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Fat and Happy: In Defense of Fat Acceptance

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In her essay, “Fat and Happy: In Defense of Fat Acceptance”, Mary Ray Worley argues that there are different ways that society can view fat people and fatness. After her experiences at the annual convention of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA), and some lifestyle changes she started to believe that it was possible to be happy with your body even if it happens to be fat (Worley 492).

In August 2000 Worley attended the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance annual convention in San Diego (492). Instead of embarrassment and shame she felt and viewed on “her home planet”, at the convention she witnessed confident and radiant overweight people of all sizes (Worley 492). Vendors invited to the convention sold many types of sleek and stylish clothing (Worley 492). There were swimsuits, dress clothes and play clothes for sale made of beautiful fabrics (Worley 493). The second night of the convention a talent show was held, showing off a group of excellent overweight belly dancers, wearing beautiful beads and bangles (Worley 493). Dr. Diane Budd, a featured speaker at the annual National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, gave medical and scientific data of current studies of fatness (Worley 493). Even though these studies indicate that body size is primarily caused by someone’s genetic makeup, scientist still recommend losing weight (Worley 493). The physical implications of social ostracism that fat people have to deal with are not taken into account in these studies (Worley 494). Fat people may not be able to lose the weight due to comments made by strangers while trying to exercise in public (Worley 494).

Family members can also cause a fat person to give up on exercising by being unsupportive and judgmental (Worley 494). Overweight people can be reluctant to seek medical attention because doctors and other health professionals can be the most prejudiced people of fat people, whatever a person’s ailment is some doctors attribute it to their weight and put them on a diet (Worley 494). The health risks of being overweight can be overestimated (Worley 494). Weight loss clinics usual goal is to take the weight off fast, these methods used to take off the weight can be much more harmful than actually being fat, and it is statistically more unlikely to regain weight that is lost slowly (Worley 494). Worley attempted dieting and swimming exercises on and off for 15 years in effort to lose weight, but the results were little and she would become discouraged and stop (495). She approached exercising later with better methods and a better attitude, she varied her workouts more so that they were less boring (Worley 495). She realized the more physically competent she became, the better she felt about her body (Worley 495). This new thought of exercising for fun instead of exercising to just lose weight helped her accomplished new goals, from only being able to hike half of a trail to hiking all day long (Worley 495).

When dieting and exercising failed for Mary Worley because she was doing it to meet social expectations, she decided to do it for her own reasons. Having fun with exercising and doing it because it benefited her helped her achieve more realistic goals. Rather than giving up and letting yourself go, people should make new relationships with their bodies, one that involves self-respect, and appreciation instead of “self-loathing” (Worley 496).

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