Archive for August, 2008

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I’ve noticed that a post from a couple of weeks ago brought up some questions about the definition of body/size/fat acceptance. Many categorize EAC as a fat acceptance blog but we like to use the term body acceptance. This is mostly because the word body implies that we want to encourage women of ALL sizes to accept what their bodies were meant to look like (without excluding any body types). EAC seeks to encourage all women to love their bodies, no matter what they look like and that includes fat, thin and anything in between.

I grew up thin and even though I’m a little curvier than I was when I was a teenager, I am still relatively thin. But despite having a body that is closer to the media/societal ideal, I have struggled with body acceptance (before I knew what to call it) my whole life.

The Fatospere was the first community I found that accepted people of all sizes, condemning over-exercising and not adhering to under-eating and constant dieting. So many others say they are for positive body image and then have a “how I lost 20 pounds and kept it off” article somewhere in their archives. To me, that’s not true body acceptance.

True body acceptance is:

Not feeling like you have to go to extremes to change your body to fit an ideal.

Not starving yourself (hiding under the guise of dieting) just to fit into a small(er) pants size.

Not killing yourself at the gym so that you can get a smaller number on your scale.

Accepting the fact that your body was meant to look a certain way, and not forcing it to change into something else that you think looks better (looks better according to who anyway)?

Learning to feel comfortable in your own skin even if you are not at your ideal weight (cause even if you get there, that’s not where true self-esteem comes from anyway, SEE Weight Loss Fantasy).

Eating and enjoying food without feeling guilty (SEE Cheeseburger Rule #17).

Realizing that incessant calorie counting won’t bring you happiness.

Loving each curve of your body because its what makes you who you are.

Those are just a few things that body acceptance means to me. What about you? I guess at the end of the day, no matter how you see this blog and how you define it, if you keep coming back, you are that much closer to accepting you for you, and that makes us happy.☺

Ps. There is an awesome post at Fatadelic that defines body/size/fat acceptance really well. Check it out.

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Many people assume that because I have a body acceptance blog that somehow means I’m anti-exercise. I’m not quite sure why that is but I want to set the record straight that although I’m not much of an exercise buff (I have a gym membership which I maybe use a couple times a month), I’m certainly not against exercise, in fact, I’m all for it.

My concern about exercise is mostly about over-exercise. I’m sure you’ve seen them too; those people at the gym that look like they are about to keel over (like they haven’t eaten in a while) and are running like their lives depended on it. My friends and I call this the “Gotta lose ten pounds” syndrome. Back in my pre-cheeseburger days, I used to have this pretty bad. Even though I was already thin, as soon as the scale started getting just a little bigger I would go on a gym binge and try to work off the extra weight. I was running and running, trying my hardest to get the weight off. I was overdoing it.

I recently was talking to one of our readers who told me that her Mom did an extra two hour exercise class last week just because she ate a little cookie batter when making cookies for her family. I don’t think using exercise in such a way is the healthiest mentally speaking.

So please understand that I’m not anti-exercise. I think running is a really cool thing, and I know plenty of people who work out on a regular basis, which I think, is great for them. But straining your body to meet a goal that could potentially end up getting you hurt? Freaking out and running to the gym after you have an extra cookie? That’s not something I’m down with. I think exercise is a good thing recreationally and a lot of studies have shown that there are health benefits too. So now, when I do work out, I don’t work out because I ate a cupcake after dinner, I work out because I like it and it’s good to keep my muscles strong and flexible.

So the next time you are at the gym, instead of obsessing over how your current workout is affecting the scale, think about how you might be benefiting mentally and physically (in a non-obsessive about your weight kind of way).

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A few months ago I was thrilled when I saw Jennifer Love Hewitt with her Hanes commercials. She was sporting a more mature figure and although she had gotten rude comments of how she was “fat” now, she seemed proud of her own skin and comfortable enough to show it off.

Then I was on Yahoo! a few days ago and I saw an article that highlighted how the actress got down to a “slimmer look”. Basically what I saw was that she went from looking like a grown woman to back when she was a teen actress and doing those “I Know What You Did Last Summer” movies. Can I just say that I hate the way magazines plaster the number of pounds the celeb has lost as though each pound were a gold medal. 18LBS!!! WOW!! Then, there always comes the inevitable, “How you can do it too!”. I’m just confused as to how they think celebrity weight loss is some mystery secret. Over exercising and under-eating isn’t such a mystery secret. Jen if you’re out there, there was nothing wrong with you before, you were perfect the way you were!

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If you haven’t heard about the Olympics Opening Ceremony scandal it goes something like this: you remember that adorable little girl in the red dress who sang? Well (deep breath), that wasn’t really her voice! That’s right folks, it was a lip-synching of a previously recorded track. But here’s the kicker: the reason the original girl got the boot was because the producers did not feel as though she was “cute” enough for TV.

At the last moment a member of the Chinese team who was watching a rehearsal pronounced that the winner, a girl called Yang Peiyi, might have a perfect voice but was unsuited to the lead role because of her buck teeth. “

“The main consideration was the national interest,” he said. “The child on the screen should be flawless in image, in her internal feelings, and in her expression. In the matter of her voice, Yang Peiyi was flawless, in the unanimous opinion of all the members of the team.”

