Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Inspiring Guest Post!

Here's an incredible guest post written by BAM member Laura Guzman!:

        "The second step to end Fat Talk, as part of Fat Talk Free Week sponsored by Tri Delta, states, "The only way to Change the Conversation is to have the conversation." Except I regret to inform you, you're having the wrong conversation. Instead of ending fat talk amongst those who feel fat or those who shame others for their fatness, and then promoting the adoption of this size-blind ideology (which erases people's experiences), you should be addressing how being fat is nothing to be shameful of. It is not a characteristic that says anything about you as a person.
         My dad's fat; my grandmothers are fat; the majority of my immediate family is fat. I am genetically predisposed to fatness. Fat acceptance is along the same vein as body acceptance, so you'd think a project dealing with the latter would stumble across the former through a simple google search. In my opinion, ending fat talk does not seem like a fantastic way to decrease the stigma surrounding fatness. I'm not saying that it isn't a great effort or that it shouldn't be done, I'm just further pointing out that we're having the wrong conversation. There are women who embrace their fatness, not in the way that ignorant people usually assume (fat acceptance is not synonymous with obesity promotion), and these women are at peace and even dare to love their bodies. This project fails to address them, and personally I feel like they are passing up a real opportunity to properly change mindsets.
         In addition, the website lists some Fat Talk alternatives in order to modify your behavior. One of the suggestions given is to provide encouragement. The site states, "If you or your friends have set weight loss or fitness goals focus on the dedication and perseverance it takes to make healthy lifestyle choices, instead of that they are trying to lose weight. Rather than saying 'You can definitely tell you're losing weight' say something like 'You seem really happy with your new passion for yoga. It makes me want to try it.'" This confuses me greatly. How can you set a weight loss goal that is not directly related to weight loss? It's in the title. Also, there's the idea that somehow weight is indicative of your health! Fun! Newsflash, a weight loss goal is not a "healthy lifestyle [choice]". Many studies have even shown that there might be a link between weight loss and an increased mortality rate. Eating intuitively and engaging in an exercise routine that interests you, that's healthy. Dieting isn't. Diets don't even work. If you'd like me to amend that, I will: diets don't work in the long-term. In fact, yo-yo dieting, or weight cycling, is actually harmful to your health, you know that thing that you're supposedly losing weight for? Yeah, well, in reality you're causing yourself more harm than good. Gaining back the lost weight from that diet, which will most likely happen within five years at least, results in "fluctuations in blood pressure, heart rate, sympathetic activity, glomerular filtration rate, blood glucose and lipids"; all of these "put an additional load on the cardiovascular system". The study claims that if one partakes in yo-yo dieting for an extended period of time it "will stress the cardiovascular system and probably contribute to the overall cardiovascular morbidity"
         I don't mean to shame anyone about their actions, but for your benefit please educate yourself so that you don't get stuck in this detrimental cycle. For as much as this project preaches against the thin ideal, it does not seem to be promoting Health At Every Size (HAES), which is worrisome. I mean, they say that health comes in all shapes and sizes, but yet there they are encouraging weight loss goals as "healthy lifestyle choices" when they're anything but. While I understand that good intentions are the foundation of this cause, good intentions aren't worth anything unless they manifest into holistically good actions, and this is not exactly the case here."

Please email me at if you too would like your voice to be heard on the BAM blog!