Mental Health At Every Size: Yes, Your Brain Counts Too

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

You’ve been up since 5 a.m. You just slogged through 10 hours of work and 2 hours of commuting, then a couple of after-work errands and if anyone even so much as utters the word “exercise” in your presence you swear you’re gonna sit on ‘em after you’ve been running around all day, even if most of the “running” has been done in a seated position. But you’ll settle for sitting on the couch and eating that bucket of KFC on your front seat. Chicken, starch, starch, starch, soda, pie, and not a green veggie to be found anywhere. Maybe there’s fruit in the pie tonight, maybe not. But soda, oh, you bet, and not that diet crap either. As much as you want — hey, that chicken is salty, and the gravy on those mashed potatoes just sticks to the roof of your mouth without a couple slugs of Dr. Pepper. You know beer is healthier for you, but come on, it just doesn’t go with KFC.* No cooking, no more responsibilities, just pure vegging out in front of the tube until it’s time for bed. Ahhhhh.

And this is pretty much your daily routine, except that on weekends there’s more driving around for errands and hauling stuff back and forth from the car to the house. The very idea of vegetables makes you want to hurl; after all, your parents “made” you gag down broccoli and peas when you were little even though you hated them, and you swore you’d never touch another green vegetable once you were out of their house and you never have. And while fruit is okay with you, you guess, most of the fresh fruit that’s available where you live really sucks, and honestly, you’d rather have pie. Especially Key Lime. Hey, that has citrus in it, right? Screw all those noseynoses, that’s how you eat, and they can bite their toenails for dessert if they don’t like it.

Are you practicing HAES?

My short answer: Yes, you are.

My longer answer: Nobody would even be ASKING that question if you were thin and doing the exact same thing. Especially if you were a man. Men are allowed to eat guy food and eschew veggies, so why not you?**

Has Meowser totally lost her mind?, you may well ask. I thought Health At Every Size meant you LOVED broccoli! LOVED to exercise! LOVED to do fantastically creative veganish things in your kitchen even after a full day of work! Those KFC eaters who don’t do produce or yoga are BAD! Even if I’m one of them! Right?

No, sorry. I hate to break the news to you, but you too are practicing HAES if this is anything like your daily routine. Why? Because mental health is health too. And you know better than anyone else what you need to do to get through the insanity of a stressful and busy day, week, month, life. Certainly you know better than someone who doesn’t know you at all.

Far be it from me to look down on the donutarians*** among us. Most of you work harder and have far more responsibilities by orders of magnitude than I ever will. Lemme tell you something. I work 35 hours a week and telecommute, don’t have kids, don’t have sick parents or an infirm partner to take care of, and my boyfriend is about as low-maintenance a human being as exists in the world. Not to mention that I am surrounded by blessings like Trader Joe’s and farmer’s markets and even a nice yard to grow veggies in, with the world’s (or at least, America’s) greatest topsoil.

The reason I don’t get all stage 2 smug about it is because it was not always like that for me. I remember the killer commutes, the sick partners, the stressful-to-the-breaking point, dread-going-home living situations, the bosses from hell. And I ate like shit then, relatively speaking. I don’t know of anyone who was working in the places I was working at then who lived anything like a “healthy lifestyle,” whatever the hell that means. Vending machine food? No exercise? Hell, yeah, and I was a health fiend compared to some of my chain-smoking, hard-drinking colleagues, who often expressed amazement that I would snack on things like sugar snap peas at my desk when I got bored with the Snackwells sandwich cookies in the machines.

For all the blather about people with Bad Lifestyle Habits being a drain on society, my best anecdata tells me precisely the opposite is true. It’s the people who work like dogs and don’t get paid squat or get any respect from the yups who have these Bad Lifestyle Habits, for the most part. The ones without whose unpaid and underpaid labor society would fall to pieces, they’re the ones who most need their “vices” to get by. The yups with their cushy jobs where they can come and go as they please and don’t ever have to worry about being written up for a lengthy potty break might not like the idea of the busboy in their favorite bar or their pool cleaner or nail technician having a beer belly, reeking of smoke, and/or covered with donut crumbs, but they’d like it even less if they had to bus their own tables, clean their own pools, and do their own nails.

