SPOTLIGHT: Body Love Badass Deb Burgard


Deb and Cody 2009 smallFrom the minute we met Deb
Burgard, PhD, FAED, we felt love. Deb is a psychologist and one of the cofounders of the Health at Every Size model. She has been an activist for body sovereignty since creating her dance classes for fat women in 1983 and co-writing “Great Shape: The First Fitness Guide for Large Women” with Pat Lyons in 1988. In 1996, Deb created the Body Positive website and in 2001, she organized the “Show Me the Data” listserv community of researchers and activists.  Forever dedicated, Deb has also contributed research and academic papers and book chapters, speaks regularly at academic, clinical, and community conferences, and offers psychotherapy for individuals and groups in Los Altos, CA.  Currently, Deb focuses her efforts on trying to learn as much as possible about how to serve efforts to do sustainable anti-racism and social justice work so that relief comes for everyone. To say the very least, this woman is fierce. We happen to know first hand that she is also patient, calm and welcoming. A little behind the scenes knowledge – during Deb’s interview we had a reoccurring electrical meltdown. They’re we’d be camera rolling, lights on, chatting away and all of a Deb and the whole Fattitude crew would be in the dark. Deb just laughed and every time the lights reset she’d pick up where she left off – never making us feel disorganized or uncomfortable. We can’t say enough good things about Deb – she passionate and inspiring and if the world functioned according to her vision there would be no need for Fattitude. Honestly, there would be no need for a whole lot of social justice movements. What? we can dream, can’t we? deb-hooping What inspired you to speak out against weight bias? What inspired you to speak out against weight bias?As an eating disorders specialist, I see the fallout across the weight spectrum of our “War on Fat” – the fat people who are denied a peaceful existence in their bodies, and the thin people who may not even be aware of thin privilege but who are terrified of losing it. As an activist I also get to see the heart and joy with which so many of my friends – who are also folks across the weight spectrum – live their lives.  It makes it abundantly clear how mindless and wasteful our healthcare system is, and I try to use my privilege within that system to be a pain in the ass and make it just a tiny bit harder for it operate in all its racist, classist, abelist, sexist bullshittery. FattitudeLogoFinalCOLORcropWhy do you support Fattitude the movie? It is really hard to document our movement well, and no single movie can capture everything, but Lindsey and Viri give me hope and I am thrilled to see what has been done so far. What was your favorite thing you discussed in your interview for Fattitude the Movie? The joy inherent in reclaiming our bonds with each other and with the parts of ourselves – like the part that identifies with our bodies and got blamed for how we were treated.  This work may be frustrating, endless, exhausting – but it is also – at least for me – vastly preferable to living above my chin and disconnected from the power and partnership of my body. Sweet or savory? Don’t ask a psychologist to engage in either/or thinking.  ; ) Name one of your guiltiest pleasures. In the interview at minute 44:15 Deb answers this question! “I don’t have much use for guilt around pleasure.”

In order to support fattitude Deb has offered to skype chat on the phone about HAES with one of our Fans. How cool is that? Fattitude-DonateNow

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