Hello, I Am Fat, Too, So, Of Course, You Want to Know What I Think…

6 thoughts on “Hello, I Am Fat, Too, So, Of Course, You Want to Know What I Think…”

  1. Can’t say enough awesome things about this post, Brian.

    Healthy is as healthy does, and has far less to do with how it all looks.

    I stopped dieting because I found it demoralizing. Instead, I started eating whole foods, amped up the produce, dialed down the meats and obvious unhealthy foods like fast food and junk food and dessert. I walk and do yoga. Sometimes I swim or play volleyball.

    Still, I am 50 pounds overweight according to some chart that doesn’t take into account that I’m a size 10, which is not particularly obese by American averages. But what real, average height woman is supposed to weight 185?

    I do.

    At age 45, my cholesterol numbers are ideal, my blood pressure is under control, I have no inclination toward diabetes, I feel great most of the time. I know thin people younger than I am who have problems with all of these conditions.

    Hmmm. Maybe this is just MY SIZE, the one that came with my genetic package the moment I was conceived. Judgmental folks don’t ever think of that, do they?

  2. Hey Tamara,

    Thanks for the props and for commenting.

    A couple of things:
    1) I assume the size chart you’re talking about is BMI. I could go on and on about my disappointment with BMI, but you can read about it in my first post on “Heavy” instead. BMI is utter bullshit. Everyone carries their weight differently.

    2) Where you are, being happy with your size, is exactly where all people should be in an ideal world. According to BMI, I’m 75 lbs. overweight, but I feel great. I work out. I eat mostly healthy stuff. (I have my weaknesses–sweets, pizza, french fries, namely.) But, most importantly, I’m fucking happy and healthier than I’ve been in my fatter days. In the end, that’s what counts.

    B

  3. I’m still not really sure how to feel about either Lindy’s post or yours. Part of me is glad people are talking about the way overweight people are treated by others (seeing as how I’ve been overweight since about 8 years old, I have been called some genuinely horrible names just for being fat). And another part of me is wishing everyone would just shut up about it. It has pissed me off the way people view me but I have almost always (I believe the teenage years are a HUGE exception) liked myself and had the ability to ignore what these small-minded and judgemental people are saying. The thing that bugs me the most, though, is that it is assumed that I am “unhealthy” or that I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I am healthier than most of my friends who are half my size. I exercise more and eat healthier than they do. It just sucks that in order to really lose weight I would have to just pretty much give up my life. I have lost weight before so I am saying this with experience. It’s like Margaret Cho said, it is a full time job to lose weight and it’s extremely hard not to become obsessive about it. It’s a giant drag to be like Joey Ramone in Rock N’ Roll High School. Everyone else is eating pizza and you have to eat wheat germ. He looks fucking miserable and that’s what it’s like when you’re trying to lose weight. For me, the shittiest part about the chub is that I never get to just feel “normal”. I feel like if I eat junk food I’m just being what everyone sees me as-a fat pig. And if I eat healthy food I just feel like I’m doing it so people WON’T see me as that person. I think that’s essentially what Ms. West was trying to convey in her post. Just that we should be able to feel normal, not to have to question every fucking decision we make. Choices are not frequently easy and neither is losing weight.

    1. Hey Chelsea,

      I think shutting up is the last thing we should be doing because it allows the world to sweep everything under the rug. If we talk about how we feel as fat people, we can begin to cut through the ignorance, the bullshit, that permits the world to make assumptions about fat people based on some of the things Lindy cited: the “eww…gross” mentality or the “you’re fucking insurance with your diabetes” mentality, etc. By shutting up, we are, in a sense, relinquishing our power, and thus actually allowing ourselves to be oppressed, in some sense. Talking will slowly erode the bias against fat people. If we want to feel normal, our experience needs to be voiced, and people need to understand that we aren’t all lazy, pizza-inhaling fat fucks.

      As for you personally, Chelsea, if you’re happy, that’s all that counts. Like Tamara commented earlier, she’s tried to diet, etc., and in the end, she is the weight she is, and she’s happy with it. I don’t believe there is an ideal size for anyone. The only standard we should follow is happiness, but I will make a plug for cholesterol and blood pressure since they are both important indicators of health, more so than weight, in my opinion.

      Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your thoughts and your willingness to speak so honestly about your own experience.

      Brian

  4. Brian,
    To answer your question: I’m actually referring to that antiquated weight chart that they still use in doctor’s offices to determine if one is overweight based on frame size, height, age and gender. It should be abolished, if you ask me.

    Still, I’ve long suspected that BMI was BS, especially for women who come from family stock that’s more muscular (that would be me). I’m not saying I’m *not* overweight because I have more muscle (I would still like to shrink some fat cells so I can find those muscles and get them to work better!), but I do have more muscle density when compared to other women.

    Still, it’s hard to believe that, while human beings come in all shapes and sizes, medical science has boiled all this down to a couple of charts that may or may not tell the whole picture based on a handful of assumptions and without regard to other variables like family physiology and whatnot.

    Add cultural images about what human beings are “supposed to” look like and a large portion of our population becomes isolated and discriminated against regardless the many other factors that influence one’s body size and weight that one can’t fix through lifestyle choices.

    Chelsea,
    while I understand and appreciate why some people are tired of hearing about obesity, I’m happy this is an ongoing discussion because, as Brian says, talking about things breaks down barriers.

    I’m raising two teenaged girls in a media-bombarded world where unhealthy extremes in body image can leave them with the wrong impressions about how to care for and value themselves as whole people (versus a package of body parts). Surgery to achieve body image perfection scares the hell out of me and yet it is becoming a normalized expectation for teenaged women of all sizes and shapes to seek some sort of artificial “fix” so they can fit into the world.

    Luckily, my girls eat like healthy teenagers, they exercise a lot, and they don’t seem too obsessed about weight gain (not any more than any other ordinary, well-adjusted teenager might). And they are well aware of bulimics and anorexia in their peer groups and find it just as disturbing as I do. And I’m often proud to hear them say “Oh, she’s pretty” or “she’s very talented” when they see a girl or woman “of size” on TV or in a film with a beautiful, distinctive look or performance. I don’t know that they are necessarily “size blind,” but they do seem to be focused on other positive physical attributes besides weight, which I feel is one small step in the right direction.

    The point is that being healthy, regardless of weight, requires a personal support system and established, healthy intention from the very early years of one’s life, plus a lot of vigilance in the face of the unrealistic body images and messages reflected by pop culture and the media.

    Yes, we need to talk this out so that more people can work toward good health and self esteem and away from the social exclusion, emotional abuse, and self-hatred that come from bigotry against anyone who isn’t a natural size 1.

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