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Here's a post my long time readers probably never thought they'd read. ;-) This is a very hard post for me to write, so be very gentle in the comments, ok?

Since I got my gallstone, I decided to start exercising. I figured, I'm already on a (low-fat) diet anyway, I might as well exercise as well and see what happens.

Knowing that if I bought something, I'd feel obligated to continue exercising. (I also dig having all the statistics & graphs & such.) I picked up a Nike+ Apple sensor to go with my iPod Touch on December 1st. My friend Jolly gave me his old UP band at the end of January. I've been walking since the beginning of December, sometimes just tracking my walks to the bus, sometimes hitting the treadmill. Since the middle of March, I started lifting weights again, too, as I've seen the muscles on my new sweetie (who has a similar story of body reawakening, only not prompted by illness) and realized that the muscular arms and back I've wanted for a while is, indeed, possible.

I can walk a 5k now. My pants no longer fit me (which you think would be good, but it's annoying). I've even started jogging a bit (even though I REALLY shouldn't because it DOES fuck up my knees more). I can run for 90 seconds solid... I couldn't do that when I was skinny & in shape as a teen.

I have a lot of feelings on this. One of them, frankly, is anger & betrayal at the fat acceptance movement. Frankly, they lied to me. They told me no one ever loses weight, and no one keeps it off. They told me diets always fail. I genuinely didn't think it was possible to lose weight or get back in shape. It is. I'm doing it, and, frankly, I'm loving it. They have lied to me, and I am PISSED. For YEARS, I could have been feeling this good & enjoying my body this much, and I wasn't. I wasn't because I genuinely did not think it was possible to go back to a place of better fitness. I thought, once fat & out of shape, always fat and out of shape. This is wrong. I'm not there yet, but I'd like to get to the point where I can ice skate & rollerblade again and it won't hurt my ankles. I'm a long way off from there, but I miss skating and I want to do it again.

I still believe in the goals of fat acceptance in society. I do NOT believe that we should lie to further those goals.

First off, let me speak truth to the movement. This has been a long time in coming for me... it's taken me a LONG time to gain the self-confidence & courage to state the following. Weight loss, strength gain, endurance, and a greater level of fitness ARE ALL POSSIBLE. It IS possible to get in better (notice better, not necessarily "best". Just bettER.) shape (not necessarily lose weight) if you want, and it doesn't necessarily have to suck balls completely. (I'm proof of this.) Now, weight loss may not be possible for all bodies. I'm not going to state that it is. I understand, everyone has unique situations. I understand about genetics and untreated thyroid conditions and the whole shebang. But Health At Every Size needs to modify itself a bit. Maybe not everyone is healthy at every size (I know I wasn't healthy at the size I was. I'm still not where I'd like to be, healthy wise. I'm getting there, though.), but there is a size (or sizes) that's healthy for each individual, and it may or may not be skinny. Yes, HAES is trying to make the person as healthy as possible at the size they are instead of focusing on changing size for health, and I agree, that's a fantastic goal that should go without saying, but people should also be encouraged to find the size THEY want themselves to be at for what feels right for them.

(On an aside, we've gone from encouraging people to like themselves at their size to making it mandatory for people to like themselves at whatever size they are. Frankly, as a feminist, I find it offensive to be told how I'm supposed to feel about my body, and I find that the fat acceptance movement has been in some ways as bad for my self esteem, telling me I HAVE to like my body at its size, as the world has been telling me I have to HATE my body at its size. It's taken me a long time to learn to be confident in myself enough to come to terms with the fact that I want to change my body. Yes, you read that right. I had to learn to be confident in myself so that I could dislike the way my body looks (sometimes, in some places, with a certain [healthy?] amount of dislike... there's things about it I like, too!) instead of just parroting back "I love my body" all the time. I'm tired of ALL the judgements on my body, good or bad. My body, my feelings, my choice! The fat acceptance movement needs to go from "love your body!" to "you don't have to hate your body... loving it is an option!" Then people can decide for themselves how to feel about their bodies & their weight.)

Fat acceptance is a VERY important goal. Our society needs to stop judging people on their size. That being said, we can't do it by telling fat people that they'll never be able to eat healthier, so why try, or that they'll never be able to have more energy and endurance, so there's no reason to go exercise. Fitness needs to be an OPTION, not a MANDATE. But, God damn it, I want my option to fitness.

I also owe an apology to those that I told those things to. I'm sorry. I was wrong to take that tactic. Maybe 95% of diets DO fail within a year. But is that a reason to not start small and to try eating healthier if that's what you want? No. I spread around their discouragement and lies as a reason for fat acceptance. Fat acceptance stands alone without discouragement and lies. We don't need to say "diets & exercise fail, and that's why we should accept fat people." FUCK NO. We need to say "we should accept fat people because they're people and judging people off of the way they look is fucking bullshit & totally uncool".

