When I first started blogging about Fat Acceptance in 2009, I made the clever decision to begin by immediately pissing off everybody. As I recall, there was only one other guy writing on the subject, but unlike him, I had zero experience with feminism outside of my preconceived notions of what feminism meant. As a result, I said shit that pissed off many feminists and then, as I tried to understand their perspective by asking questions, I pissed them off even more.
I felt a deep-seeded frustration because I was honestly trying to understand, but when I didn’t frame things properly or when I used indelicate phrasing or when I stated a forceful opinion, I was subjected to the white-hot flames of social justice purgatory. And it sucked.
It sucked because nobody likes to be flame-roasted when they are just trying to understand why their views are so offensive. But the very act of asking questions offended people, since I could just as easily have Googled my questions, found a preexisting blog post on the subject and learned on my own. Of course, from my entitled perspective, I was thinking “Yeah, but if you want me to agree with you then why don’t you just answer the question and I can get on with the work of understanding?” The answer, of course, is that nobody is under obligation to educate my ignorant ass.
When I fucked up, people were mad — mean mad. But because I knew my intentions, my response to them was often “You catch more flies with honey.” Of course, this pissed people off more because who the fuck wants a bunch of flies buzzing around in their mother-fucking honey?
In any case, some people who were patient enough to answer my questions, and hold out a bit of honey, explained to me why it’s so offensive to demand kindness from others when I’m clod-footing around a subject that is so personal and intimate to them. Yeah, by being gentle, perhaps they could lure a few more mansplaining flies into the fold, but because of the overwhelming amount of ShitLords in their midst, they just didn’t have the wherewithal to discern the intentions of each and every guy who came knocking on their door. Those activists were no longer interested in converting ignorant hostiles, but were educating those who were willing and able to listen without jamming their own ego into the center of discussion.
Do you catch more flies with honey than vinegar? Yeah, absolutely. But after nearly five years of blogging about fat issues, I’ve found that 99% of the flies in question prefer hanging out on a great big pile of shit. And do you really want flies dripping feces into your nice jar of honey?
I have been reading the progress of Shaunta and her Eating the Food experiment and it has inspired me to my own experiment.
My experiment has been nothing so structured as hers, which is partly why I haven’t written about it yet. Also, I fail more than I succeed so far.
Because of my past (being starved as a child and early teens, then starving myself by dieting from early teens to my late thirties), I just don’t think about eating. I usually get one full meal in a day when I make brunner for my husband (brunner means whichever meal he can eat either before or after work, depending on which shift he’s working that month). On his days off, we will usually have two meals and then he’ll snack on other things throughout the day.
I know it isn’t healthy to get the vast majority of my calories in one meal. Yes, I do a little bit of snacking, but it’s not often. And usually I don’t go for the nutritionally-dense food when I snack because all of the sudden my blood sugar drops and I need something now, of course.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to eat at least two meals a day. I know even that’s not enough, but it’s baby steps here. And as I said above, I’m “failing” more than I’m succeeding.
I have noticed that on the days when I do remember to have two meals, and sometimes even nutritious snacks, I have so much more energy to do things. Lately, when I forget an early day meal, I’m tired, I need a nap, and I’m headachy all day. When I remember to eat anything that is nutritionally dense in the morning — leftovers from the previous day’s brunner; a scrambled egg; a homemade wrap with avocado, tomato, and lettuce in it — my day goes much better.
So, you’d think it would be easy for me to remember.
I’ve developed strategies for eating more than once a day, even: have simple foods ready so I don’t have to prepare something just for myself; hard boil a few eggs once a week so I can just grab one or two when even making a wrap is too hard.
At the present, I have a batch of homemade yogurt in the refrigerator, and presliced strawberries waiting for me to combine them (with a few nuts). I have the makings for a veggie wrap. I have a few hard-boiled eggs.
As I write this, I’m 70 days into my 100 day Eat the Food experiment. This is my ten-week follow-up.
