Archive for October, 2007

30
Oct
07

A Paper Wheel Is Gonna Cure Obesity, Y’all

No, seriously. According to MSNBC, a lil’ paper wheel will be distributed to doctors in West Virginia in the hopes that it can curb the obesity levels in the state.

…The wheel — a body mass index test — will be distributed to thousands of doctors across the state, and that it will help halt West Virginia’s obesity problem, which cost taxpayers nearly $200 million last year.

Uh huh. So, these doctors will be using a test that isn’t exactly accurate in even determining how fat a person is to help halt the “obesity problem”? Are y’all as lost as I am?

Now, if other states have had access to the BMI stats, and apparently obesity is on the rise (if they say so, whatever), how the hell do these other doctors figure this lil paper wheel will do anything? Or is there some other motive?

For state government, the concern is the health of its residents, but it also a matter of dollars and cents. The state’s Medicaid agency spends about $100 million on obesity-related costs annually, while obesity cost the state Public Employees Health Insurance agency $93 million last year, about 18 percent of its budget.

Now, perhaps it’s just me, but I was under the impression that obesity was a symptom of certain diseases, as opposed to the cause. I was also under the impression that there has yet to be a definitive link between fat and illness. Perhaps I missed that study. At any rate, I see the real issue here…the OMGOBESITY epidemic is costing us taxpayers money! If we can control (or as they’ve eloquently said in the article “prevent”) obesity, we can save money!

*sigh* Oh, but it gets better:

The body mass index test that doctors will be trained to use is a simple calculation based on a person’s height and weight. Sondike said it’s especially crucial for young people.

It can be hard to tell if a child’s weight is a sign of early obesity or normal growth, he said.

“Kids can grow into their weight,” he said. “Kids can become leaner without losing weight because they’re growing. But if there is a risk of obesity, it’s a lot easier to stop it when they’re children than when they’re adults.”

Eh. So, they’re gonna use a test that isn’t accurate for adults on children…and this test will show if they have a risk for obesity? Really?

I thought I was gonna be snarky today…but honestly? I’m just confused. I’ll let y’all read it over. If any of y’all can make sense of it, drop me a line in the comments and let me know.

29
Oct
07

Confessions of a Newbie

I felt like finding an article to verbally shred to bits. But as I clicked through the Fatosphere today, I kept coming across the Diet/WLS issue as it pertains to Fat Acceptance. I commented a bit. And I pondered.

And pondered.

And pondered more.

And I decided to admit that I sometimes find it hard to separate diets and WLS from my new-found movement. (Damn, that’s hard to type.) This is only because I’m still new to so many of these concepts. In the interest of full disclosure, I was, well, on a diet when I found the movement. And I have to admit….dammit, it’s HARD to purge myself of the beliefs that have been pounded in my head since I was 10. It’s hard to admit that no matter what diet I try it is not gonna work. Now, don’t think I came to the “diets do not work” mantra simply from reading. I LIVED it. And yes, they work short term—but that weight came back despite my new-found healthier habits. And yes, like many folks who have done the same tried, succeeded, and failed cycle, I felt like it was my fault. Because I believed the misconception that had been hammered into my head: I made myself this way. I eat too much. I must be on this diet, because being on the diet makes me a GOOD fat girl. I mean, dieting means I’m making an effort, right?

Now, before everyone wonders, no, I don’t do diets anymore. Not only because they don’t work (and no folks, I don’t care what the fuck the Nutrisystem/Jenny Craig/Weight Watchers/whoever else had done told you, they DON’T WORK), but because I realized I was becoming obsessed with the calories. I’d been told for years that I was fat because I didn’t care what I ate, but dammit, putting so much emphasis on what I did eat was draining. Do you know how unfun I became when I could recite, by memory, how much fat and calories were in a cupcake? A donut? A can of Coke? A chicken sandwich? Do you know how draining it was to look over my food log and either be elated I stayed within my calorie range, ECSTATIC for going BELOW the range, and pissed when I went over? Now, the moment I started reading the info on diets I knew that perhaps I was fighting a battle that I was set up to lose (forgive the pun) from the beginning. And I embraced it. Not because I was “giving up” but because I was going about getting healthy completely wrong. It shouldn’t be about vilifying food. It should be about making better choices and ENJOYING what I ate as opposed to, say, analyzing it to death.

I don’t believe in WLS either. Personally, I’m afraid of surgery (for whatever reason, I tend to react badly to anesthesia), but when I see that the risks outweigh the supposed benefits, I already know that’s gonna be the wrong answer for me and for anyone else. But both diets and WLS are just like free speech to me: I may not agree with what you do, but I’m gonna defend your right to do it. And sometimes, even though I know supporting a person doesn’t equal supporting the institution, I feel as if I am conflicting with my new beliefs. I KNOW that I’m not; it just feels that way.

