It is pretty much always Lesley’s fault when I respond to something going on in popular culture.

Here’s the breaks, y’all: I do not like Jess Weiner, find her inspirational, or consider her to be a good writer. I’ve had minor beef with her online but generally I find myself apathetic about her because I do not consider her a fat-positive advocate or activist. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but that has not been my experience. I had zero inclination, when left to my own devices, to read her insipid tale of how fat acceptance almost killed her – I have more and better things to do.

AND YET. And yet Lesley was all “have you read it” and I found myself looking it up. It’s like staring at a multi-car pileup, against all my better instincts and urges toward self-preservation. And, as with that car wreck, it’ll be a while before I can scrub this one from my brain.

First of all, if you’re looking for a really wonderful response, read Deb’s entry the HAES files: loving your body won’t kill you, but being targeted for a curse might. I completely agree with Deb that Jess Weiner has the right to do whatever she wants to with her body – her weight loss is a non-issue. The issue here is that she says body acceptance almost killed her. Which is, in and of itself, one of the most alarmist statements I’ve heard all damn day.

Well, a shared horror is a lessened one, right? Let’s discuss.

Let’s discuss how Weiner’s premise is flawed from the get-go. That is to say: fat acceptance (or the more gently phrased: body acceptance) is no barrier to going to the goddamn doctor. And if Jess Weiner wants to pin the blame for her avoidance of fat-hating physicians on fat acceptance, well, I’m going to suggest she think about things like logic and reason. And, you know, Health At Every Size, which actively demands that people pay attention to their own personal, individual health.

Weiner says: My body wasn’t anyone else’s business, but had I done everything I could to make it my business?

The answer, it would seem, is most emphatically no. But then Weiner displaces all blame – it isn’t that SHE failed to make it her business. It’s that body acceptance told her not to go to the doctor! Body acceptance made her believe she didn’t have to pay any attention to her health!

First, this is a deeply ridiculous argument. Second, it’s a demonstration that Weiner never really did grasp the central tenet of body acceptance, which is that it is YOUR body; you as an individual are actively responsible for caring for that body.

One of the primary struggles of fat acceptance is with the medical community. Doctors (and nurses and other practitioners) view fat patients as noncompliant and in some cases even refuse treatment – or offer weight loss advice instead of treating the current ill. It’s a far cry from Do No Harm. When you approach HAES as a concept, one of the things you have to learn to deal with is this toxic atmosphere of health care. Some of us are fortunate to find amazing doctors – some of us are not.

In this case, it is not body acceptance that failed Jess Weiner – it’s Jess Weiner who failed herself.

And yet, the blame, oh, the profitable blame game. There’s been a rash of HAES-positive stories lately. Weren’t we expecting this kind of backlash:

Oh, noes! Self-acceptance is actually bad and dangerous and kicks puppies! News at eleven!

Yes, y’all, that’s hyperbole. Sometimes it happens.

Weiner’s article goes on to relate some actual factual health stats – and how, 18 months later, she got her actual factual health stats into a healthier zone! (Note, please, that her numbers were never actually signalling poor health – rather, she was pre-pre-diabetic.) But, she lamented, she’d only lost X number of pounds! Her doctor gives her the most valuable feedback to be found in the whole four pages of this “inspirational” article.

“Jess, you’re focusing on the wrong number,” Dr. Verma said. “Health is more than just your weight.”

THAT sounds like a little bit of HAES right there. Weiner lost a small amount of weight but she changed her behaviors in a way that had a significant impact on her actual health. The weight is incidental.

Who gives a shit about the weight she lost?

Apparently, Weiner, who has a new weight loss goal – because, hey, what does genuine health improvement have to offer in the face of pounds lost – gives a shit; she conflates health and weight while at the same time castigating those who struggle to accept and love their bodies.

Love yourself, she seems to say, but only if you are healthy according to society’s mandate. Love your, she seems to say, but not too much.

She states that she was surprised other fat women were confessing to her that they also wanted to lose weight to be healthy. Status quo is the new status quo!

The truth is that HAES is about focusing on what is right for your individual body and paying attention to your actual health. Weight is not any sort of reliable indicator of health (though rapid weight loss or gain can signal that something is going on with your system). If you make a bunch of sustainable changes that make you happy and healthy and you lose some weight? That’s incidental. If you make those same changes and you gain some weight? That’s incidental. If nothing at all changes regarding your weight? That is also incidental. What’s important is that you feel good and that you manage your health – both physical and mental – in a way that is right for you. And if something happens and you cannot sustain those changes? That is okay, too.

Health is not a moral imperative. Being unhealthy by the current societal standard does not mean you are any less worthy of being treated well, especially by medical professionals. It doesn’t mean anyone is entitled to think they are better than you based on body size.

