The fat acceptance movement also known as “health at every size” subscribe to the following pledge:
Health at Every Size is based on the simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body. It supports people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control). Health at Every Size encourages people to:
- Accept your size.
- Trust yourself.
- Accept and respect the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
- Eat in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite.
- Find joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically vital.
This feel good message cloaks several dangerous, uniformed and/or violently misrepresentative ideas. The fat acceptance movement and its supporters should take a long look in the mirror and feel serious, wallow-inducing shame for the following 10 reasons:
10. Because the Fat Acceptance Movement is Anti-science
The fat acceptance or “FAM” turns a blind eye to the overwhelming medical evidence that being grossly overweight is quite simply very, very bad for your health. Having too much body fat is very bad for you: (see #6 below).
Just as insidious is the belief that science is inapplicable to body size and that caloric intake is no predictor of weight gain. Take for example this blogger’s strange musings:
I’d like to say something about how much fat people eat. I, personally, would be neither surprised nor offended if it were somehow proven that fat people, on average, eat more than thinner people. Of course, this hasn’t been proven, and if it were, there would be exceptions and outliers — but if it were found to be the general case, it wouldn’t surprise or offend me in any way.
This individual holds herself out as a “nutritionist” and her formal title is “diet tech.” She has the audacity to propose that it is somehow possible that fat people may not be eating more than thinner people. Her position is indefensible, morally bankrupt and scientifically backwards.
Let’s apply just the tiniest bit of analytical thought to dismiss this absurd idea. In order to maintain a specific body weight X number of calories must be consumed daily.
For example, according to Cancer.org’s daily caloric intake calculator
- a 5’10” tall, 40 year old sedentary man who weighs 300 pounds must consume 3,302 calories per day to maintain his weight;
- a 5’ 10” tall 40 year old sedentary man who weighs 200 pounds must consume 2,658 calories per day to maintain his weight;
- a 5’4” tall 40 year old sedentary woman who weighs 170 pounds must consume 2,034 calories per day to maintain her weight; and finally
- A 5’4” tall 40 year old sedentary woman who weighs 125 pounds must consume 1,787 calories per day to maintain her weight.
If any of the above described individuals consume less calories they will lose weight. If they consume more calories they will gain weight.
The FAM ignore this basis precept: that eating more causes weight gain.
Because It’s Un-empowering, Dispiriting and un-America
The FAM adheres to an ideology that our bodies are unmalleable, unchangeable, and something to accept: a complete rejection of the American way. In this country we believe in pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and carving out a better life than that to which we were born.
By resigning themselves to the false idea that their bodies can’t be changed they sentence themselves to a prison of their own making. If, however, they were to overcome their ignorance or willful witlessness they may, with repeated, concerted effort, escape.
Because the FAM Promotes Laziness, Overeating, and Unhealthy Behaviors
One of FAM’s central tenets “accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes” shrouds tacit approval of bad behavior. While it’s true that not every individual is the same, each individual can be characterized as either obese or not obese. Each individual has the capacity to be either thin or obese.
To say otherwise is disingenuous. To accept an obese body as normal is to accept the behaviors that lead to such a state. The binge eating, binge drinking, and lack of exercise that lead to obesity are tucked away neatly in the waist coat pockets of the housecoat you’ve been wearing all weekend while drinking a 24 pack of IPA, choking down a ½ dozen big macs, and scarfing up an economy size bag of mini-Twix cookie snacks.
Because the FAM Promotes Disease
The FAM believes that you can be healthy at any size. This is dangerous, reckless, or deliberately intended to deceive.
Being obese leads to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, stroke, kidney problems (End Stage Renal Disease), fatty liver disease, and pregnancy complications. Obesity impairs the normal functioning of the body. Obese people have excess adipose tissue (fat) that causes the overproduction of leptin. Leptin regulates food intake and energy expenditure. Too much leptin results in abnormal food intake and energy regulation.
The idea that you can be “healthy” at any size is either a dangerously ignorant point of view or a purposeful lie perpetuated by disingenuous charlatans posing as prophets. Among experts there is absolutely no critical or recognized debate about whether obesity is unhealthy. Universally, all experts agree that obesity without a doubt or prevarication leads to serious disease.
For example, obesity causes heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States and the world. That alone should be enough to stop FAM in its tracks and the fact that it isn’t should be disconcerting to its supporters or would-be supporters.
Dear reader, never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. The grave will supply plenty of time for silence.
