How Do You Feel About Fat Acceptance?

A few weeks ago, BHJ wrote a post which he said would "piss off lazy fat people."  You can read it by clicking here.

After the post published, there was a flurry of people discussing fat acceptance (pros and cons) on their blogs and on twitter.

I added my two cents in the comment section of BHJ's post, but my mind keeps coming back to this controversial topic again and again.

A few things struck me after reading the original post.

First of all, I think if a woman had written it she would be crucified on the spot.

Second, life is not black and white and the post doesn't leave much room for life's many shades of grey. 

So, let's discuss the topic here, today.

Are there lazy, fat, people in this world? 

Yes, I'm sure there are.

Should these people be in bikinis at BHJ's community pool grossing him out?

Sure, why not?  

Maybe there should be an Obese People of the World bikini/speedo contest at BHJ's community pool with the express purpose of grossing him out.

(Although, as I wrote last week in my post Beach Etiquette 101, I'm one hundred percent pro people wearing bathing suits which fit them.  Nothing looks worse than someone squeezing into a too-small suit.)

Should people be proud of their fat?

Should people accept themselves the way they are, or hide in their houses until they can pass the judgment of everyone who is thinner than they are?

How do any of us really know the fat person is proud of their fat and not actually deeply ashamed?  

Or perhaps they're just proud of the fact they are now several pounds thinner than they were a few months ago?

How fat is too fat?

Who gets to be the judge?

Does fat equal lazy?

And if you answered yes, what makes you so sure?

I'm throwing all these questions out there because I want to hear your thoughts.

It's only fair, I suppose, I should be honest enough to share my thoughts with you also.

I acknowledge some people are fat because they're lazy.

I agree with BHJ, there seems to be a shortage of people taking personal responsibility for themselves.  Lots of people make excuses for themselves instead of owning up to their responsibility for the choices and decisions they make – and the consequences of those choices.

Being overweight is not healthy.  I don't think anyone argues that fact.

Feeding your kid(s) a consistently unhealthy diet is, in my opinion, negligent parenting.  

No, I'm not talking about an occasional fast food meal – I'm talking about feeding your kids nothing but junk on a regular basis.  If your ten year old child weighs over two hundred pounds, in my mind, you've committed child abuse.  (Assuming, there are no medical conditions causing the situation.)  A young child is not capable of purchasing and preparing their own food and it's the parent's responsibility to provide a healthy diet.

When it comes to fat adults, this is what I know ….

Everyone has a story.

Everyone has a story and unless a particular person has chosen to share the details of their story with you, it's presumptuous to judge them.

You don't know, just by seeing someone, if they have a medical condition causing them to be fat.  

You don't know, just by seeing someone, if they are fifty pounds thinner than they were a year ago.  Nor do you know what amount of work and dedication it took for them to accomplish that goal.

You don't know, just by seeing someone, if they are on a medication which causes weight gain or makes it virtually impossible to lose weight.

You don't know, just by seeing someone, if they are unable to exercise due to a "hidden" disability or medical condition.

You don't know, just by seeing someone, if she bought that bikini as a reward for losing one hundred pounds … even though she still has another 150 pounds to go.

You don't know, if after battling and freeing himself of alcohol and drug addition, he decided to accept himself with an extra fifty pounds.

Can most people lose weight if they choose to?

Yes, most overweight people can and should.  I'm certainly not condoning an unhealthy lifestyle.

The problem is, I don't think we should be sitting poolside (or at the beach) judging total strangers about their weight.

Everyone's got a story … 

And … none of us are perfect.

© Twenty Four At Heart

60 Responses to “How Do You Feel About Fat Acceptance?”

  1. Erica

    I don’t see how any bikini can fit an overweight person. If proper fit is a requirement then fat people can’t wear bikinis at all. Nude beaches would make that problem go away.

  2. Jan

    Biting my tongue, biting my tongue, biting my tongue.
    No, really – I have VERY strong opinions about this, and the last thing I want to do is incite a riot on your blog.

  3. di

    I can only speak for myself when it comes to ‘how fat is too fat?” When I became uncomfortable in my own clothes, my knees began to ache, it became increasingly more difficult to get up from the sofa, and I could not breathe after running through an airport to catch my next flight, well… it’s then that I knew I was too fat. (and that’s only a weight gain of 20 pounds so could not imagine why anyone would allow themselves to become truly obese)
    I would NEVER wear a bikini just because I take pride in the way I look. I shake my head at people that take no pride in themselves and that’s all I’ll say about it although I’m thinking much more than that.

