Fat, No Shit Sherlock, snarky's machine

The Butt Might Be Smaller, but the Disappointment is Still Pretty Big*

MSN Health is running a story about folks who have shed weight, but not the fantasy of being thin. The article – saddled with a terribly clown hornian title “Skinny Dream Bubble Burst” – had all the greatest hits of TFOBT.

That said, it was incredibly heart breaking to read this early in the morning with snow falling gently over Vermont.

Here’s how the article’s main subject Jen Larsen is described:

Despite being a self-described “accomplished fat girl,” with a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of San Francisco, a great job working in the school’s academic library, a slew of friends and a loving boyfriend, Larsen thought her life had hit a plateau. By age 32, she believed she’d be writing a book, “doing something important,” she says. The only thing holding her back, she thought, was weight. […] Larsen thought skinny came with a mega-boost of self confidence. And a huge dollop of happiness. She thought she’d be dynamic and brave and ready to take on the world, just because she was thin.

Larsen states:

“I think fat people are sold a fantasy, and then get no support in the reality, because we’re simply supposed to be grateful that we’re no longer fat,”

The article stops short of suggesting anything approaching FA or HAES. In fact, it suggests the way to dealing with the disco fame hangover is to tamp down expectations once weight goals are achieved. I don’t know about you, but I’m just not sure people work that way.

There’s a lot of chow chow about naughty media preying on folks and we’ve all heard that before. But nothing approaching a serious analysis. (fortunately, that’s what SP does!) The article seems unaware of the extent to which culturally sanctioned messages telling us getting thinner impact fatties, regardless of whether or not they diet. It’s clown horn journalism at its finest.

Or as Kate put it:

The question is, who do you really want to be, and what are you going to do about it? (Okay, two questions.) The Fantasy of Being Thin is a really convenient excuse for not asking yourself those questions sincerely — and that’s exactly why it’s dangerous. It keeps you from being not only who you are, but who you actually could be, if you worked with what you’ve got. And that person trapped inside you really might be cooler than you are right now.

She’s just not thin.

Just another reminder of why I love FA so fucking much.

*opted to change the title after reflecting on the term and not wanting to upset folks or hurt feelings.

64 thoughts on “The Butt Might Be Smaller, but the Disappointment is Still Pretty Big*”

  1. Snarky’s, I hope the snow isn’t getting you down too much today. It’s pretty cold in metro NY, but I think my head would asplode if I had to deal with more snow.

    I (still) have a wee bit of a thin fantasy since I was thin for years until age and hormones crept up on me. I’m healthy, I’m loved, I’m successful, and I’m a staunch defender of FA. My spouse points out that I *still* beat myself up from time to time. Then I have to take a deep breath and have a little conversation with myself. It is easy for me to revert back to buying into the fantasy even if it only lasts for a NY minute.

    I hope than I never put my dreams and happiness on hold, or tamp down my expectations, in this short lifetime. I am really pretty fucking awesome already with the body I have. My inner awesomeness wasn’t apparent until I gave up my preoccupation with the way I look and the size/ shape of my body.

  2. I’m 42 years old and have wasted a HUGE amount of my life on the fantasy of being thin. I always believed my life would “start” once I achieved the magic number on the scale. I, too, lost all the weight at one time and then felt a huge let down when the magic didn’t happen suddenly. I bought the whole bag of crap believing that I’d change once I was thin. Of course I learned that who I am is who I am, thin or fat. The thin me was no more comfortable wearing make-up and heels than the fat me is. It is SO much better figuring out who you are and celebrating that person. I’m so grateful to have found FA & HAES, even in middle age.

  3. FA is seriously the gift that keeps on giving. I do feel grateful to have find a way to thrive in my body (and a community filled with support) and do things like move and eat, which make me feel good, but aren’t trying to make my body do things it’s not particularly interested in.

    Reading this article gave me tremendous pause. I don’t know why. I guess I thought at this point the whole idea that being thinner = happier would have been pretty well debunked. Esp, since our media does a good job of parading a lot of unhappy thin folks in front of us.

