How Hard Must I “Try” Before You Stop Hating Me?

It’s very weird.  In online environments where I indentify as a fat chick with a BMI of 37, I get so much more hostility directed at me than I do in the “real world.”  To be honest, IRL I get very little weight-related harassment, despite my ginormous marked-for-instant-death BMI.  If people guess my weight, they guess waaaay lower than the 212 pounds I actually am.  I’ve actually had people say to me, “But you’re not obese.”  Rather than revel in this pseudo-thin privilege, however, I take the time to correct them.  Typically I then get some kind of shrugging response along the lines of, “Well, I guess you’re different, then.”

Different I am.  I’d be “different” even if I wore a size 2.  I’m an odd duck, always have been.  But I’m sure that’s not what they mean.  They mean, “You can get away with not dieting, for some reason I can’t begin to fathom.”  Kind of like how Keith Richards gets away with being perpetually dissipated.  Either that or I just look so fearsomely garrulous that they don’t dare say anything that’s going to bury them in a mound of untrammeled verbiage (I am from New York, y’know).  And I’ve already made it clear to my family that my weight isn’t a subject of negotiation, and they don’t bug me about it anymore as they know that’s the price of “doing business” with me.  So all in all, I’d say that once I step away from my computer, I can almost forget that I’m FAAAAT sometimes.

But in the blogosphere?  Hooboy.  Tell people you’re fat and you think “calories in-calories out” is a bunch of oversimplified horsehockey, and it’s like tossing goldfish in a shark tank.  CHOMP.  No matter what I say, it always comes down to one thing — “you’re not trying hard enough.”  Since separating from my husband several years ago and ceasing to overeat out of habit — and hooking up with a boyfriend who needs relatively little food to be happy — I eat a lot less than I used to, and consume far fewer sweetened drinks.  I also exercise a lot more because I walk to work over hilly terrain.  I haven’t lost a damn ounce from any of it.  Not an ounce. 

The haters cannot fathom this.  They insist that can’t possibly be true, that anyone who “eats less and moves more” ought to be well on the road to the Exalted Palace of Thinness.  Nope.  Not everyone.  Not me.  Maybe it has something to do with the, oh, eighty-bajillion diets I was on starting at age 11 through age 33, or with medication usage, or PCOS, but my weight will. not. budge.  My ass simply laughs at me when I attempt to make it smaller.  And I’m tempted to believe my ass is right.

So okay, maybe I could “try harder.”  Maybe I could eliminate ALL sugar and ALL starch and limit my food intake to lean proteins and nonstarchy vegetables and berries (also known as an Atkins regime, the one thing I have not ever tried), and drink only calorie-free beverages.  No beer.  No pizza.  No sushi (white rice! who do you think you are eating that stuff, fatass?).  No chocolate, of course.  And none of those Thai rice noodles I love.  I’ve had enough of that stuff over the course of a lifetime, right?  I know what it tastes like, don’t I?  Just like I’ve heard “Layla” enough times and can play it in my head whenever I want to and thus don’t need to own the CD.  All I have to do is prepare those lovely munchy salads and chewy steaks and every time I catch myself thinking of Thai noodles, dream of the respect I’ll get for being able to give them up forever.  Respect.  Aaaaaaaah.

Oh, and exercise?  Of course, the haters are right, my measly little 20-minute commute each way, even on hills, isn’t a sufficient workout.  I need a couple of hours a day in the gym, slamming it hard, or to take up running.  Sure, maybe that would beat up my knees to the point where I wouldn’t even be able to walk anymore, but who wants to see a fatass out on the street anyway?  As long as I stay in my private abode, tending to my battered cartilage, the haters can content themselves with the illusion that there’s one less of me in the world.

I want to make people happy.  No, seriously, I do.  I’m a people-pleaser by nature.  Shut up, stay out of the way, do what I’m told even if I choke on it.  But I’m also not big on throwing perfectly good time and energy after bad.  And there are limits on how much I’m willing to suffer in order to make people like me.  There are reasons I haven’t tried an Atkins diet.  I don’t want my kidneys to explode, for one thing.  I don’t want to have to inhale a damn swimming pool every day in order not to have to have brown diamonds professionally extracted from my rectum.  And damn it, I can’t promise that I’ll never eat pizza again.  Nor is the latter simply a matter of “slip up and try again”; as anyone who’s dieted can tell you, one slip — just one — equals a binge.  I’m not the type to eat more than two slices at a sitting in my nondieted state, but tell me I’m forbidden pizza for the rest of my life, and I’ll jam the whole pie down my throat without even tasting it.

Flogging yourself to lose weight is crazymaking, and I’m insane enough already.  If the haters think I’m a bitch on a hoverboard now, they should try me without any carbs.  And P.S. — if you believe everything else I tell you about myself, why would you think I would lie to you about my eating and exercise habits, and only about my eating and exercise habits?  And P.P.S. — don’t pull out the “denial” thing either.  There is no material difference between lying to myself and lying to you.  Either way you are calling me a liar, and that is unacceptable.  I am perfectly able to understand exactly what I put in my mouth, thank you.  I don’t need someone who has never met me to insist s/he knows me and knows my actions better than I do.

