For example, those weight-height charts? They were developed by insurance companies, not doctors. Weight is also 80% hereditary. When you lose 15 pounds, you increase your chances of a bone fracture by 280%. And one of the biggest stats of all—you have a 90% chance of failure when you diet. Less than 10% of dieters keep their weight off—you actually have a higher chance of surviving cancer. Many of the obesity myths we’re told—from causal links to other diseases to the cost on society—are based on some truths mixed with a lot of junk science, too.
But most importantly, this is a book about body acceptance—about teaching us all to learn to love ourselves just as we are, and to accept others just the way they are, without hate or judgment. And it’s about expecting the best of life, not putting our own lives on hold because we think we’re too fat to swim or eat in public or whatever else we’ve denied ourselves because of our size.
I can remember the first time someone called me fat. I was in the second grade and starting puberty much earlier than the other girls. I already had a bra and my period, unbeknownst to me at the time, was coming in a few months. I was taller than the other kids, and though I didn’t have zits yet, they were coming soon, too. I wasn’t obese by any standards, but I still had my roundness from childhood while most of my peers did not. Whether this “baby face” and the body went with it was from our poor-people’s diet of sugary cereals and macaroni and cheese and kool-aid (my mother did feed us vegetables as often as possible, which were usually from cans) or from my early puberty, I wasn’t sure—of course not, I was eight!—but during a routine school health screening the two nurses mocked me and asked me if my mother knew I was fat.
I will never forget that. And while I was a pretty popular kid—I was funny and smart, especially where I was from, ha—throughout elementary and middle school, there always were a couple of negative people—one of them my very destructive so-called best friend at the time—who made it their mission to make my life a living hell.
And since then, no matter my size—after I’ve lost weight or gained it, pregnant or not—I have been embarrassed to be in public. I almost never eat in front of other people. I haven’t gone swimming, something I love, in ten years. I don’t wear shorts (even though my legs are really okay, though they’re really white, which go along with my natural red-headedness; that happened after a teacher told me I was blinding her with my white skin). I don’t like going out much and only do so when it means doing things for my daughter. All of this because of what other people think?
Yeah, right. I already do a bunch of stuff that people don’t approve of, from homeschooling to being a liberal in a big family of Republicans to becoming a minister just so I can marry gay couples. Why not defy the status quo with my very presence, too? It’s time that I came out of hiding.
And it’s time that you did, too.