Hello, I Am Fat

Comments

502
I want you to be my new BFF Lindy! =) You are amazing and all the fat bashers on here can go jack off to "men's health magazine" or something. Who cares if "they" dont find it attractive, most INTELLIGENT women generally dont find assholes attractive, so it balances out! Keep doing what your doing and keep eating those burgers!! @483, LOVE IT! so true! Thick girls hold it down! ;)
503
Moses smell the roses, how the hell did this get to 500 responses in one day?
Y'all are now banned from discussing obesity.
504
Canuck @486 FTW. Perceptive as ever (especially in regard to @401, which I had missed).
505
No one under 40 if they are clean & healthy is disgusting or ugly.
You can always lose weight/or not, but Dan will never be 28 again.
506
I just realized (off topic) -

this many comments, and not a single one from WiS.
507
Lindy, I admire your smart and funny writing all the time, but this piece was something special.
508
This is extraordinary! I've been increasingly out about being fat positive (and about being fat!), and while I try to root it in social justice values, etc, there are times when I just need to SHUT IT DOWN with people's responses. This definitely helps me do that. So big, big thanks!

Big thanks, also, for addressing Dan's politics around fatness. As someone who works full-time in the LGBT rights movement, it's been really disheartening to see how many of his arguments rely on bringing down other communities--like fatties, people of color, and trans people. Homophobia is legit. We don't need to take down other marginalized communities (or appropriate their oppression) to prove how real our own oppression is. Arguments against queer parenting are fucked up and oppressive, we don't need to argue against fat parenting in order to prove that point. Denying queer people legal protections like nondiscrimination laws or marriage equality is wrong on its own merits. We don't have to oversimplify it and misappropriate it as being "separate drinking fountains" or "sitting at the back of the bus," insulting communities who really did have to face those things.

If you want some more thoughts on how fatphobia intersects with other types of oppression (racism, homophobia, sexism, etc), there's a post here: http://yrwelcome.wordpress.com/2011/02/0…
509
I second Emma's Bee salute to Canuck, and now I'm going to read @401.
510
I read this article and I'm also aware of Dan Savage's previous rants on obesity. Here's where I stand on all of this:

To my understanding, the basis of Dan's rants on obesity are when overweight people either seek to make others responsible for their being overweight, OR, fail to be realistic about their actual size. I agree with him 100%.

In my opinion, this article starts off on the wrong foot:

"This is my body (over there—see it?). I have lived in this body my whole life. I have wanted to change this body my whole life. I have never wanted anything as much as I have wanted a new body."

o_0

I'm 5'6" and 245 (last time I weighed myself). I'm not the perfect weight for someone my height and I'm perfectly okay with that. As a person my size, there's certain stuff that does not look good on me. An overweight person CANNOT wear the same stuff a thinner person wears and look good. They just can't. I see this ALL the time when I observe portly men AND women trying to squeeze all of their rolls into clothing that does NOT complement their figure.

FAT DOES NOT EQUATE TO SLOPPY.

If you want to be fat, be fat, but LOVE you and be realistic about what being your size means. Don't disguise your love for being fat under your own personal insecurities or laziness to change who you are, and don't look for pity for being fat. Understand that everyone won't love you for your choices. As long as YOU are happy with you and you're able to live and function in society, and possibly find someone who likes you as you are, yahtzee.

IF YOU DON'T LIKE YOU, CHANGE YOU.

-30-
511
FAT HECK NO you are adorable, , and YES i'm FAT and queer AND trans not to mention handicapted so i've got a LOT of strikes against me, BUT nowadays i'm HAPPIER then i've ever been i have friends that LOVE me just the way i am
512
This is extraordinary! I've been increasingly out about being fat positive (and about being fat!), and while I try to root it in social justice values, etc, there are times when I just need to SHUT IT DOWN with people's responses. This definitely helps me do that. So big, big thanks!

Big thanks, also, for addressing Dan's politics around fatness. As someone who works full-time in the LGBT rights movement, it's been really disheartening to see how many of his arguments rely on bringing down other communities--like fatties, people of color, and trans people. Homophobia is legit. We don't need to take down other marginalized communities (or appropriate their oppression) to prove how real our own oppression is. Arguments against queer parenting are fucked up and oppressive, we don't need to argue against fat parenting in order to prove that point. Denying queer people legal protections like nondiscrimination laws or marriage equality is wrong on its own merits. We don't have to oversimplify it and misappropriate it as being "separate drinking fountains" or "sitting at the back of the bus," insulting communities who really did have to face those things.

If you want some more thoughts on how fatphobia intersects with other types of oppression (racism, homophobia, sexism, etc), there's a post here: http://yrwelcome.wordpress.com/2011/02/0…
513
I read post @401 and jeez I hope that's not Dan. The "Dan didn't say that and didn't mean that" parts are great but the "most dishonest post evar" stuff is churlish.

If I were Dan I'd high-five Lindy for writing a great post that added to an important conversation and got people thinking (and generated a ton of traffic!). I don't assume Dan's upset by this at all. He's probably reading these comments and cackling like the cat that ate the cupcake.

Good work everyone!
514
@506: Tunnel, Will, Tunnel, Will, Tunnel, Will, Tunnel, Will, Tunnel, Will, etc.
515
AMEN.
This is a good post. You are a great writer. Thank you.
516
Lindy, thank you. Thank you.

