Jan. 23, 2008 -- Lesley Kinzel isn't ashamed of her weight -- in fact, she's so proud of her 300-pound figure she blogs about it daily.
An increasing number of overweight women are turning the blogosphere into the fatosphere, creating blogs like Kinzel's Fatshionista to try to promote the acceptance of fat people, countering the myriad blogs and Web sites that focus only on get-thin tricks and diet fads.
"A lot of fat blogs have popped up to fight against the obesity epidemic hysteria portrayed by the media," Kinzel, who said she started dieting at age 9 but eventually stopped, told ABCNEWS.com. "[Fat bloggers] want to speak for ourselves instead of being spoken for."
And as first reported by The New York Times, Kinzel's blog is in good company. Along with her blog, which focuses on helping fat women find clothing that fits them, her counterparts' blogs include Big Fat Deal, bfdblog.com, and Fat Chicks Rule, fatchicksrule.blogs.com, among several others.
Stop Teasing, Start Accepting, Bloggers Say
Kinzel said getting teased about her weight was common, and it wasn't until a few years ago, and after years of dieting with little success, that she came to terms with her size, a revelation many overweight people call "fat acceptance."
"[Our blogs] promote fat acceptance, or the idea that people should be able to accept themselves at the size they feel most comfortable," said Kinzel, 31, who said that she rarely steps on a scale. "And that fat people should not be humiliated or made fun of, and that fat people deserve as much respect as everyone else."
Monique van den Berg, creator of the Big Fat Deal blog, weighs 230 pounds and said she blogs to help people understand they can be beautiful at any size and to debunk some of what she called the common stereotypes about overweight people.
"People think all fat people do is sit around and eat ice cream, and that we haven't tried to do anything [to lose weight]," said 32-year-old van den Berg, who blogs from Berkeley, Calif. "I'm blogging to hopefully break some of those stereotypes."
Big Fat Deal covers everything from what overweight celebrities are doing to how the media portrays obesity, said van den Berg, who said her site gets as many as 1,500 comments a day.
The chief reason Internet users blog, according to John B. Horrigan, the associate director of the Pew Internet Group, is to express themselves.
"It's not so much about entertainment or trying to change people's perspective but trying to get something off your chest," said Horrigan, who added that the most recent research from Pew showed that 8 percent of Internet users identify themselves as having a blog. "Blogs are an opportunity to share with the world your voice, and that kind of power is really what blogging is about for a lot of people."
Can You Be Fat and Healthy?
Many of the fat bloggers told ABCNEWS.com that they consider themselves to be healthy, despite their weight.
"I'm not saying that all fat people are healthy, but that there are people who are fat and can be happy and healthy in the bodies they have," said Kinzel. "It's not fair to tar a whole group of people with the same brush based on certain statistics."
Fat Chicks Rule blogger Lara Frater, 36, said that she, too, considers herself "fairly healthy" and that at 230 pounds she has no desire to diet again and doesn't agree with doctors who say "fat is unhealthy."
Obesity expert Keith Ayoob told ABCNEWS.com that while the idea of fat acceptance is good for individuals' self-worth, the risk of being overweight is undeniable.
"I'm in favor of stopping the demonization of [obesity]. I don't think anyone deserves to be humiliated," said Ayoob. "At the same time, health is all about risk to some degree. Extreme morbid obesity is associated with health problems, there is no question about it.
"Fat acceptance is OK to the point of maintaining self-esteem," said Ayoob. "But within that context, the health risks are the health risks."