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Posts tagged ‘fat acceptance’

Day 6: A Continuing Exploration Of Health At Every Size

First of all, an apology to those of you who have been hanging out for this final post in lifeinfullcolour’s 6-Day Exploration of Health At Every Size (HAES) – i have been away for the past few days, & unfortunately didn’t have time to write up this post before i left.

Thankyou for being so patient! 🙂

If you are just joining us now, you might also like to go back & try the challenges from my previous posts in this series:

These posts were intended to give you a small taste of what life might be like if you ditched the deprivation & guilt that comes from a dieting approach to health & beauty. It was my hope to give you a taste of the alternative – a non-dieting, health at every size approach, which honours your body’s internal wisdom, & nourishes not only your body, but also your heart & soul. I wanted to remind you that you are worth looking after – you are deserving of your own kindness, love, & respect.

There is so much more out there to discover & learn about ‘Health At Every Size‘, & today’s post is about encouraging you & sharing a few simple ways that you might like to continue exploring the idea of HAES 🙂

A really great place to start learning more about a Health At Every Size approach & exploring what that could look like for you, is following blogs that encourage a non-dieting, self-nourishing approach to health. Sites that help you to dissect the messages you receive in the media & elsewhere about what it means to be healthy or beautiful, & give you an alternative perspective or course of action. Sites that remind you that you CAN be happy, & you CAN be healthy, no matter what your jeans size, & give you the encouragement & support you need to believe it.

Two of my favourite blogs, & two that you simply must explore, are Beautiful You, & Dances With Fat. Each of these blogs have really helped me to dissect the messages i had been recieving about my beauty & worth & helped me to unhinge these from my size & shape, realising that they are in fact two separate things & that my beauty & worth is not dependant of my size or shape.

Beautiful You taught me that i am worthy of love, respect, & self-care, right now. Exactly as i am. No exceptions – & certainly not an exception based on my body size! Dances With Fat taught me that it IS possible to be fat AND healthy, but more importantly, that being fat is not a reason to give up your life to dieting – you can live a beautiful & rich lifeinfullcolour WHATEVER size you are! 🙂

There are SO many other wonderful blogs out there though, & i encourage you to seek them out. A great starting point is to check out Medicinal Marzipan‘s list of Body Image Warriors, & Nourishing The Soul‘s list of Nourishing Blogs. Also, keep an eye out on lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page for shout-outs & links to other great pages 🙂

If you are interested in learning more about intuitive eating, & perhaps starting your own journey towards normal eating, it’s really important to have support, & there is no better place to find that it than from a qualified dietitian. If you are in Australia, try the Dietitians Association Of Australia, or if you are in America, The American Dietetics Association.

Experiment with different foods. Rediscover old favourites. Make time to cook. Share a meal with friends. Go out for dinner at your favourite restaurant. Try a new restaurant. Notice the different textures of foods. Notice the different flavours. Eat by candlelight. Eat in the sunshine. Eat what makes you happy. Listen to your body. Eat what makes IT happy. Stop being so angry with pizza. Stop being so angry with yourself. Forgive. Enjoy 🙂

If you want to find joy in movement, forget what you’ve been told about “exercise”, & think outside the box. Think back to when you were a kid – play. Explore different ways of moving your body. Try rock climbing, soccer, hula-hooping – run off & join the circus! Dance, swim, bounce on a trampoline. Try yoga. Do somersaults. Cartwheel. Walk, skip, jump, & twirl. Swing, slide, or climb trees. Move because it is fun. Move because it makes you feel strong. Give up the torturcise. Explore & discover what makes YOU happy! 🙂

Remember –

And most importantly?
Remember that you CAN be happy, AND healthy, at any size! 🙂

Thankyou all for joining me this past week – it really has been wonderful to have you here 🙂 I hope you have found some enjoyment & value in my challenges this week, & i hope you they have been helpful in giving you a small taste of what it would be like to ditch the deprivation & guilt, & begin to nourish your body & mind. If you would like to share your thoughts with me on any of these challenges (or on anything else!) feel feel to drop by & leave a comment on lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page, or shoot me an email 🙂

Have a beautiful, glorious day 🙂


The Start Of Something Big

“Every generation needs a new revolution.”
~ Thomas Jefferson

While people the world over, will be using January 1st as a kick-start to achieving their resolutions, i’m going to use this day to kick off a reVolution.

I am joining hundreds of others in a revolution that will flood the blogosphere & social networks with Health At Every Size (HAES), body-accepting, & self-loving messages. At a time when diet, “fitness” & other weightloss companies will try to saturate us with negative messages about our bodies & make us false promises, we are fighting back – we are saying “Enough!” to body image bullying. We are taking a stand. And you can too.

Throughout the month of January, i will be exploring & embracing a Health At Every Size (HAES) approach to health.

Health at Every Size is based on the simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body. It supports people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control). Health at Every Size encourages:

  • Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
  • Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite.
  • Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically vital.

I will be posting quotes, messages, videos, images, & articles on the lifeinfullcolour Facebook page that inspire body acceptance, self-love, & a HAES, non-dieting approach to health. I will be sharing here at lifeinfullcolour, the steps i am taking to honour my body & my mind, & offering small, achievable challenges to help you explore what it would be like to nourish your own body & mind.

(Image via: We ♥ it.)

Take a stand. If you are tired of diets, if you are tired of the negative, body-bullying messages we are bombarded with, if you are tired of feeling afraid of food, tired of living a life of deprivation & denial, join the revolution! You can be a part of something big.

