My Fat Is My Business

I’m supposed to be on vacation. Supposed to be getting a tan, reading sci-fi and watching Grey’s Anatomy marathons on Netflix. But I check e-mail and social media twice a day, so this isn’t really much of a vacation. I’ve already clocked two hours of work today and I still have things to do.

Regardless, despite my personal vow to not get involved in a stupid internet debate on my vacation, I’m stepping into the “Fat Pagan” debate.

I am fat. F-A-T. FAT. I am not obese or Goddess-sized or heavy or any other term you care to use. I am fat.

My fat is my business, not yours. It’s between me and my doctor. This is my body and my life and I don’t have to accept anyone’s street corner critique of it.

Every so often the Pagan blogosphere goes off on some hand-wringing topic and right now it’s the old chestnut of Fat Pagans. What on earth are we going to do about Fat Pagans? You’d think we were vermin, rodents to be exterminated. Suddenly everyone is worried about how to deal with us, as if we causing issues for the community. As if you couldn’t hold a festival without a bunch of Fat Pagans ruining it. As if Fat Pagans were stealing your lunch money and beating you up behind the gym.

Get over yourself. Stop concern-trolling. Fat Pagans aren’t causing a problem for the Pagan community. We do not spread fatness like a disease. You can hug us without getting fat cooties. We are not trying to convert your children to the “fat lifestyle.”

If you feel the need to rid the Pagan community of harmful influences, why not go after smoking? There is no second-hand fat. Sex offenders? Fat people aren’t required to stay 1,000 feet from schools. Things that actually affect us when we gather as a group?

At my thinnest, I was still technically overweight and had to shop in the fat section. A year of starving my body on 800 calories and four hours of exercise a day got me to 180 lbs on a 5’5″ broad-shouldered and broad-hipped frame. I could barely squeeze into a women’s size 20. Thank goodness I stopped or I could have severely damaged my heart and bones. I am in good health. I would like to be a bit more active, and I would like to shed a little bit of weight, but I will never fall into the normal weight range for my frame. Not going to happen. And that is my business. Not yours.

This is what a healthy happy Fat Pagan looks like in a little black dress and FM pumps. Notice the lack of concern over what the Pagan community needs to do about her.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • Star Foster

    Also notice the red clay on her heels for trying to walk across rain-soaked red clay in any kind of heel.

  • T Thorn Coyle

    That photo is fabulous.

  • Eric Devries

    I couldn’t agree with you more if I sat down and tried to figure out a way to agree with you more. The handwringing and discussion over the last few days has struck me as body policing  masquerading as genuine concern. Totally between a person and their doctor, not a community problem. Glad you posted on this. Also, great picture.

  • Em

    I love this!  I think we should love ourselves no matter what we look like.  I also think we should strive to be healthy.  I don’t have a problem with encouraging others to be healthy.  BUT you can’t judge someone’s healthy based on what they look like.  Someone who’s thin is not necessarily healthy, and someone who’s fat is not necessarily unhealthy.   Only my doctor and myself can truly be the judge of my health.

  • leea

    As the saying goes..”amen”! There are enough important issues concerning our community without delving into personal issues. And in my opinion-weight, like sexuality is nobodies business…

  • Meagan


  • Lynn Tiffany

    YOU GOOOOOOOO GIRL!!!!!!!! The only difference between a fat person and a skinny girl is the fat content!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)xx    YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!! lYNN tIFFANY

  • Áine

    Thank you, Star.  

  • Simon Jadis

    I. Love. You. And this post.

  • Anne Newkirk Niven

    I can’t help but wonder if other religious groups go on and on about this issue… Are there Christian preachers out there hatin’ on Fat Christians, etc.?

    • Star Foster

       It happens. I’ve been to churches where smoking, weight, hairstyle and other things would subject you to intense peer pressure and haranguing from the pulpit.

    • Elly

      Yes, sadly, there are.  

    • Cerridwen

       There’s actually a whole industry devoted to “getting thin with Jesus.”

  • MedeaMetis

    Going to shamelessly re-post something I posted earlier on another blog:

    I must admit that I am rather conflicted about this whole discussion.
    Perhaps my “conflict” arises becasue I can see (and have lived) both
    sides of the equation.

