New website, BlogHer, etc.

So, there’s a new body image website in the neighborhood, and I’m a part of it — which some of you might find surprising. I kind of do myself, actually. 

We Are the Real Deal is a companion project to the body image panel I’ll be a part of at BlogHer tomorrow. Heather Blessington, who’s been blogging about body image and eating disorders at MamaVISION since 2006, approached a bunch of people who deal with the same topics about working together. So far, so good. But here’s the surprising part: the list includes weight loss blogger Roni Noone and competitive bodybuilder MizFit as well as Inside Beauty‘s Claire Mysko, Heather, and yours truly. ED blogger Melissa Henriquez is also joining us on the panel — not sure if she’ll be blogging at WATRD or not  blog (see comments for how I screwed that up) – and Jessica Weiner will be there at BlogHer, too. (Cherry on top? The BlogHer panel, as you might have noticed in the sidebar, is sponsored by Dove.)

The good news is, all of these women seem lovely from the interactions I’ve had with them. (And surprisingly, Dove was awesomely hands-off in terms of content for the panel — they just forked over money and let us do our thing.) The arguably bad news is, there’s already one post on the site I substantially disagree with. (Short version, as I’ve said before, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to lose weight, either — that desire is a natural response to all the pressure to be thin in this culture. But I do think there’s something wrong with buying into the belief that making “healthy lifestyle choices” can make anyone thinner, with expecting that you will be among the tiny percentage of people who keep it off permanently, and with trying to move toward a more positive body image by changing your body. Roni herself lost a lot of weight and is keeping it off, but that makes her a statistical outlier, and I think that for most of us, hoping to be a statistical outlier instead of making peace with our bodies as they are is deeply unrealistic and damaging.) Better still, there’s a good chance that comment moderation will be a whole lot less Draconian than I would prefer it to be. 

So why the fuck am I involved in this? Well, I thought it might be interesting to stick a toe outside the Fatosphere and enter into the kind of conversation I have no patience for here — the 101 stuff I don’t want to deal with on my own turf. We Are the Real Deal is Heather’s turf, and she — like all of the other bloggers, who have built up loyal followings in their own ‘spheres — has a very different audience than we do here. I do like the idea of talking to a different audience, and I can muster some patience for the 101 in a new context.

Do I like the idea of reaching out elsewhere enough to keep attaching my name to this project? We’ll see. Totally depends on how it evolves. Again, I can’t emphasize enough that I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Heather, Claire, Carla (MizFit) and Roni during the planning process. (Despite my taking Roni to task for that one post, she’s also said some really cool things, both on the blog and behind the scenes.) They are all absolutely committed to the goal of improving girls’ and women’s body image, coming at it from different angles. In theory, at least, this is a really good thing. In practice, if it becomes some kind of Better Body Image Through Weight Loss clusterfuck, I’m out of there in a cartoon blur. No question.

And of course, nothing’s changing around here. I have not gone soft on dieting or diet talk. I still do not have the patience to explain this entire blog to people who can’t be bothered to read it. If we get newbies via WATRD, they’ll have to abide by the comments policy or get the banhammer. This is absolutely not a portent that I’m reconsidering my values and standards and about to make a big announcement that I’m dieting “for my health” or something. I’m just trying something new, somewhere else. It might work, it might not. But Shapely Prose will still be a haven for all you noisy, companionable folks to have Advanced Blamer-style discussions about fat and body image, with no fear of the same old shit creeping in here.

Anyway! All of this sounds terribly negative when I’m supposed to be promoting a new site, but I’m not about to bullshit you. I’m nervous about this. You might have noticed I don’t tend to compromise when it comes to this stuff, and working with a bunch of people I don’t really know involves a lot of compromise. But so far, it’s been good, and it might even turn out to be great. Go check out the site and let me know what you think — and if you do have patience for 101, please get into the comments there. 

Also, if you’re going to be at BlogHer, please do come by the body image panel at 1:45 tomorrow, then come get your copy of LFTF signed at the bookstore (Claire Mysko will be there, too, signing You’re Amazing!) between 4 and 4:30.

240 thoughts on “New website, BlogHer, etc.

  1. Very neat! I have not yet checked out the site, but I have always loved the idea of having 101 spaces so that other spaces *can* be the more advanced discussion. I totally understand your nervousness about the project, but I definitely wish you and the other bloggers the best with it.

  2. Should be interesting.

    The balance between acceptance and self-improvement really shouldn’t be that difficult to find, but it always seems to get lost in cross-talk.

    EVERYONE should eat better. Read the labels on the boxes and cans, see what kind of crap Big Food wants us to put in our bodies. Then throw them away. It’s not that difficult. My wife and I work our butts off, and get home tired at night, just like everyone else. But I am still committed to having a fridge full of healthy, home-cooked food ready for the nuking. In my fridge right now are storage containers full of grilled chicken breast and a smoked turkey I prepared last weekend, a pasta salad I made Tuesday, some rice, a squash/carrot/apple soup I made yesterday.

    One trick that works for us is making our empty calories worth it, so we don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything. Good wine, good beer, and chocolate.

    No potato chips, no donuts, no wings, fast food maybe a couple times a year on a road trip. No processed foods, microwave meals, cans of soup, nothing. We don’t miss any of that stuff. It’s garbage.

    EVERYONE should work out more. Even a 20-minute 1-mile walk around the block. Something. Just move. I am guilty of violating this too much the last three or four months. Bad Angelos! But I did tune up the bike this past weekend, and am going to get back out there. AT least I always walk when I golf, so that’s a good 5-6 miles 4-5 times a month.

    But everyone then needs to realize that not everyone will do the above and magically be the size 0-4 (or 28-32 waist) that “society” (read: the media) has deemed acceptable.

    That’s where communication breaks down, and the flame wars start.

    If this joint site works, it could provide a good bridge between discussing the efforts to be the best and healthiest you can be, and also realizing that your best shape may be a nicely fit size 14, and that’s perfectly fine.

  3. Oh, Angelos, you know I love you, but you are about to get smacked down 50 ways from Sunday by the commenters, with my full support. I’d start, but I am too fucking busy and tired today, so Shapelings, please tell Angelos what’s deeply problematic about what he’s saying.

    Wait, I will start. One simple point. “EVERYONE should eat better” and “EVERYONE should work out more” — really? People who are already eating a balanced diet should take it to the next level and become obsessive about it? Exercise bulimics who work out to the point of exhaustion because they’re terrified of getting fat should step it up? Everyone?

    And we do. not. do. moralizing about food and exercise here.

    Tired now. Shapelings, carry on.

    Also, Angelos, if you get combative about it, I will ban you, for the reasons expressed in this post. This is not a 101 blog, and the problems with what you’re saying are 101. If people take the time to rip you a new asshole, they will be doing it as a courtesy.

  4. You know what’s funny is how all these empty calories I eat have this thing called a caloric value, because they release energy when ignited. It’s like magic. Wait, why do I eat food again? no no, not for energy, don’t be silly.

  5. In my fridge right now are storage containers full of grilled chicken breast and a smoked turkey I prepared last weekend, a pasta salad I made Tuesday, some rice, a squash/carrot/apple soup I made yesterday.

    Well gosh, aren’t you fortunate!

  6. Oy. Angelos – no.

    I’m being really kind when I say that I get where you are coming from but you are missing the point. By miles.

    No, everyone does not need to eat better or work out more. Food intake and exercise is a personal choice. My health is personal, to me. And you know? I’m grown and can take full responsibility for my actions. I know that if I eat a bunch of oreos, my stomach is going to asplode, yet sometimes I just want to eat a bunch of oreos. The stomach asplosion that occurs soon after that is no one’s problem but mine. Well…. possibly my kids since we all use the same bathroom.

    My point being, you do what works for you and everyone else can do what the hell they want with their bodies.

    Please, shapelings, I know you all can do a better job at this than I just did. But there’s my meager efforts.

  7. I keep almost saying things to follow Kate’s directions and rip it apart, but it’s like you take HAES and you bring it up to the most snooty, moralizing level possible, and watch it go crazy. I don’t even know where to start.

  8. It’s not that difficult. My wife and I work our butts off, and get home tired at night, just like everyone else. But I am still committed to having a fridge full of healthy, home-cooked food ready for the nuking.

    Well, my god! You’ve figured it out!

    Shapelings, I’m committed to having a wallet stuffed with thousand-dollar bills and a Pulitzer Prize-winning book of poetry. It’s not that hard!

  9. And then you mix in some snobbery and bossiness about the privilege, so you somehow get the idea that it’s reasonable to tell everyone else how they should live their lives in order to do self-acceptance correctly.

  10. And then you mix in some snobbery and bossiness about the privilege, so you somehow get the idea that it’s reasonable to tell everyone else how they should live their lives in order to do self-acceptance correctly.

    Everyone should eat better! Everyone should exercise more! Everyone should have easy access to fresh vegetables and time to cook and only one job to come home tired from and no children and a golf club membership and a block that’s safe to walk around!

    Part of the reason this is such a patent example of privilege is that if you just replaced “should” with “should be able to,” I’d be down with it, as long as we did something about those peskily vague “more” and “better” clauses. But the privileged never consider that other people might not have the access and leisure they enjoy. So they get all moral and judgmental about those benighted inferior people who just don’t know enough to realize that they ought to be walking while they golf and drinking good wine, not feeding their kids off the dollar menu.

    Good wine. I ask you.

  11. I’m not currently physically able to work out more, even though I’d like to. I’m also not currently physically able to make carrot-apple soup or whatever the hell. Sounds delicious, though. I’m so glad that YOU are physically able to make “healthy” foods. Not all of us have that ability.

  12. if you just replaced “should” with “should be able to,” I’d be down with it, as long as we did something about those peskily vague “more” and “better” clauses.

    Ditto.

  13. Wish I had more time to rip right now, but I will say WTF? Ablist, classist, sexist (cuz typically it’s the women doing this work), priviledged as I’ll get out. Plus promotes shame and guilt and triggers all of us recovering eating disorders. Get off your high-assed horse, dude.

  14. How about…everyone should be able to eat whatever the hell they feel like eating as much as they feel like eating at any given time and everyone should be able to exercise or not exercise as much as they goddamn well please and it’s not anyone’s friggin’ business what anyone else fucking does? Holy mother of Christ in your squash-carrot-potato soup already.

  15. Let me be sure I have this correct. I am not far from 101 in the fat-o-sphere. Where the breakdown occurs and the flame wars begin is when everyone and I mean everyone does not lead her life exactly like the Angelos family.

    I mean our bodies may be a size 14 and that would be fine as long as we are eating carrot soup (fresh not from a can) and walking 5-6 miles a month on golf courses. Because everyone, everyone just need to be more like you and then they would be so much better because you are super-duper.

    Holy fucking moly.

  16. Hey Angelos!
    Great! Thanks! As my dear daughter struggles with her Eating Disorder recovery, I’m so glad that you shared that LOVELY TRIGGERING SHIT, so that when she reads SP, she can have a nice little meltdown when I next serve chips with a sandwich at lunch, or maybe some pastries and donuts for Sunday Brunch.

    Asshat.

    And BTW, there is no univeral RIGHT WAY to live, eat, workout, wevs. THAT’S the kind of thinking that starts trouble.

  17. It’s not that difficult.

    Angelo, how the hell do you know what’s difficult or not difficult for other people? Myself, for instance, well, I have .36 in my bank account until next payday and I’m eating a whole lot of peanut butter sandwiches this week. Love to walk around the block today, but an old back injury is acting up and it would be an excruciating endeavor that would leave me in tears.

    You know, there are a whole slew of people who would tell YOU how lazy you are for only aspiring to exercise only 20 minutes per day. They’d say, predictably, “Why not 40 or 60 minutes. It’s not that difficult!”

  18. Yeah, Angelos! When I feel tired after a long day’s work at my job that’s flexible enough that I can go running at lunchtime around a leafy campus, I simply cycle home through my safe neighbourhood and tuck in to the fresh fish and vegetables the nice man in an Ocado van delivers for a moderate charge.

    I can’t see what’s wrong with other people that they don’t do the same! I suppose they’d rattle off some feeble excuses about having different priorities or less money or no legs. Or even tell me to mind my own fucking business. It’s pathetic when you think about it, so I try not to.

  19. I can’t really take anyone who advocates throwing away perfectly good food seriously. (but… but… the ADDITIVES! *horror*) If you’ve been living off that stuff most of your life, how bad is finishing the last of it (or donating it) in the grand scheme of things?

    There’s this idea, it’s a bit of a cross between the diet mentality and the fat acceptance movement, that if a person is doing EVERYTHING. THEY. CAN. to get fit and socially acceptable, and it doesn’t work, then they can accept themselves as they are. Anyone doing less than that doesn’t deserve self acceptance, because they could be “healthier” if they tried harder. All those “I like the idea of fat acceptance, I only have to lose X more pounds!” commenters that show up every so often are coming from that perspective. Part of the FA idea is that nobody is obligated to be as thin as they can, or as healthy as they can, or to work out as much as they can. They get self respect regardless.

  20. Actually, please let me apologize, Angelos. Calling you an asshat is unwarrented. Apparently I found your post very triggering, and I neglected to edit before I hit submit.

    I hereby modify my comment so that it reads-

    “What an asshat thing to write. So many people are going to find that post upsetting and triggering.”

    Oh, and there is an S in universal.

  21. *joining AnnieF* – EVERYONE should be able bodied!

    EVERYONE’s body should be equipped (and their pocketbook should be equipped to pay for) to eat whatever their brain decides they should eat! Oh, sorry, not their brain — your brain.

    Also, Angelos, picking a certain size that you deem okay? What’s the diff between you and all the people who say it’s okay to rock a LITTLE bit of teh fatz but zomgbbqdonuts make sure you are not DEATH FATZ?

    Angelos, you don’t have the prescription for everyone’s health. Everyone’s health is different — that’s a fundamental base of HAES.

  22. Aside from that a lot of people are doing as much as they can in terms of eating well and exercising, many more are doing as much as they want to, and quite a few are doing more than is good for them, “eating healthy” and “exercising” aren’t nearly as well defined as that post implies.

    There are foods which are very nourishing for some people but misery-inducing or even deadly for others. It isn’t always easy to find out which foods are in which category.

    Exercise is probably a more subtle question, but just charging forward into what you think is good for you has some risks.

  23. Thanks, Angelos.
    My levels of depression and anxiety at the moment are such that I required my boyfriend to literally stand next to me and hold my hand last night in order for me to be able to pay my student loans without having a panic attack.