Just as a reminder, I decided ten weeks ago to eat above my base metabolic rate (BMR) for 100 days. BMR is calculated based on gender, age, weight, and height. It’s the number of calories your body needs to keep your organs functioning if you lay in bed all day. Total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is the number of calories your body needs to maintain your weight, taking your daily activities into consideration. My TDEE is 3,100 calories. I used this calculator to figure out my BMR and TDEE.
For 100 days, I’m eating AT LEAST 2,500 calories. That’s the minimum, not the maximum. And that’s net, which means that I eat back the calories I burn through exercise. I’m blogging about my experiment daily.
Today I’ll answer some questions that I’ve been asked and let you guys know how it’s going otherwise.
At the danger of sounding like an overachieving mum, last week my 12-year-old, Alex, cooked dinner for himself and his younger brothers. It was pasta with sausage and tomato. He dished up enormous portions and they all sat down to eat. After a while, I noticed that my 10-year-old son, Harrison, had been carefully picking out his pasta and eating it, leaving all the sausage in the bowl. He explained that he was saving the best until last.
“Why don’t you eat your favourite bits first?” I suggested.
“Because then I would have to eat all the pasta on its own.”
“Well, you don’t have to eat all the pasta. You don’t have to finish it. You can just eat what you like.” I said.
Although I was kind and gentle with Harrison, this pisses me off. It’s irritating because it’s not the first time that we’ve had a conversation about not having to empty his plate. We remind them frequently, especially when they’re confronted by large portions. When they have friends for tea, I make a point of telling them that in this house nobody has to eat everything they’re given. We don’t tut or grumble when stuff gets thrown in the bin and, in fact, I am always leaving food myself. The clean plate rule, annoyingly, is coming from their Dad, with whom Alex and Harrison spend two nights in fourteen. Daddy, Harrison explained, says that they are not allowed pudding until they’ve eating everything on their plate. I’m not pissed off with Harrison, I’m pissed off with his father.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that by and large this technique is “normal” parenting, but I am hoping that my fellow fatties will have jumped ahead to my reasoning. When you instill in a child that he or she has to finish all the food on their plates — and especially when they’ve not chosen that portion themselves — you risk them going on to developEmpty Plate Syndrome (EPS).
Makes me laugh… sexists often use women’s smaller-on-average bodies as an excuse to claim that we wouldn’t be capable of being firefighters. Meanwhile fatphobes use weight as an excuse to claim only thin people could be. Which is it, people?
How about we just say that anyone who is capable of passing the extremely strict fitness regimes and tests and requirements of firefighters is capable of being a firefighter?
How about I trust that - whatever they weigh, whatever their sex or gender, anyone who is actually working as a firefighter KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING and I will trust them to be able to do their job?
I saw the original of this on Reddit. The man who posted it is a fireman. He (or whoever reposted here) toned it down a lot. Here is the original:
My brother is 6’ 9”, and with a good deal of muscle and a just a little pudge he’d be well over 350 (he’s currently on the thin side, probably about 290 or so). He’d also be able to jump up stairs and lift any-fucking-thing.
Would I want him to save me? Hell yes.
Gosh, learn to math,
this HAES bullshit, okay some back story I’m a Fireman so i use this analogy a lot and iv had a conversation with a ham planet who preaches the whole: “just cause a fatty is fat doesn’t mean they aren’t as healthy or as athletic as any one else!!!”
So my response: “okay your fat ass in in the 3rd story bedroom of a house on fire we can send in a team of 2-3 men/woman firemen we have a team in the ‘norman’ bmi range and a team closer to where you are( morbidly obese 340lbs range) who would you rather come save your unconscious body?”
Not ONCE have anyone honestly said “oh yeah send in the lard balls” “BUT WHAT ABOUT SIZE NOT MATTERING FOR HEALTH?!?!” god damn “hippo”crits
Grammar and spelling aside, my response was the same: I’d expect someone who is a firefighter to be fit enough to be a firefighter. And regardless, to know how to act in a fire.
