Archive for the ‘obesity’ Category

It turns out that my cousin–newly married, as of yesterday–runs triathalons.

I get exhausted watching edited triathalon coverage on television.

Now that I think about it, we’re all united by diarrhea. The triathaletes have that “losing control of all bodily functions” thing that sometimes happens and the portly bookworms now have alli.

I guess it all really DOES come out equal in the end. Or something like that.

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I’ve got a doctor’s appointment looming. And believe me, there is no other, better, word for it than “looming” because I hate going to the doctor.

This woman was recommended to me by Terry Heaton, which makes her the first GP in Nashville I’ve seen that’s actually recommended by something other than my finger eenie-meenieing names out of my “Preferred Provider” directory. Frankly, choosing doctors that way is fine if you are 22 and suffer from the occasional sore throat. But if you’re 37 and in need of a bit more monitoring, it’s time to step up your game.

My last doctor was a nice, small-statured man with fine hair that curled on top of his head the way you often see in little toddler boys. He was an avid cyclist. I really think I can handle only one avid cyclist in my more intimate circles, frankly. Especially since Last Doctor’s way of treating me was taken straight out of the end of Queen’s most-excellent Fat Bottomed Girls–“Get On Your Bikes And Ride!” Sinusitis? Obviously caused by diabetes–since you’re so fat. Sore throat? Well, you’re fat enough to have sleep apnea, so your throat probably hurts from your fat ass. Or something like that. Well, I don’t have diabetes, and I don’t have sleep apnea. But I do have an abiding dislike of visiting doctors. Which is why I am staying here at the keyboard inside my little safety zone for as long as I can–and realising how pathetic I sound. Would I sound even more pathetic if I said “My Kingdom for a Text-Based Adventure Game!”? Yes, probably.

Anyway, I’ve spent the last three weeks passing kidney stones of various shapes and sizes–aided by pills of various shapes and sizes. And there’s the problem. Because whenever you see doctors for chronic pain, the odds of the various doctors thinking you’re making it all up for the drugs is about 80-20. I saw one doctor on Saturday pre-ER who walked in the room and looked at me as though I were Robert Carlyle in Trainspotting. He didn’t even tell me his name. He did say “What do you expect ME to do about it? I can’t help you with your pain.” The irony was that all I wanted was a CT scan to monitor the stones. I can deal with them on my own if they aren’t stuck.

Oh, sorry. I’m off track here. This is supposed to be about the doctor I’m going TO instead of the doctor I recently escaped (only mildly scathed) from. I think it’s funny that to her I’m just some name under “2:00” in the appointment book, while in my mind I’ve built this up into some sort of scaling of a giant wall. Which reminds me of Buster scaling the wall with GOB on the other side, ready to punch him in the gut when he comes over. “See, when you do this without getting punched it’ll feel so much better!” I really hope I can do this without getting punched.

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Der Juden Ist Verboten

Why haven’t I written about the Fat Friends Make You Fatter story before now? I’ll tell you why. Because I have something very serious to say and I didn’t want it lost in the floodtide of joke-y posts by introverted bloggers with the inevitable “this is why I have no friends” punchline. I also wanted to say what I have to say in as careful a way as possible, because I don’t care to exploit the vastly more tragic outcome of History in order to make a point.

But I do have a few warnings.

In the 1920s and 1930s there was a lot of fascist propaganda out there. Cartoonish pictures of different people appeared in the media. Scientific studies by the dozens further fed into the growing paranoia. Jews, Homosexuals, the Romany–all were portrayed in visual media as undesirable, and in Eugenics studies as physically and mentally inferior.

It’s happening again. Only this time it’s not the Jews, the Homosexuals and the Romany who are primary targets. It’s me. And my family. And a lot of people I see on the street.

First, The Visual Media:

Then, the scientific study.

These clusters did not appear to be solely attributable to the selective formation of social ties among obese persons. A person’s chances of becoming obese increased by 57% (95% confidence interval [CI], 6 to 123) if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given interval.

It’s subtle, but it’s there. In the background, gently feeding public opinion and shaping public attitude. And those attitudes extend far beyond assumptions about size. I said it best over here, so let me repeat myself.

It’s actually a meta-tool for reinforcing both class and race prejudice as well as sizism.

See, the “fat people” (ie. fat men) are ALSO statistically more likely to be

a) non-Caucasion


b) making under $50K a year.

So, not only should you not befriend fat people, you should definitely not trouble yourself to reach across ethnic or economic lines to do so.

And of course, since a large majority of jobs are found through networking, this has the beautiful ability of keeping those non-white fellows poor.

It took the Third Reich about a decade to get folks to the point where they’d put “All Jews Forbidden” signs in their shop windows. Here in the States I suppose we’re more patient. I give us another 15 years before employers are assessed a Social Security penalty for overweight employees, the statistically overweight receive a smaller tax deduction and insurance companies flat out refuse to cover the obese.

