Sunday, 30 May 2010

Letting go...

Ah,(re-)learning how to let go's a funny old thing, especially when you didn't quite realise you were holding on so tight and why.

I'm just having to remind myself that things are the way they are and it not necessarily about what makes the most sense, but what means the most to those in the circles that matter, with the voices that count.

Suffice to say, those outside are bystanders and spectators and once you find a way to live with this fact, in the best way for you, you can let go. I'm destined to be one of those and I can't in all honesty rule out the possibility that some part of me is engineering this way, even though I swear I meant it to go differently as far as I'm consciously aware.

Maybe I've just been fighting a losing battle against myself, who's to say either way? Anyhow, enough is enough, consider me retired from trying add my voice to the general discourse, or get involved or whatever was the (vague) plan. I'm just going to endeavour to express myself and leave it at that.

That's what I'm doing, because otherwise I just turn myself into an angry machine and that's something I've never wanted and am tired of having become, it does't suit me at all to feel this way. I have to be satisfied that I've done the best I could do. I am slowly learning to recover the distance I lost when I made the rather ill conceived decision to "get involved", I actually feel a little queasy typing those words.

It is not up to me, it's up to someone else and that's all there is to it.

Expect me to care a whole lot less from now on.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Scanty privilege

Although I'm averse to the crude reductiveness of the term thin privilege. It's undoubtedly annoying the way that thin people are allowed to tell truths that if uttered by fat people would be subject to a slew of hate so distorting that any utterance is rendered meaningless, overtaken as it is by vitriol.

Having to watch this from afar as if it's a luxury, is one of the few times I feel any genuine tinge of envy about not being fat. The fact that you can know more easily what you think, because you're permitted to think and thinking is designed to recognise you and to exclude others-namely fat people.You don't have to think through a distorting minefield that is as tendentious as it is mindnumbing.

This exclusion, in terms of language as especially, often boxes us into positions that don't reflect the nuance of our understanding, opinions or attempts to chart a new course, our own course. We then get accused of being sinister and intrinsically more dishonest than everyone else. Even though people repeatedly say, "no-one takes any responsibility".

Not. A. One.

So yeah, the slim tend to retain the privilege of discovering that people on the whole don't eat things because they are "good for them", they eat them because they enjoy eating them and they taste good to them. And adding, "aren't I cute!" for good measure. And not expect to pay for the privilege of telling truths that people feel and want to hear.

edited for clarity

Friday, 21 May 2010

If it's not fit for purpose, it's a fail

When it is said that diets don't work, what is being said? It doesn't mean "I can't do them". I know the difference between I can't do macrame and macrame doesn't work.

If I couldn't diet, that's no more problematic than saying "I'm allergic to penicillin". I can say, "I've never tried dieting or tried it once, I never will or never again." If that's what I was saying, I'd say it.

I find calorie manipulation overall to be anti humane and degenerate credo. One of those theories that is easily becomes toxic because it will not come to terms with how people actually function, substituting this, for how it wants them to function. Showing an underlying misanthropy and shame about being human.We don't exist on paper, we are living beings, and we work how we work. There shouldn't be any shame in that.

Diet's don't work means they do not make fat people thin and stay that way. That is the acid test anything else is a consolation prize. It's no good saying that if 50 fat people go to a scientific institute every week for nutritional and exercise advice and support, at the end of two years they've maintained an average loss of seven pounds. Ergo, fat people can become thin. That is bilge.

Unless you feel it's OK if someone fat says, "I've lost 7lbs, therefore although I'm technically obese, I'm now thin and out of the firing zone, because I've lost some weight". If you find yourself agreeing with that, then you've every right to say the results of the above apocryphal study prove fat people can become thin.

If that is not acceptable for a fat person, hold yourself to that standard, in order to "prove" dieting works. You have to prove it to the same level as you'd find acceptable in a (former) fatty. Anything less and you've blown it.

Dieting has to be fit for the purpose it is intended, to the extent that it is intended and that is quite specific, if that's too narrow, then it's not about fatness is it? If we all wish to accept any less than this, that changes the whole game. And we need to discuss accordingly. It's purpose-in the obesity crisis, is to get fat people thin and stay that way. Anything less is failure, we are told that obesity is 100% preventable, show it. If you cannot demonstrate 100%, you cannot assert it.