I’m also kind of appalled that someone who has dedicated his life to being in the service of others—in a very heroic way—goes around calling people ham planets and lard balls and “hippo”crits. It’s a little heart breaking.
I can’t imagine having someone save my life and then turning around and looking at them and saying: Thanks, Lard Balls.
Back in 1999, Dr. Drew Pinsky, the popular addiction specialist turned TV and radio host, did something unconscionable that only caught up with him in 2012:
A Boston judge on Thursday approved a record $3 billion guilty plea by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which paid the “Celebrity Rehab” doctor — known as Dr. Drew — $275,000 to tout Wellbutrin, approved by the FDA to treat depression, as a drug to treat other conditions including obesity, addictions and sexual dysfunction.
Dr. Drew infamously told “Loveline” listeners that Wellbutrin “could explain a woman suddenly having 60 orgasms in one night.” Dr. Drew was part of “Operation Hustle” (I am notmaking this up), Glaxo’s campaign to illegally promote the off-label benefits of its antidepressant. Sales reps wanted to promote the wonderdrug as the “the happy, horny, skinny pill.”
Because my birthday falls close to Valentine’s Day, I’ve had more heart-shaped cakes than I can shake a stick at. Because my legs like to spontaneously not work, I decided it was time to get a stick to shake at things.
I started with an aluminum cane in purple. I have no complaints. It’s functional, it supports up to 250 pounds and I haven’t noticed any damage after I’ve knocked it over several times. It’s held together by a Velcro strap when it’s folded, which I find annoying. Although I love the carrying case because it has a drawstring closure, is opaque, and fits into my purse.
Like Kung-Fu Panda, stairs were getting to be a nemesis of mine. But no more! Had I known it was a $12 fix (the cane was a buck cheaper when I bought it), I would’ve done it sooner. I initially thought I wanted a fixed cane, but this one taught me that a folding one was what I really wanted. It’s much easier to get a folded cane into and out of the car, and my purse isn’t big enough to fit a 33″ cane. Adjustable was also important to compensate for different heel heights. This one does all that. However, it’s a little boring and I really wanted a carbon fiber cane.
For National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I created a video. Partly because I need to do more vlogging and partly because I think it’s important that fat people with eating disorders get some visibility.
Trigger warning: Discussion of exercise as a weight loss tool.
My 13-year-old thighs redden as I round the penultimate corner of the cross-country race. Somehow I’m ahead. Way ahead. I’ve hauled my chubby body across the fields and up the lane and now, back in the school field, I’m yards from the finish line. I’m finally good at a sport — well, if you ignore the burning limbs and the metallic taste in my mouth. And not so much good at sport as better than the others in my physical education (PE) group, the Mixed Group, made up from the dregs of boys and girls deemed too hopeless to be able to train with the rest of their gender.
No matter. I am first. It’s a bright, clear day. I’m miles ahead. I’m first. I reach the final cone and collapse onto my back, smiling. It feels amazing. I’m a winner. Rolling my head, I notice the second place runner nearing the finish. I smile, he looks past me. Hang on, he’s running past me. He rounds the cone and runs right up to the sports teacher, not more than ten yards away, who thumbs his stopwatch. “First! Well done.” They both give me a sideways glance.
Now, I’d love to say that I jumped right up and demanded to know what the deal was. I’d love to say that my PE teacher laughed with me when I told him that I thought the cone was the finish line and that we all agreed I was the winner. The truth is, all I can remember from that glaring day is the knot of utter embarrassment I felt. How could I have thought I was good at running? Clearly, just like all other sport, I have no clue what I am doing and I’m just a loser — even when I come in first. Shortly after that (and sometime around the point that I started walking up to hurdles and kicking them down before stepping over them), my mum wrote a note to school and I was excused from PE for the rest of school entirely.
