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Taking Up Space: How Eating Well and Exercising Regularly Changed My Life Paperback – September 15, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Pearlsong Press (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597190020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597190022
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,592,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Pattie Thomas describes herself as a reluctant warrior in "the war on obesity." She envisions herself, not as a svelte former fattie like the endless commercials viewed offered in the media, but as a Sumo ready to knock down those who wage war on fat and fat people.

The Sumo warrior, she suggests, is a perfect symbol for fat people in the so-called "war on obesity" because Sumos are front-line warriors who traditionally used their girth to open up space for others to win their battles. If the world can accept fat people as they are, then all people would be acceptable and diversity would be celebrated.

Her sociological memoir, Taking Up Space, is about being fat and the physical, emotional and economic costs of trying to pass for thin in a culture and society that wages war on fat people.

It is also about finding one's strength as a fat person both physically and emotionally. Thomas wrote this memoir because "being fat" is a central fact in her life from the point of view of others. Thomas would rather be remembered as a writer, poet, artist, photographer, filmmaker, sociologist, traveler and entrepreneur.

By confronting those who would sum up her life by her size, she has found the time and creativity to develop all those passions. She hopes that she has demonstrated how a sociologically examined life can lead to personal growth.

About the Author


Pattie Thomas describes herself as a reluctant warrior in "the war on obesity." She envisions herself, not as a svelte former fattie like the endless commercials offered in the media, but as a Sumo ready to knock down those who wage war on fat and fat people.

The Sumo warrior, she suggests, is a perfect symbol for fat people in the so-called "war on obesity" because Sumos are front-line warriors who traditionally used their girth to open up space for others to win their battles. If the world can accept fat people as they are, then all people would be acceptable and diversity would be celebrated.

Her sociological memoir, Taking Up Space, is about being fat and the physical, emotional and economic costs of trying to pass for thin in a culture and society that wages war on fat people.

Making her own life a case study, using her doctorate in medical sociology from University of Florida, Thomas, with her co-author and husband Carl Wilkerson, outlines how stigma limit and shape the life chances of all people.

Thomas really is a reluctant warrior, however. She wrote this memoir because "being fat" is a central fact in her life from the point of view of others. Thomas would rather be remembered as a writer, poet, artist, photographer, filmmaker, sociologist, traveler and entrepreneur. By confronting those who would sum up her life by her size, she has found the time and creativity to develop all those passions. She hopes that she has demonstrated how a sociologically examined life can lead to personal growth.

Carl Wilkerson is a deeply passionate human being who has many skills, talents and educational experiences, some of which may seem contradictory in nature and none of which can be said to describe the sum total of his life.

He is a writer, composer, lyricist, filmmaker, humorist, radio producer and performing artist. He has a Bachelor of Science from Wake Forest University in Mathematics and an MBA from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University.

Wilkerson is an entrepreneur. He is a public philosopher. He loves to travel. He has a working knowledge of French and is learning Spanish.

Oh yeah, and Wilkerson is deeply and passionately in love with a fat woman. This last fact about his life is many times the only one to which people pay attention. In the current cultural climate, being associated with fat people is as "bad" as being fat.

That is why, when given the opportunity for yet another collaboration with his wife and creative partner, Pattie Thomas, Wilkerson accepted the challenge with relish.

Thomas faces debilitating illnesses that may be directly related to her efforts to lose weight over a 30 year period. Wilkerson plays the role of her caregiver with compassion. His collaboration in this project directly reflects his desire for the war on fat people to end so that both he and his partner can develop and pursue their passions with as little social and physical barriers as possible.

Together Thomas and Wilkerson demonstrate how the "war on obesity" can be won, not by losing weight, but by simply giving up the battle with the bulge and learning how to carry one’s weight well.


More About the Author

Pattie Thomas, Ph.D. is a Sociologist who currently teaches at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. She has published over 200 articles as a freelance writer, is an active blogger and multi-media producer, often collaborating with her husband, Carl Wilkerson, MBA. Thomas has faced multiple challenges over the years including the stigmas associated with being fat and being disabled. Rather than let these challenges overcome her, she has used them to energize her work, her advocacy and her life. Of late, Thomas has been involved in promoting Universal Design and Visitability in residential housing.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Patsy Nevins on November 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dr. Thomas has written one the finest & certainly one of the most honest books on the subject of living fat in this fatphobic American culture that I have ever read, & I have been involved in fat acceptance for over 25 years, & have read every book I could find on the related subjects of fat & health, fat & legal rights, fat & social acceptance, etc. Dr. Thomas tells us what this "war on obesity" is like from the inside & she shows us the cost, in terms of time, money, health, & self-esteem, of trying to fight one's biology. I identify deeply with her struggle to accept her naturally fat body & learn to live in peace with & even to love it, as it has also been my struggle. I particularly identify with the multiple issues faced by those of us who are fat & disabled, & those who are aging (as indeed we all are) in a culture which so worships youth & its extremely dysfunctional view of health & beauty.

Taking Up Space will be one of the most valued & appreciated volumes in my personal library & it will be re-read many times. I applaud Dr. Thomas's honesty & I admire her courage. It is my sincere hope that many people will read this important book & that many minds & eyes will be opened & that the understanding between fat people & the thin world will be deepened. We all need to do whatever we can to explode these harmful myths, to end fat hatred & to call a ceasefire in this pointless & very destructive war on the bodies, souls, & psyches of the majority of our citizens.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pat Ballard on December 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Taking Up Space is a poignant saga of how one woman has come to grips with being large in a society where "thin" is worshiped as the ideal. Dr. Pattie Thomas uses her brilliant writing style to share the pain of her battles. Not just the emotional and psychological pain of being large in a small world, but the actual physical pain of two chronic diseases that she has to contend with. In Taking Up Space, Dr. Thomas often refers to herself as the reluctant warrior. But as she shares her battle with personal weight issues; as she bravely takes on the societal and medical stigmas that daily drain people of size, she truly becomes a brave sumo warrior who leads the way into battle against the poison darts that are constantly hurled at us.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Janet Fish on January 28, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is so full of information that it is an education in itself. I wish anyone with an opinion on "obesity" would read it. It might actually change one's perspective.

We all deserve regard and respect. Dr. Thomas states her case clearly and well. I'm grateful to her for writing this book.

Janet
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By Laurie Beecher on November 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A must-read for every person who has ever been skinny, fat, or anything in between.

I, personally, fight the "battle of the bulge" daily. My winning combination is a varied diet, a challenging curriculum, a disciplined work schedule, and exercise that I enjoy (running in the pool!). Coupled with the most powerful nutritional supplements on the planet (Kyani), stress relief comes in the form of a slobbering mutt named Tuffie and a kitchen full of sweet ingredients for me to whip up some morsels of gratitude I lovingly dubbed "yum drops".

Dr. Pattie provides a thoughtful and inspiring perspective; her "food for thought" will nourish and enrich every reader.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By tulip on September 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book veers off into issues that have nothing to do with the purported subject. The author even takes a shot at blaming Calvinism for society's attitudes towards fat people.

I had high hopes for this book as a guide to being comfortable with one's body and being healthy regardless of size, but was greatly disappointed. I do not recommend this.

Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight is a better choice.
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