Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dieting, food and weighty thoughts.

No matter where fat, food and diet are mentioned there are a group of common refrains and angry chants that follow.

There are the standard assumptions about bodies that do not conform to an average visual ideal of health, generally those visuals are fat people.

I read some of the comments from Marianne and Kate's posts at Powell's and elsewhere (forgive my non linking ass I'm tired) and there are of course the usual.



Now I've made the point time and again that the visual of a human beings body is not necessarily indicative of their health.

Today I want to know a few things that I doubt I will get answers to because the people that say these things never have answers ready.

First, if in fact it is only the size of a person that can tell you how they eat, what they eat, whether or not they exercise are you equally angry and harsh with people who are visibly underweight?

Are you aware that there are as many real dangers of being underweight as there are as being overweight?

If you see anyone fat or thin eating junk food do you run screaming at them for their eating choices?

If appearance is the be all end all indication of health, are you as angry at people with bad skin? Bad skin can be indicative in a surface way of overall health.

Are you as angry and hateful towards people you see who may be at a normal weight but have thinning hair or brittle fingernails?

Assuming for a moment that yes, you're right you can know everything about my current and future health just by looking at my fat self what are you going to tell me?

And how are the wailing accusations of "you eat too much" etc etc accurate or correct that you who is not my doctor, doesn't know me personally, hasn't observed my life and know nothing about me save for how I look standing on the sidewalk, how can you tell me in any definitive way what's going on with me?

I will be honest, I lose vast amounts of respect for people who have this attitude.

Similarly when I hear people say they question someones disability or appearance of disability if they are fat.

If you have never spoken to someone, never seen them how do you know?

Maybe that fat person in the scooter or wheelchair wasn't fat to begin with.

Maybe that person have MS.

Maybe that person was fat to begin with but, their disability has nothing to do with their weight.

Naturally you can think whatever the hell you please. However don't expect to spew your bullshit in my area and not be called on it.

I also have been thinking about dieting.

I realize that the following is not a popular opinion in FA and that's fine with me.

I don't care if people diet.

That said, if you are dieting I would ask that you be cautious with yourself. Be careful of anything that involves you starving yourself. Be careful trying to lose weight too quickly, it's not good for you.

I will also say you're probably fine the way you are.

I don't believe that weightloss is a magical cure all that will turn a shitty life into an awesome one.

Weightloss alone will not net you a marriage proposal, it won't make you smarter, it won't all of a sudden make your life an adventure.

Changing the size or shape of your ass will not change who you are fundamentally. If you're a bitter asshole and fat, you'll probably still be a bitter asshole when you're not fat.

Furthermore, I don't believe that weightloss is a magical cure all for medical ailments either.

Yes, there are health problems that weightloss can be beneficial for. However, I do not believe that needs to be the first place to go.

I am a firm believer in a few key things when dealing with weight and health.

First and foremost there is no perfect pinnacle of health that everyone must strive for.

What is healthy and fantastic for you, could make me really sick.

Case in point.

When everyone and their Grandma was doing Atkins and having some awesome results ranging from desired weightloss to lessening diabetes drugs I decided to give it a try.

I found out a few things. Doing Atkins for about six months I discovered that kind of diet caused me to have near hypoglycemic drops in blood sugar and thus I fainted. At least once I fainted while home alone and gave myself quite a big bump on the forehead.

Also even when I switched to a very low carb diet I had a lot of problems with brain fog and fatigue. When I wasn't faint from blood sugar issues, I was angry. Not just your run of the mill I'm having a shitty day angry, more like full on bouts of rage that I could only associate with the diet.

Once I slowly got myself back into normal eating those problems subsided.

So for me that is not awesome.

For other people though, it is wonderful. I know a lot of folks with both Type 1 and 2 diabetes who benefit from that diet and that's great.

Some people I've known have benefited from weight loss. Some not. It is not my place to say there should be a moratorium on either.

It's important to me to make it very clear that I think that when people say that FA "promotes obesity" they are being obtuse.

No one is promoting obesity.

I am promoting autonomy.

