Body Respect: An interview with Drs. Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor

Blog Tour BadgeAnyone interested in health, weight, and wellness will find value in Lucy Aphramor and Linda Bacon’s new book: Body Respect:  What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight. Whether you are already a proponent of the Health at Every Size® approach, on the fence, or convinced it lacks merit, you are doing yourself a disservice not to read this book from cover to cover. The authors manage to combine their separate voices into one as they deliver the latest most up to date research on the efficacy of HAES®, the importance of a weight neutral approach to wellness, and why we need to give up ineffective fad diets in order to change our natural body types. Bacon and Aphramor resist the temptation of weighing their points of view down in too much rhetoric or “preachy” diatribes and opt to share their research and insights in a casual conversational style. After reading the book, I was delighted to be able to pose some questions to Lucy and Linda about Body Respect and I would like to share their responses with you!

Interview with Lucy Aphramor, with support from co-author Linda Bacon

Q: What would you tell someone who knows nothing about what Body Respect is about, and what would you tell someone who is already familiar with HAES and are wondering why they should read this if they already read Linda’s first book, Health at Every Size?

A: People come to HAES through different routes. Those who have come across HAES as an answer to a lifetime of failed dieting often know HAES through the personal rewards of being at peace with food and our bodies. These readers may be familiar with Linda’s first book and the self-care aspects of HAES covered in detail there. Her fan mail attests to this being life-changing and it offers HAES as a turning point to the emotional havoc wreaked by body shame. It’s an invaluable “how to” for people wanting out from the misery of dieting, teaching mindful eating, enjoyable movement and self-acceptance robustly supported with science.
For others, the appeal of HAES is that it offers a way to bridge this compassionate self-care with attention to social justice. This framing of HAES puts our relationships – with self, other, society and environment – to the forefront when talking health. Now we can help people make sense of how life circumstances influence health outcomes. These readers may be familiar with Lucy’s Well Now course that constructs HAES as a deep movement and will recognize concepts such as allostasis, relational nutrition, active embodiment and binary thinking.  In short, Body Respect embraces the three pillars of HAES that support personal change around food, fitness and size acceptance and shows how these apply within a framework that has equity and respect as cornerstones.
Another key difference between the books is their length. Body Respect is intended to be a short, accessible guide, great for quickly getting people on board with HAES. Turn to Linda’s first book for more background storytelling.

Q: Do you have a favorite part of the book?

A: Skip right through to the end section and the story of Janet going to see her HAES nurse practitioner, Billie. You really get a sense for the combined power of compassion and good science in action. The capacity of compassion to move people towards self-care speaks for itself in this vignette. Moreover, we get a feel for how the ethos of non-judgment is fostered by Billie’s approach. First, she helps Janet take her emotional knowing and her other embodied, and everyday life experiences seriously. Second, she draws on the science to arrive at a more accurate, and holistic, explanation of high blood pressure which allows her to offer a response that is more relevant. This response surfaces oppression as a health variable, leading Janet to new insights that help her make sense of her condition and potentially impact her friends and family. This is empowering in the true sense of the word; it offers hope and vision for political action to address inequity. By contrast, the nurse practitioner who treats Janet from a weight-centric view, while just as committed to patient welfare and professional integrity, ends up along a trajectory of blame and shame as the only explanation she can imagine for Janet’s continued raised blood pressure is non-compliance with lifestyle change recommendations. The frustration on both sides is palpable, and the harm occurs directly, through missed opportunity and in the terrible sequelae of silencing and disempowerment that maintain the status quo.

Q: Are you working on any other publications that you would like to let people know about?

A.  We’re glad you asked and yes, we’re excited to be working on two further collaborations. One is a revised version of Linda’s first book, updated with new data and behind-the-scenes stories, and presented more as a step-by-step how-to. The book will be easily adaptable for therapy or support groups.
The second is tentatively called, Eat Well: For Yourself and for the World, which delves deeply into nutritional science with chapter headings much along the lines of a typical undergraduate dietetic textbook. No prizes for guessing for some of the things that make it different from comparable mainstream books are a weight science chapter from a HAES perspective, plus attention to sustainability. We’re also concerned with how oppression directly affects individual metabolism and therefore contributes to avoidable discrepancies in health outcomes from conditions misleadingly referred to as “lifestyle” diseases. And it also moves more consciously to use a relational and embodied framework to talk about nutrients and bodies and how we make food choices rather than the reductionist and prescriptive framework commonly adopted in nutrition and dietetic books.

Q: Where and when can people purchase Body Respect?

A.  First try your independent local book seller … Failing that, it’s now available in all the “usual places” including Amazon. Our website provides links to the various vendors. There’s also a link for educators considering it as a textbook supplement for adoption.  The link for ordering a review copy can be found on Lucy and Linda’s website.

If anyone would like to share their impressions of Body Respect, please feel free to do so in the comments section.

Weight Stigma Awareness Week is coming up on September 22nd.  To find out more about it CLICK HERE.  In honor of WSAW, anyone who orders Dr. Deah’s Calmanac during that week from my website will receive a free refrigerator magnet with the Sassy Size Acceptance Slogan:  “My only weight problem is YOUR problem with my weight!  My only weight problem

Til next time,

Dr Deah

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17. September 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Aphramor & Bacon, Body Acceptance, Body Image, Dr. Deah's Calmanac, HAES®, Obesity, Size Acceptance, Weight, Weight Stigma, Weight Stigma Awareness Week | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


In case you missed the news, on August 19th a new Scooby Doo video came out that has created quite a stir in the arenas of body acceptance and media messages about beauty.   It should come as no surprise that a cartoon can be a vehicle for sending messages about fat shaming, and body image. In fact, they have an illustrious history of  fat jokes and reinforcing negative stereotypes of fat people by endowing lazy, gluttonous, stupid, and pathetic personalities to the fat toons. (Wimpy, Fred Flintstone, Homer Simpson, etc.) With the exception of Bouncing Boy, super heroes were all predominantly “perfect” physical specimens and the thinner cartoon females were presented as superior and prettier.  I still vividly remember how envious I was of Wilma Flintstone’s body when I was a kid. Can you believe that???  My body hate was so enormous that I was jealous of a cartoon!!!! And had I been younger when the Scooby Doo cartoons hit the screen, I

Jealous of a Cartoon!

Jealous of a Cartoon!

probably would have been jealous of Daphne, the thin, popular, sexy, redheaded member of the Mystery Gang whose beauty overshadowed the more brilliant but stockier spectacled nerd-chick, Velma. But things have changed a bit since my childhood.  When Disney’s Epcot Center’s exhibit Healthy Habits attempted to fat shame kids via the new digital technology; it was protested so vehemently that the opening of the exhibit was postponed until they made some major changes. And now the appearance of Scooby Doo:  Frankencreepy has been met with more Scooby Boos than Scooby Yays and not just from the size acceptance community or fat-o-sphere, but in the mainstream media as well. The cartoon in question is based on the storyline that  Velma has inherited a castle from her great-great-uncle Dr. Von Dinkenstein. The gang gets cursed by the bad guy and each one loses their most valuable possession. In Daphne’s case, she loses her “vixenesque” figure by going from a size 2 to a size 8. The sighs over her size are heart wrenching wails of despair…what could possibly be worse in her life than this??? But as you can see in this clip, the size 8 is portrayed as something closer to a size 28.  Not that the number per se matters. The point is clear that she is horrified that she is no longer thin and equates her fat body with losing “her looks.” Ragen Chastain author of the blog, Dances with Fat, describes this brilliantly in her blog post, Scooby Dooby Don’t where she points out that this mind set of Daphne’s reinforces the notion that if you are fat, you can not possibly be attractive in any way. And this lack of beauty is tantamount to apocalyptic horror! For Daphne, the fat and the fat alone is enough to be the WMD of her universe. And here is where people have divided into two camps of reactions to the flick. The Scooby Booers are questioning why the writer, whose intentions may have been completely admirable, chose to use a fat body as a symbol for the curse of ugliness and superficiality.  One quote that has been making the rounds about this aspect of the story is by Tom Burns who writes the blog, The Good Men Project,

“It’s sad to think that my daughter can’t even watch a cartoon about a dog solving mysteries without negative body stereotypes being thrown in her face.”