Teal Deer Warning: The following began as a simple blog post explaining calories in/calories out in response to a number of critics who have challenged my claims that caloric restriction doesn’t work. But once I hit the 5,000 word mark and realized I was drowning these bastards in citations, I realized this would make an excellent chapter for the book I’m writing, which is a detailed indictment of both the $121 billion weight loss industry, as well as the general philosophy that if we just followed Rule X (where Rule X is whatever reasonable method people propose for losing a large amount of weight), we’d all stop being so fat. Unlike yesterday’s Teal Deer, which was more of an exercise in over-analysis, this post actually requires all 10,000 words to dissect this complex and heavily-documented subject. The reason I am publishing this on Fierce, Freethinking Fatties, rather than saving it for the book, is that this information needs to be out there, available, for whoever is trying to explain why dieting doesn’t work. As such, it’s still a work in progress and I’m open to critique and comment, so feel free to throw out whatever questions or comments strike you.
Ya know what? I give up. It’s all bullshit.
All that weight cycling research? Bullshit.
All that genetic research? Bullshit.
All that “diets don’t work” research? Bullshit.
Trigger warning: Discussion of multiple weight loss attempts.
I hate my story. I find it simultaneously boring and complex and, more than that, I’m always worried about coming across as whinging. It’s been a long 32 years. A lot of shit’s gone down, in the words of Jay-Z (probably), most of which I could legitimately claim perpetuated my poor relationship with food and with my body. Have you ever found yourself inadvertently in a game of “Crap that’s Happened to Me Top Trumps” with somebody? I hold all the damn cards in that game to the point where it starts to sound like I am making it all up.
Hell, if I were on the hatefest that is The Biggest Loser they’d have a hard time working out what to use for my Biggest Loser Moment. The producers could chose from loss of a father in childhood, alcoholic step-parent, poverty, emotionally abusive relationship from a young age, teenage pregnancy, divorce, single parenthood and a catalogue of familial deaths.
That’s that out of the way.
Recently I tried to think back to a time when I wasn’t engaged in some sort of useless war against myself.
It was difficult to imagine, but I finally had to admit that the last time I remember being without the weight of crippling personal criticism, was in the late 70s, when I was a freewheeling, life-loving wearer of Garanimals separates and Underoos.
It was a simpler time with lots of bad hair, questionable fashion choices and lax parental supervision, but there were also fewer social rules about what you could and couldn’t say about someone’s physical appearance.
So when we had a family friend or relative who would put on a few pounds, there were endless jokes and merciless ribbing until the target got on track and cleared the drugstore shelves of Dexatrim.
There were any number of things in life I could use at that point to get what seemed like a more accurate indication of someone’s character other than what they looked like.
Could they run an obstacle course?
Did they like dogs?
Could they box? If yes, would they be the George Foreman to my Muhammad Ali?
Would they dress up as a member of KISS for Halloween without a hint of irony?
HAES told me the following things:
1. that weight loss was impossible
2. that there was no hope of ever not being 230+ pounds
3. that no amount of diet and exercise was going to change that
AND I BOUGHT INTO IT FOR TWO YEARS.
That’s two years in which I could have been eating right and exercising. Two years in which I could have had energy. Two years where I wouldn’t have had the burden of a hundred extra pounds hanging off my frame. Two years in which I could have halted the progression of arthritis, stopped having asthma symptoms, and stopped having PCOS.
HAES took two years of my life from me and and I will never get them back.
Yes, HAES is harmful.
Have you ever read the book Health at Every Size? Where were you getting your information about HAES? There is literally no part of HAES that says you can’t lose weight. Literally the ONLY thing HAES tells anyone is that you can do things to improve your health no matter how much you weigh. If you exercise and eat a moderate diet that is somewhere between your BMR and your TDEE, you will GET HEALTHIER. How in the world can you possibly argue that? If what you got out of HAES was that you couldn’t ‘eat right and exercise’ then you weren’t paying attention for whatever reason. HAES is all about helping people get rid of pain and asthma and PCOS and whatever other ailments—and focusing on those things, rather than on weight loss, which often comes but is incidental.