  4. WebSavvyMom

    –>As I learned in a song by some random Harley dude on Spring Break in Key West….
    “Fat looks better tan; so take your clothes off.”
    This is why I spend most of the summer in my bathing suit. We all see what we want to see when we look in the mirror.

  5. karen

    As a current fatty (but actually working on it) I can’t stand seeing overweight people in too tight bathing suits or clothes. I avert my eyes. My fat started when I was in middle school and continued until I moved out and am now am having to work hard to change it. I personally either cover up or don’t go. My 2 daughters I have been told I am to strict with them and food. Not that I starve them, but they rarely get candy and eat healthy constantly and are at their appropriate rate. I don’t keep all junk food from them but ration and rare. I don’t see an excuse to feed a child junk food and let their weight balloon.
    But thats just me.

  6. Kelly

    If someone has spent their life trying to lose weight unsuccessfully I can understand reaching a point of just accepting themselves. Food is an addiction just like tobacco or alcohol or drugs. Some will struggle with it their entire lives. I’m not referring to the avg person with 20 pounds to lose but to the truly obese.

  7. Abby Smith

    I also have strong opinions on this topic of “fat acceptance”. I can speak for both sides of the issue having dealt with weight issues my entire life. I have lost 100+ three times in my life. I had finally ‘accepted’ my genetic predisposition to being ‘fat’ and developed diabetes. The diabetes was due to the poor choices I made in food selection. I won’t go into all the of pros and cons of developing diabetes but my final conclusion was that fat DID NOT equal diabetes. That’s my opinion based on a great deal of research I did … that being said I have lost over 100 pounds again and now I am considered ‘normal’ weight for my height. I also began eating lots of vegetables and fruits and got rid of ‘white’ flour items and to this day I still eat the same way as I have decided to maintain this weight I need to stay away from foods that tend to make me gain.
    People who are ‘fat’ are not lazy.
    I think you can just say that there are lazy people.
    People who are morbidly obese as I was are very unhappy with the weight. If you just think you are 10 pounds overweight and how challenging it is to lose those 10 pounds, think how impossible it seems to lose 100, or 150 or 200 pounds on your own.
    WLS is an entirely different topic which has too many controversies.
    The goal to become ‘normal’ for an obese person is so difficult. Because food is our drug of choice. Many obese people eat to medicate. Think of trying to kick a habit that you must do every day. You must eat to live. Drug addicts have to completely stop drugs, alcoholics must stop drinking, gamblers must stop gambling. YOU simply have to stop the behavior totally, you can’t do that with eating.
    It takes a lot to finally step up to the plate and begin.
    It’s a long journey, and for most people it is fraught with small victories and failures. Most obese people cannot adhere to a strict regimen. It’s as foreign to them as learning Russian.
    This is a very deep topic and there are lots of angles.
    If you’ve never dealt with being obese, you don’t know what it’s like. You don’t know the shame, the frustration, the hurt.
    You don’t know the insults that are hurled at your face and behind your back. Other non-obese people think you’re funny, or lazy, and you’re neither.
    You just can’t stop the addiction.
    Until one day when you’re ready.
    But I don’t think anyone should be ‘judged’ strictly from the outside.
    You just have no clue what is beneath all those layers of fat.

  8. Linda Tustin

    24- great topic. I agreed with most of what you said and I wish Jan had not held back. I always appreciate her opinion. That said, bottom line, do not judge lest ye be judged. A person who says bad things about a person based on thier weight is the same as a racist to me. Let’s just put the guy who wrote the original post in a glass house and pitch some rocks at him. LOL

  9. Jan

    Linda, no you don’t – I tend to rip the head of sanctimonious twits who “could not imagine why anyone would allow themselves to become truly obese” and take a great big poopy down their necks.
    If you think fat is a CHOICE, you are SADLY mistaken. Fat ACCEPTANCE is a *choice*, and I feel deeply and passionately for those who have tried and tried and tried and tried to lose weight (especially when the current government-sanctioned diet is designed to pack the pounds on the great majority of us), while the media bombards us with images of stick-thin women, idiots say ignorant, cruel things like “How could you let yourself go like that?” and then decide “Fuck it – if I’m fat, I’m fat. It doesn’t define me an unworthy human being.”
    So, I’m back to biting my tongue.

