Posts Tagged 'body image'

When the Fat Hits the Fan

I went to the doctor for the first time in over three years Wednesday (the state plan that I finally got at the end of June; bureaucracy). Surprisingly, I got to see and keep my doctor I had before. I was able to go back on my meds for the depression which I now have an official diagnosis for; previously it was adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression. (It may be possible that the diagnosis of major depression has more to do with the insurance but then I did tell the doc that I’ve been in tears everday for the last month and have major anger plus I did the inventory and that’s probably why the diagnosis). But hopefully in a few weeks the meds will kick in and the tears will go away.

But I was also weighed (only gone up ten pounds since my last visit but that put me well into the “obese” range). So I was talked to about exercise, which even I admit I need to work on.  At least I wasn’t directly told I had to lose weight, so far.  I did say I was practicing intuitive eating (I still struggle with this but that’s my focus) and eating lots of veggies (also true) but the exercise/movement part I need to work on. I also have GERD, possible IBS, lactose intolerance, and a just plain cranky digestive system that makes for fun times eating.  I also have a lot of stupid ideas about food, health, body, etc that I still deal with.

Then I had my blood drawn. Cholesterol, thyroid, and hemoglobin.  Got the results of the first two tests same day.  Cholesterol had gone up enough that everything I was reading said it was boderline high.  Then the last test and doctor’s notes came today.  I’m now diagnosed prediabetic with another diagnosis of obesity.  So now I’m told I need to lose weight.

Back to Wednesday. Between the doctor’s visit, the test results, and the possible issue of my new neighbor being a potential drug dealer (where do they find these people), I was upset and freaking out. Now, I know losing weight is a very temporary fix and doesn’t really last long. Diets don’t work.  But I certainly had a slight diet mentality/need to restrict myself going on. 

I use research as a coping mechanism.  It sort of works but if nothing else, it allows me control over something.  So I went looking through free apps (who doesn’t like free) to find something to help.  I downloaded two: one for my depression (I was looking for a med tracker but didn’t like any that I looked at) and one to go from couch to running a 5k. Now, I’m not someone who runs for fun.  Hell, I’m not a runner but this app doesn’t expect perfection from the start.  It works with your ability rather than against and starts you moving in increments that build so that you are increasing at a steady rate instead of throwing you right in. I haven’t tried it out yet.

Today, I get the diagnosis of pre diabetes. Not what I wanted to hear. On a curious note, my dad told me well over a decade ago that I was pre diabetic (no clue where he got that from but certainly looks like a self-fulfilling prophecy doesn’t it). Now it seems like I’m a poster child for the medical stereotypes of fat people. I don’t have high blood pressure. I actually have really low blood pressure and always have.  But yeah, everything else fits. 

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m body positive/fat positive/body acceptance.  And I still am.  It helped me fight the impulse to go on a diet (the impulse is still there but I don’t have to give into it).  But when health issues rear their head like this, it’s tempting to chuck it out the window.  I won’t because diets don’t work. 

I did look up what could cause cholesterol to go up and going over what I have been eating.  While I will be limiting certain things, I’m not going to moralize them into “bad” foods or out in out restrict. They’ll just be less often foods and I’ll just have to be more conscious of when I eat them. Again, working on the intuitive eating. Plus, eating them less often will help my lactose intolerance and my very cranky digestive system. And exercise.

I’ve always equated exercise with weight loss. That if you exercise you should automatically lose weight.  While that can be true for some people, for me it hasn’t worked that way.  So I don’t exercise. If I’m not going to lose weight, why bother.  There’s no benefit. 

I’ve learned my body is to be rarely seen and never moved, especially moved in front of other people. So I hate exercising.  But I need to move.  There’s a lot more going on in my head around this that I need to work on like seeing exercise as something only pretty, rich, thin people do (not true but headspace); that you just have to do it not like it (HAES says doing something you like not doing it out of obligation); that you should center your life on physical beauty only (body positive says otherwise).  Add in my inability to find a shirt that fits at Goodwill yesterday and there’s a whole lot of negative headspace. (I did find a really cool scarf/sarong that I bought.) There’s more but this is already a long post.

As for the possible drug dealing neighbor, it’s a bit of wait and see.  It’s easy enough to make an anonymous call to the police. At least my kitchen light has fixed itself.

If You Diet, I Will Love You

-Honey, you’re too fat.  You need to lose some weight.  Then I will love you.  But if you gain weight, I will hate you.

Dieting has nothing to do with health.  Oh, it’s certainly advocated as a cure for “health problems” but in and of itself, dieting has no real purpose except to starve the dieter, turn food into an enemy, base the dieter’s worth on a meaningless number, base a dieter’s worth on someone else’s personal opinion, and pass judgment on a person’s body so as to declare it an acceptable human body or not.

