As the calendar rolls over to another year, it’s a great time to reflect on where we were, where we are, and where we want to go. Here are mine:
Where I Was
I used to be a person who was consumed by the idea of becoming smaller. I obsessively counted carbs, calories, points. I weighed myself every day. I fell in love with The Biggest Loser. I consumed weight-loss news, bought the latest gadgets, and took heart in the stories of others’ successes. People were kinder, more attentive, and more loving toward me the smaller I got. And even more: I loved myself more with every pound lost.When the weight I’d lost began to creep back on (despite my “lifestyle change”), I blamed, shamed, and hated myself. I desperately wanted to shrink myself so I took up less space.
Where I Am
I am a person who believes in the body positivity and acceptance movements. I subscribe to the Health at Every Size model. I no longer believe in restricting food. I engage in physical activity because I love it, not in the hopes that it will make me smaller. I speak to anyone who will listen about their bodies and how to accept them. I encourage others to open their eyes to money-making madness that fuels obesity research and lines the pockets of those connected to the diet industry. I refuse to engage in diet talk, self-loathing, and food moralizing. I know that it’s isn’t my body that doesn’t fit, it’s the clothes. I take up as much space as I need in the world, without shame. I’m better at all this some days than others, of course.
Where I Want to Go
I want to live in a world where The Biggest Loser is off the air. I want non-fat people to stop telling me that my experience as a fat person is invalid, and that their advice about how not to be a fat person is completely accurate and should be followed (this applies to people in my life, on the street and the internet, as well as famous folks like Dr. Oz and Jillian Michaels). I want people, including those local chiropractors, to be forbidden from advertising that their diet and/or exercise plan results in “permanent weight loss.” I want each of us to talk about our bodies like we would talk about the body of someone we love and respect. I want everyone to realize that shame is not motivating, and that we don’t take care of the things we hate.
The fat-hating world we live in makes me sad, angry, and bored – often at the same time. Sometimes I lose patience with people who still believe in the myths of fat = unhealthy and thin = healthy, and I don’t have the energy or patience to try to open their eyes. But then I try to remember that I was like that once. Now that my eyes are open to how wonderful life can be when you stop hating and judging yourself and your body, I want everyone to experience that joy. There’s no reason you can’t! It takes work, but you can get there. I take heart in knowing that more and more people are realizing the truths of health and wellness every day, and that this can only lead to a kinder, happier world for people of all shapes and sizes.
So what about you? Where were you? Where are you? And where do you want to go?
Oh, one final note. I accidentally caught just a few minutes of the current “temptation nation” season premiere of The Biggest Loser last night, and that was plenty long enough to remind me that I wish this show would go away forever. Although first I’d like to be a contestant this season, so when Bob Harper offers me the choice of losing 40 pounds or taking $40,000 cash, I can skip off to the bank and start looking at airfare for my next Caribbean vacation. Meet me at the beach!