  10. BHJ

    I used the woman at my community pool as an image to represent the idea of fat acceptance. That’s all. A lot of people wanted to “understand her” – maybe she’s poor or has an addiction or what have you. But I just used her image to delve into certain ideas i wanted to write about.
    I think fat people, if they don’t want to be fat people, are lazy, unless they’re currently engaging the process of losing weight in a wholehearted way.
    “Engaging” is the key word. The post you referenced is the 5th in a series of posts about what it would mean to REALLY engage weight loss, to make it a priority, and to really hit it hard. Of course there are other issues in the equation but my argument has consistently been that those issues can’t keep you fat unless you let them.
    The most frequent complaint hurled at me is that I don’t understand how hard it is. And you know what? Maybe I don’t. But I’m also betting that those people don’t understand how hard it is to run 15 miles. If they don’t, then maybe we need to redefine things like “tried and tried and tried”.

  11. BHJ

    See? Jan’s talking about people who tried and tried and tried and tried, to no avail. Then she employs the government and the media as the culprits.
    And what I’m saying is – hey – let’s boil this down to real presence. Here I am. There’s my shoes. And there’s the road. Any government around? How about the media? Nope. Well then run the fuck down the road.
    The rest of my posts, and future ones will, chip away at these reports of desperate attempts to no avail. What does it mean to try? When does one give up and quit? And how are they related? Maybe effectiveness BEGINS beyond the limit of when you want to quit.
    Unless, when you quit 10 minutes into a 30 minute workout, we can pin that on the government and media too.

  12. Jan

    BHJ, so, how would YOU redefine “tried and tried and tried?” Really, please – illuminate us. How, in your infinite wisdom, would you suggest that I or anyone else with more than just a few pounds to lose (and yes – 20 is just a few, especially for the sake of THIS argument) go about it? Give me the benefit of your expertise and tell me exactly what WILL work. You know ALL about biochemistry and metabolism and insulin resistance and genetics and just what my eating and exercise habits are, right?

  13. Jan

    Oh, and how absolutely fortunate you are that NO external forces in your life affect you. While you’re at it, please tell me how you function in a vacuum.

  14. Linda Tustin

    I’d rather be fat than be a sanctimonious asshole any day. Just because BHJ can run 15 miles doesn’t make him better than anyone. I guess the world revolves around him- therefore he is the yardstick we should all measure ourselves against.

  15. BHJ

    Well, you’re obviously rude and jumpy with an axe to grind so there’s not really much hope of getting very far. I’ve been working these things out for several months over several posts on my personal blog. You’re welcome to go read them. I don’t run ads, so you won’t be supporting evil.
    And, no, I don’t know about biochemistry, metabolism, insulin resistance, genetics, or any of the other stories you use to justify and make sense of your failures. I know about changing the way I eat, running my ass off, and losing a bunch of weight. And my personal blog is where I think about and reflect upon that process.
    Your vacuum jab was an evasion. Again, you have a body. There’s a road outside. It remains for you to prove how the government and the media deters you from running down it.

  16. Kim @ Beautiful Wreck

    I read his post with disdain. I didn’t comment. Was there some truth to it? Why yes, there was. At the same time the whole thing kinda sickened me because it was full of ignorant statements. My first thought was “I can lose weight but he will always be an asshole.”
    Had I wrote something like that about tattoos and piercings, people would have come unglued and I would have been crucified. But his post was about being fat and well, hell, that was okay. My friend Jen has said for years that being prejudice of fat people is the last acceptable prejudice of our society and I have to agree. That being said:
    I am the fat girl. I am 90lbs over weight. I’ve been the skinny girl … the way too thin, look like I haven’t eaten in a year skinny girl. I am sure most men would find how I looked really acceptable because I had tits and ass on my boney 5’10 frame. Which weight do you think I am happier at? I am definitely happier as the fat girl. Sure I would like to weigh less, sure part of the problem is my love for food, but lots of things contributed to me being overweight besides what I put in my mouth and it has little to do with laziness. Was I healthier as the super skinny girl? Umm, no. I’m pretty sure that was the unhealthiest I have ever been, emotionally and physically. I worked out three hours a day and ate like a mouse. I had problems with my sugar, and I was also anemic, even on supplements.
    I have to say, I would rather be a failure at exercise than a failure at compassion for others in the world. But hey that is just me, fat, skinny, or in between.

