Food!!!!!!

Okay, we are going to be bold and brazen! We are going to use the F word a lot today! And for once I don’t mean fat! I am talking about food! Love it or hate it, enjoy it, or run screaming from it, we NEED it to live. So it’s about time we actually talked about it.

In a society so “health obsessed” and fascinated with calorie counting and high fructose corn syrup, it’s become oddly taboo to actually talk about food. Sure, we might occasionally pass on a recipe here an there, and of course everyone feels like they are in the clear to talk about the food that fat people eat, but when was the last time we really had a conversation about food that wasn’t filled with fear? So let’s do it, we are just gonna’ put it all out there!

Stage one of this discussion is setting the ground work. There is no such thing as “good food” and “bad food”.  Celery is not flouncing around in a cape like a superhero and I assure you that chocolate cake is not diabolically planning to take over your thighs! We need to stop associating food with moral characteristics. I have never eaten an evil piece of cheesecake. When we make foods “good” or “bad” we associate those same characteristics with the people who eat those foods. You become good or bad based on what you have eaten. Which then contributes to guilt, self loathing, and fat shaming. So food is food, not  a sentient being, it just is, it is not good or bad, wrong or right.

Stage two! Food is personal! Some foods regardless of your size may hold sentimental value for you, and that’s okay and normal. For example, my dad used to make banana pudding for me on my birthday. It was a big deal and a sacrifice for him since he had diabetes and couldn’t eat, but he knew I loved it. My dad has been gone for ten years now, and I get a little teary eyed every time I eat banana pudding.  For many people, cultural foods, family recipes, or even just a good pizza you had one time in Chicago provides us with comfort or provides us with a strong sensory memory of a wonderful time in our lives.

Stage 3, YOU NEED FOOD TO LIVE! And even more interesting, we each need different amounts of food to live, and different kinds of foods to live. Based on your height, genetics, and weight, the amount of food that you need to maintain your healthy weight varies extremely from person to person. At different times in your life you might need different kinds of foods which provide your body with different nutrients, and your body knows what those things are. A perfect example: I’m a vegetarian and I don’t crave meat very often, I am also a woman, once a month like clock work I crave red meat like nothing else. I could knock over a butcher for a good burger. This is because my body is sending me a message that as my iron levels drop during menstruation  that I need to replenish, and red meat is a great source of iron. Although, I prefer spinach or broccoli.

Stage 4…Summary Time!! Food is the fuel that get’s us through this life. When your car requires fuel, you don’t yell at it “Oh you stupid car, if only you had more will power!!!! ARGH RAAAAAAAAAGE!”, you give it the fuel it needs. Doesn’t your body deserve as much respect as your car? So make an effort to reprogram the way that you think about food and the way your listen to your body. Your body is a pretty groovy cat and it knows what it needs and what it wants. Start thinking of food as a regular part of your life through highs and lows and not an opposing  enemy in battle. We can co exist…I assure!

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Self-Care

I’m sure we have all been paying fervent attention to the rise of self-care terminology. While you may be thinking it’s all mumbo jumbo, I have got to say. I’m a believer. Self-care makes you do good work and feel great doing it. So, this week, I wanted to share my top 5 self-care tips.

1. Take an hour for yourself each and every day. This may seem kind of obvious, but it’s really important to take that time for yourself to clear your head and pamper yourself each and everyday. I know it can be hard to get away, especially if you have little ones running around or are working multiple jobs, but you are worth it. So, make the time! I use my lunch hour each day to escape and do whatever I want. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I read, sometimes I veg out in front of the tv, and sometimes I just like to sit quietly and think. No matter how you choose to spend your one hour, an hour spent just for you will help you to feel relaxed and re-energized!

