Dr. Pattie Thomas wrote a book called Taking Up Space: How Eating Well and Exercising Regularly Changed My Life that is just really awesome. If you haven’t read it, it’s well worth checking out.
The first chapter of the book has 10 fat myths. As I read them, I had so many ideas and thoughts and things I wanted to say about each one. I contacted Dr. Thomas and she said that it would be okay for me to use her list to talk about each of the myths here. So: welcome to a 10-week series.
The second myth in her book is Fat is Mental Illness.
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I’ve thought about this topic, this myth, and for some reason I struggled with it. It made me uncomfortable. And I finally realized the reason is because I was afraid I wouldn’t have the skill to write it in a way that didn’t sound like this:
We may be fat, but at least we aren’t mentally ill.
And that isn’t where I want to go. While it is a myth that being fat is a mental illness, that doesn’t mean that having a mental disability is somehow “worse” than being fat (or vice versa.) Or that you can’t be fat and have a mental disability at the same time.