Hell, in fact, maybe rigorous honesty on my part is the whole damn problem.  Maybe I just need to become a better liar, good enough to convince people online that I really weigh 100 pounds and that I’m just making this argument on behalf of my fat friends who are all really really good good people and don’t deserve all the hateful hateyness.   Because frankly, we don’t.  We do not owe it to anyone to be in a perpetual state of ketosis and exhaustion.   And we will not all be thin just from “eating right and exercising.”  And frankly, if someone does want to eat a whole pizza in one gulp?  They still don’t deserve hate, just help if they ask for it.  Nobody is going to hotwire a stranger’s car, rape anybody, knock over a gas station or plow their vehicle into a schoolbus because of what they weigh or what they eat.  Unnahstand?

If I could just stay away from the computer, maybe I’d believe they could.

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59 Responses to “How Hard Must I “Try” Before You Stop Hating Me?”

  1. Casey Says:

    Amen.

    Nobody – except the people who see me day in and day out – believe that with what I eat (low-fat and high-fiber, with lots of fresh veggies and salads and whatnot, because of digestive problems), I’m still 185. Obviously, my fat ass is wise to something that my brain should have recognized years ago: this is the size I’m meant to be. Period.

    For what it’s worth, Atkins destroyed my digestive system, and almost landed me in the hospital. You’re better off not trying that bunch of crap. Carbs are good for you – they don’t call bread the “staff of life” for nothing.

  2. meowser Says:

    Casey, I always say avoiding carbs is just like avoiding sex. It’s a whole lot of no fun, and it won’t make you nearly as healthy as you think!

  3. kateharding Says:

    Awesome post, woman.

  4. fatfu Says:

    Uh huh…dead on Meowser. The unadulterated insanity of the argument: I’m allowed to hate you unless you live your life to my exact specification – and if you do I still won’t believe you unless you look exactly how I want you to. I will call this “concern for your health.”
    It’s megalomaniacal control freak psychology – like being in an instant dysfunctional relationship with an abusive boyfriend. And yet it passes uncommented by most people as if it were the work of a reasonable mind.
    You wonder why in the world anyone stays with abusive partners – how we fall under the spell of evil? For the same reason these people are almost never called on their craziness.

  5. withoutscene Says:

    Great post!

    “I’m allowed to hate you unless you live your life to my exact specification – and if you do I still won’t believe you unless you look exactly how I want you to. I will call this “concern for your health.”

    Now that’s an excellent translation. I’m going to tack on, “So what you’re saying is….” and use it when needed, if you don’t mind.

  6. meowser Says:

    “I’m allowed to hate you unless you live your life to my exact specification – and if you do I still won’t believe you unless you look exactly how I want you to. I will call this ‘concern for your health.'”

    Oooh, can I borrow that one, fu? I love it when someone can boil down my prolixity into two concise sentences!

  7. Rachel Says:

    Great post, fatfu.

    I still cannot fathom why people don’t believe that body sizes, just like hair, skin and eye color, comes in all different genetic forms. We all look different and have unique genetic makings but we’re all expected to adhere to this one-size-fits-all mentality.

    The soon-to-be-husband and I are vegetarian. We eat very healthy. I eat even healthier than he does (he won’t eat veggies) and work out more, yet he’s skinnier than I am. There’s got to be something more at play than healthy food and exercise.

    When I lost an extreme amount of weight and got down to 125 pounds, I found I couldn’t eat more than 800 calories a day and had to workout every day for at least two hours to maintain that weight. Yet, the past couple years I’ve eaten whatever I want (even pizza, chocolate and Indian food), did only moderate to little exercise and my weight, although it rose to about 175-185, remained stagnant in this range.

    Based on my own family history, I believe that perhaps I was simply meant to be this weight. In fact, even at my heaviest, 300 pounds, I’ve always been healthy. I didn’t develop a heart problem until I began fighting my body in order to lose weight.

  8. The Rotund Says:

    Nothing pisses me off faster than being called a liar. And when people pull that “you can’t possibly be eating what you say you are” on me, that is what I tell them. They immediately backpedal – no one wants to call me a LIAR, that isn’t what they meant at all! But it is. And some disconnect in their head makes it okay as long as they are talking about my body and my food intake. When I call it what it is, people don’t do it again.

  9. Meowser Says:

    Rachel, I have major headdesk migraines every time Ingrid Newkirk is in the news, telling people that if they were vegetarians they wouldn’t be fat. Lately it’s Michael Moore she’s been going after. I don’t know how many times she’s heard from fat vegetarians and even vegans telling her she’s wrong, but she does not parse it. I guess she must think you guys all have a secret stash of cheeseburgers somewhere.