    But you think that I certainly have the energy and reserves to go home and cook a balanced home cooked meal every night, and the space in my brain to worry about YET ANOTHER THING I HAVE TO DO.

    So, yeah. Screw you. I’ll go to work, pay my loans, eat what I want, and call it a win.

    And you know what? Even if none of that was true, I CAN EAT WHAT I WANT AND BE LAZY IF I FEEL LIKE IT BECAUSE I AM A GODDAMN ADULT.

  24. And good on Roni if she’s doing what makes her feel good, but note that she writes FIVE blogs about her weight, her diet and her exercise program. Keeping her weight down has clearly become a hugely important part of her life, and presumably takes up rather a lot of her time and mental energy.

    Again, if she wants that, yay huzzah for her, but it’s somewhat of a contrast to the usual schtick of “it’s easy, just get off the sofa for a few minutes a day and cease cramming your face with baby doughuts and puppy nachos.”

  25. Also, lolz @ MissPrism.

    It’s pathetic when you think about it, so I try not to.

    And I want some puppy nachos.

  26. Angelos, you just didn’t know what you were walking into. Well intentioned, I’m sure, but welcome to the ranks of the lower third percentile income. Welcome to single parents. Welcome to genetic and hormonal differences that you have no understanding of. Welcome to different levels of ability.

    Welcome to the discrepancy between should and can.

    Also, why do you bother delineating your daily routine for us? That’s the thing that always got me about so-called self improvement sites. Doesn’t matter what the flippin article was about, the people in the comments section without fail rattle off rituals. This post wasn’t about how you live your life, and does not make any invitation for clarification on the matter. Get over yourself. Live in a way that goes without saying.

  27. Also: you can be a “nicely fit” size 28. Just saying. Whatever nicely fit means, that is.

    You can also be “nicely fit” at 5 lbs. shy of “obese”! But hey, all the obesity crisis hype totally has nothing to do with alarmist statistics based on a standard that would mark someone who totally eats fresh food and works out like a “good” boy as extremely overweight.

  28. EVERYONE should eat better. Read the labels on the boxes and cans, see what kind of crap Big Food wants us to put in our bodies. Then throw them away. It’s not that difficult.

    (thinks)

    Um. No. No thanks. Don’t wanna.

    See? Now the conversation’s over. Oh, wait, you’re still stuck with your moral indignation about how other people live in ways you don’t care for? Gosh. Must be rough. Good luck with that.

  29. “Angelo, how the hell do you know what’s difficult or not difficult for other people? “

    In the proverbial nutshell. ^^

    KH? Congratulations on your new blogpanelspot. I read some of the other ladies (I do love MzFit).

    I do think the collective needs you. IMHO your perspective will be an aid to clear critical thinking on an issue that’s deliberately muddled in regular public discourse.

    (You may want to lay in an extra supply of your sedative of choice for the early days, though. Just in case.)

  30. Live in a way that goes without saying.

    HOLY SHIT, KEEKS, DID YOU MAKE THAT UP!?! That’s brilliant to the brilliantieth power.

    *looks around furtively, steals for later*

  31. A bit of a sidetrack, but I get really annoyed at the folks who say “I didn’t say it was easy”. Is it just that they’re presuming to say how much effort I should put out to meet their standards, or are there other issues?

  32. Jane, also brilliant:

    everyone should be able to eat whatever the hell they feel like eating as much as they feel like eating at any given time and everyone should be able to exercise or not exercise as much as they goddamn well please and it’s not anyone’s friggin’ business what anyone else fucking does? Holy mother of Christ in your squash-carrot-potato soup already.

    I’m in love with the SP commentariat.

  33. Oh, heh, right, thanks for the reminder MissPrism. Kate, yes, good luck! It’s so neat to think about 101 types reading what you write.

  34. Ha, I forgot too. That’s what righteous indignation does to a gal, I guess. Anyhoo, good look at the new blog, Kate! I hope that it works out and brings lots of good info to new folks who’re just trying to figure out FA and other body issues.

  35. Yikes. I kind of wish Angelo’s comment had just been deleted instead of having this big angry pile-on.

    I wanted to wish you well, Kate, on the new project. It is very brave of you to take this stuff to people who aren’t looking for it in the first place (as you’ve done in the media, now, too). It means a lot to all of us to have someone really willing to preach to the people in the pews instead of just the choir. Especially when the people in the pews are young. Thank you.

  36. We eat pretty healthily, but my husband was so brainwashed by the “everyone needs to eat better” mantra I had to whip out the food planner* for the last three weeks to prove that, no, we don’t eat non stop hunks of meat and fast food. And it was like, “See! I told you so! There *are* vegetables in our food! And do you really want to give up wing and beer night? I didn’t think so!”

    He just doesn’t stop and think critically about the generalizations he hears. I have also sent him to try and find HFCS and trans fat in the specific food that we eat just so he would quit talking about it. Also had to whip out the nutrition info on our homemade pizzas to show that they actually aren’t that bad for you. Not diet food, but not junk food, actually.

    *I plan out the week’s meals because it means less shopping trips and wasted food and I know when I need to take something out to thaw or whatever. Not a food obsession.

  37. There isn’t a fine line, there’s an ink-black 48 point font seriously it’s not that hard line between deciding what works for you and what works for other people. If Angelos wants to make eating home-cooked food a priority in his life, that’s fine. But it has no bearing on what other people do and shouldn’t, because nobody gets to dictate other adults choices.

    I have a big problem with the big overarching statements. No, I should probably not work out more – I just smashed my fingers into someone’s head and holy crap typing hurts and weight lifting is a bad idea. My hips feel like they are falling out of their sockets from running and yet I may go work out anyway. This DOES NOT make me a morally superior person. It makes me kind of an idiot, frankly.

    It’s the moral superiority that’s a problem. It doesn’t matter what I think about processed foods or exercise or potato chips. It doesn’t make me a better person to have certain opinions. It just makes me a dickwad if I think that my opinions should affect other people’s choices and a desperate dickwad if I’m grasping at that in attempts to justify why I am a better person. (instead of actually going out and doing something that affects the world more than a taking a run or cooking a soup)

    People should do what makes THEM feel good physically and mentally within the constraints that they have – and, yes, too little time, too little money, children to watch, a job to work, a disability… these are all REAL reasons that people may not be able to cook seven nights a week (or all day Sunday to keep in the fridge) or drop everything to hit the gym. It’s called REAL life for a reason and anyone who thinks that food and exercise should be priorities #1 and 2 should count themselves lucky for having such an easy existence.

  38. I kind of wish Angelo’s comment had just been deleted instead of having this big angry pile-on.

    If I didn’t know Angelos could take it, I would have just deleted it.

    Thanks for the good wishes, everybody.

  39. I think it’s really okay for people to be angry and to disagree, Trabb’s Boy. Angelos’ comment was long and there was a lot people might have problems with. Different comments addressed different parts of it. This is angry and loud disagreement, not bullying. Nothing wrong with being angry or loud.

    And while I, too am very happy that Kate is talking to the media and participating in other forums with different audiences, I don’t think that having active discussions on publicly available blogs is just “preaching to the choir.”

  40. I’m not gonna mention Angelo -again- cause it’s all been said and far better than I could ever have.

    Anywaysssss, congrats Kate, I’m checking it out as we speak!

  41. If I didn’t know Angelos could take it, I would have just deleted it.

    Besides it’s as though he offered himself up as a perfect example of the type — how could you pass that up. :-)

  42. Kate – I support your involvement in the project, and I wish you the best!

    Roni’s argument as to “it is OK to want to lose weight” is one I hear a lot whenever I say I don’t support dieting. I am mulling the whole thing over, still.

    Thanks again for all your work.

  43. I am excited that the FA message is getting more exposure. Thanks so much for having the energy, commitment, and boldness to keep putting it out there. It matters in people’s lives. It has mattered in mine.

  44. Oh AND! I agree with much of the pile-on re: Angelos. Everyone’s said it and said it well.

    I wanted to add something: I do homecooking every day for my family of four. I am a stay at home mom and part of my “job” is doing so. When I have extra I give my homecooking away to so many people (friends, other families, my husband’s co-workers) because SO. MANY. PEOPLE. I know do not have the time, money, or skills to cook well for themselves. One of the things I’ve found over the years is that many people appreciate home-cooked more than I would have expected. I experience a lot of joy to visit my husband’s work and have his coworkers find me and thank me for the food. I can see in their eyes that homecooked food is a wonderful thing, for many people.

    Yesterday I spent part of my day picking up our organic farm share of local food (a farm about 35 miles away). The farm share I picked up was “free” to me because I was the mule ferrying the rest of the shares back to our community. But people? It took me time, and a car trip with three kids, and then I had to get home and parse it out and put it all away and then cook with it. Again, I love doing this. But it takes time.

    Eating healthy and home-cooked and no chemicals yadda yadda can be a lot of work, and can be expensive, and can take time. That’s one reason I don’t like to hear a lot of “shoulds” about eating better. Because I devote a lot of my time to it and I know it’s not just some SOLUTION everyone can easily put in their life. Or rather, if they do it, they are obviously NOT doing a bunch of other things. We all have our own priorities and why should they be something Angelos, or anyone else, gets to dictate?

  45. I cannot stand the word “should” anymore, when it comes to people giving unwanted, unnecessary, and completely unoriginal advice to others. It’s just so fucking judgmental. No one is obligated to “be healthy” for anyone else, especially not absolute strangers on the internet, and wow can we please expand the common understanding of “health” to always include MENTAL health?

    On happier, helpful, and more productive notes – Kate! Awesome! Have fun and kick some ass!

    Me! I just got a dress I ordered from eshakti, with the custom measurements. It’s a bit big in the waist, but taking it in is going to be a five minute job, thanks to the design, and it fits! my! gigantic! boobs! (An aside – WHY is my bust 12 inches bigger than my ribcage??? I have to alter every single thing I buy. It’s damn annoying and time consuming and would run into some pretty significant tailoring bills if I didn’t know how to do it myself).

  46. Forgot to ask about the new blog. I was checking it out and started reading the same post you say you strongly disagree with (which I figured since certain things contradict other things said here). I was wondering how’s the dynamic going to work out. Will you be responding to those kind of posts in the comments, thus starting a debate about the topic? Or do you just intend to let them go and write your own posts later on?

  47. So much to say, so much to say…..

    1. I [heart] Shapelings. And Keeks, I am totally stealing “Live in a way that goes without saying.” Totally.

    2. Best of luck to you, Kate, in your new part-time internet digs! Since I feel myself rocketing between Getting It and thinking I totally need some HAES 101, I look forward to being a reader over at WARD.

    And, since I seem pathologically unable to leave a comment here without a side topic, here’s a side topic having to do with my needing a new blog name.

    You see, I finally want to follow through on the wish to do my own writing about weight, body image, self-acceptance, etc. And my current blog name just isn’t really appropriate. (You can click the link to see today’s post if you really want more detail about that.)

    So here I am, needing to create a new URL, and a new blogname, which feels to me somewhat like claiming a name for myself. And I’m really stumped about how to do that in a way that isn’t stupid (or smart but derivative or vaguely plagiaristic).

    I’ve been bogged down in this identity/self-naming crisis for a couple months (Yeah, there was also Big Personal Stuff going on, but still!), and I do NOT want to stay stuck. Anyone have a thought or two how to break myself out of this stuck space to find a new shingle to hang out?

  48. I like the fact that Angelo’s comment got to remain.

    Staggering pomposity aside, I’m sure he meant well. It’s actually indicative of how much the other blog collective needs Kate’s perspective, IMO.

    Very contextual. :D

  49. Will you be responding to those kind of posts in the comments, thus starting a debate about the topic? Or do you just intend to let them go and write your own posts later on?

    Depends on the time and day. :)

  50. Well, Angelos has already been smacked around plenty, but the part where the ‘shoulds’ interfere make me wonder if the moralizing here is believed by the moralizer.

    I’m thinking not.

    “I am guilty of violating this too much the last three or four months. Bad Angelos! But I did tune up the bike this past weekend, and am going to get back out there.”

    Dude, if it was all so easy and enjoyable – you wouldn’t have to ‘get back on that horse’ … you’d just be doing it, right? For the joy and ease that’s in it.

    It’s not easy. It’s not even necessary. And the moralizing is the same brand of horsepuckey we all threw in the trash when we decided our bodies are fine and the health salesmen were full of shit. Just like when you read the labels and decided Big Food is just out to sell you something. You’re right – they are, and they’re deliberately selling you something they know isn’t food. So are the diet gurus, and the Weight Watchers hawkers, and Richard fucking Simmons and his deal-a-meal decks o’ cards. Look at ‘em all with the same critical eye; they equally deserve it.

    Politically, I agree that we deserve more leisure and less time on the treadmill of low-paid work and endless consumption. But not everyone SHOULD do any particular thing in terms of living their lives and getting by. We all choose trade-offs based on what we value. People who don’t think critically about the politics of food have an absolute fucking right to not think politically about their food.

  51. Staggering pomposity aside, I’m sure he meant well.

    Yeah, in Angelos’s defense, he was the very first person to go out of his way to get a signed copy of LFTF, despite not being anywhere near my readings. Now he just needs to read it. :)

  52. As soon as I read Angelos’s post, I knew what was going to happen, and it did.

    Kelly, Fillyjonk, SM, et al. have already pointed out that the “whole food”, organic, home-cooked meal lifestyle that is held up as an ideal is just not an attainable one for so many people right now. (Wow. An unattainable ideal. Where else have we heard about that recently?) It requires the luxury of spare time, energy, and money that a lot of people just don’t have.

    It’s not like a single mother who works two jobs so she can keep a roof over her kids’ heads doesn’t understand that Kraft Mac and Cheese is not the Most Nutritious Food Ever. She may have little choice over where she can buy her food or how she can cook it. She might live in an apartment where there is no room to grow organic kale in the nonexistant back yard. Processed foods could be the only way she knows how to feed her family when she can’t find a job that pays a living wage.

    Being able to afford nice food is an example of class priviledge. Making a moral issue out of how people eat won’t solve that. It’s just not that fucking simple.

  53. After reading Angelos comment, I realized that HAES and FA are not as second nature to me now as I had thought they were. His comments triggered so much of the “but-I-gotta-do-something-about-this-weight” frenzy in me that I found myself initially nodding in agreement….initially.

    Halfway through his “suggestions”, I started to get that feeling in the pit of my adipose crammed stomach that tells me I am being concern trolled once again. It was the moral and value statements that got to me the most. The linking and lumping together of all the generalizations and assumptions that are spewed from every media outlet in the world. The inability to see that not everyone has the same life you do…a life that seems to include: financial stability, physical ability, strength, safe neighborhoods, memberships to gyms/country clubs, reasonable work hours, proper appliances, a body without disease/disability/ailments, a plethora of choices, or even the ability to ride a bike….to name just a few.

