Goals: HAES or Weight Loss?

Posted: September 24, 2014 in Fat Acceptance
Tags: , , , ,

One thing I find incredibly frustrating is the idea that fat people only have a place in fitness if they are trying to lose weight.

Online the other day I came across a discussion where a number of people admitted that if they knew a fat person was doing stuff for weight loss they would find it inspirational and be supportive but if they knew the same fat person was doing the same things under a Health At Every Size (HAES) perspective, they would think that person was stupid, mock worthy, and didn’t belong. So basically, if you are fat and going to the gym to work out, that’s cool as long as you are trying to lose weight, and people should be respectful. If you let it slip that you are not trying to lose weight, then respect goes out the window and people should feel free to mock, belittle, and bully you.

Which I don’t understand of course. Why would my goals matter at all to random strangers?

Especially too when so many people will say that working out and eating well will cause a fat person to lose weight. If that’s true, why does that matter to you whether it’s my goal or just a side effect to me?

Obviously goals matter for the person setting them, but I don’t see how me doing what I do is any different to strangers depending on my goals.

And like everything I blog about here, this is of course personal to me. First off it’s personal as a fat person who likes working out, and having gotten comments myself about why I’m doing it if I’m not trying to lose weight et cetera.

There is another level to it as well, since I’ve recently been wanting to lose weight. Which is a little odd because at the same time I am more confident and comfortable with my body that I can remember ever being before. But mainly I want to lose weight because I know it would make a lot of things easier. Running would be easier I’m sure if I wasn’t carrying so much weight. Things like pull ups would be easier if I didn’t have to pull up so much weight. I mean, the other side of it is I just have to work harder, but I’m not super satisfied with that reasoning right now.

That said, I have my reasons why I have not been trying to lose weight and why that will still not be a goal I actively work towards. If it happens out of the stuff I do for my health great, but I’m also going to be ok if it doesn’t.

So why am I not trying to lose weight?

I’ve talked before about the yoyo aspect of it. That I’ve been down this road and eventually I get burnt out on worrying about my weight and counting everything I eat and obsessing over it.

And related to that, what is really my biggest reason for not making weight loss my goal, is because then exercise and eating well might not work!

Because if I’m working out and eating healthy and I’m still not losing weight, then those things aren’t working and why do something that doesn’t work? Why keep doing it over and over when nothing changes and you see no results?

But see, when my goal is to be healthier, to be stronger, to lift heavier, to feel happier and more confident- well guess what- working out works! I do see results! I do notice changes! So of course I should keep doing it when it’s working so great for me!

If the reason I’m eating healthier is to lose weight and I am not, we have the same problem as before- why bother with something that doesn’t work?

But when my goal is just to be healthier, to eat food that provides real nourishment for my body, and food that makes me feel better and healthier- it works!

This is the biggest reason weight loss is not my goal and I don’t want to go back to it being my goal. Because it changes how I think about these things in a way that makes them less pleasant and more frustrating for me. It’s frus

ating and not enjoyable when you keep doing something over and over and don’t get the result you are aiming for. So I’m sticking with goals that don’t lead me into that realm of frustration and thus have me enjoying working out more and eating better.

Working out and eating healthy is an important and worthwhile pursuit for me. And even if you believe that I would be healthier if I lost weight, there is really no denying that between fat and inactive and not eating well, or fat and working out and eating well, the latter is far more healthy. So why the fuck would you judge me for doing things that are healthier just because I choose to be ok with it if those healthy activities don’t lead me to weight loss?

  1. G says:

    You make a lot of great points in this post. Weight loss as a goal can be really discouraging and chase us away from the activities we enjoy when it doesn’t work like we expect.

    And I sympathize with your thoughts about running. We naturally have to work harder as fat people who run; we’re out there busting our butts every time, there often isn’t an “easy run”. But with work and familiarity there’s a place where we can have “good runs” while still feeling comfortable in our bodies.

    (I have the opposite problem as you; my workout routine is really visible so people assume that my goal must be weight loss. I try to explain that I just want to get stronger and faster and what my body looks like is no big deal…)

  2. Totally agree.

    when my goal is to be healthier, to be stronger, to lift heavier, to feel happier and more confident- well guess what- working out works! I do see results! I do notice changes! So of course I should keep doing it when it’s working so great for me!

    And OMG, be careful about saying you feel happier when you work out. Because how dare someone be fat and happy. That isn’t allowed!

  3. […] I’ve talked about this before on this blog, that some people have actually stated that they would be supportive of a fat person working out […]

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