The Scooby Doers at Warner Bros. explain that because Daphne learns that her appearance isn’t the most important thing in her life and her attachment to her looks is really superficial, then viewers will walk away with that message.  Other supporters who are not affiliated with Warner Bros., are asking the naysayers to

Velma's "babe bod"

Velma’s “babe bod”

lighten up because at the end of the day it is just a cartoon. And I really want to agree with them. But I can’t. What I can say is that the stereotyping of bodies isn’t confined to just fat bodies.  Why isn’t anyone making a big deal about Velma’s new bod? When she loses her logical sane brain and becomes a mad villainess, her body morphs into a stereotypical “hot babe”.  Isn’t that an inappropriate body image message to be sending? Yes it is and in the Scooby spirit of full disclosure, I haven’t yet watched the whole movie, so I can’t weigh in with complete validity…I did watch several clips of the movie including this trailer which triggered another reaction from me re: body stereotypes.  Here is the clip, see if you can guess what I found troubling. Did you catch it?  In the trailer it seems absolutely fine for Scooby and Shaggy to binge eat on cookies and talk about how hungry they are because they haven’t eaten in twenty minutes. I know it is out of context, it’s just a trailer…but the feeling I got was that it was cute, adorable, and funny that they have such insatiable appetites.   It’s fine for them to constantly eat and be obsessed with food because it doesn’t show up on their bodies as fat. They can celebrate their natural size and honor their natural appetites because there is no weight gain.  How different would those food scenes be if the characters were drawn as fat? In the end, I would like to take an optimistic view and hang my hat on the hook of progress. The mere fact that The Daily News, The Examiner, Yahoo Health, Today Health, Entertainment Weekly, Common Sense Media, Huffington Post, and several other mainstream media sources are questioning the presence of fat shaming in Frankencreepy is a step in the correct direction. I would love to hear some of your thoughts about this.  Do you notice more of a mainstream awareness and/or distress about the body shaming messages in our entertainment media?  Do you think a big deal is being made out of nothing? Do you think that this may be a good vehicle to teach the concept that over attachment to superficial appearance is not a great choice? Til Next Time! Dr. Deah:  Author of Dr. Deah’s Calmanac HWW-fitwoman-badge-largeWEGO_Health_GuestPin_Badge_png_2014wego badge 2illuminating-blogger-awardblogging-badge

23. August 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Dr. Deah, HAES®, Size Acceptance, Social Media and Weight Stigma, Weight, Weight Stigma | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 comment

Managing the August Effect…Again

I originally wrote this post in 2012 and have decided to post it again for two reasons.  The first is that I have recently been managing a series of difficult and time consuming family challenges and have not had time to devote to blogging.  The second is I am about to have a book reading/ book signing event at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland, California on July 31st and thought I would give some of my more recent blog subscribers a sample of what I may be reading from the August chapter of  The Calmanac.  So if you are experiencing a Deah ja Vu fear not…you may have read this post before!

The August Effect 

For a month that starts off with National Clown Week, followed by National Smile Week and culminating with American Dance Week (I am not making this up!) one may think the August Effect would be one of laughter, grins, and celebration.  And for many it is. But August is also a month of transition. Depending on chronological age and developmental stage, some of us are finally feeling that summer has taken root and are allowing ourselves to relax and embrace the different pace that summer brings.  For others, the clock indicating summer’s end is ticking louder and louder.  In the past, Labor Day marked the end of summer and the return to school predictably occurred after that final holiday weekend.  But now many schools re-open the second or third week of August. Depending on the individual, this may elicit a range of reactions including:  excitement, anxiety, relief and or loss.  One thing is true for most everyone…at some point in August, for you or someone you know, change is in the air!  And change, is not easy for everyone.  Whether it entails moving off to college for the first time, starting a new grade, or re-negotiating your daily schedule back to non-summer mode, it can create challenges for those with body image issues and/or eating disorders.  Insecurities about fitting in to a new environment may trigger feelings of being out of control.  And  it is not uncommon that some people feel anxious when confronted with transitions.  One way some of us attempt to manage this disequilibrium is to focus more on body dissatisfaction and/or use food as a way to self-soothe and gain a sense of control.



Turtles and snails are just two creatures that carry their homes with them where ever they go.  They don’t change who they are, based on where they are or what others expect of them. They are symbols of moving slowly and methodically. One helpful strategy to successfully negotiate the August Effect is predicting the feelings associated with the upcoming changes by asking the following questions:  What stays the same no matter where you go?  What can remind you what your strengths are? What proactive steps will help you manage your anxiety?

In my opinion, let’s take some advice from the turtles and the snails…we are NEVER too old for a transitional object.

In my latest book, Dr. Deah’s Calmanac, I offer a step by step description for creating your own “grown-up” transitional object for times when we feel we are losing our center or our “home” due to changes in our environment or routine.   But you may already have something that you just haven’t identified.  Is there a word or a phrase that keeps you centered when you feel you are losing your sense of self?  Is there a photo, figurine, or piece of jewelry that reminds you to breathe, focus on the positive, and stay present when you are in stressful or unfamiliar situations?  Of course human support systems are invaluable and having someone you can call or write to is a great way to manage overwhelming feelings; but having something that is not impacted by cell phone reception or internet connection is much more reliable and helps to build self-sufficiency.

The upcoming changes that late summer and early fall often bring does not have to mean an inevitable relapse, resorting to old habits, or re-introducing negative thought processes especially if you have a strategy to address the situation.  One plan that can be helpful is when you are making your check list for school supplies, or returning to work task list etc., is to take a moment and add these two items:

  •   Predict potential challenges that may be triggered by upcoming transitions.
  • Identify your personal transitional object and channel your inner turtle snail…Not to avoid the situations by retreating into your shell, but by knowing you are home where ever you are.

Til next time,

Dr. Deah

Please SAVE THE DATE!!!  On July 31 at 7:00 p.m. I will be doing a reading and book-signing at A Great Good Place for Books, 1620 La Salle Ave. Oakland, CA. Please come join me for laughter, refreshments, and support independent bookstores!  Seats are limited so email me at and I’ll reserve a space for you!

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26. July 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Binge Eating, Body Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positivity, Dr. Deah's Calmanac, Eating disorders, Size Acceptance, Weight | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

FATigued: Finding a second wind in body acceptance.