    It became crystal clear to me that Angelos just. doesnt. get. this. blog. The caveat at the end of his comment that “your best shape may be a nicely fit size 14″ exhumed an old way of thinking in me, since that would be my body type’s “ideal”, being 5’10 and all. W.T.F?!?!?!

    I still have a long way to go in respecting myself and treating myself with honor RIGHT NOW. It doesn’t help that I just got back from an highly anticipated vacation where I endured the ogles and stares of total strangers as I walked the Oregon beaches, climbed stairs at the Sea Lion caves, shopped along the corridors of the waterfront stores and fishing ports, and ate a meal at restaurants. I feel like I have been dissected and all my insides are exposed.

    Thanks.

  54. Just like when you read the labels and decided Big Food is just out to sell you something. You’re right – they are, and they’re deliberately selling you something they know isn’t food.

    Right, except that for the most part, it is food.

    juliah, it’s not just that it’s an unattainable ideal – it’s an ideal that isn’t even guaranteed to be “better.” Even if I someday make a gajillion dollars and have housekeepers and a personal chef, if I or a child of mine wants some mac n cheese from a box one night, or even several times a week, that is totes fine with me. You don’t HAVE to want that organic kale carrot squash whatever soup. It isn’t just that accessibility is a privilege of class — it starts there, but that fact has now made it so that wanting those foods (or at least trying to want them) is a class marker. And whatever the upper class has and wants must be better for us, and better than what we already have. it’s bullshit every way you slice it.

  55. Thanks, volcanista. You’re right and I didn’t put that in my post. What’s funny is that, if I’d been writing about the percieved moral qualities of cars or clothing or houses, I probably wouldn’t have missed it. I obviously still have internalized class issues that need questioning.

  56. Is it bad that I read Angelo’s comment way before anyone commented on it, and thought to myself “Ooh, just wait until the other Shapelings get here…he’s gonna get it!”

    “Live in a way that goes without saying” and “puppy nachos” FTW!

    Good luck on the other blog, Kate. You voice is one that needs to be heard, well, pretty much everywhere.

  57. So, I don’t often get the inside information on the people behind the smackdown-worthy comments. I appreciated this reminder that occasionally reading from a bad script doesn’t make you an odious person. Angelos, I’m glad to hear from Kate you’re the sort of person that can take it.

  58. It’s not like a single mother who works two jobs so she can keep a roof over her kids’ heads doesn’t understand that Kraft Mac and Cheese is not the Most Nutritious Food Ever. She may have little choice over where she can buy her food or how she can cook it. She might live in an apartment where there is no room to grow organic kale in the nonexistant back yard. Processed foods could be the only way she knows how to feed her family when she can’t find a job that pays a living wage.

    And, mac and cheese isn’t such a bad way to feed your kids. I mean, honestly, it isn’t. It kind of reminds me of breast milk versus formula debates. Sure, formula isn’t the most absolutely ideal way to feed your baby. But, formula provides perfectly adequate nutrition to a baby. You would think, from how some people talk about it, that people who formula-feed babies are giving their babies poisoned Mountain Dew. You would also think, from how some people discuss food, that daring to feed a child grilled cheese or hamburger helper or a can of spaghetti-os for dinner is no different from serving them a jar of tainted cake frosting for every single meal.

    Sometimes less-than-ideal-but-still-acceptable food choices are just fine. I’m in the throes of morning sickness that lasts all day right now, and my husband is pulling 9 hour days at work then doing 2 or 3 hours of dissertation work at night. I can barely open my fridge and look at the food in there, much less prepare nutritious dinners from it, and I don’t want or expect my husband to spend the like 2 hours of time he gets to just relax and hang out with me and our son after work cooking and cleaning. So, we’re living for the time being on frozen pizzas, fish sticks, grilled cheese, and PB&J sandwiches for dinner, with the occasional fast food meal or sushi from the grocery store thrown in. It’s not as wholesome and nutritious as what I’d usually or ideally make, but it’s certainly good enough. And, in the long run, I think it’s better than either my making myself sick trying to cook or my husband spending his little bit of free time cooking rather than having fun with our son. It’s not like the only choices we make in life are around food, or the only important aspects of our lives are food-related.

  59. Has anyone been to Roni’s Blog to Lose website?? I read it a few months ago (before I discovered SP!) because I wanted some motivation to start exercising to ward off the crippling depression I sometimes face. Depression + School = Bad Grades. Anyway, I could not believe the level of food and exercise obsession expressed by the members! Some of the people list on their personal website every single thing they put in their mouth and every step they take. This is exactly the kind of behavior that turns me off–having grown up with a mother obsessed with eating “healthfully” and exercising. I got all panicky and itchy and hightailed it out of there!! And somehow ended up on the doorstep of KH and Co., thank dog!

  60. Hey, before he slinks away bloody, I want the recipe for the squash-carrot-potato soup.

    Except I will put bacon in it, of course :-)

  61. Kate, this is a fantastic thing you’re trying, and I hope it works out. I don’t know if I’ll be over there myself because I read Roni’s comment and my blood pressure started to rise, but it’s a great idea and has the potential to reach — or start to reach — a whole bunch of new people. I would worry whether having a post of yours that sparks something in them followed immediately by another that makes intentional weight loss seem fine really using the “lifestyle change” “it’s for your health” school of thought is going to undo any good yours might achieve — but then, I suppose you have this whole other blog over here they can check out if they like what you’re saying, so.

    And while I, too am very happy that Kate is talking to the media and participating in other forums with different audiences, I don’t think that having active discussions on publicly available blogs is just “preaching to the choir.”

    Well yeah, because all the time we get comments from people who wandered in and discovered FA here (I was one of them!). Sure there are a bunch of people here who are fully on board with FA, and they’re the ones we hear from most in the comments (also one of them :D), but Never Discount the Lurkers. Who knows how many people read this blog every day, and where they are on their FA journey? It doesn’t have to be a blog specifically intended as a 101 space to reach new people every day.

  62. posts like Roni’s about the right way to want weight loss remind me of this movie, Penelope, that I really wanted to like but really just can’t. It’s about a girl with a pig snout for a nose because of a curse that would only go away through…true love…I don’t remember the exact details, just that Christina Ricci is of course preternaturally adorable even with a little fake pig snout, but everyone around her was absurdly horrified by her face, and her life was terrible until she stopped being afraid of it and went out into the world without covering her face, and then she made friends, and she learned to accept herself and it was great, but then it turns out loving herself was the condition for breaking the curse, and her reward was…to lose the pig snout.

    On the one hand there are some things I do like about it – it’s fairly clear that the main reason people were fainting at the sight of Penelope’s face was because of the secrecy and shame surrounding it – pushed, of course, by her mother – and that once she was open about what she looked like people pretty much calmed down about it, although there was a certain “pet freak” vibe to some of her friendships. So ok, she’s become confident and proud of herself and having a normal life and everything is great, and literally the turning point where the curse is broken is when she insists she doesn’t want to get rid of the pig snout. aaaaaaaaaaaaaand: it disappears.

    so she gets rewarded with what she didn’t want to happen, because that’s what makes it possible to marry the guy she likes and then happily ever after can happen. through MARRIAGE.

    face.
    palm.

    the movie was doing so well, and then just fails because Penelope gets the Hollywood happy ending instead of HER happy ending. I do not see how this is a great and heartwarming story about the importance of self-acceptance. Because the happy ending is that she becomes what OTHER PEOPLE wanted her to be. That is not the point of self-acceptance! I think there’s even some talk at the end about she, or maybe even the boy, misses her old nose. But don’t worry, they’re still happy, because now she’s CUTE.

    so close! and yet, so not!

    volcanista, I share your peeve, but maybe not quite so mild. I am trying out the ways of “no poo” hair washing, not because I am especially interested in a “natural” “organic” lifestyle (beyond a general trust in many years of evolution to have equipped human bodies with an array of mechanisms for keeping themselves alive and in relatively good working order. Not perfect ones, but ones I would do well to be aware of and work with instead of against, you know?) or even because I have problems with dry or frizzy hair, but because I am lazy and cheap and don’t want to shampoo my damn hair all the time. Of course every other paragraph on the internet about the various methods are full of talk about wanting to avoid “chemicals” and how “chemicals” are so bad for us all. Hey ladies, baking soda is a chemical. Vinegar is a chemical. WATER IS A CHEMICAL.

    twitch, twitch.

  63. I just wanted to say that I was SO GLAD to see your name on that blog. I was familiar with all the authors (including you) except Claire, and my first reaction when I saw your name was to think, “Oh, YAY. There might be a chance for some real dialogue here.” My own thoughts and opinions regarding myself (and ONLY myself) don’t adhere strictly to “dieting is always good” or “dieting is always bad,” but I DEFINITELY understand the cultural bullshit at work, and that it’s also at work in my own head, informing my views whether I want it to or not.

    Um. Sorry, I’m rambling.

    But I lurk here A LOT because this blog serves (again, for me) as a balance to many of the other writers (and even more of their commenters) who are also writing for WAtRD. I really hope it ends up being a place where you’re comfortable sticking around, and I know that selfishly, I am SO EXCITED to see you in a place that is a little more 101. I hope there are some fantastic dialogues over there.

  64. Heh. I saw Angelos’ comment and I actually thought “I might need to make some popcorn for this.”

    *hearts all you noisy and companionable people*

    Kate – I can understand why you’re nervous about this. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be reading over there. I’m not sure I’m solid enough to be able to confront pro-weight loss and dieting talk without it messing me up yet. (Also good luck dealing with commenters. I suspect Sanity Watchers points will be flying.) Hopefully you can be a positive influence overall.

    interfacings – I’m a big fan of the “washing with conditioner” approach for hair, especially for people with curly or wavy hair. That way I feel like I’ve cleansed it without the shampoo damage. YMMV of course.

    DRST

  65. Ok, third post about the new blog, sorry, but I’m now officially excited. This is the first time I feel I can discuss FA openly and intelligently in a not exclusively FA blog. I think that, if it doesn’t turn into a constant anti-diet pro-diet war (which I figure won’t happen, except perhaps in the threads concerning the subject), it can be a wonderful and positive forum for all intelligent women (and men of course) out there. And if not, it still looks like a great learning experience. Again, wish you all the best!

  66. I recently got into a discussion about FA with a friend of mine at the worst possible time. While drinking. He was at the point of drunkeness when he turns all motivational speaker and so here’s what happened. He was a fat kid in high school some 10 years ago and never wants to be that way again, so every time he ate something bad he would make a comment about how bad he was being, etc. Anyway, he mistook my Fat Acceptance as not BELIEVING I could lose the weight. Ladies and gentlemen, I have lost the weight. I know I can lose it, I cannot for the life of me keep it off and it has nothing to do with motivation! It took a good twenty minute argument to finally drive home the point that I don’t WANT to diet. He shut up then, but it got me thinking. Perhaps it’s a common misconception to non-FAers that we fatties simply don’t believe we can.

    So long story not so short it is a fantastic thing to get Kate’s work out in a greater non-FA audience because we need to teach those who need to learn!

  67. Ladies and gentlemen, I have lost the weight. I know I can lose it, I cannot for the life of me keep it off and it has nothing to do with motivation!

    This. For the love of Maude, this.

  68. @volcanista, who wrote:
    It isn’t just that accessibility is a privilege of class — it starts there, but that fact has now made it so that *wanting* those foods (or at least trying to want them) is a class marker. And whatever the upper class has and wants must be better for us, and better than what we already have. it’s bullshit every way you slice it.

    First off, you know I love your points. Secondly, no kidding. One of the principles of Intuitive Eating is about not calling certain foods “bad”, “evil”, etc.

    I am grateful to SP for – among many things – directing me to the concepts in Intuitive Eating and I practice it for myself AND my children. Interestingly not one of my parenting friends can bring themselves to do this. So either I am so completely, and totally, in the wrong, or I’m a brave soul who’s letting my children be who they need to be. YOU DECIDE. Or no, shit, *I* get to decide. :-)

    OT – is it ass-hat of me to post a picture of my son eating a bowl of sugar?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kellyhogaboom/3743340491/

  69. Kelly – He’s not just eating a bowl of sugar, but a bowl of sugar in what appears to be in a restaurant! Don’t you know that homecooked food is the only type you should be eating? Why won’t you think of the children?!

    ;)

  70. Uhhh.. that was supposed to have a tag at the end of it. I’ve just been full of HTML failure lately.

  71. Yowsa! Y’all are kinda mean to Angelo. He’s maybe not a language wizard. I read his post in a kinder light. How about if he phrased it, “Even many thin people might feel better if they ate a more balanced diet and exercised adequately.” That’s what *I* thought he might be trying to say.

    Since becoming an adult, I only occasionally feel bad about my lifelong extra-large body–when my feet and knees hurt, when I can’t buy the clothes I want in my size, when I think I might not be so hot all the time, the occasionally unflattering photograph, the occasional flashback to childhood miseries. Otherwise, I pretty much eat what I want when I want. I try to eat what will make me feel well–sometimes it’s fruits and vegetables–sometimes it’s a bag of Pepperidge Farm cookies or a pint of Haagen Dazs. I’m trying to notice what works for me. Overeating feast-a-thons just make me feel physically unwell, but a bag of cookies or a pint of ice ream doesn’t, so when needed, I shall eat them. My skinny friends do not seem to enjoy eating food much, yet drink quantities of wine that make me nauseated to even think about. Whatever works for them.

    Walking makes me feel less depressed and anxious–a family curse–so I do it. Weight lifting eases joint pains, makes me more capable and also shapes my body in ways I like, so I like to do it.
    I think many people, or various sizes, might find the same to be true, if they tried it, but maybe not–maybe they have too many other responsibilities, say.

    I am professionally trained to be precise in language. Angelo may not be. Maybe y’all could give him the same benefit of the doubt y’all might want to be given yourselves.

  72. the reference to “being so hot all the time” is because I live in South Carolina, not to any perceived sexiness.

  73. Angelos: RIGHT ON! (kidding, had to give Kate a small heart attack).

    I. like Kate, am so frickin (I am the kinder, gentler version of KH) busy trying to get ready for this session that I can’t even ponder your commentary completely but I will say this much;

    You sound elitist a) not everyone wants to eat as you do 2) not everyone can AFFORD to eat as you do 3) not everyone should eat as you do.

    I’ve been a voice of reason for girls with eating disorders since 2006, I too am going to have to step back to 101 level with this new collective effort, in order to make this work. You are a perfect example of what young women DO NOT need to hear.

