Friday, 17 June 2011

Celery Sticks

I suppose this ad was meant to be funny-the celery sticks cancelling out a slice of cheesecake- was a dead give away...yet doubt remains as this is the kind of weird trip the mind takes under the influence of calorie manipulation.

Like when you're asked why you don't use the energy you're using to protest fat phobia, in the gym. Because expending a set amount of calories in the church of gym is somehow more.

It certainly made me giggle and when the other women comes to join the first one and she says-oh you've lost weight-I admit, I burst out laughing. It thoroughly exposes the overweening emotionalism of calorie restriction, something to think about when having to listen to the yawn inducing tedium of how "emotional eating" is a big problem fat people need to 'fess up to and how it is the key factor in compulsive/binge eating etc.,

Its also partly because it now does seem oddly abstracted, reminds me of those comedy sketches when people put a macguffin phrase in to signify some banal trope insiders exchange portentously; unaware of how absurd it is to those not under the influence of the spirit of the group.

I wonder if they were told it must be in there so they just dropped it in like stone, up 'till that point, it had a real air of veracity.

This kind of talk is highly recognizable from what feels like forever, from people mostly but not exclusively, women. I have to confess one of the main things which put me off ever trying slimming clubs, was the fear that I too would develop this kind of mentality.

I still remember when slimming club "points" came in. I heard a woman really going to town with how she realized that if she saved some of her points during the week, she could have a fun sized chocolate bar at the weekend.

I cannot tell you how furious it made me, I mean she sounded like it was the most exciting thing that could ever happen to a person. In fact, now that I think about it, she was probably having a small episode of hysteria, hey, it happens.

Even though my resentment of my weight was still in full swing, something else kicked in, a kind of feeling that it was beneath our minds to think this way.

The ad has created a fuss from those who identify as having eating disorders and apparently this is no surprise to some. On the other side are those who find this precious that those complaining need to get over themselves a tad.

I consider myself reasonably capable of telling when a mark has been overstepped, or I used to, now I'm not so sure.

Because if you really have an eating disorder, why would you think this kind of internal monologue was in anyway specific to that as opposed to the norm for most people who count calories?

A split was established by those who advocate for those diagnosed with eating disorders who insisted that the world of dieting had nothing to do with their condition. Wilfully overlooking the fact that calorie manipulation, weight loss dieting is a flat out disordered.


The authorities as usual are determined to create artificial chasms between the disorder they promote and that other stuff over their that is deranged weird and neurotic, usually enabled by the same impacted misogyny that has facilitated the characterization of the 'obese individual' (hurl).

What amazes me still, although I should have gotten over it by now, is the way that some wish to collude in the fiction that there are "healthy" and "unhealthy" calorie restriction approaches and the difference between having an eating disorder is following one or the other. Even though at the same time we are told that ED's are 'genetic'. 

The real difference between someone who has a fully blown eating disorder and one who doesn't is not 'behaviour' as we keep being told, but how the body reacts to the same/similar behaviour.

Or to put it another way, if you've dieted hard like many of us in FA have, if you are not an anorexic, it is not because you were more 'sensible' it is that your body (I include your mind in that) responded differently to anorexic behaviour.

It didn't succumb to the pressure or the right detonator was not available perhaps.

Like the difference between a fat and thin person who are in all different ways similar in age, experiences, class, gender etc., is a different pattern of activity in their respective bodies.

What's interesting is the way this is subtlety being portrayed as a failure of awareness on the part of the advertisers, yet the real failure seems to be those complaining who seem unaware that there is nothing special about this kind of thinking, whatsoever.

Something reflected in the comments on various blogs to this story.

Those of us in FA who cannot stand "diet talk" when we are kicking back perusing the fatsphere, feel similarly. Some people enjoy mocking this but it shows people let their guard down when they are getting in touch with and examining their deeper feelings.

They are not in the same frame of mind as usual and that is why I cannot understand why any one would be triggered by this, when they have their guard is up, this must be all around them.

