Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Small groups of motivated people work hard to bring issues into the spotlight by handing out pamphlets, holding rallies, passing around petitions, going door-to-door, and creating websites -- all in the hopes that their idea will be embraced by enough ordinary people to elevate its importance with the majority of people.

Size acceptance is one of those ideas for which it is particularly difficult to gain support, because people have been sold the idea for years that they are unacceptable as they are. Grassroots campaigns are always underfunded when compared to the mainstream campaigns, usually by a massive amount. Who will spend $46 billion this year in the U.S. (telling us that it's OK to accept ourselves as we are) to counter the $46 billion that the diet industry will spend (telling us that we must change)? Nobody. Because there's no money to be made telling people that they don't need to change anything.

I meet resistance when I even gently suggest that the only reason for changing eating habits is to improve the quality of nutrition and therefore the level of health. That the important numbers to watch are blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and heart rate, not those on scales, clothes, or measuring tapes. That by dramatically reducing calorie intake, you only teach your body to fight against future starvation by slowing down metabolism. This virtually guarantees that you will not only not be able to keep off the weight you lose, but you will almost certainly gain more -- which will be harder to try and lose the next time around.

But this is where I start to trail off into the tangent that requires me to write a book to address every aspect of the issue. Today, in lieu of that tangent, I'm happy to announce the Love Your Body campaign! Created by the Women's Health Project of the National Organization for Women's NOW Foundation, this campaign encourages people to accept themselves as they are. It focuses on appearance issues (diets, fashion, cosmetics), particularly for women. But I would contend that it can be the newest in a series of building blocks to promote "acceptance" universally.

Accept me at my size. Accept me as I look. Accept me in my gender, my skin color, my religion, my political leanings, and my sexual preference. Accept me for my preference for lilacs over roses, for autumn over summer, for cats over dogs. Accept that while you may not accept my beliefs, they are a part of who I am. Accept me for who I am. Most importantly, accept yourself. And accept that other people who are not like you are capable of accepting you for who you are.

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