NAAFA Newsletter
National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
October 2014
In This Issue
NAAFA Publishes Guidelines for Nutritionists & Dietitians
The Latest in the War on Fat People
From the Chair
We're All in This Together
Book Review: Baffle That Bully!
The Famous Flop Over
Media and Research Roundup
NAAFA Publishes Guidelines for Nutritionists & Dietitians

NAAFA is proud to announce it has created a set of guidelines focused in the areas of nutrition and dietetics. NAAFA partnered with subject matter experts to create an educational tool for nutritionists and dietitians.


"NAAFA was honored when Professors Dawn Clifford, PhD, RD and Michelle Neyman Morris, PhD, RD of Chico State University's Department of Nutrition & Food Sciences agreed to work on this project," states Lisa Tealer, NAAFA Board Member Emeritus and guideline contributor. Additionally, NAAFA had an international group of nutritionists, dietitians and researchers review the guidelines, adding their expertise to create a credible document.


The guidelines include: definitions of size discrimination and weight bias; social implications in the workplace, academia, and health care settings; an explanation of the negative effects of size discrimination; the introduction of a weight neutral paradigm shift to wellness; application methods; and an extensive list of references and resources. The guidelines will help nutritionists and dietitians work with clients of all sizes and simultaneously work towards eradicating size discrimination and weight bias. A copy of the guidelines is available to view and download free of charge at 


NAAFA is also proud to be a major sponsor of the HAES Curriculum Project (, available for educators interested in teaching a weight neutral, health centered approach to the field of nutrition and dietetics. 


The Latest in the War on Fat People

by Peggy Howell


"They" are at it again, or should I say still? "They?" Take your pick: the pharmaceutical industry, the diet industry, the FDA, the federal government and the list goes on. All these entities appear to have devoted themselves and their resources to finding a way to wipe out fat; whatever it takes. No matter how ridiculous the procedure or device may be, our government and those with deep pockets are throwing money at trying to eliminate obesity.


The federal government is funding the development of a "low-cost, portable, reliable, and convenient BMI assessment system that can be deployed to provide a convenient estimate of the BMI and related health conditions anywhere and anytime," according to the grant. This photo recognition project was awarded $200,113 in 2014 to create the system under the notion that too many fat people are unaware of their BMI. The developer of this technology was proud to share that his facial recognition BMI predictor could be used for online dating, so an individual can know the "state of health of people you might date." He forgot to mention that any jerk walking down the street can calculate your BMI and harass you based on this information. More verbal assault for fat people!


Two inventors from Palo Alto, CA have taken the idea of behavior modification to a new level, applying for a patent for their food-chewing-noise device. "Their ear-mounted device, called the iWhisper, not only senses jaw-motion but also measures, records and identifies specific 'acoustic fingerprints' of various foods (via the sounds they make when chewed)." Advice, for or against continuing eating, is then provided to the user via the earpiece, furthering the idea that fat people are too stupid to know how, when and what to eat.


The scariest of the new devices is a product called the Maestro Rechargeable System, currently being reviewed for approval by the FDA. The one thing that gives me hope is that in a recent committee review meeting, the patient representative was our own Lynn McAfee.


Maestro consists of a permanently implanted neuroregulator and two flexible leads that target the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the main autonomic link between the brain and the gut, transferring signals related to hunger and fullness. The device changes your feelings of hunger, thus assisting in weight loss. Never mind that they didn't reach their projected goals in trials. Never mind that their data only goes out 18 months, not 3-5 years. They are seeking FDA approval for this device that has to be permanently implanted, requires thirty minutes per day (for the rest of one's life) to recharge, and will likely result in no more than 25% loss of excess weight. Should the patient choose to have it removed, they can expect weight regain.


What I found of particular interest was some of the remarks made by doctors in attendance at the committee meeting:


"DR. FAULX, M.D.: I have a question regarding the weight loss. So, in looking at the numbers of these patients, the average weight was 250 pounds. So they have 100 excess pounds. So we were looking at patients who lost 25 pounds and were sort of considered the ones that did great. So they're down to 225 pounds, so they're still obese patients. And obviously this device appears like it has to stay in forever, or else when you take it out, they'll gain weight. So my question is, do you have any sense of why they stop losing weight? I mean, they're still obese . . ."


"DR. SHIKARO, M.D.: Well, I don't have an answer for you based on this technology. That hadn't been studied, what metabolically happens. But I can answer you based on bariatric surgery in general. In all of the operations we perform, there is a finite weight loss, and it can be classified in the gastric bypass of about 65% of excess - the sleeve - about 50%, the banding - maybe 35%, 40%. Patients don't lose forever."


