Fat and Sassy

my views on being larger than life.

Being teased for being a fat child makes you a sad panda – DUH February 19, 2010


doing my daily mail surfing (i have had the same yahoo address for 15 years) I saw the following headline:   Childhood Obesity Takes Psychological Toll, Too (from http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20100215/sc_livescience/childhoodobesitytakespsychologicaltolltoo).   DUH!  Like being fat, especially growing up, is fan-fucking-tastic.   Adults may catcall a fat chick as she walks down the street…bullies will make a fat kid eat mud…and oink like a pig…literally.  “Overweight kids are more likely to have depression and low self-esteem, to be teased or bullied, and to bully other children,” said Catherine Davis, associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia. “These can be serious problems for these children.”  It’s hard NOT to have low self-esteem and suffer depression when EVERYONE when you are a fat kid is telling you that you aren’t good enough.   You aren’t thin enough for your parents, your doctor, your family.   If you have friends, they either walk all over you, or only hang out with you when nobody is watching (i actually had someone tell me that in middle school….i wasnt cool enough to be seen with but they sure would play my Nintendo).

“Overweight and obesity are terribly stigmatizing conditions, regardless of age,” said Sara Gable of the University of Missouri, Columbia. “Living as a member of a stigmatized group is stressful and can produce feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.”  FOr a child, it means never learning vital social skills because they don’t get the practice they would if NOT part of a stigmatized group.   ITs hard to jockey for social standing when you are the last one picked, and automatically shunned because of your body.  “A lot of who we are is based on how others interact with us,” said Eric Storch of the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of South Florida. “With kids who are overweight they internalize others’ feedback, ‘You’re fat, you’re no good, no one wants to go out with you.’ That contributes to anxiety and depression.”  And what exactly do you do about a fat child?  Starve them?  Put them on a diet?   IF being fat really IS 80% genetic, we are setting up a whole group of children to hate themselves, their body and never really trust their peers.   I for one, ALWAYS know when someone is watching me.   It’s not paranoia, but self defence…if you see and hear the kids whispering to each other about you BEFORE they tease you out loud, you can avoid that horrid “what do I do” feeling. You can arm yourself with a comeback, or get ready to read and ignore them.   We are setting up an entire swatch of people, men and women both, to be complacent in abusive relationships….its not such a far step from “im never thin (read that as good) enough”  to “its my fault, i deserved to be hit, no one else will love me anyway”   I would really like to see the statistics on weight/BMI and spousal abuse.  (if they even exist)  

Researchers are finding that overweight kids are stigmatized in the very arenas they need to “feel better”  and “lose weight”…exersize.   What former fat kid doesnt remeber the horror of gym class….or sports……or even playing in the park:

“He estimates rates of depression are as high as 20 percent in kids who are overweight.

 “It’s not simply being overweight that leads to depression,” Storch said in a telephone interview. “It’s being overweight and getting a bunch of crap about it from peers that leads to anxiety or depression.”

While one paradigm suggests weight leads to teasing, which then leads to psychological issues, another reverses those arrows to suggest depressed kids are less likely to exercise and more likely to gain weight.

In fact, Storch and his colleagues studied 100 overweight children and those at risk for being overweight, ages 8 to 18, to find out the effects of bullying. About a quarter of the children reported significant problems with bullies during the prior two weeks. The study, published in a 2007 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, revealed bullying often caused kids to avoid situations where they had been picked on, such as gym class and sports fields.
Storch’s team also found bullied kids were more likely to be depressed, lonely and anxious.

“When you think about it, it makes intuitive sense, when you consider the hallmark signs of depression – sadness, fatigue, lack of interest in things you used to like,” Storch said in a statement about the study. “When kids are having a tough time with peers, and struggling with depression, then this can translate to reduced rates of physical activity.”

