I absolutely loved your response to Bill Maher about fat shaming. You are right on that fat shaming is just a form of bullying and it will do nothing to make people smaller. Bravo.
In fact, fat shaming and weight bias has been shown to have a negative effect on health, worse than the weight a person may be carrying on their body.
In addition to the great points you already made in your rebuttal, I did want to mention a few things that you may want to consider.
You may be fat, but how much time have you spent studying what being fat actually means for your health? Or studying what all those years of dieting may have done for your body?
You made a few statements in your speech that actually aren't any truer than what Bill was saying.
You said - "we know being overweight isn't good for us"? But it turns out that people who are overweight actually live longer than people who are smaller according to studies. Longevity is not based only on weight, it's based on the behaviors a person engages in - no matter what size they are.
So it's not accurate to say that being overweight, without taking other factors into account, isn't good.
You also mentioned that you have struggled your whole life to manage your weight. What if that was the thing that was actually making your weight into a bigger problem, (pun intended)?
It turns out that weight cycling might actually be more responsible for poor health outcomes in larger people than the weight on their bodies and dieting is notorious for making people bigger than they started.
You also said, James, that until we can make healthy food and healthcare more accessible and properly educate people on nutrition and exercise, we will continue to have fat people.
Those sound like nice ideas, but are you saying that with your platform and level of success that you don't have access to healthy food or healthcare? With all your years of dieting are you saying that you don't know enough about nutrition and exercise and that you need more information?
What I'm getting at James, is that our issues with weight are indeed complex, but even the things that you think are going to "fix" it are as outdated and ineffective as Bill saying we need to increase fat shaming.
If you could solve the problem with your solutions, then you would be thin right? But you aren’t because it’s not that simple.
So instead -how can we all take a step back and stop beating ourselves up over this issue? All the attempts to "fix" it are backfiring. Instead we need to ask ourselves, why are we trying so hard to fix it in the first place?
What is actually broken? When you go deep into the research and read all the books you will find that there is little inherently wrong with fat other than the fear and judgment that people have towards it.
Bill may be insulting you by saying we need to bring fat shaming back - but in what ways are you already shaming yourself on a daily basis and even in your rebuttal?
You may be suffering from what we call - internalized fat phobia - which basically means you have been taught to think that fat was bad and you have been telling yourself the same thing your whole life.
Do you remember, James, when you first learned that your body was a problem?
In essence, deep down, you agree with Bill that fat is a problem that we should be working hard to fix. You just don't agree with him on the how.
I would argue that we need to stop looking at fat as a problem to fix because that particular tactic has only served to make everything worse for people of all sizes.
We all live in so much fear and judgment around food and our bodies that we don't even know how to eat anymore. Not to mention how we often don't treat people fairly or kindly due to the messages we have received and are bombarded with daily that fat is bad.
The real problem is not being fat, but what we think about fat and what we are doing to live our best lives - even if we are fat.
There have always been and will always be fat people. A graph showing the BMI of a population will always look like a normal curve - because there are people who are thin and people who are fat and people who are in between and that's just the way we are.
What would life had been like for you, James, if someone taught you how to live in your body and work with your body instead of fighting against it your whole life?
This is what the world needs - more people who are learning how to live with their bodies and accept them and who love and cherish their bodies. It is when we love our bodies that we are able to listen to what they need and then we are able to choose what will be the most nourishing and supportive action in each moment.
It still doesn't mean we will be thin - but we will be healthier than we are if we live our lives hating ourselves and always trying to change.
As you pointed out in your great speech - bullying does not help us transform - and don't forget, that includes bullying yourself.
As an alternative, I invite you to email me for more information or look into intuitive eating, self-compassion, Body Trust ®and the Health at Every Size approach ®as a way to live your best life in the body that you have today and stop the struggle that you have faced and are apparently planning to face for the rest of your life.
Quite simply, if you are struggling and have tried to lose weight your whole life and are still fat, then what do you have to lose if you stop struggling other than the weight of your shame?
If you want to learn more about how to make peace with food and your body, you can start with my free intuitive eating workbook, or sign up for a free call to explore what that might look like for you.