(C. had a fabulously succinct reaction when I told him once of a certain Big-Ass National Company’s plans to surcharge employees who failed to meet company guidelines for things like weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure: “I assume that policy doesn’t apply to their top executives.” Goddess, but I love him.)

And no, I’m not saying that the veggie and yoga lovers are all a bunch of overvalued snotnoses who have no idea how spoiled they are. I’m not talking about individuals, necessarily, I’m talking about the entire concept of “healthy lifestyle” as we currently understand it being a construct of the upper classes and a function of the greater mobility and greater flexibility they have with their time. You do need a certain amount of privilege to be able to pull it off even if you’re perfectly nice and respectful about others who don’t have the same privilege.

I may be broker than broker than broke, but I too have a certain amount of privilege. I have the privilege of taking a nap and going to the bathroom whenever the hell I feel like it, I have the privilege of taking a beautiful afternoon off and going to the farmer’s market, and nobody’s going to “write me up” for any of it. For that matter, I have the privilege of having the damn farmer’s markets around in the first place with all their fabulous and shockingly affordable locally grown produce. It shouldn’t come as a great surprise to anyone that I actually would rather have fresh fruit for dessert most of the time, especially in the summer when the fruit here just RULES.

But, you might ask, “What if I have that privilege, too, and I’d still rather have the KFC and the pie? What if I’m not overworked, just lazy? Am I practicing HAES too?” Yeah, I say you are. If your body is asking you for that, if it’s what your soul craves at its very core, there’s probably a good reason for it, and you know better than anyone else what you need. If you really have an aversion to vegetables or exercise, for Maude’s sake don’t force yourself to do them. They will not help you. (Please do, next time you have a minute in a bookstore or library, pick up Barry Glassner’s The Gospel of Food and glance at the study on the very first page, a mindblower that suggests that people who eat stuff they don’t like don’t absorb much in the way of essential nutrients from it.)

You’re not getting loaded on crank and driving a semi backwards down the Ventura Freeway, okay? You are not endangering anyone else (no humans, anyway). It’s just a bucket of damn chicken, and it’s perfectly legal. Take your vitamins if deficiencies concern you. (I myself choke down enough B vitamins and C every day to power a frickin’ Navy SEAL unit, although more so for mental function than physical.) If they don’t, fuck it. Seriously.

Look, during the Great Depression people ate bread and gravy every day for a decade because that’s all there was to eat. Many of those people are still alive and kicking today, at 80-plus. There is no magic Healthy Eating Formula that guarantees you’ll live to be 93 and die peacefully in your sleep without ever getting Really Fucking Sick (TM) or even Not Really Fucking Sick But Pretty Fucking Pharmaceutically Dependent Anyway (TM). There is only what makes you feel and function your best right now, and borrowing someone else’s “health” regime is like borrowing their underwear, frankly. Maybe it’ll be a perfect fit, but probably not.

And yeah, you’re allowed to have other priorities besides being Perfectly Healtheee. Many of our greatest artists, musicians, leaders have, for centuries. Why not you?

*Three bottles of microbrew = health equivalent of 6 ounces of soda.
** If you’re a fat guy who actually cares enough to read this, for all intents and purposes you’re a girl, so this applies to you, too.
***If you’ve eaten six Krispy Kremes at a sitting more than once in the last six months, that’s you.

49 Responses to “Mental Health At Every Size: Yes, Your Brain Counts Too”

  1. Nudemuse Says:

    Meowser have I told you lately how full of win you are?

    And I totally blame you now but I really want some mashed taters.

