Does the fat-accepting weight loss forum I need exist?
July 8, 2018 4:35 AM   Subscribe

I am a very fat fat-acceptance activist. I also have some very real health issues that would be alleviated with some moderate weight loss, and I've grown weary of quite literally not fitting in to a world that wasn't made for me. I could lose a hundred pounds and still be very fat, still be part of the fat acceptance community that means to much to me and has helped my mental health immeasurably. Inspired by Roxane Gay's recent essay about her weight loss surgery, I'm working on rectifying within myself the desire to continue to be a loud advocate for fat acceptance and critic of the diet industry, with the desire to make my own life a little easier. The problem I'm finding now is that there's no community I can find where it feels like these goals can co-exist.

Every fat-acceptance space I'm a part of has strict no-diet-talk rules. As well they should. But sometimes I feel like they fail to understand the unique challenges facing superfat people. I would love to find a positive, affirming community like Weight Watchers Connect but without all the self-hatred and fatphobia that usually comes along with trying to lose weight. (They're trying to co-opt a lot of the language of body positivity and it's kinda eye-rolly.) I don't hate my body. I think I'm super rad and adorable and badass. I think it's bullshit that armchairs can be an issue and I can't ride rollercoasters and I need to buy a second seat whenever I fly, but it's easier to change myself than change the world.

Do you know of any communities on any forum that truly embraces the intersection of fat-positivity with weight loss support? Maybe even just a suuuuuper feminist weight loss group would be a good start?

(PS, diets are still diets if you call them "lifestyle changes" so please no BS about that. I can pretty much guarantee that every superfat person you've ever seen knows a lot more about nutrition and weight loss theory than almost anyone.)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Hello! As far as feminist weight loss goes, Reddit xxfitness might be worth checking out. There are super thin people on there who are worried about gaining 10 lbs., but there are also fat people there.
posted by 8603 at 7:19 AM on July 8, 2018

posted by 8603 at 7:21 AM on July 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't have any recommendations for you online, but I hope you find someplace, because that sounds like my ideal place to hang out too. I have lost some weight over the last couple of years and it has been a real difficult load mentally, as I have been a huge believer in the fat acceptance movement as well, and I've gotten small enough to not wear plus sizes, and feel like on some levels that I am losing one of my communities.

I did have luck building a community in real life out of my friends. When I told them that I wanted to lose weight and be able to talk about it without dealing with constant diet talk, they were very cool about that. But I had to set the expectations early, because otherwise people love to compliment each other on getting skinnier and that still really bugs me to hear.
posted by possibilityleft at 7:41 AM on July 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Are you on Twitter? This might be a great question for @yrfatfriend. I just now see she has a website but I haven't checked it out yet.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:43 AM on July 8, 2018

I would check out reddit's loseit too. It's an accepting community with a big variety of weight loss stories. (And stories of regaining and getting back on track.) It inspired me to start a weightloss program 7 years ago.
posted by vespabelle at 9:32 AM on July 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

Reddit's /r/loseit is awesome, seconding that. I only dip my nose in every once in a while but it always makes me happy when I do. Everything I've seen there has been overwhelmingly happy and positive. You will get unsolicited advice sometimes, but no place in the universe exists where that won't ever happen. People are nice, not pestery, and the vibes are good. Lots of happy friendliness and respect for small changes and efforts and personal goals.
posted by liminal_shadows at 9:58 AM on July 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have mixed feelings about r/loseit because on the one hand, it is friendly and encouraging and people are usually very nice to each other. But it isn't fat-positive in the sense that I think you mean. Because (1) there is at least an implicit anti Health At Every Size attitude; as in, there's a general assumption that being in the "overweight" or "obese" BMI categories is unhealthy for the vast majority of people and (2) "calories in - calories out" is treated like near-gospel, with little to no acknowledgement of other potential/possibly not yet understood factors that can affect individuals' metabolisms/weight. This results in things like people describing the (usually pretty small) amounts of food that they are eating and asking why they aren't losing weight, and then being told that they just must not be tracking their calories accurately.

In general, my guess is the answer to your question is no, such a place probably doesn't exist? Not that it's not possible for a person to be trying to lose weight and still be fat positive, but in terms of moderation and what type of talk is allowed, where do you draw the line? Is it ok for people who have mobility issues due to weight to talk about diet efforts, but not for people who have no health or mobility problems but want to lose weight to fit into physical spaces more easily or to have more clothing options to do so? Is it ok for people who wouldn't be considered fat to talk about weight loss, either for health or other reasons? I don't know, it just seems like as soon as the no diet talk rule is not in effect, there's room for weight bias to creep in.
posted by desert at 2:54 PM on July 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

I would check out Body Kindess movement and book by Rebecca Scritchfield. She is a HAES (Health At Every Size) registered dietitian and supports just what you’re talking about. There is her Facebook group (free) and also support group that can be joined online. She also has podcasts. You can find many other HAES practicitioners to follow on social media or join their Facebook communities. Adina Pearson’s How We Eat group is great for this as well.
posted by buttonedup at 6:29 PM on July 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I wonder whether the obesity Action Coalition is useful OAC?
I thought immediately of Roxane when I read the first part of your question, having made the same choice in 2005, while I am still overweight I am so grateful for the increased health! Good luck
posted by Wilder at 3:52 AM on July 9, 2018

posted by thegreatfleecircus at 6:06 AM on July 9, 2018

I'm sure it would be a major time commitment, but have you considered creating/cultivating that community? I gotta say...a "super-feminist weight loss group" sounds amazingly kick-ass . I discovered HAES a decade ago and it was revelatory, but I can also see a real need for a space where balanced discussion about nutrition and healthy weight loss/maintenance is welcomed.
posted by gold bridges at 11:18 AM on July 10, 2018

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