Thursday, 29 April 2010

Different strokes

Reading Tasha Fierce, this gave me pause for thought;
If it’s okay for people to comment negatively on say, Kate Hudson’s surgically altered body, then it follows that it’s fair game for people to comment negatively on Gabourey Sidibe’s body size.
Ouch, I must admit I was quite irked by this. First off Porizkova's comments on Kate Hudson where so benign, I had to re-read them to make sure I wasn't missing the great insult to her and her right to -allegedly- enlargen her breasts. The tone was all-more in disappointment than anger.

This kind of comparison annoys because it is so typical of the way a tiny weeny shadow of perceived negativity towards women who aren't fat is made into a direct comparison with something far worse that happens to fat women. And the point that repeatedly makes.

That offensiveness towards slim people is just more important. More offensive against humanity in general. Whereas, the same aimed towards fat people has been so normalized, that it simply doesn't register till it borders on the obscene.
The comparison between someone having cosmetic surgery and being fat is a nonsense. A closer comparison would be with someone criticizing a celeb for being 'too thin' and 'unhealthy'. Or even Gabourey Sidibe having breast implants.

It's ironic, one of the things being fat from a young age can do to you is separate you from the expectations of others around you, to an extent sometimes similar to that of the distance between a celebrity and an ordinary person.

You learn to apply rules to yourself in ways that you wouldn't to others. Being more sympathetic to them, more blamey to yourself. You can end up lowering your expectations and that can bind with other low expectations depending on where you come from. Giving you a wholly differing standard of judging what are acceptable ways to address you and acceptable ways to address others.

What is amazing is when roaming around the fat/ feminist sphere, meeting people on the other side of that. And whatever minor infraction is supposed to be significant is asserted as equivalent, based on how upset they can manage to get, based on their elevated status. We then are supposed to get as upset about that, as they are and if we do not, we are accused of being as bad as fat haters.

It feels like a sleight of hand as it keeps in place one of the most pernicious and difficult aspects that can go along with being fat. Seeing yourself from a unique place of lowliness.

I'm not even talking about self esteem necessarily, just not seeing yourself as sensitively as you do others. I'll admit that is what I felt when I read this. That when a woman deemed worthwhile is possibly not praised to the skies, that is the same as another deemed less worthy is being treated like shit.

A bit of set point

A lot of adept and able commentary on the major theme here, FOBT overload (and subsequent crash). Apparently, if you believe losing weight will solve all your probs, and you lose it, it won't.

No diggity.

So to a side issue illustrating some of my issues with set point theory. One subject of the article went from over 300lbs to 140, yep. Using gastric bypass surgery.
In short, our set point, if we have only one as such, is the genetic set weight we are destined to be within the range of about 20 to 30 lbs or so either way.

My feeling is, we are looking at it from our obsession with every pound, induced by weight loss hysteria of weight loss diet fail.

What I suspect is that the above weight loss is in the overall scheme of eating and converting and use of energy, etc, that the body's metabolic processes go through over the years, that differential is tiny.

That's why I suspect that our set points are not specific enough to vary only by 20 30lbs, unless there is no pressure of forces on our individual systems of a weight adjusting kind.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Why would fat people be against our own health?

There is no legitimate argument against fat acceptance that I've encountered thus far. Those who claim to be concerned about fat people's health, well, fat acceptance is not against the healthiness of fat people, why would it be?

Why would we be against our own health or well being, for what possible purpose? It is our bodies and our lives and we are living them. We are not laying down and dying and figuring ways to bring about our own deaths. Take a look at the 'sphere, it's about mental and physical well being, about ideas and thinking, taking back our own minds and bodies from everyone including medical professionals,scientist, the establishment and society.

It's about freedom, fashion, looking and feeling good and better about ourselves, what would lead anyone to believe we are against our own selves? Those who choose to participate in stigmatization and demoralization are against fat people's health and if you participate, regardless of your rationale, you are against the health of fat people.

Self consideration

Fatuousity's enthusiasm for Kathleen Le Besco's book makes it seem rather attractive!
It enabled me to see, to say, after all those years in classes about ‘the body’, that fat mattered.  That fatness was an embodied difference.  A socially dis-empowered identity.  And that it was a valid object of scholarly enquiry.
The self always should be in some way or another. It feels as if fat people are only just discovering that we are worthy of thought, whether inside or out of academe. It's a notion that sadly hasn't gone very deep. A lot of people try to shame fat people out of it, trying to keep us in the position of stepping over ourselves to hear about anyone but us.

The essentialist position on fatness is the same as the mainstream one, in reverse, that's understandable. Fat acceptance is not a radical movement and doesn't particularly want to be despite its claims. It's too centred around the desire to fit to get much beyond the narratives we already know.

I have to say though, I am curious about the causes of weight if you like. I'm interested in how our bodies work. I find metabolism's to be like some people think of computers, somehow unreal and yet material.

That especially holds a lot of promise when it comes to changing other aspects of our being. 

Fatness, to me anyway, is a mystery, more than that of thinness. In the same way, tallness is in some ways more of a mystery than shortness. I don't really get why people question curiosity itself, rather than the form curiousity takes.

I'm not sure of any difference between creation of meaning and causal factors. Concentrating on the first one is a bit like insisting on focusing on liberal feminism. Without radical feminism, feminism would be incomplete, whatever you  think of either. The latter tends to come from the former.

In terms of bodies, it's just different ballparks, one science, one sociopolitical.  I don't feel fat as kismet either. I don't believe I was either born to be fat or not, never have. I believe this doesn't make my fatness any less real and that's what's so tricky.

It also to a certain extent invites curiousity as it flits between fat as destiny and cause. It says, fat is not my destiny, but I am, and I'm interested in why. This disdain for cause seems to follow gay people's irritation, but they too are deluding themselves if they think no one will seek to change sexuality for reasons other than for gay people. 
Ditto fat people. I don't bother to ignore it, because it's part of a puzzle. And if you find out about slim people, you often find out about fat people and vice versa.
Fat is treated as the tendency when dealing with this regressive attitude is to suggest that fatness cannot be helped.  I wonder what would happen if, instead of giving up our volition, we worked to alter the terms of the choice, to emphasize that subjectivity mustn’t be predicated on perception of innocence.
Ummm, I've explained that fatness is not a choice, but I wasn't so much saying that it "can't be helped", because that is the truth as I see it. Or more accurately, the level of choice that would be assigned to me to have chosen to be fat, goes way beyond our accepted norms. i.e. it would easily eclipse things about the shape of our noses or the tone of our skin. Things like neuroses and certain illnesses would also fall under "choice."