And that’s what this is about, isn’t it? Finding a new way to feel superior to other people? Health prescriptivism is bullshit. The people who say they are “just concerned” about your health are not really concerned about your health – if they were, they’d actually listen instead of trying to force their so-called solution down our throats. I’m just going to say it: I’m sure Jess Weiner means well but I don’t believe for one hot minute that she actually cares about my health. I think she cares about her book sales and her reputation and her own mixed up priorities. I think she cares about people, but in that kind of gross “I know better than you” paternalistic way that skeeves people out when they’re observing it. Jess Weiner wants you to take care of yourself – but not in the way that seems right to you as the inhabitant and owner of your body and identity.

When she’s ignoring the most sensible thing a doctor can say – especially given how many fatties would do actual mayhem to have access to a doctor who cared about their health more than their weight – Jess Weiner is being a role model. Of a really terrible kind. Because she’s encouraging people to, despite her assurances to the contrary, believe that there is something wrong, something desperately wrong with them if they are fat – she’s just shifting the focus. Fuckability is still the scale – but now it’s labeled “healthy”.

The weight Weiner lost is insignificant to the greater thing that she lost – her freedom from body hate.

You can blame body acceptance, Jess Weiner. Go on. Body acceptance will still be here if you ever want an alternative to shame and body hate and, hell, not finding clothes. HAES will be here, encouraging people to take ownership of their health, to know what’s going on with their bodies, to seek real and meaningful data points about their own status. Fat acceptance will still be here, providing a radical space for those who have tired of the roller coaster the multi-billion dollar diet industry has everyone queued up to ride.


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64 Comments

  1. Posted August 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been going through a cycle of “maybe I should start hating myself again for being fat”, especially as my body continues to change post-baby (guess what? weight lost by puking for the better part of the year while growing a human being tends to come back when one stops puking). Then the universe coughs up another set of thoughtful wisdom, wrapped in some lovely ranty pants, and I feel a lot better about my no-more-diets stance. Thanks.

  2. Posted August 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t the first time I’ve posted this kind of comment here, and I think it won’t be the last:

    This was exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you.

  3. Peregrine
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I thought it was going to be more HAESish until she got to the point about “I want to lose more weight just ’cause, in spite of my doctor now saying my numbers are awesome.” That just sounded so flawed to me.

    (I too thought her initial #s didn’t sound bad, but I’m not a doctor, so I doubted myself until I read other people’s takes on it.)

    I agree with the rebuttal article (and you) that she seemed to drastically misunderstand what FA actually is.

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I think the title of the article was when I knew it wasn’t going to be about HAES, you know? Ugh.

      • Peregrine
        Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        The title was completely hyperbolic and, well, nuts. She seemed to hugely misunderstand FA, though. Her whole approach to the topic was built on a misunderstanding. The actual advice/behavior didn’t sound too crazy until she got to that part about needing to lose more weight. Then I felt like she might be relapsing, since she’d had an eating disorder before.

        When the doctor said, “Your #s are great,” if she’d been like, “Yay, I can has health,” it wouldn’t have been that far from HAES in terms of practice. I thought the actual numbers were a reality check, in terms of readers seeing that, hey, you can have *awesome* stats and be over 200 lbs. Not to say that we have to have ‘good’ #s or whatever, but just that for the average reader, that vision of 225 pounds as healthy might be a good thing to creep into awareness.

        I actually got there from Linda Bacon referencing Deb’s article…but I hadn’t actually read Deb’s article first per her instructions. So I was actively looking for some sort of connection to HAES, positive or negative.

        • G
          Posted August 10, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          I’m not a writer, but my friend who is a writer always comments on how newspaper headlines are not written by the reporter who wrote the article, but rather someone else trying to catch eyeballs– and they’re often deliberately misleading.

          The title of Jess’ article is rather more extreme than the content and I’m not sure if she had a say in it.

          Still, it definitely caught some eyeballs…

  4. Nicole
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Love. Love. Love.

    Thank you so much. As Fluffycat said, this was exactly what I needed to read.

    You rock.

  5. Posted August 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I tried to read that article. I really really did. But man. MAN OH MAN. It was so hard to get past the first page. So much logic fail. Also, the whole “Wear your spanx to the gym!” headline in the sidebar was really distracting.

    “Status quo is the new status quo!” I lol’d.

    • Posted August 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      I don’t wear Spanx to the office, wedding receptions, or the bar, whyinhell would I wear them to the gym?

      (I do wear them when I’m volunteering at the community garden, though, because I wear my rattiest jeans and the thighs are worn straight through and the Spanx keep me from chafing until I bleed.)

