Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body

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Overview

From the leading bloggers in the fat-acceptance movement comes an empowering guide to body image- no matter what the scales say.

When it comes to body image, women can be their own worst enemies, aided and abetted by society and the media. But Harding and Kirby, the leading bloggers in the "fatosphere," the online community of the fat acceptance movement, have written a book to help readers achieve admiration for-or at least a truce with-their bodies. The authors believe in ...

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Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body

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Overview

From the leading bloggers in the fat-acceptance movement comes an empowering guide to body image- no matter what the scales say.

When it comes to body image, women can be their own worst enemies, aided and abetted by society and the media. But Harding and Kirby, the leading bloggers in the "fatosphere," the online community of the fat acceptance movement, have written a book to help readers achieve admiration for-or at least a truce with-their bodies. The authors believe in "health at every size"-the idea that weight does not necessarily determine well-being and that exercise and eating healthfully are beneficial, regardless of whether they cause weight loss. They point to errors in the media, misunderstood and ignored research, as well as stories from real women around the world to underscore their message. In the up-front and honest style that has become the trademark of their blogs, they share with readers twenty-seven ways to reframe notions of dieting and weight, including: accepting that diets don't work, practicing intuitive eating, finding body-positive doctors, not judging other women, and finding a hobby that has nothing to do with one's weight.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399534973
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/5/2009
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 656,391
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Harding founded Kate Harding's Shapely Prose (kateharding.net), a blog about body acceptance and the treatment of fat people in the media.

Marianne Kirby's is dedicated to body politics and fat acceptance. She is co-moderator of the Livejournal community Fatshionista, which has more than 2,500 members.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 25, 2009

    Read their blog and save your money

    While constructive towards improving self esteem of those obese, the claims related to how obesity can be healthy are far fetched. The authors seem to refuse to accept the relationship between obesity and health problems. While this book may be good for the mind, it seems to be poor for the body. This book seems to justify obesity in a defeatist way.

    9 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Read the blogs and save your money!

    Don't bother buying this book because you can read the contents for free at the authors' blogs. Gems include "Weight itself is not a health problem, except in the most extreme cases (i.e., being underweight or so fat you're immobilized"); "no-one knows how to make a naturally fat person thin"; "diets don't work. No, really, not even if you don't call them diets"; and if you have lost weight and kept it off for five years, "Congratulations. You're literally a freak of nature." (These are direct quotes from the "Don't You Realize Fat is Unhealthy?" page at Shapely Prose.)

    And if your doctor says you are morbidly obese, congratulations are also due. You are now, in the lexicon of the Fatosphere, "death fat"! (Apparently, that's funny.)

    Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby have degrees in English literature. Their only qualifications for dispensing health advice are (1) being obese and morbidly obese, respectively and (2) reading about health issues online. If that's where you want to get your health information, go for it!

    8 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 17, 2009

    Complete piffle

    This book is complete piffle. I bought it expecting a humorous take on accepting a realistic weight and the fact that I'll never look like a fashion model.

    Instead, I got a lot of deluded tripe about health issues. Did you know that your weight has absolutely no bearing on your health? And that you can be "healthy at any size"? No? Neither does my doctor!

    Also, I found the book to be very poorly-written, which is surprising as the authors are English literature graduates. It reads like a series of hastily-written blog posts punctuated with frequent swearing. Save your money!

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2009

    A manifesto for the defeated

    About seven years ago, after having been overweight or obese since childhood, I finally decided to get serious about losing weight. I dropped from 220 to 130 pounds and have kept the weight off for well over five years. I don't even know if the "fat-o-sphere" existed back then, but I am so grateful that I'd never heard of Fat Acceptance, Kate Harding or Marianne Kirby when I was still fat, because I would have fallen for their rhetoric that long-term weight loss is impossible. This sad little book may help obese people to feel better about themselves, but they should know that - despite what the authors say - they can actually lose weight and keep it off.

    7 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2009

    Unqualified authors

    This book is written by bloggers (both English literature grads) with no academic background in bariatric studies, science, genetics, biology or any other relevant subject. So why are they qualified to write a book about health and weight? Because they're bloggers! And they're fat! If you trust these people to give you health advice you may value this book. My money is on the medical fraternity.