I am a fat woman. I am a loved and accepted fat woman. I am a loved, accepted and desired fat woman. I am me.
517
Well said, Lindy! You come across as a very strong woman, who has endured and survived the grief that comes from not fitting into the "desired" body shape/type seen as ideal in our (somewhat warped and misguided) society. Keep fighting the good fight... and long live your awesome sense of humour :)
Patty
518
@ 506, see @ 28.
519
smart words. save shame for appropriate targets. like bigot-behavior. like Dan's fat stand.
520
Why has it taken people this long to realize that Dan is a total asshole? He's been an asshole FOREVER. Just because he might be on the right side of *some* issues doesn't mean he isn't an asshole. And that trite It Gets Better bullshit has only made him an even bigger, more self-satisfied, sanctimonious asshole who thinks he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.
521
@501, you absolutely nailed it. It's totally possible to not torment and shame fat people if you've lost weight and they haven't, but it requires having something to love about yourself besides the number on your scale.
522
@513 Puty...I don't think 401 was written by Dan, but perhaps by a good friend rallying to his defense?

PS Cats don't like cake, they like pie... ;)
523
FAT HECK NO you are adorable, , and YES i'm FAT and queer AND trans not to mention handicapted so i've got a LOT of strikes against me, BUT nowadays i'm HAPPIER then i've ever been i have friends that LOVE me just the way i am
524
This is a great post. I am 135 pounds and 5'4, not fat, but not too thin either and I quite frequently have thoughts where I feel bad about myself, where I am worried other people think I'm gross or a loser because my arms are a bit flabby. And I'm sick of it. I'm so tired of having to think about myself this way because society is so intent on shaming people. It takes up so much time, it's unproductive, and I really, really wish I could just be happy with myself instead but still those thoughts constantly creep right back in. No matter how hard you try to be ok with the way you look, there's always some fat joke on tv or someone saying there's something wrong with you for not being stick thin. So thank you for being an inspiration. If more women like you speak up and call bullshit on shaming, maybe the next generation of women won't have to spend their time being down on themselves every single day.
525
@520: Dan has often confessed to being an asshole but everybody still likes him and nobody likes you, so ha ha.

But today this is about Lindy. And everybody loves Lindy! Hooray!

(Okay, some people probably like you @520. But they wish you were less crabby.)

Canuck: The idea of cats liking cupcakes pleases me, but it's true, my cat has never shown interest in cupcakes.
526
just wanted to add another comment of support. this article is awesome, you are lovely.
527
@518 - Oh yeah! Now I remember reading that. *phew* It wouldn't be a proper comment thread w/o him.

And Baconcat: Wheee!
528
Hello. 36 years old. Male. 5'11". 174 lbs. here.

I am overweight. The ideal weight for a man my height is 150 - 170 pounds. I will *celebrate* when I get to my target weight of 165 pounds. I've been as heavy as 197 pounds, and I hated it. I thought I'd die if hit 200, so I took action. I changed my diet, added more exercise to my week, and lost weight. It really does work.

I'm not perfect. I have a weakness for wine. A weakness for cheese. I drink too much calorie-rich juice some weeks. And some weeks I don't get in as much exercise as I should, and so I yo-yo around, which I really hate.

But the yo-yo-ing is MY fault. It's entirely connected to whether I have eaten right or exercised right. In fact, I should be exercising RIGHT NOW, instead of typing this post. But my point is that my yo-yo-ing is not my body's fault. My body is not something I have to choose to "accept" on its own terms, or feel shame "about." My body is something I have to choose to CONTROL, and when I need to feel shame, it's shame over my loss of control (and how it shows on my body), not shame about my body itself.

Lindy, I ADORE your writing. I think you are smart and hilarious and talented and creative and clever and totally, totally top-shelf as a writer. But you are wrong when you say "diets don't work." If you mean faddish, temporary diets, then yeah, those don't work, but taking CONTROL of your diet is the only thing that really does work, when it comes to weight. That, and exercise.

It's totally rude for someone to comment that your body is "unsightly." You are a beautiful woman. But it is not inaccurate to note that at 263 pounds your are unhealthily obese (just like its accurate to say that at 174 or 197 pounds I am overweight), and you need to take more CONTROL over your body -- over the diet and exercise habits that shape your body.

I also think Dan is a pretty good writer, and very good sex advice columnist. But I think he's a rude bitch, and a shallow motherfucker when it comes to appearance. Not just on fatness but on lots of beauty and body-ideal issues. He's never very helpful on that front, so fuck him all to hell. His opinions on attractives are cliched and irrelevant.

But the facts on how to take control of your body are on his side. I wish you good luck. Please wish it to me too. I'm not where I want to be yet, but I'm really working on it. (You can do it!)
529
@528 (et. al), you're right, weight loss is pretty much invariably about getting into an S&M relationship with your body where you punish it for weaknesses. CONTROL the abs, TAME the thighs! "Autonomic" is just another word for LAZY! Look down on anyone who doesn't feel like this is an attractive way to live!
530
I gave this article a lot of thought and I cannot fool myself into thinking being fat is an acceptable way of being. There are way too many reasons not to be fat and I cannot think of a single reason why it would ever be okay to be fat. That being said, I do not believe we should ever shame family, friends, co-workers, strangers, and so on because of their weight. If solicited, we can help the ones we love with advice and support. Basically, though, it really isn't anyone's business.
532
@529 Who's looking down on anybody? Not me.
533
@501 Spot On. Or, as I was thinking to myself when reading those comments: Skinny People are mean because they are so HUNGRY...

