What *I* want for Fat Acceptance.

Quite a few blog posts have had me thinking about this.  One of which I have to admit, I sparked And because we’re not a monolithic group, because we’re made up of many different people from many different walks of life who have many different personal goals regarding FA, I decided I needed to be completely clear about my wishes for FA.  These are my opinions only and do no reflect on FA as a whole.  Please do not read this as me speaking for the whole group.  This is just me, one person in that group, saying what I want to happen.

I want Fat Persons to be given the basic human rights they deserve. No one should have to worry about discrimination or harassment.  No one should have to be fed fatphobia in such quantities that it makes their lives miserable.  The bullying, emotional torture, and harassment needs to stop.

I want this for every fat person alive. Able-bodied and not.  Black, white, and every color and shade of color in between.  Neurologically normal or not.  Whether you exercise every day or prefer to spend your days reading (as an example).  Whether you eat a “good, balanced” diet or you eat junk food.  Whether or not you have an ED of any kind.  There is no reason on earth that you should be subjected to having your basic human rights taken away from you just because you happen to be fat.

I want to dispel the misconceptions and unfair stereotypes of fat people. That doesn’t mean that if you are lazy and do over eat that you don’t have a place in “my” movement.  Not at all.  But just because _______ fat person overeats and doesn’t exercise doesn’t mean it’s true for all fat people.  But those of you that do overeat? Don’t exercise? Are lazy?  You all deserve respect, too.

I want the world to wake up to the realization that thin =/= healthy and fat =/= unhealthy. Being fat in and of itself does not make one unhealthy.  There is a wide spectrum of fat and health, just as there is with thin and health.  But being healthy is not a moral obligation.  Whether you are fat and healthy or fat and unhealthy, it is no reason for you not to be treated like a human being.  It simply does not matter.

I also want the world to wake up to the realization that diets do not work. Even when you don’t call them “diets.”  Telling me to call Jenny Craig is not going to magically make me thin.  Assuming I eat like a glutton all day and telling me “just try eating less, fatty” isn’t going to work either.  There is absolutely nothing on this earth that is guaranteed to work in making a fat person permanently thin.  The key word here is permanently.  Sure, some diets work in the short-term.  I personally have known quite a few people that went from VERY fat to thin on a diet – I’ll use my Aunt D’s best friend K as an example.  Guess where her body size is now?  Yep, you guessed it – even fatter than before.  I honestly believe, had this woman never dieted in the first place, she’d probably be fat, but she’d probably be around the size I am now (which I admit is on the smaller end of the fat scale).  As it is now, the last time I saw her she was somewhere near the vicinity of 500 lbs.  I truly believe all the dieting she’s done is what has brought her to this point.  I’ve known her all of my life and have seen her go up and down and up and down.  Diets don’t work.  And she’s a great example of that.

Saying that I want all fat people to be accepted as human beings is not the same thing as saying I want the rest of the world to find us all attractive. You don’t have to be attracted to me, or any other fat person.  A person’s level of attractiveness should not factor in to whether or not you treat them with basic dignity and respect.  You don’t have to like me to be respectful to me.  Shit, I can’t stand my mother-in-law, and yet I still treat her with respect and courtesy.  Why?  Because she’s a person.  I don’t have to like her to be polite to her.

However, beauty and attractiveness are two different things. You can find the beauty in a person without wanting to jump their bones.  It might not even be physical beauty.  And you know what?  That’s okay!  It’s okay to say that you can find a person beautiful for one reason or another and not find them attractive.  It’s a good thing, even.

I want the world’s governments to stop trying to “regulate” our bodies. People are designed to come in all shapes and sizes.  And if you bureaucratic anal-retentives would get your collective cranium removed from your collective colon, you’d realize that what you’re being spoon-fed by the mainstream media is being dispelled left and right.  It’s just not being advertised as much as the bullshit you’re swallowing.  Obesity is not a disease, and there is no epidemic.  You can’t catch it, and you can’t “cure” it.  It doesn’t need to be cured.  All the regulations you could come up with are not going to get you the results you want.  It’s just not going to happen.

I want BMI thrown out with the bath water. BMI is an antiquated, arbitrary, ridiculous standard to which no one should be accountable.  It simply doesn’t measure anything except for height and weight.  Human bodies are much more complicated than that.