      • empressmitzi
        Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        the comments on the Spanx in the gym page rated a double headdesk. Yeah, I’d totally wear something that constricts my breathing and circulation when I’m working out if it makes me look SKINNY! Sorry, make that a triple headdesk. *Ouch*

      • lisa
        Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        There is actual research that has concluded that wearing compression garments increases athletic performance.

        Whether you care and whether that’s where Glamour is coming from are both other questions. But the idea per se of compression shorts for a workout? Not inherently flawed.

        • TR
          Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          There IS evidence to suggest that compression garments help athletes perform better, prevent injury, and recover from injury. I’m just not so sure those compression garments are the equivalent of Spanx.

        • JupiterPluvius
          Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          Spanx are girdles, not calibrated compression garments. I have worn both. They are Not The Same.

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I cannot even admit that the “wear spanx to the gym” thing exists. Because if I do, all will be for naught and the universe will implode.

  6. Katie
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Reagan at Dances with Fat also discussed this today… I read that article and it was like two different people wrote an article and an inept editor spliced them together. I actually feel bad for Weiner, she’s got some real cognitive dissonance going on there.

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Cognitive dissonance is definitely in the building.

    • Amy
      Posted August 10, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      I *would* feel bad for Jess Weiner if she were new to the idea of FA or if she had a different vocation, but the fact that she profits from giving talks, writing books and columns and appears on TV as a “self-esteem expert” to other women makes my stomach churn.

  7. Christine
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I had never heard of Jess Weiner until just now, and well, now I know that I wasn’t missing anything. I mean, for Pete’s sake, if she and other women “with weight issues” avoid going to the doctor for fear of shaming, doesn’t that seem to fly in the face of the idea that people lecture fat people in order to somehow assist them in becoming healthy?

    Indeed, I have no problem with anybody doing anything with their body, whether that include eating five quarter pounders a week or exercising daily or both! And at the end of the day people with a wide range of physical activity/ability and wide range of diets will fall across all categories associated with BMI.

    Just, ugh. I would feel bad for her, but she’s going to go home to her life which is subsidized by those same women that she is now shaming, and that is what I feel badly about.

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I would feel bad for her, but she’s going to go home to her life which is subsidized by those same women that she is now shaming, and that is what I feel badly about.

      EXACTLY.

      And that is so the source of so much of my anger in the face of this. HOW DARE SHE? You know? She writes a lot for teenaged girls – and that’s just so worrying now.

      • JupiterPluvius
        Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        She always did a crap job as a body-acceptance advocate; maybe she’ll do better as a self-hating dieting advocate?

    • Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      THIS. All of this.
      I feel like going and eating a quarterpounder *in* the gym in praise of this comment.
      What I do with my body is so totally MY business.

      Also, yes. Weiner’s position of influence with young women makes me really dislike this article. In one fell swoop she’s negated any positive message she may have ever managed to bring to that wider audience that might otherwise never encounter FA.

      I have to say, reading her piece yesterday morning provided me with the fire for a day of kick-ass HAES evangelising amongst my younger, female classmates in my Diploma of Fitness program. That place is a serious hotbed of “OMG, I’m soooo fat, I hate my thighs” … I’m pleased that what I had to say was very well received, bar the odd initial blank stare.

  8. Posted August 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm… you know, I keep hearing about all these mean, evil, ultra-powerful fatties keeping other people from going to the gym or eating salads in the name of body love with their vicious body love blogs ‘n’ stuff, but I’ve never actually seen a single article anywhere in the Fatopshere or related blogrolls – let alone a single national publication – anything like that description. And yet, somehow this is the impression that scads of people seem to have of us.

    Seriously, Jess Weiner? You find a doctor who focusses on blood test results and how you’re actually feeling to determine how healthy you are AND YOU FIND A WAY TO ‘PROVE’ THAT MEANS YOU NEED TO DIET MORE?????? IN SPANX??????????????

    So much phail. So little time.

    I’d think about it some more, but if I don’t, then my blood pressure won’t rise to a ridiculous level, so I won’t. I’ll just be over here, loving my fat, fat, FAT body and hoping that others will love their bodies, no matter what size they happen to be or what their doctors have to say about them.

    Self love is not unhealthy. Body shame is pretty much never healthy. That’s what I’ve gotten from FA. Funnily enough, one message I never once got was ‘don’t ever go to a doctor, exercise, or even consider not starting the day with two dozen glazed donuts.’

    Seeing Jess Weiner’s idea of FA, all I can think of is the words of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride: “That word you keep using, I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      I think her idea of FA is totally the women’s mag “love your body but not too much” brand of FA that always rings so puny and not-enoughy to me. Hell, maybe this is a perfect illustration of what happens when you engage with that brand of self-acceptance instead of a radical brand of actual fat acceptance and HAES?

