posted by meowser
Over at Chez Kate yesterday, Ms. Harding tipped off the ‘Sphere to this freakin’ awesome op-ed in the Kansas City Star penned by Debra Sapp-Yarwood (DebraSY on Big Fat Blog). It’s called “A Few Requirements for Living a Healthy Life,” which is a mondo sucko title for this article, because it’s so not about that at all; Kate says Debra wanted them to call it “Why I Hate The Word ‘Lifestyle’ And You Should Too,” and they damn well should have.
Because Debra — wait for it! — actually lost 60 pounds and has kept them off for five years, and unlike almost every diet-troll who stops by fatblogs to drop their foul-smelling reduced-calorie turds on the readership (despite most of them not having even finished losing weight, let alone maintained the full loss for five years like Debra has), she does not credit her amazing wonderful awesomeness for having done so. Nope, she says, dumb luck of the genetic draw and socioeconomic privilege are more like it.
Bragging? Nope. Though I work hard, I also enjoy gastric and cardiovascular health, working joints and reasonable daily demands. I can prepare fresh foods and live a dramatically more active life than I did before, more active than most people I know. If I had health complications or still held a routinely stressful job with frequent overtime, then I couldn’t maintain this weight.
This culture must acknowledge that long-term weight loss is rare, so people will stop yo-yo dieting and berating themselves for failing to maintain a lifestyle that would beat a stacked deck.
And at no extra charge, she also lets the reader know that even fat people who are able to adopt the (gag, ack) “lifestyle changes” she has won’t necessarily become thin because of it:
Healthy lifestyle is often code language for the opposite of “fat.” It presents a false choice: If you choose a healthy lifestyle, you won’t be fat. If you are fat you must have chosen the unhealthy, fat lifestyle. How insulting!
Many fat people exercise and eat well; others do not. Likewise trim people. People of all sizes have genetic, hormonal and environmental circumstances that affect their weight.
Both fat and trim people can be healthy or unhealthy, and yet our culture assumes all fat people have horrible lifestyles and reserves its harshest judgment for them.
It’s so unbelievably rare to see a perspective like this from someone who has successfully lost weight and maintained the loss, especially from a traditional media source, that I am nearly agog that this made it to print. I want every proselytizing diet-head on earth to read this story, early and often. I want it reprinted in every newspaper in the country, early and often. I want every workplace manager and every frigging insurance company decision-maker to read it, early and often.
Because, good goddess does the world need to eat a giant bag of STFU about it, what with damn near every office in the country forcing “Biggest Loser” contests down their employees’ throats (with no thought given as to whether egging people on relentlessly to crash-diet might trigger eating disorders or serious medical problems). Not to mention the constant media presence of flamebaiters like that toxic woman in the Guardian today (who I refuse to link OR name) insisting that none of us could possibly be fat without consuming “about six whole rotisserie chickens a day washed down with 16 pints of double cream, half a cow and probably the entire produce of Ireland’s potato farms, deep-fried and with a coating of beer batter.” (She forgot to mention the DOZENS OF BABIES fashioned into DONUTS that we all eat for dessert after each meal on top of that, but I’m sure it was just a printing glitch.)
If every dieter had the humility Debra Sapp-Yarwood has, we wouldn’t have to keep banning their self-righteous asses from our blogs. I don’t get the sanctimony, personally. I never see people who have become rock stars run around saying, “Anybody can do this! Anybody can have a number one record! If you don’t get one, it’s because you’re not trying hard enough!” No, even the most egotistical of rock stars acknowledges that there is an unbelievable amount of LUCK involved in making it as far as they have.
But the diet-trolls? (And here I ackowledge there may very well be other “gracious losers” out there who simply don’t speak up; my comments pertain specifically to those who can’t resist the trolly-mouth-off.) I know I didn’t come up with this idea myself, and if I got it from you, please feel free to identify yourself, but…we are told over and over again, we fatasses, that permanent significant weight loss is both something so easy that anyone could do it with just a token effort, and at the same time something so difficult and arduous and painful that anyone who manages to accomplish it deserves special praise and applause. Sorry, but this makes no sense to me at all. Pick one, guys: Either weight loss is an ordinary occurrence, and therefore you deserve no special praise for it, or it’s such an extraordinary happening that the average person can’t be blamed for not being able to duplicate the feat.
Debra picks door number 2, and she makes a pretty damn good case for it. So here’s the link again, and please do click on it to let the KC Star know they have excellent taste in editorialists.