Two people in the last month have asked me to answer this question. Here goes.
Call it serendipity. Call it an act of God. But a year or two into my maintenance, when I was still the “joyful jogger” in my own mind, I found Big Fat Blog. I don’t know what I was reading that got me linked there. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn it was a diet related blog that belittled BFB. But I got there and got hooked. (By the way, if you visit my profile there, it says I’ve only been a member 42 weeks, or some such. That’s actually the time since a computer glitch eliminated my profile for a few days. I’ve been there many years – probably since 2005 or 2006.)
I read deep into the archives and all I could think was, these people are right: society’s hating on fat people (with the best of intentions) isn’t creating health, or even reducing the number or size of fat people. I searched the site for information on the awful 95% failure rate statistic for weight-loss maintenance. Even though I was well into my maintenance and I’d thought (hoped) that I’d “clicked” into some new mental or physical state that would support life-long maintenance, I was also painfully aware that I’d been part of that statistic before. I had regained, yo-yoed, in the past, and I knew that I had not gotten any smarter (and may have, in fact, killed a few brain cells with age and Chardonnay). I was desperate to know more about this failure rate, the science behind it, whether it was true and whether there were special “exceptions” that I might qualify for. Sadly, my search of BFB came up dry. But I noticed that there was another private area for “registered” people, and I thought that maybe my answer was in there.
When I registered I only briefly contemplated lying to get in. Ultimately, I figured, I’d feel more comfortable participating if I were there honestly. In my essay I revealed that I was a weight-reduced person, but some things just didn’t feel right. I promised that it would not be difficult to play by the rules and avoid diet talk. God bless Paul McAleer, the founder and moderator of BFB at that time: he let me in. I guess he knew I needed to be there.
Sadly, in the BFB forums, I couldn’t find an answer to my burning question about the 95% failure rate of maintenance. But I did find there compelling, intelligent, heart-felt, truthful discussions covering the many facets of living fat, which I had not forgotten. (For a time, among my real-world friends, I called myself a “fat chick in the closet.”) When I participated in discussions at BFB I never used the word “we.” I would say “fat people fall victim to . . .” or “most fat people understand that . . .” To my knowledge, no one noticed this pattern. It didn’t stick out. I became a member of the community. Some people there attacked me for being “healthist” (and I think I was once disparaged for being a “good fattie”), but many fat people at BFB are subject to the healthist moniker (including DeeLeigh, who now administers the blog), and we supported each other’s views.
Within a short time of my joining BFB we discussed creating “cheat sheets” to help us with the most common challenges to size acceptance. I volunteered to write on the 95% failure rate (which I would learn is actually 97%). It gave me an excuse to do more research. My early musings on that topic are still there. Above the BFB logo are two tiny links, one to Big Fat Index and the other to Big Fat Facts. My essay is down the page and entitled NEW: The Truth About Long-Term Diet Success. You’ll likely recognize my “voice” if you read it. I also helped by doing some line editing in the other pages, so my “voice” is elsewhere too. Read the rest of this entry »