    BTW, it was my post, not fu’s, though I certainly can understand the mixup, since I haven’t been very regular around here. 😛

  10. elasticwaist Says:

    Wow, tremendous post. Enough with the haters! Can’t they all just get together and be miserable and leave the rest of us alone?

  11. BStu Says:

    Word.

    The problem with empowered fat bigotry is that everyone treats it like a revealed truth. I think we get less of this IRL because its usually a safe bet that if you see a fat person, you’re seeing a fat person who hates their body. Few see the need to go against such odds to remind them. But by golly if you’re online and talk about it, forget it. All bets are off as the haters fall for the assumpsion that if you’re fat and okay with it, you simply haven’t heard that you’re supposed to hate your body. You simply haven’t heard that you can just lose weight if you try. If you put in the “hard work” needed. You couldn’t have come to your conclusions on your own, obviously, so surely you just haven’t heard this yet.

    A similiar dynamic seems to work with people who are bigoted towards fat PEOPLE but not an individual fat person. Again, its a kind of empowerment issue where they feel empowered to hate fat people collectively, assume collectively that they just don’t know any better, while they would rarely do so directly to an individual fat person.

  12. Rachel Says:

    I just saw that Meowser – my apologies. You certainly deserve kudos for your fine post.

    I’ve never heard of this Ingrid chick. I’ll have to look her up.

    My friend Lisa and I were talking yesterday. She’s battled her weight all her life, although she insists she doesn’t overeat. She just recently had bariatric surgery. Even she wondered how vegetarians can get fat. I told her we vegetarians do eat more than lettuce. Chocolate, candy, french fries, pizza, cheese, pasta, and scores of other foods can also be vegetarian.

    I do have to say though, that all the raw foodists I’ve met are near skeletal. They don’t even cook bread. I did this once – the only thing I ate was raw carrots and celery and lost tons of weight. Of course then it was called an eating disorder. Not that raw foodists are disordered necessarily, but well, they’re definitely obsessed.

  13. vika Says:

    What I’m curious about is, what does it mean for a person to be fat (by the usual standard) and healthy at the same time? And more importantly, whether there’s a genetic component to that. Heart strain, arthritis — are there genes, or better yet, compounds found in food that make their/your bodies deal just fine with the weight? Are there individually tailored diets aimed not at losing the weight but at helping a system not get worn down? And could they be applied to the less genetically fortunate?

    I’m probably being incredibly naive, and this is probably a common thing, but I’ve never read anything on this. If anyone has pointers to literature, that would be cool.

  14. Meowser Says:

    I think there’s a genetic component to everything. I remember reading something in Paul Campos’s The Obesity Myth about a finding that people who live to be 100 have larger than average cholesterol-carrying molecules. What I thought was pretty funny and pretty sad was what a researcher said about it (italics mine): “If you have this gene you can smoke and you can be fat and you can not exercise. This sounds terrible to me.” I remember thinking: “That’s terrible? We should all have that gene!”

    I don’t think there’s any magic bullet diet for health or longevity that works for everyone. Certainly the quote above is corroborated strongly by the people who live to be 95 and say they love Twinkies, eat rice every day, hate exercise, love to dance, never drink, never miss their daily shot of whiskey…there’s no formula. In my own case, I tailor what I eat to my activity level; I’ll eat different things if I’m going to be sitting or lying around than I will if I’m active, mainly because I have insulin resistance and eating sugary/starchy stuff unbalanced by fat/protein while at my desk will make me sleepy.

    But basically I try to live a philosophy of “eat as many different things as I can stand to and don’t eat the same things all the time.” In his book Eat, Drink and Be Merry, Dr. Dean Edell made a case for the French enjoying better health because they consume a wider variety of foods. For example, they regularly consume something like 12 different grains — I mean, I’m a pretty healthy eater overall, and I have trouble even naming 12 different grains!

  15. Kate217 Says:

    HUZZAH!

    Meowzer, have I told you lately that I love you?

  16. Meowser Says:

    Hey, I don’t care whether you’ve told me lately or not, you’re always welcome to tell me again! Heart pingback to you too, Kate217.

  17. Lindsay Says:

    Meowser, this post is love. Thank you SO much for posting it.

    I’ve tried a modified Atkins diet, but it wasn’t for weight purposes (i’ve found that my chronic pain is worse if i eat sugar). When i was real strict on it, i dropped from a size 22 to a size 16 in about a year or less. And it wasn’t comfortable. It was tedious eating – to eat for sustenance and nothing else? Bah! We are born so that we might live, and tasty food was put on this earth so that we might enjoy the hell out of it!

    Oh, and as soon as i dropped the diet, the weight all came back. lol. So did the pain, but i’m honestly happier with myself now than i was then. Funny how that works.

  18. Top Posts « WordPress.com Says:

    […] How Hard Must I “Try” Before You Stop Hating Me? It’s very weird.  In online environments where I indentify as a fat chick with a BMI of 37, I get so much more […] […]

  19. Activist Mommy Says:

    Have you ever seen the video Fat Rant posted on youtube? This post just reminded me of it.