Does incidental mean it doesn’t matter?
You’ve picked on my Eat the Food project twice now, and your buddies at r/fatlogic have as well. If you can’t see that we are advocating the exact same thing (eat a balanced diet and get some exercise) then again, you aren’t really paying attention.
Shaunta, this person thinks HAES means binge on Twinkies and live a sedentary lifestyle, then claim you’re healthy.They aren’t worth the time or energy, let alone dignity of a reply. They’re just refuting to refute at this point, claiming that the Militant Baker’s project using Google Autocomplete is ACTUALLY just things this woman searched for previously and… um, forgot? This is getting fucking ridiculous.
Yeah. I’m done. Good night!
So as some of you may or may not know, I used to be a HAES advocate. After all, some exercise is certainly better than none, and I had it in my head that since diets statistically failed, I might as well not try.
HAES told me the following things:
1. that weight loss was impossible
How long after you started exercising and eating a balanced diet did you start to feel better? Was it after you lost 100 pounds, or AS YOU WERE losing 100 pounds. If you got that you couldn’t eat right and exercise and follow HAES, you weren’t listening closely enough. You get angry when some kid comes on Tumblr and complains about her parents, but you’re going to blame your decision not to take steps to be healthier at whatever size you were on HAES when you started feeling healthier as soon as you took the steps (eating in a balanced way and exercising moderately, such as running for 20 minutes)? I’m glad you’re feeling better and I’m sorry that you didn’t understand what HAES was more clearly.
See, here’s the thing.
If you’re eating a balanced diet made of the correct amount of food, you will not remain overweight.
And this is the point that HAES fails to grasp. They fail to grasp it because they’re too busy shouting shit about metabolism and set point theory to realize that all of it is bunk. If you feed two people of equal heights and muscle masses 2000 calories a day and they both get the same amount of activity, they will both even out to within a few pounds of one another.
I used HAES as an excuse to remain fat, as anyone who is following HAES and remains fat is doing.
Yes, it stole two years of my life from me. No, I am not going to rescind that statement.
There is literally an entire chapter in the Health at Every Size book about how eating a balanced diet and exercising will cause your body to slowly, naturally, SUSTAINABLY lose weight. You didn’t read the book, did you? Linda Bacon lost 30 pounds and she’s the Godmother of HAES for Christsake. HAES does not tell you that losing weight is impossible. It tells you that it IS possible if you give your body what it needs. If YOU used HAES as an excuse, that’s hardly a reason to condemn the entire philosophy. That’s your individual life experience. Know why I stayed fat on HAES? Because the eat less move more idea was so ingrained in me, I couldn’t let go of it. As soon as I stopped trying to restrict my calories to below my BMR, I started losing weight slowly. Why wouldn’t you celebrate that with me, instead of snarking at me because I’m sooooo fat that my BMR is waaaaay above yours and I should just eat less than it anyway? If you feel that HAES stole years from your life, and it helps you to blame someone else, that’s okay. What do I care? But HAES has added years to my life by helping me overcome an eating disorder. Is your experience more important than mine? You might not call it HAES (you obviously don’t) but as soon as you started following the HAES principles you started feeling better. So there’s that.
No you didn’t.
If you ate below your BMR, you’d lose weight, unless your body somehow doesn’t obey physics. Eating above your BMR will not cause you to lose weight faster.
If HAES works for you, why are you still championing that you can be fat and healthy? Because clearly if HAES makes you lose weight, then people who are at the epitome of health STILL won’t be fat!
This is what happens when you don’t pay attention.
As I’ve said maaaany times, I TRIED to eat below my BMR and because I have an eating disorder, it lead to binging. I have never said that I always ate below my BMR.