  17. Jan

    BHJ, I was *asked* how I felt about fat acceptance – I offered my *opinion* that people who say things like “How can you let yourself get so big?” are thoughtless at best and more often just out-and-out cruel. I also offered my *opinion* that anyone who, after many futile attempts to lose weight – and often instructed to do so with a diet that is counterproductive – and still manages to love themselves in a society that determines worthiness by the size of your clothes is admirable in my eyes. SO sorry you didn’t get it. YOU also chose to jump all over MY comment, accusing ME of a victim mentality and using it as aplatform to express YOUR *opinion* that any fat person who hadn’t accomplished what you had (and how you accomplished it) is simply lazy.
    And I’m rude and have an axe to grind. Right.

  18. Amy_in_Stl

    I think runners are the ones that are sick. They destroy their bodies one mile at a time. It’s common for a runnter to end up with joints that have to be replaced, toenails that are falling off, skin cancer because they’re out so often sweating through their sunscreen.
    I work out almost daily and sometimes I eat healthy but food is my comfort. When I am stressed, I turn to food automatically. I’m learning and working every day to channel my stress into other areas such as journaling, boxing, knitting or biking. I do have a weight problem; I carry around about 30 extra pounds. I tried running but found I starting having a lot of joint pain in my legs. I tried learning to run differently, wearing different shoes, exclusively running on a treadmill (they call that torture). It’s not normal to voluntarily hurt yourself; so I’ve found other ways to burn calories.
    I’ve not seen BHJ – I’m sure he’s lovely – but the really dedicated runners I see here often are wearing tank tops or no tops and tiny running shorts. The expanse of weathered flesh, stretched taut over bony bodies is gross. And don’t even get me started on the lack of muscle above the waist. Ew.

  19. BHJ

    Oh, Jan. With all your caps for emphasis, heckling me with the infinite wisdom, expertise bit. Yes. You’re rude.
    And I didn’t say “that any fat person who hadn’t accomplished what [I] had (and how [I] accomplished it) is simply lazy.”
    That’s lazy reading.
    Here’s what I said: “I think fat people, if they don’t want to be fat people, are lazy, unless they’re currently engaging the process of losing weight in a wholehearted way.”
    I really don’t see what’s so outrageous about that statement. All the fat people bitching about me always go on to talk about what they’re doing to become healthier. Well, wasn’t really talking about them.
    And Kim? What ignorant statements? And if you can lose weight, why am I stuck being an asshole forever? That’s a pretty bleak view of the potential for change.
    Linda. That was just lame. I never said I was better than anybody or that the world revolves around me. In fact, fuck you, Linda.

  20. Jan

    BHJ, as I pointed out, I only said something to you because you said something to me – and talk about lazy reading! My original comment had nothing whatsoever to do with you, your blog, or your opinion about anything. YOU chose to attack my comment, and attack it you did. Twice. And now, on top of having a victim mentality, I’m a failure to boot.
    Rude, am I? Pot, meet kettle.

  21. Tami

    Whoa!! Fighting in the comments today. So this is clearly a hot button for a lot of people. What happened to agreeing to disagree without telling each other to fuck off? I think some basic respect for differing viewpoints would be nice. I say that as a fat woman who both agrees and disagrees with bhj AND jan.

  22. Peeved Michelle

    You are right. Unless someone tells you his story, you do not know what it is and anything you presume it to be is likely to be a projection of your own issues, not his.

  23. Amy

    I’m always curious why everyone seems so concerned with how other people live their lives. Why does it matter to anyone what I eat, how I move, what I pray to or who I fuck?
    And it harm none, do what thou wilt.
    I’m an advocate of Heath At Every Size [HAES]. That has fat acceptance as a part of it. As long as you’re eating a variety of food and moving every day it doesn’t matter what size you are.