That isn't to say I'm denying any hand in being fat, that seems unlikely.  Just that it would be so indirect that I would not be able to connect action with result. How much of a choice-as we understand it-can that be? We can challenge the terms of choice, which I think obesity does, unwittingly. But that would be deeply unpopular, if it wasn't, fatness would not be such a vehicle for the need to insist we choose.

I agree about innocence, that's a problem replete through the general purview of a polarity of either being knowing or naive.

I always think we should have created our own discourse, not bothered to engage with answering so called science that isn't. Refused to answer any so called 'questions' i.e. prejudice ill logic framed as if its a question. Define fatness as it is, not through the lens of other self advocacy movements and then compare and contrast.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Fat canaries

Mining is a difficult and dangerous job. One hazard is it can be hard to tell if there's a lethal build up of gas up ahead, until you get there, and expire!

To get round this they at one time used canaries, sending them ahead to sniff things out so to speak. If they came back alive, it was safe, if not. Not.

One of the things noted by fat people, is the way we're a group that is being singled out. At times, this leads some fatties to mistake this for, "everyone else is better off". Not so. But they are referring to something that is there.
The reason why it is rarely articulated outwardly is that, still feeling battered and bruised, sometimes deeply by having been taught to loath and despise ourselves, whilst our minds were taking shape. We just cannot believe that people can possibly do anything close to look up to us in some ways.

I grant you, as I'm writing this, I'm feel kind of strange, and yet I know it to be true, by listening and trying to hear what's being said, to, or rather at us. Like it or not, there is a sense that we can take this, that we can cope, with having to face up to things others shrink from.

There's a recognition-whether indirectly or by default, that we are surprisingly and frankly not a little bit mysteriously robust. We are told that people would rather endure the fire of hades than be fat, and yet here we are, not exactly throwing ourselves out of windows.

No matter how fiercely that is denied when posed directly. The implication is, we are taking and putting up with, what others tell us they cannot take. Even the thought that some might be fat, rather than actually are, is enough to make some, especially young ones, feel suicidal.

Well, I have to say, even when I was in the depths of despair about my weight during my later childhood and youth. I never once even considered committing suicide because of it. That's one thing I could acknowledge even then, the fact that I was actually fat disproved the idea that it was a fate worse than death.

I realized then, that sometimes the terror of anticipation of an "awful event", is worse than the reality of it.  They single us out for a lot of things. Responsibility for our state of health, control of our emotions and moods. They want us to go forth first and see if it kills us before venturing their selves, maybe. Whilst they continue to suffer misfortune and unfortunate events.

We can live with it, we always have.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The full truth about dieting is what's needed, nothing more

Reading fatuosity's post about this brought me back to reading her previous post about it. I've no interest in insisting people shouldn't diet. I personally dislike the principle of dieting, whether up or down. It creeps me out when people set a standard of acceptability based on a number. It often keeps going down/up as the person approaches their goal and the feelings of satisfaction have not quite materialized. It too easily becomes an ever moving intangible association in their mind.

I do think it's a shame when people get caught in that trap when control slips beyond their reach.

That doesn't mean I'm going to try and stop or advocate for sanctions against those who participate in either. It's of course their right, but it's also my right to know what I know, whether that is understood by those critical of this, or not.

Saying you're against nothing is unconvincing. We are all against some things that is part of what makes us feel and know who we are. It's as blanket a statement as being against everything and tends to lead to a similar place, just via a different route.

Not being entirely sure what you're against is probably a good thing to recognize. But it won't save you from the fact that you stand for some things and not for others.

I'm not against weight loss- that is not the same as dieting, it is a (supposed) form of it, not the whole of it as we've been taught. Weight loss and gain and loss etc., is a necessary part of our body's conversion of intake into energy. I'm not against idea of wanting to be fat or fatter, thin or thinner, it's none of my business.

However I am against things that harm the body when they don't need to. Body building, tattoos don't. Nor do those lead people to resent, hate and loathe those who do not body build or have tattoos. There wouldn't be a non-body modification crisis because it doesn't engender those feelings.

Weight loss dieting and gaining I believe often does. It unbalances body and mind, the latter is something that is totally over many people's heads and they're not about to hear it from those they consider to have other motivations for their objection.

Dieting is harmful and that harm is underrated. If it wasn't, I'd probably care even less about it, as people would be fully informed of what they wanted to do and that's really all that's necessary.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

If your body can use it: It's food

Well said Michelle and I quote;


Why does the widespread idiocy of the day make common sense sound so damn radical? Mind you as someone in the comments indicated, not all food does qualify as food, such is the requirement of the diet mentality for low/no calorie stuff. You'd have a hard time saying if some of that counted as food or not.

I've heard of junk food, unhealthy bad food, I've heard of "cleaning up my diet" and my all time fave;

Non nutritional food.

Yep, that would be "food" that is not food at all. Like fibre, which is highly recommended by some smeckperts for a healthy digestion. Not for IBS though apparently, it irritates the gut, oops!

What I've never understood about the strain of thinking that says- let's pretend that stuff with lots of sugar/fat etc is superbadness- is how that is going to help people be more conscious of what they are ingesting? As that is one of their big themes.

Take the other day, at lunch. I didn't fancy any solid food, I couldn't be fussed so I just got a lemonade.

That to me was a "liquid lunch", OK, because it's got sugar in it, which can be converted into energy by the body. Rather than thinking of it as empty calories, which feels like a dismissive attitude, it's worth respecting drinks in general of all kinds, one's with added sugar included as liquid food.

Although in the past under the thrall of bad/good foods to some extent, although without the hating baggage. I've come to find the whole "junk" food strain to be hateful as it is invidious.