  2. Shira Says:

    Oh dear god thank you so much for this. I was starting to beat myself up again for not exercising (I have fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain and lipo-lymphoedema so really, exercise is Not Going To Happen) and because yeah, I made and enjoyed a plate of steamed cabbage and veggieburgers for dinner, but I also had quite a bit of chocolate, and I plan to bake a cake at some point this week, and I like a lot of brown sugar on my porridge. My eating disorders (what would have been considered anorexia if I’d actually lost any weight, and orthorexia) are always looking for a way to creep back, and an ongoing battle with fertility clinics over whether or not I am allowed treatment despite my BMI being 41 is really bringing all my Bad Non-Exercising Fatty guilt to the fore. The only reason they’ve even agreed to assess me is because my BMI would only be about 27 without the lipo-lymphoedema, which is a condition that makes weightloss literally impossible from the affected areas, so in their eyes I might be a Deserving Fatty. Unhelpfully, my body has done one of its familiar tricks of gaining about 15lbs in 2 weeks for absolutely no good reason – no change in habits at all. I am guessing it’s stress, as we have a lot of that currently. I keep thinking stupid things like “if I just go back on the induction-phase Atkins for a few weeks until my appointment, I might be able to lose enough weight for my face to look thinner and my collarbones to be visible!” Then I remember how fucking stupid that is, as I’d still be undeniably fat, and how I usually end up living on almost nothing but olives and the occasional egg and having panic attacks at the thought of putting spices on my godawful turkey rashers because omg, how many carbs are in the spices?!, etc ad nauseam. I try to tell myself – and my husband always tries to remind me – that for the sake of my mental health I need to stop thinking about what and when I eat and just eat what pleases me, when it pleases me. Recently that has just felt to me like a cop-out, like I’m rationalising my irresponsible and bad eating habits in the name of mental health and just basically making excuses to avoid Doing The Right Things. Yes, I’ve gone right back to the old ways where I didn’t deserve to feel good or enjoy anything because I was a bad bad person for being so fat, and I had to deny myself any pleasure in order to “prove” to everyone that I was really trying and not having the temerity to enjoy my life in my fat body. My husband has been getting worried again; I have been starting to cry over food and clothes and my belly again, after months of joyfully discovering intuitive eating and learning to look at my body and think “hey, not bad. In fact, rather awesome!”
    My point is (after all that rambling) you’ve helped me get my sensible HAES/FA brain back after two or three months of slipping in and out of the self-starve self-blame mode that I had for so many years. I really needed to read this. Thank you.

  3. wellroundedtype2 Says:

    Yes.
    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

    I am both sick, and tired, of people who are profoundly unaware of their privilege talking about how fat people need to “eat healthy” and “exercise.”

    Thanks, again, for awesome thinking and writing.

  4. rebecca Says:

    thank you for this post.

  5. vesta44 Says:

    As my grandson would say “Oh yeah, Oh yeah” as he dances around the room. Definitely full of win there, meowzer.

  6. Bri Says:

    Honey you rock it out.

    T.O.T.A.L.L.Y.

    I am in awe.

  7. JoGeek Says:

    What an eye-opener! I think there’s some insiduous creeping assumptions in my head that health (as used in HAES) automatically means living a WW type lifestyle without the counting or guilt. But…that would mean a diet….

    you know this cultural programming is harder to shake off than I thought…Eventually I hope I can wrap my mind around it!

  8. Sparkle Pants Says:

    I have a big crush on you, Meowser. Thank you for posting this. I needed to hear this.

  9. datagoddess Says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!

  10. Jae Says:

    This is exactly what I wanted to say about the whole debate, but couldn’t quite get out. This should be required reading!!

  11. Miss Minx Says:

    I think I might finally be okay with my neeeeeeed to eat noodles and grated cheese for dinner every night.

    Thank you.

  12. sweetmachine Says:

    Meowser, you are such a rock star. This post is awesome.

  13. April Says:

    Thank you so much. I too (I think in part due to reading all the recent blogs about good vs bad fatty) have been wondering just where I would fall on that spectrum! I mean, have I been kidding myself? Is eating a handful of chips each night and calling it IE really just a joke and I’m using HAES as a coverup for bad habits? But this just really shakes that little stick again into my worries and reminds me that hey, Its no one’s business WHAT I eat or do for exercize; I don’t need to DEFEND my fat with “healthy” habits.
    Anyways THANK YOU!

  14. Telle Says:

    Thank you so much.

    I work full time, I have two small children, I have a husband who works an opposite shift to mine, and I have chronic depression (which has not responded well to anti-depressants). And there are so many times when I beat myself up for not adhering to the ideals of “healthy” despite all this… when I grab some packaged thing from the freezer instead of making my kids a home-cooked meal.. when I don’t get up at 5:30am to go use the treadmill (that’s the only time in my day that I have to exercise in the winter).. when I’m not eating “enough” fruits and vegetables.. when I eat out most days for lunch because I haven’t gotten to the grocery store in a couple of weeks..

