I posted an image to my Instagram account the other day and it was a screencap of a notification that a thinspiration blog started following me. I captioned it, “Why? I’m not your thinspiration.”
Someone who I kind of really don’t know at all commented on it asking, “Are people who are interested in their own personal weight loss not allowed to be interested in your message or something?”
See, this is a loaded question. Because “own personal weight loss” is a loaded concept. First of all, let me say that what someone does with their body is—indeed, their business. I’ve said that from the start. The only people this seems to ring true for in diet culture, though, are thin people or people who are actively seeking weight loss. If a fat person wants to eat a fucking cheeseburger you better believe someone is saying something or judging, while their thin friend can chomp that shit down. Secondly, I don’t care who the fuck is interested in my message, I have a public blog on a public site on the public internet. I’m writing and if someone wants to read it then go for it.
(This old picture kind of explains this blog post in one sentence)
You tell me that if I don’t want to lose weight then that’s fine, so you don’t want me to question your motives when you say you want to lose weight. I’m not saying you can’t lose weight, or that you shouldn’t be allowed to, or that EVERYONE IN THE WORLD SHOULD BE FAT BECAUSE FAT IS THE BEST (that’s such a load of bullshit but yes people have told me that that’s the message I give). I am simply questioning your motives because DIET CULTURE is what I DO in case you haven’t noticed.
The problem I have with someone being “interested in my message or something” while also seeking weight loss is simple. Or well, maybe not so simple, but whatever. Lets break it down, shall we?
Someone is interested in weight loss.
Why are they interested in weight loss?
1) They don’t like the way they look.
2) They want to be healthier.
Right off the bat you can see why these two reasons would bother me. They both attack my body type, do you see that? Also, I think a very important thing to point out before I get into these two explanations is that most people who decide to have this argument with me explain to me that they aren’t losing weight because of diet culture. They don’t give a fuck what people think of them, and they don’t pay attention to that garbage. Oh, that must be nice! It must be nice to ignore media influences, it must be nice to be the one person in the world who isn’t brainwashed or impacted by diet commercials or weight loss tricks. Please, stop kidding yourself. You are not the exception. Shit, I’M not even the exception. Diet commercials still plague me, they still sit with me for days. Diet talk still makes me want to starve myself and fitness stuff still triggers the shit out of me. Just own up to it, don’t lie and act like our media’s portrayal of thinness and glorification of weight loss doesn’t affect you. Okay, moving on.
For reason number one, we have someone wanting to lose weight and change the way their body looks because they don’t like the way they look. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? And liking the way you look is a very personal thing, like a super personal thing. People are CONSTANTLY commenting or emailing me saying “Just because I want to lose weight because I feel disgusting and don’t like the way I look DOESN’T MEAN that I think YOU have to lose weight, it has nothing to do with you.”
Really? Because when I see someone saying they need to LOSE WEIGHT because they LOOK GROSS because they DON’T LIKE THEIR STOMACH or because they DON’T LIKE THEIR THIGHS or because THEY’RE FAT you know what comes to my mind? I’m fat. I’m really fucking fat. I have a stomach and thighs and I’m fat. But the problem here is that all of these physical descriptors are connected with the words gross, ugly, disgusting, lazy, etc.
You can’t simply say that you want to lose weight because you look disgusting while also saying that your negative opinion towards your body has nothing to do with being fat and that that has nothing to do with my body being fat. YES, you have every right in the world to want to lose weight. That’s none of my business. But do NOT lie to me or yourself and say that it has nothing to do with me. Weight loss, fat, diet culture, fat discrimination.. it has EVERYTHING to do with me. You want to lose weight because you can’t stand the thought of looking like me.
Reason number two is also pretty intense and would have to be explained in more than just a simple ranting blog post like this one. BUT. Lets dissect it. You want to be healthier. That’s awesome! Good for you! In a world that is so fast fast fast superfast fake fucking food that’s a hard one to do! In a world that is so work work work and no time to move your body that’s a really tough one! But oh.. wait.. (weight?).. you just said you want to lose weight so you’ll be healthier. Wait. *looks around* The act of losing weight is not the key to health, right? I mean, there are studies upon studies upon tons of research proving this. Health at Every Size, for example? Or this study explaining that fat people who engage in healthy behaviors (eating less processed foods, moving their bodies) while still weighing more are just as healthy if not MORE HEALTHY than their thin and fat peers who do not engage in those activities?
I know what you’re thinking. It’s a simple calorie calculation. The weight will just drop off. You’ll be healthier! You watch The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss, you UNDERSTAND how weight loss works. You lose the weight, you’re healthier! But what about this dude who lost weight while only eating Twinkies? Does that link show you how complex and complicated health is? Do you THINK he’s healthier after eating only dessert treats? According to your logic of losing weight to be healthier, he is.
When someone says they need to lose weight to be healthier, they are following the too-simple, strict idea that you can only be healthy if you are thin. I indulge sometimes. Sue me/I don’t give a fuck what you think. But the majority of the time, I eat pretty healthy things and I work out. The problem is that people like me are the only one’s being scrutinized and that’s because of our weight. How many thinner people do I know who have the same eating and exercise habits as me? Not that many. And they weigh HUNDREDS of pounds less than me. HUNDREDS.
So there you have it. Bodies are complicated things. Bodies are intense! If you happen to do something new and you lose weight, cool. I’m not shaming anyone for wanting to lose weight. I’m just questioning some motives here, and I’m pointing out some flaws. I’m allowed to do that, just like you’re allowed to want to lose weight. I’ve spent my entire life wanting to eat healthier foods (aka not eat anything at all) and work out with the single purpose of losing weight, and that hasn’t been a healthy outlook. Doing those things to simply lose weight is a disservice to bodies. You’ll end up not meeting goals that you want to meet as fast as you want to meet them and then you’ll give up. At least for me. That’s how things go in diet culture. This post isn’t a cry for everyone to gain weight, it’s a cry for people to read a little deeper into the problems that arise from diet culture and weight loss glorification.
So. “Are people who are interested in their own personal weight loss not allowed to be interested in your message or something?” Welp.. they can be, but a lot of the time their thoughts completely counteract with my message, so I’m not sure why they bother to follow me.