Dieting is all about someone else’s judgement and personal opinion being enshrined as scientific fact.  Which it isn’t.  

Dieting is a threat by one person to make the other person conform, through fear of loss, to the first person’s abuse. 

“If you love me, you will diet.”

“I love you.  Losing the weight will only make me love you more.”

“I’m worried about your health.  Losing weight will make you better.”

“You used to be so pretty.  I know you didn’t mean to get fat, but you did,  and I want the woman/man I first fell in love with.”

These are just some examples of the psychological manipulation that takes place to force people to hurt themselves and their health in the name of love.

Diets are deliberately designed to fail. That’s how the diet industry makes its money. And since we are bombarded with their lies about weight, health, and looks many people go on diets to get people to like them or love them or just to fit in. 

Dieting will not improve your life.  Dieting is a deliberate means of setting people up to fail and fail big so that they keep coming back. It’s abusive because it devalues people and says that they are only worthy of love and affection if they are a size 2 and 90 pounds. 

Love and acceptance should never be based on physical looks.  A person’s body is not good or bad because of its size or shape.  A body does not have monetary value and should not be judged on arbitrary, capricious standards.

So diet is a four letter word and is physically, verbally, and psychologically abusive. No one deserves to be abused so don’t diet.  You do not have to change your body to fit someone else’s unrealistic demands.

“Diet” Is A Four Letter Word

Well, I mean, obviously.

But in this case I mean in the pejorative sense.

image

Friend or foe? Depends on the diet.

Diets are means by which dieters are deliberately set up to fail while others profit from their failures.  They are also means of psychologically manipulating dieters into hating food and so treating food as an enemy.

Dieters are also manipulated into hating their bodies so that they will go on diets which then fail so they go on more diets which again fail.  It becomes a vicious cycle that leaves the dieter as a victim of engineered failure and psychological damage.

Don’t believe the lies.  Diets never work.  Diet companies and diet drugs are just economic gimmicks that these companies capitalize on to make money off of perfectly healthy people by convincing them that they are fat/overweight/obese and that diet and losing weight is the cure. 

To repeat myself:

Step One: Promote unrealistic image of beauty and health.  Claim that looking like this is easily obtainable.

Step Two: Use mathematical hack that is baseless to “factually” prove that most of the country is severely overweight and obese.  Do not use actual, quantifiable, verifiable data.  Claim that this is a major crisis that is much, much worse than terrorism (or any sort of violence).

Step Three: Claim that it is a moral failing, or even better a personal choice, to be fat and so demand that people need to go on diets.  Remember to claim and proclaim often that the image of beauty in Step One is obtainable and all you have to do is lose weight.

Step Four: Create diets and/or diet drugs that don’t actually work.  Publish unrealistic results of studies that “prove” your diet/diet drug works and that anyone can lose weight with your method. Do not disclose side effects.  Keep reiterating that image of beauty.  Make promises you cannot keep.

Step Five: Keep building up panic about “obesity” while continuing to claim that the image of beauty is obtainable.  Guilt and shame people who do not comply.  Come up with new diets and/or diet drugs that do not work but promise otherwise.  Do not look at actual health statistics.  Tweak image of beauty and health so that it reflects an impossible standard that is anorexic is the new thin. Create new hacks to determine new levels of “obesity ” without actually defining the term.  Manipulate existing health studies to say the exact opposite of their results or make up studies or conduct studies funded by the diet companies that prove what you want.

Step Six: Rinse, repeat, make lots of money.  Keep Step Two and Five in the news, keep building panic.

What You Should Really Do:

Step One: Do Not Diet.  Unless you have a medical condition that requires restricting food or eliminating foods (diabetes, food allergies, food intolerances, etc.), diets are useless and should be avoided. 

Try Intuitive Eating instead. Intuitive eating means listening to your body and what it craves.  If you want a cookie, eat a cookie.  No, you will not go wild and eat cookies for the rest of your life.  Diets make food forbidden so when you start intuitive eating your brain has to reset.  You have to “go wild” for a while so that you learn and understand that diets lie. So while you might eat cookies for a few weeks, eventually your body will crave fruits and veggies and will want those more than the cookies.

Do Not Read Diet Books or Beauty Magazines.  They are pure fiction and highly Photo Shopped.  Read fat positive books instead.  Or real fiction.  Your public library can help you find awesome new reads.

Do not read news articles about health or diet.  They really just advertising not truth.  They lie about long term, sustained weight loss (which is defined as losing 10 percent and keeping it off for only a year.)  After five years, just about everyone has gained back the weight they lost.  There are no studies that go beyond this because they would prove that all diets fail and that would mean loss of money.  Lies make money, not truth.

