Open Threads, snarky's machine, Wednesday One Liners

Wednesday One-Liners

Hello there, Shapelings:

• No doubt you remember hearing the story of Samantha Clowes, a British bride-to-be who died of heart failure while sustaining herself on diet of 530 calories a day. Well CNN sheds more light on medically supervised diets with the unintentionally hilariously titled article Extreme diets: Life on 800 calories a day. Life, indeed. The highlights include a quote from VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet) participant Gordon Heitman who noted:

My hair did thin out and there were other side effects. There were leg cramps … and now they’re monitoring me for gallstones.

Other than those minor inconveniences Mr. Heitman says he’s thankful for the medical supervision he’s received thus far! And really aren’t gallstones and thinning hair completely worth it! Ketosis FTW!

People Magazine is very pleased with Sara Rue’s seven pound weight loss in JUST FIVE DAYS. And Sara says:

But there’s nothing you can’t have on this plan. You just have to remember that nothing tastes as good as the first bite

Oh, Sara!

Do you ever get the feeling celebrity weight loss statements read like Mad Libs?

Golden Globe nominations are out and Gabourey Sidibe is nominated for her work in Precious. And with that, the 2010 award season begins!

Consider this an Open Thread, but be mindful that mods may not be around every second to keep things in check.

211 thoughts on “Wednesday One-Liners”

  1. Hasn’t Sara Rue lost and gained that weight several times? I feel like I’ve been hearing about her figure and how she’s lost ten pounds recently! for about a decade.

  2. This reminds me of the long life diet, where you supposedly lengthen your lifespan by consuming an absurdly small number of calories. The only problem being that I wouldn’t want to live that long if I had to live that way. Well, plus the sketchy research and such . . . .

  3. My mom had a really old diet cookbook (I can’t remember what decade) that recommended women eat only 1000-1200 calories per day, and that it was appropriate to go as low as 800. I read it and laughed at how ridiculous it was that we had ever thought 800 calories per day could sustain a person. I can’t believe there are people advocating that kind of diet today.

    Did you notice how the article implies that her death was due to her initial weight and not to the extreme diet?

  4. Nothing you can’t have… except satiation, yes, and FOCUS… the ability to really fully engage in the world of people and ideas around me. The amount of attention those diets take! The sense that if you are fat, your life just has to be about this, you have to stop focusing on the work you feel called to do in the world, because the work that fat people are called to do in the world is to get and stay thin.

    Somehow, I got this at 18, and now have been relearning at 35. When I started college, I realized that I could use the transition to jump-start the major weight loss effort that would transform me into a thin and frequently dating woman… but that it would take all of my focus and attention to do it. I figured I only had four years in college, so I’d put off my transformational weight loss and get as much out of being in college as I could. I’m so grateful for that clarity that I had then.

  5. Especially appalling about the Samantha Clowes link is the number of dieters in the links spewing their drivel about the same or similar diets with only lip-service paid to the poor woman’s death OR NO MENTION OF IT AT ALL, like the article is just another junk piece on how to lose weight.

    This is unbelievable. Even knowing what I do about our craptastic ideas about food and weight, I have trouble believing that anyone would seriously think that 530 calories a day, especially for a very large woman, would be anything other than a total disaster.

    I am so sorry for her fiance, family, and friends. That is such an awful and pointless way to die, and I hope to god it doesn’t happen to anyone else (though I know it undoubtedly will.)

  6. My mother is one of those people who has never dieted for weight loss in her life. She has a BMI of about 21, and except during one of her pregnancies, she’s never been “overweight.” Once we talked about our wildly different eating habits (I’m an emotional eater, inhale my food, and eat beyond until I’m stuffed). I was stunned when she told me she doesn’t think about food much unless she is hungry. She also told me she hates the feeling of being full. She said it makes her feel sick and she’d rather eat a little less than eat a few bites too many. She also made the statement that it’s the first few bites that are the best of any meal, anyway. She is famous in our family for saving a portion of almost every meal “for later.” (And she will eat it later.) I have no idea how we are related.

  7. I was APPALLED when I read about the 800 calorie diet. People have died on less, and yet it was portrayed as if it was the end-all-be-all solution to America’s obesity “problems”.

    You know CNN, why complicate things with counting calories? Go with the simplest answer: starvation.

  8. hsofia, it sounds like your mom is a natural intuitive eater! Linda Bacon also describes this as being an “unrestrained” eater, IIRC. If you haven’t read Dr. Bacon’s Health at Every Size, you should check it out. She addresses a number of the concepts you mention here.

  9. @hsofia, my dad and brother are the same way – also with BMIs between 20 and 21. My mom and I on the other hand…

    I think it was actually all the “are you sure you REALLY want that” questioning I got as a kid that screwed with my ability to eat intuitively.
    Anyway, I read the VCL article and had the same reaction. Thinning hair, leg cramps, and the possibility of gallstones are acceptable side effects of weight loss? Not in my book! He said that he wanted to be around to see his grandkids grow up, but I wonder how much healthier he really is now…

  10. From the article about Ms. Crowes:

    “A LighterLife spokesman said although Miss Clowe’s BMI had reduced from 37 to 32 when she died, she was ‘still clinically obese’ and ‘her health may have already been compromised.'”

    I think I just lost all my sanity points. I mean is LighterLife saying she was really SO FAT she was going to keel over and die any minute anyway? Or am I readin this wrong? Someone talk me down from this *headdesk*!

  11. Right… if BMI 32 constitutes a death sentence, millions of us will be keeling over in unison any minute now.

  12. Yes, but at least she was able to drop that 42lbs. I don’t get these people. A customer DIED while using their product. They might need to sit with that realization for a moment! Yes, her health was compromised the minute she entered the offices of LighterLife.

    Lighterlife all right. I guess Death is the “lightest” life of all.

  13. This reminds me, of, oh, say, anorexia, when someone severely limits calories, and includes among other things heart failure, a loss of hair or nails, a loss of muscle mass, and joint problems/pain. Which is called an eating disorder, not a diet.

    Kelly: Nope, I read it the same way.

  14. Yeah, I remember reading Clowe’s story a few months ago. And now they have a new spokesman to make them look good. Its like a bad infomercial:

    “Hey, yeah she died, but that was because she was a bad fatty. See me? I’m a skinny person NOW! Yay me for bending to society’s will! You too can bend to society’s will!! Just pick up the phone and call now fatty, because if you don’t, you’ll die from TEH DEATHFATZ like that lady did!!!” *insert cheezy infomercial music*

    Also, about ketosis. Last I read, it can cause KIDNEY FAILURE since the body is forcing itself to burn fat instead of carbs like it’s supposed to. And it only happens in 2 scenarios: Diabetes and STARVATION…..Hmm…I wonder which of these two affects Lighterdeathlife customers????? *thinks hard*

  15. I had gallstones. They take your gallbladder away. That’s how they solve that. It might be a so-called bloodless surgery, but it is surgery where you get knocked out and have take vicadan for a week. A person has to help you walk to the bathroom. Losing weight at 800 calories at day is not worth that pain or embarrassment.

  16. Aw geez, now the newz is all about Jared the Subway-Diet Guy, and how now that he’s stopped eating nothing but a couple Subway sandwiches a day, he’s become a Bad Fatty and gained some weight back.

    Wow, who’d’a thunk it.


  17. In other infuriatingly similar news, have ya’ll seen this yet:

    There are. no. words. My favorite sentance:

    “Though some weight gain is because of normal changes in uterine and breast tissue, as well as the weight of the growing fetus, the placenta and excess fluid, a significant number of obese women do not gain weight during pregnancy and still seem to have healthy outcomes.”

    Yes. Right. Totally. So we should absolutely start encouraging them to starve themselves while growing a person.

    And then we have:

    “Though some weight gain is because of normal changes in uterine and breast tissue, as well as the weight of the growing fetus, the placenta and excess fluid, a significant number of obese women do not gain weight during pregnancy and still seem to have healthy outcomes.”

    But apparently, underweight babies are no longer a problem! They are instead chic and stylish!

  18. Sorry guys, that second block quote should have been:

    “Restrictions on weight in pregnancy are nothing new: throughout the 19th century and much of the 20th century, women were told to gain less than 20 pounds to reduce the risk of complications and Caesarean deliveries. The guidelines were relaxed in the 1970s and ’80s as Caesareans became safer and the risks to underweight babies were discovered.”

  19. Oddly, when I pulled up Hulu today one of the shows that came up was The Addams Family episode “Fester Goes on a Diet.” So of course I had to watch it.

    Is it odd that I am even more in love with Morticia and Gomez because they detest artificial “exercise” programs but rather enthusiastically practice such active hobbies as yoga and fencing?

  20. New, Life Lite! (Previously marketed as Death)

    She achieved her goal, she wasn’t a fat bride… since she died before she could get married. I wonder if Lighter Life has quietly marked her in the “success” column in their statistics.

  21. snarkysmachine said
    I don’t get these people. A customer DIED while using their product.

    According to the article you linked to, she’s at least the third person to do so. According to the lighterdeath quotes in the article, the third time was not the charm – they’re still in denial.

    I get these people. They’re so thoroughly convinced by their own reality that they can’t accept the evidence staring them in the face. After all, study after study shows that the overweight and obese outlive thinner people, yet we’re all convinced that fat kills and that skinny is healthy. I’m not convinced that being naturally thin is less healthy than being naturally fat*, but I am convinced that forcing a body into a size it’s not comfortable with isn’t a good plan.

    *My two grandfathers – one skinny, one fat; both smoked for years – lived to be eighty; my two grandmothers – one skinny, one fat – lived to be ninety. I wonder if the studies showing people who’re thin are at higher risk than people who’re heavy mostly reflect the fact that a lot of people keep their weight obsessively low rather than indicating that natural thinness puts you at risk.

  22. After shaming me for several weeks at Jenny Craig for not losing weight, my consultant suggested I consider becoming a consultant when I lost 7 pounds in a single week. I was flattered, and boasted a bit to my friend about it over dinner. He asked, “Are you thinking about it?” and when I said yes, he advised me that before I made my decision, I might want to wait until I was able to stop muttering “Screw you Jenny f’in’ whore Craig” between the bites I was taking of *his* pizza.

    He made a good point. No consulting–but plenty more pizza—for me. . .

  23. Sara Rue.


    I don’t blame her for the weight obsession given her career and what her original weight did to it, but it still makes me ache that someone who was that talented and that attractive to begin with has to put herself through this.


  24. I blew all my sanity watchers point on the pregnancy weight gain article. Back in the 60’s, when she was pregnant with me, my mom was told not to gain any weight since she was ‘overweight’ at 5’3″ and appx 140 lbs (she’s got really big bones, too)
    She did her best and ate nothing but super healthy stuff and had only gained a few lbs by the time I was born a month early. Fortunately she came to her senses and didn’t do that the next time she was pregnant. I’ve always wondered if that’s how I got my slug-like metabolism.

  25. The only problem with the mention of natural intuitive eaters is that I also hate being full, don’t think of food unless I am hungry and think the first few bites are the best, but my bmi hovers at 36-37. being a natural intuitive eater does not mean you are also naturally skinny.

  26. That pregnancy weight gain article disgusts me. I had hyperemesis for the first half or so of my pregnancy, and despite pretty much not eating, I barely lost any weight. Once I was able to eat, it was far less than my normal diet, and I still gained weight.

    Just…ugh. I should have starved myself?!?!?!

  27. Hey!! I saw something that Does Not Exist today. A myth, if you will.

    I saw a male-identified, male-bodied individual willingly buy a YOGURT PARFAIT and CONSUME IT.

    Not for breakfast, though. Maybe it only is Woman Food at breakfast?

    And more importantly, if my ob-gyn tells me that I’m only ‘allowed’ to gain a certain amount of weight when I am pregnant, I will fire that doctor and find another one. Yes, I know I’m overweight/pushing obese, but I will gain exactly as much weight as I need to gain to gestate properly. Maybe even a little extra, for some wiggle room.

    And thank you, SP, for giving me the knowledge that I *can* say that.

  28. Arwen – yeah, that doctor’s editorial at the end made me want to hurt somebody.

    Re: Sara Rue – I live far away from the superficial, surgically enhanced idiocracy that is Hollywood, and yet I still feel moderate pressure to be “conventionally” thin and beautiful. I honestly don’t know how anyone, never mind a woman in her 20s or early 30s pursuing an acting career – can survive in that climate with anything remotely akin to a healthy self-image. I feel a little bit of awe for those few women who buck the trends in regards to weight, hair, and aging.

  29. Re: the pregnancy article… isn’t lovely how the doctor calls it an “experiment”?
    AN EXPERIMENT?? They aren’t really sure if it will help or harm the baby, but gee, isn’t that fat lady in the bathing suit ugly, so let’s experiment? Not with my baby, asshat.

    Oh and it’s a ‘teachable’ moment… um, so, what if I do eat fruits and vegetables and about 2,000 calories a day… WTF are you going to teach my ignorant, fat self?

    I am obese and planning a pregnancy. I’m scared to death of these attitudes. I left behind an awesome FA positive doctor when I moved, not sure if I will find another. Even my “normal” weight SIL is getting shit from her (older male) doctor about 5 extra pounds over the “limit.”

    Any other obese pregnant ladies on here… what has tour experience been with the health care system? Any advice for navigating these attitudes?

  30. DRST (who I secretly think of as Dr. Street) I totally agree with you. I had seen very little of Sarah Rue after “Less than Perfect” stopped airing, then one day while searching on IMDB for a terribly great rom-com she did on ABC family I saw what was then a recent picture of her. She was skinny and I almost started crying. The thing was, I saw movies with her and TV shows when I was at a pretty impressionable age, which had been a good thing. Every time I started doing the whole fat shaming business on myself she was one of those examples I’d pull up as to why I might not actually be the most disgusting thing ever. Look at Sarah Rue, she’s dead sexy and she’s fat. Then of course she went and lost weight and everyone acted like she was SUDDENLY sexy, stupid me I thought she was sexy when she was fat but that’s ridiculous.

    The obesity epidemic shit has given movie stars a great chance to lose weight and say it’s to promote healthy habits in teens. They get to pretend that they aren’t being horribly destructive to young women and their self esteem. It’s her body and she gets to do what she wants with it, it would just be nice if she would consider the message she’s sending.

  31. Sara Rue makes me sad. Heck, all of this makes me sad, but the story on Sara was news to me; I’d read and had been able to process the rest. In the case of Jenny Craig and even more so with Light Life (*INCREDIBLE* nerve of the doctor in his statement at the end, btw), the dieters aren’t eating real food. It’s processed God-knows-what that (I think this has come up on threads here before) is frighteningly reminiscent of Famine’s diet plans in Good Omens. AGH.

  32. AmyP: I’m currently 26 weeks pregnant. My doctors have said pretty much nothing at all about my weight (my BMI was somewhere in the mid 30s when I got pregnant) except the amount I am putting on is perfectly fine. So decent fatty-friendly ob/gyns are out there.

  33. A LighterLife spokesman said although Miss Clowe’s BMI had reduced from 37 to 32 when she died, she was ’still clinically obese’ and ‘her health may have already been compromised.’”

    I think I just lost all my sanity points. I mean is LighterLife saying she was really SO FAT she was going to keel over and die any minute anyway?


    They just don’t want to admit the diet killed her.

    Never, and I mean never, underestimate the power of denial.

  34. I can’t bring myself to read an article about pregnancy weight gain. Not at this hour. Maybe when I’ve got some more strengths. You Shapelings are made of strong stuff.

    I was about a size 10 when pregnant with my babies. Not very fat, or not fat at all, or whatever (I’m still not “very fat”, depending on who you ask, at an RTW size 14). Anyway I had a 25 lb. weight gain with both kids. I remember being praised for this like it was an ACCOMPLISHMENT (not too much weight, not too little according to… some… arbitrary… scale). Anyway I lost it all after both kids (in the case of secondborn, within a week). So again – praise. Praise praise praise. For doing the weight thing “right”.

