And whatever stand the government takes, whatever pointless propaganda it doles out, the power to make real changes lies squarely in our hands. We are the ones who need to stop waging a war against FAT! Us, those of us who are consumed daily with the desire to lose weight. First and foremost, we are the ones who beat ourselves up for not being thin enough, for being too fat. We are the ones who hate our bodies, who hold ourselves back from doing a whole host of things because we tell ourselves we are too big. We can complain and rant all we like about the obesity crisis (OK, maybe you don’t rant and complain, but I do!!!) and it may or may not make a difference but I can tell you what will make a difference, right now.
Here are my 7 steps to ending the WAR ON FAT! (Otherwise known as the OWN YOUR BODY principle)
1. DARE to feel good enough at the size we are right now
2. LIVE our lives without waiting until we are the ‘right size’
3. ACKNOWLEDGE that an ideal body size and/or shape is a social construct and bears no relation to what makes a person worthy, kind, intelligent or lovable.
4. CULTIVATE COMPASSION & CURIOSITY. Stop the self-hatred by acknowledging that the way we look may well reflect the way we eat, and that we eat the way we do for good reasons. The fact that we use food for comfort, as a slave, a way of zoning out, as a treat or whatever... doesn’t make us stupid, weak, bad or pathetic. We know that there’s work to be done to get to a balanced and healthy relationship with food and we’re doing the work. In the meantime, criticism and blame (whether from our own gremlins or from others!) don’t help. Compassion and curiosity do!
5. SPEAK UP about what it’s like to be fat in our society and what it’s really about. Let’s stop taking the blame and the judgments lying down. Let’s stop secretly agreeing with them that we are terrible people for being FAT and let’s stand up for ourselves!
6. DEMAND better quality, REAL food and do your own research so that you can create your own definition of a healthy diet. My take: many of the foods sold in the supermarket today are not food. They are over-processed pretend foods which are neither nourishing nor satisfying and many of them have the gall to call themselves diet foods and purport to help us lose weight or keep us healthy.
7. GET OUT THERE whatever your size. Move your body in ways that feel good and that you enjoy, because we are not designed to be sedentary and physical activity is good for us - about that there can be very little doubt! That doesn’t mean we have to exercise relentlessly. It can be gentle and fun and it doesn't have to be for hours at a time. Whatever our size or shape we can find a way to move that feels good - almost every one of us can walk around the block for 15 minutes.
ALL OF THIS ADDS UP TO:
BEING YOUR OWN GURU
BEING YOUR OWN GURU
I spent years looking for the magic wand that would make me slim. I desperately wanted to find a solution. I wanted someone to tell me what to do and I wanted someone else to blame went I couldn't do it. I didn't want to acknowledge that it was how I felt about being fat and the things I believed about myself because of my fat, that were really to blame!
I do want the government to change tack, I want them to see sense and offer real help and support, I want them to acknowledge that FAT is not the problem... and today I know that the only way to change anything is to be the change myself (I’m sure that’s from a quote I read somewhere!). I know that the only way to change the way people view fat in our society is to be honest with myself about my own prejudices and judgements about FAT, to own those judgements and then be willing to challenge them and change them.
It’s daring and risky to say out loud that I am OK with just the way I am right now, whatever my size, the way I look today.
We don’t have to LOVE our fat, we don't have to tell ourselves we are beautiful as we are (though there's no reason not to!), to believe that we are as good, as worthy and as lovable as the slim person sitting next to us. We don’t have to ACCEPT the FAT. Beyond Chocolate is not a FAT & HAPPY camp, that is missing the point. What we are inviting you to do is OWN your body now, the one you have, treat it with kindness and respect and be willing to accept that having FAT is not a sin, it doesn’t say anything more about you other than the fact that like almost everyone else in the world you are not perfect, and that eating is sometimes your way of coping with the challenges you face on a daily basis. Having FAT is not inherently unhealthy, it is not universally ugly and it is not and doesn't have to be BAD. When you find ways of managing the strains and stresses of life without food, your body may well get smaller but you don't have to wait for that to feel good about yourself!
Let’s not keep quiet. We don’t have to do this by ourselves, we have nothing to be ashamed of! Let’s talk to our friends, family and colleagues and stop colluding with the government and the media with our silence. Forward a link to this blog to one person you know today or LIKE it on your Facebook page. That’s how change begins. We stop fighting ourselves, that's how we stop the war!