Wednesday, 18 September 2019

An Open Letter To James Corden From A Fellow Fat Person

James CordenHi James, or maybe you’d prefer Mr. Corden? Can we talk about your response to Bill Maher?

Actually, before I get into that, I want to say that I’m a fan of your work. I have watched your Tony openings repeatedly, crying as you sang “You could be in this show…” thinking of all the little fat kids who were getting this message from someone who looks like them for the very first time. You are incredibly talented, and you’ve done amazing work around representation for fat people. I have no idea what the emotional/psychological cost of that might have been for you, and I appreciate it.

I don’t agree with you that Bill Maher’s heart was in the right place when he used his considerable platform to try to convince as many people as possible that they should bully fat people. I wouldn’t bet the farm that he even has a heart, but he certainly has an ego and he is happy to feed it by bullying any group he thinks he can get away with and, really, I’m just surprised it took him this long to get to us.

I do think your heart is in the right place, which is why, despite making some good points and being well meaning, your response ended up hurting me far more than Bill’s fatphobic yammering  because I felt that in your response you, a fellow fat person, basically bought into and reinforced every single one of Bill’s negative premises about fat people, and punctuated them with stereotypical fat jokes.

It’s understandable. We all live in a world that is chock full o’ fatphobia and diet culture, we are ceaselessly bombarded with the idea that being fat is bad and automatically unhealthy, that fat people just existing in the world constitutes some kind of “epidemic,” and that jokes based on stereotypes about fat people are hilarious.

This culture has consequences – fat people are hired less and paid less than thin people, we are given suboptimal healthcare by doctors who prescribe diets for everything from strep throat to severed limbs, we have higher rates of bullying, self-harm, and suicide. And that’s not hilarious. We’re all steeped in this culture and, as fat people, it’s easy to internalize that and start believing the negative press about us (press, I might add, that makes the diet industry $60 billion a year.)

Plus, I know that the entertainment industry is absolutely steeped in fatphobia and I imagine that one of ways fat people in the industry deal with it and succeed in spite of it, as you have, is to join in with self-deprecating humor.

But here’s the thing: Fat-shaming directed at ourselves is still fat-shaming. A fat person repeating and reinforcing stereotypes about fat people, food, and exercise, is still fat-shaming. Repeating the idea that being fat is bad, and that fat people’s existence is a problem to be solved is still fat-shaming, even when a fat person is the one saying it.

Saying “fat people should be eradicated from the Earth, but let’s try not to stigmatize them while we do it” is better than nothing, but not by much.

Suggesting that people shouldn’t fat-shame us because it won’t make us thin ends up backfiring terribly, because it suggests that if someone believes – as many fatphobes do – that fat-shaming does make fat people thinner, then it’s all systems go for fat-shaming! And that’s bullshit. First of all, because bullying results in negative health and wellbeing regardless of body size. But more to the point, even if someone sincerely believes that bullying fat people will make us immortal it still wouldn’t be acceptable behavior. Bullying is always wrong, even if it causes the victim to temporarily change in the hopes that it will stop their abuse.

As a speaker, writer, and fathlete focused on Fat Acceptance and Health at Every Size, I just want people to have information and options. Too many people pursue dieting because they think it’s the only path to health, so I let people know that, understanding that health is not an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, or entirely within our control, the truth is that dieting fails almost all the time, and most of the time results in long-term weight gain (the experience you talk about having with dieting is the same experience nearly everyone has with dieting – we lose weight short term, and then – no matter what we do – we gain it back in 2-5 years, often gaining back more than we lost. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.)

Dieting does not meet the criteria for ethical, evidence-based medicine. But as studies like Matheson et. al, Wei et. al., and the Cooper Institute Longitudinal Studies show us, focusing on our actual health, and allowing our bodies to settle at whatever weight they settle, is a far more evidence-based health practice than trying to feed our bodies less food than they need in the hopes that they’ll eat themselves and become smaller, and that somehow the result will be improved health.