    I mean. Fuck my feelings, or my babies, or my health, or getting used to new parenthood, or the nasty postpartum depression after the second kid. I’m glad I made everyone feel comfortable with my weight gained / lost etc.

    Funny thing is, I didn’t really do anything in particular. Ate when I was hungry, etc. While pregnant I didn’t know about HAES or FA so I didn’t know where to tell people to shove it. Or gently correct weight-praisers or whatever. I just didn’t know what to do or say about it at the time. I’m glad my perspective has changed but I wish I’d been an FA activist back then.

    (I will say: with the second baby I had midwives, and they didn’t seem to give dick about my weight… I don’t even remember if they weighed me at all. It was all a very low-tech experience).

  35. AmyP: My doctor didn’t weigh me at all during my entire pregnancy. He encouraged me to eat what I wanted, when I wanted and to listen to my body’s cravings. I had the typical cravings for pickles and ice-cream – and if I didn’t get them I got really nauseated. Actually, I haven’t been weighed since having my baby so I don’t even know what my weight is at the moment – nor do I care. While I’m b’feeding I will continue to eat what I like, when I like – and I might not even stop when I stop lactating! Radical stuff…

    The most commentary about weight gain in pregnancy was from my mother. Sigh. As I said in another thread, not even 24 hours after giving birth she was reminding me to reactivate my gym membership!

    The midwife who did my post-partum checks last time was actually quite concerned last time about how quickly I dropped weight after my first baby – she was really worried that I wasn’t well. In retrospect I was very stressed (premmie baby last time) and probably DID lose the weight too quickly – but she was the only person who ever thought this might be a BAD thing. This time around my baby was full term and I’m much happier and more relaxed, so we’ll see what happens…

  36. Wow, the company has it made. If someone is healthy while using their product they can take credit for making them healthy with the weight loss. If someone dies they can blame it on the fact that they were obese to begin with. It is a good thing they ignore genetic predispositions.

    The really interesting bit is Dr. Scurr’s commentary at the end of the article. The douchebag says that her heart likely gave out because she lost will power and caved in and over ate. (injury, I’d like you to meet insult) However, later in his commentary he lists extreme dieting as hard on the heart.

    He has no problem with diets, he just hates fat people because they have no will power.

    I love it when publications let any idiot offer illogical and ill-thought out opinions. Why maintain a standard? That is so HARD.

  37. The Sara Rue stuff makes me sad, too. She’s a talented actress and a beautiful woman, regardless of where her weight is, and it’s awful that in order for her to be successful at something at which she’s already talented, she needs to change something about her body and may hurt herself in the process. (Sorry – longest sentence ever.)

    WATRD had an article about the whole pregnancy thing yesterday, actually. The comments were interesting – though keep in mind that not everyone is FA or HAES friendly:

  38. But there’s nothing you can’t have on this plan.

    Good, as long as that includes three pizzas a day I’m already on this plan.

  39. Won’t somebody think of the menz?!

    Pregnant women who don’t eat what they want become dangerous, I tell you.

    I lived with one once. I had to buy bricks of sesame halva to toss to her while carefully backing away.

  40. I gained over 70 lbs during my pregnancy. Most of the weight gain was in the first half of the pregnancy, so I don’t doubt it was my body doing whatever it needed to do to grow a baby. The extra weight started coming off on its own a month after the birth. I think, so long as ones overall health is good, the weight gain (or loss) from pregnancy will sort itself out. It’s best not to worry about it.

    Unfortunately, a lot of new mothers don’t have time to eat nutritiously or regularly, don’t get enough sleep, and are stressed out in general – those things are far more troublesome to a new mom’s long-term health than whether she can fit back into her pre-preggo pants. But no one cares about that. As further evidence that the only god is the God of Irony, all of those conditions can contribute to her NOT losing extra pregnancy weight. So the stressed out, undernourished, sleep deprived mom now has to be looked at as a sloth who couldn’t lose the baby weight like [fill in the blank celebrity] did.

    My hospital discharge papers listed my sole medical condition as “obese.” I felt so hurt by that … I was nine months pregnant! There to give birth to a child! And they were calling me obese. I hadn’t been “obese” before the pregnancy, and I was in excellent health apart from excruciating pelvic pain caused by the pregnancy – NOT listed on the chart, btw; guess it’s more important for everyone to know I’m fat, not that I have an *actual* medical condition. It still stings as insensitive and ridiculous. Not to mention, they didn’t even weigh me. Guess I was eyeballed as obese – nice!

  41. fuzzyoctopus – I too have had a wild love for Morticia and Gomez for years. The perfect pair in my world.

  42. The “intuitive eating” thing always kind of bugs me. Like I know that that’s the way we should do it and all, but somehow people always manage to spin it so that “intuitive” means knowing when to stop, not knowing that yes, I really do want seconds or thirds or whatever.

    This is among the reasons I’ve gotten interested in fat acceptance. While I’m a muscley 5’6 and my weight hovers around 145 (and therefore the BMI pronounceth me “normal”), I have and have always had quite a sturdy appetite. I love the feeling of being full, and it’s always been humiliating to have people (including fat friends with smaller appetites) give me crap about it, to the point where I hate eating out with other people because I know I won’t be able to eat as much as I want without the weird looks and the jokes starting.

    It’s been my observation that only very, very thin women can get away with really eating as much as they want since, while I’m a fairly slim person, everyone always acts like that burger might push me over into death!fat status if I don’t watch myself.

  43. Pala – I find it a total pain in the arse that people feel they have the freedom to comment on what other people are eating and their weight and so on. This has always annoyed me profoundly, and now I’ve altered my stance on it and actually say something out loud. I hate it when people who talk about other’s weight generally, and feel it’s totally surreal that people feel they have to right to say “You’ve lost weight/gained weight” without a moment’s thought. I had a problem a while ago where I went totally overboard with a demented diet and ended up scarily thin to the point of being ill and looking like Skeletor. Rather than people being even a tiny bit sensitive to this they felt it was fine to monitor me out loud and my food, rather than realising the last thing I wanted was their attention. AAAGGGHHH! Now I’ve changed and won’t stand for it – if someone comments on me or anyone else I’m like a bloody terrier …they end up whimpering and searching for something to climb under for cover.
    That diet by the way was the last one I will ever be doing. I have realised once and for all that they make you go half mad and do nothing but fuck you up mentally and physically.
    They also delete your sense of humour almost instantly, making you as much fun as a fart in a punchbowl.

  44. Fuzzyoctopus: I totes agree with you about Gomez and Morticia. They are the ultimate example of doing what feels good for you.

    And I read that damn article. I LOVE the end:

    After Brandon was born, she tested free of diabetes, though more checks are needed. And she has lost 22 pounds.

    Right. Because, you know, fatties always need to lose weight. Before pregnancy, during and MOST DEFINITELY AFTER. There is no time, EVER, where you are allowed to be fat. EVER.

  45. It’s been my observation that only very, very thin women can get away with really eating as much as they want

    Men, too, it seems. Or at the very least it’s treated differently depending on the subculture they belong to.

    An aside, but lately I’ve been noticing how people talk about male weight gain. I was watching a later season of episode of L&O: CI and my friend commented about how much weight both Chris Noth and Vincent D’Onofrio had gained. I found this observation quite puzzling, since I always thought of them as husky guys, who got slim at one point in their careers and then plumped up (nicely, I might add).

    Then again, male celebs don’t get picked apart nearly as much as female celebs, which might explain why I hadn’t bothered noticing their fluctuating weights for nearly two decades!

    Of course my idea of sex heaven is the to be the meat of a Gandolfini/Goodman sammich, so that might explain my lack of awareness, giving the key aspect of noticing weight gain is to criticize it.

  46. I agree with what everyone here is saying– I HATE all these blanket statements made about fat people! Like they assume we all got this way out of laziness and that we should have no other objective in life except to lose weight; and that fat and healthy could not possibly be synonymous.

    Yes, because I couldn’t possibly have gotten an education, started a career, been a pillar of my community, and had great friendships because I’m FAT. Of all the infantilising and “lookit me I’m morally superior” comments on that article, the one really got me was this idiot who said that thin people are not just more physically attractive, but that they have lower healthcare costs and advance in their careers further.

    Uh…what is his basis for this??? Case in point would be yesterday when I had to see my doctor about an immunization form for the graduate program I got accepted to. My doctor has usually been pretty ethical in how he treats me, and always stays on target with the purpose of my visits until yesterday– I got the form completed then he asked me how I was doing and then just says “You made any attempts to lose weight yet? You going to do anything about that spare tire?” and I was just taken aback. So I got weighed, had my blood pressure taken, had blood tests done and whatnot (NONE of which were the purpose of the visit to begin with) and he seemed just incredulous that I had excellent blood pressure, all my tests came back normal, had a healthy cholesterol level, yet at 5’4″ and 255 pounds according to BMI charts I am fucking DEATH FAT ZOMG. So he goes through my charts and says “You don’t have diabetes, hypertension, your periods are normal– you’re perfectly healthy, just FAT!” and asks if this is the heaviest I’ve ever been and just tries to shame me! Christ!

    I’m sorry, I can’t get over that to begin with and I know that many of you had similar experiences as well, and ones even worse– but to claim that fat people have higher costs is the biggest load of bullshit ever. According to these so-called experts I should be dead…but I take absolutely NO medications on a regular basis, and have no chronic illnesses except seasonal allergies. Whereas one of my girlfriends who is a size 6 on a bad day? She has MS. Before she diagnosed earlier this year, she was already on at least five medications to the point that she can’t work. But because she’s thin and has always had a fast metabolism, people look at her and think she’s the healthier one and that I must be saddled down with diabetes and taking 50 different pills. BTW, she’s on Medicare and receives disability comp– and these asshats moan and groan that their taxes pay for fat peoples’ Lipitor.

    Fact of the matter is, both my parents are fat. I was a fat kid who became a fat adult. It’s heredity. I eat better than most people I know and try to stay active, yet I remain fat. But according to these “experts”, there’s still just something else wrong with me and I’m going to run their wallets into the ground in spite of the fact that I hate going to doctors unless I seriously have to and pay for my medications and treatments out of my pocket! And I take no medications on a regular basis either.

    But according to Know-It-All McDouchebag and even my freakin doctor, instead of concentrating on my career and doing the best I possibly can in grad school, I should be neurotically monitoring everything I eat, spend 6 days a week at the gym, all the while making constant doctor visits I have to pay for out of my fucking pocket.

    I’m an adult who can make her own decisions and apparently in spite of my weight, made healthier choices than some of my peers– just because you have a smaller BMI and dress size to show for it does not make you morally superior.

    /soapbox rant

  47. The thing about the first story that baffles and infuriates me is that there was anything “inconclusive” about the woman’s death. She was STARVING. She was eating ONE-FOURTH of the calories her body probably needed. NO SHIT the poor woman died.

  48. AmyP, when I was planning my first pregnancy over 7 years ago, I was stricken with fear every time one of these articles popped up.

    At 5’5″ and roughly 250lbs, I had never had any health problems but felt it would be a constant struggle to be treated with respect & dignity at a conventional OB/GYN practice. And even if I had found a reasonable doctor, I feared the kind of treatment I would recieve during delivery in the maternity ward.

    Homebirth turned out to be the answer for me. I adored my midwife and continue to be eternally grateful to my body (always bigger, broader and rounder than that of my mother & sister) for co operating fully during my pregnancies. I honestly can’t imagine making informed choices-regarding food & excercise-for myself & my fetus and having an MD or midwife boil it down to numbers on a scale. Or some other arbitrary numbers like those glucose tests.

  49. Of course my idea of sex heaven is the to be the meat of a Gandolfini/Goodman sammich…

    They’re not exactly my style, but I know what you mean. As a devout heterosexual and connoisseur of the hawtness of men, I’ve been watching nervously as the number of menfolk with eating disorders rises. I tend to prefer huskier dewds (though not universally, certainly- I’ve seen skinny guys that I’d consensually snuggle for YEARS without coming up for air), and I’m worried that the breed may become as horribly self-hating as people try to make husky women.

    Plus, in terms of “weird looks,” you should see people’s faces when I extoll the sexy wonders of the male belly. By which I don’t mean tight, flat, cutting-board abs. I like a bit of a pooch, and a nice, cozy layer of fat over his man-muscles. Yum.

    Now off to find hubby and see if we have any chocolate syrup in the house.

  50. @paintmonkey – I’m gonna veer off topic and get a little goofy for a moment… you mentioned “looking like Skeletor”? I was quite the He-Man fan as a little girl (I was an… interesting little girl) and if I recall, Skeletor is actually a pretty buff dude, aside from the bony face. “Looking like Skeletor” would be pretty damn scary, but not quite for the reasons implied.

    The “Skeletor” comparison pops up every so often, and it ALWAYS makes me go “BUT BUT BUT HAAAAY” in a fit of 80s nerdrage. Gah! I understand the intent behind the statement, but it’s technically incorrect! ARRRGH!

    Back to the topic at hand… MORE ARRRGH! LighterLife can take a great big flying leap into a big pit full of broken glass. Of COURSE they don’t want to admit that their packs-o-starvation plan killed someone! That’d cut down on business considerably. If they spread enough BS around about how it’s that poor woman’s fault for daring to be fat in the first place, the cash will just keep rolling in! How the hell do they sleep at night?!

  51. Lampdevil. You are correct, and frankly right to admonish me for my Masters of the Universe based cartoon error. These things are important. Skeletor was (underneath the bony face) quite robust now you mention in. Ok, I’ll scrap the Skeletor comparison..infact I’ve just googled him and I see the error of my ways – he’s basically Hulk Hogan with a death mask on. Not really what I meant. Imagine I was built of pencils instead and the image would be more accurate.
    I don’t mind being taken to task on this as I was quite the He-man fan too in my day. And Godzilla….infact, I may have had a crush on Godzilla which now seems alarming. Hong Kong Phooey too, but that still stands under scrutiny. He was cool and there’s no further discussion needed there.
    Nice use of “Gah!” by the way – there’s not enough “Gah!”-ing in the world for me.

  52. Snarky’s Machine: An aside, but lately I’ve been noticing how people talk about male weight gain. I was watching a later season of episode of L&O: CI and my friend commented about how much weight both Chris Noth and Vincent D’Onofrio had gained. I found this observation quite puzzling, since I always thought of them as husky guys, who got slim at one point in their careers and then plumped up (nicely, I might add).

    Then again, male celebs don’t get picked apart nearly as much as female celebs, which might explain why I hadn’t bothered noticing their fluctuating weights for nearly two decades!

    Of course my idea of sex heaven is the to be the meat of a Gandolfini/Goodman sammich, so that might explain my lack of awareness, giving the key aspect of noticing weight gain is to criticize it.

    You can have Noth, Gandolfini and Goodman, but you’ll have to FIGHT ME TO THE DEATH for Vincent D’Onofrio. Fat, skinny…I want it all!

  53. AmyP asked

    Any other obese pregnant ladies on here… what has your experience been with the health care system? Any advice for navigating these attitudes?

    As has been mentioned, midwives seem less fussed about weight as a rule. If a doctor or midwife follows “the Brewer diet,” they’re probably okay – Dr. Tom Brewer was convinced that limiting calories leads not only to lower birth weight babies but to eclampsia, so he lobbied for feeding moms and not worrying about weight gain a’tall.

    In my experience, doctors who recognize that diets fail 95-98% of the time and that yo-yo dieting is unhealthy are more likely to recognize that weight is highly influenced by heredity and more reasonable about moms gaining weight when pregnant. My doctor did not bring up either of those facts, but when I did he agreed and that’s about the only weight conversation we’ve ever had (I can’t remember if he initiated it or I did, though). He may have been more mellow because I’d had kids at the same weight before with no problems, though.

  54. This hetero girl has always been attracted to skinny men, and always felt a bit guilty about it, truth be told. My current lovah is tall and thin but has quite a belly- which I love. I am wildly attracted to his skinny ass and round belly.

