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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Mother, you’re breaking your Daughter’s heart.

nuff said.

'nuff said.

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to write this.  I knew I wanted to write about it, from the moment I had this conversation with her, but I just didn’t know how to approach it.  I’ve decided to make it an open letter to my mother.

Mother,

My heart is breaking for you.  This year has been terrible – first the thing with Baby Sister and Nephew, and then Stepfather died in the Spring.   I’ve been amazed at how strong you sound every time we talk on the phone.  I wouldn’t blame you if you just broke down, but you just keep going, no matter how hard things get for you.  You truly are an inspiration.

But then you talk about having lap-band surgery.  And my heart breaks even more.

You say that you “need” it.  That your health is just “so terrible,” and it’s the only thing that’s going to save you.

But Mommy, you’re going to do yourself more harm than good.

You say that it’s going to cure your diabetes, high blood pressure, and back problems.  All of which you know are inherited.  Grandmother had every single one of those problems, and Grandfather has at least two of them that I remember.  You say Grandmother was once as big as you are now – and honestly, I haven’t seen you in 5 years, so I don’t know how much you’ve gained – and you use that as an excuse to prove to me that you have to have this surgery.

But Grandmother wasn’t always very heavy.  I remember her being roughly the size I am now.  And I know that when she died, she was pretty small.  Just because she was heavy at one time in her life does not mean that one time caused all those health problems.

Having the doctor close off part of your stomach is not going to do you any good.  You’re going to become malnourished.  Sure, your diabetes might get better.  Because you’ll be starving yourself. Your body needs more than just a few ounces of food a day.  And it would even if you were thin.

I know it’s hard to fight the fatphobia that you see every day.  Even people who are well meaning are a lot of the times, unknowing fatphobes.  It’s institutionalized and it’s almost impossible to get away from.  I understand that, I really do.

But I hate to see you taking all of that fat hatred in and turning it on yourself.  Don’t you get enough hatred pointed your way from others?  Do you really have to hate yourself, too?

Part of my reaction is our relationship.  Since finding each other again six years ago, we have developed the kind of relatioship I only thought we could have in my dreams.  I have been able to turn to you when things got bad, and you supported and encouraged me.  I never thought I’d have that.

Part of it is my own rising self-esteem.  I can hear the self-loathing in your voice even when you don’t outwardly express it – because I’ve been there.  And I know how good it feels now to be able to say I like myself just the way I am.  I want you to know that feeling, too.

And part of it is that I’ve learned so much in the last few months, and hearing that you’re seriously contemplating surgery – to fix one thing that’s not broken, and to fix others that it simply won’t work for – seriously terrifies me.  You just don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.  And while I know that there are serious statistics – X amount of people have serious health problems, X amount of people actually die as a result of the surgery, X amount of people will actually end up gaining all their weight back – I never thought to save the URLs of the blog posts/studies/news articles I read, so I can’t “prove” it to you.  I know what I know, but without that “proof” I know you’ll just dismiss me as being a worried daughter.

And I am a worried daughter, no question.  But I also know that what you’re contemplating doing is going to be so much worse for your health than doing nothing at all.

And it makes me want to cry.

Want to preach FA? Get drunk!

I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing….

Done?

Okay then.

Here’s the thing: as I said in the comments on my last post, I’m not very good at articulating my FA stance to people I know and love, let alone total strangers.  Hubby is the only one that really knows how involved I am in FA, and as a naturally thin person, there are a lot of things that he just doesn’t get.  What he does know is that since finding FA, my confidence has soared, I have begun accepting myself, and my self-loathing (the one thing about me that he really didn’t like) has all but disappeared.  (It still rears its ugly head every once in a while, but not very often, thank FSM.)

Well, I went out drinking last night.  The second time in 2 weeks, but only my 3rd time this year (I don’t go out much, obviously).  I had run into my best friend May’s sister Carol, her daughter Gemma, and her son’s girlfriend Debbie when I was on my way back from Number One Daughter’s school on Tuesday.  They invited me out, and when I mentioned it to Hubby, he was all “go ahead!”  So… I did.  🙂

One thing you need to understand, though: May’s family – even her extended family – are like my second family.  Shit, Little Miss Naughty calls Carol “Auntie Carol”.  When they were younger, The Little Chatterbox and LMN kept getting confused, thinking that May was their aunt and her children were their cousins, so what did that make Carol and Gemma and the rest of them?  They’re only now getting to the point where they understand that no, they’re not REALLY family, they’re just REALLY good friends to us.