That’s all I can think of right now.  This is, by no means, a complete list.  This is just what I’ve come up with in one sitting.  I may decide to edit this later on, I don’t know.

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WTF ever happened to “ooh, your baby looks so fat & HEALTHY”????

Yeah, apparently now the quacks that brought us the (nonexistent) Obesity Epidemic are now finding “obesity” in infants.

As a mother of 4, this totally pisses me off.  For one thing, for thousands of years it’s been known that a fat baby usually equals a healthy baby.  Obviously not all of the time, but a good majority of the time.  It’s one of those things that we didn’t have proof of, it was just something we knew.  Like we knew the sky was blue before somebody went to the trouble of finding out the scientific reasons why.

But it gets worse.

The findings are based on two studies. The first involved 2139 infants not older than age 2 who were admitted for any reason to the Bnai Zion Medical Center in 2004 and 2005. The second study was community-based and used parental interviews to assess the problems seen in 79 overweight infants and 144 normal-weight infants.

The infants were considered overweight if they had a body mass index (BMI) above the 85th weight-for-height percentile on 2 or more measurements taken at least 3 months part. This means that 85 percent of children their age and gender have a lower BMI, which is a measure of weight in relation to height.

In the first study, the researchers found that infants between the 85th and 94th weight-for-height percentiles actually had fewer hospital admissions and repeat admissions than normal-weight infants. However, higher than expected admission rates were seen in the most overweight infants (95th or higher percentile).

In the second study, overweight infants were more likely than their normal-weight peers to have developmental delays and snoring. There was also evidence that asthma and other breathing problems were more common in overweight infants.

When surveyed, only about 32 percent of mothers with an overweight child believed that their child was overweight.

Parents need to be aware that even infants are at risk for problems related to excess body weight and, therefore, should strive to achieve a normal weight in their young children, Shaoul and colleagues conclude.

Emphasis mine.

So because the infants in one particular area had a higher than “normal”rate of developmental delays and breathing problems, the rest of the world faces the same fate??

What, babies should now start looking like those Ethiopian children the media liked to plaster all over our televisions in the 80s and 90s??  And since when did starving our babies putting our babies on a diet sound like a good thing?  There used to be a word for that.  Neglect.  You got your children taken away from you for that.

Where is this “community” used for the second study?  Why do I get the feeling it’s probably either a low-income area or one based near some sort of industrial site?  One where either the residents don’t have access to the kind of medical care that could catch and prevent these sorts of problems (and probably don’t have access to proper nutrition, either), or one where there’s something in the air or water that’s causing these problems.

Obviously I have no way of knowing that, but it just seems odd to me that one study showed that fat babies ARE healthy babies – the one study that probably had a broader range of subjects from all walks of life.  And then they do another study, in an isolated area, and the results are dramatically different.

Something smells fishy to me.

*Credit should go to Sarah at Big Fat Dynamo.  She found the story first.  🙂

Fat Family: an Observation

Yesterday was my best friend’s (May) daughter’s (Hayley) birthday.  As I’ve said before, my best friend and her family are like my own second family.  And apparently the feeling is mutual, because Charlene (May’s 2nd daughter) said practically the same thing to me the other night.

While we were all out together, we ran into her cousin, Adam, and it got the gears rolling.  I was just too drunk to be able to make heads or tails of it until today.  😉

I’ve met pretty much every member of their extended family.  There’s my best friend May, and her sisters Joan, Celia, and Carol.  All of them are fat.  All of them started out relatively thin.  As far as May’s children go, they’re about half and half.  She has 4 kids: one boy and three girls.  Danny, momma’s boy (and I mean that affectionately – he’s very close to his mother) and Charlene are both on the fat side.  Hayley is what I would consider thin (she wears a UK size 8 ) and Tiffany is downright skinny – a UK size 2.  She’s so skinny that when we first met, I asked May if Tiff was anorexic.  But she isn’t – this girl can EAT.  She’s just naturally skinny.  But Charlie, May’s ex and the father of her children, is also very thin.

But looking at her sisters and their children, I see something similar happening.  I met (Joan’s son) Adam when he was still in school, somewhere around 15 or 16.  Now he’s old enough to be working in a bar (which is what he was doing last night when we ran into him).  When I first met him?  Definitely in the thin – average range.  Now?  Yup, the boy’s fat.  Joan’s daughter Lindsay was the same way.  Thin all the way through school and then got fat as an adult.  And I see the same things happening with Celia’s and Carol’s kids.  They all seem pretty thin until they hit adulthood, and then about half of them get fat.