I am promoting the idea that it's not up to the general public, or doctors who are not performing their duties as medical professionals, it's not up to the media or to law makers what state my or your ass is in.

I am promoting the idea that if you can do x thing for your health, that is fucking fantastic. I can do this other thing for my health and that's fucking fantastic but it is not a moral imperative.

Not a moral imperative.

I am promoting the idea that researchers need to stop falsifying data to support fear and lie based medicine.

I am promoting the idea that no matter who you are, or how you live your life you deserve medical care that isn't contingent on your body being "acceptable".

I am promoting the idea that society needs to stop fucking around.

There are far more important things to be doing than pointing at people who don't fit some arbitrary mold of what a human being is supposed to look like and start dealing with some of the serious shit that is going on in the world.

After all this, if you want to go ahead and get your hate on go ahead. Tell me if only I'd lose weight I wouldn't be such a dick and more people might want to fuck me. Tell me if I'd only lose weight you wouldn't hate me so much.

Go ahead.

Be aware though that unless you are walking next to me day to day, there's nothing you can tell me that I will take at all seriously.


Homo Out.


Twistie said...

You know, it's articles like this that make me love you hugely.

Okay, and, like, pretty much all the others, too, I'll admit it.

But I love this and want to squish it all the time for weeks on end.

Anonymous said...

No one is promoting obesity.

I am promoting autonomy.

This is fucking brilliant. It makes me crazy when people think that by refusing to diet you're deliberately setting out to get hugely fat... so not the same thing! GAH!

Anonymous said...

brilliant!! standing up and dancing around... my dog is looking at me funny but i don't care! a million times hell fucking yeah!

(also, atkins gave me a permanent skin disorder. yay)

MigiziNse-ikwe said...

As always, you've hit the nail on the head. I get ragey if I don't eat and therefore my blood sugar gets low. Dieting, for me, would be a bad idea because I'm pretty sure it would keep my blood sugar in the perma-low and therefore me perma-bitchy. My husband and son do not need that.

Electrogirl said...

Rock. On.

I look forward to seeing your blog in the Fatosphere blogroll because of posts like this. And because I like your writing style. My parents ingrained conventional politeness too deeply into me for me to write posts that go "RAWR!" for myself (yet), but I enjoy reading others' writing that roars.

Re: dieting. I am epileptic, and one of the major triggers is hunger. If I get too hungry, I have seizures. I must eat regular meals with a couple of small snacks during the day in order to avoid this. Yet I went on WW for... two years, I think? I'm not sure, because I was having seizures so much of the time. The chronic hunger that comes with following their program probably had something to do with that. Nobody made the connection, including me. Hunger is a sign of weakness, doncha know. Drink more water or eat some zero-point veggies and it'll go away. The seizures? Well, my medication must not be working.

It took years for me to make the logical connection there. I don't think my mom has made it yet. Head, meet desk.

One more thing and I'll shut up. Both my sister and I have invisible disabilities. She has chronic pain, which often kills her appetite. At several points she has been dangerously underweight. As in, the doctor was telling her to eat more and gain some weight or her body would start breaking down. Random strangers at the mall would compliment her on how "great" she looked and ask what her secret was. It freaked all of us out, including my sister, because she knew perfectly well that she was literally starving. Me? Well, I get the usual comments directed toward fat people. Do I exercise? Not really. It's difficult and dangerous when one has five or more seizures per day, and when overheating triggers said seizures. Yet even my parents keep nagging me to use the treadmill. Hello, Mom, did I not mention the overheating bit...? Would you like to supervise me in the pool to make sure I don't drown, because I love to swim! Oh, you're too busy.

Head, meet desk.

Haddayr said...

A few things:
1. Studies clearly show that it's lack of exercise that causes all of these supposedly fat-based illnesses, not fat itself. When you control for exercise, fat is not a factor.

2. I gained 20 pounds, very quickly, when I first started having my symptoms. I am sick and tired of people making comments about fatties in scooters. Having restricted mobility makes you move less. Moving less often puts on weight. THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS ASSHOLES.

I am tired of the anger. As you point out, smokers, folks with other health issues that are visible? They are not met with this ridiculous rage.

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