So the relationship between us and them is… complicated, sometimes confusing, but altogether a good one.

Well, as we were making our way between one nightclub and another, talk between Gemma, myself, and Gemma’s cousin (can’t for the life of me remember her name right now; she doesn’t go out with us all that often) turned to body image.  Carol’s diabetic and so is Gemma, and Gemma related to me the horror of a doctor’s appointment.  It was the usual fatty horror: you’re going to die if you don’t lose weight; you’re going to have a heart attack by the age of 23 because you’re too fat; etc, etc, etc.  I looked at her and told her “BULLSHIT!”  I was just drunk enough that I could say what I was thinking without worrying about the consequences.

At a UK size 12 (US 10-ish), Gemma is not only NOT fat, but she’s smaller than the “average British woman” (which, IIRC, is a UK 14).  Her cousin?  Even smaller, at a UK 8-10.  And yet they were both talking about how they need to lose weight.  I looked at both of them and let them have it, from both barrels.

Oh, I wasn’t nasty.  I wasn’t all “shut up you skinny bitch”.  I simply told them that this “obesity epidemic” bullshit is just that – bullshit.  I told them that not only do they not need to lose weight, but they need to stop thinking in terms of “dieting” and “good food/bad food”.  I asked Gemma, “if you had never been told that fat was bad or disgusting, or any of the thousands of horrible things people like to say about fat people, would you have still wanted to lose weight?” (At one time, she was a lot bigger than she is now, at a size 18/20 – basically, the same size I am right now.  She has lost weight and managed to keep it off for now.  Either she hasn’t hit the 5 year mark yet, or maybe she was meant to be this size.  You know, set-point.)  Her answer?  “No!  I was fat and happy!  I didn’t care what size I was, until that doctor scared me into losing weight.”  How many fat people are there in the world that know exactly how Gemma felt?  A hell of a lot, I’m sure.

Now granted, we didn’t go into a whole lot of detail, but I was glad that I had the chance to say something to both of them, and also glad that I was drunk enough that I didn’t worry about what they were going to think.  These people are my friends, they love me for the person I am – even if they don’t agree with me, they’re going to at least listen to what I have to say and not make me feel bad for having the convictions I do.  It’s silly of me to even worry about it, but worry about it I do.  When I’m sober.

I definitely was NOT sober.

And in this case?  I think that was a GOOD thing!  😀

Internalized Fat Hatred Right In Your Face

Number One Daughter had a doctor’s appointment today, with her specialist.  Dr. Specialist comes to the school and takes over the nurse’s office for the day and sees the patients there – all the parents have to do is come to school.  I tell you, this is a lot easier than having to keep a kid off of school and drag them all over hell’s creation for a 10-minute appointment!

So I get to the school (10 minutes early!  considering the school is waaaaaaaay across town, this is a record for me), and I wait in the parents’ room.  Dr. Specialist is running a little bit late, so as I’m waiting, two other mothers come in.  Both of them were fat.  Other Mother One is older than me – mid to late 40’s would be my guess.  Other Mother Two is exactly one year older than I am, 33.  Other Mother One and I were talking about the area I’m living in now (we just moved here a year ago), as she’s originally from here – she grew up not 10 houses down the street from me.  As Other Mother One and I are talking, Random Female School Employee comes in and says hello.  These two women obviously know each other.  After a series of “hi, how are you?” ‘s, Other Mother One immediately says “I’m on my new diet now!  I’ve lost 8 pounds!”

Me (in my head): and how are you going to feel when you gain it all back?

Ugh.

Random Female School Employee says something to the effect of “I can’t lose weight no matter what I do.  Even when I was going to Slimming World, I didn’t lose a pound.  It’s my thyroid.”

Me (in my head): or maybe you’re at your set-point!  (Note: I’m not discounting the fact that it could be the woman’s thyroid, but I know that some people just assume that because they can’t lose weight, there must be something wrong with them.  When in fact, there’s nothing wrong with THEM, there’s something wrong with society for making them feel like they HAVE to lose weight to become an acceptable human being.)