2. Write, write, and write some more! Now as a blogger, I obviously enjoy writing, but beyond that, writing can be very therapeutic. Writing can often help us get out thoughts and feelings that we dare not say out loud, or just don’t want to. In this life, we can deal with a lot of frustrating people and situations and we can’t always say the things that we feel. For this, I strongly recommend journaling or just writing when you feel overwhelmed. Some examples of writing projects that have helped me deal with frustrating situations:

  • A letter to my father who passed away.
  • A letter to my ex who infuriated me and broke my heart
  • A letter to a friend who moved away
  • Journaling my thoughts through the grieving process
  • Telling off a co-worker
  • Writing all the things that make me happy throughout the day
  • Writing down the reasons I love my job

Maybe, you have encountered one of the situations above, maybe you have something entirely different and frustrating to deal with. Beyond the topic, writing out your thoughts and feelings helps you connect with yourself and connect with who you want to be, so write, write, and write some more.

3.   Pamper yourself once a week. Pampering and treating yourself does not make you selfish, it makes you healthy. So treat yourself to pampering once a week. This pampering session can be whatever you need it to be. I know personally, I like a nice hot lavender bubble bath and a Johnny Depp movie. I’m a sucker for a good J.D. movie. I have a friend who get’s a manicure like clock work each week. Maybe pampering for you looks different. Maybe your treat is a road trip, a movie, a nice dinner out, or something nice and cheap like a game night with your family. Take the time to treat yourself to what makes you feel happy and beautiful!

4. Affirm your beauty and have faith in your confidence. It can be hard sometimes to live in a world that constantly reminds us that we fail its expectations. With each of us viewing 600 advertisements a day telling us we are not good enough, it can be easy to forget the amazing and beautiful creatures that we are. So, cheesy as it sounds, take the time every day to remind yourself how amazing you are. Here are some helpful ways that you can tackle this 365 task:

  • Pick a new body part or character trait each day to compliment.
  • Write a list of positive affirmations (or yoink one from the internet)

Use your affirmation list to do the following:

  • Write yourself post it notes and leave them on your mirror each day.
  • Write your affirmations on tiny sheets of paper, put them in a jar, and pull one out to read each day
  • If you use a calendar for work, write your affirmations in as a task each day so that they pop up and remind you.

5. Get Fancy. Take the time to do you every now and again. Get dressed up and fabulous and go out or just take gratuitous pictures of yourself. You deserve to feel smoking! You like make up? Put it on! High heels? Strap on those stilettos? You feel bad ass in a pair of converse high tops? Lace um up and strut like the magnificent person you are. Take the time to get dressed to the nines and check yourself out!

Give these tips a shot and if they don’t work for you, make up your own top 5! Above all, as we move into the Holidays take the time to Laugh, Love, and DO YOU!!!!

 

Got more ideas for blog topics or great self-care tips? Leave them in comment section!

“But you’re promoting an unhealthy lifestyle!”

Okay, so this blog entry is dedicated to the haters. Okay, maybe not haters, but ill informed, ill motivated “do gooders”. This post is for the people who are out to save us from our fatness, save us from ourselves.

There are few things in this life that are considered both a medical condition and everybody else’s business. Rarely do you see people run up to a smoker, who is a complete stranger, yelling about cancer and about how disgusting they are as a human being for smoking. Or how about running up to thin people eating McDonald’s and other processed foods yelling at them about their diet/lifestyle. People would be livid if we displayed this kind of behavior. Yet, somehow, it is perfectly acceptable to do these exact same things to a fat person that you have never met before? So, before I delve into any science or medical reasoning behind HAES, I just want to tell everyone one thing. If it’s not your body….SHUT UP! That might sound really harsh, but here is the deal. I don’t come to your house and slap the high fructose corn syrup snacks that are killing your kids out of their sweet little hands. I don’t come over and cry and yell because your eating meat even though I am a vegetarian. I make choices about my life and you make choice about yours. It is beyond rude to assert your assumptions about health, beauty, and quality of life on someone else. So, don’t do it!

Now, let me hop down off of my soup box and let’s talk science and dollar signs. Here is what we do know about “obesity” (I hate that word, but whatevs, we are talking science here). We know that despite the “war on obesity”, a 58+ BILLION dollar diet industry, and every fad diet that you can possibly imagine, fat people are not disappearing. There has yet to be creation of a pill or diet that magically makes all people the alleged “perfect” thin ideal.  To make things more complicated, we know that the few people who do find weight loss success, only experience it for a limited time. In other words 90+ % of people who lose 20 pounds or more will gain it all back within 5 years. If you jump to the 10year mark, that percentage gets pretty close to 100. So what is the driving force behind our diet culture? The most common response that you will hear is health. So let’s take a look at how weight loss/diet culture is affecting our health.

