Tag Archives: food policing

I run because–t-shirts and food policing.

Today, while visiting my sister, I happened to look at an ad flyer for a local department store.  And guess which t-shirt was being advertised (just in time for back to school body hatred…)

CupcakeShirt1Look, I have no problem with people making their own choices.  Want to run?  Awesome, me too!  Want to eat cupcakes?  Yes, please.  I’ll have mine with extra sprinkles.  What burns my butt is the notion that we are not allowed to eat certain kinds of foods unless we do certain kinds of exercise.  What chaps my hide is the notion that we share a whopping dose of food policing and body shame as some sort of back to school special.  And by the way, this shirt was conspicuously absent from the section of the flyer advertising plus-sized clothing, junior or otherwise, because, duh.  Fat girls don’t get to eat cupcakes EVAR.

It always astonishes me that clothing buyers at these stores are so incredibly clueless that they still think this is okay–this after the controversy over the “girls can’t do math” t-shirt and the “asking Santa to bring me a new butt for Christmas pillow”.  Seriously?  Don’t these guys pay attention to social media, like ever?

This notion of fitness as punishment or penance or atonement for some sort of sinful eating is one of the reasons we have such a hard time sticking to exercise.  Rather than seeing fitness as something joyful we do because we love the way we look, we see exercise as something painful and awful we have to do because our bodies are in some way unacceptable or because we have to avoid even the slightest chance our bodies will become less acceptable in the future.  We don’t bother finding fitness that we love because we don’t feel we deserve it.  And then we are surprised when we choose not to stick with the icky, painful, punishing routine we pick for ourselves.

But in the end, this sort of body shame and food policing is unproductive, punishing and downright damaging.  It doesn’t help us feel better.  It doesn’t help us feel better about ourselves and it doesn’t help foster healthy behaviors of any kind.

So my advice is to go ahead and run for a different reason.  I’ve even immortalized it as a t-shirt.  Here ya go!

Bodyshirt2

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to speak at your school or company or organization?  Learn more HERE!

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Can we get a little FREAKIN’ PEACE around here?

HolidaySwing

Here in Southern California, the holidays are a special kind of stressful.  People here just sort of just plum lose connection with any sort of common sense for a few weeks.  And in the week before Christmas, the whole area vibrates with a special sort of near-nervous-breakdown energy that makes me want to stay inside and pull the covers over my head.  In the last two days, I have seen some death-defying, I gotta get the eggnog before 7 PM maneuvers that left me screaming.  On Friday, I watched a van driver flick on his emergency lights and pull over the shoulder.  I had plenty of time to observe this as the freeway was in its usual “Friday Before a Holiday Parking Lot” mode.  I thought to myself, “oh, that poor van driver person.  What a yucky day to break down on the freeway.”  I then watched as said van driver BACKED UP OVER 1/2 A FREAKIN MILE ON THE FREAKIN FREEWAY.  Why?  The driver had missed the desired ramp.  After the backing maneuver, the van bumped up over a lane divider and pulled in front of exiting traffic to exit at the desired ramp.

“SERIOUSLY?  ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME?” I shouted.

That is only one of many incidents of horrible driving, deeply problematic mall stampeding and grocery store aisle smackdowns I’ve witnessed in the past few days.  And I have to tell you, it’s made me slow down, stop, and think.

You know what I want for the holidays this year?  Just a little bit of peace.  Just a little bit of space to breathe and appreciate and enjoy.    And that’s my wish for you as well.  I hope this holiday season (or what’s left of it) allows you to find a little bit of peace.

I wish you peace on the road–free from people screaming, cutting you off or as my friend jokingly puts it, “using the fellowship finger”.

I wish you peace as you shop.  May the people around be considerate and kind. May they only have positive things to say about the way you act and the way you look and who you are.

I wish you peace as you eat.  May you enjoy every bite and allow it to nourish you both inside and out.  May you enjoy holiday gatherings free from food policing and body shame.

I wish you peace with your family.  May everybody around you be grateful for all you have done to make the holiday special, even if all you were able to do this year is to allow your beautiful self to take more breaths and exist on this amazing earth.

I wish you peace with your body.  May you declare a cease-fire in any war you may have waged against your good self.  May you appreciate the staggering awesomeness of the body you have right now.  May you pamper and find joy in the skin you are in.

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And I wish you a peaceful new year.  May you find a way to scoff at those in the world who believe the way to greet the new year is to change everything that makes you, well, YOU.  May you face the new year with courage and optimism.  May you choose for yourself a path that is strengthening, enriching, enlightening and encouraging.

