Self-Acceptance But Only When You're Thin

My friend who will one day hold some kind of Ph.D. and personifies the closest you can get to unconditional love in human form sits opposite me at our favorite meeting spot and shares with me how she has some upcoming events where people have requested her presence and what is holding her back from diving into these activities is...

Her weight.

Normally I would not choose to write about private conversations on my blog post, but this conversation lately has not been an anomaly. Women and men around me (and probably me too) lament the pounds they have gained, label themselves as fat, and label food as good and bad. It physically hurts me every time I sit with someone I care about, and they self-flagellate themselves in this way.

In moments of frustration when I hear about the unkind thing that a coworker/boss/friend/stranger/family member said to them, my first go-to can be a blame-the-victim mentality thinking to myself that if they just lost weight the problem would be gone. Fortunately, I am just “woke” enough to see the hurtful irony in this kind of thinking. It is when I recognize I am part of the problem.

The sad thing is that fat-shaming is not just a perspective of my friend. Fat shaming is a legitimate form of harassment and discrimination in our society. If you hide under a rock and don’t believe me, just have a look at the seats on an airplane or the latest retail campaign trying to appear evolved enough by using "acceptably-fat" models.

There is a huge difference between being positive about the bodies we live in and working to change the fat-phobic and discriminatory systems and practices our culture perpetuates.

- Rachael Hope, Leaving Body Positivity Behind for Fat Acceptance

The world is a different world for those who struggle with their weight, and I am not talking about those who believe they have 5 to 50 pounds to lose. I personally have been a witness to how cruel people can be thinking they’re being helpful or who attempt to shame others into action.

However, like in the #blacklivesmatter movement, while I am not qualified to lead the momentum for change, I can educate and create awareness about my contribution to a fat-shaming culture.

Fat acceptance doesn’t mean not growing, improving, or challenging one’s self. Acceptance gives you a foundation that allows you to move past your emotional obstacles with less fear.

- Christine Schoenwald

I love that quote. It accurately reflects why my blog is entitled Accepting Jane. Acceptance is the foundation for growth. Anything is else is precarious, set in the negative, and bound to be upset too easily by outside influences.

If you want to educate yourself on fat acceptance, read below, but as a layperson who wants to do better I can:

  • Stop labeling food as good or bad. (I hope to delve into intuitive eating next year).

  • Stop talking about dieting and losing weight.

  • Stop complimenting someone on weight loss.

  • Stop moaning about my weight.

  • Develop my awareness about body-shaming conversation topics and change the subject.

  • Cease to allow my friends to denigrate themselves about their weight but instead focus on empowerment (still figuring out how to do this one gracefully and without slapping anyone).

  • Work on my self-acceptance (work in progress).

I know it’s not my usual light and airy blog topic, but lack of self-acceptance is a huge block to joy. And when society supports that lack of self-acceptance, your well of love for yourself has to be even deeper.

You are and have always been enough.

Resources To Start:

Food Psych Podcast with Christy Harrison – Episode 45: Fat Acceptance & Body Positivity with Virgie Tovar, Author and Activist

Virgie Tovar

Leaving Body Positivity Behind for Fat Acceptance – Rachael Hope

It’s 2019 and Body Positivity Still Has a Representation Problem – Lora Grady

Fat Acceptance is Self-Acceptance – Christine Schoenwald

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