    GOOD FOOD, BAD FOOD…all neatly categorized for a crazy controlled existence…I mean c’mon – you NEVER eat chips? donuts? That is just silly.

    In regards to Roni, her views mixed with Kates, and mine, could be great, could be scary, could be deadly, you’ll have to stick around to find out.

    Nice to meet everyone (including you Big A)
    Heather
    mamaV

  74. How about if he phrased it, “Even many thin people might feel better if they ate a more balanced diet and exercised adequately.” That’s what *I* thought he might be trying to say.

    It probably is. And yet, totally not what he said.

    Angelos knows how to express himself perfectly well. The problem with his comment wasn’t language, it was blindness to about 9 kinds of privilege + a moralizing tone.

  75. “And yet, totally not what he said. “
    *snrt*

    It is briske and liveleh at Shapeleh Prose to-day.

  76. Kelly – heh, your child eating the sugar has some perfect bliss on his face. And his hair is byootiful!

    interfacings, I had the same issues with Penelope. On the one hand I was all JAMES MCAVOY NOM NOM NOM, Ms. Ricci’s costumes are pretty much exactly what I want my wardrobe to look like, and Penelope’s attitude (of exasperation at her mother) at the start is bang on. And hey, there’s a minor moment with she and her mom saying that they miss her old nose. But STILL. It’s like some of these movies get right to the edge and just cannot figure out how to go the hell over without getting trite, saccharine, and conformist.

    But I am still nomming James McAvoy and his damn pointy emo-elfishness.

  77. Kelly wrote: Or rather, if they do it, they are obviously NOT doing a bunch of other things. We all have our own priorities and why should they be something Angelos, or anyone else, gets to dictate?

    Because if they can’t make everyone have exactly the same priorities they do, if everyone doesn’t do exactly as they do, if other people’s bodies work differently, if other people live their lives differently – in short, if other people are not them – then somehow their choices and priorities are threatened. Because, you know, if other people do things differently, it absolutely must mean you are WRONG. So you have to make them just like you so you can continue to be right.

    Except it doesn’t really work that way.

    Or what you all said already :).

    Kate, good luck on the new gig. I wish I had more time to take on another site to read regularly, but unless someone can find a way to add more hours to the day, I’ll probably have to be an infrequent visitor.

  78. Angelos, I bet you think John Coltrane should have been slamming it at the gym in 1964 instead of recording A Love Supreme. That fat motherfucker, what right did he have sitting around and blowing a horn all day with Elvin Jones? He’d be dead from cancer within three years and we’d never have gotten to hear A Love Supreme, since it’s not exactly the kind of thing he could have just tossed off casually in his spare time…but hey, at least he’d have died pretty!

    **fume**

    Yeah, you guyz already nailed it — ablism, class snobbery, uh huh uh huh uh huh. But something else, too. No, Angelos, you and your wife don’t get home tired from work “like everybody else.” I will bet my last Trader Joe’s blue potato chip that both you and your wife are NOT on your feet 10 or 12 hours a day working and commuting, nor is either one of you having to work a swing shift, and since you didn’t mention having little kids in the house who eat 3 or 4 hours of your sleep every night, I will assume that’s not the case either.

    I am pretty damn sure neither one of you is a construction worker, neither one of you waits tables, neither one of you cleans houses all day, neither one of you works in a hospital job where you have to schlep patients around, and that neither one of you has a long standing commute on a bus or subway to get there. Because if you did, you would not be talking such a load of smug smack about how much better you were than everyone else. You’d know that all jobs were damn well not close to being created equal, and that your “working hard” was not someone else’s “working hard,” that someone else being someone who gets written up for taking an extra 60 seconds to sit down on break.

  79. Kathryn, you make a point of saying that you are “professionally trained to be precise in language,” so I feel the need to observe that the terms that you say you thought Angelos was trying to say — “more balanced diet” and “adequate exercise” — are not themselves precise. What is “balanced” for me is not necessarily “balanced” for someone else. And what does “adequate” exercise mean? Adequate for what? To feel good? To look “acceptable”? To lose the “adequate” amount of weight?

    These things are different for everyone. There is no universally true definition of what’s healthy and balanced. What might work for someone else could be downright harmful for me. True precision in language would acknowledge that there is no across-the-board “correct” answer when talking about health, diet, and exercise.

  80. I wanted to give a shout out to Farfalla’s comments.

    If I hear one more person tell me that “even a 20-minute 1-mile walk around the block. Something. Just move” I’m going to cry.

    I tell my shrink ‘Look, I know I need to be medicated when exercise isn’t helping the depression. I usually work out 3-5 days a week. When I’m on serotonin drugs I don’t want to work out. I want to sleep.’ Here’s her response: “Even a 20-minute 1-mile walk around the block. Something. Just move” So I walk out thinking ‘you know she’s right I’m just a lazy fat ass and all of this is my fault… I know nothing about my body’

    Hello…can anybody hear me?

  81. Hi Kate — this is Melissa Henriquez. I think I’ll be joining you guys on the blog, but I didn’t get off the wait-list for BlogHer and despite begging for a ticket and MamaV trying for me … I didn’t get one. So … sad we won’t meet in person but I look forward to working with you in whatever capacity the blog allows.

  82. I think many people, or various sizes, might find the same to be true, if they tried it, but maybe not–maybe they have too many other responsibilities, say.

    Honestly? I don’t especially care what you think I should do. Which is kind of the point of piling on to Angelos’ inane comment. I don’t owe it to you to do anything. It doesn’t even have to do with whether I have time, though that was a huge-ass load of privilege Angelos dropped in there. But even if I have the time and I just don’t fucking want to exercise/eat differently/take up yoga/whatever is being recommended to me, I don’t have to.

    I have no obligation to be healthy. I don’t owe it to you to be pretty, or thin, or tall or tanned or to exercise or buy organic foods or anything. My body and my life are mine to do with as I wish, without interference, especially “for my own good” which is, after all, how most of the concern trolling about fat is framed.

    DRST

  83. I am glad to see this post up. I found the new blog through Roni’s Weigh, actually. I read this blog and hers, which may be strange. I really liked most of what I read and I even checked out mamaVision’s blog because I thought her perspective of having been a teen model would be fascinating. Then I read her post (again, on her personal blog) about how a cheerleading coach who posed for Playboy deserved to be fired because she is a bimbo queen and obviously not a role model. It really bothered me, and I think I may just stick to the front page posts and not explore the separate commentators pages (‘cept you and Roni). For a minute I had a hard time being comfortabel reading that, then going back to the group blog. Then I got over it and wrote this long-ass comment that’s slightly OT and that no one will read in a big thread people are having a big discussion on. I need less free time.

  84. Soooo, I’m late to the party (of unpacking Angelos’ troubling/troubled comment), but I brought a six-pack (of smackdown).

    In addition to the privilege and moralizing tone, as Kate said above, it was revealing and sad to me when Angelos was ashamed of not working out more.

    EVERYONE should work out more. Even a 20-minute 1-mile walk around the block. Something. Just move. I am guilty of violating this too much the last three or four months. Bad Angelos!

    Wait, you mean if you do everything right (as Angelos purports to do), you will still beat yourself up all the time?

    What was that sound? Yup, Fantasy of Being Thin* exploding in Angelos’ face like a gag gift.

    *Maybe not just Thin, in this case–Fit? But I feel like they are overlapping here, and that Angelos was using “fitness” as a not-so-successful inching away from the FoBT.

  85. fatsmartchick, I am so sorry that your shrink is not listening to you and hearing what you have to say. I am sending you internet hugs. <3

  86. fatsmartchick, sounds like SSRI’s just aren’t working for you. Find a shrink who will prescribe you something different instead of the same old, same old. And if you can’t get another one, then maybe you could research antidepressants yourself and ask for a particular one—that’s what I did. I asked for Wellbutrin and I got it. I’ve found that most doctors won’t argue with you when your mind is made up (as long as you’re not asking for something dangerous, obvs).

  87. Awww, guys. I was going to do “Angelos Translated”, but yous have covered it all with smartness and hilarity. I am awash with disappointment/heart you all.

    I will say that yes, as someone pointed out upthread, Angelos has so been to kind to offer that if you will just accept his views on diet and exercise (have you tried it?) and commit to eating “healthy” home-cooked food all the time (no processed foods! I can only assume Angelos doesn’t eat cheese), and you still somehow manage to be EVEN AS BIG AS a size 14 (because that’s not a fucking arbitrary cut-off), then THAT’S OKAY, GUYS. Because you TRIED.

    It’s the same old fucking story of “As long as you accept that you’re lazy and stupid and horrible, and as long as you’re trying to fix that problem every moment of the day, sure that won’t save you from 95% of the fat hate you get on a daily basis, but I personally will look down on you marginally less because you’ve agreed to collude in your own oppression.” Just accept I’m right and try to live up to my standards guys! Then if you fail you’re just unlucky, you’re not like THOSE fat people. (Unless you’re more than a size 14. I don’t even know what happens then.)

    AnnieF, you are so right.

    TWoP fan, some of us read eeevvvvverythiiiing. ;) And I think I am with you in that I’d be unlikely to go read other contributors’ personal blogs if they didn’t seem all-the-way FA, or very nearly, because there are so few safe spaces in this world of ours that I’m not that excited about spending my limited internet time anywhere new that isn’t. But who knows? I am fully prepared for there to be awesomeness.

  88. I’m having a bit of trouble with the photos on the We Are The Real Deal blog. (It’s my glasses, not the photos. I really need a new prescription.)

    Are any of the women involved in the blog NOT able-bodied and white? I couldn’t tell from their bios.

  89. Kind of an off-shoot, but regarding the whole “20 min walk” thing – if you *do* want to try to get more activity in your life, remember that it DOESN’T HAVE TO BE ‘exercise’ as defined by all those gym and fitness gurus.

    You don’t have to walk just to be walking- volunteer at your local animal shelter to help walk the dogs a couple times a week, that’ll get you moving some and also have mental and emotional rewards. If that’s not your cup of tea, what about volunteering to help pick up trash on a section of bike path or local park? Or even helping sort cans and pack bags at the food bank is somewhat physically demanding. There’s plenty of stuff out there to do that covers a variety of fitness levels/abilities that will get you moving and out and about for some mental stimulation. Just think outside the ‘exercise’ box.

    Note: I am not saying people *should* increase their activity levels. That’s an individual choice. Some days when my arthritis is bad, as far as I’m concerned getting out of bed is an achievement. I’m just addressing the notion that’s out there with all of the “healthy eating” talk that activity only counts if the only thing you’re accomplishing is *exercise*.

    For me, I do need to try to move more, because it helps my arthritis in that it encourages circulation and thus reduces the swelling in various joints as long as I don’t over-do it. But walking just to walk, or walking on a treadmill? BORING. Walking along a path so I can pick up cans and wrappers that people have left behind? Makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something because I can look back and see the change I’ve made. (Plus, I kind of feel that getting out into a different environment from my daily life and meeting other volunteers and so on is good for my mental/emotional health.)

    So like I said, *if* increasing your activity level is something you want to do, just remember it doesn’t have to officially be labeled ‘exercise’ to count. :)

  90. Charlotte, on July 23rd, 2009 at 7:29 pm Said:

    Is it bad that I read Angelo’s comment way before anyone commented on it, and thought to myself “Ooh, just wait until the other Shapelings get here…he’s gonna get it!”

    Well, Charlotte, if you’re bad, so am I. My first thought was “Oooh! This is going to be an *epic* verbal bitchslap.”

  91. So, um, I am confused. I often for go dessert even though my taste buds would enjoy it because I don’t want to gain extra weight. Does that mean I am dieting?

    Sometimes I don’t eat as much if I feel my clothes are tighter, but I still eat. Is that wrong?

    I don’t assume that people heavier than me ARE eating dessert or than thinner people aren’t.

    In my case, higher calorie foods do contribute to gaining some weight, if I substitute them for lower calorie foods ( not because I prefer the taste, just because of the lower calories) is that being swept up in the mainstream brain washing?

    My brain is swimming. I make so many food choices in a day- and I don’t starve, but I do for go something i want sometimes. Are you saying I should get to the point where I don’t ever think of calories?

  92. Lets see here:

    I am a low low low middle class, white, relatively able bodied woman who eats a very well balanced, fresh Vegan diet of around 1600 calories per day and exercises 20-30 minutes five days per week. I am also 340lbs.**

    My thyroid SHOULD work better
    My poly cystic ovaries SHOULD go away
    My gut SHOULD be able to digest dairy and wheat
    My weight SHOULD be flying off

    So really, enlighten me here. I’d say I’m relatively close to all your SHOULD’S Angelos. . . where is my gold star?

    ** I eat/live this way simply because it is the only thing that keeps me from being doubled over in pain and so depressed I think of driving my car off the road during my commute. I heartily agree that health/food are not moral issues. It just pisses me off so much to hear people say “you should do this” or whatever and I say “I already am!” and they just give me a blank stare like my fat may leap off my bones and onto them.

  93. Who knows how many people read this blog every day, and where they are on their FA journey?

    *waves a timid little hand*

    I stumbled across the BMI project ages ago, and recently (less than a month ago) stumbled across a link to this blog in a highly unrelated forum. The conversations here have done me an amazing amount of good and kicked my long, meandering journey into self-acceptance into high speed.

    I also only comment places when I really, really, really feel like I have something useful to contribute, and IME this is not an uncommon approach toward commenting.

    So no, definitely not an echo chamber, this.

  94. Annie, I’m with you. The comments on that post bothered me I think most of all. I’m really glad the blog is happening, because some 101-type self-acceptance writing is a great idea, but I don’t know if I will be reading very much.

  95. I have to post again, cause I’m kind of worked up about this now.

    As an aside, I hope my comments do get published because I’m not trying to be a troll. I agree with about 80% of what I read on here, but today I DISagree.

    The majority of posts in response to Angelos try to argue 2 opposing points: first, that people are fat because they choose to be and second, that people are fat because they lack privilege. If someone lacks privilege, it implies that they also lack the option of being thin or fat.

    Also, I really resent all the snide comments about how Angelos must be rich because he has a golf membership. My dad golfs, but is not college-educated or upper class. It’s just something some friends of his did so he gave it a shot and enjoys it. It doesn’t make him an elitist snob.

    The posters here often call other people out on making too many assumptions. I’m surprised that you’ve all made so many assumptions about Angelos based on his post.

  96. Do they print $1000 bills?

    I totally do. You want some?

    (j/k dept. of treasury!)

