Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Citizen Fat

It really feels like there is a huge uptick in the amount of media out there sharing some very important Fat Acceptance coverage that is either sympathetic and/or fairly communicated.

At the same time I watched on one of the lists I follow the description of an attack on a health professional for raising some questions about claims being made about the benefit of weight loss surgery. These questions, asking for data and references to source material for the claims being made. Instead of addressing the questions about the data, the WLS advocates attacked the person for asking the questions.

One of the most dynamic takes on the scapegoating and fat hatred that I have seen, appeared on Marianne Kirby's blog, The Rotund (read through the comments too) It really touched on so many important points and then the comments raised more.

Then via the NAAFA list I was alerted to this about the corn lobby producing commercials about the virtue of high fructose corn syrup.

Just being plugged in enough to recognize an uptick in the coverage leads me to think a little about my own progress. I haven't found a place with my food yet that feels right, but I have made some progress in that I can recognize what feels better. I haven't found my way to regular movement that feels good, but I have found my way to drum circles and the pool at the Y. I am hesitant to think about being out there as an activist because of guilt about my disability and other various shame points that are a big part of my story, but when I had the opportunity I went right up to one of the outspoken fat haters who gets lats of media and called her on the lack of logic to some of her rantings.

So I guess what I want to say is that I am growing as an informed citizen of the Fat Acceptance community and I am grateful for the many sources of education that come my way from being plugged into the various lists and feeds I belong to.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dignity, Ryan Seacrest, Oprah, & Jamie Oliver

I just finished watching Oprah who had on Jamie Oliver to promote his new show the "Food Revolution" which goes on tv tonight.

They showed a clip where a double size casket was shown. Oprah mentioned that these oversized caskets are a booming business. During the clip they spoke about how there is little chance for dignity when someone is buried in one of these caskets.

Earlier in the show, a picture of a 11 year old Ryan Seacrest was shown as Ryan told Oprah how he was ashamed to go in the pool without a tee shirt on. The photo they showed was of a normal kid. Seriously, the fact that this photo was considered something to be ashamed of was in and of itself sad.

They spoke about dignity. Shame on them. Ryan Seacrest letting kids think that being ashamed of their bodies when they swim is normal. If Ryan Seacrest thinks it, then it must be true. And what a shame, because swimming is great, fun, healthy movement.

They spoke about dignity. Shame on them. How many kids do you think will be teased and shamed about needing a huge casket that requires a forklift when they die after this show is broadcast.

You know, I did notice that when Oprah asked Jamie Oliver about how a family he worked with was doing he said this, "Well, Ya know, ultimately the family they're losing weight, I mean Justin whose 12 years old when I met him has lost 20, 30 pounds which is great but you've got to remember I am not doing a diet show. This is about real food. This is about health. There are just as manny unhealthy skinny people. We can't just label it as obesity. It is about what goes in us, medicating ourselves through food."

He said this in front of a giant casket that Oprah's producers arranged to have wheeled out onto the stage.

Shame on them. I guess it is a win when at least he says something like there are unhealthy skinny people. The town his show is centered around wasn't chosen because it was the unhealthiest town in the county. It was chosen because Huntington, West Virginia was listed by the CDC as one of the most obese cities in america.

So I think Mr. Oliver is talking out of both sides of his mouth when he says "We can't just label it as obesity" when his show is framed around the most obese city in America.

So I am upset. Because I agree with the nutritional stuff and the cooking and the variety of fresh in season produce that he is teaching about. I am upset because all this good information is on network tv because of the moral panic about obesity. This show is not on the air because there is an overwhelming concern about improving the health of all kids. It is about war on the obesity..

I think that this show will have a greater effect on increasing the moral panic about obesity than it will in increasing the quality of the nutrition in schools and on the kitchen tables of America. There will be more teasing, bullying, self hatred and of fat kids and adults than heathy eating.

So one of the things that bugs me about a lot of the blogging in out Size Acceptance Community is that most of what we do is point out the problems, identify with the angst. We are very light on solutions.

So I will make one suggestion here. If you have any contact with teachers this weekend, please try to educate them a little about stigma and bullying and teasing. See if we can get a little empathy about the path a young fat person has to walk in school. See if a teacher can let a fat kind know that they can make efforts to improve their health that have nothing to do with decreasing their weight.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Redefining what it means to take care of my health

I have been lurking around the size acceptance blogging community for several weeks now. I have actually been having a hard time with pain management, side effects from meds, which has decreased the amount of movement I do considerably. So I have been feeling guilty for not trying hard enough.

I really think the guilt is sort of an powerful echo of how I used to feel about myself and the amount of effort I put into not being fat.

With the Health at Every Size movement, I not find myself feeling guilty about not putting in enough effort towards not being unhealthy, particularly with my movement.

Today was a good day. I made it to a water aerobics class at the Y. I was happy to get there, and grateful to know that while I had to endure some pain to get there, I know that the movement will help me with the pain on all sorts of levels.

While I am not a scientist or an academic, so I cannot tell you how it will help me, I do know that I enjoyed the movement.

So I finally got some enjoyable movement in and I feel good about it. I also feel relief from the guilt of not doing enough.

I'd really like to let go of that punitive self perspective about how I take care of myself. It's like a kind of PTSD, this guilt. Like all my life I have been yelled at, hated on, and told I was wrong for being fat. I think that I am somewhat transferring that guilt (or maybe just holding on to it) to my being engaged about my health.

So I guess I need to re define what being engaged with my health to a supportive perspective even if I am using an unconventional timeline to take actions like the class at the Y that I got to today.

Could it be that simply being plugged into Size Acceptance/HAES by lurking around the internet is actually an acceptable amount of engagement about my health?

Dare I claim that the velocity that I move from self hating fatty to engaged advocate for my own happiness be okay just as it is?

I gotta say I like the way that sounds.