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Question about dieting and fat activism

Posted Jan 27 2009 8:27pm

This isn’t some kind of set-up or anything. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but haven’t come to any solid conclusion so I thought I’d ask you folks.

If the general consensus is that any attempt to lose fat (whether thru dieting, WLS or wish magic) is antithetical to fat acceptance, then does it follow that in order to be part of fat acceptance, one must also accept the premise that body fat is health-neutral?

My thoughts are kind of all over the map on this one. It’s tempting for me to dismiss the question since I don’t think diets work, but I also think that’s a bit of a cop-out. I don’t think there is a safe/effective way to turn fat people into thin people (which, due to fat-hatred has long been the goal of most fat dieters) but otherwise I’m not sure. And honestly I think the common response of “dieting to lose fat is bad, but practicing HAES is good” is a bit too simplistic especially given the possible problems that might actually be connected to excess fat. However, I also think people who say “well, I don’t want to be fat, but if you do, then that’s fine” are generally full of crap as well. We don’t live in a value-neutral society when it comes to fat so no decision about it can be made in a vacuum.

To be clear, this isn’t a prelude to a Why-I-Love-Dieting post, but these are the kind of questions I’ve long been asking myself. 

Also, I’m well aware that some people *don’t* think dieting is going against the spirit of fat acceptance. And I’m aware that no one person can decide what is and isn’t real fat acceptance so lets not have that debate here.

ETA: Do you think that the movement would be better served by having more separation of the movement for fat rights and the HAES ideals?

This isn’t some kind of set-up or anything. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but haven’t come to any solid conclusion so I thought I’d ask you folks.

If the general consensus is that any attempt to lose fat (whether thru dieting, WLS or wish magic) is antithetical to fat acceptance, then does it follow that in order to be part of fat acceptance, one must also accept the premise that body fat is health-neutral?

My thoughts are kind of all over the map on this one. It’s tempting for me to dismiss the question since I don’t think diets work, but I also think that’s a bit of a cop-out. I don’t think there is a safe/effective way to turn fat people into thin people (which, due to fat-hatred has long been the goal of most fat dieters) but otherwise I’m not sure. And honestly I think the common response of “dieting to lose fat is bad, but practicing HAES is good” is a bit too simplistic especially given the possible problems that might actually be connected to excess fat. However, I also think people who say “well, I don’t want to be fat, but if you do, then that’s fine” are generally full of crap as well. We don’t live in a value-neutral society when it comes to fat so no decision about it can be made in a vacuum.

To be clear, this isn’t a prelude to a Why-I-Love-Dieting post, but these are the kind of questions I’ve long been asking myself. 

Also, I’m well aware that some people *don’t* think dieting is going against the spirit of fat acceptance. And I’m aware that no one person can decide what is and isn’t real fat acceptance so lets not have that debate here.

ETA: Do you think that the movement would be better served by having more separation of the movement for fat rights and the HAES ideals?

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