forAnima – PostDetail Blog (reblogged post) The Stigma of Being an Overweight Vegan and the Rise of Fat Shaming

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I’m reblogging this article as this is an issue which comes up for me time and time again and it was really empowering for me to read this. Many people make assumptions about me, my lifestyle and my overall attitude based on my body-size and I get very tired of feeling as if I need to justify my weight to people who hardly know me.

I eat primarily whole foods and am physically active AND fat. I’m working very hard at increasing my muscle mass, but gaining long-term health is not an overnight job, nor is it a vegan issue.

Love one another, and love yourselves.

forAnima – PostDetail Blog. (click link to read original article)

Fat and body shaming itself is a horrible and an unfortunate reality but fat shaming within the vegan community is even more indicative of what needs to change in society. As the vegan diet continues to rise and portray itself as a trendy way to lose weight, the more we see vegans being pictured as super slim and health conscious individuals. It brings to mind the question; since when has health become something that can be depicted?

Advertisements from the likes of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and PETA have created a world where going vegan or vegetarian is a means to look “perfect” to lose the “blubber” and portray overweight people as something to be feared, to be disgusted and we have tolerated this kind of body shaming and fat hatred for far too long. Is it responsible for us as a community to defend and support advertisements like these? I am by no means saying that we should support being overweight or obese as a healthy way to live or to stop talking about how obesity is one of the biggest health hazards for people, but to approach the subject from a negative and demeaning point of view is detrimental to everyone.

I often find myself holding back from claiming to be a vegan because the stigma within this community has made me too uncomfortable.  It has come to a point where because I don’t fit some preconceived notion of what a vegan looks like I’m somehow less of one. Since when has veganism become a diet rather than an ethical and moral decision to abstain from meat and meat products for the sake of the animal? Animal rights and activism was my only reason for becoming a vegetarian almost ten years ago and my decision to go vegan was yet again for the sake of preserving a connection to animals and the fight against the horrible and demeaning acts of the meat industry.

More and more the term “junk food vegan” has become a permanent label for overweight vegans and it’s an unnecessary term because your weight is not the only indicator of how healthy you are. Health is much more than your looks, pant size and your hip to waist ratio and more about HOW YOU FEEL. The vegan community is both one of love and hate which is why we have an undeterred stigma because the mindset of being “exclusive” and “above” has taken over.  We have fought so hard to for the rights of animals that we have somehow become people who put down those who don’t follow our philosophies and they have branched from hatred against the omnivore to overweight vegans as well.

We should be celebrating loving yourself no matter the body shape, weight or looks and increasing animal activism so we can create a world where more and more people are starting to build better connections with animals beyond their dinner plates. We should be supporting healthy eating and not healthy looks and educating people on portion size, healthier grains and flours and exercise instead of creating negative ideals and aspirations.  Positivity should be spilling from every advertisement, every commercial and every blog post.

We should move away from the “angry vegan” to the one that accepts every version of the word. If you went vegan to lose weight or you’re vegan only once a week or you’re someone who is above your recommended healthy weight, we should be accepting everyone no matter what. Every move toward veganism, every person involved in creating a better world for animals should be loved and accepted and those who aren’t as willing to change their way of eating – accept them too because beyond our diets and our ideals we are all human beings and we all deserve to live in a world brimming with positivity and acceptance.

Love yourself, support animal rights and most of all BE KIND.

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About couleewind

I'm a 41 year old woman from a small city in Alberta Canada. I am whimsical and bitter-sweet and am essentially a marshmallow in a porcupine suit. I collect Pez dispensers and books and I love to talk, although I do tend to be fairly introspective. The sort of content which you will find here will vary depending on the day, my mood and what’s going on in my world or of interest to me. I mainly blog as method of reflecting on my day and on my life at the time of the post. I have a history of struggling with social anxiety and depression, as well as type two diabetes, and through living a plant-based, wholistically centered life I've made great strides in these areas. This blog is meant to reflect where I'm at in my life, and how I'm moving toward creating the life I see myself having in my dreams. I will often discuss, whole foods, meditation, personal growth and my day to day struggles and victories. I am also a highschool drop out who is returning to school at age 42, and a person who lives on a very tight fixed income currently, this will also be reflected in my blog.

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