Too many fat people hate their bodies because they don’t know they have any other choice, so I try to make sure fat people know that instead of trying to change our bodies to appease our bullies – essentially giving the bullies our lunch money and hoping they stop beating us up – instead of joining our bullies in shaming and hating our bodies, we can say “enough,” and we can say “I want a world without fat-shaming, and I’m going to create it, starting with myself.”

Just waking up in a fat body and not hating ourselves is an act of revolution in this culture, so imagine what happens when we stop apologizing for existing, stop thanking concern trolls for mistreating us “for our own good,”  and instead give our bodies our full-throated support, and pursue our dreams in the bodies we have – with no self-deprecation, no fat jokes, no apologies.

There’s a whole community of us – we are gaining people and power. Tomorrow they’ll be more of us. And James, I hope you’ll join us.

Of course, you don’t have to agree with me. And regardless of what the research says, or what harm it may do (and whether or not we ever battle about it on Drop the Mic…) you are allowed to keep buying into diet culture and trying to manipulate your body size – that’s your right. You are allowed to continue to think that being fat is a problem to be solved, or to keep making jokes that reinforce stereotypes about fat people. But if you want to make an argument against fat-shaming in the future, I hope you will consider this one:

Fat-shaming is wrong, full stop. Fat people have a right to exist without shame, stigma, bullying, or oppression, period — no exceptions.

Thanks for reading.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Body Love Obstacle Course

This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
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Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

 

 

 



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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Riot Girls: A Film Review

Read my review for the 2019 film, Riot Girls, directed by Jovanka Vuckovic. Riot Girls is a fun, campy, gory, feminist teen film featuring queer characters and a non-binary lead! Find out how you can...

Read more here!

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Friday, 13 September 2019

THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – A ROSE IS A ROSE AND A BAG OF SHIT IS A BAG OF SHIT

Weight Loss Surgery is getting a new name because somebody thinks fat people are stupid.

THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – A ROSE IS A ROSE AND A BAG OF SHIT IS A BAG OF SHIT



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Thursday, 12 September 2019

Barry Deutsch Interview

I first encountered Barry at via “Alas, a Blog“, which led me to his political cartoon site Lefty Cartoons and Twitter.

Q: How would you introduce yourself? 

I’m Barry Deutsch, a cartoonist who does graphic novels and political cartoons. I sometimes do political cartoons with fat acceptance themes (and I want to do more). I’ve been very hesitant about doing fat-acceptance political cartoons, because it’s such a personal subject for me.

Barry

Q:   Are you comfortable with the word “fat” for yourself?

Definitely!

Q:   How would you describe your body size?

I’m fat enough so that anyone looking at me would say I’m fat. I’m fat enough so that people have sometimes yelled derogatory comments about my weight from cars as they pass me.

But I’m thin enough that many of the ways society routinely exclude fat people don’t really effect me. I can get through turnstiles (occasionally with a struggle), sit in theater and airplane seats (although sometimes that’s a close thing), and once in a blue moon I find clothes that fit me in stores. I need an extension to buckle my seat belt on an airplane, but usually I don’t need an extension in a car. And I simply face less frequent and less vicious anti-fat discrimination than my fatter peers. I think Caleb Luna would describe me as having a “smaller fat body.”

Q:   How has being fat affected your life?

Well, aside from pragmatic inconveniences – difficulty finding clothes, being careful not to sit on delicate chairs, and so on – the main effect is that I’ve been taught to carry around a great deal of self-hate, which I struggle to leave behind.

Q:   How did you encounter fat lib/fat acceptance? 

I read a book questioning everything I’d been taught about fat and about weight loss diets. I’m not sure which book it was – it might have been “Big Fat Lies” by Glenn Gaesser, published in 2002, or maybe it was an earlier book that’s since been lost down the memory hole. Whatever book it was, it completely blew my mind.