    The best part is that when I lost and gained back 40 pounds, it made not a bit of a difference to him.

  55. When taking a nice hot bath, remember that nothing feels as good as when you first lower yourself into the steaming, fragrant tub. There’s no bath you can’t have, you just have to get out straightaway once you’ve got in.

  56. I cheerfully weighed in at pregnancy visits – because I was having treatment for hyperemesis with complications, and both my doctor and I wanted to check on my weight gain to make sure it was _enough_. Lack of gain, or loss (like the five kilograms I dropped in the first week or two before getting treatment), would have been a signal that me and my son weren’t getting the nutrition we needed, and that treatment might need to be adjusted. Strangely, neither me or my doctor, despite me being a fatty mcfatfat, thought that just allowing starvation to happen was appropriate.

    I worry about what’s going to happen to fat women with hyperemesis should this idea that substantial fat loss in pregnancy is ideal spread further than it has already. “Yay! You’re looking more skeletal than last week! Only threw up six times today? Here, let’s drop your anti-nauseant dose, encourage that weight loss along, eh, fatso?”

  57. @meems — I think it was actually all the “are you sure you REALLY want that” questioning I got as a kid that screwed with my ability to eat intuitively. YES YES YES YES YES. My mom tried SO HARD to make sure I didn’t get fat like she is… that I ended up getting fat like she is. The one difference being that I’m actively trying to be OK with it rather than destroying my body.

    (My body, btw, is EXCELLENT at not losing weight. I’m dealing with some pretty severe depression & anxiety issues and for the past couple of weeks I’ve had a persistent stomachache and been eating much less than usual… and all of my clothes fit exactly the same. It’s really pretty magical. My ancestors totally did not starve in the tundra.)

  58. For some context here, the WHO/FAO estimate that the minimum daily caloric requirement for an adult is in the range of 1600-1800kcal (calories as we commonly call them) per day. (Info:

    If you are getting substantially less than that for a sustained period of time, you are in a state of MALNUTRITION, regardless of your existing BMI. IIRC, the WHO standard for famine/starvation, is sustained (adult) caloric intake <=800kcal/d. This is considered incompatible with life: ie, maintained for sufficiently long, will result in death or life-shortening morbidity (also increased infant and maternal mortality and decreased fertility). Your body needs what it needs whether your BMI is 19 or 39. If you don't eat it, your body will begin to degrade it's own tissues. That is not a good thing for your health.

    It is completely appalling that starvation has been equated with IMPROVING health. As annoying as it is in popular culture, it makes me feel positively stabbity when I encounter it among health professionals.

    I hope this is not a derail, but a quick note: I noticed some comments that seemed to conflate disordered eating with eating disorders. The latter is a genetically based brain disorder. Dieting to effect weight loss is common to both, but it is not sufficient to explain EDs, not all of which involve restricting calories.

  59. I don’t have the sanity watchers points to read any of this.

    I will say, however, that I’ve eaten an entire gift tin of gluten free chocolate chip cookies (my momma baked ’em for me and sent them in the mail) for breakfast this morning. So I’ve done had a lot more than 530 calories today *already*. Fuck you, Lighterlife.

    And when I was pregnant? I was hyperemetic for the first 12 weeks. I lost 12 pounds in the first 3. And then after that was straightened out, I gained like 70. Me? Fine. Baby? Fine, strapping young fifteen-year-old manchild now.

    And that’s enough anecdata for me for now. I’m going to take my crushed psyche and hatred of humanity and go write some damn briefs.

  60. During my pregnancy, I did get told I should aim for a gain of 20 instead of 25, but most of my midwives were really only concerned with making sure I gained at a steady pace, which I did. At all but 2 visits, I was on their targets, without much trying. I did get scolded once for gaining FOUR WHOLE POUNDS rather than my usual 2, but she wasn’t one of my regulars and I found her kinda pushy in general. The next time around I actually lost half a pound- days after the Iowa State Fair, of all things! Most of the midwives I saw were really great, and the teeny-tiny woman who delivered my daughter was awesome, and never shamed me at all.
    To her credit, the woman who told me off DID say I should try to get more protein, rather than not eating, which I was already doing as much as I could manange. Hard to do, but my pregnancy and the birth had not one single complication, so if there’s a next time, I know I can trust my body and my intuition.
    For anyone who’s curious, I was about 195 when I got knocked up, and almost 2 years later, I’m about 225.

  61. Skeletor was (underneath the bony face) quite robust

    Whenever I see/read the words “bony face” I think of Patrick Dennis sobbing into Auntie Mame’s fabulous bosom with a hearty, “I don’t want to go to that old St. Bony Face.” in his terribly whiny and hammy voice. It makes me giggle.

  62. @Monica-
    I totally hear you about your mom. Mine started “being concerned” when I was 10, and I do think my weight now partly results from the fact that we ate really, really badly when i was a kid/teen. I realize now that I wasn’t getting enough a lot of the time, even though I ate a lot. I’m not meant to be skinny, but I think I would be somewhat less fat if I hadn’t gotten an unhealthy start. I’m pretty close to ok with the idea that I can’t undo that, and I’m going to make sure that my kid has a healthy relationship with food, so that if she ends up fat (which seems likely given her genes) that I know she’s healthy-fat. I just wish I could get Mom on board. It’s heartbreaking to watch her fail to take care of herself because she’s so hung up on the FoBT.

  63. Also? I’m confused. What tastes better? The first bite or feeling thin? Are they equally tastey? And the first bite of what? Because I’m pretty sure that the Twelfth Bite of HuHot tastes exponentially better than the First Bite of Ramen Noodles.

  64. I try not to go to articles when Sanity Points are at stake. Just reading commentary about gives me enough to know that’s the right decision for me.

    Rachel- a few comments up- was talking about weird, out of nowhere commentary from her physician. I had that happen to me recently. My physician has been completely reasonable and someone I can work with towards my own health goals. Weight is not one of them. Exercise, eating more veggies, making sure I get my immunizations, etc- those are my types of goals, and she respects this.

    Imagine my dismay recently when I needed to be seen when quite ill. I had the H1N1– and it fueled a bad sinus infection on top of that. I had been in bed for a week, fevers into the 103-104 range, zero appetite, unable to open my eyes from the facial pain; my whole body aching and miserable. Of course I was weighed when I got into the office by the nurse. I never weigh myself- just get weighed at the doctor’s office. And of course it was significantly lower than usual. I could literally see the bone in my anterior lower legs- which is not my usual.

    My doctor actually said to me “Ah yes. I see you’ve been working on losing the weight.” I was approximately 18 lbs lower than last measured (from several months ago)- but I had been sick for a week! MAYBE a few pounds of that came from walking more since I had started my new job- and that could potentially be considered “healthy” but a week’s worth of sick weight loss means NOTHING. I was so flabbergasted it took me a minute to even respond to her– to explain how ill I had been, how I’m not “trying” to lose anything, just get healthy again. After the examination and discussion about antibiotics, etc- I brought her back on board with my usual health goals and concerns.

    For the record, I am 5’9″ and weigh in the 250-275 neighborhood. The “ZOMG you’ll drop dead any minute” neighborhood. I have no diabetes, no hypertension, no high cholesterol, no health issues to speak of (other than seasonal affect disorder- but hell, I live in Syracuse NY of all places!! Everyone here needs Zoloft to survive the misery that we call winter!!). I am the healthiest person in my family- the one who chases the kidlets on their bikes at the park when they are learning to ride; I walk over a mile every day just to get to & from work as a part of my commute. My partner had gastric bypass and needs to nap an hour or so every day and never seems to be able to keep up with the kids when they are in all out play mode outside.

    Which leads me into my other rant. Prior to her gastric bypass, I was the “link” to the world. She is more masculine, not the norm- and I am more feminine and easier for people to “get.” Once she lost the weight, she became the “norm” out of the two of us– and I was immediately relegated to background noise. It was a very difficult process to adjust to as a couple, but the whole thing makes me mad to this day… that one of us seems to need to be considered “other” as a gay couple. That fat trumps butch in predjudice– or that there even needs to be a hierarchy of acceptability. Grr!

  65. @nina

    Same here, too. My mother was terrified I could become fat and startet monitoring me at about 10. I did my first “real” diet at 12, a 800kcal/day diet we did together. It went downhill from there…

    Mom always wanted to get her weight down to the 100 pounds she had weighed as a starving 17-year-old in post-war Germany. It only recently occured to me how unrealistic this goal really was.

  66. I should correct that – I don’t see other people using the words “fabulous bosom” enough. I say it most days.

  67. Second bite tastes pretty good, too. As does the third. Matter of fact, I just got 12 tasty, tasty bites out of this doughnut someone was kind enough to give me here at work.

    I think they should pay me to be one of those diet gurus. After all, I haven’t gained any weight at all in the last 5 years! I also haven’t lost any weight at all! I’ve managed to keep my weight at a stable 300lbs (and I’m 5’4″ if you want to plug that into the BMInsane)!

  68. Mary Sue, that advice would only lead me to experiment with how much I might be able to fit into one “first bite”, which takes all the fun out of nibbling down those little flat German waffle cookies.

    Also, if you think the first bite’s the best, you haven’t been eating a wide enough variety of foods. I really enjoy the temperature change in grilled cheese as it goes from “molten lava” stage to “gooey” to “long and stretchy”. All those bites are fun.

  69. @DivaJean: :: hugs if you want them :: I’m sorry people have to peg one of you as the “other”–that’s just all kinds of suck. It’s also a weird backhanded insult to your partner for people to suddenly be more accepting of her after she lost a bunch of weight–hi, you weren’t worth the time of day when you were a fatty fatty two-by-four, but now that you’re a skinny minnie, oh HI, how ARE you? Blech.

    And as for the H1N1 and your doctor’s comments, GAH! I mean, when you’ve got a virus that has been killing otherwise healthy people, a bunch of weight loss is a cause for concern, not something to celebrate.

  70. Wow what kind of medical supervision is this?
    I think we need to remind these moronic diet doctors that they’re giving people less calories than people in concentration camps had.
    Is this seriously what is considered responsible monitoring of peoples diets?

    My opinions, these aholes have no clue what they’re doing and they’re constantly manipulating the truth to convince themselves that this is okay. These doctors shouldn’t be getting paid to starve and torture people.

  71. @Rachel – I totally agree with you. I tend to think a lot of the “spiraling” medical costs in this country are due to the meds people are on and the side effects they cause. I know some drugs are truly necessary (like if you had a heart transplant and need to take anti rejection meds), but I have nurse friends who say it’s quite shocking how many prescriptions people are taking these days. It’s not unusual to see a 30 year old without any life-threatening health conditions taking 5-15 meds. One drug is added to counteract the negative side effects of another drug. According to Greg Critser, the average number of annual prescription meds PER American in 2004 is 12, up from seven in 1993. And it’s not just the elderly. Marcia Angell has written about this.

  72. Open-threadishness: Kate has a Broadsheet article today on female bloggers’ picks for what-if-Time-would-actually-pick-a-female “person of the year” (they haven’t since 1986)?

    I must confess the guilty pleasure of reading Kate’s Salon articles and then the comments to see what could possibly set off people this time. I believe the Sanity Watchers’ caveat is always in effect regarding Salon comments.

  73. VLCD’s are the biggest crock of bullshit I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t matter if they contain (artificial versions of) all the necessary vitamins and minerals–it’s simply not enough to sustain a person.

    In the Minnesota Experiment, participants were put on a “semistarvation diet” OF ALMOST 1800 CALORIES A DAY!!!!! That’s more calories than almost any diet I know of today.

    I think remember reading somewhere that Nazi experiments on POWs showed that it was absolutely impossible to sustain life on under 800 (?) calories, but I have no link for this.

  74. Reading through the comments, I’m realizing: one of the few things I don’t give thanks for enough is having a cool, fat mom! When I was about 10, I gained a lot of weight very fast, and even though my doctors and teachers prodded my mother and me about diets and “being careful” she never said anything except, “Honey, let me know if you ever feel sick or unhappy, but I think you’re pretty healthy so I’m throwing this diet sheet out.”

    Of course, I was feeling sick and unhappy – I was a fat 10 year old, being made fun of by my peers and lectured by my doctor. But thank god my mother didn’t put me on a diet because of it, and I was allowed to adolesce (so to speak) in the way that was right for my body! It should be noted that after all that alarming weight gain, I maintained a constant weight and my glorious potbelly was gradually transfigured into breasts, hips, thighs, and a lesser but still pretty great belly. Clearly, it was my body and not my panicky doctor that knew what was going on.

    Later, during my disordered food-madness, I stuck to a diet a lot like what my doctor wanted for me at 12, probably 1200 cal/day, and I went insane. Batshit insane. I am so glad I didn’t do it when my body and brain were doing crucial developing, or I might have been insane and damaged, too. Or, you know, dead.

  75. I think the zero weight gain in pregnancy article used up my Sanity Watchers points for the week. Ugh. I actually asked my computer if any fact-checking is done any more… ketones are not acidic! Not at all. (Yes, that is pedantic, but I’m a chemist, and these things annoy me.)

  76. mickey – chemists (and chemical accuracy!) for the win! Also, ketosis means you smell slightly sweet, and it’s a side of effect of conditions that you do not want. I will take my belly over self-induced freaky self-metabolism any day.

  77. Seriously awesome, Sarah!

    I know one of the sr. staff of the NY Aquarium, and she has this film for a lecture that shows an octopus figuring out how to open a screw-top jar (octopuses love jars as hidey-holes). It’s soo cool, the octopus first trys various methods to pull & push the lid off. Then after a bit, zie moves a little away from the jar and kinda curls up hir tentacles in a totally “Hmmm” kind of gesture, while zie studies the jar. Octopuses has very acute vision, and after a bit the octopus moves closer to examine the lid and the top of the jar. Shortly thereafter, it wraps some tentacles around the lid and unscrews it. The octupus was familiar with jars, but zie was completely naive to screw-top jars.

  78. Katie Spotz is aiming to be the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She’s apparently doing it as a sponsored row to help provide clean drinking water to 100 people for life.

    You can find her website at and if you check out Talk of the Nation, there’s an interview with her there.

  79. Which is to say, I am glad she’s challenging herself in order to support meeting other people’s needs, and also, she’s a she, and that’s pretty cool.

  80. When taking a nice hot bath, remember that nothing feels as good as when you first lower yourself into the steaming, fragrant tub. There’s no bath you can’t have, you just have to get out straightaway once you’ve got in.

    And when taking a nice nap, remember that nothing feels as good as when you first close your eyes and drift off into sleep. There’s no nap you can’t have, you just have to wake up straightaway once you’ve fallen asleep.

    And when taking a nice breath of air …

  81. Sarah – that octopus video was fabulous. Loved it! I recently decided not to eat octopi anymore because Peter Singer wrote that there was evidence that they are pretty intelligent. Now there’s this!

  82. Anita, I have to disagree with you regarding all the bites of the grilled cheese being the best. The first bite, when it’s in the molten lava stage you describe? NOT the best. Unless you think burning the living hell out of your mouth is fun. Hey, that’s actually an argument I should be directing at the “first bite is the best” diet devotees.

  83. When I was talking to my OBGYN prior to getting pregnant the first time, I asked if I should try to lose weight first (BMI in the high 30s, pre-FA). He just looked at me blankly for a second, then said, “You can if you want to, but I wouldn’t suggest putting off trying to conceive because of it.”

    When I was pregnant for the second time and still throwing up daily in the second trimester, another OB at the same practice told me to eat the most tummy-comforting, calorie-dense food I could. He suggested ice cream.

    When I entered the third trimester of my last pregnancy and had only gained 6 pounds, my original OB was quick to reassure me that I still had enough time to meet at least the minimum suggested weight gain according to their metric.

    I have great doctors. :)

  84. @l’zhiu: Completely agree. I, too, “will take my belly over self-induced freaky self-metabolism any day.”

