Fake Trolls Abound

Ragen has a strong tradition of using complaints of apparent abuse from “trolls” to distract attention from her critics. Last year she made allegations of rape threats and stalking after she was caught red-handed faking training selfies in Fake Selfie Sunday. Within hours of today’s Dances with Facts post about her lack of IronFat updates, she posted a Facebook message about a Twitter account supposedly created to harass her. As usual she has received a lot of sympathy from her followers, and even took the time to stroke her own ego in the comments, claiming the constant stream of abuse she receives proves what an effective activist she is.

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Unfortunately for Ragen, Twitter is completely public, and a quick search makes it plainly obvious the account she is talking about does not exist. She has received a grand total of four remotely negative @username mentions on Twitter in the last two weeks, three of them in response to her jealous rant about Maria Kang on Ravishly today. All the users have other posting histories on Twitter, and would be unable to send her a direct message unless she followed them. There is no account created to harass her, and moreover, most of the “abuse” is not particularly abusive in nature.

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The only possible candidate for the mysterious new Ragen-hating account is one created last month which has sent her a single non-abusive reply among its tweets. Truly shocking stuff.

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Ragen’s accounts of her “abuse” have been a frequent target of criticism on this blog. In a 2014 Dances with Fat post, Ragen claimed she receives at least 200 abusive messages and death threats every day, yet there is simply no evidence this is true. In fact, one of her classic claims that she received over 5000 messages telling her to kill herself in 48 hours was proven to be completely fabricated. Twitter is one of the few platforms Ragen participates in where she is not in complete control over the content, and the silence about her is deafening. On average she receives a negative @username mention once every few weeks unless she posts something particularly egregious. Ragen wants us to believe she has the most polite “trolls” in the world who all only contact her in private where nobody will see their moderated comments. It is simply beyond belief, and is a perfect illustration of Ragen’s profound dishonesty.

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Throwback Wednesday: July 11, 2003

Ragen has been mysteriously ill for the last few weeks, and IronFat updates have ground to a halt. The regular pity party about trolls and haters continues on Dances with Fat. Until things pick up, we will be plumbing the depths of Ragen’s old LiveJournal again for more little tidbits from her past. We’ve also taken a page from Ragen’s book and decided to not feel constrained by labels like the correct day of the week for a post.

In today’s throwback from 2003, Ragen the 27 year old queer rights activist tells us about the one person she would kill if she could get away with it.

3) If you could kill one person and get away with it, who would it be and how would you do it?
I will be good I will be good I will be good. I would kill George W. Bush. I would hire a well hung gay man to sodomize him to death–Legally :).

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Road to Tempe 2016: Fat Boy excuses and another year of IronFat

As expected, Ragen has come up with a litany of excuses in a new IronFat update following her Fat Boy 5K course cutting disqualification. The list is quite extensive. She had blisters from her “long run” earlier that morning. She didn’t look at the course map. She forgot to turn on her GPS watch. The volunteers at the turn didn’t direct her properly. The volunteers handing out medals at the finish line didn’t tell her she was going the wrong way. She didn’t notice the racers with bibs who crossed the finish line directly before and after her. Somehow an “elite” athlete with experience in several 5Ks, a marathon, and an IRONMAN 70.3 didn’t think it was odd she received a medal before actually finishing. And then on and on with the usual handwringing claims about harassment from anonymous internet trolls who apparently contacted every single race official as well as her best friend. Of course, their efforts were for naught, since Ragen, honest to a fault, had supposedly already contacted the timing company to out herself.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone reading this blog that video evidence clearly shows Ragen’s version of events is not accurate. She claims a volunteer handed her a medal as she crossed the finish line, and she didn’t realize anything untoward had occurred until later. In the video itself, Ragen’s friend Jeanette DePatie slinks across the finish line the wrong way and sets up for a photo while Ragen presumably receives her medal off-camera. 10 seconds later, a racer with a bib crosses the finish line in the proper direction, directly in front of where Ragen is standing off-camera. After a further 30 seconds, Ragen crosses the finish line going the wrong way, already proudly wearing her medal. As she poses for her victory photo, yet another racer with a bib walks straight past her and crosses the finish line. Somehow Ragen remains oblivious to every indication she has cut the course.