534
#527 - one of my cats actually likes cantaloupe! Cantaloupe, can you believe that? And she's a lovable little fatty.
535
Amazing how many comment-writers find the need to to say "I'm fat and" or "I'm not fat but." Go back and re-read, please, people. Your weight is your business. Full stop.

Lindy, every part of you rocks. Every part of you will always rock, no matter what size you are or have been or will be. You go, girl.
536
@532...Hmm...saying that weight is entirely a matter of self-control and avoidance of "weaknesses", then claiming that this has nothing to do with moralizing or looking down on people...

Dan? Is that you?
537
Oh sweet Jesus that was awesome, Lindy! I need a cigarette -- or a doughnut?! -- after reading that! Long-time reader, first time commenter here... you are the custard in my eclair!

@486, I enjoy reading your comments and fully appreciate your desire for promoting a more Kumbaya atmosphere, but I must respectfully disagree with you a bit with this observation: I don't think the problem is Dan's bluntness of speech so much as (what I and others perceive as) his hypocrisy. The IGB Project is about stopping the bullying and shaming of gay youth, and yet he appears willfully ignorant of his own tendency to bully and shame the plus-sized. It's often more subtle than overt --- which I argue is even more insidious in that people aren't as likely to call him out on it. So Lindy finally gave him that long-overdue calling out -- and huzzahs to her!

Everybody has ugly prejudices they try to hide. Everybody is wrong sometimes. I'll start having more respect for Dan once he finally owns up to this. But I'm not holding my breath.

One last general observation: it;s interesting how commenters here who say extremely vicious, hateful things about gays tend to be anonymous, while the commenters who say extremely vicious, hateful things about fat people, do so more freely as registered. It's as if that kind of talk is more acceptable when it's directed at the overweight. Says something sad about our culture, I think.

Anyway, cheers y'all!
538
@501 is NOT spot on.

@501 is knocking down straw men. Nobody here is saying that Lindy is a "loser" or they are "more awesome" than she is because of weight, or that "everything is rainbows and baskets of puppies" when you get thin, or that Lindy is "lazy and stupid" or that their "entire worldview" is that "being thin fixes everything."

Nobody here is saying ANY of that, but that's what @501 has to pretend, in order to attack people who are quite sensibly pointing out that maintaining a healthy weight just happens to be a good habit (that can help maintain a healthy/happy life), because the facts simply aren't on @501's side.

I don't see a "spew of hatred" where you do @501. Sorry you see it that way.
539
Then your reading comprehension needs some work, Daniel1979. I wish you the best of luck.
540
All the burger-commenters are assholes - so naturally tiny people are somehow ALLOWED to eat burgers, and naturally larger people aren't? Fuck off, burger assholes! We are ALL allowed to eat burgers. BURGERS FOR EVERYONE.
541
@539 (haunted leg) ... Then support your accusations, instead of just insulting me. Rude.
542
Lindy, Thanks. Man, it's so hard to not resort to name calling but I think one is bubbling up out of my consciousness. It's "closet hypocrite." Hey, folks, don't live in denial! If you don't like to feel ashamed and oppressed but you are fine with other people feeling ashamed and oppressed, come out into the light! Just admit you are a hypocrite! No need to be closeted! Embrace your inner hypocrite! Wear it proudly! If you feel that your minority or oppressed group is better or more deserving of empathy than other minority or oppressed groups, just say so! That way we all can recognize you for exactly what you are, which is a hyprocrite. Just as I am proud to be a "smart-aleck" you should be proud to be a hypocrite.
543
To all the Slog commenters who explained to me just how easy it is to lose weight, thank you so much. I've just been sitting around on my couch, stuffing myself with Cheetos and cupcakes and beer and wondering why I wasn't getting any thinner.

Look, the thing is that whether or not someone can lose weight doesn't mean that they will or that you should expect them to. You may be thin, and good for you, but that doesn't mean that you can look at someone who is overweight (like myself) and say "Ugh, lose some weight, fatty." Well, actually, you can say that, but it makes you an asshole, not someone who is concerned for my health and well-being.

I'm quite active, although you'd never guess by looking at me. I've tried all manner of strategies for eating and found that while I can lose weight if I am very careful about what I eat, I have to restrict my calrories way too much to sustain my level of activity. Since my activities are what make me happy and incidentally, healthier, I choose to do them and not worry too much about my weight. I still try to be reasonable and make smart food choices, but sometimes if I want a damn hamburger, I eat a damn hamburger. I am also stronger, have better endurance and cardiovascular health than I ever did when I was thin. But people still judge me because I'm carrying around an extra 50 pounds. I've talked to my doctor, and she said that she'd like me to lose somewhere around 25 pounds, but in general as long as I keep exercising regularly and don't go overboard with eating or drinking, she thinks I'll be fine.

But the thing is that none of that is anyone else's business. My being fat has nothing to do with you, just like my being gay is none of your concern.
544
I don't argue with people who I believe are arguing in bad faith, Daniel1979, and I believe you are arguing in bad faith. Take care, and have a nice day.
545
@533, actually, that just reinforces the idea that skinny people must eat less than fat people. Not true.

