Sweet Jesus, I Hate Dan Savage

Even though Fillyjonk posted about it here and I got involved in comments, I deliberately did not post about the last asshole thing Dan Savage said about fat people, because dude is obviously way too invested in defending his right to hate teh fattiez, and at this point, far be it from me to try to take that away from him. For some reason, he really, really seems to need it. I guess maybe that’s the compulsive self-comforting behavior he found to replace eating (see below). Poor bunny.

But tonight I look at my referral logs, and OH YAY, I’m getting traffic from the Slog. Hmm, what could it be?

Turns out Dan’s discovered the “obesity is a lifestyle choice” thing. And linked to our discussion of it. And yeah, take a wild guess what he thinks about it.

No, wait, don’t guess. Here you go:

No, you certainly can’t say that you’ll lose weight if you stop eating fast food, get more exercise, and eat more vegetables. It’s true, of course, but you’re not allowed to say it.

I’m not even gonna bother with that. Obviously, I’m lying through my teeth about my eating and exercise habits, as are the majority of Shapelings. It’s all donuts, all the time. In fact, I’ve rigged a system of ropes and pulleys between the couch and the kitchen, so I don’t ever have to expend any calories getting up to get more donuts. Periodically, Al flips me so I don’t get couch sores, but I hate that part, ’cause then I can’t see the TV until he flips me again.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, here’s where it gets interesting. A commenter named Big Sven describes his low-carb diet — modified South Beach. (Amusingly, Sven recommends Gary Taubes’s book. I wonder if Savage’s head will asplode if he picks that up and reads Taubes’s findings about obesity studies and exercise.)

Dan comments:

Big Sven, we’re on the same diet. Congrats on your success. Eggs rock.

And Big Sven responds:

Dan-

Sweet! But aren’t you… skinny?

Dan again:

Yes, but I have to watch and think about every piece of food that I put into my mouth. Always have. I am not effortlessly skinny, which most folks in the FA movement assume. I know diet and exercise can work… because they work for me. The reason most diets don’t work is that people think they can go off them. You can’t. It’s about lifestyle change and habit change and, yes, finding new comfort foods and activities that can replicate the kind of emotional satisfaction that food, or certain foods, once provided.

Bacon and eggs for breakfast, not a box of cereal. Wow. It works.

To which I responded:

I am not effortlessly skinny, which most folks in the FA movement assume.

Actually, few of us assume that since, as others have said, you’ve made all the same points a thousand fucking times now.

It’s about lifestyle change and habit change and, yes, finding new comfort foods and activities that can replicate the kind of emotional satisfaction that food, or certain foods, once provided.

That sounds a whole lot like recovery from Binge Eating Disorder, not a “lifestyle change” for a fat person with typical eating habits. If you used to overeat to find emotional satisfaction, and you’ve overcome that, that’s terrific — I mean that sincerely. Eating disorders are miserable. But if that’s the case, your relationship with food was not typical of most fat people. That’s what you really, really don’t seem to get. I mean, the tiniest bit of research would clear that up, but hey — why confuse yourself or your readers with facts?

When it comes to fat and nutrition as those things apply to human beings OTHER than you? You’re plain ignorant, and you’re a complete asshole about it. And I never cease to be baffled by how proud you are of both those facts.

To be honest, that response was somewhat disingenuous, since what I really think from that description is that he’s swapped one form of disordered eating for another. “I have to watch and think about every piece of food that I put into my mouth” is not actually a normal, healthy relationship with food — and yet, this is what Savage would have all of us fatties do. Watch every bite. Think about every bite. Obsess about food. Obsess about how much we hate fat and don’t ever want to go back there. Because… why again? Oh, right. Because that’s way better than eating well, exercising, not obsessing, and remaining fat. Because, you know, IT’S FAT. COME ON, PEOPLE!

Also, I find it rather curious that in the post, he says losing weight is as easy as knocking off fast food, exercising more, and eating more vegetables, but then he admits he’s actually on a perma-diet — and it’s the kind that involves loading up on bacon and eggs. Last time I checked, bacon and eggs were a lot closer to fast food than they are to vegetables, no? And don’t a lot of fruits and vegetables have those dreaded CARBS BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA?

But hey, what do I know about nutrition? I’m fat. Of course, I have never in my life considered eating a box of cereal for breakfast, seeing as how I don’t have an eating disorder, but I’m still fat — which means I obviously eat exactly like Dan Savage used to and am morally obligated to eat exactly like he does now. Duh.

Sweet Jesus, I hate Dan Savage.