Because Obesity is 100% Curable
Unlike innumerable diseases, obesity is completely curable. With proper nutrition and exercise every individual can avoid obesity. There is no scientific or medical debate to the contrary. Your doctor will never tell you that you cannot lose weight through proper nutrition and exercise.
Your support system might. The internet will. Your doctor won’t, in fact, if you give her the opportunity to speak freely you’ll likely hear some great advice.
Because the FAM’s Encouragement to Accept Yourself is Deceptive
Listed as the first step in FAM manual, accepting yourself is as self-deceptive as it is self-destructive. The first step should be: identify the problem or more accurately admit that you have a problem with food.
Self-awareness is crucial when attempting to fix a problem or cure a disease.
Because FAM’s Advice to Trust Yourself is Wrongheaded
Would FAM advise someone suffering from anorexia or bulimia to trust themselves? Would it provide the same advice to someone suffering from a heroin addiction or alcoholism?
An obese person has gone off the tracks and is a state of utter disrepair. The individual’s internal sensors have short-circuited.
Relying on your own judgment in such an altered state is foolhardy. Obtaining advice from a trained medical professional and following that advice is paramount.
Because FAM Puts Too Much Emphasis on Self-Esteem
This one is tough. Everyone should feel valued, happy, and safe. But maybe not about everything in their life all the time. If you are failing, underperforming or engaging in bad behavior that leads to multiple life threatening disease states your self-esteem should likely take a shot. And maybe that’s ok. Purposely putting yourself in precarious health is preposterous.
Self-esteem is something that is earned. And it can be. Just like each individual has the power and ability to make real change in their lives. They can choose to do so and the reward… you guessed it is self-esteem and positive results.
The FAM is blissfully ignorant on this point. The FAM merely asserts that each person has the right to high self-esteem regardless of their behavior.
Because FAM Ignores That Behavior Equals Result: We are what we repeatedly do
Good habits equal good outcomes. Bad habits equal bad outcomes. Engaging in repeated bad behavior day in and day out leads to nothing but sorrow and failure.
It is the small steps taken every day that can lead a person from darkness into the light. This article is not meant to be disheartening or cause dismay. Rather it is to point out the irrationality of the FAM and to suggest, humbly an alternative.
And that alternative is that small, positive steps can produce dramatic productive results.
Because Accepting an Obese Body as Normal or Healthy is Purposefully Harmful
According to the Journal of American Medicine 34.7% of U.S. adults and 17% of children are obese. Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity at 47.8%, followed by Hispanics 42.5% then non-Hispanic whites at 32.4% and finally non-Hispanic Asians at 10.8%. Obesity is higher among middle age adults 40-59% than among younger adults age 20-39 or adults 60 and over (35.4%).
The disparity at older age seems strange. You might think that as you age you simply put on more and more weight. The reason is quite simple. Obese people simply do not live that long. Their lives are foreshortened by co-morbidities that arise from their disease of choice. Obesity leads to cancer, heart disease and kidney disease, which are the three leading causes of death that are in turn all caused by obesity.
If the sheer numbers alone do not strike fear into your heart, the rate at which the fattening of America is occurring should send shivers down your spine. The obesity rate of the U.S. is mindboggling. In the past 20 years the prevalence of obesity among adults age 20 – 74 years has more than doubled from 15% to the 34.7% above. And the proportion of morbidly obese adults in the U.S. has quadrupled from 1 in 200 to 1 in 50.
The FAM ignores this epidemic. They insist without any shred of scientific or medical evidence that obesity is healthy. A line in the sand must be drawn. The U.S. is fast approaching a future in which most individuals will be obese. Not fat. Not chubby. Not pleasantly plump. Obese.
To turn back the tide there can be no acceptance that obesity is normal because to do so would be to hammer another nail into the coffin of America. Recognizing obesity as a disease is perhaps the first great step. But what comes next is harder. The eradication of the disease. Much like the eradication of other diseases what comes first is education and then action.
The purpose of this article is educate our readers that there is no shred of evidence or defining particle of truth in the FAM that can rationally lead anyone to believe that obesity is normal or healthy. The gauntlet we lay at the feet of each and every reader is to act. Reject the false arguments of the FAM. Realize the critical precipice upon which our country is perilously perched. Do you want to live in a country that is obese? Do you choose obesity for yourself and your children? Do you truly believe that living a life trapped in an obese body is better than living in a fit, healthy one? Are you prepared to live those choices by make small repeated decisions every day?
Dear reader, give yourself the gift of a fit, healthy life. Reject obesity. Choose health. Reject emotion. Choose reason. Rejection nonsense. Choose logic. Reject death and choose life. And live the life you deserve. Live a life free of obesity.