FAQ You All

All righty. I don’t know what Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine’s plans are, but posting from me will probably be light over the next few days, on accounta I’ve finally sat my fat ass down and begun beavering (heh) away at a long overdue Shapely Prose FAQ.

I will be rolling it out in three parts: Welcome Questions, Supremely Irritating Questions, and Questions We Have No Strong Opinions About.

If you have any questions you think should be added, feel free to leave them in comments (though honestly, we’ve probably already thought of them). I’m curious about what Shapelings think should be addressed. Oh, and if you have links we might not have seen to excellent articles on the shit we talk about here every day, please leave those, too. Thanks.

166 thoughts on “FAQ You All

  1. Oh, can I add a request to please link to your favorite go-to SP posts? I don’t know about Kate, but I can kill lots of time, while trying to write a post, in looking for That Time When Kate Addressed This Perfectly. The FAQ will probably link liberally to stuff we’ve already written, so your recommendations for Essential SP Reading would be most helpful.

  2. Great idea! From the recent comment threads, I’d say an explanation of baby-flavored donuts is definitely in order (and the drink recipe – was one ever selected?).

  3. I am 99.99999999% sure that you will include this in “Welcoming Questions,” but it always makes my heart break a little when people ask, “Can I be a fat acceptance advocate even though I’m thin?” So that’s my vote, and I would feel horrible if it didn’t get included. Not that that’s likely, but.

  4. I’d like something in there that has a response for something like, “I understand why you don’t want to diet, but why do you have a problem with other people dieting? Don’t you believe in body autonomy?”

  5. “What can I say to my doctor when they tell me that if I just lose some weight, my joint pain/high blood pressure/depression/lack of immortality will go away?”

  6. Can they be statements? How about: But Kate, you’re not fat! I would like something addressed about how even if one person doesn’t think that I/we/somebody is fat, society still treats us as a fat person, and thus we are fat.

    And *please* post something about baby flavored donuts, because I just referenced it in my blog profile, and I feel that it needs a link for an explanation.

  7. I would love to see a few responses that people can have in hand when people comment about their physical appearance/ FA stance, etc.

  8. I don’t know if it applies, but I’d love to see a PSA type deal “If you or someone you know is suffering from a diet…” Maybe Joy Nash could even do a parody video…

  9. “There’s no such thing as ‘thin privilege’, I get told to eat a sandwich all the time. All women have exactly the same experiences with body judgement and oppression, regardless of weight.”

    OK, more of a frequently whimpered whine than a FAQ, but adjust as you see fit!

  10. “Is it true that you’re only a fat acceptance activist because you can’t be bothered going on a diet, you lazy gluttonous fatty?”

    “How dare you have self-esteem? That’s just irresponsible.”

  11. I am so pumped that ya’ll are doing this. I have been thinking about trying to compile all the research out there but the thought is intimidating. A FAQ is a great way to get it all in there without being overwhelming!

    I’ll brainstorm some questions…let us know what else we can do to help!

  12. this isn’t an FAQ rec, but i just wanted to tell you something:

    this weekend i’ll be participating in the MIT mystery hunt, a weekend-long puzzle event. my team’s name is Immoral, Illegal & Fattening, Attorneys at Law. each of us on the team has to choose something that we are “currently defending” (as a supposed lawyer). i am defending “baby-flavored donuts.”

  13. How about why it’s a problem? It’s not like racism or sexism because it’s not something that people can’t change “if they really *want* to…

  14. I am so excited for this. And like someone mentioned elsewhere.. maybe there can be a tab on fancy formatting for the comments?
    and Caasana? I’m so totally into that. :)

  15. If you’re going to be doing an FA”Q”, where some are statements and such, I recommend looking at this FAQ’s style.  I’ve always liked it for the casual sort of “I’m conversing with someone who has no clue what I’m on about, but wants to know!” vibe.

    “Are you saying fat is healthy?”
    – Nooo.

    “But if you eat right, you’ll lose weight!”
    – Not exactly.

    And so forth.

  16. In the “Supremely Annoying But Only If It’s Asked Over And Over Again” category, how about “Why isn’t this gross misinterpretation of scientific evidence being refuted in the MSM and health care professions? Why should I believe a group of people who obviously have a dog in the hunt–namely, to eradicate fat hatred–over scientists who submit their hypotheses to rigorous methodical evaluation?”

    Okay, so that’s two questions. But–confession–those questions get asked over and over and over again (hence, I assure you, they are Supremely Annoying) in my own peabrain. So if you have answers, or a way to gag and bind that freak recording in my head, I’d really appreciate it. So would my therapist.

  17. I think that you should have questions about what your view on health is (i.e, explaining that you think being healthy is important, but HEALTH and WEIGHT are two very different things).

  18. Immoral, Illegal & Fattening, Attorneys at Law. each of us on the team has to choose something that we are “currently defending” (as a supposed lawyer). i am defending “baby-flavored donuts.”

    Love. Love. Love.

  19. How do you talk to someone who is leading an unhealthy lifestyle without using the standard fatophobia methods?

    Also (as a statement): I gained some weight but I want to lose it. If I try to lose weight, am I going against fat acceptance?

  20. - Are you sure you don’t just need to eat exactly the right balance of carbs and proteins / do exactly the right amount of exercise / take exactly the right vitamins and supplements? (Or some variant… the idea behind the answer being that every thin person on the planet does not have precisely the same habits.)

    – What about the increasing number of fat people in recent times / What about the fact that people were never fat in the past?

    And a new douchehound just stopped by and gave us this one:
    – How come you think everyone who comes here just to insult and pick fights with you is a troll?

  21. Q: Folks in my family are always trying to tell me that losing weight in healthy. Can you point me towards some actual real evidence that fat people can be healthy too?

  22. I think there should be something about the relationship between HAES and weight loss, the idea that the focus needs to be on the exercise and healthy eating, and that the resulting weight loss or gain is irrelevant, no matter which way the scale swings.

  23. Are you sure you don’t just need to eat exactly the right balance of carbs and proteins / do exactly the right amount of exercise / take exactly the right vitamins and supplements?

    Can you describe “the delicate ennui of riboflavin”?

  24. I think that you should have questions about what your view on health is (i.e, explaining that you think being healthy is important, but HEALTH and WEIGHT are two very different things).

    well, but FA is not here to preach health moralism either (as the shapely prose writers totally know and blessedly remind us often). the FAQs don’t need something about health being “important” — they need something about health begin separate from fatness and also not a moral isue. but kate, SM, and FJ already know this. :)

  25. And a new douchehound just stopped by and gave us this one:
    – How come you think everyone who comes here just to insult and pick fights with you is a troll?

    That had to be a joke, FJ, it’s hard to imagine even a troll could be THAT stupid. But if it is a joke, that’s funny.

  26. In the welcome questions category:
    “Why can’t I talk about my diet here? I really love talking about my diet.”
    “What’s with the unicorn/rhino metaphor?”
    (or is it a simile?)

    In the annoying statements category:
    “Unicorns suck.”

    Other stuff that would be nice to have around:

    – Links to the fat-friendly doctor list, and the “I will not be weighed” letter.

    – Books to read: Kolata, Glassner, Susie Orbach, all the rest. I keep meaning to ask y’all if you’ve read Laura Shapiro’s _Perfection Salad_ and _Something from the Oven_, and recommend them if you haven’t. They’re about how American cuisine got like it is, and how Americans got so weird about food. Good stuff. http://www.amazon.com/Perfection-Salad-Cooking-Century-Library/dp/0375756655

    – Count another vote for a tutorial on stuff like how to underline text and embed links, because this post would be much prettier if I knew how.