    …and a little more research into ketosis (or ketoacidosis, whatever) tells me that alpha-keto acids are formed from fatty acids. Now, of course, both of those are acidic, but ketones, not so much. Use the right terms, New York Times!

  85. “You made any attempts to lose weight yet? You going to do anything about that spare tire?”

    Seriously? An MD used the term ‘spare tire’. Does he similarly use terms like pink taco and cankles??

    Perhaps a PhD in douchebaggery would have allowed him to choose another profession where talking to clients like a fucking frat boy would be welcomed.

  86. “Once she lost the weight, she became the “norm” out of the two of us– and I was immediately relegated to background noise.”

    That wouldn’t happen to include moving company doods hitting on her and asking her out while you’re standing there would it???

  87. Snarky’s Machine: An aside, but lately I’ve been noticing how people talk about male weight gain. I was watching a later season of episode of L&O: CI and my friend commented about how much weight both Chris Noth and Vincent D’Onofrio had gained. I found this observation quite puzzling, since I always thought of them as husky guys, who got slim at one point in their careers and then plumped up (nicely, I might add).

    I was a latecomer to the original L&O. It wasn’t until after I saw Chris Noth in the later seasons of CI that I went back and watched the early episodes of the original L&O, and he certainly did “fill out” in ten years, which really drove home to me the understanding that it’s perfectly natural for some people to gain weight over the years, and NOT because they have “let themselves go”. And then I realized (light bulb moment!) that it applied to me, too. I flogged myself for a long time about the weight I had gradually gained over the years, thinking it was because I was doing something wrong or “letting myself go”, even though my eating and exercise habits did not change much over those same years.

    Although I think Chris Noth is fabulous either way, I much prefer his mature, filled-out look. I was distressed to realize, though, after catching an episode of SATC (GODIHATETHATSHOW!!) that he appeared to have waxed off all of his chest hair. ARGH!

    (Let’s see if I managed the italics correctly…)

  88. I have a guide to women’s health written by members of the medical profession, from 1948, which lists women’s caloric needs at 2500 calories a day.

    This is just a few chapters past “Varicose Veins and Their Complications” and “Radiant Womanhood,” which dissects skin care, so, you know, liberal doses of salt and all that.

    (Although, I find the pen and ink illustration of Early Tampon to be exactly the same as modern tampons, so maybe they’re onto something after all).

  89. @Monica – My mom was and is not fat, but I think was scared of having a fat daughter, especially since her (fat) mother and aunt both had diabetes. Of course, I was never fat (or anything more than a bit overweight based on BMI) until the past six months. I think a lot of it comes from a good place – recognizing that fat people are often stigmatized and not wanting your child to suffer – but damnit, mom, I’m healthy! I have no trouble dating (ok, I kinda do, but it’s because I’m picky, not because men aren’t interested), I have friends, and a social life, and I’m happy.

    So yeah…meh.

  90. @Anita, I don’t know what the heck you thought I was talking about, but I was talking about eating a whole doughnut. It was pretty big, it took me 12 normal-size bites to finish it off and get it in my belly.

  91. Sarah and IrishUp: This just proves what I’ve been saying all along. The octopi are slowly coming up with a plan to systematically subjugate and destroy humanity. Just think about it! They have a vicious, flesh-rending beak; natural camoflauge; can discharge ink to make a seamless getaway; and have far, far too many arms.

  92. @fatsmartchick- I was just so taken aback. That he actually had the audacity to say, “You don’t have any health problems, you’re just fat.” then proceeded to give me the typical OMG fattie yer gonna die!!1!1 speech and how it gets a lot harder to lose weight when you’re older vs. when you’re younger…and basically tried to tell me that unless I made the time to lose weight, that I wouldnt do as well in grad school! Seriously WTF?

    @Meems- Amen to that sister! Being fat hasn’t stopped me from having friends, getting an education, starting a strong accounting career, playing in bands, getting laid, and just plain having fun and living my damn life.

    The things fat people are “supposed” to do? I do them and then some. Only if you let it get in your mind that you can’t do something, that you can’t do it. The way I see it, anyone who gives me shit and feels the need to constantly insult me because of my weight? Is just jealous of me with how shitty their lives are and feel the need to take it out on me because it’s like “OMG! How dare a fat girl live her life to fullest and be happy! How dare a size 24 woman get constantly hit on by guys!”

    And my trick to low blood pressure? Aside from a vegetarian diet (oh god I can’t tell you how much BS I’ve dealt with ALL MY LIFE with dumbshits who think fat vegetarians don’t exist) and keeping fried foods to minimum (OMG! Fatty doesn’t frequent McDonalds?)…

    …I just don’t take a lot of shit seriously. Things that stress out most people? I don’t let it get to me. I don’t care what others think of me, if there’s a D on my transcript it isn’t going to plummet me off the face of the earth, if a boy turns me down he was probably a shallow douche with Mommy issues anyway, if I don’t have enough money to buy a house before I’m 30 I don’t have to miser myself into submission because it just wasn’t meant to be yet, if my Verizon bill is late because I spent the last $50 in my bank account getting shitfaced with my friends and fought a 16-year-old to death for a Twilight Barbie (I know you’re all laughing at me by now, but it’s ok, so am I!) on eBay while giggly drunk…well, their service sucks donkey balls anyway and the greedy outsourcing mofos don’t need me to pay my bill.

    Laugh your ass off at the world around you– in my case, it’s the astounding amount of really stupid people I have to put up with at work! My own social circle is full of entertaining characters, many of whom spark inside jokes. Take stock in the simple humors of life.

    That’s my trick for being fat and healthy– don’t let other peoples’ stupid hang-ups get the better of you, and just laugh at their stupidity instead.

  93. On octopii – I got a dog about six months ago, and he has made me realize that there must be many animal species who are like 50,000 generations from evolving self-consciousness and beginning to create their own cultures.

    Maybe humans, as one of the first, should do whatever we can to help them along, like giving them jars to play with.

  94. The trouble with this ‘evidence of octopus intelligence’ thing is that yonder octopus has arms and can thus manipulate objects and display its intelligence in a way that humans can understand, while other mollusks, such as your average clam, cannot.

    Am I brighter than an oyster? The world will never know.

  95. Pala said: Plus, in terms of “weird looks,” you should see people’s faces when I extoll the sexy wonders of the male belly. By which I don’t mean tight, flat, cutting-board abs. I like a bit of a pooch, and a nice, cozy layer of fat over his man-muscles. Yum.

    Holy crap, I love bellies. On men and women both, although I find them to be rarer on women (but women are naturally meant to have bellies, even if they’re slim, whereas skinny men usually don’t have bellies). The most comfy thing to me is to have someone let me cuddle their belly, or lay my head on it, or otherwise enjoy it in a tactile manner. <3 I also love breasts. They're like the coolest thing in the world. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with mine for a while back when I was solidly into body hatred, because they are quite saggy (which runs in my family) and I always felt like that was entirely my failing and my fault because I'm fat (and fat boobs sag ALWAYS, according to… someone?) and it made me sad because they could be such awesome boobs if they didn't sag. Now I just love them as they are. <3 But that's easy, because I love boobs.

    Monica said: (My body, btw, is EXCELLENT at not losing weight. I’m dealing with some pretty severe depression & anxiety issues and for the past couple of weeks I’ve had a persistent stomachache and been eating much less than usual… and all of my clothes fit exactly the same. It’s really pretty magical. My ancestors totally did not starve in the tundra.)

    I like to tell people I come from good peasant stock, which is true. My ancestors were all very tall, very stout and strong. My mother told me that one of her great-grandpas on her dad’s side (they’re mostly Swedish), the first one to emigrate to the US around the turn of the last century, was a 6’5” giant (well, at that time period it was giant) who chopped wood for a living. I imagine most of the women were greatly sought after for their fertility (we’re all ultra fertile, even my mom’s stick-thin sisters) and buxom forms. ;3 No starving in the tundra for us either.

  96. Um, Rachel, you are awesome. But what does one do once said Twilight Barbie has arrived?

    Seriously, though, I needed to hear some of that. I’m a grad student and the money thing sucks sometimes.

  97. Although I think Chris Noth is fabulous either way, I much prefer his mature, filled-out look. I was distressed to realize, though, after catching an episode of SATC (GODIHATETHATSHOW!!) that he appeared to have waxed off all of his chest hair. ARGH!

    I am one of the sad people who loved SATC because it makes me LOL (full awareness of its problematic issues). I loved Chris Noth on there because he was mature looking and filled out. At first I didn’t realize he was Logan! I thought made he was like Logan’s older, hotter brother!

  98. So, I’m writing a history paper on feminism, and i’m prolly going to focus on how/why its changed between the second wave and now. I’m kind of ignorant. I’m reading the feminist mystique right now, and so far my understanding (and correct me if i’m wrong) is that the second wave was pretty focused on the middle class and ‘the problem that has no name’ and the role of women in the workforce? where as now its generally a lot broader in its world view and less cohesive? Any advice pointing me in the right direction, or things I should read would be really helpful.

  99. @Meems- Bwahaha I’m not sure…but in my defense, I was totally blitzed! :)

    Seriously though, I should hold onto it– brand new in box condition– could be worth a lot of money some day. It’s not my imagination, Twilight’s become the next big thing. It’s the next Star Wars dude. Heh and I’ve been quite sucked into it, my entire office got split into Team Edward and Team Jacob, even my NATP unit! (Then I said screw that, I’m Team Carlisle because he’s just smoking hot. And Team You Know Jacob And Edward Want Each Other, Bella Is Just A Ploy.) It was just hilarious that I was trying to find information on net operating losses for one of my clients and I find a thread titled “Team Jacob = Not Team Age of Consent”…

    …ah but you just gotta laugh at stuff like that! Live, laugh, and enjoy life; no matter what your size, your background, where you live, whatevs. Appreciate the people who make you laugh and smile, and remember that for every douchehound out there who thinks they’re morally superior for one reason or another, there are at least 5 more awesome people like us.

  100. *Edit to my original post– I meant “things fat people aren’t supposed to do”. Most of the stuff I described is what a lot of these asshats think is verboten for us poor deluded fatties…ah god. If only they know tis they who are deluded.

  101. @mickey — you’re not the only one! (I’m a biochemist-in-training, but it’s the thought that counts, am I right!?) I actually came across this in a Science Times article on Tuesday and went wikipedia-surfing. The beta-ketoacids produced during ketosis are called “ketone bodies,” which most science writers feel perfectly comfortable calling just “ketones,” which they’re not. Faiiiiiil.

    @meems & others– I can remember her trying to get me to eat an orange mini-muffin before a chocolate mini-muffin when I was, like, two. I found Shapely Prose eighteen months ago, during my spring semester of freshman year of college, declared a moratorium on all talk relating to my body, and have spent the time since then working on undoing all the damage she’d done. She’s planning to undergo WLS in the spring and I’m terrified for her, but at least we’re in a place where it’s not damaging to our relationship (although I expect she’d still be on me about the weight if I weren’t exhibiting some pretty severe mental health problems… an especially bitter silver lining).

    @DivaJean — I’m so sorry your H1N1 experience was so awful! I had it and it took me about a week to get back on food (but again, no significant weight loss… magic). Douchey doctors for the lose. :(

  102. So, a bit late to the game, but I needed this thread more than ANYTHING this week. So many thanks for that! I went to my parents for three days this week. I saw my brother last week. My brother, formerly known as the human garbage can, has lost 30 lbs. and apparently inherited my father’s ability to mansplain. Didn’t you know? It’s SO EASY! It’s just math! Calories IN, Calories OUT! It’s all about PORTION CONTROL! Really? *sigh* So I get to my parents and my dad managed to keep his trap shut about my weight for a total of 2 days! A record in the world of weight-related speeches. Then he asked if I was going back on WW. I said, no, I’m not going to diet again. But how will you lose weight? he asks. Let me explain that not wanting to lose weight is a foreign concept to him at the moment so I explained that I hoped the CPAP I’m getting at the start of the new year will give me more energy and I can go back to the gym (which I happen to love). That’s not going to work, he says. Then I get the same speech as above and finally I tell him about the yo-yo dieting, about the other health issues arising from dieting/starvation, I try to explain that there’s nothing wrong with me, and when he won’t drop the topic I tell him not to talk to me anymore. Unfortunately PMS and my beloved grandaddy having a minor stroke (we found out about it on the same day) resulted in tears.

    As I was heading to the airport my dad apologized and when I tried to explain that he didn’t need to worry about my body, because it’s mine, he Bursts. Into. Tears. I have never seen that man cry before in my life! He said he’s worried about my health. Because no matter what I say Fatty Fat-Fat = Death! I see that there is love behind all of these shenanigans, but my patience is wearing thin.

    So thank you lovely Shaplings for this excellent dose of sanity. I’ll pass on the articles for the moment.

  103. He said he’s worried about my health.

    Because parents are the worst concern trolls ever. TRUTH.

    I’m sorry that your visit with your parents was stressful, Sarah, and I hope your grandfather is okay.

  104. Miguel — part of the problem with 2nd wave feminism was that it tried to universalize the experience of white middle-class heterosexual cis women as being the experience of Women. All women. (At least, all the women who counted.) For example, the focus on working for pay outside the home completely failed to take into account the fact that poor women have always worked.

  105. =) Thanks Monica. My grandfather was doing okay. He had recovered most of the feeling in his face when I left. It wasn’t too bad, but still scary.

    I’ve finally gotten myself a copy of HAES. Maybe I’ll send it to my dad when I’m done. A girl can dream…

  106. Reading some of the other comments on here, I guess I can say I’m glad my father and stepmom are pretty supportive of whatever I do and love me unconditionally. Between gettng off birth control and suffering major stress-related calamities the past year, I gained about 60 pounds. I was willing to bet my father probably said shit behind my back and then I bluntly talked about FA and how I don’t let being fat stop me from anything. They just don’t bring it up.

    It was a LOT worse when I was a teen though. My abusive mother (who died in 2000, and I don’t miss her…I know I won’t get judged for a statement like that here) was 450 pounds but would always harp me about my weight! God, being 13/14 was enough of a nightmare to begin with and it was always some infantalising horseshit about how to get me to lose weight when neither of them did anything about their own. And looking back, man we ate total crap! And well, while poor metabolism runs in the family, on both sides no less, it wasn’t really my mom’s weight alone that drove her to an early grave but the fact that she was totally sedentary and took shitty care of herself. I’m a lot more active than my doctor (and morally superior douchebags) give me credit for and I eat better than most people I know, let alone her.

    Eating well and calorie counting is one thing, but it seems to me that those stupid plans cause a lot more mental distress than they’re worth: and STRESS is what causes you to gain weight and have a high blood pressure! None of those stupid diet plans or weight loss lectures EVER mention that! Along with all the unwanted side effects of most drugs; which is why I don’t take anything Rx unless I seriously have to. The same drugs that these chastising doctors try to push on us in the first place.

    On a tangent but somewhat related note, I was reading all those negative reviews for the Fatosphere book and just shook my head. Something I’d like to say? If you strive for long-term weight loss, good for you. It IS possible. For some. Everyone’s body is different, and these assjockeys don’t seem to understand that. In my case, my body has been resistant to losing weight because I always had a shitty metabolism– so what, doing lots of walking and lifting and eating mostly fresh vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products is just a moot point because I’m not losing weight while doing so?

    But even if one DOES outrightly choose to live a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle and they are fat as a result of it?

    We’re fucking adults. We deal with the happenstances of our actions. Which BTW, how does my being fat give justification to one of the said assclowns to complain? It’s not s/he who is living in my body, I am. And if I’m fine with being 255 pounds, so should they. Rambling on about “poor quality of life” and “deluded into thinking you’re healthy” is a pile of shit. I’m sooo tired of fat being seen like it’s some kind of social disease!

    And hand-in-hand with the thing I said about healthcare costs, well, where the fuck is the basis for “thin people get better jobs”?