I am tired. The endless intrusion of diet mandates and body hating messages that wheedle their way into my world via billboards, television, radio, movies, magazines, books, blogs, trolls, and the insidious drive by shoutings has left me fatigued.  Considering we are in beach-body-season, this is to be expected…and I know that because this is my area of personal and professional concern I am perhaps exposed more than most…but I just have to admit that sometimes I hit the wall and feel depleted and hopeless.

The last time this happened, the final straw was when I picked up a financial magazine to read on an airplane.  I specifically rejected the fashion mag rags that were there and thought I was making a safer choice.  My deflector shields down, I opened to the table of contents and saw a feature article about weight loss.  It wasn’t even a metaphor about financial excess or money health, it was about dieting and fat hate…in a financial magazine…
I hit the wall.
But I bounced back!bouncing-boy


Until now.

This time it was an ad for toe fungus.  Yes toe fungus.  Toe fungus and yoga to be exact.  No joke…toe fungus and yoga.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a few years now, know that I have written about my history as a yoga gal living on an ashram, playing tablas at the Satsangs and how much I enjoyed it.  I have also written about my frustration with how competitive yoga has become; and how it has gone from a personal practice to a way to improve your sex life by bringing your flexible Asana poses into the bedroom.  I have a list of fat-friendly yoga teachers in the resource section of my website because I still believe that yoga can be wonderful despite it’s downward dog spiral in the media that is touting it as the best weight loss method EVER!!! And the publicity hasn’t hurt the yoga industry.  There is now a yoga studio on every corner everywhere I go these days.  Yoga is omnipresent.   So when a commercial came on while I was watching a ball game on TV with people in a yoga class, that didn’t surprise me.  I figured it was an ad for weight loss via yoga and sighed.  I almost wish it had been.  Instead, the ad shows one of the young, thin, white women (the most publicized prevalent demographic of yoga students) in the class decides that everyone else in the room is focusing on her fungal phalanges.  In a class where everyone is supposed to be facing front and/or paying attention

to their breathing, this poor woman is completely obsessed with her toe fungus. Talk about your wandering mind!  Her self-consciousness about her toes was so intense that the very tuned-in yoga teacher senses her exasperation and goes over to her and solves her problem with a bottle of anti-toe fungus serum. Big stretch…bigger than the Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose!  From meditation to medication…everything is now back to order.  And then the tag line,

“Notice the pose not the toes.”

I cracked.  Yup…that was my last straw.  Is everything in our world about looking perfect?  Okay, even if I gave the ad the benefit of the doubt that there is an important connection between yoga and toe nail fungus, wouldn’t it be about the concern of spreading it to the other people in the class?  After-all, being barefoot is common at yoga studios.  Wouldn’t she have seen a doctor?  From Yoga-esque self-less-ness to Fungus Spreading selfishness, she should have at least been wearing shoes!  GAAAAHHH!!!!!  (I told you I cracked!)

But I am better now.  Because today I read four wonderful body positive articles that gave me hope and infused me with just enough energy to rally, write this blog, and head off to my son’s college graduation.  My hope is that by sharing these links with others who need a second wind, we can continue to generate positive conversations out in the world and lessen our combat fatigue.

The first is about tennis player, Taylor Townsend and her coach Zina Garrison and how Townsend, with Garrison’s help, learned to accept her body and appreciate her skills.  My favorite quote from the article is,

“Garrison, who also struggled with her weight, said that she did not want Townsend to suffer the way she did. ‘The biggest thing was just getting her to understand that she’s fine, Garrison said. ‘Everybody doesn’t have the same shape of our bodies. She’s very clear on that now.  I challenge over half of these girls out here to do some of the stuff that she does,’ Garrison said.”

Tennis Player, Taylor Townsend

CLICK HERE to read the entire article.

The next piece is by Patrick Mustain in Scientific American and its title is, “What if We All Just Stopped Trying to Lose Weight?”  My favorite excerpt from this article is,

“’I’ve heard it rightly argued that we should refrain from judging someone’s health based on appearance. For all we know, that overweight woman we see on the street might be exercising every day, eating better and may have already lost a lot of weight, and just “isn’t there yet.” I would take it further and argue that if those habits are now a part of her life, she’s already made it.  If we were to shift the conversation towards a culture of health–one that values healthy eating and regular physical activity as ends unto themselves, we may be happily surprised to find that not only are we living longer, happier lives, with less disease and fewer health costs, but also, we may need to drop a collective pant size or two. Or not. Either way, we’re better off.  Post Script by the Author:  This reads as if health outcomes were entirely dependent upon what individuals consciously choose or choose not to do. Most of the literature indicates that a vast number of complex environmental factors have far more to do with our health outcomes than our personal choices. However, the choices we make certainly come into play, and this post explores a new way to approach those choices and how we talk about them.” 

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

It’s not quite a love-hate relationship, it’s more like a love-and-sometimes-not-so-crazy-about relationship I have with Frank Bruni.  I grew up in New Yawk and Bruni was a household name.  A restaurant critic for the New York Times, we did not go out to dinner without checking in to see what Bruni thought. If they had existed back then, my whole family would have worn plastic bracelets imprinted with the letters, WWBD? Then he wrote a book about his struggles with bulimia, and in May 2011, he became the first openly gay op-ed columnist of the New York Times. All reasons for me to respect and adore Frank Bruni. But every once in a while, his fat prejudice, self-loathing, and thin worship leaks out.  One example of many is an op ed he wrote titled, Hard Truths about Our Soft Bodies.  His bias is apparent throughout the article including this excerpt,

“… Costco as much as anything else is why the land of the free and the home of the brave is also the trough of the tub o’ lard, our exceptionalism measurable by not only our G.D.P. but also our B.M.I. That’s body mass index, and our bodies are indeed massive.”

But the man has a massive reach so when his article, Diet Lures and Diet Lies calling out Dr. Oz’s obsessive promotion of weight loss scams came into my inbox, it fell into the good news category.  It worries me that Bruni, a person recovering from an eating disorder, is still as obsessed about weight loss and fat as the article indicates, but it was good to know that maybe a few people will heed his advice and reject Dr. Oz’s products.  CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Last but not least is this wonderful piece from Australia by Mike Clay and Nick McDougall titled:  Fat Pride:  The growing movement of people looking for fat acceptance.  This video featuring Kath Reid talking about her passionate involvement in the Fat Acceptance movement also includes appearances by Dr. Linda Bacon, Nick and Natalie Perkins, a cameo photo of Marilyn Wann’s book, Fatso?, and ironically comes full circle (in my world) with a wonderful testimony by Yoga Instructor, Sarah Harry.  No toe fungus amungus to be found, Sarah hits the HAES® nail on the head when she explainsthat one of the problems with linking exercise to weight loss is forgetting all of the other benefits of exercise.  The video’s closing quote by Kath Reid was just what the “doctor ordered” and snapped me out of my fungus funkus and left me free and clear with no wall in sight.

“I’m not a disease and I’m not diseased.  This is the body that I come in.  Fat acceptance led me to a place where I could be who I wanted to be…. and that was positive, and bright, and colourful, and fun. It’s a really good feeling to not hate myself.”