@Lindy, you are awesome.

I expect the usual from Dan. He doesn't enjoy looking at fat people, so he will act like his opinions about fat bodies are empirical fact -- it's not that he finds fat people gross, it's that fat people ARE GROSS, FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.
546
@544 (haunted leg) ... The lazy way out, with a second rude accusation, and no actual content or support for what you said. Boo.
547
The whole "fat is unhealthy and makes people sick and die early and therefor it's morally unacceptable to be fat and also EEEW and also YUCK" thing has always struck me as going in tandem with our cultures hyper weird obsession with youth and young bodies, and basically our cultural inability to come to terms with the fact that we are all going to die. (I also feel like you can replace "fat" with "getting old" in the sentence above- people seem to have the same weird squidqieness about old people's bodies too).

News flash: Every single person's body is going to break down and decay. Putting all the time and effort into avoiding that seems to mean that you are missing out on lots of other things you could be doing, that it seems like Lindy is doing with relish- thinking about awesome, funny ideas (Lindy, you seriously have the best brain. I wish I could live in it), writing wickedly funny and insightful articles, eating amazing food, watching incredible movies, loving her life and her body and her experience in it.

I'm a now overweight woman who used to be a much thinner woman with a ton of work and exercise. For what it's worth, I would not go back to my thinner, more neurotic self- not when there is all this amazing life to be lived as is. Being moderately heavier doesn't keep me from doing the stuff I love (hiking, dancing, fucking), it does keep me from being fair game to every dickish guy who thinks a skinny body is an invitation, and it means I get over the weird obsessive guilt that used to come along with eating food that was remotely pleasurable.

If a person's deal is that they enjoy working out and monitoring their food, and they enjoy their trim bodies- well, good for them. I don't want them to stop. But if a person's deal is that they feel they've got better things to be doing, that's totally valid as well. Each of us know what parts of their life that they'll look back on at the end of their days, should they be so lucky to live to a nice old age, and find the greatest source of contentment in. I suspect people who are in serious denial about the fact that their bodies aren't going to be young and superfit forever are going to have a much harder time coping with the realities of aging, but I guess that bridge is theirs to cross when they get to it.
548

Much, much love to Lindy! *smooch*

Because it's not just an awesome rebuttal and takedown of the fat h8ers, it's done with wit, verve, and crisp-ass prose. Thou rockest, woman!
549
Riot Don't Diet!!
550
BRAVO!!!!!
551
Thank you Lindy! Very articulate. Several of my friends have already shared this article, and we are 100% impressed with your bravery and sass.
552
Daniel1979, if you honestly can't see the shittier comments here for what they are, then I can't help you, and I can't have an actual conversation with you. You're here looking to score points off of people, and I don't have time to waste on things like that. If that's what you enjoy, more power to you, but you're going to have to pick a fight with someone else.

Have a good weekend!
553
Yeah yeah yeah. Dan sucks. Fat people are great. Can we get back to bashing the tunnel now? Will in Seattle is probably bored to tears!
554
There is no "social justice" in being fat. You're the product of a giant corporate push towards overconsumption and your very being exudes having succumbed to the will of the profit motive that is killing this country. Your physical form waddling down to the store is a manifestation of everything wrong with this country, just as much as the rail thin woman on the cover of any magazine. Don't justify it. Understand it, work to fix it, and get over it.

Complain about the "skinny" industry but remember the "fat" industry too. Quit thinking it's acceptable. This is directed more towards the horrible commenters who are mistaking Lindy's post for a call for fat acceptance.
555
One more thing:

Lindy, right now you can function fantastically well because you are 28 years old. Your body can handle the stress and the strain of the extra weight. In ten years, or twenty years, things may really start to get a lot more complicated for you.

As you say, your weight and your PERSONAL health (not the health of all fat people) are your business alone. But please, please, please - don't cut your nose off to spite Dan Savage's face. Nobody stays young forever. Our bodies are machines, and if you abuse 'em you'll get away with it while your body is new, but it will start to break down faster and faster.

While Dan may be empirically correct in his arguments, I think he is much more interested in condemning fat people than changing them. To use a creepy Biblical analogy I heard from a scary website, Noah preached for 100 years before the flood and didn't change a single mind...all he did was give people despair to go along with their agony, as they screamed "if I'd only listened!" when the waters closed in over them.

I think that's sort of what Dan may be expecting. I think he knows full well that the natural human reaction to criticism is rebellion and defiance - and sure enough, we see so many fat people saying "fuck you, I'll live how I want." My hunch is that Dan wants fat people to know they had a chance right as it's too late to turn back, when they're 55 and facing dialysis and hobbled by arthritis and taking handfuls of pills for diabetes, etc. Right as that chest pain strikes, that's when Dan wants you to remember his accusatory warnings. They smack of punishment, of expectation of failure.

The sad reality is that there's valuable truth at the heart of it all, and it's getting swept away in all the anger and condescension. It takes a delicate persona to support someone and actually kindle a desire for change instead of a reflexive and self-destructive adolescent defiance. Dan's not the man for the job. He's a Noah, not a Buddha.