  20. Elle Says:

    I found this post by a set of circumstances too convoluted to get in to. That aside, I’ll take your word for what you weigh, what you eat and what your exercise level is, and quite clearly state : I don’t give a rats a*s. Weigh what you like, eat what you like, none of my business (and who, with a brain, would want to miss pizza and beer anyway!!?? sorry, serious personal bias there.). Your writing is engaging and intelligent. Cue the end of what I think about you. Not being rude or anything, I don’t know you, just like your style so that’s pretty much all I can think. Anyways, will be back to read more. Just incase, comment from a slim-ish (now, after dieting to my personal happy level), type who thinks dieting to no life should be banned as bad for your personality.

  21. Elle Says:

    Sorry for the extra comma.

  22. Kyley Says:

    the haters fall for the assumpsion that if you’re fat and okay with it, you simply haven’t heard that you’re supposed to hate your body

    Thank you for this. Thank you for these comments and this post and this blog, all of which is new to me. All of which is so uplifting and important for me at this moment in my life!

    This week I received just one of those ‘concerned for your health’ emails from my mother–compounding on many years of such ‘concern.’ Eating healthy and exercising when I feel like it and being curvy and feeling confident in my appearance is, apparently, not okay. If you are less than perfect, you should be obsessed with reaching that perfection. And you know the worst of it? Since I read that damn letter, I have been scrutinizing every action, every outfit, & everything I put in my mouth.

    Thanks for being a voice of reason. You’ve found a new regular reader.

  23. Leslie in CA Says:

    Another new reader, thanks to heebie geebie via bitch phd.

    I want to be healthy, but clearly that doesn’t come with a specific number attached to it. Thanks for being a voice of reason in the skeletal-fetishizing wilderness.

  24. Rebekah Says:

    Another one here. Thanks for the insightful post. I am also in a relationship with a man who is perpetually skinny, despite his nearly strict diet of Mt. Dew and junk food. But he also does that thing where he’ll eat an apple at 6pm and say, “I don’t need dinner. I’m full now.” And although I’m pretty sure he doesn’t do it on purpose, I feel extreme guilt for having to actually, you know, eat dinner after that.
    All throughout college, my roommate and best friend was a vegetarian who actually enjoyed exercise. I could never keep up with her energy, but she was and is quite a bit “bigger” than I am. I may only weigh 160, but nothing I do, short of starving myself Atkin-sstyle (actually it was South Beach style), can change that. It doesn’t go down, but it doesn’t go up much either. I’ve finally gotten comfortable in my own skin and feel good about myself most of the time, which is an accomplishment.

  25. Meowser Says:

    Activist Mommy: Not only have I seen the video, I’ve also seen Joy Nash perform the bit live (at Fat Girl Speaks)! It totally rocks my world and so does Joy, so thanks!

    Rebekah: Goddess yes. I had a boyfriend once whose BMI was around 22, who the Army had actually classified as “underweight,” and in his drinking days he could put away 12 beers a day, no problem, on top of the homemade fried chimichangas and frozen mac and cheese which seemed to be the only things he ever ate. When he stopped drinking, he replaced the beers with mounds of Oreos. And never gained an ounce.

    I always wonder, why do all these “calories in-calories out” cultists have no trouble believing that someone could be thin and inhale mounds of high-calorie, high-fat crap, but choke on the suggestion that someone could be fat and eat relatively little of those things? When I mention this, they always come back with, “You can’t say no fat person ever eats mounds of junk,” which of course is NOT what I said. But the mere suggestion that we’re not ALL junk bingers sends some of these folks over the edge. (And lard help me if I suggest that “even” fat junk bingers have human rights!!)

  26. Meowser Says:

    Oh, and thanks to all the people who confirm my body wisdom that Atkins wouldn’t be a happy for me! It’s always appreciated.

  27. Writer, Rejected Says:

    Amazing post. Glad I found your blog. I work by day as a medical writer and I can tell you that “obese” is the new way that Big Pharma sells America on disease and then sells doctors on product, which are used earlier and earlier in our lifespan (i.e., diabetes drugs, cholesterol lowering drugs, anti-hypertensives). I’m not saying a link doesn’t exist between weight and some heart disease. I’m just saying it is WAY overhyped to sell drugs and to widen the medical definitions of disease. For instance, now if you are considered pre-hypertensive, they are sanctioned to give you a drug for it, even though you technically don’t have hypertension yet. And if you are overweight, forget it, they will push the drug on you. Well, maybe not an individual doctor, but the pharmaceutical advertising industry as a whole. Anyway, your article was great.
    http://www.literaryrejectionsondisplay.blogspot.com

  28. Rachel Says:

    Writer, Rejected –

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head as to why we are in the midst of some so-called “obesity epidemic.” Most studies conducted which purport to “prove” links between weight and various illnesses are often financially backed by companies who have huge stakes in the weight-loss and pharmaceutical businesses. Look at any anti-obesity study, and I guarantee you’ll find a company like Johnson & Johnson (who have a vested interest in bariatric surgeries) behind it.

