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Old 08-22-2019, 10:33 AM
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'Celebrating' overweight celebrities


There are several actors these days who are overweight and go as far as to joke about their penchant for eating, lack of exercise etc in their films. Rebel Wilson is the one that comes to mind.

Should these overweight actresses be praised for shaking up the rigid, typical image of a Hollywood actor and being more representative of 'normal' people or is it irresponsible to be praising an unhealthy lifestyle?
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:46 AM
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There are several actors these days who are overweight and go as far as to joke about their penchant for eating, lack of exercise etc in their films. Rebel Wilson is the one that comes to mind.

Should these overweight actresses be praised for shaking up the rigid, typical image of a Hollywood actor and being more representative of 'normal' people or is it irresponsible to be praising an unhealthy lifestyle?
I think people should stop considering them (not overweight people, just celebs in general) to be role models.
I understand the whole body positive thing and learning not to be ashamed of how you look.
I think, at least in part, the issue is that people tend to slam them for promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. I'm sure some do promote that, but I see plenty of people not advocating to anyone to accumulate mass, but rather to be proud of how you look. When I see people point at Ashley Graham, for example, and telling her she shouldn't act the way she does (WRT teaching not to be ashamed) because it's so unhealthy, I feel like that's a strawman.


Short answer, I don't think anyone should be promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. I also don't think anyone should be shunned for not being ashamed of how they look. Maybe we should shun the people that are going out of their way to make others feel bad about themselves. It's a great recipe for an eating disorder.
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:50 AM
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It's not a simple binary and is more nuanced than that.
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:54 AM
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Telling society not to shame people for being fat is one thing. But obesity-glorification is another thing entirely.

Some related links:

Why I Glorify Obesity
Glorifying Obesity
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by oligopoly View Post
There are several actors these days who are overweight and go as far as to joke about their penchant for eating, lack of exercise etc in their films. Rebel Wilson is the one that comes to mind.

Should these overweight actresses be praised for shaking up the rigid, typical image of a Hollywood actor and being more representative of 'normal' people or is it irresponsible to be praising an unhealthy lifestyle?
I think the health-aspect is pretty much a complete red herring. Celebrities have been venerated for years for their hard-partying ways, for example, and even if they were subsequently shamed for the same thing, it wasn't because that sort of lifestyle doesn't exactly promote healthy habits. So I think the whole health-thing is really more of a convenient fig leaf than the real issue when it comes to body image.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:03 AM
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And often the ones who are celebrated for their beauty are photoshopped to death where they're not the result of surgery. How is that healthy? And how are the constant messages that you must look any way except the way you do look, which magazines and ads pound us all with time and again, healthy at all? And why would it be OK for a male comedian to be obese but not for a female one?

"Eat up all the time" is an unhealthy message, but it's not any message Wilson is sending. Meanwhile, lots of other celebs and the magazines which celebrate them tell us that we are all built wrong. That's not healthy!

Last edited by Nava; 08-22-2019 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:04 AM
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Telling society not to shame people for being fat is one thing. But obesity-glorification is another thing entirely.

Some related links:

Why I Glorify Obesity
Glorifying Obesity
god forbid fat people be happy

Last edited by Inner Stickler; 08-22-2019 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:23 AM
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Weight is a continuum, not a series of boxes. Being slim, slender, or skinny may be approved of, even fashionable, but being - or seeming - anorexic is emphatically not. Being chubby, plump, or heavy is the normal progression for most people, especially for mothers of several children. ("Matronly" became a euphemism for the heaviness associated with not losing weight after childbirth.) But morbid obesity is a medical problem that should be recognized as such.

There's plenty of evidence that girls, from preteen years into their twenties, feel pressure, either internal or peer pressure, to look like the images of beauty that are projected almost everywhere in western culture. For the past century, almost all of these images of female beauty were of thin women. Dieting, purging, anorexia, and bulimia are ubiquitous and pernicious. Breaking that feedback system has to be a good thing. Girls and boys can and should be taught that they are fine with their bodies, no matter that they don't look like supermodels or UFC fighters.

Even so, the extremes on both sides are medical issues and not mere aesthetic choices.

The woman in one of Velocity's links says:
Quote:
I want to be very clear here: I am glorifying obesity. I am also 100% saying that health is subjective, and that I am under no obligation to strive for what otherís consider ďhealthĒ if I do not want to. Nobody is.
Sure, and people also say this about drug use. "I can smoke/drink/drug if I want to: it's my body." We as a society have finally learned not to accept that as anything but self-destructive behavior. Not dealing with the pitfalls of obesity is equally self-destructive. Shouting "I'm self-destructing, bitch" at the world as a positive is another form of denial.

