Ragen Chastain is a Hypocrite

This will be a short post because the evidence mostly speaks for itself. In recent weeks, Ragen has been riding the wave of success after her disastrous IRONMAN attempt by framing herself as a victim of harassment and stalking. However, on numerous occasions Ragen herself has instructed her blog readers to harass individuals and contact their employers and accrediting organizations, or leave fake business reviews to affect their income. When Ragen organizes harassment, it’s an “activism opportunity”, but when someone voices their concerns or expresses criticism to Ragen or her employers (an allegation we note remains unproven), it’s “stalking”. Here are a few examples of Ragen’s hypocrisy, though there are many others over the last few years. We will not be linking to the posts themselves because the contact information is still up in all cases.

In 2012, Ragen participated in a radio interview with a doctor and a personal trainer. The PT very reasonably told Ragen normal everyday activities like tying shoes or climbing stairs become “vigorous” when an individual is hundreds of pounds overweight. He also made the mistake of questioning her dancing abilities and credentials. Ragen denied everything during the interview, then immediately got on her blog and pretended the trainer had claimed she was unable to tie her shoes or climb stairs, and that he was a “bigot” who hated fat people. She gave his email address and instructed her readers to harass him.


In 2015, Ragen really stepped up her “activism” game. In February, she instructed her readers to contact a “fat shaming” dance company on Facebook and leave fake reviews for them on Yelp and Google.

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In May, a fitness instructor posted an anonymous photo of a woman in public and counted the calories of everything she ate during a football game. A writer wrote a fictional reply to him. Ragen posted contact and social media information for both men and instructed her readers to make complaints to the fitness instructor’s accrediting institute.

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In July, a doctor posted a “fat shaming” video about his experiences with obese patients. Ragen immediately identified an “activism opportunity” and instructed her followers to harass him by email, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as contacting web sites that share his videos. She also posted his employer’s contact information and instructions on how to make complaints to the California Medical Board using his license number.

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30 thoughts on “Ragen Chastain is a Hypocrite

  1. It seems to me that she has a mental condition…like rather than trying to work with reality, all she does is attempt to manipulate the world into the place she needs it to be to fit her own needs. It’s absolutely bizarre…and kind of evil.

    • you should check out a book called ‘the woman who wasn’t there’ (robin gaby fisher). ragen reminds me a lot of tania head – a woman who lead a survivor’s group after faking an outrageous heroic account of escaping from the 78th floor of TWC during 9/11 while losing her fiance in the collapsed north tower. the similarities are uncanny. worth a read. there’s a documentary film too, but tania’s narcissism and abuse is detailed more in the book.

      • She is so much like Tania it’s not even funny. When the Tania documenatary started getting a bit of buzz again this year about 9/11 I actually started to wonder if Ragen wouldn’t come out in her defense. Without looking any deeper (as Ragen is want to do), it could appear like Tania is just a woman being fatshamed.

  2. “We can insist on being accommodated”. But healthy people don’t need accommodations. Sick people do. Disabled people do. Injured people do. Pregnant women do (those were the only 3 times in my life I couldn’t tie my own shoes). But healthy people just go about their lives doing the things they do.

    • So much screwed up stuff is said on this blog, I don’t know why I feel the need to respond to this particular screwed-up comment, but…..this is just screwed-up.

      1) “Healthy people” require accommodation of various kinds all the time.

      2) What constitutes health is in large part (though certainly not entirely) a social construction. Lots of disability-rights activists have discussed the ways in which disability is largely not about any intrinsic characteristic, but rather about the clash between some characteristic and some other external situation. So, like, being in a wheelchair is a disability primarily insofar as many buildings are not so wheelchair-accessible. But if they were, then what about the person is disabled? They can do exactly what the walking person can – enter the building – just in a different way.

      3) Neither disability nor pregnancy renders one “unhealthy.” See the above.

      4) Even if being fat always indicated significant unhealthiness, that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be accommodated the way that other non-normative bodies are. Even if being fat were always and solely the responsibility of the individual, that could still be accommodated, the same way that we accommodate all kinds of people who have various needs at various times.

      5) No, I myself am neither fat nor disabled. Just perpetually appalled by the shoddy thinking and bigotry that pop up on this ridiculous blog – though, I suppose, given that the whole premise of the blog is completely ludicrous, I don’t know why I’d be surprised. Oh well, carry on.

