What the Wii Fit SHOULD be.

A screen shot of the Wii hula hoop game.

FUN.

Period.

I had the opportunity to be one of the first to try out the new Wii Fit suite at my number 2 daughter’s school today.  As a “special treat,” the mothers who attend the weekly parents’ group got to take it over for almost an hour.

I had reservations about even participating.  For one thing, I’ve know about the things I would have issues with concerning the system for months now.  For another, I have very little experience with video game consoles in general, so I felt like a right idiot even being in the same room as these things!

But I have to admit: I had a great time.

Caroline, one of the other mothers, happens to own one, so she patiently explained to me how it worked.  And then one of the school employees and I beat the pants off of her and her daughter at tennis!  ;)

(I also managed to bash Natasha [Caroline's daughter] in the arm with my control thingie during the game.  I felt SO bad!)

Then I moved over to the other console and played the hula hoop game pictured above with the lady who runs the library.  Oh man, is that ever addictive!

And I have to admit that when I was done, I had that pleasant ache in my hips that I get when exercising.  That little one that is like my muscles are saying to me “We’re still here and we still work!  Thank you for moving us a little today!”

And there I was, in a room with 5 other women, moving my body and having FUN, and it occurred to me what a wonderful thing this could have been.

I say “could have been,” because the fact that I had fun didn’t negate the fact that there are serious problems with the game.  That still remains a fact.

It remains a fact that it follows the bullshit BMI standards.

It remains a fact that anyone so much as one pound into the “overweight” category gets a little Mii that has a stomach hanging down to its knees.  (In other words, if you’re not “normal,” you’re OMG TEH FATZ UR GONNA DIE!!!!ELEVENTY-ONE!!!11!1!)

It remains a fact that it’s touted as being a “weapon in the war against obesity.”

The fact that it also happens to be fun doesn’t change those facts.

But it could be so much more.

And that’s what went through my head as I was wiggling my hips and swinging my arms and doing things that made my body feel good.  That this Wii Fit thing could have been so much more than what it is.

And it’s such a shame that it wasn’t.

Invasion of the Fat Police

I remember reading about this just recently, before Coffee Catholic was removed from the Fat Liberation feed.  I remember thinking at the time: it’s only a matter of time before we see them here! A) Because that’s how these things work: they start it in one area and then expand it everywhere else.  And B) because the NorthEast – where I live – is infamous for being the fattest area in England (note I said England; that’s different from saying Britain as a whole.  As a whole, Scotland is infamous for being the fattest in Britain).

The time?  Has come.

I was in the town centre today, doing my shopping.  I had to walk from one far end of the town centre to the other, and there they were, smack dab in the middle.  Big ole trailer, with huge signs saying:

WHAT’S YOUR LABEL???

Luckily for them, they didn’t approach me. (I say luckily for THEM, because if they had?  They’d be shitting out of two holes by the time I got done with them.  I’m SO not in the mood for this kind of shit today, and I’m filled with enough righteous indignation AND information to back me up that I wouldn’t be surprised if there were tears.)

But how bloody obvious?  What’s your label? Yep, that’s right, because EVERYBODY has to have a fucking label, right?  Oh no, can’t have people walking around without them!  They might think they’re…. *gasp!*… normal!!!!  Labels for this, labels for that… we’re all made to feel like we’ve got to fit perfectly into these tiny holes that the great mysterious “they” have set forth for us.  And if we don’t?  We’re WRONG.  We have to be FIXED.  CORRECTED.

It just pisses me right the fuck off.  We’re bombarded with images and information every fucking day of our lives telling us that WE’RE the abberation.  WE are what’s wrong in the world.

Wars, disease, terrorists, poverty, famine, child molesters, murderers… and WE’RE what’s wrong with the world?  All because we take up just a little bit more space than what “they” think we ought to?

Yeah.  Slapping a label on it is SO going to fix it.

Weight Loss, Denial, and Body Image

(This is an edited version of a post I put on my personal blog last week.  So some of you have already seen this.  So my apologies to those that have already seen this, but I DID warn you it was going to be showing up here!!!  :)  )

I’ve lost weight.