If you eat those foods, stop hating them and disrespecting yourself and your body, if you don't eat them, mind your own beeswax. Or better still, spend a week hating the food you eat and see if it makes any difference to the way you feel.

In the past people used to say grace and a study once investigated this and found that even a secular "prayer" of thanks to the earth and the universe that brought the food, the skill and care of the cook (or even the cleverness of the manufacturing process), could make a positive impact on our digestion, improving it's function.

Either way, imagine doing that before everything you ate, clearing your mind and taking a few seconds to acknowledge that this is something you are going to put into your body and you are thankful to be able to do that, especially as so many do not have that same freedom.

So when people talk about how spoilt, greedy and fat we are, I think of how ungrateful they are and how stupid and wasteful it is, to lessen the amount of pleasure you can get from food by turning your mind into an obstacle against it.

No wonder some people go so full on with "intuitive eating", trying to remove all conscious input from eating. When the mind has cumulatively become a toxic dump for food and body hating, when it's ability to aid you positively has been so totally derailed, the only thing you want to do is switch off that noise.

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Over at watrd there's a discussion of the perceptions surrounding the phenomenon of pro ana - anorexia as a lifestyle.

These anorexics are taken over by their condition, true. You can see similar with people who have mental health conditions and those addicted to drugs.

But wait, if it's coming from inside you, and feels like the centre of your being, you may well over-identify with it. Don't we all feel sometimes what we feel is us, because it comes so naturally bubbling from inside us? It's all we can feel. It's what we perceived through.

Part of the socialization process is learning which ones our societies and communities find to be wrong.

They are not always correct and neither are we about what we feel is us and what is passing through us.

The thing with mental health conditions and various addictions habits even, is that they can take you over, slowly but surely, if not at times in a flash.

In doing so, they can begin to snuff the essence of you out.

For these reasons, though outrageous, it's not surprising that some people have labelled fat acceptance to be out of the same mould as pro-ana.

This is of course wrong, as fatness is not in itself lifestyle, any more than slimness. Though it can become one, the same as the desire to acquire thinness can become so. 

You maybe perceiving the symmetry. Fatness as a lifestyle aim thinness as a lifestyle aim.

Funny how the obesity crisis underpinnings, are in keeping with the underlying logic of pro-ana a lifestyle around weight loss and its maintainence.

Not to say that the favoured route to thinness for fat people is the beginnings of anorexia, presented as a way of life. The only thing preventing this from progressing into anorexia is what stops dieting from working in general, the actions of the body's in built defences against famine, real or self imposed.

And like anorexics to some degree, the most important thing is the agenda of those trying to 'save' anorexics. Their needs and visions dominate our ideas on PWA though much less than fat people. A lot of fat people, mainly those with eating disorders feel that those with the condition get a lot of attention and sympathy, that they would wish for.

What that urge fails to recognise is anorexia is not becoming less prevalent, nor does it seem easier to treat. Those envious of the "attention" anorexics get should try to remember sometimes that attention can be that of acute necessity. And therefore very distressing.

Thank you're lucky stars if you don't need it.

I don't envy someone stuck in or toying with pro ana- they are at a stage where they may well feel utterly trapped, unable to envisage being free. Having to negotiate the panic, anger and distress of those around them. Make no mistake, whatever the burden felt by those around, those with the condition, have to manage you and your feelings sometimes as much as the reverse.

I don't claim to have any answers to pro ana. I've often speculated that with this, as in the case of alcoholism and drug addiction plus some other compulsive habits, the answer is less in fighting the condition head on, than it is to revive the sense of self. So that it instinctively retakes its space pushing the parasitic condition out.

I also wonder if learning to help people reduce the stressful feelings they have towards the central issue of concern, to the absolute minimum possible, would help. Feeling more relaxed about the problem whilst still recognising it as a problem, might be worth considering in at least selected cases.

At the moment, that seems to go against the grain which is focuses on panic and sense of emergency. Maybe that does work well for some, but I'm sure it doesn't work at all for others and the opposite might for at least some.

Without you, your condition is nothing, without the condition, you are yourself. It lives only through you.

What is greed?

Why I've used the term greed instead of gluttony, is first because I don't feel comfortable with the term gluttony. It refers specifically to food and eating for a start, so I'd rather go with greed which refers to general acquisitiveness.

That's important, because if greed is wrong, it cannot be specifically wrong, it has to be generally wrong. If it's wrong to "over"eat, it's wrong to be drunk. If it is wrong to eat a lot, regularly, then it is wrong to have too much money, regularly. Yeah, already that doesn't sound quite right and that's the point.

When you are constantly accused of or fitted up to represent something, it makes you think about what that means. I'd like to examine what I think about greed and what I've learnt from having been/ being (it's hard to tell for reasons I'll go into another time) a greedy eater. Why was I that way? The usual response is nothing ie, you just were. Ummmm could you not think any harder?

In order to examine greed in a useful way, I need to learn to be fair. Contrary to populist belief, it's so easy to think, "I'm just greedy, bad me". This kills two birds with one stone as it tightens up your straight jacketing in the obesity persona and it serves as a way of saying, "I've stopped thinking here". In that sense it is highly moral, as it is efficient and not wasteful, like greed.

I need to think about it generally in order to assess what greed means and what it really means, by drawing on other examples of it. A lot of us are haunted by greed, we are dogged by the fear of it, or have been in the past in the way that continues to cast a shadow. That's gotten ancient, if we are greedy, then why should we be ashamed? If we're not, why should we feel we are?

As those frequently accused of being greedy, and yes many slim people are too, but we can't forget that mostly, slim people being greedy/gluttous is cute, we have dibs on what is and isn't greedy, we should examine it and help to define it, not the ignorant, who we've indulged for far too long.

And familiarity, can and should, in the case of greed, breed contempt....... for being disturbed by it anyhow.

What is indolence?

So why pick indolence over laziness? Fat people are called greedy and lazy. I've stuck with greed, so why switch to indolent?

They both essentially mean the same thing "disinclination toward effort of any kind, but more specifically, physical".