Later on I had a job at Oregon State Health University, and so had daily access to a medical library. I’d haunt the stacks, reading journal articles, and I confirmed for myself that something that everyone I knew had always accepted as uncontested fact – being fat is deadly, diets work – was actually a subject of enormous controversy among researchers and experts.

Q:   What’s the worst part of being fat for you?

Having been taught to hate myself; that I am gross; that I’m not worthy of being loved.

But also, sometimes the realization that people I love are carrying around a great deal of anti-fat bigotry. I once wound up seeing a fat suit comedy with a close relative (bad idea, I know, I know). The movie was bad enough, but what was a thousand times worse was my relative sitting next to me, cracking up at every anti-fat joke. I don’t blame them – they were raised in this society too. But the memory stays fresh, many years later.

Q:   What’s the best part of being fat for you?

Finding solidarity with other fat people.

Q:   What’s your favorite place to buy clothing?

I don’t have much money, so I frequently look for clothes on ebay. I’ve splurged on a couple of t-shirts from Rage On that I love (their sizes only go up to 5x, though).

My new favorite item is suspenders with a musical note pattern, which I got from Amazon; I’ve been getting a lot of compliments when I wear them. A couple of years ago I decided to wear suspenders all the time, and I’m so glad I did – I like the line better, and I feel much more comfortable. (And, oddly enough, it’s made me more comfortable wearing body-hugging shirts than I used to be).


Thanks Barry!  If you would like to be involved, email me at living400lbs AT gmail DOT com!


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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

On Super Fat Travel: Iceland

Me in front of Gullfoss waterfall

In October of 2017, I travelled to Iceland. Iceland is a Nordic island nation that feels like it is the top of the world. It has a population around 350k, and most of the people live in the capital city of Reykjavik. Seeing Iceland was one of the goals I had when I planned my European Sabbatical. I travelled to Iceland at the invitation of the Icelandic Association for Body Respect and Gyða Pétursdóttir at the University of Iceland.

University of Iceland

Giving my talk, What’s size got to do with it? Bodies, Fatness, and Fairness

Sólrún from the Icelandic Association for Body Respect

At the University of Iceland, I gave a session during their “Equality Days”. My session, called What’s size got to do with it? Bodies, Fatness, and Fairness, explored fat politics and the oppression experienced by fat people. It followed a session by a member of the Association for Body Respect, Sólrún Larusdóttir; she spoke about the association and work they were doing in Iceland. Both sessions were great, and the audience was very enthusiastic. Afterwards, we met up with many of them (including some other Americans!) and decided to grab drinks.

After the talk

Dinner at the Perlan with the Icelandic Association for Body Respect

I was honoured to join the Icelandic Association for Body Respect for a dinner while I was in Iceland. It was a lovely meal, and we discussed common issues in the fight for fat rights, including the tensions between the body positive movement and fat liberation. A few nights later, the Association held a cocktail party for me, where I experienced other Icelandic treats like eðlan/lizzard (cream cheese, salsa, and melted shredded cheese) and ALL of the liquorice. They are serious about their liquorice here!

Cocktails!

Icelandic treats

Eðlan/lizzard

One member, Tara, spent a great deal of time with me while I was in country.

My lovely friend, Tara

She was an excellent tour guide, driving me around the Golden Circle, and making sure I experienced proper Icelandic things like ice cream at Ísbuð Huppu (kinda like a Blizzard from Dairy Queen).

Driving the Golden Circle

Þingvellir National Park

Geysir Hot Spring Area

Gullfoss waterfall

She even took me to the hot pools near her family’s home; it was a smaller (and less touristy!) place than the Blue Lagoon. One thing that I knew to expect (thanks to Google!) was that you had to shower naked in a communal shower area before putting on your suit and going out to the pool. I was a bit nervous about that part; I had never showered naked in public beforehand. I found, though, that the casualness of the rest of the Icelanders, helped me relax quite quickly. By the time we exited the pool and had to do it again, I had no anxiety about my super fat body being nude and on display.