CLICK HERE to see the full video.  beachbody

Til next time,

Dr. Deah

Please SAVE THE DATE!!!  On July 31 at 7:30 p.m. I will be doing a reading and book-signing at A Great Good Place for Books, 1620 La Salle Ave. Oakland, CA. Please come join me for laughter, refreshments, and support independent bookstores!  Seats are limited so email me at and I’ll reserve a space for you!

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28. May 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Aphramor & Bacon, Body Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positivity, diets, Dr. Deah, Eating disorders, Fat Athletes, HAES®, Obesity, Size Acceptance, Social Media and Weight Stigma, Weight, Weight Stigma, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 comments

The F Factor

My only weight problem

I recently received an email from my niece.  Some of you may remember the piece I wrote several years ago about my niece’s graduation entitled, Body of Knowledge. In the piece I wrote about how delightful the tradition of caps and gowns are in the graduation ceremony because they take away any emphasis on the student’s body and appearance and instead focus on their accomplishments.  My niece makes no secret of the fact that she thinks her Auntie Deah is a bit idiosyncratic but I know she loves me despite my wackiness and strident political views.  I also know that she continues to struggle with her own conflictual relationship with her body and learning how to feel positive about herself despite her father’s continual toxic messages that she is too fat to be loved or successful.  She holds on to her body hate like it is her job, her duty, to keep trying to be thinner even though she is a runner and physically fit and active.  She listens patiently as I go on my occasional rant about body diversity and self-acceptance and readily admits that while she agrees with the premise intellectually, she just doesn’t believe it could ever apply to her.  So after clicking on the ink to a recent Huffington Post article that she sent me, I felt a surge of hope that perhaps some of what I am doing and saying is seeping its way into her awareness; and that she can see that I am not the only one out here who is passionate about helping people, especially women, join the radical movement of loving our bodies.

Taryn Brumfitt made a splash in the social media world when she posted this atypical before and after photo.

Not Your Typical Before and After Photo
Not Your Typical Before and After Photo

 And no, the photo is not atypical because the before photo shows that she has three legs while the after photo has her sporting the more conventional two legged pose, it is unusual because the after photo shows a woman whose body is not sculpted or tanned.  The article, written by Jessica Samakow,  discusses Tarynn’s campaign to help women learn to embrace their bodies and includes this video that tells us more about the process she went through to arrive at this place.  And yes, it is a fundraiser because Ms Brumfitt is now on a mission to create a documentary about improving our body image, one woman at a time.  But I’m not blogging about Ms Brumfitt’s Kickstarter campaign to recruit donations.  That is entirely up to you. I’m blogging about this because I noticed something that really disturbed me….O.K. here is some background information first.

Recently I contributed to a fundraising campaign for another body image documentary in the making. I first became aware of Lindsey Averil’s and Viridiana Lieberman’s  film, Fatitude, on a listserv that I belong to and was asked if I was interested in being interviewed for the film about my part in the size acceptance movement.  I expressed my interest and even though my appearance in the film was thwarted by a malfunctioning camera on the day we were supposed to shoot my clip, I continued to follow the film’s progress and donated money to the project.  Similar to Brumfitt’s campaign, Averil also had a promotional trailer. 

The trailer for the film, Fatitude, was greeted with an outpouring of hate mail and vicious bigoted comments and threats directed at the filmmakers and people seen in the trailer.  (To read the specifics of the attacks check out this piece on FFF by Atchka.)  Now, I rarely get involved in responding to trolls. I don’t like giving them any attention because I feel it fans their flames of narcissism and escalates their behavior.   And this time was no different.  But then almost immediately following that incident, I participated in a Flash Mob in San Francisco. It was a joyful, body positive event organized by Juicy D. Light (my interview with Juicy can be read HERE) and was an uplifting experience for all of us.  Julie Wyman, the woman behind the documentary, Strong, is working on a documentary of the event, but in the meantime a shorter video of the Mob posted by Tigress Osborn of Full Figure Entertainment and then a longer version with interviews of the dancers, filmed by Ian Carruthers of Foolish Tree Films, was posted on You Tube.

Once again, like sharks to chummed waters, the hate comments appeared and they were horrific!

(Trigger Warning for horrific comments!)seahorse in a jar

 ”I once watched a special on national geographic about humpback whales. I think this was it actually.”

“If they keep the dancing up they might actually loose some fucking weight”

“The children were shivering, hiding in their beds, While visions of doughy single mothers danced in their heads.”

“Did they disguise the quakes by dancing on the San Andreas fault or something?”

“Disgusting. can’t wait for the smokers’ pride rally. then the paint huffers’ pride rally.”

This time I broke my rule and engaged with the trolls with a piece of my HAES® mind. But, as I imagined, it didn’t change anything and just riled them up for more discourse. I turned my energy to spreading the word about helping to fund Fatitude via my social media networking and felt a bit of satisfaction when I heard that the original fundraising goal had been reached.  But here’s the thing…I went back to the Embrace video and did a Google Search and found that Taryn Brumfitt had gotten enormous amounts of positive media attention for her brazen act of defiance and postive body image message. I was thrilled to see that she was on numerous television shows and written up in newspaper articles, all of which were quite supportive of her stance!  Not a single trollish barb to be found!  Not even one joke about how her name sounds like bum fit and or that the writer of the HuffPo article was probably sympathetic because her last name, Samakow, could be construed as bovinian in nature.  Nope, free as a bird!  So I looked at the comment section on her video. I loaded them ten at a time. Do you know what I found? Silence.  The absence of fat bashing remarks and challenges, that her video promotes the end of the world by supporting the terrifying notion that women can love their bodies, was deafening.  The most fat shaming comment of the bunch was:

  “She doesn’t look bad, seeing as how she’d just had a baby. She’s a slender woman with some sagging. Good underwear would fix that. I’m thinking this whole article is a tad inflated…but not the subject of it.”

So…why the discrepancy between the videos? The ONLY factor I can “narrow” it down to is the “fatness factor.”  Taryn is a beautiful woman in both of her photos, and granted the after photo is not a body that is typically touted as coveted in our culture. It is only in comparison to the fatter women in the other videos with the exact same message, that we can see how even in the body image movement, thinner gets the inner track to positive attention, compassion, empathy, and perhaps most important, permission to love her body.  I wish I could build a bridge connecting the creative minds behind Fatitude, Flash Mob, and Embrace.  Can you imagine how powerful that triangle would be in battling the societal belief that loving your body is good but ONLY if you still weigh in at an “acceptable” weight?

Til next time,

Dr. Deah


Please join me for a book signing event at Great Good Place for Books 6120 La Salle Ave. in Oakland on July 31st!

Only five more days left to receive your free gift in honor of International No Diet Day when you purchase a copy of the body positive book, Dr. Deah’s Calmanac on my website !

Or, if you purchase your copy of the Calmanac from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, FFF, or MOMTL just send me your order confirmation and I will send you your free gift.

In California, if you purchase a copy of the Calmanac, send me a selfie of you and the book with your mailing address, I will send you your free gift right away!  Offer is good until May 20th! (

Available at:  Laurel Bookstore- Oakland 4100 MacArthur Blvd., A Great Good Place for Books-Oakland 6120 La Salle Avenue, Skylight books- Los Angeles 1818 North Vermont Street, Books Inc- San Francisco 3515 California Street, Books Inc- Alameda 1344 Park Street, Books Inc.-Berkeley 1760 4th Street, Book Passage- Corte Madera 51 Tamal Vista, Lewins Books-Berkeley 2644 Ashby Ave. -

And at In Full Swing:  A plus size clothing store:  5937 College Avenue near Claremont Ave. in Oakland’s Rockridge District.