Good luck Lindy. I think your post will become iconic, but always remember you don't have to please anyone (Dan Savage, the 'fat acceptance' movement, me) but yourself.
556
@435: I am healthy and active. That's why I stayed in on a Friday night - I chose to cuddle up with my SO rather than go out drinking with my friends because I get up early every morning and do yoga, walk, or make wholesome homemade bread.

I also happen to be thin but feel fat and struggle with accepting my body, oh, almost EVERY GODDAMN DAY. Because this 'debate' is not really about health. It is about promoting impossible standards that make people feel like shit and make them more apt to spend money on bullshit products and services. And I know that if I wasn't blessed with good genes, despite my high activity level and healthy food choices, I would be fatter than the day is long, because I FUCKING LOVE TO EAT. As most people do. The haters are either: A. smug ascetics who don't derive enjoyment from food and thus don't understand why everyone doesn't get up at 5 am to drink a protein shake and then run for ten miles only to have a three ounce portion of fish for lunch and a dinner of brown rice and egg whites or B: snarling ex-fats who want everyone to join them in their self-hating misery so they don't have to look wistfully at the delicious, if corpulent, life they left behind.

I struggle with internalized fat-phobia all the time, despite being primarily attracted to curvy/chubby women; it's my own horror of having a socially unacceptable body that keeps me from feeling fully comfortable in my own skin (how pathetic is that - allowing myself to be imprisoned by the opinions of asshole strangers rather than accepting the love and affirmation of my friends, partner and family?).

Lindy's post is a resounding call to freedom from the ridiculous societal standards that deem even my thin body 'too fat'; too fat for TV, too fat for the runways and too fat to relax and enjoy life. FUCK THAT.

I love you Lindy and I thank you.
557
@555 ... Well said, Yeek. FTW
558
I thank you so much for writing this!
I am adding myself to the chorus of "I love you!"
But I have one BIG BIG question! How did you get from the place in the first paragraph from the statements in the last? I would give ANYTHING to be able to feel that way, to stop feeling shame.

Thanks again!
559
Giving you some Chubb love from Oakland!!
560
As someone who has been fat (200 lbs at my heaviest) and is now thin I can tell you that you'll hate your thin body just as much as you hate your fat body. In fact you probably won't even be able to see yourself as a thin person because you've always been a fat person. It was one of the most depressing realizations that I ever came too. I know I'm thin because the scale tells me I am, but my mirror tells me I'm fat. It's not about fat or thin, it's about healthy. Mental and physical. I got the physical under control but I'm still working on the mental.

561
I thank you so much for writing this!
I am adding myself to the chorus of "I love you!"
But I have one BIG BIG question! How did you get from the place in the first paragraph from the statements in the last? I would give ANYTHING to be able to feel that way, to stop feeling shame.

Thanks again!
562
Okay do people realize that the point is, well yes you can have your opinion, but who said they want to hear your negative opinion?? Saying something is "unacceptable" is only decided by you or the corrupt media. Nobody made a rule book on what's "acceptable." If you go along with every standard the media makes, that just means you're stupid and brainwashed. If it's going to hurt someone, keep it to your damn self.

There's probably something wrong with the way you look too, but people aren't going to openly discriminate you for it are they? If you don't agree with something, like this blog post, don't be an asshole about it. Just move on.

And do you also realize being overweight or obese can be genetic? No I don't mean having fat parents, but some people have thyroid conditions that affect their metabolism, etc. So don't judge people you don't even know and say that they're lazy.
563
Dear Lindy,

You opened my partner's eyes in just one article. I wish others were as smart as him.
564
@373: So would you argue that I should happily cede as much of my seat to the person next to me as they wish to take? No one's arguing that the airline seats are small, but that doesn't then automatically make it okay to just take the seat of the person next to you. Two wrongs seldom make a right.

I don't think ANYONE is taking a pro-"harassing fat people in public is okay" position here. NO ONE thinks that is okay. However some of us are concerned about aspects of the "fat acceptance" movement that require non-fat people to accommodate fat people past the point of it being an imposition. As I first said way back in Comment #164, giving up a significant portion of my bus or train or theater or plane seat to a fat person is not me "accepting" them, it's them imposing on me, literally.

Speaking of, the argument that the airline seats are too small for anyone, and that makes everything okay, is silly and misleading. Yes, it's a true statement, but that doesn't mean that asking me to give up 10-30% of my already-inadequate seat to the person next to me is a reasonable expectation.

So far the responses to the "airline seat" question have completely avoided addressing my central question: is it fair to make me give up part of my seat to accommodate the needs of a fat person, and if so, why is that okay?
565
While I'm burning bridges here...

Many people's descriptions of their dieting indicate some methods that will almost always lead to failure. Severe caloric restriction leads to the body going into "starvation mode" and desperately holding onto fat reserves while also reducing metabolism to a crawl. The key to consistent weight loss is not weird fad diets or starving yourself, it is to run at a consistent caloric deficit while eating enough to avoid going into that starvation mode.

My partner and I have been trying out http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ for the past few months, and although I hate the cutesy name, I love that it's a nice basic system of tracking calories in order to cause slow, steady weight loss. For instance, I'm trying to lost weight, and with my height, weight and age, the program says I need 1480 calories a day. Not 500, not 100; no, I need to get as close to 1480 (and maybe a little over) every day to lose weight. In addition, if I work out and burn 200 calories, I now need to eat 1680 that day to compensate for the extra calories consumed by working out. This has caused me to look forward to working out, since I can then splurge a bit that day.