But all of these women have (or have had, in some cases) thin – average partners.

While there might be a lot of dissention from the “medical community” on the validity of the nature v.s. lifestyle debate on fat, I personally think it’s a lot more valid than they would like to admit.  (And lord knows there’s never been an actual objective study done on this subject.)  Mostly from my own experiences, but the more I observe others, the more convinced I become.

Not every single fat person in my best friend’s family could possibly have the same sort of lifestyle.  They can’t all be eating McDonald’s every day and laying on the couch until they begin to become one with it.  Shit, I know that May herself was NEVER what I would consider an inactive person.  Not even now that she’s battling terminal leukemia is she inactive.  Sure, she’s not as active as before, but her stamina never ceases to amaze me.  And she doesn’t over eat.  Hell, she doesn’t eat ENOUGH.  Her 3-year old grandson eats more than she does.  So all these stereotypes about fat people?  Are bullshit.  (Although I really don’t have to tell most of you that, but I wanted to put it in there anyway.)

Why is it that I – a person with only a high school education, no degrees of any kind, and no real skills above being able to type like a madwoman – can see the validity of the “naturally fat” theory and these so-called professionals, who went to school literally TWICE as long as I did, cannot?

What the hell kind of “professionals” do we have conducting these studies anyway???

Quote of the Day

The Littlest Monster, also known as my 5 year old daughter, earlier this evening:

Of course you’re cute, Mommy!  … And you’re cuddly, too!

The first sentence was in reference to a question she asked me.  I have absolutely no idea why it occurred to her to ask this question, but she came into the kitchen where I was washing up and asked me: Mommy, are you cute?  Not knowing exactly how to answer that (before, I would have laughed or said “Uh… no.”  Now?  I don’t know HOW to respond), I just shrugged my shoulders and made an “I dunno” noise.  That first sentence was her answer.

That second line came a little later, after I was done with the kitchen and we were about to dive into the Christmas box to start putting decorations up around the room (we put the tree up last Saturday).

After having to deal with fat haters, trolls, and Santa-bashing, that absolutely made my friggin’ day.  So The Littlest Monster gets my Quote of the Day crown.  🙂

BBC: What’s Really in our Food?

The BBC has started a week-long series of shows entitled “What’s Really in our Food?”  Ironically, they have been shown from 9:15-10 a.m., the time I usually have my breakfast, after walking the girls to school.

On the one hand, it’s been a bit of a learning experience.  Even though I’ve lived out here for nearly 5 years, I still can’t quite get a grip on the whole food labelling practices out here.  Until I moved here, I was used to having easy labels to read: everything you could possibly want to know about a particular food product, broken up into serving size portions.  X calories per X gram/ounce serving.  I always knew what I was eating.  Here?  They either break it up into 100 g portions or they just tell you how much is in the whole damned thing – if they even tell you at all.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve bought something to find out that there’s no nutritional information whatsoever on the packaging.  Just a list of ingredients, and that’s it.

Recently, there’s been a bit of a political movement to get the labels changed – into what is considered a ‘traffic light’ type label.  What they want to do is put the label on the front of the food package, with color-coded segments (green = ‘good’ for you, eat it all you want; red = ‘bad’ for you, only eat it sometimes, etc.).  A lot of stores, like Sainsbury’s and ASDA have already done this, but yesterday they showed an exec from Tesco saying that they had surveyed their customers and found that they didn’t want them.  However, the producers of the show randomly surveyed customers in a particular Tesco store and found that over 80% of them actually did want the ‘traffic light’ labels.  So I truly have to wonder: who’s lying?  It’s got to be ONE of them.  And as much as I really distrust MSM when it comes to all things related to obesity, weight, and food, it just seems odd that people who shop at practically every other supermarket in the UK would want the ‘traffic light’ labels but the people who shop at Tesco wouldn’t. 

The one thing that I have to say I DO like about this whole series, though, is the host (presenter) – Gregg Wallace.  He starts out the whole thing admitting to a love of ‘junk food.’  And you can actually tell in his attitude – he approaches the whole thing with an air of curiosity, not one of disdain.  He’s got this whole ‘Oh wow, you’ll never guess what I found out!’ attitude, and considering the way people view food nowadays, I find it really refreshing.