    • ako
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Hmmm… you know, I keep hearing about all these mean, evil, ultra-powerful fatties keeping other people from going to the gym or eating salads in the name of body love with their vicious body love blogs ‘n’ stuff, but I’ve never actually seen a single article anywhere in the Fatopshere or related blogrolls – let alone a single national publication – anything like that description. And yet, somehow this is the impression that scads of people seem to have of us.

      Yeah, I keep waiting for That Hypothetical Fat Acceptance Person who’s all “You’re eating more fresh fruit? No! You’re swimming more often? Stop it and sit on the couch! Joining a rowing team? That might possibly lead to weight loss, which is evil! You’re drinking more water? You are betraying fat acceptance!”, and there don’t seem to be any. The closest I’ve seen is one person who’s all “Could you not talk about eating more fruits and vegetables or exercising more regularly around me? That’s triggering for my eating disorder!”, which has only the most superficial similarities.

      And yet, the world is full of people who think fat acceptance means opposing eating more fruits and vegetables, opposing additional exercise, opposing any degree of weight loss, and opposing any concern for health. Because they can’t get out of the “Whatever is not mandatory is forbidden!” mindset, and see “Don’t shame, bully, or demand adherence to these ideas of health, which aren’t universally the best thing for everyone” as somehow the same as “These ideas of health are bad and no one should ever do them”.

    • Agnes
      Posted August 10, 2011 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      It’s interesting but I have an opposite impression. I have only recently discovered FA and I love, love, love HAES – it was almost like I finally got a permission to focus on my health and not worry about my weight so much. But the more I’ve been reading blogs on the fatosphere, the more I felt that fat acceptance is about the right to eat whatever you want pretty much without regard for your health. No food is bad is the new mantra. People take issues with writers such as Michael Pollan who advocates eating whole, local foods. Any studies that even broach the subject of weight are automatically attacked. The Fat Nutritionist tells you to each what and how much you want (and what if I want to eat a tub of lard every morning?). I’ve become increasingly dissapointed in the message being portrayed and I’m not surprised that Ms. Weiner had the same (maybe wrong) impression, that fat acceptance is not so much about health but about defending the right to eat junk. I know that’s a simplistic portrayal of the whole movement, but that’s just my impression after reading some of the blogs. I’m all for intuitive eating and HAES and taking care of your body and your right to do with it what you want, but let’s not pretend that all food is equal and its quality has no impact on your health. I’m not surprised that her perception of the FA movement is so unfair to it, I’ve been having a similar reaction to some of the posts. And I thought that some of the bloggers have not read Linda Bacon’s book either. And let’s not forget how fatties who do take care of their health are mockingly called “good fatties”. It seems that unless you want to eat whatever you are not part of FA.

      • ako
        Posted August 10, 2011 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        My first impressions of FA was pretty much the same as yours. However, the more I read on the subject, the more I noticed important details. The Fat Nutritionist says to eat as much as you want of whatever you want, but she also has discussions about looking at “What you want” in a bigger-picture way than a simple “Have the urge? Put it in your mouth!” approach, and she helps people with binge eating disorder stop binging.

        For a lot of people, myself included, getting away from restrictive food rules and going “Okay, I am adult who’s free to make my own food decisions, and it neither immoral nor against the ‘rules’ to eat a whole box of cookies” can be really helpful in making the decision to practice healthier eating. When it’s an obligation, nothing I do is ever good enough – this pasta has too much cheese, this stir-fry has too much oil, this vegetable soup has too much salt. And anything sweet, fattening, or salty becomes tempting in the “Don’t think about having one more bite! You’re bad if you have one more bite!” way. When I’m free and can choose what I want without guilt or pressure, I don’t have to worry about anything being not “good enough” and can enjoy fresh mangoes, whole-grain pasta, and vegetable soups the same way I enjoy ice cream and pizza. And it’s much easier for me to go “Do I really want another cookie? No!” when I know that I can go “Yes!” and have another cookie whenever I want.

        That’s the thing about the tub of lard example – I’m wondering exactly how common it is for someone to go “This is what I genuinely want, and it makes me happy to eat a tub of lard.” There are a few people with really unusual eating habits (and a few people who make it work for them, like the slim and healthy man who has basically an all-candy diet), but I’m not sure most people need rules saying “You’re not allowed to eat this tub of lard for breakfast”, because most people don’t want to. If you default to the assumption that everyone (or all fat people) actually want to eat all of the high-calorie food in the world and will if not restricted in some way, fat acceptance seems irrational and unhelpful, but I’m not convinced that assumption is true.

  9. Emerald
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Health is not a moral imperative.

    …Should be engraved on all doctors’ retinae. Or, OK, their office walls somewhere.