Whether or not Ragen intentionally cut the course is rather immaterial at this point. She took a medal and didn’t say a word about it until a week later, after it blew up in her face. She has clearly spent time reading through all the posts about her on Reddit and other sites and attempted to address every criticism with weak excuses. She didn’t manage to come up with anything to explain why she and Jeanette were the only racers who took the wrong turn. She also didn’t explain why the other two members of her walking group took the correct route and finished in almost exactly her predicted true finish time, indicating they probably split at the turn. If it was a genuine mistake, then Ragen’s inability to correctly follow a novelty fun run 5K course speaks volumes about her preparation for IRONMAN Arizona in 4 1/2 months.

Ultimately, the most embarrassing part of this entire affair may be Ragen’s admission that walking 4.3km in over an hour was enough to seriously interfere with a week of IRONMAN training. This is the person who has claimed for many years that she normally exercises for an average of 3 1/2 hours every day, and up to 5 hours daily over the last 25 months of marathon and IRONMAN training. The person who claims she has attained “what is considered to be an elite level of health and fitness” and is in the top 5% of the country in strength and stamina. The person who is only months away from an IRONMAN and should be reaching the peak of her athletic form, but instead can barely walk like a normal human for a few kilometres.

In Ragen’s training update we learn that she has trouble swimming in public, that she has broken her bike again by exceeding its weight limit, and that her walk/runs have pleateaued at an unknown pace, presumably around her previous “barely faster than a walk” based on her recent 5K performances. Instead of any meaningful training data we are treated to yet another collection of blurry close-ups of Ragen’s face in the dark or in the same few locations, with the EXIF data redacted to prevent a repeat of Fake Selfie Sunday. In 4 months Ragen has gone from describing failing to finish at IMAZ as a “nightmare scenario” that would shake the foundation of her training regimen, to greatly lowering expectations and setting up yet another attempt in 2017 after she fails to finish in Tempe this November.

In 140 days, Ragen claims she will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full 26.2 mile marathon in under 17 hours. To date, she has yet to demonstrate the most basic competence in the any of the components of triathlon, or even the ability to walk 5km in under an hour. She has yet to complete any of the promised smaller events in preparation for her IRONMAN, unless her farcical attempts at 5Ks this year constitute serious race experience in her mind. It is abundantly clear that her training has not progressed in any meaningful way since her IRONMAN 70.3 DNS. She continues to lie, exaggerate, and obfuscate every single detail in an attempt to prove she is training harder than even professional triathletes. 2017 will presumably bring more of the same, and it remains to be seen how long Ragen will continue the “soon to be IRONMAN” charade.

At this point we have to seriously consider whether Ragen is still going through the motions of “training” for the financial benefits to her “elite fathlete” reputation, or whether she is truly delusional enough to believe she has a chance of completing an IRONMAN at her current weight and fitness level.

Ragen Chastain, Trained Researcher

Ragen has always emphasized her academic achievements as part of her self-promotion as an expert on obesity. She frequently describes herself as a “trained researcher” and talks about her time at UT Austin where she studied “administration and policy” or “research methods and statistical analysis”. Her Dances with Fat biography currently includes brags about high school athletics and how she was a National Merit Scholar and her class valedictorian. To an uninformed reader she gives the impression of an extremely successful academic scholar whose qualifications and expertise allow her to speak with authority on subjects like body weight and health, and the impossibility of weight loss.

Ragen the Elite High School Student

Ragen’s bizarre academic history goes back to her childhood. She claims she attended 18 different schools growing up because her father was so unpleasant he was constantly fired from jobs and had to move the family around. She skipped Grade 8 and “graduated” from Lyme Central high school in two years. Her family then moved moved to Three Forks, MT, and for some unknown reason Ragen was forced to complete another four years of high school. No explanation for this has ever been provided. In 2006, one of her major life accomplishments was having several teachers and administrators fired from her new high school.

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By Ragen’s own account, she was the most successful high school student in the entire history of secondary education. She participated in so many activities she was at school from 7am to 8pm every day in addition to many hours of daily practice as a teenage professional-level clarinet soloist as well as working as a waitress in her last years and recovering from a devastating fractured patella.