73 thoughts on “Sweet Jesus, I Hate Dan Savage

  1. Sweet Jesus, I hate Dan Savage.

    Hey, you know what? You could start another blog on this topic.

    runs away, but in a fat way that ruined my joints

  2. Don’t worry, Kate. It’s almost over. Dan is on his way out, and he knows it. That’s why he’s getting more shrill. Sure, he’ll probably get to edit The Stranger for the rest of his life if he wants, unless it’s bought out by some media conglom that decides he’s too old to know what the kids really want to read and tosses him out on his bacon-shriveled keister. But his own writings will become increasingly irrelevant as time marches on. It happens to all hipsters sooner or later, unless they actually have something to say, and he doesn’t — except maybe about the gay-marriage stuff, and thousands of other people could do that just as well as he does.

  3. oh kate. how i love you. your blog is sustenance in a culture of famine.

    *runs off to eat baby-flavored donuts*

  4. You know what’s really making you fat, right? It’s all this hatred.

    I have to go pick up my eyes now, because they actually rolled right out of my head…

  5. In fact, I’ve rigged a system of ropes and pulleys between the couch and the kitchen, so I don’t ever have to expend any calories getting up to get more donuts. Periodically, Al flips me so I don’t get couch sores, but I hate that part, ’cause then I can’t see the TV until he flips me again.

    You LIAR! Al does not exist! Fat women do NOT have boyfriends! Ever!!!

    (But you are telling the Maude’s-honest truth about the donuts and the pulleys, of course.)

  6. Just that for all we wish for harpies like Dan Savage to go the way of the do-do, there’ll always be some overly-macho men who can’t stand to ask their embarrassing sexual questions with another straight man, for example, or women who want someone to tell them how fat their ass is.

    Sometimes society at large is just plain masochistic.

  7. But how did the pulley system get set up? Did you have a thin person do it for you?

    You know what this kind of shit reminds me of?(and Mr. Savage will just adore this analogy) The people who go around shouting about how you must have CONSTANT ViGILANCE when it comes to getting pulled into teh gay. Like they just don’t get that, for actual straight people, gay sex isn’t this awesomely appealing thing.

    Dan isn’t telling us anything except that he has a lot of issues with food which he assumes are universal. And he believes that thin people have beaten these sinful cravings and fat people have not.

  8. But how did the pulley system get set up? Did you have a thin person do it for you?

    I painstakingly trained the dogs to do it. With treats. Treats that made them fat.

    Dan isn’t telling us anything except that he has a lot of issues with food which he assumes are universal. And he believes that thin people have beaten these sinful cravings and fat people have not.

    Amen. And boy, we’ve never seen that before.

  9. Kate, totally agreed. Dan’s an ass, to put it mildly. I’m just feeling bitter from all the women I know (seemingly) fawning over “How To Look Good Naked”.

  10. What is really starting to piss me off is that one person has an experience and tries to then make that experience universal. It doesn’t fucking work that way! Why do people not understand?

  11. What is really starting to piss me off is that one person has an experience and tries to then make that experience universal.

    Especially when study after study after study has shown that the vast majority of people who diet do NOT have the same experience — and no, for Christ’s sake, it’s not just because they give up and go back to snarfing entire boxes of cereal.

    Seriously, does he really think the 95% of people who don’t keep the weight off are ALL just moral failures and quitters? And he’s in the minority because he is just that goddamned special?

  12. For the longest time, I thought Dan Savage was fictional/a parody. But yet again, there are people who are so exaggerated that no parody is necessary.

  13. I hate it when people assume all I do is eat Whoppers and drink soda. I hate fast food, it’s nasty.

    My grandmother and Aunt are big as well, and they don’t eat that crap either. I don’t my grandmother ever had soda in my lifetime – and I certainly know my great grandparents were heavy too on my mother’s side. Wasn’t from laziness – being that my grandfather had a million dollars in his bank account in the forties while running his farm.

    It’s stupid and asinine to assume that because I am overweight all I do is eat – I mean, crap, I never finish what’s on my plate, I get half way through it, and the boyfriend scrapes it onto his.

    Most of my weight comes from genetics, my drugs for my bi-polar disorder and the vertebrae I broke fifteen years ago. I lost some of it, but that was very cautious workouts with a trainer to insure I wouldn’t hurt my spine accidentally, and it wasn’t a fucking walk in the park!

  14. Dan Savage reminds me of an “ambulance chaser”–it’s a term a friend of mine coined for folks who go out their way to find something to bitch about when it has absolutely nothing to do with them, with unfounded views and unsupported arguments.