  24. Jan

    *waves a white flag*
    Before I go any further, I capitalize here because Typepad doesn’t allow HTML tags in comments – I can’t italicize or bold a word for emphasis. You work with what you’ve got.
    So. BHJ. I’ve read your blog, including the post that sparked all of this (I hadn’t before – have you read my blog? You might be surprised). You said you started running at 240 lbs and that you lost a “ton” of weight. Did you lose 100 or more pounds? I’m not being snarky or defensive – just curious. I doubt it; few men are healthy at 140 pounds unless they’re of very small stature. Did you run 15 miles right out of the chute? And, again, I in no way wish to impugn your accomplishment, but I doubt that too.
    You said in the comments here that “I used the woman at my community pool as an image to represent the idea of fat acceptance. That’s all. A lot of people wanted to ’understand her’ – maybe she’s poor or has an addiction or what have you. But I just used her image to delve into certain ideas I wanted to write about.” Again, nothing personal, but you’re backpedaling here – the original blog post says “The master planned community pool is open for business and awash with fat acceptance. In some cases, the choice of swimwear indicates a step beyond fat acceptance to blatant fat pride: ‘I AM FAT! VIEW MY ROLLS!’ And you know what? Gross.”
    Pretty insensitive and dismissive. Cruel, even – and it set the tone for the entire post, which followed suit admirably. Sorry, but it’s true.
    Yes, losing weight takes work. And what worked for you may not work for me; in fact, I can guarantee it wouldn’t – being a vegetarian and a runner would only end up with me being an injured, fat, ill and frustrated diabetic. You can’t speak with any authority about what would be right for me unless you are a 5-foot-tall, middle-aged, menopausal, small-framed woman. Nor can you make any judgment about what I might or might not be attempting that *is* right for me based on my size, age, metabolism and body structure. As 24 pointed out in her post – you don’t know what I’ve been doing. You don’t know what I was, or what I looked like, or what I was doing, yesterday or last month or 6 months or a year ago. It could have been worse. Is it so terribly hard to give someone the benefit of the doubt?
    And if that person isn’t trying to lose weight, so what? You wrote in your post, “There’s an enormous (ha ha) difference between the belief that we all need to be supermodels and the belief that it’s perfectly acceptable to be a jiggling 300 pound monument of fat – in a bikini and acting like you’re proud of it. (Acting, because you’re not. You’re not proud of it.)” Without – again – going into how insensitive and dismissive that entire statement is, how do you KNOW that person isn’t proud? Is self-love conditional now? Must we all be extra-careful in public, making sure we don’t offend anyone who might find our body type offensive? Is it just me, or does that seem not only harsh, but entirely unrealistic? Perhaps people whom you deem “too fat” should just stay home until they’ve whittled down to what you consider an acceptable size. It might be a tad difficult to get out there and run, though – don’t you think?
    Without going into the societal pressure to be thin (that’s just a whole new can of worms) you have repeatedly taunted me with my “government-sanctioned diet” phrase, effectively asking me if the government is keeping people fat. The answer to that, in many ways, is YES. Okay, you’re not an expert at nutrition or metabolism or biochemistry or genetics or insulin resistance or any of the “excuses” I might cite for “failure,” but you don’t need to be an expert – you just need to be informed. There is increasing evidence (and I can cite sources if you want, although I won’t do it here; this comment is long enough already) that the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet pushed by the government (and, incidentally, the medical profession) is very, very bad for a great many of us. I could go on about this – in fact, I’ve started to on my own blog – but I won’t, because it has little to do with the subject matter of this particular post.
    Which was fat acceptance.
    And on which your opinion is quite clear: GROSS.

  25. flutter

    Okay. I have weighed anywhere from 320 to 113lbs and I am 5’10”. I’ve been reviled. I’ve been judged. I’ve flip flopped and yo-yo’d and been all over the map.
    I am sick. However, my illness is my choice. While this certainly is the case for me, it isn’t for everyone who is overweight. At my heaviest I was on medication which caused me to gain 50lbs in the span of 4 months. I worked out and it didn’t budge until I stopped taking said medication.
    The fact of the matter is, tall, thin, short, fat, anywhere in between we simply don’t know what another person is facing. our judgments about people are almost never about them and always about us.

  26. vodkamom

    I’m just here for the food. Where’s the party platter and the teeny weanies???????

  27. BHJ

    I’ve lost 60 pounds.
    The first time I ran, I ran a quarter mile and almost collapsed.
    Not sure why you’re interviewing me.
    I’m not backpedaling. Insensitive, dismissive, and cruel. I’ll take it.
    Never feigned to speak about what is right for you or to judge what you’re attempting. The post and my comments are very clear about what is being critiqued: the idea that obesity should be accepted rather than courageously changed. Do you disagree with that? I doubt you do.
    Of course I don’t KNOW that person isn’t proud. Do you think they are? Really? Now come on, Jan. Do you think they’re proud?
    And, yes, the fact that people would attempt to accept obesity, rather than change it, is gross. It’s disgusting and indicative of consumer culture gone awry.

  28. Jan

    “And, yes, the fact that people would attempt to accept obesity, rather than change it, is gross. **It’s disgusting and indicative of consumer culture gone awry**”

  29. Juli Ryan

    Oh, it’s so complicated. I just try to accept people for who they are. And I don’t want to be part of a culture that makes people feel ashamed of their bodies. Are too many people overweight? Yes. Do people need to exercise and eat healthy foods? Yes. But it’s certainly not my place to judge.