Part of me really wanted to go all FA on their asses.  But these are women I don’t know and probably will never see again, and I just wouldn’t feel right launching into a speech like that with somebody I don’t even know.  It’s times like this when I think having some business cards printed up with some web addresses – like Shapely Prose, for example – would be a GREAT idea.  I wouldn’t even have to say anything.  I could just give it to people and let them check it out for themselves.  Let them find the clue-by-four on their own.

The thing is, since I don’t interact with other people all that much, I honestly don’t see the Internalized Fat Hatred Diatribe all that often.  I know it happens, of course, but I just don’t see it.  So when something like this happens, it seriously makes me sad.  Sad for these women, that they can’t just try to love themselves the way they are.  Sad that they feel like they’ve got to put their entire life on hold until they live up to some arbitrary, unrealistic ideal.  Sad that they internalize all this shit to such an extent as this.

Because I know what that feels like.  I talk the talk, and I’m learning to walk the walk, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget what that feels like.  And I want to tell them how amazing it feels to wake up and not feel that hatred weighing me down every day.  I want to tell them what it feels like to be able to look in the mirror and not have those messages that are shoved down our throats by society-at-large running through my head every single time.  I want to tell them that internalizing that fat hatred is worse for them than any weight they might reach.  I want to tell them what it feels like to be free!

I just hate it when I see women looking so happy about hating themselves and their bodies.  Because there’s a 98% chance they’re going to be right back where they are now, if not heavier, and their self-hating is just going to get worse.

And that?  Is just sad.

Fatphobia Scarily Close to Home

Angel of the North, GatesheadAs Sandy reported last night, Gateshead City Council is joining the Fatphobia Brigade and thinking up the most ridiculous measures they can think of to fight OMG TEH FATZ!!!11!!!ELEVENTY-ONE!!. I’ll get to what I think about that in a moment.

But what really scares me?  Gateshead is the next city over from me.  Yup – I can walk out the door right now, hop on a bus, and be there within 20 minutes.

I mean, granted – none of us is immune to The Fear of Teh Fatz.  We see it everywhere we go – in movies, on television, in the media, walking down the street… but a lot of the time, it seems like it’s something that happens over there – where “there” is an intangible place, that just isn’t “here.”  To know that the stupidity of fat fear is coming this close to home… it’s very disconcerting, to say the least.

But Oh. My. God.  Can these people really get any more stupid?  Forcing chip shop owners to change their SALT SHAKERS in an effort to “trick” customers into consuming less salt?  Can they not think of a better plan?

As Sandy pointed out, it’s a ridiculous idea anyway.

Another local chip shop owner, Carol Ackerman, who runs Carol’s Plaice in the suburb of Acklam, said: ‘People will just put on more salt if they want more.
‘In fact, we have had some people unscrewing the lids to do so.’

If people like my grandmother* – who like a little salt with their salt – want more, they’re going to FIND a way to get it.  Putting fewer holes in the damned shaker isn’t going to make one bit of difference one way or the other.

And I’m not alone in my indignation.  Just check out these comments from the Daily Mail article:

So the Health Gestapo have decided that a recommended amount has suddenly become an enforceable allowance. If these interfering busybodies have enough time to exercise their minds with such rubbish they obviously have too little to do and should be got rid of immediately to save the public money.
People such as them do far more to damage my blood pressure than any amount of salt.

When I buy fish and chips and find inadequate salt when I get them home I shake on some more. Are these imbeciles going to have people following customers home to make sure that they don’t do the same? After all, they have all sorts of other totalitarian rights under “anti-terrorism” measures that they can use. Still, it’s good to see that UK local governments are continuing to fulfill their major function, namely render a once-great nation the world’s laughing stock.

I’ll let these brain dead morons into a secret. If it ain’t salty enough, just shake for longer and add more. P.S. Where’s the firing squad?

Now, educating people on the over-consumption of salt?  Fine.  Seriously, folks, you’d be surprised the number of people out here that actually don’t know that too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure and kidney disease.  (Hell, there are ADULTS out here that can’t name vegetables when they have them right in front of them.  No joke.)  But this is going beyond ridiculous.

And the worst part?  The fact that they spent loads of taxpayers’ money to do this.  I could give you a LIST of things better suited for that money… but we’d be here all day.  So I won’t do that.  But this? *headdesk*

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear these people got their brains sucked out by aliens.  It’s a better thought than the alternative.