  27. Q: Where can I find baby flavored donuts?

    A: Well, they’re currently not for sale, but we do have a recipe.

    Ingredients:

    Baby
    Sugar
    Spice
    Everything Nice

  28. Meowser, I was paraphrasing liberally. He actually said “how come you think everyone who disagrees with you is a troll.”

    Which of course is covered in the comments policy, but reading iz hard.

  29. I would LOVE some links to well written letters that I can fire off to the TV, radio, doctor, idiot down the street etc, when they say something stupid or just plain wrong about fat acceptance and weight=unhealthy.

  30. How about “But I lost a lot of weight and now I feel wonderful so why can’t I say you can do it too?” Don’t know if that would be in the welcome info or the supremely irritating questions.

    And possibly “What is all this about Alan Rickman, anyway?” Not that there are many people who wouldn’t instantly get what that is about him…

  31. car, that reminds me, “if being fat isn’t unhealthy, how come I feel so much better now than when I was fat” would be a good one.

  32. I can’t figure out how to frame this as a question, but you should have something to address all those people who are like “I was thin and then I stopped exercising, and ate fast food every day, and now I am 30 lbs overweight! So get off the couch and stop eating at Mickey Deez!”

    I think it might have been here or on my blog, I can’t remember, but someone was very effectively debunking the idea that some people have that they got 20 lbs overweight by eating fast food 5x/week, so people who are 100 lbs overweight (whatever the fuck that means) got so by eating fast food 10x/week. I’d call it the “linear weight gain” theory.

    No wonder they think the fatties are so lazy.

  33. Oh, also the “I felt better 10 years ago when I was thin” thing, and the “you’re wasting my tax dollars” thing.

  34. This may be screamingly obvious, but perhaps some sort of response to the “If I Did It (Lost Weight), ANYONE Can!” crowd — you know, the types that usually (but not always, I know) are overwhelmingly male and have a )(*&^%$##@ muscle mass advantage.

    this weekend i’ll be participating in the MIT mystery hunt, a weekend-long puzzle event. my team’s name is Immoral, Illegal & Fattening, Attorneys at Law. each of us on the team has to choose something that we are “currently defending” (as a supposed lawyer). i am defending “baby-flavored donuts.”

    I think a full debriefing would be appropriate. :D

  35. I second Saki’s request, and will even go one farther. I would love a link to a “radio edit” version of “Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?” specifically for handing out. Because it so perfectly says what I want to say to some people (my douchehound ex-doctor, for example), but I’m afraid the cursing gives them a too-convenient excuse to dismiss it out-of-hand.

  36. Thank you, Kate, for taking that in the spirit in which it was intended. I wrote it about eleventy different ways before posting, trying to make sure it wouldn’t be interpreted as snark, prudishness, or criticizm. (Me, with the mouth like a sailor.) What I’m trying to say (and I’ll expand even further than my original comment), is that I love it SO DAMN MUCH that I want to share it with the world – and that includes people who aren’t online. So I wish there was a stand-alone, printable, “G-rated” version that cites full website addresses (yours, Sandy’s, etc.), doesn’t assume readers are familiar with blogging, etc. I’d print a zillion copies and carry them with me everywhere I went. I’d stick them into magazines at my doctor’s office and leave them on supermarket shelves next to the Slim Fast. I’d tuck them into diet books at B&N. I’d wallpaper the damn world.

  37. I think it might have been here or on my blog, I can’t remember, but someone was very effectively debunking the idea that some people have that they got 20 lbs overweight by eating fast food 5x/week, so people who are 100 lbs overweight (whatever the fuck that means) got so by eating fast food 10x/week. I’d call it the “linear weight gain” theory.

    Which is why people who are “a little chubby” are often a lot more fatphobic than people who are out-and-out thin, most of whom know they needed at least a little bit of help from their gene pools to be that way. But the “a little chubby” people are easily convinced (I know, because I was one once and I thought like them) that if they were just a little more careful and a little less lazy, the thin person inside them would emerge. But it’s a little like saying, “I work 60 hours a week and make $60,000 a year, so people who only make $20,000 a year must only be working 20 hours a week, the lazy little turds.” In fact, come to think of it, it’s a lot like saying that.

  38. Whoops, I typed too fast. That should have read, “But the “a little chubby” people are often easily convinced,” etc. No slur intended on any inbetweenies who post here, sorry.

  39. I have been thinking about writing a question here it this week and then you go ask for submissions…. surely this can’t be coincidence? Maybe some kind of psychic love connection?!

    Do people (here) believe that much of the problems the diet industry/health professionals seek to ‘cure’ via weight loss is in fact symptomatic of wide spread eating disorders?

    There is much discussion here off accepting your genetic heritage (amen to that), but I have a feeling that it is very hard to understand what that might be in a pro-eating-disordered culture. I understand that this doesn’t mean that people aught fight their current size (the notion of ‘natural’ may not be helpful here) but does it matter (for FA purposes) what the cause of the details of your weight are? Are the methods of getting to FA important or just the end result? Is FA interested in the specifics of the ways that people get there? is FA explicitly pro eating disorder recovery? Are you happy to have the likes of me hanging around because though I agree with so much of what you are doing (and am really thankful to have found it) I am not able to put it into practice perfectly at the moment (towards myself).

    I understand that you do not speak definitively on FA, but I would be interested in what you (and you and you) think.

    I am in recovery from an eating disorder and fucking love the solution that FA offers to the problem that the basic tenants of recovery go against the messages that I receive externally every day. Gaining weight (or accepting that you can’t change your weight) and becoming well/enjoying life are seen as mutually exclusive.

    It needs (I need it) to be acceptable (to families/friends/bosses/health professionals) for people to value their lives irrespective of weight.

    I think of a friend of mine who (after successfully recovering from an eating disorder) went to see a nutritionist to help her stay on track, despite knowing her history, the nutritionist still suggested my friend would feel better if she moved from the top of the ‘healthy’ bmi towards the bottom. That is so fucked up (and makes me so angry just typing it out) and so symptomatic of a general consensus that it is not possible to be a happy contented person at anything other than super thin.

    I think much of this will have been addressed a some point, but I haven’t come across it specifically.

    Erm, fight the powers at be, and all that.

    h.x

  40. and just to clarify

    FA seems to offer (I hope) something that much ed recovery doesn’t fully take on; thin and fat can’t only stand in for some other thing (moral strength, happiness, illness, whatever) because that insistence on the importance of the physical self is so destructive.

    h.x

  41. I hope you have an ‘infrequently asked questions’ thing, where we can post our own questions, rather than regurgitate the tedious ramblings of the ignorant.

    Sorry if that goes against the spirit of this post but sometimes it’s really hard to keep caring about the endless ignorance.

    P.S. How about questions for them, like why don’t you ever listen to what we actually say. Why do you think we are still fooled even after we tell you we aren’t.

    To professionals, why if you are talking up ‘obesity’ do you not behave as if believe it yourself, oh I could think of so many more questions to ask them.

  42. This isn’t for the FAQ, necessarily, but I have a situation I’d like some advice on from all you amazing people.

    There’s a woman in my office (a higher-up) who had WLS a few years ago. It worked initially, but now she’s finding the weight coming back, and is absolutely freaking out. Her husband (who also works with me) is trying to help support her in her diet, which is misguided but not ill-intentioned, I suppose.