    I’m sorry I missed getting right into the comments early, it seems a little late to elbow drop on Angelos now. Ah, next middle class twit who steps in it will have to eat Angelos’ portion of ass whooping too. So sad for them.

  97. Are any of the women involved in the blog NOT able-bodied and white?

    This is a good question and potentially another serious flaw in the project. They do, at least at a glance, all seem to be white — no idea about disability status. The bloggers here are all able-bodied and white too, not to mention middle-class, and I hope that we’ve groped towards a semblance of intersectionality, so it’s not a fatal flaw, but it’s an issue. Thanks for bringing that up.

  98. I can’t fault Angelos too terribly much. (Everyone else already has, let’s not retread old ground.) He’s still holding on to the old script that society has handed us, and is feeling darned spiffy for having crossed out a few of the mean parts. Meanwhile, many more of us here have chucked the entire lousy script and gone to write our own. It’s a start, is what it is. It’s not a destination. Getting to be SP’s pinata for the day might prove enlightening. It has been a pretty reasoned chewing out, so far.

    I know I sure as hell feel great when I get more physical activity in, and I’m an annoying pain in the ass in my advocation of Everyone Should Learn How To Cook, Dammit. But that’s me and my baggage. And entirely irrelevant to my self-worth, or anyone else’s. We’re all still human beings and due respect and consideration, no matter how many helpings of puppy nachos we’ve had. (Puppy nachos. Freakin’ brilliant. Donuts, I can take ‘em or leave ‘em, but puppy nachos are totally my BAD EVIL FATTY food.) Any advocation of “well everyone should just do X and Y and Z!” no matter how well-intentioned and softy pitched is still presuming to know what’s best for everyone… and presuming that you’ve gotta bust your ass meeting some arbitrary standard before you become a “good” person worthy of self-respect and funtimes.

    Back to the ACTUAL topic-du-jour… Kate! That’s awesome! Takin’ the show on the road, blazing new paths! WOOT! …though I suspect that I’m going to be wanting to save up some extra Sanity Watcher’s points. No matter how well-intended the average blog poster can be, comments outside of the fat-o-sphere often leave me wanting to administer some serious headbutts. Maybe it’ll be an excuse to toughen up my ol’ noggin. It’s good to venture outside of your own circle of comfort… and it’s good to know you have somewhere comfy to retreat to after you get tired of headbutting everyone. Shapely Prose is certainly comfy.

  99. “Are you saying I should get to the point where I don’t ever think of calories?”

    I think quite a few SP readers/contributors are at that point, or are aiming towards it.

    But I don’t think anyone thinks you ‘should’. A ‘healthy diet’ is different for everyone, so is a healthy attitude towards food.

    For myself, I consider it basic self-care to be aware of the energy content of food and deliberately choose some foods over others, because I have a problem with both eating less than I need to, and being underweight. When I don’t pay attention to what I am eating, my health can suffer.

  100. Are you saying I should get to the point where I don’t ever think of calories?

    For me, the answer is YES ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY POSITIVELY YES.

    But that’s just me. I think it depends on the person. On most days, I can’t even think about calories without starting to revert into some seriously disordered behavior. For me, if I am thinking about calories or grams of whatever, I can’t hear my body’s cues anymore. It becomes about what I feel I “should” eat and I lose the ability to tell if I need quickly digestible carbs because I’m starting to shake or a big, rare steak because my iron and protein levels are low or lettuce because I’m kind of thirsty and low on fiber.

    Maybe there are people out there who can think about calories or points or whatever and still have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. I am not one of them, and I am sure there are others out there, too.

  101. Are you saying I should get to the point where I don’t ever think of calories?

    For me, it’s absolutely been worth learning how to trust my own body’s messages enough to choose foods and activities without consulting any magic numbers. (I find sanity in saying, “it’s just a sandwich, it really shouldn’t involve math.”)

  102. FJ, everyone directly involved right now is so busy with the conference, so I don’t expect a response from them immediately. But I did bring it up over there, and I hope they’re able to get back to me with something good when they get a chance.

  103. I’ve gotten to the point where 75% of the time when I think about calories it’s in a “is this enough to fill me up right now? Looks like no.” way. The other 25% of the time, though, makes me still try and avoid caloric information when possible.

  104. Oh jeez, the Roni post over at WATRD now has a commenter extolling the virtues of diet pills. Y’know, if that’s what you want to do, to make yourself feel better, and you make an informed choice…argh! DO NOT go near that post if you want to keep some of the steam inside your head for more enjoyable pursuits this weekend. It’s got “day-wrecker” written all over it.

  105. I don’t think I’ll be able to read the comments at WATRD. There are too many conflicting or poorly-informed opinions, and I am still trying to form my FA-self.

    Slightly off-topic, I do think it’s interesting how individuals get upset or feel attacked when they post a disagreement of a subject and someone else responds with further explanation of the orig. subject(sometimes accompanied by snark). If you don’t want to open discussion of your opinion, why not post on your own blog with disabled comments? If you comment in a public place , why cry when other commenters disagree with you? People do this everywhere, and I don’t get it.

  106. Lily;
    IMHO, the answer to your queries is a resounding “That’s completely up to you”. I’ll get all shrink-y and pose:
    Do you feel like you think about food/calories/how your clothes fit too often?
    Do you have a daily or steady internal dialogue filled with shoulds & shouldnts, dos and don’ts around food/calories/your body?
    Do these thoughts or feelings, or how you act in response to them, make you less happy than you might be without them?

    If you’ve got “Yes”s here, and you’re thinking you’d like a better model, SP is a good place to learn. Most people here believe the goal is to feel good about who you are right now, the way you are right now. (Which is not to say don’t learn, change, or grow!)

    FWIW, do I sometimes forgo yummy desserts b/c I think I’ve eaten enough? Sure! BUT when I DO have the yummy dessert, I don’t tell myself how bad I’ve been, I don’t skimp on subsequent meals, and I don’t think I’ve “failed” at anything. And it’s been hard to get to this point. My personal inspiration to embrace FA and HAES came from having a kid with a severe eating disorder; a path I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    On the other hand, I enjoy the mental freedom, and the yummy desserts (not to mention baby donuts) much more now than I enjoyed the scripts about shoulds and calories/weight/body image then, that’s for sure.

  107. Too late, notpennysboat. Found it myself. And I can’t write a sassy-ass response because my browser keeps crashing messily every time I try. ARRRRGH IMPOTENT FATTY RAGE!!! RARRRRRR!!! HEADBUTTS!!!

    I was right. Bring yer Sanity Watcher’s points.

  108. @ Annie: I hear you! I have used up all my sanity points over at the WATRD site in the last couple of days, and I am so angry I feel sick. I’m definitely not going over there again, although I’m glad they have a voice like Kate’s in the mix. It did, however, make me ever so grateful that SP exists as a safe place to talk with others about this issue. Thanks everyone!

    @ Lily: There are no “shoulds” here about what you eat. Do whatevr works for you. For me, however, when I start worrying about calorie restriction, it just starts a disordered eating cycle in my head that leads to self-loathing, starving, binging and other bad behaviors. The one thing it has never led to was weighing less.

  109. “I find sanity in saying, ‘it’s just a sandwich, it really shouldn’t involve math.’”

    Hahaha! That is awesome, notpennysboat. I think I’ll write this on a sticky note and put it on the refrigerator. As a FA newbie, I’m still finding it difficult to kick the “ZOMG calories” habit. Mom’s regular talk about how she really needs to exercise to she can lose weight doesn’t help. Uh, Mom, you think that maybe the fact that you’re over 50, in a high-stress job, and recently had a hysterectomy have something to do with the fact that clothes from ten years ago don’t fit anymore? (I’m much more diplomatic when talking to her, of course.) I’ve tried talking to her about FA, but the most I get is “Oh, I’m happy for you honey, but I still need to exercise so I can lose weight. We can do it together and get healthier! Diabetes and heart disease run in the family, you know.” *headdesk* The cognitive dissonance, it burns through my Sanity Points.

  110. Arrgh, the Typo Demon strikes again. That should be “so she can”, not “to she can”.

  111. Yeah, so far I’m managing to make some forays into WATRD to try and bring my perspective into the mix…… but I gotta say it’s REALLY nice to have the chance to come back here and refresh my stock of Sanity Watchers points. Thanks everyone for being the awesome peeps you are!!!

  112. Re: thinking of food in terms of calories, points, etc. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but I find that it REALLY doesn’t work for me. If I were to count my calories for a week the day totals might look something like this:
    Monday: 1200
    Tuesday:2100
    Wednesday: 900
    Thursday: 2800
    Friday: 2500
    Saturday: 1400
    Sunday: 3000

    It’s all over the place because some days I’m really hungry, and I’m hungry for high-calorie food. Other days, I just don’t have much of an appetite for food and I graze on crackers and rabbit food all day. The reason I can’t count calories and stay sane is the simple fact that I attach way too much moral goodness to eating less/only “good” foods. If I let myself think, “ok, I just had a sandwich, that’s 500 calories so I shouldn’t have that chocolate cake or else I’ll be up to 2500 calories today and that’s bad” or “crap, I’ve used up a lot of points today, I’m going to have to run for an extra 20 minutes tonight and I really don’t want to” then I end up depriving myself of things that I actually want. In my version of FA/HAES, it’s totally ok to eat TWO WHOLE CAKES whenever the hell I want. I haven’t lost weight on this “diet” but I feel so much better about my body and my relationship with food. And that, to me, is the whole point. Why would anyone want to punish themselves for being happy?

    Ok I strayed from the topic a bit there. (Dumb phone, I can’t see most of my post on one page.) Anyway, if you can count calories without it cutting into your own version of intuitive eating, that’s totally cool. It just doesn’t work for me.

    Oh and all that said, calories are a really terrible way of measuring intake because they are so imprecise. But I don’t know of a better “standard” way, so, y’know.

    Oh and another thing, I’m really glad I wasn’t just being oversensitive about the comments on the other blog. Phew! Thank goodness for this community. *hugs everyone*

  113. Are you saying I should get to the point where I don’t ever think of calories?

    Lily, there actually aren’t any “shoulds” here, but I personally don’t “think of calories” anymore except to say “it’s interesting that that food contains (e.g.) 934000 of the units of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1°C, but what the fuck exactly that’s supposed to have to do with my body really isn’t clear to me”.

    Human bodies aren’t bunsen burners; how one body responds to a certain food with a certain number of “calories” is going to be completely different to how someone else responds to the same food. Everyone knows a thin person who eats 1000s of calories a day and never gains any weight, but people refuse to accept that the reverse could be true for fat people. I seriously think calories are one of those pseudoscientific mass delusions that later generations are going to look back and go “they measured their food using what? And people lived their lives by this?”

    I think me and my body can figure out what kind of food would be best for me (in the context of what I can afford) at any given time. Food has value beyond that which can be “divined” in a lab.

    If you comment in a public place , why cry when other commenters disagree with you? People do this everywhere, and I don’t get it.

    Well exactly.

  114. I should say “can afford/can be bothered to make at any given time”. I can want lasagne all I like, but if I can’t afford to buy it ready made and I DO NOT HAVE THE ENERGY to make it after 10 hours on my feet, then that’s not what I’m having for dinner tonight.

  115. Also (serial post!), reading the comments on the weightloss post over there and feeling despair flood my senses, I was particularly taken with this gem:

    I think many of the people on this board are very invested in issues of health and weight because of personal experiences or social/political beliefs, and that makes it hard to post a comment that is not in line with certain views.

    Because people who advocate weight loss dieting…don’t have personal experiences? Don’t have social or political beliefs? Don’t care about weight or health? WHAT?

    And also, boo frigging hoo if on a BODY IMAGE blog there are some people representing the idea that maybe your BODY IMAGE doesn’t have to be “Not good enough” (no matter how you’re dressing it up). Ugh. I hope most of the discussions there don’t take this tone. I don’t enjoy having it implied that we’re some sort of fascist sect because WE WON’T LET PEOPLE HATE THEIR BODIES IN PEACE, YOU GUYS. (Can’t we just be quiet already? The weight-loss people are talking. And god knows they don’t get to do that anywhere else.)

  116. @Nikki — I just let your second comment through, though the thread might be winding down. (Might be just as well because I think – and of course you probably wrote the comment knowing this – that people will take issue with what you wrote, so I can only assume you’re braced.)

    I didn’t approve your first comment that got stuck in moderation, because I thought people would find it triggering.

  117. The majority of posts in response to Angelos try to argue 2 opposing points: first, that people are fat because they choose to be and second, that people are fat because they lack privilege. If someone lacks privilege, it implies that they also lack the option of being thin or fat.

    People are fat because their biological parents were fat, or maybe because they took a medication that caused weight gain. Also, they can eat what they choose, which is unrelated to their body size and actually what most of the responses to Angelos were about. Those things you’re talking about are a pair of straw fatties if I ever saw one.

    Also, I really resent all the snide comments about how Angelos must be rich because he has a golf membership. My dad golfs, but is not college-educated or upper class. It’s just something some friends of his did so he gave it a shot and enjoys it. It doesn’t make him an elitist snob.

    I know, Angelos made no other references whatsoever that might lead anyone to think he belongs to a particular class of extremely privileged people or anything. Wild assumptions. FFS, Nikki. If your father posted here about how he has a golf membership, and also about how enlightened his cooking habits are because he has carrot-squash-truffle soup in his fridge and because it’s just not at all hard to cook dinner every night even though work makes him a little tired, I really don’t think the assumption of class would be very off-base.

    The posters here often call other people out on making too many assumptions. I’m surprised that you’ve all made so many assumptions about Angelos based on his post.

    Bit of a difference between drawing very plausible inferences of snobbery from explicit holier-than-thou lecturing, and looking at a person’s body and assuming you know how they live their lives. Just saying.

  118. people are fat because they choose to be

    Er, no, they’re saying people eat [X] because they choose to eat [X] and that’s not really anybody else’s business. You’re the one linking the category of “what people eat” to “what size their body ends up being.”

    that people are fat because they lack privilege

    “I was all thin until my privilege went away one day, and then I got fat. If I wanted to be thin again, I’d go out and amass a whole bunch of privilege!” Yeeeeeah, nobody’s saying this either. I think you need to move the “because” to before “people”… and then add a whole bunch of other clauses indicating an understanding of systemic oppression.

  119. Thanks A Sarah, I was braced. :)

    “I was all thin until my privilege went away one day, and then I got fat. If I wanted to be thin again, I’d go out and amass a whole bunch of privilege!” Yeeeeeah, nobody’s saying this either.