      • @Pjsparkles:
        In my city, the usual m.o. is people on the bus will sit in handicapped seating unless an elderly/pregnant/disabled person gets on.
        Yesterday, an obese woman got on and barked, “Who’s going to give up a seat for me?” (No shit–it was so unbelievable it was straight out of a Regan blog post).
        Know what I did? I gabe her a fucking death stare.
        Because if you expect me to give up my seat–not because of a disability, pregnancy, or age–but simply because your own body weight makes it uncomfy to stand?
        Yeah. Hi. I’m the rest of the world, and I’ll be damned if I “accommodate” that.

      • Health is more than being free of disease or illness. Health can be defined, at a most basic level, as the body functioning at a level of normalcy; physical and mental well being.

        Being pregnant is not a state of normalcy. Again, at the most basic level, being pregnant is being infected with a sexually transmitted parasite. So while I had accommodations, I didn’t “insist” upon them. If someone offered a seat or held a door, it was because they had manners.

        Someone who needs a wheelchair, be it short or long term, is not the body functioning at a state of normalcy. Same with someone who is missing a limb or an eye, a sense or whatever you want to say.

        If you are so large that you cannot reach down and tie your own shoe, you are not healthy. If you ate yourself that large, barring any legit metabolic disorder, and not one you talked yourself into, then you also have an eating disorder. And if on top of both of those things, you cannot admit either to yourself, then I would strongly suggest you seek professional mental health care as well.

        And just as you have your opinions and are entitled to them, I have mine and are entitled to them.

      • I thought you were joking at first. The reason why being in a wheelchair is a handicap is because a non-disabled person can (in theory) do everything a disabled person can do, but not the reverse. A “normal” person could go out and buy a wheelchair and use it, but a disabled person can’t stand up and walk around .

        Of course we could accommodate fat people, but why should we? We accommodate handicap people because they have no choice. We accommodate pregnant women because we recognize there’s an inherent value in being pregnant. But being fat is both a choice and has no value. The fact that being fat causes you to not be able to do everything a healthy person can is not society’s problem, it’s the fat person’s problem.

      • No, I myself am neither fat nor disabled. Just perpetually appalled by the shoddy thinking and bigotry that pop up on this ridiculous blog

        We welcome your participation in the blog comments. Unlike Ragen we don’t remove criticism of what we write here. Please feel free to question anything you feel is “shoddy thinking” or “bigotry”.

  3. So being obese is always a choice? Really?

    My sister takes meds for a disabling mood disorder. She’s gained a lot of weight as a side effect. Lost her hair too. Her teeth are suffering too (getting loose yet she practices scrupulous dental hygiene). And has suffered a couple of broken bones as another side effect (docs perplexed by this, but can offer no explanation other than the meds).

    I guess she could opt to stop taking the meds, but then she would need to go on disability. However, she’d rather be a contributing member of society, take the meds, endure the side effects and earn a living.

    Awfully nice when folks judge her negatively because she is obese, don’t you think?

    • Blaming side effects of medication for obesity can only take you so far (I would say maybe 20 lbs). Yes, some medications and conditions make gaining weight easier and losing it harder, but it’s not a nonvariable side effect. She can lose weight. She can make modifications that will decrease her chances of weight gain and manage a healthy weight.

      The bottom line is that excessive calorie consumption is the cause of ANY weight gain. You can’t create something from nothing. If she’s consuming too many calories, she will gain. If she’s taking in less than her Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) she will lose.

      I know FAs like to challenge calories in/calories out (CICO), and you can dance around the facts and cherry-pick what you want but it’s a very reliable method of weight management. It’s not judgement, it’s truth.

      • Go and check out the side effects of Risperidal. Read comments from people on it. Then tell me you only put on 20lbs from a drug.

      • Yeah, I took Risperdal briefly and Depakote for a while. Depakote was a nightmare–it made me so tired and forgetful, and also turned me into a cartoon fatty who shoveled food into my mouth. I gained 100 pounds, at the rate of 8 to 10 per month. My doctor didn’t notice. Years later, once I got down to trying to lose the last 60 or so, I had an awful experience where I was consumed with thoughts of food all day and all the time. Which is terrifying, even if you really like food. You want to be able to drive to work or watch TV or eat quinoa without having a pizza draped over your brain.