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15. May 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Body Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positivity, Dr. Deah, Dr. Deah's Calmanac, HAES®, Obesity, Size Acceptance, Social Media and Weight Stigma, Weight, Weight Stigma | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trigger Theory: Dedicated to Mattie and all of our beloved pets that have passed

Trigger warning!  Talk about Trigger Warnings!

redhead girl at beachI was seven years old and playing in the Atlantic Ocean.  It was one of those perfect New York summer days, not too humid, not too hot and with the entire summer stretching out in front of me.  My mom and sister were on the beach and I was reveling in my newly earned independence having proven that I could be trusted in the waves up to waist.  I was so happy that even my goofy sun hat and white zinc Noxema™ covered nose wasn’t making me feel like being a redhead was the worst thing that could have happened to a person EVER!  I was watching the waves billowing up the skirt of my bathing suit.  Yes I was wearing one of those bathing suits with a skirt that covered my thighs but it was because it was frilly and twirly.  Years later I would choose to wear the grown up version of the skirted suit because I was taught it was my job to protect the world from being subjected to my “unsightly” body parts.  But that day in 1963 everything was perfect.  And then it got better!  I looked down and just under the surface of the water I saw a seahorse!  I couldn’t believe it! The only other place I had ever seen one was on Jacques Cousteau TV shows or maybe Captain Kangaroo or Diver Dan!  I scooped it up in the skirt of my suit with plenty of water and seaweed and ran to our blanket on the beach!

My mom was very supportive, she emptied out a jar of her “iced cawfee” filled it with ocean water and put the seahorse inside with a sprig or two of seaweed.  I promptly named it Trigger after Roy Rogers’ horse and Trigger came home with me.seahorse in a jar

For two days I fed Trigger goldfish food (our goldfish had recently been eaten by our cat…it was an interesting house to grow up in) and then I had to go to the hospital.

It was nothing serious, just a tonsillectomy.  But when I came home, my mom had great news and awful news for me.  On the upside, I could eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  The bad news was Trigger had died.  We buried him next to Cleo (named after Pinocchio’s goldfish…I watched a lot of TV back then) and life went on.  I didn’t think about Trigger very often over the years but when I did, it was fondly.   One day, however, in my late 30’s, I was at a family gathering.  For some reason we were reminiscing about all of the pets we had while I was growing up.  We talked about Bootsie, Cleo, Choo Choo, and Shirley Roiter’s boxer that we took care of for a summer whose name escaped all of us.  Then I blurted out,

“Do you guys remember Trigger?”

There was a moment of silence and then as if rehearsed, everyone burst into simultaneous laughter.  I was a bit confused.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why Trigger was so funny?

When my sister finally composed herself, she patted my shoulder and said,

“Trigger was dead when you found him.”

I allowed the news to sink in…I had taken care of a dead seahorse for two days!  Everyone else knew and they allowed me to still have my fun despite the reality that the only reason Trigger appeared to be alive and joyfully bobbing around his cawfee jar was because of the saline buoyancy in the water and the narrowness of the jar!!!

The sweetness and hilarity ignited my giggle reflex and howling with laughter I thanked them for letting me have my fun.  I glanced over towards my two year old son playing with his cousins oblivious to the commotion and said,

“Wow, we spend the first half of our lives hiding things from our kids, and the second half hiding things from our parents!”

Wine was poured and we toasted all of our pets we had loved so dearly that had brought us so much laughter and love over the years.

But why am I reminiscing about Trigger in a body positive self acceptance blog?  Because I just read a book that I wanted to review and recommend to people.  I really enjoyed the book, but when I thought about what I would write, the whole topic of triggers came up.  I grew up in a time when the only trigger I knew abouttriggerthe seahorse was either on a gun, Roy’s stallion, or my floating dead seahorse…but times have changed and now we live in a culture of trigger warnings.  I am a bit conflicted about trigger Trigger the horsewarnings.  I always thought that if something I was reading was upsetting to me I would put it down and find something else to look at.  If I happened to be in therapy at the time, I would talk to my therapist about why it upset me so…and use my reaction as material to process to gain insight.  I  never would have thought it was the author’s job to warn me that their book or article may be triggering.  They wrote, I read, I decided to keep reading or not.

On the other hand, I really like the idea of trigger warnings because they feel so caring!  Look at how the author wants to protect and take care of the reader!  It makes for a real two way communication between writer and reader and provides a safety net that may result in a reader returning to the author’s work knowing that they are protected.    But how do i know what to label as triggering?  Is there a manual out there?  Are there formulas for writers, like film ratings, with criteria for labeling something PG-13 or X rated?  Is there an online class in Trigger Theory?

All jokes aside, I am really struggling about how to write this book review.  Will I do more harm than good if I write about the book and let people know it may be triggering?  After all, I loved the book, triggers and all, and don’t want to hinder sales by writing a review that may deter folks from reading something that I found so relate-able.  On the other hand, am I shirking my Trigger Patrol responsibility if I don’t let folks know that the book contains very detailed descriptions of binges and restrictive dieting behaviors as the author shares her journey to recovery from an eating disorder?  My mind is going around in circles on this one and I could really use some advice!  In the meantime, I am opting to follow the Noodle Theory and “noodle” on this a little longer before writing the review.  I am hoping that some of you will share your thoughts about the practice of trigger warnings and any advice you have would be greatly appreciated!

Noodle on this

Noodle on this

And I am also bracing myself for any comments that come my way about having had a dead pet seahorse for two days and being absolutely clueless.  I can handle it!!

Til next time,

Dr. Deah

Remember that May 6th is International No Diet Day!  If you order a copy of the Calmanac from my website I will send you a free refrigerator magnet with the sassy slogan:  My only weight problem is YOUR problem with MY weight!  If you purchase your copy of the Calmanac from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, FFF, or MOMTL just send me your order confirmation and I will send you a magnet as well!

If you visit any of the following California Bookstores and purchase a copy of the Calmanac, send me a selfie of you and the book with your mailing address and I will send you a magnet right away!  Offer is good until May 20th! (

Laurel Bookstore- Oakland 4100 MacArthur Blvd., A Great Good Place for Books-Oakland 6120 La Salle Avenue, Skylight books- Los Angeles 1818 North Vermont Street, Books Inc- San Francisco 3515 California Street, Books Inc- Alameda 1344 Park Street, Books Inc.-Berkeley 1760 4th Street, Book Passage- Corte Madera 51 Tamal Vista, Lewins Books-Berkeley 2644 Ashby Ave. -
And at In Full Swing:  A plus size clothing store:  5937 College Avenue near Claremont Ave. in Oakland’s Rockridge District.
lso I am proud to announce that I was selected by Sandy Ross of Body Bliss Central as one of the top positive body image blogs! Check out Sandy’s post and see the other wonderful blogs you can be reading!!

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09. May 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Blogging, Body Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positivity, Dr. Deah, Dr. Deah's Calmanac, Eating disorders, Size Acceptance, Weight | Tags: , , , , | 4 comments

Hard Ball!

