Dear America, Get Over Your Fat Phobia

This post brought to you by the dozens of people who e-mail and comment to me in order to provide unsolicited dietary advice at least daily that I should stop eating carbs in order to lose weight.

Dear America, get over your fat phobia.

Seriously, being overweight is nothing more than a simple fact. Weight is an indicator of health – not the definition. SEVEN out of TEN people in this country are overweight… you can’t judge and be afraid of  70% of America and still be happy with your own life. After having lost over 100lbs and keeping it off for 3 years I feel slightly qualified to talk on the topics of Fat Acceptance and Fat Phobia.

I’ve been shouting this message as loudly as I can for as long as I’ve had people willing to listen, but clearly I haven’t been doing my job well enough because just this week I had people on my own Facebook page tell me I just needed to drop my carbs in order to lose weight. Um, no. In this post, I’ll tell you what I actually need to do if I wanted to lose weight. But before we can talk about that though, we need to establish a few things.

Stacy of PaleoParents Lifts Heavy

I am strong.

 PaleoParents Family Photo at Mount Vernon Farm for Beyond BaconPhoto Credit: Aimee Buxton at Mount Vernon Farm

I am a mother and wife.

PrimalPalate Stacy Skin After PLO
Photo Credit: Bill Staley

I am a beautiful (from the inside).

   Stacy of PaleoParents is Healthy


After losing over 100 lbs and keeping it off for 3 years, I am STILL FAT.

And guess what, that’s perfectly OK. I’m not asking for your help to lose more weight. I’m not asking for your advice. I’m not seeking medical or holistic intervention. Because I know why my weight plateaued and what it takes to lose more – and because I’m finally healthy, I’m perfectly OK with staying where I am for a while. And I don’t need anyone’s permission except my own.

Why being healthy is SEPARATE from your weight.

You know what wasn’t healthy? When I was drastically losing weight and ignoring that I wasn’t digesting food properly. That my nails were brittle and my hair was falling out. That my hormones were so disregulated that I drove my family to fear and I was unable to handle the stress of finishing a book. That all of this caused an autoimmune condition flare. Not to mention, back then as soon as I’d eat even a moderate amount of carbohydrates (no more than 150g/day) I ballooned into a water retaining monster and couldn’t stop weight gain. Plus, the year-long battle with depression.

None of this is unusual, Chris Kresser, Paul Jaminet and Stefani Ruper (my personal favorite) have tons of information on why women need carbs for healthy thyroid function and cortisol regulation. It was really hard for me to choose to quit losing weight and focus on health. I wrote about it on the blog several times, I talk about it on the podcast and it is a daily struggle with myself to remember that I’m nourishing and healing my body, finding my body’s optimal health – not on a diet to lose weight.

As a cross-fitting mother of 3 with my own very active “business” (this blog, podcast, cookbooks, social media, etc.) and a very demanding full-time job – I think the fact that I have energy at all speaks for itself. And all the health issues I discussed above? Resolved. I’m even sleeping better now that I consume some carbs at night. My skin is clearing up as I focus on healing foods like bone broth and organ meats and, although I’m not losing weight anymore, I’m not gaining either, even though I’ve successfully reintroduced moderate carbohydrates (safe starches) when my body tells me it wants them.

As a measure of women’s health, menstruation is by far one of the best. Never in my life have I had a period “sneak” up on me. Over the years of being paleo my cramping and regulation had improved, but ultimately my body’s Estrogen Dominance was driven by a hormone imbalance. My menstruation and hormone balance didn’t come until I began to introduce safe starches. And now, I get my period and am sincerely surprised because I had no idea it was coming, no premenstrual symptoms at all! That’s insane compared to the raging loon I once was!

Hopefully this clarifies the idea SO many of you have told me about, this simple solution of “just eat less carbs.” That solution doesn’t work for me. I’ve talked many times about having to be careful and moderate my carb consumption to maintain these delicate balances (without a gallbladder I have to eat carbs, yet as previously metabolically broken I can’t eat too many). Among other recommendations that don’t work, Intermittent Fasting is another for very similar and detrimental health reasons. With that said, many of you believe that a woman can’t be over 200lbs and still be healthy. What’s my alternative?

If I were on a diet I’d have to do 1 of 2 things:

  1. Starve myself. I’d have to starve my body. Because that’s what a weight loss diet is. It deprives your body of calories, or carbs, or fat or whatever your metric of starvation is, in order for your body to lose weight. And the only scenario in which this is healthy is if you’re still satiated and your body is nourished while you have a caloric deficit.
  2. Quit running Paleo Parents. I gave this a lot of thought over the past couple of months. As I snack on bacon and apples as I work late on posts, edit books, respond to e-mails and generally give of myself back to the community – I think about what I need. And frankly, I need more sleep. I need less stress. I need more time to exercise. I need more quality time with my family – these are things that nourish my being, things that keep me from desiring the occasional alcohol, the paleo treats and the snacks I’m not actually hungry for. Admittedly, I absolutely should stop doing those things and focus on weight loss. However, there is NO way I can do that and still run everything that this site entails.

I don’t want to stop running the site, I have chosen this path for a reason and happy to give of myself in order to (potentially) help others. It’s not just me, there are so many of us in the Paleo community who wholeheartedly admit to each other that our health took a bit of hit when we started giving of ourselves to the cause. We sit at computers, we have stress from the insanity of people behind anonymity of the internet, we stay up late creating content that’s valuable to you; we spend less time focused on ourselves. It’s no surprise to me, when I look at the progression of my weight loss timeline, that my plateau hit around the time most of you found us.

That’s not to say that people can’t lose weight and get healthier as they become popular paleo bloggers – but that is to say, it’s not the case for me. And in order to maintain my health and give back to this community, I’m not willing to go on a diet.

So, if I’m satiated, and nourished, and healthywho gives a flying rat’s patooty what the heck my body fat percentage is? Sadly, though, quite a few of you do. Even if you think you accept me for who I am, if you’ve ever responded to my posts about being happy with who I am with a suggestion of improvement of any kind – be it of a sincere place of wanting to help or not – it is you who is not able to be happy with who I am. I didn’t ask for your suggestions of improvement, so why do you feel compelled to give them? And that leads me to the essential point… why do you care what my body composition is?

Fat Acceptance is a term we all need to learn

Most people care about what someone else’s body composition is, because they’re fat phobic or unable to accept it in some capacity. We have been taught for years to think of being overweight as a personal, moral failing and something that is extremely shameful. I think everyone should read this op-ed in the Times that talks about how exaggerated/unscientific the supposed correlation between weight and mortality risk is. Then you should read this CNN article with cited sources about how you can be fit and fat.

Then, I want to ask you again: who gives a flying rat’s patooty what the heck my body fat percentage is?

I’m tired of being embarrassed. I’m tired of being scared. I’m tired of hiding behind the caveat that I’ll lose weight again as soon as I buckle down.

Because I don’t have to. I’m healthy. I’m smaller than I was when I went into puberty (a hormonal set-point for women when it comes to fertility, their driver of health). I’ve lost over 100lbs and kept it off for 3 years. Why the hell would anyone create any standard of weight I should lose?

And if you change your thought process for me, if you accept me, that’s how you should feel about everyone around you.

You should welcome the majority of people into your loving arms. Embrace them. Smile and say hi in the elevator. Hold the door open for them. Make eye contact at the grocery store. Do all the things you do for “normal” people, because the obese will know you think differently of them. They see it in your body language. They see it in your actions. They feel it the way your tone resonates.

I was once obese. And I am the same woman then as I am today. I’m smaller. Smarter, perhaps. But there’s no reason I should be treated differently today than I was 3 years ago – and sadly, I am. I went through a tremendous amount of internal turmoil as I realized I had been discriminated against and treated poorly as an obese child, teen and adult. The only way I realized that, was by becoming smaller and seeing how differently the world was in a smaller body.

What Can You Do

Here are some thoughts from the articles linked above that I think are essential for us all to think about:

  • How many of the deaths blamed on fat actually happen when people are diagnosed as fat instead of being diagnosed and treated for an illness?
    If only my being overweight could’ve been seen as a SYMPTOM, instead of the CAUSE of my health conditions.
  • Then there are the fat people who did everything their doctors recommended to lose weight … and died from dangerous diet drugs, from starvation diets, from mutilating weight-loss surgeries. I also hear from many people who live with the devastating physical and psychological consequences of such weight-loss attempts.
    Oh, the emotional disorders I had from food & dieting…
  • A survey medical professionals who specialize in caring for fat people found that they had high levels of weight bias, viewing us as “lazy, stupid, and worthless.”
    Fat discrimination is the ONLY appearance-based discrimination not specifically addressed by Government law. With everything that I do, I dare you to tell me I’m lazy and stupid.

I’ve long been vocal about the fact that I still am overweight, yet very healthy. Health has become the most important thing to me. Looks like science might be supporting the idea that scales & BMI indicators (which would put Olympic athletes as “overweight” from muscle) might not be the best tools to help people, too.

So I beg of you. Let go of your preconceived notions. Let go of judgements. Think of weight as you do hair color. If you’re genuinely concerned for someone’s health, treat them the way you’d want to be treated. Treat them with honesty, integrity and empathy – like you would someone with a disease or health disorder – because I guarantee you that’s what they have. The weight gain is simply a symptom.

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  • Vanessa

    Great article!! It’s always hard to wrap your head around health versus body image. I am needing to get my health straight. What kind of safe starches do you like? I have tried low carb and my body vehemently rejects that…still trying to figure out my carb threshold. Am working with Mary Vance in CA and she has been a huge help. Bless you and your beautiful family. We made the chocolate fudge frosting from ELaD for birthday cupcakes tonight. HUGE HIT and I enjoyed the treats. A LOT!!

    • fruit and root vegetables are my 95% of safe starches, I occasionally eat white potatoes (skins off) and white rice as splurges – they’re nutritionally void really, so I’d prefer to get dense sources of starch 🙂

  • Tara

    Great post, Stacy! I’ve only recently “found” you/your blog/your cookbook, and I really appreciate the effort you put into the recipes and suggestions and advice for those wanting to eat well, be healthy, and learn more about Paleo. I’m sorry about the junk that comes back at you. Please remember you are appreciated!

  • huntersmoon

    Good for you (I cannot believe the gall of anyone writing to tell you what to do!!). I saw you at Paleo FX in Austin last month and was really pleased to see you. I had never heard of your blog before but I had been afraid to go to Paleo FX because I did not have a perfect Paleo body. It was so refreshing and confidence inspiring to see you (and more than a few other) “real” people who obviously live real lives and have the same limitations and struggles the rest of us do. I have put on 15 pounds as I hit my 40s despite being paleo, despite exercising 5-7 days a week, despite being a homesteader (which entails fencing, shoveling dirt, wielding a pick ax, being active and healthy outside growing my own food) – despite a very healthy lifestyle. It has been very defeating, until I saw that I don’t have to “not count” as a primal person just because I haven’t found the source of my weight gain yet. So I want to thank you for being an active voice to remind people that you can be absolutely healthy and strong and not at a perfect weight. I would rather be strong and slightly larger in the middle than I’d like than be “skinny fat” with no muscles or nutritional wisdom.

    • You’d be SHOCKED what gall people have over the internet. Most come directly to our inbox because people are afraid of retaliation in public forums… they like to vent to what they think is just a screen, forgetting there’s a person with feelings on the other side. We’re getting better at handling it (i.e. deleting and never thinking about it again)

  • paleocupboard

    This is a beautiful post and so many people need to read this. Thank you for being brave enough to write this and to face this issue head on. As someone who has struggled with body issues my whole life, I am very thankful for your candid words and your honesty. Thank you for giving so much to the paleo community and putting others before yourself, thank you for not giving a flying rats patooty about what negative Nancy’s have to say, and thank you for reminding all of us that we are beautiful no matter what our size or shape.