    When I was about 20, I weighed 230 pounds. I was active within the
    magick and Pagan communities and I saw Paganism as a respite from the
    shame, teasing and disapprobation I endured on a nearly daily basis.
    Strangers, my family, kids at school, etc., all had unsolicited advice
    to give about my health. I became inured to folks hiding their criticism
    through pretending that their mean comments were really for my benefit
    and *not* reflective of their own insecurities and food issues.

    In my early 20′s, by my own volition and agency, I started to lose
    the weight and have now been, for the past 15 years, a socially
    acceptable size 6 or 8. I am healthy, I work out, I am considered very
    attractive and have outstanding blood pressure. But, you know what? I
    feel far more insecure now than I did when I was 230. I feel like I can
    never measure up, that no matter what I do, I will always be assessed on
    how I look and how much I weigh. Yeah, those slings and arrows of
    concern/criticism have never truly gone away, but are now just

    I have noticed the obesity problem in Paganism. But, I have also
    noticed that a lot of folks who are incredibly invested (or
    “concerned”) in policing the lives of others are merely trying to run
    away from dealing with their own issues. You don’t get spiritual
    “brownie points” for pointing out the obvious and you don’t store up
    treasure in the Heavens for “saving” all the fat folks.

    Going after the fat people is low-hanging fruit. At the end of the
    day, I suppose it is far easier to address ‘fatness’ as opposed to the
    other systemic, concealed and irksome problems within Paganism.

    You rock, Star! That picture is fierce!!!!

  • krisbradley

    *Stands and applauds*

  • Martha Linn

    I love you, Star.

  • salemwitchchild

    I completely agree. I don’t see a “fat Pagan” as any more worrisome than anyone else that’s overweight. I think I read one post today that insinuated that there are more fat Pagans than in other religions. Somehow Pagan society equals “lazy bums”. This is so not true for the most part. You can’t say one religion has more fat people than another. Simply doesn’t work that way. Religion has nothing to do with it. Its the foods we eat. The way we were taught to cook, and our own personal bad choices.

    And you’re right, its no ones business but ours! Fat shaming will NOT make the population healthier.

    • Smartlilmouse

      Being fat is not always indicative of making poor food choices and lack of exercise. Get a P.h. D before spouting off incorrect information such as this. At least then you could publish it and get paid.

      • salemwitchchild

         Wow a porcupine must have crawled up your butt tonight. I did NOT say that poor food choices is the only reason people are fat. However it IS the most likely reason. Yes there are other health reasons. Some take medication that can cause weight gain, and there are other diseases too such as thyroid problems. But that is NOT the majority. Nothing about my statement is incorrect. I simply did not state anything about the health reasons on why someone would find it difficult to loose weight. 

    • Burningmoonpw

      It’s also medical problems, medications, genes, hormones, and a million other things.  Weight is NOT always controlled by diet and exercise even though that’s what we’re made to believe.  I have PCOD which makes it next to impossible to lose weight without literally going on a starvation diet of 800 or less calories a day. 

      • salemwitchchild

         Again, no where in my statement did I say that all weight is controlled by diet and exercise. However medical issues that make diet and exercise impossible to loose weight is not the majority.

  • Vermillion

    I see more of an epidemic of Pagans who don’t wash or follow basic grooming then fat pagans honestly.

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      Which IS a problem at festivals and such, when they decide to go in the swimming pool or hot tub without having done even a courtesy shower beforehand…eew.  Hygeia–she is a goddess, you know!

  • Ylluria

    A-freaking-MEN!!  I’ve been seeing a lot of this mentioned in the few blogs I follow, but it’s startling to learn that this is happening in the pagan community, too- where everyone is SUPPOSED to be more open, respectful, and ftmp, thoughtful.  As a fluffy girl myself, a bellydancer, a visually impaired artist, and one with a blog discussing all these things, I’ve not encountered this treatment online- yet .  But if I do (and when next I do IRL, as it happens ALL THE TIME, unfortunately), I’m gonna take a page from your book, and if online, plan on pointing people toward your piece, here.  You have put it BEAUTIFULLY.  Thank you so very, very much. ♥

  • TheSeaHag

    Thank you!  To the folks asking what “we” are going to do about fat Pagans, I don’t know where you got the idea that you have the right to do anything about us.  We belong to ourselves, darlings, and our bodies are not yours to question or control.