You don't recover from lifelong eating disorders any more than you recover from lifelong addictive behavior. I've struggled with weight all my life. You merely keep the temptations at arm's length one day or one meal at a time. Alcoholics who give up alcohol do feel healthier. People who lose massive amounts of weight do feel healthier. That doesn't solve all their other problems or turn them into different people, but it takes one huge issue off the table.

If all that doesn't work for you, try this. Go into a nursing home for the elderly. Nobody there will be morbidly obese. Because they all died relatively young. Then try telling yourself that health is subjective. Health isn't listening.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:27 AM
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I don't really care about fat actors one way or the other.

Models are a different thing, as their whole career is wrapped up in their body and image. I do think it's harmful to glorify anorexia, and it's harmful to glorify morbid obesity.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:28 AM
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The job of an actress (or actor) is not to represent normal people. It is to create fantasies that will sell tickets.
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god forbid fat people be happy
If they're happy, good for them. Audiences, particularly ticket sales, determine if a given actress/actor is selling the fantasy successfully. IOW, "I think I'm beautiful at any size" is one thing. "Do you think I am beautiful - if you do, buy a ticket" is not quite the same thing.

Body-shaming is not the same thing as declining approval, IMO. If someone wants to sell me tickets or post articles on the Internet telling me what they think about their own appearance, I reserve the right to my own opinion. That doesn't mean I stop people on the street and tell them they should lose fifty pounds.

Regards,
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:31 AM
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I think the health-aspect is pretty much a complete red herring. Celebrities have been venerated for years for their hard-partying ways, for example, and even if they were subsequently shamed for the same thing, it wasn't because that sort of lifestyle doesn't exactly promote healthy habits. So I think the whole health-thing is really more of a convenient fig leaf than the real issue when it comes to body image.
Good point. I don't think that glorifying or celebrating an unhealthy lifestyle is a good thing, but is being unapologetic about overeating or not exercising any worse than being apologetic about overdrinking, drug use, dangerous hobbies, or any other unhealthy/risky behavior?
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:37 AM
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I think the health-aspect is pretty much a complete red herring.
Yup.

Nobody says thin celebrities are 'promoting an unhealthy lifestyle' just because they're thin; or even for going on about how they stay that way. And yet many people have to live in an extremely unhealthy fashion if they're going to get that thin.

If people really are bragging about how little they move (as opposed to making jokes on the subject; I haven't seen Wilson's act and don't know which one she's doing), then criticize that, specifically; not their weight.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:40 AM
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Are we talking "celebrities" or "comedians/comediennes"? Because in this case, it makes a difference.

There is a long tradition of morbid obesity in comedy, the "Fat Funny Man." Whether they would openly admit it or not, people generally think fat is funny. Right or wrong, that's just how it is, and many professional comedians have astutely observed and exploited this quirk of human nature. I won't go and provide a tedious list of famously fat comic actors, we all know dozens of them, and you're all probably subconsciously thinking of one right this second.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:55 AM
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I think there's a certain contingent of people out there who have a very black and white idea about being overweight/obese. To them, there's no concept that someone could be overweight or obese AND beautiful- they're mutually exclusive in their minds. And so is the idea that you can celebrate a beautiful/confident/successful fat person without also condoning/promoting obesity/obesity-causing habits and lifestyles. They seem to have the attitude that praising anyone who's overweight or having an obese celebrity NOT being shamed for it is somehow encouraging/condoning obesity. There's no middle ground- either you're all in on shaming/being against obesity, or you're for it.

Most people see it as more of a gray area and also segregate celebrating professional achievements and confidence/comfort in their own skin from the idea that it's necessarily praising them for being obese. I mean, nobody's holding Rebel Wilson or Melissa McCarthy up as paragons of physical beauty, but they're both (IMO) very funny comediennes and regardless of how they look, they deserve recognition for that. And most people would agree that Ashley Graham is beautiful, even if she's not anywhere close to model-thin.
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:13 PM
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Yup.

Nobody says thin celebrities are 'promoting an unhealthy lifestyle' just because they're thin; or even for going on about how they stay that way. And yet many people have to live in an extremely unhealthy fashion if they're going to get that thin.

