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Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  655 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
From the leading bloggers in the fat-acceptance movement comes an empowering guide to body image— no matter what the scales say.

When it comes to body image, women can be their own worst enemies, aided and abetted by society and the media. But Harding and Kirby, the leading bloggers in the “fatosphere,” the online community of the fat acceptance movement, have written a boo
ebook, 272 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,798)
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May 06, 2009 Mbarkle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading Kate Harding's blog for several months, and really like her writing about fat acceptance and calling the media on their biases and degradation of fat people. So, when she posted that her book was published, I put it on my Kindle right away and sat down and read it the same day.

For me, this book is confirming exactly what I've come to believe from my own experience. Diets don't work. I am a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers. I lost 40 pounds 13 years ago, put it all back on, tr
Mar 22, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody in this thin-obsessed culture
Shelves: nonfiction
This book puts forward the life-changing idea that perhaps you ought to accept your fat self and put away the mirage that one day you will be thin and perfect. The authors, who are both fat-acceptance bloggers, go some way to dismantle misinformation about the health risks of fat and the so-called obesity crisis. Their first and major point is that diets don't work. The vast majority of people are unable to lose weight and keep it off for more than five years, so why are we being continually tol ...more
Yo-yo dieting causes more health problems than solutions. The vast majority (95% - not kidding, do your research) of people who lose weight on diets gain it back (and then some) in 5 years - and, yes, extreme "lifestyle changes" are diets, too. Are you tired of trying to navigate a media that conflates losing weight with gaining health, even while promoting weight loss through unhealthy means (pills, extreme diets, etc)? Do you want to make peace with your body, and be as healthy as you can be? ...more
It was a good, quick read, though I expected to like it more than I did since I'm already a big fan of Kate's website.

My major complaint is that they talked like they were writing a blog, which is great if you're, you know, writing a blog, but I when I'm reading a book I need and expect arguments to be a little more rigorous. For example, I hated that they would spend several pages going off about how most diet research doesn't do a long enough follow up (true), but then quote from research sup
Mar 21, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only knew my weight from the times I went to the doctor. Mostly, I just knew if my clothes were fitting or not. If they weren't, and I was to cheap to go buy new ones, I would hop on the treadmill just a little bit more than usual. Then I discovered online food tracking and "helpful diet hints". While I got down to a skinny weight, I ended up gaining it back (plus more when I had thyroid surgery and my meds got out of whack). Even though I've never been obese, or even heavy, I beat myself up o ...more
May 09, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of self-help books - I mean, A LOT. And I've come to the conclusion that what makes a self-help book helpful doesn't really have much to do with the actual content; for me, at least, it's more about the author's voice. Are they giving me the information in such a way that it resonates with me? This one really worked for me. The recurring basic theme is that there's no morality inherent in one's weight, eating habits, exercise habits, etc; that is to say, you're not "bad" or "good" b ...more
May 15, 2009 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sd-fem-bookclub
I loved Kate Harding's essay in Yes Means Yes, so I rushed to buy Lessons frm the Fat-O-Sphere as soon as it came out. Harding and Kirby are fun, engaging writers who have written a book with a message that isn't heard often enough. This is a light, quick read that I enjoyed, though for the most part I don't think I'm its target audience. For sure, there are good lessons for anyone to take out of the book, but it's mostly written for the benefit of larger readers.

There isn't a tremendous amount
Kirsten Griffith
The first few chapters of this book are full of true laugh-out-loud moments. If you're familiar with either Kate's or Marianne's online personality, you can often tell whose words you're reading. Reading this is like sitting down for a late lunch with your best girlfriends, with pitchers of margaritas kept full at all times.[return]Like that same late lunch where, once a few cocktails have been thrown back and the lighthearted catching up is out of the way, you get into the real nitty gritty of ...more
This was a weird and scary read for me because five years ago I lost a significant amount of weight, and as this book repeatedly asserts that all diets and/or lifestyle changes are doomed to fail in at least five years, if not sooner, it made me feel like I had a sword hanging over my head.

There's powerful words on self-acceptance and confidence and not falling into that destructive pattern of assuming all your problems revolve around your weight (this hit close to home, because I truly believe
I'm not really in the target audience for this book, but I thought it was really well written and an excellent read. It's got a really awesome message about being body positive both for yourself and for the people around you.