  4. It seems like all media and all advertising is totally geared towards always dangling the carrot just out of reach, and that applies to weight, happiness, “dream” homes, clothes, beauty, surgery, fitness, lifestyle, everything imaginable. Its all about selling the chase and the journey and none of this bullshit ever wants you to spot that you can arrive at PerfectlyAcceptable Town the minute you stop freaking out at yourself. Will a fat person be happier thinner? Who knows. Will a person be happy the minute they get their home to look just like the ones in the glossies? Who knows.

    If you truly believe that weight loss will solve your problems and make you instantly more lovable, then you will be in for a surprise. If anything it might make you more ill at ease, because you’ll spend your time haunted by trying to hold on to elusive thinness incase you have to face “failure” again.

    The only guaranteed way to peace is self acceptance – however you are. Easy to say, and harder to do, but still the best thing to aim at.

  5. First, can I please use clown-horn journalism? I promise to give full credit when I do.


    “But nothing approaching a serious analysis. (fortunately, that’s what SP does!)”

    AMEN! And does it exceptionally well, I might add.

    Third: snow in Vermont? On April 28? Wuh?

  6. It makes me sad that there are women out there who still cling to the FOBT. It was such an amazing thing to let go of.

    Also, I kindof really hate that the news media is all “We don’t know where they’d get this CRAZY idea about how their life would be better and all their health problems okay if they just lost weight.” Uhm, dude, YOU TOLD THEM THAT.

  7. No kidding, shinobi. Like in this quote: “People think that ‘if only’ they won the lottery, life would be perfect. People who want to lose weight think the same thing.”

    Yes, those foolish people, thinking such foolishness. Who could EVER have given them the idea that being thin = perfect happiness forever and ever, with a side bonus of health and longevity! I HAVE NO IDEA HOW WE GET SUCH ABSURD IDEAS HOW SILLY OF US.


  8. Man, Kate really does deserve an award for FOBT. I was thinking about it while reading this article, and while I still think about losing weight, think bad thoughts about my body, compare myself to other women’s bodies and engage in all manner of non-FA-friendly thinking, the FOBT is basically completely, totally gone from my psyche.

    It’s really pretty amazing. Because once you debunk it, it can’t be un-debunked.

  9. Right there with you, m. leblanc! The rest of it is coming very slowly (I did finally get to where I can shop at the JC Penney where the plus sizes are on a different FLOOR than the rest of the women’s clothing), but the FOBT is straight-up gone.

  10. I don’t know whether that article makes me more sad or more angry. I’m still pissed off about how many years I spent zombified by the FOBT. I really hope I’m giving my own daughters the tools to avoid that trap.

    Also, I kindof really hate that the news media is all “We don’t know where they’d get this CRAZY idea about how their life would be better and all their health problems okay if they just lost weight.” Uhm, dude, YOU TOLD THEM THAT.
    Yeah. This.

  11. Kate’s FBOT article is a stand-out. I love it and read it every now and then.

    Also, I kindof really hate that the news media is all “We don’t know where they’d get this CRAZY idea about how their life would be better and all their health problems okay if they just lost weight.” Uhm, dude, YOU TOLD THEM THAT.

    Seconded, thirded, whatever.

  12. shinobi – exactly. The article has this tinge of “OMG look at these poor women who believed in some sort of fairy tale ending, but the real world never works that way amirite? It’s so sad they absorbed that idea from somewhere!” but never acknowledges the fairy tale message comes – relentlessly – from the media!

    Snarky’s – In fact, it suggests the way to dealing with the disco fame hangover is to tamp down expectations once weight goals are achieved. I don’t know about you, but I’m just not sure people work that way. Me either. The article also never points out that the fairy tale expectations are used constantly to sell people on the idea of going on diets in the first place (alongside healthy doses of fear messages). So to then suggest, as the writer does, that people should just be more rational and moderate in their goal-setting when that message is nowhere to be found (outside FA, obviously), like it’s somehow our fault for setting up those excessive expectations in the first place… *headdesk*


  13. I am my own version of Jen Larsen. Academic over-achiever, I bought into the FOBT for a long time and used it as an excuse for why I was still working in a dead-end job and not living up to my potential. I also went the gastric bypass route after years of my doctors telling me I was DOOMED, despite having no health problems whatsoever, but the real reason I did it was because I was convinced it would put on the path to success, get my a boyfriend, and general make life perfect. Now, I have chronic malnutrition, nerve damage, abdominal pain and scar tissue that makes my gut look like a rubber tire, reactive hypoglycemia, and am still a fatty mcfat fat. I am on the path to career success, have a boyfriend, and am more happy than I ever have been, but it was because i finally figured out that I am cool no matter my damn size and started living life and not hiding from it.