The difference, if any is in the shading, I suppose indolence feels like it refers to a state of being, the end product of laziness. Whereas laziness is more about reluctance, rather than a habit of being so.

But I tend to use them interchangeably. Maybe I'm just really bored with the word lazy and it's overuse in a specific capacity has made it too loaded to express oneself freely.

And that is needed. One of the things we are told about being fat is that it makes you less intelligent. Looking over the 'sphere one can see that cannot really be seen as a general rule, however, in my own case, I do feel that being fat, or more specifically, being an obese person in the way I'm supposed to be, has compromised my the development of my intellect, palpably.

I'm cannot claim to be definite on that, I must leave the window of possibility that I was always meant to start off bright and dim into dimtwittery. However the level and sharpness of the latter, and the fact that one of the things that has been building up during my dim days like canned heat, is the desire to think.

Because one thing the crisis dogma is designed to do above all, is to stop all of that excess. If you try, you're always being told, "your making it too complicated", or what I call the tyranny of "just" comes out. "It's just this, or it's just that" and that is the height of all rationale, any thing else is overthinking. Stop all thought here, (x marks the spot) the world is flat and that my friend is that.


And not degenerate, at all, it only looks regressive, really, it's no nonsense wisdom, cutting through the decadent and fetid air of thinking about stuff and trying to draw as much wisdom from the knowledge you have, in order to inform you of new directions.... New directions..... PAH!!! Haven't we got enough directions already? Haven't we got more than we can possibly handle?!

I'm digressing, I find indolence interesting apart from the obvious reason, because I've never been convinced that of it as a character flaw, always loud and clear it has seen to be a comment. The number one thing that comes to mind is, protest.

As I've learned, I feel that we end up in indolence because we hold fast to beliefs that lead us there, without trying to be cute, laziness to describe, laziness has always felt, well, lazy.

Sorry, but it's true.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Setting the terms

It's odd when people refer to fat acceptance as if it's a set monolith with all sorts of defined factions; such as radicals, centrists, mavericks etc., Although it's been around in some incarnation for 40 years, it's still a voyage of discovery. Maybe that's what fools others, maybe because they're always looking at labels rather than inside for self definition.

It's supposed to be a monolith by now, it's supposed to have factions. It maybe had something like that in the past. Seems more that it has had incarnations which repeat the same themes over and over again. After people get fed up of behaving as if weight loss dieting is going to make them slim.

One of the things that makes it hard to grapple with is that the obesity crusade has set the terms of debate and we've allowed that and continue to allow it. The reasons are, fat people as a group are not radical. They are more, generalization alert, conservative than that. Conservative through repression, but more than anything, a history of identity annihilating obedience to authority.

It makes me laugh when people claim fat people are addicts. Hell no! Addicts have more of a sense of self than that and won't sell the central heart of themselves out in the way fat people have learned to. In fact, so unprecedented is this for any addictive behaviour to be accompanied by such a desire to self immolate, to the extent of fat people, that I'd posit that as a potential coup de grace when it comes to finishing off such an absurd reference to addiction.

 If there's anyone fat people call to mind its the permanently overly anxious types, inevitable when you are programmed from childhood to collude in your own betrayal. That crucial childhood window of opportunity for a mind warp is why Michelle Obama et al pick on children. They know a word or two here can last a lifetime. Unless you're lucky enough to burn-out. Train them young before they've developed any self defenses and they'll do your propaganda work for you.

Cultural weight management

Lesley had an amended version of her heartfelt post on what it means to be a fat child trying not to be. Someone called Paul commented civilly I think with some intelligence on what he felt were the implications of all this. Although somewhat skewered on his own logic.

If that's many people are fat just because they are, I don’t think that the trans-cultural comparison really bears that out. The rate of obesity IS higher in the US, as well as some other cultures (Samoa, for example). It is the 25th comment, near the bottom at the moment. I tried to answer it relatively briefly, but I feel it merits a better more fleshed out answer than I gave.

He makes some worthwhile points that boil down to; the differences in weights, say average or median weights amongst countries/ societies, suggests that people cannot be "just fat", otherwise we would all be more or less equally fat.

He used Sweden and Japan as examples. That when an argument sounds like people will be fat regardless, people are going to tune out to that message, because of the above. He also said something really apt; And it’s not because they’re all starving themselves over there. (How true).

I cannot unfortunately remember which specific Scandinavian country it was, but in the mid to late 70's a group of doctors approached their prime minister of the time and told him that the rate of fatness was spiking and would continue if nothing was done. Action was taken, which came down to shifting around the food culture of that country to the extent of removing heavily processed foodstuffs from prominence, substituting them with the kind of things you find in health food stores. 

The former were made less accessible in a relatively short space of time. I think also that sporting and physical activity may have been kept as a priority, in schools and encouraged in out of school hours.

At this time a lot of countries began to squeeze out sports ed from schools and in the UK a lot of civic sports facilities-a lot of which were popular and well used- were closed. This could be done because of the less individualistic traditions of those countries. To the point that would probably not be seen as acceptable in the UK and US.

As I understand it, all this mighty effort did was not reverse the amount of fatness or even to stop it's growth, but to slow it. That's right, fatness still increased, it just didn't increase at the rate it might have done otherwise, certainly in comparison to the UK and the US, which had differing policies to say the least.

As far as I know, no country in the world has managed to reverse or halt the growth of fatness in their nations. Some have managed to slow it, either because of the timing of interventions and/or cultural differences acted as a bit of an obstacle. The two often go together.

It's also important to note that the Japanese tend to be thinner overall as a nation than most other non-eastern countries. Many people say that's genetic and it seems to be in part, as with other Asian countries such in the Indian subcontinent. So it could be said that eventually all countries could catch up to the rates of the fatter nations. Unless ways are found to reverse weight.

Culture that is more collective cannot be replicated by that which is more individualistic. So it's pointless to cite one as discounting the results of the other. 

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Hiding behind health

When it comes to issues surrounding public health, people can start out apathetic or hostile. Then, if the issue increases in frequency and becomes worse. Responses change, sympathy increases, this leads to action being demanded. Even if there was something that could be done about weight, the most important thing about the crisis is to keep fat people hated.