    Thank you for reminding me that I have permission to just get through the damn day in whatever way it takes.. and that doing so is part of taking care of myself.

  15. BigLiberty Says:

    Love this, love this, love this post! As a person who commutes 5 hours a day, is going through hard times at home, and has enough money to splurge on one of those uber-healtheriffic Subway sandwiches all of once a month (else I bring in a $1 can of Chef Boyareffindee), and as someone who routinely misses exercising at the gym the way I used to when I was a grad student who lived on campus with a free health club provided by the school, thanks, thanks, thanks for including people like me!

  16. Yummy Says:

    Are HAES and “doing whatever you want” the same thing? Do we even need the term “HAES” then? Couldn’t you just say that people should do what they want? I’m confused…

  17. Telle Says:

    I think rather than “doing whatever you want” it’s more like “taking care of yourself in whatever way you need to be taken care of”.

    There’s also another aspect that I haven’t seen talked about much lately.. and that’s recognizing outside influences on your decision making. I remember reading something about HAES once that said something along the lines of “When you go out to eat, don’t go for the healthiest thing on the menu ‘because you’re supposed to’ and don’t go for the least healthy thing ‘just because you can’.. but rather, figure out what it is that you really want.” So there definitely is an element of “do what you want” I think.. but it needs to be emphasized as “do what YOU want”.

  18. spacedcowgirl Says:

    Meowser, I love this post. Thank you so much for it. I sometimes try to make a comment with something like this type of content, and I always backtrack on myself and qualify everything until it doesn’t really say anything. I agree 100%. Any book deals in the works for you? I’m not sure I have said so before, but I love your writing.

    I also have to say that this is awesome:

    “You’re not getting loaded on crank and driving a semi backwards down the Ventura Freeway, okay?”

    Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!

  19. wriggles Says:

    Well done Meowser for what is above all such a humane post, that is what is so often lost in this healthy lifestyle crap, we are only human dammit!

  20. DivaJean Says:

    With the economy going where its likely going, there will no longer be good or bad eating. There may very be just eating and staying alive. The statement about people surviving on bread and gravy for a decade is aptly put.

  21. Patsy Nevins Says:

    Excellent post, Meowser, it says a lot of what I have been trying to make people understand for years. And I have been related to many of those people who lived on very little food variety, most of their lives as well as during the Depression, because my family has always been good at poverty; most of them have lived well into their 80’s & 90’s. We have great genes, not superior character. And I had KFC with mashed potatoes, gravy & coleslaw for lunch yesterday & enjoyed every bite, which I do maybe 4 or 5 times a year, mostly because of cost. I love fried chicken, but CP & arthritis, balance & coordination issues, do not mix AT ALL well with vats of hot oil.

    Thanks, from the bottom of my chocolate-loving soul. I do eat vegetables, but chocolate is my favorite one.

  22. Lexy Says:

    Very well done. I will for sure bookmark this post :)

  23. Patsy Nevins Says:

    Oh, & Diva Jean, you point is also excellent. My family have generally eaten what we wanted & liked, but we have also eaten what we could GET, which is a large part of what those without money do.

  24. Tari Says:

    Wow, so, like, food and exercise choices intersect with *gasp* socioeconomic factors, peace of mind, and personal preference?!! You mean, I have permission to make my own choices, including the choice not to think about it? You mean it’s more complicated than just some simplistic dichotomy that doesn’t really exist?! It’s almost like people are free to be individuals and not part of a hive mind. Imagine that.

    Lovely post. Well done.

  25. Mary Sue Says:

    You are a rockstar.

    And I, apparently, am a donutarian. A label I will wear with pride, because there are some damn fine donut places here in Portland, Oregon (without having to resort to the Krispy Kreme, which are okay but you should see the buttermilk bars you can get out on NE Alberta).