  30. Momo Fali

    1. I am most definitely not lazy. Most days, I am on my feet for 14 hours. I run, though plantar fasciitis has plagued me so much that I recently started running barefoot to see if that would help me, as the orthotics and fancy shoes certainly haven’t.
    2. I am fat. I hate being fat. I am not proud of it at all. I have been struggling with my weight for over 12 years.
    3. I have, recently, come to a level of acceptance ONLY because of my children. While there was a time that I wouldn’t leave the house because of my weight, I am not going to let my kids suffer because I’m fat. I take them to the pool now, even though I would rather do just about anything but that.

  31. di

    Okay, so I lied. It’s not 20 pounds, it’s 30 pounds and I feel miserable lugging it around. Sheer laziness and lack of getting up out of this chair to move around are the reasons. Not genetic, not diabetic, not anything but sheer laziness on my part. And this time it is all I will say about it.
    oh Good Lord is right, Vodkamom.

  32. Fragrant Liar

    Here I am, weighing in on this very HOT issue with but one statement: I really just like to accept people for who they are and hope others do the same for me. End of story.

  33. Linda Tustin

    BHJ- A fuck you Linda justified my comment today. LOL truth hurts-don’t it? I am not obese but I could lose 20-30 pounds to be at perfection for me. I just don’t condone your brand of “I am right” so fuck you!

  34. cindy w

    I don’t really give a flip what some stranger’s body size happens to be. I care more about if they’re a good person or not.
    And yeah, I’m saying that as someone who had gastric bypass surgery several years ago & lost 100 pounds, then gained 30 pounds back after having a kid, and am now working my ass off to lose that weight again. But here’s the thing: if, say, someone saw me at the neighborhood pool with my kid (and no, I don’t wear a bikini, I wear the full Mom Swimsuit – tankini with a skirted bottom), they wouldn’t know what I’ve been through with my weight or how much I’ve struggled with it or how hard I’m working on it now. They might just shake their head in disgust at the cellulite on my thighs and judge me for being fat & lazy. They might even go home & write a blog post about fat lazy people, based on that. And you know what? That’s really shitty.

  35. BHJ

    Linda. You called me an asshole so I said fuck you. You’re no better than me so, again, fuck you.

  36. LPC

    Oh good lord. No matter what one’s beliefs about whether anyone “ought” to be able to lose weight, you STILL don’t have the right to be rude or mean about people enjoying themselves at a swimming pool. It’s not as though they are doing anything to harm you. That’s a simple code of conduct, blood sugar or no blood sugar.

  37. Gwen

    I live in Switzerland and grew up in Indonesia, and I am tempted to make generalizations about the relationships other countries have with food and how that affects their population’s health.
    I run. I’m thin-ish. I once lost what felt like a lot of weight but wasn’t, relative to the morbidly obese. So I am tempted to make generalizations about the links between diet and exercise and healthy living and choice and will power and suffering.
    I worked for awhile with the urban poor near projects blighted by despair and institutionalized neglect. I am tempted to make generalizations about socio economic status and education and American consumerism vis a vis our collective culture of too much.
    But I won’t.
    Because what struck me most in this post, and in the comments, was the idea that everyone has a story. Of course everyone has a story, Linda and Jan and BHJ and you, Suzanne, and our stories impact not only our weight and health and clothing choices but even–perhaps most especially–how we interact with others. But I wonder (god, I felt like Carrie Bradshaw writing that phrase), just how much grace we allow others and ourselves for our stories. Or how much grace we *should* allow. You know? Like, where’s the line between owning your story and hiding behind it? Where’s the balance between allowing others room to maneuver within the constraints of their story and demanding safe space of your own?
    I love stories.
    But too often they hurt.

  38. Maura

    I’m simply not up to continuing to read all the back and forth here in the comments right now, though it’s wonderfully active & that’s a good thing.
    I think peoples’ opinions on this topic are as passionate and ingrained as those on abortion, the death penalty and homosexuality, and no mere exchange of thoughts, polite or otherwise, is going to change many people’s minds. Unless something major happens to you or someone close to you to make you see the other side, you probably won’t.
    You don’t like that I’m fat? Tough shit. I don’t like that you’re rude/ignorant/tactless/insensitive or whatever the hell you are. I’m not going to change you by pointing it out, and you’re not going to change me by either pointing out the obvious (I DO own a mirror) or insulting me for it. If I’m out there wearing a bikini (I’m not) then I have to deal with haters. Because there will always be some.