    It was the husband who was talking to me about this. I pretty much told him anything he could do to help her “diet” would be ill-perceived, and he should just back off and make sure she knows his love isn’t conditional on her abusing her body.

    I think she would benefit greatly from this community. Her body’s screwed up from the surgery and dieting is doomed from the get-go, especially because of the WLS, so she’s just going to have to learn to accept herself as she is, and that was a lesson I didn’t really get myself until I started spending time here.

    So, the question is, is there a way I can turn her on to this site and/or onto fat activism as a concept, especially considering she didn’t approach me directly to talk weight issues? It really bothers me that someone as beautiful as she is–inside and out–is unable to see herself that way because she’s blinded by the fatphobia.

    I don’t want to proselytize or be a busybody like the food police either, of course, so maybe I should just let it go. What do you all think?

  43. I think the hardest questions for me to reconcile (I’m new to FA and haven’t worked everything through yet) are the ones about things “everybody knows.”

    Is there a general response to things “everybody knows,” like that Americans are fatter than ever, are more sedentary, eat more fast food and processed food, spend too much time in front of the TV or computer, etc etc.

  44. Don’t know if anyone has covered it yet, but the whine about how fat people are using up all the health care money should definitely be addressed.

    Also, you should have a little bit about what “disordered eating” is and how it differs from eating disorders.

  45. I’m trying to think of a good way to address the “people were never fat in the past” myth and failing to figure out how to frame a question. It is obvious from looking at Renaissance art or even more recent material (1950s pinups photos) that what society now views as drastically overweight was once considered both healthy and desirable. But I’m blanking on good phrasing. Hope you can do better.

  46. I don’t want to proselytize or be a busybody like the food police either, of course, so maybe I should just let it go. What do you all think?

    This is just my two cents, but I’d say if you see her saying or doing something diet-related/hating on herself/ etc that might be your gateway in. Invite her to lunch or for something after work, and when there is a moment ask her if you can talk to her about something and you can say something like: “You know, I really enjoy working with you because you are such a warm, friendly, person, and I do not want to overstep my bounds, but I’ve noticed that you have been down on yourself about your body lately and that reminded me of my own struggles with self-image…” And let her know a little about what you went through and tell her that you hate to see her being so down, especially when she is such a wonderful person, and then tell her about this site and whatever worked for you, and tell her that you are always there to talk if she wants to.

    If at any point she seems uncomfortable or hostile, obviously you would just back off the subject, but I know that when I found my first FA site, I stopped my diet that day and began trying to change my life…so maybe she’s just waiting to hear it to.

    Best of luck! It’s really sweet of you to care enough to try this; most people would just look the other way.

  47. Book list please.

    Also please address the fact that some fat people DO have full-blown eating disorders. If I am in recovery from bulimia or binge eating disorder can I still be part of the FA movement?

  48. I’d like to see a pointer to a list of reading material, both blog and hardcopy. I did a lot of pointless circular websurfing trying to find the basics, and I did, and the search was worth it, but a “recommended reading” entry would be great.

    Also,
    Laine, on January 17th, 2008 at 3:18 am Said:
    Do you have baby flavored donuts made with splenda?

    HA!

    and also
    Sniper, on January 17th, 2008 at 2:25 pm Said:
    Here’s another: “But..but…but…… 200 POUNDS?!?!?!?!?”

    Sniper, I remember reading Camryn Manheim’s book years ago where she related a story of a director looking at her in dismay, saying “No, no, no, I wanted a REALLY fat woman, like someone who weighs 200 pounds!” So LOL at that too.

  49. “Where can I get my bingo card?”

    (and obviously, everything on that card would be in the ‘annoying questions/comments’ list)

  50. Sorry, I haven’t read all the comments yet, but this came to me last night as I was reading “Fat Girl on a Bike”. My 9yo daughter came over and said, “Why does that say FAT” because she’s come to learn from society that calling someone Eff Aay Tee is fightin’ words!

    I just said, “Well, she’s Fat, a girl, and she rides a bike. So that’s what she calls herself. See?” I showed her a picture of Sarah and said, “This woman is a triathlete, and she runs, swims and bikes in really hard races. She has to be really strong, don’t you think?”

    Maybe something about reclaiming the word FAT, why it’s important, what it means and doesn’t mean, and talking points for how to negotiate the usage, especially when enlightening our poor kids who are getting on onslaught of fat-phobia in schools?

  51. Here’s another: “But..but…but…… 200 POUNDS?!?!?!?!?”

    I have to second that one. Framing it into a question is something I’m having trouble with at the moment but some means of explaining that yes it IS possible to be over 200 (or even 300 or whatever) pounds (ZOMGGGG!) and be healthy; that the perception of “overweight” and “obese” are just that; perceptions! Not any defined measurement set in stone (or even in scientific standards for that matter *cough* BMI *cough*).

    I have a feeling it will be covered but I definitely hope to see a quick chart or something that just clearly states: Fat does NOT automatically equal lazy slob, Thin does NOT automatically equal upstanding moral citizen (and vice-a-versa).

  52. I’m trying to think of a good way to address the “people were never fat in the past” myth and failing to figure out how to frame a question.

    Probably because people mostly don’t phrase it as a question; they just blat it out as an irrefutable FACT and let it flop there. Much like “being fat is unhealthy!” and “A little chub is OK, but everyone knows that anyone who weighs XXX pounds is way too overweight!” and “It’s just a matter of willpower!” and “It’s simple: calories in, calories out!” and… well, you can fill in the rest.

    Maybe what we need is a “frequently made statments” section.

  53. remember reading Camryn Manheim’s book years ago where she related a story of a director looking at her in dismay, saying “No, no, no, I wanted a REALLY fat woman, like someone who weighs 200 pounds!” So LOL at that too.

    Good grief. I’m only 5′ 1″ and I weight disturbingly close to 200 pounds. I also get “you’re not fat, you could just lose 20 pounds and be fine” all the time. Come on! A lot of it is breasts and muscles, but there’s no question that I’m fat.

  54. How does someone who is so so large and has extreme joint pain (too large for hip replacement) begin to get a handle on health? A catch-22 of being bed ridden and not being able to walk because of pain and being a recovering addict and not being able to take any pain meds. He is so frozen with despair that nothing is happening. It is almost like he is waiting to die. Any advice?

  55. As for books, I am still working on the fat studies bibliography. It just isn’t quite online yet. However, I have most of the common fat studies works (Wann, Campos, Kolada, Oliver, etc.) input already. I can produce it pretty quickly in either xml or rtf format. I’m trying to commit some time to the bib this semester so the whole thing will be, at least, up and running, though it will be very academic.

    So, if you want a formatted bibliography of said books, just let me know what format.

  56. Maybe what we need is a “frequently made statments” section.

    Hah! Too right.

    I’m also wondering if we need a semi-regular “advice column” feature.

  57. This is taken directly from an email I wrote several months ago, before I’d had a lot of time to read and absorb the information in the blogs I now read fervently.

    About the so-called “Obesity Epidemic:”

    According to The National Center for Health, “Between
    1962 and the year 2000, the number of obese Americans grew from 13% to an alarming 31% of the population.” I’m aware there are several possible reasons (fact, myth, and speculative) for this data looking so “alarming,” and here are a few:

    – The definition of “obese” has changed over the years.
    – The way of measuring obesity and/or BMI has changed over the years.
    – Genetics: more Americans are descendant from families with a genetic predisposition to being fat.
    – The food service industry has increased portions as well as caloric density.
    – Unhealthy fast food is less expensive and more accessible than healthy food.
    – The prevalence of high fructose corn syrup
    – We are a more medicated population than we were then and many of the common medications on the market cause weight gain.
    – Transportation and commuter statistics show that people drive/ride more and walk/bike/run/rollerskate/skip/dance/conga to work less.
    – People are just less active and more sedentary due to schedules, habit, and/or desire.

