Amazing new weight-loss drug

Oh good, a new weight-loss drug has been approved by the FDA.

Belviq’s “proven results” include:

– Losing an average of 3% of your body weight in the first year (so I’d guess 5-10lbs for most people who might take it)
– About 44% of people in each study dropping out before the first year was over
– And for those who stayed on for Year 2, regaining the weight you lost

Of course the study doesn’t go past two years, just like every other weight-loss study, because when they do it shows that *every.body.regains.all.of.the.weight*.

And, in case you didn’t already feel like you were completely wasting your time/health/money, you can also enjoy the common side effects like headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation (hey, at least it isn’t anal leakage!), or the less common, but more serious, side effects of valvular heart disease, changes in attention or memory, mental problems (including hallucinations), depression, thoughts of suicide, low blood sugar, painful erections, slow heartbeat, decrease in blood cell count (red and white), and an increase in prolactin (so you may lactate).

Brilliant.

All About That Bass

I’ve read a couple articles recently about Meghan Trainor’s song, All About That Bass, wherein the writers are complaining that, while it’s great that the song is mainly about accepting your body the way it is, it sucks that it comes at the expense of thinner women. It seems the issue that is most often cited by feminists, is their disappointment in the line in which Meghan Trainor refers to thin women as “Skinny Bitches.” (And other similar points where it seems like Meghan Trainor is putting down thin women in order to bring larger women up.) Ok, yes, this isn’t a nice thing to say, but she then goes on to say “No I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat” and that she’s “here to tell ya every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” And I can’t help but feel that this is being blown completely out of proportion.

How many songs do you know that praise larger people loving their body the way it is? And how many songs do you know praising hot, sexy, thin, women? Even in the beloved 90’s hit, Baby Got Back, a song that I have seen many voluptuous women embracing and dancing their hearts out to, there are repeated comments about the girl’s “itty bitty waist” – not exactly the full-figured anthem that it was often made out to be.

People popping in with comments of “But what about the thin women?!” hit far too close to misogynists popping into feminist discussions screaming “But what about the men?!” Yes, women as a whole are oppressed. However, in regards to body size, fat women face far more oppression and discrimination than thin women ever do. So no, the song isn’t perfect, and hopefully in the future we can live in a more perfect world, but seriously, in the meantime, can we just have this one?

Doing the Thing

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of virtually attending the first annual Fat Activism Conference. There were over 40 speakers available, many well-known individuals from the “fatosphere”, and their words were so inspiring. As I listened to people speak about their fat activism journeys, from blogging to research to personal experiences, it sparked my desire to start blogging again.

I’ve thought about this many times over the last few years (wow, was it really two years ago that I started this blog?), but I would push the thought to the back of my mind, questioning whether I would have anything important to say, or if I would be able to keep up with regular blogging (as I’d like to do). But this time may be different.

The last talk of the Fat Activism Conference was about blogging, and specifically about what you can do to start blogging. It was absolutely the kick in the ass that I needed.

I listened to Ragen Chastain (from Dances with Fat)  and Jeanette DePatie (from The Fat Chick and The Fat Chick Sings) give advice and anecdotes, but at first it felt like the same thing I’ve felt time and time again. I always want to blog, I enjoy writing just for the fun of it, and writing about a topic you’re passionate about makes it a million times easier…but then I started pushing it to the back of my mind, thinking I should come up with topics first, or a new fresh idea. Until the moment that they gave us listeners the exact advice that I needed: Do the thing.

Do the thing. Write, post, reblog, Tumbl, Tweet, whatever you can in order to get fat activism (or whatever your cause is) out there. Don’t worry about whether you’re good or bad at it or if you’re going to massively screw up. You’ll get better over time (practice makes perfect, right?) and you learn from your mistakes. So here I am, doing my thing.

A list of things my weight says about me:

A list of things my weight says about me:

  1. How much I weigh.

That’s it. It is my “numerical reflection of [my] relationship with gravity” if you will. And that number doesn’t mean a damn thing. It does not and can not say a thing about my health, how much I eat, my morals and beliefs, my character or attitude. It does not define me as a person or make claims about who I am. My weight can’t tell you what I had for dinner last night or what I’ll have for breakfast this morning. It doesn’t make a moral claim about whether I’m a good or bad person. All those attributions are created by society.

Having more fat on your body doesn’t automatically mean that you eat more, are unhealthy, are lazier, are stupid, or smell. Having less fat on your body alternately also doesn’t mean that you eat less, are healthier, are more active, smarter, and smell better. People with either type of body, and everywhere in between, are their own individual self and are made up from such a complex combination of characteristics that you simply can’t define someone and make assumptions based solely on their body size. Get to known a person for who they really are, rather than judging them for what you think they are based on stereotypes.

A feast

I went to a party last night, the housewarming of a friend of my boyfriends. She’s apparently well known in their social circle as being a good cook, so everyone was looking forward to what was coming that night. The attitude of this group towards food was refreshing.

