giving up

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Activism is Never Resignation

Published August 31, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I have another fantastic post to refer you all to.  This one is from the wonderful Spilt Milk, who writes on how Fat Acceptance is not about “giving up”.  Go read it now.  Go on, I’ll wait here while you do…

Did you read it?  Good.

See, isn’t it a fantastic post?  She writes that well all the time, blows my mind and inspires me no end.

Anyway, on to the topic that I want to talk about, which the Spilt Milk post led me to think about, is my experience around discovering Fat Acceptance (FA) and deciding that it was the philosophy on life and health and my body that I decided not only works for me personally, but is something that I need to be actively promoting.  That post got me thinking about how little “giving up” I personally have done when it comes to my health, happiness and body.  In fact, resignation is the furthest from the choice I made in taking to Fat Acceptance.

One of the things I think the critics of FA fail to grasp is that choosing a FA lifestyle is not something you just fall into, that you give up and then it happens to you.  It’s a conscious, intelligent choice that one makes.  It has been a lot of hard work, introspection and decision making that has led me to FA.  I didn’t just decide one day “Well I couldn’t be arsed any more with this whole business of trying to lose weight, I think I’ll become a Fat Acceptance activist.”  It took months and months of reading and thinking and journalling (later blogging) and even discussing my thoughts and beliefs with my counsellor.  The more I thought about it, the more I looked towards making a choice of how I wanted to live my life, the more Fat Acceptance began to fit me.

Then came the realisation that not only do I need to live this way, but I need to share it, to advocate it, to take part in activism for it.  That was a massive decision, because it’s a coming out of sorts – Fat Acceptance is confronting and challenging for most people, and to become an activist meant that I personally had to start confronting and challenging people, attitudes and beliefs.  This is so far from resignation to me that I can’t express it.

The very word “activist” means someone who intentionally takes action.  Action is never resignation.

Of course, there is the health/body side of things.  Yeah, we’ve all heard it.  By adopting a Fat Acceptance philosophy, we’re just giving up on taking care of ourselves, we’ve given up on our health, we’ve given up on trying to look good or be active.

Let’s call bullshit on that one too.  I don’t know about the rest of you FA folk, but I’m far more active in my health than I have ever been.  Instead of shutting out my body, I listen to it.  Instead of denying my physical feelings and the needs of my body, I use those feelings to tell me what my body needs, and I respond appropriately.  Not to mention that I have gone from someone who avoids doctors at all costs (because I couldn’t handle any more of the shaming from them) to one who actively sought out a good GP and now takes the time to know my body and work with my GP to be the healthiest I have ever been in my life.

Physical activity has also become something that I engage in far more than I ever did long term in my life.  My method of physical activity, or exercise (which I refuse to do these days, I don’t engage in exercise, I engage in activity that I enjoy) in my body loathing days was to exercise binge like a madwoman until I either collapsed from whatever illness I brought on myself from poor nutrition and overwork, or hit a wall of depression so big that it would literally cripple me.  Or I would be so ashamed of my body that I wouldn’t get out of the house, I’d hide away feeling hatred towards myself, too ashamed to be seen exercising.

These days, I do whatever I enjoy, as often as I feel like it, which is fairly damn regularly.  I walk, I cycle, I dance, I do yoga and anything else that pleases me at the time simply because it’s fun.  It feels good.  My body likes it when I keep active.

As Spilt Milk says, Fat Acceptance is anything but giving up.  It’s about improving your quality of life without waiting around for your body to change size (or shape) to do so.  It’s about embracing the here and now and living your life to the full.

There is no resignation in that.