Monday, 22 December 2008

Oprah's diet fatigue

Oprah is bemoaning another round of weight gain, a-gain. She feels ashamed that she is fat, again and is now tired of it, again and has decided she has given up on being slim (dare I say, again) and has decided that she just wants to be healthy and is no longer gunning for slim.

This is diet fatigue, or feeling 'dieted out' as someone once put it. This is like when you have a kind of mini nervous breakdown in the parts of you that are concerned with dieting. You innocently go to diet, one day and the whole system screams;


It will happen to just about everyone if they try dieting for long enough, at some point. It happened to me and it's what unexpectedly and somewhat chaotically led me away from dieting for good (I hope).

When you experience this stage, no matter how successful you are at dieting,(that is, no matter how many times you are able to keep losing weight; the fact that I'm referring to times tells you a lot of what you need to know about 'succesful' dieting), you simply have to stop for a while so that your body can recover from this exhaustion caused by both the process and the extent of the defences the body puts up against it.

The fatosphere says basically that, Oprah should stop dieting. This is correct, but is easier said than done and to overlook that could actually be unfair not so much to Oprah, but to a lot of people who cannot understand why they cannot just stop.

Giving them something else to be ashamed of.

Lately, people leaving FA has been on my mind, not so much in sorrow, more in curiosity. You can almost guarantee, that when something undesirable happens, there's some information in there that you have been overlooking in some way.

These people join FA and like it and feel positive and liberated by it, then, they seem to reach the limit of the stretch it takes to grasp it, from where they are. Then they snap back, or withdraw more slowly backward, and say, they admire FA and people in it, but it's not for them.

The explanations given by others for this process range from they are annoying, to the heavy weight of societal strictures has crushed them. That's fine, whilst you aren't listening too carefully to what they say, or the more articulate and reasoned of them. I think we owe them and ourselves more than that, especially as we are asking others to rethink what they've been told about us.

It is thinking about them along with people who say they desperately want to join, but just can't do it; mentally. Plus thinking about the experiences of people within FA and the challenges they have, that has made me consider more fully the reality of how difficult it can be to just stop dieting.

Even post diet fatigue, which is possibly the most pressing reason to stop. There is an aftermath to years of learning how to be a dieter, there's additional emotional baggage corollary that means that without realising it dieting has become part of your mind.


At first a body of knowledge is a disparate collection of facts often with little meaning or connection. Learning is a self-conscious process that requires a certain amount of commitment, or innate talent, to master.

Eventually things are memorised and stored, connections are made. These separate units of information not only becomes part of your brain structure, but also a unified whole, operating as if it has a life of it's own, if you really get into your subject. When this subject is uplifting, say art, it's life enhancing. When it's something awful, like how to be abused; then it is horrible.

The way we learn cannot be dispensed with, it would only have to be replaced by something else that would probably have the same potential to be corrupted by the content. It's so much about the content.

This is what the body is defending itself against when it comes to dieting, the content. It's trying to stop the disparate bits of how to engage in a life of semi-starvation from a unifying process that may well turn it into anorexia.

It does this even with fat people because if you work it out, fat isn't much of a long term defence against a life of this kind. I think this is more why the body fights dieting rather than because of what we should or shouldn't weigh.

Because the flaw in dieting is that the more successful it is, the more dangerous it is, the reason it doesn't seem to be dangerous to many is because the body has so many powerful defences against it. Just imagine if every (non anorexic) fat person became permanently anorexic.


After getting to the point of it finding it easier to think of your subject than not to think of it, you begin to realise that as hard as learning can be, much more time and energy is devoted to it than to the possibly equally important business of unlearning. It's inevitable that mistakes will be made.

Dismantling a body of knowledge is obviously possible, if you do the reverse of when you are learning, you stop thinking about it, you lower it's importance. You, attack it's logic and so forth, you are half way there, but it's better if you are aware of this from the start.

Rather than going round and round in circles, like Oprah.

It's too easy to overlook that dieting is problematic not just for those with eating disorders, but anyone who's dedicated part of their life to it.

We seem to think that once something has been found sorely wanting, that we will be able to leave it behind and we want, not so unfortunately.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Big 'O'

Oprah Winfrey may have something akin to what anorexics have, some kind of psychological and or physical dependency on dieting. Or the psychology of control underpinning it.

Due to the fact that fat people are supposed to become or imitate anorexia, this is not a particularly well explored possibility in fat people. The assumption is that if a fat person did become 'addicted' to dieting, they could not possibly continue to be fat, so it would be a good thing.

Diets not working is a moot point if you do not know or accept this reality. More importantly you've become dependant on them working. The fact that they don't, combined with this need can keep you endlessly repeating the failure, sure as you are that it will pay off. As you repeat, you become increasingly attached to them one day paying off.

When asked why they don't just start eating, or why are they trying to look like models-it's not necessary you know, they've repeatedly tried to explain to us that it's not about that, it's about control.

I must confess although I listened, I didn't fully understand that point at all, until I think now. Now I feel what they're getting at is what Oprah can't let go of. It's not just that she wants to be thin, is more that in her life she is used to marshalling and using a tremendous amount of conscious will and inner resolve to achieve the most outstanding things.

The belief that dieting will pay off with willpower and persistence fuses with the actual real payoff of using your willpower, and prevailing even in the most unlikely of contexts and becomes emotionally bound up in that. So ceasing to diet, no longer feels like an independent conclusion, it somehow feels like it's threatening to pull down the rest of your belief in your own agency with it.

So dieting becomes a strategy to prevent or see off a crisis of faith in oneself.

This is something of a surprise, even though it shouldn't be from the way dieting is sold to us cleverly as a pure assertion of willpower, not a separate choice in itself that has nothing to do with our capacity for success in other areas. It's why it's linked to our sense of moral credibility and the inheritance of enlightenment, Godfree will to power. Along with the fact that dieting has become disengaged from anorexia and you have a cover for these links to make themselves, outside your conscious awareness.

The reason I'm saying this is not for Oprah, but for all of us that have been in her shoes, still are frankly. It's important for people to know that dieting can be a really a hard habit to break and that those who are in this position aren't always just acquiescent to the prevailing mood.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

What about fatness and the poor?

There is a lot of talk about poorer people being fatter than others. I have a few doubts about that, starting with the fact that BMI favours taller people and as you go up the income scale, people get taller on average. And the general suspect and biased nature of obesity stats.

Then there's the picture on the ground which is a little more nuanced that flat out stating that low incomes equals greater fatness. I live in London in a mixed but mainly low income area.

The scale of the UK is a lot smaller than say the US or other European countries. I can't remember how many times it can fit in Texas-and I'm not about to look it up, Heck, maybe it can squeeze into Houston for all I know!

So people don't have the same ability to isolate themselves physically as places spread over a greater land mass, although maybe it tells more in manner. And there is the unlovely class system.

Anyway, where I live, there are plenty of people who are fat, to varying degrees, some very, but there also seem to be a lot of people who are slender and thin. More than we are lead to believe. I cannot speak for America of course, but the biggest people seem to me to be not uniformly among the very poorest, where there seems to be a divide, but those who are just above that, those at the edge of the middle class and the top of the working poor. And I'm talking fat and plumper on average.

Whenever I go out at night, the majority of youth, from teenagers sometimes younger are whippet thin, with an eerie uniformity. Thinner than a lot of (middle) middle class kids. Now I don't wish to label them, but these kids seem to be a bit more likely to run into a disagreement with the authorities, let us say. And yet they are almost uniformly thin.

Virtually no one mentions this, for obvious reasons. The authorities wouldn't wish to admit that those characterised as more rascally are thin in the way they desperately desire in the more obedient. The hypocrites. They don't wish to admit that free ranging your kids may be part of what stops those prone from plumping up a tad. They are desperate for the favoured battery style child rearing that we grown ups have favoured should prevail.

Those tucked up in bed vary in size widely it's true, but that's the point, it's the poorest kids who tend to be out at that time.

It's somewhat of a cultural thing, far more children used to be out like that, then a lot of parents stopped that and it's become a sign of almost a sign of bad parenting-such is how our insecurities work. I'd go so far as to say it's perceived as neglect and seen almost as an 'underclass' thing.

So those kind of children remain. Now others that they hang out with must be fatter, there is overlap between them they are family and friends too. But I would doubt one could say that on average they are not thinner.

It does of course depend on how you measure income. Maybe what I observe is too finite in difference to show up. Maybe it's as much a difference in mindset cultural aspiration, connections etc.,

The children I speak of, it's easy to mis characterize by looking some of the people I went to school with were the same still I feel the need to be careful, but they seem a little bit more, maybe not wild, less repressed by petty bourgeois style manners.

They see a little more relaxed and louche, not so uptight, sometimes they are polite, sometimes not. There's a different atmosphere around them, a bit of a swagger, they project a sense of ease that they may not wholly feel, only somewhat, although I don't wish to exaggerate this. They have their constraints the same as anyone else, probably more. Just different.

Maybe because their aspirations tend to be more accepting of their situation, i.e. they wish to make something out of what's around them more than aspire to things more outside their environmental milieu, maybe that has an effect on their countenance and maybe that's part of the divide. At least at younger ages.