Let me start with asking, what medical treatment do you know of, besides weight loss, that would be recommended as a cure with a less than 5% long term success rate? Just throwing that out there. But what if I told you that diet culture is not only not the cure, but it’s also a major part of the problem? What if I told you that your weight isn’t actually whats dictating your health? Well recent studies show that this is true. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center conducted a study that showed that losing and regaining weight lowers the functioning of your immune system. Dr. Tracy L. Bale of Univ. of Pa. conducted a study that showed that dieting changes your brain chemistry and causes your body to crave high fat foods leading to additional weight gain rather than weight loss.  And here is a real kicker, recent studies, one conducted by the Presidents Council on Fitness and Sports and one conducted by the American Dietetic Association, showed that there is strong evidence that “overweight” or “obese” individuals can get healthier by becoming more active, regardless of how much weight they lose or if they lose weight at all.

So, I know I just crammed a lot of information into a short blog space, but what does it all mean? Here is a summary of what recent studies show. There are actually no significant health risks associated with being “overweight” or “obese”. The health risks commonly attributed to size are actually a result of behaviors and eating habits that lead SOME people to be “obese” or “overweight”. So! If you are concerned about your OWN health, then become more active and eat the right things. STOP putting the focus on weight loss. This, my friendly readers, is Health at Every Size (HAES). When you eat healthy and exercise, your body will balance out. Don’t believe me? Seven years ago, I jumped off of the weight lost band wagon and started thinking HAES. In the first year I lost 60 pounds, I have maintained every pound of weight loss for seven years. I now weigh in the ten pound range of 280-290, have an average blood pressure of 117/60, no blood sugar problems, and I never get winded going up stairs. My fat is a part of my health and mental well being.

The point I am trying to make is every body can be beautiful and healthy, any size, any shape, period, end of story. The science backs it up. So don’t assume you know someone’s health on the basis of their body. AND don’t assume it’s any of your business.

Fat Sex

First let me start off with an update of where I am. I accepted a position with a college in ohio and so I just recently got settled and moved in and should have regular internet access sometime next week. Thank you all for comments and support even though I have not been able to regularly update the way that I would like and I would really like all of that to change soon. I am hoping to have more time for updating when I hold my regular office hours. Now to todays article

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/723783

First let me point out how inaccurate self reporting experiments are. Many people, especially when it comes to sex, do not feel comfortable being one hundred percent accurate. On to the issues at hand.

I am not surprised that many fat people are engaging in unprotected sex, particularly fat women.  I think that this all relates back to the social stigma associated with weight in modern culture. I have actually seen a lot of this activity with young women that I know personally. When you are constantly told that you are undesirable you are more likely act impulsively when someone does desire you. The heartbreaking statistic  beyond unwanted pregnancy and std’s is the staggering number of women who do not see their own value and worth.

Another critical item noted in this study is that many fat women less likely to report sexual activity to their doctors and to get the proper exams.  I have never denied that there is a  medical bias towards fat peoples, but this particular prejudice has been well documented. Due to constant comments from doctors regarding weight, many people feel very uncomfortable undressing in front of their physician for fear of unwanted weight related comments. It has been speculated by many leading researchers that THIS is the reason that their is a higher rate of many female only cancers in obese women, not that the fat actually causes the cancer. This is why I urge every woman reading this, please get your regular pap tests and breast cancer screenings! We have lost too many wonderful mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and friends to this horrible disease because of shame inflicted on women of size. Don’t become another number, be bold and school your doctor on bedside manner.