    If it is true that a larger percentage of the population weighs more than they did in previous decades, how can this be explained? Is it possible that healthy people – fat OR thin – are the exception rather than the rule? The words “obesity epidemic” create a huge controversy in the blogosphere. What is the argument against the so-called obesity epidemic aside from the way it is used against healthy people?

    My confusion stems from the fact that I know that people have a natural set point. It just seems that the average set point – for whatever it’s worth – has increased in recent history and I don’t understand why if it’s not for the above reasons.

  58. An advice column would be awesome, especially if it were set up as having the expert advice first, then open season to add comments. I’ve noticed myself wanting to “help” in comments on a few blogs, because I can’t keep my big mouth shut, and it’s hard to stop myself and realize that no, not everybody who comments is actually asking for opinions. It would be nice to have a spot that is clearly marked “go ahead, everybody spout out whatever on this one, because it’s being asked for”. :)

    Now here I go… wren, I wouldn’t bring it up out of nowhere, but might try and slip it in if she starts talking about it. When you hear her say something like Oh, I shouldn’t eat that, etc., you could just say “Well, that’s silly because…(x), which I learned so much about from (kateharding).” Same would go for her husband saying it.

  59. How about one addressing the “children with type 2 diabetes” scare and how the stats are being skewed?

    And in Annoying Questions, how about “But i don’t want to date a fat guy/girl!” The answer being, of course, something like “You don’t have to.” and “Whether or not you want to bang someone shouldn’t be the deciding factor in whether you treat them with basic human respect.”

  60. I’d love to see something addressing this nonsense of “Stop trying to make me find fat people attractive!” Something saying that, first of all, nobody has a duty to be attractive in your eyes, secondly we don’t care whether you personally want to screw us or not, and thirdly it’s actually quite interesting and illuminating to examine patterns of attraction, so just chill the fuck out. Fat people feeling sexy is not an assault on your hotness/studliness/whatever else you’re panicking about.

  61. In all seriousness, a section about the mystery of metabolism would not be out of place. Why are some people fat and others thin, even if they have similar diets and activity levels?

    Something about yo-yo dieting would be good.

    Also, on the Savage Fury thread, some idiot said that 1600 calories a day was not a god-given right and that some people (i.e., fat people) have to do with less. A note about starvation would be good also, sadly enough.

  62. Oh yeah.. the lovely “How do you explain that there weren’t any fat people in the concentration camps?? Obviously it IS possible to lose weight!”

  63. I’ve actually been asked, on multiple occasions, something along the lines of “But don’t you think your quality of life suffers from being fat?”

    One phrased it oh-so-concerned and delicately as “don’t you feel handicapped?”

  64. JoGeek, I think I’d be tempted to answer with something like, “My quality of life suffers because of how people TREAT me for being fat.”

  65. How much time were you going to dedicate to this Kate? :)

    I didn’t see anyone mention why BMI is bullshit. That definitely should be included.

    Thanks for doing this!!

    CJ

  66. “My quality of life suffers because of how people TREAT me for being fat.”

    Fatness is associated with a higher risk of hating clothes shopping and dealing with assholes.

    But correlation is not causation.

  67. About the “I want someone who is really fat, like 200 lbs”, it’s so absurd to think that a certain weight even means anything in the abstract. Maybe you should have something about that in there, about how don’t think you know what people weigh. A lot of “normal” looking women weigh like 160-200 pounds, which of course sounds “fat” to the ears of everyone in the world who thinks all women should weigh 120.

    People’s thoughts about what weight looks like are so screwed up. I love to shock people by telling them how much I weigh, ’cause they will regularly underguess by about 50 lbs.

    I have a friend who I swear, part of the reason she thinks she’s fat is because the number on the scale is about 145, a number that sounds “high” by our stupid cultural metric. Nevermind the fact that she’s over six feet tall, and probably underweight. Sigh.

  68. Instead of the “OMG 200 POUNDS?!?!?!1?” question, maybe a better way to frame it would be “Is there a cut-off point/weight/number at which you think fat is not okay?” Because, ugh, my husband asks me that one and I cringe and seethe and emphatically say no.

  69. M. Leblanc, that was Manheim’s point, it’s been a while since I read the book (and it’s a good one!) but I think she said she was well over 200 lbs and wearing about a size 20. She laughed that she was “not fat enough” for the role.

    But yeah, the number is so meaningless. Especially in my family, where we come from good Italian stock, big solid bones, muscles, density!

    I told my therapist last week what I weighed last time I weighed myself, and almost laughed out loud when her jaw dropped. It was funny watching her fight with “but you don’t look it!” because she’s aware of my issues. She’s a good ‘un.

  70. Here’s a few that I’ve seen come up more than once:

    What’s the distinction between eating healthy and excercising as part of HAES, and eating healthy and excercising as part of a weight loss plan?

    I don’t practise HAES – I overeat and don’t get much excercise. Am I a bad fat person?

    I am actively trying to lose weight. Am I welcome here/in the fat acceptance movement?

  71. Building upon Chiara’s commment, “Why is fat a feminist issue – men get fat too!” We have many lovely ladies here, but I think we are definitely open to any men who find the space.

  72. m.leblanc, you might find this series of posts interesting:
    Guess the Rotund’s weight
    Results 1
    Results 2

    Really illustrative of how
    1) People have no idea what 200 POUNDS or 300 POUNDS actually looks like
    2) Different weights look different on everyone, so it’s really impossible to guess someone else’s weight even if yours is similar.

  73. How do I know what my set point is?

    Is my desire to be more fit at odds with FA?

    What if my weight changed due to some event (baby, illness, birth control, etc.)? Is it okay to want to go back to where I was before the event?

    How can I tell my doctor that I reject dieting as a path to improved health?

    What is the history of height/weight charts and BMI and why aren’t they an accurate way to determine health?

  74. *Let’s build on the feminism train of thought. Feminism and being woman-identified isn’t just for women. Men can be and are feminists. Men can be women-identified.

    *An article in Bitch magazine recently talked about how people with Eating Disorders weren’t welcome in FA, and that some FA people believe that all eating disorders are diets gone too far. Since I am still fat, and still live in eating disorder recovery, where does that leave me (and others) in FA? Eating disorders aren’t only or primarily about food, actually.

    *Health insurance premiums. Yes: fuck off people. No one group of people is to blame for our capitalistic system of health care. Why not blame it on the old people then? They get sick and there sure is a lot of them. Or the people with disabilities? Oh, because that would be MEAN.

    http://www.thoughtracer.wordpress.com

  75. The questions I could think of were mostly addressed above. I would love some printer-friendly versions of posts/articles, if possible. PDF links or something? I am on Firefox if that matters.

  76. But correlation is not causation.

    Which is why I’m starting the CDNEC award:

    [IMG]http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/JoGeek/Fat%20Acceptance%20and%20Blogging/CDNECaward.jpg[/IMG]

  77. I try to be an ally to fat folk, and I have had fat friends tell me that I generally don’t fuck up too badly in my efforts. I’m also anorexic. Am I a hypocrite, or am I just a fat ally who also has a mental health issue?