There are no restricted foods, and nothing is off limits if it fits into your caloric total for the day. Yesterday I had half a piece of cake. Last week we went out for steak and mashed potatoes. The program is available for free for the iPhone and Android at http://www.myfitnesspal.com/mobile, and I'd highly suggest downloading it and giving it a try if you're curious. You can also just use their web site if you don't have a smart phone. I don't work for them, nor do I get anything for suggesting them, but having already lost some weight on the program while continuing to enjoy eating, I feel strongly about it being a good, healthy approach to changing my eating habits for the long term. It doesn't feel like a diet, it feels like a way to learn healthy eating habits.
566
This is a game changer for me Lindy. I used to be in the Dan camp and then I read this, and I am not looking back.
567
Lindy West, you betta WERK. I'm tearing up over here. This was an amazing read.
568
Exactly how I feel, said better than I ever could, being shared with everybody I know.

Thanks for making the world a better place with your big fat wonderful brain. <3
569
Interested people should read the new book "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes. (http://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Get-Fat-Bor…) Here's a very brief summary - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/health….
570
Dear Fatty McFatCunt,

Please eat more. You will die sooner.

You are pathetic and always will be.

-Jesus Christ
571
@51 I love you. And I feel exactly how you feel.

LINDY! This made my day. Well said. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. People really do need to hear this stuff.

To all the people speaking for Gay people around the world.... shut up. Being Gay make each gay person the same, much like being black or white or yellow blue or orange doesn't. You can tell Lindy that she's wrong for saying what she's said, but that's just how you feel. I'm pretty sure that if she says it about HERSELF, it's right.
572
I was way back at 144, checked back a few times, and now its over 530 - fabulous!

Lots of cathartic posts here - very heart felt and thougthful (mostly) on all sides. My point is that this is, obviously, a very important subject, and it's nice to see the whole slog community "weigh in" so to speak. I particularly love the many very long posts, and pledge that I have actually read or quickly scanned each one to get the gist of the arguments.

Body image and weight cut across all of humanity, through gender and age and race and ethnicity and sexuality and physical ability. I echo those many posts above that the core issue here is respect and understanding, and that each individual should be given the opportunity to be free from snap judgments that too many citizens place on whole groups of their fellow life travelers. I think we should apply this courtesy to everyone.

I believe you should respect an individual that belongs to a group of people that may make you uncomfortable at first blush, and give that person a chance before you form an opinion. AND, I don't think you need to find someone attractive or want to have sex with him to extend that respect. I also agree with all of those who point out that true change comes from within, and external pressures rarely lead to life changes.

I am glad we all are having this discussion - it really helps. Thanks again, Lindy.
573
Thank you, Lindy! You're terrific!
574
This is so wonderful. And I cannot believe some of the awful comments you're getting. They remind me of how stupid and mean people can be---and yet how proud they can be of themselves for that stupidity and meanness.
575
The idea that Lindy is comparing her personal issues with the struggles of being queer makes her argument entirely suspect. Her post makes me feel used. What a completely cheap and irresponsible analogy, Lindy.
576
Ooh ooh, I want to comment too, too!

Fat is relative. What's most important is the weakness of mind that makes one think they need to conform to other people's standards simply for acceptance. Note though that this weakness of mind is also relative; the vast majority of people have it in some form (I am one of those people).

What is not weak is doing what one can to be healthier. This "health" is not about appearance. Instead, it is the modern idea that everything about oneself, the physical, mental, economis, et al attributes, need to be in a harmonious condition of well-being for one to truly be in an optimal state.

And on and on... I like girls of all sizes, blah blah blah, I'm thin but gaining weight, blah blah blah, some of my best friends are cats...
577
Lindy.

You totally rule.

Seriously.

578
This is a very honest and caring piece. Skillfully (and entertainingly) expressed. Little wonder we love you so much.
579
Love the whole post except for the part about what conservatives think, which sounded sorta bigoted and shallow. That's not what conservatives think. Clearly our behavior impacts that of others, which is why being self-sufficient as an individual is important.

I'll forgive that, though, because you are awesome.
580
Love the whole post except for the part about what conservatives think, which sounded sorta bigoted and shallow. That's not what conservatives think. Clearly our behavior impacts that of others, which is why being self-sufficient as an individual is important.

I'll forgive that, though, because you are awesome.
581
And now it is time for Dan Savage to realize he has disqualified himself from speaking again on the subject of fat.

At some point in the past, he was no doubt duly invited to weigh in with his opinions on size. And he has even pointed out some valid criticisms of some exponents of the fat acceptance movement. And it is reasonable for some people (but never again Dan Savage) to wonder why all of a sudden in the last few years Americans have gotten so much fatter than the rest of the world -- it can't only be genetics.

The disqualifier is that along with that, Savage has -- see Lindy's links to Dan's writing -- expressed clear disgust at fat people, shamed them with thoughtless cruelty, and unfairly judged their character, self respect, willpower and honesty. Not to mention practicing medicine without a license on people who are not his patients.

That shouldn't stop other people, people who haven't poisoned the air, and people who maybe even can speak from personal experience, from having a frank conversation about fat. But if you're one of the guys like Dan Savage whose words, in total, have caused more harm than good, it's time to bow out, focus on things that you can do some good with, and shut up about fat.
582
Me too! Me too! BravO Lindy <3
583
Thank you for your courage, your humor, and your overall awesomeness, Lindy! Rock on!