What will happen when I no longer need a low-fat diet & I get my gallstone out? Will I gain the weight back (and more)? Maybe. Frankly, I just don't have the taste for super fattening foods the way I used to before... they just don't seem appealing to me anymore, at least not nearly as much as they used to. Will this change once I'm not scared to eat them anymore? Maybe? The times I have eaten a few bites of fried food, it was good, but not NEARLY as good as I remember. Which, in a way, is a bit sad, because I used to revel in bad for me foods.

Will I stop exercising? Doubtful. The truth is, I LIKE exercising. It feels GOOD. I was a very active child & teen, and as a teen, I used to cycle to get out of the house. My body knows what it's like to fall into a rhythm, into a cadence. It knows how to create exercise high. It always has. It hasn't forgotten that over the years. And it feels FANTASTIC. (The cardio feels fantastic. The weight lifting, however, makes me shaky and want to cry and emotionally feels like crap, and I'm not sure why, as I used to lift weights as a teen and I always enjoyed it then. [Back then, I always saw results within 2 sessions or so. Now I'm not seeing any & am just having to hope it's working.] Any ideas?)

There's another part to this, a part on how hard it is to find size positive folks & sites & ideas in the exercise & fitness sphere of the Internet, and how that also keeps (both SP & other) folks that would otherwise like to exercise & participate from going out there & doing what they want with their bodies. But this post has already been long enough, so I'm going to post it now.

This entry was originally posted at http://c4bl3fl4m3.dreamwidth.org/6505.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 1st, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
Not much to add other than 'am reading'
Apr. 14th, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
When I read HAES I got a completely different message. It switched my focus entirely from 'numbers on a scale' to 'my optimal health--REGARDLESS of size.' It didn't tell me that I COULDN'T lose weight, just that my focus shouldn't be solely on that and that healthy does not equal thin.

Such a large part of the book is all about nutrition and finding ways to exercise that equate to joyful movement that I'm surprised to read so many posts like this that say "I'm mad that you told me to stay fat." That's not what I read into the book or the message of the movement at all. Instead I read, BE HEALTHY. Find a way to LOVE exercise. Eat well. Realize that loving yourself does not mean stuffing yourself. Eat what sustains your physical and emotional health.

Eat a variety of foods mostly plants is the nutritional succinct nutritional message that Dr. Bacon gives in the book. That's hardly a prescription for high-fat foods.

I'm on the opposite end of things. I've been trying to diet for over a year now--(well for most of my life, but stuck in a 'diet' that wasn't working for a year). I eat mostly low fat foods. I eat foods full of fiber. I am still learning to love my vegetables, but my weight stayed the same. I would so hyper focus on things that I felt obsessed all the time. And my body was clearly trying to hang onto every single calorie. HAES was like a breath of fresh air for me. It said keep doing what you're doing, but do it for health and stop equating 'health' with a certain range on the scale. My hope is that if I never lose an other pound I can learn to be happy and healthy right where I am, as I am. I want to watch my numbers--not my weigh numbers but my blood pressure, and cholesterol and let THEM dictate the changes that I make.

I love to jog too. I have only ever gained weight doing it, but I love it. ;) I love to swim. I love to dance and do zumba and yoga and pilates. I don't feel like I'm told not to do those things, but to do them anyway instead of waiting until I can fit into a cute pair of yoga pants.

I can get why you feel like you were sold a bill of goods, but I guess I'm just surprised because I read it SO differently than you did.
Apr. 14th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
I didn't read the book. I'm talking about the fat positive and size acceptance movement and that of the HAES that has leaked over to the movement. They use it FAR more like what I describe above... perhaps they're using it incorrectly.

And to be honest, for me, health IS a certain range on the scale (but certainly not ONLY that). Part of what I'm pissed about is that, according to the movements, I'm allowed to become healthy, but that I'm not allowed to relate it in any way, shape or form with the numbers on the scale. I find that to be as oppressive as an obsession with the numbers on the scale.

At the weight I was at and the weight I am, there's no "learning to be happy & healthy right where I am" & I'm tired of being told to be. I'm cool with my current weight. I was somewhat cool with my old weight. I wasn't stopping myself from doing things intentionally. I certainly wasn't waiting to do things until I could fit into a certain size. (And I have a cute pair of yoga pants for the size I was and I am now! :-D) But I honestly wasn't healthy there (it just wasn't right for me) and I was tired of being told to be happy with it and I was tired of being told that I was healthy at that size... because I clearly wasn't. I'm healthier now, not because of the numbers, but because of the exercise. The lower numbers just happened with it. But the lower numbers makes exercise easier, and when I lower the numbers even further still, I'll have even less pressure on my joints which will allow a greater range of exercise and motion, and that's really what I'm looking for. I *miss* rollerblading and ice skating. I *miss* cycling. And I want to get back to where I can do those things without pain or injury. I'm starting to want to jog, but every time after I do, I can feel I further injured my knee and I have to not do any impact on it for a day or so. I want to jog w/o injuring myself. For me, that requires weight loss. It didn't hurt when there was less pressure on my joints, and now it does, and that's directly related to the weight I'm carrying around.

Does that make sense?
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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