As someone who is just becoming familiar with the concepts of Fat Acceptance, Intuitive Eating, and Heatlh at Every Size, I have been fascinated by the discourse/uproar/kerfluffle that is going on over at Big Fat Deal over an interview between a weight-loss memoir writer and a blogger who is part of the Fatosphere.
Its been a very instructive experience for me. Basically, I got the primer on Fat Acceptance and exactly what is objectionable about promoting the success of an individual’s pursuit of weight loss through dieting. I’ve been unable to tear myself away because (with the exception of yoganut who forgot to check her smug at the door), every commenter has made me think from a new perspective. Its been amazingly cool.
The whole discussion boils down very simply for me: dieting is bad. Dieting, for me, created problems that were not there before: (an) eating disorder(s), emotional traumas that are still fresh wounds, and huge self-esteem problems. Maybe I would have had self-esteem problems without being fatter than normal, but I am positive that years of indoctrination along the lines of: “you are lazy, you have no discipline, you have no willpower, you have no control, you are baaaaad…” contributed hugely.
So. Dieting doesn’t work for the vast, vast majority of people who undertake it, and for some much larger (I have no statistics) percentage of people, dieting actually creates more problems than they had before. How could anyone who understands that, in good conscience, not speak up? Just because the memoir’s author found herself in the lucky 2% – 5% doesn’t mean that she should be held up as a role model for other people. I think the conversation that is continuing to take place is a very needed response from a community that can speak intelligently on the nuances of the situation. I don’t think its about tearing down the memoirist personally but of tackling the societal baggage that is, by default, attached to a successful weight loss story. I thought it was mostly respectfully and intelligently done, and very necessary. I found it especially appropriate in a place like Big Fat Deal, where discourse on the subject is encouraged. I am grateful to have discovered it there.
I have to confess to reading a lot of the memoirist’s blog as a result. Its dangerously compelling for me. But dieting is not good for me personally. I need to get completely comfortable with that fact.