It Doesn’t Take a Scientist

http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Today/2009/06/19/9850071-sun.html

The above link will take you to one of the most ridiculous news articles I believe I have ever read in my life. The article is titled Study Ties Childhood Obesity to Low Selft-Esteem. Then the article makes it seem as though this is a cause and effect situation. Being fat gives you low self-esteem. Like fat is some self-esteem infiltrating disease that looms in your system waiting to pounce and make you feel bad about yourself. Chief analyst Julie Bernier had this to say, “”Up to now in the literature, there has been a lot of emphasis on the fact body weight problems could lead to a lot of chronic disease and now, it’s a complement to see that it even puts you more at risk for low self-esteem, which in turn would put you at risk for mental health problems.”

Now, it is hard for me to imagine how anyone could possibly question why young people have low self-esteem when they are fat. Could it be because everyone keeps pointing out that they are fat as if they had some obnoxious rash covering their whole body? Could it be that in Western culture we still find it totally acceptable to belittle and mock fat people in film, television, cartoons, magazines and news papers? Could it be that mothers sometimes tell their daughters that they will never get a boyfriend if they don’t lose 50lbs? Or how about the fact that in most school parents and teachers do nothing as half of the class picks on the fat kid?! This study was a waste of money and further proof that people will go to great links to prove that obesity is sick and wrong instead of just admitting that they can’t be happy with themselves. How about instead of using articles like this to promote more attacks on the fat community they start educating young people on the true facts of obesity and then maybe they would start to understand and accept each other?!

Turns out Weight Loss Surgery is Dangerous…who knew?

I know I’m a little blog crazy right now, but I keep finding these intersting things that I know I need to be sharing. So, I stumbled upon this article that I thought that everyone should read. It really hit home for me because I have a very close friend of mine is considering weight loss surgery much to my dismay.

You can read the article in its entirety here: http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ENDO/14670

But here are a few major points:

  • Bariatric surgery doubled the risk of fracture in a study
  • Hands and feet bore the brunt of the fracture risk, occurring at rates three to four times greater than would have been predicted
  • Although aggressive calcium and vitamin D supplementation after surgery may well help, it may still be insufficient to prevent the increased risk of fracture
  • The findings came from long-term follow-up of about 97 patients — mean age 44, 86 women — who had bariatric surgery from 1985 to 2004. Gastric bypass accounted for 90% of the surgical procedures, and the rest of the patients had either vertical banded gastroplasty or biliopancreatic diversion. Follow-up averaged seven years.

This just proves that yet again the medical community is not considering the risks of “obesity treatments” and in trying to eliminate what they view as a “problem” all they are doing is creating more problems.

An Introduction

I felt it only fair that if I expect you all to read and trust what I say, that I should probably tell you a little bit about myself.

I was a happy and healthy young girl. I loved playing baseball, dancing, twirling baton, karate,  and playing soccer,  but I was all just a wee bit fat. About the age of ten my family (whom are all also fat) decided that I should go on a diet. Then around 11 a very concerned relative thought I should go on diet pills. That year I dropped from a size 20 to a size 4. I ate only a cup of vegetables and half a slice of no fat cheese. It was then that I was diagnosed with anorexia.  During my recovery my weight jumped up and down and there were minor setbacks and relapses, but  I came out on the other side healthy, happy, and still just a wee bit fat.

Coming to terms with my fat body was a daunting task. In fact all through high school I though there was no such thing as loving a FAT body. It wasn’t until I was in college that I stumbled across a book titled “Fat! SO?” by Marilyn Wann. That book changed my life. I began looking at the world around me a different way. More importantly, I began looking at myself a different way. Each morning when I woke up, I would pick one new thing I liked about myself, until suddenly I realized that I liked all of myself. This realization was only the beginning for me. I knew that it was my duty to help other women around the country to look at themselves differently.

My campaign started with a big sister program to help young women with eating disorders. After that program was up and running, I knew I wanted a local group that I could bounce ideas around with and mobilize so that we could really get some attention focused on this issue. This program became known as a the Body Beautiful Project. I woefully agreed to film the process with MTV, which in many ways was a disaster, but Hey at least it got people talking about these issues. The Body Beautiful Project is now a fully functioning, university funded club, with over 25 regular members! Which trust me, for Wittenberg is a lot of students lol.

Now, as I am leaving Wittenberg and persuing real life, I intend to keep pushing this issue to the forefront and open peoples minds to the idea that you  can be fat, healthy , and beautiful.