"Unfortunately, the levels of weight loss achieved by the majority of patients through behavior modification are not maintained." Caroline Apovian, Professor of Medicine.


Despite hearing the truth about the dismal results of implantation, a long line of people made pleas for the approval of this device. Despite knowing their diets and devices fall short, some doctors are eager for yet another device. The pressure on fat people in our society today is sometimes overwhelming. When appealing to our vanity didn't motivate us to lose weight, we were told that we MUST be thin to be healthy.


This continual assault on fat people and our right to live in our bodies as we choose only reinforces the importance of NAAFA and the work we do to educate the public, healthcare industry and employers. It reinforces the importance of supporting one another. It motivates me to continue the fight for Equality at Every Size!


From the Chair

by Phyllis Warr


For many years there has been an "elephant" in NAAFA's room: weight loss surgery (WLS). This "elephant" is one of misinformation and misunderstanding. I want to take this opportunity to clear this up. First, NAAFA opposes WLS in any form. While it may help some people live longer with a better quality of life, it can do great damage and, historically, has contributed to the deaths of many hundreds of people. Whether the medical community wants to admit it or not, WLS has caused many hundreds of people great pain and discomfort, not just as they healed from the effects of surgery, but continually for the rest of their lives. Surgeons will perform WLS on a person of any size, but will refuse to do certain other surgeries that are needed for improving one's quality of life and movement because the patient weighs "too much". There are risks to life during any surgery, but some physicians are only willing to risk their patients' lives for the performance of WLS.


That having been said let me make something very clear: NAAFA, its Board of Directors and its membership do not reject those who have had WLS. Although NAAFA does not support WLS procedures, we do not discriminate against people who have chosen to have it. I believe I can say without fear of being inaccurate, that each member of the Board of Directors knows at least one person who has decided that WLS was appropriate for them. This is a choice that each person makes based upon what s/he believes is right for themselves. While we may not agree with the choices of others, we most certainly agree that each person must do what s/he feels is best.


The Board of NAAFA hopes that every member agrees with us that the choices each individual makes are entirely none of our business. We speak for what is best for our community. Many people decide upon WLS for vanity and the desire to return to a slimmer size. Others believe it is the right thing for their health. If WLS were an experimental procedure for cancer or some other disease, no one would discriminate against the person for choosing it.


More personally, one of my sisters underwent WLS more than 10 years ago. At that time, I was very concerned for her health and the effects the procedure would have on her. However, I never told her that. What I did was ask questions about what she was planning. I wanted her to have all the information she needed to know that she was making the right decision for herself. She shared brochures with me, which her surgeon had given her about the procedure he recommended for her. I took off work to take her for the surgery, returned to pick her up, take her home and, finally, stayed with her for a day to make sure she was able to take care of herself. Since then, when there have been difficulties, and to be honest, there have only been a few, we have discussed them. Has my sister lost weight? Yes. Has she returned to the "thin her" she was in high school? No. Being careful about what she eats is something she lives with daily. When we are together, I do not criticize her or chastise her for her choice. It is not my business. She is my sister and I love her. I understand that she did what she believed was best for her health and longevity. I accept that. Her body is her body and my body is my body.


I hope that the NAAFA "elephant" has now traveled to another location. We must all agree that there are bigger and more important things to do than to divide our numbers over individual choices. We need to work to make sure that fat people are no longer an acceptable target for bullying. We need to work to make sure that a fat worker is treated the same as any other person in the work force. We need to work to make sure that those who are thinner than we are understand that fat folks are as intelligent, capable and worthwhile as they are. We need to whittle away at or remove chunks from "thin privilege" and make the playing field more level. We need to work to make sure that fat employees are not charged more for health insurance or "fat shamed" into so-called "wellness programs" by their companies. To accomplish all this, we need allies: fat allies, thin allies, allies who have had WLS, allies who do not believe WLS is appropriate for themselves, allies of all ages, races and religions. We need all kinds of people to join us in our fight if we are to be successful.


Your comments and feedback are welcome at


We're All in This Together

by Dan Oliverio


I am a very fit, very muscular gay man living in a very gay neighborhood in the very image-conscious city of Los Angeles. I have neighbors who are models and actors, and I have neighbors who look like models and actors because that's what it takes in my city to sell real estate or get hired to run an office. So, imagine my surprise to find out that many people call me a fat activist. I don't really think of myself that way. I just like fat guys. For better or worse, I'm not afraid to embrace that sexual attraction as part of my identity and talk about it publicly. That has led to my leading seminars, writing books and articles, and appearing on television. It led me to speak at this year's NAAFA conference in Washington, DC.