Health activists are shaping being fat as like the habit of smoking, so fat people can become the target of hate and stigma. More like the habit, rather than say people who have a disease. Which would mitigate against stigma, such as HIV/AIDS or mental health -as fatness has been modelled. The focus isn't dealing with obesity, they can't anyway, it is enabling certain people to draw scarce health funds towards useless, repetitive research and expensive treatments of a dubious ethical standard.

Not to say efficacy. I also think society's overall inaction reflects the fact that a lot of the crisis is hype pure and simple. How can you act when there's little to act on, (or with)? I can see that some people who are trying to take a more sympathetic and understanding line towards fatness are trying to frame it as addiction or a mental health issue. Apart from being wrong though, this is tiresome. You cannot weigh mental health anymore than you can weigh moral probity or the state of one's diet.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Not a comfortable fit

I'm having problems with FA and how I define my take on things in relation to how it does. I get a sense of purpose from describing how I feel, in my own terms through my own perception. Not in responding to those of haters or anti FA's, like a beat up lap dog. I'm finding that's not how others in fat acceptance seem to see it.

I do not find this a comfortable fit. I am not finding the support of like minds I expected, which makes it much harder than I thought it was going to be to just speak the truth to power.
I'm saying you can gain weight, lose weight, but you cannot predictably shift from fat to slim and stay there.

Like it's pure serendipity whether anyone will be "cured" with homeopathy. I can't say it works, because no active mechanism can be found. No ingredient/s isolated to show its function, no statistically significant rate of palliation or cure can be guaranteed.

I cannot say though that receiving a treatment won't ever (appear to) work, due to our body's sometimes unpredictable capacity for self healing.

Is it the homeopathic tincture? Or the co-incidence of spontaneous reversal of your condition? Does the belief in getting better, manifest in the flesh? Does the care attention and interest of the therapist relieve the anxiety of pessimism or hopelessness? What about the empowering nature of self knowledge, that can free up energy to assist in positive things? Who can say more than file under placebo?

Focusing attention on anything changes it by that very attention though not the same as being able to say something works, in any meaningful way.

When I say diet's don't work, I'm saying they cannot as a general rule make fat people thin. It's not a general principle that can be applied. What's remarkable is a heck of a lot of people can barely lose weight at all. Either because they cannot stand dieting or their body seems to adjust unless they reduce their intake, drastically.  That's without considering rebound.

When people crudely invoke the Holocaust to say there were "no fat people in Auschwitz" (apart from being a disgrace) the Holocaust was not a self inflicted famine, it was genocide, not a health farm.

People being starved and worked to death as a means of state inspired mass murder, can hardly serve as a model or point of comparison for an artificially created sub-famine to which the body's survival instincts appear to see little point. Surprising though that may be to some, its hardly inconceivable.

I daresay a different mix of pathways are activated by the nervous system. I know that when I've run out of food, through say lack of funds, there's often a surge in hunger signals. As if your instincts are urging you to greater efforts to overcome the situation.

Only if you cannot, does it abate and start to adapt to less or lack. Your metabolism adjusts and you stop losing-or don't lose weight. I have experienced this. I know few people who've shifted their weight similarly, often through the results of it. Having to walk more or stress can make a difference to some people at some points in their life.

It feels different to when you're trying to impose a this on yourself. It's as if your body isn't taking your efforts seriously. It's like pish, whatever. Even if you're able to grit your teeth and hang in there, on realization of persistence, your reward is an army of your own defences. okay.

There's even more ammo in reserve, if you get further.

A general idea of health or even a more specific wanting to get into smaller clothes, doesn't seem to compute as powerfully as we feel it in our heads. Unless you are wired that way, e.g. some people's defenses against dieting just seem more compromisable.

I'm not a diagnostician. I know that any potential health perils of being human are being talked up as the product of fatness. What others and myself recognise is the air of implausibility. The seeming lack of actual as opposed to estimated dead fat people. The experience of being fat-strangely forgotten as people tell us how we feel- and the knowledge of people who aren't fat and how they seem to have their fair share of health issues.

I can still feel the boredom of hospital visits and listening to health woes. 

What worries me is the potential extent of self fulfilling prophecy. Everyone else has intervened so directly into defining and being fat, as wholly negative, that this for me is part of the reality of being fat. It feels like a constant and invasive surround of demands and suggestions, like persistent mental buzz to control and demoralize, then claim that is your "sickness".

In a way, that makes it matter less how healthy or unhealthy fatness is or isn't intrinsically because too much effort is being made to fulfill that as ideology and that make an obvious target for relief of harm. Associations cannot be said or gainsaid, those interventions have always been there and continue to mount seemingly by the day.

Gastric butchery, which is killing fat people immediately or in it's aftermath. Pills and potions that are an unknown quantity, the yo-yo of dieting that is ruthlessly encouraged and is itself a threat to health.

The deliberate attempt to degrade mental health through stigmatization, which brings with it medication which also can damage organs. The stress of the obesity personae which is an exercise in self loathing, annihilation and betrayal, can take a huge toll on a person encouraging reckless attempts to escape this.

This means being fat cannot be viewed objectively as it is not able to be an objective state who's harms flow from it, rather than society's relationship with it. Fat acceptance is an example of what wears people out first. Not what is supposed to be related to being fat, but the rigourous of the way fat people are treated.

So few if any fat people that can say that they have not partaken in the above. I've yet to meet, or view in the media, any fat person who has not been affected in their behaviour and thinking by this. That isn't the case with any other condition of human existence, that I'm aware of.

For example, I knew of gay people who did not feel the same self hating way expected of them from general society. I've known people who ate "healthy diets" when they were seen as a laughter inducing post hippy type fad.

I knew of people who believed that alternative medicine was better than conventional, when that was hardly heard in the mainstream.  But I have never heard, read, watched or encountered any fat person ever who treats fatness like it is slimness.

Whether it's readily confessing to eating too much, or doing too little. Whether it's about eating the wrong things, a love affair with food. Or something harder to put your finger, but is quite distinct, a sort of fat person mentality that has different attitudes and expectations (in terms of weight), never has anyone deviated.

