At the ASDAH conference (yes, I am going to be blogging a lot about everything I heard/learned at the ASDAH conference – it totally rocked), someone brought up the grieving process as it relates to fat acceptance.  This may not apply to you, but it certainly does ring true to me and my personal experience on the road to fat acceptance.  The point where you realize – you have a fat body that will probably remain fat.

The 7 stages of grieving are: 
1.         Shock and disbelief
2.         Denial
3.         Anger
4.         Bargaining
5.         Guilt
6.         Depression
7.         Acceptance and hope

My 7 stages of fat acceptance are:
1.         Shock and disbelief – OMG!  I’m fat!
2.         Denial – I’m not that fat.  I’ll just go on a diet and lose it.
3.         Anger – Everybody knows it’s calories in/calories out – how can I be plateauing?  I must be doing something wrong.  I need to try harder, be tougher on myself.
4.         Bargaining – Okay, if I lose this much weight, I’ll take dance lessons (or go on that cruise, or buy that dress …)
5.         Guilt – I can’t believe I’ve put on all that weight again, and then some!  What is wrong with me?  I am such a terrible person.
6.         Depression – I’m never going to be able to do anything.  Nobody will ever love me.  I’m so fat.
7.         Acceptance and hope – I’m fat, but I have friends who love me, I have a great job, I am smart (talented, etc.).  In fact, my life is pretty good, and there is no reason I can’t take those dance lessons (or go on that cruise, or buy a nice dress …).

 And then I would add one more step!

8.         Realization and Education – There is science that shows diets don’t work?  Fat people can be fit?  Fat people can have successful relationships?  WTF?  Why didn’t I hear about that?  Why didn’t anybody tell me?  Let’s get this information out there!

 And a fat activist is born.

 Do you see what I’m getting at?  Do you see the stages you have passed through?  Maybe by understanding the process, we can jump ahead.  Unlike grief, maybe some of the stages of fat acceptance can be skipped.  Or maybe just recognizing what you are going through will help you pass through the stages quicker. 

 I also think society is working its way through the same stages; although society seems to have been stuck at anger for way too long.



14 thoughts on “7 STEPS TO FAT ACCEPTANCE

  1. For a moment there I thought I had been blogging in my sleep, I am having a stage 5/6 day. Actually I am all over the place I start the day off stage 7 and sometimes it just slides. I hope someone can relate!

  2. Someone turned me onto this post and I’m so glad she did! I have been writing about this very thing, but not in such a nice outline of steps/stages. Love this post! I would add society has been stuck on not only anger, but bargaining as well.

    To Lori: I can relate! I was having a 5/6 kind of day yesterday when I wrote http://shapedbymylife.blogspot.com/2011/09/fierce-fat-feminism-language-about.html

    Keep fighting the good fight of body positive self acceptance.

  3. So glad this gathering happened.
    Unfortunately a key speaker who is a big gal asked a friend of mine how she stayed so thin!
    My friend, whose natural body type is smaller, who is an eating disorders specialist was flabbergasted and practically speechless. If a Health At Every Size spokesperson is asking people about how they stay thin, I wonder how we will ever get the HAES message out to the public.
    I hope this woman reads this post and questions her level of fat acceptance. Does she really accept her body size when she is asking people how they stay thin?

  4. I think I have had a slightly different 7 steps too. They would have been:

    1. Desperation – desperation to lose weight so I could be “worthy” of a happy life.
    2. Depression – the realisation that no matter what I did, I could not permanently lose weight and that I was always going to be fat.
    3. Shock – stumbling across the Fatosphere and being ABSOLUTELY stunned that there were fat people who did not believe they were completely worthless.
    4. Curiosity – that sense of nosing around websites, blogs and other social media, wondering just how one could believe these things.
    5. Questioning – oh it’s alright for those fatties, they’re better than me. Aren’t they?
    6. Hope – can I live like that? Is it possible for me to be fat AND happy?
    7. Activism – OMG! I deserve better than this! Other fat people deserve better than this. I’m going to change this!

    And I’d put an 8th on too – Joy. The joy of finding community, the joy of being happy in my own body, the joy of living my life to the fullest.

    Great post!

  5. Hi! new reader *waves*
    I found this really interesting….. I waiver somewhere between 5/6 but there is an extra step in there for me… ‘6.5: Excuses’ and it goes a little something like this…
    “There is no such thing as fat acceptance, I’m using it as an excuse to not lose weight. People (i.e me) can’t really be healthy and fat. I am not healthy while I’m fat. I’m so fat…. *slide down to point 5: rinse, repeat*
    I’m really looking forward to the day when I can kick 6.5 to the curb and leave it there. It hampers my Size Acceptance journey more than any other step.

  6. I spent a good ten years stuck at stage 6 but now revelling in stage 7 all thanks to those brave people who have come out and shouted at the world “I’m a Fattie! It’s my right to be who I am”. Slowly things will change in society but what’s important is to continue being who we are as human beings. As Mahatma Ghandi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    • It isn’t about loving your fat per se – it is about loving all of yourself. Being fat is just one part of who you are. On the other hand, if you are able to accept (and even love) your body (at whatever size) that is even better – but it is a daily struggle for many. And go on a cruise? Well, I don’t assume that everybody could afford that but I don’t assume everybody cannot afford it. The point is to not put off enjoying your life.

    • I think that there is fitness – it is just a matter of achieving what you can. I know people who were not able to stay off oxygen (for whatever reason). You need to give yourself props for what you have achieved. A man at NAAFA once pointed out that everytime his wife stood up and walked, she was carrying what was equivalent to an engine block – and how many “fit” people would be able to do that?

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