I lead conversations about fat, sex, and love -- three different things that nevertheless intersect, influence, and collapse into one another. The groups I most commonly appear in front of are fat gay men gathered for a weekend of fun. I didn't know what I'd find at the NAAFA conference. I thought of NAAFA as a political organization of mostly straight women. Well, it turned out I found what I always find: people have the same hopes, fears, and desires. Chubs & chasers, BBWs & FAs, all want to talk about the same issues: love, sex, dating, objectification, fidelity, body image, self-esteem, and health. The only major difference is the relative importance they accord these concerns. For the straights (BBWs & FAs), I find objectification and body image overshadow any conversation about fat. The gays (Chubs & Chasers) circle back again and again to relationships and fidelity.


At the 2014 NAAFA conference, I met some truly beautiful people -- beautiful inside and out. Yes, I know, we say that everyone is beautiful, but there is a special beauty about personal transformation, an inner strength that comes from having seen beyond one's notion of being "the fat girl," or the "awkward guy," or "the mom." It's a joy to meet folks who had one view of themselves and now have another, more empowering one. They discover a whole new side to themselves and new possibilities for their lives and their relationships.


I know from experience that attending events like NAAFA conferences can be literally life-changing. It's not about taking a vacation. It's not about finding prince charming. It's about finding out who you are and what's possible -- about what you've given up on, and what you've never even imagined for yourself. Over and over again at the NAAFA conference, I heard stories that echoed those same revelations. Sometimes the stories were about little things: A girl wearing a bathing suit in public for the first time and feeling the shame for her body turn to acceptance and then melt into pride. Sometimes the stories were about ways of relating to the world: A man told me of the courage he mustered to tell his friends that his date is not a fat chick he is settling for, but a woman whose beauty is so breathtaking that it can't be contained in an average-sized body. Sometimes people see something about themselves that rocks the foundations of their lives: That's how one woman described her realization that she was keeping love at bay by treating any kindness from a man as pity or a maneuver to get sex. She just thought a guy who desired someone fat must be either predatory or mentally defective.


No amount of advice or cajoling by friends has anywhere near the impact of discovering something for oneself. That sort of lasting transformation happens in community through sharing. It happens at events like NAAFA. So even though I'm a gay bodybuilder, I share something very powerful and basic with the fat girl from Illinois. Fat oppression, body shaming, and size discrimination doesn't just affect fat people. Fat admirers (or Chubby Chasers as they're called in the gay community) are targets too. That's why so many of us keep our heads down and our voices low. That's why when someone like me says openly that he thinks obesity is sexy, they want to exhibit him on television and understand how such a thing could have happened. What's more, talking about fat isn't just talking about us. It's about granting people -- all people -- the right to live in their body as their body is. Our bodies or our desires for these bodies might repulse some; they might even repulse us ourselves. But they are our home. No one lives outside her body. No one lives apart from his sexual attractions. We're all in this together.


Book Review: Baffle That Bully!

Reviewed by Darliene Howell


If your child has ever been bullied, you can understand the frustration in finding a way to help them in dealing with the bully appropriately.


Baffle That Bully! was written by a young girl, Chase Anichini, and her mother, Amy Jones Anichini, after having dealt with verbal and emotional bullying for several years. They tried everything they could think of until they came up with what they term as a game!


Baffle That Bully! is a way for children to prepare for a bully by looking at the situation differently, in a way that throws the bully off balance verbally. It allows parents and their children to work together, and parents to support their children in being more confident and taking charge.


The book includes scenarios based on actual incidents that Chase learned to handle. She uses a character named "Scarlett" to walk the reader through the scenarios and show how the game works. The book is truly a family affair, with illustrations by her sister, Jordan Anichini.


While Baffle That Bully! can teach children to deal with verbal and emotional bullying, it does not cover physical bullying. What we know, however, is that bullying usually starts with the verbal and can escalate to the physical. So, if you can stop it in the beginning, your child may never have to deal with a physical assault.


I recently went through training as an instructor in Verbal Defense and Influence (formerly known as Verbal Judo). VDI is taught to police and other public safety officers to enable them to de-escalate volatile situations. I found Baffle That Bully! follows the basics of VDI very closely and I highly recommend it for parents and children from 6 - 10 years of age.


The Famous Flop Over

by Cinder Ernst


Ok, well maybe it's not famous yet, but it should be. The Flop Over Hamstring Stretch is an easy and fun way to increase the flexibility of your hamstring muscles.