What I don’t like, however, is the fact that it’s yet another way to perpetuate the myths surrounding this whole ‘obesity crisis’ bullshit.  Today’s show, for example, showed a fitness instructor go on a 9-day long diet change, going from eating primarily healthy food to all junk, all the time.  Chocolate cereal for breakfast, kebabs for lunch, chinese takeaways for dinner, etc.  She gained 5 lbs. during that time (and she continued to exercise, obviously, since it was actually her job) and her fitness level went down a bit – she had done a fitness test beforehand, and lasted 12 minutes; afterwards she only lasted 10.  Okay, I can believe all of that – after all, it was a very drastic change she went through.

But then they get this ‘expert in sports medicine’ to say that if she continued like that, she would get fatter and fatter and fatter and her fitness level would go down and down and down.  Those weren’t her exact words, obviously, but that was the general idea.

And there was that thinly veiled undertone of ‘all you fatties, listen up: you’re just going to get fatter and fatter until you die.’  And as we all know, just because a person is fat doesn’t mean they eat like that.  Hell, just because a person is thin doesn’t mean they don’t.  Take my husband, for example.  He COULD eat like that and he’d never gain a pound.  Me?  I swear, I so much as LOOK at food and I could gain weight.  (But then again, before I got my tubes tied, he so much as looked at me and I got pregnant, too! 😆 )  I must be the embodiment of osmosis or something.  😉

And Mr. Wallace went into great detail, trying to figure out whether we could trust the labels to be accurate.

I don’t know… I guess it all evens out, really.  There are good points to this series, but there are bad points too.  But I do think it was a good idea to make the show, regardless.  It was really eye opening to find out that by Gregg Wallace reading the list of ingredients out to people, they couldn’t tell if he was talking about a Lime-based soap or Lemon & Lime squash (American readers: squash is kind of like concentrated liquid kool-aid – you add water to it and !voila! you have drinkage).  Education is always a good thing — I guess I just wish they were a little more objective about it.

Edit Update: edited because I found a better link for the show, and I realized that one of my sentences just looked really out of place where I had it, so I moved it.  That is all.

Now it’s competitive eating’s fault.

In yet another episode of The World Has Gone Absolutely Loopy, apparently now the OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC!!!!!11!!!! minions have started to go after eating competitions.

This fall, the University of Iowa canceled its annual corn-eating contest, held the week of the Iowa-Iowa State football game. Many saw the contest as a fun nod to the state’s hallmark crop, but Phillip Jones, Iowa’s vice president of student services, viewed it as an act of gluttony.

“It was something I thought was reasonable based on the data and stories I’ve seen about obesity and the proportion of people who are overweight,” Jones said. “I don’t know … if it is dangerous, but it was a symbolic gesture to get people to address changes in our lifestyle.”

 [engage clue-by-four]

What the FUCK?!  Have you ever SEEN the people that compete in eating contests?  99% of them are “normal” sized at best – some of them most likely bordering on underweight.  I forget the name of this lady, but there’s one Japanese lady that I’ve heard of several times who wins the top prize in some of these eating contests – and she’s probably about 4 feet tall and 60 pounds!  Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration… but you get my point.  She’s tiny.  Teeny, even.  Eensy weensy.  And she’s not the only one.  Hell, go look at the article yourself.  Those two people on the photo?  Do they LOOK like they’ve got weight problems to you?

Now, I have to admit – most of the people quoted in that article seem to have a pretty good take on the whole eating contest thing, even if they fall into the fat-hating, brainwashed-by-the-media idiot category.  But STILL!  The fact that people are even contemplating cancelling these kinds of contests because of our so-called “Obesity Epidemic” is absolutely in-fucking-sane!

Don’t believe me?  Go check out that article – there’s a poll linked to it.  At the time of this writing (and after voting in the poll myself), 50% of people who voted on MSNBC’s online poll said that “With a third of Americans now obese, these contests are in bad taste.”  Ugh.  (Don’t even get me started on that whole ‘third of Americans are now obese’ bullshit.  LIES.)