Sleep in heavenly peace my friends.  Sleep in heavenly peace.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

What Happens When We “Let Ourselves Go”…

TheFatChick

After I tell people that I support Health At Every Size (R) and after I explain what Health At Every Size is, people often share with me their fear that if they ever stopped strictly policing their body size, their food intake and their calories burned, they will grow “big as a house” and they will “never stop eating”.  Now this fear is natural.  We’ve been conditioned to believe that we are just one chocolate chip cookie away from total body apocalypse and that only constant, fierce and consistent vigilance will keep us from serious medical harm.  There’s a $60 billion dollar diet industry as well as an unbelievably huge system of bariatric surgery and drugs and research grants and public health initiatives to support the notion that if we take our eyes off the thin body prize for even a moment, all hell will break loose.

Except, in my experience, it kind of doesn’t.

Some recent research coming out of Australia, seems to support the notion that Health At Every Size and Size Acceptance does NOT generally lead to giving up on health altogether.  “The Role of the Fatosphere in Fat Adults’ Responses to Obesity Stigma: A Model of Empowerment Without a Focus on Weight Loss” details interviews with 44 bloggers in the “Fatosphere”.  The subjects of these interviews often talked about moving from a reactive response to stigma (attempting weight loss to conform to societal norms) towards a proactive approach to stigma (recognizing stigma, reframing fat, and focus on self-acceptance).  These bloggers described significant improvements in well being as a result of being associated with the size acceptance community and taking a direct approach to dealing with shame and stigma.

Granted, we’re only talking about 44 bloggers here.  This is hardly a representative sample of fat people all over the world. But it does seem to map to my experience.  For a short time after I declared all foods legal and nothing off limits I ate a LOT of cookies and chips and pizza.  But after not very long, the bloom was off the rose.  I found I really didn’t want another candy bar.  I wanted broccoli.  I wanted chicken.  I wanted whole wheat bread and peanut butter.  I wanted real food.  Once the “forbidden” label was removed from foods, I found I could often take them or leave them.  I could eat one cookie.  I could eat 3 potato chips.  Because you know what?  I knew I could have them again whenever I wanted them.

Once I removed the notion of punishment from my physical activities and started focusing on finding exercise that was fun, I started enjoying my workouts a whole lot more.  Rather than dragging myself up onto the treadmill and burning an arbitrary number of calories, I called the dog and we went outside for walkies.  I got my heart pumping.  I bumped up my Vitamin D levels.  And I HAD FUN.  When I accepted that I no longer had to do exercise that I hated, I found myself free to focus on fitness that I loved.  I learned to look forward to workouts again.

Clearly I’m citing anecdotal evidence here.  But there is plenty of other research by amazing people like Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor that explains what happens when people lose their obsession with weight loss and start focusing on the Health At Every Size approach to wellness.  What happens is that folks get happier and generally healthier all without the nasty side effects of disordered eating, weight cycling and depression so common to the traditional diet-based approach.

So after I tell people about Health At Every Size and after people tell me that they can’t support HAES because they would lose all control and would wind up desperately unhappy and unhealthy, I still have an ace up my sleeve.

I share the overwhelming evidence that the HAES (R) approach typically leaves people at a weight that is natural for them with a body that is healthier and with a mind that is happier than ever before.

Seems like a safe bet to me.

Love,

The Fat Chick

 

Plan Ahead to Deal With Holiday Stress

Thanksgiving is coming up next week, and the holiday onslaught will be here in just minutes.  We’ve all heard of holiday stress.  But few of us are aware of how dangerous holiday stress can really be.  Studies have indicated that cardiac mortality increases by as much as a third between Thanksgiving and New Years Day–even in mild climates.  And scientists have surmised that this increase may be due to holiday stress.

One of the things you can do to help minimize holiday stress is to plan in advance.  Learn how to set spending limits.   Manage expectations and understand that no holiday is perfect.  Prioritize, divest and delegate tasks so you don’t feel completely overwhelmed.  Plan ahead for how you will deal with critical or unkind family members and friends who feel a need to try to “fix” you.  And maintain healthy habits during the holidays–especially exercise.

Lucky for you, the HAES Happy Holidays Workshop, arranged by the amazing Ragen Chastain, begins tonight.  The program is “name your own price” so you can stay within your holiday budget.  And a variety of awesome speakers like Ragen, Marilyn Wann, Golda Poretsky and I will be talking about managing family relationships, looking fabulous, and dealing  with holiday stress.  I’ll be speaking tonight at 4PM PST–7PM EST about maintaining an exercise program during the holidays and setting up a rational New Years Resolution exercise program that is safe and super fun!

Procrastination also increases holiday stress, so don’t wait another minute.  Go sign up for the program and dial on in.  And help make this the best holiday season EVAR!

Love,

The Fat Chick