    I’ve written about this at greater length on Dances With Fat…but I think more body acceptance and less weighing would lead a lot more of us (me included) who are currently slightly wary of doctors, to get our checkups and really care for our health. (I want a checkup for my own sake – family history of a few things – but the word ‘weight’ on the list of tests makes me uneasy about going. I’m working on it, but if FA can give me the guts to challenge that, it’ll be pushing me towards better care. Not away from it.)

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      HAES-friendly doctors make a world of difference. I hope you can find one in your area! It’s kind of a remarkable act of bravery to go deliberately into a place where you feel vulnerable and you’ve been mistreated before – and that’s a totally average experience for many fatties. You can do it. Take care of you.

      • Emerald
        Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        See, the irony is that I haven’t been mistreated in the past, at least not by this surgery. I’ve been there for over a decade and they’ve never weighed me. But, when I received a letter through the post inviting me to make an appointment for the new over-40s health check, ‘weight’ was specifically among the things they would be testing (and I think waist size also featured) – and never having been pushed onto a pair of scales since taking up FA seriously, actively refusing to be weighed by a doctor is a new thing for me. It feels silly admitting this, and it may just be my own anxiety, but it’s still something I need to get my head round…

        (If anyone here is British and has experience of HAES and the NHS, I’d be grateful to hear – the US system is rather different!)

  10. empressmitzi
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I had never heard of this woman before today – and I have to question whether she ever “loved” her body if she’s been avoiding medical checkups up till now. That’s denial, not acceptance, and is not a healthy practice for the body or mind.

    Also, way to go Glamour for making it very clear what the editorial line is on body acceptance: “loving my body nearly killed me!!” Translation: “Body acceptance will kill our ad revenues!!” Seriously, her numbers were nowhere near the danger zone, and a year and a half of healthy eating and exercise brought them all back into normal ranges. I just hope this doesn’t reactivate her eating disorder.

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I think her shame at being told she might be obese is a big sign that her love for her body was shaky at best. And it really does make me sad – fat acceptance has so many tools to help out with these situations if a person just engages with fat acceptance. I don’t think she ever really did.

  11. David Howell
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the suggestion that one has to feel sorry for Weiner as there is definite cognitive dissonance in her head.

    To be honest, I blame Glamour. They’re tied into the beauty-industrial complex, HAES is a threat to their business model, go figure that they’d want to publish something like this. In short, what empressmitzi said.

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Of course this is just the kind of thing Glamour would want to publish – but they wouldn’t have had to to print if Weiner hadn’t come along with her sudden revelation that self-acceptance was killing her.

  12. Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Frankly, I’m not even sure she’s real. Who goes for 16 years without weighing herself or seeing a doctor and then panics because her numbers are average? She was unaware of what her BMI was and what classification that put her in? Seriously? She was all “I love my body” without being aware that she was defying mainstream medical wisdom? She’s never read Big Fat Lies or The Obesity Myth, let alone looked at medical studies or mortality/morbidity statistics herself? She’d never heard of HAES, or didn’t understand what it meant? Seriously?

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I think she probably DOESN’T have a very accurate idea of how “obesity” applies to smaller fats, too. I mean, it’s no surprise to me when someone tells me I’m obese. But if she was picturing someone with my body as the poster child of obesity versus thinking of her body as “merely” overweight….

      Her shock and shame about being told she was obese, related at the beginning of the article, really do make me feel bad for her. I think Jess Weiner could have benefited from actually engaging with radical fat acceptance – she’d have had the support network and coping mechanisms (hopefully) in place to handle that kind of critical feedback instead of throwing self-acceptance under the bus as “dangerous.” I don’t know that she’s read any of that – and my hopes that she’ll read those books now are pretty low.

    • Posted August 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      I agree, DeeLeigh..(I used to love your comments on BigFatBlog when I was also posting there.)

      It sounds as if someone writing the article sort of cobbled together this previously anguished heroine type from a few women she or he knew (as has been done with all too many topics in the past few years). It just fits way too easily, almost glibly, into what a self-serving corporate-happy magazine like Glamour would want to publish.

      I too never heard of Jess Weiner before today. Can you spell “s-e-e-d-y p-u-b-l-i-c-i-t-y”?

    • JupiterPluvius
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      To defend her on the “who goes for 16 years without knowing their weight?” front, I would suggest “many people who are recovering from eating disorders”. I have zero idea what I weigh at the moment, and no intention of finding out or letting my doctors weigh me, ever, unless it’s medically relevant (if, for instance, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and had to monitor daily weight fluctuations).

      Nobody needs to know your weight to evaluate your health, with a few very specific exceptions. Nobody needs to know their own weight to evaluate their health, with a few very specific exceptions.