I've absorbed a lot of the dangerous media messages they discuss, and this book really made me think about a lot of pre-conceptions. It's a great resource, and I'm glad I read it.
Jun 30, 2009 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This would be a good book for large and in charge ladies (or ladies who feel bad about their bodies). I would have welcomed this when I was in college and I still had some of my lingering fat prejudice challenged, but it was too self-helpy for me. Not the most fair critique since it is a self-help book. I started to skim about half way through and didn't end up finishing it.
Kit Fox
Jan 28, 2016 Kit Fox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booklist-2009
I'll confess that I was expecting something more from this book, when I first heard about it, than a "trash the diet and self-loathing and get on with your life" manual. However, that's the sub-subtitle it came with, and it lived up to it fairly well. I have a lot of respect for both authors as bloggers, and for the message they're trying to promulgate, and I hope this book helps that message reach a new audience.

I wish it had been a bit more forthcoming with references, though. For all that the
Steph Bowe
Jul 26, 2015 Steph Bowe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was published in 2009, but I only just discovered it and it is so great I just had to review it. I think the demonization of fat, and the automatic assumption that fat = unhealthy/unattractive/bad/wrong is incredibly damaging, and very much untrue. What's wonderful about this book is that it breaks down faulty dieting statistics (diets do fail, and then people put all the weight back on, and that’s not very healthy) but is still easy to understand, conversational in tone and very, very ...more
Ana Mardoll
Mar 02, 2011 Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere / 0-399-53497-0

A perfect introduction to fat acceptance (FA) in particular and self acceptance in general, this book is a wonderful read for beginners and veterans alike. The writing is witty, direct, and insightful; never do you feel that the authors are being less than honest with you or that they are blowing smoke in your direction. The incisive writing is seasoned with a deep empathy for the reader - Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby speak to the reader like a tou
Jul 15, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Highly recommended.
I'm a huge fan of the blog created by one of this book's authors, Shapely Prose (, so naturally I'm predisposed to like this book. But I really think it is a groundbreaking work. It's well-written, witty, at times hilarious, and yet powerful, insightful, and a blow to society's fatphobia and woman-hating forces. It will make many readers rethink their assumptions about themselves, about fat, about the "science" of "obesity." This book encourages you to question
Jul 15, 2010 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am crazy in love with this book. It is all about accepting yourself at your current weight and not putting off living until you've lost some weight. As someone who has done some SERIOUS yoyo dieting in my life, I love this message. It is so easy to say, "I'll do so and so when I get thin again" and this book emphasizes how this is wrong-headed thinking. For one, you lose out on a lot of your life that way. For two, 95% of people who diet gain the weight back within three years. Ninety freakin ...more
Apr 17, 2011 Cameron rated it really liked it
Shelves: grrrl-power
This is the second book Bri recommended/lent to me this year, and it was almost as much a paradigm shift as the first. Reading this book, a strange mashup of narration that reads more like a long motivational e-mail than a book, I felt like I already secretly knew everything Kate and Marianne were telling me. But reading it was like setting off a tiny flame in the back of my mind that has been slowly burning up all the evil messages and body hate I've been storing for so long. Seriously, this bo ...more
Jan 03, 2011 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loving this book! Full of information that I already know about fat acceptance but written in such a fun, kick-ass fashion that I'm reading it all the time.

I finally finished reading this book and it has really reinspired me to take charge of my health. What I find the most interesting about this book is the focus on health and not weight loss. I appreciate that the authors are challenging the idea that you can't be fat and healthly by telling their stories and passing on tools for dealing with
Kate Schultz
Sep 26, 2015 Kate Schultz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An uplifting and funny book, written by two women who know what they're talking about. Their voices are much needed in the fat acceptance area, and this book will inspire women to love their bodies AND to make them healthy bodies, no matter what size.
There's nothing revolutionary in this book - except it kind of is. It's nonetheless necessary reading for any woman who hates her body because she believes she's "too fat". It's a clear examination of the screwed up messages the mass media and medical establishment keep shoving down our throats about the "obesity epidemic" (or, as the authors refer to it, "OBESITYCRISISBOOGABOOGABOOGA") - Which, it turns out, no so much an epidemic; obesity is not quite the death sentence it's been painted as; h ...more
Jan 28, 2012 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are fat and awesome
I wish this book had been around when I was in high school. Unfortunately, these ladies were going through the same thing I was at that time (only in college) and hadn't quite formulated their philosophy of being fat and awesome yet. This is a great introduction to fat acceptance. It's not very in-depth, but it covers a lot of ground, and it's very upbeat and encouraging. It also refers you to a bunch of fat acceptance resources, which is awesome. Please read this if you are fat or "fat" or if y ...more
May 30, 2010 Elly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fat-studies
I liked this book. It reads like the two authors are talking to you, in a way that feels good to me. It is much more a book with the personal story of the authors than a book giving just factual information. That does not mean the factual information is not in there, but it is presented in a way that is larded with personal information.