    But I hella doubt MSN Health would ever write about that.

  14. Unfortunately, that sort of thinking is common regarding a whole host of things. How many people have you known who doggedly chased after The One Thing they thought would make life perfect?

    So very many people think “If only I could just get a better job/get married/loose weight/have a baby/get into Harvard/fill in your own here/life would be great.” They do one or more of those things and life isn’t magically great–they have a new job or a new baby but still the same issues they did before. It’s kind of depressing. I wish they taught you not to think this way in school.

  15. Kate’s post pointing out The Fantasy Of Being Thin CHANGED MY LIFE. No joke, very little hyperbole. It got me outta my rut and out the door and made me LIVE again. Just wanted to get that out there.

    I saw the most INCREDIBLY maddening thing a few months back. Bored and flipping through channels, I wound up on some network specializing in “Health” programs. And against my better judgement, I kept flicking back to this show starring two surgeons that perform weight loss surgery. It was the Trainwreck Principle in action. “This is going to be AWFUL. Therefore I MUST WATCH IT.” In amongst the various patients was a woman who had surgery and lost bunchity-wunches of weight… but HER LIFE WAS NOT PERFECT, GASP. And the doctors and psychiatrists were stunned, STUNNED at why this could be. “She can’t get dates! She’s bad during dating events! She’s acting like she’s a FAT GIRL but she’s not anymore!”

    I screamed, no joke. And a red haze passed across my vision. WHAT THE HELL, YOU PEOPLE. They are not only astonished, ASTONISHED that the Fantasy Of Being Thin did not play out as expected, but they have also implied that fat women CANNOT DATE. FUCK YOOOOOOOU, SURGEON PEOPLE.

    I still get mega-angry, thinking back on it.

  16. First of all, I love the title of this piece. Love. It.

    Second of all, it really goes to show just how pervasive the FOBT is that all these otherwise happy, successful, ambitious, and (you’d imagine) rational and well-adjusted women really believe that EVERYTHING will be different once they lose weight. Most of the time losing all that weight creates far more problems. For myself, once I got down to a certain weight and size I was happy with, my entire existence became restructured around maintaining that weight and even losing more, in a way that it overshadowed a lot of my excitement about other things going on in my life that were far more affirming (like getting into the college I wanted, doing well in my courses, getting amazing opportunities to perform and show my work, etc.). I know another girl who’s somewhat younger than me who recently lost a lot of weight after having been overweight and unhappy with her body throughout middle and high school, and now she’s getting a lot of male attention she never got before, but in her own words, she can’t deal with it. Because it’s not male attention she would enjoy, like flirtation or anyone wanting to date her- their sexual objectification of her body is very apparent in a way it never was to her before, and she hates it. And it’s such an awful feeling when the people who say, “OF COURSE being thin wouldn’t make you happier! Why did you think things would be any different, you’re smarter than that?” were the same ones who a few months before were telling you that you’ve had enough cookies, or that maybe you shouldn’t wear that dress until you’ve lost ten pounds, or simply, “EW!”

  17. I usually hate to simply blame the media because it seems like an easy target, but I really can’t find a way around it in this case because my personal experience drops the blame right there.

    FOBT is relatively new to me. It was really only last year that I came face to face with the idea that there are people out there who are held back from living their life to the fullest because they think they’re too fat to do that or to deserve it.

    The reason it took 27 years for me to realize this? I was raised by anti-brand parents who have a strong streak of feminism and hippyishness in there too. I grew up pretty sheltered from pop culture. Didn’t have cable tv, rarely watched commercials, only read “lady mags” at the dentist office. I was instead fed a diet of library books, public radio (I’m Canadian, CBC radio 1 was on constantly) and an ad free feminist girls magazine full of cool stuff to try and experiences to have. There was nothing in that magazine about happiness being dependent on being thin enough or pretty enough.