Step Two: Get moving.  Call it exercise but get your body moving.  Find something you like and do it.  Dance, yoga, swimming, running, walking, etc. but find something.  If you don’t like running, don’t run.  I think runners are crazy unless there are zombies involved.  Then you probably need some really awesome weapons and unlimited ammo. Or, you know, avoid the whole zombie apocalypse all together.  But move.

image

Zombie! Run away! Run away! These guys don't worry about diet or exercise. Just brains.

Most importantly :  Accept who you are.  You are the only you there is and will ever be.  Your body is nothing to be ashamed of or something to hate.  You are not deserving of hate.  No one is.  Don’t believe the lies.  Love yourself as you are right now.

An Ice Cream Bar Kind of Day

Or the proof that BMI is a complete fail.

Since I’ve been reading up on fat acceptance lately, I’ve been working on how I view myself.  Several interesting reads that I plan on reviewing here but not in this post.

Last night, I was looking at my previous parish’s event photos.  I was hoping for a photo to use on my LinkedIn profile since I don’t currently have a photo up.  Found photos from when Fr. J was installed (yep, you install priests; in this case, it’s a special rite and I got to be part of it).  So I’m looking at myself and thinking how “thin” I look.  Which, at the time, I considered myself fat and in need of losing weight so considering myself “thin” is highly questionable. This was six years ago. Unfortunately, the photo won’t work (doesn’t crop well).

At some point, I decide it would be a “good” (read really bad) idea to check my BMI.  Now, after reading fat acceptance books and knowing how inaccurate BMI actually is, checking it is probably an act of futility.  And I used four (4) different calculators to check.  Only one asked me for sex.  Back in September I had a BMI of 31 (“obese”) and will only a five (5) pound gain I now have a BMI of 33.5 (again, “obese”). 

Disclaimer or The Facts: I am 5’7″.  I wear clothes largely in medium or in some cases, large.  Yes, I’m “overweight” and look it.  However, except for GIRD, probably IBS, and depression and anxiety, I’m healthy.  I eat pretty healthy (hey, I bake my own cookies from scratch because store bought ones taste terrible).  And I could always work on exercising more.  But I’m healthy.

But according to BMI, I’m obese.  Actually, after weighing myself this morning (a few more pounds gained since Sept), I’m now into “morbid obesity” range (BMI over 35).  And it takes less than a five (5) pound gain to bring me to that point.

So I honestly believe that BMI is harmful and useless.  It does not help in any way though all the major medical associations think it is the perfect diagnostic tool in determining “obesity”.  My weight has very little to do with my health.  I am fat but not excessively so.  But “obese” means rivers of fatty flesh that is “disgusting” which again goes back to considering weight a moral issues instead of just a number.  Considering America has been heavily influenced by Puritanism and Calvinism, no wonder we like to judge and shame for perceived moral failings instead of actual moral failings.

Which set me off.  Or more accurately, brought me down.  Here was the “proof” I had once been “thin” and acceptable so all I had to do was loose weight and everything would be better again.  I didn’t emotionally eat and kept the one fat acceptance book to reread as a means to bolster myself.  I also didn’t have an appetite which probably came from a subconscious belief that if I didn’t eat, then I would lose weight and go back to that “thin”, acceptable person.

I did find ice cream bars at the grocery store for cheap and with more in the box than the name brand. So I treated myself to ice cream bars and ate one for dinner.  Well, I ate one in the car sitting in the parking lot at the grocery store because I needed to eat otherwise my blood sugar would have dropped too  low.

I hate that I still want that “thin” body.  Diets don’t work.  And I would probably have to starve myself to get back to that point that I was and I wouldn’t have it for long.  But I already eat pretty healthy  (other than the sweet tooth).  I just need to work on exercising more.  I do not have to lose weight to be healthy.  A thin body will not make me friends.  Or make my mother love me.  These things will not change.  I have friends.

Am I Fat?

No, you do not have to answer that question. Nor do I want some of you to.

I can be an emotional eater.  I am also considered overweight, no, morbidly obese for my height and weight. Though you wouldn’t know it by looking at me.  But I eat mostly healthy (I have a sweet tooth but I bake my sweets myself) and do my best to exercise.  And there are too many times when I don’t like my body.

But I’ve read too many articles about health, see too many articles, blog entries, etc. lately.  And too many are based on one rule: you must hate your body.  And that rule has been around a long time.  And it’s entirely geared towards women.

Women are born into a world where they are judged on appearance and looks from birth.  Girls learn from a very young age how to dress to please others.  They are also taught that they do not have real bodies or that they inhabit these bodies. They are taught that they are objects to be judged.  Girls are told what to wear or not to wear, how to behave like a proper girl, how to be submissive, how not to express their emotions, how to be nice all the time, how to be an object, what they can and cannot eat, and how they must constantly judge themselves against other women and how are they are always failing.  Girls are forced to cut themselves off from who they really are from a young age. And it’s their mothers leading the charge against them, inflicting the same abuse and suffering on their daughters that was inflicted on them and that society and advertising keep inflicting on the female half of the human race.