It's not necessarily that they always do worse than their peers, it's more that others are brought up in an atmosphere where there is more pressure on them is a lot more pronounced, where with them, there's more a sense of encourage and talk, but it kind of gets left up to them. They are stopped more by outer dictates than inner ones, and that's probably why people accuse them of having 'no discipline'.

Progress into certain professions and jobs maybe reflect what we'd all be like if no-one was "pushed". Before anyone gets the idea that I'm judging, try to remember that if you are born into a middle class family where say, your mother's a teacher and your father an accountant and you wish to be a doctor, you are not strictly speaking really aiming higher either. And you are praised for not doing so as if you are.

You don't have to, you're already 'respectable' and aiming for no greater than you were born in is seen as perfectly admirable. People like this, and the middle class seem to be more likely to be thinner.

Those who tend to be fatter are not necessarily the poorest of the poor, but the aspirant poor. They are taught to aspire. Just beneath the middle class and above the poorest. In a way, being in this kind of group can be a bit like trying to change your weight, at some point there is a danger of burnout along the way and that probably sees off quite a few from reaching their goals.

They are not settled and yet they become accustomed to an environment they are supposed to concentrate on exiting, they wish to rise to aim higher they are taught not to be satisfied with their environs. They have a low income and mix with the poor, but have more bourgie views, aspirations and repressions. They have to learn to view themselves from the outside in, although this is not necessarily clear in their youth.

It would be funny if so like fatness, seems more likely to fatness, i.e. it fatness finds it's meter in existences like fat experience.

Therefore the underlying message they get that the other kind of people I mentioned maybe don't get at home is, that they are not quite good enough as they are. If you are why better it?

That feeling of not being quite good enough is not expressly stated, on the contrary you see yourself as a good person with good intentions. But if you consider it, it gives a root for the anti obesity rhetoric to bind on. It even sounds like the idea of obesity, not quite good enough, but can try harder.

Then at a certain point, the combination of never feeling quite good enough, striving to be better which may require you to be more sedentary-against your desires and instincts to move you have to fight those, to study, to learn, sacrifices have to be made-which is the key as much as anything. You are always striving, never quite at ease with yourself, not being able to quite identify with your surrounds without feeling you must surmount them. And yet if you don't strive this way, it could mean propping up society's bottom. Especially if you come from an immigrant background.

What none who wish to sell obesity and some who you might expect to be a bit more sceptical do not wish to say is that fatness is often about striving beyond your comfort zone and possibly a little past your inner resources; at least for a time and hanging in there to do the things you don't want to do. That doesn't come for free. This is one of the stories some strangely allied do not tell about fatness. I'm thinking of those who wish to use low income fatness to 'prove' fat people are oppressed. As is the fashion among many groupings.

It's about being trapped in responsibility at every turn, all can change or alter your metabolism and by that your appetite and hunger which respond to your needs. Something that appears to be ignored, but I have a feeling is noted and in this way, it can become a way of identifying certain groups you wish to put pressure on. Those who impertinently wish to fulfil their potential, rather than leave it to the ubiquitous middle, middles. It's remarkable how sensitive some people's bodies and/or minds are-in the short to medium term at least and others not so under the same circumstances.

It is this kind of background of cross currents of stress, plus the striving and enough food to eat, and by that I don't mean excess or not, but regular meals, that seem to provide an advantageous atmosphere for fatness.

Striving to better yourself may be good for you or your family in the long run, but it can take it's toll on your body and it is .here that fatness seems a little bit more likely to be called into action earlier. And thus exposes some of the more self defeating ironies of healthist dogma, what you gain by maybe achieving a better life, maybe compromised by taking a toll on your health, eventually.

If you remain too, of course. And that's the rub, whilst we can look at the stresses on us, we were not meant to leave a pristine corpse as they used to say.

It's why I see one of the less visible themes of the crisis to be an attack on those who strive to better themselves, even if it ends up by being not much. One has to be careful that this low income link is not used to obscure this reassessment by the those who are trying to pull up the ladder, to narrow or close the door on energetic potential 'interlopers'.

Those health advisers often betray their disregard of people, by giving them another extra burden of responsibility, that is time consuming energy wasting, when that time is needed for extra study and chores to help working parents out and other things.

There's a false 'morality' going on here regarding the so called morality of exercise and healthy eating. It is often just the way of enforcing social distinctions. 'Morality' often gets introduced when things are needed to cover ulterior motives.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Softly, softly

A direct assault on weight loss is probably the wrong way around for most people.

If weight is anything over and above genetically pre-determined, then it is as a side effect of other things.

It's easy to forget that our body is one, it's all connected up everything is intertwined.

It seems extraordinary now to think that I ever thought of it any differently, why would the way we think and feel not affect our body functions, such as the way it makes use of energy?

We need to do ourselves a kindness and learn to step softly

Monday, 1 December 2008

Diet? No need for scam

Through Hera Telia's post today, I found out about this diet scam website. Interestingly enough, it hasn't been updated for years, possibly because the author has realised that the word 'scam' coming after the word, 'diet' is a redundancy.

Dieting has become a scam on all levels because people refuse to accept the truth about it. The site mentions the usual stuff about how fad diets are bad high protein diets are unhealthy, not mentioning that it's recent revival was lead by a heart doctor. It gives all sorts of tips on healthy weight loss, such as don't skip meals, which should be pretend you aren't skipping meals, as lowering calories is skipping meals and rearranging the meals you have left in order to look as if you haven't skipped a meal. Why this should work is a mystery, but it's success along with other wise tips can be found in the apparently burgeoning obesity rate. One that often comes up is shown here as a myth;

"I can lose weight whilst eating anything I want".

According to calorie restriction, this should easily be true, and indeed to be fair the site author says: 'When trying to lose weight, you can still eat your favorite foods—as long as you pay attention to the total number of calories that you eat.' it's not a myth then is it?

But what is shows is the underlying attitudes towards weight loss, even if it's in the rules, if it may not hurt or be less than unpleasant, it feels wrong, even though it isn't by the rules of the game. This resentment of anything that smacks of freedom or lack of pain is part of the whole mythology of dieting, even though many try to claim this is just down to people bringing bad attitudes to dieting, I believe that it is the other way around, there is something about dieting that lends itself to a hatred of pleasure, comfort or ease. Which is why I've feel that there is a degeneracy intrinsic to dieting that simply isn't being faced by those who try to rescue it.

Dieting is not worth saving, weight loss though is, for reasons stated in this post.

A lot of people within fat acceptance will not like this, but they have fallen into the trap of those who pretend weight loss must equal pain and suffering- it is a deliberate strategy and it's about time to wake up to that fact.

Its' a strange idea for many that weight loss from deliberate reduction of calories is not the same as spontaneous weight loss, usually as a side effect of some other change of circumstance, psychology. Diets and other calorie manipulation, tries to jump the gun, behaving as if pretending to be slim resolves underlying cause.

It's hard to make this distinction because of the manipulation to direct everyone into the dieting cul de sac, which the majority of us have bought into, it is a biological kink that needs to be better understood in order to rescue weight loss from the hell that is calorie manipulation.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Weight shouldn't be an issue for feminists, but is

I have to admit I had some fun reading this. Of course the writer is rightly outraged at Germaine Greer's claim that thinness should preclude you from being a feminist icon, not a feminist, a woman or a sentient being, merely a feministicon.

If Greer's views on slimness are vexatious her views on fat have had a varied trajectory. She isn't alone, Joan Smith has lots to say on the matter, apparently originally inspired by her father, a smoker Because as we know, being a smoker is just like being a fat person, anyhow it's nice to know that this has inspired an intense sense of duty in Joan to warn fat people of their impending doom if they don't stop smoking food.

These days, obesity is anything but a joke, but a feeling that fat people are funny and pathetic persists, not least because severe weight problems are unevenly distributed in terms of class. In gatherings of affluent, health-conscious people, I hardly ever see obese individuals, but bus stations and cut-price supermarkets are full of them. I am struck by their evident physical discomfort and embarrassment, as they try to fit themselves into seats and spaces designed for healthy people.

Nice, classism Joan! And then, appropos of nothing:
...there's nothing funny about three-year-olds who are so fat they can't breathe.

Thanks, for the tip, next time I see a fat non breathing three year old, I'll remeber not to find it funny.

Feminism has a lot to work out when it comes to weight, fat or thin, when Greer was slim or the memory of slimness was still her internal body image picture, we all have one we carry around that we think of ourselves as, until we correct it with the vision of how we really look, she had a problem with fatness, now it seems that picture is sufficiently frayed enough around the edges, that she now instinctively feels it's time to start on the slender, that's how personal weight is. It goes beyond ethics beliefs and rationality in fact.

This is turning out to be a real lost opportunity for feminism.
As for Cheryl Cole, I find it hard to forget that she this, she was subsequently convicted

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Running around in the wake of punkings

I wonder if those who set themselves up as the arbiters of all reason know what an empty conceit moderation is, and throwing it around like it means something often shows an empty head posing as a wise one.