I don’t know how much exactly – I haven’t weighed myself in almost a year.  I DO know that I’ve gone from a UK size 20 (US 16) to an 18 (US 14) {according to the size conversion charts on the Evans website}.  To put this into perspective for you: I haven’t been a US size 14 since I WAS 14.  I’m 32 now.

I honestly don’t know how this happened.  Not much has changed, other than the fact that the kids were home for their 6 week summer vacation, and now they’re back at school.  I haven’t drastically changed my eating habits or my activity levels.  I haven’t gone off or on medications.  My stress level is high, but to be perfectly honest, it’s ALWAYS high.  (I just don’t always TALK about it.)

And the fact is, I’ve been denying the weight loss for a while now.  People keep asking me if I’ve lost weight, and I keep deflecting the issue, saying things like “oh, you’re just not used to seeing me in clothes that actually fit, as opposed to clothes that are 4-6 sizes too big.”  Not just to deflect the issue (although since I’m finally facing the honesty in this situation, that IS part of it), but because it’s true.  In the last year (less than, actually), I have almost completely changed the way I dress.  For years – since I was a teenager – I purposely wore clothes that were too big for me.  I thought that by hiding my body, I was somehow making it more acceptable.  Like if they couldn’t see my body, they wouldn’t know just how fat I really was, and that was better than actually letting people see me.  But now I actually DO wear clothes that fit.

But the realization that I’ve lost weight hasn’t come from people commenting on it, or the sizes of the clothes I’ve been buying.  It’s come from wearing clothes that I’ve had for years — and suddenly they don’t fit like before.  My favorite jeans have suddenly become baggy.  My embellished cargo pants have suddenly become loose enough that while they’re not falling down or anything, I can pull them off without undoing the button or zipper.  My favorite sweater in the whole world has become so big on me that it’s annoying rather than comforting.  I “had” to go buy myself something else while I was in town last week because it was bothering me that badly.  (On that note, does anybody have any idea if I could alter the sweater?  Like, take it in?  I’d much rather do that – even if I had to pay the alterations place in town to do it properly – than get rid of it.  I seriously love this sweater to death.)

I’ve finally had to face up to the fact that I’ve lost weight.

But now that I have, I realized something.  I didn’t want to have lost weight.  I kept denying it because I didn’t want it to be true.

Yeah, um… let me repeat that: I kept denying that I lost weight because I didn’t want it to be true.

Now HOW fucked up is THAT???

But now that I’ve admitted that to myself, I had to examine why.  Why the hell would I NOT want to lose weight?  I mean, isn’t that what I’m SUPPOSED to want?  Even the most die-hard FA’ers would admit that while they strive for fat acceptance, they’d be lying if they said they didn’t WANT to be thin. Or thinnER.  It’s pounded into our heads on a daily basis, and even if you agree with all the tenents of Fat Acceptance (and I DO), it’s almost impossible to live your life completely unaffected by societal views on body image.  You’d have to live your life in some sort of bubble, and I sure as hell haven’t been.

The one thing I worried about was gaining weight.  In my head, I know that gaining weight wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to me.  But it’s that irrational fear of taking over the whole world that a lot of us can relate to. It was only after seriously reflecting on my weight fluctuations in my adult years that I realized that it probably wouldn’t even happen.  Even with weight fluctuations, my body keeps going back to the same-ish weight.  200 lbs, give or take a few.  My weight has gone up to 230 and down to 190 (barring pregnancy weights, of which the highest was somewhere around the 270+ mark, but the majority of that was water retention from pre-eclampsia), but I always seem to go back to 200 without any real effort on my own part.  (And the weight gains, up to 230?  Have almost always been right after having a baby.  Once the baby is walking age, I always seem to go back down to 200 without doing anything.  Correlation?  Methinks so.)  I never even gave any real thought to losing weight.  I’ve never been able to lose a significant amount of weight (more than 20 lbs.) without a superhuman effort or living through an abusive relationship.  So that?  Didn’t even enter into it, as far as I was concerned.

But here I am, I’ve lost weight, and I’ve had to admit to myself that I didn’t want it to be true.