    No value was placed on my physical appearance at all when I was a kid. People may have said I was pretty (I’m not sure if they ever did actually) but it didn’t really register. It was all about what I did, who I was, what was going on inside. So I went off and did stuff… lots of stuff, amazing stuff that I will always love having done.

    And as a result, it’s only been since I lost a bit of weight and my newish in laws started praising me up and down, acting as though this makes me a better person somehow that I’ve started to realize that there are people out there who would see this weight loss thing as my greatest accomplishment, my ticket to happiness and fulfillment. My FOBT fulfilled.

    And yet, I was happy before the weight dropped off I was just as happy then as I am now…maybe a bit more so since I was ignorant as to just how ridiculous the world can be about this stuff and now I’m hopping mad about it.

    I can only figure that a good chunk of the reason it took me this long to learn this about the world is that I was not bombarded with it from the media as a kid and teen, and I’m rather grateful to my parents for that

    …which I told them at Christmas when I expressed how insulted I felt by my in laws viewing the loss of 30 pounds as a greater accomplishment than my degrees, travel experience, and hard learned skills.

    Kate’s right: figure out what you want to do and bloody well go do it. Our awesomeness and potential awesomer-ness don’ have a damn thing to do with the size of our pants. And that we think it does somehow is something we really need to take the media to task over.

  18. Things I liked about the article:
    -mentions the media hype around weight loss
    -highlights three women who all have decided to stop hating on themselves
    -concludes with a positive comment about one of the women’s bodies when she was far

    Things I didn’t like:
    -no mention of FA – seriously, the writer never googled the words acceptance and fat?
    -no mention of health at every size, although it is described several times
    -apparently this is a white lady issue
    -doesn’t hold anyone accountable or call anyone to task for perpetuating the FOBT, apart from one little paragraph.

    Also, the bariatric surgery lady is writing a book – I hope someone sends her a copy of HAES and a link to this blog.

  19. Also, I kindof really hate that the news media is all “We don’t know where they’d get this CRAZY idea about how their life would be better and all their health problems okay if they just lost weight.” Uhm, dude, YOU TOLD THEM THAT.

    I totally agree. This article reads to me as a somewhat more empathetic variation on the “silly fatties in denial” theme. You know – the ideas that keep popping up in the media about how fatties don’t know we’re fat, don’t know what category of obesity we occupy, don’t realize what enormous quantities we eat, think we look just fine (by societal standards)… and now former fatties are silly enough to think ALL their problems should have been solved by weight loss.

    The FOBT is very real, of course, but without a more nuanced analysis, it comes across like the women profiled were kind of foolish.

  20. I use FOBT ALL THE TIME. It applies to SO MUCH in life. Recently it’s come up a lot in my life in regards to FOLWTGTGS (fantasy of leaving work to go to grad school). It is a genius head-clearing concept.

  21. @SarahN. Word. I managed to avoid some of the FOTB (I had/have some issues regarding men, but not in other areas of my life), but even so, I get hit over the head with it whenever I lose weight. Then all sorts of random people come out of the woodwork and act like it’s my greatest achievement ever that I lost weight, totally ignoring all the real achievements that are so much more important. So yeah, external forces such as the media and friends/family play a huge role in reinforcing the FOTB.
    Having cycled up and down many times, I’ve come to realize that my work performance is always worst when I’ve in that phase where I’ve lost the weight but am in partial diet mode when I’m trying to keep it off. This is true regardless of whether I’ve lost the weight intentionally or unintentionally.

  22. The FOBT is still an ongoing process for me. There are days when I am at my most physically exhausted, in pain, out of breath, etc. when I latch onto the fantasy and beat myself up with it. I do it far less than before, but it still flitters about my brain.

    I guess being actually aware of this makes me one step ahead of the game, so to speak. It’s just not automatic……will it ever be? I hope so.

  23. That little zenism not only gets my past the fantasy of being thin, but also the fantasy of being a grown-up. My 12 year-old self thought that being a grown up meant the you could do WHATEVER YOU WANTED ALL THE TIME, but turns out to be a lot about doing the dishes and washing the floor.