I get that a lot of people find this to be taunting of diet advocates, I know that they are do not feel they should endure the idea of failure. We are entitled to believe something is successful because we want it to be, without the interference of the impertinence of truth. Especially if hope is seen as a bedrock of "success". But I swear, I'm not taunting. Many of us having been fully acquainted with the idea of being an abject and shameful failure, have had that sense of entitlement punctured utterly before we could even develop it. I'd be taunting myself as much as anyone.

The idea of trying really hard and failing, meaning really well and failing, doing a hell of a lot and failing, etc, is totally familiar. I can understand what a shock it is for the anti obesity calories in/out crew to feel the same.

Remember, everything has a placebo effect, sometimes, that's all there is. It often flatters to deceive.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Bad fat and all that

I agree with a lot of the sentiment expressed by tasha fierce, about how we often fall into the trap of justifying fatness on the grounds that we have healthful habits.

It's important to say that although I reject the healthist approach, I appreciate the fact that those in FA that are into it, have essentially asserted their truth. Fat people have different habits.

A while back I said that there are basically two types, those who are into healthism, those who aren't. Some are fat some aren't. Those fat people who are into healthism have more in common with thin people who are into it, ditto the others are more bon viveurs. They like to live their idea of living well.

So it's important that all types of experience are reflected in FA, I daresay, it's made connections with some to know that activity levels, diet's-as in what you eat- vary amongst fat people, as others. Rather than allowing people to hold on to cherished nonsense of fat people are not among us, there are no fat vegetarians/vegans/dieters, healthists etc.

Perhaps it's better to see certain approaches dominating as stepping stones, phases that need to be gone through in the process of living and learning. and now a point is being reached where the dominance of that approach or even the approach itself, has outlived it's usefulness in terms of being the lead, or seeming to be the only approach to putting FA out there.

I'd go further than those who call themselves bad fatties. The good/ bad fatty thing doesn't and has never made sense to me, because the latter, although purporting to reject the former, actually does it by shoring up the premise, that there is something good about eating the healthist way.

I actually don't feel that way, and my experiences with it have been a living education on exactly why I feel this way. Calling yourself a bad fatty is a bit like being an ex Christian, and describing yourself as a fornicator. If you're having sex outside marriage, technically, according to those dictates, you are. However, if you've rejected Christianity, why would you define yourself this way, as if it had any validity?

It's one thing to be amused by the idea, but that's not what this is, in order to call yourself a bad fatty, you need to believe that you can or should be a good fatty, so end up buying into that which judges you a bad fatty or thinny in the first place. Plenty of thin/ slim people feel the same, they say things like " I know I should eat x and not eat y, but y tastes so good!" Possibly followed with something like "I'll probably die next week of a heart attack and it'll serve me right!!!"

Bad fatty validates the underlying premise of healthism, more than it disagrees with it

If you do not wish to be judged as a bad fatty, think more about the construct itself, if you cannot let it go, because it seems right to you, then at least re-frame the way you see being in transition/ moving towards goodness.

Monday, 10 May 2010

FA and ableism

ReneƩ of womanist musings has written a powerful piece that's a bit of a curate's egg. She criticizes FA for excluding people with disabilities because she feels the HAES model excludes them. The problem with HAES for me is in the healthist usurping of it. It's become a real problem.

Though she seemed to make the usual error and that is to define the "health" part as promise, rather than an intent. Ironically, it's a healthist interpretation and I'm surprised, given that many of us know health cannot be promised-from a young age.

I couldn't interpret it this way and didn't even when I stuck as closely as I could to healthist mores. 

Its indicative that healthism has become the general default attitude of the establishment and middle classes. It dominates society in general that includes many fat people.

I also have to recognise though that some people find a lot of strength in this which enabled them to assert that fat=disease was untrue.Through practice they felt healthiness in themselves-which is a lot of its purpose. Though that enthusiasm has often threatened to get out of hand.

I also don't think she realises that HAES was started as an initiative in part by those who had amongst other things, mobility problems. People don't realise that in the past, fat people were just left. Either diet or nothing. Many people had no sense of fatness plus doing anything that was supposed to make you slim-but wasn't.

This was encouraged by the establishment who did not want that link to be widespread. If fat people weren't or couldn't diet, they'd prefer us to fulfill the stereotype and at least feel as sick as possible.

HAES was about meeting actual needs which the medical establishment had no interest in and in the main, still don't. PWD are part of the HAES ideal of starting from where you are, according to the ability and capacity your have.

