Every person of every size, every health level, and every kind of coping mechanism deserves respect.
Fat activism and the movement Health at Every Size hopes to inspire people of all sizes to claim health and happiness now.
Not 30, 50, or 100 lbs from now.
And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but people are really resistant to movements that aim to inspire people to drop the fight against weight.
There are lots of fat-haters.
Our culture collectively assumes that every fat person is unhealthy and they are because of their own laziness. So, the fear goes, if we “glorify” their “lifestyle” then nobody will try to change.
Now, based on what we have been taught about fat, it actually makes some sense. The belief that being fat is dangerous is constantly pushed down our throats.
But what if that isn't true?
Linda Bacon studies weight, and has found overwhelming evidence that supports that weight and health are not inversely proportional.
Meaning: You cannot tell someone’s health from their weight.
Her book Health at Every Size details a study where she found that intuitive and self-loving habits caused marked health improvements in fat women, even when they lost no weight.
Still, fat-haters often fire back: “OK, well, there is a big difference between eating in moderation and eating that results in obesity.”
Well, besides the fact that many fat people are not fat because of their own habits — instead, because of genetics, past dieting, and other hormonal factors.
Let’s play the fat-haters' game anyway. Yes, sure, there are people who do use food as an emotional coping mechanism in a way that can negatively impact their life and health. Eating to avoid emotions will not help you to be healthy or happy. Consistently eating more food that you physically want and rarely moving your body is not the most joyful way to live your life.
Health at Every Size is not saying that every person of every size is healthy. No.
It is, however, saying that every person of every size, every health level, and every kind of coping mechanism deserves respect.
We don’t get to shame people for their health or mental health, even if it is self-induced. We don’t get to be shitty to people because they aren’t living “their best lives.”
That isn’t for us to judge. We don’t know what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. We all have coping mechanisms. We are all doing our best, even if our best isn’t so great (in society's eyes).
Fat-haters really want to keep judging and blaming fat people for being fat. In fact, some people deride Health at Every Size as a “liberal scheme so everyone can feel good about themselves when they don’t deserve to.”
…At least that’s what a lot of people have said in YouTube comments. (Don’t read YouTube comments).
So let’s keep playing the fat-haters' game. Let’s pretend for a moment that we could tell someone’s health from their weight. Even if we could, how do we think we can get off being so cruel?
When a smoker gets lung cancer, do we think it’s in their best interest to berate them and shame them? “Well, this is your own fault!”
Does it help anyone to say, “I told you so! Now you’re dying and you don’t really deserve respect because you’ve done this to yourself”?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure people do that — but does that help? Does that cure them?
What about extending kindness and compassion to them for a coping mechanism they couldn’t kick?
Health is not a moral issue.
What is a moral issue is being shitty to our fellow human beings just because we think they aren’t doing life right.
Everybody is doing the best they can, even if it’s not that “great.”
And when it comes to the people who have absolutely no ability to do anything but eat, we are talking about mental and emotional health — and shaming is never the answer.
Even still, when we are talking about weight, the people who sit around all day eating food, never moving, with no attempt to do anything or change at all — are still the minority. And still, that's their prerogative. Most people try pretty hard to fit in. Most people have been on quite a few failed diets. Most people have hated on themselves already more than any fat-haters could.
So in summation?
We can’t tell anything about someone’s health from their size.
And even if we could, we need to STFU. Everybody deserves respect — regardless of health status.