      • Novel
        Posted August 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Second on the not knowing my weight. How my clothes fit, yes, but I’m one of those people that, if you looked at me you would consistently estimate my weight as 40-50 pounds under what it really is (I think my bones might be actually made of lead), and seeing That Number on the scale is pretty bad for me mentally.

        The last time I weighed myself at the gym (something I don’t do that often) I freaked out and spent the next few days skipping meals and counting calories until I came to my senses. Why would I want to know what I weigh when I know what that knowledge will do to me?

        • Emerald
          Posted August 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

          I’m another ‘heavier than I look’ person. I still recall my late mother once going ‘Look at you! What do you weigh now – eleven stone?!?‘ (154lb) – in her best, horrified, ‘OMG how does the planet have enough gravity for a creature like you’ tone – when I was in fact closer to thirteen stone (182lb).

          I suspect, although I hate to say it because if it’s true, it would confirm a lot of my fears about the NHS today, that this may be why my current doctors haven’t weighed me or harassed me about weight – I don’t visually register as ‘obese’ to them. I don’t want them to find out that number and start judging me on it where they haven’t before. And, to be honest, I don’t want me judging myself on it, as used to happen when I lived in a house with scales. In fact, I still feel faintly uneasy when I see them prominently placed in other people’s bathrooms…no, thanks, no particular wish to go there.

  13. Catgal
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    ALMOST PREDIABETIC????!!!! Almost prediabetic is not prediabetic, and it is certainly not diabetic. That was the line that got me the most. Not to mention that these numbers that put us all into these nice little disease boxes change, making people who were prediabetic, diabetic overnight, much like the beloved BMI.

    I actually had a conversation with a person about how the BMI makes muscular athletes obese. No it doesn’t! I just kept repeating, it’s based on hight and weight right? Finally, I was walked away from. I said to check out the BMI project…

    This article also contradicts itself at almost every turn. Sad.

    • Katie
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      I’ve gotten the “almost pre-diabetic” lecture from doctors too. And then taken my health records to different doctors who look and them and go “This is normal range… why did they put you on metformin?”

      In non-weight related issues, I have a genetic factor that makes my blood more likely to clot. Mom has had clots, but I never had. I’ve had one doctor tell me not worry about it, and another freak out and try to convince me to go off of hormonal birth control… despite having been on it for more than SEVEN years without issue.

      So yeah, I hate the doctor. I still make myself go though.

      • Posted August 15, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Metformin for non-diabetics isn’t always about only fasting blood glucose measurements. My mother’s measurements are consistently in the mid to upper 90s and her doctor isn’t worried because they’ve been stable for years. My measurements, on the other hand, are generally in the upper 70s or low 80s (really good, right?), but I’ve gained 40+ lbs. in the past year with no dietary/exercise changes and it’s fairly likely that my body needs excess insulin production to keep my blood sugars good. So I take metformin.

        I’m not saying that it was appropriate for you to be on metformin, but there are people who don’t appear to be even pre-diabetic who can benefit from it.

  14. silentbeep
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Would Jess Weiner’s head explode with cognitive dissonance if I told her that FA actually helped me improve my physical and mental health? it wasn’t until FA and HAES that I started exercising in earnest and focusing on eating less processed foods: shocking! If it weren’t for those two movements, I would still think that I was inevitably doomed for a life of unhappiness and ill health.

    Now I KNOW that I don’t have to wait to be skinny in order to eat some spinach, I assumed that eating “healthy” was always about getting skinny, which I had failed at through numerous diets. I mean why I else would anyone exercise or eat differently if it weren’t for the promise of thinness? [/sarcasm] It wasn’t until FA and HAES that I realized that there were things that I could pragmatically do to improve blood test results, which didn’t translate into starving myself on another futile diet: this was a revelation.

    Once I started loving my body, I realized I had a body worth caring for. And caring for body meant not putting myself through the humiliation of failing diets over and over again.

    Jess literally does not know what she is talking about

    • silentbeep
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      p.s. strangely enough, I lost about 25 lbs. when I started exercising on focusing on eating more fresh foods. And like her I got some “pre-pre” diabetic test results before I made some HAES-type changes and like her, my blood tests improved after I did.

      Unlike Jess, I’m about as pro-FA and pro-HAES as ever.

      • TR
        Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        Which is just part of why I think very little of her and quite highly of you.

        • silentbeep
          Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          thanks! I like you too! lol <3

    • Posted August 10, 2011 at 2:48 am | Permalink

      Once I started loving my body, I realized I had a body worth caring for. And caring for body meant not putting myself through the humiliation of failing diets over and over again.

      I just needed to say ‘AMEN.’