  26. Zilly Says:

    Wow, you just answered the question that I’ve been asking myself for three days or so. Perfect timing! Well, this is awesome! It makes a lot of sense and the link that you posted helped me understand myself better, too. I think that I have finally decided on my own personal interpretation of “health” now. If only I could actually get myself to recognize what my body is craving … but I’m optimistic. I’ll learn.

    Thank you so much for posting this!

    (And just for the record, I’m not even fat. I used to think of myself as a “bad thin person.” Well, relatively thin anyway.) :D

  27. Rachel Says:

    Oh my goodness well done!

  28. Jmars Says:

    Brava!

  29. zmama75 Says:

    Another “just what I needed to read” post for me. Thanks!

  30. CarrieP Says:

    Incredible. Thank you thank you thank you for this post!

  31. Jessica Says:

    You know what I’ve been thinking lately?
    The same act can be violent or nurturing.
    I’m the only one who can determine whether downing a bucket of chicken, running a 5K, or staying on the couch all day are good or bad for me.

  32. Top Posts « WordPress.com Says:

    [...] Mental Health At Every Size: Yes, Your Brain Counts Too [image] posted by meowser You’ve been up since 5 a.m. You just slogged through 10 hours of work and 2 hours of […] [...]

  33. Marste Says:

    Good stuff. I’ve been thinking a lot about this very thing lately, and I have a question – so bear with me through the long comment here. :)

    I understand the long work hours and running a million errands and chronic exhaustion and all that stuff: frankly, I know for myself that when I’m exhausted, I need simple carbs because God knows that if my body isn’t getting what it really needs (sleep) it’s gotta have something else to run on.

    But. What if your work hours are normal, and there isn’t a lot of extra stuff going on, and you still choose to eat KFC every night because you don’t want to deal with emotional stuff? I guess what I’m really asking is a personal question, but I’m wondering if anyone else has dealt with this: sometimes I know damn well I’m just eating in order not to deal with uncomfortable feelings. I’m literally sedating myself with sugar or flour or whatever. (At least those are *my* sedation drugs: other people might use other foods – I’m not singling out carbs in general.) And eventually, by not dealing with the anxiety/stress/depression/whatever, I start having trouble sleeping, which leads to more crap food, which leads to more anxiety, which leads to less sleep, more crap food, more anxiety, less sleep, and on and on and on.

    I know the idea is that Intuitive Eating is good for you, right? But what about when it leads to places that really are bad for you? Does that still get classified as IE? Or is it something else? If it’s IE, how is eating KFC every night (again assuming emotional roots, not exhaustion) different from drinking heavily every night? Eventually you’ll see negative repercussions in your body, regardless of whether you’re fat or thin. If it’s not good for you, including mentally in the long run, how is it IE? Is it even IE at all? (Personally, I had to actually start asking myself, “Are you sedating yourself, or do you really want this?” Being able to tell the difference helped me tremendously.)

    I’ve pretty much reached the end of my thinking capacity on this one and am starting to feel like a damn hamster on a wheel. Do you have any insights?

  34. So What The @#$% Is “Healthy Eating,” Anyway? « fat fu Says:

    [...] Comments Marste on Mental Health At Every Size: …Top Posts WordPres… on Mental Health At Every Size: …Jessica on Mental Health At Every Size: [...]

  35. meowser Says:

    Marste, I just posted a followup to this that addresses some of what you’re talking about here. Those are good questions. That’s why I qualified HAES-style eating to be “what makes you feel and function your best.” If you know that your eating habits are causing problems with that, then maybe making some changes over time as you’re able to is not a bad idea. But of course, we’ve all seen people who live to be 100 or whatever and when asked their secrets, say they love Twinkies and whiskey and never exercise. I’m not saying you, as an individual, have any obligation to keep eating in a way that doesn’t serve you, just that what does serve you might be what others would consider unorthodox.

  36. Christine Says:

    Thank you, Meowser, I really needed to read this this week. I’m one of those people (fatties) you wrote about – under enormous pressure, responsibilities and time-constraints, NOT cooking-organic-from-scratch and logging in hours of gym time. I’m both a single mother (1 daughter, almost 11), and caretaker for 2 elderly parents, one of whom is Very Fucking Sick (TM) and the other is On The Way To Being Sick (TM). Yesterday, after leaving Dad’s hospital bedside (he’s having open heart surgery today), I grabbed Chinese takeout for my daughter and myself. That’s after pizza for lunch, grabbed while running the zillion errands that had to be done before picking up my daughter from school. Today I’ll probably subsist on peanut butter crackers, Rice Krispie Treats, and whatever crap I’ve stuffed into my bag for the long wait while Dad is in surgery. Tonight’s dinner will no doubt be takeout of some kind, again.