  • I’m glad to hear you’ve reintroduced healthy carbs. . . I consume limited carbs (about 100grams/day) and find that as long as it’s not a bunch of GF treats, I do just fine. I’ve been thinking about you a lot as I’ve started this transition and wanted to share something I came across. . . not because you need to change anything about you, but I think that, like me, you research, change, and grow as time goes on and things evolve. I’ve recently learned about a program that utilizes a combination of S and E meals (S- basically paleo meals, healthy fat, low carb/ E- lean meals with moderate carbs) in a manner that allows our bodies to burn one fuel (fat or carb) at a time and not reach into “crossover” which is when our bodies try to burn both fuels at once (leads to fat storage). At first, I didn’t think the plan would fit with my nutrition ideals, but as I learned more, I decided it was very adaptable to our life. I still struggle with the E meals because I’m definitely a low carb mindset. . . but I know how important it is to a woman’s body to have proper carbohydrates to function as it should. I won’t go into more here, but if you want to know more, feel free to email and I will be happy to share the book or more details about this way of eating. Part of me says I will never be as thin as I think I’d like to be. . . but the reality is, as long as I’m healthy, that’s all that matters. I do think that I could lose another 25lbs after this pregnancy before I’m in a truly healthy place.

    • I’m not really interested in planning meals like that because it causes disordered eating for me, but glad you’re also finding what works for you – thanks!

      • I’m wondering if I will have that issue as well. . . I struggle with the E side of things. But I see so many success stories that I’m trying. 🙂 Sounds like you are doing great with adapting your nutrition to suit your body!

  • Tracy

    Thanks for always putting yourself out there for the rest of our benefit. You are a total hero to me and I’m sorry people are so judgmental. You’re awesome, stay strong!

  • Amen to that sister!

  • tastyeatsathome

    I just want to tell you that I love you. This is an incredible post. Sharing.

  • You are absolutely adorable. Absolutely. Thanks also for the encouragement. 🙂

  • Sarah

    Amen! I STILL struggle with health & fat loss & body acceptance within myself & from others even after losing a considerable amount of weight over the last couple years. Only in the last 6 months since going paleo & maintaining that loss, instead of the steady creeping back of weight, have I been able to focus more on health & not completely obsess about a number on the scale, which always inevitably leads me to self sabotage. I am still overweight, obese even, but I’m VASTLY healthier than I was! And YET, I still find myself hesitating to do the things I want to sometimes because of my size or what other people will say. I am sometimes crippled by my own fat phobia still. It’s something which I’m steadily making gains against 😉 against & I will get over myself, I promise! In the meantime, you are an inspiration! Throwing out my scale was a 1st step, now I intend to MEAN it when I say I don’t care what I weigh anymore, only how I feel & about my health. Thank you!

  • Thank you for writing this post. For years I hated myself and felt like a failure because I tried to be healthy by diet. Diets never ever worked. It wasn’t until I got rid of sugar and grains that I actually started to improve my health. I am also strong and beautiful and thank you for reminding me to be kind and accepting of myself and others just as we are. I am looking forward to reading Beyond Bacon and appreciate the hard work you do on the blog, podcast, and books! Sending love!!!

  • claudia

    Thank you for this message. Your pictures and positive affirmations about your life and what YOU need brought tears to me eyes. I don’t know you and I am extremely proud of you and your post. You and your family are beautiful and healthy, I can see it (and I love your book). Keep up the good work and know that many people support you.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I am focusing on health as well, that alone is not easy when there is a lot of stress which I am having right now. I have plateaued as well but I learned a good lesson doing the 21DSD. I was being very, very strict. I lost the first few days and then stopped and then started feeling not so good…really not so good. I went ahead and finished it but when it was over started adding my healthy carbs back in, a little bit of fruit once/day and sweet potatoes…and squashes. What do you know? I felt better instantly and lost a little bit as soon as I started back. Its so great to learn these little things about our individual bodies. And you know what…I’ve got the rolls and bulges and stretch marks but when I know I am feeding my body to be healthy I just feel good and I feel sexier and more confident because I am making good choices! And I don’t feel guilty when I indulge in a little rice when my husband takes me out for Thai food or a bit of potato at the amazing Peruvian restaurant we have in Portland…and the amazing yucca they bring out for us gluten free folks. Thanks for showing us what it means to be a real woman, mom, and wife.

  • Bravo.

  • Amanda

    Amen! I can’t thank you enough for writing this. It will be posted on my FB wall every few months 😉 I am sick of being told I am fat and lazy! I have lost 75lbs in the last two and a half years. I am hovering around 270 right now because I am focusing on healing my gut and figuring out all my food intolerance When my body heals Ill lose more weight. Between managing a blog, starting a magazine and raising the kids I have stress. But you know what? I feel awesome. I am healing. I am whole. I don’t need a-holes telling me I just need to go to the gym more and stop eating so much. I eat more vegetables than a vegetarian. They can bite me. Thanks for this!

  • Gail Bolander

    You’re such a bad ass! how much was that dead lift? I’m sure that you have helped and touched many more people than not. Sometimes you just can’t fix the ugly on the inside of someone unless you’re a Psychologist. Health issues are dealt with Physicians and are 2 totally different issues. You’re doing an AMAZING job with this blog. you and your hubby are such an inspiration to many.

  • Rock on, sister! Absolutely loved this!

  • Audrey Volt

    Thank you so much for this post Stacy. Thank you for being you, and for putting yourself out there. You are so right, it’s about being healthy, and the heck with your weight. I struggle with this, because I have the same extra 10 pounds that I’ve always had, yet I assumed I would lose the weight with paleo. What I gained with paleo, is a healthy body, and I feel great and have lots of energy. But I get really embarrassed about my extra weight. I need to get over it and enjoy my good health. I love your honesty, and you are a beautiful woman. Thanks for sharing.

  • meatified

    I love, love, love this post. It is SO important. I didn’t get into this lifestyle for aesthetics, but for health; and yet so many people seem to conflate the two. I love you for posting this (and calling out some of those awful comments) but mostly just for being such an amazing model of how life is supposed to be lived. You, your health and that of your family: those are the important things!

  • Stacy Toth, you are awesome!

  • Megan Ancheta

    You tell ‘um, sister!!

  • Marike

    The image above your ‘I am beautiful’ statement is exactly that – BEAUTIFUL!!! The before and after pics speak for themselves, you are an inspiration, honestly!!! It’s all that really matters – a healthy, happy family! Thank you!

  • Very nice post. It’s amazing how many people equate body weight to health and cannot perceive how it can be anything but.

  • Naz

    What an insightful blog post, I applaud you for standing up and sharing this message. I can’t speak to how it feels to be overweight/obese and to have people ignore you and treat you differently. I will be honest here and put my hand up and say yes I’ve been one of those people who have judged in the past. I think as a society we are so fixated on the outward appearance of a person that it’s almost just a knee-jerk reaction to want to sum up a person within the first few seconds of looking at them. Weight is definitely not the indicator of health, I had a friend growing up who was stick thin, yet the amount of food she ate and the quality of the food (think fast food, sweets, sugary laden food etc etc) and her lack of exercise told a different story!

    There is a difference between being skinny and unhealthy and carrying some extra weight and being healthy. Like you say above you’re juggling so many things, being a wife, a mother, a blogger, an author, a full-time job and I’m sure a million other things! People with much less responsibilities struggle to keep healthy yet this is what you do. You take the time to inform others of healthy eating practices, you’re not just preaching but living a healthy life yourself, you’re active, your children and husband are healthy and while that may not equate to skinny you… you have health!

    You should be proud of this fact. You and only you know what is right for your body and when you live a paleo/primal lifestyle for a while you become a lot more connected to your body and understand what things are good for it and what things aren’t. People want to dish out unsolicited advice let them, take it in one ear and out the other, because certainly those people are not perfect, no one is. We’re all just doing the best we can and we’re lucky to have people in the community like you who willingly give their time and dedication to educate and inform us… not to mention share delicious recipes!

    All the best Stacy! Keep your head up and keep rocking on!

    P.S. The statement you made about your menstrual cycle could have been written by me! I’ve had the exact same change since going paleo 🙂

  • LauraPh2009

    Thank you for writing this. I lost 85 pounds 3 years ago and have kept it off. I feel so happy right now and strong. I have always said that I have another 30-40 to lose but I do not want to! I am stronger than ever and feel good. I have had this nagging thought that you touched on… I know I can lose the rest “when I buckle down”. The problem is that THAT thought freaks me out. I finally found a bit of balance in my eating and peace in my food choices. The stress of dieting freaks me out and I fear that as a result I will go back to my old ways. I am going to be at peace and continue to focus on being healthy.

  • Sarah Zullo

    Thank you! I come from a family that tends to be fat but strong. I am constantly beating myself up to lose more weight but it’s not possible without more exercise and starving myself which I can’t maintain for long. Lately I’ve been trying to turn my fat phobia towards myself around. Maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be? I do know that since I have been flirting with Paleo my blood pressure is the lowest I have ever seen. But I haven’t lost a pound despite cutting out grain and upping exercise.

    • Sarah, focus on going paleo for the health benefits and advantages, then whatever health your body wants to find it should do so normally. Of course, if you’ve had life-long health issues (like me) it can take more tinkering 🙂

    • Jo

      I cut out grains for 2-3 years and it did nothing for me. I’ve finally added white flour back in, on a daily basis and I felt great right away. Some digestive upset, but that has steadily improved over the past few months. Paelo is likely great for some, but not for everyone. I’d take care with lowered blood pressure.

  • Beautifully written and I love you for speaking the words so many of us think. You’re awesome Stacy!

  • Erin Weitzel

    Bravo Stacy. I saw those comments on Facebook and was furious on your behalf.
    You are so lovely, and it is incredibly obvious how much your husband and children adore you (and vice versa!). Really, who else matters?

  • Rebecca G.

    Thank you for sharing. I know that accepting where you are has been a journey and I look forward to the day when I too can say, “this is where I am and I’m proud” and be able to ignore the little voice in my head saying “but you need to work on (insert any number of options).” You are truly a role model for women everywhere.

  • Rachel

    Stacey I love you! You’re so awesome! I don’t know you personally but I feel blessed to have found your website and the sweet podcast! Thank you so much for your spectacular example and encouragement!

  • Aimée Prendergast

    I love this, thanks for sharing. I am not overweight so I do not know the struggles that you have had. However, that does not mean I am/was happy with my shape. I have consciously started eating more carbs – trying to hit more than 150g a day. I was never very low previously so thought I was fine. My nails were peeling, my acne was really bad, my digestion was crap – fluctuated between ‘the runs’ and not going at all. I was really unhappy. More carbs for the last 6 weeks and my nails are great, skin is grea and digestion is v stable. Health is something that is constantly evolving. On paper I looked great but I wasn’t really. All the best!

  • Kristin

    I LOVE this!!!!…………you are an role model for me!!

  • Great post! Thank you so much, Stacy! Also, thanks for the CNN & NY Times article linkage! My body has a very low tolerance for carbs, which has contributed to a series of health and nutrient malabsorption issues, which has, in turn, been a serious detriment to my physically, socially, and intellectually active lifestyle. I’m starting to be able to tolerate some starches in moderation (i.e. sweet potato and winter squashes), and I wondered which starches you’re referring to when you say “safe starches”? As I work my way toward better health, I’ll slowly reintroduce safe starches, and I wondered where you started and which starches worked for you?

    • fruit and root veggies are how I get 95% of my carbohydrates – I will occasionally eat white potatoes (without skin) and white rice, but since they’re nutritionally void I try to focus on other nutrient dense sources of carbs. Have you looked into protocols for low stomach acid to help with nutrient absorption? That process and supplements really helped me!