*I should credit Shapeling Sharn for the link.  She posted it over at Shapely Prose, and when I read it I was so dumbfounded that I just had to write something.  Jesus H. Christ.  The world is going insane!

Has the insurance industry lost its collective mind?

According to my husband, who just watched SiCKO a few days ago, if we ever decided to move back home to the U.S., we’d be… well… fucked.

Ya see, my hubby?  He’s “underweight.”

Me?  I’m “obese.”

And my oldest daughter?  She’s autistic and epileptic. (Heck, she might even be overweight, too, but I actually don’t know how much she weighs!)

All three of us would be ineligible for insurance coverage.

ALL THREE OF US.

My hubby and I because of our weights, and my daughter because of the disabilities she was born with.

You know what really gets me about all of this?  I used to work in the insurance industry! 

I used to work for UniCare, from 1999-2003.  If I’m honest, I’d probably still be working there if we’d never moved to the other side of the freaking world.  I worked in this office.

I used to not want to tell people where I used to work.  I don’t know why – I guess it seemed like I was betraying something if I told people where I used to work and how insurance companies actually treat their clients’ claims and whatnot.

But with all of this shit that I’m hearing about how the insurance industry in the U.S. is going down the toilet, I thought it was time to speak up.

Apparently, not only would half of my family (I have three other daughters who would be accepted in a heartbeat for coverage) be ineligible for coverege, but they wouldn’t even tell me up front.

According to the hubby, in the movie SiCKO, there is a story about a woman who underwent major surgery while under insurance coverage.  She was told prior to the surgery that everything would be covered, and the claim was actually PAID by the insurer.  But then (insert suspenseful music here)… some claim investigator found out she’d had a yeast infection years before and didn’t disclose that information.  So her coverage was retroactively cancelled, they requested a refund from the doctor and hospital, and told said doctor and hospital that they should go after the patient for the money.

All because of a yeast infection.

Now, if you’re a woman, I ask you: do you know a single woman who has never in her life had a yeast infection?  I didn’t think so.  Would you think that not disclosing information about a yeast infection would get you booted off your insurance plan?  I didn’t think so, either.

The reason I’m speaking up about this now?  Because I know for a fact that when I was still working there, UniCare – and most other large insurance companies – wouldn’t have dreamed about doing something like that, because they would be taken to court and sued – and they’d lose.  I was “just” a “lowly” data entry technician (don’tcha love “professional” titles?), but I was one of those people who would literally talk to anybody about anything.  And I smoked – so I would meet people from all of our departments just by talking to the people around me outside.  And while, granted, I wasn’t in the office with them all the time, I know enough from my discussions with people about the ways claims were approved or denied to know that something like a yeast infection – back then, anyway – would have been laughable as a reason for denying a claim.  That’s not even touching cancelling someone’s coverage for one.

I don’t know what the hell has happened with the law in the last 4.5 years, but obviously some “genius” (yes, I’m being ironical) decided to pass some law that said that insurance companies could get away with this shit.  People have been fighting with insurance companies – and especially HMOs – for YEARS because of fraudulent practices.  And now they go backwards instead of forwards?

Is it just me, or has the entire fucking world lost its collective mind?  Not just the insurance industry, but the whole thingNew Zealand is denying entry to people just because they’re fat.  Here in the UK, you’re being denied treatment because you’re fat.  Women are afraid to go to the doctor when there’s something wrong, because we’re either hysterical, hypochondriacs, or we’re just too fat (even when we’re NOT).

It’s not just angering me, it’s downright scaring me.  What’s next?  Are we going to pass a law that says that if you’re not absolutely 100% “perfect,” you’re going to be put to sleep?  Yeah, I’m exaggerating here – but only a little. 

The fear?  It’s almost enough to make me go back on my promise to myself never to diet again.  Almost.  But you know what?  I am intelligent enough to realize that even if I DID diet again, there’s no guarantee that I would lose any weight.  As a matter of fact, I seem to be slowly shrinking now, without even trying.  But I’m feeling better than I have in years – because I’m eating well, I’m exercising, and I’m not berating myself about every single little thing.  If I were to go back and try dieting again, I would be depressed, anxious, and I can guaran-fucking-tee you that I would go right back to hating every single thing about myself.  The evil twin inside my head would rip off her gag and start telling me how ugly and worthless I am.

And I’m not willing to go back to THAT for anything.