    We also call them trolls. *shrug*

  15. You know what fast food I crave most often? Subway. And when I want to “Eat Fresh”, I walk there. I walk everywhere.

    And when “healthy” skinny people hear that I’m going to walk somewhere… whether it’s a couple miles or it’s just out of my apartment complex, to the end of the block, across the street, and half the width of a shopping plaza to the grocery store, they go, “OH MY GAAAAAWD how can you STAND that?”

    And I officially blame fillyjonk for giving me an unhealthy relationship with this site. :P I used to read something on it every once in a while but since she mentioned my site in that comment last Friday I’ve read everything on it and I can’t stop coming back and checking for more.

  16. I think what’s fascinating and baffling about the whole “watch very closely everything that goes in my mouth” brigade, of which Dan admits to being a part, is that they seem to not understand that I have considerably more important things to be doing than obsessing. Like reading, and going to the gym when I feel like it and fretting about whether I’m going to get into the Masters program I applied for, and spending time with my (obviously imaginary, since I’m fat) partner, and wondering if anyone’s written Prestige/Batman Begins/X-Men fanfic where Bats-Borden & Wolvie-Danton fight to the death (or, y’know, whatever) and Alfred makes them tea. Y’know, important shit. And if I’m thinking about what food I’m eating, it’s about whether or not it’s tasty, not some ridiculous moral self-judgment.

  17. You know, this is a perfect example of what somebody was talking about in another thread, how losing weight is supposed to be simultaneously so easy that we fatties really have no excuse not to, and so difficult that people who succeed deserve our praise and accolades.

    No, you certainly can’t say that you’ll lose weight if you stop eating fast food, get more exercise, and eat more vegetables. It’s true, of course, but you’re not allowed to say it.

    Yes, but I have to watch and think about every piece of food that I put into my mouth.

    Which is it, Dan? Is losing weight so simple as cutting out fast food and getting some exercise, or does it require obsessing over every bite of food you put in your mouth? You can’t have it both fucking ways.

    But yeah, I haven’t thought much of Dan Savage since I read a column where he told someone with a low sex drive: “You can have a low sex drive, or you can have fidelity from your partner, but you can’t have both.” As someone who’s had lots of relationship conflict due to a spotty sex drive – fuck you Dan Savage.

  18. And when “healthy” skinny people hear that I’m going to walk somewhere… whether it’s a couple miles or it’s just out of my apartment complex, to the end of the block, across the street, and half the width of a shopping plaza to the grocery store, they go, “OH MY GAAAAAWD how can you STAND that?”

    Heh, I just had that conversation with my (thin) sister.
    Her: Do you want a ride?
    Me: Nah, I’ll walk.
    Her: All the way home?!
    Me: Yeah, it’s not that far.
    Her: Seriously, I’ll drive you. You can’t possibly walk that far!

    We were talking about like a 20-30 minute walk. It was bizarre.

  19. I think what’s fascinating and baffling about the whole “watch very closely everything that goes in my mouth” brigade, of which Dan admits to being a part, is that they seem to not understand that I have considerably more important things to be doing than obsessing.

    That’s something else I don’t get, arriela. Time and time again I come across this assumption that it’s the fat who are obsessed with food, and that if we can overcome this we’ll be thin. And I’m like…huh?

    I think about food: a) When I’m actually hungry. Or b) when some douchehound who thinks they’re psychic takes it into their head to tell me what I eat and why it’s wrong. Otherwise, it’s something I simply don’t find very interesting compared to about 1001 other things in my life. (Which might explain why, if I shop without a list, I end up running out of butter and having more bell peppers in the fridge than I know what to do with. A real food obsessive would, I’m sure, be better organized.)

  20. But yeah, I haven’t thought much of Dan Savage since I read a column where he told someone with a low sex drive: “You can have a low sex drive, or you can have fidelity from your partner, but you can’t have both.”

    And increasing your sex drive is just as easy as losing weight, I assume.

    But to maintain it, you have to watch who you sleep with for the rest of your life.

  21. If it were TRULY that easy, just a matter of standing up and saying, gee, today I’ll get skinny by eating bacon and freaking eggs, we’d be suffering under a thin epidemic, wouldn’t we?

    I look back to when I was 17, and I barely ate (doing too many drugs at the time, an extended manic period) for a year. I was STILL overweight by any chart I could find, despite the fact that there was maybe 600 calories going in a day, and I was walking for at least 3 hours a day.

    Still fat. Smaller than I am now, but still “fat’, and still a size 16. When I was essentially starving myself.

    But hey, I just wasn’t trying hard enough I suppose. I wasn’t obsessing over each and every bite. Which I refuse to do. Actually, I just obsessed over how good my waffled covered in strawberry jam was, but I digress.

    Used to dig the dude, years ago. Guess we all grow up eventually.