But what breaks my heart is that as a fat woman, diets and WLS are the solutions presented to me when I go to the doctor for something as routine as a pap smear: all before they do my blood work and realize that I’m just as healthy as any of their thinner patients is suggest that, you know, you could stand to lose a few pounds. And since I’m still slightly impressionable, despite what I’ve learned over the last few months, I still feel that twinge of inadequacy. It’s tiny, but I still feel that pinprick. And I still get that feeling (less and less now) that wow. If I could just drop some weight…I’d impress so many people! But I know that I would be unhappy as hell, because as I’ve said before…diets and WLS don’t change who a person is…just what they look like. And it’s heartbreaking to think that the only thing that would be impressing these naysayers is that all of the same wonderful me they got in the 290lb body they’d value more only in say, a 175lb body. That cuts deep.

Which brings me back to square one. In my mind, diets and WLS have jack shit to do with FA, and essentially are detrimental to the concept. As such, you won’t ever see me glorifying either on my blog, because to me both cause more issues than they purport to fix.

But I have to admit…it’s still hard to reorder disordered thoughts.

26
Oct
07

Evicted from The Movement

Addendum: Kell’s post has since been taken down. But I am going to leave my post up because I want folks to be able to discuss how they feel about what she had to say as well as what I had to say. I do want to add, however, please be respectful towards Kell in your comments–disagree, but do NOT be an ass about it because I will delete you.

Damn. Just when I was settling into the Fat Acceptance movement, I get word that my presence is no longer wanted.

Before I get to why I was put out the movement, let me share how I got here.

Bored one day, I managed to find Kate Harding on a visit to Elastic Waist.  Kate’s views inspired me to start a blog of my own (and was the first comment I ever had!) I love the sense of community on her blog, and I’m hoping to spread more of that feeling here.

I perused the archives and looked forward to new posts, as I do every day. One day, I came across a guest blogger that made me cry and think all at once. Wonderful, wonderful Heidi, who has recently had weight-loss surgery (WLS), wrote about how much she loathed the procedure that she felt was going to save her life. The comments were a mix of encouragement and gratitude. And, as always, there are folks who disagreed with Heidi’s decision (very respectfully, even). And I thought about Heidi’s situation. Now, while I am NOT a fan of diets or WLS, I do support PEOPLE who want to lose weight.

Pause. Let that sink in a second. Ok, now I’ll explain.

I tend to think of diets as a sign of all that is wrong in the world. Folks can’t be happy as they are, so they look to that “silver bullet” that will help them be happy with themselves. For fat people, it’s about their weight. Diets don’t help people work on self-esteem, in my opinion. And from what I’ve investigated, they don’t work at all, either. Diets don’t change who a person is, they change what a person looks like. WLS is about the same way. However, we live in a world of choices, and while I may not like diets or WLS, I will support ANYONE who decides that this is what works best for them.

And this goes double for Heidi. Because I always believe there are exceptions to the rule. Yes, WLS is over-prescribed for folks who want to lose weight. But it’s one thing to do it because of vanity, and a whole other thing to do it because you feel absolutely trapped in your body. This is the distinction for me. And while I feel sad that Heidi had to do this, I understand she had to do this–for HER health, HER peace of mind, and HER quality of life. And I respect that and wish her a speedy recovery.

What I don’t appreciate is being told that I am supporting a “suicide” because I am supporting someone going through life-altering surgery. I don’t appreciate being told that I can’t be for Fat Acceptance because I support a PERSON going through life altering changes. And I for damn sure don’t appreciate being told that I’m “worshipping death” through my support. Because, you see, supporting the PERSON has absolutely shit to do with supporting the PROCEDURE. Apparently, this is a distinction that has been missed–or not adequately shown.

Now, I don’t purport to know more about the Movement than folks who have been in it longer. I’ve said this before…I am a baby FA writer. I’m all of 22–I’m still learning myself. But I find it hard to believe that supporting a young WOMAN(again, NOT the procedure) excludes me from the Movement.

And if it does, then I’ll take that. I’m banished from some folks’ idea of Fat Acceptance. I’m ok with that. I like MY form of FA, where I (and, dammit, everyone else) cannot be lambasted for supporting PEOPLE in their endeavors, where I can rant about blatant fatism in the media and real life, and where I can comically shred bogus obesity information.

And with that, I welcome myself BACK into the Movement. It’s good to be home.