Ísbuð Huppu

Höfði House

Bæjarins Beztu

One with everything!

On my free days, I wandered around the town, exploring the sites. I enjoyed the large flea market, Kolaportið and had a hot dog at the famous Bæjarins Beztu. I found a lovely Icelandic nutcracker to add to my collection. One surprise for me was all the American things to be found in Iceland (including brands, stores – even a Taco Bell!), but I learned while I was there that the US had a base in Iceland during the Cold War. I also spent a day on the Hop On/Hop Off bus (I LOVE those).

The Icelandic donut at Krispy Kreme

My final night, I did a Northern Lights tour. I had been lucky to see them my very first night; about two hours after I checked into my AirBnB, my host Arthur sent me a text to let me know they were out. I peeked from the window, and they were fantastic. Having already been in bed, and just exhausted from the day of travel, I went back to bed and promised myself I’d look more closely (and try to get pictures) on another night. Of course, they did not come out again before I left!

The Northern Lights tour was okay; it was useful to have something to keep me up until my 4am bus ride back to the airport (the airport is about an hour away from the city). The bus made many stops to look for the lights, including a stop with a café for refreshments and restrooms. If you wanted, though, you could stay on the bus the entire time. Since it was pitch black, I spent a lot of time listening to podcasts and playing on my phone during the tour.

Ready for exploring!

Golden Circle

 

Getting there and getting around

I flew Icelandair and found the seat was an okay fit; I had no issues with getting checked in or during the boarding or flight. I did not use public transport while I was there, but I did find that most places were accessible (much more than Europe, to be sure). Most of the eateries I visited had appropriate seating, and room to move around the space. I did not feel that I was under a great deal of scrutiny while I was in Iceland, and the Association were very welcoming.

Icelandair

Accommodation

I stayed in an AirBnB run by Arthur and his wife. Arthur was a gem, picking me up from the bus station the night I arrived and offering to drop me in town on any day I’d like. The AirBnB itself is a nice studio apartment above the garage (so there were a few stairs to climb, but they were gentle stairs and I did okay, even with my luggage). It had a comfy bed, a sitting area, dining table, kitchenette, wardrobe, and bathroom. Very fat friendly on all counts. It was right down the road from Christ the King Catholic Cathedral of Iceland, and Stop #4 on the Hop On/Hop Off Bus, so I was able to hop right on the bus. It was not too much further to walk into town, but I hopped the city bus instead.

The things to see and do

The Perlan

I found most of the main attractions, such as Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Hot Spring Area, Gullfoss waterfall, the Perlan museum, Hallgrímskirkja, etc, to be accessible for super fat people. Many of them require walking, if you want to see most of the attraction, but the walkways/ground are relatively even and would probably not cause any issues for mobility aids. Much of them, especially the National Park, can be enjoyed from within the car while driving. The Perlan Museum has a “walk through a glacier” exhibit, for which they provide large parkas to keep you warm while you walk through the ice. I was delighted to find that the largest parka they had did fit my super fat body.

Walking through a human made glacier at the Perlan

 

 

Overall, I would say that Iceland is a good place for fat people to visit, and if you do go, make sure to share your own experiences with the rest of the fat community!

 



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Friday, 6 September 2019

Thursday, 5 September 2019

New Series – Interviews

I’ve started interviewing fellow fats to include here.  But, if I’m going to ask others to do this, I thought it might be best if I did as well.  So…

Q: How would you introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Jen. I’ve been writing here about being fat since September 2008. There are linked Twitter and Tumblr accounts: @Living400lbs and Living400lbs.tumbler.com.

In my normal life, I’ve been a software tester over 20 years, along with doing tech support, project management, and technical writing.

Q: Are you comfortable with the word “fat” for yourself?

Yes. It’s a simple descriptive word.