    Maybe you personally aren’t, but many commenters have stated that Angelos sounds “privileged” because he can afford to cook in a healthful way and he can afford a golf membership. So to me you are saying that because Angelos can afford certain things, this permits him to live a lifestyle where he can choose whether to be thin or fat.

    I understand what you’re saying, that people don’t choose to be thin or fat, but they choose what they eat. You are saying one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other. I disagree with that point based on my personal experience, and I have been reading MANY posts on FA blogs lately where the person is saying, “Hey, you know what? I’m fat because I like to eat. I like to eat a lot. And I don’t really like to exercise, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” So it seems there is still some contention re: the food-weight connection.

    If you choose to eat a lot of food and not exercise, you will probably gain some weight, I don’t feel like this is the crux of the debate. I think the point is, if you are happy being fat, be happy! You aren’t hurting me with your diet/exercise habits and I’m not hurting you. But there’s a way to convey that point that is helpful and leads to dialogue, and then there’s just being mean-spirited, which is what I felt many of the comments toward Angelos were.

  120. But Nikki, what you eat has very little to do with what shape and size your body are in the long term. Maybe that’s what it sounds like to you, but you’re making an erroneous connection that no one has actually stated. He IS privileged because he can afford to cook in a way popularly believed by privileged groups to be “healthy,” despite a general lack of evidence that it’s really any better or worse than most other ways of eating. He can afford things that permit him to live a lifestyle where he can choose what to eat. It has nothing to do with his size.

    I disagree with that point based on my personal experience, and I have been reading MANY posts on FA blogs lately where the person is saying, “Hey, you know what? I’m fat because I like to eat. I like to eat a lot. And I don’t really like to exercise, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” So it seems there is still some contention re: the food-weight connection.

    Not if you read the scientific literature. One anecdata-point doesn’t change the overwhelming data trend.

    If you choose to eat a lot of food and not exercise, you might gain some weight, for a little while. It’s temporary. No one owes you a dialog on a point that’s been hammered home a million times and is already on the bingo cards. Also, you are REALLY concern trolling, and I am going to bed.

  121. Hey, just wanted to point out this totally cool post to everyone. It’s called “Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?” and there’s a link to it at the top of the page. Whoa!

    In that post, you will discover that “eating lots of food and not moving” doesn’t have anything to do with weight, although it isn’t a particularly healthy idea for anyone. If you want to fight with anecdata, here’s one for ya: my friend Karen weighs around 105lbs, which is tiny for a 5’8″ adult woman. She eats more chocolate than anyone I know, and I’m pretty sure the last time she went for a run was in high school gym class. There.

    Angelos has the money to afford a golf membership and the time and energy to cook healthy meals every night. If that sounds like normal stuff that everyone can do if they want to, then you need to check your privilege.

  122. … later generations are going to look back and go “they measured their food using what?

    Yes, this.

    I used to do analyses of … proposed reconstructions of ancient diets, based on faunal remains recovered in archaeological excavation … and of the nutritional data I used, kcal per unit was the least reliable and thus least useful. Truthfully, I found *all* the specific numbers available per unit to be … misleading, at best, given that … even *if* I assumed that the proportions of surviving bone by species were reflective of the actual distributions of prey, nutrients available are affected by such a wide range of variables … that any single set of data, is almost certain to be wrong one way or another. So, the bottom line was, while everyone demanded lovely phalanxes of numbers in neatly organized tables … ballpark estimates were actually more reflective of reality.

    After steeping in this sort of thing for years … I found it impossible to worry much about ‘calories,’ which … as portrayed in the popular press, don’t seem to bear much relationship to kcal per unit … but rather to be some mythical constituent in foodstuffs, not unlike, say, phlogiston, or Odic force.

  123. Ooh, JoGeek, you shouldn’t put bacon in that soup! I have this fabulous organic free-range nitrite-free locally raised low-food-miles ham in my fridge, which you should definitely use instead. ( j/k, in case that’s not blindingly obvious.)

    Except that I do have the ham and it is NOM. And you know, I don’t think that a concern for the politics of food is a bad thing, any more than feminism is a bad thing. Being a moralising purist is annoying, but being thoughtful and interested is fair. We all need to make our compromises to live in the world, and we don’t all choose the same ones, whether it’s about food or femininity.

  124. And also, boo frigging hoo if on a BODY IMAGE blog there are some people representing the idea that maybe your BODY IMAGE doesn’t have to be “Not good enough” (no matter how you’re dressing it up).

    Ding ding ding! Ladies and gents, we have a winner.

    It’s so frustrating that it’s such a societal transgression to look at my fat body in the mirror and say “Yep, that’s good enough.”

  125. No one owes you a dialog on a point that’s been hammered home a million times and is already on the bingo cards. Also, you are REALLY concern trolling, and I am going to bed.

    Of course you don’t owe me a dialogue. But, well, isn’t having a dialogue kind of the point?

    I have seen threads where the comments disagree with each other and go back and forth in a completely respectful manner. On this thread Comment #2 is one person’s opinion and the next 150 comments are people slamming him, and not in a constructive or respectful way.

  126. Except that I do have the ham and it is NOM. And you know, I don’t think that a concern for the politics of food is a bad thing, any more than feminism is a bad thing. Being a moralising purist is annoying, but being thoughtful and interested is fair. We all need to make our compromises to live in the world, and we don’t all choose the same ones, whether it’s about food or femininity.

    I totally agree! It is useful to be thoughtful of the origins of the things we consume. But being able to make choices about it is pretty lucky, too, and presuming everyone CAN and SHOULD do that would be… presumptuous.

    Nikki, what you actually saw is someone come in at comment #2 and lecture everyone else about how they should be living. That’s not just “expressing an opinion,” and I really think it’s okay if people did not respond to being told how to live their lives with fucking deference. And actually a lot of the responses were pretty constructive, if snarky — at least, they were if you paid attention to what the words actually meant, instead of what you wanted to hear.

    You showing up to lecture everyone else that they aren’t being nice or constructive enough, that they should engage in more respectful dialog when condescended to, and that oh by the way they’re wrong about that whole consumption-does-not-correlate-with-long-term-body-size thing — now THAT’s some nerve. Clearly the four blogmistresses (who are among the people you are wagging your finger at, and both you and Angelos are in their house, so maybe think about that) are occupied and can’t respond to you right now. But I am going to go out on a limb and say that your trolling is probably annoying as hell to people other than just me.

  127. Nikki, you are entirely entitled to your sense of what constitutes constructive dialogue, and you’re also entirely entitled to enforce it ruthlessly and consistently… on your own blog. Sorry. There are blogs and moderation policies in the world that I don’t like too; so I steer clear of them.

    Honestly, if you’d just said something about your subjective reaction to Angelos’ getting schooled I’d not find it at all rankling (I’m, after all, the one who has to run out of the room during any TV show or movie when I see someone is about to get embarrassed!). And I don’t know PRECISELY where the line is; my guess is it falls somewhere between Lampdevil’s reasoned and compassionate empathy with Angelos, and your instructions to everyone on how the SP commentariat should act. But anyway, in this case it’s almost cartoonishly clear-cut: Kate, who started the dang blog, actually knows Angelos and gave the go-ahead for a schooling based on a perception that he could take it. You think Kate made such a bad call on her own blog such that you need to rush in, scold, and give everyone a new set of rules of conduct? I’m just… not sure why you think that’s a workable strategy.

    Re: the eating more unfailingly makes you fatter business: Near as I can tell, you’ve either:

    a) read the arguments to the contrary at SP and elsewhere and decided based on other information you find more convincing that you don’t buy it (in which case more back-and-forth isn’t likely to convince you); or

    b) not read the arguments, which no commenter can really do much about since nobody can consider ideas for you; or

    c) you’ve got a filter that causes you to hear “I eat aggressively huge amounts on purpose so as to get fat” when people in the fat-o-sphere say “I don’t restrict my eating” in which case I just encourage you to be open to seeing that as a *filter* and considering how you came by it.

  128. “But I am going to go out on a limb and say that your trolling is probably annoying as hell to people other than just me.”

    How am I trolling? By disagreeing? By saying that I feel the comments took a mean-spirited turn? By saying that I think what you eat can affect your weight?

    A Sarah, thanks for letting me know that Angelos is someone Kate knows personally. I’m glad he’s not some random person who got hammered. But with Kate being involved in new projects, you may see new commenters who do not necessarily share your opinions. You can slam those people, like you did with Angelos, or you can try to have a discussion. Obviously I would prefer to read a discussion, but if the other 150 people who post here would rather slam someone, I can’t stop that from happening.

    Lastly, I have read the studies posted here. I have actually been reading posts on this website for about 6 months, this is just the first time I commented myself. For me personally, if I eat more than 2,000 calories a day I begin to gain weight. Also, if I stick to unprocessed foods I have a lot of energy and my skin stays clear, whereas if I eat processed foods with refined sugar I feel sluggish and my skin breaks out. So obviously, through the lens of my personal experience, I tend to view fruits and vegetables as “healthy” foods and cookies and brownies as “unhealthy” foods. If you don’t share my problems, then you are free to eat whatever you want, I’ve said that all along. That’s not meant in a snarky, trolling, or holier-than-thou way.

    My belief that people should eat what they want and what makes them feel good is what led me to this site in the first place. I’m sorry people feel like I’m some troll who showed up out of nowhere to try to ruin everyone’s fun; I assure you that isn’t the case.

  129. A Sarah, thanks for letting me know that Angelos is someone Kate knows personally. I’m glad he’s not some random person who got hammered. But with Kate being involved in new projects, you may see new commenters who do not necessarily share your opinions. You can slam those people, like you did with Angelos, or you can try to have a discussion. Obviously I would prefer to read a discussion, but if the other 150 people who post here would rather slam someone, I can’t stop that from happening.

    But that’s the whole point of this post. That’s what the new blog is for. This isn’t supposed to be a “let’s all bend backwards to explain the fundamentals of FA to people” site, particularly in the comments section.

  130. Nikki, no matter what people’s ‘problems’ are, they should still be ‘free’ to eat whatever they wish – without you judging them or commenting on it.

  131. How am I trolling? … By saying that I think what you eat can affect your weight?

    Bingo. This is the kind of attitude that I think most people come here to avoid. Nikki, if you really didn’t care what people did with their bodies, you wouldn’t need to wind on for a whole paragraph explaining to us how your body conforms perfectly to the media’s conventional logic about weight and health. Maybe you should spend some time at the new blog or go read Kate and Marianne’s new book.

  132. “Nikki, no matter what people’s ‘problems’ are, they should still be ‘free’ to eat whatever they wish – without you judging them or commenting on it.”

    In which of my comments do I judge what people eat? At the end of my last post, I actually wrote, “My belief that people should eat what they want and what makes them feel good is what led me to this site in the first place.”

  133. “How am I trolling? … By saying that I think what you eat can affect your weight?

    Bingo. This is the kind of attitude that I think most people come here to avoid.”

    But multiple FA bloggers have written they are fat because of the foods they eat and/or the amount of food they choose to eat!!!!! I suppose I could find them and link to them if you don’t believe me, but I’ve read 3 or 4 entries along those lines in the past few weeks.

    Also, I wrote a paragraph on the way my body reacts to certain foods as a response to A Sarah. She proposed a few reasons why I might feel that food is related to weight gain. I was trying to explain that the reason I feel this way is because my personal experience tells me it’s so. That doesn’t mean it’s so for you, or even for the majority of people in the world. But it is so for ME.

  134. “If you don’t share my problems, then you are free to eat whatever you want.”

    I don’t see how this can’t be interpreted as anything but judgmental.

    Listen, I think the statement ‘everyone’s weight is a result of/influenced by their intake’ is just as false as ‘no one’s weight is a result of/influenced by their intake’. But this just ISN’T THE PLACE for discussing the particulars of either. It has nothing to do with the purpose or the message of this blog, and many valued members find what you are saying distressing or offensive. I don’t know why you want to keep pushing this.

  135. “If you don’t share my problems, then you are free to eat whatever you want.”

    I don’t see how this can’t be interpreted as anything but judgmental.”

    Wow, I don’t know how you got that I was being judgmental from that statement. If I eat a brownie right now, I will go into sugar coma and have no energy for the rest of the day. That’s what I call a problem. Maybe if you eat a brownie, it won’t affect your energy levels, so it’s not a problem for you. In that case, by all means, eat a brownie if that is what you want to do.

    Does me clarifying it make it less judgmental? It really wasn’t intended that way.

  136. “many valued members find what you are saying distressing or offensive. I don’t know why you want to keep pushing this.”

    I guess because I don’t think what I’m saying is offensive or distressing. Also I think the comments directed toward me have been a lot more offensive than any comments I’ve made.

    And I guess because I want you all to know that there are people out there, people who might not agree with 100% of what we read on here, who still enjoy reading the posts here and would like to be a part of it through commenting.

  137. If you aren’t being interpreted the way you intend, perhaps the problem lies with the way you are speaking to people.

  138. Nikki, I am someone who has your “problem.” I do notice my body fluctuating with my physical activity and food consumption (well, not so much fluctuating as going up – because it does not go down when I have habits that are deemed “healthy,” it just stops rising). And you know what? I’m free to eat whatever I want too. I’m also free to exercise as much or as little as my prematurely ailing joints allow.

    In other words, EVERYONE who is a grown up is “free” to eat and do whatever she wants to her body.

    I eat what feels right to me. Sometimes – like in the winter, when my joints are swelling more and I’m constantly tired and yeah, a little bit depressed too – higher amounts of sugar and fat will feel right. Sometimes – like in the summer, especially hot summers where I’m so sweaty that putting anything in my stomach seems like it’ll just make the damned heat worse! – I will want to eat mostly fruit and salad with some ice cream thrown in. Aaaand yes, unlike a lot of the FA people, my body *does* change based on what I eat, and I don’t always eat “healthfully” and I will argue till I am blue in the fucking face with anyone who tells me I should do anything that doesn’t feel right to me.

    Do you object to the FA bloggers you’ve read about who say that they are fat because they like to eat and that’s okay? I mean, do you think it’s not okay? Because you are making it sound like that…

  139. “Do you object to the FA bloggers you’ve read about who say that they are fat because they like to eat and that’s okay? I mean, do you think it’s not okay? Because you are making it sound like that…”

    Not at all! I’m sorry if it came off like that. I was just trying to point out that people within the FA community are saying the same things I am about food and weight.

    Maybe food and weight aren’t always connected. But for me, and for some FA bloggers, they are. Because of my blood sugar issues, in addition to the aesthetic issue of my skin being extremely sensitive to refined sugar, I really try to steer clear of processed foods. I don’t think that makes me better than anyone else.