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On my visit to Indiana, my parents treated me to a night of regional community theatre. Now, I love theatre and once hoped to make a living at it. Then I realised I didn’t want that life, so now I just content myself with going to plays and jealously critiquing the performances. There’s nothing quite like an evening of “I could do that SO much better”, coupled with chocolate and softdrinks.

But I’m not here to discuss the play. I’m here to discuss the people behind us–the peanut gallery.

This was a small town theatre in the heart of Indiana, and the contingent from my little family seemed to be the only people that didn’t know absolutely everyone else in the room. I told my mother and sister afterward that I felt as though I’d fallen into a Shirley Jackson story and was afraid we’d all be tied up in a wicker man or something. At several points throughout the evening I felt like we’d walked into a heartland version of Twin Peaks. It’s not that the town and theatre weren’t nice–they were lovely. It’s just somewhat discomfiting to find yourselves in a crowd where everyone else seems to know everything about everybody else who walks in the door.

The row of people behind us were no different, and their main topic of conversation seemed to be the departure of the teenagers behind us for various branches of Indiana University. The boy was going to Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne (IPFW to those in the know) to major in “er, computers” for “I dunno”. His girlfriend was going to IU-Bloomington to major in Theatre, even though she had recently fallen in love with Fashion Design–so much so that she bought a dress form! (The dress form was big news. Me, personally, I’m creeped out by dress-forms. They’re sort of like the Venus De Milo of Ventriloquist dummies.)

We heard all about how they were going to allow their relationship to be open, since they were going to be so far apart. (It’s like a 2.5 hour drive…) But the part that got me right between the eyes was when Ms. Dress Form began to talk about her roommate.

I don’t know who it is. My mom said I’ll probably get stuck with some fat twerp. Which would be bad, because I run every morning.

Now, pardon me, but that whole sentence struck me as about the equivalent of saying “I’ll probably get stuck with some n—-r. Which would be bad because I don’t eat watermelon.” Or “I’ll probably get stuck with some f–, which would be bad because I don’t like Barbra Streisand.” I’m fat, but I’m only occasionally twerpy (I can give you the list of days each month which are forecast for “heavily twerpy”) and I work out almost every day. So Dress-Form clearly has a pile of prejudice that perhaps college will help educate out of her.

The funniest part? The woman she was talking to was fatter than I am.

Maybe what Aunt B says about IU students is more true than I realised…

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Over at MCB, we’re having a chat about buying clothes from thrift stores.

I was a property master for a couple of plays back in high school, and thus got introduced to buying things from secondhand stores. You never knew what treasure you’d find in the dimly lit rows of the Ft.Wayne Salvation Army. Books, records, vintage clothes–it’s all there. Almost.

See, it’s next to impossible to find good plus-size clothes at most secondhand shops. Jackson Miller, who runs the Cool Springs Plato’s Closet, admits that their store

mostly sell[s] brands that are available in the mall. Since many of those brands do not include plus sizes we would have a hard time buying clothes bigger than that.

Sigh. This would be part of why I have no fashion sense. There just aren’t fashion options for big girls. Either in the mall or outside it. Sure, we’ve got Lane Bryant, which is fine if you’re getting ready to go on the Ricky Lake Show, or to prove that fat girls can turn tricks down on Division with the best of them. But there just really aren’t clothes easily obtained for those of us who make up 40% of the female population.

In fact, I was watching The Devil Wears Prada a couple of days ago, and about threw my root beer at the tv. (Thankfully I realised that all that would do would mess up my tv and my carpet, leaving Meryl Streep untouched.) Meryl talks about how fashion is living art and it’s not good to have contempt for the fashion industry because they decide everything, including what colour of blue your frumpy sweater will be two years from now.

Well, Fashion Industry, I do have contempt for you, only because you have contempt for me. So much so that I can’t even buy second hand clothes. Fat clothes are so hard to come by, that they’re hard to come buy.

Somebody ought to change that.

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An ad campaign in Brasil features fat women in famous pop-culture sexual iconography. The tagline “Men’s preferences will never change” says it all.

Eat the light yogurt because fat women aren’t sexy, and men will never think they are.

So I’m not a man, but frankly I think some of the photos are still sexy. I also think that using prejudice to sell a product is EVIL.

Oh well.

(Via BFB)

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I’m not a fan of the new Leslie Bennetts book, The Feminine Mistake. As a libertarian I think life works best when people make their own choices informed by their faith, family and friends. Live on a commune; work on Wall St.–whatever you and your support network think is best is your decision and the best way to live your life. So when books come out with premises like “all mothers should stay home” or “all women should have a career” I think that “some authors should mind their own business.”

