Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde Speak

Every now again my diet mind (Dr. Jekyll) and I (Ms. Hyde) have a conversation. Usually it takes place in my idea journal, where I keep short stories and plot lines housed. But, following a round of reading some, eh, unsavory literature on-line (I don’t follow Sanity Watchers. I probably should.), my diet brain wormed its way back into my subconscious. So, I wrote down my internal dialogue in my idea journal, and I’d thought I’d reprint it here for you (modified to protect anonymity, naturally). The acceptance thing doesn’t always come easy, y’all.

Dr. J: Ha! So you’re listening to me today. I knew I’d be able to get back into your mind.

Me: Eh. Don’t think you can overtake me. I’m holding to my new convictions.

Dr. J: New convictions? You’re still on that Fat Acceptance bullshit?

Me: It isn’t bullshit, thank you very damn much.

Dr. J: Of course it is. If you weren’t having doubts about this ridiculous movement, you wouldn’t be talking to me right now. So what diet will it be today? Or do you need some motivation? Did you notice your thighs today?

Me: No diet. I’m having a rough day body-wise, but I’m not allowing you to take over my life. Not again. And don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’ve been talking to my mama lately.

Dr. J: Oh, yeah. I mean, I can’t seem to force her to bother you about your weight, but I can sure make her speak about her weight loss. I mean, it isn’t ALL affirmative, but I’ll take what I can get. I mean, I managed to get YOUR attention today.

Me: You know what, you’re a bastard. My mother is ILL. She has colon issues! She losing weight because she can’t eat very much of anything. {Side note: her issues are non-life threatening. They just cause a whole lot of discomfort. Since this has been written, and it’s been a while, she’s gotten it under control and is feeling better.} And I’m not seeing getting excited by losing weight that way. Also: I’m gonna have to ask you to let my godmother alone. Don’t have her cosigning Mama’s weight loss.

Dr. J: Why not? Weight loss is important, so you should achieve it by any means!

Me: At the expense of my good sense? My well-being? You know what, it’s a reason you and I aren’t cool; you don’t help me lose a damned thing but my mind. And I need my mind.

Dr. J: What does Fat Acceptance do for you? Sounds like some code for giving up. So, you’re a quitter. I knew you didn’t care enough to do what you need to do. Fat is unhealthy, you know!

Me: Wrong. I accept myself for who I am. Apparently, myself is fat. It is what it is. Hell, 22 years and some odd months of dealing with YOUR tired ass hasn’t made me thin. Listening to you berate me hasn’t made me thin. Listening to you talk to me–being “concerned” for me–through others HAS NOT MADE ME THIN. What Fat Acceptance has done for me is actually enjoy working out without worrying about what the scale says. I measure my “success”, if you want to call it that, by how flexible and strong I feel, and THAT keeps me moving and having fun. Perhaps you never noticed that when I never lost weight by doing those magical exercise poses, I QUIT DOING THEM BECAUSE I FELT LIKE I FAILED. When I adopted Health at Every Size (HAES), I adopted a way to help myself feel healthy and become healthy without having that fuckin’ scale attached to my ankle. When I saw how poorly fat people were treated, FA gave me script to read from, a way to react, a way to help instead of simply wondering what to do. FA gave me a reason to really question everything that YOU and everyone else ever told me. I finally had an opposing viewpoint, instead of just ONE view that had been hammered into my head since I was knee-high to a piano bench. I’ve researched both sides of the coin. Thoroughly. And I reject you, Dr. Jekyll. Because your perception doesn’t fit my reality, and I know this rings true for others.

Dr. J: You know what, you act as if you have all this mouth, and that FA is all that wonderful. But again, you continue to let me back in. You continue to speak to me. You have to be having doubts. All must not be good in paradise, girl, because here I am. Like I told you, fat is unhealthy. You, because you are fat, are unhealthy. You ought to be happy that you’re smart and have a pretty face otherwise you’d have no redeeming qualities at all.

Me: No. See, you let yourself in because I’m having a bad day. But you haven’t made me change my mind. You weren’t present when the doctor told me I was healthy. I don’t have high blood pressure, no diabetes, nothing. My mind is powerful and beautiful, and is connected to a face that is beautiful, which is connected to a body that is, yep, you guessed it, powerful and beautiful! My weight has jack shit to do with the woman I am; fat is not an insult, it’s an adjective, and it can’t hurt me. Not anymore. Furthermore, not every fat person is unhealthy because of their fat, and they shouldn’t be abused because they happen to be fat and unhealthy. Hell, I don’t see you worrying the shit out of thin, unhealthy people. Why the hell can’t you see it isn’t any of your business either way?! Folks should not be ridiculed or hounded because of their size or health level. Period. We are not an aesthetic. We are PEOPLE.

Dr. J: So, you’re encouraging OTHER people to be unhealthy? What if diets work for them? How can you take their hope away from them! Clearly, this whole FA phase you’re going through seems really self-centered.