  140. Seriously, Nikki, you are like the textbook definition of a concern troll. if you don’t know why, no one is going to convince you of that, but believe it or not we have SEEN IT BEFORE. If you hadn’t caught A Sarah as a moderator on a very generous day, none of your comments would be seeing the light.

    You are also backpedaling as fast as you can on some of your more problematic points about FA, even though everything you have said is recorded here for everyone to read — while also ignoring the ones that really make your behavior trollish (i.e. that you are fucking telling the bloggers here that they are doing it wrong in their own space).

  141. Oh, GODDAMIT. I guess I didn’t finish that conversation; I asked Sarah if we should let Nikki through, and then I decided we probably shouldn’t because this would happen. Fucking work getting in the way of moderation.

    I love how people who just want to come in here and tell us we’re wrong always do it in the guise of being the populist hero of the lurkers. I’ve just been through this recently in the BMI Project thread, and I am going to have to start really cracking down on the mod queue because people are being softies. WE ARE NOT CURRENTLY HIRING FOR THE POST OF BLOG CONTRARIAN. WE WILL KEEP YOUR RESUME ON FILE. MEANWHILE PLEASE APPLY TO THE ENTIRE FUCKING REST OF THE INTERNET WHERE PEOPLE WILL BE HAPPY TO AGREE WITH YOU THAT IF PEOPLE ONLY DIETED THEY WOULD ALL BE SKINNY.

    Btw, if you can’t see the difference between “when I eat more and exercise less I weigh a little more” and “I am fat because I eat a lot and don’t exercise,” then I can’t really help you. You know, beyond WRITING A BLOG ABOUT IT.

  142. All right, just for you I looked up “concern troll” on wikipedia:

    “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or collaborative content community with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional or disciplinary response[1] or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.”

    Maybe what I said about food being connected to weight is controversial, but I don’t think I’ve backpedalled about it. I still find that it’s true for me and I find that it’s true for others including people in the FA community. By saying that maybe they aren’t related all the time, I think I’m admitting that nothing is ever anything 100% of the time.

    Is what I said inflammatory? Apparently, because people are arguing.

    I don’t think my comments were irrelevant or off-topic, as they have to do with food and weight which are both important components of this blog.

    And I’ve already explained that my intent was NOT to disrupt the conversation, but to let you know there are people who are actually pro-FA who still might not agree with 100% of the content posted here.

    When did I tell the bloggers they were doing their job wrong? I said I felt the comments were mean-spirited. Maybe you prefer “snarky.” Fine. I think if someone posts a comment that is genuine, it deserves genuine feedback. Maybe you didn’t consider Angelos’ comments sincere, so you didn’t think they deserved sincere feedback; I disagreed.

    And I guess if another moderator would like to delete all my comments because they think I’m a troll, they are welcome to do it. You can’t convince me I’m a troll when I know my own intentions coming on here, and I suppose I can’t convince anyone otherwise. *shrugs*

  143. “I asked Sarah if we should let Nikki through, and then I decided we probably shouldn’t because this would happen.”

    Well I guess I should thank you for letting me through in the first place then. I’m glad I got a chance to at least say what I thought.

  144. And I guess if another moderator would like to delete all my comments because they think I’m a troll, they are welcome to do it.

    Yeah, we would, because it’s our fucking blog; we don’t actually need your permission, any more than anyone needs your permission to eat what they want.

    I will say it again: WE DO NOT NEED TO BE TOLD THAT PEOPLE MIGHT DISAGREE. People who comment for the sole purpose of “letting us know” that people who otherwise agree with us might be turned off by our attitudes? That is textbook concern trolling. Textbook. Exactly what reaction did you expect? Did you think we would suddenly take down the blog? Revise the part of the comments policy that says we’re free to mock anyone we want to? Keep the blog exactly the same but stop talking about issues you don’t really grasp like privilege? Keep it the same but add on that also people get fat because they eat too much? Gosh, guys, thank goodness Nikki’s here to set us straight! We almost ruined the fat acceptance movement by BEING FAT ACTIVISTS.

  145. And another thing: There seems to be a real problem, amongst people being scorned in this thread, with understanding the difference between making your own choices and magnanimously allowing that others may under certain circumstances be free to make theirs as well. When you say “I don’t want to eat a brownie because I don’t react well to sugar” — well, you’re such a loyal reader, I don’t have to tell you that that’s just a little fucking uncontroversial here. When you say that others are “free” to choose to eat what they want if they’re not as concerned as you are about things like “aesthetic issues” and being closer to the top of their set range, a concept you are no doubt familiar with as such a loyal reader? That’s where people get their hackles up, because NOBODY ASKED YOU.

  146. I never said anyone needed my permission.

    I think many commenters are overreacting to debate. Go ahead and keep agreeing with each other, it’s your blog as you pointed out and you don’t need my permission.

    I just think more people would be interested in FA if it greeted sincere commentary with sincere inquiry, rather than mocking.

  147. I just think more people would be interested in FA if it greeted sincere commentary with sincere inquiry, rather than mocking.

    You are under “concern troll” in the dictionary and I”m banning you. You are ridiculous.

  148. Yeah, fillyjonk, you probably guessed this but I’m a big old softie. (OMG DOES IT SHOW?) But even I have my limits. I guess Nikki’s gone now but here’s what I just finished writing before I wisely hit “refresh” to see if it had been addressed. Not really pertinent anymore, I guess, except for anyone else who might be formulating the bright idea of using SP as a vehicle for getting VITAL! INFORMATION! to the SP commentariat.

    But multiple FA bloggers have written they are fat because of the foods they eat and/or the amount of food they choose to eat!!!!! I suppose I could find them and link to them if you don’t believe me, but I’ve read 3 or 4 entries along those lines in the past few weeks.

    @Nikki — Then take it up with those bloggers! I just don’t see why it’s the job of SP to work this one out for you, over and above the many many places where it’s already addressed on the site. So something you read on another FA blog has you vexed and wrestling. Mull it over as much as you like and have time for. And if you come to an entirely different conclusion about FA than that represented here, that’s your prerogative. If you conclude that fatness is nearly always caused by unrestrained junk-gobbling, don’t be surprised that your thoughts don’t get space here. Because people here don’t tend to think that, and the point of this blog isn’t Bringing Nikki Around To Believing X About Body Size. The people who read SP don’t, by and large, read it for that reason. I know this because all of us get really annoyed when that becomes the topic, as evidenced by this thread.

    But with Kate being involved in new projects, you may see new commenters who do not necessarily share your opinions. You can slam those people, like you did with Angelos, or you can try to have a discussion. Obviously I would prefer to read a discussion, but if the other 150 people who post here would rather slam someone, I can’t stop that from happening.

    Well, right. You can’t. And the rest of us can’t decide for you what you should do about that, so we’re all going to talk about something else now. Seriously, if you find the tone of the Angelos discussion unacceptable… well, the word “deal-breaker” comes to mind. You said in your first comment that you agree with 80 percent of the site, which is why you read it. That’s great; I’m glad most of the site resonates with you. But OTHER people ALSO have reasons for reading here regularly, and guess what? That remaining 20 percent is important to a hell of a lot of people too.

    SO: Honest questions that aren’t addressed elsewhere on the site? Fine. The occasional non-accusatory “I” statement (sorry, I know it’s hokey, but it fits here) about how you feel a bit bad for someone who got slammed because you can imagine being in their shoes? Dandy. But scolding and instructing all of the bloggers and regular commenters here on how to do a better job enacting blog that you’d like to see? We’re just not going to spend any more time on that. I’m telling you now that if you keep commenting about why the rest of us need to change the 20 percent of the site you DON’T agree with, those comments will be deleted.

  149. When you say that others are “free” to choose to eat what they want if they’re not as concerned as you are about things like “aesthetic issues” and being closer to the top of their set range, a concept you are no doubt familiar with as such a loyal reader?

    I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I revel in having low standards for household cleanliness, philosophically-consistent parenting, subject-verb agreement, shoot-from-the-hip bravado, and Facebook updates.

    If anyone else cares to have higher standards for any of those things, I WILL MAGNANIMOUSLY ALLOW IT. Because YOU DON’T NEED MY PERMISSION. Do you hear me? I give you permission to act as though my permission is NOT SOMETHING YOU NEED TO SEEK.

    You’re welcome!

  150. I revel in having low standards for household cleanliness, philosophically-consistent parenting,

    A Sarah, obviously you have 1400000 things to do, but I would fucking LOVE to see a post from you about either of those at some point, because your comments on parenting/being a mother in particular were always AMAZING and something I didn’t see anywhere else.

  151. Not to mention something none of the rest of us can write about! And a lot of other FA bloggers can say the same.

    A Sarah, I’m glad you decided to go ahead and post that comment anyway because it is PERFECT.

  152. I know it’s Classic Concern Trolling to say that activists for whatever issue should moderate their tone or people won’t listen to them but it is so clearly a lie, I wonder that we continue to hear it. Tone has never mattered in discussions of justice. In fact, it isn’t until someone gets angry that anything changes.

    Concern Troll, I’ve met you on feminist blogs, on FA blogs, on progressive blogs. You may tell yourself that you are telling me something to help me but all I hear you say is that my anger is not justified and won’t be tolerated. If you honestly think that the FA movement is jeopardized by people who express their anger in snark, then you’re sillier than you sound.

    And I also would like to give everyone permission to live their own lives, you can thank me later.

  153. And I also would like to give everyone permission to live their own lives, you can thank me later.

    Why, bless your little heart. I do thank you, ma’am.

    *snerk*

  154. but all I hear you say is that my anger is not justified and won’t be tolerated.

    Yes yes yes this yes.

  155. No Sticky, it’s not weird at all! I’m totally craving brownies now too. But I’m at work, so I guess the closest thing is chocolate mousse. *sigh* how tragic.

  156. Since I’m late to the racing towards Angelos with a flaming hammer of FA doom party, I’ll just add one thing:

    I don’t think the word “should” should (haha) ever be used to dictate how another adult lives his or her life. In all but a very few exceptions, it’s simply condescending and ignorant of the other person’s adulthood and autonomy.

  157. Thank you, Kate Harding, for not going soft on dieting and diet talk. I have been reading SP for about a month now and it is changing my life. I have been on weight watchers for 4 FUCKING YEARS. Trudging back and forth to those goddamn meetings, counting the points. Losing and gaining…all that frustration. I have been growing more and more suspicious of the whole ww scene….anyway, thanks to you all for this website and the links. I have learned so much…and I can’t tell you how much better I feel after letting go of ww and following the HAES philosophy. I feel phisically and emotionally healthier than I have in years. I still have some changes to make (hard to throw away that scale)…but I’m on my way. Thank you, dear women, for the work you do!

  158. Hey brickhouse, I don’t think you’re off subject at all! Not going soft on diet talk is, IMHO, a subset of not allowing people to overstep interpersonal boundaries in dictating how other people must live in order to be acceptable. :) Your comment is really gratifying to me (I can SO relate to the WW frustrations, though I never had four years’ worth, ugh!) and I’m really glad you’re here.

  159. Also, brickhouse, according to WW’S OWN NUMBERS (which are…questionably arrived at, to say the least, to present a best case scenario) only 2 in a thousand people who use their programme will keep any amount of weight off over 1 to 5 years. Fat Fu covers it here and it is very very interesting reading. As she points out,

    There’s also this: there are innumerable medical conditions that cause weight loss weight loss and wasting including cancer, drug abuse, thyroid problem and AIDS. (I started listing them in my head and had to stop because I completely lost track of the topic.) It’s reasonable to expect that at least two in a thousand Weight Watchers members fall into one of these categories and was going to lose a lot of weight regardless. This is why you do controlled studies to determine the efficacy of a treatment, you know – to adjust for all those people who were going to get better (or in this case lose weight) anyway.

    WW is a very very very clever scam, and people will keep trying at it long after they’ve stopped all those other “diets” they know “don’t work”. But it is a scam in the end, with the same (or worse!) success rates as everything else.

  160. I wonder if our Fearless Leader Kates Hardings (we are all KH, even SM, FJ & AS) could make an FA101 FAQ. The community here could probably get a long way towards making it happen. And then we would have a resource to point out to the newbies.

    I have been smacked down a couple of times here, deservedly as I eventually worked out. But I really was not being a “concern troll”. I was being honestly ignorant – especially in my very first post when I’d only just stumbled on the site. OK, so SP is not FA 101, but where is that to be found? How does one bridge that gap between our popular culture ingrained attitudes to fat, and the highly educated SP community? Yes, perhaps this new site will be it… but I think a local resource would help a lot.

  161. I read this entire comment thread and finally figured out what was bothering me about Nikki. One of the things she kept repeating was that other FA bloggers sometimes say they got fat because they ate too much and didn’t work out. Well, isn’t that what we all thought at some point? Isn’t that what we’re told over and over and over and over? That belief is hard to give up because it’s the cornerstone of the Fantasy of Being Thin. “If I just ate a little less and worked out a little more….” It’s ground into our brains by society and “medical reporting” and the diet industry, and it’s hard to get rid of, but that does not make it true.

    I know that when I actually tracked my calories for the first time as part of a health project in high school, I was shocked to find out that I wasn’t consuming tens of thousands of calories–I mean, I must have been or I couldn’t have become so fat, right? Wrong. Sure, I’ve binged on occasion, usually after starving myself for days or weeks. Sure, I’ve decided against working out when it seemed like a chore or a punishment and made me feel even worse about myself. But so have millions of thin people. Nikki the Concern Troll was spouting anecdata and that is what was pissing me off.

  162. I’d just like to pop in and say that as someone who has been lurking around for the past 4 months (maybe longer, not sure), I freakin’ LOVE the comments policy here. I won’t deny that the policy was intimidating to me at first, but it forced me to take a step back, to read and research before speaking.

    The main thing that I love about this blog’s comments policy is that it makes this place SAFE. It was hard for me to come to terms with FA–even though I intellectually agree with the idea, I find it really hard to fight popular culture sometimes. This is one of the few spaces where I don’t have to fight with myself over FA, where every little bloody thing about “health” isn’t also shaming and triggering, and while I like FA101 discussions, they’re also pretty damn disheartening if those are the only ones around on the topic.

    So I, for one, just want to put a big ol’ “thank you” out there to all of you for this blog. :)

  163. Thank you everyone for a warm welcome. I think you have a great idea Cath the Canberra Cook about a FA 101 reference. Even for a smarty pants nerd like me…FA is a really hard concept to wrap myself around, though intellectually and instinctually I know it’s right on. I can’t tell you how many times I have read: “Don’t you realize fat is unhealthy?” I need something for my refrigerator and a condensed version to laminate and carry in my back pocket (I might actually make something like this for myself).

