“Grant me serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Previously, I applied the wisdom clause of the Serenity Prayer to the frequent, animated calls of ED advocates to remove weight stigma from the public landscape. [BEDA | Rudd Center | Weight Stigma Conference] In this post, I want to apply the “courage to change.”
My negative reaction to the reliance on ending weight stigma in easing the obesity experience relied on my outlook that what other people think is none of my business. And the movement away from that reaction is based on realizing that I/we can change what people think, even if it takes decades, and that we should try if the prevailing attitude is unjust.
But what about other things we can change? The cornerstone of my advocacy is that most obese people can escape obesity, and should want to. I base this completely on my experience as an obese person for much of my early life. I was a fat kid who became an obese teen and stayed that way into my early 30s, reaching 365 pounds in 1991. I’ve now been in a normal-sized body for 20-plus years, and I say, unequivocally: non-fat is better than fat. This isn’t a moral judgement, and it goes far beyond fashion.
I would be heartened if the same voices against stigma would be as forceful and proactive in this direction. Because even if the anti-stigma forces are able to declare complete and total victory (an impossibility, but even if), the overweight experience will still not be good enough.