      • Thanks so much for your response! Graduating to root vegetables and starchier fruits seems like a good route (I can’t wait to have plantains again!). I’m working with a nutritionist who has me avoiding acidic citrus while taking several gut healing supplements, including mucosagen, digestive enzymes, probiotics, etc. I will have to look into low stomach acid protocols, though!

      • Trina

        Paul Jaminet says white potatoes are good food (they actually have more protein that an egg yolk according to something I heard from Ray Peat). Now white rice is just an quick/easy form of glucose.

  • Kelly

    I have been so inundated with the fat is bad message – from my parents to the world around me for my entire life – that I find it impossible to accept myself. I believe it causes me to sabatoge what I am trying to do for the good of my health every single time. For close to 20 years I have been trying to break this cycle and it continues to be so incredibly difficult. I wish I could find the secret of fat acceptance in regards to my own body. And Stacy you really are an inspiration in that, so thank you. And you are beautiful and amazing!

  • shuck

    Fantastic post. Thank you.
    I love you and what you stand for. <3

  • Amen.

  • Jude

    Go Stacy! Brilliant post! I’ve been overweight since childhood and hate the way I get treated sometimes because of it, but so strong are the messages that I sometimes find myself having judgemental thoughts about overweight people! Ridiculous! This whole obsession with looks is crazy – there are people dying in some parts of the world because they don’t have access to basic necessities and then there are those from affluent countries who will go to enormous lengths to keep their looks “perfect” – WTF????! Judge people on WHO they are, not what they look like! Judge yourself on who you are and how you feel – don’t let others dictate to you based on their own twisted notions of perfection. We all have to take responsibility for our own health and happiness!

  • Tracy Donovan

    Bravo! It is so refreshing to see anyone stand up and say health is more important that appearance. I lost 25 pounds a few years ago…and a whole lot of hair. I wasn’t healthy. The reason I was losing the weight was from constant stomach discomfort! But my in-laws could not stop telling me, pointedly, how much better I looked! Now I am trying to eat better and actually take better care of myself. Novel idea, I know! I weigh a few pounds more, but my hair isn’t coming out in clumps. It’s a process. I am learning what works for me…and a lot of what I am learning comes from you and people like you. Many thanks for the hard work and absolute bravery it takes to put yourself out there with this blog.

  • Mark Pomery

    Love it! Shared it! Hope to meet you guys Mano a Mano someday not soon enough. Greetings from Down Under!

    • Stacy often attends paleo events, so if you see her – say hi! She’ll be at AHS this year and will probably be at Paleo FX again next 🙂

  • Melissa Waldrop

    Amen! Amen! Amen! And preach it sister!!! Wow! I needed to hear this, for me! I lost 50 lbs 2 years ago (a very unhealthy way) and have maintained 30 of that with a VERY healthy lifestyle. I struggle daily with “why isn’t the weight coming off”, but I’m coming to realize that I have done lots and lots of damage to my body over the years with diet after unhealthy diet. I’ve finally found a healthy lifestyle by eating Paleo 90+% of the time and I’m amazed at the symptoms that are going away. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for putting it all out there and educating people. Thank you a thousand times!

  • Jennifer

    Fantastic post!

  • Grace

    As long as we feel strong and healthy. Go for it!

  • Did you know that people that are healthy and “overweight” by current standards actually live longer?

    • Yes! It’s actually a point in one of the linked articles 🙂

      • L. Amber Wilcox-O’Hearn

        The causal factor behind that correlation is probably that fat is a protective mechanism against insulin resistance (IR). Those studies conflate thin people without IR and those who have IR but not the genes to respond to IR by putting on fat. Of course that group together will be less healthy than the group of slightly fat people who essentially all have put on fat as a protection from IR.

  • Brenna Singman

    This is beautiful. And inspiring. And everything I needed to read first thing in the morning. I’ve lost inches and dress sizes after going Primal and still felt the old mindset of “I’m not thin enough yet! I’m fat and ugly!” This has hurt my progress after the initial fat came off as I kept beating myself up over a lack of further size loss. I’ve actually been caught in an odd mixture of “My boyfriend tells me I’m beautiful and I believe him.” and “I’m still a size 8 and I want to be a 0 like every ‘beautiful’ girl I ever knew.” Even though I know this is blatantly false and many beautiful girls I know are in the common zone between like size 6 and 16. It’s not about beauty, I really believe beauty shines from within a person. It’s about health, and I’m taking the reigns back with mine. Temptations and mind games be damned! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this! You are a beautiful, intelligent, and brave muse! 🙂

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a health seeker first and “weight loss blogger” second, this is the message I keep trying to share, but not as eloquently as you put it. Thank you so much for sharing and taking a stand.

  • Good for you. You didn’t mention this directly in your post, but it is there implicitly: the importance of mental and spiritual health. Doesn’t matter if you are perfect physically on the outside, if you have to sacrifice your mental and spiritual health to do it. This post and others show that you (and Matt, too) deeply feel that you have a mission in life, above and beyond the details of your own body image. You are stepping beyond the goal/endpoint of being physically healthy, to what you can *do* with your regained health to serve others–both your family and your readers. There is so much more to life than weight, and even physical health (though health makes a lot of the other things possible)…there is acceptance, and kindness, and sharing your journey with others, and working on the mission(s) God calls you to. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  • Stacy, you are an inspiration. I was the girl who asked about eating disorders during the “Transformation Panel” at PFX this year, and I didn’t get a chance to thank you for your candid, wonderful answer, so I hope I can do this a little belatedly: THANK YOU!!

    This post is just more proof that you have so much wisdom to share. I honestly can’t thank you enough for putting messages like this out into the universe–and I can only hope that more and more people find your words, take them to heart, and begin to shift their mindsets and the paradigm.

    I have a podcast about body image, eating disorder recovery, etc…I’d love to have you on some time, if you would be interested. (It’s called “Finding Our Hunger:” https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/finding-our-hunger/id623698385) Either way, just keep being the amazing, beautiful soul you are. And thank you again for being a voice of reason in a world of madness!

    • send me a message at paleoparentsteam@gmail and we’ll figure something out 🙂 Thanks!

  • WOW!! LOVE YOU. I am waiting for my daughter to have an epiphany like yours!! She too has lost over 100 lbs and kept it off for several yrs. She is working on being healthy now but has had a hard time with others including family who are not accepting of her as she is!! She still has more weight “she” wants to lose too but in her time and on her terms!! She is an avid follower of Paleo Parents and You!! Unfortunately there are too many people out there that are unaccepting and ignorant and they don’t care how much they HURT others with their attitudes!! I say: Keep on Keeping on! And the “Heck” with them!! THANK YOU! For being there for us all!!

  • soniasimone

    This is brilliant, thank you! Voices like yours need to keep speaking up — and I know speaking up can be difficult in this cultural environment. Our collective eating disorder has made us insane and it’s keeping us from our best health.

  • Oh, Stacy. Thanks for writing this. It really hit a nerve
    with me. As far as I’ve come both physically and emotionally, I still get
    tripped up about my weight. I’ve also started adding back safe starches ala The
    Perfect Health Diet. I did it because I was constantly falling prey to sugar
    cravings and thought that maybe adding in some less triggering starchy veg,
    fruit, and even a bit of rice might preempt that. It’s been over a week so far
    and the sugar cravings have gone down and I haven’t gone crazy with the carbs
    (still under 150 grams a day). I just go back and forth about whether I’m doing
    it for the right reasons and if it’s right for me. And to tell the truth, I am
    terrified of gaining weight. I’m determined to give it a solid couple of months
    without weighing myself to see if my body adjusts. But, more importantly, I
    need to just chill out and work on my relationship with food and my body
    because I clearly am not at peace with those things (as much as I like to think
    I am). Thanks so much for inspiring me and for putting this message out there. You
    are great friend!

    • I just focus on if I’m eating foods that nourish me, and forget the rest. I’ve found that when I have bone broth and organ meats and root veggies and quality fats I don’t have interest in the sugars the way I did when I was trying to low-carb and then all I did was think about what else I could eat other than the fresh dates rolled in coconut I wanted. Now, if I want dates – I eat them! Only takes 2 or 3 to satiate me, and they’re filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and a bunch of stuff my body can use. So the eff what if it’s a carb! 😉

      • Great point! I’m not “there” with the organ meats but I do have some bone broth at least once a day, either on it’s own, in soup, or a sauce. I’ve even been cooking my rice in it – gasp! As long as the things I’m eating are high quality and nourishing, like you suggest, I don’t seem to get crazy cravings from eating whole food carbs. I go awry when I try to eat chocolate or baked goods, though. I’m hoping in time, as I adjust, I won’t be so super sensitive anymore because I do NOT think that a little chocolate or a muffin here or there is the end of the world. Baby steps! Thanks for lighting the way, my friend.

  • Chandra

    Fantastic!! You are both beautiful on the inside and the outside. Could you give more information on the safe carbs? I too am without a gallbladder. I am on my second month of whole 30 and have been able to heal the last of my “problems”. I have been having potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fruit. I would love to read some of the info you were talking about.

    • We have a tag on the sidebar for gallbladder you might want to read, essentially I have to balance some carbs with every meal – I find that 75-100/day works, and I need some with every meal in order for my body to be able to digest properly – otherwise too much fat makes food run right through me.

  • Alysia Caringi

    Great post. I’ve been cutting carbs and intermittent fasting and feeling like crap for the past few weeks. After reading this, I’m going to stop worrying about losing weight and focus on how my body feels. You’re right on so many levels.

  • You are far beyond an amazing mom, wife, woman…I mean really truly. You inspire me daily. I am so thankful to have stumbled on you awhile back. You have made such an impact in my way of thinking. Previously I would not have considered being able to do certain things due to my size. You make it clear that it is not my size that holds me back. It is fear and on most days the fear is that of what others will think or how they will judge me. Thank you for not giving a damn about those people and for making me realize I shouldnt give a damn either. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL AND LOVED BY SOOOO MANY!!

  • Kara Farmer

    Thanks for sharing and…sing it, sister! I, too, cut out grains over a year and a half ago due to gluten intolerance and consider myself 80-85% Paleo at all times since then. However, I’m still overweight. BUT – I am healthy, as has been validated by several doctors and blooodwork and the way I feel physically. My shrink (yes, I have issues!) keeps telling me to not worry about the actual weight, focus on being healthy. Our society is so judgemental and equates weight with health, but it’s just not a true indicator. I want to be thinner, I have stubborn pockets of fat, I don’t look the way I want to look, but I am TRYING to change my mindset while my body is still figuring everything out. You have been such a tremendous help to me, an inspiration, as I know you are to a lot of us out here that are following your journey. I applaud your courage! Keep on keeping it real!!

  • Kp

    Thank you so much for this article. It could not of came at a better time for me!!!!!! I’ve been regressing lately in my self confidence (after losing 75lbs strict paleo) since I’ve upped my calories/carb intake to fuel my WODs. I’ve grown considerably in muscle – esp in my legs! I had a very unsuccessful shopping trip yesterday that left me crying in the dressing room. All the feelings of being heavier, “fat” came back and my thoughts starting running “restrict everything… stop crossfit and do cardio till you get to xxxxx goal size/weight”.

    Thank god my hubby talked me down from the edge. Then this popped up in my newsfeed. It seemed almost destined -lol!!!

    Yes, I’m growing into a quadzilla / bootyful chick. But you know what, with that comes power and strength. Thank you again times 100000x!

    • Kp, I feel your pain. I thought I had gained a size because none of my clothes fit since starting crossfit. Then I went to the store and tried on pants and realized it’s the type/trim of fit I need to change – not the size! Just moved some weight from the front to the back and legs! 🙂

  • Leslie Clark

    You are such and inspiration. You get it, you really do. I feel judged for not being thinner because I’m on a paleo diet, but I, like you, am happy and healthy. I’m not willing to sacrifice that to lose weight. Thank you for all that you do and for speaking truth!