And researchers are seeing that this anti-obesity stigmatization starts early.   IN a national study involving 8000 kids, following kids from kindergarten through 3rd grade.   “by third grade overweight kids reported less favorable peer relations and feeling unpopular.”  Overweight girls acted out more, did worse in school.   (as reported by teachers) Kids who were fat as young as KINDERGARTEN  “were more likely to be sad, lonely and to worry than kindergarteners without extra poundage, according to reports by their teachers and the kids themselves. As overweight kids entered higher grades, these feelings just got worse.”    As a parent, you know when your kid is overweight but this “anti obesity”  message is getting out of control (even if your kids are small and underweight for their age group)….your doctor tells them…tv tells them…and books…and the health teacher….posters all over elementary schools tell kids to never have soda, only drink diet (and then sells them chips out of a vending machiene), my SIX year old told me she wanted to try and be less hungry.  Our kids are humans too…they LIVE in our culture, and they hear more than we give them credit for…childhood isnt rainbows and lemon drops…its fitting in, and being popular (or learning how to deal with NOT  being popular), dealing with your peers and learning the “norms” of society.   If a round body type is not “normal”,  if being fat is labeled “dangerous”  and “a disease” (and im not talking about nutrition here, i actually eat really well and so do my kids, i am talking about physiological body types)  “The fact that overweight boys and girls reported more loneliness and worrying suggests that, as early as first grade, they may have an understanding of the stereotypes that accompany living with the stigma, the researchers say.” 

“Gable said research on other stigmatized groups, such as racial minorities, shows these negative feelings can interfere with academic performance and other aspects of a person’s life, and “there is good reason to think” these findings would apply to children struggling with weight problems, Gable told LiveScience.” OH but we choose to be fat….a five year old CHOOSES to be teased…too have less friends, and do worse in school.(remember obesity is showing up as young as 3 months now according to research….lets tell the infants to lay off the twinkies fatty) yea fucking right.   I don’t understand when these kid are supposedly getting fat….and we know that if a kid is fat, they will be a fat adult (for the most part)  could it be because its GENETIC?   no I guess we just need to stop eating all together  /headdesk

Their tips include turn off the tv and get involved in sprots….well geuss what….I grew up with hippie parents…which mean NO tv till I was 8 and then black and white tv till middle school.  We didn’t get cable till I was in high school for the love of god.   I NEVER had a tv in my room till college.   I was in a sport every year, sometimes 2 a year.   We lived near a playground and had a big back year to play in.   And by the age of 10 I was over 100 lbs.   Because of the hippie parents, and the chem major dad we didn’t eat out (dad knew EXACTLY how dirty a restaurant could be), so i wasnt eating McD’s and getting fat.   We ate healthy, homemade meals that were not processed.  (hell for a while we baked our own bread) But it was said to me all my life growing up it was my fault I was fat…..and down that road lies eating disorders , depression and a lifetime of hating my body.  But even the headline of this article seems to blame obesity for the depression…instead of placing the blame squarely on society’s stigmatization where it belongs.

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Welcome to the matrix February 15, 2010


Some important online links for ya today.  enjoy the interwebs matrix roundup for the month of feb.

the FFF is online now!

Well, there is a new blogroll/voltron blog in town.   thats right we ARE the Home of the Nouveau-bese.   check us out at www.fiercefatties.wordpress.com.  Got a great bunch of folks onboard, hitting just about every group we can in the fatospere…..we got the token male….the “skinny” fatty….the eating disorder genius (thats me)…the newbie fatty…..the ethnic fattie…older fattie….younger fatties……college educated and not….. you get the drift….10 fabulous takes on FA and how we cope with being fat and loving it in a skinny world.  In the words of our fearless “leader”  Atchka we “We’re an open-minded, friendly sort of community that welcomes disagreement, dissent, and diet-talk (with ample trigger warnings). We aren’t promoting dieting, but we acknowledge that Fat Acceptance should include people at all stages of the journey, even those who have not yet internalized the failure rate of dieting.”  yea that about sums it up.  

Ask me anything i DARE you.

 And don’t forget about my formspring at http://www.formspring.me/fatandsassy .  Ask me anything I promise I will answer.  some goodies from the last week:

If you could only present one fact about the current War on Obesity to the country, something that you think would make more Americans less assholish toward fat people, what would it be? by atchka

The study done at UCLA showing that diets don’t work in the long term. THIS was the wake up call I had that made me realize I was being crazy, repeating the same behaviors over and over again….dieting over and over again, expecting it to work THIS time. It was this study that started me on my TRUE recovery from bulimia, the ultimate weight loss roller coaster.

