If you’re familiar with us and this blog, you’ve probably heard the tale of how we switched to a paleo diet back in 2010 and suddenly found ourselves dropping weight and getting healthier. That not only goes for Stacy, Matt and the kids, but it also applies to all the people who help us keep the blog running, including our assistant Katy who, among other things, has the task of helping us put out a weekly newsletter. A little while ago, based on a previous newsletter, a certain blog called us out for not actively supporting the idea of treating fat people with dignity and respect even if they are not healthy. Frankly, we were shocked. We think our stance on treating people with dignity regardless of any factors is beyond reproach. We talk about this subject all the time! While we were saddened by the post, Katy took it more personally and decided to respond on her own here.
An Open Letter to Jessica Troy of Rocking The Homestead,
Hi there – I’m Katy, one of the Team Members on Paleo Parents. Let me tell you, it takes a lot to keep a blog like Paleo Parents running. Stacy hired me on the team because we were blogger friends first, and we have a lot of the same interests and see things in a similar light.
One of my jobs on the team is helping to put together the newsletter. First of all, thank you for reading it. Stacy, Matt and I collectively spend probably a total of ten hours a week on the newsletter, so thanks for reading. It’s a true collaboration, where the three of us put our heads together to find the best paleo coupons, the best new recipes that we have seen throughout the week, the best sales, and the most interesting articles floating around on the interwebs.
Sometimes, Stacy will shoot me a message or an email with a link saying, “Hey! Did you see this article? How awesome! We should share it in the newsletter.” Sometimes, I’m the one that sends her that email, suggesting an article that I saw that I thought she might like too. Other times, we send each other the same link – it’s scary sometimes how we can be on the same wavelength!
The newsletter in question that you are referring to was a collaboration. I saw the first article mentioned about the brave girl who took a stand for herself when her Halloween photo went viral on the internet. It spoke to me personally because it really bothers me when people attack Stacy or Matt (or anyone for that matter) from behind a computer screen. Cyberbullying is everywhere, and I hate it because it seems like people forget that there is another person behind the computer screen. I loved that Caitlin took a stand for herself and reached out to individuals on facebook asking them to take down their defaming remarks about her that they posted. Lot’s of the individuals were almost shocked that she was a real person that this joke was affecting. I personally admired her for taking a stand against being bullied. ♥
Stacy had first seen the second article we mentioned about how scientists are proving that it is possible to be healthy and overweight at the same time. Stacy has been blogging about this topic for years, defending herself against the haters who constantly say mean things to her about her weight through a computer. There are many people that still believe that you cannot possible be healthy and overweight at the same time, but this article was talking about how scientists can now prove it at a cellular level.
So it was MY suggestion that we include both of those articles in the newsletter. So really, your open letter should have been directed at me. But like I said, the newsletter is a team collaboration.
Look, you are entitled to have your opinion. That’s what blogs are for – obviously. But reading your open letter did ruffle my feathers. You know, it kinda stinks that something I suggested we put in the newsletter ended up being taken the wrong way and then you openly called Stacy and Matt out for it for the whole world to see. Not to mention they saw it — you know, my bosses that employ me… what an awesome way to start my day.
It also offends me. I’m a girl from the south, so I can recognize a back-handed compliment when I see one. You spent a lot of time gushing over all the good things that Matt and Stacy do. But then in your second to last sentence you said, “You do a great job standing up for people of size in the paleo community, but I think you could be a great voice for body positivity beyond that as well.” You think they COULD be a great voice for body positivity?
As a member of the team who sees just how much time and effort Matt and Stacy spend on trying to contribute to improve other people’s lives and health, you still don’t think it is enough and you think that they could do more? I am constantly telling Stacy she should take on less because her schedule is already jam packed. I have never known someone who does more with their day than Stacy.
What’s more, is that they already are a great voice for body positivity. Sure, maybe you read the articles I mentioned in the newsletter, but have you read Stacy’s post on “Dear America, Get Over Your Fat Phobia”?
Here is a particular excerpt you might find interesting,
“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.”
You said in your open letter:
“But the fact is that all fat people, whether healthy or not, deserve to be treated with the same basic human decency, dignity, and respect that thin people get, whether they are healthy or not. Fat people shouldn’t have to be healthy to be treated with dignity. A thin person doesn’t have to.”
You said this as if somehow Matt and Stacy were implying in the newsletter that only healthy fat people deserve respect. Since I was the person who wrote that particular portion of the newsletter, I can tell you that without a doubt that is not what I meant. I am still overweight, and still working on my health. Of course I think I deserve the same amount of respect as a skinny person, and not just because I’m working on improving my health, but because I am a human being and I have value as an individual that has nothing to do with appearance. All people do.
Stacy wrote her open letter to all of America, telling them to get over their Fat Phobia over a year ago… you must not have read that post, because if you did, you might have realized she already does think that all people, fat and thin, healthy and unhealthy, ‘deserve to be treated with the same basic human decency.’
So yes, Matt and Stacy are champions for accepting all body types within the Paleo community. But the blog is public for everyone to see, and they are constantly taking on new projects to get their message out. Because the fact of the matter is, that while all three of us want women and men of all sizes to be respected and to also love themselves for who they are, we also firmly believe that people who are overweight, obese, and even morbidly obese can take control of their life by eating real, whole, healthy foods. A big step to loving yourself and accepting yourself happens when you take charge of your health. We want to empower people to love themselves enough to make that hard choice. So while fat acceptance and self-love are definitely on our radar and a topic that we explore often on the blog, the main purpose at Paleo Parents is to encourage and empower those who are overweight or unhealthy to find healing through whole foods and an active lifestyle.
And from my personal perspective, please don’t suggest that Stacy and Matt could be doing more. I can see their personal calendars because I help schedule all the events, blog posts, and projects that they undertake, and I honestly don’t know where they could possibly be doing more than they already are. It just personally hurt my feeling that you could think that all we do still isn’t enough to empower people. How much is enough? If you think more could be done… by all means, please do so yourself (if you have the time and the passion for that particular cause). I’m here to tell you, we’re all booked up at the moment focused on what’s important to us.