  • L A

    Health & Weight DO go hand and hand. Heavy metals and toxins actually store in FAT CELLS. When we loose a lot of weight like you did (without doing a proper detox first or making sure our elimination detox pathways are open FIRST, those toxins go crazy and try to grab more fat cells and want you to make more. If our Methylation Detox Elimination pathways are not CLEAR and OPEN for toxins to eliminate, then those toxins just store in other cells and organs. MTHFR gene mutation hinders our Liver detox making it sluggish. Difficulty loosing weight is a sign of having the Mthfr Gene Mutation. Most Docs do not know about the simple blood testing for it. But, those that do, are usually alternative Holistic Doctors who have studied Methylation Pathways & Natural Remedies & Nutrition specifically for Your methylaton pathways. LIKE the MthfrSupport wall on Facebook to learn more & just Google it.Also, Dr. Ben Lynch has good links and Dr. Neil Rawlins has a 4 part youtube video on it. 40-60% of US population has MTHFR gene mutation, but the word is finally getting out on how to address it with nutrition and natural supplements & avoiding synthetic supplements, since those with Mthfr cannot metabolize synthetic BB12 or Folic Acid. They need specific * Methyl forms.

    • L A, you missed the point. I’m not asking for help or suggestions. I’ve provided my thoughts and links to support them.

  • Rachel

    This post resonated with me very deeply. I am neither healthy nor thin, and I’ve worried about both, but the latter more because of society than my own opinions. I have a daughter who is starting to notice that people are “fat” and I’ve tried to use different language. I AM not fat, I HAVE fat. I am human. I am female. I am awesome. But I have green eyes. I have ten toes. I have excess fat. Totally different. My fat cell ratio doesn’t determine my selfness anymore than my hair color. Thanks, Stacy!

    • I am not fat, I have fat might be the best message I have heard. Something I will definitely be sharing with my daughters.

    • Marie

      This comment just changed my life! Thank you.

  • helen

    I read this from a friend’s FB page and thought I’d share my response with you all here too. It
    is so sad that we have to continuously explain ourselves. I have
    always been ‘fat’ but got ‘obese’ after giving birth. BUT, the whole
    time I was always in motion. I go nuts if I don’t move every day and
    most days it is breaking sweat for hour+ moving. I am fit. I’ve worked hard to
    lose 50 pounds over the past two years but I’ve also plateaued. I can maintain no problem but to
    lose more I’d have to do the strict Paleo Whole30 thing. And you know
    what? I want to enjoy summer. Have the occasional end of day beer with friends (or
    alone!), eat out lunch and not be ordering plain chicken and a salad
    without dressing. But still, today once again I’m the biggest chick in
    yoga by 20+ pounds and I don’t feel judged but I am aware I’m the
    biggest. I guess I need to work on getting over my own fat phobia for
    myself too.

  • Julie

    Hooray Stacy! You continue to inspire me.

  • Tina

    You go girl. You are beautiful. Period.

  • S. Harris

    That was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I know you don’t know who I am, this is the first time I have ever posted…..but this touched my heart in a way that I cannot describe. I am a social scientist (and am personally very overweight by today’s standards) and have studied (and, sadly, experienced most of my life) fat phobia and it’s terrible repercussions. I am horrified at the thoughtless and cruel ways in which people discriminate against even the tiniest bit of fat. I am SO sorry people still (and EVER DID) harass you about your weight. I am SO proud you are happy and satisfied with your body. You set an amazing example and your message will touch more people than you can possibly imagine. Thank you for speaking out and for setting us straight. You’ve got it right and we should all be humble enough to take your advice and start seeing past what we see and recognize the human in each and every person, no matter how much they weight!

  • Meg

    You go girl! You are a beautiful, strong woman and mother – a role model to us all. Thank you for doing what you do and inspiring us everyday with your delicious recipes on your blog and tips to be healthy and happy on your podcast. We all benefit from it.

  • The NY times article says precisely what my Dr said when he told me the BMI chart wasn’t anything I should pay attention to. . . health comes in different shapes and sizes for different humans. That doesn’t mean I don’t still find myself caught up in the worldview that thin = attractive when analyzing myself. It’s such a sad thing that we live in a world that forces unhealthy ideals on us. . .

  • michelle

    Just one more thank you! I hesitated to read this because of my own issues with being ‘fat.’ Although I’m smaller than a good majority of women commenting I still have body issues. I didn’t really think they were that bad until I did the Whole30. I finish on Monday. I went on a 9 mile hike on mother’s day which also happened to be my birthday. I felt I wanted to commit to being more physically active in the upcoming year. I had made that promise last year and it worked, I started boot camp and ran my first obstacle 5k which was fantastic. But I crashed somewhere in November/December. I used all my juice. I went and had blood work done and realized that my B12 was way too low and could be the cause of my afternoon crashes. These weren’t normal crashes, these were almost falling asleep while driving my children to and from activities. These were I must lay down because I can’t think, speak or function in any capacity. I would sleep for two or three hours. My father had to come and watch my small children because I just couldn’t. I thought I was crazy, I thought it must be all in my head and if I just really set my mind to it I can will myself out of it. I couldn’t. I started taking B12 shots and they helped a great deal. My energy returned and I then set my sights on re-working my diet. I didn’t eat badly to begin with, but it was amazing to me all the additives that sneak into even ‘healthy’ foods. after long talks about it my husband and I finally bit the bullet and did the Whole30. I have to say I have mixed results. I feel better on whole but I still have had more undigested food in my stool than before the Whole30, so I’ve tweaked it and it looks to be turning around, but we’ll see. I notice that I eat big in the morning and scale back throughout the day naturally, eating a very light dinner or none at all if I truly don’t feel hungry. I’ve become more aware of my mindless eating habits and so forth. But what your article made me connect to was that I was holding on to this whole30 business as a means to weight loss. I haven’t dropped the 20-25lbs I’ve read about, but that isn’t to say I haven’t dropped weight. I have, I’m down almost a full size. But I still feel, well, fat. I look healthier but I still feel I need to ‘do more.’ Thank you for writing this and thank you for the information on no-carbs and intermittent fasting. I can feel my body’s cravings. I want more fat, but I feel the diet in general is too meat heavy for my system. I can’t eat raw veggies or too much fruit (I use to eat no more than 1-2 serving of fruit a week, that has spiked during this time and I want to be more aware of that) because I don’t digest them. I crave a little bit of grain, rice specifically but have no desire to eat wheat. It is nice to get back to my natural cravings. And after being pregnant and nursing for the past 7yrs (3 kiddos) I know my body/system is depleted. I have finally accepted that I can’t PUSH my body to do anything. That 9mile hike, my body hated me afterward, I broke down crying on my way home and had never felt so betrayed by my body (even after three unmedicated natural births!). It was in that moment I realized how much I push myself and how much I’m angry at my body for not being what I think it should be, and yes the irony is not lost on me that I am also the one responsible for its condition…I apologize for the rambling…but THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!

  • after losing 35 pounds – not the 40 i had hoped for, (and more importantly improving my health and my family’s immensely) by going paleo, i have been thinking for the last 24 hours of being done with weight loss for life, 35 was great, no need to wish for the rest for another month, i have also been thinking of how i don’t want that goal to take up any more room in my thoughts and feelings anymore. your post came just in time.

    i might set a performance goal, like three pull ups – next, but first, how much are you lifting in that cool picture?



  • ann

    Thank you so much for writing this and sharing your experience and opinions. Bless you!

  • Melissa

    Your beautiful just the way you are! I work with all men and see judgement, day in and day out. I too am an overweight female. It seems almost daily that I see the guys I work with look at another women and judge her based on her composition. Followed by an “uggh, that’s gross” Its hurtful because I take it to heart being overweight myself. I pray that I have the same healthy, healing success that you have had on paleo. I hope that I find peace with who I am one day. I hope I can get the courage to step out and cross fit, instead of hiding behind who I look like. I love your blog and your family are beautiful.. Thank you for inspiring me. We all love you just the way you are Stacy!

    • Gina

      Stacy, you have always been beautiful inside and out. It is incredulous to me after all you have accomplished and the strife you and your family have been through that someone would have the cajones to tell you how to live your life. F them. Focus on the things that make you happy like you mentioned… but you don’t need me to tell you that. Love you.

    • Jennifer Valencia

      I love this post! I recently started doing cross-fit workouts and eating Paleo…and it’s inspirational to hear about your progress both in losing weight and knowing when to stop. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Michelle

    Lovely post! Thank you for writing this!

    I still have many many pounds to lose, but first and foremost, I got my blood sugar under control immediately without medication, and my cholesterol improved drastically after just a few months of Paleo. My dad has been on statins for over a decade and still has high cholesterol while my mother deprives him of eggs, bacon, butter, and anything that might have salt or fat in it. I wish he would give it a try, but because I’m not skinny, they don’t believe it works…my bloodwork isn’t enough to convince them. I’m looked at like I have no idea what it means to be healthy just because I’m fat. It’s very frustrating 🙁

  • Susan Plocher

    Thank you for giving voice to the thousands (millions?) of us out there who struggle with weight and image. Blessings to you and yours!

  • Outstanding post Stacy!! People have no freaking clue that when they look at us larger folks, they only see a fat guy/gal and don’t know how hard we work, don’t know what we do, and don’t realize that we were so much heavier, and unhealthier, and certainly not as strong as we are now. When you are overweight for as long as many of us have been, we didn’t get that way overnight. It took years to get to our highest weights, and it will take years to get to “our ideal” weight. This is not a quick fix, fad diet. It’s a lifestyle, and the health benefits we now enjoy like better skin, tons of energy, no bloating, and hosts of neolithic disease that so many have gotten rid of just by eating real food is immeasurable!!!! The only person who can be the expert of you is YOU!! Your pace, your life. You are doing it, you are living it, your blog and your books are LIFE CHANGING!! Don’t ever give up!

    Tim aka. DR Bacon 🙂


  • Herbwifemama


  • Melissa

    Bravo! I think you are a great role model for health, inside and out.

    And I LOVE the pic of you and your hubby, Austin, right?

  • Susan

    Wonderful post, Stacy. Thanks for writing it.

  • Kristy Hinrichs

    Thank you! I am so glad my friend posted your link to FB, because you are fabulous! Great job losing all that weight, in the first place and bravo for knowing when enough was enough for your health…All while working full time, mother to 3 children AND doing all of this? It makes me exhausted thinking of you and I am by NO means lazy or without a job, two children, a side business and lots of close friendships to keep me busy
    . Keep up the great work. I want to read again and again!

  • FroggyMom

    Beautiful. Inside and out.

  • School Shrink

    Bravo! Well said! As a “thin” person, I am NOT the epitome of health. I eat (mostly) Paleo, workout regularly, but still have my own health issues. People always tell me, “But you LOOK so healthy!” If weight and physical appearance were the only barometers of good health, I would live to be 110. But they’re not. There are plenty of overweight people that are healthy and happy and plenty of people with “healthy” BMI’s that are not. There is no one perfect path to good health. People need to respect others as they find their own path.

  • KYWildcat

    Well said, Stacy! I have the same problem with carbs. You are an inspiration!

  • Thanks for writing this, I’m sad that people feel the need to change you since far near as I can tell, you seemed to be doing fine! We’re all on a journey. Sometimes we’re running fast, sometimes stumbling, sometimes we’re at a peaceful walk. Our society needs to work on acceptance and patience on so many different levels. If most of us spent more time trying to get our own lives working we wouldn’t have any time to “fix” our neighbor. All of us are very flawed and need lots of love and forgiveness. We are all struggling with something. Unless you’ve walked a thousand miles in someone’s shoes, it’s always best to keep your mouth closed. Just know that those people who are trying to “fix” you are probably reacting from their own source of pain. Sometimes it’s the guy who cuts us off in traffic that maybe needs our prayers. Maybe he’s on his way to the hospital trying to get to his kid in the ER. Maybe he just got fired or had a horrible fight with his wife. Who knows. Either way, we all need a good reminder to stop judging, be compassionate, and realize we what we are throwing stones at today could be ourselvesin a few years.