  • David Pollard

    Though it doesn’t invalidate your premise, “second hand fat” does sort of exist. It works like this: if an individual gains (or for that matter loses) weight, people in their face to face social network will be significantly more likely to gain (or lose) weight. This is probably due to that friends like to eat together, share recipes and diets etc.
    Though we ware all individuals with rights and responsibilities, etc. We are also a social species who are interconnected to each other in ways that we aren’t even consciously aware of sometimes.

    • Zevenster

      hilarious! I am FAT myself, have a lot of THIN friends, who eat at my house regularly because I cook so fab… I have not wanted to loose weight, they have not gained it…
      This theory of yours could work for kids of fat people… hm… looking at my very skinny four year old, who has an excellent knowledge of what, and how much, he wants to eat..
      nope- I don’t think you are right, at all.

    • Star Foster

       Both of my sisters have struggled with weight, and all of their children are thin, even into adulthood.

    • Rachel

       i do believe there is truth to this. there are plenty of times where i (or a friend) have allowed others food choices alter what the i eat. meaning- using each other as an excuse to cheat on our diets. this also applies to parents passing on unhealthy eating habits to their kids. of course, like most ideas it doesn’t apply in all situations, but i’ve definitely seen this in my own life.

  • Patrick

    I was born in a female body and lived that way for 40 years.  Started fighting my weight at age 16 but found out that I was just plain dense…not stupid, but literally muscle dense and ALWAYS weighed more than other women my size.  Then I had two children 22 months apart and besides being muscle dense I also added fat…everywhere.  At 40 I transitioned from female-to-male, yep…I’m transgender.  I lost the weight thanks to testosterone but then gained it back after an injury requiring surgery and a long, slow recovery…blew out my Achilles tendon.  Was just getting back into shape when I blew out the OTHER Achilles tendon…now I’m muscle dense and FAT again.  What’s interesting is that as a man I’m considered “portly” or “stocky” and constantly reassured that I don’t look “that bad” or that it isn’t all that important as long as “you’re healthy”.  But, and I well remember this, it wasn’t that way for me as a woman.  As a FAT woman I was constantly pushed to “lose a few pounds” or eat a little less, or exercise a little more or shop over in the “large” women’s plus-size section of the store, to wear dark colors that were more slimming and to avoid wearing shorts, wearing sleeveless tops, tank tops, or GODS FORBID a swimming suit.  People would literally walk past me (and my kids) at an outdoor food vendor and “tsk, tsk” at what I was eating even if I was just DRINKING WATER.  As a woman it seemed as if my weight was EVERYONEs business, but as a man it isn’t any big deal as long as “you’re healthy”.   People are more disgusted with me now because I have hair on my back (again thanks to the testosterone…) but being fat isn’t an issue.   As a Pagan I’ve been downright disgusted by the comments I’ve seen regarding “fat pagans” made by other pagans.  I’ve seriously considered withdrawing to full solitary status and just not talking to/or reading the words of/ or participating in community with other pagans.  I found my way here, to paganism, for many reasons not the least of which was the feeling of acceptance.  I don’t feel that so much any more.

    Thank you Star for your words and your honesty.  I LIKE large women with curves and softness and intelligence and a sense of humor.  If I were single I’d come knock on your door with a fresh apple pie in one hand and a single red rose in the other.  :-) 

    • Eric Devries

      I love everything you said, I’ve always felt(and you confirm) that there is a  double standard about these kinds of issues when it comes to how men and women are judged. There is a societal fixation with women’s body types that has nothing to do with health although it sometimes tries to pretend it does. To me some of this is the modern equivalent of the ‘No fat chicks’ bumper stickers I used to see when I was a kid. BMI is a joke and having preconceptions about someone based on their weight is just bigotry no matter how much ‘concern’ you wrap it up with.