Why do people think that a mythical standard of moderation can stand in for depriving children of playgrounds, the closure of public sports facilities such as swimming baths, removal of park wardens and others who's pride in their work helped to keep the balance of rules and regulations that made streets safe enough for children to play 'unsupervised'?

Children do not require encouragement to run around and play unless their natural enthusiasm for moving themselves around has been compromised or derailed by obstacles placed in it's path. Provide space and they will play. Helping to lay the foundations of competence that adult fitness is often partly based on. There's also the emotional stability that is promoted by being able to express yourself physically along with the emotional release, and feelings of being free and unencumbered.

The absence of this can cause a drift into a similar release, sex. Not necessarily wrong, but sometimes coming to it for certain needs can affect the ability to feel and be more at the centre of ones desires-rather than feeling unbalanced by them- therefore more prone to someone else inveigling themselves into that centre. Thwarting their ability to, just let go, day after day, is a denial of their spiritual expressiveness.

The hollowing out of certain aspects of civil society that enables children to be free to explore their environment and learn to manage acceptable risk to the point where the lawless, the severely damaged, and those whom parents fear will prey on them. Encroach on the balance of the streets, helping to push children either indoors or in the closely supervised activities of purely adult design. As opposed to their own.

We in society seemed to have kept voting for this and are oh so shocked at what we claim are it's effects, the ones that often are we ignore and wring our hands wondering why we have so many children with 'bad nerves' it couldn't be down to us, it must be what they eat or better still the 'lazy' children themselves, never the 'liberation' of our desires, for the overweening triumph of our favoured love object; the motor car.

Disconnected, meaningless and frankly disingenuous lectures in 'moderation' waste the opportunity to address these issues. And decide on a better balance between our desires and the needs of young humans to grow and develop the skills they need to survive and thrive in this world. They will not take down 'no ball game' signs, or bring the roads back under the control of children playing football when there were few enough cars.

Progress is progress, I'm not saying that it doesn't bring benefits, I can understand the joy and sense of freedom the car has brought, ironic really when you consider that it's replacing the joy and sense of freedom of children with those of adults, but those are decisions we've made and we must deal with the downsides, not tout banal fatuity's and thinking it's OK to be upset by the consequences, real or imagined.

We know play is the work of children, it still is even if we decide that some kids aren't worth making provision for. Don't expect that to come for free. The cost could have been calculated but in the fug of classism, consequences are overlooked. And the overlooked must 'take responsibility' trying to somehow absorb and hide decisions made to disregard their needs.

Trying to shield the conscience by blaming and shaming, oh those people are so immoderate that's their trouble, won't substitute. They don't count, they're not worthwhile enough, then you are disgusted by what might be evidence of impact, rather than putting up your hands and saying, let's learn from this and sort it out and move on, knowing better the value of things we instinctively knew were valuable and realising there are costs to denying that value even to those ascribed lesser value than the convenience of others.

It should not be the duty of those who's needs are not considered important to have to try and outrun the extent of that disregard.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Reluctant conclusion

It all started again for me with this.

This bit in particular caught my eye:

Here’s the thing: I do not get glowing responses or praise from people on either extreme - not the hardcore FAers, and not the hardcore anti-FAers. I do not get support from the people who just want the other side to go away, and don’t particularly care if they’re “converted”. The extreme anti-FAers can’t wait for the fuss over FA to die out - they don’t really care if FA people decide they want to lose weight. The extreme FAers aren’t all that different: they don’t seem to care if the anti-FAers decide that it’s okay to be fat - they just want them to shut up and go away

I came into this fully expecting to engage with a variety of views and stances, I thought others would be interested and wish to engage with what we have to say, they don't. They wish to maintain the views they already have. That's of course up to them, the problem is they present this as "debate", because they don't seem to wish to acknowledge that they only want to maintain their views and beliefs, they prefer to feel they have won the "debate". So as long as they keep fat people in the same position as before-erased, they feel that is a debate and they are winning. Anything else would be a loss to them and they don't want to get it right, they want to keep winning.

I didn't realise this until I got involved and I've come to the reluctant conclusion that there is no real discussion to be had. Anymore than there is with a born again Christian. I don't "debate" with them either because they believe in what they believe and wish to have it that way. The difference is they know they believe and aren't ashamed that they have beliefs which they wish to hold and shore up against disbelief.

Extreme FA is much touted but doesn't seem very evident to me. There's a difference between an extreme response and an extreme view. Those accused of being extreme, don't represent it as far as I can see. It seems a definition borne of a need to position yourself according to your own view of yourself.

There are two definitions of radical, one is root, that is the essence of an idea, the other is extreme, the absolute end of where an idea can go. The former is important, and it could be great if FA could develop this. The other definition is the one is the somewhat elusive one.

People's personalities can differ from their views. Some People have expansive personalities and narrow views, others vice versa. Some people take a rather strict view of how others should behave, that represents the way they see the world rather than the view itself. Confusing these factors causes people to think someone is being radical in view, when it's really more about their character and how they tend to respond to things.That can affect their views, but not necessarily.

Some have a higher/lower tolerance for disagreement than others, that's not clearly obvious from the ways they define themselves. Some who identify as moderates have a very immoderate view of those they disagree with.

People's desire to create radical FA though, is interesting, it strikes me, although I'm not sure about this case as an attempt to stifle progress. If you think you're at the edge of the precipice, you're more likely to freeze, than if you feel you have further to go.

As it is, I'm not even sure radical FA is necessary. FA has the potential to be radical enough because of the space it occupies and the different threads and themes invested in it, the need to develop a radical extreme is redundant, so far. If some feel that we should just disturb things as minimally as possible to achieve our aims, it may seem radical to wish to go further, however, those don't want to rock the boat seem to me to be trying to be a little bit pregnant. It's not likely to work and that's not because of fat people, but because of what society has decided fat stands for.

Everyone it seems find all this deeply scary. We are as much part of society as those against FA and we are as averse to change as they are. The irony is, the effect of living with the societal view of fatness has come to necessitate the very change everyone wishes to avoid and that's also why people don't want to discuss or debate, they wish to reiterate.

Here, the division into one side; FA and t'other anti-FA, sounds fair and reasonable, but isn't, it's a false division. It's more like two parallel lines that don't really meet, although they may at times appear to. We are sides only by the necessity of both to say what they feel. Both sides wish to engage on their own terms. I've engaged on anti FA's terms already, that's what's brought me to this point. If I was amenable to going back, I wouldn't have got involved in the first place, it's taken me a hell of a lot of time and thought, to swim upstream against a very strong tide.

I cannot for the life of me work out what is a discussion about someone telling me that I need to start doing what I've already done, need to start thinking thoughts I've thought and worked through. My doubts are purely about memory, not about the position I hold, because I have a general idea of what I think. It isn't what I've been told by those who oppose me and they don't seem to care.

It's not that I don't care, it's just hard to gain a point of engagement with those determined to keep their distance. I can see that bridging the gap for them would undermine their beliefs, so I cannot see why they'd want to, unless they were naive enough to believe that they've debated their way into telling me and others their own lives. The disconnection starts with them, it's only FA that has a reason to engage, in order to try and add fat people's voices to the mix. That is the very thing that has permitted the triumph of the anti FA view.

Engaging with them on their own terms just means going back where you've been. Which is possibly why FA seems underdeveloped, it keeps going round and round in circles. It's time to move on.

At one point Lindsay said she couldn't just give up, talking to those against FA, I didn't want to either, but I feel like I'm wasting my time and I have other needs I wish to fulfil. I didn't get into this primarily to engage with what I wish to leave behind in a way that goes nowhere. But if you do, then that's what you bring to the mix, not everyone can do this.

I haven't given up, or rejecting communicating with others, I just haven't found a language that can reach beyond the same old same old. If you have, best of luck to you.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Natural weight

After reading this, the phrase, 'natural size' stood out for me. I felt the need to express the fact that not everyone, specifically in FA, sees weight in this way.

Because people tend to rebound; after dieting back to their previous weight, people have come to the conclusion that the previous weight is their natural weight or the weight they were meant to be.

I can't see it this way.

I don't believe that wherever we happen to land on the weight scale can be described as our true weight, because our emotional needs are part of our nutritional requirements, if they are unbalanced, that can and does affect our eating and/or weight. This of course varies and it is not the only factor nor necessarily the most important factor, although it does seem to be in some more than in others, which maybe why some people lose weight as a direct or indirect consequence of emotional change or resolution.

If natural means, inevitable, then I do not believe that with so many stresses, strains, misdirection's and disordered ideas thrown at us that we can state with confidence that most of us are at our natural size.

Wherever we have landed is possibly just our current version of it.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Calories do and don't count

We all like to flip-flop with this one.

Some say that calories don't count, some who've tried to lose weight unsuccessfully say that eating a certain amount of calories doesn't guarantee, that you will lose weight, keep or keep it off. Or that a certain total intake will not lose you the amount of weight you have been lead to believe. Those same people claim that if you are on a diet, you must be starving and suffering- you may be either/or, or neither. But a blanket assumption contradicts their opining of metabolic variety and unpredictability. They look at skinny people and say you don't eat x, you probably eat y, but by their own view, that is open to doubt.