Am I afraid of weight-related craziness?  Am I afraid that, now that I’ve lost some weight, I’m going to become obsessed again?  Start dieting again, because after all, I’ve just lost weight without doing anything… just imagine how much weight I could lose if I actually tried?! (/sarcasm)

Or am I afraid of how I’m going to feel if I gain weight again?  Am I going to slip back down the oh-so-slippery slope to self-loathing again?

If I’m perfectly honest, that’s one road I really don’t want to go down again.  I am feeling good about myself for the first time in my life, and it is not because person X told me I should be, it’s because I’ve started to realize for myself that I am not the worthless, ugly freak I thought I was.  I certainly don’t think I’m all that and a bag of chips, but I realize that I just might be okay the way I am, after all.  That maybe – just maybe – the way the world sees me just might not be as important as I always thought it was.  That maybe my husband (and most, if not all, of the boyfriends/friends/family that preceded him) was (were) telling the truth when he (they) said that he (they) thought that I was beautiful and desirable and funny and and and.  To go back to hating myself?  Well, I’d rather be dead.  Seriously.

Maybe it was a combination.  I don’t know.  I just know that I honestly did not want to admit that I had lost weight.  And while I’m sure there’s a big huge revelation in there somewhere, I’m not sure exactly where it is.

Other people’s reactions to my weight loss have been… uncomfortable would be the best way to put it.  “You’re doing great!”  Um… I’m not DOING anything differently now than I was a year ago.  The big changes I’ve made in my life have been internal changes – changing my thinking, changing the way I react to certain situations.  Nothing physical.

My SIL Kirsty (who, for the record, is only 12) automatically assumed that I’d made some big diet changes.  Um… not exactly.  “You’re just like my mom,” she said to me yesterday.  “She used to drink coffee all day long, and now she only drinks one or two cups.”  I went on to explain to her that I haven’t done ANYTHING differently in the last year.  I eat the same way I always have, the only change has been how I approach food.  Food is no longer my enemy.  It is not something to be fought; it is there to fuel my body.  I eat what my body wants when my body wants it.  (To an extent; we live on a limited income and sometimes what I REALLY want, we don’t have.  So I pick what I want out of what we’ve GOT.)  I place no restrictions on food.  Food is food, period.  It’s not good or bad, it just IS.

(Having the in-laws over yesterday was a great opportunity to preach some HAES, I must say!  It was quite cool, actually.)

And seeing my reflection has become strange.  Obviously the weight didn’t fall off overnight, but I honestly didn’t notice it until the last couple of weeks.  And suddenly I can see the change in myself and it’s just… weird.  I look at myself and it doesn’t even look like ME.

Hubby thinks it’s just me letting go of most of the negativity in my life.  And he may well have a point; I honestly just don’t know.

I just don’t know what to think about all this.  Not so much the weight loss itself (although, on that note, do y’all think it’s possible for fat to re-distrubute itself this late in my life?  Because that would make so much more sense than me spontaneously losing weight), but my reactions to it.

Friday Fun: FAIL!!!!

All found via Fail Blog.  This one may be old news to some of you, but it’s new to me and I can’t stop looking at it.  :D

One More Time: It’s Not Your Body’s Fault ____ Doesn’t Fit.

While out shopping today, I had an opportunity to remind myself of this fact.  And would you believe, it all started with a simple bangle?

I was getting birthday presents for both my SIL and my daughter (SIL turned 12 today, daughter #3 will be 8 on Sunday) and I just happened to pass by the jewelry section of the store.  I love bangles – always have – so I figured I’d give one a try.

Didn’t fit.

Tried another one… that one didn’t fit either.

Same thing with the next, and the next, and the next.  I literally tried on every type of bangle they had, and NONE of them would fit.

The thing is, I have a large bone structure.  I inherited it from both parents, really.  Every family member save one that I know has a large bone structure, regardless of whether we’re talking about my mother’s or father’s side of my family.  (And that one family member?  Was very sickly as a baby, and is now the dwarf of the family.  She’s the shortest and smallest out of all of us.)