  • Ashley

    Thank you so much for sharing this! It’s been hard for me to explain to my fiance that I need some carbs every once in a while. We both enjoy a Paleo lifestyle, but I get shamed for the occasional carb right before my period. You are an amazing woman! I love your blog and can’t wait to read more. Thank you! – From another proud, strong, and not so tiny woman 🙂

  • This literally put me in tears. I hated my “overweight” body growing up. The really, really sad thing is that I was a competitive dancer who lifted weights. I was ROCK SOLID and a size 12 with tiny boobies but ample hips. 19% body fat. I suffered immensely with a mother who was anorexic and a father who always told me I was “too fat”. Now that I weigh over 200lbs, I am so much happier with who I am. I can’t explain it. I don’t LOVE that I’m not as small as I was when I thought I was fat, but I’m happy. I’m healthier than I have been in my entire life, my blood work is better than it has ever been, yet I feel judged in public. Screw them! I’m confident in my health and in my happiness now. I know what is going on in my body and I love it. I am a lucky woman with three gorgeous and healthy children, and an amazing, hardworking husband. I have an entire community of “friends” on the web and in person. And those people who dare look at me and say, “I cannot believe she just posted a picture of herself in her bathing suit on the internet” can kiss my ever loving (enormous) ass.

    • Elena Richmond

      I was a competitive dancer as a teen, too. And I totally hated every inch of my body – still do a lot of days – because I’ve been “big” for as long as I can remember. I’m even bigger now, although smaller than my largest. I actually just watched a professional video that I appeared in 16 years ago for the very first time. I had refused to watch it up to now because I still felt the shame of my size from so long ago. After watching it, I was floored that I could ever feel so much hatred towards myself. I looked GREAT! I wish I could go back in time and give 19 year old me a HUGE hug and show her how wonderful those rock-solid quads were. That the stomach “pot” was invisible to everyone but me. That I did not actually have a double chin, like I believed. And like you, now that I’m bigger, I am also happier. I think a lot of that happiness came with my children. I realise what actually matters, and hating myself is definitely still something I struggle with, but its not going to get me *anywhere*.

  • As always Stacy, I adore you. YOu are smart and brave and funny and loving and I am grateful that you share that person with us.

  • lindseylew

    you’re a total badass!! radical body acceptance all the way!

  • Patty Cosby

    I agree!! It is so hard to change an ingrained way of thinking (“fat” is not healthy). I help process chickens on a free-range farm, and trying to get potential customers to understand the nutritional value of our meat vs. store bought is so far and above their heads…..! I have been reading your blog for a while. I showed my 10 yr old son your CrossFit photo and asked if you were fat. He said, “Nope, but she’s buff.” !!! Then I showed him your “before” photos, and he was VERY, VERY impressed. We don’t eat 100% paleo, probably don’t even eat 80% paleo, but try to when we can. Two of five have to eat GF, and I have been using almond and coconut flours when I can. Love your work!

  • Have you read Health At Every Size?

  • KitKat

    A perfect world would be one without judgement. But since this isn’t a perfect world . . . .Wouldn’t be a wonderful world if we were judged on what our bodies can do and not on what they look like? I am happier, healthier, stronger, have better cognitive function when I am at what I call my comfortable weight. I am cranky, tired, weak and loopy when I drop weight to slim down to look more like our media idols. It’s sad really, that I know I’m happier when I focus on what I can do, and the quality of my life, and yet I still fight that voice in my head, “but you’d look so much better a size smaller”. We need a cultural revolution, where we appreciate and value women for what they are capable of and not what visual fantasy they fulfill. Thank you for your post!!! Excellent reminder to focus on all the things that are truly important in life!

    • I love that idea, “what about bodies can do”!

  • This is awesome (as always). Thank you.

  • AdkChef

    so timely I found this, my sister in law is visiting today and a friend called to say she needs to loose weight BUT first and foremost, she needs to care about her health!! Thank you – will show her this post, and maybe even start a cooking class …. Mind your Health, not your weight. Can I interview you on my Fun with Traditional Foods radio show?? thanks

    • Email us with more information. We’d definitely be interested!

  • Penny

    You so ROCK and made me love you more after reading this. This will be on my wall : )

  • Kim

    I appreciate the amount of guts it took to post this. It is a shame that our society assigns worth to a number on a scale. There are many thin people who have diseases brought forth from their starvation. In a real world there are real people not cookie cutter avatars. As I work toward health I am encouraged by your post. Thank you for showing the world what beauty truly looks like.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for writing this. I really enjoyed reading it and your points are not lost on me. I have gained weight and am working on losing that weight but I have been prioritizing my health over my weight loss. I benefit tremendously from the work that people like you do. I am learning a lot about nutrition and health and it is an ongoing process. Thank you for the time and commitment you put into sharing your knowledge and experience.

  • Marina

    Love this! You have been such an inspiration!

  • i have no words. a simple pat on the back and a hug. i love what and who you are .

  • Kimberly

    This is completely inspiring. Thank you for your brave and honest words that we all need to hear. I have learned so much just from reading this and I know so many other people have. Keep on doing what you are doing because it is beautiful!

  • I just wanted to say thanks for being so brave and posting your before and after pics, especially the ones on your ‘About’ page. They are so inspiring, and encouraging. Thank you for all you are doing, and all your hard work.

  • Chanel van Reenen

    this post is so inspiring! i have recently discovered the paleo and crossfit ways and they have changed my life. i love reading your story!

  • Beth

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! Thank you so much!!!

    I used to be thin. I am now obese. This article resonates with me on so many levels. My health is good, although it would be super helpful for me to sleep more. I lift heavy weights, I walk, I’m pretty active with the kids, etc. I eat well and don’t starve myself.

    People treat me much more differently now than when I was thin. More people nowadays treat me like I’m ignorant and lazy. That stinks sometimes. However, I feel better about myself now than before too.

    My fitness goals are NOT to lose weight, but to get more sleep, enjoy life more and to be able to do unassisted pull ups. 🙂

  • leslie

    I’ve recently started listening to your podcast as I walk to work and I can’t tell you how much just hearing you and Sarah talk has helped me get past the final few hurdles I had to going primal/ paleo. I’ve been getting closer for months and lost some weight, but now I feel really ready and able to do this. I feel great and continue to successfully nurse my abundantly healthy one year old daughter. At the same time, my sister has become involved in direct marketing of ViSalus, the newest weight loss shake that is full of crap made to taste like candy. She’s gone from a size 14 to a 4. While I’ve gone from a 16-14, I’ve had to listen to her brag on and on (and try to sell me on it). She says that I’m just afraid to commit, etc. Next week she and I will meet up with our mom, who is also paleo, but more as a fad weight-loss diet than a lifestyle. She has always had issues with my weight (even though I’ve never really been that overweight, especially as a teen) and I know she’ll be so impressed with my sister and I’ll have to deal with that. I’ve struggled with being ‘fatter’ than my sister for many years, and I have tried so hard to believe that I’m OK. I feel great and look better than I have in years, both inside and out. Listening to you be so clear about being healthy rather than thin and being OK with where you are has helped me to not just tell myself that, but believe it. Thank you. Sincerely and from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  • Dawn

    THANK YOU!!!!

  • HippieBear

    Thank you so much for this post! I lost 150 pounds and have kept it off for 6 years. Since going primal/paleo many health issues have gone away, I feel wonderful, and my blood work is amazing. But I’m still 15-20 pounds “overweight” and I constantly obsess about hating being fat. My husband and my father (who is a physician) tell me there is nothing wrong with my weight- that I’m extremely healthy, and the only problem with my weight at this point is related to vanity. I think it’s important that people learn to separate weight and health. And I know I need to keep moving forward with self-acceptance. Reading this post today is exactly what I needed. Thank you for sharing it!

  • Jennifer

    I don’t know if this will get seen or answered, but I am hoping it does.

    Can you expand more on the “hormonal set point” of starting puberty? I’m curious about that. Do you mean that the weight/size/body composition that we were when we hit puberty is a good indicator of where our body is the healthiest and most hormonally balanced?

    I have often wondered if there were some way to determine an individual’s PERSONAL (all caps because I want to differentiate from societal expectations) ideal weight/size/body composition. This idea is really interesting to me, if you have any links to more information about this I would love to see them.

    Response to the rest of the post- I’m not worried about your weight. I don’t think other people should be either. 🙂

    • We talked about it on our podcast with Stefani from Paleo for Women and also she discusses it in the linked guest post. It’s more so an opinion that your body associates fertility with the weight you were when puberty hit, which means if you drop below that (for some women) you risk infertility which is a very unhealthy state hormonally.

      • Jennifer

        Ah, I see. Thank you! I will check those out.

  • LaMariposa

    Hello. I came across this post when I googled fat phobic doctors and it hits so close to home I am close to crying. Over the past 3 years I have lost around 50 pounds, going from close to 280 to 225. I have always been active despite being a big person but working towards weight loss must have made me more tuned into my body because after some of the weight loss I started noticing that I was becoming fatigued and out of breath (oh irony lol). Once I thought I had pushed too hard during a work out and threw up and nearly passed out. To cut a long story short, I went to the doctor (June 2012) and was diagnosed with ASD (atrial septal defect) and I need open heart surgery. My biggest issue, despite having a life altering diagnosis, is the cardiologist is unwilling to refer me for surgery because of my weight. He is fixated on me losing 15 pounds and weighing 210. Why he picked this number? I have no idea. But it’s frustrating because a year has passed, my symptoms have increased and all he ever inquires about is ‘weight loss progress’. The couple of times he has called me, his first question has been in regards to weight, not about the symptoms I originally came in for, not about how I am feeling, but how far along am I to this goal. I feel that this pressure has made my body stall, I’m not even lying because I have not lost any weight after this whole thing started, despite changes I have made to compensate for the lack of exercise (I’m only suppose to walk or light jog). I am in the process of seeking out another cardiologist but I’m petrified that I will meet the same wall. I’ve dealt with fat phobic doctors my whole life: general practitioner, gynocologist, cardiologist, dermatologist – who assured me all my issues would be resolved if ‘I lost the weight’. It’s frustrating when all they see is a number on a scale and not the whole package. I can’t stop thinking of how the treatment I have received in my life scared me off doctors for years, paying insurance for a service that I barely use for the ‘just in cases’ and all along I had a congenital heart defect that might had been found and dealt with sooner if I had had different medical experiences. Anyways, basically I just needed to vent. A+ blog entry.

    • I’m sorry you’re having such difficulty! Yes, we, too, are familiar with that kind of brick wall. In particular, Stacy had an OB who essentially told her she was too fat to deliver a baby and insisted on scheduling a C-Section. You are fortunate, though, to have the willpower to not accept the brick wall as the answer. Good luck on your journey, and we wish you good health and better luck with your next doctors!

  • hw

    Thank you for this! I am heavy and have been my entire life. I gave birth to my son just about three years ago and I have never before been discriminated against and treated so poorly as I did by the OB practice that I used (doctors always cause me anxiety because *everything* is because I’m fat, as, from reading this article, you know a lot about). I can kind of deal with people in every day life treating me differently, because I don’t need them for anything. I’ve had a hard time the last three years and have struggled tremendously because of the experiences I went through while pregnant and after birth (in fact, my weight is making me not want another child because of the anxiety from seeing more doctors). I appreciate that you can post this with your head held high, for all of us. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

    • Ugh, that’s why I got pressured into a c-section with my first. That nasty agressive judgement of weight by doctors needs to be sued because I believe people’s ACTUAL health issues are being missed while people are dismissing everything as “weight”. Supposedly my vaginal canal would’ve choked my baby… I can’t believe how much of a completely scientifically unfounded LIE that was! Keep on keeping on and find a doctor you can trust. I did a lot of research and my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies were MUCH better 🙂

  • Heather

    Wonderful post. You are beautiful inside and out. Thank you for this!