Me: Actually, I’m encouraging other people to take the information they have and compare it to the information I and other bloggers in the Fatosphere have. If they choose to reject it, that’s fine. I’d rather they make an informed decision rather than mindlessly following the same ideals. If one needs to make a decision about FA or not, then let it be educated. And if diets work for them, I think that’s lovely. I hope they’re happy with their progress, and I hope it continues to work. However, if the tide changes and it doesn’t stick, I hope they know it isn’t a bad thing, and they should love themselves regardless. And I also think they shouldn’t look down on those who think and act differently than they do regarding dieting. I dislike DIETS, not DIETERS. Further, I don’t seek to take away anyone’s hope. I just feel folks should know all the story and not just half. Sometimes one can do everything “right” and it still not work as one expects. Fat isn’t a moral failing. I just want folks to know that, and in that vein, it can’t be all about me, because I want everyone to know just that: fat is not a moral failing. So you go to hell, Dr. Jekyll. You’ve taken up enough of my brain today. Go annoy someone else. But know this, every day more and more people reject your ideals and standards of beauty.

Dr. J: Oh, ok. I’ll leave. But know this, the spirit of my thoughts lies in the brain of every person that comes here to harass you. It lies in every person who loses weight, keeps it off, and deliberately makes you feel bad for not trying it too. It lies in every person who gives you dirty looks when you go out to eat. I’m there. And I’ll never be too far away, darling, should you chose to come back to the side of good sense.


Yeah. It’s pretty lengthy. Ordinarily, Dr. J would have won, and I’d be on diet 28379817378, but this time…no. I think I had to write out my convictions for myself to see just how far I’ve come. And I still have some work to do…so I can get rid of Dr. J permanently. I hope that anyone else that reads this can see just what the movement stands for, and is willing to see both sides of the coin. And if y’all are having a bad body day, you can reaffirm your convictions too.

10 Responses to “Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde Speak”

  1. 1 Cara
    May 26, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Your post made me think of this quote I like.

    “Doubt is the shadow of truth.” – Philip James Bailey

    In my mind, it accounts for why, despite the fact that I believe HAES to be the most sane, kind, and correct policy, I still occasionally feel tempted to do just one. More. Little. Diet.

    It also accounts for why I won’t. 🙂

  2. May 26, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Wow, that’s a great quote, Cara. And I think every once in a while the diet-brain tries it’s hardest to win folks over…but then you remember.

    And you decide to send the diet-brain on its way. 🙂

  3. May 26, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    “I think I had to write out my convictions for myself to see just how far I’ve come.”

    This is great. I agree that any one of the arguments presented by “Dr. Jekyll” would be pretty difficult for almost anyone who doesn’t have a good grasp of FA (so, most women) to resist. That you have remained confident that FA and HAES are the right way is a testament to how far you have come. And I think it’s awesome that you have found and embraced these movements relatively early in your life; that means you have that many more years to be healthy and happy and NOT on a diet.

  4. May 26, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks, spacedcowgirl! 🙂

  5. May 27, 2008 at 1:08 am

    This was pretty brave to post in spite of the – er, yeah, negative literature being exposed. IMO.

    It’s good you resisted. Like you, I’ve seen both sides and lived both sides, and there is TOO much to say to take it all on and fight point by point. They’re wrong, that’s all there is to it.

  6. 6 yellowhammer
    May 27, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Wouldn’t your diet mind be Mr. Hyde?

  7. 7 Katia
    May 27, 2008 at 10:05 am

    You know what, it’s a reason you and I aren’t cool; you don’t help me lose a damned thing but my mind. And I need my mind.

    Don’t we all … loved the post!

  8. 8 Moe
    May 27, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Wow, talk about inner turmoil. It’s posts like this that show others (like minds) they are not alone. Hope you had a better day today.

  9. May 27, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    So glad to be home from work today! I see I missed a bit. So:

    Yellowhammer: I could see where you’d assume the diet-mind would be the evil Ms. Hyde, based on the original roles in the novel. However, in my imagery (see the Hyde and Seek? tab at the top), I took Dr. Jekyll to be the nice, complacent diet mind (i.e.: the “good” fat chick, the one who does everything she can to show she’s trying to lose that dreaded weight, the one who knows it’s gonna work THIS TIME), and Mr. Hyde (Ms. here because I’m female) to be the radical, evil proponent of Fat Acceptance, the voice that is to be silenced. Based on that, I’d be Ms. Hyde, and Dr. Jekyll would be the diet-mind. I like to reinterpret roles, especially ones from literature. 🙂 Hope that clears it up!

    Katia: Thanks!

    Moe: Oh, yes, my days have gone pretty well since I wrote this in the idea journal (it’s been in there a week or two, because I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough to share.) I’m hoping others can glean some insight from it as well. Thanks for the good thoughts!

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