  29. feliza Says:

    “I always wonder, why do all these “calories in-calories out” cultists have no trouble believing that someone could be thin and inhale mounds of high-calorie, high-fat crap, but choke on the suggestion that someone could be fat and eat relatively little of those things?”

    Because, unfortunately, our society is so preoccupied with appearances that we see “thin” and think “good” and thus “healthy.” Conversely, “fat” is supposed to be “bad”–I wish it weren’t so, but it alas, it is. For example, calling a woman fat is an insult, but saying that she’s too skinny is something of a compliment.

    Personally, I find all this “calorie-in-calorie-out” stuff to be just another way to shame larger people. It’s a great way to tell them over and over again that people are just discriminating against them “for their own good” so to speak.

  30. ksfeminist Says:

    Amen. When I was starving myself I weighed 135 (by the way- that’s still teetering toward the “overweight” end of the bmi scale for me). When I was purging, I weighed 155. When I said, screw it, I’m going to eat as much candy and mac and cheese as I want, I weighed 161. Now that I’m eating “Healthy”- lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, etc– I’m 148. So the difference between starving myself and eating nothing but junk? 21 pounds. The difference between starving myself and being “overweight” but eating healthfully- 13 pounds. Calories in, calories out my “overweight” behind.

    Glad I found this blog.

  31. ksfeminist Says:

    Oh- and I’m going to echo the other comments on here when I say that the Atkins diet is horrible. I lasted two days and felt dizzy, weak, and nauseous the whole time. I ate a piece of bread, and boom- felt better. Atkins is not good for you.

  32. Vicki Says:

    Saw an article on cnn or somewhere with “health news”- some study or other – they took some fat people and restricted their calories and got them down to an acceptable bmi and said people had to stay on the restricted calorie diet and showed many physiological signs of starving. They got “thin” and still showed the signs of starving, and could not take in a “normal” amount of calories for their weight and height without gaining weight.

    Likewise they took some skinnies and put them on 5000/day diets and these folks had trouble gaining weight at all. Once they switched back to their normal diets, they lost the weight super-fast.

    I wish I could find the article again…
    But calories in/out probably only works for the middle of the bell curve, and not perfectly.

  33. Rachel Says:

    The Atkin’s idea isn’t necessarily bad for everyone. I first started on Atkins years ago when I discovered I had hyperinsulinimia and insulin resistance. For someone such as myself, reducing carbohydrate intake is actually quite beneficial. Diabetics, too, find it medically beneficiary to watch carbohydrate consumption.

    The Atkin’s diet is a whole different story, though.

  34. Maya's Granny Says:

    Meowser,
    Wonderful post. So very, very, very right on to the experience of so many of us.

    I was married to a man who ate non-stop and was as skinny as they come; in fact, he tended to lose weight. I baked bread, croissants, pie, and cookies every week. He ate three times what I did at every meal, and snacks between that would have served as meals for a logger. I ate small amounts of mostly low calorie food — and I was the one with the weight problem. I knew then that calories in, calories out was b.s.

  35. Meowser Says:

    We are born so that we might live, and tasty food was put on this earth so that we might enjoy the hell out of it!

    Dig it, Lindsay! I’m not sure how people can accept that sex for pleasure is an inviolable human need, but at the same time eating for pleasure = EVIL if you’re not pencil-thin (and cube that if you’re female and not pencil thin).

  36. totaltransformation Says:

    “I get so much more hostility directed at me than I do in the “real world.””

    That really surprises me.

  37. Kunoichi Says:

    I do have to say though, that all the raw foodists I’ve met are near skeletal.

    I know only one person who’s gone raw food, and for her it is great. She’s long had health problems, including fibromyalgia, with constant pain. Switching to raw food did lead to her loosing weight (definitely not skeletal), but she’s far more interested in being able to *live* again – not being tired all the time, not being in pain on the time, etc.

    Not something for everyone, but definitely something that works for her, when nothing else helped.

    What I’m curious about is, what does it mean for a person to be fat (by the usual standard) and healthy at the same time?

    In my case, it means being “class 3 obese,” yet having “perfect” blood. Blood sugars, cholesterol, and all those things usually associated with being fat just don’t exist in me. I do have post traumatic osteoarthritis related to an old injury. While being heavy probably doesn’t help any, being skinny wouldn’t change anything, either. Climate, on the other hand, can mean the difference between being able to walk or not.

  38. Rachel Says:

    “I get so much more hostility directed at me than I do in the “real world.””

    That really surprises me.

    Totaltransformation – it doesn’t surprise me. Sure, there are people who will come up to you and hurl comments at your weight face to face, but many people are too polite to do so (or are afraid to – not all fat people are wallflowers). They think it instead.

    Online though, you’re a faceless, screen name. It’s so much easier to be courageous online than it is in person.