This meta study looked at 31 long-term weight loss studies over the course of 5 years. they found at LEAST 2/3 of diets fail, and that was with studies with self reporting (of COURSE we say we lose more than we did) and low follow-up (around 50%…wanna bet the people who lost weight were the ones that reported?) which HAD to have skewed results. In fact “one of the best predictors of weight gain over the four years was having lost weight on a diet at some point during the years before the study started,”. THAT is what i want people to understand. so we are fat….so it may be bad for us….

but DIETS DONT WORK.

so now what do we do? force fatties into concentration camps? (call them boot camps and sell it to us for 5k a week!) KIll us all? Or just scapegoat the worlds problems onto us.

How are you so awesome?

luck and skill. and a large dose of Phish and MST3K…and books…..LOTS of books.

Bored?  love websites?

Check out my stumbleupon page at http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/Erylinn/ .   For those that don’t know what stumbleupon is , i will use their own words:

StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. As you click Stumble!, we deliver high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended by your friends or one of 8 million+ other websurfers with interests similar to you. Rating these sites you like () automatically shares them with like-minded people – and helps you discover great sites your friends recommend. 

StumbleUpon uses / ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages that friends and like-minded stumblers () have recommended. This helps you discover great content you probably wouldn’t find using a search engine.

Searching vs. Stumbling:

Using search engines to locate relevant content typically means hunting through pages of results. Rather than searching for quality web sites, StumbleUpon members are taken directly to web sites matching their personal interests and preferences.

Sounds dry and techincal….its actually the most amazing thing I have ever played with.   I see new stuff there every time I hit stumble…in fact it is what ultimately led me to fa, by stumbling a post on shapely prose (http://kateharding.net/)  I know it requires a toolbar to be installed to stumble but its actually functional (i usually hate toolbars and wont install them.)

 

That’s gotta be a victory February 5, 2010


Heidi over at Hortus Deliciarum  wrote a great post called Intuitive eating vs. “calorie restriction” or dieting .  As i was posting, i realized my reply  had outgrown the “comments” realm and was morphing into its own blog post.   please check her post out as it is obviously thought provoking.

“Sometimes I need to swim back to my safety-log of overeating to make it through a day, because I’m not yet ready to swim all the way to the shore of recovery, but I never, ever calorie restrict. That way lies madness.”   

so very powerful and true.   It amazing….now that I honestly DONT CARE what I  eat…I end up bringing home food from resturants……hell I even order less because I didn’t starve myself all day…like today…at panera bread (it will always be St.Louis Bread Co to me) I USED to order a take 2 with a breadbowl, making myself eat their yummy salads….but yesterday all I craved was veggies,  and today all I wanted was bread and meat….so I had french onion soup in a bread bowl and it was ALL I wanted…..it was PERFECT and I was satisfied until 9p, when I ate with my man when he got off work on our date night.   I am eating LESS when I am not forcing myself to eat “right”  because what I crave is “right” for my body.  

…and I don’t feel like I have to “force” myself to eat in the mornings anymore (I have asthma and use birth control… so I get REALLY sick to my stomach in the morning.)  I always felt like I had to choke down breakfast, and then if I couldn’t I wouldn’t let myself eat till like 2 as “punishment” for not follow the right diet to “amp” my metabolism.     But now that I have given up on that notion and eat when my body says I tend to eat 2 meals with a light snack later….and no starving, no hiding food and scarfing it.   I enjoy it more….hell I cant even eat fast food anymore, it turns my stomach and I don’t crave it (i turned down fries tonight in favor of horseradish cole slaw) ….but boy has my wok enjoyed itself since i got it for christmas! 

Hell this whole happy movement thing too is amazing….my body LOVES me now!  My back needs the yoga daily to feel better….and I feel stronger without feeling so sore I cant walk up a stair.   I don’t shake now when I do downward-facing dog or warrior poses!   And I can hold them for longer!   and I havent given up or gotten bored (gogo ADHD).   It feels like all the baby steps with my relationships with food, exercise and self-esteem are starting to right themselves.