Some of Ragen’s lesser school activities included choirs, bands, musical theatre, drill team, and so on. She was a member of her high school’s varsity volleyball team, an all-state athlete for all six years of high school, spent hours doing serious weight training and cardio every day, and even became a professional aerobics instructor before graduating. In fact, she was such a successful athlete and scholar that she was wildly popular and never teased for her weight or “shoved into lockers”. Every summer, Ragen was a lifeguard and “always won the annual lifeguard races” while making time for soccer, baseball, jazz dance, horse riding, and other athletic endeavours. In addition to being a clarinet virtuoso, Ragen was an all-state band member with her clarinet, and played flute, piccolo, saxophone, and piano at the state competition level. She was a trained opera singer and sang the lead role in Carmen, but gave it up to become her school’s cheerleading captain. As her school’s most accomplished musician, she apparently even taught elementary school music classes to make up for a teaching staff shortfall.

On the academic side, Ragen was was a mathlete, in Science Olympiad, Odyssey of the Mind, Trig-star, and won national Scholastic writing contests. She graduated with a perfect GPA as a National Merit Scholar and her class valedictorian.

Ragen the Musician

Heading into college, Ragen was on course to continue her wildly successful academic career by fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a professional clarinet player and playing Carnegie Hall. She claims she received a full scholarship to attend the UT Austin music performance major program, where she was again incredibly successful in her studies, playing at Carnegie Hall with the University of Texas Wind Ensemble at their 1998 New York debut, a performance actually available on CD. It is not possible to verify this claim, and as usual Ragen supplies no details or evidence to support it, simply a vague description. She recently wrote an “inspirational” story about how she gave up on playing the clarinet. After having misgivings about her upcoming career as a professional musician, she completed her junior recital, received top marks and was showered with flowers and praise, then packed up her clarinet and never played it again, giving up on her degree a year short of graduation.

During Ragen’s initial years in the UT Austin music program starting in Fall 1995, she claims she was at her lowest adult weight of 135 lbs and 7% body fat, in the throes of her eating disorder, anorexia nervosa and compulsive exercise. For years she somehow managed to maintain her professional bodybuilder physique while taking a full course load, participating in ensembles, practicing her clarinet for several hours, and spending 8-10 hours at the gym every single day, all while eating only 1100 calories. As usual, Ragen’s accounting of her time management defies all logic and reason, and again brings into question the true details of her “eating disorder” and all her various exaggerated accomplishments. Ragen appears to have acknowledged this, and no longer supplies any specific details of her eating disorder in interviews.

Ragen the Social Worker

By Fall 2001, Ragen was a senior in Social Work. At this point it becomes easier to verify her claims through her own writing and secondary sources, and the contrast between her true “success” before and after is quite apparent. In 2006 she claimed she chose the “administration and policy track” for the social work program. In a recent interview she instead claimed it was the “community and policy” track. As usual she is unable to maintain a consistent narrative, but additionally, the Bachelor of Social Work major program has no academic tracks. Only the Master of Science in Social Work program has degree tracks, now called “Administration and Social Policy Practice” and “Clinical Studies”. These have historically gone under other names, but it would appear that Ragen simply made up the “administration and policy” claim in 2006 to promote her administrative skills for Total Administrative Solutions, her office organization business. Examining the undergraduate degree requirements, it’s clear where Ragen’s claims about expertise in “research methods” and the like come from: she was required to take basic social work research methods and statistics courses.

Ragen the Passionless

Despite apparently being in her last year of studies in the social work program in Fall 2001, UT Austin records show Ragen’s last term was Spring 2002, when she failed to graduate and did not receive a degree. In 2003, she wrote a blog post about re-enrolling in college to complete her degree. By this time she was a “government major with minors in Music Performance, Social Work and Nutrition”, and was still a full year of credit hours away from graduating, despite attending college for 7 years. She had a conversation with an advisor where she explained that she had no passion for any academic field whatsoever, and didn’t care what she studied as long as she received a degree. UT Austin records show Ragen never actually re-enrolled.

“Went to see the Advisor today, O* is very nice man, really wanted to help me find a major that I was passionate about. One problem, I don’t give a crap what my major is, I want to graduate. The following is what ensued:

o-what are your goals?
s-I want to graduate as soon as possible
O*=what do you want to study
S=whatever will get me out of here the fastest
O=right, but what are you passionate about
S-graduating
O-but what do you want to learn
S-I know this must be frustrating for you, but I’m not interested in studying something that I’m passionate about, I just want to get my bachelors and move on.

