Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Okay so I'm fat. Now what?

(If you have trouble reading specific numbers of pounds, be aware that I mention them along with my own weight here)

So I'm having a lot of feelings that aren't really coming together into a coherent blog post, but I also kind of don't want to keep them to myself, especially in the time I have left in my parents' house. I don't want to find myself doing anything dangerous, like the time I basically refused to eat under my mom's watch after her comments about the potato thing, but I also don't want to be ignoring things that might need attention.

I knew I was getting bigger over the past year. I kept complaining about pants because they felt tighter than they used to, and I wasn't in such denial that I didn't know why. I don't think I was eating especially more than I ever did - at least, I wasn't eating much differently this last year of college than I think I did the previous three. And I was making a pretty good effort to exercise more, between yoga twice per week and walking 2-3 miles 3-4 other days out of the week.

I'm at home till Saturday after graduation, and finally had access to a scale, and decided it would at least be good to know. And somehow I gained 15 pounds.

I don't want to be that person who freaks out about relatively small amounts of weight. But. Maybe it's just that this is triggering a lot of hopeless memories. It's one thing to be 15 pounds overweight (at least according to the doctors who expect you to lose it) but it's quite another to be 50, or 80, or now near 100 over the 120 pounds that they told me I should be striving for my whole life. Even if I lost those new 15 again, there'd be more of them. Even if I lost 30 or 50 I'd still be considered overweight. I remember how hopeless I felt, especially as I continued to gain weight through puberty.

But maybe I've rationalized things the wrong way. I grew to accept cheerfully the idea that when I leveled my weight off in my late teens by not doing anything, it just meant I was done growing. I was 180-ish at that point. There was still a big part of me that said "well, at least you're not 200 pounds. Then you'd REALLY be fat!"

And then I got to college, and stopped being self-conscious about eating as much as I was. No one was commenting on my choices, and while I have worked to get more vegetables and fruit and new foods into my diet, I felt so freed by not thinking about it. I let myself have treats most nights. I let myself eat for comfort when I needed it. I started learning how big a difference it makes to use or drink whole milk than skim. I wonder now if I thought too little, instead of too much.

I don't know what the range of "normal" is, and I don't know whether it's a problem, or a normality or something to be aware of and watch out for if I went from ~180 to ~215 over the last four years. I look at myself, and I don't think I'm visibly that much bigger. In fact, a friend of mine complimented me the last time we saw each other that my arms were getting slimmer. Even as I had just gone out to buy bigger pants because I was tired of being squished into a size too small.

Should I be worrying? Should I not be having the daily desserts that I got used to? Should I just be keeping an eye to make sure something's not wrong with me? Is this just how big I am, is it normal to still be gaining at 21 years? Was the doctor right, and I really am going to just keep ballooning out for the rest of my life unless I actively lose weight? Is it possible I could go back to my size 16 and be comfortable in my old comfy jeans again?

I don't want to be freaked out, and I don't think I am. But I also am afraid of being in denial. I know that this is in no way, shape or form what Fat Acceptance is about, but I fear that the criticism is right - that this is an excuse not to think. That instead of exercising hard and eating right, I'm latching onto a movement that says I don't have to (even though FA and HAES strongly encourage healthful eating and regular movement). I'm afraid that I've been just plugging my ears and singing "la la la" instead of paying attention to my body, out of fear that it would do exactly this.

If anyone has any advice, I'd like it. Mostly, I just needed to get this out, so it can at least sit here on the blog and not be perched on my shoulder every time I try to have a meal in this house.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Chocolate Milk is Poison!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a serious problem.

Despite vigorous efforts to eliminate Childhood Obesity, despite stricter and stricter guidelines around what is allowed in a school lunch, how many calories are allowed to be eaten, what is and is not allowed to be brought from home, despite some of the most invasive attempts we've made,

There are still fat children!!!!

As such, we shouldn't try to think about why the programs aren't working. We shouldn't consider the possibility that not all bodies are meant to be exactly the same size, that having enough food to concentrate in school is worth the couple of pounds that it might- MIGHT - make a difference on, and we shouldn't try to see about overhauls in the school lunch system so that more nutritious, tastier, fresher food might be served.

We should just keep doing the same thing, only more.

Schools May Ban Chocolate Milk over Added Sugar

There's a lot of gems in here. There really are. I'm not sure I know enough to point out all of them but by all means, if anyone wants to add to it in the comments or blog yourself, please share. Let me see what I can pull out on my own, without an entire MST-ing of the entire article.

Well, first and all, this fricking demonization of chocolate milk. I've talked about this a little bit before but I really think it deserves its own post some day - this idea that there are Healthy and Unhealthy things to eat, and that you can entirely contradict the Healthiness of something by adding an Unhealthy thing to it. Milk is Healthy - no one is going to dispute this. Especially for young children, milk is a great way to get a whole host of essential vitamins and calcium and good growing nutrients. Sugar is Unhealthy - yes, fine, it doesn't do a whole lot on its own. It isn't POISON, but it's not the world's best source of either nutrients or energy.

Therefore, Milk plus Sugar is UNhealthy. Because it has Unhealthy sugar in it. Which cancels out the good part of being milk.

"When you're telling kids that drinking chocolate milk is a healthy choice, it's sending the wrong message." - Concerned Parent.