  22. “I have to watch and think about every piece of food that I put into my mouth” is not actually a normal, healthy relationship with food — and yet, this is what Savage would have all of us fatties do. Watch every bite. Think about every bite. Obsess about food.

    Terrifying. I just had a flashback to the time my life was like that. I would think about food all the time, it was a control obsession.

    Doesn’t the guy get that it’s not normal? It’s a disorder and a very, very sad existence.

    I’m much happier now that I weigh more and am finally free to think about whatever I want to think. Which usually isn’t food.

  23. Dan isn’t telling us anything except that he has a lot of issues with food which he assumes are universal.

    There’s a lot of that going down at the minute, isn’t there? What with that violent acres hag with her “every woman is a honking great masochist because I am” manifesto and her conflation of visible breasts with life-endangering half-ton-womanhood. (For anyone who actually read that spleen-filled shite directed at Kate, Joy Nash and FA in general, it’s apparent she’s had a quintuple humour bypass into the bargain, since she failed utterly to see the irony in the ‘Totally Awesome’ sketch).

    And he believes that thin people have beaten these sinful cravings and fat people have not

    … which, on the face of it, is pretty illogical since that’s obviously not his experience. If he has to obsess over every bite he puts in his mouth you can bet your big fat wobbly arse he’s wishing he could eat something Sinful and Guilt-Inducing every moment of the day. Dan, be strong! Resist the siren song of the cough drop!

    you certainly can’t say that you’ll lose weight if you stop eating fast food, get more exercise, and eat more vegetables. It’s true, of course, but you’re not allowed to say it

    Oh, really? I’ll say it. I bumped up my fruit and vegetable intake and started becoming more active a couple of years back and I lost weight. Went down…a whole half-dress size!! Still fat though. And never ate much in the way of fast food in the first place.

    Eggs rock

    They sure do. I used to favour that diet. You don’t shit for a week.

  24. I absolutely love everyone on this site; you are all supportive and wonderfully funny and wicked where it counts. Thanks for the positivity and the giggles. <3

  25. Actually, that bit about Dan Savage and binge disorder was pretty sharp. In his Skipping Towards Gomorrah, he says that he occasionally gets together with friends to go to a low-end buffet and eat huge amounts.

  26. runs away, but in a fat way that ruined my joints

    Hee!

    One important point that needs to be made is that Dan Savage was almost certainly never fat. He may have been fatTER, but not fat. Nobody here is claiming that there is one single weight you are destined to be at for the rest of your life — that would be ludicrous, especially since most people’s weight fluctuates by a few pounds on a daily basis. People have a range of weights they can comfortably fall into, and another, wider range that they can more or less keep up with concerted effort (because yes, if we switched over to an all-baby-donuts diet we would probably all be somewhat heavier until we got sick of baby donuts).

    But it just doesn’t SCALE. If a person whose natural range is 140-150 manages to keep it at 135 by obsessing over every morsel of food, that does NOT mean that a person whose natural range is 190-210 will also be able to keep it at 135 through the same amount of effort. Dan Savage keeping himself skinny through food obsession is NOT an analogy for, say, Kate keeping herself skinny through food obsession. It’s an analogy for Dan trying to actually get FAT through food obsession. Which I would love to see him try.

    (Granted, after years of restriction, it might be easier — we all know that the best way to make someone permanently fatter is to put them on a diet.)

    By the way, I acknowledge that I am completely making up those numbers above. I have no idea how wide most people’s natural range is, or how much below or above they’d be able to get with effort — I do know it differs by person. (For instance, the difference between Sweet Machine biking everywhere and Sweet Machine not biking everywhere is like two dress sizes, whereas the only things that have bumped me out of my natural size range are medication side effects and the metabolic aftereffects of dieting.) But the point, I hope, is clear.

  27. I am not effortlessly skinny, which most folks in the FA movement assume.

    OK time for us to stop giving this person the oxygen of publicity. I’ve been guilty of it myself, but enough is enough.

  28. Well if you say so FJ, but when the man starts talking about what FA’s think of his sorry self, I think we are enabling his self importance(if that’s possible).

  29. One important point that needs to be made is that Dan Savage was almost certainly never fat.

    You know, I have no idea how fat he was or was not, but before he busts out the pictures of Fatty Dan to prove how very wrong we are, let me say that that’s not necessarily true.

    If he did indeed massively overeat when he was younger, it’s entirely possible that he ate himself beyond his setpoint. And if he does indeed think about every bite of food that goes into his mouth now and believe he can never not be on a diet, it’s entirely possible that he’s keeping himself a little below his setpoint.

    Disordered eating can throw everything off. Go figure.