  15. Amanda
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Great post. I wasn’t really able to comment about it until I recently saw a video that she posted on her FB page where she talked about something she called, ‘Conscious Weight Wellness.’ I did some digging and it appears that she is going to be doing a conference with the guy who did the flex diet. They are going to be talking about weight loss.

    I’m really happy I didn’t know who she was before, now I just wish I still didn’t.

    • TR
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I was just reading your post on Fat Studies a few minutes ago!

      This is my not at all surprised face. Ugh.

      “Conscious Weight Wellness” – bet you dollars to baby doughnuts she says it ISN’T a diet because diets don’t work.

      • Amanda
        Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Yes I may have doubled posted…like a million times. Thats where I found this post. =0)

        Oh I think you would win that bet. See what she really wants is that you are just conscious of your weight because it will impact your wellness…

        Do we have a plank that us FAers use to kick people off our pirate ship?

  16. Posted August 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Great response. When I first saw that article, I gave it a glance, went WTF? over the title, but decided I didn’t like it after the first page.

    But then responses kept pouring in around the blogosphere, so I decided to check it out for myself.

    I definitely concur that the problem is that she somehow equates body love with being unhealthy, or saying that by accepting your body [size] for what it is = ignoring its well-being + avoiding “healthy” behaviors because they might seem like dieting or unacceptance.

    By the way, I think you’re missing a “self” here:
    “Love yourself, she seems to say, but only if you are healthy according to society’s mandate. Love your, she seems to say, but not too much.”

    :)

  17. Posted August 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Well I never heard of her before today but based on this I really dislike her.

    I can’t even wrap my head around the idea that self love kills you. I mean really?

    When I hated my body I didn’t do anything for it. I would buy clothes that I liked or makeup, or enjoy food. I even felt guilty eating “good foods” like salad. I didn’t even take care of myself in basic ways, like using lotion when my skin got super dry. I didn’t think I deserved it.

    I also really hate the idea that only healthy people should love themselves. Since as my mother has pointed out to me I eat whatever I want, and exercise when I feel like it. Which is not everyday.

    And I feel awesome.

  18. ako
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    So let me get this straight. The article is trying to refute HAES by making the point that one woman who didn’t go to a doctor in sixteen years ended up with “borderline high” and “almost pre-diabetic” lab results, used improved eating and exercise to bring her weight down from “obese” to “smaller, but still obese” (unless she’s at least 6’1″), and ended up with numbers that indicate she’s extremely healthy? Doesn’t that support the HAES point that you can be a healthy, active fat person?

    • empressmitzi
      Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it does! that’s the other really annoying thing about the article. Her own doctor tells her that health is about more than weight, but she can’t get past the number on the scale.

  19. Len
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    A while ago my neurologist (my NEUROLOGIST) checked out results of a recent blood test and threw out the line that my tests showed by cholesterol was pre-pre-high – in other words, it was towards the top of the normal range. And of course, the person who was supposed to be treating me for headaches suggested I should lose weight before my NORMAL cholesterol killed me!

    The message that came through loud and clear into my brain was, however, that my blood cholesterol was in the normal range. And I was happy to hear it.

    (Funnily enough, my most recent blood test shows that the measurement has dropped back into the middle of the normal range. I don’t know why that was, but I do know I didn’t lose – or gain – any significant amount weight. Bodies, eh?)

    I credit HAES for giving me the ability to interpret that event as a medical practitioner who was handing me the usual uncalled-for hyperbole, rather than the start of an OMG-must-lose-weight-or-DIE panic.

    HAES helped me to understand that if I had weighed less, the neurologist would quite probably not have even bothered mentioning the blood test results.

    HAES helped me to see my blood results as one small part of a much larger, hugely complex system that is bodily health, over which I have some – but not ultimate – control.

    I feel sorry for Weiner and all the torment she’s put herself and her body through as a result of fear. But I’m infuriated that she has chosen to interpret this as an HAES fail rather than what it is – an episode that perfectly demonstrates why HAES is important for so many people in the first place.

  20. Posted August 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    …I have yet to decide whether or not I want to be sad or angry at the moment. Right now I’m feeling some odd mixture of both–sad that Ms. Weiner had to go through with what she did, and yet angry because Ms. Weiner pulled out the Imaginary Scary FA/SA thing. It…makes me want to facepalm lots. And this desk is some kind of metal, so that would just hurt.

  21. Posted August 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for being a ranty pants. I wrote about this last night and wondered if I’m somehow devoid of empathy for her, but I feel like the whole thing is so calculated.

    I never bought her fat acceptance stance, and now she’s in Glamour totally mischaracterizing body acceptance to get her ass in the void now created in the space-Oprah continuum by Oprah leaving her show. I hear she’s now going to be peddling “conscious weight loss” of all the godawful ridiculous things.