So this means that I’ve always had large hands.  Even when I was younger and thinner, I had hands that seemed huge to me.  Of course, at the time, I thought that losing weight would be the solution to even that problem.  But the more I really take a step back and analyze these things, the more I realize that’s just another part and parcel of my Fantasy of Being Thin.  Losing weight would not have magically made my hands thin and dainty.  That is simply something my hands will never be, regardless of whether I weigh 100, 200, 300, 400 or even more pounds.  I will always have large, strong hands, because that’s what my genes have told my body to grow.

And it means that even bangles from the “fat store” (i.e. Evans) don’t fit over my hands.  I can’t even get them past my knuckles.  And if by some miracle I manage to FORCE a bangle over my knuckles?  I can’t get it off again.  I’ve been wearing one of my daughter #2’s pink bangles for a couple of weeks now for that very reason.  The two youngest ones didn’t believe me when I said I couldn’t get them over my knuckles, so I decided to show them.  Bad mistake.  I managed to force it over my knuckles and now I can’t get it OFF!!!

But as I was standing there in Primark today, I was increasingly getting frustrated that I couldn’t put these damned things over my hands.  And, as I said, it didn’t matter where I get them from.  So my frustration wasn’t just borne out of one particular experience, it was a culmination of numerous experiences all resulting in the same thing:  I can’t have what I want, because the combination of my hands + babgles just doesn’t compute.

But it’s not the fault of my body.  It is not the fault of my size 18* (14 US) body that my KNUCKLES are too big to get a bracelet over them.  It’s the fault of the designers who don’t even take variations in BONE STRUCTURE into account, never mind BODY SIZE and SHAPE.

So, after some yoga breathing (or, to be perfectly honest, what I IMAGINE to be yoga breathing), I simply accepted the fact that the bangles were not going to fit me, and went on my merry way.  But it was a good reminder for myself – and for all of you out there – that when you’re trying to find clothes, shoes, and even accessories and you’re having problems of one form or another:

It’s not YOUR BODY’S fault.  It’s not your fault that designers seem to think there’s only one mold for anything and don’t take variations of ANYTHING into account when doing the actual designing.  It doesn’t matter if it’s clothes, shoes, bracelets, or whatever.  If it doesn’t fit (or doesn’t fit properly), it’s not your body’s fault.

* – Look for another post soon regarding body size.  I’ve got one brewing, but it’s not quite ready yet.  You have been warned.  ;)

Friday Fun: Masculine or Feminine?

Your result for The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test…

Androgynous

You scored high on both masculinity and femininity. You have a strong personality exhibiting characteristics of both traditional sex roles.

Take The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test at HelloQuizzy

Oooooooooooookayyyyyyyyy……..

(To be totally fair and completely honest, I totally stole this from Vesta44 at Big Fat Delicious.)

Morning Television: Part Two

Now for the REAL reason I went on the GMTV website in the first place.

LK Today

Technically it’s Lorraine Kelly‘s own show, tacked on at the end of the GMTV airtime.  Again, this is something I don’t normally watch, but today I happened to catch the very last segment while having my breakfast and waiting for what I DID want to watch.*

It was a fashion segment, mainly about fall-to-winter dresses, with a few little snippets of accessorizing thrown in.  I went to the website looking to see if they had a clip, but unfortunately, they don’t have THAT clip.  There are some other fashion-related clips on there, so if that’s your thing, go for it.

What struck me was something the fashion expert said when she introduced the plus-size model.

It’s the shape of the clothes ON the body, not the size of the body itself that’s important.

Wait.  Did I hear that right?  Did a FASHION expert just make a size positive remark???

Honestly?  The entire segment was a joy to behold.  Even if I didn’t like some of the dresses they chose.  It was so refreshing to see a fashion expert talk about the clothes, and finding what suits you and that you like and going with that.  None of this “oh, but if you’re __________ you shouldn’t wear _________” shit.

It was only 5 minutes, but it was nice to see something so positive, especially after the day I had yesterday (I ended up having to take the youngest to the hospital following a sugar bowl-meets-floor accident).

* – I’m a geek.  I’m the only housewife I know that would rather be watching Britain A.D. than The Jeremy Kyle Show.  I absolutely loved it a few years back when we had Sky and I could watch The History Channel all damned day if I wanted to.

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