I have improved my sleep, increased my energy, moved from 10 minutes to 60 minutes of exercise, and stopped needing pain mediation on a daily basis. Should I have waited and kept banging my head against traditional weight loss programs hoping one would work before I gained those benefits?
Every single day that I work toward increasing my health, I get healthier. I’m also losing a pound or two of weight a week, but there is no way the negligible amount I’ve lost in the last two months is responsible for the improvements in my health. (The difference between 362 and 349 pounds.)
I can be fat and healthier. I can be fat and swim further. I can be fat and eat a diet that supports my health. Which is a damn good thing, since no matter what I do—even if I have weight loss surgery—I’m going to be fat for a long time.
You never answered my question about your health improvements. Did they happen after you lost weight, or as you were losing it?
Literally the only differences between us are that you are focused on weight loss and I’m focused on health, and I’m not so much into tough love.
Then we’ll have to agree to disagree, because I actually have nothing against fat people. I have something against people who go on tumblr and blame their genetics/thyroid/the rotation of the earth for their weight, because it makes it look hopeless for others.
What makes people feel hopeless is being told that their lived experiences aren’t valid or true. Telling someone that they can start feeling better almost immediately by moving and eating a balanced diet is just about as sane as it comes. I’m not sure where genetics, thyroid, or the rotation of the earth come in to play. Usually what I see you do is pick a single statement from a person’s entire blog and then misquote it or turn it around and then scream HYPERBOLE when you’re called out on being wrong.
I absolutely never said that eating right and exercising wouldn’t immediately make you feel good. It does.
What i also said is that if you eat below what you burn, you will always lose weight, and that metabolism doesn’t vary very much between individuals, because it doesn’t and it’s been scientifically proven that it doesn’t. Most people of a similar height, weight, and muscle mass need similar amounts of calories to within 200-300 calories of one another. But since people don’t understand this, we get plenty saying “I just can’t lose weight!” or “I have a slow metabolism!”
Which is great I guess if you’re only 20 pounds overweight. But if you’re 100 pounds overweight it’s a problem, your weight is GOING to shorten your lifespan, and you should stop bullshitting.
Bullshitting by advocating eating between your BMR and TDEE and exercising in a way that you enjoy? That’s what HAES is and that’s what I write about every day. What part do you want me to stop? The not focusing on weight loss part?
Really? Because I had a copy of health at every size and read the whole thing twice. I also had a copy of rethinking thin, and a copy of the obesity myth, and a copy of “FAT?! SO!”
I literally had digital copies of these books AND READ THEM, and thought it was okay to be fat.
Just because I realized it’s a crock of bull doesn’t mean I know nothing about it.
Please cite where in any of those books any claim that “weight loss was impossible.” I’ll wait.
I no longer have a copy of any of them.
Regardless of what the books said either way, THE INTERNET claims that weight loss is impossible and to “let your body find its natural set point”. Which is what caused the damage. Which is what HAES has been convoluted into—a fucking mess of bad ideas and bad health advice.
As one of my askers so kindly put it, denying this is part of the problem.
Well, the Internet.
In that case.
What the hell is wrong with letting your body find it’s natural weight anyway? Is it the control that you need? Like…damn you body, you WILL weigh what I want you to weigh? Literally no legitimate HAES resources suggests that weight loss is impossible.
Uhh, the fact that some of these people seem to think that their “natural weight” is 50+ pounds above what a normal weight would be for their height?
So, you think that if HAES helps them start moving toward a natural weight and they get to 50 pounds above … whatever weight … they’re going to stop exercising and start snarfing Snickers bars to make sure they don’t lose anymore weight?
You are an adult woman who chose to let HAES be an excuse for not taking care of yourself. I’m really sorry about that. I’m doing, literally, the best that I can to put out there into the world what HAES really is about. You’re spending your time searching hashtags, looking for people who are desperately trying to not hate themselves, and then stomping on them because they are trying to do something that didn’t work for you because you didn’t actually try to do it.