Wednesday, April 06, 2011

On diets, dieters and FA.

Clearly from the title (yes consider this a trigger warning) today as a continuation from yesterday, I'm talking about diets, dieters and FA.

For today I want to give some tips to dieters who are perhaps lurking about in Fat spaces.

Many fat bloggers and FA oriented folks are very hardline anti diet. NO DIET. I have seen bloggers flounce from fat circles lamenting the fact that a lot of the community is not into it and therefore it becomes some kind of personal rejection thing and people get butthurt.

It happens.

What I don't see happen is the understanding of the point of this hardline absolutely anti diet always ad forever attitude. I don't see people take a step back and think about it.

So if you are dieting and you have felt or are feeling like woe is me I can't play in the sandbox here are some things I want you to think about.

  1. A large majority of people in FA have collectively tried every diet known to man. We (yes including myself here) have eaten only grapefruits or cabbage soup, we've engaged in disordered eating and exercising behaviors, we have been treated or tried to be treated by doctors who want to cut us open and band our stomachs, we have been promised the Holyland of skinny asses from products that always say *results atypical. We have been harassed by people like that trainer person on the Biggest Loser. We've been shamed, we've been humilaited. We've been shunted into being mentally ill with the only reason being the size of our asses. We've done liquid diets, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins, The South Beach Diet, the Babyfood diet etc etc etc. Most of us have as a result fucked up our bodies. We are traumatized. We have an awful time eating with joy or eating for the many reasons there are to eat. We are being shifted into the position of "addict" based on an AA addiction model. Most of us even if we got thin could not live normal lives and stay thin. A lot of us have royally fucked up our bodies. That being what it is, we don't really want to hear it because you probably don't have anything new to add.
  2. We are aware (or in my case becoming aware) of the complete bullshit that is the supposed medical and scientific evidence of how unhealthy we are. 
  3. Outside of our circles on the internet, we don't have haven. We don't have places in meatspace where we can talk about buying some fucking pants or bras, or under belly sweat or shitty doctors etc etc without the looming specter of Judgement and "helpful" suggestions. We don't want to hear it from yet more "anonymous" or not so anonymous strangers.
  4. From experience we know that often people who are seriously dieting often only want to talk about dieting. And most of us are just not interested.
  5. We don't have to approve of anything. 
Now none of these things mean that people into FA hate dieters. It doesn't mean we (again as in the overall we) are interested in shaming or making decisions for you as I have seen spurned dieters cry when they've left the fat internet area.

As I said yesterday, it's not about just you. And (again I know) not all spaces are for all people.

Yes, some bloggers and maintenance of fat spaces say explicitly that dieters or dieting talk is strictly forbidden and you will get banned. As I said in my post about exclusion, that is not a moral judgement and everyone had a right to run their space their way.

Now here is where I digress from the "hardline" FA stance.

From a personal standpoint I don't really care if you diet or have a desire to lose weight. My fat ass and how fat that ass might be is none of your actual business and the size of your ass and whether you decrease it or not is none of my business.

That said also on a personal level, I do want dieters to (just like I want for everyone) make informed choices. By that I mean informed as in gaining a gut level understanding that they don't have to diet.

Once upon a time when I was a wee teenager, I never thought twice about dieting or the proscribed fact that I should always be looking to lose weight. I questioned the direction my education was taking, I questioned the usefulness and efficacy of laws regarding runaways in Washington state. I questioned the implications of morality contracts at my school.

I didn't ever think to question the lesson I'd learned about my body and how wrong it was until I mentioned losing weight casually as people often do, I remember very distinctly that I was with my Mom at Kmart and I was trying on clothes. I said this out in the hallway of the dressing area while I was trying to look at the reflection of my ass in the mirror and an older lady looked at me like I had lost my damn mind and said,

"Now why on Earth would you go and do that?"

I had no response. I was 17 and thus my interest in the body politic began.

I'm am now twice that age. I have been blogging about FA and body things for a while and I think about all the times people, and not just fat people but lots of people have said that they never thought about it.

If you tell me about your dieting, I will probably try and talk to you about some of the possible dangers of yo you dieting. I may explain how I feel about HAES as a concept. I may tell you straight up that X diet is dangerous and that I want you to be careful because I care about you, as in care about you as a whole human being.


I will never say that the drive to alter your body via losing or gaining weight is absolutely wrong and terrible. I just won't. For me weightloss in and of itself is not something I can put in black and white terms morally or personally.

For instance, a couple of years ago at the beginning of fall I gained some weight. Not a huge amount of weight. Just enough to make it so my pants did not fit. The fact is I cannot afford to buy pants just because I need a pair of pants. I can't afford to size myself out of my current wardrobe especially as inclement weather starts to come.

Honestly y'all I was so panicked. I don't have good luck thrifting pants. These days it's rare that I can run to Kmart or Walmart for pants. I was freaked.

I don't think I talked about it here (for fear of the FATTY REPRISALS...that may have been paranoia on my part) but I lost about ten pounds. I did this purposefully and my body balanced back out.

A few years before that there was a famous fatty who publicly declared that she wanted to lose a little weight and people freaked out. I was honestly kind of disappointed in people on the whole because at no point did this person get her fat hate on, or really any public hate for her body. She felt like her clothes weren't fitting, she didn't feel well and wanted to document the process.

I wouldn't ever knock someone for that.

Philosophically I don't believe that changing your body to suit your needs is the wrong thing. You can do whatever you want to with your hot body. You can gain weight with purpose, you can lose weight with purpose, you can get you some new titties and a new booty, you can wear a girdle, you can wear "slimming" clothing, you can wear tights as pants, you can do what you want. I support that.

What I don't support is when my friends and loved ones do these things simply because they think they have to.

I don't believe that modifying the body always must come from a place of loathing or hate. When I lost those ten pounds it wasn't because I hated my fat ass or anyone else's fat ass it was because I couldn't afford to buy new pants and wanted to stay warm.

I didn't feel pressured, I didn't feel bullied, I wasn't acting out of a self destructive impulse. etc etc.

Some people who are dieters are doing so because they hate their bodies and I think that is awful. Beyond the physical implications I think anyone doing something out of sheer loathing is awful and makes me sad.

Some dieters just diet because in the culture they move around in (both in a macrocosm and microcosm sense) that's just what is done and they aren't aware there are other options. I think that's pretty damn terrible too.

Some dieters diet because they have illnesses or disabilities where a weightloss diet could improve their personal health.

Some dieters just want to wear the clothes they have.

Some dieters may not know why they are doing it right then.

You get my point.

Given the insane complexity of the human animal and the nine million trillion eleventyfortysevenbillion things that can intersect with decisions about dieting, I think sometimes that the hardline no diets EVAR stance can be a disservice.

In the interest of not solely preaching to the choir I do personally feel that thin people, dieters etc who are in a space where they can shut up and listen should and need to be welcome in some spaces. We can't expect someone to always have the A ha moment on their own.

Holy fuckballs I cannot shut up this week. So there you have my stance on dieting, dieters and FA.

I also must say that last night I started an essay specifically about this issue for the book and I'm pretty happy with it thus far.

I love you my homies and haters. You too skinny asses and dieters. You too. Come on in.

Now I have to go do writing things.

Homo Out.
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1 comment:

laila said...

This is fantastic and I found myself cheering along as I read it. Body tyranny is the same no matter who is at the helm.

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