I read Kate Harding's blog, and after reading this book I will probably add Marianne Kirby's blog too, as I like the writing style of both authors.

The content wa
Nov 12, 2014 Melly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was instrumental to the rebuilding of who I am. From this book, I started building a body positive outlook, and it helped me to come to an agreement with my body. I learned a lot about fat shaming, fat studies, why diets will never work, and that it is ok for me to be in my fat body without shame. This is a must-read for anyone on the road to body/self love.
Jul 23, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fat women, people who hate their bodies
Recommended to Kate by: Kate Harding and Marianne Kirkby
Really enjoyed this irreverent take on the normal "love your body" type self-help books. This book brooks no bullshit, and has some wonderful discussion on what it means to be fat in a fat-hating world. I particularly like the chapter about how if someone loves you because they fancy your body as it is (i.e. fat), they are not some deviant pervert, but just someone with a taste for large bodies, just like some people have a penchant for red hair.

Wonderfully affirming stuff and makes me want to g
May 13, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who has been talking the body acceptance talk for her entire adult life (even if it's been much harder to also walk the walk), the information presented in this book was not new to me, but it was very, very affirming to read it and be reminded, especially as I have recently decided to finally and truly walk the walk and work on loving and accepting myself just as I am. I wish every woman I know, fat or not, would read this book and consider how much nicer life would be if they spent a ...more
Linda Hessel
Aug 14, 2010 Linda Hessel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: body
If it were for the content alone, I would give this five stars. But the writing itself was disappointing, considering that I have long loved Kate Harding's writing on her blog and her essays at Salon. She is normally sharp and intelligent and funny, but this reads like dumbed-down chick-lit self-help pablum. All I can think is that it was strongly edited by the publisher to make it more trendy and therefore marketable. I so looked forward to this book to be something physical I could hand to peo ...more
Jun 01, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diets don't work, in fact they cause all kind so physical problems for the humans who repeat weight-cycling (losing-gaining weight over & over again). Obsession with physical appearance, being thin (spurred by images of women & men who are not typical in body shape & size AND who are made up, dressed and then Photoshopped) leads to depression, self-hate and other psychological problems. Harding & Kirby advocate Health at Every Size: Eating when you're hungry, finding exercise you ...more
May 04, 2011 Martha marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I like what I've read thus far very much. I'm all for liking one's self at any size and working on one's self-esteem and all of their suggestions make sense to me. For example, I don't want to diet. Finding exercise I enjoy seems like a good idea. Wearing clothes that I like and that fit properly sounds great. Here's where I get stuck, though: the authors insist that it is essential to stop trying to lose weight. I want to lose weight, at least some. I don't think I can honestly give that up as ...more
Another in the series of it's OK to be fat books. Personally, I love these types of books because they ask a reader to consider other aspects of their lives as the real source of their misery. Perhaps the body disatisfaction is a distraction from the real unhappiness sources? Aspects that appear harder to change? Bad relationship? bad job? etc? Or just consider the low-esteem rooted in being fat as a source of settling.

The best part of the book is the bibliography at the end--I was able to find
Jan 02, 2012 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I can honestly say this book changed my life. "Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere" was the first book I read when diving into the fat acceptance movement. This book is about body acceptance and revealing the exaggerations of the obesity scare. It is positive, witty, and educational, and though it's written in a casual, informal style, it is anything but misinformed. Marianne Kirby & Kate Harding did a lot of research for this book, and it shows. I enjoyed reading this book very much, and I would ...more
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Kate Harding is author of Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture—and What We Can Do About It. She co-authored The Book of Jezebel and Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body and founded what was for a time the internet’s most popular body acceptance blog, Shapely Prose. She has contributed to numerous online publications, including Salon, Jezebel, T ...more
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