  • Ally

    thank you. 🙂

  • smallgirlvsbigworld

    Your passive acceptance of excess body fat is something that constantly challenges my beliefs and efforts. This message you’re preaching is fuel for people who are seriously unhealthy because of their weight and eating habits to justify their behavior to themselves and others (like their children). There’s a difference between being over your ideal weight bracket – which is still within a healthy range) and being fat or excessively overweight or even obese; it’s the same reason it’s unattractive and at some severities repulsive.
    Excessive body fat is unhealthy. It’s not a curse, or a disease, it’s not a helpless situation; it’s the result of unhealthy habits that an individual justifies every meal of every day of their lives. Eventually it will contribute to an early death and lessen quality of life. If that person accepts their choice and the associated consequences fine, but don’t force the rest of us to accept them as well. If you don’t want to be crucified for being fat, can you understand that those of us who strive to maintain a lower body fat percentage don’t want to be crucified for picking the fat kid last in sports? I’ll consent there are overweight people who aren’t gluttonous and lazy; at the same time the overwhelming majority of overweight people are lazy and gluttonous. I have a thyroid issue, overweight family, and a stressful lifestyle but I make it a priority to stay within a healthy range of body fat percentage despite all of these common excuses.

  • Sarah Patterson

    you’re pretty awesome.

  • Danelle C


  • Karla Traxel

    You’re beautiful, strong, smart, and amazing!

  • Carmen

    Stacy~Bravo! You are definitely on the right path for yourself.

    Thank you for speaking so much of what is in my heart and mind,too. I am 55 years old now and when I think of all the contortions that I put myself through attempting to be a socially acceptable size 8 or less, it makes me weep. I wasted so much of my youth on diets, self hate, and negativity to the point that my health was broken. I did manage to give birth to six amazing kids throughout those years, though, and they are my crowning achievement.
    Now that I have more time and energy to devote to healing, healing is happening. It is slow progress, but it feels delightful!
    So happy that you have discovered what is truly important and lasting while you are still young. Without good health nothing else matters.

    As Krishnamurti said

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a sick society” (paraphrased).

    Godspeed to you!

  • Jan

    Stacy, thank you for validating my thoughts on health and wellness. I have believed for many years that treating symptoms only does not provide long-term health. I feel so much better since starting my path to a Paleo lifestyle. Your blog has inspired me to keep going. I appreciate your candid comments and I admire your courage. Thank you for what you do!!

  • Danielle van Kalmthout

    Love this post! You’re absolutely right on and you’re not only beautiful on the inside Stacey. The outside is pretty damn cute too. 🙂 I wish people would stop obsessing about weight and focus on being healthy. I’ve struggled with eating disorders my whole life and I was obsessed with being thin. I didn’t take care of myself very nicely and now I have to deal with the concenquences. I’m batlling an auto-immune ilness (CFS and MPS), leaky gut and what not. I’m fairly certain it has something to do with my past. Keep up the good work and stay true on being your awesome self! Greeting from the Netherlands. xxx

  • L. Amber Wilcox-O’Hearn

    Hi there. I think you have done great! These days, whenever I see a fat person, I realize that I have no idea what they have gone through, or whether they are better off than they used to be, or really anything about them.

    One thing that disturbs me, though, is that you have bought into this idea that women “need” carbs for thyroid or cortisol. The rhetoric behind that isn’t backed by science, and it saddens me that people are scared into eating carbs. Energy problems on low carb seem to me to be more likely caused by not getting fully into ketosis, and living in the no-man’s-land of too much carb to fully adapt, but too little to get energy while not adapted. I think it’s a common mistake, and of course adding more carbs will “solve” it, so it seems to people to be self-evident.

    Here are a couple of good refutations to the thyroid idea, and one to the cortisol idea. The latter two of these I researched and wrote myself:




    Anyway, I wish you success whatever you do. Ultimately we all have to do what we believe is right, and I respect that, even if my conclusions are different from yours.

  • Heather Ann Vargas

    Omg! This is an amazing post! I’ve suffered with PCOS for 5 years, am estrogen dominate and overweight! I became a holistic health coach and started focusing on my health and working out. People don’t understand hat someone can be healthy without being skinny! I’m so tired of that! Kudos to you madam!! Kudos!

  • Edible Harmony

    I love your blog and your journey, as a paleo blogger I often feel pressured to look like a fitness model, train like a crossfit champion, live like a role model and act like a super mom. But the truth is that in spite of my near “perfect” diet, I struggle loosing my pregnancy weight, I gain weight just by looking at paleo sweets, my food intolerances are getting worse, I am fatigued, overwhelmed and permanently bloated. I have been dealing with this issues for 3 years.

    When I started paleo everything improved but slowly I seem to be going backwards. Recently my naturopath ordered a complete digestive profile and found out that I have H. Pylori. A bacteria living in my stomach that is probably (and hopefully) the culprit for all my weight issues, intolerances, adrenal fatigue, hypoglycemia, cravings, and digestive issues. Paleo is not about being skinny is about finding health, but it is not a fix-it-all diet.


  • Steph

    In the last year, I’ve lost about 60 pounds. It’s not the first time in my life I’ve done that, but I hope it’s the last. I work out 5 days a week. My doctor just took me off blood pressure and cholesterol meds. I feel great! And just recently I’ve noticed that I get a lot more attention from men, even much younger men. They are nicer, friendlier. So it’s true, weight does affect how people treat you. It’s not necessarily right, but it happens.

  • Rebecca Nuckles

    Thank you, Stacy! This was a fabulous post. You are always so open, honest and right on the money! I’m so glad that you are stronger and smarter than the naysayers 🙂

  • Kcote

    You may be beautiful on the inside but you are on the outside too! I just love you guys! Thanks for sharing everything so candidly for the benefit of those of us just embarking on the Paleo path the health.

    • Older Mom

      I was just going to post the same thing. She is stunning, both inside and out. And clearly in great health, which is what really matters for keeping up with your kids and being around for them for the long haul.

      And as a slightly overweight (by a few pounds) mom and the daughter of a very overweight (OK, obese) mom, I am so thankful to hear someone calling BS on fat phobia.

  • Older Mom

    I wanted to add just how right-on you were with this comment: “If only my being overweight could’ve been seen as a SYMPTOM, instead of the CAUSE of my health conditions.”

  • Brittany Bach

    I can’t thank you enough for this. For the strength you are demonstrating and for how empowered you will make so many others feel with your message. Not to mention the importance of increasing awareness of this growing issue of discrimination that plagues our society. Weight should never ever equate to any sort of worth yet I hate to say I feel it on a regular basis and I wonder how many people try paleo to lose weight and give up, completely ignoring the much greater goal of overall health and loving and caring for our bodies.

    By the end of reading this I was almost in tears. Because this is something that hits so incredibly close to home. You helped remind me today to once again not get caught up in all the
    chatter about being thin and instead focus on health and wherever my
    weight ends up going as a result. I can sense when people think that paleo isn’t working for me because despite being active, healthy and strong, my body is still soft. Even worse, there are days when I am dishing that up to myself and being so critical of my body that has overcome MS and allows me to experience a full and beautiful life. Unfortunately, the wrong messages have been ingrained since I was small and I will have to continue to work at re-programming my thoughts and healing from that pain. What if more little girls knew you and women like you who spread a message that no matter how we look, health and beauty from the inside out is what matters? I know it would have made a huge difference for me instead of watching my mom continually think she was never thin enough and therefore not healthy because of the messages she received.

    Judgement only hurts people and breaks down the kinds of communities in which people can thrive and become the best version of themselves – however that may look. Each person is a beautiful, intricately woven individual with many different factors that will determine how they look and interact in the world. We must stop judging and start looking to really get to know people and all the parts of them that make them who they are. Thank you for staying strong and continuing to talk about this topic. You will help change perspective and thinking patterns one reader at a time and you will encourage those who have felt judged for not fitting some limited, contrived standard of health. Thank you for being exactly who you are <3.

  • Brenda

    Thank you for writing this. I needed to hear it. Pregnant with my second I find myself hating my body for remembering to store far in certain places as with my first, and yet I am far healthier this time around even though I’m starting at a heavier weight. I dread the scales but remind myself to continue crossfit (in the midst of military chaos of moving) and try to keep healthier foods around. Not perfect by any means, not a skinny pregnant paleo mom… But anyway. Thank you, I love you from a distance as women love others… You rock strong beautiful healthy momma!

  • forgen for health

    Way to state the truth! Woman need to learn that being healthy is most important, I still struggle with this truth. Thank you for this “rant” I will defiantly be sharing this on my FB page!

  • Bee

    Amazing, beautiful and something people need to hear. I am a women who weighs over 200 lbs. I have a full time job, lift weights, crossfit occassionally and actively play one of the most intese sports and physical sports there is. People do look at you a lazy when you are a large women but then once they see how strong you are they realize that health does not equal weight. Would I like to weigh less, yes, am I willing to focus my whole life on diet – NO! My body regulates itselft to a healthy weight for it. No need to spend 5 hours at the gym and days not eating to conform to norms that my body will never achieve.
    THANK YOU for writing this and all that you do. I am trilled that you are both happy and healthy, what more can we ask for in life, that is more than many people ever achieve.

  • Dahlena Kullman

    Thank-you for this! You are an amazing person, and without all you give, we may have never started on our Paleo journey. ELAD is the book that we used to make this lifestyle safe for our family after we had thrown out/given away ALL of our processed junk. Just last night we had your chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries – one of the first meals we ate together as a Paleo family. I appreciate all that you’ve had to sacrifice to help others get healthy.

    My birthday is quickly approaching, and this morning I was reminding myself of a weight loss goal I had set to achieve before then. I had remind myself that even if I didn’t hit that goal, what was more important is how much healthier I am. And then I read your post, and was so grateful for your comments. I am not overweight to where anybody would look at me differently (thankfully I don’t have that stigma), but I have gained so much after having 2 kids, plus not keeping my thyroid in balance, that I look at myself differently. It’s hard, and I can’t imagine having the judgment/criticism of the world as well. The fact that you keep writing and putting yourself out there despite people’s negative words, unasked for advice, and snooty comments shows just how strong you are.

    Keep on keeping on!

  • Peggy Bell Hendrickson

    Thank you so much for this. I moved over to a paleo lifestyle last year for my birthday present to myself. I did a whole30 with the hope of losing some weight but had no idea at all what tremendous and immediate benefits to my health would arise, and I’ve been probably 85% paleo since then. (Still grain-free, but I struggle constantly with sugar.) Even though the quality of my life, health, sleep, mental space, and cortisol levels are so so so much better, and even though all of my family & friends keep telling me how great I look now that I have almost accidentally lost a bunch of weight, I still look at myself and see myself as much heavier and see that as a huge failure. It’s almost funny (in a sad, not funny at all way) because I don’t think of myself as someone who judges other people. I try not to judge people for how they look, how they raise their kids, how they present themselves, how they speak, what they wear, etc, but I am so unyieldingly judgmental of myself, especially with respect to my appearance. It seems that while I would never think poorly of someone else for having a post-baby belly or love handles, when I look at me, it seems that I somehow think that the sum total of my accomplishments – or lack thereof, to my mirror self – is wrapped up in that few inches of belly fat.

