Monday, 31 August 2009

Enter Winnie - proud, sexy fat girl

On the back of Cath’s two kick-ass, introductory posts, I thought I might introduce myself. I don’t know how often I’ll have anything particularly insightful to say (I tend to just get mad over random incidents every so often). I do know that I’m a self-confident and sexy fat woman and that I want to share that with the world, because I think it’s more important than ever, with the “obesity crisis”, for girls to have positive role models of all shapes and sizes.

First, a little about me. My name is Winnie. I’m in my twenties, I never really fit in with the crowd growing up. I’ve wavered between size 16-20 for the last 5 years, and for most if not all of that time didn’t hate the way my body looked (even if I didn’t always love it). I think that growing up as an outsider really helped me with throwing away the criticisms of other people and loving myself the way I was. Another big step was when I stopped reading women’s magazines about 7 years ago.

Last year I started burlesque dancing, which really cemented my confidence in my body. I’ve become unapologetic about my size. I’m a knockout.

It was a few months back that I picked up “Screw Inner Beauty” by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. I agreed with so much in that book, it really gave a name to the attitudes I already held. It inspired me. It was a fat girl revolution and I wanted to be part of it.

That said, I didn’t really see much for me to do except inflict the book on as many of my friends as possible. I never really considered blogging because I thought I’d just end up regurgitating the things I’d read and so it seemed a bit pointless. But when Cath invited me to contribute, I was excited by the idea.

I think my philosophy differs slightly from Cath’s and that’s fine. For example, I am really anti-diet, and though I don’t believe it’s my job to police what other people do with their bodies, I find commercial weight-loss programs sickening. Bonding over how much weight you’ve lost? Talk about disturbing!

I also think that whatever size you are, as long as you are happy being that size, that’s what’s important. No one else should judge you on that, because they haven’t lived inside your skin.

In my posts I want to talk about more everyday things - little gripes I have with the world which inspire me to write, clothing, food, really anything that takes my fancy.

I have this warm fuzzy desire for every woman, hell every person, to love themselves just as they are, and realize that there is no such thing as “normal”. It is my sincere hope that by sharing my thoughts and beliefs I can help to bring that about for someone.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Welcome to Sweet FA

Is it just me, or is "Fat Acceptance" not the first thing that springs to mind when you see "FA"? Well, this is actually a blog for Fat Acceptance, not for random swearing. Not that I'm ruling that out - as a good Aussie, I'm quite fond of a good oath, so the double entendre amuses me. Quite a lot. Enough to name a blog for it.

Please note the URL. It's - that's "Sweet XL FA". Sadly was already taken. To add insult to injury, that person hasn't even updated their blog in five years. Bugger.

Now what's all this, then? It's a new blog, is what. And what I intend it to be may not pan out in reality. But here's the idea:

* Alerts to politically relevant news.
* Alerts to interesting news in health, medicine and nutrition.
* Reviews of clothes shops for Australian fatty boom-bahs.
* Reviews of exercise options for Australian fatty boom-bahs.
* Discussions of any HAES kind of stuff that we feel like.

We? Well, so far I mean me. I'm sort of talking to a friend who might contribute, but nothing's settled. I would be very interested to hear from any other Australians who might like to contribute regularly or occasionally. Or Aussie residents or ex-residents or long-term visitors - there's no citizenship test here. There will definitely be an Australian focus, though. If you want to write about yoga classes in Broome, a gym in Melbourne, a dressmaker in Wagga Wagga, or a clothes shop in Fremantle, that would be great. I'll mostly write about Canberra, myself.

I have a post coming up on my philosophy, but you don't have to agree with me 100% to write here. I'm kind of 95% with Kate Harding and 95% with Greta Christina, and am thoroughly feminist, skeptical and pro-science. There are definitely some arguments to be had around those 5% edges - polite, contentful, civil arguments, I hope. You can contact me via gmail - I'm cajela (at) gmail (dot) com - to volunteer or offer suggestions.

To get started on the arguments: I am not opposed to all diets, all the time. There is such a thing as "too fat". And I also quite like colourful language. "Fatty boom-bahs" is fun, isn't it? It may be intended as an insult, but it's so childish that it's funny to me. Go the boom-bahs!

Monday, 24 August 2009

A Very Good Start

The Federal Government may soon be cracking down on bogus weight loss schemes. This is very good news. There's an article and video here on, of all places, Murdoch's The Dietitians Association of Australia is on board with this - as noted in the article.

A spokesman told The Daily Telegraph all commercial diet programs should be assessed by a body of experts similar to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which assesses drugs for safety and efficacy before they can go on sale.

The association said regulation should require businesses marketing a diet program to provide evidence to a panel of experts showing what percentage of those who used the diet kept the weight off two years after starting.

Well, this could be a very radical step - and if actually followed up could be very enlightening. At the moment the rhetoric is all about "well, don't go for the dodgy sisters program, follow a sensible program instead". Because we all know there's an OMG OBESITY CRISIS!!! going on.

But, as is increasingly becoming common wisdom, diets don't work. If this is really followed through, there could be quite some surprises coming out. Choice magazine recently debunked the idea that buying your diet aids from a properly licensed pharmacy is a safe bet. Sadly, no - the consultants have minimal training, and many didn't even ask about important health factors. That story, from February this year, does not discuss effectiveness. But with a whole two hours of training on how to sell the program, just how much could there have been on the relevant scientific data? I'm guessing they haven't a clue whether it really works or not.

Even reputable programs like Weight Watchers (motto: "diets don't work, except ours because we call it a lifestyle change instead") could be caught with their pants down. Fatfu, an American Fat Acceptance blogger ran some stats on them and found that Oh yes, it does work - for maybe two in a thousand!

I'm not saying that no changes of any kind will ever permanently affect your weight, so just give up and eat two whole cakes now. There are actual lifestyle changes, and then there are "Lifestyle Changes Not A Diet Honest Guv". But here we are on a fresh new blog, all pretty in spring green. There's plenty more opportunity for me and my so far imaginary co-writers to go on at greater length about health, fitness, obesity and all that jazz. And I want to go to the gym now, so I'll stop.

Welcome one and all to Sweet FA, and expect more soon!