Then there are those who pooh-pooh metabolic variety, expressing the view that it is a cover for greed and indolence. But then go on to blithely claim that high fat foods cause weight gain, because they under satisfy. They taste too good they're unctuousness corrupts the palate, provoking constant cravings for them. This creates a cycle of fatty tasty food, which fails to satisfy prompting more cravings for more fatty foods etc.

The problem is that can only be so if calories don't count, or count differently when it comes to fatty foods. Calories are in essence, energy. When you're hungry above all else this is what you require, therefore high calorie food cannot be any less satisfying than anything other food because calories are calories and they count the same. Calories must lead to satiety; we can't be satisfied by any number of vitamin pills, we must have energy.

Unless energy, is somehow, not energy.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Dieting one and the same as weight loss?

Dieting is not the whole of weight loss. It is a an idea of (how to attain conscious controlled) weight loss.

We've been sold this pup by the weight loss diet industry and those who've brainwashed us into believing anorexia is just a lifestyle choice open to all. It stops us comparing dieting to the way our bodies lose weight naturally or as a consequence of everyday metabolic variances. Fusing the two as one, means we compare the discomfort, pain and ineffectiveness of weight loss dieting only to itself.

Think about it, we know that weight loss is part of our every day existence. Saying that we cannot lose weight is a nonsense, virtually every one does. For instance, when we get up in the morning, we weigh less than later in the day- as we are liable to have had something to eat.

We tend to weigh less in the morning, more after eating. Through the day our weight tends to vary, maybe not by much for most people. This doesn't feel like dieting, in fact, a lot of the time it doesn't trouble us unduly. The fact that this is may not be very much isn't the point, what it shows is that weight loss isn't intrinsically unpleasant, that is weight loss dieting.

Conflating the two means weight loss gets tarred with the brush of weight loss dieting's punishing nature. That helps to facilitate weight loss dieting which would seem even more senseless than it does now. It would also put pressure on those concerned to come up with better ways, as the pseudo moralism also shoring up weight loss dieting would be shown up more clearly for the tendentious nonsense it is.

Dieting as the only form of weight loss comes from the desire to deliberate lose a determined amount of weight consistently, because we cannot key into the everyday weight loss that occurs outside our will and extend it to the amounts we wish, as a matter of course. We want control and weight loss dieting offers this and that is as far as it goes.

An idea that promising what it cannot deliver. It's the desire for this weight loss, for control and agency over our bodies, that keeps us coming back to it, we have found no substitute. I say we, by this I mean us in the West, my susicions are that many societies have found ways to deal effectively with weight.

Cutting calories doesn't translate into using up fat stores, the way it's supposed to. Your metabolism has the capacity to vary the amount of calories it expends just existing -called the basal metabolic rate. It has the capacity to vary the amount and rate at which it uses up the energy available to it. That's why people, if they do lose weight, tend to lose more weight at the start of their exertions and less, a couple of weeks or so in, as their body makes it's metabolic adaptations.

The are many other things that make diet fail a multifarious and multi layered process. These have nothing whatsoever to do with the human character, will, willpower or lack of any of these. The reasons are intrinsic to the nature of dieting itself and it's effect on human biology.

A forced famine of the deathcamp or a natural disaster cannot be compared to a voluntary famine, when you know there is no reason for you to be denied what your body needs, you internal impetus will be to fight it off. If the famine is forced that isn't much of an option.

The body's unforseen response turns out to be similar, regardless of what type of famine is being imposed on it. Putting voluntary faministas on the back foot because the conscious impulse to lose weight barely counts in this. It simply isn't the most powerful factor, our survival instincts are. The expectation that the body would just acquiesce and give in to a weight loss diet has undermined beyond any reasonable doubt. And it's time to get over that and stop being bratty about it. We cannot demand biology functions according to our fantasies. This isn't a fairy tale, it's real.

Rather than people "coming off their diets" or "returning to their old habits", the ability to sustain the diet, unravels before them. Like the ability to willfully stay awake, indefinitely, unravels as you are consumed by the body's need for sleep. It just creeps up and submerges you. You cannot fight it very well because what you're fighting with is part of that instinct to fight you. It's as hopeless as it is stupid.

Our minds are part of these defence system too, something we often overlook, cruelly, as that can fool people into thinking that they are willfully having bad thoughts and are somehow mentally compromised. When it is their nervous system's recruitment of increasing areas of available brainpower that actually creates impulses that they then rationalise.

All this happens because of weight loss dieting, not weight loss per se.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Your reputation preceeds you

When it comes to being fat that is.

The surprise that you are capable of sayng no to food, especially the things you are supposed to major in. That is biscuits, cakes, chocolate especially, many's the time pepole have been met with uncomprehension, shock, feel they just must have misheard, when I've turned down these things. It's also the case when I've not been hungry when I 'supposed' to be. I had no idea that one of my vocations as a fat person, was to facilitate and enable people's eating.

It's as if some people feel a bit uncomfortable, if I'm not eating and they are, as if they'll be hell for them to pay somehow.

This could be amusing, but actually the presumption plus the persistence of your tormentor; plus the way they examine your face minutely, for what our amateur psychologist sees as any sign of strain or (inevitable, surely) falsehood on your part, gets tiresome, quicker than you would expect.

The thing is, when you stop trying to deny yourself things, you have a chance of getting over them just a tad. For doesn't necessarily excite me, it depends on how I feel, even if I'm hungry, I sometimes just don't care about food, I decide what to eat and just do it. This may not sound very nice, but frankly I find the variety of response liberating.

It shows that the obesity personna is a bit of a drag on people who are not it's direct targets (or actually are they, more about that later)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

What! No title?

Ok, it's about time to bypass the blockage.

I'm not the kind of person to say, it's just tone of those things, obviously it's about me and some little traps I've fallen into.

My first interest in the fatosphere, was to exchange views regarding all things fat, I took for granted that somewhere, people would be ready to here thoughtful considered first-hand observations on why people were not losing weight and becoming thin as anyone would reasonably expect, given the sense that the 'problem' of fatness was solved by calorie manipulation.

I thought that intelligent people would be surprised, find it hard to take in, above but above all, they'd be interested, fascinated even. Maybe a few mischievous souls might be a little excited in anticipation of another shibboleth biting the dust.

Nothing prepared me for what actually transpired, suffice to say, little of any the above apart from certain parts of the fatosphere.

This has rather left it hard for me to situate what I have to say in the path of the stream.

This is down to me, I suppose you could call it courage of convictions. I'm not used to boldly declaring I'm going this way. Reality has solved that issue in the sense that my I am somewhat persona non grata, this is somewhat, although by no means wholly due to my own failings.

I am alone, and I have to ask myself, do I want it that way? I don't feel that I do, I like to interact with others, but I also like to shut them out, maybe the latter is more to the fore than I would have thought.

More than anything, I wish to move forward, but it's the physchological attachments that are proving harder to negotiate, than I'd ever imagined.

* Amended to add a title

Monday, 10 November 2008

No taunters we

When the truth about the efficacy of diets is discussed, a lot of people take the view that this is done with gleeful malice and spite, not so. What they never consider is that those who understand this have tried them. Repeatedly and failed. They don't seem to conceive that we were as disappointed and angry as them, even more so as we desperately counted on them to work and save us from fat hating inside even more than out in some cases. We invested in them just as much as anyone else, if not more so.

When we could finally acknowledge the truth ourselves, for some of us this has taken years. We weren't exactly breaking out the bunting saying, 'yippee, no more diets for we!' Our hopes and dreams crashed to the floor. We had to re-arrange our hopes and dreams, some of us had to backtrack sharply enough to get whiplash, on some of our ideas about ourselves. It hasn't been pretty or easy for us and we've done in mostly alone, in the face of many who wish us to keep on, at little cost to themselves, whilst harming us, sometimes greatly. The longer you continue, the greater the ripple effect potential of this harm as it spreads to greater and greater areas of your life. That's what stops you in the end, the cost of continuing is way too high in too many areas of your life.

The truth about dieting is not a taunt.There is nothing to taunt anyone else about without taunting ourselves. It is bitter realisation that often comes at great expense to us all the way around, whether we continue or stop.

The idea that we are gleeful and somehow getting at those still holding out for diets to come good, is about a person's investment in diets being effective. I'm sorry about that, but I cannot not tell the truth because of this.

I didn't reason my way out of dieting, or losing weight by healthy eating. I was stopped physically by burn out. I had to let go because I was hanging by my fingertips and eventually, the ability to hold simply gave out. Even then, I expected my enforced break from healthy eating/dieting to be only as long as it needed to be. And then back to before, but hopefully better, because one must always have hope. One has precious little else.

Weight loss diet burn out is a fascinating and under reported phenomena where your ability to diet simply breaks down. It seems to be a bit like being suddenly thrown by a horse you've been riding. Someone once described it as having a nervous breakdown but just in this one area.

You can get over it, but like a full one, only rest will do it. It was from there that I decided to take a different approach, you see, I expected to continue once I'd recovered.