Girls are cut off from their bodies.  Then they may have to deal with the added burden of being told that they must dress a certain way or they are leading men into sin.  So purity culture rears its ugly head. But popular culture says a woman is only a body but only if she is a Victoria’s Secret model but really only a sex object. Or not a body or person at all if she is not model perfect ot society approved.

For me, I grew up always hearing how I was fat.  Constantly, by my mother who couldn’t face her own body issues so focused on mine.  Now, I was never a skinny child but nor was I truly fat.  I have always had a little extra weight but it didn’t bother me too much.  And when my mother meant fat she meant xxx-large when I was a medium.  So many years I had clothes that were too big and almost always second-hand while my sisters got new clothes more often. And I’m the oldest.

Then there was the time my step grandfather told me I was a glutton (not the word he used) and that men didn’t like women who eat. (All because I took seconds.) So I needed to stop stuffing my fat ugly face or no guy would want me and I should be put on a strict diet immediately.  Thankfully my parents didn’t listen but my mother kept calling me fat. Granted, this was the same man who gave me soap for Christmas one year, then told me I had to pay for it, then took it way because I was unworthy of such a gift and couldn’t appreciate all that he done to get me this gift.  My sisters got actual gifts but I got free soap (it was a sample) that was taken away. I’m glad the man died when I was 17.

I’ve been body shamed for so long.  And not just by my mother.  I see in the cover of magazines at the grocery story, the new diet books at the library, the blog posts, news articles, other peoples bodies.  We women are told hating our bodies is a good thing, that by hating our bodies other people will love and admire us. That we will fit in.  That we will be accepted.

What a lie. 

We hate our bodies and hate ourselves but nothing changes.  But now we are carrying a lot of hate and see ourselves not as people who are loveable but as objects to be used and discarded.  We are told that this outfit or this diet or this exercise will fix everything but nothing works.  And the hate stays, taking root, growing, festering.

And companies love it because that just means they can sell more clothes, more diets, more exercise equipment, more beauty products to fuel the hate.  The cycle  continues.

So, am I fat? Some stupid, useless guideline and certain people I don’t trust say so.  But do I consider myself “fat”? Some times, yes.  Sometimes, no.  I do know that just because it is written in an article or on a blog doesn’t make it true.  But I’m working on fighting the lies I’ve been told about myself, about my body.

But every women needs to stop hearing these stupid lies about hating their bodies or that they need to be objects and instead get to know their real body and self.  Women are people too.

Why Yes…

I am fat.

There.  I said it.  I’ve admitted what everyone else has seen. What everyone else has said is the worst thing about me.  About how ugly and stupid I am for being fat.  How everyone has judged me and found me worthless.

Why am I fat?  I am not a pig.  I don’t gorge myself.  I don’t eat that much sugar.  I don’t drink soda at all.  I like certain veggies and I eat protein.  I don’t eat cereal or pasta or prepackaged foods.  I can’t stamd potato chips. I rarely eat candy. 

But I’m fat.

So of course I’m doing something wrong.  It must be too much sugar or eating portions that are too big or too many calories.  Remember, being fat is a moral failing.

But I’m fat.

I’m fat because I really am ugly.
I’m fat because I really am stupid.
I’m fat because I don’t want to be thin.
I’m fat because I was abused.
I am fat because food never made me feel ashamed of myself.
I’m fat because food is constantly being used as a weapon.
I’m fat because I’m unlovable.
I’m fat because I was not loved.
I am fat because I was bullied in school.
I’m fat because I never fit in.
I’m fat because I want born a girl and not a boy.
I’m fat because I’m surrounded by fat people who hate me because they hate themselves.
I’m fat because my mother constantly told me I was fat growing up.

I am fat.

Do I need a reason?

Remember, being fat is a moral failing so of course I need a reason, need to explain myself.

But do I hate my body? 

It isn’t perfect but I’m used to it. 

I think pretty is overrated.  I refuse to wear makeup to cater to a sexist agenda of beauty and youth. What you see is what you get. 

I think the BMI is useless and worthless and way too judgmental. 

I think fashion designers and celebrities get it wrong. 

So yeah, I’m probably only good enough to be the evil and ugly step-sister and even then I’m too ugly.

Guys aren’t interested in me. 
Women ignore me or hate me. 
People don’t want me around.

But food doesn’t care.  It has no vested interest in anything.  So it’s easy to go to for soothing.  No judgments, no shaming, no name calling.  It he’s no agenda, no politics, no meaning.  Food just exists.  It’s just there. 

In the end, I’m still fat.


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