I’m not the only one criticising Bennetts’ book. But, man, does this take the cake.

Several people are piling on to Leslie Bennetts, dismissing her work because she’s fat. In their minds, fat people are not qualified to give life advice because they can’t somehow manage to be not fat. Which is now, I suppose, a baseline for operating in society.

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UPDATE:  Feel free to just skip this post.   I should have followed my normal rule and sat on it for at least an hour.   I overreacted.   Since I don’t delete whole posts I can’t delete it.   But I do want to run it with a giant flashing “I was in a really bad unrelated mood” sign. (more…)

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  • Well, I think after reading more in depth about Fred, I’m firmly back on the Ron Paul bandwagon. I just don’t see Fred as my ideological counterpart in this race. Regardless, I think it’s time for me to vote outside the box for once. I’m really tired of picking the lesser-rotting apple out of two. We’ve all seen how well that works.
  • I have to go to church tomorrow and I’ll be honest. I don’t want to. I’m really feeling very introverted and not at all in the mood to fraternise. But that’s not all that’s bothering me. The last Sunday I was there, some man I don’t know stood up in our homeroom session and asked for donations. You see, my Sunday School department is having a marriage retreat, and they apparently want people to donate door prizes. Yes. That’s right. In a world where people are starving and homeless…in our Sunday School department where at least three families (that I know of) are having grave financial and health struggles we are soliciting for door prizes. Something about that seems so fiddle-y while America burns-ish. Then again, it’s probably just my problem.
  • Rachel forwarded me an article yesterday that she (rightfully) thought would make my blood boil. Apparently doctors are prescribing Adderal (a type of speed!) for overweight kids in order to help them shed pounds and be just like the really good and cool thin kids.
    What can be said about this other than ##@%&*#%&? Look, I know I’m all in favour of scaling back the ‘War’ on [some] Drugs, but what insanity has taken hold of us? We’re giving kids speed because they’re overweight? Adderal hasn’t even been approved for use in weight-control. Yet fat is such an evil, such an abomination, such a sign of being from the lower classes that we must do whatever it takes–including using untested and unproven and highly-addictive drugs–to keep our kids skinny.
  • I hate it when my favourite bloggers do things like go and have babies. Their real lives really disrupt all my pajama time.

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I’m not going to be afraid of a pint-sized prophet out in Franklin, folks. I’m not even going to be afraid of her lawyers. Because when we’re here speaking the truth about matters of Faith I’m claiming the blood of Christ.
Good. Now that we’ve got that bit of family business out of the way, on to the true matter at hand. My friend Lu wrote an long and impassioned comment about Weigh-Down on another post yesterday. I was going to respond to her comment over there, but she said so many true things that I wanted to really talk about them, not just ‘comment’.

Part of being truly healthy, I’m learning, is focusing on the whole part of me, not just my weight, and not just my spirit. I think God desires us to focus on our emotional, mental and physical well-being as much as we do the spiritual.

God is in the details. All the details. What Lu says is a perfect summary about the way to walk with God. As I was reminded earlier in the week by Jackson’s post, so many people have this hugely mistaken idea about what it means to be a Christian. Some of them are Christians themselves. It’s too easy to give God only part of your life. A bit on Sunday, maybe some devotions throughout the week. A prayer tossed out here or there when you’re up against the wall. But that’s not why God made us in his image. He wants a relationship. With the whole person.

While I think spiritual health will impact our whole being, it won’t make us physically fit.

And spiritual health won’t make us mentally fit either. That’s part of my objection to many homeschoolers. Granted, I know several families who homeschool (Hi, Tricia!) and do it well (Hi, Tricia’s kids!). But there are a lot of other families (Hi, distant family members!) who presume that as long as the kids ‘know Jesus’ they don’t need to bother with knowing much else.

Whenever anyone over-stresses the spiritual aspect of Christian life, I think they miss the larger point about truly living for God.

It really does make me angry when people misuse the truth of God to further their own selfish aims. I’ve gotten to the place where I won’t patronise a business that markets itself as a ‘Christian’ business. I want you to fix my sink. Last time I checked that was a wholly non-religious endeavour. More and more businesses toss out the “we’re Christians” excuse as a way to grease the wheels and run a psuedo-con. We saw that firsthand at J L Kirk, and I’m reminded of it whenever I pick up the Christian Classifieds. Each edition of that little paper has at least three MLM type scamjobs advertised when I look through it. The implication of course is that surely these people won’t scam you because they’re good Christians. What tommyrot.

They all talked about how they … felt compelled to come from all over the US to join Gwen’s church, because of what she did for them in Weigh Down.

Exactly. What she did for them. Some people use the name of God to reel others in and then turn it into an opportunity for themselves. There’s not one thing holy about that behaviour.

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