    Prove it. Really, prove it to me. Show me some fucking evidence. I’m willing to bet there are fat people on companies’ boards of directors, just as there are fat lawyers and accountants (ditto right here.) A lot of CEOs are old fat white guys. But since they’re all those things, no one gives a shit abou them being fat; if there was a fat female CEO people would be shitting their pants over it saying BS like “she’ll let her company go like her body did”. Because you know, in this society, when you’re a woman, YOUR body has to be EVERYONE’S fucking business.

    Just because one can make time for the gym or eat nothing but lettuce, does not make them morally superior. Infantalising others for their circumstances– or even choices– is just a sign of insecurity.

  107. The octopi are slowly coming up with a plan to systematically subjugate and destroy humanity.

    Please tell me they’re not allying themselves with the Coconut Crabs, because we’re doomed otherwise.

  108. Sorry to be snarky (not much), but here’s Miguel translated: “I can’t be arsed doing research for the paper I’m supposed to write, so I’m going to head over to some random blog full of wimminz where Google found the word ‘feminism’, and I’m going to completely disregard the ongoing conversation to ask the ladeez to do my homework for me.”

  109. Count me as late, too. Regarding pregnancy, both my experiences were bad. With my daughter, I was young (22), scared, and uninformed. I had patronizing doctors who pushed me into a c-section even though they weren’t totally sure my daughter was overdue since I didn’t realize I was pregnant until >4 months along. And since my family was angry with me, I didn’t have any support to tell me that what was happening wasn’t good. This was in 1998, so the internet wasn’t as prevalent as it is now and I didn’t have a ton of access to other materials to help educate myself.

    With my son nine years later, I was more informed, but not clued in to FA. I had nurses refuse to touch me and harass me about my weight even though I’m healthy. I was sent to retest for gestational diabetes twice. I had no issues with being weighed because I knew that a large weight gain or loss in a short period of time could mean something was wrong, but at the end of every visit, I was told that I should think about what I should do to lose the weight postpartum. I ended up with another c-section because the hospital in my area won’t do VBAC.

    The diet industry can suck my left big toe. We should all band together and protest outside of every Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, LA Quick Weight Loss, etc a la Anonymous’s protest of Scientology. They pretty much have the same rap sheet – they prey on a ton of people looking for answers to their unhappiness, promise to change your life for a “small fee,” and refuse to accept responsibility for any of the pain, suffering, and deaths they’ve caused.

  110. @Sarah B.:”As I was heading to the airport my dad apologized and when I tried to explain that he didn’t need to worry about my body, because it’s mine, he Bursts. Into. Tears. I have never seen that man cry before in my life! He said he’s worried about my health. Because no matter what I say Fatty Fat-Fat = Death! I see that there is love behind all of these shenanigans, but my patience is wearing thin.”

    My parents have never been on my ass about my weight, but I got the Tears of Concern from my sister after she had WLS. She was smack in the middle of being the Weightloss Messiah and everything was coming up her and her life was going to be a wondrous unicorn-laden affair of joy and miracles and whatnot because SHE. WAS. THIN!!!! So of course she wanted me to experience that same wondrous unicorning. I just said “yeah, no thanks” (and this was pre-hardcore FA for me) and went about my business. Now, after realizing that WLSing didn’t result in the unicorns and rainbows as well as having fairly significant regain, my sister’s not quite so quick to dismiss my FA attitude or tout WLS as the most fantabulous thing ever invented.

  111. @Chloe Mirielle: Who do you think is providing the cocoanut shells to the octopi? The cocoanut crabs want to be on the good side of our soon to be lords and masters. MWHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

  112. Trix, that doesn’t seem fair. . .Miguel is here a lot and makes thoughtful and articulate contributions. It’s not “a random blog full of wimminz” if he’s here to call on the resources of the community he’s a part of, is it? And it *is* and open thread. . .

  113. Trix, I have to agree with aliciamaud. Miguel normally contributes to the threads regarding feminism and his contributions are generally funny and pointed. If this hadn’t been an open thread I probably wouldn’t have word-vomited my personal story in my first post.

    Speaking of…

    Jane: Tears of Concern. Perfect. That’s exactly what they were. It was so alarming because he doesn’t like people to see that he has emotions. It honestly didn’t change the fact that I’m not going losing weight. His concern is a house of cards on a foundation of sand.

  114. Trix said:

    Sorry to be snarky (not much), but here’s Miguel translated: “I can’t be arsed doing research for the paper I’m supposed to write, so I’m going to head over to some random blog full of wimminz where Google found the word ‘feminism’, and I’m going to completely disregard the ongoing conversation to ask the ladeez to do my homework for me.”

    That’s the trouble with babelfish; it’s riddled with fail. And, yes, I did mean to be snarky as I believe in truth in advertising.

    Miguel is a frequent and thoughtful contributor. Your response was bit much.

    We could all do better to reacquaint benefit with its long lost friend “of the doubt”

  115. An interesting post from the Consumers Report blog, apparently in the health care bill as it presently stands, ‘wellness programs’ can be used as a loophole to allow ‘medical underwriting,’ that is, denial of coverage based on health history:

    But it also allows another kind of “wellness program” that allows employers to penalize people who can’t satisfy a “standard that is related to a health status factor.” The bill says the penalty can be as much as 30 percent of the s health plan premium – more than $4,000 a year for a typical family plan. The penalty could be increased to as much as 50 percent if the secretaries of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services decide they want it to.

    And the bill doesn’t define ‘health status factor.’

  116. This time of year, all my slenderer friends seem to tweet, blog, and facebook status about food. Well, that’s always a popular subject, just moreso in midwinter. For some reason, I’m really noticing that this year; also how I simply don’t, even though I’m a pretty good, and adventurous, cook.
    I think I may venture into the uncharted waters of recipe-tweeting.

  117. Trix:
    Women’s Studies has produced a massive and complex body of academic work, in my mind, it makes complete sense to ask a group of people who are probably passingly familiar with it for assistance when one is starting out. In an, I’m going to New Orleans and I know you have been there, could you recommend any good places to eat? kind of way.

    Frankly, I hope my students are this resourceful.

  118. I just had a quick question. Sorry to be wildly off topic, but something just occurred to me and I wondered if anyone had a thought on it. Does anyone feel that they have a body image that differs according to who they are with, and that certain people trigger an automatic reponse in you so you feel really different around them, almost as though you actually physically alter, if that doesnt sound too nutty. I mention this because I’ve realised that certain people have an effect on me and the way I see myself, and yet they may never have passed an opinion on me (non-verbally!), but I might feel either judged or approved of and therefore have an altered body image according to that feeling. Does anyone else do this? It needs sorting out, I know that, but I just wondered if others have this fluctuating body image bullshit?

  119. Speaking of charming family stories, yesterday my grandmother, who is the type of person who says “I’m not racist I have a lot of black friends*,” just to give you some background, and I were at a restuarant with my mom and some other family. She was telling a story about how security had treated her and my aunt at the airport (background on my aunt, she’s the worst person to travel with and probably was violating several rules. Also both her and my grandmother are extremely skinny due largely to serious health issues that they pride themselves on) and how they’d delayed them by checking her over when the metal detector went off. She’s tells this rambling story then at the end says, “But of course she was a 250 pound black woman.” Which of course prompted me to say “What does her being a 250 pound black woman have to do with anything?” Of course she felt that this woman was jealous of their sickly thinness, she never did explain what her being black had to do with it, and I didn’t get to ask because after I proclaimed, “That’s crap” my mom kicked me under the table.

    Family can be so difficult, I wish I was old enough to get drunk at christmas this year.

    *She has no black friends, but she is legally blind so it’s possible she thinks some of her friends are black.

  120. Paintmonkey: Hell yes. There’s a passage in “The Anomolies,” where one of the MCs says that the more people around you less “you” you become. I’ve been lately applying that to FA, when I’m around a few friends I generally feel good (granted they aren’t the type of friends you mentioned who can make you feel bad without even saying anything) add more people and I quickly become aware of how in the way my boobs are and how huge my hands are in comparison to my face (I have some weird insecurities).

    There are definitely people who when I’m around them I change even when not in large groups though. Oddly enough I feel pretty when I’m around my grandmother, sort of to spite her. I had one friend who whenever I was around her I felt ugly, even if it was just me and her. I don’t know why or how it happens, but some people can literally transform you.

    Trix: If I have questions about sexism, or ablism or what have you, I come here. I love open threads for that reason. No one has gotten angry with it that I know of, and it shouldn’t be different for Miguel just because he’s male.

  121. Paintmonkey wrote:

    “Does anyone feel that they have a body image that differs according to who they are with, and that certain people trigger an automatic reponse in you so you feel really different around them, almost as though you actually physically alter, if that doesnt sound too nutty. I mention this because I’ve realised that certain people have an effect on me and the way I see myself, and yet they may never have passed an opinion on me (non-verbally!), but I might feel either judged or approved of and therefore have an altered body image according to that feeling. Does anyone else do this? It needs sorting out, I know that, but I just wondered if others have this fluctuating body image bullshit?”

    Damn, woman! Get the hell out of my head!

    Not only does this happen to me, but I know I have been the unwitting cause of the same phenom in others on more than one occasion. It’s a freaky experience from either end.

    After all, it’s one thing when I preach FA knowingly. It’s entirely another when I see people either blossom with confidence or curl up into a bundle of nerves at my approach. And for all my FA zeal and fervor, there are still people whose mere presence makes me feel huge and hulking even if I’m smaller in every direction than they are.

    I guess it’s just more of the fucked-up social conditioning we all get from day 0. I guess it also means that as we combat the social conditioning, eventually it will become less common.

  122. I should add … regarding the 530 calorie a day diet (insane), that the AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) recommends for toddlers that they consume about 40 calories per inch of height. That comes out to at least 1000 calories a day. Of course, they recommend very nutrient dense foods and nothing fried or overly processed. And a serving size for a toddler is 1 tablespoon. Toddlers generally have very high metabolisms and are very active, but still … no way should a grown person weighing 150 pounds MORE than my 22lb, 14 month old be consuming HALF of what she is eating. Yes, you will lose weight if you eat that way … because your body is STARVING; the only reason people don’t die on 500 calorie a day diets is because they eventually have to go back to eating a healthy amount of food.

  123. I’ve been exploring FA, HAES, and intuitive eating for the past month or so. It’s changed my life for the healthier and happier. So first of all, great grateful thanks to all of you (this blog has been my main resource).

    Now, a question. I’m heading home for Christmas tomorrow. I so very desperately want to share what I’ve learned with my fat father, fat stepmother, and borderline-“overweight” 14-year-old sister, who has been undergoing extensive treatment for anorexia for… a little over a year now.

    I know it’ll be hard at first — and probably made harder by the fact that I’m thin, myself. What’s the best way to begin countering the culturally ingrained insanity over fatness? (In my sister’s case, I should probably try to be as oblique and subtle as possible; explicit discussion of weight/food/exercise can still be very triggering for her.) Does anyone have any advice and/or anecdotes?

  124. @Alibelle: “*She has no black friends, but she is legally blind so it’s possible she thinks some of her friends are black.”


    Also, I have to say the other day I was talking with a very good friend of mine (GF) who was upset because a mutual friend (MF) of ours is having a hard time in her marriage and with life in general, and has taken to comfort eating. My GF went off on a tear about how our MF has gained a ton of weight. What shocked me was when my GF said she could no longer “relate” to our MF because she just sits around eating crap all the time. I said something about the emotional eating and weight gain not being the problem; our friend’s unhappiness and distress was the problem, and what she needed was support. This seemed to fall on deaf ears. I am still puzzled as to why my GF can no longer relate to our MF, whom she’s known for many years, just because she is not eating healthy food and has gained weight.

    It really made me think about how important FA is. I mean, I’m not all the way there with it yet, but bottom line, people shouldn’t be judged for what they eat and/or what they weigh. What’s really ironic is that my GF used to be rather fat herself for years, but lost weight in the last few years due to becoming a localvore, sugar-less, raw, organic, slow cooking, health nut. She is MUCH happier now than she was when she was fat, and I think she just assumes that anyone who is fat is as miserable as she was? I don’t know. I was very perturbed by this, and wished FA was more of a household term.

  125. @hsofia: I’m betting that your GF is afraid of catching your MF’s ‘fat cooties.’ After all, there have been several (quite suspect) studies in the past few years designed to make people fear fat friends as much as they do fatty foods because just being around fat people will apparently spontaneously make you fat, too. If your GF is in a honeymoon period with a major weight loss, then she’s probably afraid that being around MF will destroy her new-found happiness.

    I like your approach to the situation much more. It actually involves both empathy and concern for a fellow human being. But I pity your GF nearly as much as your MF, because she’s drinking the Kool Aid. I hate to think what will happen if she finds a few years down the line that being a locavore (which, hey, I’m not against in any way) and obsessing over every calorie doesn’t keep her thin forever (as most diets don’t for the vast majority of people). She’s been sold on the FoBT and FoBF (Fantasy of Being Thin and Fear of Being Fat). Most people are sold on these two conjoined concepts. It’s hard to overcome them. It’s easy to spend your life being enslaved by them.

  126. @A-Mac

    I look forward to what other Shapelings put forth. I would suggest you give the gift of compassionate presence to your family, since you are new to FA / HAES and will be seeing them with a new lens. If you are willing to be there and listen – and of course, NOT engage in shaming, “good food bad food” body-hatred talk, etc – you can come away with an increased awareness of how your family speaks and operates, and ruminate a bit further on the best course of action.

    It depends on your persona and your family, of course. Maybe a more direct approach would be a good thing for your family; it doesn’t seem to work with mine. I challenge my mom’s dieting / thinness assumptions and even though I do it gently, it is met with defensiveness. Only time will tell how much influence I really have.

    I look forward to hearing what other people advise.

  127. @hsofia Isn’t it obvious your GF probably relates all too well to what your MF is doing (or appears to be doing)? And she is fearful / judgy / terrified? Or am I reading this wrong?

  128. Ooh, everyone who hasn’t before should go read that summary on the Minnesota Experiment (linked above by Megan) (

    I’d seen references to it before, but never read a breakdown as nice as that–brief but covers all the major questions you’d have.

    Key things that jumped out at me: As Megan noted, 1800 calories OMG deprivation! They were enforcing 22 mi of walking a week and estimating 3000ish calories expended per day, for whatever that’s worth.

    The goal of the experimenters, aiming at “semistarvation,” was a weight loss of 3 pounds a week. I have been “informed” in the past that an easy, healthy weight loss rate is around 2 pounds a week. These guidelines, so tricky.

    Second thing:

    “As semistarvation progressed, the enthusiasm of the participants waned; the men became increasingly irritable and inpatient with one another and began to suffer the powerful physical effect of limited food. Carlyle Frederick remembered “… noticing what’s wrong with everybody else, even your best friend. Their idiosyncrasies became great big deals … little things that wouldn’t bother me before or after would really make me upset.” Marshall Sutton noted, “… we were impatient waiting in line if we had to … and we’d get disturbed with each other’s eating habits at times … I remember going to a friend at night and apologizing and saying, ‘Oh, I was terrible today, and you know, let’s go to sleep with other thoughts in our minds.’ We became, in a sense, more introverted, and we had less energy. I knew where all the elevators were in the buildings.” The men reported decreased tolerance for cold temperatures, and requested additional blankets even in the middle of summer. They experienced dizziness, extreme tiredness, muscle soreness, hair loss, reduced coordination, and ringing in their ears. Several were forced to withdraw from their university classes because they simply didn’t have the energy or motivation to attend and concentrate (3).”

    That… doesn’t sound at all familiar from my own ill-fated experiments with calorie restriction.*

    Third thing:
    One of the participants was later excluded [from the official results of the experiment] because his pattern of weight loss was not consistent with the amount of food intake and energy expenditure, and there was concern raised about excessive gum chewing.

    Oh my dear lord. They were literally starving them, and doing the science that would become foundational for a lot of metabolism-type science to follow, and… they excluded the guy who for some mysterious reason didn’t drop the weight. Not enough headdesk in the world, as they say.