    • Zevenster

      What a very interesting life you have led – not easy, I guess, but so interesting!
      To know what it is like to give birth, being a man, makes you almost a unique partner to talk to!! (I guess you had hilarious moments engaging in a “I had 17 stitches blah blah” discussions….)

      • Patrick

        It’s been pretty amazing so far…and since I learned to “get over myself” with regard to anger, grudges, etc suffered in my former female physical self…it’s also been pretty entertaining.  Talking about giving birth with a bunch of young women (at a baby shower for a friend’s daughter whom I’ve known since she was born) was pretty hilarious…and then there’s always fun at the make-up counter with female friends, the obvious discomfort other males display when I shop for “feminine” products/supplies for my wife, and the ever popular menstrual cramp argument “you can’t possibly understand how it feels” etc.   In all seriousness, having walked the earth for awhile as a woman has helped me become a better man.

    • Jennifer Myers

       wow, hearing this from both sides of the fence is a rare treat. thank you for replying in such a straightforward way. it really made me think.

  • WhiteBirch

    Star, I fucking love you. Can I say that? >>

    I think I want to add, my HEALTH is my business too. Turning “I’m worried cause you’re fat” into “I’m worried about your health”. Guess what… also my business!

  • Aine Llewellyn

    <3 Great post.

    Was just…disappointed to see this 'discussion' (shaming) happening. Concern trolling is awful, and body policing is gross. 

  • Kilmrnock

    Star , i’m w/ you 100% on this one . I personaly could stand to loose a bit more weight meself , gods know my doctor wants me to. Had a heart attack last year scared the shyte out of me and my wife, new diet , meds etc . But my loving wife is a ” curvatouos woman”. My take on all of this is we need a better body image ideal for woman these days . The hollywood and media ideal woman image is rediculous .These anorexic waifes themselves look unhealthy. By todays standards Marlyn Monroe would be fat .To my eye she was one of the loveliest woman to come out of hollywood . I personaly prefer a more rubinesk (sp?) lass meself .You are a lovely , happy , lass who gives a flying @#&$ what anyone else thinks . This whole concern trolling , body policy thing is bullshyte.  

  • Peter Beckley

    While I don’t agree with your premise that being overweight isn’t unhealthy, I fully support the idea that both your fat and health are your business.

  • Cap’n

    This is like that time that fat pagan beat me up behind the gym and took my lunch money!  And true, I’ve never heard of second hand fat, I suffer from second-chin fat, but I’m working on it!
    Now that the self-inflicted jokes are out of the way, RIGHT ON!  Spread the love and acceptance cooties to everyone you meet!  Show up at every pagan festival you can, and spread the communicable disease known as happiness and good cheer.  You are adorable, and I hope you always stay that way!

  • patti wigington

    Star, you are beautiful.

  • Kathy Nance

    Thanks for this. If I had a bit more energy now, I’d note that much of the “concern” about the health problems caused by overweight are based on small, non-replicated studies. And that many fat people–myself included–have blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate and respiration rates smack in the middle of the normal range.

    And that shame about body size helps no one.

    Let’s be concerned about things like whether we get up from the couch every now and then, or eat whole foods for the most part.  And realize that people come in many different sizes. What matters is that we love our bodies regardless of their appearance, and take care of ourselves in every way.

    Check out the book “Healthy at Every Size,” or the Health at Every Size community ( for more information about the difference between “thin” and “healthy.”

  • Shauna Aura Knight

    I’m sorry to see that this whole thing turned from what I saw as someone wanting more of our community members to be healthy into something else. I didn’t read Peter’s post as calling for shaming the fat people. I’m fat. Curvy, amazon, obese, whatever you want to call it. I already posted a response on Peter’s blog, but I guess I just wanted to say here that I’d like us to be able to hold paradox. This isn’t just a Pagan issue, but it’s been brought up within the Pagan community.

    The paradox is–yes, let’s love our bodies at all shapes and sizes. But let’s also work to be healthier together.

    Let’s not shame people for being too skinny, too fat. Let’s work to have healthy self esteem and less shaming of ourselves. On the same vein as this–the whole “real men/women love curvy women” thing can be just as offensive for our Pagan friends who are born with a very skinny build who have a hard time putting on weight.