Ragen the Dance Major

In late 2008, Ragen again mentioned re-enrolling in college, this time to pursue a dance degree. She didn’t meet the height and weight requirements for the program, but was confident she would have no trouble being accepted once she received multiple “world championship” titles. Records show Ragen did not win any remotely meaningful dance awards after 2005, and she eventually gave up on competitive dancing because her weight made it impossible to continue. She never mentioned going back to college again, and both posts were carefully removed when she transferred her blog to WordPress, then deleted when her old LiveJournal accounts were discovered by “trolls”.

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Ragen the Trained Researcher

In 2011, Ragen started referring to herself as a “trained researcher”, then quickly added it to her official biography. She makes every effort to conceal the fact she has no degree, like calling herself a “UT Austin alum” and frequently referencing college experiences and classes she took while studying “administration and policy” or “statistics”. In an interview last March, the host specifically asked her about her degree, and Ragen avoided the question.

After 7 years of college, Ragen has nothing real to show for herself. She brags about high school achievements and does everything possible short of outright lying to give the impression of having received a degree. She is a college dropout who dabbled in several degrees and never finished anything she started, a habit she has demonstrated over and over again in both her employment and “activism”. By the time she finally gave up for good, Ragen Chastain the “trained researcher” was proud of not having a single real passion in higher education.

A Rude Awakening

A reader recently left a comment that will probably resonate with anyone who has ever attempted to interact with Ragen. As we all know, Ragen operates in a “safe space” on the internet where she is in complete control over the content. This allows her to simply delete any criticism or dissenting opinions under the guise of protecting her readers from “trolls”. It also means she can make up stories about receiving thousands of death threats and hate messages, despite the fact she is a virtual nobody on platforms like Twitter where she can’t control what other people say.

In this case, Ragen selectively removed a series of comments to make it appear as if a poster were a racist, “as an example of exactly what not to do, and to preserve the work of those who tried to educate her”. Ragen has written a number of times about how she edits or deletes blog comments then blocks people so they can’t defend themselves, and she does exactly the same thing on Facebook when faced with any kind of criticism. This person was a diehard Ragen fan who had been following her enthusiastically for several years. The moment she stepped out of line, Ragen threw her under a bus. This has become a regular pattern for Ragen – many readers will be familiar with the fate of Twistie, her #1 blog commenter. The problem for anyone who falls afoul of Ragen is that she is not interested in any kind of debate or dissent; she wants unconditional praise and adulation, and above all else money to fuel her unemployed “activist” lifestyle. The only people Ragen really cares about are the ones who give her money. This from the person who recently claimed she is frequently called upon to engage in public debate and defend her outspoken views.

Here’s what happens if you disagree with Ragen Chastain.

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Ragen Chastain, Professional Aerobics Instructor?

In a recent rant about Jillian Michaels, Ragen claims she started “teaching aerobics” in the early 90s, when she was between 12 and 16 years old, right before she developed her elite eating disorder. It matches up nicely with her claim that she started participating in “serious” daily cardio and weight training at age 12. At some unknown point between 1990 and when she started blogging in 2002, she claims she became a AFAA-certified aerobics instructor, and that it was “more than a hobby” and she was a professional with numerous clients.

It seems pretty unlikely Ragen was a professional aerobics instructor in high school, or that she had much in the way of spare time to teach anything at all. During all six years of high school, she claims she was simultaneously a volleyball player, lifeguard, all-state multisport varsity athlete, cheerleading captain, professional-level clarinet soloist in the school band, virtuoso on several other instruments, elementary school music teacher, opera singer and musical theatre star who sang all the lead roles, and so on; all of this while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and becoming a National Merit Scholar and her class valedictorian. Of course, she also had time for leisure activities like having a several staff members at her high school fired, and disrupting Sunday school every week until age 16.

We can be fairly certain Ragen wasn’t an aerobics instructor during the period of her elite eating disorder from about 1994-1997, prior to and during her early years of college. She claims throughout this period she lost a grand total of 15 lbs and became a ripped bodybuilder at 135 lbs and 7% body fat, despite eating only 1100 calories and exercising for 8-10 hours every day. That certainly doesn’t match up with a later humblebrag about being the only fat aerobics instructor clients would hire because she was so amazingly good at it like everything else she does.