The healthist element amongst fat people marginalizes when it assumes the same characteristics as the general mode which is that there is some level of perfection available to all, which we have a duty to strive for or we are self harming. Which is a lie;
When I am out negotiating the world in my scooter, my fatness speaks for me long before my disability does. Strangers who barely know my name are more than willing to suggest that the problem is my weight. It is assumed that despite all the limitations that come from needing a mobility device, that this is an active choice on my part.
If fatness=sickness and is the amalgam of choice, then a distinction cannot be made in the minds of all who define fat people this way.

ReneƩ said some profound things about her feelings about her weight;
My fat is a direct reflection of the two chronic illnesses that have plagued my life for the last three years. I am fat because I have been on prednisone (a steroid) for years. I am fat because the smallest amount of exertion causes extreme pain. There is nothing healthy about this fat.
Seeing in terms of either/or seems very much in keeping with the knockabout fat's bad, no it isn't of versus. To me FA is a different way of seeing fatness that's about neither of those. There's an important point here squeezed out by the need not to give opposition any more power than they have already.

My fat maybe a reflection of stresses and anxieties in my childhood. Others the aftermath of anything from a severe injury, to the aftermath of child sex abuse.

There's little doubt in my mind that the circumstances that precede weight gain/loss can make a huge difference to how people feel about their weight. I've long felt people often need support to come to terms with changes in how they see themselves. Especially in trying circumstances.

One thinks that when folk are abused for being fat, this may directly stir up feelings about this and be why some feel they cannot embrace their bodies. Wanting to lose weight could for some seem to be the final resolution of their trauma.

It should be said though that fat=disease does nothing to address this. I've never wavered in believing people should have the capacity to change their weight, whether up or down. I've no doubt that it should be part of an FA platform, however most remain to be convinced;
Fat may not always be a symptom of illness or dysfunction, but sometimes it most certainly is and when fat activists ignore, belittle or silence this truth they are simply acting in the same manner that skinny people do when they fat-shame.
Have to agree, there's a certain amount of screw you I'm alright however unwitting, regardless of what people try to say. It must also be said that the disingenuousness of obesity is a barrier to resolving any of this and a sign of the lack of interest in that by the obesity science establishment, despite appearances.

I personally feel the pride is in oneself not ones fat. The fat hating cult has undermined this. Pride is some people's way of restoring that to the self. Those who pose fat 'positively' are exchanging opposites, rather than seeing fatness in a different way.

Fatness cannot usefully be seen as a form of illness though anymore than thinness. I would object strenuously to that too. Even when someone is dying because their weight has fallen low. Renee says as much herself; "We have become socialized to believe that fat can only function as the cause of the illness."

Exactly. Weight signals an underlying metabolic shake down, more about survival than the sickness itself. The metabolism is what regulates weight. Fixating on weight is oddly shallow. Nor would I see it as a product of not being able to move, which is very much in keeping with the cals in/out we've all learned.
It is only out of a desire to express power coercively, that one can decide what constitutes disability and where responsibility lies. Those who has power are those who get to stick on the labels.....

All this does beg the question that if able bodied status is temporary for all. Then should we protest being labelled disease at all?

Hello Fatshadow!

I'm glad to see Fatshadow's back. When I first got into the 'sphere her supple yet gentle and elegant voice was much appreciated. The linked post is interesting, it takes it's starting point from fat representation on tv, then makes some points about being higher up the scale. Right about now, there are some interesting voices of dissent about fat acceptance culture and it's trajectory some of its conceits and direction.
I don't believe anyone gets that fat from too many calories and not enough exercise alone. I think something else is going on. It's difficult to articulate in positive terms.
[my emphasis]

It's tiresome to have to struggle with terms in this way. A legacy of the crude way fatness has been defined. It should be capable of being seen as distinct from metabolic underpinnings and machinations. The conflation of fatness with sickness gets in the way.

What I've felt is that FA is for everyone, no weight must be excluded. However, in the same way as those who are very thin may have issues that those who are merely slim don't have. Ditto the fatter a person is the more likely they are to be dealing with things that aren't faced by smaller fatz. Though that isn't by any means inevitable.

Now I'm aware that this may sounds excluding or a weakening of FA by weight. I am truly mindful of this. Not saying though seems equally excluding, in a different way. In the ways that people are talking about the sidelining or even erasure of certain people's experience. That feels worse to me.