In fact I passed something of a “test” for myself personally.  My first trigger for bulimia…the big one that started it all… was homemade lemon bars…..I made (and then ate) a whole pan…and freaked out. (cue a binge/purge cycle that lasted, oh the rest of my life)  Well, I made some with my kids…and there are still 3 left, and its been 2 days…in fact I think I have to throw them away, because they are stale….WFT!   I let sweets…CAKES for crissake!…go STALE!  I dont care if I am losing weight, or gaining….I DO care that my relationship with food, for the first time since I was 10, is starting to feel normal, and right.   I dont have to count everything to be able to eat it.   I AM trying to eat veggies, not because I HAVE to but because I CRAVE them. 

That’s gotta be a victory.

 

a voice in recovery January 28, 2010


As you probably know by now, i am a recovering bulimic, and am always looking for ways to support others in the recovery process, as well as looking for advice and insight on my own recovery.  I follow weightless (http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2010/01/qa-on-eating-disorder-recovery-with-kendra-a-voice-in-recovery-part-2/) which features thoughtful interviews with people in the recovery process.    

WARNING MAY BE TRIGGERING

A problem that eating disorders have in the media is their portrayal.   It, like dieting, is often seen as a “willpower”  issue, when it’s so much more than that (much like dieting)   “I do worry more about trash media articles, because often the articles sound cliché, and make it sound like eating disorders are a willpower issue and not a complicated biological, chemical, cultural, environmental disorder.”   Also, everyone sees the wasting waif that is the face of anorexia….but put me in a line up and you wouldn’t be able to go “HER…thats the bulimic”   That is one of the MANY pitfalls of judging a person by their weight.   Tell me to “lose weight fatty”  and not so long ago it would throw me into a crying tailspin where I would purge everything I ate for 3 months.   Hell I have even had relatives tell me to just be bulimic for 3 months so you lose 30 lbs so you can get out there and date after my husband left me (thanks insensitive bitch!)   If I am skinny and its after 1994, it’s NOT because of a successful diet….its because I throw up.  ITs when I get “fat” again that I am healthy, not living in a hell with my worth being defined as a number at the convergence of calories in, exercise, willpower, and hatred.. 

This particular article is with Kendra, the head of A voice of Recovery on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AVoiceinRecovery) and she had some awesome things to say about ed, recovery and advocacy.  First, she lashes out at the diet industry, which is the root of poor body image in oh so many women. ” I worry that because dieting is running rampant in this country by a multi-billion dollar industry, that parents will see dieting as a girl’s “right of passage.” I worry people will start dieting and end up with eating disorders. I believe the diet industry is a very damaging, powerful industry.”  that is why diet ads, ESPICALLY to those in recovery can be so toxic….it’s really hard to ignore all the “lose weight fatty or no one will love you” messages in the media…or worse yet “lose weight fatty or your gonna DIIIEEEEEEEE” (i think i want a t-shirt with that on it, as a caption for a picture of receipts for diet food) that is the new special hell in the media for ed folks.   Because EVERY diet becomes restriction, and for those with and ed, this can mean relapse.

She also talks about the lack of information for those RECOVERED….you hear all these stories about the bravery of women going into ED treatment, but you don’t see the reality out the other side…..IT can feel hopelessly long, and hard, and damn near impossible.   The media, ESPICALLY for bulimia, doesn’t really talk about the long term effects….for me, my ED is becoming VERY real as my teeth fall out one by one….before the of 40.   I also have digestion issues and acid reflux disease (from all my purging, my tummy ph is all messed up) and a horrid gag reflex.   She too talks on her issues (which the media never covers for bulimics, or if they do it’s an aside, cause we aren’t SKINNY so its ok) 

“I do have a LOT of dental issues. I was a kid who never had cavities, always had white teeth, and I now struggle with cavities, gum damage, etc. I also have a lot of digestive problems. Since I abused laxatives, I have a hard time processing foods. I also restricted and threw up so much food that I have acid reflux, and issues with eating certain types of foods.” 