    (In defense of the term “excessive,” “Initially the participants were allowed to chew gum, but some of the men began chewing up to 40 packages/d.” In defense of the idea that he was “cheating with gum,” WTF I’M NOT DEFENDING THAT)

    *Please note: I am not intending to compare the scope or seriousness of my experiences with the sufferings of people restricted at the level of the participants in this experiment, or to actually starving people

  129. @A-Mac – you have to proceed with caution. One thing I’d say is don’t expect to change any mindsets over night or over a weekend. FA isn’t something that clicks with people right off the bat. The first time I read about it, I was like, “Yeah, right.”

    Also, I think it might be helpful to have a story about why you have accepted FA, versus a pitch for why THEY should accept FA. My story is this: I noticed one day that my beloved toddler was looking at herself in the mirror (an activity she loves, like all toddlers) and she was delighted. She put her hand to her chest and smiled, as if to say, “That’s me; wonderful me!” and I realized that I wanted her to have that perspective, always. But how likely was she to see herself that way when I look into the mirror and frown, or fuss at myself, or sigh, or try to find something to wear that makes me “look thinner?” Not likely. So I realized I had to change my own thinking if I wanted my child to continue to love herself the way she does now, without vanity.

    That’s how I shared the concept of FA with my husband, in-laws, parents, and several of my friends, and no one has ever said anything negative about it. I didn’t even use the words “fat acceptance.” I just told them I was done with dieting; getting good nutrition and moving my body was enough. So far, everyone has agreed – sometimes with what seems to be a sigh of relief! They all love my daughter, too, and none of us want to see her to succumb to self-hatred. I was really concerned about my in-laws, who were perpetually dieting, but remarkably, they seem to have stopped dieting and dieting talk. And it’s important for them to know that I’m not going to judge them for their weight, esp. my teenage sister in law who has dieted in the past (with my help, I’m ashamed to say).

    So my suggestion is to tell a story, don’t preach.

  130. Correction – I meant to say, FA isn’t something that clicks with everyone right off the bat.

    @Kelly – I don’t know, maybe it is obvious. I don’t want to assume too much from my own limited perspective, but what you’re saying makes sense. When I’ve gained weight in the past, I’ve not been more unhappy than when I was thinner, so in my mind fat = miserable isn’t a logical equation. Even right now I’m fatter than usual but my level of happiness is about the same as when I was 20 pounds lighter. But maybe for my GF fatness is a “trigger” that brings up a lot of painful emotions for her. So the “fear” that you mention may be very real for her. If so, I don’t know how to help her with that, esp. when I want her to stop being abusive toward our MF.

  131. bellacoker – now I want to make New Orleans restaurant recommendations! (there’s a place called Cochon that has a ham hock that I seriously dream about. So happy…)

  132. When I’ve gained weight in the past, I’ve not been more unhappy than when I was thinner, so in my mind fat = miserable isn’t a logical equation… [snip]

    But maybe for my GF fatness is a “trigger” that brings up a lot of painful emotions for her. So the “fear” that you mention may be very real for her. If so, I don’t know how to help her with that, esp. when I want her to stop being abusive toward our MF.

    Anyone who believes fat/fatter = miserable is incorrect, of course, although a lot of people hold that belief. It sounds like your MF is a bit unhappy, and is fat or fatter or in some “other” category for your GF, and your GF is projecting her FoBT all over the place. At least, that’s what I was trying to convey earlier about fear etc… but I’m getting LESS articulate the more I type!

    As far as helping her / stopping the abuse of your MF, there are as many approaches there as there are friendships and personas. I know for myself, it has helped to say things like, “It sounds like the thought of being fat / fatter is really, really scary to you.” And when it comes to friends: “I am really uncomfortable with how you’re talking about our friend,” has done the trick. And like any challenge, I usually wait to hear the response… it helps guide the conversation.

  133. A-Mac: I’m with hsofia — don’t present it as something they should do, which is hard to hear; present it as something you’re doing. Along the lines of, “Oh, I decided to stop making myself miserable about what size/weight I am or am not. I’ve decided to move the goalposts instead: eating nutritious foods that give me enough energy to get through my day, getting some kind of physical activity that I can enjoy (vs boring myself to death on a treadmill), and aiming for healthy blood pressure/cholesterol/whatever. And I’ll just be whatever size I wind up as.” I’ve said roughly that to several people. If they seem interested in the idea, I recommend looking up HAES, which I present as the idea that weight and health are not the same thing, and that being healthy is a more important goal.

  134. Shena:
    I like Juan’s Flying Burrito on Magazine and Acme Oyster House, even though it has become increasingly chain-y.


    I would advise leading by example. Even if we think we have the best answer to interacting with food, it’s still out of bounds to comment on other people’s choices unless we are asked directly. When my dearest and closest relations talk about their diets, I will sometimes say that I don’t want them to feel like they have failed if the diet doesn’t work or if they regain the weight because of the 90+% statistic. For more distant relations, I just say I hope everything works out the way that they want, and leave it at that. All while trying to be a positive representative of what I believe and policing my personal boundaries, of course.

  135. Paintmonkey:

    As to body image, and I’ve heard women friends of different sizes express this, I feel vastly more able to act “femmy” and fragile and accept assistance and cry and such around people who are larger than me.

    When I’m around people my size or smaller I feel like it would be embarrassing to act like I need something. I turn into Lil’ Miss Efficient Frickin’ Drill Sergeant when I’m the largest person in the room. I guess I feel like I already take up enough physical space and so I can’t take up any emotional space either, and have to be super-controlled and completely the adult at all times and compensate for it that way.

    Anyone else feel the same, or am I just super-neurotic?

  136. bellacoker – Haven’t been to Acme, do love Casamentos (the first time I went I tried every version of oyster that they served. It was awesome). Also incredibly fond of Felipe’s and Martinique in Uptown. Now I want to try Juan’s Flying Burrito!

  137. Shena: Oh, do! It’s good, cheap, and run by punk rockers. I’m gonna put Casamentos on my list. I live in Central Texas now and we have a dearth of good oysters.

  138. re feeling different around different sized friends …
    Hmm … I’m very self-conscious when I’m with a friend who is very small in size (she eats mostly vegetables and fruit + works out like a fiend due to a back injury that causes major pain if she doesn’t). Her body twin is Eliza Dushku, and I feel like a giant compared to her, and because her overall appearance is very minimal and neat, I also feel like a hippie slob in her presence with my african hair and big booty. I can’t think of anything she’s ever done or said that would indicate she’s even thinking about this, so I guess it’s just my issue.

    But most of my friends I feel just fine around. I have friends who weigh 80 lbs ess than I do, and friends who weigh 80 lbs more than I do, so I guess I feel “average.” Where it really affected me was in dating. I didn’t want to date anyone (I’m hetero) who was shorter or more slender than I was. I went on a date with a really great guy who liked me very much, but I just couldn’t get over the fact that he was the same height as me, and thinner (very wiry). If he had been heftier or bulkier, I could’ve gotten past it, but as he was, I felt huge. Truth be told, we were probably within ten pounds of each other in weight, but he had very low body fat. I definitely bought into the man-must-be-taller-stronger mentality. I ended up marrying someone who is 8+ inches taller than me and therefore always likely to be “bigger” than me, even if he’s thin and I’m fat.

  139. hsofia, I get you on the smaller men thing. My problem is, I like smaller men, and my partner is 2 inches shorter and about 40 pounds lighter than I am. But sometimes, I see our naked bodies in the same place, and I just feel so huge and icky.

  140. A-Mac:

    I’m not sure I have much advice for you that hasn’t already been said, but I just wanted to tell you I teared up a bit hearing about your sister. The fact that she’s both “borderline overweight” AND in serious treatment for anorexic behavior makes me feel so good. (Wow that sounds bad–I, of course, am not happy that your sister is struggling with an ED, but I am thrilled she’s been able to get treatment!)

    [ED Trigger Warning]
    This is because, when I was your sister’s age, I began severely restricting my food. Most school days, I wouldn’t eat anything but maybe an apple until dinner time, and then eat as little as I possibly could to get excused from the table. For nearly 4 years, I never ate a single full meal. I was also working out compulsively–spending at least 4 hours a day either in dance rehearsals or at the gym. I was sick all the time–anemic, exhausted, pale.I passed out in rehearsal on more than one occasion. I missed so much school I had to repeat a year. My parents took me to all sorts of doctors, but not a single one ever asked me if I was getting enough to eat. A few admonished me to quit junk food and get more exercise, but nobody asked what I was already doing. I was tested for mono and other chronic illnesses, but everything always came up (relatively) clean. My doctors started implying I was a hypochondriac.

    Throughout all this, I had lost some weight, but not a lot. I had started at about a size 16 Jr and dropped down to maybe a 12. I was still “the fat girl” in dance class.

    When I was 17, I entered into a healthy relationship and seeing myself through his eyes began to accept that I was sick and really needed help. Terrified of being judged, I made an appointment with the family doctor without telling my parents. I told him “I think I’m anorexic, and I think I need help.” He looked at me with a smirk and said “You’re not anorexic. If you were anorexic, you’d be thin.” He kept talking, but that’s all I heard. He handed me a few pamphlets before leaving the room. One was entitled “A Guide to Healthy Weight-loss” the other was “Coping with your Binge-Eating Disorder”. I was humiliated. I never told anyone else.

    Strengthened by my healthy relationship and improving self esteem, my eating habits gradually normalized, but I still struggle. I discovered Fat Acceptance in college and it undoubtedly saved me from a full relapse. I credit FA with saving both my sanity and my life. I still harbor anger and resentment towards the medical establishment for abandoning me when I needed help, but hearing stories like your sisters–hearing about non-emaciated anorexics being recognized and treated–it gives me a little bit of hope and makes me feel just a little bit validated. So thank you for sharing that.

    As to how you can help–that’s tricky, especially if you’re not involved directly in her treatment. Probably the best thing you can do is to embody the FA mentality. Monitor how you talk about food and how you talk about bodies. Body criticism (of ANYBODY) is never OK. Even body praise is kind of iffy because it still sends the message that bodies are for judging. Talk about food in terms of tastiness and satisfaction. NEVER in terms of morality or virtue. Nutrition talk is also pretty iffy–at least it was for me. Also, avoid commenting on what your sister does/doesn’t eat. Even if comments are supposed to be supportive, all it does is reinforce her impression that people notice and judge her consumption.

    Anyway, I’ve yammered on long enough… please take all this with a grain of salt–it’s all just from my personal experience/point of view, I’m not at all qualified to be giving objective advice.

    I guess all of that is to say

  141. @Miguel: there is no such book as The FEMINIST Mystique as far as I know. You are probably thinking of The FEMININE Mystique.

    For basic jumping off points, I would start with the Feminism 101 blog. Skim through it until you find a few points that interest you, and use their links and/or google the specific points you’re looking for.

    One of the big changes that I see is the way it’s gone from being a middle class, able bodied, cis-gendered, white woman’s movement, to everybody’s movement. (Well, not quite – there are still a lot of problems.) Try checking out some of the other “non-standard” POV blogs, like Racialicious and FWD/Forward. I’m afraid I don’t know any good blogs for trans issues, unfortunately, but that’s an important demographic that is increasingly becoming part of the greater feminist movement (which I think is a good thing).

    @Trix: I didn’t recognize Miguel’s name and I had the same reaction you did, but after reading aliciamaud74’s comment I went back through a few threads and did a search for his name and he has actually been contributing positively to the blog for at least a little while. And he seems to “get it”, from the few comments of his that I’ve read.

    General, off topic: I don’t think I’ve whined much here about my AWFUL, AWFUL job that I hate, but suffice to say it is terrible. Today I was offered a new, very similar job, except that the bosses are good people, the location is a million times better, and the work is slightly easier. And the hours and pay are the same. WOOHOO!

  142. Mcfly: That’s awesome! I’ve been in that situation before so I totally understand the relief you’re feeling. Congratulations and best of luck!

  143. hsofia:

    I think a lot of that weirdness goes back to the cultural ideal that women “should” be smaller than men; which was supported by fact when there wasn’t enough food to go around and a large proportion of the food that was available went to men so they could do physical labors.

    I read something that said the Swedes are many feet taller than their ancestors, to the point that they can’t stand up in some of their older buildings, because they now have year round access to, well, food.

    Not to say there is anything wrong with your personal preferences at all.

  144. Re: Size weirdness.

    I find that my insecurity comes directly from the knowledge of how other people perceive me. I’m totally comfortable in my skin around those who don’t care about my size and extremely insecure around those who do, i.e. my dad. If I don’t know then I don’t really worry about it. I did call myself fat in passing around some male friends at school and laughed as I watched them all outwardly cringe. If I were 50 lbs lighter (still fat, just not as) they would have put up a fight out of politeness, but not now. I thought it was funny how uncomfortable THEY were.

    As for men, I have always preferred tall, skinny guys. I get a little self-concious when there are no clothes involved, but that sometimes goes with time. Oddly, most of my boyfriends have been the same height as me.

  145. McFly and Trix: On another thread just a bit ago he mentioned he just turned 17…so I think it’s awesome he’s trying to learn about this stuff. Would that I had found SP and feminist theory 20 years ago myself! (:

  146. @Shena, bellacoker – Don’t forget Mother’s. Best jambalaya in the world – last time I was there I even brought some all the way back to California.

    The things where other people make you see yourself differently is wierd, but quite common I suspect. Part of it is probably just that we tend to set our internal idea of what’s “normal” based on our surroundings, so it’s easy for it to reset based on who we’re around. One interesting question is, if you’re aware that you’re triggering someone else’s “I hate myself because I’m not X enough/too X” feelings, is there anything you can actually do to minimise that? Because often it’s not based on anything the other person actually says or does, it’s just sort of a reaction to their physical presence.

  147. Oh, sorry if i offended anyone. I realize that me asking for help could have been taken like that. I just wanted to get an idea if I was heading in the right direction since I have only recently started reading about feminism, and wanted to make sure I was understanding the way it has changed from the second wave to now. Thanks for all your help! Now I just need to do some more research and look into the historical context of everything to try to see what prompted the change.

    Mcfly: yeah, you’re right. It was a typo. whoops! when my teacher recomended it to me, she refered to it as the ‘Feminine Critique’ which was

  148. A little late to the party, but re: 800 calorie a day diets – I was put on one by a “doctor” (and I use that term loosely) when I was about 21/22. Looking back on it now, I must have been insane: 800 cals and less than 10 g of fat per day, plus diet pills. It was a christmas “gift” from my dad (yeah, thanks dad, gotta love those kind of gifts), and I did lose some weight – Of course I also started having random blackouts, including one in the shower and one where I hit my head on the wall. Funny, nobody (family or doctor) seemed concerned about any of that as long as I was still losing weight…

  149. Thanks for all your comments -it is strangely comforting to hear other people do it too….

    It’s like being Gulliver, but without all the travelling.

  150. Currently popular in my small town is human chorionic gonadotropin injections provided by the local obstetrician and accompanied by a 500 kcal diet. I told her partner politely that this was proven to be ineffective by double blind placebo controlled trials and he walked away annoyed. Of course, this treatment is a cash cow. It is also a disaster waiting to happen. It is the only way I know of for an obstetrician to get male patients too.

    A patient came in to see me last week wanting to start a diet and medications in preparation for WLS. I gave her the statistics on mortality from the latest VA study and tried to convince her of other options. I explained the principles of HAES and wrote down the name of the book for her. However, she could not be dissuaded. I don’t resort to scare tactics with patients so I simply laid out the facts for her regarding the surgery and its aftermath, use of medications for weight loss, chances for long term success and what I felt were better options. I gave her the address for In the end I felt like I had an informed patient and we reluctantly proceeded down the path I didn’t like.

