Is there such a thing as a fat positive weight loss group?
A health initiative that embraces both change and the happy fatty life sounds like the ultimate contradiction but I have genuinely found that this is a reality, & I’m proud to say I’m part of it.
I’ve spoken before about my oxymoronic quest to lose weight for my health while still being completely happy in my plus size skin. Things are progressing slowly but surely but all in the right direction.
One of my most recent steps as part of the NHS programme I’m on was to attend a group session at Salford Royal, a presentation from one of the inspiring post-bariatric surgery success stories of the scheme.
Toni, a former fat lass with such a love for food that her career is in the kitchen, bravely & honestly spoke about her weight loss journey that was probably not what the room of hopeful sheep were expecting to hear. For me curve confident ol’ me, however, it was a breath of fresh air & really cemented the foundations of my beliefs.
Her immensely insightful chat outlined her historic plus size life, her reasons for having bariatric surgery & how is has impacted her life since, but not in the rags to riches format we expect to hear these stories in.
She was proud to stand on a stage in front of a crowded seminar room of potentially fat phobic or anti-fat positive people to discuss how happy she was with her former fuller figure.
And, although the warts-and-all chat was very positive about the procedure & how this was the best decision she could’ve made for herself, she also went on to give a very raw speech about how she has more body hang ups with her new slimmer self than she ever did with her curves.
Toni told the room that she faces more judgement from others since having lost 9st since her surgery in 2018 & is more self conscious now that she has been left with loose skin.
There was a length Q&A afterwards, which I, naturally, had to get all Oprah about & publicly express my gratitude for showing such fat positivity – sorry not sorry!
And surprisingly, for an audience with a common goal of weight loss, there was a lot of respect for this mindset with a lot of fellow fat folks going on to share their body confident stories featuring weight loss goals purely for health benefits; reversing their obesity-related diabetes, meeting guidelines for IVF as weight has been a barrier to stop them conceiving naturally, preventing hereditary heart disease that has ended lives of bigger members of their families &, like me, to reverse the effects of obstructive sleep apnoea to no longer have to rely on a machine simply to breathe while we sleep.
Of course, it goes without saying that these illnesses & health risks are not exclusively linked to fat people & there are tonnes of examples of fat fitness but all of these personal cases were unfortunately directly caused by each individual’s weight.
There have been slurs of “internalised fatphobia” stemming from my decision to lose weight for my health despite loving the skin I’m in. And I see where these ideas come from to a certain extent – I’m not blind to the hypocrisy that surrounds us in this gimmicky, bandwagonny world of what’s hot & what’s not.
However, I always stand by the “each to their own” way of living & firmly believe that personal choices to lose weight do not a fatphobe make.
Each time I discuss this on my blog or Instagram, I receive a good handful of supportive responses from other fat-and-happy-but-struggling-healthwise-as-a-result-of-this-but-by-no-means-tarring-every-fat-body-with-the-unhealthy-obesity-brush people.
Each time I attend my weekly NHS exercise sessions, bi-weekly nutrition sessions & monthly seminar sessions, I feel a fraud to both the curve community because of my choice to get healthy by slimming down & the fit fam because of my sincere happiness in my own plus size life.
But – if my mind hadn’t already been set from the beginning of this journey – this group session was the divine intervention I needed to confirm that I an neither a fraud nor a fatphobe & that this grey area I live in between the black & the white is actually pretty damn colourful!
There is such a thing as a fat positive weight loss group as it turns out. And I bloody love it!
Dani | Mrs Walmsley x