* – I used to nag my grandmother to death about the amount of salt she used.  My other grandmother’s husband (not my actual grandfather, her 3rd husband, I think) died of a heart attack, and the one thing I always remembered was that he couldn’t have too much salt, because of what it would do to his heart.  So it made me a little paranoid.  I didn’t let up on her until she came home from the doctor and told me that her blood pressure was perfect – even with the amount of salt she eats (and yeah, it’s a lot – more than twice what I eat).  So again – there is no one-size-fits-all equation of good health.  My step-grandfather?  Too much salt = death.  My grandmother?  Too much salt = nothing.  Get it straight, all you fatphobic pricks… THERE IS NO “ANSWER” TO YOUR SO-CALLED “OBESITY EPIDEMIC.”  It’s all in your fucked up heads.

I need some help brainstorming.

The Little Helper, between Little Miss Naughty and The Little ChatterboxThe thing that I was hoping to avoid happened yesterday.  The Little Helper came to me and announced that she was going to Fitness Friday* to exercise to get rid of her belly.  “I have 3 weeks** to get rid of this,” she said, grabbing the puppy fat she has around her belly.

I was horrified.

I had really hoped that my change in attitude would prevent something like this, but I guess it’s unrealistic of me to think that I can prevent outside influences from affecting her.

I tried talking with her, and asking her why she felt she had to do something so drastic.  She told me that she gets “called” at school (meaning teased/bullied) about her puppy fat, and she already hates herself.  This is an 11-year old girl*** who has already had more boyfriends than I can count.  She has tons of friends – even more so now, since we moved last year.  She still has friends from her old school, and she has friends in her new school.  She’ll be going to secondary school in September (think: high school) and she can’t wait, because she’ll have almost all of her friends around her at the same time; most of her friends from her old school will be going to the same school she is.

So I told her that trying to lose weight that quickly isn’t just stupid, it’s dangerous.  I explained to her that doing so could really screw up her body.  I told her there wasn’t anything wrong with her body the way it is – yes, she does have a little bit of extra weight, but it’s all in her belly, and I suspect that it’s just a pattern of her growing.  Number One Daughter did the same thing – she’d gain weight before a growth spurt, and kind of “grow into” her belly.  The Little Helper is only 11 – she’s got a lot of growing years left in her, and I highly doubt that what she looks like now is going to be what she looks like in another 7 or 8 years.

I explained to her that her “ideals” of beauty are so out of whack it’s not even funny – even the models in the fashion magazines don’t look like that!  I went so far as to do a google search on photoshop so I could show her the way that they re-touch and change the photos to make the models look even more “ideal” than they already do.

I don’t think it’s enough, though.  It’s hard to explain, but the look on her face and her attitude told me that she just thinks I’m being “mom.”  And yes, that’s part of it, but I see her slowly turning into me, and I can’t have that.  I cannot have my daughter hating herself simply because of the way she looks.  I can’t.  Can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t!

So… what I’m wondering is, do any of you have any bright ideas for me?  I’m not by any means going to let the subject drop and think that I’ve done enough, but at the same time, I don’t want it to seem like I’m lecturing her.  I need to find a happy medium in there somewhere, but I need to be armed.  Help me build my arsenal.  I need weapons, people!  Big sub-machine-gun type weapons.  I need to blow those thoughts and unrealistic ideals right out of her head.

And right now, I’m just in a panic.  I have always told my children that I think they are beautiful just the way they are – partly because I never heard that… like… EVER… – and to hear her talk that way has me frozen in panic.  I just want to shake her until those thoughts come leaking out of her ears from her brain.

* – Fitness Friday is an event run by the local leisure centre, where the whole place is open to the kids.  They can work out, go swimming, dance, even get their makeup/nails done.  She used to go a lot, before she had some trouble with one of the local girls and they started threatening to beat her ass if she went.  We thought that maybe enough time had passed that she could safely go, but we were wrong – she came back within 10 minutes, having been run off by some of the local hoodlums.

** – In 3 weeks, her entire grade is going to Wet N Wild, a water theme park.  She’s getting swimming lessons between now and then, because she doesn’t know how to swim (and neither do her dad or I, so we’re not much help).  She’s worried that walking around in a bathing suit is going to make people tease her mercilessly.

*** – She’s also already hit puberty.  She’s had her period for about a year now, she’s got big enough breasts that she wears bras, and while she might have a bit of a belly, she’s also got a very womanly figure for someone her age.  She reminds me a lot of myself, really, in the way she’s built.  Which could easily change as she grows some more, but since I do see so much of myself in her, I can really empathize with how she’s feeling.  And that feeds my panic, to be honest.