It's not that I'm unsympathetic as such, more puzzled by the desire to enforce distinction where there is none. It's again that weird conjunction where those who identify as having eating disorders enforce a boundary of bona fides between themselves and behaviour that is also disordered as if they are unrelated..

Well they need to realise that the reality of our anorexic worshipping nations has caught up and overtaken them.


  1. i love the complexity of your writing.

    perhaps i struggle with disordered thinking which results from my inability to exist outside my disordered culture, and thus i find it difficult to sort out what is "healthy" and "unhealthy" behavior--so i end up following what most might call intuition. (the discourse about "disorder" vs. ordered (?) seems very subjective--including the discourse of so-called objective science, as applied to human bodies.) in other words, i doubt my "disordered thinking" is a liability for me, but more of a survival option, something like co-consciousness(es) working in solidarity, my personal drive to establish greater equilibrium while forced to live within a society which operates (to anthropomorphize it) like a sociopath who finds it advantageous to keep everyone around him off balance.

    i understand why it makes sense to pathologize individual behaviors, such as weight loss dieting, especially when those behaviors consume a person's energy, thoughts, and focus--but mostly because it represents internalized oppression (elevated as a social norm) to which others should supposedly aspire for either aesthetic or ethical reasons. all this dieting/sizism/exercise obsession makes me sad and angry because i see the wasted potential...and resent the oppressive conditions being constructed and worshipped ("church of gym" indeed).

    on the other hand, i empathize with humans in general, who create lives the best we know how (with the complex histories we carry) within the midst of a largely uncaring and dysfunctional world.

    i also appreciate your strong voice against oppression.

  2. I love your comment H+F, it's apt on so many levels.

    I think you've put your finger on it when you recognize that we-fat and thin alike- are/have been part of a collective consciousness of fat phobia, if you like.

    The difference being as you say is those of us who've been enlightened, by our accoutability for the consequences of that are seeking to detatch ourselves from the collective and recover the equilibrium you mention. It is heretofore unknown and that's half of the real challenge.

    We hardly know what its like to respond as fat people without playing to the false consciousness of an 'obese'.

    It's very important that more of us learn to recognize that this construct is pure pathology and has little to do with being a functioning human being.

    Trying to fit into it and adhering to it does damage by its inherent dysfunction.

    I also really take your point about compassion, I feel that too and that's the other, in some ways more important part.

    I feel that especially for those who need yes need to lose weight.

    I'm against surgery therefore there must be a safe comfortable and functional alternative to that.

    Even for those who just want to be slim. I don't feel it's my place to issue edicts about that, only about the falsehoods used to support the (current) fictions of its possibility.

    I don't like the way some fat people especially at the top end have been abandonned to deal with their challenges as best they can.

    They are the ones being sidelined by the science/medical establishment and unfortunately to some degree by FA.

    There is a job to be done and what they call 'obesity science' is like a permanent derailing of that.

    It's a substitution of the appearance of doing what needs to be done, with doing via the agenda and NEEDS of those participating, rather than of those who's metabolic function has gone awry.

    As for the desire to lose weight/ as opposed the need, as more of us create/discover a fully functioning and healthy fat consciousness, people will discover for themselves a truer sense of why they wish to be slim.

    Others as well as myself have. I wanted to be slim, until I had to save myself from the destruction wrought by persuing it in the prescribed way.

    That was enough for me to cease caring either way, because by losing enough of myself, I was forced to value it again.

    The 'packaging' has become almost irrelevant in comparison.

    I exclude no one from fat/self acceptance, on the contrary. I've learnt a lot from those bigger than myself about not allowing the dictates of others to consume you, because you could not survive it with the physical challenges I don't have.

    Seeing so many of them being together and keeping their heads up and making the best of things, they posed some questions about just how much my feelings were due in part to not needing to use as much mental/emotional energy dealing with, family, friends a medical etc., establishment, that begrudgees accounting for your needs in any way.