24
Oct
07

So THAT’S Why Fat People are Ridiculed!

I ran across this article from The Independent today. This article addresses the age-old question of why fat folks are picked on as much as they are.

Now, being a fat child who became a fat woman, I had a very good idea as to why I was picked on: I was FAT, thereby being socially unacceptable, therefore becoming a target for those who fit society’s standards of normal. I mean, it makes sense to ME.

However, that’s just not true, according to this article.

Researchers say the immune system can be triggered into action at the sight of obesity because it doesn’t like the look of what it sees, and associates it with infection.
Just as it orchestrates attacks on viruses and bacteria and triggers nausea at the hint of bad food, so it sends out signals of disgust in some people at the sight of an obese body that is designed to encourage avoidance and survival.

So…what these researchers are saying is that I was/continue to be harassed not because being fat is socially unacceptable, but because they think…I’m infectious? And y’know, who wants to be around infectious people? But, you know, since obesity is contagious and all, I suppose it makes a bit more sense. Right…good answer, good answer!

Are you fucking kidding me? And if not, when can we expect the first vaccine for the folks who spew malignant jackassery towards fat people? And if we can stop folks from harassing fat people…can we do something to fix…say…harassment in general? Bigotry? Sexism? And so on? But wait…there’s more!

“Antipathy toward obese people is a powerful and pervasive prejudice in many contemporary populations. Our results reveal, for the first time, that this prejudice may be rooted in multiple, independent mechanisms. They provide the first evidence that obesity serves as a cue for pathogen infection,” say the University of British Columbia researchers…The results show that people who agreed with comments such as “it really bothers me when people sneeze without covering their mouths” were more likely to agree with statement such as “if I were an employer looking to hire, I might avoid hiring a fat person”. The greater the fear of disease, the stronger the negative feeling about obesity.

Ah, so that’s what they were getting to. Being fat is a disease–an avoidable disease, mind you–and so it’s not the aggressors’ fault they are acting like douchebags. It’s the fat person’s fault for being so damn fat and infectious. So, in theory, if we fat folks want to be left alone, we should, y’know, lose weight. Because, you see, the social issues we face have NOTHING to do with other folks’ douchebaggery, it’s all our fault for being FAT! Again, are you FUCKING kidding me?! Of course not. Because if I sneeze on you, you’re gonna catch my cold AND my fat.

*exasperated eye roll*
But don’t worry. I’m not the only one crying foul at this information.

But Clarissa Dickson Wright, the surviving half of the Two Fat Ladies cookery duo, said the research merely served to cover up the general prejudice of narrow-minded people. “In the 1960s there were a lot of bigoted people who were anti-black, anti-Jewish, anti-everything but when they couldn’t get away with that any more they turned into food-Nazis instead and began attacking people who were fat,” she said. “I suspect that this is what really drives people to be negative about fat people rather than an unconscious reaction.

See! I wasn’t the only person who thought this whole thing was bullshit.

However, I do have a suggestion for better spending research money. How about we research how to get rid of the stigmas attached to fat so that this world can be a better one for everyone? That works best for me.

22
Oct
07

Deep Conversation

My best friend BuddingStarlet and I had a deep, meaningful conversation today. It’s no different from any other  deep conversation she and I tended to have, however, it was my mindset that was different somehow. Let me explain.

BuddingStarlet gave me a call on her way home from work tonight (per usual), and told me she saw her ex boyfriend near her place of employment. You see, when she calls and says the words “You know, I did something bad today…” it’s ALWAYS gonna be something, well, bad. And this ex cheated on her, left her for the other woman…and married said other woman. So one can imagine the level of pissed poor BuddingStarlet was when she saw the two of them together. Here’s the convo:

BuddingStarlet: “You know, I did something really bad today.” *giggle*

Me: “Oh, God. What did you do?”

She: “I saw PretentiousJackass (PJ)!”

Me: “I see this is going to be all bad. Ok, what happened?”

She: “Well, PJ and his wife were waddling down the walkway…”

Me: “Eh. Waddling? That’s not nice.”

She: “Well, it’s true! He has gained serious weight since we broke up. And that wife of his can’t even fit in Lane Bryant clothes anymore. Anyway, I saw them as they walked in the store. So I went in to tell PJ hello. He couldn’t even look me in the eye! I knew it was because he was ashamed of himself–for cheating on me and for his weight. And you know, on the inside, I felt, well, a bit happy about it.”

Me: “But I’m fat. And you’re still not right for the waddling thing.”

She: “But YOU’RE not as fat as they are! That’s like comparing apples to oranges!”