I'm not even sure I can imagine what that would sound like. It is that absent. Certainly, with the greatest of respect, that is not the fat acceptance I've encountered.

There's no way fat people's health cannot honestly be assessed without these interventions being taken into account. I'm not interested in any so called right to be fat. I am fat, I don't need a right to be fat, my metabolism can be prohibited even less than alcohol.

I do not require a right for my blood to circulate, my heart to beat, or my lungs to take in and exhale air. People ask, what if you're wrong? Meaning, what if obesity is bad for you. Again, why ask me? Why not ask the medical and science establishment? What if they are right about fatness and wrong about WLD. Basically that would be curtains, for fat people.

If so, what are they doing to prevent this apart from deliberately making worse things they could change? Like encouraging others to stigmatize and disseminating slanderous half truths and innuendos about fat people? Why aren't these questions if this truly is a death inducing situation?

Since when does a deadly disease occur without anything about what remedies are being researched to see this off?

I wish more questions were asked of those who claim to believe things their actions and attitudes do not support and sometimes actively undermine

Monday, 19 April 2010

One route, many forms

Despite appearances, there is only one real basis of deliberately induced weight loss and that is by manipulating calories. By this I mean trying to reduce calorie intake-whether that increases or decreases the amount eaten and increase in expenditure of calories, increasing activity and things like increasing muscle mass in order to try and raise basal metabolic rate (the energy you use merely existing!).

And whether it's weight loss diets, exercise, gastric bypass or other weight loss surgeries, pills, the aim is the same, to starve and/or purge to induce weight loss. And that has become more important than weight loss because of what energy manipulation has come to equal. Control. The idea of control trumps weight loss, in a way reminiscent of the way a sense of control comes to trump dieting for anorexics.

All the current weight loss strategies are an attempt to work this hypothesis, it is the only real basis of weight loss. This is a distinct ideology of intervention as it does not compare with those who are naturally (metabolically)thin. The basis of the obesity crisis is for the purpose of substantiating that ideology, rather than making fat people thin. Which is entirely secondary.

Rather like a devout believer, say a Christian goes to a developing country lacking infrastructure to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and refuses to promote condoms/safer sex practices as this doesn't accord with their beliefs, instead they promote only abstinence.

It is possible to say, that this person is compassion, dedicated, someone prepared to use their energies to help others, however, what is the most important thing about their approach (for them), reducing the spread of the disease, or their beliefs?

If they would rather cease their efforts than promote safer sex education, etc, then you would have to conclude that whilst it may or may not be important for them to reduce the spread of disease, their beliefs are actually most important, even more important than people's lives.

They would probably object to this by stating that abstinence works, if followed as advised.

This seems to me to be the way it is with the whole anti obesity campaign. Regardless of what people think about the dangers or consequences of obesity may or may not be, supporting the underlying ideology that we can regulate weight through the calorie control mechanism, is more important than anything.

This aspect reveals the part of the hold that anorexia can gain over a person's mind, in this example, it's the mind of society in general.

It shows how potent the desire for control of self is in our modern societies, this has made even the appearance of control important enough to protect at whatever cost.

This is one of the dilemmas of fat acceptance, by buying into the conflation of weight loss, an entirely natural part of the processes of the body with weight loss dieting an artificial and failed attempt at altering the course of the metabolism, we let society off the hook for it's behaviour.

Taking again, the example of HIV/AIDS, activists in this field may raise funds for research, raise awareness of things that actually have some effect.

And although there are campaigns on this score funded by voluntary organisations and government agencies, there is never any question that the answer is to be found in more research into the condition. Equally so, with other conditions that are also sexually transmitted even though they have a long history of intermingling with sexual stigmas.

Those who claim to be against obesity should have their behaviours and attitudes questioned by comparison to these kinds of examples of activism against a chosen condition- whether one thinks the disease model is appropriate for fatness or not. Because it's not merely the fact that we are in disagreement that is the problem, it is the behaviour of those engaged in the war against obesity that is that is truly indefensible. Even when taken on it's own terms, that is of the desire to prevent and or reverse fatness.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Nice Plan can be a bitch

It's funny, I'm fond of claiming that I used to be "nice".

There's a line in a song called Handbags and Gladrags.

"Once I was a young man, and all I thought I had to do was smile". Yup.

When I heard that I laughed, I'm so glad I wasn't the only one with that plan! The truth is, possibly because it was a plan, rather than trusting it to my nature. I unbalanced myself somewhat. The basis of my plan for world dominance was multifarious, a lot of it was making up for "deficits", real or perceived.

There is such a thing as being nice, but as much as we are encouraged to fake it, it's kind of natural, or flows from the self. It can be a delicate balance from a more deliberate and conscious plan.

Like say, thinness, it's something we're encouraged to cultivate, or overemphasize. I think deep down I am a nice person. By that I mean, I've never had any real desire to be bad for it's own sake. I've had the desire to be free, to be liberated, to be unashamed to be human, but never just to be bad, for it's own sake.

I can't say I've never watched films or read books or met "bad" people who have been compelling and life enhancing, but it's always been their sense of freedom, their independence and their refusal to feel what they're told because everyone else says so, that I've admired, never badness for it's own sake.

The excitement(?!) of being or doing bad has often left me puzzled. If you have the talent and ability to be cleverly bad, you have it to be cleverly good. I can't help feeling that the former is a failure and mismanagement of self. When a clever fraudster goes about their business. I can appreciate the skill involved but the fact that it is illegal undermines any cleverness.

The truly admirably naughty are far more haughty than that, they tend to hide in plain sight (mostly) and do what they want to do, without provoking the law to confine them like children. They do not easily succumb to mastery by others, as they see themselves as the equal of anyone. They don't need to delve into psycho dramas of "badness" to get the juice to act, they just do.

Niceness, seems to work best, as far as I can tell from the outside, when it's combined with an equal capacity for clinical ruthlessness, whenever and wherever it's needed. It kicks in. The basis of this, is a lack of a sense that of original sin, ie. that one is bad and needs monitoring. So if one needs to be cool or cold, it's because one needs to be, it's appropriate, fears that one is being a bad person don't get to cloud the issue.

