Hi. I’ve decided it’s time for me to make a public declaration. A declaration about what I believe in, how I believe in them, and why I’m here at all. Buckle in, this could be bumpy.
If you didn’t read any of my earlier posts, or this is your first time visiting, I’m Amee. I’m a dietitian. And I’m fat. I’m more than fat. I’m a fat person that isn’t trying to change the size of my body. I tried to fight that battle. I fought it right into an eating disorder.
I’ve already heard (and told myself) pretty everything awful thing I could about myself. And I believed them for so long. I believed that I was a joke to the world because of my body. And I just refuse to believe that anymore. I know my own worth and I am ready to fight for it. So, in the process of making peace with my body, I decided that I would no longer try to change the size of it. So, I’m fat. And I probably will be for a while.
I am also an activist. I fight for fat acceptance. I will keep fighting for fat acceptance. Because fatphobia and diet culture were things that brought me into my eating disorder to begin with. They brought me into this tumultuous and untrusting relationship with my body and with food. (Amongst other things — lots of things can play into the development of eating disorders and distrust with your body).
And fatphobia and diet culture are everywhere. They are everywhere we look. They are in the eating recovery space. They are in the Health at Every Size space. They are in the very way we all interact with each other. They are the reason we value the opinions and trust the radical ideals in thin people more than fat people. We inherently respect and trust thin people more than fat people. Because of fatphobia.
So, that is the reason I am here. I believe in fat activism and I believe in Health at Every Size. And I believe that fat bodies deserve respect. It’s hard to be a fat person stepping into a body positive space and not seeing folks that look like you. It’s hard to believe that space is for you too. And the way to change that — and to start to change our minds about fatness — we need to lift up fat voices. We need to challenge the way fatphobia and diet culture have influenced everything from who we trust as our dietitian or doctor to who we are attracted to. We need to call out the culture that makes us defer to thin folks.
I decided a long time ago that we need to hear marginalized voices the most in Health At Every Size (HAES). We need to hear them because they are and have continued to be marginalized even within that space. There are plenty of folks fighting this fight (trust me when I say no one really has original ideas) and when we hear folks that aren’t “in” with HAES say that it just isn’t for marginalized bodies, or those with chronic illness, or so many other things — it hurts. It adds to the fear that we are being overlooked and silenced.
Speaking of Health at Every Size, let’s talk about health. Health is something I don’t speak about often. For a few reasons. First, I don’t believe in making health recommendations on social media or without thorough individual counseling because (second), health is highly individual. What is healthy for one person may not be for another. Third, I do not believe that health is a qualifier for anything.
Let me say that again:
Health is not required for a person to deserve my respect.
I will not place qualifiers on folks seeking validation in their existence. Especially not on health. And especially not with the implicit (and sometimes explicit) assumption that health is irrevocably related to body size. It’s not. I learn nothing about a person’s health from looking at them.
I will also not discuss health when health is a privilege. Some people will do everything “right” (whatever that even means) and still develop something. And everyone will, indeed, eventually die. There are factors involved in our health that we have little control over — genes, environment, stress, access to quality healthcare and unbiased treatment, food security — and we can’t ignore those in the name of nutrition. Especially when so many folks are suffering from disordered eating and place so much shame and guilt on not eating right or being in the right body.
I am here to talk about the systemic barriers. I’m here to fight the things that individuals alone can’t do. To make the world a safer place for every body. And to encourage everyone to see that every body is worthy of respect and love and care. Without qualifiers.
Because we hear you. Fat people hear these conversations. We hear the implications and the criticisms and the shame that is rampant in our culture. We know. And these things just continue to add to the fear that we aren’t worthy of existing until our bodies fit that standard that someone else set.
But we should get to live. All this shame and fear and marginalization is what is hurting us. Fat people shouldn’t have to fit into that system. Fat people are PEOPLE and deserve those basic human things too.
So, I’m here. I’ll be here.