    By the way, before you chastise me, keep in mind that the published guidelines ( actually support her decision. As her physician I don’t make her decisions for her. I give her my honest opinion which is counter to the government’s and other august bodies. But in the end, she is responsible for her own health and can choose (at least for now) how she will proceed. Other patients have actually taken my advice to follow HAES principles. By giving such advice I come across as a quack to some of my peers, something I accept.

  151. So my stepbrother and I are going to start swimming together a couple of times a week in the New Year. (Something I love.) I’m also going to sign up for a pilates class (something I also really like). So now I’m getting excited about getting into shape and being more fit an all that, especially for a big family vacation we’re taking in the spring that will be full of us doing super active stuff.

    But all this got me thinking – is the Fantasy of Being Fit any different from the Fantasy of Being Thin? I want my body to change, but I don’t want to be skinny – I just want to be able to run up more than two flights of stairs without getting extra winded and be able to learn to snowboard without falling over after 30 feet because my quads are too sore to keep my knees properly bent.

  152. I think for most people the Fantasy of Being Fit is different from the Fantasy of Being Thin in that their fitness goals are much more reasonable than their thinness goals. People also don’t seem to berate themselves so harshly for failing to achieve fitness goals, more easily recognizing that the goals were unrealistic when they strain a muscle or whatever (and often it’s the short-term goal that’s unrealistic – they can achieve the over all goal, but rushed it).

    But that could just be the people I hang out with. I know there are people who set pretty harsh fitness goals as well, but all the ones I’ve know who did that were trying to lose weight (and, I sometimes suspect, punish themselves), rather than focusing on fitness for the sake of fitness.

  153. HI, thanks for the open thread. Haven’t yet read all I’d like to in the archives, so I do have questions.

    And forgive me if I get things wrong :-/

    You talk about health at any size. Does that mean you think it is ok to change one’s diet in order to become more healthy?

    I’m not healthy – I know my diet sucks. It would scare most people – fat or thin. But do I just love myself anyway, or should I try to change? And this isn’t just (or even at all) about the size I might become. It is about health.

  154. @atmosphere – Interesting question re Fantasy of Being Thin vs. Fantasy of Being Fit. I think the latter is probably less harmful in that there is not the immense social and societal pressure to be fit, and also that measuring fitness is not so much about appearances as it is actual ability – something that’s more difficult to convey than thinness. People can be really fit without the six pack and the muscle-bound body – which increasingly tends to be what people think of when they think of “fit” just because it’s easy to photograph that type of body and put it on the cover of a magazine.

    I hope that our society doesn’t start to slide into using “fit” as a euphemism for thin. I’d like to see physical fitness be treated like cooking or playing a musical instrument – you get to determine what level of fitness ability you want, and you don’t have to compete, and it’s something you do because you enjoy it. For some people, physical fitness IS going to be an occupation, and that’s okay, but it’s not going to be that way for most people.

  155. @Henrietta – there’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat higher quality foods or more vegetables, etc. I think wanting to eat food that makes you feel good is equivalent to wanting to wash your face and hair on a regular basis. Eating healthy food is to dieting for weight loss as washing your face is to getting a nose job.

    Just my opinion, of course!

  156. hsofia, maybe this is a regional thing, but I think our society already HAS slid into using “fit” to mean thin. At least, when I was doing the online dating thing a couple of years ago, the men who were too polite to say “no fat chicks need apply” but not so open-minded (or in touch with their own attractions) as for fat to be a non-issue, frequently used “fit” to mean “thin.” The most glaring incident of this for me was when a guy wrote after I contacting him, recognizing that we had a mutual friend, and he wrote back “Sorry, but it’s hard to tell from a picture whether you are the right one for me. I’m looking for someone very fit.” Now, my profile had all kinds of stuff about activities I was into—dancing, yoga, biking, hiking—I’m really active—so I could only assume he was talking about my size. (And “it’s hard to tell from a picture whether you are the right one”? No shit, Sherlock.) This was affirmed when he invited me to an art opening (he was the featured artist) so he could check me out from a distance, without the commitment of, say, buying me a coffee.


    Another guy used “fit” in his profile, and I wasn’t quick enough to catch it; ended up spending our first (ONLY) date hearing details of his own weight loss, being grilled about my own “weight loss goals”, and listening to his boiled greens recipes. Pretty grim.

  157. @CassandraSays – I will add Mother’s to my list. There’s a new place that opened called Coulis and it has a pulled pork eggs benedict. It’s really good. Usually thinking about New Orleans gives me terrible food jealousy, as I live in KC, but I had dim sum for lunch and it is impossible for me to be unhappy.

  158. so… I kinda poured mt heart out into a comment yesterday. It spent a long time “waiting for moderation” and now it’s gone entirely. Obviously you guys have no obligation to post anything, but I’m a little hurt and would kind of like to know what I did wrong. I don’t comment much, but I’ve visited the blog daily for years and, as I mentioned in my novel of a comment yesterday, this blog and Fat Acceptance in general is hugely, hugely important in my life. I know this post is probably poor blog etiquette, and I’ve spent a while trying to convince myself not to post it, but I just keep coming back to a vague feeling of hurt and rejection and I’d really like to know if my story was somehow inappropriate for the blog.


  159. MissaSoprano:

    I totally understand. I struggled with major bulimia at the point in my life when I was actually by far the largest I’d ever been, and got much the same reaction: that only those tiny, frail anorexics are the ones with “real” problems, and the rest of us are just gross fatties gone wild.

    I’m so sorry that that happened to you, and I’m glad you’re doing better.

  160. Thanks for the perspective on Thin vs. Fit. Alicia Maud, I would say that where I am, fit also means thin. Maybe that’s why I’m having feeling a bit uneasy. I used to be very, very active, and though I’m not going back to that level, I know that my body will change and I’m looking forward to the changes. I think I’m ok though, because I know that even if I ate 800 calories a day and went to the gym all day every day, I’d still have wide hips, big boobs and man calves. I do basically nothing now and still have calves so muscly I can’t wear a lot of boots. Oh, and it pains me so not to be able to wear some of the tall boots out right now.

    I used to share an office with a woman who had lost a dramatic amount of weight. She told me she ate about 1000 calories a day, most of it yogurt, tuna (mixed with nothing) and protein powder, and that I only needed 1200 calories a day. It was all I could do not to laugh in her face. And while I like tuna and yogurt, the thought of eating nothing but that for the rest of my life makes me shudder.

  161. But – *should* I want to eat better quality food?t Should I try to eat more veg?

    Or should I just love myself the way I am?

    Why – and this is a genuine question – is it wrong to persue the FoBT; but good to persue the Fantasy of Being Fit and Healthy?

    For me, they are both fantasies

    And everyone knows (sarcasm) that you die from not being thin and not being healthy.

    I know everyone dies.

    How do I / should I/ what would you as a community advise me – how do I deal with the fantasy of being healthy and well and well nourished and eating a balanced diet and exercising, moving without pain and all that.

    I eat trash. And I hardly move, other than my fingers on my laptop.

    Is that ok, if it is what I choose?

    Is it not ok, cos I am only choosing it cos I have no choice?

    Is it not ok cos I would be happier and live longer if I chose differently?

    Or is it ok cos it is my damned life and if I chose to live fast and die young; and be obese *and* unhealthy and never exercise, eat a crap diet and drink far too much, well that is up to me, and society should stop telling me (us) how to live, what to eat or not eat; how much to drink or not drink (seriously – does anyone manage to stick to three glasses of wine a week or whatever the government’s recommended limit is? Not me) ?

    I honestly don’t know. And need advice. And lol, I know you guys will hit me with the truth, even if it hurts me.


  162. MissaSoprano – I liked your long post and I’m glad you wrote it. I have to admit my stomach sank when I heard how your doctor invalidated your brave and honest request for help. Sad thing is, I’ll bet many health care professionals have done the same.

    Oh and just so you know, I have obsessed on when my comments don’t show, and why (not on this blog but in other places), so I totally get it.

    Henrietta – you are in no obligation to other people to change your health. That’s bullocks. Love yourself first (if you can – it can be hard to do!). Whatever follows will be your right choices for you.

    & yeah, I drink more than 3 glasses of wine a week. :-)

  163. @Henrietta – just my opinion again, but I think ultimately it is always your choice. You don’t have to get the approval of anyone here. If good health isn’t something you want, what could any of us do about it – even if we wanted to?

  164. @MissaSoprano — I’m so sorry you had to go through that, but I totally understand the relief you must be feeling to know that you’re not the only fat anorexic. It never got that bad for me in terms of actual symptoms, but I’m pretty convinced that I was anorexic for about six months in eighth grade. I only lost ~20 lbs (see above re: not starving on the tundra) and I wasn’t exercising as much but I was skipping lunches and eating super little and bingeing weekly at family Shabbat dinner on Friday nights and it was awful. But then I had a breakdown on my 14th birthday and was diagnosed with depression, and the Zoloft made it impossible for me not to eat. I was headed down the road to relapse after a seminar about using economics principles to get fatties to lose weight when I stumbled upon Shapely Prose. I haven’t looked back.

    @Bob — Are you actually a doctor who espouses FA/HAES and advises against WLS? That probably came off as really rude but it’s kind of shocking that you exist. But exciting, definitely. You’re like a unicorn. I’ll stop now.

    @Henrietta — I think it’s important to remember that health is a continuum, not a black-and-white thing. It’s not like you either eat organic salads picked from your own backyard every meal of every day of every week of every year and are Healthy, or eat nothing but fast food every meal of every day of every week of every year and are Unhealthy. Most people (myself included) are somewhere in between. For me, it varies day to day, week to week. I’ll have weeks where I eat almost no junk food and weeks where I eat almost nothing but junk food and weeks where I eat nothing but protein drinks and Clif bars and weeks where I eat three square meals every day.

    It’s a lot easier to say than to do, but live in the moment, and don’t worry about expending yourself beyond your means. One thing I’ve read at FWD/Forward is that taking care of yourself is a feminist act, and that holds true for whatever “taking care of yourself” means.

    But in terms of FA/HAES, my understanding is that it’s absolutely okay to change your diet to try to become more healthy, because health is the ultimate goal– as long as you understand what health means for you, and that changes in weight may or may not be a part of it. I found that once I began to understand FA/HAES, and think about eating intuitively, I ate a lot more salads– not because I wanted to be skinnier, but because once I didn’t feel like I was under pressure to eat them, I was able to really enjoy them.

    There are a lot of really amazing posts about eating intuitively here, and I encourage you to find and read them as you have time. One of the biggest things for me was realizing that intuitive eating doesn’t mean eating everything you think about eating; part of it is realizing that you can have a candy bar, but you also have the freedom to say no to that candy bar, because it will be there when you really do want it. The other thing that’s really stuck with me is that it’s “okay,” under intuitive eating, to eat vegetables even if your stomach doesn’t want to because it makes you feel like you are taking care of yourself.

    But HAES, as I understand it, implies that being healthy isn’t necessarily a fantasy, as long as you understand what is realistic for you. Under FA, there is no *obligation* to be healthy for any value of health. So it just depends on what you want to embrace.

  165. Where I am (Bay Area) “fit” seems to mean “will be willing to go hiking/mountain biking with me every weekend”. The guys who mention “fit” mostly seem to be sporty/outdoorsy types looking for women who’ll be willing to spend most of their spare time doing sporty things with them – ie. I’d fail the “fit” test despite being fairly thin, because of my complete lack of desire to participate in any athletic activity that involves getting out of bed before noon at the weekend. Which hey, they are making demands in terms of who they’ll go out with, but at least they mostly seem to be looking for women who share their interests rather than screening for weight.

    Here the men who want women to be thin and don’t care whether or not those women are athletically inclined seem to feel no shame about openly saying so. It’s pretty damn obnoxious on the dating scene here as far as weight is concerned, honestly – maybe because we’re so close to LA their (totally unrealistic) standards rub off on people here. I’ve seen men openly list the maximum weight/size a woman is “allowed” to be for a certain height on multiple occasions – there was one who even posted a mathematical formula, as in X pounds per Y inches of height. I did the math and it worked out to a maximum of 125 pounds for a woman who’s 5ft 9. Gee, wonder why he didn’t get many replies?

    They also occasionally post on craigslist dating section just to whine about most women here not being thin enough to meet their standards. Not even in the format of a dating post, just plain bitching that omg all women in the Bay Area are too fat (and insufficiently friendly, and don’t smile enough, and don’t wear sexy enough clothes to work). I love this area in many ways but damn a lot of the men are spoiled, whiny, entitlement-having asses.

  166. @MissSoprano – I’m really glad you’ve found a sense of support here, because honestly, the medical field’s refusal to expand the definition of anorexia to include people whose behavior clearly fits the profile but who aren’t underweight is a huge failing on their part that’s preventing a lot of people from getting the treatment they need. I never became technically underweight when I was anorexic either (see – tundra, survival on – my weight seems to usually stay in about a 20 pound range regardless of food intake, exercise levels etc), but I had stretches of time when all I was eating was bananas, chicken stock cubes dissolved in water and the occasional Ryvita. Even if you never become underweight that kind of behavior can still kill you, as demonstrated above. Even with the definitions set the way they are now anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and I honestly wonder how many more people could be added to that statistic if the medical profession would admit that people who have all the classic symptoms other than being underweight are, in fact, anorexic.

    Also it’s always seemed wierd and illogical that people who’re bulimic and not underweight can be officially classified as bulimic (and thus be eligable for treatment) but people who’re anorexic can’t.

  167. @shutupmonica – you are so right … eating healthy is something you do, it’s not something you are. There is no reason to eat 100% “healthy” foods. I don’t know anyone who does, not even my food-purist friends.

  168. @Cassandra – yes, where I live in the NW, that is pretty much the same. Fit means you’d better be able to keep up when we go snowshoeing, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, etc. “Active” is another buzzword. Its opposite is “sedentary.” I think it varies from place to place, perhaps. Northwesterners don’t seem as stuck on the thin ideal as in some other places. Although, I have to say, when you go to the froo-froo parts of Seattle or Portland, the waistlines are noticeably trimmer, so there is definitely some income stuff going on.

  169. @hsofia – Here you can pretty much tell average income level just by looking around at the average size people are in different areas. It’s really quite striking how marked the difference is. I suspect it’s also why there’s such a strong preference for very thin people in San Francisco – it’s a class marker. Doing yoga is also becoming both a class marker and code for thin in personal ads.

  170. Henrietta – I’ve often thought about the questions you have asked. I have always felt that no one ever deserved to be sick regardless of their habits. Even a two-pack-a-day smoker with lung cancer does not deserve it. The only thing they get from me is compassion. But before they get cancer or heart disease I constantly harass them to stop smoking.

    Now, if we have a free market health care system and no one else picks up the the tab for health problems related to behavior but the individual involved, then do as you please. But when the costs are shared it seems reasonable that people should keep themselves as healthy if possible as part of being a good citizen. Kind of like not driving a gas guzzler if you believe (as I do) in peak oil or global warming.

    That being said, medical science if FOS on a variety of issues as readers of this blog know. A few facts, not well known among physicians, but true, not in any particular order:

    1. Obesity is not an independent risk factor for heart disease.
    2. What you eat (unless your diet is extreme) hardly matters for your health.
    3. Socioeconomic status is more important than getting your cholesterol checked, or getting pap smears or mammograms or PSAs or controlling blood pressure.
    4. PSAs (prostate specific antigens) are almost not worth checking. I’ll not have mine checked.
    5. Mammograms are almost worthless (this is better known now, and it’s not a government conspiracy to save money when we have health care reform).

    Probably the two biggest things determining your health are the longevity of your parents and your socioeconomic status (get an education and earn a decent income and enjoy your work). Next most important (though debatable) is probably physical fitness.

  171. Henrietta asks

    But – *should* I want to eat better quality food?t Should I try to eat more veg?

    Or should I just love myself the way I am?

    Why – and this is a genuine question – is it wrong to persue the FoBT; but good to persue the Fantasy of Being Fit and Healthy?

    For me, they are both fantasies.