As a relatively thin person who has always struggled with her weight and a messed up body image, I can only hope to have your level of body acceptance someday. You're beautiful!
584
"fatties, people of color, and trans people."

It's the identity politics train run amok, running down the aisle, slapping everyone on the head with under arm fat!

Come to think of it , Rosa Parks was a little portly, maybe that's why they made her sit at the back of the bus?
585
Former fatty here. 5'7, 250 was my highest. Lost about 100lbs in about 10 months, kept it off for 7 years now.

In other words, "wanting" to not be fat doesn't make you not fat.

Oh, and if you aren't trying to get your dream job or find your clothing style NOW, then you're going to still be a failure after you lose weight.
586
As a man in this society that LOVES plus size women in every way, I gotta say, I'm pretty goddamn sick of the d-bags out there that think it is okay to belittle anybody in a public forum for ANY reason, much less subjective standards of beauty. All you do when you make public declarations of fat-phobia embarrass yourself. All you are doing is proudly displaying your own weakness, your own misunderstanding of neurological relativity, your own desperation to be accepted by d-bags such as yourself, your own failure to escape the programming you underwent as a child to belittle that which society scared you into believing, your own inability to stand up to the herd, and your own ignorance of the FACT that you are latching onto fat-phobia in order to validate your own contempt for people in general. Do yourself the favor and think twice before you put that unfortunate opinion of yours out into the ether, you are hurting others, and in turn hurting yourself. You don't need anymore enemies.
587
581, don't be silly. Dan Savage is a good and prolific writer, a super-hardworking decent fellow, and not likely to ever shut up about whatever takes his fancy. The point here is not to silence him and his ilk (not that he has an ilk, just us legions of fans). The hope I hold is that this sharp poke from a superior writer will move him along a bit from his heavily fortified position on this topic..
588
HOLY SHIT! You are my hero!
589
@487, Kim from Portland: I can see it both ways--communication is my profession. I wanted to let you know that many people will regard your initial post as a defense, but I didn't mean to ascribe any additional motive to your comment than what you yourself professed (namely, love.)

If I came down too heavily on one interpretation, I apologize. However, I appreciate your willingness to consider what I said about your capacity for harm, despite your obviously good intentions.

@486, Canuck: I agree that more people need to think about the potential damage one can do when being anonymous. (Although, if you were implying that I'd be afraid to say anything I've said in this thread to someone's face, please note that I would feel no compunctions about doing so.) And I, too, admire both Kim in Portland's resolve and her capacity to remain calm in the face of slander.
590
Very well said. Just wanted to join the chorus of Lindylove.
591
Opinion is subjective, but facts are facts. Reality doesn't change because you want to feel better about yourself and delusion on that level is just the kind of hipster American BS that you expect to see these days. People are fat for a few primary reasons. Diet, lack of exercise, and genetics. Chances are, if your mom and dad are "roomy" or "big boned" then you stand a good chance of developing those traits as you grow up. However it is also not uncommon to see two heavy parents with average sized children, leading one to observe that it is not only upon heredity that the condition rests, but also in LIFESTYLE.

If you spend more than four hours a day at a computer for whatever reason then you are already putting yourself at risk. The human body is not designed to live the kind of lives that we afford ourselves these days, we are meant to be constantly moving, walking, running, jumping, lifting, and pushing. If we weren't, then we would simply be gelatinous blobs of sentience that remain stationary and would not have evolved the skeletal and muscular structure that we have. Come to think of it, some of us are already on our way to this phase of existence.

Living is nice. I enjoy it. Thousands of confident religious and economic doctrines exist and yet one only need adhere to the simple basis of "living is good" because you don't get to do anything when you are dead. As such, I keep regular track of my health and exercise to keep my limbs from turning into goop. You are fat and happy with your body, that is great. You should be happy with your body. We should love our bodies enough to think hard and long about what we feed it and keep it in good order, because the ugly truth of the matter is that we are ANIMALS, despite all of our self-important belief and minute accomplishment, we are animals. Our body's health has a profound effect on our psychological acuity which in turn also effects our physical health, and since you brought up the "mental health" issue that seems to be most prevalent argument against the "Thin Movement." You have to break the cycle somewhere.

I am a male, I am 5'8" and at one point weighed 238 pounds and was suffering from onset clinical depression by the time I was 19. Since I didn't have much in the way of a social life, I turned inward and began to develop other skills. I learned to write, draw, paint, and balance chemical equations. One day I stumbled upon a book that contained a list of virtually everything I was eating and why it was horrible for me. Slowly, steadily, I changed the way I lived and sure enough, results soon followed. It didn't start out with rapid weight loss, oh no, it started with FEELING BETTER. I dropped grains and dairy from my diet, kept to fresh vegetables and fruits as well as lean, organic meats (this was difficult to find a decade or so ago) and last but not least EXERCISE.

If you arent' burning calories then you are wasting your time with a diet. You don't have to go to the gym to start, you simply start walking. You walk as much as you can. Move your arms, push and lift things around the house. Go up and down your stairs and take walks around your neighborhood, get to know the people in it. Stretch, for heaven's sake, stretch your limbs and get blood flowing to them or you'll injure yourself. If you are very heavy and find walking rough on your feet, they make shoes that are worth the investment, and there are a myriad of exercises you can do from your own bed that help.