For those of you who follow my blogs, both here at and on Fierce Freethinking Fatties, you know that I am a diehard sports fan.  I LOVE watching sports.  This time of year is ideal for me.  I have my choice of Warriors Basketball, A’s Baseball, and Sharks Hockey.  A banquet of games to choose from…I couldn’t be happier!  So imagine my delight when this headline came to my attention!


“New York Mets boycott reporter for making fat jokes about Bartolo Colon”

Some of you may remember the blog post I wrote for the FFF website last year about the fatphobia in the world of sports.  Titled, “Wait, you mean there are fathletes too?” I wrote about how horribly the press treats fat athletes especially Bartolo Cologne, an Oakland A’s Pitcher.  Well the New York Mets have since signed Cologne and are sending a clear Lebowskiesque message that, “This aggression will not stand man!” aggression

According to the an article by Justin Tasch in The Daily News,   The team would not hold a press conference if New York Post writer, Mike Puma was in the clubhouse.


“Apparently angry about an article in the New York Post on Friday about Bartolo Colon under the headline “LARDBALL,” the players would not talk to the media until Post writer Mike Puma left the clubhouse. Puma was asked to leave and did so without incident. Within a minute, several Mets appeared in the clubhouse. The team would not comment on the incident.”

Bartolo ColonCalling an accomplished and successful pitcher Lardball is strike one on my scorecard.  Having the comment come on the heels of a victory and using a food reference (meal ticket) in the headline was strike two.  But wait…there’s more!  It appears that one of Puma’s comments that the team was reacting to was,

“If the umpires searched Bartolo Colon’s neck for a foreign substance on Thursday, chances are they only would have found peanut butter.”

Of course Puma is referring to the recent incident when Yankee pitcher, Mike Pineda, was ejected from a game for having pine tar on his neck.  The fact that Puma thought it would be hilarious to connect the two players in this quip was egregious not only because of the audacious fat bashing, but by associating Cologne with someone who was found guilty of a serious infraction of MLB rules.  And in my book that would be strike three.  And out he was.

My hats off to the NY Mets…although I still hope The A’s crush them when next we meet!  :-)

Til next time!

Dr. Deah

Remember that May 6th is International No Diet Day!  If you order a copy of the Calmanac from my website I will send you a free refrigerator magnet with the sassy slogan:  My only weight problem is YOUR problem with MY weight!  If you purchase your copy of the Calmanac from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, FFF, or MOMTL just send me your order confirmation and I will send you a magnet as well!

If you visit any of the following California Bookstores and purchase a copy of the Calmanac, send me a selfie of you and the book with your mailing address and I will send you a magnet right away!  Offer is good until May 20th! (

Laurel Bookstore- Oakland 4100 MacArthur Blvd., A Great Good Place for Books-Oakland 6120 La Salle Avenue, Skylight books- Los Angeles 1818 North Vermont Street, Books Inc- San Francisco 3515 California Street, Books Inc- Alameda 1344 Park Street, Books Inc.-Berkeley 1760 4th Street, Book Passage- Corte Madera 51 Tamal Vista, Lewins Books-Berkeley 2644 Ashby Ave. -
And at In Full Swing:  A plus size clothing store:  5937 College Avenue near Claremont Ave. in Oakland’s Rockridge District.
Also I am proud to announce that I was selected by Sandy Ross of Body Bliss Central as one of the top positive body image blogs! Check out Sandy’s post and see the other wonderful blogs you can be reading!!

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01. May 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Body Image, Dr. Deah, Dr. Deah's Calmanac, End Fat Talk, Fat Athletes, Size Acceptance, Weight | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Other, My Selfy

No this isn’t a tribute to Nancy Friday’s best seller, My Mother Myself, although at the time that book came out it was a ground breaking read for women everywhere!  This is about a disturbing new app that is now available on Apple that I would like to call your attention to and perhaps convince you to join me in letting the developer know why this is not such an app-ealing idea.

The new app is advertised as SkinneePix and I am disappointed to report the developer goes by the name, PrettySmartWomen LLC.  It would be my hope that any “pretty smart women” would be fine having their selfy look like they look, but clearly my opinion is in the minority.  Here is how the app is advertised,

“SkinneePix helps you edit your Selfies to look 5, 10 or 15 lbs. skinnier in two quick clicks on your iPhone. It’s easy. It’s simple. It’s fun. Share them with your friends immediately.SkinneePix makes your pictures look thinner. SkinneePix makes your photos look good and helps you feel good. It’s not complicated. No one needs to know. It’s our little secret.”

…until they see you in person!!!!  Ok, I have read that description a zillion times and even now, as I was typing it into this blog post, I felt as angry as I did when I first read about it in a newsletter from The Child Mind Institute.  The Child Mind Institute does a great deal of research and reporting on…wait for it…big leap here…minds of children…fancy that!  But seriously, I don’t usually see much in their newsletters related to body image issues.  So when I saw the headline, “An App for Skinnier Selfies” on April 8, 2014 by Rachel Ehmke, I clicked on it immediately. Ms Ehmke did a stellar job denouncing the app and connecting the dots of how an app like this only increases the difficulty of youth being comfortable in their bodies especially if it doesn’t conform to the narrow standard of beauty being touted by our culture. She also points out, that at least for now, the app only works on faces.  It is not meant to be a full body photo liposuction deception device.  But with bathing suit season just around the bend, my hunch is that’s not too far aweigh.

Selfies…I am a newcomer to the world of selfies.  Before Christmas, 2013, I had never even heard the term.  That changed when I joined Marilyn Wann, author of

Marilyn Wann's Yay Scale

Marilyn Wann’s Yay Scale

Fatso? and creator of the Yay Scale, and other activists in San Francisco to  protest a store window with a super sized Santa dressed up as Santa the Hutt warning

My Willendorf Selfie!

My Willendorf Selfie!

people to resist the urge to overindulge during the holiday season.  Marilyn set up a Willendorf Selfy Station, and I quickly grasped that a selfie is when someone uses their smart phone, camera, or tablet to take a picture of themselves to document an important moment and then shares it via social media.  I could see that there were many attitudes behind the act of taking a selfy ranging from playful to political, but in all cases, I assumed, the point behind it was documenting your participation in a real life event either alone or with others. Why then, would it be necessary to skinny down your selfy?  Wouldn’t that make it a NOT my selfy?  And they aren’t talking about a fun distortion opportunity…like a fun house mirror app

Funny Distortion

Funny Distortion

where you can make yourself look super skinny, super fat, super wiggly…they are talking about one thing and one thing only and that is….well…

                                                          “our little secret!”

On computer dating sites, people forage through their photos to choose a picture that will be enticing enough to set up first dates but realistic enough so that when you meet face to face the first thing your prospective new boy/girlfriend doesn’t find out about you is that you are a liar and a cheat.

Hence a certain amount of honesty is expected when you post a photo on your “i-date” profile page.  So what is really the point of the Skinniepix?  One of my fears is that it is a fantasy place holder…a future picture for girls who are convinced that if they just keep restricting their food long enough, they will, any day now, look like their Skinniepix avatar…and then they can go out in public looking as good as their photo.  How can this be beneficial?