  78. Jecca: HAES = Health At Every Size. Unless that was a question you think should be part of the FAtQ and you already knew that, in which case I am a tool and should also relurk. :)

  79. Thoughtracer, I am absolutely stunned (and for once I’m not being sarcastic) that someone suggests that people with EDs are not welcome in the FA community, or that we all believe EDs are “diets gone wild.” (Heh. I just had a vision of late late night commercials of Superbacon and Angry Cupcake kissing each other for a camera.) Seriously, where did that idea come from?

  80. (Heh. I just had a vision of late late night commercials of Superbacon and Angry Cupcake kissing each other for a camera.)

    My guess is the Superbacon is played byAlan Rickman and Angry Cupcake is played by Jude Law.

  81. Woah! Sniper – I just got a hot flash, 10 years too soon! (It was a flash from the future!)

    Topic: How about a really high level question like, “Why is this important?”

  82. Hey – I’m on a break from jury duty (UGH) so I didn’t have time to read all the comments, so sorry if I’m repeating anything.

    Anyway, I would love for you to somehow (hopefully in “welcome questions”) address the idea of “setpoint weight.” At this very early stage of my FA journey, it still confuses me a bit. Like, if someone gets to a higher weight than their setpoint by overeating/binging/being inactive and then decides to eat healthier and get exercise and loses weight, is the way they lost weight considered a diet? Do FAs believe that in that case, a person can lose weight and keep it off? Or maybe I should ask – do we believe that it’s okay for someone who believes that they’re higher than their setpoint to want to get back down to where they feel their body is most comfortable? These are genuine questions I have, I’m not trying to stir anything up here. Thanks.

  83. As a noob I think this is a really good idea. I keep running across things I don’t understand, like Alan Rickman, and baby donuts, etc. I figured either I’d catch on or eventually just ask.

    One thing I would like to sincerely ask…IS there anything wrong with a thin person becoming a fat acceptance advocate? My beloved grandmother was fat, and she was one of the most wonderful people in the world. I don’t know whether or not she had too many bad experiences, as she had no trouble finding boyfriends, getting married, having a family, etc. and I don’t remember ever hearing many negative comments about her. She was well liked. I do hate her doctors for failing to diagnose her lethal cancer until it had spread too far for anything to be done about it, and I have no doubt it had to do with her weight. Well, her doctor was largely an idiot anyway. But anyway…

    But if I’d known anything about fat acceptance then, and I was skinny at the time, I’d have so been on that bandwagon fighting for her to be treated well and to stop spending oodles of money on bogus quackery for weight loss. She only lost weight after she was dying of cancer – THEN she started hearing how wonderful she looked. Oh, yeah, thanks – of course I’m DYING now, but I look good. Thanks a lot.

    Is it ok for someone who is thin to embrace fat acceptance? My family is thin, and they love me just fine, and think I’m pretty. They would like to help out (and they have always helped out by telling off anyone who makes a snarky comment about me.) Their thin friends have always joined in; sometimes I’ve had to stop them running after someone to start an altercation after I’ve been insulted.

    Sidebar – biggest boost ever – after years being disabled due to undiagnosed severe endocrine problems (during which I put on a whole lot of weight), I finally got diagnosed and treated. When a friend of my daughter’s saw me months later, after a long absence, I left them to chat, and he was apparently over there beaming from ear to ear saying he couldn’t get over how *healthy* and wonderful I looked – no wheelchair, no death pall on my face, etc. All 256 lbs 5’2″ of me and his raving was over how *healthy* I looked. Some thin people “get it” without even knowing they get it :)

  84. How about adding into the FAQ a bit about “No. In fact eating too many *fill in blank* won’t automatically make you fat. There is no one FOOD or PART of a food that is dirrectly correlated to gaining weight (yes even FAT)

    For example: http://health.yahoo.com/experts/nutrition/8071/does-juice-fit-into-a-healthy-diet

    I mean WTF????!? Now fruits are bad beacuse they are liquid?! Good lord. I mean yes a whole fruit is going to be better than juice in the great nutrients they provide but fruit JUICE is by no means the devil’s own brew.

    But then again maybe that’s why my “Diets” never worked; between carrots, cough drops and juice its no wonder I’m a hunking fatty! ;)

  85. I second (or third, or…) the request for a book/blog posting list/bibliography. I know about Gina Kolata’s book, and scan some of the other FA blogs, but I’d like to have other references, both for myself and others.

    For the metabolism section, maybe a question for newbies along the lines of “I’ve dieted and starved myself and exercised x hours a day, but I just can’t lose weight!!! What’s wrong with me??!? [sigh/whimper]” With the answer, of course, being an emphatic NOTHING!!! I know that’s the way I thought for years before I discovered FA, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  86. Sara said waaaaaaaaaay upthread,

    How about: But Kate, you’re not fat! I would like something addressed about how even if one person doesn’t think that I/we/somebody is fat, society still treats us as a fat person, and thus we are fat.

    I like this one…as an inbetweenie it gets a bit weird sometimes. Some people think I’m absolutely not fat, but by mainstream society and medical standards, I am, and it would be great to have some help in addressing this.

  87. Some people think I’m absolutely not fat, but by mainstream society and medical standards, I am, and it would be great to have some help in addressing this.

    I suppose I’m an in-betweenie, kind of, but that didn’t stop a health professional from suggesting that I get some interesting hobbies because noone would ever love me. It hasn’t stopped assholes (strangers and family alike) from berating me about my weight (e.g., “Nutrisystem costs peanuts, fatass!” from a passing car). It hasn’t made buying clothes any easier.

    But I’m not fat. Sure.

  88. Sniper, seriously. It doesn’t stop coworkers from commenting on my snacking, it doesn’t make my trainer actually believe me that I’m not exercising to lose weight, and it doesn’t make the lil’ teenage girls at the show went to last Friday not point and giggle (shortly before I broke in the band’s ridiculously adorable new drumer, ha!).

    And this? that didn’t stop a health professional from suggesting that I get some interesting hobbies because noone would ever love me.
    I assume they’re still alive, and thus you have the self-control of a saint.

  89. I broke the italics. I meant to put Sniper’s quote:

    that didn’t stop a health professional from suggesting that I get some interesting hobbies because noone would ever love me.

    in them up there.

  90. assume they’re still alive, and thus you have the self-control of a saint.

    She (!) is alive, but only because I was much too weak, ill, and weepy at the time to kill her. I needed medical help, not really awful life advice.

  91. One thing before I get to the other questions, Kate – I fail to keep track of this, sorry, but is there anyone else here from the UK who can point to some good resources for those of us this side of the pond? For FA generally (we’re pretty backwards on that compared to the US), but specifically for healthcare, finding a different doctor if necessary, because our healthcare system is so different and personally (having been lucky with doctors so far, but always dreading my luck running out) I wouldn’t have a clue what to do. And, I understand entirely if this is outside your scope.

    But a few other possibles…

    – Are fat people who say that their weight is down to health problems ‘just making excuses’? (Addressing, I hope, stuff like PCOS, hypothyroid and other actually quite common conditions that can and do affect weight.)

    – How can I help my child – of any size – to be fat-accepting? And, what can I do to help and support a fat child I know who’s being bullied? (Including both the school shit, and the awkward situation where the bullying is coming from within the family.)

    – To what extent is weight genetic? (Linking to as many studies as possible.)

    – Important one: what’s the difference between a correlation and a cause, and how does that related to matters of weight and health? (Not making that distinction is, I’m sure, the source of a huge amount of the BS talked about weight in the media.)

