Recently I watched the first three episodes of My Big Fat Fabulous Life. For those not familiar with the reality show on TLC, it follows 30-year-old Whitney Way Thore who first gained popularity (no pun intended) about a year ago after posting a series of videos of herself joyfully dancing. I loved the Fat Girl Dancing videos and the message she promoted on her No Body Shame Campaign page as well as with appearances on programs like Good Morning America and The Steve Harvey Show: “Love Yourself. Live Fully. No Excuses. No Shame.” As far as I understood, Whitney’s message applied to everyone regardless of weight or health status. When I first heard about her reality show I thought, “Great! Finally a show about a woman who loves herself exactly as she is and doesn’t feel the need make excuses for her body or lose weight to show the world that fat bodies are awesome!”. I should have known better.
Cut to present day and the episodes thus far. Whitney repeatedly explains that PCOS, or poly cystic ovarian syndrome, is the reason for her gain of about 230 pounds. Instead of using dance as a way to prove that people can do whatever they want, regardless of size, it’s become a weight loss tool.
Don’t get me wrong… if Whitney wants to lose weight it’s her body to do with it as she pleases. I subscribe to Ragen Chastain’s Underpants Rule. (https://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/the-underpants-rule-and-you/)
What I don’t subscribe to is the message from My Big Fat Fabulous Life. Be a “good fatty”. Loving your body is OK so long as you’re working to make it smaller; accepting your curves is alright because you’re trying to reduce their size.
But, but, but… Whitney wants to be healthier, right? Here’s the thing, ladies and gentlemen: weight loss does not automatically result in better health. If that were the case, slender women wouldn’t have PCOS. Fat is blamed for a myriad of health problems (diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, etc) but there not one disease or issue that thin people don’t suffer from as well.
So here I am, the “bad fatty”. I love all 5 foot, 2 inches of my plush, abundant body. I don’t know my weight because I don’t step on a scale (unless my doctor needs to prescribe medication) but am likely in the mid 200’s. I have diabetes and high blood pressure and don’t know my family medical history because I’m adopted. I have a sedentary job and don’t exercise regularly. My knees ache when I walk or climb stairs. I tire easily and sometimes get out of breath.
I don’t want to lose weight. I do want to increase my activity and strengthen my knees so have started using the elliptical trainer I got as a present a few years ago. I want to reduce my blood glucose/blood pressure so am doing my best to reduce stress and eat mindfully.
I won’t deny myself the pleasures of tasty foods like a rare steak, home made cookies or pizza with extra cheese. I won’t count calories or measure portions. I won’t track my progress by the numbers on a scale or the size of my clothing. I won’t post “before/after” photos or say anything remotely like “If I can do it, so can you!”. If I do, please slap me. Seriously. I give permission to anyone who personally knows me to smack me upside the head should those words ever come out of my mouth or keyboard.
I doubt any reality show producer will come knocking on my door because I’ll continue to be the “bad fatty” and promote the message that doesn’t get heard a lot on TV: EVERY BODY deserves love, acceptance, respect and happiness regardless of size, shape, weight or health and everyone should be able to live their lives fully without shame, excuses or weight loss.
6 thoughts on “Being a “Bad Fatty””
but if you have health problems related to obesity why would you not want to lose weight? is it just a choice you made that food is so yummy you don’t care if you die, go blind or lose a limb as long as you can tickle your taste buds?
just because some thin people can get type 2 diabetes and PCOS doesn’t mean you won’t have health benefits by losing weight. You are drawing an illogical conclusion when you say losing weight won’t result in a healthier body because thin people can get PCOS. Your organs are drowning in fat and if you ever need surgery you will be a difficult high-risk patient. Please love yourself enough to care about your health. We as a society cannot afford to accept obesity as the new normal. I’m glad you are happy and you love yourself but you owe it to your country to not add to the nation’s health care burden just because you enjoy eating steak and pizza.
You miss the point of the post. I never said I don’t want to be healthier and am still working towards that goal. To date, my blood pressure has improved and while my blood glucose hasn’t gone down, it hasn’t gone up either. What I did write is that I don’t want to intentionally lose weight because that does not guarantee better health. IF I happen to lose weight while increasing my activity and eating less processed foods, it’s more of a side effect but it’s not my goal.
refusing to lose weight because there is no guarantee of health benefits is silly. Overwhelming research says the odds are in favor of gaining improved health if you lose weight. No guarantee of course but it’s highly likely so why not try to get those health benefits? No matter what you have a lot of fat surrounding your organs which causes them to not function that well. I used to be super skinny and a lot of people made fun of me. I didn’t like it but I didn’t refuse to gain weight just to defy them. I gained the weight because it was good for my body to do so not because people bullied me. If you don’t set out to intentionally lose weight you won’t do everything you can to achieve optimum health. You feel OK now but keep in mind the average life expectancy of an obese person is only 60 years old. I’m 58 yrs old now and my obese friends my age are really breaking down physically. It’s not enough to just avoid processed foods. You need to severely limit bread, pasta, rice, sugar, dairy, oils and fats, and meat. Anyway I don’t care what you do because you’re only hurting yourself but I wish you would not spread your delusions and misinformation to the public on a blog.
Hi again, Kathy.
I was unaware that you have a medical degree or knew anything about my health other than what I wrote on the post. And, once again, you miss the point of the post but that’s OK.
Maybe these will help explain further. Have a great day!