  30. Everyone has already nailed this, but I just have to add that I love the idea that *we* are the ones sitting around, thinking “Goddamn that Dan Savage! He’s just so EFFORTLESSLY THIN!” as though we all just can’t stop thinking about Dan Savage all the time. The only times I think about Dan Savage are when I read his column (which I still do, occasionally) and when his buddies choose to piss on my good friends in their paper.

    Dan seems to think about us a lot more than we think about him.

    [tag fixed by Kate]

  31. Well if you say so FJ, but when the man starts talking about what FA’s think of his sorry self, I think we are enabling his self importance(if that’s possible).

    Wriggles, I hear you, and it’s exactly why I didn’t post about him on the last round, and wanted to scream every time I saw his name pop up on the fatosphere feed again. But you know, if he’s going to send me trolls, I’m going to say once again that he’s an ignorant, hateful jackass.

    The interesting thing, though, is that so far, we’ve only had two troll comments from his readers (which I’m saving up for a special edition of Douchehound of the Day). So, much like with the Violent Acres thing, either the power of that blog is wildly overestimated, or the people coming here from there (and the referral logs tell me there’s a steady stream, though it’s no more than usual traffic) are reading what’s actually here and realizing, hey, that’s not so crazy.

    In fact, I just got an e-mail from someone who came here via Violent Acres and wrote just to praise the BMI project and point me to the Scientific American issue on obesity from back in the fall, if I hadn’t seen it. (I had, of course.) So, you know, if hateful assholes want to keep sending me new readers who like what I have to say, they’re more than welcome to keep it up.

  32. In fact, I’ve rigged a system of ropes and pulleys between the couch and the kitchen, so I don’t ever have to expend any calories getting up to get more donuts. Periodically, Al flips me so I don’t get couch sores, but I hate that part, ’cause then I can’t see the TV until he flips me again.

    Funniest shit I will read this week.

    I actually don’t hate Dan Savage, because his sexuality writing is good, I just hate his anti-fat attitude, and I think you’ve pegged where it comes from.

    I actually made a choice to be fat, because obsessing over every bite that went into my mouth was so destructive, so painful, so CRAZY, that it was clearly not worth it. And then I continued to obsess and rollercoaster for several more years after that. But I look around me and see a bunch of obsessed people struggling with guilt and desire and more guilt and self-hatred, and I think the small amount of shame and self-hatred that I still struggle with because I’m fat is a small price in comparison.

  33. I used to obsess about every single thing I ate – heck, I even kept journals detailing my food intake and berating myself for tiny little losses of self control like eating one raisin too many.
    Guess what? I had an eating disorder! And sure enough, five years later, all the weight I lost from starving myself is back on.

    It certainly does sound like Dan Savage has fallen into disordered eating behaviours.
    What worries me is how much of his self image/esteem seems to be based on his continuing exercise of steel-like self control. for the majority of people ,that just isn’t something that’s possible to keep up in the long run, and furthermore it’s a miserable way of living. What’s going to happen to him mentally when his iron will eventually (possibly inevitably) snaps?

  34. Y’know, I like Dan Savage’s attitude towards sex…. but not really his attitude towards anything else. I have previously wanted to ask him for advice, but then I realized the first part of his advice would be “First, you and your partner should stop being fat fat fat fatties.” So I decided I’d be a grown up and just fix my own damned problems.

    I hate to make blanket stereotypes, but man do I know a lot of gay men with eating disorders. I have actually banned one of my friend’s friends from speaking about food in my presence. He’s so skinny, and constantly talking about how fat he is. I am very proud of myself for not sitting on him and teaching him what fat really is. He’s the worst of them, but it seems like all the gay men I know spend far too much time saying “oh goooood I’m sooo Faaaaat.” I think I’m just going to start sending them to this site.

  35. I hope you did not mean to be blasphemous in your expression. Using the Lord’s name like you just did is against the second commandment: “Thou shalt not use the Lord’s name in vain.” If you meant to use it as a short prayer, then you are not using it in vain.

  36. Seriously, does he really think the 95% of people who don’t keep the weight off are ALL just moral failures and quitters? And he’s in the minority because he is just that goddamned special?

    Why yes, yes he does. What’s more, he thinks fat people are so fucking stupid that we don’t realize this. If only had the sense to eat one baby donut instead of 30, we could lose four pounds a month indefinitely and keep it off. If we’d only roll over to grab the remote instead of training the dog to fetch it, we’d lose another 2 pounds a month until we all looked like Uma Thurman. It’s sad that we’re so damned stupid, really, but what do you expect of a bunch of Morlocks?

  37. Oh thank you! I thought I was the only one in the world who hated Dan Savage. I have always thought he was a pretentious prick!