    – Is surgery (I mean general stuff, not WLS) really that much more difficult/dangerous when you’re fat? (Hearing of fat patients being refused surgery here, then going and getting it done perfectly safely and easily abroad, makes me think this is probably not the case, but it’s darned hard finding a balanced medical opinion.)

    Those are a few things that come to mind. I think this is all a great idea, BTW.

  92. That didn’t stop a health professional from suggesting that I get some interesting hobbies because noone would ever love me.

    That it total projection right there. Whenever I hear someone giving the “helpful” advice that someone needs to alter themselves to be loved, I can’t help but wonder who in their lives told them that they were too loud/too fat/had too small breasts/were too smart to be loved, because in my experience the first people to open your mouth and tell you that you need to change are those people who deep down, think they are unacceptable.

  93. Re Pieta’s suggestion way up top: “What can I say to my doctor when they tell me that if I just lose some weight, my joint pain/high blood pressure/depression/lack of immortality will go away?”

    Yes, include that, along with the 2-word answer:

    A: You’re fired.

  94. I wanted to round-about tag onto the one about deciding to persue weight loss if there has been an event that caused you to go above your previous set point. Something like “What if I AM having health problems that would inprove with weight loss” (that’s my own stuff – I have PCOS and when I go above a certain weight, I stop cycling and start really suffering the symptoms). How can I negotiate that weight loss effort in a way that is respectful to myself, and to others who don’t need/desire weight loss to control health issues.

    I feel like that one person who ruins the party because I actually DO have a weight-related health issue and I don’t want people using ME as an example of why other people “need” to lose weight. Ya dig? My fatness and health is independent of anyone else’s fatness and health.

  95. And yeah, I’d still be fat if I got down to my setpoint where my symptoms are controlled. Take THAT stupid BMI!

  96. remember reading Camryn Manheim’s book years ago where she related a story of a director looking at her in dismay, saying “No, no, no, I wanted a REALLY fat woman, like someone who weighs 200 pounds!”

    Good grief. I’m only 5′ 1″ and I weight disturbingly close to 200 pounds. I also get “you’re not fat, you could just lose 20 pounds and be fine” all the time. Come on!

    What is it with the “200 pounds = tipping point to HUGE” myth? I had to stop reading Jonathan Kellerman books after in one, he described a woman who was “nearly 200 pounds” as having a face so bloated from fat you couldn’t see her eyes, and another picture of a girl who weighed 205 as an “extremely obese woman.” It was just like, have you ever been outside your house? Do you live in the world? Never mind how offensive his descriptions were (and a more blatant display of fucknuttery I rarely encounter in my leisure reading), they weren’t even factually accurate. I wanted to go crush his head between my meaty thighs.

    Also, can we use the FAtQ to take the whole “your ideal weight is 100 pounds for 5 feet and 5 pounds for every inch thereafter” rule out back and shoot it? I remember in particular one lovely woman on the weightlifting forums who would get comments like, “Never mind what your pictures look like, at 5’5″ and 160 you need to lose 35 pounds.” She was sculpted and powerful! A long-distance runner with a 200-pound squat! Mostly she’d blow them off, but every once in a while she would get depressed that she was an athletic marvel instead of being “tiny and princessy.” Oh, how I wanted to hug her.

  97. It was just like, have you ever been outside your house? Do you live in the world?

    Sure, and I’m sure he’s seen lots of women who weigh 200 pounds. He just had absolutely no idea they were 200 pounds. There seems to be this perception that thin for a woman = 120 pounds or less, regardless of height and build. 150 pounds or more is fat (with 120-150 being chubby), and 200 pounds is really, really fat. It’s completely absurd because it should be obvious that height, build, and muscle mass have as much or more influence on body weight as fat, and that 120 or 150 or 200 pounds is going to look very, very different on a big, stocky, muscular, 5’10 woman than on a petite 5’0 woman, but I guess people are idiots. (Not to mention that, as Sniper said, even on somebody short and small, 150 pounds isn’t really fat, and 200 pounds is certainly not as fat as people think).

    I’ve never heard the 5’0=100 pounds thing before… lemme tell you, at 5’1 and 105 pounds I was really thin, it definately wasn’t a healthy weight for me. And even according to BMI standards, those work out to low weights.

  98. What is it with the “200 pounds = tipping point to HUGE” myth? I had to stop reading Jonathan Kellerman books after in one, he described a woman who was “nearly 200 pounds” as having a face so bloated from fat you couldn’t see her eyes, and another picture of a girl who weighed 205 as an “extremely obese woman.”

    Wow, I’m wondering this, too. As of yesterday, I am 5’10” and 221 lbs. I look “bigger” than a lot of people, sure, but I am certainly not remarkable because of my weight (i.e., I can’t imagine anyone picking me out of a crowd for being SO. FUCKING. FAT.)

    The BMI project has really brought all of this into perspective for me, even though I’ve been all over the scale since adolescence. Hell, at 165 and 5’10”, I was bone-thin. Actually, if Kate’s still taking submissions, I’d like to submit a pic of myself at that weight so people can see that numbers mean almost nothing and some people truly are (gasp) big-boned/large-framed!

  99. I would love to see reproduced the post someone once made about how yes, the law of thermodynamics applies, but no, that still doesn’t mean it’s calories in/out. It was something like:

    – calories ingested
    – calories stored as fat
    – calories stored as protein (muscle)
    – calories stored as carbs (glycogen I assume)
    – calories used from fat stores
    – calories used from protein stores
    – calories used from carbs stores
    – calories expended to maintain metabolic function
    – calories expended for movement
    – calories excreted without being processed
    – calories excreted after being processed

    We have conscious control over exactly two of these functions: calories ingested (and even that one’s iffy when you take into account hormonal controls, etc.), and the amount of exercise. Our bodies can adjust all the rest can adjust as much as they want and we have no control over it. For example, I think diabetics Type I excrete sugar without ever processing it.

    Anyway, you get the idea. Don’t take my list because it’s probably not accurate. This explained so much to me, and is a detailed, scientific rebuttal to “isn’t it just calories in / calories out?”

  100. Oh, Art3mis, I remember that post but I have no clue where I first saw it. Maybe Kate or FJ will have better recall.

    And Ellie, I totally hear you about the 200 thing. I remember some John Irving book (maybe The Cider House Rules?) which I otherwise enjoyed, but which featured a butchy female character who was supposed to be a total bruiser, like terrifyingly huge. And she supposedly weighed 175.

  101. Also, can we use the FAtQ to take the whole “your ideal weight is 100 pounds for 5 feet and 5 pounds for every inch thereafter” rule out back and shoot it?

    It was reading that rule in one of my aunt’s diet books that set me on a cycle of dieting that lasted 31 years. I was 125 pounds at the time and was absolutely appalled at the idea of being 20 pounds over my “allowed” weight.

  102. Has someone already mentioned the “You’re not fat!!!” thing?

    Because a quick discussion of how that is actually a negative thing to say would be great, or a link to some discussions of it elsewhere.

    My husband doesn’t see what’s wrong with this, and I’m sure it’s because I get so angry I’m not capable of expressing myself well. I’d like something to wave at him so I can say “HERE. THIS. LOOK. BAD.”

  103. Out of curiosity I went looking for the genesis of Sanity Watchers and it turns out I started it. I love it when that happens.

    That breakdown of calories in/calories out sounds like Rio Iriri’s work. I’ll see if I can track it down.

