Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
I think I’ve used this title before, but damn it, it fits.
One of these days, I dream, that I’ll turn on the internet, or more specifically Facebook, and won’t be bombarded with a bunch of bullshit size-ist, racist, classist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic bullshit.
It’s a beautiful dream…
But today is not a day for dreams, I fear.
So, this happened. The person who penned this saw a fat person running, and decided to offer them a bunch of condescending bullshit disguised as words of “encouragement” for just having started a path to weight loss. Well, a dude who runs at this track saw it, and is pretty sure he’s the fat person in question. His response. In case you don’t want to go to Jezebel, it’s that this isn’t him “starting” a path to weight loss. He’s been doing this for years, but has only run at night because he didn’t want to deal with assholes making assumptions about him and his body, and has in fact already lost over 200 lbs. ETA: the guy was NOT the guy the original poster wrote about, but I think that is his actual experience.
Now… do I really have to explain how fucked up making assumptions about other people based solely on their appearance is? Have we learned nothing from Bikers Against Child Abuse, fat people who do tri-athalons, and Ragen at Dances with Fat?
And the thing is, that I hear similar shit from people who I know and love. They’re pretty careful to not direct it AT me, but it still shows up. And I can’t help but think, “Wow, so what DO you think about my fat ass? Because this is toxic as fuck.”
Ok, guys, seriously. I’m a fucking NERD! If you could research your way to being thin, to finding a diet that actually worked, trust me, my fat ass would have found it years ago. Every fat person I have ever known has dieted, spent their lives dieting, been eating disordered, is still eating disordered…
My bad knees? Yeah, more research is starting to show that restrictive eating, even if your weight never dips below, or into, the normal range does damage to your body. I had a doctor in my late teens early 20s (oddly enough, he’s the doctor I went back to a couple years ago after I fired the awful person), who said, after seeing me monthly or more for a series of sports injuries and constant bronchitis, “Your weight isn’t low enough for a formal diagnosis of anorexia, but if you don’t start eating I’m going to hospitalize you. You have malnutrition, and you’re hurting yourself.”
I will repeat something that I’ve said before, and that research is bearing out, “a behavior doesn’t suddenly become pathological at a random number on the scale. If it’s making you sick when you’re thin, it’s probably making you sick when you’re fat, too.”
The main difference is, no one cares that it’s making you sick if you’re fat.
Also, disclaimer here, it doesn’t matter if someone is healthy or not, their body and health are none of your business. And if you REALLY cared about their health, you’d shut the fuck up. Because fat-shaming and concern trolling cause stress in people, and stress both makes you sick AND, research is beginning to tell us, makes people fatter.
Good job, assholes. A+ concern for health there.
I can go on and on and on about the ways in which fat impacts health that actually aren’t due to the physicality of fat. Stress from body-shaming and concern trolling, cow-calling, will the doctor actually bother to treat what’s wrong with me or am I going to walk out on an untreated broken ankle and a prescription to diet? Will I walk out with untreated pneumonia and be told to “get more exercise” even though I’m coughing up green gunk out of my lungs and running a fever of 102? Because of all that, fat people tend to avoid places where people are going to make fun of them (outside, the gym) and put off going to the doctor because so many doctors won’t actually treat what they came in for, but instead will fixate on their fat and how that must be why they can’t breathe… not, say, the chronic asthma they’ve had since nearly dying from pneumonia at age 5.
We know that, when we’re fat, people will accuse us of lying about how much we eat, or if we drink soda. And yeah, for some of us, they’re right, we are lying. We’re telling you we eat more than we do, because we’ve learned that if we told you the real story, you’d never believe us. And, also, if by some miracle you DID believe us, you’d be horrified and want us to eat more, and sometimes we don’t want to.
Jesus, if I had a nickel for every nutritionist who looked at what I ate, and told me I needed more carbs…
The problem with prioritizing weight/appearance over health is that when fat people do everything right, and don’t quit being fat, it’s demoralizing as fuck. We blame ourselves, and restrict harder, exercise more. We hurt ourselves and make ourselves sick until we can’t anymore, and then we give up. And by give up, I mean there are people who just quit doing any of it, because if they’re not going to get thin (which our culture stupidly assumes equals health) anyway, what does it fucking matter?
Here’s why it fucking matters:
Avoiding cigarette smoking is of pivotal importance for the prevention of premature death. In our study of middle aged women, adherence to lifestyle guidelines involving a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and weight management was also associated with markedly lower mortality. Of note, our results indicate that a healthy diet and regular physical activity have important health benefits independent of reducing adiposity. These findings underscore the importance of intensifying both efforts to eradicate cigarette smoking and those aimed at improving diet and physical activity.
I bolded the important bits for you. The link goes directly to that article.
So, yes, people at the extremes of both ends of the spectrum (extremely high AND extremely low weights) have a higher mortality rate than people in the normal, overweight, and obese areas, BUT what’s more important than weight is staying healthy, is staying active and eating well. Which means, not starving yourself, assholes. Good habits do more for health than trying to be a size 0 ever will.
Now, there’s new research saying that antibiotic use may in part be why Americans have had the (really rather small) shift upward in weight, they’ve had. In fact the university where I work has an entire center devoted to that question. Now, knowing that I would wind up fat (in addition to the life-threatening allergy to penicillin I also wound up with), sometimes I wonder if my mom would have still let them save my life when I had pneumonia. Even with antibiotics it was apparently pretty touch and go for a while there. I missed an entire month of kindergarten. I mean, I’m 99% sure she would have. But this is the same woman who told me she would have rather had the much increased risk of death from hyperthyroid, than deal with the impossibility of losing weight after killing it had she known ahead of time. So, yeah, I wonder.
And there are already parents out there causing malnutrition in their infant and toddler aged children because they’re terrified they’ll “wind up fat.” The Seattle area’s seen a couple in the last five years (here’s one). So, yeah, I worry that this news is going to have some nasty long term ramifications for children, as well as grown up people.
And I wouldn’t have to worry if people would quit being douchebags about fat.
Look, I can post study after study, and blog post after blog post, but most of you won’t listen to this because you know what you know and confirmation bias is a terrible thing. I’m just going to request that you keep your toxic “knowledge” to yourselves. Torture your own body all you want, I won’t stop you. But quit trying to bring your misery into my company.
My body, my business.
And another thing. How come it’s against medical ethics to remove my uterus, which I asked them to do, because they think it’s healthy, but perfectly ok to butcher a healthy digestive tract? Seriously, I think the medical profession has some fucked up ideas about healthy uteri, because I don’t call causing anemia and making me spend hours at a time doubled up in pain healthy.
Fucking double standards.