Q: How would you describe your body size?

I often say I’m “too fat for Lane Bryant”, since with few exceptions their clothes are too small for me. I’m about 5’8″ tall and round, often called an “apple” shape. My waist is about 65″ around when standing, 76″ around when sitting. Yes, I like elastic waists.

Q: How has being fat affected your life?

It’s just always been there. It’s what I got picked on for in school. It’s what doctors told me to change. It’s what my mother told me was wrong. It’s become a topic I’ve read a lot about, if only in self-defense.

In the day-to-day, it also affects which chairs I can sit in at restaurants. I use a seat extender in most cars. Flying is definitely uncomfortable and more expensive. So’s clothing,.

Q: How did you encounter fat lib/fat acceptance?

Via BBW Magazine in the 80s, a glossy fashion-for-fats magazine with articles on how dieting tends to lead to weight gain and many people “dieted their weight up” and only stabilized after they quit dieting.  Later I discovered UseNet and with it, various fat acceptance discussion groups.  This lead me to books like Big Fat Lies and Fat!So?.

Q: What’s the worst part of being fat for you?

Trying to get medical personnel to focus on the reason I’m there, and not that I’m fat. (It’s not like just woke up this way today.)

Q: What’s the best part of being fat for you?

As I accepted that I would probably stay fat, I became less afraid of being the odd one one in other ways, which helped me deal with criticism for majoring in computer science.  I’ve been able to work on cool software and, incidentally, make a good living because I stood up to peers telling me computer science was “icky”.

Q: What’s your favorite place to buy clothing?

Most of my wardrobe is from On The Plus Side (formerly Making It Big) either directly or secondhand on eBay. I have items I bought in the 90s that still fit, and their stock is mostly made in the US.  I also love Torrid t-shirts, though they don’t last as well. But … A “The Dark Side Made Me Do It” shirt! “Be Nice Or Go Away” shirt! “But First, Coffee!”  I doubt their more fitted stuff would fit me well, but the tshirts are my friends. 


Anyway, that’s the first interview! If you would like to be involved, email me at living400lbs AT gmail DOT com!



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Friday, 30 August 2019

THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – NEW DIKKE DAME DOLL – SHE’S A WITCH

My latest Dikke Dame (fat lady) doll – She’s a Witch!

(Because representation matters – even in dolls!)

Dikke Dame Doll – She’s a Witch



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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

It came from the search terms

In the tradition of Captain Awkward I’m going to treat the search terms people used to find the site as questions.

im 400lbs is it too late for me to get healthy? 

This is completely up to you and to how you view health. If you are sedentary, you can probably be more active, and ideally have fun with it.  Depending on how you eat, you may want to add more veggies or whatever makes your body feel better – The Fat Nutritionist may be able to help with that as well. Research has found that focusing on eating healthy foods and being active can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol as well as psychological benefits. This is called a “Health At Every Size” approach, and focuses on improving health. 

If you mean thinner, then that’s a different question. Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments: Diets Are Not the Answer (PDF) by UCLA reviews 31 studies on diets and recommended that Medicare not cover diet programs because they are not effective enough to be worth Medicare coverage.

350lb flying cross country?

OK. That sounds like a lot of time to sit still. It’s probably going to be uncomfortable. 

if i weigh 450 pounds do i need an extra airline seat? 

Very likely. Airlines have some choice on how many seats they squeeze into a plane. Seat Guru has information on seat sizes by plane and airline so you can check. One method is to check the size of the seat, then measure chairs to see what the airline seats will be like.  Note the “pitch” is the distance between seats, and affects how much legroom there is. 

If you do need an additional seat, you will probably have to call the airline to make the reservation, and the airline will probably warn you the seats may not be together. Yes, this is a problem.  

More on this: 

what can a fat person spray on body to prevent yeast?

