Fat Acceptance: Lesley Kinzel’s “Two Whole Cakes”

In a recent article on The Huffington Post, therapist Jean Fain introduces us to a new book by Lesley Kinzel entitled Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body. Fain describes it as a book about fat acceptance and not only calls it “the first book on the subject that’s funny, fascinating and life-changing” but says that it—in addition to Kinzel’s blog—has been a major factor in positively influencing her own perceptions of the fat acceptance movement. States the book’s publisher:

…Lesley Kinzel tells stories, gives advice, and challenges stereotypes about being and feeling fat. Kinzel says no to diet fads and pills, shows by example how to stop hating your body, celebrates self-acceptance at any size, and urges you to finally accept the truth: your body is not a tragedy!

A review found on the blog Feministing:

Her book challenges popular opinion around fatness and obesity, including critiques of The Biggest Loser and Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity campaign. Without a doubt, Kinzel forces readers to unpack lifelong-held beliefs about self-identity, acceptance and, most importantly, the size of jeans you own or the number on the scale. This is an issue that plagues everyone universally– no matter where you lie on the size spectrum. Kinzel’s book is absolutely relatable to anyone that has ever felt insecure about their body or the way they look– so, pretty much everyone.

Hanne Blank, author of Big Big Love:

Two Whole Cakes is a vulnerable, funny, whip-smart, incendiary book that offers a delightfully readable way out of our culture’s unrealistic expectations of body size and appearance.

The fat acceptance movement is described by Fain as being “all about treating fat people with dignity and respect. Activists argue that the disrespect and discrimination that fat people face day in, day out is hazardous to their physical and mental health.” In an interview Fain conducted with Kinzel, the latter defines fat acceptance as “basically the idea that fat people should have the option not to hate themselves and their bodies. Not to say that everyone has to like it, but that people should feel as enabled to take a path of self-acceptance and contentment at the size they are.”

“Fat,” by the way, in the parlance of fat activists, is meant to be a relatively neutral word. It replaces such words as “overweight,” which carries more judgment.

One of the myths that fat activists face is that they disapprove of people trying to lose weight. On the contrary, Kinzel, for example, just wants people’s decisions, whatever they are, “to come from a place of self-love, and not self-loathing.” Similarly, as noted in a Time article, NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) doesn’t “encourage anyone to lead an unhealthy lifestyle but recognizes that for some people weight loss isn’t possible.”

Adds Katherine Bowers, writing for Women’s Health:

…(T)he fat-acceptance movement pushes another key point: Extra weight may not be ideal, but it sure beats dieting. Research shows extreme yo-yo dieting can, over time, slow metabolism and cause cardiac stress; it can even lead to long-term weight increases.

Just ask fat-acceptance activist Kate Harding, coauthor of Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body, who twice lost more than 20 percent of her weight only to regain it. It left her wondering, What if trying so hard not to be fat is actually a bigger health problem than being fat?

And what if one’s mental health is also at stake? In tomorrow’s post, Harding as well as others out there in the “fatosphere” will be featured further….

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