  39. Kate217 Says:

    Vicki, you probably read the NY Times Review of Gina Kolata’s new book Rethinking Thin.

  40. coyote Says:

    Every time I see a goddamn doctor for the first time, and tell them that both my parents have type 2 diabetes, the first thing they want to do is check my cholesterol. i’ve never had a blood test come back with high cholesterol, ever, and they’d realize why if they bothered to ask me about my diet, and if they’d bother to ask me about my parents’ horrible ways of eating that I did not inherit (except for portion control issues – that’s true).

    if my blood pressure is normal, they want to take it again “just in case”. no way it can be 110/70. she’s fat.

    i had a doctor on thursday zero right in on the weight. she takes out al ittle wheel and tells me my BMI is 40. i looked at her and said, wow, thanks for telling me that i’m fat, because i did not know until i walked into this room. i am hoping i do not have to change doctors because it’s been an ordeal finding someone competent that takes my new insurance.

    and the doctor before her i stopped going to because all she ever did was harangue me that i was going to get type 2 diabetes unless i started losing weight. i’d like this to not be a replay.

    i found my way into this blogosphere because of someone who reads a blog i write linked to me and a blog on this topic. i read it and started crying – out of relief.

    and i just ordered some skirts from torrid so i can stop shoving myself into crap that doesn’t fit and pisses me off.

  41. meowser Says:

    Coyote, stick to your guns, dieters get diabetes a lot more often than nondieters. The Fat Diabetics list (on the sidebar) has some great resources.

  42. utopia Says:

    if you are happy in your own skin then how the hell does it matter?

  43. Tracy Says:

    I agree…if you’re happy in your own skin, who the hell cares? People seem to feel that if you’re overweight, you have a moral obligation to be at least in the process of losing weight. People just love to tell you how to eat when you’re not thin. They also love the theory that losing weight should be punishing. How dare you enjoy your food if you’re fat?? Who do you think you are??

    Personally, I got fat on vegetarian, low-fat whole grain whole food diet and while running 4-5 miles 5 days a week plus strength training. Try explaining that one to the misinformed. It was called food intolerance (gluten and dairy…losing weight was impossible while eating those two) and high carb…for me, that did it. Took me a few years before I was willing to accept this, of course…habits are hard to break.

    I would like to correct a couple teensy misconceptions, if you don’t mind. Low carb eating (be it Atkins, Protein Power or whatever) does not harm your kidneys, unless you have kidney problems already and have to watch your protein intake. Also, you don’t have to drown yourself in order to poop! Ppl generally get bunged up bc of the change…it rectifies (ha ha) itself especially if you’re eating enough fat. Personally, this didn’t happen to me…things improved in that area. Ketosis isn’t necessary…but once you’re adapted (if you want to be) it actually feels great, tons of energy. Just the getting there can be difficult, just like detoxing from booze/drugs or quitting smoking (carb addiction is real and it sucks, as I’m sure you know!). And finally…a lot of people find low-carbing helps their PCOS. The forum I visit has an entire section for people with PCOS, if you’re interested.

    Great blog, BTW!

  44. Meowser Says:

    Tracy, I’ve certainly heard of low carbing being used to treat PCOS. And I wouldn’t rule it out if ketosis wasn’t involved; I do understand that there are conditions for which ketogenic diets can be a possible benefit, but until I know a lot more about risks versus benefit I’ll pass. For the moment, I prefer the “glycemic index” approach, which is a bit more sustainable for me.

  45. Harriet Says:

    Great post, Meowser. (And I love your name.) I just finished reading the Kolata book, which is wonderful. Odd to say, since weight has preoccupied me for much of my life in different ways, but it’s only just occurred to me in a truly visceral way how strongly I associate thin with “good” qualities–self-discipline, control, healthiness, etc.–and fat with “bad” qualities–self-indulgence, gluttony, sloppiness, etc. I got that intellectually before but now, whammo, I really really get it. I think it’s impossible to be a fat person in this culture and not feel that. And what a crock.

    I was really struck by Kolata’s conclusion, that maybe as we become healthier we are meant to become a taller and fatter species. And that so many cultures show a U-shaped curve on mortality, with the highest mortality rates being at either end of the spectrum and the lowest being in the so-called overweight section. Fascinating.

  46. eurochick Says:

    Great post, and all my support to high BMI people who are assumed by everyone around to have a weak will or commitment. Funny how in the “Land of Freedom” everyone feels has the right to tell you what to do with your life: I’m an European and when in the US, smoking in the street a guy passed by and yelled “Smoking is no good to your health!”, as if I didn’t know!

    On the other hand, this obesity epidemic concern all around is not all conspiracy theory by Big Pharma: it is a fact people in the US, UK, Spain and other rich countries are fatter than ever before. You can blame cell phones if you want, but it’s far more likely it is correlated with eat-exercise habits.

    The problem is people translate what is a statistical fact on a population of millions to one particular individual, and tell this one to eat less, exercise more.