If you go to the Skinniepix site you will see that the photos of “users” are not young girls.  I am making the prediction that if confronted with why the Skinniepix could be contraindicated for girls developing a positive self-image, the company would reply with reassurance that this app isn’t so young girls can hate themselves and strive to be thinner.  But when you look at the demographics of people who take selfies, the largest group is girls aged 12-21.  Ehmke nails it when she explains one of the down sides of this app,

“…Which is too bad because when everyone looks fifteen pounds lighter online—or feels like they should—it’s going to make it even harder for girls to feel good about who they really are.”

I know this is a free country.  Free speech. Freedom of choice…just because Skinniepix are out there doesn’t mean someone has to buy it.  But I also think that developers need to be shown some of the negative repercussions of their apps and take responsibility for how they may be detrimental.  It may or may not change anything, but I felt a tad less homicidal after I wrote a letter.  If I hear back from the developer, I will let you know!  And if you decide to send a letter, please let us know via the comment section on this post.  If you think I am over-reacting, I would love to hear from you as well.  Here are ways to contact Pretty Smart Women.

Pretty Smart Women LLC
P.O. Box 13641
Phoenix, Arizona 85002

Til next time!
Dr. Deah

P.S. I want to thank all of you for coming to the book signing of The Calmanac at Laurel Bookstore!  If you have a bookstore near you that you think would want a body positive book reading event, please let me know!  Until then here are the indie bookstores where you can buy The Calmanac:

Laurel Bookstore- Oakland 4100 MacArthur Blvd., A Great Good Place for Books-Oakland 6120 La Salle Avenue, Skylight books- Los Angeles 1818 North Vermont Street, Books Inc- San Francisco 3515 California Street, Books Inc- Alameda 1344 Park Street, Books Inc.-Berkeley 1760 4th Street, Book Passage- Corte Madera 51 Tamal Vista, Lewins Books-Berkeley 2644 Ashby Ave.

It is also available on line at,  FFF, MOMTL, Amazon, and Barnes &Noble,

Til Next Time!

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11. April 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Body Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positivity, Dr. Deah, Dr. Deah's Calmanac, Size Acceptance, Social Media and Weight Stigma, Weight Stigma | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 comments

D-licious D-lightful D-lovely Cross posted from my blog on

Back in the 60s we had “Be-Ins “or “Love-Ins,” when people would gather in the same place and meditate on love and peace. Sometimes LSD was involved, sometimes sex and nudity, most of the time music was definitely a factor. But no matter what form they took, the “prime directive” was to raise awareness about the need for peace, unity, and acceptance of diversity.

Allen Ginsberg chanting mantras at the first Human Be-In.

In thinking back, it amazes me how massive these events were considering we had no social media to help spread the word and using mainstream media to organize was out of the question.  Yet somehow word got around and there we would be feeling strong, powerful, and most importantly, catalysts for change.

Human Be-In

Today… we have flash mobs. 

I am a relative newcomer to flash mobs. I recently went to my first mob when I heard about a hot flash mob for peri-menopausal and menopausal women from Ragen Chastain and Jeanette DePatie via Facebook. The word spread via social media, I learned the dance steps from a video posted on Facebook, found the staging area using the GPS on my iPhone, and tweeted about it during and afterward. The energy was infectious and inspirational. And yes, a part of me felt nostalgic  and wondered how much more awesome the Be-Ins could have been if we had had all of this technology to connect us!

Now there is a new flash mobs in the works and in the name of bashing the stereotype that some of us old hippies are resistant to change and reluctant to embrace this new world of Tweets, Tumblrs, LinkedIns, and Instagrams, I am using this blog to help spread the word!  After all, one of our anthems warned the generation before us that they had better.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

So in the spirit of Change, not wanting to be a hypocrite, and all the goodness that can come from combining the wisdom of age with the knowledge of youth, I contacted Juicy D. Light after I read this message on my FatStudies Listserve:

Burlesque performer Juicy D. Light (head of the Rubenesque Burlesque troupe in Oakland) is putting together a FAT FLASH MOB to dance to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” in May. She is holding regular classes in Oakland for those who are local, and also offering videos for those who want to coordinate mobs in other cities. There are ways to adapt the choreography for many levels of ability, including those who would prefer or need to remain seated.

Information is here: Please consider joining, whether you’re local or distant. She would love to have fat flash mobs all over to spread the message of being HAPPY with your fat body!

I thought it would be cool to interview Juicy, find out more about the fat flash mob taking place on May 3, and get the word out ASAP so we could let as many people as possible know about the event. Here is what Juicy had to say, and I for one, found her answers to be truly d-lightful!

Dr. Deah: Could you please tell us a bit about what burlesque is and how you got involved with Rubenesque Burlesque?

Rubenesque Burlesque
Rubenesque Burlesque Photo copyright of Johnny Crash.

Juicy: Burlesque is the art of the tease. It can be just pretty or political or poignant. This art form can tease and titillate or it can educate. There’s all kinds of burlesque at this point. Before there was just classic, evening gowns, gloves, boas, feather fans, lots of bling; but now there’s boylesque, queerlesque, nerdlesque, sadlesque, all kinds of things you can do while taking your clothes off. I got involved when Heather MacAllister came to town. She taught a burlesque class and after the class she asked me to join her troupe.

D: How do you see Rubenesque Burlesque intersecting with the Fat Acceptance movement?

J: Rubenesque Burlesque shows that fat women, in particular, are beautiful, sexy, in demand, worthy, active, healthy, etc., which is an uncommon thought. We work hard, we dance hard. People see us and sometimes change their minds. Sometimes they make an adjustment to the stereotypes they hold so close. Sometimes they are even able to love themselves a little more.

D: What was one event, book, person, or any other catalyst that first opened your eyes to the Fat Acceptance movement?

J: Chaya Gordon. She taught a class called AbunDance at the Women’s Building in San Francisco. She was a fat dancer. She is the one that gave me my body back.She was the first one that let me know that I was ok AND fat. I could still move my body joyfully, I could still dance.From there, I started to meet others, learn about and understand this thing called Fat Acceptance.

D: What do you tell people who argue that burlesque is contradictory to the women’s movement because it sexualizes or objectifies bodies?

J: This is always an interesting question to me. For me, feminism is about choice. We are all sexual beings. Burlesque is what I like to call consensual objectification. I am dancing before you expecting to be objectified and sexualized on MY terms. It’s also a little different for fat women. It’s often assumed that no one finds us attractive, sexually attractive or sexually confident. The pendulum needs to swing far the other way to find the balance. This is our choice.

D: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is struggling with Body Acceptance?

J: I would ask them how do they really feel. Inside. Take inventory. Do they hate themselves because they organically feel bad or is it they’ve been taught to hate themselves for so long. I realized a while ago that I was taught to hate myself and my fat body. As a little, fat kid on the playground, I played as hard as everyone else, was a good little athlete (always chosen in the top three; never, ever chosen last), I ran, I jumped, I played!! It was over time the hate and the shame became internalized. It was never organic. I would imagine it’s the same for many. We just have to reclaim the happiness most of us had. It’s hard work, but well worth it

D: So true that body hate is learned. None of us are born hating our bodies! I recently heard that you were organizing a fat flash mob. What gave you the idea to do this and what do you hope it will accomplish?

