There is such a thing as helping wrong, or as my Mom liked to say, NOT HELPING!

I have a beautiful young friend that won’t go to the doctor because she is afraid they won’t do anything for her other than tell her she is fat.

I will let you sit with that for a minute. Yeah, truly soak that up. Because what fat person needs someone with a medical degree to point that out. As if our culture doesn’t already stigmatize us to the point of brow beating it into our heads, but now that a doctor says it…

There are so many people that claim they are doing what is right by telling fat people to lose weight. I, as an official fat person, want to stand up and speak for all fat people right now and tell you to not do that. Admittedly if anyone could talk about another’s weight it would be a doctor. However, don’t talk to anyone, not even a young person with judgment and announce that they are fat as if that is the thing causing every problem. An ear infection can’t be caused by being overweight. Believe it or not doc, there isn’t an overweight person in this universe that isn’t aware that they are overweight.

Let me assume for the moment that you are really concerned with my weight. You are desperately trying to save me and you feel that the only way you can do that is to tell me that I am overweight and need to lose weight. You feel the only way for me to be healthy is to do so. I get it. For me it is true, I need to lose weight so that my five three frame can feel better. However some fat people are still healthy. However, that still isn’t the point. There are also many reasons why someone is overweight. Unless it is a health reason, nothing you do is going to change that.  So the shaming of a patient is not necessary. Do you understand?

Maybe you believe that shaming them will cause them to lose weight. Many times and many ways that it has been expressed and studies have come out that say THAT IS JUST NOT TRUE. Shaming people doesn’t help them lose weight.

You know what sucks is, it may not even be the doctors fault. It is probably a symptom of an intolerant society that refuses to actually take the time to be empathetic.   If you have been on the internet at all you have probably seen the video from that Canadian comedian talking about fat people. I refuse to write her name because I don’t want to give her any more hits or any more publicity. Let’s be honest: I struggle to forget hateful people exist so I definitely try to forget their names.  It is intolerance such as this that encourages fat people to be ashamed. The more people act like this the less likely people will get help with their obesity. When you shame someone they hide. When you shame someone they shrink. This is your goal. You are hateful and I hope that someday you will see what you have done and you will change.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I wish that more people had empathy. Not just for this issue but for every issue. I think that this is possibly the most important thing we should teach each other. I also think that the minute you cannot empathize with a certain part of society, you should shut the fuck up about it.  If you can’t for the life of you figure out why someone would be fat, then shut the fuck up until you do. BECAUSE YOU ARE IGNORANT! Struggle to figure out a realistic not hateful reason. If you can’t then – don’t speak – because all you are doing is making the problem worse. Stop making it worse. REALLY. STOP. Please. Stop.

I am so tired of my family and friends being ashamed or saddened by your ignorance. As a community, we are failing our fellow humans.

There is a girl who is only three years old diagnosed with type two diabetes. Her parents I am sure probably were just ignorant to how to eat healthy, and how to take care of themselves. So that poor girl has to live in a society that hates her, and makes fun of her. Some day she is going to want to change to take care of herself. Do you know how hard it is going to be for her? When all she has learned is to take solace in food, she is going to grow up in a society that is relentlessly finding fault in those who do so. Her friends will make fun of her, the media will vilify her, and doctors will chastise her.

That is just the support a young person needs to get better, right?

Now, I am going to go really radical. We need American women to have pride in their bodies, not only the ones that have your standard of beauty.  Our bodies are magnificent in all sizes. Our bodies are works of art that move. We rely on them every day. We must appreciate them; love our bodies, in order to live a healthy existence. We also need good self-esteem to be happy. There is no reason not to love our bodies. There may be things that need help, or maintenance, but it is not something to hate. Stop contributing to these young people hating their bodies. Just stop.

The American Obesity Debate

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I am really confused by people sometimes and the way they try to over simplify other people’s problems. I was reading some comments on the web site thekitchn which is an awesome web site that has recipes and pictures of people’s kitchens and quite often discusses how we eat and what we eat. The beautiful pictures are always alluring, but I enjoy the commentary on the beautiful food and the way people eat. One of the articles referenced a Slate article called, Five Obstacles to Eating Right. If you want you can go here to read the article http://www.thekitchn.com/reality-check-5-obstacles-to-e-136644.

