Category Archives: Self Love

Fat Activism and You!

Got some free time from October 9 through 11? Yes or no, you should check out this year’s Fat Activism Conference: Tools for the Revolution!

3 whole days of talks and panels by people devoted to changing the status quo where us fat folk are marginalized and shamed. 

No, you do not have to be an activist yourself to join in and learn. However, if you’re reading this and interested in learning to love your fat body you’re already engaging in activism at the most basic level: daring to challenge the norm.

So click on over and register to enjoy the event live or listen later to the recordings. Plenty of options if you want to join in and own the recordings, even on a budget!

Hope to see you there!


Been Caught Eating

Today, I happened upon this lovely little gem on Medium about a man who photographs his wife eating as a show of devotion and mutual enjoyment of life. I expected to find out that she is in recovery from an eating disorder and his photography is a way to help her on her way (you can tell that this is the kind of stuff that I tend to be focused on). However, as I read, I definitely didn’t get what I expected.

I got more.

There was no mention of an eating disorder, nothing about weight, or food stigma or anything of the sort.

It was an essay showing the devotion one man feels for one woman and how he chooses to express it.

I was touched.

And then I realized that my husband tends to do a lot of photographing of me while I eat. Or with food in front of me. Or while preparing food.

And I. hate. it.

So I started to really think about why it bothers me so much to be captured with food in my mouth and realized that it’s because I’m fat.

Deeper diving into this limiting belief that I’m carrying around, deep in my mind, helps me to see that I feel unworthy of being documented while eating because I’m fat and that means that I’m probably eating too much and a photo is only proof that I’m doing exactly that. Eating cake: bad for me. Eating BBQ ribs: bad for me. Eating fried anything: bad for me.

I’m here as the Fat Health Coach, to help other fat folks realize and express their fabulousness, but still in the back of my mind I’m holding this stupid limiting belief that I’m not good enough to eat because I’m fat. Ha. (I never said I was perfect.)

So, today, I’m going to take the first step forward, to move away from this silly bullshit thought and post a picture of me stuffing food in my face. Caught Eating!

I deserve to eat what I want, when I want, in what quantity makes me feel good, because I can, fat or not. 

Got a limiting belief you can’t get out of your head? Let’s see if we can get rid of it together. Sign up for a Breakthrough Session today.

The Milestone of Dissent

P1100194Ladies and gentlemen, readers of all types, I have reached what I consider to be a huge milestone: I got my first negative comment!

In response to my last post about ASDAH’s (the Association for Size Diversity and Health) neat video “Poodle Science” which, through the clever use of an idea foreign to some called “analogy,” breaks down the flaws in weight loss science, I received the following comment:

People are not the same as dogs. There are no breeds of humans. This is very similar to all the other HAES nonsense–unscientific and wistfully mistaken. You seem like a nice young woman. I’m sorry that your beliefs are so badly out of line with reality.

I definitely chuckled as I read this one.

First, because I had finally posted something that prompted someone to spend their precious time to tell me how wrong I was. Personally, I feel that unless you’ve got at least one dissenter, you’re not doing anything revolutionary. When you only receive positive comments, you’re not pushing any boundaries, you’re not fostering any deep thinking. You’re probably just telling the masses what they want to hear, and you’re most likely just preaching to the choir. I am happy to receive the confirmation that, after a year of sharing my views and experiences, that I have finally plucked someone’s chord of disbelief hard enough to incite a negative response. Go me!

Second thing that made me chuckle is that, yeah, it’s true: humans are not the same as dogs. I know that, because I’m a nice, young woman. ASDAH and their wonderful team decided to take the scientific analysis to the masses by using layman’s terms through analogy. People may not necessarily understand the complex biochemical reactions that go on in the body when it is forced into a starvation mode, but people definitely understand that dogs are different and a big dog is hugely different from a small one.

And, third, you do not have to share my beliefs for my beliefs to be true to me.

You do not have to believe in the intersection of fat and healthy.

You do not have to believe that it is possible for me to love my fat body.

You do not have to believe that it is right or prudent for me to stay fat.

Because I do not believe that your body love or shame threatens the way I feel about my body.

I do not believe that any of your privileges disable you from understanding my struggles.

What I do with my body does not directly affect you. I am free: I am guaranteed the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. I am free to choose, among many things, who/what I worship, who/what I love, who I become.

And one of my choices was to begin loving my fat body.

And that choice has nothing to do with you.

Suffer, the Caretakers of the World

(Disclaimer: I am neither a psychologist, nor a mental health professional. The following is solely my personal opinion.)

Are you a caretaker?

No? Doesn’t sound familiar?

What if I asked if you were a people-pleaser? Sound a bit closer to home? No?

Maybe this one might be closer to the mark: nice. Are you nice?

Yes! Yes, of course you are!

You’re nice. Super squishy, sugary, goody-good nice.

You’re nice to everyone, everyone, even when it hurts you to be so. Maybe you patch all that pain over with the idea that being that nice is being a good person. Sacrifice is a sign of goodness. You’re partially right. But, truthfully, being nice should never hurt.