I think this article spells it all out very poignantly. What kind of message does that send to these girls and girls/women throughout the world?

1) You may have the voice, but if you don’t have the right look, your talent isn’t worth much (even if you are only seven years old)!

2) If you are pretty, you can get ahead in this world (even over someone who might have more ability or talent than you in a particular area).

3) Looks mean A LOT, so don’t be fooled when someone tells you it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Besides these points, the other question that should be raised here is this: the girl on the left is cuter than the girl on the right according to WHOM? The very fact that a group of people chose who they thought was the right girl to represent the nations “best” is scary to me. Can’t you just let the audience decide what to think of the poor little girl and her beautiful voice?

This is just one example of how women are taught at a young age that looks really DO matter.

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This week, a blogger published a post that spoke of the dangers of Fat Acceptance in which they mentioned EAC. There are a few things about this thread that I think are important to address:

1) “Having become an ardent reader of these blogs, opinions bounce around my head waiting to be released. Many of these blogs seem to be intolerable of outside opinions so my thoughts/comments remain unpublished, this will serve as my outlet.”

This is a body acceptance blog, which means that it’s not the place to go on rants about dieting tips, obesity statistics, fat hate, etc. (aka “outside opinions”) which is why these types of comments don’t get past moderation. There are tons of other forums/blogs out there to talk about this stuff, but this is not one of them. I think one of the comments in this thread makes a great point about the need for tough moderation among those of us in the Fatosphere. She states:

“Furthermore, the reason that fat acceptance bloggers are so harsh to dissenters is because it’s THEIR blog. It’s their (and their members’ 😉 space to feel safe and secure; when obnoxious trolls spew vomit about how they’re all fat, ugly c*nts and concerned trolls cry, “we’re only worried about your health,” they invade that space. And that means moderation has to be stiff. Unfortunately, if a comment even sniffs of a troll (regardless of whether it actually is one), moderators delete it to protect their blog’s sanctity.”

I think she makes the point perfectly. This is our blog, it is a diet-free zone, and it is a fat phobic-free zone. We make it very clear on our How to Eat A Cheeseburger guidelines what we will allow through moderation and what we won’t. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with new diets, weight loss tricks and endless articles about health and weight, this is a place to fight against all of that in our own way. So, yeah, we don’t allow a lot of comments through moderation and it’s our prerogative to do so.

2) “From reading some of the comments in those fat acceptance websites… the message of living well is not being promoted. Simply being satisfied is. Satisfaction may be fine for adults not willing to change but in children it can lead to complacency which can be extremely dangerous later in life.” (This was not from the original post but a comment about the post by the poster).

I am not a professional blogger and I don’t get paid to do this. This is volunteer time that I put in to talk about what I’ve learned in order to help people to live better lives free of dieting and the pressure to be thin(ner) if that is what they desire for themselves. I am not interested in giving people diet, nutritional or exercise tips…there are a plethora of other blogs, websites, television shows, radio programs, (and the list goes on) out there to do that. So, I think I AM promoting a message of living well in my own way, and those who like the message of this blog tell me that on a daily basis (privately and publicly) and these include people of all sizes.

Also, ever hear of something called HAES?

3) But to me, here is the real danger of a post like this one: I noticed that EAC was getting quite a few hits from a random site so I went to check it out. What I found was a forum and in it a person who was making the other forum members aware of the FA movement. The person linked the “Dangers of Fat Acceptance” article and then linked one of EAC’s articles. Following the post in this forum were pages and pages of fat hate comments (which is why I have chosen not to link the forum here).

So what is the danger of posting about the dangers of FA? It leads to more fat hate. I realize that the author meant only to post about a few things that she/he did not agree with in her/his own personal space, which is totally understandable. It’s totally his/her prerogative to do so. But the dangers in publishing a post like this one are that instead of starting a healthy debate, it leads to fat hate and random, unproductive rants by people who probably haven’t the slightest idea of what they are talking about. Furthermore, its a personal pain because I have to spend more of my time spamming fat hate comments and the like which are mostly comprised of people calling me “fatty.”

So I’m sorry if your comments don’t get past our moderation queue but there is a reason for that. Its so we can protect the “sanctity” of this body acceptance space and that is not something we are willing to budge on. There are too many people (of all sizes) in this world who are silently suffering in their own skin and we hope that when they stumble upon our blog, they can find hope and begin a journey of turning their noses to the media and learn to love who they are. So if you don’t like the message of body acceptance and find it dangerous, I suggest new reading material.

(NOTE: I am getting on a plane in less than 24hrs and I am currently the only active mod for EAC, so if you don’t see your comment get through right away its probably because I can’t get to it, but I will by Thursday, August 14th @ 11pm EST. Thanks for your patience:-)

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Los Angeles is known and often referred to as the fitness capital of the U.S., but a couple of LA country supervisors disagree insisting that the “obesity epidemic” in Los Angeles is getting out of control. Their solution? Forcing restaurants to display calorie content on their menus.