    I guess my point in all of this is that those who bitch and moan about my “unhealthy” diet and lifestyle are more than welcome to trade places with me for a week. I’ll have plenty of time to make fresh, healthy salads and stirfrys and go for long, invigorating walks. They can help with homework and school projects and shuttle folks to doctor’s appointments and pick up meds and call insurance companies and sit at bedsides on top of keeping a house in decent order, caring for pets, and telling the boss that yet ANOTHER day off is needed (with corresponding lack of pay). Fuck it, they’d eat cheeseburgers, too.

  37. Patsy Nevins Says:

    You’re doing fine, Christine, & doing what is needed for your family. And I love cheeseburgers, which btw have plenty of vitamins, minerals, protein & calcium. :-)

    And I too love those interviews with people who live to be 100 or more, always looking for the ‘secret’ of longevity (choose your ancestors wisely). They always say that they love Big Macs or KFC or always have bacon & eggs or pancakes & sausages for breakfast, often a whiskey before dinner, & I am constantly AMAZED at how many love Twinkies. On one of those “food” shows they do on the Discovery Networks, they interviewed one guy who is 90 & who has eaten at least two boxes of Twinkies every week (that is 20 cakes, btw) for over 65 years. He loves them, he has no intention of giving them up, & why should he?

    Someone also observed that some rant on about how the people in the Georgian mountains of Russia eat yogurt & live a long time, but also observed that you find a lot of very old people here on these little fishing islands in Maine, a place where poverty is very common, & only a few have ‘yuppie’ eating habits, & these old people have lived on lots of fish & salt pork, beef when they could get, mostly root veggies, often drink, smoke, & are independent as a hog on ice & cantankerous as hell. The observer figured that perhaps part of the reason WHY they live so long is that they are so busy living they don’t have time to worry about HOW to live & so independent that they pay no attention to all the claptrap about ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ Personally, I think that has a lot to recommend it as a way to live.

  38. Leigh Purtill Says:

    Love this post – so mentally healthy!

  39. AnnaB Says:

    This is a really intriguing post! However…

    I’m still all confused about the parameters of HAES, or even if there are any. (And I have tried to read up on it in all the places you’d expect, like Kate’s blog, but I’m still not getting it. Please, please forgive me if my questions have been answered somewhere and I’m not reading closely enough.)

    It seems like some people think they don’t practice HAES because of [insert behavior here]. This may sound weird, but – is it possible NOT to practice HAES? The more I read, the more HAES expands to encompass many, many different things – basically, anything that involves eating and exercising how your body and brain ask you to.

    (I realize that HAES involves certain core principles, like that one’s weight does not correlate with one’s physical health. But I’m talking about the practices (actions) of HAES, not the beliefs.)

    Are you not practicing HAES if you diet to lose weight? If you binge? If you exercise in a way that you don’t want to? Other stuff? (What other stuff?)

    Is is possible practice HAES, but ignore what your body and brain immediately want in order to achieve other things? For instance, can you practice HAES yet give up certain foods for spiritual or ethical purposes (even if your body craves them)? Is there a difference, in HAES terms, between giving up fried chicken because you’re a vegetarian, and giving it up because you ‘ve been told that it’s EVIL and those who eat it are BAD, and you’ve internalized that attitude?

    In other words, is it the attitude, not the actions, that matter? Is it internal vs. external motivation?

    Are there some actions that definitely *aren’t* HAES under any circumstances, even with the best of intentions?

    And just to throw one more monkey wrench into things: what if a person is in recovery from an eating disorder, and she wants to practice HAES, but all she can do at this point in her recovery is to do a little less dieting / bingeing / purging / compulsive exercising? Is she still practicing HAES? Does it matter somehow where she is psychologically?