On Comparisons and Food

I found myself quite busy last night, due mainly to it being that time of the month.  I was feeling like shit much of yesterday, and spent most of the morning sitting on the couch doubled over in pain.  By mid-afternoon I was feeling much better, so I ended up doing all my chores late, which took up pretty much my entire evening.  I managed to do some reading, but lacked the mental capacity to compose a coherent comment.  But these issues are things that I deal with daily – even if only in my head – and I feel a pressing need to comment, even if it is on my own blog.

I pretty much read everything in the Fatosphere every day, but Shapely Prose is always where I start out.  Kate and Co. always write enjoyable, thought-provoking posts, and since they update the blog so regularly, it’s just become a habit.  So when I made my daily visit, there was Kate, pointing everybody to Deniselle’s latest entry at Fatly Yours.

And there she was, saying the things I’ve been thinking so often, but saying them so much more clearly than I’ve been able to. 

I have to admit, I’m not gay and wouldn’t presume to say that I understand what it’s like to be gay, dealing with gay-centered prejudice.  But as an outside observer and supporter (just because I’m not “one of them” doesn’t mean I can’t support their right to live full, complete lives just like the rest of us *cough* “normal” *cough* people!), I have noticed the correlations between a lot of what Gay People are subjected to and what we Fat People are subjected to.  And if you happen to be Gay AND Fat?  Bonus!  You get twice the bigotry directed at you!  Aren’t you lucky?

What I don’t understand is how some people can get upset with other people making comparisons.  Comparisons between Fat and Gay or Fat and Race or Gay and Race.  By making a comparison, or using one as an analogy, you’re not taking anything away from either party.  You are simply looking at the things that ARE similar, and acknowledging what is different.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t get upset – who the hell am I to tell someone how they should or shouldn’t feel?  What I’m saying is that I don’t understand it.  I don’t ‘get’ what it is about making comparisons that gets some peoples’ panties in a bunch.  And for someone like me, I need comparisons and analogies.  They help me understand issues so much better if I have X to compare with Y.  (And I would like to point out that when I say “I don’t understand what they’re getting so upset about”, I’m not in any way trying to invalidate their feelings.  I understand that they are upset, I just don’t understand why.)

Like Rachel said in the comments on Kate’s post:

I don’t think playing the “But my oppression is worse than your oppression” game is beneficial for any marginalized group. When we make judgment calls on which groups are more “deserving” of social justice, we’re only perpetuating the very foundations that form the bulwark of all social injustice.

When I DO make comparisons or analogies (and I do), I’m not saying that one is better than the other.  All social injustice is wrong (hence the injustice part).  But it helps me, in trying to get it straight in my own head and in trying to make what I’m trying to say clear.

And Kate had another good point shortly after Rachel’s comment:

Deniselle isn’t saying, “It’s exactly the same!” She’s saying there’s a lot more overlap than there seems to be at first glance — and it’s useful to look at that overlap, because it shines a light on how much different forms of bigotry have in common.

When I look at it in that view, it makes even less sense that people get all up in arms about it.  But I don’t live in their heads, and I can’t say that I know where their anger is coming from.

(I realize that some people might find this hypocritical of me, considering my post regarding animal rights.  But there is one fundamental difference: Deniselle and 99% of the people I see making comparisons between Gay Rights and Fat Acceptance are not saying that they are exactly the same.  The person I referred to in that post, however, DID come to the conclusion that animal rights and fat acceptance ARE the same.  Big difference.)

But then, just as I thought I had enough food for thought (haha!  I kill me!), I click back to the Shapely Prose main page, and there’s another post by Kate regarding food and the morality people try to put on it.

It really touched me, because although I’ve gotten better at ignoring the evil voice in my head that constantly puts me down, the voice that attributes moral value to food is still there, going strong.  I ate a slice of walnut cake for breakfast?  Bad Fattie!  I had cream cheese and pate on crackers for lunch?  Oh, I’m going to go to hell!!!!

I hate to admit it, but I really am that bad.  Sometimes.  There have been times when I’ve been hungry but refused to eat because… I’m FAT!  I shouldn’t NEED to eat!  I can just live forever off of my fat stores!