The demands of those setting out to trash fat people are being prioritized. I envisioned fat acceptance as a place where fat people no longer had to give a shit about playing to them. And could just be defiantly themselves in the face of that. Even if that might sometimes appear to confirm certain negative assumptions. Alas, I severely underestimated the sheer level of mistrust we have for each other.

Nor I don't wish to label the very fat differently than I do those less so. It feels indulgent to me as a lesser fatty to say "just accept yourself" to those who are saying that they feel on the edge of things and want to feel less on the upper end of weight. I feel I cannot continue to ignore their concerns.

How to get that across whilst at the same time remembering not in any way to prescribe this experience by weight?
Any idea that fat may be unhealthy causes tension in the fat community. It's understandable since the health industry continues to use fat as a one size fits all basket into which everything wrong is dumped. Fat people will never get good health care while this is true. I believe fat to be a natural expression of physical diversity.
Weight does affect the way we move and hold ourselves, but how, really? The crude homogeneity of decline and inferiority is worthless though. I'd like to see real study of fat physicalities free from all that, to enable and liberate, to make the best of. We would have had that if obesity was bona fide.
I want doctors who talk to me about a health issue the same way they talk to any size person. I don't really mind when my weight is mentioned in a laundry list of things because my weight is part of my health history. I will have issues that other people don't have. When it's part of the whole picture it's normal. When it's singled out as THE issue, it's just not useful.
Indeed, so much for those who bray, "denial". What I've never quite got is why we've somehow got into the position where we feel we've slipped into this stance. I don't see why it's necessary. I don't see why it has to be either/or.
Should people who are so fat they become immobile diet and exercise to lose weight? I don't know. I think everyone benefits from a healthy diet and moderate exercise. My wish is that people of that size would be in a dialogue with the health care community, which might reveal a deeper understanding of how it happens. What I want for them is enough space and care to be as healthy as they can be with or without weight loss.

It should be the job of science to find ways to get weight down (or up) for those who need or want it. That's what they're not doing instead of flogging the dead horse that is dieting. I think it's outrageous that this should be demanded of anyone. No comparable situation would it be. People get drugs for regulating their mood and anxiety for goodness sake.

My general view is that fatness has been treated in a wholly biased and unbalanced way, to fit vested interests, rather than a honest, holistic and humane view of weight or metabolism in general. (I don't get the point of singling out fatness for study wholly in isolation, I feel the whole spectrum of weight studied and compared together makes more sense, objectively speaking).

I am an amateur, it's not up to me to give a definitive prognoses on what fat may or may not be. I can only focus on what I can do and eschew what I cannot. The professionals need to listen when we say, what we have now doesn't work.

They don't have to take our word for it, they can check whether that is reflected by the facts. They'll find it is. Welcome back FS, I've sincerely missed your lovely voice.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Dieting fast or slow still equals F.A.I.L

Interesting little article today saying that research-whatever that means in the context of weight loss- shows that crash dieting, or fast dieting is just as crap as slow dieting, or lifestyle change/choice.

This is worth noting because for a while now we have be fed some delusions aimed at rescuing weight loss dieting from the mayhem it both causes, in itself and provokes by it's activation of the body's defences; against it. Like most things surrounding weight loss dieting, reality simply will not co-operate with this wishful thinking. The truth is, dieting isn't healthy-regardless of what you think of being fat or weight gain, whatever, it can cause many if not all of the conditions it is supposed to alleviate by relieving one permanently of weight. It of course, cannot deliver on the latter, even if it can the former.

Both of these knotty issues pose a problem for diet apologists, the failure to work and the failure sustain, weight loss. The "solution" to these is to pretend that there is something called, good or competent dieting versus bad and incompetent dieting. Good dieting is slowed down and elongated dieting, watering it down so that it can be sustained for life, which is why it's called lifestyle change (or choice)usually fused with healthist dogmatism on favouring certain foodstuffs and the exclusion of others.

Bad dieting has become faster dieting, crash dieting, VLCD-very low calorie diets, semi-fasting of various types, such as exclusive food groups, of low calorific value, such as watery fruits/veg, a few or one kind. In gradations, starting off more strictly than it finishes, etc. Point is, it's seen as temporary, something to use up energy stores and then return to more normal ways of eating.