  39. Avasmommy

    My father was thin his entire adult life. And then at age 39 he was diagnosed with a lung disease that took his life 14 years later. He took drugs just to stay alive, just to be able to draw a breath. Those drugs ballooned his weight. He was in no way able to excercise. Simply walking 20 feet to the bathroom wore him out.
    BHJ – you going to tell me my terminally ill father was lazy, disgusting and gross?

  40. Donna in VA

    I read this post yesterday and thought it was an awfully weighty topic (no pun intended) to comment on quickly (as that was all the time I had). But after reading all the banter back and forth today, I have not but one thing to say (quickly). . .
    Judge not lest ye be judged.
    What has happened to people that they cast such judgement so quickly on others without knowing “who they are”. Isn’t that what really matters? Who they are as people? I suggest that we all get off our “judgement high horse” and look past the weight, skin color, gender, religion, etc and look first INSIDE that person. You may or may not like them, but at least it wasn’t for superficial reasons.

  41. BHJ

    Avasmommy. No. I’ve stated in very clear terms what I believe is lazy, disgusting and gross and it doesn’t include your dead Dad.

  42. Laura

    wow, just read this post today and I can’t believe all the hateful things to say.
    I am over weight. I used to be the skinny girl, the girl that looked anorexic, the girl who could eat it all and not worry about anything.
    After my last baby, I gained upwards of 70 pounds and then afterwards found out that I had thyroid cancer. I had my thyroid removed and ever since then i was not able to get below 146 pounds. Now, for my height at 5’4” that is obese believe it or not. Do I think I was obese, NO! Did i want to lose about 15-20 pounds, YES! But, no matter what I did it didn’t work. It was against my body at that point. I was healthy, good BP, etc. But at my height i am supposed to be 115, I dont think so. I have since had another little one a month ago, I am down to 160 and dropping, however due to circumstances I am not aloud to work out for the next couple of months. I can, however, watch what I eat, and I do.
    Until then, I am sure I will still get the dirty looks (when Im not carrying my baby around bc then people say how good you look) but it’s my weight and no one elses.
    I say good job on writing this post and I think that you were very fair!

  43. Midlife Slices

    BHJ you keep harping on “hit the road” and for your information I do “hit the road” but for some people who have major knee or hip aka joint problems that isn’t an option so what do you suggest? Just curious and also sticking around to see if next you’ll be jumping up on the Oprah’s couch and telling us you know more than everyone else about anything else. Really.

  44. Anne Gibert

    Oh, dear, I have so much to say about this and no time. I am off to Juneau to visit a friend and by the time I get back it will all be over. Perhaps I’ll think about a blog about fat myself.

  45. MayoPie

    Man. I think what BHJ was saying is that, in the end, the only thing between you and health is you. Of course, he threw the word “fat” around a lot and talked about fat women in bikinis being gross. That’s never popular, but nothing I haven’t heard said under a thousand people’s breath.
    I was married to an overweight woman for 10 years. It ruined her in many ways and sucked all the motivation from her. People who loath themselves can be self-destructive, and in the case of the overweight, that destructive behavior is eating. It’s hopelessness, but I guess it can be defined as laziness. I wouldn’t have used that word, but laziness is the end result,I think.
    This is a charged and personal issue for many, and it might have seemed to some that BHJ was saying, “Hey, I’m not fat anymore and you’re lazy if you are.” What I gathered was,”Bag all the excuses, dig deep and find it in your heart to change. If I can do it, you can to. Don’t let society enable you if you want to get healthy. Society is just giving you a crutch you don’t want or need and you’re leaning on it. Don’t.”
    And I think he’s right. By and large, most do want to look awesome in a bikini (especially me) and given the choice, we would. There might be exceptions, but very few and even other overweight people would wonder what the hell is wrong with the ones who actually prefer to spill out of their bathing suits.
    It’s a majorly complicated issue and each has their own story or their own experience with this, and in most cases, it is actually as simple as deciding, executing and committing. I think BHJ was pointing out that all the excuses are just that (unless it’s medical).
    Of course, I don’t speak for him, that’s just what I got from what he was saying. I like watching him argue with people, so I’m glad some people took it a different way. Vagina.
    I also disagree that if a woman wrote this, she’d be skewered. If anything, I think a man talking about this issue, with what is “perceived” insensitivity (in my opinion) would (and has) rile a little more feathers. Good post, though. Hi.