J: YES!! It’s happening on May 3, 12 pm PST, 2 pm CST, 3 pm EST. It’s one of my New Year’s resolutions actually. And when I heard the song, “Happy” by Pharrell, that just kind of clinched it.  It’s more for those that participate than those watching, although I sincerely hope those watching will be positively affected as well. I want people of all body types to be out in the sun, dancing out loud, enjoying their bodies moving! Together, happily! Without hate or shame.

D: If someone wants to get involved with the fat flash mob, what do they need to do?

Juicy D’Light.

J: The first step is to email me at ms.juicydlight at gmail dot com. I would love to have organizer’s all over the place!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I for one am psyched about this event on so many levels. The one that feels the most precious to me, however, is knowing that despite what title, label, or name we attach to it, the “prime directive” is still alive and there is a thriving community of people out in the world using creativity, artistic expression, and togetherness to continue the tradition of raising awareness about the need for peace, unity, and acceptance of diversity.



07. April 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Blogging, Body Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positivity, Dr. Deah, NAAFA, Size Acceptance, Weight Stigma | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 comment


You are perfect unique and beautiful BUT you are fat and have zits so CHANGE!

TRIGGER WARNING:  Talk and videos about dieting and perfection.

If there is one thing that really irks me it is when a product that is dependent on selling me a message of self-dissatisfaction in order to then sell me their product to fix my newly acquired dissatisfaction, uses a self-acceptance message to sell me that product!!!  Okay…that was NOT an easy sentence to read…so let me break it down by offering two recent examples.

In a recent article in The New York Times, there was a story about a new ad campaign for acne cream.  The title of the article, Clean & Clear Videos Dare Not Speak Blemish’s Name, goes on to describe their new sales approach called, See the Real Me, which capitalizes on using the theme of building confidence in teenage girls.  For some reason, the “I can be different and happy with being different” credo that the girls in the See the Real Me ads seem to be professing…does not generalize to their skin.  It is a double message of the most egregious kind.   At the same time they are emphasizing the importance of feeling good about yourself and embracing your uniqueness, they are still issuing the ultimate warning that despite how incredible you may be in so many ways you are still going to be judged if you have a zit on your otherwise wonderful, unique, brilliant, smart, and accomplished self.

“I feel like if I have a zit, no one’s really having a conversation with me, they’re having a conversation with my zit,” an animated teenager says as one spot opens. “I know that they’re looking at it,” says another, before others continue the theme: “Wow, look at that pimple.” “I’m like, hello, I’m right here.” “When I have clear skin, I feel like everybody can see the real me.”

AAAARRRGGGHHH!  This burns me up!  Having a zit IS the real you!!!!!  If someone is obsessing over a pimple on your face, well I hate to be the first one to say this, but they need to get a life.  I mean what additional evidence do you need to see that they are clearly superficial brainwashed people who have been watching way too many ads for how horrific pimples are?! Please, don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not saying it is healthy to completely ignore acne and not take steps to clean your face and prevent infection and scarring if possible; but the reasons given in these ads are never about health or appropriate hygiene.  Fact is, they are ALWAYS about whether or not we are attractive.  Next to fat, zits seem to be the runner up for reasons to lock yourself up in your house and never show yourself in public until you are perfect…I mean look at all the havoc you are causing?  Look at the grief you are inflicting on others who are forced to look at your fat pimply face?!

Example 2: Weight Watchers® is no newbie at taking the concepts of Health at Every Size® and Diets Don’t Work and weaving them into their recruitment ads for joining Weight Watchers.  They are after all, NOT A DIET but a LIFESTYLE.  Yup, a lifestyle that consists of eating 1200 calories or less a day carefully disguised in calling them points instead of calories. But a new Weight Watchers ad featuring Jessica Simpson is doing an exceptionally effective job hijacking the body-love, body positivity, body acceptance (or whatever you want to call it) message  into her sales pitch for Weight Watchers.

At first, as I watched the ad, I felt myself getting very excited by hearing someone, not rail thin, speaking my language.  No, I wasn’t thrilled by how she had to seductively pose, flaunt, and shimmy her way through the ad in her little black dress. I did, however, find it seductive in other ways.  I especially resonated with the body appreciation exhibited towards her body as having given birth to her children.  (It reminded me of a blog post I wrote about my pregnancy.) Until I realized that what Ms. Simpson was really saying was she could love her body as it is now because she knows she is on her way to a thinner better body by  using Weight Watchers.  She shifts into full blown sales mode when she tells us how simple it was to get a quick jump start on losing weight with their special jump start program.  Right Jessica…you love and adore your miraculous body so much that you needed the fastest, quickest, most expedient way to change it.

EPIC FOUL!  EPIC FAIL!   I  hate it when companies hijack Health at Every Size and/or self-acceptance messages in order to profit by selling products that are completely antithetical to the very foundations of those philosophies! Remember this quote by John Berger?


“The spectator-buyer is meant to envy herself as she will become if she buys the product.  She is meant to imagine herself       transformed by the product into an object of envy for others, an envy which will then justify her loving herself.  One could put this another way:  the publicity image steals her love of herself as she is, and offers it back to her for the price of the product.”

But what is worse?  Sometimes I honestly don’t know.  Is it better to:

  • Get exposure to body positive messages in body hate ads that may put you on a new path that you may not have been aware of without the ad?


  • Keep those ads true to the product they are selling by telling you that you are fat, you have zits, you are disgusting and miserable and now PLEASE do all of us a favor, buy our product, and go change!


What do you think?  I really want to know!

Calmanac News!!!

Amy S. with The Calmanac at Books Inc. in Alameda

Amy S. with The Calmanac at Books Inc. in Alameda

I am so excited to announce that my book, Dr. Deah’s Calmanac, is now available in six bookstores in California!  The latest addition will be in Oakland at: A Great Good Place for Books 6120 La Salle Avenue


The other bookstores are:

Skylight books- Los Angeles 1818 North Vermont Street
Books Inc- San Francisco 3515 California Street
Books Inc- Alameda 1344 Park Street
Book Passage- Corte Madera 51 Tamal Vista
Laurel Bookstore- Oakland 4100 MacArthur Blvd.
I am also speaking and signing my books at the following locations:

March 23, 2014, 4:00 p.m. I will be reading from The Calmanac at Insalata’s.  120 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Rafael, California 94960. (415) 457-7700.

April 3-7, 2014, I will be presenting at the American Society of Group Psychotherapists and Psychodramatists’ (ASGPP) annual conference in Oakland, CA. I will be signing copies of The Calmanac on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and presenting on Sunday at 1:15-2:45 on B.E.D. and Expressive Arts Therapy.  CLICK HERE for more information.

April 9, 2014.  I will be reading from and signing copies of Dr. Deah’s Calmanac at Laurel Bookstore, 4100 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA. 94619 (510) 531-2073 at 7:00 p.m.  My first bookstore appearance for The Calmanac hope to see you there! CLICK HERE for more information.

If you want to keep up with my speaking engagements and book signings, go to the calendar page on my website.


Curious about what others think of The Calmanac?
Rebecca Weinstein, author of Fat Sex, recently reviewed The Calmanac. Here is what she wrote!

Til Next Time!

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Til next time,
Dr. Deah

15. March 2014 by Dr. Deah
Categories: Body Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positivity, diets, Dr. Deah, Dr. Deah's Calmanac, End Fat Talk, HAES®, Size Acceptance, Weight, Weight Stigma | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 comments

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