    I do enjoy the FA “advanced thinkers”….hearing what it sounds like when the ideas have marinated is inspiring. Heck, the idea that I can eat peanut butter (with a spoon from the jar…whenver I want? that’s right!) without thinking about my thighs is inspiring.

  164. OK, so SP is not FA 101, but where is that to be found? How does one bridge that gap between our popular culture ingrained attitudes to fat, and the highly educated SP community? Yes, perhaps this new site will be it… but I think a local resource would help a lot.

    There used to be one, but sadly it was discontinued. If I could, I would revive the project right this second because I agree that it would be great to have somewhere to point newbies. However, I hardly have the time and energy to keep my own blog alive and post roughly once a month, so I’m really not the right person for that (plus I’m so disorganised that I’d probably get half the facts wrong, heh). I really wish someone could do it, but apparently no one with an interest is available at the moment.

    I have been smacked down a couple of times here, deservedly as I eventually worked out. But I really was not being a “concern troll”. I was being honestly ignorant – especially in my very first post when I’d only just stumbled on the site.

    I always wonder how often these accusations are accurate, myself. I mean, I admit to having almost “concern trolled” discussions (elsewhere) in the past before I realised it was a bad tactic, but even then I was only being a half troll because I wasn’t trying to get a rise out of anyone – I only wanted to get my point across and would have appreciated constructive criticism. I wasn’t lying about being on the original poster’s “side”, either. Or trying to derail a thread.

    I just looked up several definitions of “concern troll” and it’s entirely possible that Nikki really is one, but others might not be. *shrugs* I’m very determined to always use the most fitting insult for any given situation. ;)

  165. I tried to compile a lot of links when I did a primer on FA at my blog, you guys. It’s just a starting point with a bunch of links, though.

    There’s been a lot of discussion of having a 101, but the problem is how much work it would be to put it together, and that everyone who is blogging around here is doing it for free.

  166. Tiana, I mean, while some trolls are just shit-stirrers, the term also applies (especially in “concern” form) to people who think their intentions are nice, but who are, you know, concerned. e.g. that everyone else is doing it wrong.

  167. “I don’t think I’ll be able to read the comments at WATRD.”

    Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to read so much as the posts there. At least one of the founders has a habit of going on and on and ON about things being “insane” and “nuts”, distancing herself from “freaks” (and hasn’t answered my question on what that means), and whinging about “psycho feminists”. She has responded elsewhere to questions about disability inclusion with a “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” non sequitur.

    Not for me.

    Plus, supporting Unilever? Slimfast, Axe/Lynx, Pond’s White Beauty… no.

  168. I just want to acknowledge that I take the concerns about diversity very seriously, that we’ve been discussing this all along, and that if discussion doesn’t move to action PDQ, I’ll be bowing out. I’ll talk more about it when I know which way things are going.

  169. I’m really interested in what some folks near the end of this thread have been saying about the use-value of having an FA 101 kind of space. I’m trying to figure out what that space would require, what it might look like, what it would take to create it.

    (And my exposure to the FA community has often been Shapely-Prose-centric, so I don’t even know the previously extant 101 forum @Tiana mentioned.)

    After 15 months knowing that FA exists, I’ve finally decided to make an effort to do some more systematic reading/learning/thinking around 101-level issues.* (Besides, that will give me things to write about on the blog.) There’s lots of ways that I’m waaaaaaay too much the novice to be hosting the FA101 space, but I’d sure like to see if there’s any way I can help.

    * And your primer is gonna be really helpful for me, @volcanista, thanks!!!

  170. Love Volcanista’s primer. Kate, could we maybe have a new tab with recommended 101 links or something like that? Perhaps a designated thread for concerns to be addressed? That could help keep it out of the main blog, but allow it to happen somewhere.

    What concerns me (tee hee) is that people may be unfairly labelled as concern trolls, and driven off. Not all concerns are trolling. They may be statements made by people who are new to this, and need education. I know that going over old ground can be very irritating, but education is a never-ending task and what’s old to some is new to others.

    (Technically a concern troll is someone who’s just stirring up shit with a mere pretense of concern. And I’m not arguing whether any specific posters here are or are not trolls; this is a general thought.)

  171. If someone comments by asking a 101 question such as “Why do you say that I’ll be all right if I eat what I want? Won’t I eat the world?” that is not concern trolling. A person who asks politely just about any question at all (example of not-polite question: “Don’t you know you’re just saying that because you want to eat the world, you fattie fattin’ fatass?”)

    A Concern Troll doesn’t ask, a Concern Troll tells. A Concern Troll just wants you to know that you will never succeed in changing people’s minds as long as you keep expressing anger over the shitty way they treat you. As long as you keep complaining about being lied about. As long as you make them feel bad by pointing out how they are being unfair, illogical and breathtakingly, meanly, overwhelmingly presumptuous about how you live your life. If you’d gently explain your points about how you are a person just as they are and deserving of the same consideration, then they might deign to concede some of the more basic tenets of your philosophy (not the one about how fat doesn’t kill, are you crazy?).

    Well, fuck that noise. The people who complain about a problem are not the problem. Especially not if they are snarky, snarky people are a gift to us all.

    And that’s how you can recognize a Concern Troll, by their advice, always given to us by the goodness of their hearts for our own good. Honest 101 questions are not Concern Trolling, Concern Trolls just say they were honest questions when challenged.

  172. Sorry this is such a hot button for me but I had another thought about CTs and worry that smacking them down will drive off honest seekers. When I was new to FA, I read the posts and the comments. I may be mean and shallow but much of the time it was the snark that kept me reading until I got to the links about the science. I could be an outlier, but I think that the message you get from reading Shapely Prose is that it is possible you’ve been told lies that hurt you and there are people, funny, witty and wicked smart people, who think you should stand up for yourself. And here are some things you could say the next time Aunt Edna worries out loud about your health.

    I believe providing good comebacks to mean people is a public service, not something that would drive away a newbie.

  173. A Concern Troll doesn’t ask, a Concern Troll tells. A Concern Troll just wants you to know that you will never succeed in changing people’s minds as long as you keep expressing anger over the shitty way they treat you. As long as you keep complaining about being lied about. As long as you make them feel bad by pointing out how they are being unfair, illogical and breathtakingly, meanly, overwhelmingly presumptuous about how you live your life. If you’d gently explain your points about how you are a person just as they are and deserving of the same consideration, then they might deign to concede some of the more basic tenets of your philosophy (not the one about how fat doesn’t kill, are you crazy?).

    Otherwise known as the “Tone” argument.

    And possibly, volcanist a 101 addendum?

  174. @Nikki – whether you realize it or not you are making a glorified version of the calories in/calories out argument.

    If you are as sincere and curious as you claim to be, read up on the subject of ci/co and see if it changes your thinking on this subject.

  175. JoGeek said:

    Hey, before he slinks away bloody, I want the recipe for the squash-carrot-potato soup.

    Ooh! Ooh! Here’s my recipe.

    Except I will put bacon in it, of course

  176. Dammit! What? Something weird happened and I can’t edit.

    But JoGeek, here’s how I make soup of that name:

    1. Cut a butternut squash in half and place on a cookie sheet, face down (parchment paper helps). Let it roast until very soft.

    2. In the meantime, dice 6-8 medium potatoes and 3-4 largish carrots into small chunks. Also 1 or 2 onions and two garlic cloves. Cut these very fine.

    3. Put in a saucepan with some olive oil on low and “sweat” until soft.

    4. Add cooking liquid – chicken broth OR water with a ham hock or smoked turkey leg. You can also use vegetable broth for a vegan recipe.

    5. When vegetables are soft, take a bunch of them out with a sieve and set aside. Take out the ham hock or turkey if you’ve used it, and dice off the meat.

    6. Peel the squash and add it to the broth (It should be very soft). Puree the soup in the pot with a hand-held mixer or, if you have a food processor, you can use that.

    7. Add the meat (if using) and chunky vegetables.

    8. Season to taste – I like rosemary and pepper in this soup. Sometimes I add a few finely diced apples or pears (peeled).

    9. Enjoy at any time and in any quantity you like.

  177. You are under “concern troll” in the dictionary and I”m banning you. You are ridiculous

    Thank you! I’ve read through all the comments and I was getting a stabbing pain in my temple. Nikki is not only the very epitome of a concern troll, but she’s also a great example of the kind of asshole that personally blights my life every single day. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who sometimes wishes that life’s concern trolls would get in a giant ship and found their own perfect, perfect society on some other planet.

  178. I know this thread is dying but I do want to add some quick comments.

    First, I only recently came across FA and started with this blog. While the snarkiness made me withhold from commenting at first, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. It made me actually digest what was being said and create an informed opinion on things before posting whatever it was that I wanted to say. This isn’t FA 101 and I realized that. This meant that I better grasp what the community attitude is and why it is the community attitude before trying to contribute.

    Second, for the people who are giving up on WATRD. It is totally your perogative to do so (and you didn’t need my permission for that). The reason I’m staying around and fighting the good fight (so to speak) is not for the person I’m actually arguing with but because there’s tons of people who will read the argument and some of them might find FA to be exactly what they needed/wanted. I want to make sure that FA is heard in the arguments for that reason (even though there’s no way I’ll convince people like ASA that I don’t eat puppy nachos and baby flavored donuts, possibly from Chili’s, for every meal).

  179. To the people who’re expressing interest in FA101, when I first got here I found it really, really useful to go back in the archives and read the ealier posts where Kate was just starting off and figuring it out. You kind of get to take the journey with her and by the time she gets to where she is now, you’re much closer to getting there too. Or so I found.

    The other thing is that the Book covers a lot of FA101/how to actually integrate it into your life stuff, and if you can’t afford it your local library (if you have one) should be able to order it in for you. From what I understand, it was kind of designed for this. So it might help.

  180. Whew.

    KH, as I said upthread, good luck, and I already read some of the other bloggers.

    However.

    There is a LOT of “Lalalalala, I can’t heeeeeeeeaaaaaaaarrrr yoooooouuuu” going on in comments.

    (And yes, I know it comes from a desperate need to be “accepted or smaller” woman-size in society. And that internalized misogyny is sometimes a survival strategy. Yes. I do know.)

    I just have to say that in spite of “ZOMG! Can’t wait to have diversity! Can’t wait to see where this goes!” apparent squeeing, if you run into some resistance in your latest initiative?

    Please/i> don’t be surprised.

  181. Another idea for new people: scroll down and look left until you see the box marked Categories. When you click on it you’ll see a long list of categories in which posts have been put. 101 is the first one.

  182. Thanks everyone for all of the helpful hints on finding FA101 info. So much good stuff….so much to process, such a major shift in thinking. Also a huge relief…years of fear and anxiety around food being alleviated. I can’t tell you how much it all means to me…it chokes me up a little. e-hugs to all.

  183. Oh, dammit, I swore I was in the Friday fluff thread! I’m sorry – that’s what I get for having two open windows at once.

  184. Commenting so late! *sigh* But I want to say Good Luck to KH, and that I did read some of the site, but the comments need some strength to get through.

    Yes, I’m a lurker, and a slow commenter, but I love this blog – Acceptance at Every Size, yes!

  185. I guess that as a weight loss blogger I connect more with Roni and her viewpoint, but I definitely appreciated your view and the fact that you were part of the panel. I don’t think screaming at people with different views that they are wrong is the answer, so it was nice to attend the panel with completely different viewpoints. I’m just getting around to reading your site and learning more about FA and HAES, so don’t ban me or heckle me if I don’t know or totally agree with everything at first. I might not agree on the details but I totally love your opinion and your view. :)

  186. I think that the message you get from reading Shapely Prose is that it is possible you’ve been told lies that hurt you and there are people, funny, witty and wicked smart people, who think you should stand up for yourself.

    OTD, this might be my favorite description ever of what we do here. It seriously makes me proud.

  187. I don’t think screaming at people with different views that they are wrong is the answer, so it was nice to attend the panel with completely different viewpoints. I’m just getting around to reading your site and learning more about FA and HAES, so don’t ban me or heckle me if I don’t know or totally agree with everything at first.

    Wait, what?

  188. And I agree with OTD. I’m always inspired to listen seriously to people who are smart and witty and who stand up for themselves unapologetically. I think you guys do things just right around here! I APPROVE!

  189. “Hey Gina: You are the reason this blog is unmoderated. This is the real world, and reality is there are many different perspectives on this topic. Therefore, we need to learn how to deal with your point of view without blowing our stacks.”

    Ah, blind hatred and (as littlem pointed out) emotional assault are a “different perspective” we need to “learn to deal with”, and responding with justified anger is “blowing our stacks”.

    That’s an interesting theory, but I’m actually not okay with giving people a platform to hate on others they consider less than them, then criticising the response of those being denigrated. Crazy, I know, but there you are. I’m out.

  190. I’m an annoying pain in the ass in my advocation of Everyone Should Learn How To Cook, Dammit.

    Lampdevil, I tend to feel that too, and I’m trying to let go of it somewhat. For me it’s mostly a self-sufficiency thing, along with being able to change a tire and balance my checkbook.

    Annie, re “some days I’m hungrier than others” — oh yeah. Tuesday I was home sick. Between being sick and it being hot (95+, with no AC) I had no appetite. Wednesday I was back at work (AC!!) and hungry all day. Well, duh!

    Kate, I did follow the link over to WTRD. I think you’ve been posting good things there. Then the next day I had an OMG moment when I saw you linked to my blog. Thank you :)

  191. So I popped over to We Are the Real Deal, and what is the first thing I see? A sex and the city Carrie Bradshaw photo. I skimmed over the article and it revolved around a quote from the movie. Arrrggghhhh. If there was value buried in that blog, I’m not going to find it if I have to read through that kind of stuff.

  192. I just popped over, and learned that the resident Dietblogger wants to replace the word “Fatosphere” with “Healthosphere”.

    The whole fucking internet is the healthosphere, folks. Or did she think that every other website, forum, blog, and mailing list is full of super-duper ableism-fightin’ warriors for acceptance and embrace of people in all sorts of bodies and abilities?

    …because I ain’t seeing it that way from here. And wanting out from consorting with unhealthy folk isn’t exactly something I’d be braggin’ about.

    It’s not contagious.

  193. Hey Jen – Don’t rule us out yet…we have several contributors on the site, some you may love, some not so much.

    Do I relate to the Bradshaw image? Nope, never even saw the show, nor cared to. On the flip side, I can tell you that subjects and opinions are popping up unexpectedly —which is quite fun to see evolve.

    Keep the criticisms coming-
    Heather
    aka mamaV

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