Can the fat acceptance movement help people be fit?

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Fat acceptance movement’ doesn’t sound good. Let’s face it, it just doesn’t. Being fat is, in most cases, not being fit. Fit is healthy, so we all want to be fit. Not fat. Why would you want to accept obesity?

Because according to scientists from Monash University, the University of New England and the University of Canberra, body acceptance can lead to healthier diet and increased exercise. I didn’t want to argue with the result of a study that spanned three countries and involved 44 fatosphere (yes, you heard me, fatosphere) bloggers, yet I still felt that that something was quite wrong. It took me a long while to figure that it was not overweight people who were the problem.

Being born thin and naturally inclined to be active, it is very easy to judge people who aren’t. Laziness and gluttony are high on the list of the possible reasons for being fat.

Our culture tells us that thin is not only healthy, but also attractive. It also tells us that eating pizza and burgers and washing it down with coke is normal. If The Olympics are sponsored by fast-food and beer, it is surely fine to live on chips and gulp pints one after another. Eight hours at work and no exercise (because, really, not everybody is lucky enough to be born into an active family or have sporty friends) and, tah-dah, you’re fat.

An active person’s answer is, again, simple. Go train. Be active. Change your diet. It is very hard to think outside of the skinny box and realise that it can, in fact, be very unwelcoming. It’s only those fit people inside it. How do you sign up for a yoga class if you face walking into a room filled with ten skinny people and you’re the lazy fat one? Or, how do you start climbing? I mean, all climbers are fit, right? Being fat, you surely can’t do it. And you will look stupid too.

That’s where fat acceptance movement starts making sense. It’s not about promoting obesity; it’s about letting obese individuals not feel ashamed or alone. “Having that support and feeling empowered, people slowly found that their health behaviours began to change dramatically. For example, many people suddenly felt confident to do swimming, something they would not have done before” – said Dr Samantha Thomas from Monash.

And if somebody is overweight and doesn’t have an issue with fat acceptance, well, they probably have long ago accepted that they just won’t ever be fit. The choice is theirs to make.

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The original article was written by Sunanda Creagh and appeared on TheConversation.com. Brought to my attention by Helen from the Diary of a Newbie StrongWomen

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