Oh look, a wild Jamie Oliver appears! Jamie Oliver used Invasive TV Program Credentials! Jamie Oliver used Stupid Oversimplification!

"If you have flavored milk, that's candy," he told The Associated Press.

It's not very effective.

People. Food tastes good. That's part of how our bodies recognize that it's healthful. Sugar and fat taste good because both fat and simple energy are vital to our survival. When well-prepared, thousands of other foods taste awesome. Broccoli, zuchinni, pasta, couscous, fruits of all shapes and sizes, sweet potato, white potato, corn, baby corn, carrots, mushrooms, celery, beans, rice....food OUGHT to taste amazing.

But this is what we're teaching these children: None of these foods are acceptably healthy if they become more palatable to a small child. Celery with peanut butter? Well, unless it's organic, peanut butter is all fatty and Unhealthy, so no go. Corn or potatoes with butter? of course not. Beans and rice with cheese on top? Fetch my smelling salts!

Milk with chocolate? Nope.

Here's one more thing that might actually make me angrier than the whole rest of the article though.

Concerned Parent used Ignore the Facts!

"But efforts by some other districts turned sour after children drank less milk. Milk consumption drops by 35 percent when flavored milks are removed, according to the Milk Processors Education Program.
Cabell County, W.Va., schools brought chocolate milk back at the recommendation of state officials, and Fairfax County, Va., did the same after its dairy provider came up with a version sweetened with beet sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup...
Cooper and others argued children will drink plain milk if that's what's offered.
"We've taught them to drink chocolate milk, so we can unteach them that," Cooper said. "Our kids line up for milk."

Except, you have proof there. You have studies. Lots of children DON'T drink non-flavored milk. They just don't drink milk at all.

Maybe if you still offered them WHOLE milk they wouldn't hate it so much, too. Skim or 1% is all that's talked about in the whole article. Skim Chocolate, or Skim White milk. As someone who grew up on skim, let me tell you that whole milk is DELICIOUS.

But there's fat in it.

That makes it Unhealthy.

Really this all just makes me so glad to have missed the hysteria when I was in elementary school.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I shouldn't have gone back

Ugh. Internet. Why do you do this to me.

Why do you let me attempt to engage people and not then block me from reading the follow-up comments.

The following happened on a post on Sociological Images about a series of Klondike commercials where people under go horrible endurance challenges to win an ice cream. In the one under discussion, two big burly biker men had to - gasp - HOLD HANDS for five seconds!

So I go and read the discussion, and see this.

"Also, regardless of my sexuality, I wouldn’t want to hold the hand of someone that is obese and that doesn’t abide by basic hygiene. I wouldn’t even do that for a klondike."

A challenger appears:

"Why wouldn’t you want to hold the hand of an obese person? Are you afraid you might catch fat cooties or something? Your comment is hateful and dehumanizing."

The reply:

"I don’t find fat people attractive. It’s fine they’re fat, whatever, don’t care. I just find them physically repulsive. Others may find them sexy or whatever, but not me. The men in the vid are not attractive to me, and therefore I would not want to hold either of their hands, even if I was one of them.
So, do you want to apologize or am I supposed to get aroused to only fat people now?"

I stared at this for a while, totally baffled at how that comment even begins to be a reply to the challenge. Holding hands equals sex now? It's "fine that they're fat" but they're physically repulsive, and that's totally not a contradiction in attitude?

I couldn't help myself. All I said was "there’s a massive chasm of spectrum between “find sexually attractive” and “find physically repulsive”." I really didn't intend to go back to the post. I just wanted to leave that there. I really couldn't believe that those were the only two categories that this person put people into - fuckable, or repulsive.

Of course, I went back. The discussion was interesting and there were a lot more comments, and this was their reply:

"And I find obese people both sexually unattractive and physically repulsive. Particularly the fellow on the left in the commercial.
I know some people have the same feelings toward non-obese people. That’s their right and I don’t see anything wrong with either opinion."

I just.....what do you even say?

The original challenger had also replied in the meanwhile:

"Please show me the sentence in my comment where I said that you have to only be aroused by fat people. Please show me the part in my comment where I said that you had to be aroused by anyone.
There is a big difference between being sexually attracted to someone and holding their hand for five seconds. You don’t have to be sexually attracted to someone to touch them. Try replacing the word “fat” with the word “gay” or “Jewish” in your sentence and see if you don’t sound bigoted."

And the final reply in the chain:

"non-fat LGBT and/or Jewish people aren’t disgusting to me, so long as they aren’t fat. A person’s sexuality or ethnicity has nothing to do with their obesity. The mere thought of touching a portly hand is sickening to me. Now, what does your comment have to do with the video?"



I had to archive this. I can't really process it. How do you even? How do you get into that mindset? How do you so completely miss the point? How do you put no possible middle ground between sexual hunger and complete revulsion? How do you not understand that it hurts to be told so casually that my body or others like mine are so sickening to you that five seconds of touching a hand would be too much to ask? And how do you not see a problem with finding other people PHYSICALLY REPULSIVE based on one characteristic just because you think there are people who would do the same refusal to touch a skinny person?

I just don't even know what to say. I'm not even angry. I really can't be. I hope it's a troll. But my goodness if it isn't worth writing down just to have a record of.