What I Have Learnt From ‘Fat Acceptance’ Blogs

First, an introduction to fat acceptance (as i see it):

(Image via: Photobucket)

Fat acceptance is not about “glorifying obesity”. It is not a declaration that fat is good. Nor though, is it a declaration that fat is bad. It is about acceptance. It is about saying “it is”, & leaving it at that.

Fat acceptance is about recognising that fat people (& I use the term “fat” as a physical descriptor, not a derogatory term), are human beings, worthy of love & respect. It is about recognising that everyone has a right to feel good about themselves – that self-love is not a privilege reserved for those who’s body type fits the thin “ideal”.

It’s about recognising that thin privilege exists, & working towards reducing (& perhaps one day eliminating) this division.

Fat acceptance often comes from a ‘Health At Every Size‘ perspective (an idea which i am incredibly passionate about & will post about later), which recognises that good health is determined by numerous factors – not body size alone – & that is is indeed possible to enjoy good health at a variety of body weights, shapes, & sizes – just as it is possible to suffer ill health at any size.

And while fat acceptance says “you have a fat body, but that does not make you unhealthy or any less awesome”, it is also part of a broader body acceptance movement, that says “ALL people are valuable regardless of their size or shape”. It’s about recognising that being fat does not make you any more or less of a remarkable human being, while acknowledging that being thin (or any other size or shape in between) is perfectly okay too.

Respect – for everyone – regardless of body shape or size. That’s what i believe fat acceptance, & the broader body acceptance movement is about. And i could not be more passionate about this message.

(Image via: winterbutterfly81)

It’s been about a year since i discovered Beautiful You, run by the oh-so-lovely Julie Parker. I felt like i had stumbled upon some beautiful, hidden treasure, & spent hours soaking up the positivity that lay between the pages of her blog.

It was through Julie, that i was introduced to the positive body image movement, of which i am so excited to be a part of today. I began to follow similar blogs, & have had the honour of getting to know some of the amazing women that run them. I engaged with these women, & shared their message with others. And i began to share my own message, through comments & small guest pieces on their blogs. I also started posting links on Facebook, to various blog pieces, news articles, & research studies, on anything & everything that related to body image or eating disorders. People began referring to me as a positive body image activist, but i still had a lot to learn (don’t we all?).

I’ll admit, when i first came across comments from fat acceptance activists on some of the news articles & blogs that i had been reading, my feelings were mixed.

‘Sure – i believe that  people of all shapes & sizes can be beautiful, & of course i believe that everyone should be valued & respected regardless of their body shape,’ i thought to myself. After all, i knew quite a few fat people (again, used a descriptive word, not a derisive one), & i loved & respected them as much as i did anyone. But i wondered, ‘Should we really be glorifying obesity? I mean, i don’t think fat people should change how they look to fit someone else’s definition of aesthetic beauty, & certainly not to seek out some sense of higher worth (because they already are worthy), but what about their health?’ BAM.

And there we have it – MAJOR judgements on my part, tied up with a pretty little bow of hypocrisy. Here i was flitting around, spreading lovely little messages of ‘health at every size’, while similtaneously making some pretty big judgements about people’s health, based entirely on their body size & shape. 24 years of exposure, & i had internalised society’s message that being fat = being unhealthy.

This was no ‘Vague Future Health Threat‘ – i was not trying to shame anyone into losing weight, under a veil of false concern. I genuinely believed that fat people were risking their health if they remained obese. (An easy – though flawed – conclusion to come to when we face a possible 217 messages a day, telling us exactly that.) And while my care & concern for others is a lovely trait, the truth is, that even if i were right – even if fat did equal poor health – that truth would still not grant me the right to dictate that a fat person should lose weight.

Just as they should not have to lose weight to be aesthetically pleasing by society’s narrow ideas of beauty, or to seek out some greater sense of worth, a fat person should not have to lose weight because someone else deemed it unhealthy. How a fat person manages their health, is THEIR choice & their responsibility, just as it is for a thin person, or anyone else in between. And if they were aware of this “truth” (remember – it isn’t one) that being fat = being unhealthy, & chose not to lose weight, then that is their right, & it is none of my business.

And while this realisation helped me to see fat people through an even wider lens of acceptance (no pun intended!), it did lead me to another, rather challenging, realisation – not all fat people want to lose weight.

Whoa. I mean, WHOA. What an incredible concept, & one that felt very foreign to me. I mean, in a society where so much predjudice exists towards fat people, where they are faced everyday with hundreds of messages telling them that they are less attractive, less healthy, & less human (have you noticed the ‘Headless Fatty‘ phenomenon?), why would anyone choose to remain fat? The question boggled me, & the people making this choice fascinated me.

The answer? Despite what others might say, a lot of these people really respect their bodies & value their health – they are healthy & don’t see the value in torturing their body with diets, pills, or crazy exercise regimes. Most importantly though, they are happy. Yep, you heard me right – they are happy AND fat. Crazy right?

Difficult? Sure. But crazy? Not so much. In fact, seeing women like wonderful Ragen from Dances With Fat, dancing so beautifully (check out the video below), & with joy, helped me to realise that being fat is not as limiting as we think it is. Yes, you can be fat AND be a fabulous dancer. Yes, you can be fat AND go surfing. You can be fat AND love fashion, & you CAN be fat & happy.

Fat acceptance blogs like Dances With Fat & Fat Heffalump, have taught me a lot about accepting others, but they have also taught me a lot about accepting myself, & for these things i am thankful 🙂

For another, more personal post on body acceptance check out my post Breaking All The Rules 🙂