There is a stage in FA where people accept that other peoples' bodies are just fine the way they are, but for *reasons* they themselves need to lose some weight. Not get thin, mind you, but maybe get down to where clothes are easier to buy and they remember being happier.
But then the inevitable conflict where people in FA spaces don't want to hear about their diet talk, delete their comments extolling the virtues of calorie-free Kool-Whip, and walk away from their conversations that inevitable steer around to food restrictions and processed diet platitudes.
In other words, they feel shunned. And hurt. Why can't they drop a couple of sizes and still be FA?
anyone can even start answering that question, we have to unpack some
of the false premises it is based upon. To start with, the question assumes that the
person will be successful at weight loss and then live as a
thinner fat person. This is so statistically unlikely that it would be an
outlier. In fact, they are likely to follow the same cycle every other
fat person does when attempting weight loss: a brief honeymoon period
where they lose some weight, followed by regain and additional gain. In
other words, they are much more likely to end up LARGER than they
started. This process (which we all know as "yo-yo dieting") is
extremely damaging to both physical and mental health. It is not
outrageous to call intentional weight-loss dieting (and ESPECIALLY
bariatric surgery) self-harm. People are absolutely justified in not
pursuing a relationship with someone who engages in self harm, or
support that self-harm, regardless of how socially acceptable it is.
that is unpacked, the question of triggers needs to be addressed.
After being in an abusive relationship between our culture and our
bodies for our entire lives, watching someone we know harm themselves in
order to appease and connect with our abusers can range from stressful
to devastating (depending on how close you were to that person or
whether you viewed them as a role-model). Again, that choice to engage
in that abuse, and the INEVITABLE talk portraying it as positive,
creates a toxic relationship that many in FA refuse to engage in.
is why most FA groups are "safe spaces" where weight loss is not
glorified or promoted, and why many FA activists will break ties with
someone who goes on a diet or gets bariatric surgery. We know from long
experience that they cannot help glorifying it, congratulating
themselves, and trying to talk their friends and family into
participating. Their writing will become peppered with their
experience, and cognitive dissonance resolution will cause them to wax
enthusiastic even if they have doubts and setbacks. It's toxic for
those of us who have worked so hard to recover from the harm diet
culture has done.
So no, we're not going to make an exception for someone who wants to be a "little thinner" any more than someone who wants to be thin. It is unrealistic, but more so it is damaging both to the person engaging with diet culture and those around them who are attempting to disengage. We can support you as a fat person, but we do not want your diet talk in our spaces. It doesn't matter if you're trying to lose 20 pounds or 200; you are still engaging in self-harm, and we don't want to ride along.
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