  104. That breakdown of calories in/calories out sounds like Rio Iriri’s work. I’ll see if I can track it down.

    That’s what I thought, too. I think I’m gonna be linking to her a lot.

  105. It was reading that rule in one of my aunt’s diet books that set me on a cycle of dieting that lasted 31 years. I was 125 pounds at the time and was absolutely appalled at the idea of being 20 pounds over my “allowed” weight.

    Holy shit balls, that’s EXACTLY what happened to me … at 14 years old, I was 5’8″ and weighed 167lbs., and because I wasn’t a waif, I went looking for info on what I was “supposed” to weigh and found that fucking rule … which turned me into a insufferable obsessive self-hating calorie counter for years. That one fucking rule. Wow.

  106. Also, can we use the FAtQ to take the whole “your ideal weight is 100 pounds for 5 feet and 5 pounds for every inch thereafter” rule out back and shoot it?

    Ahh, yes, the formula that launched a billion diets. It certainly did mine, starting when I was 11 or 12. And you can see how much good it did me (bleck).

  107. Ahh, yes, the formula that launched a billion diets. It certainly did mine, starting when I was 11 or 12.

    Me too. And I know I’ve told this story here before, but that won’t stop me from telling it again… I first read that rule in a celebrity advice column in some awful teen magazine — Bop, Tiger Beat, one of those. The celebrity “writing” that advice column? Was Tracey Gold — then most famous for playing Carol on Growing Pains, now most famous for being… wait for it… anorexic.

    It wasn’t until I starved myself down to 115 in my early twenties — still 5 lbs. “overweight” by that formula — that I ever thought to question it.

  108. Yeah, my first diet started at 11. At least I had finished growing by then. And looking back I so wish someone had told me, “Honey, you have big boobs. You have big bones. You’re never going to be delicate, so don’t even try. You look fine.

    I also wish I’d been told explicitly and often that it wasn’t my damned duty to be pretty.

  109. Thanks, Phledge! (way upthread) No worries. I did intend to suggest that “What is HAES?” be part of the FAQ, but that was because I’d just gone and Googled it myself. (I looked it up when I started lurking, but forgot what it meant.)

    I second the idea that “Why shouldn’t I say ‘You’re not fat!’?” would be a great part of the FAQ. Mainly because less than three months ago, I said that (“You’re not fat!”), via e-mail, to a Shapeling. (I hadn’t found this site then.) And she is still my friend because she is Awesome, and I am trying to get my act together.

  110. Honey, you have big boobs. You have big bones. You’re never going to be delicate, so don’t even try. You look fine.

    The sad thing is, my family pretty much did tell me that. I never had familiam pressure to lose weight. No one talked about my body or criticized me. But I was so obsessed and enamored with the pretty, popular girls at school (several of whom were petite ballerinas–shorter than 5′ and far fewer than 100 lbs. throughout middle school) and with media images of thinness that I was determined to diet in order to be liked and desired.

    My first diet attempt was when I was 10 or 11. I was 5’7″ and 170 lbs. in the eighth grade, and I started eating no more than 20 grams a fat per day while compulsively exercising down to an amenorrheic 134 by mid-ninth grade, which is just one pound lower than the alleged ideal weight according to that fucking “five pounds per inch” rule!

    I remember being told by a kid in my neighborhood when I was in late elementary school that I was so fat because I weighed over 100 lbs. I have no idea where he got that from, but it was damn hard being the big girl in a sea of tiny girls.

    I can go on and on, but I’ll shut up now!

  111. Jumping in again – I’d love a distinction made between genetics and evolution. Because when we say we’re genetically made to be fat, some asshole always chimes in with, “You haven’t evolved to be fat – evolution takes thousands of years.” Well yeah, dumbass – and I haven’t evolved to have curly hair, freckles, green eyes, a cleft chin or attached earlobes. They’re all genetic traits passed down to me by my parents. I’m saying this really badly – I have the flu and am taking the BIG GUNS narcotic cough medicine – so I’m rather fuzzy headed. But does anyone know what I’m trying to say here? Because I really fucking HATE that argument when I hear it from fat-haters.

  112. The celebrity “writing” that advice column? Was Tracey Gold — then most famous for playing Carol on Growing Pains, now most famous for being… wait for it… anorexic.

    When *I* was reading TB and 16, the Famous Celebrity Sitcom Girl Giver of Diet Advice was…(roll tympani)…Susan Dey. Yeah, they sure knew how to pick ‘em, didn’t they?

  113. I actually deliberately picked up my diet advice from teen mag articles about eating disorders. Lots of people do this and I wish the magazine writers and editors would wise up.

  114. I haven’t read a teen magazine for decades, but I seem to recall that those articles on anorexia often had a tone of wonder, as if the author was somehow thrilled at the amazing discipline of these anorexic girls.

  115. They still do, Sniper…I, too, “learned” many of my anorexic behaviors through supposedly journalistic accounts of the ZOMBSOTERRIBLE!!!111!!!! disease disorder.

    Even after being recovered nearly a year, and really trying to remove myself from “thin culture”…if I hear a blip about how horrible eating disorders are and their on the rise and look at this 50 pound wonder, I stop and watch. And then hate myself for not being so thin I look like death.

    :(

  116. Also, can we use the FAtQ to take the whole “your ideal weight is 100 pounds for 5 feet and 5 pounds for every inch thereafter” rule out back and shoot it?

    I hadn’t thought about that rule for a long time – not consciously, anyway – until I read this thread. I remember now the anxiety I had in middle school, high school, and college because of that rule.

    I wasn’t fat as a pre-teen. But it was reading that rule – that and my desire to be an actress, and the head of the talent agency telling me I was too fat to be cast in anything – that started me on a diet at twelve.

    The thing I remember now, though – or maybe it’s that I realize it now – I always had an anxiety about growing after that. Because by the time I was in the eighth grade, I had “gained the weight back.”

    Gosh, I never realized how twisted that is – that I saw growing as a failure.

  117. I’d also like it if the FAQ had clarification on the points javamama brought up above, maybe even in the abstract: is it ok to mention weight loss at all? Not diet talk, not to promote it, but sometimes it happens and it can affect you and your perceptions, in which case it may be very relevant to the topic, and some guidelines would be helpful.

    Sniper wrote: I so wish someone had told me, “Honey, you have big boobs. You have big bones. You’re never going to be delicate, so don’t even try. You look fine.

    Me, too. Oh, me, too.

  118. I don’t practice HAES – I overeat and don’t get much exercise. Am I a bad fat person?

    I second that question being addressed. It seems like people who fall into that category get “left behind” in order to make fat acceptance more, well, acceptable to the general public.

    And I think it would be nice to enlighten “savage” asshole types who think morbidly obese equals death and unattractiveness.

  119. I remember being told by a kid in my neighborhood when I was in late elementary school that I was so fat because I weighed over 100 lbs.

    I suspect that, coming from children, this is much like “OMG, you’re 23?!?! You’re OLD!!!” When you only weight 60 lbs (because you’re a child), it’s hard to imagine weighting 100+. And 100 is a big round number!! It must be a lot!! Like how if I had $100, I’d be rich!

    I was out with a friend last night, who mentioned that she’d taken up running, and loved it (great!) and was working towards losing 50 lbs. I didn’t know quite what to say… “You’re not fat” isn’t right. “You don’t need to lose weight”? This starts the whole losing weight != health thing. “You probably can’t lose weight, because losing weight long-term is nearly impossible,” seemed like it would be discouraging/mean to her, given the FOBT. I mean, I wasn’t trying to sart an hour-long educational spiel about fat activism and HAES. I just didn’t know how to react in a way that was true to FA, and also got us out the door to watch Torchwood in a reasonable amount of time.