But things didn't turn out that way and I crept slowly toward a different direction, trying to cling on and stick with it all the way. Until I managed to accept that I had to begin to try and move on. The ripple effect of negativity I spoke of meant that certain things were really catching up for me. I had to decide to force myself to stop hating myself, because I wasn't functioning in any way and I could stand this no longer. I actually felt a little bit down about that as it was a long road back.

But it was the moment I started to repair my negative mindset in general, that was enough to waylay my dieting course. I began to realise that self loathing was an integral part of being able to stick to a diet, even in the form of a healthy living plan. Before this, I'd assumed my extreme negativity came from my diet failure, now I could see that it was more that I was demanding weight loss via this route and my mind and body were facilitating it the only way possible. Through self loathing, this is easy to dismiss as, it's because I'm fat, and so it goes.

And all this started well before I could begin to feel OK about myself. That's how I knew that the game was well and truly up. If I wanted to continue, I'd have to stay hating myself, I actually would have considered it, if it wasn't having such a dysfunctional effect on the rest of my life! Can you believe that? But I see it in so many others too.

Something that had expanded sneakily into my life and consciousness was suddenly over, kaput. I had come to the end I felt very lost indeed. It's taken a long time to realise just how deep this has gone how hard it has been to change course. I get why people find that too much. If I'd known it wouldn't have stopped me, but I would have been warned.

So when people hear us say, diets don't work, we have more than earned the right to say it, if one was necessary, which it isn't. We've done our time.

We aren't arrivistes or dilettantes who flit around taunting the efforts of our more earnest fellow humans, we are the earnest triers who've been smacked out of our stupor by brutal reality. And you think you're hurting?

We've tried and we've not so much failed as had feedback, which we've finally decided to listen to, because we've finally cottoned on that it's not going to change and sustaining the illusion is no longer tenable.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

101 MBA

A blog defining intuitive eating got me thinking about why I'm not really on board with it, except in limited circumstances. Although the advice it gives is well worth reading and I don't disagree with too much.

It starts from the notion of dieting as if it is a viable way of eating and other forms of eating require some kind of definition in relation to it. This does the usual thing of respecting that the slimming industry is the all wise expert in human eating; when its tawdry non product has proven that to be false at virtually every turn. To Sum it up, it suggests dieting is consciously directed eating and therefore normal eating is a kind of like an inexact guessing game, in comparison.

Not only is this wrong, it normalizes dieting and behaves as if it is viable way of eating and there’s this other form of eating which uses 'intuition’. It is misleading and gives dieting too much credit and proper eating too little. The latter is hugely complex and above all incredibly accurate. Our default underestimation of this is due to diet industry propagandizing for the purpose of undermining our trust in it's precision in order to transfer that to the appearance of accuracy that is slimming.

Its capacity for preciseness is suggested by the way that when we put weight back on after a diet, even though we may be eating wildly and our metabolism may appear to have tanked. It still tends to stop more or less where it started. That is unnerving if you begin to consider all the variables.

It has to be able to calculate your needs well enough to maintain your health and is in a better position to be so than your conscious mind which is not connected as directly to all the parts of your body and their individual and collective requirements. In other words, our true eating processes are designed for the purpose and the conscious mind is designed to behave as if its in charge.

Dieting is simply not a real option. It is fantasy of how we think would work if it was controlled wholly by our conscious control mechanisms. Therefore, nothing real should be defined against it, unless to show how ill conceived and useless it has turned out to be.

Normal eating, for want of a better term is simply the only way we really eat, unless we have special dietary concerns due to actual illness dysfunction or special nutritional needs, due to a temporary or permanent condition.

Our hunger signals tell us we need energy and those of our appetite tell us the kind of things that will deliver this and the full list of other nutrients we require or as close as we can get to this given our own preferences and what is available.

There is no other way of eating that is more intrinsic to us. Everything else comes from, out of it or is superimposed onto it. The last one is the cause of the problems of dietary and especially calorie restriction. The threat of compromise to the energy stores though is the most serious of all and that is why dieting is ill conceived and it ignores the fact that it is being imposed on something that is there already and will have to adjust to its imposition. Dieting just goes on ahead and attacks where the body’s defences are their strongest, most overwhelming and comprehensive.

Intuitive eating can only be about discovering that this underlying process can only be compromised by spontaneous factors or deliberately by trying to interfere unduly with eating. It goes on regardless of what we think we can just up and choose to do with our eating and to a lesser extent, our appetite. Unless our needs change.

The term intuitive shows how accustomed we’ve become to the premise that we have full direct conscious control of our eating-we don’t and that has been proven by the failure of dieting. What attempting it does is bang our signals around and send them into a tizzy erratic mis-firing, increasingly divorced from actual need and closer to being dominated by the need to defend supply of energy, of life itself.

We feel all this as having a pretty messed up relationship with food sometimes to unimaginable extremes. It’s like a wound that is sore and keeps opening itself up. We need to stop that and allow it to heal. In order to do this, we may have to try reducing our interaction with the conscious part of eating to the barest minimum. That is the attempt to stop the wound opening.

We can't totally stop conscious input, completely. We still have to choose what to eat, whether we are listening to our bodies. I don’t think we have to our nervous system does that; we just have to receive and interpret the information. We always have to think about food, we have to think about how to get it, how to get the means to get it, and where, how to prepare it, what to serve it on, where to eat it and so on.

What IE is getting at is to stop trying to roll back the habits of the diet mentality; of naughty treats, fear and hatred of food, thinking about food as causing fatness which you of course hate too etc., And the dieting mindset which is an on-going campaign of constant denial, thwarting and interference with hunger and appetite. It’s the denial of needs by all means including emotional manipulation as well, “I don’t deserve that because of my weight”.

This can cause so much disorder on so many levels, it can become more practical to abandon all conscious attempts to control your signals directly; full stop. This is a shame, because it's a good use of the conscious mind, to help us adapt to all situations and still be able to meet our needs. It's dieting's overstating of this that causes the problems, not the mere idea of this kind of conscious input.

The purpose of any period of IE, should be in order to recover this useful and import role for our minds. What feels like letting go of all control, is the letting go of false control to re-embrace the real one, eventually. By letting it be, they will begin to calm down and recover as fully as possible; to the point where they are no longer disordered. It can be crucial to use some (simple) kind of discipline to calm down overall.

One idea of IE type eating is we listen to our real hunger and our bodies and what they "tell" us to eat. For a start all hunger is real, it’s just that it has different purposes, if you wish to minimize the creation of unnecessary hunger it’s best not to provoke it by trying to make semi starvation a lifestyle. I think we interact with the telling or it just becomes too passive. Although I must emphasise at first it may be necessary to be this careful, I just don't feel it's desirable to prolong it forever.

I also reject the idea that your hunger and appetite may never recover and that it is the only way you can place it in the recovery position, if you like.

The problem is those who come off an extreme and long term dietary war of attrition. It must be realised that “what their bodies are likely to be telling them” is something like "let’s eat up as storm whilst her/his guard is down until s/he beats the crap out of us with another famine ambush".

"We know s/he will because s/he’s been doing so since kindergarten/many years and has done this time and time again, no matter what we’ve thrown at her/him. So let’s get as much on board to sink the next(anticipated) effort."

This anticipation can last a hell of a long time, it can become indefinite. And remember it is quite likely to be accompanied at least for some of the time, by the body in re-bound mode, which is when you put on weight you’ve lost on a diet or by expending energy. It's like a sort of hibernation like mode when rate of calories used seems to lessen, or rate or storage increase.

This must be taken into account more especially as it can put an attempt to get off the diet treadmill at risk when people might be most likely to waiver or be unnerved by it. FA cannot promise, nor should it, weight loss or even weight stabilization. However in view of the fact that this kind of adjustment can bring other problems I think it’s best to unless you cannot stand another moment, go a bit slowly if you can. Or do what I did, let go and keep checking back to see if it protests when you try to steer it off an overabundance of diet thwarters!

Try to give yourself, mind and body a chance to adjust to your new state of self respect.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Smoking addicts

People of reason please in the name of all that is sacred, stop the absurd comparing of fatness with smoking, stopping smoking with weight loss or 'lifestyle change'; which the nice person in me wants you to know, has been rumbled as a diet in disguise.

Smoking is not like eating in umm oh so many ways, number one; it satisfies absolutely no essential bodily need whatsoever.

Repeated claims are made by smokers as to what need it actually does satisfy, which seems to be just about whatever need the smoker has, calmer, soother, confidence booster stress reliever et al. It's most convincing service is as prop to the imagination. Which shows how important the human imagination is to us and how little we understand it. If we made better use of it, we wouldn't get into so many scrapes with chemicals that we've just got to ingest to achieve an effect that is perfectly within the grasp of our minds. Ho hum.

I know the fact of nicotine is supposed to be well-established, why else would anyone light a tuber of tobacco, suck it into their lungs, and blow it out like a dragon? But for the life of me, I've never been able to get a grip of why nicotine or any of the other numerous chemicals in a tab would cause you to be an 'addict'

It fulfils the criterion for addiction, which as you've probably noticed, isn't hard, as it's definition hasn't quite been definitively fixed. It's certainly bandied around with reckless abandon, one of the many things in life; that must cease now.