I am a recovering nicey-nice caretaking people-pleaser. Well, honestly, I thought I was a recovering caretaker, but this past week I have been reminded that the road to recovery is long, hard, and covered in pitfalls and backslides.

You see, my in-laws are here for Christmas. Naturally, I want to show them a good time while they are under my care and make sure that we all eat well (because I’m super good at that). I am not trying to impress anyone… Husby and I have been married long enough where I’m no longer worried about that anymore.

So I’m in the kitchen everyday since they’ve been here. Going out of my way to prepare health-filled goodness for us to enjoy together. Veggies are everywhere. Stuff is being made from scratch. I’ve pulled out all the stops and even dug into my recipe trove for ideas.

This could simply be a result of the fact that my kitchen has been über clean since I broke down and got some household help, which makes it easier to get into the kitchen and want to do something because cleaning doesn’t have to happen first. It could also be because going out to eat at 4 people is a bit demanding and expensive (ignoring the fact that lots of restaurants close for the holidays here). Maybe I’m just really prepared this week.

But if I’m really and truly honest with myself, what I know is that this behavior is simply me exercising my caretaking side. Because I never cook like this for myself. Never.

Left to my own devices, I can easily dress up a pack of instant noodles with some frozen (or dried) veggies and a low-sodium bouillon cube instead of the MSG-filled salt-bomb they usually include in the package. Done and done. Even with Husby, meals can be just as simple.

Yet, throw in another couple of folks from wherever, I go full-on Julia Child. It’s been this way as long as I can remember. Even as I’m typing this, I’ve got turkey legs and wings roasting in my oven nested within a mountain of fresh, chopped veggies (loosely following this recipe from Simple Bites here).

Modified sheet pan turkey dinner. I promise the turkey is in there underneath the veggie mountain.

Modified sheet pan turkey dinner. I promise the turkey is in there underneath the veggie mountain.

Sure, it’s natural for me to want to care for those around me that I have affection for by preparing a tasty meal. I believe that this is healthy, loving behavior. But what I’m really talking about here is more than that. What I’m talking about is when being nice and a people-pleaser goes too far. When it becomes a compulsion. This thing can even go as far as becoming something referred to as “caretaker personality disorder.” A great definition of the disorder can be found in this article which I’ve reposted here:

According to [Les] Barbanell, [author of “Removing the Mask of Kindness”] these ‘nice’ people feel unhappy, empty, guilt-ridden, shameful, angry, anxious, afraid of rejection and abandonment and are emotionally and physically exhausted because they are brought up to put the needs of other people ahead of their own. [emphasis mine]

This. This is what I’m talking about. When your need to care for others trumps any need of your own. Being so kind that it hurts you.

According to an article in Psychology Today,

As a caretaker, […] it is your job to please and take care of the [borderline or narcissistic person in your life (usually a family member)] first and foremost. To do this you will have learned to ignore your own needs, adapted to a highly emotional tense and chaotic environment, and become hyper-vigilant to the BP/NP’s emotional reactions. Your job is to do everything that the BP/NP is not willing or able to do, give in to whatever the BP/NP wants, and carefully monitor the family’s image in the community. [emphasis mine]

No, my in-laws qualify neither as borderline nor narcissistic personalities, so this is not about them. They’re lovely people. I’m quite fortunate.

But I believe that through certain, unfortunate circumstances, most anyone can be forced into a narcissistic state where everything they do is focused purely on them, with no regard for those around them. I also believe that if you are subject to this influence by a family member or other guardian figure while in a vulnerable state, such as during adolescence or childhood, you can develop caretaking habits. But I also believe that you do not need to be exposed to such a person in order to develop this habit.

Because caretaking can be a way for you to get people to like you.

And that’s it, that’s the thing there. When you’re fat you’re concerned about getting people to like you.

Because society says that fat people are not worth liking. There’s something wrong with us. Stay away or get fat too. It’s the worst.

But none of that is true. We are awesome people. We are perfect, just as we are today, worthy of love and trust and friendship and care. We are wonderful folk, just like the rest of them.

So when I catch myself defaulting to the caretaking habit I’ve cultivated through my years of learned self-hatred, I remember this: I like me and the feelings that others have about me do not affect that.

Giving every last piece of myself to everyone else is a way to guarantee that there is nothing left for me. And when there’s nothing left for me, there’s nothing more to give, and everyone suffers. Remembering to love myself and take care of myself reminds me that I do not need external validation to be valid or valuable. If someone can care for me by seeing past the veil that is my fat, that person is worth spending my valuable time on. These people are the ones worth getting into the kitchen and whipping up something fantastic for. They like me for me.

So on that note, let me get back to my stove, I’ve got a lemon meringue pie to throw together. Happy holidays!

Like what you read and want more? Join in the conversation by clicking here and start your own journey toward self-love today.

Do More Than Just Survive Your Holidays: Thrive!

I love the holidays and actually want to be sure that I enjoy them. Here’s my take on how to enjoy as well as be healthy(er) during the holidays. No dieting nor deprivation necessary!

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