By 2002 when Ragen started blogging, she was clearly no longer an aerobics instructor, and the AFFA was not mentioned again until 2011, when she wrote about having previously been certified and that she intended to to re-certify. Not long after, she wrote yet another rant about Jillian Michaels and The Biggest Loser and proclaimed she would not re-certify because of their association with the AFAA. Bizarrely, in 2014 she referred to herself as a currently AFAA-certified fitness instructor in her speaking engagement fluff bios on multiple occasions, then abruptly stopped and hasn’t mentioned it again since then.

So when was Ragen a professional AFAA-certified fitness instructor? Was it in the twilight zone of her later college years while she was busy failing at her academics, gaining weight during inpatient VLCD treatment, and being a social justice warrior on the path to becoming the world’s most renowned queer rights activist? The AFAA will not confirm or deny whether an individual is certified without their consent, so anyone can claim to be AFAA-certified; as usual it seems we have to take Ragen’s word on it that at some vague point in her past she was a fitness instructor, and that she is not exaggerating beyond all reason or simply lying as she has on so many occasions.

When it comes down to it, Ragen is yet again bragging about something she supposedly did in high school. Has Ragen done anything of note since she was a teenager other than getting extremely fat? Moreover, has Ragen ever provided even the tiniest shred of evidence she was the world’s most successful high school student?

The Worst Reason to Lose Weight?

Today’s fat rant brings us “the worst reason to lose weight”. It’s not weight loss for health; it’s not weight loss for vanity; no, according to Ragen, it’s weight loss to avoid emotional baggage and fat hate, as described in the “marketing literature” for a mysterious weight loss product Ragen refuses to identify.

Heavier people are often teased and taunted starting in childhood and continuing for the rest of their lives.  These insults can cause early emotional wounds that get ripped back open with every new jab and joke. [Insert Product Name] can give you a life free from this emotional baggage!

This “marketing literature” appears nowhere on the internet. We can only assume Ragen either received it as junk mail for a weight loss treatment scam, or more likely simply wrote it herself. Either way, Ragen is employing her standard alarmist straw man technique to misrepresent it as a typical example of weight loss marketing or reasoning for promoting weight loss; an issue so serious it deserves a long post. Is avoiding emotional baggage and fat hate a common weight loss marketing technique? Are GPs and other heath providers telling their patients to lose weight for this reason? A quick Google search shows a handful of fat acceptance bloggers who equate any kind of weight loss advice for children with legitimizing bullying and fat hate, but no real examples of companies marketing this way. Without even getting into Ragen’s ridiculous example of the progression of “bullying” (really, head in the toilet?), her line of reasoning here is about the same as complaining that this email picked from the author’s spam folder represents how medical treatment for erectile dysfunction is typically marketed to men.

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But Ragen has already laid the groundwork and “proven” weight loss is impossible and doesn’t improve health, so it’s necessary for her to dig deeper and find the true motivation for societal fat shaming to keep her endless stream of blog drivel going. Ragen’s entire persona and much of her writing and speaking about body weight issues hinge on these points. She expects the reader to take it as a matter of fact that weight loss is impossible and body weight is totally unrelated to health. There is no debate, no discussion, just Ragen’s “trained researcher” opinion that she is right and all the scientific literature is wrong other than a few papers she cherry picks and misrepresents. Everything stems from these simple concepts. If one truly believes body weight is an immutable physical characteristic that has no influence on health, then a lot of what Ragen writes starts to make sense. Why should doctors badger their patients over something they can’t control that doesn’t even matter? Why shouldn’t society accommodate people at any size no matter the cost? These questions are preposterous to most people, but completely serious to Ragen and her believers.

When it comes down to it, Ragen is a professional apologist: she makes a living selling denial and excuses to an eager audience desperate for validation of their poor lifestyle choices. She spreads lies and misinformation to eke out a living and allow her to further her own narcissism and self-denial. Ragen joined the “sixty billion dollar a year diet industry” in 2002, and Dances with Fat is just the latest embodiment of her continuing get rich quick scheme. This blog may be dismissed as a “hater blog”, but to paraphrase another blogger, we aren’t the ones asking for money at the bottom of every post.