Coaching, Consulting, & Speaking


Sarah Thompson, founder of Resilient Fat Goddess, writes about body positivity, body liberation, and fat liberation at the intersections of gender, sexuality, and eating disorders. 

Fat is the worst thing you can be.*

What happens when this is how you are socialized? 

Photo of me from a side view taken by  Shoog McDaniel . #bodieslikeoceans #bodieslikemountains

Photo of me from a side view taken by Shoog McDaniel. #bodieslikeoceans #bodieslikemountains

Fat is the worst thing you can be.* 

This is what I learned growing up. I've continued to hear this throughout my life. As recently as a few months ago, I was in a training where the trainer used the word fat as slur in an example she gave. When I asked her about it later, she said she used it as an example (without thinking about its effect on me), because it's the worst thing you can call someone. 

I was teased constantly for being fat. At school by classmates. At home by my little brother. 

As a kid, I often came home from school to cry alone in my room where no one could see me. 

The size of my body seemed to be the first thing people noticed about me. It seemed to be the currency with which everyone moved through the world. This meant I had little value, because my body didn't live up to the standards of everyone else. 

The size and shape of my body were a constant source of shame. Often secret shame that I shared with no one, though everyone knew my body was shameful. Growing up as a kid burdened with the disappointment and failure of my body didn't leave much room for joy or pleasure. It didn't leave room for feeling at home in my body. 

There was never much of a sense of safety living inside my skin. How could there be? My body betrayed me by not being thin like most of the other kids or teenagers. I was never taught to appreciate, be grateful for, or care for my body. The way I learned to care for my body was by trying to make my body smaller. Diets, counting points, tracking minutes of exercise, and drinking quarts of water, these were my tools for self-care. 

Thankfully, I no longer believe that fat is the worst thing you can be, even if others do. Today, fat is neutral descriptor of my body. Just like I'm tall, have short, brown hair, and brown eyes, and wide feet. These are all neutral descriptors of my body. It took me until I was 34-years old to say, "I am fat" without using it derogatorily. There was a lot of work that lead up to that moment the summer after my first year of graduate school. 

I have reclaimed the use of the word fat on my liberation journey. This is an extremely individual choice to make. While I don't think everyone has to reclaim it, I do think it does help to remove the shame and stigma attached to fatness when more and more of us do. 

Community was extremely important in my being able to reclaim it. Being able to hear others speak about fatness as a legitimate form of body diversity that has always existed was crucial. Being able to hear others talk about how my body was NOT a project that needing fixing was crucial. I needed someone to set this example and model this for me as I'd never experienced this way of being before in person. I'd only seen it in social media. I'm forever grateful for the women who created Be Nourished that were so pivotal in my reclaiming the word fat. 

I'll leave you with this quote from J. K. Rowling.

“Is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me.”

*I need to acknowledge that I am white. I do not have experience with a non-dominant racial  identity. So, I acknowledge that fat may not actually be the worst thing that someone experiences being called. 


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