    When I look at other people, especially people I care about, I see their amazing selves, their beautiful, kind, funny, intelligent, interesting, strong, snarky, generous, hardworking, full selves. I see kind expressions and rounded shoulders and wonderful coloring and laugh lines and hair streaked with silver and bags under eyes that laugh and twinkle anyway and cute toes and creative tattoos and flattering glasses and dimples and strong legs and PEOPLE with all of the things they are and maybe a hint of what they will be. I see memories of our friendship and affection and love and hope for plans for the future. When I look at me, all I see is that stubborn belly fat, and it represents failure. When I look at friends whose body shapes are not conventionally considered healthy, I don’t see that. I see THEM. And if I *do* notice that they’ve gained muscle from their recent yoga class or loss weight from doing their own whole30 or gotten leaner from walking 10,000 steps a day as part of a fitness challenge, I am thrilled for them, but even that is just one facet of their whole marvelous being. If I do notice that they’ve gained weight because they got put on a new hormone or struggled with depression or, like me, self-medicated with baked goods and chocolates by the handful, that’s their business. Yes, I care about them and want them to be healthy, but a number on a scale or a pair of jeans has never equated with health. Most of the people in my life already avoid junk foods, fast food, high fructose corn syrup, and the myriad of other horrible food science experiments that pass as food, so I know that their health isn’t reflected by their weight, whatever that may be. And those people that DO consume that other stuff, well, they already know how I feel about it (and how much better I feel without it!), but they’re adults, and they can make their own decisions.
    There have been several times in my past 20 year where my own size was a terrible indicator of health, both when I was a size 8 (at nearly 6 feet tall) and a size 18, so why should I expect anything different of other people?

    I would never even think these ugly thoughts about someone else, and I would certainly never say them, but I cannot accept that I am more than my (smaller) belly. It really frustrates me because I actually have degrees in marketing AND gender studies and am fully aware of the evils of manipulative and exploitative women-crushing advertising and pop culture, yet I still buy into this false ideal for myself that I am only worthwhile if I’m skinny. (And even now that I’m skinnier – and much healthier – than I’ve been in my adult life and am in sight of my high school weight, it’s like I’m even more focused on that extremely unhealthy target.) It doesn’t seem to matter than my husband constantly praises my increased health and energy and physical attractiveness and that my kids are impressed with my strength (and I do love showing my boys that women are strong!), but I cannot seem to be happy with all that I’ve done, and in such a positive and nourishing and maintainable manner.

    Thank you for talking about fat acceptance, which I really think could be rephrased as body acceptance. Very few people in the world are in Perfect Health, yet all of us are constantly bombarded with messages of ideal bodies and body images, almost none of which are mentally, physically, and personally healthful. I love how proud you are of your amazing accomplishments, and I am so grateful that you were willing to bear your soul – and your pain – to help those many among us who struggle with acceptance, of others and/or ourselves.

  • Sasha B

    Preach it. You rock.

  • Rhonda

    You forgot one: “I am loved!” And that photo of you and your family in the pig pasture is the best! You are such an inspiration to many — thank you!

  • Ruthie

    1. You are SERIOUSLY strong!
    2. You are beautiful inside and out. 🙂
    3. I eat more coconut oil when I plateau. Sometimes it’s helpful, but I LIKE being where I am. I am weird and don’t like being too skinny! I think I look disgusting without more meat on my flesh. 😉

    Thanks for keeping it real and for all you do for the rest of us!!!

  • Belindasmile

    Well said! Bravo to you!

  • Jessica

    I have been so inspired by your posts about your gym training. I started personal training with a functional movement trainer at my gym this year and recently started heavy lifting. The day I deadlifted 125 pounds I was sooo excited! To know I can be strong and healthy, even if I’m not a skinny minny, thrills me. I love it for making me feel so powerful and empowered. You’ve been a great role model with this. Thanks so much! You have an awesome message and articulate it so well. Keep on rocking it!

  • Janet

    On the picture “I am beautiful (from the inside),” you really didn’t need the parentheses! You’re just beautiful, inside AND outside!

  • EJ

    THANK YOU! This is so impactful. I struggle daily with my ‘weight’ and how I look – based on what I feel others think I should look like. I’ve considered doing drastic, unhealthy diets, knowing it would be bad for my health, but at least I’d be smaller…. I needed to hear this and be reminded, its about being healthy, not skinny! More Power to You! You are amazing and inspirational.

  • Marie

    Thank you!!!! I am so tired of people assuming because a woman is overweight that she is unhealthy or eats bad or has no self-discipline. I eat healthier than 90% of America, I exercise, Im an active mother of 4 yet I have struggled with a hormone imbalance and hypothyroid condition that doctors all ignored because they couldn’t get past my weight. They took one look at me and asked if I tried salads, a diet and exercise plan and wanted to just usher me out of the office without any labs, cased closed because of my weight! They didn’t believe me or refused to read the 2 pages worth of diets, exercises I had tried and all the lengthy medical symptoms I had… why? Because to them it was an easy answer.. I was fat! Well.. due to hormone imbalance and insulin resistance and hypothyroid (all proven thanks to labs a Naturopath ran) I was unable to lose ANY weight.. even starving myself and excessive exercise only helped to lose a few pounds… (How is that healthy????) People would rather see you thin no matter the horrific things you do to get there than see you fat. Even at the gym people look at you with disgust instead of thinking you took initiative to be healthier. I don’t get it. I am tired of “fat-ism” and I have watched your journey and thought many times how you are so much healthier than people who may be thinner. It baffles me how people think being fat is only about diet and exercise when we all know thin people who eat Mcdonalds and Sour Patch kids and see “fat” people exercising daily and eating healthy natural whole foods. So I just wanted to say, I admire you. I think you are amazing for so many reasons and you are beautiful inside and out!

  • Mary Ann Clingan

    Right on!!! I too have lost over 100 lbs, and am still at around 210, but I am not at 300 + lbs! That loss has made it possible to do burpees, sit ups and now I can play at the park with my boys (including going across the jungle gym).
    I am a lot healtier, and can (and will) make adjustments in my diet, but I am eating well, understanding food better and in a much better place.
    People need to keep their opinions to themselves unless asked.
    Love you Stacey (not in a sick or twisted jailhouse way, LOL)!

  • therealjeaniebeanie

    Right on, Stacy! I so admire your hard work to regain your health and to share information and support with others along the way.

    Health is definitely more important than weight. Not that my opinion matters, but I think you have chosen well to concentrate on health rather than weight loss. I’m sorry some of your followers haven’t been supportive. I have given a lot of thought to the idea of fat phobia/fat acceptance since I heard you talk about it on the podcast. I hope I have not been one of those people that looks at obese people as though they were invisible. I hope not. I will monitor myself in the future on that one.

    Thanks for the time you give to the community. I did my part and bought Beyond Bacon! I can’t wait to start cooking from it.

  • Katie Dysart Kitchen

    speachless. thank you for this most. i could not agree more

  • stephanie

    stacy, you are beautiful outside as well as inside. and this is coming from a girl who has had an eating disorder (the skinny kind) for more than half of her life. I’m glad that you know that fat is not an indicator of one’s self-worth and beauty.

    thank you for existing and vocalising your experiences because it empowers people!

  • Courtney Cox

    miss lady, i cannot even BEGIN to tell you how much this hits home for me. it’s literally the same exact thing i’ve been saying for YEARS! i used to be mega huge (like 400lbs at my heaviest?) and that was a LONG time ago, since then i’ve lost about 150lbs and KEPT it off for years and had a baby inbetween. I had a crap ton of health problems that were always blamed on my size but now that i’ve been eating clean for years and staying clear of gluten and dairy i’m a completely different person! i have NONE of the health issues i used to have! But take me to any medical practitioner and they still wanna wig the eff out because of my weight, they don’t look past that and see me they only see a number. recently we thought we were pregnant and i was SO excited until a local birthing center didn’t even want to see me for an initial exam because “my BMI was ridiculously high and i should seek medical attention immediately” (their words, not mine) i was SO distraught, it turned out we weren’t pregnant but the point stuck in my head for months to come that i was “too fat” to birth our next baby how i wanted. a butt load of soul searching and REAL research later and i’m comfortable where i am, i haven’t felt this good in YEARS and until it’s actually legitimately necessary i won’t be starving myself or any other of the billions of ways i’ve tried, to lose even MORE weight. all that ranting to say i’m SO incredibly in awe of your courage to stand up and tell people straight up to get over themselves! you’re a HERO <3 <3 <3 keep doing exactly what you're doing you're perfect in EVERY way

  • Kerry Ann Clock

    Stacy, I’m in tears. Happy tears! Thank you so much for writing this. I have been overweight my ENTIRE LIFE. As you said, if only it could have been seen as a symptom, what a different place I might be in right now. Despite my weight, I was a competitive dancer for 15 years. I was part of groups that won National titles. I played varsity sports. Yes, varsity…and I was good. My family still jokes at how I find the vegetable platter at any get-together and devour it…LOL! I even did that as a child. I’ve always eaten pretty well. I’ve always been very active. But still, all the doctor could say was “diet and exercise”. Really? Very frustrating growing up. The information I have now is so powerful, and I only wish it was in my hands, or better yet my parents’ hands when I was growing up. I was lead to holistic healing/nutrition in 2007 due to severe migraines. I had EVERY test under the sun, and it all came up clean. Even then, my blood work was pretty decent and I was still told “Maybe if you lose some weight, the headaches will subside.” What?? Whatever. After finding a fantastic team of acupuncturists and a functional medicine doctor who discovered my severe gluten allergy, lead me to Paleo, and helped me get “healthy”, I’m doing very well. But I’m still very much “overweight”. A person totally CAN be healthy and overweight. I’m so healthy now, that the functional medicine doctor asked me if she could present my before/after blood work at a medical conference in Canada, showing how diet can reverse certain “conditions”. I don’t think she would have bothered presenting my blood work if I wasn’t HEALTHY! I’m healthy! And I’m losing weight – very slowly, but it is happening. I plateau, my body adjusts, then starts to lose again…the healthy way. It’s not about the weight. It’s about the health.

    I understand the sacrifices you make to run this site, and I give you so much credit. I’m not a crossfitting mom of 3 who runs a blog and has a full-time job, but I can imagine how much you give of yourself to make this all work. I think you’re incredible, and your posts like this make me feel so much better about myself. The work you do is not without purpose, without thanks. It is appreciated. Thank you!

  • Gypsy

    I am in nursing school and I find it super difficult to eat strictly Paleo. I eat primal blue print and gluten free. I feel better but I’m still fat. I know that when I graduate I will do better. I no longer gain weight. I am doing the best that I can. I am no longer in pain. Thank you for writing this!

  • Rachel

    I’m 22 years old, a crossfitter, and follow the paleo diet. I was overweight as a teenager and still battle an auto immune disease. I can’t eat, drink, or live the lifestyle that most my friends do. I would never go back to the unhealthy habits I once practiced now that I am aware of what it feels like to be TRULY healthy, but I would be lying if I said I don’t get upset about it at times. Thank you for being such an inspiration to myself and so many others. Reading your posts on here or Instagram help remind me of why it’s all worth it and that (although I may not have met them) I have an entire army on my side of people fighting the same battle. Keep kicking ass!

  • Megan

    You are awesome! That is all 🙂

  • Lisa Gibson

    Wonderful post! You’re awesome just the way you are (although I know you don’t need me to validate that for you). You go lady! 🙂

  • David

    This is my very stubborn, unchanging opinion on this why I specifically don’t like the name fat acceptance. I am some one who heavily believes that you should always strive to be better then what you are no matter what you do. That includes working more effectively, learning to be more attentive and more importantly being healthier. The name fat acceptance gives off the impression that it is ok to be unhealthy and that others should be ok with that. Clearly, you showed that you are healthy, but others aren’t going to have the same reaction. 7 of 10 americans is a lot of people, and I am sure that most of them don’t try half the amount you do. I am sure a lot do, but I know that a lot more don’t. I understand that have people different body types and metabolism but I refuse to accept people for just being fat and not doing anything about it.