    Am I thinking too black-and-white here? Are most people sort of practicing HAES, but no one does it 100%?

    This is NOT to say someone is a “bad fattie” or bad person if they don’t do HAES. No one is a bad fattie, ever.

    But how exactly does someone NOT do HAES?

    (Talk about feeling like your brain is a hamster on a wheel! Sorry for all the questions, but this has been stewing in my head for a really long time.)

  40. meowser Says:

    Good questions, Anna.

    I would say that overall HAES is not compatible with specifically dieting to lose weight, because that makes a statement that you think your size is the problem, which goes against the “every size” principle. BUT…it’s also very difficult to let go of dieting completely in this world forever, and I recognize that. I do tend to think it’s more of a belief than a behavior, in the long run.

    Hell yeah, you can keep kosher or be vegan and practice HAES. Why not? I think the only things that are categorically not HAES are to pressure or coerce other people to diet, or to run around saying out loud that there’s something wrong with you for being fat. (You can stop saying something long before you stop thinking it.)

  41. Sarahbear Says:

    God, I needed to read this. I haven’t worked out but once since I got over the flu a couple weeks ago, and I was starting to get angry with myself. But I just haven’t felt like going. And now I’m reminded that it’s okay. I’m not getting loaded on crank and driving a semi backwards down the Ventura Freeway. *crack* Gah, I love that…

  42. Maddie Says:

    Thank you for this, Meowser, I really needed to hear that right now. I had a wonderful epiphany about it being really okay to be fat a month or two ago, but it wore off in the following weeks as all the old thoughts and feelings (I’ve had compulsive eating disorder, with the occasional sprinkling of bulimic behaviours, for twenty one years now) crept back in, combined with guilt because I still can’t control my eating all the time, I still struggle to get myself to exercise in a non-incidental way, and because I’m not really being healthy at any size. But I guess this is me buying into the notion that it’s only okay to be fat if you’re also being “good”, even though if you’re thin, the kind of “badness” I regularly engage in wouldn’t matter to anyone.

    God knows, I want to have a healthy relationship with food. But I have to keep reminding myself that that will never happen if I keep treating it like a moral battleground in which I’m always on the losing side.

    So, really, thank you.

  43. Michelle Therese Says:

    But…you mean…are you telling me that if I eat KFC and a pie and those damn good reconstituted mashed potatoes dripping with that sinful gravy … I’m not going to keel over and die of fatness right there on the sofa????? Are you telling me that if I live off of perfect organic fruits, fancy filtered bottled water, organic veg and whole grains and never ingest a molecule of sugar I WON’T LIVE FOREVER????
    Oh dear… That’s not what I’ve been hearing from The Medical Gods these past zillion years… Careful girl ~ you just might cause a big fat revolution!! (And of *course* I discover this fantastic information after I’ve moved to another country where KFC doesn’t exist. GAH!!)

  44. Me Too « spacedcowgirl Says:

    [...] friends, activism, creation of art or handiwork, volunteer activities, home improvement, or just sitting on your ass enjoying a beer and American Idol–well, that’s my version, anyway –after a long workday) than the endless pursuit [...]

  45. sassyblonde Says:

    Meowser, I think I love you!

    This post is wonderful! The timeliness of it for me couldn’t have been better. Thank you for sharing it in such a great way!

  46. HAES-Related Aside « fat fu Says:

    [...] to mention that as far as I’m concerned, any definition of HAES that means doodley squat has to include mental health, or it’s incomplete. In other words, if the way you eat now would horrify the yuppie [...]

  47. Food you like is food that feels good. | The Fat Nutritionist Says:

    [...] always, remember that mental health is a part of health and feeling good. If you’re not an asshole, why not leave a comment? Other stuff I wrote that you'll [...]

  48. Potatoes and Beans (a rant) | Anna Caro Says:

    [...] in a roundabout way, the whole thing reminds me of a blog post Mental Health At Every Size: Yes, Your Brain Counts Too, which is an excellent post which you should [...]

  49. Sizism and Healthism: Some Perspective | closetpuritan Says:

    [...] that health should not be a moral imperative. People get to prioritize their health as well as prioritize certain aspects of their health over others. People should not have to deal with busybodies asking them about their [...]


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