    As Elle said: “I don’t give a rats a*s” about what you weigh, eat or exercise, you should not need to justify or exhibit that to your credit. Thin people often take pride in telling they do no exercise and eat lots of crap, as if it were an achievement or something.

  47. spinsterwitch Says:

    “you should not need to justify or exhibit that to your credit.”

    And this is where I’m at today. I love reading my fat blogs and hearing all the positives, but I start to feel sometimes like I have to justify the fat with a healthy lifestyle…just, you know, so I won’t be mistaken for one of those unhealthy fat people. I’ve been doing it a lot and I’m going to stop.

    What I hope for is that people can start looking at each individual with respect and compassion regardless of any of the different ways they may not look like you or me.

  48. wriggles Says:

    “….. but I start to feel sometimes like I have to justify the fat with a healthy lifestyle…just, you know, so I won’t be mistaken for one of those unhealthy fat people.”
    Well said!

    I am also up to here with the term ‘lifestyle’, what happened to having a life?

  49. a n d i Says:

    OMG – get out of my head!!! awesome post.

  50. jays Says:

    i’m glad i crossed this post. i have a fat roommate who eats all of my food and it drives me insane, thankfully this post has helped me retain understanding for different body types. I naturally have a thin and fit body if i eat healthy and work out a little. I really detest it, but whenever i offer my roommate a bit of my food, she eats all of it, including my portion. The most annoying part is that for some reason, she thinks that just because i am thin, i can survive on a thimble of food a day. it peeves me that if i eat as much as a larger person, i am considered a glutton, and if i don’t eat much i am considered an anorexic. considering how my roommate is shorter than me, i am certain that all the food the girl consumes only adds to her obesity, because she eats about four times as much as me. i really have no idea why the heck she eats so much, but she really doesn’t have to. all she does is sit on her ass all day and complain about how she has never had a boyfriend. thank you for being cool.

  51. Dave Says:

    [message snipped]

    Moderator’s (fat fu’s) Comment: Less boring than most, but still a troll. Zap.

  52. Reverence Lily Says:

    Just noting – fat vegan raw foodist here, and previously eating disordered. (Okay, well, still struggling, but it’s gotten a lot better on raw foods – I don’t feel guilty or neurotic about eating enough to sustain my body anymore.)

    And by the way, AWESOME post. People never believe me when they see what I’m eating – usually a mixture of vegetables, fresh fruit and nuts. They assume I stuff my face with cake when I get homer. Which I don’t – I don’t have a dehydrator. 😛

    Oh, and here, to anyone who thinks that raw foodists just eat carrots (as someone implied in a previous post): http://rawdorable.blogspot.com

  53. deepali Says:

    @ whoever made the comment about anti-obesity research being funded by Pharma/industry: I do nutrition research – my research dollars are government (as are most everyone else’s I know).

    Unfortunately, the average person on the street has little understanding of statistics, and sadly the same can be said for the media. What results is a culture of dislike of anything that is different from “average”.

    But not all of us have that problem. Unfortunately, the majority of overweight people I deal with *do* have poor eating (or exercise) habits. Does that mean I assume everyone who is overweight does? No.

  54. fatfu Says:

    “whoever made the comment about anti-obesity research being funded by Pharma/industry: I do nutrition research – my research dollars are government (as are most everyone else’s I know).”

    I don’t know what’s more depressing. The influence of industry on medical research, or the fact that a researcher can be so oblivious to it. This is like a teenager claiming he’s not influenced by fashion or marketing. For God’s sake, it’s everywhere and all around you. It’s the infrastructure that supports you, it’s the journals you’re reading, it’s the people you’re talking to, who are training and lecturing you.

    There’s no way to overstate it. Industry influence has been an absolute disaster for the medical profession – and not just for obesity research or nutrition – but across the specialties. It is *such* a major problem for medical research that it literally dwarfs anything particular that I would have to say about fat. What’s happening with “obesity” is just a symptom.

    To your specific point – direct research support – here’s one recent study by Children’s Hospital in Boston that showed that over half of the nutrition studies they looked at – in this case beverage studies – were industry-supported. (Here’s the Scientific American Article on that.) http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=take-nutrition-claims-with-grain-of-salt The study found that these corporate funded studies were 4 to 7 times more likely to support the interests of their sponsors.

    But direct research funding is just the tip of the iceberg. Looking at “obesity” specifically, all of the major “obesity” societies and medical organizations receive virtually all of their funding from industry. The people who founded them and run them almost to the last one have serious financial ties to the pharmaceutical/weight-loss industry. The journals these corporate-funded organizations publish receive their own revenue from industry advertisements. Consultation fees, honoraria, awards, speakers bureau salaries, etc from corporations or the organizations corporations support given to established “top” researchers are pervasive. (Industry support is part of how you get to be a top researcher). Even the universities – which are supposed to be the last bulwark against this stuff – havens of objectivity – are themselves contaminated by large corporate grants and donations for research, resources, buildings and facilities, educational programs, conferences etc. Many universities and universitiy departments have other complicated business arrangements with industry as well.