  38. I’ve been irritated by some of Dan Savage’s advice over the years, but all in all I expected to not agree with anyone’s advice 100% of the time. Since the start of all his anti-fat bullshit, I’ve stopped reading. And prurient interest aside, I can’t really say that I miss it all that much.

  39. OK, I’m a lurker, so I don’t know how to put my friggin quotes in italics. LIttle help? :)

    “In fact, I’ve rigged a system of ropes and pulleys between the couch and the kitchen, so I don’t ever have to expend any calories getting up to get more donuts. ”

    First off, can I have the schematics for that system? ‘Cause according to Danny-boy, if I could rig that to send me nothing but bacon and eggs, I’ll lose weight without ever getting off my ass! Woot! I love me some bacon ‘n’ eggs!

    “Seriously, does he really think the 95% of people who don’t keep the weight off are ALL just moral failures and quitters? And he’s in the minority because he is just that goddamned special?”

    You know, when I read that, I actually had some pity for the guy for the first time. [Trigger alert - please edit as necessary] One of the things that was really hard to give up when I was coming out of anorexia was the intense feeling of superiority it gave me over every other human being. At that point in my life, I hated myself SO MUCH that feeling superior was the only thing I had to make myself feel good about myself. It was a twisted sense of self-esteem (obviously), but man, it was seductive. It still is. If I accidentally miss a meal, that feeling is the first thing that comes flooding back once I realize that I didn’t eat. And based on the rest of what I read, that man sure as hell has some disordered eating going on. So if that feeling of being “that goddamned special” is the only thing he’s got on his plate — I almost feel bad for him.

    OTOH, nothing excuses *quite* the amount of assholery he spews, so that tempers any pity I’ve got for him. :P

  40. I too walk everywhere & have frequent experiences of people asking, OMG, HOW do you DO it?!! I could never walk that far, you are so remarkable” (I have cerebral palsy & arthritis, btw). I also get an amazing number of total strangers stopping me on the street (I expect because of the noticeable limp) to ask if I want a ride somewhere & am I sure I can make it to get where I am going. I do have to say that, because I walk all over town & perhaps, admittedly, because a lot of people in Bangor are fat, I virtually never get any nasty remarks about my size, though over the years I have had plenty about my disability from time to time.

    And Dan Savage can take a bite out of my big fat ass…it’s carb free, you know.

  41. You would think that Dan Savage would have enough sense, as a gay man (and I’m writing this as a queer woman) to understand the utter irony of using a phrase like LIFESTYLE CHOICE to describe the plight of a group of people that experience discrimination, hatred, and oppression.

    I really don’t know what else to say, except that I’m sitting here eating leftover veggies for breakfast as I read this, and that I can’t even remember having fast food within the last year, and also, I get pissed off sometimes when my stomach starts telling me it’s hungry, because then I have to think about food and cook it, and I have much, much better things to do with my life, like paint murals on the walls and practise playing my guitar and have wild sex. And I shouldn’t even feel obligated to defend my body’s need for food, anymore than I should have to defend the gender of my sexual partners.

  42. I know a lot of fat people who are of the same food-is-fuel view as my skinny husband. They forget to eat or absent-mindedly eat a salad while answering email.

    I’m not one of this ilk. I actually do think about food quite a bit. I love to cook, my husband recently became a vegetarian, I have a layperson’s interest in nutrition issues (class, transportation, sexism in the slow-food movement, that kind of thing) and we plan to start square-foot gardening this spring, so I have to calculate how much space will feed our little family and figure out what I want to plant.

    So yeah, I read cookbooks sometimes, and I probably spend two hours a week shopping including transportation time (dang vegetarians!) and I cook every day and I do like to eat good food, especially when I’ve made it myself.

    So… am I supposed to feel like some kind of monster for this? I don’t, so perhaps I’m missing an opportunity for self-hate.

  43. OK, I’m a lurker, so I don’t know how to put my friggin quotes in italics. LIttle help? :)

    [i] before what you want to italicize and [/i] after it, only use angle brackets instead of square. (You can also do [blockquote] [/blockquote] if you want to get fancy, but itals are understood as quoting, obvy.)

  44. So… am I supposed to feel like some kind of monster for this? I don’t, so perhaps I’m missing an opportunity for self-hate.

    No, no, no. But what you describe sounds like a hobby, an interest, as opposed to an obsession with the relationship between what you eat and the size of your ass.

    I mean, shit, plenty of people think there are better things to do than spend a good chunk of your life reading novels. I’m not one of them. But I also don’t think the world would be a better place if everyone read as many novels as I do (okay, maybe a little), nor do I hold up novel-reading as something to be proud of from a moral standpoint. That’s the difference between a hobby and a twisted obsession.