  24. Can you provide a glossary of terms or something? I have no idea what FA, HAES and TFOBT are. I’m a new reader and I can’t understand some possibly important parts of the article and it’s not because I have a poor understanding of English. Not under the FAQ, tagged or archived with those terms either so I have no reasonable way to look it up.

  25. When I open the internet browser in the morning, that’s the website that loads. And I saw that article first thing, and actually opened it to read instead of bypassing it.

    It saddened me, but didn’t surprise me when I saw the usual response to it all – lower your expectations, but get thin anyway.

    I know I probably still have those moments of the FoBT, but they’re less frequent than they were. Although sometimes I think it was as much about fitting into the cute clothes as it was about anything else. (Which I still wouldn’t have, because I have shoulders.)

    This morning, when I closed it, the first thing I thought of was Kate’s post about FoBT, and was left with the conclusion that she’d said it better. Much.

  26. I hadn’t realised til m. leblanc said, but I haven’t had the FOBT in a long time. It’s just not there anymore. There’s a big hole where my belief that all this will be better when used to be, and without even noticing I’ve been filling it with experiences and relationships and achievements and disappointments and awesome drunken karaoke and wanting to wring my neck because I can’t shut up sometimes and all the other parts of actually living your actual life.

    I still have The Fantasy of Being Organised and The Fantasy of Committing to Dance or a Musical Instrument or Something and Getting Really Good At It and other fantasies of varying degrees, but they’re all tinged with realism and devoid of the guilt and fear and fervour of my belief in the magical fixing properties of being thin. It isn’t the same dance. I pretty much live my life as it atually is now. That’s such a gift.

    The article is so fucking smug and condescending I can’t even. And the end bit still makes it sound like regaining weight is a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE idea, even though they’ve just had all this chat about how actually, you’ll probably be just as happy (happier, even, once the FOBT is gone?) I mean, the FOBT is just a vision of how you can make every aspect of your life 100 times better, supported by 99.9% of the messages you will ever get from this society, ever. Why do these fatties believe it? Why do they expect it to be like we’ve always said it would? Man, even when they’re thin they’re stupid.

  27. I think it’s a work in progress for most of us, but I turned a corner recently. Just today I shed a bunch of unwanted weight from an ugly spot that has impacted my self-esteem pretty profoundly over the years: my closet! I dropped several dress sizes, too! 12, 14, and 16 are completely gone from my wardrobe.

    Remember: nothing fits as good as self-acceptance feels.

  28. @Caitlin – Save for the drunken karaoke, you’ve basically described me as well. I’ve finally come to accept that weight-loss is not physiologically possible for me, and so … back to living life! But now I focus more on challenging injustice around me — asking for accommodations when I or others need them and speaking out against fat-hatred when I encounter it.

  29. I’m going to attack this from a journalistic point of view rather than a FA one, since that’s already been well covered. Um ,dear professional colleagues of mine? This is shitty journalism. Where is the actual story? Where’s the news hook? Where’s the tension in the narrative? It’s basically just “woman lost weight, wasn’t happy before, still not happy now”. How is that a story? It’s about as dramatic and newsworthy as “it snowed again in Buffalo in January – winter is cold”.

    It feels construsted in an attempt to support an existing thesis, is what I’m saying. It’s bad reporting. You don’t come up with a story and then go looking for sources to support it, you go out with an open mind and try to find out what’s actually going on. The whole way this article (and most articles about fat or food in the media) is framed is totally ass-backwards, from a journalistic point of view.

  30. Remember: nothing fits as good as self-acceptance feels.

    I’m totally going to go write that on my closet wall in Sharpie. And maybe print off a bumper sticker or something. :o)

  31. You can add me to the list of women who have lost weight (intentionally) and were completely disappointed by the results. I think I’ve always been FA-sympathetic, but it really took that experience for me to become full FA. I didn’t even have very high expectations for when I lost weight, and my low expectations still weren’t met. I didn’t expect to feel more confident because I already liked myself, and I didn’t expect to get “healthier” because all my health conditions were around since I was a slim teenager. But I had still become convinced that I would feel more energetic, because that’s what every single weight-loss add claims. You can imagine my surprise when I lost a bunch of weight and didn’t feel energetic at all, but just weak and tired from lack of food.

