Thursday, June 11, 2009

Welcome New Readers!

I’ve had a few new readers around, both familiar with and stranger to the concept of Fat Acceptance. Welcome! It’s always humbling to find out that someone I don’t know enjoys my writing or cares what I think. I want to post a little bit about me and the purpose of this blog for those new to some of the concepts I discuss. That way I can hopefully avoid offending anyone when I have to delete certain comments.

This is a blog about me and my interests, but generally tied to the concept of FA or Fat Acceptance. This means that I will frequently refer to dieting, weight-loss, weight bias in medical science, the “obesity scare” and similar concepts in negative terms, contrary to their general social acceptance. FA, in a nutshell, is the concept that fat people are human beings, due the same respect and rights as every other human being. Frequently covered concepts are: fat discrimination in health care, employment, legal rights, education and businesses; the socioeconomic bias inherent in the modern “obesity” scare; disputing health myths about fat; critiquing badly done research or findings with inherent conflict of interest (i.e. performed by or funded by companies who sell weight loss drugs or techniques); and accepting the body’s natural weight regardless of where that weight falls on the BMI chart. Many books have been written on the subject so I can’t possibly cover everything, but a good place to start understanding where I’m coming from would be to read the links to “Fat Acceptance 101” at the top of the sidebar. They will cover most of the immediate arguments most people put forward when they first learn about the concept of FA.

This blog is a no-diet zone, as is my life. That means that even if a comment is wonderfully thoughtful and well-written, I have to delete it if it ventures into “I lost X amount of weight” or “I’ll bet XYZ would help someone lose a lot of weight” or anything I believe promotes weight loss, dieting or restricted eating. Even if that part is only a small part of the comment. That is my way of creating a safe space for people recovering from the diet culture (including myself). See the “101” topic on why diets fail to get an understanding of why. Neither I nor most of my regular readers are interested in losing weight, and most of us do not consider deliberate weight loss beyond your body’s natural set point either healthy or something to be proud of. I rather believe that accepting and loving your body, and deliberately working to change it, are mutually exclusive concepts.

Needless to say, I am not on a diet. You’ll see posts talking about healthy habits I try to cultivate in my life (i.e. a variety of good food, intuitive eating, exercise, quitting smoking, seeking mental well-being, etc.) and while these are usually associated with attempts to lose weight, that is not the case here. I try to practice a concept known as HAES (Health At Every Size). This concept isn’t a rigid system, but a way to be healthy within each person’s means and abilities (without the assumption that healthy = thin). It’s based on recent research that shows individual health is not dependent on weight or body size, but on lifestyle (which is not a determinant of weight or body size), genetics (which IS a determinant of weight and body size), and basic bloody-minded chance. I have been the same relative weight since third grade, despite many rounds of every form of dieting known to humanity (even dieting disguised as “lifestyle changes”) loss, re-gain, etc. I have given up the fantasy of ever being in a different body, and am learning to be healthy and happy in the body I was given.

A lot of the posts here don’t seem to be directly related to FA, because this is, above all, a personal blog. My life is more than my weight, so you’ll see series on cooking, sewing, friends, self-reflection and other aspects of my life. I try to relate them somehow to FA, but most of it is just living my life as my life, instead of defining my life by the number on a scale.

Please read the comments policy before posting comments. I do welcome positive comments! I also welcome certain disputes, although the core beliefs of FA (dangers of dieting, amorality of food, that fat in itself is not a health risk, that I don't need you to be attracted to me in order to be happy, etc.) are not subjects where you’re going to change my mind. Trust me, I’ve heard every possible argument you could make and repeating it isn’t going to convince me. It will, of course, force me to delete or reject the comment.

There are many posts on this blog that I hope can be enjoyed regardless of the reader’s support of FA. If you strongly disagree with FA, then there will be posts that may upset you. That’s really not my problem. Remember you were warned, and don’t try to vent your spleen in my comments section.

Finally, to give you other perspectives on FA (and to prove that I'm not a lone nutter) you may want to check out the many other blogs on what's known as "the Fatosphere". See the link on the sidebar for two RSS feeds, one for the original Fatosphere, the other for a group of blogs known as Fat Chat.


Anonymous said...

I must say I am LOVING your SAAS series. I'm just about able to sew a straight plain line with my sewing machine right now, but these are great things for me to aim for, thank you!

Linda Bacon said...

So glad to see this post. Great stuff! Just wanted to give you a heads up about the (free) HAES Community Resources (wwww.HAESCommunity.Org). It could help you to get the word about your blog out to others and connect with other people and entities working with HAES.

Keep up the good work!

All my best,
Linda Bacon

JoGeek said...

Thanks Linda!

Alix said...

As a comment offender (I died of embarrassment), I just have to say that I wholly support and celebrate the wonderful goodness of your blog, JoGeek. I love your conviction and flair and intelligence!. Heck, I just love reading what you have to say and the super impressive voice you say it in.

What a strong woman you are. God bless you and keep you focused on the no-holds-barred manner in which you speak your truth. I am proud to know you (in the sense that I don't actually know you at all, but... you know...) and look forward to all your coming posts.

You are a hero, JoGeek. Really and truly.

Barney said...

I am a new reader and anti-diets. I am The Un Diet Coach in Los Angeles, California. I help people QUIT dieting for life and find their "Skinny". Meaning they learn to love food AND their bodies. Really groundbreaking stuff that makes me very happy!

I will be back!

Bridget Loves

Nina said...

I like your blog and will be reading--thanks for the SAAS and the no-diet comment policy!

Anonymous said...

i love reading what you write. thank you for sharing your heart, acceptance, life, and joy!