So what could possibly explain how seductive and hard to stop smoking is or can be for so many? Well one of things that we have to keep in mind about the body, is it is not just machinery of meat, as they say, one of it's many wonders that people can't get their heads around, is that the body produces and periodically releases pleasure chemicals in cycles.

The bit to note is this:
Endorphins are our body's natural opiates, produced when we experience stress.

The stress in question, is inhaling cigarette smoke. Keep doing it and the body learns to save the release of these pleasure chemicals for the inevitable, this is probably what makes you feel good about smoking and what you are addicted to and that is real as the body's opiates are apparently more powerful than heroin.

As I understand it, what happens when you are addicted to opiates, say heroin or cocaine, this can cause the body to reduce production of these and other pleasure chemicals, which is the physiological basis for addiction. With smoking the rhythm is disrupted, the body doesn't produce more of these chemicals, it releases less at other times so that it can cover the toxic inflow. When you stop, your body has to adjust, that can take time. That's your addiction.

The mechanisms that regulate eating and weight, also use pleasure chemicals as part of a comprehensive set of whole body interactions. Every part of the body requires nourishment, every part is involved. The reason we keep comparing the facilitator of our existence to things of comparatively no import, is due to the traditional competition between addicts, for the prize of which addiction is the hardest to stop. That's fine but it all comes unstuck when trying to extend that thinking to eating.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

A crisis of obesiness

There is apparently, a crisis of obese persons. During this time dieting has been around. Weight loss surgery has been around, pills have been around. And yet still. The influence of the nutritionists has grown, people repeat their advice up hill and down dale.

This lack of impact might embarrass lesser souls, but the food police remain undaunted by any shame or even a sense humility reticence No matter their irrelevancy, they are fresh as daisies with their assumption of knowing the answer. Thank goodness for that, they are my inspiration in recovering from their career making shaming of fat people. Glad to be of assistance. Charity is an excellent virtue.

Warnings have been issued, you will get sick, you will die. Diktats have been asserted. Motivation has been coined, what about your children, your spouse/partner, your country even.

Psychology, psychotherapy, therapy has been tried, all to no avail. It's seems the madness of fat people is incurable and yet strangely isn't showing up displaying itself in increased numbers in mental institutions and prisons. Miraculous.

Morality has been under the microscope, fat people have been constantly on trial. Urged to confess sins that are not supposed to be in any doubt. They need to hear it, but hearing it upsets them, not hearing it upsets them, everything upsets, them.

Somehow through it all, an obesity crisis has managed to cheekily rear it's naughty head. It's impertinence is staggering really.

Unlike me.

Bunged up

I appear to suffering from writers congestion, my am I glad I thought of that word, it's not that I can't think of what to write, it's that I can't seem to quite get it out in a way that makes sense, pah! It's getting on my nerves, I keep starting and leaving stuff unfinished. someone once said that when you get your ideas out of yourself, you're forced to new frontiers of knowledge, or was it that the vacuum sucked in more. Yeah right like the latter is likely. I'm willing to give it a try though, I feel like my thoughts go round and around getting a bit stale.

When I first joined fray a couple of years ago, I so wanted to speak, discuss things, I find to my horror, that I'm mocked ridiculed and apparently when I'm not being effortlessly offensive, I am impenetrable. Soouper.

I've always yearned to come across as a raving oddball hurtling into orbit, ranting away. OOhh, so exciting.

Friday, 24 October 2008

What does FA mean to me?

An interesting discussion at attrice's blog 123 has made me try yet again to put my finger on the the nub of what I find most alienating about FA. For me, it's the inability to question society's programming about being fat and losing weight and leave it behind.

I sympathise with feelings of no longer feeling part of FA, I too for very different reasons have similar feelings. This suggests to me that FA may be foundering by insisting on signing up to a whole set of arbitrary rules rather than concentrating on what we can, if anything, all agree on. This sometimes makes people feel that everything that anyone in fat acceptance says at any point in time-that they disagree with-is an intrinsic part of FA.

Being attentive and vigilant to assert and protect your rights-whoever said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance wasn't wrong-requires some real basis of self esteem. In a sense, fat hatred shows how political low self-esteem can really get, you are less likely to assert, protect and defend your rights, if you hate yourself and feel you are a lesser being. It tends to make you more obedient and lack the confidence to put yourself on the line, as well as the energy.

The path that has lead to FA, amongst other things, was a process of recovering a fuller sense of who I was. I could no longer defined by 'obese', it came to overshadow everything, and represented nothing.

FA is far from fully formed as to the full implications of what it means to start from a point of self acceptance for fat people, how can it compromise before it has been formed? This is yet again the prioritization of the needs of others, they can't understand FA, so that is FA's problem which it has to bend and mould itself around those who ever demanded that all along. These are the same old tactics that got our civil rights under threat in the first place. People who sell compromise are forgetting that fat people have already done everything that was asked of us and more. That has lead us here.

I don't wish to attack attrice, but she seems to be going back where she's been after having had a nice rest from what caused her to need an exit in the first place.


I'm feeling rather semi detached from the 'sphere right now. I'm not sure whether I have a place in it, or whether I'm just raving to myself.

I suppose that's really it, within in the fatosphere. It is created by the people that join in, it has no tribes or demarcations as such. I've taken the view that it doesn't matter about the approval of others, although that's always nice, it's more about just joining in.

But I'm used to being part of something, I'm finding this a far more difficult adjustment than I would ever have thought. It feels unsafe somehow and I think that's because it's about being fat.

I've spent all of my formative years and beyond thinking about it along certain lines. More especially, ignoring and suppressing my thoughts out of existence. Whenever I've tried tentatively to speak about it, I've never been able to get near the things I've wanted to speak of, the things that link within.

Shallow chats (they always seem to break off quickly) about 'there must be more to it than this', have given me a voracious appetite to vent. This has tripped me up and made my thinking scattershot, it's harder to connect than I thought, or at least, I expected that I would be able to connect and it seems that my expectations were too great.

Being or feeling like a lone voice has rarely scared me in the past, now I realise how much work was done by others. How much I've followed in the footsteps of others, or been surrounded by like minds.

It feels like this shouldn't be the hardest part, that should be changing perceptions, but it seems like everything's hard. And yet, somehow I feel like it shouldn't be because it's not earth shattering stuff is it? Expressing your point of view, from your own experience.

It's trying to find a path, I know what I want to say, but I'm not sure I have the courage to say it. I feel like I do, but then I feel like I need to balance it, which ends with pulling my punches.

For such a long time now, I've yearned to find others that can understand what I've been trying to speak of, to give voice to what has been so hard to say, surrounded by the din of others.

It's a surprise to find how hard that is, and yet not quite in the ways I expected.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

We're just going to have to do it ourselves

As they say, if you want something done well do it yourself. Over at Lindsay's blog [babble], reading yet another time wasting attempt to engage anti FA in some kind of meaningful dialogue ends in failure.

I must say I've become more sanguine about this than ever. When I first joined FA, I yearned for debate. Real head to head butting if necessary, in a spirit of mutual respect. I've just actually laughed out loud as I'm writing this to show how utterly disillusioned I've become.

First off we've got FA itself, and people who seem to think they have to tell what FA means and exactly how you must feel about it and yourself. This is inevitable, as the are always rules, but although I'll admit, I've overdone how much debate is possible about FA; people can't even be bothered to find out what it is, even if their minds are capable of making the distinctions that need to be made to grasp it. They don't seem to get that you've spent years of your precious life, suckered into exactly that, and when you finally overcome the initial stages of pure rage, to think that you could have been so credulous for so long, that the last thing you need is more of the same from the same type of people with the same attitudes and sense that they have an innate right to tell you what and who the hell you are.

I need a break from the overly entitled of the world, who think that it is their birthright to run things, from taking up residence in my head, thanks very much. This brings me to my point, those of us in FA who are of a more critical mindset, need to either in a loose alliance or separately, examine critically every bit of FA. We have to re-learn, in my case, what I've always taken for granted in any issue of contention, that is my ability to step outside myself, and leave my ego out of it.

Right now, mostly those in FA, are the ones that can truly understand and grasp some of the ideas of FA, properly. So it is going to be up to us to step outside ourselves and be the thoughtful critics that we need, regardless of the flak it may bring.

Friday, 10 October 2008

I threw away a piece of chocolate

Just the other day, for the first time I can remember, I had cause to throw away a piece of chocolate.

Now as a woman, I don't want to overstate the situation. The notion, for instance, that chocolate is somehow better than sex or other such nonsense, still continues to shock, I've always felt that mediocre sex is better than any chocolate in the world, come to it, any food in the world. I would also never mix the two, as I think that's really asinine.

The point is that I don't recall throwing away chocolate, merely because I didn't want it, like any other unwanted bit of partially eaten food. Somehow it never comes up, because either, I eat it all, or at best, I save the rest for later-later in the sense of about 5 minutes later.