Here's why that's so important for improved mobility:


Your hamstring muscle is in the back of your thigh. It connects behind your knee and under your butt to your hip and back. Tight hamstrings contribute to back pain, hip pain, knee pain, and even foot pain. Flexible hamstring muscles help keep you more mobile and having less pain.


Stretching should never hurt, not even a little. It should feel small, like maybe you wonder if you're doing it hard enough, you are. A small gentle stretch that feels like a relief for your body works best to build flexibility over time.


Flop Over Hamstring Stretch - stand next to your bed, facing it. Lower your chest and belly onto the bed keeping your legs almost straight. If it's too much stretch, bend your knees a bit. You might find that you feel this stretch in your low back, hamstrings and/or even your calf muscles. Remember small and gentle.


One of the added benefits of doing the Flop Over is if you have a dog or cat and they are on the bed, you can pet them, which is a stress reduction technique . . . bonus!


I'm working on a new free training called "Stairs without Struggle". I'll have details by next month. In the meantime I could use some help from you. If you are willing, let me know what's hard about steps for you? You can email me at You can also email me with any other questions or concerns.


Thanks and love,



Media and Research Roundup

by Bill and Terri Weitze

[Check and for the latest news.]


September 4, 2014: Researchers conclude that people in the company of a fat person tend to make less healthy food choices whether or not the fat person makes healthy choices.


September 5, 2014: A study looks at how the brains of children and young adults react to food images when coached in different ways. The researchers hope to better understand how children can learn to make better food choices. While this would benefit all children, the target, not surprisingly, is to reduce childhood obesity.


September 10, 2014: Pudge PDX is asking for donations to help them produce a size positive calendar with fat women depicted in fun and sexy costumes and poses. Unfortunately, the comments section of this article (second link) shows some really nasty fatphobia.


September 17, 2014: Fat singer and actor Bridget Everett is rocking it in her show "Rock Bottom" at Joe's Pub in New York. It's a New York Times critic's pick, and the NYT review has some great photos and a video showing the uninhibited Everett at work.


September 18, 2014: US News looks at how healthcare professionals treat fat patients, with NAAFA's Peggy Howell providing lots of good information for both doctors and patients. Three physicians explain how they treat fat patients and why it is important not to create a hostile environment.


September 22, 2014: An article about the fat fashion industry in The New Yorker covers everything from Fat Fashion Week to fat models to Lane Bryant and pretty much everything in between, leaving us with the basic message, most fat women want clothes!


September 22, 2014: As part of Weight Stigma Awareness Week (September 22 through 26) the BEDA (Binge Eating Disorder Association) website offers toolkits to help people address bias and discrimination.


September 26, 2014: A study in BMJ Open (an online only medical journal) suggests that an increase of one skirt size over a 10-year period is associated with an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Concerns with the study and how it is reported by the media are discussed by


September 27, 2014: Announcement: On October 25, 2014 in Oakland, California, the SF Bay Area Health at Every Size Think Tank and ASDAH (Association for Size Diversity and Health) will present a one-day event on weight stigma and tools to fight it.


October 2014: After adjusting for known genetic and environmental risks, researchers found an increased risk of multiple sclerosis in female obese children and adolescents but no increased risk in male obese children and adolescents. However, it appears that the researchers didn't control for smoking (an MS risk factor) or socioeconomic status (protective for MS).


October 1, 2014: The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) puts out a call for proposals for panels and workshops during its 2015 educational conference in Boston, Massachusetts, Difficult Conversations.


October 1, 2014: Marie Southard Ospina hits a beach in Spain wearing a low-rise bikini to see what reactions she gets.


October 11, 2014: This PBS piece looks at an upcoming vote in San Francisco on whether to increase the price of sugar-added drinks to fight fatness in the upcoming election. According to previous research and the people interviewed by PBS, raising the price of sugar-added drinks does not reduce consumption., _Proposition_E_%28November_2014%29


October 14, 2014: Harriet Hall at the Science-Based Medicine blog provides an in depth criticism of the movie Fed Up, pointing out its many inaccuracies in regard to the "obesity epidemic". However, she does so while supporting the goal of fighting "obesity", and she perpetuates the myth that diets can yield permanent weight loss, which is not true for the vast majority of fat people.


Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit human rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education, advocacy, and member support.


On the web:

October Video of the Month

October is Anti-Bullying Month. NAAFA has been working to end bullying in communities through our END BULLYING NOW! Campaign. We are all aware of the harm caused by unthinking people that target people based solely on the size of their bodies. Ahmir performs a song that speaks to the heart of anyone, child or adult, who has felt alone, ostracized or bullied. Know you're PERFECT to me.



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