Yeah. She said it. All I could do was put a hand to my head and listen to her rant a bit. Then she asked if I thought she was a horrible person for feeling that twinge of self-satisfaction. And since y’all don’t know me well: when I’m asked a straightforward question, I give a straightforward answer. I answered yes. And instead of getting really pissed (like I would if, say, a troll had told me the exact same thing), I rationally outlined why I was so disturbed. I explained the concept of Fat Acceptance (FA) and told her that, you know, you can’t take pleasure in something like this. And it’s definitely not right to proclaim “But you’re not that fat!” as if it’s gonna make what you just said any less hurtful. Because I am fat, and saying that is like…what? “Take heart, you’re not that big! It could always be worse!” That does not make it better. And being big does not make anybody less than anyone else…even if you’ve done some nasty shit. Karma is law. Don’t fuck up YOUR karma because someone else doesn’t know how to act.

And what happens next is why she is my best friend.

She took my arguement, and said she understood she was wrong (in fact, in the midst of our convo, she outright acknowledged she was wrong and that she knew better). She even apologized to me for the “not that fat” statement. I suppose it wasn’t so much the conversation that was so deep rather than the conversion that I’d had. Because months ago, before I found out about the FA movement, I would have been giggling right along with her. I would have been like…”Word? You right, I’m NOT that big!” and kept it moving. But as she spoke…I couldn’t laugh. Even though PJ is well, an idiot and is absolutely wrong for what he did to BuddingStarlet, in my mind I knew the whole thing was wrong. And I’ve changed, grown, and learned–moreso every day. And I know my dear BuddingStarlet has learned and grown too. And our convo didn’t turn into a screaming match because we’re intelligent enough to speak like grown folks.

And so my tale has a happy ending. Shucks, sometimes I wish other folks could be as understanding (and rational) as my best friend is.

22
Oct
07

The Media Is Confusing

Ok, so I’m watching VH1’s “All Access: 20 Skinniest Celebs.” And I’m wondering…why is the media so weird? For example, they profiled Janet Jackson. If anyone else out there is as into celeb gossip as I am, y’all know that she has had issues with her weight for years. So, they show this picture of her at her highest weight (about 180, she’s 5’4) and the commentators say that she’s “unrecognizable.” Ok. So then they show her at a svelte 120, and now she’s “outrageously thin.” What the hell, man?

Now see, if I were still (overly) young and impressionable, I’d be in a shambles. I’d be wondering…”Ok, y’all, what am I supposed to look like? Clearly I can’t be fat…because I’ll be a blimp…but clearly I can’t be thin, because I’ll be called anorexic. What do I do?”

It’s foolishness like this that causes so many of the issues that people (I can’t just say women today, because this same program identified men that are–or look like–and I quote, “manorexic”) have about their bodies and about food. And what is even more disturbing is that, since the media is so influential, people who fit into the Hollywood ideal of “normal” feel they have a right to preach to others about it.

On the flip side, some folks (fat and skinny) look at the pictures of the emaciated stars and say “This bitch needs to eat a sandwich.” Now, I can admit I was one of those folks. And in my quest to work on me I had to realize that my response is that of me at 10 when I was being taunted–I had to have SOMETHING to say to the folks vehemently spewing their jackassery at me. And I also had to realize that me saying “go eat” is as offensive to someone saying “stop eating” to me. So why is it that the media does the same damn thing with their “SCARY THIN” headlines one day and “BIG AS A HOUSE” propaganda the next? It’s as disheartening as it is disturbing.

I’m just appalled that with all of the influence that the media has they just cannot seem to use their powers for good.

21
Oct
07

Welcome To My World

FNAvatar

Welcome to the mind of a baby Fat Acceptance blogger. Oh, that picture up there? That’s me. Or at least, as close to me as I’m comfortable with letting people get. (I’m, in truth, wider, but this is as close to plus-sized as Yahoo gets.)

*Deep Breath* Hi, I am FashionableNerd, and I am photophobic.

It’s weird, because I take pictures of myself all the time. It’s also weird because I am so narcissistic. I even got bold one day and put them in a profile. And then the comments got on my nerves so bad…I didn’t bother with taking them down.  I simply left the entire site alone. It was like I was temporarily transported to my childhood (see tab above for background) again. I was, yet again, worthless and unlovable, although I knew in my mind that was total and utter bull.

And so begins my journey. I’m a fat acceptance blogger who is still learning to be happy about her fat, learning to love herself more every day, and wanting (waiting even!) to bring along anyone who needs to take this journey too.

I am the PhotoPhobic Nerdy Fashionista. Welcome to me.




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