To be honest, in recent times, I've kept chocolate for weeks, months even, usual put away and forgotten about- this is in itself is odd when I think about it, as I never used to be able to forget about chocolate, let alone, keep it, that I just didn't understand. But this time was different, first of all I realised that I didn't want it all, I stopped immediately - this was automatic; then I thought of folding it and putting it in my bag, but due mainly to the shape of the packet, this would have been likely to create a mess, in the past I would have bitten some off to reshape it, but I couldn't be doing with that this time, I said to myself, I'm going to chuck this, and I did!

I have to admit I felt I nanosecond's worth of pride, ouff! Vanity indeed! I asked myself why, I couldn't answer; because I don't really care that much about how much I eat, I have a trust of and in myself that I never used to have. I can only put it down to a bit of a throwback to the time when this just wouldn't have happened-except under duress.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Stages of dieting, part two

Rebound weight-gain, that is weight regained after a diet, is widely called, 'going back to your old habits', but really why would you?

You've been blown away by the sometimes astounding power of your appetite, pushed around by a body determined to thwart your efforts by almost any means available to it. tormented at every turn by exhaustion and boredom, and you've slowly grindingly managed to lose some weight; often over a period of weeks or months, sometimes years, why the hell would you go back to what apparently prompted all your efforts in the first place?

What you associate with all this suffering is what you would go back to, are you crazy? For what reason?

Your experience of your appetite and hunger may well have totally changed, for some for a while anyway, it may have calmed down considerably as I mentioned in stage two; it is what a lot of fat haters assume always happens all time when you restrict calories, they especially believe this with training the appetites of children. In truth it can occur, although it's as unpredictable and almost always temporary. What is predictable is that regardless of sometimes totally different experiences , failure is virtually inevitable. All tend to end up more or less back where they started, eventually; that is short to medium term, very rarely does it take that long.

The 'going back to old habits' is as predictable as a boomerang coming back, this is caused by you throwing it in the first place, in a similar way, the momentum of extreme calorie reduction is what is swinging back, that is the rebound, not conscious choice. In essence your eating is controlled by the very weight regulation mechanisms that you are attempting to ride roughshod over by dieting in the first place.

By dieting, you are declaring a war you will almost inevitably lose, on the very rare occasions that you somehow don't, are such an anomaly. The figure so often quoted is 95% failure, that means, every time you diet, you have a 95% chance of failure, that means out of millions a tiny number will succeed, and most others could spend a lifetime of never succeeding, that is as much a fact as the fact that there are and continue to be fat people.

Stages of dieting, part one

Stage 1

Pre dieting- This is when you've made up your mind, that you are going to start a dietary regime. Your appetite starts to lengthen itself and become more intense, in order to build up as many reserves against your intentions to starve it. No matter when you intend to begin, this will happen, if you decide that you will start after breakfast, your breakfast will be bigger, if it is Friday and you are starting on Monday, you will eat more from then on, whatever time you have, your appetite will expand as much as it can.

Stage 2

Dieting itself- The body fights like fury throw you off the diet, this of course is a continuation of stage one, the body uses it's most powerful tools, in hunger and appetite to achieve this. The intensity hunger can reach can truly beggar belief, you mind can actually enter states associated with mental illness, depression, hallucination even psychosis.

If you survive this bit and continue, the body seems to change tack and can start to fade somewhat, gradually or suddenly. Sometimes it's the other way around, you start off and it's shockingly easy, literally no or little resistance, then out of nowhere-after losing a relatively small amount- you hit a wall, then it's becomes a total grind if you can continue at all.

Stage 3

Post diet- That's when you either can no longer sustain the effort, or you finish your diet( and anything in between), the usual rebound of your hunger and appetite kicks in, as it is programmed to do.

That's right programmed.

It's very important that this is fully grasped, your body is supposed to make good the difference, however much you weigh, however little you have lost; a bit like when you donate your blood, your body replenishes that loss as fast and efficiently as it can.

It's not even unique to weight.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Junk the junk

Why is the term junk food narrowed to a particular set of foods? When so many are so much more deserving of it? Although it is obvious that people of all classes eat hamburgers/fried chicken, french fries, or chips as we call them over here, we still associate them with the lower orders.

Yet class has no bearing whatsoever on the desire and ability to produce good tasty food, we must know this, as we constantly here talk about peasant dishes and how wonderful and ingenious they are.

If you want to talk about junk, what about the uninspired, deracinated mish-mash, of pretention that is served up in certain types of urban bistro catering to certain types who have convinced themselves that they have elevated food sensibilities way above the hoi polloi?

Food that is simplistic, not simple though it often tries to pose as this, that is you get a piece of fancy bread, toast it, drizzle it with olive oil and then you then lean it artfully against some kind of protein, this kind of arrangement is supposed to hide the fact that this is just, a badly made sandwich, impractical to eat without love, only with plenty of life draining attitude, of what? 'I'm not common', presumably, but really who cares? It's a sandwich, and it won't look any prettier when its going down your gullet.

They say you eat with your eyes, but their are plenty of much loved dishes around this wide world that have been beat up by the ugly stick and remain highly favoured and enjoyed, by those who aren't shallow enough to reject good nourishing meals that are all arrangement and no substance.

I remember a magazine feature, on two families, one with a child that was fat and one with thin children. They showed what purported to be some of their everyday meals and the latter family, presented a baked potato with vegetable margarine and felafels-there might have been some greenery of some kind-but I was mesmerized by someone who had such a disconnect with what a meal is, that she had no sense of embarrassment about presenting this as representative of, ahem, her cuisine, I pitied her children a little.

Mind you, I didn't think overly of the other family's meals, but one of them was a roast dinner with three veg including potatoes, which is a good old favourite.

They of course got the usual fatuous nutritionist, has there ever been a more superfluous profession? Who predictably found favour with the starch protein overloaders who were exonerated because, they were nutritionally correct by their absurd and and often deranged criterion of disordered eating.

It has struck me for a while that it is unwise to call rich or calorie dense food junk, if we are supposed to be concerned with calories and we insist on eating anything that has a good measure of them, we should be marking this with an attitude of; this has a serious measure of calories, let's enjoy every scrap as if it were our last. Dismissing it as junk encourages us not to savour it, it leads more to us being in denial and being distracted in case we become aware of our sense of shame at our failure to eat in a more unreasonable and disordered manner. It's a form of waste, it's a bit like buying socks wearing them once and throwing them away.

We should hold these foods in more reverent and rapt attention, free of ill will of any kind toward ourselves for consuming them, or the food themselves, leaving us free to fully savour and enjoy.

Respect yourself, if you can't respect what you eat, don't eat it, if you can't not eat it, then you must respect it.

Monday, 15 September 2008

The differences between eating disorders

Looking at this discussion at Laura's blog
My answer to her question;are bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder different diseases is yes and no. They are distinct and different responses to the same crisis, that of trying to alter one's weight or state. The way these conditions tally must provide some insight into the body's reasoning. Bulimia is interesting as it doesn't directly co-incide with any particular distinct stage, it seems to be about the pre-diet stage one;where the body tries to discourage you by leaving your appetite and hunger open- in the overall way it develops, the actual diet itself;stage two- due to the purging/vomitting which can become a low calorie diet by default. It is because of this that it is tied to anorexia but in a way, is the link between all three of the other disorders. The desire to manage weight or responses to life's challenges is the spur for all including bulimia, the body responds to this with the same instincts and urges as binge eating and compulsive eating disorders, the purging is an attempt to thwart this. Probably the naturalness of the vomitting accounts for the instinct to make oneself vomit. What has intrigued me and I've never gotten to the bottom of this, is why so many fat people seem to be phobic about vomitting, to the point where they will bear considerable discomfort to avoid it or find that they cannot. This is not just physical it is overwhelming emotionally as well. I used to thnk this could potentially answer a lot of questions and provide intesting leads. I am aware that this is controversial, especially the linking of anorexia to dieting. I get the feeling that anorexics are not longer quite so aggresively anti this link as they were in the past, but I think they still resist it. The argument used to hang on the fact that doctors used to label anorexia-the slimmer's disease.
I always thought that was a genuinely accurate shortand, but it was felt that it trivialised anorexia, it's funny but in my experience, it's the other way around, this thinking has hopelessly trivialised dieting.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Wholistic metabolism

I take a holistic view of metabolism. Hunger and appetite must be integrated into a whole and not separated out, with hunger being ascribed to morality. This view has gained currency as result of the diet/weight hypothesis which attacks appetite and hunger- trying to bring about a condition which in nature signals the end of life. Restriction is promoted and wastefully expending energy touted as the route to regulating and controlling weight. When all it really does is run around after the fact of the spontaneous metabolic adjustments, that can lead to weight gain/loss.

Even when we let go of dieting, we still are left with a lot of assumptions that flow from its standpoint. It's one of many reasons dieting is so convincing; it doesn't come out of nothing, many of our cherished interpretations not just of eating and weight, but moral regulation, keep it in place.

There was a time not all that long ago in historic terms, when we didn't know that the brain was in our heads, it has been located near the heart and in the stomach ( I'll get back to that one another time) to name two of many locations. Our understanding of eating, as well as weight, which seemed pretty reasonable, now increasingly seems in more dubious and shallow than we thought.