    So, the question buried in that is, “How to react to friends/loved ones who are dieting?”

  120. Karen, that’s a really good question, and one I’d love to see answered as well. I was hanging out with my friends for the first time in a month (yay winter break) and one of them was talking about how weight loss is her New Year’s resolution. She is gorgeous and Amazonian and I wish I knew how to tell her about everything I’m learning. But I just mentioned that I wanted to get back to the gym because I feel better when I’m exercising. It felt kind of like a cop-out.

  121. Could there be some mention of how yes, fat women can be anorexic, they just don’t get diagnosed because they’re still fat despite starving themselves. I see plenty about fat women being bulimic or having binge-eating disorder, but loads of us spent years starving ourselves (in my case, 2-3 bowls of boiled cabbage per week was my total food intake and I was still gaining 10lbs a week) and having panic attacks at the thought of eating a second spoon of cottage cheese in a day, and it sort of irks me to see this thing where someone says “Fat women have eating disorders too!” and then it always ends up being something about bingeing or binge/purging, which doesn’t really do much to combat the myth that fat = surgically attached to the pies. I know you all know this, I just don’t think it gets mentioned very often.

  122. Good one Shira!! I’ve noticed to that when people say “fat peope get EDs, too!” it almost always leads to COE/BED (compulsive over-eating, binge-eating disorder, respectively). But from the time I spent as an active anoretic on an eating disorders support forum, a lot of the “fat” girls (’cause it was all female) identified as anorexic and fit the majority of the diagnostic criteria except, of course, being underweight.

  123. Shira: Yes! The other thing is that so many of the eating disorder criteria overlap. Sometimes they go into anorexia, sometimes they go into bulima, sometimes they go elsewhere. And clearly, fat people can never have anything but compulsive overeating.

    I find it interesting, though, when I talk to my doctor about having had bulimia-nos, or whatever, they shut right up about the fatness. Because GOD forbid they push the crazy woman over the edge.

  124. Could there be some mention of how yes, fat women can be anorexic, they just don’t get diagnosed because they’re still fat despite starving themselves. I see plenty about fat women being bulimic or having binge-eating disorder, but loads of us spent years starving ourselves (in my case, 2-3 bowls of boiled cabbage per week was my total food intake and I was still gaining 10lbs a week) and having panic attacks at the thought of eating a second spoon of cottage cheese in a day, and it sort of irks me to see this thing where someone says “Fat women have eating disorders too!” and then it always ends up being something about bingeing or binge/purging, which doesn’t really do much to combat the myth that fat = surgically attached to the pies. I know you all know this, I just don’t think it gets mentioned very often.

    Yes, please, this (although I’m sure it’s on here more than once already).

    The really gruesome thing is that you don’t even have to be ZOMGFAT200POUNDS!11! to be disbelieved and ridiculed by the medical establishment if you’re concerned about your anorexia.

    You just have to be NOT a “healthy 88 pounds” (I will let that go sooner or later; obvs it’s stuck with me).

    So, um, yeah.

  125. (I will let that go sooner or later; obvs it’s stuck with me).

    Gah. For me it was “sweaty bags of flesh”. Jesus. I have heard “healthy 88 pounds” used before, but only in reference to dogs.

  126. How about these?

    “Can I be naturally fat (i.e. not having gotten fat by unhealthy means) even if I have thin parents?”

    “I like the idea of HAES, but I’m afraid to stop dieting.”

    And I agree with the recommendation of “If I’m trying to lose weight, am I still welcome here?”

  127. I really really wish someone had made me understand when I was 14 and started dieting for the first time that dieting makes you gain weight in the long run. I mean, chances are I would be really close to this weight anyways, but I also kind of follow the textbook “lose 5 gain 6″ thing and now I am 22 and so over dieting but it makes me feel mad that realistically spending the past 10 years developing healthy attitudes towards food would have probably resulted in a much much happier and slightly thinner adult whereas dieting resulted in sadness and weight gain, the opposite of what they tell you it will do. It makes so much sense now, but I hate how everyone thinks it is the other way around. So, yeah, I know “diets don’t work” will definitely be addressed, but the big betrayal for me is that they do the opposite of what you think they do.

  128. How about some kind of meet market where Shapelings could introduce themselves? I say this having absolutely no idea how difficult it would be to carry out.

    Also, you might want to put in a donations button.

  129. Under what’s hopefully a welcome question (and one I’m personally wondering about): What do you say to a good friend/family member who says their doctor told them they have to go on a diet? I mean, this site isn’t an advice column but I think it’s a good question for someone just getting into size acceptance and who wants to share it without being obnoxious.

  130. I don’t think anyone has mentioned this, but exactly how many cough drops can I eat before I gain weight? :)

    I would rather have baby flavored donuts to snack on than cough drops.

  131. This one just occurred to me, and I’m disturbed by the fact that I don’t know the answer.

    How do I know if I’m “healthy”? – in ways that don’t have to do with my weight?

    This question stems from my last visit to the gyno, when she noted that my BP was a little high and asked me what I was going to do to lose weight. Thus totally ignoring the fact that she was about to be putting things inside me, and that of course wouldn’t stress me out at all! But I don’t know that I’ve ever had a truly ‘normal’ BP reading (in a doctor’s office, because doctors scare me), and so I don’t know how to counteract the way my weight immediately gets blamed.

    But I wonder sometimes whether I am less healthy than I could be, in ways that I could change pretty easily if I knew about them. And how I could find out without being told by yet another doctor that the first thing I need to do is lose weight.

  132. Pieta, I think you might want to measure your blood pressure with a home monitor, if you can get your hands on one. “White coat hypertension” (blood pressure being elevated in the presence of a doctor) is a very real phenomenon, one that I’m sure would have occurred to your doctor had you been thin. And incidentally, even if your blood pressure is legitimately elevated, weight loss does not necessarily lower it. Nor does being fat directly cause hypertension. (My last BP reading, at the doctor’s office last week, was 104/68, and I’m nearly 200 pounds and in my 40s.)

    Carol Johnson, in her book Self-Esteem Comes in All Sizes, described being found by a doctor to have high blood pressure, which runs in her family. She asked her doctor what he would do about her blood pressure if she had been thin. The doctor told her he would prescribe medication, and she requested he do likewise for her. He did, and her blood pressure responded nicely without her having to lose any weight. I think that’s a great question to ask any doctor who tries to blame Health Problem X on your weight: “If I was thin and I had this problem, what would you recommend?”

    Also, please see Glenn Gaesser’s Big Fat Lies for an excellent analysis of how hypertension is riskier for thin hypertensives than fat ones.

  133. Thanks, Meowser! I’ll keep that in mind next time I visit. And my fiance’s starting a nursing program soon, so maybe I can get him to test things out on me… :)

    I think the basic question still stands, though. What does it mean to be “healthy” – at any size?

  134. Pieta, I know that my parents used to go to a local drugstore that had a blood pressure machine — there might be one of those near you that you could try, though I imagine the cuff sizes are not for everybody on those.

    And that’s a great — and hard! — question for the FAQ.

  135. I have heard “healthy 88 pounds” used before, but only in reference to dogs.

    Agreed. My rottie/lab mix is right around a healthy 88 pounds. :)

    That someone would say that was a healthy weight for an adult human being…unless they were very, very unusually short…*boggles*

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