    I think it’s very common for people to lose weight and be disappointed that it’s not all rainbows and puppies, but it’s also extremely rare to ever hear someone admit to it and even more rare for a journalist to report on it. It’s like it’s some deep, dark secret that being thin(ner) isn’t all it’s advertised to be, but we must never ever let anyone know this thing, because it might make them feel less bad about not conforming to an unreasonable standard.

  32. I don’t know – I was just glad that the article didn’t take the angle of “They lost weight, but they didn’t lose the psychic pain that caused them to stuff themselves to fatness in the first place.” You know what I mean? That whole thing where you’re not unhappy because you’re fat – you’re fat because inside you are deeply, deeply damaged and the fat is just an armour to protect you from the cruel world. I’ve had people ask me very sincerely, “ WHY are you fat? What could have damaged you this badly?” At least this article isn’t asking that – it would have been a cheap, obvious, and popular place to go, and I do respect that it wasn’t even brought up. ( Unless I missed that part?)

  33. I LOVE the post title, Snarky.

    It is nice to see that at least they aren’t touting the usual “OMG MY LIFE IS AMAZING AND PERFECT NOW” stories that every other weight loss article usually showcases. (The nutrisystem commercial with the lady who “can now take her kids to the pool” is my favorite.) but it falls flat because there’s no solution offered. Lose the weight, of course, but don’t you dare expect what you’ve essentially been PROMISED by society out of it.

    That’s why the FoBT is so hard for me to stay away. How to say strong in your convictions when it seems like the rest of the world is getting more and more fat phobic every minute? SP is my haven for sanity, thankfully. :P

  34. Just a small thought that occurred to me this morning. It seems like society constantly confirms that thinness will bring about happiness simply by that “Oh! You’ve lost weight, you look great! bullshit. It infuriates me the way you gain approval by losing weight and get disapproval by gaining it.
    If someone I know has lost weight I either don’t comment on it at all, or if they bring it up I say “You look lovely – and you did before”, or something along those lines ,just so they know my approval/affection and opinion of them isnt connected to how much their body weighs, or how it looks at all for that matter.
    It bugs me the way people feel free to even mention weight (especially women’s) as though visually weighing someone and becoming their very own “I speak your weight” machine is acceptable.
    Once I was ill and became ludicrously thin to the point where friends were mouthing “Are you alright?” as though I might die any minute. Anyway, I still remember with some degree of anger that certain people (all women) would say “Wow! you look great!” as though being ghost pale and wobbly weak with a chest like a xylophone was the cat’s new pyjamas.
    I find that baffling and it makes me very angry too. I still fantasise about baking elaborate cream cakes for the sole purpose of leaping out without warning and shoving them in those people’s faces……

  35. @AlexandraErin – and now I have a big fat internet crush on you. Dropped several dress sizes, hah!

  36. @Paintmonkey – “I still fantasise about baking elaborate cream cakes for the sole purpose of leaping out without warning and shoving them in those people’s faces……”

    That seems somewhat more healthy than my fantasies about turning into a giant radioactive lizard and eating the offending party. So… are you making two whole cream cakes? :D

    @Alexandra Erin – You are awesome, and I wish to do your taxes for free. “Lost several dress sizes”, indeed.

  37. Oh, @Lampdevil. I believe we could team up very successfully. If I bake very large and elaborate cream cakes (two WHOLE ones) then you could morph into a giant radioactive lizard and leap out at people, and shove the cream cakes in their faces. That would be quite a startling vision.
    I like the idea of going to all that shape-shifting trouble simply to splat someone with a cream cake. Result!

  38. @secondhandsally

    I use FOBT ALL THE TIME. It applies to SO MUCH in life. Recently it’s come up a lot in my life in regards to FOLWTGTGS (fantasy of leaving work to go to grad school). It is a genius head-clearing concept.

    OH MY GOD! Thank you for pointing out this version of the FOBT!