    7 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2009

    This book is amazing.

    To anyone who has ever thought their life would be better if only they were thinner: you need to read this book.

    With a razor-sharp wit, Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby tell us all how to finally end the war on our bodies and start loving ourselves and living life.

    If you've ever dieted and wondered why the weight crept back on, or promised yourself that you would go back to school/apply for a new job/buy yourself a decent pair of jeans/fall in love/etc after losing ten pounds, than read this book and prepare to have your mind blown!

    7 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What's so wrong with loving your body?

    I'm fairly new to the fat acceptance community, and I wanted to learn more. I heard about this book from an online blogger so I decided to check it out, and I am so glad I did. This book is about body acceptance and revealing the exaggerations of the obesity scare. It is a positive and informative book. One reviewer belittled Kate and Marianne as English majors because of the writing style in this book. I happen to really like it! The style is informal instead of academic, but that doesn't mean it is unintelligent. I found the book witty and enjoyable to read. Also, Kate and Marianne never say that being fat is completely healthy. Instead they argue that fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy, and it is possible to be fat and healthy. They both suggest finding an exercise activity which you find enjoyable, and they give information about the Health At Every Size lifestyle as an alternative to dieting. I feel like this book changed the way I see myself, and I plan on implementing the HAES approach to the way I eat as well as finding an exercise activity that I enjoy. This book is about self acceptance not about the promotion of fat as healthy. If you think that then obviously you didn't read the book or understand their message.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Adult fantasy

    I found this book in the "diet" section of my local bookstore, but I think it should have been in the "adult fantasy" section, because the arguments it is based on owe more to fantasy than reality.

    The authors, who weigh over 500 pounds between them, argue that there is no relationship between weight and health. So if you would like to believe that, this is the book for you.

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 19, 2009

    Wishful thinking

    Since this book promotes "the idea that weight does not necessarily determine well-being", one could be forgiven for assuming that the authors have some medical background. But no - here's what the primary author Kate Harding says about her credentials:

    'Since I don't present myself as a medical professional, a nutritionist, or anything but a writer who's read widely on the subject of fat -- and a fat person with a lot of opinions and observations based on my lived experience -- it follows that I don't actually need any of those qualifications to co-write a book that incorporates my research, opinions, and observations.'

    So here we have a book which is promoting obesity (only it's dressed up in the more politically correct term 'health at every size') written by a woman whose qualifications are, in her own words, her lived experience and reading widely on the subject of fat.

    Sounds like wishful thinking to me.

    6 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    There's a reason why diet and exercise books are bestsellers

    There's a reason why diet and exercise books are bestsellers; the vast majority of people want to maintain a healthy weight and body. Of course, losing weight and getting fit can be hard work.

    That's where Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby step in. You don't need to lose weight! You can weigh well over 200 pounds (like Kate) or 300 pounds (like Marianne) and be perfectly healthy - really! And if your doctor disagrees with you, just find another one. (This is an actual example of the 'medical advice' offered in this book.)

    This is the perfect book for people looking for a reason to avoid dieting, or to justify their obesity. For everyone else, I would recommend the South Beach Diet books, Body for Life - or just about any diet book.

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Waste of paper and ink

    I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I wanted to check this book out for myself, so I borrowed a copy from a friend. Apparently the authors have degrees in English literature, which you would never guess from their writing. I'm surprised that something as poorly written as this got published. In fact, I would describe it as a waste of paper and ink. Epic fail!

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Challenge your preconceptions

    I really wish I could afford to buy a crate of these and simply pass them out at work, where so many people are caught on the gerbil-wheel of body hatred, dieting, and self-loathing. I challenge anyone who thinks they know anything about weight, weight-loss or the "evils of fat" to read this book. I also challenge anyone who thinks they're somehow less of a person because of their weight to read this book. Heck, how about everyone just read this book, because everyone knows someone caught up in the myth that somehow your life would be perfect if you only looked like someone else.

    5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Normalizing obesity

    Kate Harding and her co-author Marianne Kirby should be applauded for normalizing obesity. Americans have been steadily getting fatter by the year, it's just that Kate and Marianne were savvy enough to blog about it, then spin that into a book deal. Well done!