“The menu should be as informative of what its effect is on one’s waistline as it is on their pocketbooks,” Yaroslavsky said. “Not ingesting 800 calories in a meal makes a huge difference to one’s health and quality of life.”

I find several things wrong with this:

1) This implies that all obese people are just sitting around eating tons of calories and getting fatter and fatter as they ingest each additional bite. Well, I think you probably know how incredibly ridiculous I think that is and how claims like that further promote stereotyping against fat people that lead to “Wall E” incidents, so let’s just move on.

2) We DO have a serious health problem in this city: it’s called eating disorders! Calorie display on a menu is like an anorexic’s dream! It will only promote unhealthy calorie counting for people who are already obsessed with their weight and every bite they eat. Calorie counting on menus will only perpetuate this problem, and based on what I observe in this city (since I am a resident of Los Angeles), most people are already over-concerned about what they eat (which is a form of disordered eating in my opinion), so I don’t know why they need further encouragement.

3) And lastly, what if I don’t want to count my calories? What if I don’t want to associate guilt with food? What if I want to go into a restaurant, order my meal and enjoy what I eat without thinking about how many calories are in it? I personally find this a complete and total invasion of my privacy and civil rights! If LA county thinks I need to lose weight or be “healthy” fine, that’s their opinion, but please don’t force it upon me by making me look at the calorie count of every thing I eat which could potentially spiral me into a whirlwind of disordered eating.

We need more cheeseburger consumption in this world, not less (I don’t necessarily mean this just literally but more so the mentality that Eat a Cheeseburger offers), and calorie counting will only steer people clear of cheeseburgers. What a sad world that will be! Let me remind you to Eat and Enjoy food!

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Our burger of the month comes from a spot in Santa Monica, California called The Counter where you can build your own burger. This cheeseburger lover built hers with the following ingredients:

1/3 pound beef patty
gruyere cheese
grilled onion and tomato
all on a wheat bun!

The reader who submitted this burger said it was one of the best burger she ever had, calling the burger, and I quote “The bomb!” EAC thanks you for sharing your bomb burger with us!

Keep eating those cheeseburgers people and don’t forget to submit your favorite burgers to tiffabees@yahoo.com

Have a great weekend,

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As of late, my friends and I have had a thing for red velvet cupcakes from one of our favorite local spots. Last night we were hanging out and got one of our red velvet cravings so we drove on over there and treated ourselves! No feelings of guilt or shame, just pure enjoyment of the yummy treats that life has to offer.

I don’t know about you, but shame and guilt are two things I have associated with food for many years. Whether it be a cupcake, chocolate or any other of my favorite treats, the fear of getting “fat” was usually quite gripping. If I did eat the treat, I usually felt pretty bad either because I “blew” my calorie count for that day or because what I ate was “unhealthy”. So the fact that I ate each scrumptious bite of cupcake last night and felt absolutely no shame or guilt was a huge step for me. (I haven’t felt shame or guilt with food for a while, but last night was when I realized that those feelings were completely gone).

Imagine living a life where food is not the enemy but instead is meant to be enjoyed. What would that look like for you? No more counting calories, no more feeling bad for having a bite of chocolate, no more constant restriction with every single thing you ate.

So here it is, Rule #17: Eat and enjoy food! I realize that this concept might be basic for you veterans, but for those of you who are still associating food with guilt, you really don’t have to do that anymore. Stop associating food with guilt and instead learn to enjoy what life has to offer. Your eyes will be opened to a whole new world if you just let yourself live.

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Attention EAC Readers (and guests): One of our very own readers (and close friends) has a wonderful play opening in NYC in October. The show is called “The Things I Wish My Mother Would Have Told Me” and is a one-woman play about a daughter’s journey through losing her mother to Cancer. The play is written and performed by Mia Perovetz, who lost her mother to cancer four years ago.

Among the many things the play touches on, one aspect deals with the pressures Mia underwent to maintain her small figure as she pursued a career in modeling and her long battle with eating disorders. One of the lines from her play reads: “Look at your body, your insides a dying – you cannot continue with all this LYING…”

The play received rave reviews last year in London, and will now be performed in New York City this Fall. Check out her website and her blog. Tickets for the show are available now through her website.

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Eat A Cheeseburger (EAC) is heading into its fifth month now. EAC has come to represent a lot in the short time it’s been alive and we were just wondering what the phrase has come to mean to you personally. So here is the question we are posing to you: “What does Eat A Cheeseburger mean to you?”

Here are a few things it means to us:

1) It means challenging the status quo and not accepting the mainstream’s narrow definition of beauty as true and right.

2) It means that beauty really does come in all shapes and sizes.

3) It means allowing ourselves to enjoy food (we do eat other things besides cheeseburgers:-) )and not constantly counting calories and being worried about gaining weight.

4) It means not over-exercising, under-eating or forcing our bodies to fit into an ideal that is impossible to maintain, but rather accepting ourselves for what we look like.

5) It means spreading the joy of eating and body acceptance to others who are still living a life of restriction and body criticism.

Those are a few of our things, what about you?

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