Being nice to a plan that overwhelms the truth of your spirit; being nice because you fear that deep down you are bad bad bad and need to keep yourself on a tight leash, being nice because you expect to be rewarded, etc, you get the picture, is not likely to work as well as being nice because you like and trust yourself.

I get annoyed when women are tagged with this "they like bastards" crap, it's universal. Come on, look up any story of conmen/women as see how everyone fell for their nice act, male and female alike. But given someone who's so repressed and outer directed and has become detached from themselves-and let's face it, if you sum up your own worth with the conclusion, abandon ship, don't be surprised when others think, OK, you know best!

If you count yourself low, others tend to as well, after all, who should know better than you?

Being saved by someone who see through it all to sense and appreciate your inner worth is somewhat unusual, come on be fair us humans need greater signalling than that, it's a noisy world with many distractions. Save time, make it easier.

And hey, if that's what you wish for, why not just save time and recognise it yourself and advertise it a bit, by just, you know, living it.

Reality, or sometimes just the appearance of it, really is quite real.

So really, nice guys/ girls, you don't need to descend into bastardy as deliberate as your self repression-sorry, niceness- just calm down, believe you're intrinsically a good person- I'm assuming you'd have noticed by now if you weren't.

And start living.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Better grave dodging than fat

Meowser does a good job of examining what makes up the author's feeling that weight gain as an anti depressant is worse than the underlying depression. Temporarily at least, she continued to search-and eventually found- alternate medication without that "side" effect.

In truth, as was alluded to in the comments at Shakesville, the poll asks the wrong question. By asking "would you be okay with weight gain if it meant your were happy?" they are equating depression with being happy, which is not really accurate. Depression is about malfunction in the rhythm and tone of your moods.

As the author brilliantly put it;
my mind has always had a wayward metabolism of its own,

I think this is a startling way to put it, our moods have rhythms, that is inevitable, depression and other mental crises occur when those proper rhythms are disturbed to the point where we can no longer usefully function.

What fascinates me is this touches on how our metabolism is whole body process and there is a sense at times that a glitch can be driven into a certain place, physical or mental and be operating there.

What she is describing is that displaced energy being driven into her mind. The drug she took to right that ,by palliating her moods, seemed to need to open up a channel that lead to it working itself out on her body.

Although, the adjustment might have been mental in origin;
One theory holds that the drug impairs the satiation center in the brain, making it hard to feel full, however much food one consumes.

You could say I'm old somewhat out of time on the subject of anti depressants.

I've never been sold that it's a good idea to solve mental imbalance through drugs. I'm open to the idea of re balance through drugs, kind of a kick start or rebooting and then normalcy, or a state you can work with, restoring itself. IOW, supporting the body and mind's capacity for self healing/ righting itself.

My reason is not puritanism, it's that I'm not convinced that imbalance is likely to be solved by stimulating parts of the brain, as if the issue is about under function, if that makes sense.

For example, if your arm became erratic and unpredictable in it's response to your instruction to move it, sometimes flailing wildly and then becoming exhausted and not responding. A pill to treat it that either reduced it's responsiveness or raised it, would seem to be missing the point.

The point is imbalance, you want your arm to respond with vigour, when you want it and delicacy, when you want that. Dampening down the response or cranking it up would seem to be a last rather than first resort and raises questions of possible toxicity and wearing out of structures it targets through over stimulus or blunting.

So the underlying premise of drug treatment of depression itself, rather than the mere idea of taking drugs is my issue with it all.

What's interesting about Lauren Slater is that she experienced, in her own way, with her own prejudices, the problematic nature of the framing of depression as an illness, rather than an imbalance that can occur in life.

Our biology suggests just what a natural part of the human spectrum depression is. Our bodies are designed with built in mechanisms to defend us against our mood falling too low too consistently-that is to the extent where we become depressed or dysfunctional.

The most obvious one is changes to our hunger, appetite, weight. I really do think that all of these and more are used to affect our capacity to see off potential depression, precisely because it can end up seeing off the will to live.

This is the problem with the whole concept of "emotional eating". These form/s of metabolic change are a built in characteristic, second to nourishing and restoring of cells, that is it's primary function.

I can't understand why people overlook that functions in nature and our bodies are capable of having more than one function, usually a lead one then others, in a hierarchy of response or use.

I can see it's offensiveness, but it is an interesting window into how a trade offs can assume a greater power than a life threatening state. Stigma itself is well known to undermine and dismantle mental and physical health. That tends to be it's purpose, do what we say or risk your existence. In this case from within as much as without, it's difficult to see beginning and end to it. She makes a good case for human interdependency, but that doesn't actually let others off the hook, on the contrary, it makes them more responsible for their fat phobic emotional blackmail.

And what does it say about her loved ones, that their feelings about her fatness compromised their desire for her continued existence? It's this kind of misuse of the bonds of love, that so demoralises many fat people. Knowing that people who care about you would happily see you risk your own life, just don't be fat, because that's a risk to your life and we care about you etc...

What's been missed for me is what all this says about our current mythology about depression. We have been told a lot from those who've had depression, how bad it is, yet we are told that other things are worse, in this case becoming fat.

It points up yet again how being fat places you outside the rules, which can be deeply alienating. It changes the way pain and risk is seen, it removes the sense that you are suffering, you just become a fat person who must not be. Rather than someone who has to deal with it the same as everyone else.

Ultimately this has changed the way I perceive pain in general, not always for the better. It's funny, I often get into trouble when commenting on the behaviour of others, because I am sometimes cooler than the norm, because I'm outside the norm, I can sometimes sound sympathetic, when I'm just describing, objectively.

Clearly by coming off her meds in an attempt to halt gain, the author was taking a risk with her life, one of the reasons why I find it hard to get upset with her. The obesity hype of ill health, aided and abetted this life threatening recklessness, as it does in many other cases. People are convinced they are "dying", then go for gastric mutilation which has an even worse short, if not long term prognosis.