If people really are bragging about how little they move (as opposed to making jokes on the subject; I haven't seen Wilson's act and don't know which one she's doing), then criticize that, specifically; not their weight.
Nobody? Have you not seen the "eat a sammich" meme that happens whenever a celebrity thinner than a Kardashian posts on their Instagram? I'm exaggerating, but that is pretty common.
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:27 PM
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Nobody? Have you not seen the "eat a sammich" meme that happens whenever a celebrity thinner than a Kardashian posts on their Instagram? I'm exaggerating, but that is pretty common.
No; possibly because I'm not following celebrities on Instagram. Or, for the most part, elsewhere.

I will however withdraw the "nobody". There are a whole lot of people in the world, saying a whole lot of things; I should have known better than to say "nobody"'s saying anything whatsoever.
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:39 PM
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I think there's a certain contingent of people out there who have a very black and white idea about being overweight/obese. To them, there's no concept that someone could be overweight or obese AND beautiful- they're mutually exclusive in their minds. [ . . . ]

nobody's holding Rebel Wilson or Melissa McCarthy up as paragons of physical beauty, but they're both (IMO) very funny comediennes and regardless of how they look, they deserve recognition for that.
Just looked at some pictures.

They're neither of them conventionally pretty by current standards. But I think they're both good looking.

I agree that whether their acts are good has nothing to do with what they look like.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:08 PM
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Just looked at some pictures.

They're neither of them conventionally pretty by current standards. But I think they're both good looking.

I agree that whether their acts are good has nothing to do with what they look like.
I wasn't trying to say they were ugly or unattractive in any way, only that they are both obese, and their main claims to fame is their talent for comedy and acting, not their looks or obesity.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:16 PM
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Ah. Gotcha.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:19 PM
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Professional actors are exactly the type of people I would expect to gain or lose significant amounts of weight (which swings probably arent healthy), or otherwise radically alter their appearance, depending on what part they are to play. Either way, not seeing any bearing on 'normal' people (not that acting is abnormal, but it's a special requirement as far as protean appearance goes. Same with breaking into funny accents).
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:00 PM
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No; possibly because I'm not following celebrities on Instagram. Or, for the most part, elsewhere.

I will however withdraw the "nobody". There are a whole lot of people in the world, saying a whole lot of things; I should have known better than to say "nobody"'s saying anything whatsoever.
Off the top of my head, I remember both Kate Moss (supermodel) and Calista Flockhart (actress best known for playing the title character in Ally McBeal and later for marrying Harrison Ford). Both were heavily (uh, bad choice of words) - letís say strongly criticized for how thin they were. The Wikipedia articles for both celebrities mention that criticism of them, as significant as it was.

So body-shaming of celebrities does go both ways, though admittedly not nearly as often for being too thin as it is for being too fat.
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:22 PM
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No; possibly because I'm not following celebrities on Instagram. Or, for the most part, elsewhere.
The "eat a sammich" meme was around the Internet long before there was ever such a thing as Instagram.
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:22 PM
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Telling society not to shame people for being fat is one thing. But obesity-glorification is another thing entirely.

Some related links:

Why I Glorify Obesity
Glorifying Obesity
From the first link:
Quote:
One definition of the word that I particularly love is "to cause to be or treated as being more splendid, excellent, etc. than [it] would normally be considered."
That's one millimeter above rejecting fat-shaming.

The second article is somewhat problematic, I grant you. Or just lacks development. (As every writing teacher has told me, ever.)
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:20 AM
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If all that doesn't work for you, try this. Go into a nursing home for the elderly. Nobody there will be morbidly obese. Because they all died relatively young. Then try telling yourself that health is subjective. Health isn't listening.
I wish people would remember this when they complain about how obese people cost people tax money for health care. No, most of the morbidly obese will die before getting anywhere near Medicare. It's the people who live on and on and on who are a tax burden.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:31 AM
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I wish people would remember this when they complain about how obese people cost people tax money for health care. No, most of the morbidly obese will die before getting anywhere near Medicare.
Maybe not Medicare, but the obese definitely still cost people in terms of putting a burden on the overall healthcare system. There are spillover costs in insurance premiums, the overall burden in patients coming in for treatment, the rise in diabetes, cancer, heart disease, all of which requires resources, etc. As for tax money, I'm sure there is still some way that the rise in obesity requires some form of taxpayer funding, just less directly than Medicare.

There is simply no way that an increase in obesity is good for the healthcare system or taxpayer; there is no way it is a positive.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:58 AM
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Nobody's saying it's a positive thing. What they're trying to say is that it shouldn't be a constant, societally sanctioned source of shame. Nobody has to approve of someone's fatness, but nor is it really their business either, and to some degree we all live in glass houses when it comes to bad habits.