    All of which means industry influence and money infests every aspect of the process of medical and public health research, from the channeling of upcoming investigators into certain types of research, to the direction, design and interpretation of studies, to which publications report which studies, to the environment into which those studies are received, to how and how much they are publicized, to which researchers are promoted and granted “authority” via awards, honors, and prestigious positions in medical societies and journals, (which in turn – along with research grants – influence promotions at Universities), to the education of downstream clinicians through corporate-funded CME courses given by authorities who are paid large fees by those corporations – to – ultimately – influencing which researchers populate the governmental bodies and committees which direct government funding, decide public health priorities and initiatives, and evaluate treatment.

    And then on TOP of all that there’s the obvious stuff – the direct marketing and advertisement to researchers, clinicians and consumers in journals, conferences, and so forth.

    So even if you and your friends are objective and careful, you’re literally swimming in an ocean of industry influence which move you like a current in certain direction and away from others. You are no more immune to it than I’m immune to corporate influence when I go to the grocery store or buy clothes. No matter how savvy and informed I feel myself to be. I can try to swim against the tide, but pretending it isn’t there is idiotic.

    You can read Marion Nestle’s article on the subject which gives you a brief introduction to how the food industry influences nutrition studies. http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FPHN%2FPHN4_05%2FS1368980001001069a.pdf&code=59632bc214023457a22b52fd9ff5084a

    But I guarantee you the problem is not in any way limited to food companies. This process is in full force for the pharmaceutical industry, bariatric surgery, cardiovascular research, psychiatry, gastroenterology…you name it. If there’s big money involved, there’s a big problem. And I guarantee you with a “lifelong disease” that “affects” 30-60% of the population – there’s big – HUGE – money involved. Just think about it. Depending on how you define the “illness” and the “appropriate treatment,” you’re potentially talking about a market of thousands of dollars per person multiplied by – what? – 1 or 2 billion people. It’s unreal money.

    BTW, here’s a series in the Seattle Times that does a good job talking about the situation for a variety of “diseases” including “obesity” http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/news/health/suddenlysick/suddenlysick.pdf

  55. Sara Anderson Says:

    I have to admit I was afraid to post a bit about body image and weight and dieting at the more-trafficked blog I write for, thinking “Ohmigod, I don’t really want to get into a fat flamewar with a bunch of liberals, and these area a bunch of liberals who are interested in health policy, so it’s a significant risk.” And then I thought about how good it’s been for me to have to argue for fat bodies, so I thought it would end up being worth it, regardless of whether the food police showed up.

    Turns out, nothing even remotely flamey came up, but I wonder if this is due to the audience not being familiar with my size/weight/etc.

  56. Alice Says:

    I feel a little funny reading these comments, like: am I the only fatty who doesn’t have a gym membership? More time doing tedious things like the treadmill means less doing fun things like drinking wine with friends. Am I the only one who just eats what I feel like? I like vegetables and salads but I also like desserts and fried foods. I know I could be thin, but the things I would have to give up are more important to me. Back when I was “watching my weight” I could stay thin as long as I maintained my thin habits, but then I didn’t enjoy my life as much. So in a way, yes, I do choose to be fat. So what? I don’t feel I deserve to be hated for having decided to spend my time and energy on other things. I’m not hurting anyone and I don’t judge other people’s choices.

  57. angrygrayrainbows Says:

    WOW!!! Meowser! Great post! I know this is an oldie, but it is a goodie.

    That bit about eating a whole pie without tasting it, when pizza is deemed forbidden – oh yeah, that is me also. But, when everything is allowed, I find myself naturally drawn to normal portions and a pretty balanced diet.

    I think there is such a puritanical undercurrent in this country that people jump all over you, if you don’t take some self-hating stance…. like forbidding yourself a food you love. The flesh is weak… blah blah blah… it’s like if we don’t hate our bodies and natural processes (like hunger and eating), then we are playing right into the hands of the devil or something. Sigh. I’ve never been what most folks would call religious… I cobble lots of things from different religions into my own spirituality… however, I remember so many miserable years of feeling like it was somehow MY DUTY to fight my flesh, etc… as if this was somehow the virtuous thing to do.

    The fact that some people go bat-shit crazy cuz you live healthy and don’t lose weight… ya know… that’s prolly a good sign really. Cuz, if the self-hating, thin-obsessed folks were agreeing with you – my guess is that you would not be living in a healthy way. So, bring on the disagreements! Heh.

  58. Michelle Says:

    i just discovered your blog today…..and i want to say thank you thank you thank you for this post.

  59. Amy Says:

    The only point I would disagree is being diagnosed with diabetes.Any carb you put in your mouth turns to sugar, be it candy or broccoli.I choose to eat chewy steak and green vegetables to keep my blood sugar optimal.Unfortunately,pizza and beer aren’t going to keep me from losing my feet, my eyes and my kidneys, which haven’t exploded yet. Like most things in life, you make a choice.;-)


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