Response to “Why it’s okay to be fat.”

This is a comment on this video called Why its okay to be fat. It isnt the meanest. It just sums up the rest of the comments pretty well.




Golda from Body Love Wellness speaks in this video about weight. She suggests that perhaps being overweight isnt the worst thing you could do for your health. She sites a study that she says shows that with the same healthy behaviors an overweight person and a normal weight person have the same mortality rate.

She says its okay to be fat.

Lets just sit with that for a moment. She says its okay to be fat. Why is that so uncomfortable to hear? Why does it make people so angry? She is a fat woman. Im choosing to use that word because she says its the word she likes. Fat. She is a fat woman who has decided not to hate her body. Why does that cause such an uproar?

Her ACTUAL suggestions:

  1. Eat more produce
  2. Dont smoke
  3. Exercise
  4. Moderate drinking or not drinking at all

She in no way advocates gaining weight. She does not say everyone should gain weight. She suggests doing healthy things for yourself. She suggests ACCEPTING YOUR BODY. And it makes people furious.

How dare this fat woman like her body? How dare she suggest other fat people not hate themselves? And then there is a whole slew of folks who say things like X is how you lose weight and being overweight reduces your quality of life and other seemingly thoughtful comments on the subject until they conclude with name calling like lazy, stupid, fat-ass.

To me it seems clear that we are all so terrified of being fat because weve been told through overt and covert messages our whole lives that it is perhaps the worst thing you can be. It isnt just morbid obesity, but pretty much everyone. Whatever size you might find yourself at, it probably isnt quite good enough. So we all live in this crazy fear of fat. Desperate to rid ourselves of it (or have it strategically placed but thats a whole other ball game) it is terrifies us daily. This message is so engrained that for a woman to stand up and say, its okay to be fat, or its okay to love yourself in any body is some kind of abomination.

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If you are a person who is a big advocate of health and is seriously worried about someones weight due to health issues it may cause for them, I dont suggest calling that person fat, lazy, ugly or slob. If you cannot discuss health without completely belittling someone else, I dont believe you to be a health advocate. I believe you are a bully. Health is a much bigger issue than weight. This woman asked people to do really healthy things. In a sensible way. If you are an actual advocate of health you should be happy for that, not belittling her in comments, not insulting her and not suggesting that it is unacceptable for her to have a positive body image.

Is there more to say about weight and health than she covered in this 13 minutes? Of course. I dont think she intended to address every health issue related to weight. I think her intention was to say, Hey, being overweight might not be the worst AND Here are some ways I would encourage you to take care of your body. Both messages I am more than okay with.

I often get the same criticism she has when I talk about self-love and acceptance. Because somehow, suggesting you are lovable and worthy if you are overweight gives people permission to stay that way. That the only way someone might make healthy changes to their habits is through shame and degradation. There is a fear that if we let fat people like themselves the way they are that everyone will get fat and just be okay with it. Really? People of diverse sizes deciding to stop the overwhelming obsession we have with bodies in this country and accepting/loving themselves will make people fat? And lazy? I could literally not disagree more.

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Things I believe:

  1. Shaming people does not encourage positive changes.
  2. Bullying others does not exemplify a passion for health or even an inkling of understanding of mental health.
  3. People are more likely to make positive lifestyle changes from a place of loving and accepting their bodies as they are as opposed to being ashamed and hating themselves.
  4. Overweight people liking themselves does not pose a threat to anyone. At all.

So lets play devils advocate. What is there to disagree with here? Well you could send a bunch of links about how being overweight contributes to disease or all the reasons its bad for your health to be overweight. That seems to be the primary concern here, though the overwhelming shameful and downright rude insults following these comments for me negates them. But I wont disagree with you. Being overweight can negatively impact your health. Its hard for me to believe that anyone doesnt have some awareness of this. Its just that I have a bigger concern, personally. And this may blow your mind completely. Be forewarned.

I think the fact that almost every woman I know hates her body so much that it interferes with her life is a bigger concern.

I think the fact that the overwhelming response to a woman saying its okay to be fat (and really, its okay to look like me.) is to make fun of, belittle and call her stupid is much, much, much more appalling than the statistics about obesity in this country.

I would rather live in a world with people living with passion, following their dreams, who are happy with who they are and how they look than in one full of people so obsessed with how none of their bodies are good enough that it clouds up our whole lives.

I would rather my daughter be surrounded by women who love and respect who they are at any size than women who are physically in impeccable health but hate what they see in the mirror. And if anyone in her life made the kind of hateful comments about anyone that conclude this video I would make every effort to keep that person from her life.

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I believe that eating and exercising in a way that supports health can be made much easier when the goal is to feel good. And the goal to feel good only comes when you are able to accept where you are at.

I believe its okay to be fat. Even if and when that might mean it damages your health. It doesnt make you a shitty person. It doesnt mean you are lazy. And I dont think anyone who believes themselves to be fat needs one more person in their lives to EVER tell them again that there is something wrong with them. I dont think its possible this message could have escaped them. Its freaking everywhere. And it says infinitely more about the health of this country than our collective size.

Health is important to me. I have experienced being obese and unhealthy. I was sick all the time. I never exercised. I ate in a way that gave me no energy and I felt overwhelmingly guilty about feeding myself. When I made major changes and for the first time in my life felt what its like to be healthy I was overwhelmed. Having energy was like a brand new thing. It was like getting a new life. I want that for everyone. I felt that before I was at a healthy weight. And I would never, ever, ever belittle someone who wasnt on that track. Feeling worthless, lazy and unworthy did not motivate me to make healthy changes. Feeling good about myself did.

Bottom line: A health advocate who belittles others is not health advocate but a bully hiding behind a cause. Helping others is about lifting them up not putting them down.

xo, Mama

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