posted by meowser
Wonder why all this Good Fatty/Bad Fatty talk of late actually means something other than nonstop self-referential wankery? I direct you to my personal AAAAAAAAAAAAAA! of the day, a New York Times story about food writers who, after a life of what could only be called nonstop bingeing, have had second thoughts about their Bad Fatty lifestyles and are now on diets.
From the opening stock shot of a headless AND armless fat guy, you know this is not going to be a fat-friendly story, and by god the lip-licking glee here, the “they thought they could get away with eating whatever they wanted, as much as they wanted, and not caring what they weighed, mwahahahaha!”, is so thick you could slap it on a barbecue. One writer, eGullet cofounder Jason Perlow, is described as having collapsed after weighing ZOMG 400 POUNDS (at 5 foot 11) and being diagnosed with THE DIABEETUS, along with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. (Perlow’s age is not given but he looks to be somewhere around 40 from a photo on his current Web site, Off the Broiler.) So now Perlow is on a diet and exercise regime and has lost about 50 pounds since last November, and now preaches about enjoying good food “in moderation,” and throwing in some veggies. “I can’t believe I just blogged about tofu!” he gushes.
Yeah. No fat person ever thought of tofu before.
For a contrasting point of view, there are the words of Steven Shaw, eGullet’s other cofounder and a writer you might recall from the early days of Salon, when he did some amusing columns as “The Fat Guy,” waxing poetically about the joys of donut-snarfing and the stupidity of antifat prejudice. But Shaw here is painted as a tinfoil-hat crackpot, a guy who — although he weighs some 130 pounds less than Perlow did at his peak, and has not “moderated” his own intake — is hopelessly wedded to the idea that fatness is genetic and that conventional so-called wisdom about fat and health cannot be trusted.
Mr. Shaw said he believes the genetic component of weight and health matter more than moderation and exercise. Although his father died from heart disease, he thinks that the state of medical knowledge on the relationship of diet to health changes so frequently that it can’t be trusted.
Some of his views about diet and health border on the extreme. “I think the whole diabetes thing is a major hoax,” he said. “They are overdiagnosing it.”
Oh yeah, because any notion that Big Pharma is pressuring doctors to ratchet down diabetes standards to sell more pills is just CUH-RAAAAZY, not even worth exploring, especially coming from a fatass who just wants any possible excuse to keep stuffing himself with pork butt. “He’s gonna get HIS one day,” you can just hear the writer (Kim Severson) thinking.
Actually, when looking at Jason Perlow’s self-descriptions of his weight loss regime on Off the Broiler, it sounds like he’s not exactly starving himself. He’s following a diabetic diet, yes, in that he’s specifically avoiding high-glycemic carbs like white bread and white rice, but he’s eating 8 to 10 ounces of lean protein at every meal and he’s adamantly NOT giving up all carbs or sugars, counting calories or posting any kind of goal weight at all. And he’s exercising for perhaps the first time in his life. According to this article, after losing 50 pounds, his blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol “have all improved.”
Do you smell what I smell? This man is still very much “obese,” and yet he has made substantial improvements in his health parameters without starving himself or making himself nuts with dieting. I smell HAES!
Oh, but that is NOT the message the Colorized Lady had in mind for us, nonono. This article is all about how easy it is to shed 50 or more pounds just by ceasing to eat yourself silly every day. Genetics, schmenetics! You don’t even have to give up all your favorite foods, just knock off the binges — which we know you HAVE to be indulging in because you’re faaaaat — and the weight will just fly off! What are you waiting for?
Marlena Spieler, the author of dozens of cookbooks and a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, has lost more than 90 pounds in the past year. She found that if she stopped eating food she didn’t love, swam regularly and walked more, she could still indulge in her beloved cheese, sausage and pastries.
Well, I’m glad it was so easy for her and for Jason Perlow and all the rest of them, although we’ll see how they’re all doing five years hence. But kids, this is what we’re up against. It’s one thing to tell random douchebags and even nice people who are just plain misguided that it’s none of their business what we eat or how much of it or whether we exercise, that we’re people, as good as anyone else, who deserve rights. That absolutely MUST be a huge tenet of fat acceptance, one we must never let go of. Yes yes yes.
BUT. There are people in positions of power, those who decide whether or not we get hired, whether or not we get health care, whether or not we can adopt children or emigrate to other countries. It’s not just that they look at us and see aesthetically unappealing, it’s that they look at us and see their money flying out the window. And they read stories like this and inexorably link that flying money to what and how much they think we chew and swallow. With those people, an “I have a right to my donuts and soda, fuck you” argument is NOT going to cut it. The fatness-to-unusual-gluttony mental link MUST be broken. That water needs lots of mud in it. The meme needs to be shot full of holes and holes and holes until it cannot walk any more. The message of “we’re not all the same and you don’t know anything about me if all you know is my weight” has to be reinforced again and again and again. We can’t stop there, but at the same time we have to START there. That’s my fistful of loose change on the matter.
Meanwhile, Steven Shaw has a new book coming out
next month in July, The Fat Guy’s Manifatso: Celebrating Men of Substance. I can hardly fucking WAIT.