    • David, it’s my opinion that whether someone else is overweight or not is not of your concern. Just like it’s not of my concern or someone else’s if I’m overweight. The thing is, no one knows by looking at me how often I work out, how cleanly I eat or that I lost over 100lbs and kept it off for over 3 years. And they don’t need to know that or care about that, because they should not be judging me regardless of my weight. So what Fat Acceptance aims to achieve is for you not to assume people are or aren’t trying to be healthy or lose weight, but accept that it’s their body, not yours, and that inside the person is the same no matter their size. They’re not lazy at work, or whatever assumption is being made – they’re simply themselves, with a higher body mass than someone else.

  • Erin

    I’ll be honest, the first time I saw a picture of you, not long after I discovered your blog, I was surprised. I’ve gotten used to seeing people who are dedicated to the paleo lifestyle who are, if not thin, very trim and muscular. But not so, you. And that surprised me. But before very long, after a few more pictures, I realized that you’re one of these people who is inclined to carry weight on you. My boyfriend is like that. Even at his most healthy (and you can tell health, often, by a person’s skin, and their face), he’s still fat. And you know what? I’m cool with that, because it’s what’s healthy for him. I’d imagine it’s similar for you, you probably feel better now than you did when what you focused on was weight loss in lieu of health. Your skin glows (at least in your pictures), and your face just *looks* healthy. And that’s awesome!

  • Jen

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a fellow heavy woman who is intelligent and accomplished. I was not heavy growing up, and so I don’t have any lingering issues from being treated as “lesser than” in childhood. I started gaining weight after I became a young mother with a tight budget and (I realize now) I started eating more processed foods than we ate growing up. I was smaller and now I am heavier. So what? That’s physical, like hair color, as you say. There’s simply no moral component there. Thus, it was shocking to me to realize that people are sometimes surprised by competence in fat people. That’s so stupid that it would be funny, except those people are sometimes the ones doing the hiring. You are an inspiration–keep up the good work!

  • Mary Ann Clingan

    Being skinny isn’t a sign of healthy, anymore then being overweight is a sign of being sick. I too have lost more than 100 lbs. and am still at 200 lbs., I am healthier than I have been for years! You keep on keeping on, the nay-sayers are ignorant, and will stay that way. Stacey, you ROCK.

  • Darla

    Stacy, this is one of the best things I’ve seen lately…very short, simple and to the point. Nothing else is important. <3 <3

  • eila

    It’s funny b/c I found that when I was really attentive to my blog– and helping everyone ELSE feed their family well, putting out make-ahead meal ebooks, tending to my FB page 24-7 (or so it seemed!) and teaching cooking lessons– I tended to put ON weight. Ironic, since I claim to be so health-minded. Yes, I was feeding my family well, too, but I was spending far more time in front of the screen instead of out walking, or taking great care of myself.

    Fast forward to this Fall. I have all of these amazing recipes to post, tips to share, photos that have been taken and are just ready to become a blog post… but I shifted my priorities and am working on losing weight (or what I call “the blogger butt”). I want to get back to feeling great. And that doesn’t allow me time to make the blog all I want it to me. Actually, it doesn’t even allow time for me really to post. Hmmm. So, I know where you are coming from. You make choices that are right for you RIGHT NOW. That doesn’t mean they can’t change, but it’s refreshing to see you comfortable in the choice you make. The balance isn’t easy to strike, especially for moms like us to want to give so much!

  • Rebecca

    It wasn’t until I began looking at what I needed to add to my diet, rather than remove, that I started losing weight. My cravings and water retention were symptomatic of poor health. To have your body begin working properly again is a wonderful thing. Pages such as yours have been part of my journey back to health. Thank you.

  • Katy

    I am not a hater. I think what you’ve accomplished is awesome; you are totally beautiful and have your priorities straight. However, I don’t think you’re as comfortable with yourself as you claim because I read these types of posts from you every month or so. Ignore those comments from people who obviously don’t know your story. You don’t owe anyone an explanation and you don’t have to justify where you are in your journey.

  • Jeannette Pinnick Blood

    This didn’t help me view other people in a different light, but rather… myself. I am that girl that smiles and says hi on the elevator. I am that person who tells everyone that they are beautiful. I am that girl… to everyone but myself. And I think it’s time to be ok with who I am and what I look like. I think my body has found it’s “happy but still healthy” weight and I’m about sick and tired of trying to push it beyond that (a few years ago I tried that and in order to reach what I thought was my ideal weight, I worked out for 2 hours, 5 times a week and dinner was usually a protein shake. It was an unbelievable amount of hard work and the second that I strayed, the weight came back on… making me feel like a failure.) I think I’m doing more harm than good to my mental well-being trying to obtain this imaginary version of perfection. So, I give up. I’m officially throwing in the towel. I eat a mainly Paleo diet (hell, I eat more veggies now than I did as a child being forced by her mama!) and when I feel like eating some freaking beans or rice or a damn slice of grocery store cake, I do. And I’m happier when I do because life shouldn’t be all work and no play. I’m in good health and screw anyone who looks at me and judges what I look like. They don’t know me and they CERTAINLY don’t know my struggle. To them I say: *blows raspberry* JOG ON!! (You receive a huge high-five if you catch the reference ;D )

  • diane

    Thanks for this great post. Love your books too:). As a personal trainer for 30 years, I will be sharing this my clients:). You rock!!!!

    • So glad you enjoyed this post! And huge thank you to passing along to your clients!

  • e4hand

    I’m glad you wrote this. I am currently trying to be okay with the fact that I’m quite a bit larger than I used to be also. For me, weight was a non-issue and something I never even thought about because I had that luxury my entirely life until 2 years ago. I was a size 2/4 and very athletic. I always ate whatever I wanted. I grew up with a mother who was always overweight and fluctuated between obesity and just overweight. She was always miserable with her body and made comments about looking like a cow, etc.

    She tried every diet under the sun. Some worked and most didn’t. She was diagnosed with MS in 1999 and then a year later told she actually had Lupus, not MS. A year after that she was told she had Sjogren’s Syndrome instead. She continued to gain weight until she was nearly 300 lbs. This coupled with her autoimmune condition she felt terrible physically and emotionally. Beyond desperate for any relief from the physical pain and depression, in 2005 she received gastric bypass surgery. At first it seemed to be a blessing. She lost tons of weight and fast.

    Within 18 months of the surgery, she was down from a size 26 to an 8. That’s when the gut issues started. She could never eat anything without throwing up and having diarrhea, she couldn’t sleep and had terrible, wrenching gut pain all the time. She called me crying her eyes out all the time. She looked like death; her cheeks were sunken and she was too skinny. She was 5’9″ and 132 pounds. Skinny yes, but very very unhealthy. In 2009, driving to work one morning, she blacked out (she had been doing this for months at home) behind the wheel after her blood sugar bottomed out and she hit a concrete wall at 45 mph. She died on impact. I tell everyone I know to never have these harmful weight-loss surgeries and never let anyone they love have them. This is what ultimately killed my mother. If I can save just one family I’ll feel better.

    After this happened, I had two children of my own, very close in age and breastfed them both for several years. I ran marathons all the time while eating a strict Paleo diet with virtually no carbs at all. At first I lost the baby weight and then some, very quickly. But then I started feeling bad, very depleted of energy and each day was a chore to get through. I thought I wasn’t doing Paleo strict enough and cut the carbs even harder, avoiding fruit. This went on for a few years with my health getting poorer while I started gaining weight in earnest. I am now seeing an integrative practitioner but it turns out I have stage 2 HPA axis dysregulation (AKA adrenal fatigue) as well as Hashimoto’s. I know I need to heal my body before I can lose the weight but it’s so hard to see the scale going up and the pants that no longer fit. Healing comes first! I am feeling infinitely better eating much more carbs. I HAVE to eat a higher amount of carbs than most people on Paleo and not eating carbs is what got me in the state I’m in. Not eating carbs is DANGEROUS for most people. Trust me, I know first hand. I am taking care of me and once I am healed, I know the weight will go down some. But I don’t ever think I’ll be as thin as I was. And that’s okay. I just want to be healthy and feel good. Thank you again for writing this. I needed to hear it today.

    • Wow, thank you so much for sharing your very touching story!

  • Leah Zemany

    Stacey you are truly inspiring! I want to thank you for what you are doing!

  • Markay Ebejer

    Amen! Bravo! Thank you!

  • JanetMermaid

    We travel extensively around Europe. The US is the ONLY country with consistently, seriously obese people. We need to dramatically altar our diets and the food we are eating. Also only in the US do we find very little actual food in our food. It is mostly additives, flavorings, preservatives, artificial fillers and sweeteners, etc. Our food is mostly crap. Our food is so poor in actual nutrients that Americans eat far larger portions in the body’s attempt to get the nutrients it needs. Instead, it just gets more junk that goes to fat.

  • Dean

    Go Stacy!! You are an inspiration. As a gay man I have been told by other gay men that, “you are straight-skinny, but gay-fat.” Pretty awful thing to say right? Talk about messing with your head. A lot of gay men are like Mean Girls. Ugh, what can you do…?

    • Insults are not acceptable in any culture – that’s disappointing to hear, especially where unity and strength for the common good is so important!

  • Planner

    I believe that the western diet (inc. paleo, etc) is fundamentally flawed, and is responsible for producing the overweight people we see every day on the street. I think you write well, but you delude yourself; at its most basic form, the human body is not supposed to be carrying that extra 10, 20, 30 (or more) pounds that overweight people carry. From an evolutionary perspective, which would it? The extra weight would hamper your ability to obtain food in any situation but a modern industrial society.

    It’s the food! It’s the food! It’s the food! The western diet simply includes too many calories, particularly from fats and oils. People who eat traditional plant-based diets don’t have bodies like this, and more importantly their diets include nutrient dense but low calorie foods, 95% from plants. I am not against eating meat, but the fact is that the human body doesn’t do well on a diet centred around it (and other animal products). The traditional asian diet, as evidenced by the China Study, is testament to the fact that humans are healthier on a diet centred on plants. Sure, a little meat now and then is fine, but in the way we eat it here? No way, and it’s quite simply the cause of millions of people being unhappy in their bodies and not being able to figure out why they are overweight.

    You have grown up with a diet that is at odds with the human body’s natural state. I think you are probably a very nice person, but I’m sorry, your body and its extra weight is not a natural thing and is a result of an eating pattern that is not healthy for the human body. The western diet (paleo included), centred as it is around meat, is simply a broken model of eating and should be wiped off the face of the earth.

    I’m not trying to shame you, and I agree with your point that we are so much more than our bodies. But… but…. can’t you feel deep inside that something is wrong? Don’t kid yourself, the western, animal product centred diet is the cause of the deep unhappiness millions have with their bodies, and until that diet changes, this deep unhappiness, and articles like this, will remain.

    Again, this is not intended to offend anyone. But it is the truth, like it or not.

    • Planner

      Why learn “fat acceptance” and normalize what should not be normal? I think we need to learn compassion and understanding, to accept that some people have been tricked by their culture into eating food that wrecks the body, but we should never learn to accept that as okay.

      • Because it’s not your place to judge, which is the entire point. Worry about you and stop telling other people what they should do.

        • Planner

          I am not judging you or anyone else who is overweight, that’s in your head. I simply stated my opinion that I don’t think being overweight is a normal state of being and because of this I don’t believe that we shouldn’t accept it as normal.

          And the fact that you deleted my earlier comment shows that you are obviously threatened by what my opinion is, so you might as well go ahead and delete all of this, and bury your head back in the sand.

          • I delete comments that aren’t productive. If you think the use of “should” isn’t judgmental you didn’t read or pay attention at all, which identifies you as a troll. Trolls aren’t needed and add no value. Any future comments that are anything but intelligent discourse will be deleted.

          • Planner

            BS, my comment was civil and non-judgemental. My only “should” in the deleted comment was aimed at a type of diet that I personally believe is unhealthy, not you:

            “The western diet (paleo included), centred as it is around meat, is simply a broken model of eating and should be wiped off the face of the earth.”