But you want to know something ironic?  During my longest diet (which lasted nearly five years and resulted in a total loss of about fifteen pounds), I learned something that I’ve found to be true: when I don’t eat, my body thinks it’s starving.  And it holds on to every single calorie I DO put in my mouth as if it’s going to be the last calorie my body is going to get.  And guess what?  I DON’T LOSE WEIGHT.  So why the hell that voice in my head keeps telling me that I can live off of my fat stores is beyond me.  If I ever actually DID live off of my fat stores, that would result in lost weight.  After over twenty years of dieting and almost never losing weight (or losing very minimal weight), you would think I’d know better by now.  You’d THINK.

It’s become so ingrained in me that a question from The Hubster along the lines of “have you had anything to eat today?” is commonplace.  If I’m dizzy, he asks that question.  If I’ve got the shakes, he asks that question.  If my stomach hurts and it’s not that time of the month, he asks that question.  If I just feel generally ill, he asks that question.  And, I hate to say it, any combination of the above happens pretty much every week.  Knowing that, you’d think I would get it into my head that I need to eat.  But no, the idea that I don’t need to eat simply because I’m fat runs through my head like a broken record. 

I have to say, though, that as I read the post and the comments, I realized another reason why The Hubster is made of awesome.  Whenever we go out to eat (which isn’t all that often, unfortunately), his attitude towards what we eat is wonderful.  If I want a burger, he says “have the burger, then!”  If I want a salad, he says “have the salad!”  He’s one of those “like to see a woman enjoy her food” men.  Besides, if we’re paying for this meal, we ought to get some enjoyment out of it.  And if I ordered what I thought I should have rather than what I truly wanted, I’m not going to truly enjoy it, am I?

He’s the same with desserts (and that’s whether we’re eating out or at home).  If I want some, I’m allowed to have some.  I’m an adult, I pay for my own food, so I can have what I want.

I know it almost sounds like I’m getting permission from The Hubster, as if he’s some sort of controller, but that’s totally not the case.  It’s just that it helps – especially when I’m trying to learn how to not diet and not obsess over my weight and the food I eat – to have someone around me with that sort of attitude towards food.  It would make my life a whole lot more difficult if he thought he was a card-carrying Officer of the Food Police and tried to tell me what I should or shouldn’t be eating all the time.  He doesn’t care – not for me, and certainly not for him.  If I want to make some of my aunt’s chili cheese dip and have that for dinner… so what?  I don’t do it all the time, so why should once in a while be a big deal?  (Now if I make something he doesn’t want and he actually has to *gasp* cook for himself *endgasp* — that’s a whole ‘nother story.  But that’s a rant for another day.  😉 )

But that’s the whole point.  It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is.  In today’s society, it is.

(You know, it’s funny how it takes something like this to remind me what an awesome guy The Hubster really is.  There are times when something he says surprises me – like saying that it really is okay for me to eat whatever I want – but it shouldn’t.  If he’d had a problem with my weight, he would have had a problem with my food.  But he didn’t have a problem with the former, so I don’t know why I would ever think he’d ever have a problem with the latter.  I guess it’s just societal brainwashing that would make me think something like that, but it’s totally unfair to him.)

One of the comments on that post reminded me of something I’ve seen in Number One Daughter.

I find that as my monthly friend is preparing for a visit that I can eat continously. I’m hungry for something, but never find out what that something is. So, I just eat and eat. It’s a little scary sometimes.

Number One Daughter does that.  She and I both started ours on Sunday (oooh!  Lucky us!!!), and while I’ve been doubled over with pain, this kid just wants to eat.  I’ve kept her home from school the last two days, and she’s done nothing but eat and sleep the whole time.  Today she had four bowls of cereal between 9:30 and 3:00.  FOUR!!!  (She must really like that cereal though… ‘cuz she was actually asking for it over and over and over and over again.)  But that’s not “normal” for her — the only times she’s ever done anything like that have been either when she’s about to go through a growth spurt; or when she’s on her period.  When it happened the first time, I couldn’t figure out what the problem was.  But then I started noticing a pattern, and when it finally clicked… I figured if it only happened once a month, during that time of the month, then it must mean that for some reason she needs more food during that time of the month.  And I will never deny her that — especially when I can see the reason behind it. 

But you just know that if The Food Police found out that I’m allowing my Autistic daughter to *shock!* *horror!* eat whatever she wants when she wants it, especially if it’s that time of the month… they’d swear out a warrant for my arrest so fast my head would spin.