  45. But what you describe sounds like a hobby, an interest, as opposed to an obsession with the relationship between what you eat and the size of your ass.

    Well, yeah. I was being a snarky bitch there, which is another hobby of mine. (Cooking, gardening, reading, needlework, being a snarky bitch – I’m such a girlie-girl.)

    I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with being interested in food. I mean, there’s a food network on the tube, ferchrissakes. But if you’re a Savagite, being obsessed with food is fine, as long as you don’t actually like it.

  46. I kind of get the impression that Dan Savage is really pissed off that he’s spent a lot of his life struggling with food and weight and now it’s becoming okay to *not* be skinny. How dare other people not suffer as he has!

    I hope he isn’t passing this kind of thing on to his kid. That’s probably a futile hope, though.

    Something a lot of people miss about Dan Savage is that he is fundamentally conservative on a personal level. Sure, he might be out-as-out-can-be gay and breathtakingly frank about sexual acts, but at his core he’s still the guilt-ridden Midwestern Catholic boy he was raised to be. When people read past the frankness of his talk about sex (for which I mostly have praise), the moralistic, do-as-I-say tone becomes quite clear. He has never really denied this conservatism, but he apparently has not realized how pervasive it’s become in his writing, nor how intensely hypocritical it makes him sound. (He is not this way just about fatness, either–he frequently sounds just the same talking about smoking and pit bulls, two of his recent betes noire.) It’s really quite sad to see him screeching in hysteria in a fashion that is remarkably similar to a certain strain of anti-homosexuality advocates. What’s even more sad is that I don’t think he’s going to realize he’s doing it.

  47. I hope he isn’t passing this kind of thing on to his kid. That’s probably a futile hope, though

    Geez, I hope that kid doens’t have genetic predisposition to fat. That plus Savage’s insane attitude towards food and fat could screw him up big-time via yo-yo dieting.

  48. If he did indeed massively overeat when he was younger, it’s entirely possible that he ate himself beyond his setpoint. And if he does indeed think about every bite of food that goes into his mouth now and believe he can never not be on a diet, it’s entirely possible that he’s keeping himself a little below his setpoint.

    Oh, I totally agree. Only he’s quite skinny now. I highly doubt he could have eaten himself enough beyond his setpoint to be considered fat by most people. I doubt, for instance, that he ever moved into a BMI range that made doctors automatically discount his complaints.

    Still, like I said, everyone’s setpoint range is individual.

  49. fillyjonk, I’m actually quite interested in what people’s experience of their setpoint range is.

    Your comment made me think more… objectively? … about all the dieting I’ve done in my life. I appear to have a 5 pound regular range, a 10 pound gain if I go through a period of being sedentary and loss when I move again (injury or harsh school term) or for weight loss dieting, a percentage of body weight before I plateau. I have *never* moved down from a plateau, although I hear it can be done.

    It seems that on calorie restriction alone, I am able to lose about 14% of my body weight, regardless of where I started, and then I stop losing, get very hungry, and eventually get crazy and food-obsessed. It feels like constant panic. On low carb, I’m able to lose 20%, so there’s a difference. On low carb I end up with slightly less panic and slightly more depression.

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  51. Arwen: I’m actually quite interested in what people’s experience of their setpoint range is.

    I’ve never dieted, so I can’t tell you how much I can deliberately move my body weight, and I’ve never owned a pair of scales either, but…

    When I was in my late teens and at university, I ate reasonably well and walked a lot because I didn’t own a car, and I was a steady UK size 16. During my twenties and early thirties, I had a pretty sedentary job and drove everywhere, ate more unhealthily, and I pretty quickly went up to a UK20 and stayed there. Then over the past four or five years, I’ve started eating more healthily and exercising regularly, and I’ve drifted back down to a UK 16 again. So my range seems to be roughly a couple of dress sizes.

  52. “The reason most diets don’t work is that people think they can go off them. You can’t.”

    Savage never ceases to flaunt his ignorance. Diets don’t work because the body’s “elegant survival mechanism” does, thank heaven.

  53. That logic works for anything:

    The reason ex-gay therapies don’t work is that people think they can go off them. You can’t.

    See? It’s not that the ex-gay movement is wrong… it’s that people won’t stop bein’ gay. It’s so easy, people! You just have to think about everything you put in your body, and vice versa!

  54. Does this mean I don’t get a biscuit? Because, you know, I’ve got this gaping hole deep inside me that just needs to be filled…

    With biscuits.

    It’s a biscuit hole.