As in so many areas, fatness health hysteria is promoting people to greater and more widespread acts of self abuse and self disregard, and stigma skewering our capacity to make objective decisions.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Proto-anorexia: My mandated aspiration

I sometimes watch Supersize v. Superskinny.

This should come under the tag "guilty pleasure", except I don't feel guilty about it. It is undoubtedly so stupid at times as to almost give physical pain, that doesn't stop it from being thought provoking and interesting.

Looking past much of the nonsense to gain insight in to people's varied relationships with food and to hear the established views on food and weight put forward in a relatively civil way. Something that fat haters struggle with.

The ludicrous title is misleading as it's more about juxtaposing than versus. The two central protagonists, one a fat person who usually eats a heck of a lot, and the other, a slender person who in the main eats a hell of a little exchange diets in order to bring about a confrontation with their food issues. Mostly, they seem more sympa to each other, rarely are they in any sense in opposition.

That's good, because that is the truth, one eating disorder is the much the same as any other, it's the form it takes that differs.
I usually tend to avoid saying that people over/undereat. The terms have a pretended objectivity they don't posses and have become so devalued by over/misuse.They tend to be used to insult rather than describe.

What struck me the most about yesterday's episode was noticing that a recent awareness has crept up on me and come to a head. Apart from the main protagonists, they have a running section on a group of about five people with anorexia (PWA), trying to overcome their condition.

I've realised how my feelings about anorexia have altered. I no longer see it as something to do with anorexics, but more as a lifestyle that I should be living. That change is crucial, because fat people are supposed to live this way and not complain about it. It serves us right, if it does bring suffering. Whereas that same behaviour in someone who is shedding weight is seen to some degree, sympathetically. Although this is too often fanciful in the extreme. Because of this, a lot of these behaviours no longer "belong" to them in a way they once might have seemed to.

I've never been troubled by the envious feelings that a lot of people have toward people with anorexia. It seems that people think they get a better deal and more sympathy than others.

My first memory of this kind of thing was when I was barely into my teens, years ago, before anorexia was much known about past a cursory grasp.

A school friend, who like my self was fat at the beginning of the obesity curve, said on hearing someone mention anorexia, "Oh I wish I could get that".

I felt as if the air had formed itself into a big hand and slapped it into my gut.
Even though I burned to be thin, never would I ever want to have anorexia, full stop.
Some of this altered view must be to do with the stark realisation that weight loss dieting is a form of anorexia. No matter what anyone says, I cannot see how it differs in any real way except the dynamic of a set of behaviours that becomes more than the sum of it's parts-anorexia.

I have had an issue for a long time with the fact that activists insisted on separating anorexia from dieting, saying it trivialised the condition. When really what it helped to do was to trivialise the devastation that weight loss dieting can wreak, delaying realisations and helping to prolong suffering that could have been stopped given a chance to better perceive and understand it sooner.

Although to be fair, fat people paying better attention to themselves could have done, just as well. Hence the source of a lot of envy amongst fat people for a lot of other groups who have stood up for their own integrity a whole lot better than we seem to, mostly.

I daresay, anorexics themselves have paid a price for that decision too, I'm sure there condition would have been easier to understand if the precursor to their condition had not been severed. It's a continuum and anorexic behaviour doesn't belong to them anymore now that so many of us are pressured into trying to turn it into a lifestyle. But then, why would people need a potentially unsustainable amount of sympathy to rely on to assist them? Does one have to be overly sympathetic to wish to help a person? Or is it about raising the profile of the condition?

There's also the fact that a lot of the things PWA do that makes up their condition, are things that a lot of fatter people do or are made to feel if they aren't doing they are bad or failures. So whilst they complain about the suffering of their ways, I'm just seeing what I'm supposed to be doing, exactly.

Physical activity to earn the right to eat, see MeMe Roth, careful monitoring of (small)portions, either this food or that and so on.

If I lived the way they lived, I would be seen as a successful dieter, if my body co-operated and shed weight, if it didn't, I'd be seen as a liar and a failure. The difference is an individual bodies capacity to yield, for the usual defences to fail or be overwhelmed by the efforts.

There maybe more to it than they're showing, laxative abuse and purging isn't mentioned, but I wonder if you need to do those things to suffer if your body obliges and sheds weight and starts to eat its muscles up.

It makes me wonder how much the condition is a whole body process, that a starving body is part of the diagnosis. Things have been said about fat anorexics, and whether they exist-in the same way as thin ones do.

For instance, when some is under duress and they gain weight, it's seen by most as purely a result of the palliating effects of overeating or eating certain kinds of foods, or even as a metabolic response to the stress itself. What is left out is the fat, the actual weight itself and what that is doing, independent of those other factors.

For all we know, that could be most important of all. If so, then a fat person could not really be described as an anorexic in the same way, because their weight/ metabolic activity, may be stopping them from experiencing full symptoms of the condition. Which is sometimes the purpose of fat in general, to defend, protect, most of all, to maintain balance.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Energy transfer

Jennifer Hudson credits points for her slimmed self.

Her case may well illustrate the theory that as you rise in class, you tend to slim.

It's funny, but it might be that when your biggest dreams start to come true, you are suddenly able to tolerate the unpleasantness of our current weight loss ideology.

Wow, it's almost as if pleasure, satisfaction, excitement, fulfillment, freedom, progress etc affects your whole body, (including your metabolism in some way). Who'd have thought this would cause your whole self to respond differently, almost as if you had a physiological construction to before.

The change in class, income, etc but maybe more importantly, the fact that she's doing what she wants to do with her life has probably changed Ms Hudson has physiology more than someone who's body goes from fat to thin(ner). Maybe that was the real "weight loss" here, psychically speaking.

That would mean that to "fight obesity" it would be society's duty to make all fat people's dearest wishes come true. Whether it's making sure they make the fullest use of their intellects, physical prowess, artistic and other talents. I mean, everyone is desperate to end obesiness, so it must be done.

Expect the campaign to start any time soon.

And the great thing is, it can't really fail. If you still remain fat (naughty), hey, your dearest wishes are being aided and abetted by a society that wishes you the best. Too bad if your thin though, for the record, I think you should be included too.

That's an anti obesity campaign I could actually compromise with.