respect myself and will not accept being insulted, intentionally or not. Chastain’s blog, and now this book, are full of witty retorts, actual scientific facts and analysis, and just plain snark that I can use to defend myself verbally.
My kiddo has never and will never ever hear me talk negatively about my body. She gets it from enough sources: school, media, other kids and their parents. I don’t know how to protect her from the weight loss machine, but I think the key lies in exposing the truth. That it’s a rigged game. That intentional weight loss does not work in the long term for 95% of the people who try it. And if any other medicine had a 95% failure rate, it would be removed from the market.
I deserve better. We all do. Get yourself a copy of this book and remember that you don’t deserve this treatment. And then learn how to honor yourself by refusing to accept it.
PS – I’m going to finish the second half of this book and you will have Review Part II shortly!