The bad ones are the ones that are not supposed to work and are supposed to be the unhealthy ones. They helpfully take on all of dieting's bad effects and good dieting is supposed to be healthy in itself and health improving in action.

This is how you get round the fact that dieting's bad for you, split them into two and label one good and the other bad. You may sense a flaw. It's regarding efficacy.

It seems faster diets are no more ineffectual than slow(er) ones. And possibly work even better, which is saying virtually nothing.

This is nothing new of course, as virtually nothing is in the whole dieting debacle, it all goes round and round in a circle of hell-and has been doing so for hundreds, if not thousands (or more) years. It will continue thus, until we accept what we have been told by reality over and over again. There can be no progress, because that would require progress, and that cannot occur without coming to terms with the facts. Like all those who are in shock, those who just cannot believe this is happening/ not happening the endless repetition doesn't make for progress if that centre of gravity remains the same. As there are many afflicted by this unfortunate faith, reaching a critical mass of acceptance of reality could happen anytime from today to the twelfth of never.

Friday, 7 May 2010

I love food!

I've been thinking about why I can't get on with this. I certainly don't hate food and in fact, I have a real aversion to that feeling too. Thing is, I seem to feel the same way about loving food too. It just feels like a pre-judgement.

 I might, but then again, I mightn't, on that particular day-because of the way it's been prepared, or a certain disliked ingredient. Or it not meeting my expectations and desires. I like to leave the possibility open that on this day, at this particular moment in time, this food bores me, is getting on my nerves. I can't make up my mind. I'm feeling a little cranky, etc,

I don't want to impose such an emphatic feeling on it.

It will be a summation of the whole process, discovery rather than fetish. If that makes sense.

If that's the kind of thing people mean when they say "I love food", fine. But if it's more of a kind of explanation, ie. I'm fat ergo "I love it because I eat or look like I eat lots of it. I find it's a little like an ideal of how you're supposed to respond to food, no surprises, no spontaneity. It feels like playing to type.

It's bad to enthuse about food, it's just well...what some people call part of mindful eating. All systems that hold to relatively rigid guidelines, may lead to a habit of the ideology being preferenced over that of bodily requirements. Whether it's I'm a gourmand/healthist/meat and potatoes type. You can start to get out of touch with yourself and be a servant to that.

That makes me feel a bit queasy.

Some are more sensitive to this than others, but this can all reach a tipping point where you get out of sync with your needs and appetites, or more they become blocked by your vision of what you should eat and feel about that according to some code.

Clearing your wardrobe and sorting through your clothes, every now and then it helps to mentally go through unexamined thoughts feelings and ideologies about food and what you feel you should or shouldn't be eating and your overall approach.

Checking if it still serves you, if your feelings have changed. Whether you can let go of certain things behind in order to refresh your mental palate. It's always a balance I'm not saying that one should or even can be free from having food ideals, or even that it's possible or desirable

Just that doing the occasional index can feel really good and re-ignite the sense of eating as something you experience in the present, rather than eating past baggage and your ideals, instead.

Once the idea is eaten more than the actual food, that's the time for a little re-think.

So good luck to you if you love food and can say that with heart and truth.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Difficulties with the idea of choosing fatness

As long as I can go back-in being mindful of fatness-I've always found the idea that I've chosen to be fat, to be pretty intolerable. I don't object on the grounds that fatness is a boo boo, just that I feel it misrepresents and denies my strenuous and real efforts not to be fat

I felt that this was not a choice to the extent that many of the things I'd say objectively, were far harder to accept any collusion in. I found easier to feel that I had more of a say in.

My continuous rationale was, I did not choose to be fat because I fought it like fury all the way.

This is true, on the face of it? It's true as far as my conscious motivation goes. But what about my subconscious intent?The other parts of my mind that often speak more directly to a more primal truth, represented by the realm of the emotions.

It hasn't seemed the time or place to explore this, in FA, given the priorities of mainstream FA. Reading soto post quoting Kathleen LeBesco has reminded me that the whys, wherefores or anywheres of being fat, as they are, don't always fully satisfy.

It might feel fairer to say-although I can't say I fancy it any more-that consciously, I didn't want to be fat. But I cannot assert the same about subconsciously with the same gravitas. I cannot speak for the realm of the emotions and whether that part of me was acting of its own volition to get fat. If so, what does that mean for how I express fatness as a choice, or not?