A lot of it is the hypocrisy that surrounds fat-shaming. Society praises the good looking and thin, without regard for how they got that way, and they demonize fat people with the same disregard. You're thin because you smoke, and you're borderline anorexic? Fine, as long as you're not actually anorexic. But if you're fat because you got injured or sick, and can't exercise, or because you got pregnant or whatever, and you're a lazy piece of shit who can't put the fork down who should live under a bridge or carry a bell. For the most part, obesity is a sort of eating disorder, but society doesn't really see it that way.

I would agree though, that celebrating it isn't really the right thing to do- we don't really want to make it something that people strive to be. But we don't need to demonize and shame people who are fat either.
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:29 PM
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I have the theory that criticizing the weight of others would go down a lot better if anyone had the sense that anyone who did that actually gave even the smallest, tiniest damn about the health of the other subject, as opposed to looking for an easy target of mockery or having their personal aesthetic sensibilities being offended.

But I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a situation, which tells me something, personally. I think many of the folks talked about in this thread have that same opinion, thus the positivity.

Last edited by Leaper; 08-26-2019 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:51 PM
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After having someone provide me with honest feedback when I was young (after I admittedly criticized a stranger) I decided the following.

1) Never criticize anyones body shape as I have my own faults and do not know their story.
2) Prioritize valuing and encouraging cardio fitness over any body shape.

Even more after Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder almost certainly lead to the early death of a friend.

Low Cardio fitness and Physical inactivity are what needs to be targeted, not an individuals BMI, even if the countries collective BMI goes down by addressing those items. Some people will be large even if they can out run most of us "thin" or "athletic" body type people.
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Old 08-28-2019, 07:07 AM
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looking for an easy target of mockery or having their personal aesthetic sensibilities being offended.
Get a dose of fatlogic, HAES and the myriad, bizarre excuses to not eat less and you might find yourself with a slightly different point of view.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:49 PM
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Iím not a big fan of ďcelebrity cultureĒ in general, and I think people pay far too much attention to their opinions, fashion, politics, products and views on health.

The amount of misinformation out there regarding health and nutrition continues to astound. I donít see why people of any size canít have positive role models. It is not physically or psychologically healthy to push unrealistic norms, or Martha Stewart levels of accomplishment, or endless striving and consumption. Everybody loves to eat, and most people would benefit from more exercise. Saying you like to eat and dislike exercise is not groundbreaking and many would agree.

That said, shaming overweight people is unproductive and mean spirited. And healthy behaviours, diets and exercise should be encouraged. Although diet and exercise habits vary considerably, a lot of attention is paid to levels which are fairly extreme.

Praise is perhaps the wrong word. I think Jim Gaffigan, who jokes about his unhealthy lifestyle, is hilarious. I am under no obligation to consider him a role model for how I should eat or exercise, though. Isnít it possible to appreciate ďlargerĒ celebrities for their talents without losing sight of common sense and healthy behaviours?

For that matter, I would love to go to a fast food restaurant and get a combo that includes a sandwich, healthy salad, quite a small quantity of fries or onion rings or delicious but unhealthy food, and a diet drink or healthy beverage. Something that is overall healthy but recognizes that delicious but less healthy food in small quantities is a realistic compromise.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:34 PM
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Get a dose of fatlogic, HAES and the myriad, bizarre excuses to not eat less and you might find yourself with a slightly different point of view.
And? I donít see what that has to do with not believing that anybody on the other side of the debate truly has the best interests of the people they criticize in mind. Those links, as far as I can tell, are about the overweight person side, which my statement did not address.

(And is fatlogic any kind of spinoff of the infamous fatpeoplehate?)
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Old 08-30-2019, 02:22 AM
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The "eat a sammich" meme was around the Internet long before there was ever such a thing as Instagram.
And it was a meme that pre-dated the internet.
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Old 08-30-2019, 02:29 AM
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For that matter, I would love to go to a fast food restaurant and get a combo that includes a sandwich, healthy salad, quite a small quantity of fries or onion rings or delicious but unhealthy food, and a diet drink or healthy beverage. Something that is overall healthy but recognizes that delicious but less healthy food in small quantities is a realistic compromise.
Do subs count? I think your nearest Pans&Company is on the other side of the Atlantic, but maybe you can convince them to start offering franchises in Canada...
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:10 AM
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Does the Healthy at Every Size movement truly claim that health is possible at........every size?

If 200 lbs, I can understand, but what about 500?
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:42 AM
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Everyone's getting fat 'cept Mama Cass.
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