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.

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???

On Doctors

Go read the post below this one.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

…………

Okay, ready? 

It got me thinking about doctors and the way some of them see nothing but the fat.

And I realized something.  I’ve been very lucky.

I was never told by a doctor that I needed to lose weight.  N.E.V.E.R.  Are you surprised?  I am – now.  I honestly didn’t know that there were doctors out there that would act so horribly towards fat people.  (Until I found the Fat Acceptance movement, that is; I’ve been reading a lot of horror stories in the last month or so.)

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had asshole doctors before.  Like the OB/GYN that tried to force me to have a cesarean with my fourth child simply on the basis that I’d had one before.  I refused; I told him that I had had two successful VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) since my first child, that my first cesarean was only done because of the pre-eclampsya that I had suffered from, and unless there was an actual medical reason for me to have one, I wasn’t going to.  He came back with all kinds of bullshit studies that showed “once a cesarean, always a cesarean.”  (Which 95% of doctors nowadays will admit is a bunch of neanderthal bullshit.)  I steadfastly refused, so he refused to treat me, which was absolutely fine with me.  I saw his partner instead, and HE actually LISTENED to me.  He even listened when I told him that I’d never gone into spontaneous labor before (I’d had to be induced with all of my children, only it didn’t work with my first), and I wanted to know how long he would let me go overdue before he would induce me.  By that time I was already 39 weeks gone, and he would have induced me the very next day if it weren’t for the fact that I was still working!  (I was due to go on maternity leave in a few days anyway, so we scheduled it for my first day of maternity leave – talk about perfect timing!  And I did end up having a cesarean with that child, but not for the reasons that Dr. Asshole wanted.  The baby had turned in the last couple of days before birth and was breech.)

But not one of them have ever made an issue of my weight.  If anything, it’s been the opposite.  I remember Christmas Eve 2004 – yes, I went to the doctor on Christmas Eve (of course, it helped that we lived only two blocks away from the doctor’s office, too).  I had bit the bullet and went to the doctor to deal with my depression.  It was getting bad – really bad – to the point where I was actually thinking about suicide again, something I hadn’t done in at least ten years.  I tried to be a good little patient and write up everything I could possibly think of that the doctor might want to know, including the doctors I’d seen in the US (complete with contact information, where I could find it) and all that.  And I added to the list that my weight was affecting my depression because of my body-image and self-esteem issues.  Wanna know what that doctor told me?  She said: “Worry about your depression first.  Work on that, and then you can work on your weight.  If you try to do too many things at once you’re not going to get anywhere.”  I was actually shocked – I’d expected her to put me on some sort of diet (which would irritate me now, but I was too far gone in my disordered eating and obsession over my weight to care at the time).  At the time, I didn’t know what to make of it.  Now, looking back, I can see that she was right.  My depression – especially considering the fact that I was considering suicide – was much more of a threat to me than the extra 40 or so pounds that I was carrying around at the time (MY ideal weight would be around 160; not what the “BMI charts” say I should weigh, but I think that would be the ideal weight for ME.)

I’ve seen other doctors in the same practice, and none of them have ever brought my weight up as an issue unless I did it first.  I don’t know if they all went to the same School of Bedside Manner, but they all have the same tact: when I walk into the consulting room, they ask me why I’ve come to see them.  They don’t tell me I’m too fat and that’s the only thing wrong with me, they actually want to know what has prompted me to come to them, and they deal with that.  Could it be that they think I’m too fat?  Probably.  But they leave their personal prejudices out of it and deal with me as a patient, not just as a fat person.  They’re – *GASP!!* – professionals, and they actually act professional.

Now, I’m not writing this as a rebuttal to all those people out there that have had horrible experiences with doctors and other health professionals; if anything, it’s exactly the opposite.  I’ve been lucky enough to had good healthcare from doctors, and reading stories such as the ones at First, Do No Harm absolutely horrify me.  It makes me wonder, what would I be like now if *I* had encountered such blatant fat-bigotry as they have?  Hell, I might not even BE here, to be honest.  I honestly don’t know what the differences are between the doctors I’ve encountered and the doctors that practice blatant fat-hate on their patients, but there obviously is a difference.  I just wish that everybody could have the same positive experience that I have had.

Which makes it all the more important that I implore you: go read that blog.  It will be a learning experience for you, if nothing else.