    I am in grad school right now, having left work to go there. For a year, while still working, my friend and I (who was also applying) talked about life in grad school and how we were going to be so! happy! to learn! again and how fun taking! notes! and writing! papers! would be and how everything! in! life! would! make! sense!!!*

    We struggled, we broke down…we got in! We started classes and last semester the fantasy started to crack and this semester is broke into a pieces which were then ground into a fine dust. And everyone around me seems to be having a very difficult time accepting it and I think it is exactly for this reason. I was crushed in the beginning, I even went to see a counselor about it, but I quickly realized that I was building my life around a false idol, just like the idea of being thin. I thought grad school would make my life perfect and it didn’t; in fact, there are ways in which it has made the quality of my current life worse. However, I reminded myself that I am there for a reason: to further my education and my career. And once I had this fact firmly implanted in my mind, I have been able to do whatever needed to be done to survive and focused my happiness elsewhere.

    But those who haven’t yet been able to do that? They are walking around confused, hurt, angry, and emotionally and physically drained because they are still looking for the fantasy experience. They feel cheated. They don’t want to talk about anything besides school and how horrible everything is because they cannot get over the injustice. They still hope that next semester things will change and school will be what it is “supposed” to be. Some even talk of trying to transfer, even though they will lose a year of work, to a School that Doesn’t Have Problems. Coincidentally, diet talk (which was a rare bird a few months ago) is EVERYWHERE now.

    *Sorry for the excessive exclamation marks, but I feel they are necessary to convey the kind of blind enthusiasm we had.

  39. @Kimberly O:

    Good point. I lose major sanity points whenever I hear this particular angle of fat bashing, especially since it is only ever applied to women. Uh yeah, I’m fat because that’s what my particular body type is, not because of me wanting to hide from the cruel world.

  40. I lost about 60 lbs. about 20 years ago (since regained, of course), and part of my FOBT was that my parents would be nicer/like me more. And you know what? They did. And you know what? It really honked me off. Because of course, I was/am the same person; they are fat haters (‘cept I have the same body type as my dad’s mom–go figure). And now that the weight is back, they always want to tell me what miracle weight loss method they’ve found. Except recently I told them that most people who do a type of really hard work, get to retire after doing it for 40 years or more. And so I am retired from dieting. They were speechless…for a minute, anyway…

  41. Um, yeah…that’s super weird. Did I write something wrong? I didn’t think my comment was inappropriate. I’ll chalk this up to those weird comment issue Kate mentions in the next post. I’ve logged back in to wordpress, so maybe I won’t disappear now.

    Oh well – thanks again :)

  42. Kimberly O said I was just glad that the article didn’t take the angle of “They lost weight, but they didn’t lose the psychic pain that caused them to stuff themselves to fatness in the first place.”

    Yes, me too – they could have gone there and that would have been a more egregious example of the idea that fat = lacking self-awareness. After re-reading, I think my first reaction to the article was more negative than warranted because I was already anticipating that sort of nonsense in the comments, which I didn’t click through to read.

  43. “Life, she says, is simpler: she has more energy; her knees feel better; her back doesn’t hurt.”

    I’m surprised that she [Jen Larsen] has more energy after bariatric surgery, given all the malnutrition-like effects of it, even if simply having a lighter body would have increased her energy levels. (Often it’s impossible to know whether increased energy and disappearance of pain are due to weight loss itself or to changes in activity levels or better food that accompanied the weight loss–the default assumption seems to be it’s the weight loss, but I suspect it’s most often the increase in exercise. That seems less likely to be the case given that she’s had bariatric surgery. I suppose she could have ALSO started exercising or something, but even then I wouldn’t have thought exercise would trump malnutritiony stuff.)

  44. You know, I was out for a run and mulling over the fact that the term “butthurt” bothers me in the same way that “lame” and “retarded” do, and my surprise that a site usually so spot-on and tuned in to the way that language is used to marginalize and devalue people would use it, and I made up my mind that when I got back, I would come on here and venture a comment about it. And then I pulled up the site, and you were way ahead of me. I haz a happy.