    I consider the Fantasy of Being Thin a false fantasy because there’s no hard evidence that being Thin makes your life any better, and considerable evidence that it makes your life worse to pursue thinness if that isn’t your natural state. While there are certainly people who fantasize the idea of being “Fit and Healthy,” there’s also evidence that eating a well-rounded diet (not JUST veggies, but veggies as well as cookies, if you will), and being active, have health benefits.

    What a lot of people who push the whole “fit and healthy” lifestyle miss is that you don’t have to go to a gym or otherwise have a formal “exercise plan” in order to improve your health. The greatest health benefits are between total couch potatoes and people who garden, chase a toddler, walk to work every day, or are otherwise active in their daily lives. Once you get up to what most people would consider a “moderately active” level, you already have most of the benefits of an active lifestyle.

    The idea that to be healthy you have to hit the gym x-number of times a week is as much of a fantasy as the idea that you have to weight a certain number in order to be healthy. But the idea that moderate activity helps most people to feel better is not a fantasy. There really is a health benefit to moderate activity. It’s just that most people don’t recognize such moderate activity as being helpful, and they believe that to be truly fit you have to approach it artificially. So there is a fantasy of being fit and healthy, I agree, but unlike the one about being thin and healthy there’s actually a kernel of truth in there.

    Does that mean you “should” pursue that moderately active lifestyle? That depends on the rest of your life, I’d think. Some people’s health won’t be improved by even moderate exercise – if you’re already dealing with some condition that saps your energy, then adding activities is likely not going to be your benefit. If you translate your energy into so many spoons per day, and once you’ve “used up your spoons” for that day, you’re done, then exercise is a good thing if it’s going to give you more spoons per day in the long run, and a bad thing if it just takes away the spoons you already have.

    It’s a cost versus benefit thing, and only you can decide whether a more active lifestyle is something you “should” pursue, because you’re the only one who has the knowledge to figure out what’s adding value to your life (does exercise make you feel better or otherwise have positive benefits?), and you’re the only one who has the right to decide on what you value (how would you integrate more activity into your life, and what would you have to give up to do so?).

  172. Henrietta —

    As someone with congenital knee problems and chronic recurrent major depression, being “fit and healthy” in some nebulous sense is unlikely ever to happen to me either. The reason I don’t consider it a fantasy, like the FoBT, is that I get to define what I mean by those things. Able to bench-press 200 lbs? Able to run 10 miles? No, not interested. Able to take the stairs and not be out of breath? Able to walk from my parking lot to my office (about 10-15 minutes) without it being a major undertaking? Yep, that’s on there. There’s some family history of heart disease, so my own definition of “healthy” includes my cholesterol levels.

    For me, this is still a feminist issue. Feminism is about the right to self-determination. If someone is unable to eat fresh produce because of price structures and the unbelievable crappiness of inner-city grocery stores, I have a big problem with that. Somebody who chooses not to eat fresh produce is making a choice, and it’s none of my, or anyone else’s, damn business. Me, sometimes I want veggies. Sometimes I want sweets. And sometimes I want a double cheeseburger and fries. And I’m the only one who gets to decide whether and when I actually eat them. Nobody gets to tell me what I want, and nobody gets to tell me what I “should” want. Some days I feel like making that 15-minute walk from the cheap parking lot to my office. (Fucking university parking…) Some days I feel like taking the bus. And sometimes I think about it and decide that the thing I instinctively wanted is probably not a good choice (the next bus doesn’t come for 20 minutes), but it’s still me making the decision.

  173. @shiloh and Other Becky- Right the fuck on.

    It’s all about choices, and “healthy” doesn’t have to boil down to hitting the gym 5 times a week and subsisting off nothing but salad and boiled chicken.

  174. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the definition of “healthy eating” keeps changing. What was considered healthy eating in the 50s would give doctors hives now. Given how frequently you hear things like “eggs are good for you…no, they’re terrible!…no, actually we think they’re good for you again” I’m a bit skeptical about a lot of nutritional science at this point.

    The overall point stands though – it’s your body, you get to do whatever you want with it.

  175. That is the exact reason why I ignore most of the “good for you/bad for you” buzz unless it’s something that I know I won’t eat/is obviously not good for you or gives me a bad reaction. For instance, I drink green tea instead coffee because massive amounts of caffeine give me headaches and swollen ankles. Green tea wakes me up and makes me feel good without feeling like I’m cracked out.

    For instance, I remember this one stupid diet article I read a few months ago about avoiding starchy vegetables such as peas if trying to lose weight. Uh, aren’t they still vegetables no less?! A cup of peas probably doesn’t have the carb content as bread or something and probably provides more nutrients than a piece of meat would. Or is it more of that carbs-are-bad ketosis bullfuck again?

    There’s so much “don’t eat this, don’t eat that” bullshit in all these conflicting “tips” that it’s like sheesh, what the hell DO I eat then? Corrugated cardboard? Lightbulbs, perhaps?

  176. For me healthy eating is about eating what makes my body and brain feel good. There are some foods, that if I eat them, I won’t feel well (stomach spasms, throat swelling, gassiness, brain fog). So I try to avoid them. Some things I haven’t given up completely, but I’m a lot kinder than my body than I used to be. At a certain point you realize that plate of fried rice is not worth the 30 minutes you’ll spend praying for death in the bathroom. Or … you don’t. I know continuing to eat foods that made me sick cost my former employer money in lost productivity, it cost me money in doctor’s visits, and it wasted a lot of my time. It also made me stressed, depressed, and irritable. But people do things every day that aren’t good for them. That’s life.

  177. For me, eating healthy is being balanced. I don’t mean food group recommended proportions at each meal, I mean eating a variety of different foods. Sure there are some standbys, some of which are green and some of which involve burgers with a terrifyingly large amount of toppings. As people have said above, this doesn’t always work out as well as I might hope, but as other people have said, health is a continuum. Also, I don’t think healthy eating is like switching on a light. It’s more of a moving target.

    In reading other people’s definitions of the word fit, I realized I have a weird disconnect in my brain. I know that thin ≠ healthy, but for some reason healthy = thin. Which is completely illogical. But unexplored thoughts in the brain can be that way. Besides actual facts, I have lots of anecdata to prove those thoughts are illogical, but only the thin ≠ healthy ones came to mind first.

    I really want to thank everyone here for helping me figure that one out. I feel silly, but also much better.

  178. I can’t stop watching the numa numa guy again. And while I’m watching him I can’t stop dancing along to him. Ma-ia-hii, ma-ia-huu *punches air*. If I watched this video, which is 1m40s long, three times a day, that’s five minutes of vigorous exercise for my entire upper body…

    But that is so not why I watched it fifteen times yesterday.

  179. Whoa, in the post above, when I say healthy in the second paragraph, I actually mean fit. Yikes! That’s what you get for posting in the middle of the night when you’re awake because you’re not feeling well…

  180. Rachel: There’s so much “don’t eat this, don’t eat that” bullshit in all these conflicting “tips” that it’s like sheesh, what the hell DO I eat then? Corrugated cardboard? Lightbulbs, perhaps?

    LOL. I just complicated this even further in my head, going “now, will the cardboard be 30% post-consumer content, or just the regular, fresh off the finest fir stump stuff? Then there’s the mercury concern with the CFL bulbs; they can’t be *that* much easier going down…” yes, these tips have always made me tired, ESPECIALLY when there are entire books with this hokum. Oh, and here’s your co-sign. :)

    *note: I know it’s been awhile since I’ve been in here, but I’m still learning.

  181. @Henrietta – it is, always and forever (and within the limits imposed on us all by our varying capabilities), up to you. My personal opinion is that it’s good to eat a variety of stuff and move your body if you can. But that’s “good” in the sense of “will have benefits for you personally” not “satisfies x, y or z moral imperative”.

    The concept of should doesn’t really come into it. You don’t have to want to be healthy, just like you don’t have to want to play the flute or keep your bedroom tidy or see how many clothes pegs you can attach to your face. Equally, there is no ok/not ok. Other people will make that judgement, but ultimately you don’t need their permission.

    (It sounds like I’m saying societal pressure doesn’t exist – I don’t mean that. We’re all subject to it and it can make us feel like shit about ourselves.)

  182. hsofia: “But people do things every day that aren’t good for them. That’s life.”


    It’s just that whether we’re fat by circumstances and nature, or by choices– we get bitched about it either way because the stupid society we live in just wants us to feel shitty about ourselves.

    As it is, no woman is just plain fucking allowed to be happy with her body to begin with. Fat women get 5 million times the crucifixion.

    I just want to grab these idiots and ask them “Really now, how does my being fat affect YOU? You don’t live in my body. You don’t make my choices for me, nor should you.”

    And if they can even respond, they better not give me the “spiraling healthcare costs” BS– first off, we don’t even live in a country with universal healthcare. Nor am I on Medicaid or Medicare and even if I was, it STILL would be a weak argument. I already mentioned my friend whom although I love her dearly, between a mix of both choices and circumstances she’s in pretty bad shape health-wise and is on three forms of public assistance whereas I’ve never gotten a government check in my life nor been unable to work for that long. But hey, she’s beautiful and a size 6– therefore she must be healthier than the fat girl, right?

    That and I pay for my own expenses out of pocket and rarely go to the doctor to begin with, and will probably do so even less now based on how I was treated during my last visit. And ironically, out of my family and close friends, I probably have the best health because of my outlook on life and I take better care of myself than these fat-hating douchehounds give me credit for. I namely attribute it to deep mistrust of the medical industry and refusing to take anything Rx unless I seriously have to.

    And besides, my doctor said so– “You’re not unhealthy, you’re just fat.” I could’ve done without the infantalising attitude though.

    Regardless, we’re fucking adults who make our own choices and bear the responsibility for them. If I have a high charge card bill, I take responsibility for it and just pay it. If I do poorly on one of my exams in school because I didn’t really study for it, opposed to just not understanding the material or not having a good teacher, I take responsibility for it and accept the lower grade; higher education itself let alone grades don’t dictate intelligence. I don’t play blame games. These morons are looking to do just that: playing blame games to no end. Hey, let’s go blame fat people for our fucking problems!

    So let’s just make them feel like shit about themselves, shame them publicly and privately, and push dangerous and controversial products, services, and surgeries that more often than not don’t do shit…because this IS a society based on consumerism; not one of science and learning. And self-hate and shame are two free goods that will keep on producing and reproducing over and over again; they’re every economist’s wet dream.

    You’d think that the FTC would crack down on that shit…but big business always wins in the end. Gee, where the “nanny state” complaints for that. Like repealing soda and junk food taxes because they didn’t want to risk losing the big business votes, or pulling out of the states in which they incorporated…it all comes down who can buy their way in.

    The way I see it, if someone wants it that bad, they’ll pay the tax. It is one form of regressive taxation I am in favor of (I am usually opposed to them); the laws of economics have proven over and over again that if you want a behavior to decrease then you have to tax and regulate it. And the tax revenue collected could go towards something useful, like more forms of public healthcare options because of how unreliable private insurance is, and perhaps a decrease in income taxes.

    But that supposedly makes me fascist for believing such a thing. Well, we all take responsibility for our choices. Now let’s do so without being infantilised for it.

  183. And self-hate and shame are two free goods that will keep on producing and reproducing over and over again; they’re every economist’s wet dream.

    Rachel, you just blew my mind.

  184. I eat trash. And I hardly move, other than my fingers on my laptop.

    Is that ok, if it is what I choose?

    Maybe… move your elbows occasionally too? For variety? :p Seriously, though, word to what everyone else said. There’s no moral imperative to eat a particular way or do aerobics or whatever, just the consideration of what would be good for *you* to do (or not do.) I lived on packaged tortellini for 2 weeks straight a little while ago (I was veeery busy) and it wasn’t ideal but I didn’t freak out about it — eventually I was just like “I can’t eat another bite of microwaved cheese sauce to save my life” …so I switched to packaged ravioli in tomato sauce (I was still very busy.)

    That doesn’t make me a bad person or anything, just one who has circumstances and makes decisions based on those circumstances.

    Furthermore, I’m not the authority on FA or HAES or anything, but it doesn’t seem like there is a particular dogma or “pure” eating philosophy you have to adhere to. I’m baby-stepping towards intuitive eating, practicing saying “no” to stuff I don’t really want that much even if my first impulse is to say yes, for example, (or saying “yes” to things that look delicious when my first impulse is a demure “no”) — it’s not 100% intuitive eating yet, obviously, but it’s better than having my first thought be “what does the person offering me food *want* me to say?” and saying that.

    Soo… I guess if you aren’t thrilled with your current diet *I* certainly don’t see any problem with pushing yourself to try new things and experimenting a bit, at least. It seems to me that it’s most important to do it in the spirit of finding out what you like rather than doing it as a chore, and then doing what you like once you know it. And if you’re happy with what you eat/do, then if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  185. Miguel, I believe the current framing of Second Wave feminism as ‘all about middle-class white women getting jobs’ is exaggerated. It wasn’t just getting jobs; a big push was equal pay for equal work, which applied to all classes of women. And look up Florynce Kennedy as an example of a black second-wave feminist.

  186. “a big push was equal pay for equal work, which applied to all classes of women. “

    If by classes you mean groups of women, including various marginalised groups: equal pay for equal work does not apply to all classes of women at all.

  187. Rozasharn: There are a lot of women who don’t fit neatly into an “upper-class/middle-class/working-class” framework. Is that what you’re talking about?

  188. Okay. The reason I keep coming back about Miguel’s feminist-history query is that I want to say something important. I moved this year and my books are mostly packed, so I can’t immediately scrounge up many citations. But I think the second wave has gotten a bad rap.

    One of the ways the Powers that Be block challenges to their power is by dilution and misrepresentation. Global warming, which is human-caused, gets turned into ‘climate change’, which sounds like a natural phenomenon. Everything changes, right?

    And driving wedges into the opposition is another classic tactic, so the media picked a few feminists to quote and a few bumper-sticker phrases, ignoring all the context and reasoned arguments, and then got people to believe that the anointed feminist leaders were ignoring all causes except for ‘middle-class white women should get to have jobs’. Which they mostly do, now, so that’s taken care of, right?

    The second wave fought for laws and law enforcement to stop men’s violence against women. (In an example of dilution, that term got changed, in the media, to ‘domestic violence’, which uses passive voice to hide the guilt.) Fought to make rape illegal even if he was married to you. Fought for cooking, cleaning, running errands, and child care to be considered valuable (if unpaid) work instead of valueless hobbies.

    The second wave, as I read the primary material, was all about identifying systems of power and calling out the entrenched power differentials that treated men as real people and women as toys/props/property. That met with great resistance. A lot of the second wave’s goals (do away with mandatory sexuality and nuclear-family-normativity; make sure everyone can survive in comfort and develop their abilities without constraint; share the work of running households and taking care of the elderly and children equally instead of dumping it on almost-exclusively women) still have not been achieved. But I think they’re good goals. And every time the opposition succeeds in sweeping the previous generation’s work under the rug and making us start from scratch, they set our work back.

  189. Sorry to reply so late, but I just wanted to thank the responders to my post for their advice and encouragement. It was very helpful, and I had two wonderful conversations with my stepmother and sister.

    (She is doing great, by the way! Laughing and joking and hamming it up like she used to. She told me that it’s possible now to look in the mirror and not see a “distorted, fat creature.” She feels hunger regularly. She is beginning to enjoy food again.)

    @MissaSoprano: thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I’m so glad for you that you were able to prevent a relapse. Knowing something about the hell my little sister was in for much of last year, I can’t tell you how hearing your doctor-anecdote infuriated me. Thank God my parents were able to find good help for my sister as soon as they found out, despite the fact that she was still on the higher end of the “normal” BMI range. (Which, at that stage in her starvation, was probably mostly due to our familial propensity toward high bone and muscle density, but hey, what good is a handy one-size-fits-all mathematical equation, if you have to take biological variation into account? …Oh. Right.)

    Love this place!

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