I have mostly rely on baby powder (cornstarch) to prevent chafing and yeast infections under my belly. Anti-jock itch spray like Lotramin can work as well.  Lately I’ve been experimenting with Fresh Breasts lotion, which dries as a powder.  This can be easier to apply than a powder.  

 

 

 



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Sunday, 18 August 2019

Retirement

My last job was at Amazon, as a QA Engineer. “It was fine until it wasn’t” is one summary. “It was a good distraction from the stress of my dad’s failing health so I could keep balance, but fell apart after other losses and health crap that made me not care about work much” is another.

The “stopped caring” was a big part for me. I tend to do my best software work when I can hyperfocus on what I’m doing and ignore everything else. Over time I got more responsibilities and was expected to keep more balls in the air…which doesn’t feed hyperfocus well.

Anyway, last day was in June.  A bit less than a week later, episode 103 of Productivity Alchemy came out.  The interview was with Star Picucci, talking about her end of full-time employment.  (This bit is about 23:30 minutes into the podcast)

I was a PeopleSoft developer until February, when due to the vagaries of government contracts I was no longer a PeopleSoft developer, and I was I was aggravated about it. I had hoped to retire in about 2 years, and so I called my financial advisor, I talked to my husband, I crunched a bunch of numbers, and said: Do I have to deal with this bullshit or can I just NOT work?

Star clarified she’s sort of on “trial retirement” while they see if the numbers really work.  What stood out to me, though, was how her reaction was like my reaction when I had been handed an Amazon Pivot paperwork.  Oh, if I leave you give me over 3 months’ severance and skip the PIP? Gee, let me think.   I occasionally have a nagging voice pointing out that I could’ve gone on medical leave and see how that changed things but … too much glee over the idea of leaving.  I was ready to run away.

So yeah, we’ll see how the money goes. I’ve been maxing out the 401(k) and saving a good amount each year. I’ve been using COBRA to follow up on some health things I’d been putting off. I will probably be blogging more here, and I’m sending out some article pitches. But that’s the big thing that I’m coming to terms with.

 



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Thursday, 15 August 2019

Weight Watchers Is Harming Kids For Money

Weight Watchers is Harming Kids for Profit Fight Back.Weight Watchers (or WW as they’re trying to rebrand themselves, as if it changes their legacy of harming fat people for money) has launched a new app for children ages 8-17 called Kurbo. I’ve had a few hundred requests to write about it, but it took me a while because I’ve been in a rage coma ever since I learned that, upon hearing from eating disorder experts that this app would harm children, Weight Watchers CEO, Mindy Grossman, responded by saying “It actually strengthened our resolve and made us offensive.” (Trust me when I tell you Mindy, you were already offensive.)

So this is your “Tldr” – experts told Weight Watchers that they are going to hurt kids, and their response was “that just makes us want to do it more.” If that doesn’t convince you of that plain fact that Weight Watchers is a dumpster fire in every dumpster in a factory that manufactures industrial-sized dumpsters, it’s not likely that anything will. Still, there’s more to know here.

First, it’s important to understand that Weight Watchers built their business model with the full understanding that most people lose weight short term while dieting, but that in the long term almost everyone gains the weight back on matter what they do, with a majority gaining back more than they lost.

Their marketing “genius” was in finding a way to take credit for the first part of that biological response, and getting their clients (and everyone else) to blame themselves for the second part, and thus be duped into returning to Weight Watchers to start the cycle again. That created the base of a business model that guaranteed the repeat business they needed to succeed wildly.

Having had success with that model since 1963, until a few years ago people finally wised up, their stock took a dive and they went to desperate measures, including their ridiculous rebrand and their choice to target young children to try to create life-long customers.