        I don’t doubt the basics of CICO, and I suspect that I would lose weight if I lived in a controlled environment. However, most people don’t live in controlled environments. Dieting for the rest of your life (don’t bother with the “lifestyle change” line, even Weight Watchers is using that in their marketing now) requires an incredible amount of discipline. At least it does for me: see above, with having all of my waking hours and dreams consumed with thoughts of food.

    • No, being obese is not always a choice, as has been said time and time before. I feel it is incredibly brave and responsible of your sister to continue medication despite the terrible side effects you have mentioned. I have mood disorders as well, but from the sounds of it, no where near as serious as hers. If my medications caused half the side effects you said, I’d stop them in a heart beat.

      But having said that, there are a number of people who will blame weight gain on non existent medical disorders or a “slow metabolism” that they’ve never had tested and expect the world to bend over backwards. And people like Ragen who advocate for obese people to insist to be accommodated while eating themselves to an early grave are, in my opinion, selfishly ruining it for those who do have an honest medical issue that could be categorized as a disability.

      This type of “one bad apple ruins the bunch” mentality can be applied elsewhere. Think of the soldiers returning from the first few waves of Iraq. They were quick to claim VA disability for PTSD because you couldn’t really ‘prove’ it, as long as they used the right buzzwords. This turned into massive cases of possible fraud for later veterans, even those who actually had PTSD, making it harder for them to get compensation and treatment.

      If I were you or your sister, I would hate Ragen and the message she’s spreading. I know nothing of your sister, but if she is the type of person who continues to take medication so she can be a functioning member of society instead of getting a free government handout, then I doubt she’s the kind of person who would insist upon accommodations based solely upon her weight and nothing else.

      • I’ll give Ragen points for encouraging obese persons to go out and live their lives- instead of hiding at home watching the world go by. However, I cringe every time she asserts folks don’t have to take proper care of their health. Personally, I think folks should strive to eat healthfully, watch portions, get exercise, limit sun exposure and take any other steps their physician advises. The occasional piece of cake or skipped workout is fine; it’s the assertion that one need not do these things at all that just kills me. Your point regarding hiding behind unsubstantiated medical issues as reason to not take care of oneself is well-stated-and I agree with you.

        And, thank you for the kind words regarding my sister. She went from the type who could eat anything and never gain an ounce, to gaining 100+ lbs. She’s now learning how to portion control her intake, reach for water instead of soda and trying vegetables (“Hey-steamed broccoli is pretty good!”). New world for her. She’s not able to do much exercise; afraid of another bone break. I’m hoping she can find a swimming pool and get exercise.

        Regarding accommodations for her weight: we had an interesting experience at a ball game this summer. Walking is hard for her. Yet she did not ask for any assistance as we walked to our seats. A couple of stadium employees saw her discomfort and offered assistance. One pointed out a short-cut to our seats. Another procured a jitney ride to the parking structure after the game ended. All this she appreciated; however she says that she will no longer attend baseball games until she can handle all the walking. I’m sad that she feels she must forego something she enjoys but I understand her feeling on this. Not gonna put anyone out for her benefit.

      • Ragen makes plenty of excellent points. Fat people absolutely deserve to be treated with respect, just like anyone else. Fat people shouldn’t be afraid to get out and live their lives; it’s so easy to fall into the trap of saying “I’ll do x when I’m thin” and then never doing it. And losing weight and keeping it off is hard, even though CICO is a very simple concept.

        The problem is Ragen intersperses her good advice with liberal doses of pseudoscience and terrible medical advice, uses her “activism” to line her pockets through speaking engagements and moneymaking schemes, and constantly misleads or tells flat out lies about her credentials and achievements. That’s what this blog is about, and it shouldn’t detract from the message that fat people deserve respect, even though Ragen likes to frame any criticism of her as fat hate.

      • I’d agree with the statement ‘folks don’t have to take care of themselves’. It’s a really smart idea, but it’s not a duty people owe to anyone other than themselves.

        Mind, rights bring responsibilities. Sure, everyone has the right to eat badly/smoke/not exercise, but then be responsible for the consequences.