In six months, having cut out all the junk from my diet and drinking nothing but water, I had lost twenty pounds. Twenty damn pounds, 218 pounds for the first time in my life and it was at that point I knew that I had to step it up. I bought a couple of kettlebells and started running. There will never be a number high enough to count the times I vomited and collapsed while learning to run, I discovered that I was borderline asthmatic, but doing so has been a worthwhile decision. I am now at 183 pounds and can finally run two miles without catching on fire.

It can be done. All you have to do is work for it. It isn't easy. It is going to suck. But there is a payoff at the end, and that payoff is your doctor looking at you and saying "You dodged the bullet with diabetes and heart disease didn't you, son?"
592
@581, The Wretched Harmony: I don't think Mr. Savage has disqualified himself, so much as he has squandered precious goodwill by alienating a segment of his readership. He still has plenty of opportunities for apology, and (hopefully) many years ahead where he can behave more politely and professionally.

Besides, if one incidence of bad behavior was enough to damn someone forever, I'm sure I wouldn't have lived past age six. We can criticize Mr. Savage, but we also need to offer him the chance to make amends.
593
@450: 1. Statistics don't lie. 2. I don't eat potato chips or $1 burgers, stop projecting your stereotypes onto me. 3. Related to #2, I am not lazy, either. Fuck you.

BTW, let see where you are in 5 years' time. I'd bet money that weight will all be back, and then some. There's an 80-90 percent certainty of that.

Lastly, as this is Darwin Day, I will point out that a thrifty metabolism is meant to be an evolutionary advantage. In famines, it's us fatties who survive, while the rest of you scrawnies wither away. Oh well, at you'll die pretty (in your minds, anyway). Yes, granted, such is not presently an advantage, as food is all too plentiful. However, we may very well see worldwide food shortages in our lifetimes. Stay tuned!
594
For #2 and all the other "you just need to eat less crap and work out more" people... I don't eat candy, cookies, doughnuts pie or ice cream EVER. I haven't had anything with real sugar in it in over 10 years, also no fried or deep fried foods. I hate pizza and burgers and fries. Everything that I eat is either steamed or raw... mostly it is fresh veg, salads with out dressing, fruits and rice. I don't use sauces or gravies. I don't drink any alcohol. I don't do all of this to lose weight... I do it because that is how I like to eat. I am 47 and I weigh 230 pounds and am 5 feet tall. I have eaten this way for longer than I can remember. All of my friends eat crap all of the time... some are fat and some are not... there seems to be no correlation between what my friends weigh and what they eat. My skinniest friend eats the same way as my fattest friend. I weigh the same as a friend of mine who eats burgers and pizza and drinks beer all of the time. Last year I walked 3 miles every other day... the alternating days I swam laps for an hour. I gained 10 pounds last year. If you could explain all of this to me that would be AWESOME!
595
It's a judgment on your discipline not on your fatness. You wanted your entire life to be thin but lacked the will power to do it. I'll make my own silent assumptions based on that fact.
596
Thank you.
597
Stopping in from the Portland Mercury to say excellent work. I'm really tired of Dan Savage's curt, selfrighteous, my-way-or-the-highway attitude, and I think you (and everyone else who feels marginalized but not necessarily in the ways that are immediately apparent to the Savage's of the world) need to have your voice heard.
598
Ok Lindy you're "fat" (it's all relative) and yes Dan is an insensitive prick. However it's still true that becoming obese is not healthy. If you are always "fat" does that mean you should not watch what you eat and not exercise and make yourself obese ?
599
So, how many people on Slog have had the opportunity to say...............600!

*or, you know, close to 600 if I timed it wrong.

**and whatEVER, gus, don't even say hi, talk to the hand...
600
600 in less than 24 hours! Hey Canuck!
601
This is fantastic. I'll refrain from writing extensively about what I think about Dan Savage's hurtful, harmful statements. However, what I do wish is for him to pour some of the loving, compassionate, social justice minded spirit he poured into the It Gets Better Campaign into his understanding of the ways in which the health and well-being of women and girls suffer from society's obsession with weight.

When will people realize that what we're doing is harming girls and women to the point where they are killing themselves?! There have been reports, studies, endless research into how the sexualization of girls and women in popular media leads to depression, anxiety, unhealthy sexuality, eating disorders. Yet we continue to tell girls and women that their worth depends upon the way they look first and foremost. We continue to pretend that we're just concerned with health! It's total bullshit and if men like Dan Savage could step back from their closed-mindedness for just a moment they'd see that it's causing generations of women and girls to hate themselves with a passion; causing girls and women to harm themselves by starving themselves, eating unhealthily, living in a world of constant shame.

I am inspired and uplifted and empowered by Lindey's piece and I hope she continues to speak out!!

602
Aaaaannndd.. Lindy Wins The Entire Internetz. FOREVAH.

Like people were saying last week about the National Anthem
("No one after Whitney Houston ever needed to sing that song again!") -- no one ever needs to say anything about Da Fatness in Amurka again, after this. Somebody starts flapping their jaws, just slide 'em a link to this ReVoLuTionAry post from Ms Lindy West, Seattle Washington, February 11 2011, 3:53pm.

Ever and Ever Amen.

:-)