    Let’s also work to help each other be healthy, at whatever weight that is. Let’s commit to putting good things in our bodies that are good for the environment too. Let’s stop smoking, stop eating fast food, stop eating aspartame, stop eating chemically treated food that hurts us. Let’s eat the foods that are good for us, as our commitment to ourselves, our gods, to the earth.

    When I’m at a weight that I feel health–about 190 pounds–I’m still what society considers to be fat and unattractive. But I feel good at that weight, and it’s why I’m working hard to get back to that. More than that, I’m working to eat what’s good for me, work out so I’m as strong as I want to be. I suppose, what’s the point of being a big boned amazon if I don’t get to be mighty and strong.

    I don’t see this as a debate about my fat being anybody’s business–I see it as, let’s help each other to be healthy, and respecting that what’s healthy for you is not necessarily what’s healthy for me.

    • WhiteBirch

      The problem I see with encouraging each other to be healthy is that the encouragement frequently flows from thin people (like Peter Dybing if his picture is accurate!) to fat people (like me, you, or Star) who don’t necessarily find it encouraging. At least I don’t find unsolicited health advice delivered on the basis of my appearance very encouraging. That’s pretty much how I experience fat shaming in every area of my life, from the pagan blogosphere to Starbucks (where I was recently “helpfully reminded” that they offer sugar free syrups for dieters and diabetics. /rolleyes).

    • George McGeorge

      Brava. I agree with Shauna on every point here. Let’s not mistake honest concern for the health of a community for prejudice against fat people. If there’s ever a Pagan festival that doesn’t allow people over a certain BMI to attend, then we can cry prejudice. 

  • Crystal Blanton

    Your photo is great in so many ways. Your beauty, confidence and strength are so clearly visible. To me that is what Paganism should be about…..connecting with our inner sacred and manifesting it to the world. Thank you for using yourself as an image of learning to accept. So many of us struggle with image versus identity and we have to learn that it is not a Pagan issue but a human issue. Thank you for showing you to the world.

  • WitchDoctorJoe

    Nice pic, love the heels, you’re a beauty Star, way to bring sexy back!

  • LisaSpiral Besnett

    concern-trolling!  What a perfectly descriptive term.  Amen sister.

  • Rachel

    i understand and agree with some of what youre saying. but i also think there’s a lot of over reaction (here and elsewhere) going on w/ regard to the original post that started all this. i really don’t think there was any fat shaming going. and i don’t think anyone was saying don’t love yourself/accept others. but let’s face it obesity is a major problem in the US. we can say we’re all fat and happy, but that doesn’t change the health risk. i say this as an overweight (5 foot 3, 190lbs) woman who has many of the health issues associated with obesity.  i’ve struggled w/ my weight most of my life. i’ve also struggled with depression, migraines, fibromyalgia, and vertigo- which have contributed to the weight. i don’t need shaming for my weight but i don’t need enablers either. and i do believe there is a line where acceptance becomes endorsement of “bad behaviors”. there is something to the notion of physical health effecting spiritual health and this is a spiritual community after all. health (spiritual or physical or other) of the community affects individual health and vice versa.

  • Isabella LeCour

    Thank you so much for saying this!!!

  • Silvermelanie

    amen sister. as one of the “fat” pagans, i prefer to call myself rubenesque ( and thats not from eating too many rubens) people need to mind their own business i am losing weight slowly, but have fibromyalgia so its hard to excercise. so mind your own business and leave us alone

  • Athallia

    First let me applaud you for your honesty and for desiring to be more physically active. However, being healthy is more than being symptom-free. You’re still young and your joints and your organs will thank you later if you lose some weight now.  I’m out of the loop about the controversy you mentioned, so I’ll keep this post short. Definitely, ditto on what Shauna said about loving our bodies and helping each other be healthier.
    As far as that 800 calorie diet, yikes! Please DON’T do that to your body. As a Hellenic and a fitness professional I’m telling you moderation is the way to go. If you need a fitness plan that works with your lifestyle and/or encouragement feel free to drop me a line at athallia @ 

  • Whitney Adams

    Ive never heard of this before. I am always out of the loop. la sigh

    But that is disturbing. I thought Pagans were accepting.