  45. What??? You mean to tell me that being skinny ISN’T the best thing in the world EVAR and fat people can actually be HAPPY when they are fat??? LIEZ! IT CAN’T BE TRUE! /sarcasm

    I’ve never been happier at my size. I’ve got impeccable fashion taste, I work out, I am on my way to my nursing degree, and I’m mighty attractive to the men I flirt with. I don’t need to be skinny to live life. I don’t need to be skinny in order to realize that I am a person deserving love, respect, admiration, and all the other things in life that they claim only thin people should have.

  46. Not to derail, but I have to tell you that the FOBT has helped me so much in other areas of my life. Well…it’s starting to help, because I’m just now starting to get it. I call it the FOBIL: The Fantasy of Being in Love. My partner and I are just about to celebrate one year of dating, and it’s not at all what I thought it would be. He and I have a lot in common, and we really love each other, but it’s not all puppies and rainbows and kisses on the beach. It’s the mundane and the ridiculous. It’s nights where we laugh and talk for hours and other nights where we crash in front of the t.v. and grunt to each other during commercials. It’s still finding other people attractive and realizing even though I can accept that logically, I’ll still get jealous when he’s talking to another woman even though I genuinely trust him. It’s finally recognizing that I love him more than the moon but sometimes all I want is to get far, far away from him. But I always want to go back. And that’s the moment that reaffirms my love every time.

    As for the FOBT, I’m getting there. I know deep in my heart that I need to let it go for reals. But it’s taking its sweet time…

  47. @closetpuritan – I imagine that, like so many things, mileage might vary on that. One of my BFFs had bariatric surgery at nearly 400 lbs, and lost a gang of weight. She has had (what I consider to be) terrible side effects, such as chronic anemia of unknown origins and the inability to comfortably digest many nutritionally dense, high-fiber foods. Still, I’ve seen her weekly (if not daily) for many years – since before she had WLS – and she says she has, and seems to have, more energy now than she did pre-surgery.

    To my mind, it is a pretty traumatic thing to do to your body and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, and from what I can see with my BFF, she basically traded in one set of health issues for a different set of health issues. I can believe that Jan Larsen has more energy now than before, but what I think is missing from the article is what unwanted side effects she is having to deal with as a result of her WLS.

  48. Meems’ disappearing comment is archived at Backtype, and read as follows:

    Thanks for changing the title. The original term really rubs me the wrong way and is a little triggering, since it’s been used repeatedly by my online stalker/harasser to describe all the crap he’s written about me. I wasn’t sure it was worth bringing up, but I’m really glad you decided to change it.



  49. as a note, I posted this comment on a post that I realized after was made in 2007, and I think it’s better suited here anyway.

    These are my experiences:
    I’m 4’11 and I weigh 120 pounds. If I gained 4 pounds, I’d be overweight. I’m a strict vegan, I eat fruits and vegetables and whole grains, which I cook for myself at home. I eat a lot of raw foods. I almost never eat processed foods. I ride my bike for miles every day, up and down steep hills, I don’t own a car. I can lift and carry extremely heavy things for my size.

    I used to weigh under 90 pounds and while I am undeniably, dramatically healthier now (I used to be constantly freezing, even if it was warm out, I bruised easily, my joints ached, I could barely walk for longer distances much less bike up hills) I sometimes miss being that size O, and being able to fit into children’s clothes. I don’t like having hips, and breasts, I miss the bony torso and flat chest, I really miss the way clothes fit. I can’t wear tank tops or tshirts as dresses anymore. Even though many people flat out told me that I looked sick and disgusting or even “scary” then, and that I look well/healthy now, I still can’t shake that feeling. Even though people tell me I’m not, there’s not a day that I don’t look at myself and see myself as hugely fat and hate it. I don’t know why. It’s fucked up.

    I’m a feminist and I very often promote fat acceptance. There are so many things about my appearance and my gender presentation that differ greatly from the norm that I do get shit for, but that doesn’t bother me in the least. Why am I obsessed with being skinny? It goes against EVERYTHING I believe in.

    On the other hand, my brother’s favorite foods to eat are bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy’s, boston creme donuts, starbucks frappucinnos, potato chips, and mountain dew. He rarely goes outside, much less gets any exercise. He sits around and plays video games all day. Oh, and he’s 5’7 and weighs 110.

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