My family and friends always tend to casually saunter towards food without any rush. Without wanting to look like the person who had no self control, who couldn’t stave off their natural urge to just eat when they’re hungry or when they’re presented with food (because that’s the point of a dinner party, no?). Even at big events that are centered around food like Thanksgiving, it feels like no one wants to be first in line. I don’t know if this is based on politeness or not wanting to look like the pig who couldn’t show any restraint, but I know my own personal experience is that I didn’t want to look like the pig.

This was different though. This was amazing. As this girl brought out dish after delicious dish the crowd clamoured to the table. Every time it happened it came as a surprise to me. I had picked sub-optimal seating, on the floor near the table, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I knew that it would get crowded with people coming to get food, but I didn’t know that I would be risking getting trampled as people stampeded over to see what this new delight was.

I couldn’t stop my old habits, restraining myself and only trying just a bit so as not to look like the fat one in the room who couldn’t control herself. This was completely ridiculous considering the excitement that everyone else was showing over the simple event of food being placed on the table. I realized how silly this was even as I thought it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do something that felt so unnatural and go back for seconds. I sat there and thought about how fantastic it was that people could just eat, without judgement on themselves or others, they could eat as much or as little as they wanted and enjoy every single bite.

This is my new goal for when I go back home for Christmas. The majority of my family isn’t particularly religious, so the point of the holiday is about the family, the friends, and the food. So instead of holding back and hoping that someone gets in line first, I’m going to dive right in and start. And I’m going to take as much or as little of everything that I want, because this is a meal that only happens once a year, so why can’t we live it up and enjoy it a little?

Just something to think about

“Consider Hollywood’s current It Girl, Keira Knightley. Knightley has a body mass that places her in the second percentile of the population. If her weight were to deviate as radically in the other direction – in other words if she were in the 98th percentile of body mass – she would weigh approximately 300 pounds.

Yet Knightley is presented by our media-industrial complex as a completely natural object of male desire, while men attracted to 300-pound women are considered to be in the grip of a bizarre fetish.”

Paul Campos

I don’t think Campos is saying that there’s anything wrong with being attracted to women of either size (he is the author of the the Diet Myth after all), but just how skewed it is that we can place someone on one end of the spectrum on a pedestal, but someone on the other end is deemed completely unacceptable.

Big Fat Fiona

I enjoy reading books by Sophie Kinsella. I started with the Shopaholic series when someone I know gave it to me for Christmas, and have only recently started reading her stand alone novels. I’m aware that they’re not the most academic of novels, and if I read them from a feminist perspective they’re probably hideous, but I enjoy them as a piece-of-fluff type of a read. When I spend my days reading psychology textbooks, browsing through feminist websites, and analyzing weight loss research articles there are moments when it’s nice to just have something light and airy to read.

When I was most recently reading the book Can You Keep a Secret? I was completely caught off guard. My inner feminist is still breeding and growing inside me, but my body image activist is already alive and well. A character was introduced, Fiona, and as a good author often does Kinsella gave a brief description of her so as to paint a mental picture for the reader. I was floored by the way that Kinsella chose to describe this character though.

“She weighs about 300 pounds and is always campaigning for bigger chairs and wider doorways.”

This is how she summed up this woman. Sophie Kinsella’s beliefs about a woman who weighs 300 pounds is that she has nothing better to do with her time than to campaign for bigger chairs and wider doorways. And that she is so large that she can’t fit into regular sized chairs and regular sized doorways. While I’ll maybe give her the bigger chairs comment, as someone who weighs less than 300lbs I myself sometimes still find there are chairs that don’t quite accommodate my hips, the doorways comment just seems absurd and hyperbolic. I’ve never met a 300 pound woman who couldn’t fit through a doorway. While I do agree that a workplace should be inclusive and accessible for all employees, it was clear in the manner this story was written that she was going for the humorous aspect of this characters size. Because fat shaming is always funny.

Fiona goes on in this paragraph to tell the main character (Emma) to “Never be ashamed of your body.” and to “Rejoice in it!” and later invites her to a body awareness workshop, which are messages that I would be happy to advocate being placed in all books, but having this message assigned to a character who has been so ridiculously described ensures that no one who reads this book is going to take it seriously. She could have just as easily described this character as 300lbs and someone who is happy and loves herself as she is, as all people should, or if she really wanted to have this message be taken seriously she could have just left it at the character being someone who advocates loving yourself regardless of their size, skipping the weight descriptor altogether. But Sophie Kinsella decided to take the fat-is-funny and hyperbole-makes-them-seem-ridiculous route, which has made me lose a lot of respect for her as an author. Kinsella’s books reach a wide audience and she needs to know that fat shaming is almost always hurtful and never funny.

The twisted weight of the world

A few years ago I went through a pretty rough breakup from a long-term relationship. The relationship was incredibly toxic so I should have been happy to be out of it, but at the time it was hard to see. The breakup brought with it a lot of stress and anxiety that I didn’t know how to cope with, and so my relationship with food turned…bad…to say the least. I lost 40lbs in a few months without putting much thought into it.