Their most recent, and possibly most horrific, attempt at a money grab is to launch this app aimed at kids ages 8-17. The app starts with a seven-day free trial, but for kids to continue with their personalized coach, the monthly subscription fee starts at $69 a month. (The adult version of Weight Watchers online with coaching is $54.95/month)

Let’s look at some facts that are pertinent here:

  • 95% of those with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25 (SAMHSA)
  • 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming overweight. This concern endures through life. (Smolak, 2011)
  • Among high-school students, 44% of females and 15% of males attempted to lose weight. (Serdula et al., 1993)
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders. (Shisslak & Crago, 1995)
  • Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors (ex, skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, purging) (Neumark-Sztainer, 2005)
  • In a decade we saw a 119% increase in eating disorder hospitalizations in kids UNDER TWELVE.

Hence those, uh, warnings from eating disorder experts that made Weight Watchers reeeeaaaaallllyyyyy super very much extra excited to do this.

Maybe (in a perfectly reasonable but entirely misguided attempt to feel better about this) you’re thinking to yourself – I’m sure this isn’t about dieting, I’m sure they are just trying to encourage healthy behaviors.

Well, think again, here’s a screenshot that a blog reader sent to me:

Weight Watchers Kids
[TEXT:
How do I plan for red light foods?

“I know there will be red light foods at my friend’s birthday party on Saturday.”

E.g. of  3-step game plan

1. Wake up early to workout (60 minutes minimum)

2. Aim to consume no red light foods until you arrive at the party.

3. Decide how many red lights you reasonably want to budget for the party ahead of time.

Tip 4: remember 3 servings of a yellow ligt food = 1 red. ]

 

 

Before we break this down, I think it’s important to note that Weight Watchers doesn’t have any evidence that any of this will make or keep kids thin. There are no studies that show any method of eating and exercising that predicts thin kids, research from the University of Minnesota found that “None of the behaviors being used by adolescents (in 1999) for weight-control purposes predicted weight loss[in 2006]…Of greater concern were the negative outcomes associated with dieting and the use of unhealthful weight-control behaviors.” Even the thoroughly-steeped-in-fatphobia American Academy of Pediatrics advised doctors and parents to avoid conversations about weight and focus on being healthy instead.

I also think it’s important to point out that the target ages of the app also include the typical ages of puberty, during which an average weight gain of 40 to 60 pounds is expected. Scenario: a kid who has been trying to manipulate their weight with this app for five years – since they were 8 years old – experiences sudden weight gain. I’m sure that won’t cause any problems at all, right? (Sarcasm meter is an 11 out of 10 here.)

Ok, so let’s talk about this absolute disaster, starting with the fact that Weight Watchers thinks third graders should be making three-step plans to attend birthday parties.

The app divides foods up into “stop-light” categories of green (“Go!”), yellow (“Slow Down!”, and red (“STOP and Think!”) (Exclamation points and capitalization strategy are verbatim from Kurbo which, as you probably already guess, I will not be linking to.)

Dividing food into categories like this is a red flag for disordered eating, but it’s pretty clear at this point that Weight Watchers doesn’t care. It’s also an issue for kids who are food insecure and other kids who may have limited options for what to eat for whom just getting enough nutrition to survive can be an issue. (Let’s remember that most kids are not in charge of the foods to which they have access.)

Note that step 1 of the plan says to workout for “60 minutes MINIMUM” (emphasis mine) So, again, we’re telling 8-year-olds that in order to eat some cake at a birthday party, they must earn the right through exercise of at least an hour. This is a three-fer of harm:

  1. It creates the belief that one has to earn the right to eat through movement which is, you guessed it,  a red flag for disordered eating.
  2. It creates a “never enough” belief around exercise. Suggesting that kids as young as 8 should lose sleep to force themselves through an hour or more of exercise that is not by choice or for fun is ludicrous.
  3. It sets kids up to see exercise as prevention of and/or punishment for not being thin, which gives them an excellent chance of learning to resent movement and exercise – especially since kids come in lots of sizes, and this app will never change that.

