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This Is Why You’re Fat Sparks the F-word Debate

jackie warner bookWe were recently hipped to Jackie Warner’s new book, This Is Why You’re Fat (And How to Get Thin Forever): Eat More, Cheat More, Lose More—and Keep the Weight Off. Because we adore most things that Ms. Warner touches, we knew we had to check it out. While the book title may not be, er, succinct, it does get the point across: You are FAT and I will help you get thin. See? I have redonkulous abs to prove I can do it.

Okay, I’m prematurely hating and I’m definitely judging a book by its cover, but this seems like cheap marketing to me. Jackie is the shiznit! She knows her stuff, and she knows how to do it the right way—plus the book is filled with sane (and cutting-edge!) nutritional advice, tips to stop emotional eating and really effective workout plans. But the book cover? It just turned me off.

Soapbox, please. Thanks.

When I see the word “fat,” I think “hate” or “ugly” or, even, “not good enough.” In my mind, if you call yourself fat, you’re hating on yourself and not honoring the person you are inside and out.

If you are overweight and are unhealthy and are wanting to change, declaring yourself as ugly isn’t—in my opinion—the best way to go about it. I had negative self talk about my body for years until I finally recognized it for what it was. Once I started overriding it, my choices and outlook began to change. I learned how to replace “You have a fat stomach and you’ll never be as good as [enter any skinny girl who was near]” with “You’re strong and making healthy choices—what does someone else have to do with that?” Basically, I learned to never talk to myself any differently than I would a best friend. And I wouldn’t call a best friend fat. I might be concerned with her unhealthy habits or sedentary lifestyle and talk to her about how to change those, but I wouldn’t use the “F” word.

I know there are plenty of people out there who have reclaimed the word fat, and by no means do I think anyone should be treated differently because of his or her size. Sure, my take on it may be a little P.C. and very much wrapped in semantics, but when it comes to how we see and view ourselves, fat is a disrespectful word. And it’s a word that doesn’t make anyone feel good. Unless it’s phat, in which case, rock on.

I’m sure that by using that word on the cover (and that body), she’ll definitely sell a lot of copies and probably change hundreds—if not thousands—of lives of people who actually pick it up, read it and follow her advice. (And by all means, this is not the first book to use this technique; it’s just the first one we’ve reviewed that I had such a reaction to.) The book really is filled with some good, good information, including research that I haven’t seen elsewhere and some killer workout plans.

But do the ends justify the means? Or are we further perpetuating a culture that hates fatness, yet mostly is, in fact, overweight? Are we trying to hate ourselves into change?

I think we all know this post is less about a book and more about a cultural norm, but, still, the sensationalism doesn’t sit well with me. If you tore the cover off, I’d adore the book. But with it on? It just makes me twitch and, obviously, stand up and shout. —Jenn

Want to read Jackie Warner’s new book and decide for yourself? Leave a comment and we’ll pick one random U.S. winner to win it!

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