    This is the kind of book we all need right now!

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    No thanks

    After losing some weight and getting a bit bored with the whole process of dieting, I considered joining the fat acceptance movement. Quit dieting and declare a truce with your body, eat whatever you want and save gym fees - it's a seductive message, right?

    I thought so too - until I spent some time at Kate Harding's blog and read this book (and the content is pretty much the same, so you may as well save your money). I don't want to get so fat that I start referring to my breasts as 'the rack of doom', or spend my free time talking about 'teh diabetus ooga-booga' or the 'ZOMG obesity crisis'.

    Sorry Kate, I don't want to be a member of your club.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Anecdata + Cherry-picked facts = Useless

    As other reviewers have pointed out, this book is written by bloggers with no academic background whatsoever in their subject matter. Most of the so-called facts presented in this book are either personal anecdotes or are cherry-picked from whatever studies the bloggers could find that seemed to indicate that being fat isn't unhealthy.

    It's interesting to note that both bloggers are currently in their 30s. One can't help wondering if they'll still be repeating their mantra "Obesity causes no health problems" when they are carrying that extra weight into their 40s, 50s and beyond.

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    I'm fairly new to the fat acceptance community, and I wanted to learn more. I heard about this book from an online blogger so I decided to check it out, and I am so glad I did. This book is about body acceptance and revealing the exaggerations of the obesity scare. It is a positive and informative book. One reviewer belittled Kate and Marianne as English majors because of the writing style in this book. I happen to really like it! The style is informal instead of academic, but that doesn't mean it is unintelligent. I found the book witty and enjoyable to read. Also, Kate and Marianne never say that being fat is completely healthy. Instead they argue that fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy, and it is possible to be fat and healthy. They both suggest finding an exercise activity which you find enjoyable, and they give information about the Health At Every Size lifestyle as an alternative to dieting. I feel like this book changed the way I see myself, and I plan on implementing the HAES approach to the way I eat as well as finding an exercise activity that I enjoy. This book is about self acceptance not about the promotion of fat as healthy. If you think that then obviously you didn't read the book or understand their message.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Just because an opinion is popular doesn't mean it's correct

    When "everyone knows" something is true, that should be your first clue to look deeper, reexamine, and think more critically. Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby will inspire you to do just that in this fantastic book. (In)famous for the sharp and unapologetic wit of their blogs, these women will challenge your preconceptions about fat, health, and your own self-worth. Think there's something wrong with you because you can't keep the pounds off? Think the only common factor in all your failed diets is you? Think you deserve the derision and disgust society offers you daily due to your weight? Think again. This book is a motivating introduction to size acceptance, self acceptance, and yes, fat acceptance. Join the revolution - stop hating your body.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Read this if you have given up

    What, you may be asking, is the Fat-o-Sphere? It's a special piece of the internet reserved for people who, contrary to medical advice, scientific evidence and plain old commonsense, believe that being obese is perfectly healthy. The more I read about Kate Harding and her movement, the more I feel sorry for her. I can't imagine feeling so defeated and beaten down by life and society that you not only want to give up completely, but you willingly embrace the behaviors that will ruin your quality of life and will eventually kill you. If that's the kind of person you want as a role model, order this book today.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Amazing!

    This book is incredible. Kate Harding & Marianne Kirby do such a wonderful job at simply explaining to you how to break through the societal and personal negatively surrounding body image and start you on your journey to self-acceptance and love. They give a rundown on HAES (Health at Every Size) and Activity -- citing specific scientific evidence that shows that you don't need to be thin to be healthy or happy, and that not all fat people are unhealthy and unhappy. I buy this book for friends on a regular basis and couldn't recommend it more as a kickstarter to Body Acceptance!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Diets DO work - if you work them!

    The premise of this book is that "diets don't work". I'm sorry but they do - if you work them! If you go on a diet and lose weight, the diet "worked". If you then go off the diet, reverting to the way of eating which made you fat in the first place, you can't blame the diet for your regain. This isn't rocket science, it's just commonsense.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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