    • I have a disabling autoimmune disease which makes me tired all the time and makes it difficult to work out. Yey I have managed to not become morbidly obese, or even fat. Because I adjusted my food intake to reflect my situation.

      There is no medication in the world that will make you obese of you don’t choose to be.

      • Not true. Some anti psychotics make you pile on the pounds and it is almost impossible to get them off. Believe me, i hate being overweight

      • Sorry, Wendy, but you are wrong. You are eating too much. You cannot gain mass from nothing. The laws of physics will not allow it.

    • Who is judging? I don’t judge anyone for being obese. Who knows how they got there, or what they are experiencing?

      What I do judge is a person who would use the insecurity felt by those who are obese, to separate them from their money. That’s what we’re judging here.

      • I judge people who lie, aggrandize themselves, and make ridiculous statements in an effort to procure financial support from dimwitted,desperate followers. Like televangelists, and Ragen.

  4. @Anonemoose- I have to disagree with your last sentence. I have chronic, treatment resistant depression. Right now, I’m in a similar situation as yourself and likewise have to watch what I eat, particularly when exercise is off the cards.

    However, mirtazapine (a common anti-d) is also prescribed for appetite stimulation e.g. cancer patients. I can only describe the experience as being like a switch being flicked in the brain. I wasn’t hungry but I continually thought about sweet things. I’d eat several servings of the same calorie dense food like someone with a chronic thirst and still be craving sugar. I’m a perfectionist and very self-critical and my inability to self-police began to really negatively effect my mood and for the first time in my life I could understand how eating disorders can begin. When I changed to a different med, the horribly compulsive cravings went. If my depressed brain can have the chemicals so out of balance when I’m ill that I
    have no interest in eating and lose weight, medicines to increase certain low brain chemicals can go too high and affect appetite/interest at the other end of the scale causing weight gain.

    The actual mechanism is cals in/cals out. But the effect of certain meds on the biological functioning of the brain means that it is possible that self-discipline can be completely overwritten by a neurological compulsion to consume more calories than are needed functionally.

    • Some mood disorder meds affect the satiety region of the brain. It makes it so one doesn’t register satiety after consuming a meal. My sister described it as feeling famished AFTER consuming a meal.

      • This is true & I have experienced it. You never have true hunger/fullness sensations at all. Just an overwhelming compulsion to eat. Usually carbs/sugar. So the only control you can have is by counting calories religiously, and then going to bed at night miserable. Watching a movie and just being distracted by how hard you’re working at not eating.

        I have experienced giving in to this feeling & realizing I still felt hungry & like I needed to eat, even though my stomach was hurting like it would burst. It’s been such a revelation to regain the true sensations of hunger and fullness and just be like, “hey, I’m not hungry. Imma just sit here and be okay with things.” It’s crazy that this is such a big deal.

    • Depression is a bitch. Severe chronic depression is worse. Bipolar disorder is evil. The medications prescribed to treat these (which from my experience rarely work) are evil as well. I won’t attest to the medications causing weight gain directly. For 9 years I controlled my bipolar-ness with diet and exercise because you cannot be bipolar in the military, and had I sought treatment, I would have been medically discharged.

      So, when I felt the depression coming, instead of wallowing and hiding in a dark room, I got up and ran and ran and ran until there were enough endorphins running around in my brain to pull me out. And when I felt the mania coming on, I focused that energy in the gym lifting weights, taking a class or running and running and running until I was too exhausted to do anything self destructive. And all the time I make sure I never put too much crap food in my body. (I’m bipolar 2, so not so high highs, but still low lows).

      But I have been on medications that have made me either starving all the time, even if I just ate, or never ever hungry, even if I haven’t eaten in days. Anyway, what I’m getting at is how we choose to medicate is up to us. Be it with diet, exercise, medication, sex, alcohol, drugs, whatever. That is a personal choice. But, take responsibility for those choices.

      • ^^^THIS.

        My spouse is also bipolar 2, and keeps his meds minimal (with the full support of his PCP, psychiatrist, and psychologist) and adjusted as needed, preferring to use nutrition and exercise as his treatment…he wants to have as much control over it as possible — same as someone with high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes can. Mental illness IS a physical illness and can be helped or hindered by one’s physical habits!

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