At that point in my life losing weight was unfortunately still one of my top priorities, so a friend and I were discussing it one night. I didn’t take too much glory in that weight loss because I knew it occurred only because of unfortunate circumstances, so when my friend asked how I did it my response was simply that it was a lack of appetite due to stress. This wasn’t a lie, that’s what the majority of it was, but what shocks me now was her response. She was jealous. I hold nothing against her for this response as she is someone who is overweight herself and struggles with it for what seems to be the majority of the time, I can see why she would see this as a benefit. It makes me sad now though.

I couldn’t eat because I was unable to. I had no appetite, and any amount of food felt like too much, so I mostly just didn’t eat. I won’t go too far into just how disordered my eating patterns were at this point, but suffice it to say that I was suffering through every second of this weight loss. Despite the fact that she knew that the weight loss was caused by something so emotional that I could no longer convince myself to eat, she was jealous.

It makes me sad to think that we live in a world that values weight loss above so many other things that people idealize the thought of being so depressed they can’t eat.

Another person I knew and was spending a lot of time with at that point had noticed my resistance to food. I don’t know if she had put two and two together, but she was very aware of the breakup and ensuing emotional wreck that I was. One day I was eating with her, and after a few bites I declared myself done. This was a frequent occurrence at this point, but what she said after on this particular occasion breaks my heart. The way I was eating made her feel bad about herself. She didn’t feel bad because she saw my lack of desire to eat as a sign of something wrong, but rather as a sign of true will power that she didn’t feel she had.

It makes me sad to think that we live in a world where not eating a normal sized meal wasn’t a a red flag of something to be concerned about, but rather a badge of superiority.

Will a body ever be enough?

In an effort to learn to love my body more, I’ve given up a lot of mainstream media. I don’t currently own a tv or buy magazines, and I try to pay as little attention to advertisements as I can while walking down the street. I haven’t yet given up the internet, but for the most part I spend my time on websites and blogs that are trying to promote positive body image and less time on websites like Cosmo. Because of this I miss out on a lot of the most appalling things that media is doing today, but some of these blogs I read wake me up to the horrific reality that is modern media.

While reading through the blog on About Face I discovered the recent scandal involving some photographs taken of model Karlie Kloss by photographer Greg Kadel. The intent of my post isn’t to call into question the size of the model or the intentions of the photographer, but rather to call into question the actions of Numéro magazine.

Magazines have turned into a double-edged sword where it seems like absolutely no body type is good enough. It starts with only choosing women who they deem to be almost thin enough, and then they photoshop them to be thinner. And now, they have found this elusive body, the body who is on its own actually “acceptable” and is able to make an appearance in a magazine just the size it is, but the reality of it is too offensive to spare even her from photoshop.

Karlie Kloss is dramatically thin, and the reality of that means that her rib cage is prominently visible in the photographs taken by Greg Kadel. Because of this, Numéro magazine went to the effort of photoshopping the photograph so that her ribs were no longer visible. This possibly frustrates me even more than photoshopping a model to make her appear thinner. This woman has somehow achieved the “ideal” body type for this publication, a waist that is finally thin enough that it needs no retouching, and yet she still isn’t good enough. Somehow magazines want a model with this “ideal” body type, but the reality of that body type isn’t something they want to show, and so even this drastically thin model is told that she too, isn’t good enough.

What’s on my mind…

Why is it that we can accept that people are naturally taller or shorter, have bigger or smaller breasts, large or tiny feet, but we can’t accept that some people are just naturally fatter or thinner? Why is it so culturally ingrained in our heads that fatter people are doing something wrong to be that size?

Maybe, like breast size, it’s just the way they’re built. A woman with naturally large breasts didn’t do anything special to have them, they just happened to be that size when she was done puberty. Just like someone who has smaller breasts didn’t do anything special to have breasts that size, that’s just the way she was made. Just like the majority of women and men (“underweight”, “normal weight”, “overweight” and “obese” all included) probably aren’t doing anything special to be the size that they are, they just happen to be that size because that’s where their biology put them.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any weight. Some people are just naturally *insert weight descriptor here*. Sure, some overweight and obese people overeat, but so do some normal weight or even underweight people. Their bodies simply process the food in a different way. Some overweight people also eat really healthy, the same as some normal weight people, and yet they are still that size. This isn’t something that this person is doing wrong, it’s just the way their biology works and is not something that they should be looked down upon for.

Why is fat hatred and fat shaming still considered to be an acceptable form of bigotry in our society, often under the guise of “concern for their health”? Or even worse, often just as a somehow socially accepted form of bullying? Because let’s be honest, when you’re making a comment about how someone is “too fat to wear that” or any other unnecessary remark centered around someone’s weight and body, you’re right on par with every other bully out there. Another person’s body is none of your business and you have no right or need to judge.