What really concerned me were the comments underneath. This web site is beautifully written and I think exemplifies how I want to live, with beauty and reverence with food. The original article was written by an Ellen Tarkin, and she discusses all the reasons you may not be able to eat healthy and how to overcome them. She uses her own life as an example. I know from experience it can be unnerving to talk about something like that, but these comments were so judgmental.  If you read them you will see the debate.

I think there is such an over simplification to the way people think about weight and eating right. I don’t believe it is malicious. I think it is desperation to get people to listen, to get people to respond. There is a “calories in, calories out,” or “eat less” and “move more” kind of motto that I don’t believe is helping anyone.  I know there are people who can live there life this way naturally. I am so happy for them, and hold those people up in my mind as “healthy.” You know there are people who put good things in their mouth every day, like Jamie Oliver. This makes me believe that I can do it too. I hold those people up to esteem.

I am not one of those people, and I don’t believe most people in America are. We have a huge problem in this country and it isn’t going to be changed with a sound bite. It isn’t going to be changed with, “I lost weight this way, and you can too.”

If someone wanted to reach me, this is not how they would do it. I have a problem; my brain is wired a little wrong. When I was young, my Mom really did try to keep us healthy. She had a garden sometimes, and she used to make fresh bread. We were a meat and potatoes kind of family. If you think about this, it makes sense. My family started out as farmers, and up until my generation worked in physical jobs, so chicken fried steak with gravy and mashed potatoes would be an appropriate meal. When you come home from harvesting the fields you need something that will stick to your ribs. These are the recipes that passed down from generation to generation. I sit on my ass everyday so I don’t get to eat that way anymore.

When I moved out, I started making money and my idea of indulging myself was eating out, drinking and smoking.  I didn’t quite understand the idea of restriction. Why would I restrict myself? I deserve these French fries. I deserve this martini and these calamari rings because I had a long day. I slowly got fat, and sick. It wasn’t like all of a sudden I was fat and sick. It seemed to slowly happen to me, with tiny little choices.

It wasn’t until I met my husband and realized that not only did I want to live long enough to enjoy my life of pure bliss with him, but I wanted him to live a long blissful life. I am now motivated enough to do something about it. Yes it is my fault, and yes I should have known better, but all in all it isn’t that simple.

Now that I know I want to eat healthy and live a long time, I still have to overcome the want of convenience. I still have to change my automatic response to hunger and my emotional need to fill myself with crap. I have field tested it; French fries do make me feel better.

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This is just one of the ways in which I had to rethink things. French fries were a treat as a child. I got French fries when I got my ears pierced and didn’t cry. Now when you eat French fries three times a week, it isn’t a treat anymore. I have started to rethink my treats. A treat in my mind had to change to healthful nutritious meals planned and cooked with reverence to how it would make me feel and how it would nourish me.  I am just one example of someone who has emotional ties to food.

I can’t speak for anyone else. I know some people use weight as a way of separating them from the world. It can be a defense mechanism that is hard to give up. If you watch any amount of TV you can see some people don’t know what good food is. There are people who don’t know what a Brussels sprout is.  And as discussed on that forum, and at my writers group, there are whole towns that don’t have access to produce, less known organic meat and dairy.

There are emotional, mental, and physical issues that all overweight people have to contend with in order to figure out where their thinking is wrong, and how they can fix it. It is just like any other addiction. I have never had a problem with alcohol abuse, so I don’t believe I could comment on how to kick that. I haven’t tried to understand that, and I don’t think I could. I am not a mental or psychological professional either. If I don’t know, I am not going to comment.

If you can’t be understand how someone could get out of control with food, then it is best that you don’t comment because I believe you aren’t helping. I believe you are trying to help, but when you say it is so easy and then someone fails, it is worse. I think the United States need to realize how complicated this issue is. We need to look deeper into not only the psychological but the sociological reasons behind the obesity epidemic. Until we do, we will continue to have a problem.