  46. BHJ

    Midlife Slices. Maybe change “Hit the road” to “Do something”. It might require a little more creativity than “My knee hurts”. And, if you’d taken the time to read the comments before shooting off your mouth, you would’ve seen me confess my ignorance about biochemistry, metabolism, insulin resistance, and genetics – a far cry from knowing more than everyone else about anything else.
    Again, before one more idiot parrots “YOU THINK YOU’RE SO SMART”, I never said I knew everything. I said that I think obesity should be confronted by the courage to change as opposed to accepting it. Sorry I didn’t say it all nice and cuddly with cotton candy and pink ice cream. But I’m still waiting for someone to genuinely assert that obesity is an acceptable condition for the human animal.

  47. sarah

    ohdearlord; can’t read it all. But 24, I agree w/ what you said. I try not to judge individuals I see on a daily basis who are obese, because I do not know their story and what they have gone through or are going through. (and in the interest of full disclosure, I have 40lbs to lose & was told by my doctor yesterday that she “wanted to see less” of me in 3 months).
    But personally, I think “fat acceptance” goes a little too far at times. I have had people who have 100+ to lose tell me, in all sincerity that they are in fact healthy. And that their kids (also obese at 4-5 years old) are healthy too (because they’ve not yet been diagnosed w/ high blood pressure or diabetes).
    I am ALL about self acceptance. I struggle sometimes with the concept of “fat acceptance,” in the same way that I would struggle w/ a drug addict (I believe food can absolutely be addicting) deciding to have “heroin acceptance.” I want the addict to accept him/herself, but I think true self acceptance comes not only from embracing our demons, but then turning around and squashing them so that we can become our more authentic self.
    Not sure i any of that makes sense.

  48. BHJ

    Oh that’s clever. Who the fuck is Kristi? Get it? We don’t know each other. Good one, Kristi.

  49. Mad Woman

    6 months ago, I weighed 349 pounds. I looked at myself in the mirror and couldn’t figure out how I’d allowed myself to get to big. I was disgusted with myself. I vowed to change that. I vowed to set a good example for my children who are, thankfully, still very fit and fed nutritious meals. I stood there and looked at myself and I cried. Tears of shame and self loathing and fear.
    Today, I read the post by BHJ and found myself in tears. Again. This time they were tears of anger and frustration …and more shame. Because I have been that fat and lazy person that he was talking to, and about. I was pissed off. He doesn’t want to see these people in bathing suits? Swimming is exercise. He thinks we should just go for a run? Bugger off…running used to kill my knees. While the tears kept pouring down my face, I couldn’t help but think that BHJ could go take a flying leap off a cliff for all I cared.
    Then I read what you had to say and I cried some more. (Clearly I’m a mess today!) This time it was tears of relief and thankfulness because it seems like you really “get it”.
    I have spent the last 6 months working my ass off. I’ve lost 50 pounds. Sure, I still have a long way to go but I’m still slogging away. I’m eating smaller portions and exercising etc and I’m doing well.
    Having said all that….I went back again and read the post BHJ did and I do agree with a fair amount of what he had to say. It still stings to read a lot of it, but he’s right on a few points.

  50. shaunna

    well, i had to stop by to read all about it.
    i’ve had m.s. for 24 years. i’ve fought long and hard to stay ambulatory, take drugs that make me about 50 lbs overweight – size 14 – and can’t exercise other than light yoga, swimming and light weights.
    i like the beach, the sun and dressing however i want (no bikini… but i wear a bathing suit when needed). i’d like to still be a size 6 but it isn’t happening unless i eat nothing but rabbit food, and my doctor advises against it. my blood pressure is usually 60/115.
    fuck anyone who judges me by appearance.

  51. Out-Numbered

    I just want to go on record against my better judgment and say that I have seen pictures of BHJ both overweight and thin and I would bang him either way. He’s a sexy son of a bitch. And that Mayopie character? Half chubs…

  52. pete

    Fat people for the vast majority are offensive. Just looking at them is offends my eyes… ugly people are born that way and have an excuse however 95% of fat people dont. Most of us are working too hard and sleeping too little yet many of us still get some exercise in or as time magazine claimed, eat right.
    So if you fat and offended put down the macdonalds, get rid of the fast food and sweets and just eat normally


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