They don’t tell you that you can never enjoy orange juice (bottled sunshine) again without pain.  Or red sauce (at least for me). 

Kendra also talks on how people can help loved ones with an ed.   Like with alcoholism, its really hard to help someone stop when they don’t WANT to stop.   You have to have that Aha! moment.  It’s important to remember, folks may NOT want help.  “Also – this disorder lies:  Often while you think a loved one may need help, the person struggling will not and sometimes cannot see this. Try not to lash out with frustration, and understand that it is a very complicated disorder, and it is normal for the person struggling to not want help, be unwilling to stop behaviors and may get very angry at any suggestion of help.”

It’s people like her that give me the courage to take it one day at a time, step by step into recovery.  Sometimes all you can say is “I will try again tomorrow”

 

I hate Jillian Michaels January 22, 2010


Just saying I hate her…..I hope she gets a metabolic disorder and people tell her to stop eating fatty….except she can’t because its genetic even if she eats nothing and works out for 5 hours a day. (like many x-biggest loser contestants, some of whom train for MARATHONS on 1200 calories a day.)   May she blow out a knee and never be able to do another lunge.   I wish her nothing but what she pushes on other people for the sake of ratings and money (never  ever pretend it’s about “compassion”  thats a load of crap.)  May she have heat stroke while running a mile …..in a fat suit.  

IN fact she is bad at selling things too…a new video of hers pushes a kettlebell workout…well i found this article blasting her (and he does it as nice as he can too, they ARE selling kettlebells after all and she is the hottest weight loss trainer since the ab-rower )  http://www.charmcitykettlebells.com/sandys-journal/jillianmichaelsisbadforkettlebells/

“Being a trainer, in no way gives Jillian Michaels the expertise to teach kettlebells. Look I’m not a personal trainer and I don’t try to train folks except in my area of expertise. Jillian says at one point during the QVC piece, “I know you are thinking…you don’t know how to use it (the kettlebell)” Well I can assure you she doesn’t know how to use it either, unfortunately.”

Thats the problem with the EXERSIZE FATTY approach to weight loss… if you aren’t already fit, jumping into 3 hours of cardio a day will KILL you….or at the very least injure you.   All things in moderation people jesus.   And you know what, life it’s too short to do what she does, what she makes people do on tv for money.   Life is here to ENJOY the best  way you can……that includes eating well, dancing through life, and loving the souls around you.  It does NOT include climbing a never-ending ladder till you fall over.   And then have an angry (albiet hot in an overtoned martial arts sort of way)  brunette yelling at you “stupid fatty you are ruining your life, your kids lives and the country!”

(Well THATS been brewing for a while…sorry folks.  Some things just have to be ranted upon…I guess i have been rant-y lately…must be the moon or something)
 

Elle admits to exersize bulimia January 20, 2010


If I havent mentioned it yet, I LOVE stumble upon, an add-on for web browsers (get it www.stumpleupon.com).   It lets you pick your genres you like to look at (for me its humor, anthropology, video games, music, crafts, linguistics, history ect ect)  and then plugs you into a cloud using a thumbs up/thumbs down system like Pandora or digg.   Anyway it always gives me interesting fa articles from outside the fatosphere and this is no exception.  This time i stumbled into an article about exercise bulimia from Elle Magazine. 

As usual, these may be triggering, please read with care (and take in mind it IS coming from the Evil-Coprorations-Pushing-diets-On-us magazines aka one of THEM)

http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Health-Fitness/Exercise-Bulimia-How-Much-is-Too-Much

  I think its great that the author (a reality tv  winner from a show called stylista…the prize was an internship at elle)  was open about the whole thing, and how she realized she needed help.  The first article is her journey toward admitting she has a problem.  Her addiction started through a sport, having to cut 2-3 lbs to make the rowing team.   The old calorie in = caolrie out became the rule for her, the obession…she realized she had a problem when She was taping the show.   Her inability to exercise (their gym membership fell through, they didn’t get the contestants a treadmill, they couldn’t run because of the cameras..ect,ect.)  leads to a quiet breakdown, and she knew she needed help.  