Which brings us to a fact that should be obvious – the app will harm every kid who uses it and every kid who knows about it,  but it will do the most harm to fat kids (who are already trying to navigate a fatphobic world) both because it will be another tool to marginalize them, and because they are unlikely to change their body size so it will be seen as another alleged “failure” to attain thinness, which never should have been a goal in the first place.

The marketing for the app includes “before and after” photos of children, so that if kids aren’t sure what kind of bodies they should hate (be it their own body, or other kids) they can check the before pictures to make sure.

I’m already hearing stories from blog readers about parents who are actually bribing their kids to use the app with, for example, a phone. Which tells fat kids that in order to “deserve” what everyone else has – the ability to connect and communicate with their social network (which actually IS tied to health,) they first need to be thin, or at least commit to trying to be. That’s a lesson that will continue to harm them for the rest of their lives if they internalize it.

I’ve been doing this work for over a decade and have heard hundreds, if not thousands, of stories of people whose lives have been harmed by Weight Watchers. And now they want us to hand them our kids. Say no. Fight Back. Teach your kids that the world is mess up, but they are fine.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

 



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Monday, 12 August 2019

WHEN FATTIES LOSE WEIGHT

Sorry this didn’t get posted on Friday, but we were out of town, and I am not sufficiently computer-wise to set it up in advance.

This Fat Old Lady’s Fat Friday – When A Fatty Loses Weight



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Saturday, 10 August 2019

In Love with an eShakti Dress!

Have you ever purchased an item of clothing that was not your usual style, yet you were for some reason very attracted to this garment and had to have it? Yeah, I did that! And holy shitballs am I in love with this dress! When I first saw it I loved the print but the peplum thing I just never even tried before. I was hesitant af! I think I even put off buying it because I was so uncertain of it looking right for me. I’m at the point where I have a pretty darn good idea what styles and cuts of dresses work best for me and this didn’t check any of my boxes. Then they had a ridiculously great sale…So I went for it!

Prepare yourselves! (If you even can!) I was really feelin’ myself in this dress. I wore it to work that day and even though I ran around the entire day, I got tons of compliments, and the dress was comfortable as hell! I love it soooooo much!!!

You aren’t ready!!!

But here we goooo…

Impish? Perhaps.

Femme fatale? You better believe it!

Boss ass bitch?! Yeppers!

Sultry seductress? When it tickles me. 😉

Positive Posey? Sometimes!

Gallant goofball? Uhhhhhhyuuup! 😛

Tantalizing Trixie? When I wanna be!

“I just can’t fight this feeling anymooooooore”

Spreadin’ my wings…I guess?!

I call this one, “Is that my boob?”

And this one, “Is that my feet?” Ha-ha!

And maybe I had a glass of wine after a really long fucking day and decided to just laugh at it all in the end…HA!

Unfortunately, I no longer see it on their site though I only bought it a couple of weeks ago. But here’s what it looked like on their site (with my custom measurements listed if you’re into that sort of thing – and yeah it was on sale and I had a gift card).

If you’ve been hesitant to try eShakti because you can’t try stuff on, I get it, but they do custom sizing for $10 more than the regular price. Sometimes they even run free customizing deals! I’ve been a customer for nearly ten years and I’m hooked! I never wore dresses before I started buying from them. Their customer service is excellent beyond my American belief! Returns? Not a problem! They even give you a lil’ more than your purchase price if you choose store credit! How cool is that?! If you wanna give it a go, here’s my referral info below, but please feel free to hit me up directly with question you may have.

The eShakti customer can refer any non-customer to eShakti, by giving a personalized referral code. The code itself has been kept simple and will essentially be the name of the referrer.

The referral code entitles the new customer to additional $15 OFF over & above the new customer offer of 33% OFF on the first purchase.

The referrer gets a $25 gift card when the referred order is shipped to the new customer.

Your personalized referral code: SARAHREDMAN

The moral of this silly fashion story is to go ahead and push yourself out of your fashion comfort zone from time to time. You might just surprise yourself with a new love! 😉

***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

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