Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere, by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby, arrived today. Part of me wants to read (not skim) the whole thing and let it marinate in my brain over the weekend and then post a comprehensive, reasoned review.
Like anyone has the patience to do that after all we’ve been anticipating this for months!!! So here’s my “Hey, have you read ________ yet? What do you think of ______?” Off-the-cuff brain spew. (Do I need to post a spoiler warning?? :)
This book is what it says it is: “Quit dieting and declare a truce with your body”. It’s focused on self and body acceptance and building a life you like now and not putting it off until you lose 40 or 80 or 160 pounds. It starts with how diets don’t result in permanent weight loss and health at every size and that health isn’t an obligation, but that’s just the beginning, because there’s a lot more about being a self-accepting fat person in this society.
- There’s dealing with the medical industry and finding doctors who will do more than weigh you before diagnosing your strep throat or sprained ankle or cancer as “obese”, and will measure your blood pressure properly.
- There’s dealing with problems, like depression, that you may have been putting off dealing with until you lost the weight – or that you’d figured would be fixed by getting thin.
- There’s the importance of having friends and partners who like you the way you are and not settling for someone who wants you to lose weight.
- There’s replacing the time you used to spend obsessing about your weight and food with activities and hobbies that you enjoy – or maybe getting better at something you already do.
- There’s accepting that if you quit a certain exercise activity 6 months ago, it’s probably because you don’t love it, and that’s okay.
- There’s realizing that TV and magazines present women who are much thinner and better-dressed than average as “normal” and “average”, which can really skew your thinking. It’s not just the diet ads you have to be careful of!
“Like yourself now: Be 10 years ahead of your friends.” – Jean Cocteau
Lessons includes information about why diets don’t work in the long term and how good nutrition and exercise will improve your health regardless of weight, complete with references, but that is not the sole focus of the book. If you are looking for an in-depth discussion of the research, I’d recommend you start with Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD. OTOH, HAES is pretty focused on diet (both in the weight loss sense and the what people eat sense), food politics, and self-esteem. Both are very valuable, accessible additions to the fat acceptance library and books I’d recommend for people new to the idea of fat acceptance.
Another viewpoint is here.