    It’s been more than 24 hours and I’m still so pissed.

    Here’s my post in case you want to check it out: .

    Yours in ranting!
    Golda

  22. Charlotte
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    I just want to sit here and applaud everything you’re saying. Where did you get your ranty pants? I really want a pair. :)

  23. Posted August 10, 2011 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    What the hell does “almost pre-diabetic” mean? Truefax: My partner, whose BMI is around 21, went to the doctor recently and a random glucose sample (not fasting) was 110. If that were a fasting sample, that would be considered “prediabetic.” But since his BMI was 21, nobody freaked out and told him he must never eat a cookie or relax in front of the computer ever again; they just said, “Screw it, it’s a nonfasting sample, it’s nothing.” Wanna bet that if my fat ass had a lab number like that come in, I would have been subject to a whole battery of tests to see if my pancreas was imploding, given lectures about not eating sugar, etc.?

    Anyway, it’s BULLSHIT. Only about 25% of people with “pre-diabetes” ever develop full-on diabetes, even in very old age. “Almost pre-diabetes” is just alphabet soup.

    • Emerald
      Posted August 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Meowser, I actually had that happen. A couple of years back I was having palpitations. I got the full works, ECG and what have you – all normal; doc concluded it was anxiety. Oh, and BTW, did I know my blood sugar was a little elevated and was I worried about that? (Yeah, worried, spot the irony, I know.)

      Turned out that without even telling me, the nurse had put aside some of the bloods she took to test me for anemia (also negative) to go for glucose. Doc concluded I had abnormal fasting glucose…except, not knowing that was even going to be tested, I hadn’t been fasting, I’d eaten breakfast as usual before going down the surgery. Doc promptly mumbled an apology and said it was actually fine under the circumstances.

      As I’ve often mentioned to many people in many screwy medical situations, the words ‘NHS’ and ‘joined-up thinking’ tend not to go together.

  24. Joanne
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Hmm. I’m considered Hollywood fat (size 8-10). Guess what I ate for lunch today? 6 Oreo cookies. I never eat lunch or I pick then stuff myself at 4 p.m.

    I guilt and suffer over everything I put in my mouth. I have a 2 year old, who often won’t eat what I make for dinner so sometimes I cater and cook 2 dinners because I freak out over eating spaghetti (seriously, the kid loves my homemade marinara). I refuse to force the kid to eat something he doesn’t want (but that’s a whole other comment/post/issue).

    I frequent fitness boards where women of all ages obsess over “eating clean” and “OMG I’m over 50 and if I stray and eat a cookie here and there I gain 20lbs” and don’t look the way I did when I was 20″. HOLYSH*TBALLS, Batman!

    Take a gander at an article on the DailyMail (yeah, I know) from Mila Kunis on her Black Swan 20lbs weight loss. Your head will pop.

    I never eat for health, never workout for health. It’s always to be thin, thinner, thinner, and then I will be so perfect. All food makes me feel sick and bloated. Then I punish myself working out.

    I was 135lbs at 5’6″ and my gyno told me to lose 10lbs. I can only get under 135 if I frickin’ starve.

    FA and HAES is totally needed, by the people, for the people, by all people.

  25. Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is why you are the sh*t.

  26. treese
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Thank You for your thoughts

    a very touching response to the weiner piece

    http://joslynsmithphotography.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/my-letter-to-jess-weiner/

7 Trackbacks

  1. By Links of Interest, 8/9/11 « An Unlimited Pie on August 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    [...] At The Rotund: I Wore My Ranty Pants Today; Meet The New Body Hate, Same As The Old Body Hate [...]

  2. [...] The Rotund, I Wore My Ranty Pants Today; Meet the New Body Hate, Same as the Old Body Hate [...]

  3. [...] Kirby put her “ranty pants” on and ripped the article a new one.  And then Kate Harding (of the now defunct, but once dearly loved Shapely Prose) wrote for [...]

  4. By On Making Diabetics the Demons « Fat Heffalump on August 13, 2011 at 3:45 am

    [...] than I could.  Check out these pieces by Ragen of Dances with Fat, Golda at Body Love Wellness, Marianne at The Rotund and on the Health at Every Size [...]

  5. By Faster Sled Drags | Maspik Teruzim on August 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    [...] at Marianne Kirby’s blog The Rotund, there were two excellent posts about FA and HAES: one on Aug 9 and one on Aug 10. I particularly liked this part, which is from the second post: “Fat [...]

  6. By The Media Buzz | Looking in the Mirror on August 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm

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  7. [...] you can imagine from the provocative title alone, there were a flurry of responses within the body image blogosphere.  Including a couple follow-up conversations with her for [...]

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