  I think everyone has a triggerpoint….I remember being in middle school drinking slimfast and hiding in the library because I was embarassed…..runnning till I fell over to REM.   And, like the author of the Elle article, I hid my exercise, doing it late at night when no one would know.   Taking the bus to the pool to swim for 7 hours a day, swimming 50 laps or more without stopping.   Now, my exercise bulimia fell to pieces when I started purging, (it was oh so much less time consuming for one), but i can certainly understand where the author is coming from…and to a certain extent it’s what the media at large feeds us.  I find it problematic that in the same magazine as this article there is also THIS article http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Health-Fitness/ELLE-Make-Better-DVD-With-Brooklyn-Decker, but i suppose it IS a step in the right direction.

http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Health-Fitness/21-Day-Make-Better-Exercise-Diary

the second is the beginning of her recovery journey.  I sort of disagree with the slightly oversimplified idea that she could get “better” from an eating disorder in 21 days, but hey, it’s a start.  It’s about time that folks start seeing the compulsive exercise as pushed by the biggest loser and other weight loss shows.    It’s NOT ok to run 8 miles a day because you ate a muffin.   You are NOT supposed to exercise through injuries.    Holidays.   Birthdays.  The road to recovery is a long process full of pit falls.   The author speaks about gaining 3-4 lbs over the course of 21 days…but what if your body equilibrium is naturally 50 lbs heavier than that?   What happens when you STOP going 2-3 daily 6 days a week?   And where is the line?  Whats the difference between fasting because you know you are going to a buffet….or starving yourself so you can binge?  I think the line is, like all  addictions, does it affect your life?  are you ashamed of it?  do you obsess  about it?  do you do it in secret?

Anyway some food for thought.

 

Biggest Fear January 19, 2010


So I am driving my kids in the car to go out to eat for a birthday dinner with their grandparents.   And the youngest daughter, the one most like me, pops up with “I think I eat too much…I’m going to try to be less hungry”  and my heart just broke….my biggest fear is I will somehow “give” my eating disorder to my daughters.   Even though i am step mom (their mother passed   over 3 years ago now.)  I love them like my own.  (for those that belive in the supernatural, i have dreampt about them since i was 12, but i digress again as usual)  I try VERY hard to cook balanced meals, not talk about good food bad food and try to help them look at food as fuel for your body…we need various food groups like your car need fluids or it wont run right.  At the same time i teach them to cook, to bake, to love food and life.

We tried hard to explain that she needs to eat and drink so her body can grow big and strong….. but now I worry….I’ve know her since she was 3…..she has always LOVED seafood and veggies…in fact at buffets she often just eats sliced tomatoes, seeds, cheese, and strawberries, happy as a clam.   But with that comment i find myself worried more and more….is she restricting?  or just enjoying the foods she loves?  do i force her to eat the meat and such that is the “main course” with dinner?  (our usual rule is as many bites as your age of veggies, fruit and protein)  She also has a bad gag reflex and will start to choke and puke a little when she’s upset (smells and tastes will also set her off).     At what point is that bulimia?  She has the other “triggers” for and ED too….a need to be perfect….childhood trama…..a crushing need to feel accepted.  Already when she messes up, she will run away and call herself stupid.   I try to tell her we have to make mistakes to learn but i don’t know if she hears me.  

Kids being the curious buggers that they are have caught me in a few ED freakout moments, so I sat down and explained as best  as I could how some people are fat and some people are thin, and how the people that sell diet stuff try to make you feel bad to sell the diet stuff.   They are starting to read, so we look at the tiny print on the diet commercials.  “mommy it says average weight loss 5 lbs total, thats not as much as the girl in the ad.”  But how do you explain bulimia and EVERYTHING that comes with it to a 6 and a 7 yr old without making them question their body, their self-worth?  How do you armor a child that , due to her genetics (her mom was 200+ her dad is over 300 lb) has a pretty good chance of being overweight?  (and do it without damaging her self-worth)

I honestly stay up at night worrying about stuff like this, and cry for a world where i have to worry about getting a 6-year-old ready for a life of being fat, of loving yourself in the face of pressure to diet because you are never, ever good enough.