It’s that time of the year, when we are relentlessly exposed to fatphobic bullshit without our consent. At this time, let us not forget … fat people are failures, fat people are lazy and can’t stick to a goal, fat is inherently unhealthy …
No, that’s not it. Hm. I remember now. Yes, let us remember …
— There is nothing inherently unhealthy about being fat. Fat is not a diagnosis and weight loss is not a panacea. People of all sizes can incorporate any number of healthy behaviors and practices into their lives without weight loss as a goal.
— 95% of all efforts to lose weight fail after the 5-year mark (i.e. 95% of all people who try to lose weight gain it back, sometimes more, after 5 years from the weight loss “success.”)
— The MULTI-BILLION dollar weight loss industry (about $60B currently) is COUNTING on this failure rate. It’s how they KEEP making boatloads of money. Step back and look at their offers with your logical brain: would you ever pay for anything else that had a 95% failure rate? Ever? Would you ever purchase any other product if you knew that the manufacturer KNOWS it’s broken before they even sell it to you?
So, how can you get through this time of year with your health and self-esteem intact? Glad you asked!
— Do something healthy for yourself for no other reason than you deserve it. Go for a walk. Try a new yoga class. Eat a new food. Take a trip. Call a friend. Write a letter. Use a vacation day. Make plans for a date night. Adopt a pet. Read a book. Join a support group. Stop smoking. Wear your seatbelt. Floss your teeth. Book an appointment for a massage. While 95% of all diets fail, you can reap the benefits of doing any of the above 100%.
— Don’t give any money to anyone or any company promising to help you lose weight or whose focus is on your weight loss. Use that money on something that is more likely to improve your health (list of suggestions above).
— Resist the dominant narrative that losing weight will improve your health, make you more date-able, love-able, etc. Don’t buy clothes in sizes too small as “motivation.” Don’t feel like you have to wait to do something until you are a certain size (except rollercoasters, pretty sure you have to abide by their height rules). Focus on what you will do RIGHT NOW to improve your health and happiness and DO THAT.
— If you are in a medical situation in which “weight loss” is the only treatment plan, walk out. Leave. That doctor is fired; you are the boss of your health and your doctor is a sub-contractor. Bring a friend or support person if you need to. If you can’t bring someone, print out supportive reminders and bring them with you. Assuredly, this doctor has seen non-fat people with your same problem. ASK what that doctor is prescribing for non-fat patients. You are just as worthy as non-fat patients and deserve the full array of treatment options.
— Above all, work as hard as you possibly can to remind yourself that you are great just the way you are. No matter your size, there is A LOT coming your way at this time of year to convince you that you are somehow less-than. That is bullshit but it takes constant vigilance to keep it out of your thought stream. Everyone is a work in progress. Everyone is on their own path. Have patience (but, perseverance, too) on your path and respect for the different paths of others. Remember that there are no express routes to happiness, only lots of small decisions and actions over time.