Our adherence to a partial and restrictive view is holding up progress, what is disgusting about it is this is deliberate this is actually malicious, it exists to facilitate social engineering of the most regressive kind.

Returning our necessary desire to eat and our weight regulation to the body as a whole means it is logical to look at the nervous system as a vehicle for adjusting and/or readjusting these mechanisms. Our most direct route to our nervous system is obviously our conscious mind, that is one thing diet culture has right although it is logical.

This is controversial as a lot of people reject this out of hand, it has been tried not only through the concept of willpower, but also through things like psycho-analysis and even horrible aversion 'therapy' tactics such as electric shocks.

I genuinely cannot blame people for feeling this way, but we must remember not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Bullies, the privileged classes, societally validated big mouths, don't own parts of the body, because they make a show of knowing it all, when they guided mostly by their own self serving instincts. Eating and weight, must be returned to become knowledge based again and what passes for the so called 'morality' of willpower and other bilge is returned to the utter irrelevancy that they are. I don't think it matters worth a damn whether people are greedy or not or whether their appetites are sufficiently dainty or whether apropos of nothing they should expend energy solely on the basis of fitness.

We own our bodies, they are ourselves and we are as entitled as to contribute to the defining the reality of the human condition, through intelligent perception and understanding of what happens to us.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The purpose of the obesity crisis for a fat person

One of the things I often ask myself about the crisis is, what's the purpose of it for me?

For obvious reasons, it can't be about losing weight, because been there done that, not interested, personally anyhow, although I do retain a curiosity about how to do it in a natural and gentle way that goes with and respects the body.

No what really has been exercising me even pre-FA, is what am I to learn from all this?

I just know it's something, many things possibly.

The most obvious one being related to how I get out of the 'obese personae/ mentality'.

There are other things, but that is the most pressing one because my overwhelming feeling after stepping off that train is, that was one hell of a mindwarp and it's not enough to just stop-admirable and wonderful first step though that is. I feel I must rescue some parts of myself.

Being obese for me has been a little bit like, getting in with a bad crowd. We all know a lovely misguided person, who's got issues and is maybe taking a wrong direction, but we have faith that this person will get through it and sort themselves out. Then, our lovely diamond in the rough gets involved with a bad crowd, they latch on to our twinkles rebellion, and sparkles latches on to their aire of hauteur, that turns out really to be nihilistic and destructive.

Whatever way the situation works itself out, we often hold a deep grudge against the bad crew, we know our star involved themselves willingly, but somehow, we just feel they were exploited and taken advantage of and used for purposes which if they had been explicit, would not have signed on for.

That's how I feel about the obesity thing. I was willing, and yet somehow, not. This has left me feeling that so much about me that is not admirable has been played up to the extent that could only be tolerable whilst under the influence. Now that I'm no longer, those have to go too.

In a way, it's about ownership, I was so owned by it, the aftermath is a hollowness that will not just go away. I need to be what I might or would have been if I'd not allowed myself to be so derailed by it. This also feels like a kind of apology to myself, to my younger self who I so maligned, I don't care if that sounds strange, I wish to offer myself an unconditional apology, I was genuine, I was trying, that was trying, that's what trying is like. I was not fake, I was not false or bearing false witness.

Until that no longer evokes any sense or echo of doubt, I'll keep on with that. That doubt is not real, it's the conditioned response of someone who doubted themselves so thoroughly that it doesn't just go away when you consciously realise the error of their ways.

Seeing the tide of vitriol aimed against fat people is highly visceral and upsetting at times, but I occasionally find myself thinking, take a good look at what you thought was better than you, are they better than you? Is it possible to aspire to be like them, and what is that anyway?

I sometimes can't believe that I felt in anyway inferior to people who've let things hang out that I would be embarrassed to admit feeling, even if I did. This is /supposed to put us off feeling or being fat.

It sometimes feels as if they are screaming at us, we aren't any better than you, we can't help you, see, how many ways do you want us to show you? It's like a counterpoint to being abject about your fatness, droning on about how disgusting and bad you are.

I think I'm beginning to get that message, at last.

Intuitive eating is like.............

A brilliantly efficient unsung worker, who often doesn't appear to be doing much of anything, but always seems to get things done and quietly takes care of business regardless.

Along comes an insecure, promoted to the level of their incompetence boss, who lacking insight decides that this worker is 'suspicious' and requires close supervision. This idiot stands over the worker inter-bloody-fering with their beautiful rhythms telling them everything they already know and nothing they don't.

Until our hero(ine) is about to scream and then resign.

Finally, after numerous warnings from everyone who knows the score, the boss finally withdraws, tail between legs.

The hero is our eating and weight mechanisms, we with our diets and brilliant schemes based on true scienz are the idiot boss, sorry!

Some people like to call our wising up,'intuitive eating', but this is all about the dregs of our belief that we consciously are in total control of our eating and therefore weight. We have found neither to be the case.

Now I don't believe that we have to continue to be rubbish at making adjustments to those mechanisms, anymore than I believe some unfortunate people in the world still have to get polio, forever. But we actually have to come up with ways that are subtle, sensitive and above all actually work.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Absurd posing

I just caught a little bit of synchronised swimming on T.V. today. What a load of old pony. One of the great things about being a woman, is that you don't have to worry about being constrained by machismo, except of course, on the receiving end!

The area of 'artistic expression' is not so fraught with having to seem coolly self possessed or whatever. But please, synchronized swimming shows the downside of this. How on earth can anyone not think this gurning posing is not absurd, undignified even? It's perfectly feminine of course, plastered with make up bodies of a uniform and socially acceptable shape, grace, strength and beauty all on display.

These are the type of women that don't sweat but glow and yet the overall impression was of an ill conceived waste of energy. These women; there didn't appear to be any male involvement - wonder why, had gymnastic ability, real power and dynamism, yet it didn't satisfy on any level. How it counts as sport, even when you take into account things like ice dance( in the winter Olympics) or even gymnastics, I don't know, where was the excitement?

People who think that women have lost because we are no longer in the golden age of femininity should take a good look at this, in a small way it points to the frustration of being a lady, as opposed to a human being who happens to be a woman.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Why there must be a solution

If you believe that only scientists have the ultimate ability to define reality, then their failure with regards to calories in/ calories out, so far must be for you the definitive word on weight loss (WL).

If you think that this group are as capable of misjudgement and failure the same as the rest of us, then it follows that you don't believe that weight loss must necessarily consist of discomfort, pain and abject failure.

If you don't take them to always know everything, then you might have taken more note of the fact that the human body is perfectly capable of shedding weight whenever it feels like it, which unfortunately for lots of us, doesn't tend to coincide with our attempts to bludgeon it into submission.

If your instincts are not that they are as far as human knowledge could possibly go, then you do not think it's even close to impossible to put this whole sorry debacle behind us and simply move on, to better ways, chastened and perhaps more sanguine.

People want and need a way of lowering their weight, regardless of whether others like this or not. People at the higher end of the weight range, who've not allowed their weight to stop them mentally from doing things, but feel it does sometimes impede them physically, need a safe and effective way of reducing weight, and they cannot be shunned because some chose to make an ego issue out of it.

I also don't accept that the desire to be a certain size is purely down to the forces of oppression, obviously that has an effect, but moreso our innate sense of agency, desire for control and self-mastery.

Those who set their vanity against the desire for weight loss, regardless are playing a game of emotional blackmail that they will probably lose. Why should other people's desire to be slim or slimmer upset you if you're OK with yourself?

What I will add though is that wanting to be a lesser size is not necessarily a bad thing, how unhappy you decide to be about being fat, is your choice. If you are desperately unhappy about fat, then you are likely to have made this choice many many times.

That's also agency.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Conservative, with a small 'c'

There does seem to be an innate conservatism in FA. It's not so much that it comes from a political standpoint, but more from a behavioural one.

As fat people we have tended to be the accused. We have gotten used to defending ourselves from - the many- accusations levelled at us.

This can lead to a rather earnest intent on proving that we are good, nice whatever we are not said to be. For those of us who've been fat for a long time, this is especially ingrained, as I've said, the road from this to FA is a long one. So even though we are breaking away from this sense that we are ungenuine, and somehow have to constantly try harder to demonstrate that we are worthy of existence. We haven't let go of this us much as we could, how can we?

I think we could be more aware of that, not self conscious, but understand that we don't have to keep on with old strategies simply because we are used to that and the pattern is ingrained.

I also think that this can have an effect on our progress, personally and otherwise.

The issue though is not about whether FA is respectable, moderate and above all, nice to everybody regardless of provocation. If FA is just about crowbarring itself into current mores regardless of merit, because that is seen as not rocking the boat, then FA becomes rather impacted and self absorbed.

Instead of being a potential positive influence, nay a liberator for people of all weights -which already is has been to some degree- it becomes another lost opportunity to take forward our understanding of what it is to be human - yes we can do that even though we are just fatties- all our experience comes to nought and we become a group of people who just discovered how to fail over a very long period.

Not good enough.