  55. Arwen:
    My set range is about 125-140 lbs, size US8, provided I’m not on the pill, and 135-150, size 8 or 10, if I am. With 2 hours at the gym per day and pretty much nothing but chicken and lettuce to eat other than that, I can get down to . . . 122 lbs, and a size . . . 8. (While off the pill.)

    Not fuckin’ worth it.

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  57. Oh my $DEITY! I simply could not keep my giant pie hole shut on this one. I don’t know how long my comment will stay up there considering I put a giant F*** Y** on there, but it was this comment that set me off:

    Let’s face it people, we are a FAT nation, your glands be damned!

    To the point, the “glands” part. Especially considering my doctor’s appointment Friday. I somehow lost 10 lbs in three weeks in spite of my best efforts. This is beyond frustrating.

    Dan’s comments were horrible, assholish and ignorant, but for some reason it was the stupidity displayed by some of the people commenting that got me even more pissed off.

  58. I don’t know Savage’s body of work well, but I do know media operators of his kind, they specialise in instigating these type of contretemps, to boost themselves, I’m not saying don’t respond, just don’t allow him to use you to suit his agenda.

    This is a self-hating man that views his own (female) readers with contempt -playing the chastising patriarch with them.
    Thinks that his worthiness to be loved is earned daily through his regime of diet/ exercise, I can’t take him seriousIy, he is pathetic.

  59. My friends Gwen and John really did rig a pulley system… a snack basket suspended from their vaulted living room ceiling. They just pull it down and hoist it back up during their tv watching.

  60. I’ve never commented before, despite reading a fair amount, but I can’t seem to keep quiet after reading about Dan Savage’s perma-diet, and how it “works”. How unbearably depressing. I have generally liked Dan Savage, but my only real window on him before has been This American Life, where he’s done some nice commentaries. But the diet thing? What the hell? I’m a naturally too-skinny person, and I love food. Love, love, love it. It’s been nice to read about a baseline size here, because I’ve never been able to get up to a size that is “healthy” for my height, and I’ve found it very frustrating. This idea of a baseline size had occurred to me before, but I didn’t know if there was any basis for it, other than my confusion at how I could eat with the express purpose of gaining weight and still lose it.

    Anyway, the perma-diet. What a dysfunctional way to relate to food. Sure, eat food that is good for you. Food that is good for you tastes good, usually. And not all of us need the same foods – that’s why we have cravings. Misunderstood cravings can be detrimental to health, but getting at the root of a craving can tell you about what your body needs. It’s not that weight is a simple matter, but eating should be. Eating should be a joy.

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  62. I hate to make blanket stereotypes, but man do I know a lot of gay men with eating disorders. I have actually banned one of my friend’s friends from speaking about food in my presence. He’s so skinny, and constantly talking about how fat he is. I am very proud of myself for not sitting on him and teaching him what fat really is. He’s the worst of them, but it seems like all the gay men I know spend far too much time saying “oh goooood I’m sooo Faaaaat.” I think I’m just going to start sending them to this site.

    Yup. Many gay men also have a tendency towards ageism — you’d better not look a day over twenty-five, thirty at the outside, or you can forget about getting a long-term partner. Unless, that is, you’re richer than God. Lesbians simply don’t do that sort of thing, not even if they’re the lipstick types.

    As for fat: My spouse was morbidly obese (nearly 400 pounds!), and he did have to lose weight so he wouldn’t die (BP over 180, water retention, cellulitis, etc.). He lost nearly 150 pounds (yes, one normal woman or two supermodels) through a combination of diet and exercise: His BP’s now normal without meds, and his energy level’s increased. He can crank off twenty miles on his bike at fifteen miles an hour and call that a light workout; he’s been known to do 85 miles in a day before his hands will say “no mas!”

    But he’s still bashing himself for being out of shape. Why? Because he can’t stay below 240 pounds on a 6’1″ frame. He wants to be 180 pounds like he was all through high school and college, when he rode his bike every day even in the winter. (He gained all his post-college weight when he stopped riding bike because of hand problems just before the first generation of shocked mountain bikes hit; if he’d had a bike with front shocks twenty years ago, he’d have probably been fine.)

    So yes, being fat can lead to health problems. But yes, you can be also be fat and be perfectly healthy otherwise. My spouse shows the evidence for both. 6’1″ and 370 pounds? Not good. 6’1″ and 240? Still technically overweight by 60-odd pounds, but guess what? He’s otherwise perfectly healthy.

    And why am I telling you all this? As troll prophylactic against the legions who will show up and say “But don’t you know that fat causes blah blah blah?!” Yes, we all know that anything taken to extremes is a problems, including dieting. But the parameters for “normal” are a LOT wider than guys like Dan Savage will admit.

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