  • kenneth

    I consider fat women to be one of the sweetest perks of being pagan! :)

  • Oregon Catholic

    Someone above wondered if other religions made a big deal about people being overweight. It’s funny you should ask. In the Catholic faith, gluttony is called one of the 7 deadly sins (of course it’s not just about food) but it’s never talked about. It’s like it’s the sin that isn’t a sin anymore. The head of the bishop’s conference even makes jokes about being fat. We live in confusing times.

    • Cowalker

      The Catholic position on this involves some hilarious omissions, IMO. While contraception remains sinful, it is OK to use artificial sweeteners such as Splenda and saccharine. It’s OK to deceive the taste buds with chemically-devised sugary tastes while you avoid nourishing the body with the calories it expects when sweetness is experienced by the tongue. But you can’t nohow, no way, deceive the sexual organs with an orgasm without giving the putative sperm access to the putative eggs.  

      This state of affairs makes God happy. Whatever. Yeah, I’m an atheist who was raised as a Catholic. 

  • Agni Ashwin

    Jai Ganesh!

  • CrimsonQueen13

    I could not have said it better than that, amazing and I am so proud of you for speaking out. Being fat is not the worse thing you can be and is no ones business but our own. As a very fat pagan woman I agree completely with you and hope that we will all stop preaching hate in any form. 

  • yvonne adams

    thank you for putting this out there im so tired of witches being put out there as thin and sexy well guess what not all are some are fat and sexy too we are all doing good no matter what size or what we look like we are all still working for the same thing the greater good im FAT and would like all these ignorant people to stop hurting us FAT people with theyer ignorant words and just get on with life

  • Nicholas Farrell

    Why the fatness even needs to be discussed by anyone in such a way as to make someone feel lesser is beyond me. I could understand if there was a group of people motivated by their own health problems to work together to get themselves at a level their own bodies can handle, a support group, if you will, but not outright bullying.

  • Elder Maya, Temple of Wicca

    Bravo! Anyone who knows their history knows that Sybil Leek was no skinny-Minnie. The importance is leading a balanced life. If you are healthy and happy the way you are, then so be it! Are bodies are only temporary dwellings for this incarnation. Of more importance is your soul and the lessons and work it came here to do. I applaud your enlightenment!

  • Kilmrnock

    Most of paganism as a whole is accepting . We love and accept our pagan brothers and sisters no matter what . But unfortunatly in any group there will be an unsavory element that fusses about such things . These folks have nothing better tom do than belittle others . Actualy says more about them than anything else , insecuraties etc.       Kilm 

  • Guest

    I like women that are happy for what they are!! So fatness is not a bad thing, its just more to love. I would marry STAR.

  • Auspicious Kitten

    I am a pagan who happens to work for a weight loss company. What we learn about people and their bodies is that nagging and “helpful” hinting/suggestions are destructive and counter-productive, and that no one should be coerced into doing something until they themselves are ready to take that step. When a person makes the choice to address any weight change *then* is the time to support the hell out of them… but to support them in “their” process and at “their” pace with no judging. Too many folks make other people their business or their project because of what they want or wish for themselves. Thin people, large people and everything in between love or loathe their bodies for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with health, personally i think that if more folks focused on the health of their inner dynamics the outer ones would follow, whatever that looks like. We are all beautiful.

  • Daniel SnowKestral

    You are beautifully fabulous, Star!  And an inspiration, too.  Your article made this Fat Pagan’s weekend!  Be you who you are, in all your shapes and sizes. :)

    I have found it very difficult to be fat, Pagan AND Gay.  But the difficulty comes with a tempering to be true to myself all the more.  Thank you, Star!

  • Ruby Sara

    Excellent post, Star.  I couldn’t agree more.  

  • Talyn

    While there are many things about this topic that get people defensive, I think one that is particular to pagans is a sort of ….. how do I put it?  Implied insult in there of being hypocritical.  An implication that people must not be practicing what they preach and all that… so there is understandable defensiveness.