Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all my readers! It’s been quite a year.

I’m not as against resolutions as some, though I believe the patented New Year’s Resolution [TM] is a gigantic marketing scheme, meant to frighten or shame you in order to  sell various methods to achieve eternal Youth, Beauty, and Goodness.

The Annual Drumbeat of Shame has begun on all the networks, with peppy now-thinner success stories and drippy, guilty stories of “failure until I tried…” January is the Self-Abuse month, and as a former (well, and sometimes current) self-abuser, it can be very difficult for me to literally stomach the month. Especially since my fiance is utterly clueless when it comes to my January anxiety.

Last year I coped with it by starting this blog. This year I’ll cope with it by blogging more during the month of January. Cheers!

Suspected suicide’s weight loss chronicled in articles

I guess there’s no situation left too sacred for trumpeting a before-and-after weight loss success story.

Not even when reporting on a suspected suicide.

The first few lines from HeraldTribune.com:

The family of a Winter Haven woman who apparently fell from a cruise ship issued a statement Monday saying they fear she took her own life.

And the last paragraph:

Raymond Seitz searched for his wife, the statement said, but could not locate her, so he and his mother-in-law notified ship security about 3:30 a.m. that she was missing.

The couple met in a weight-loss support group. Both had undergone bariatric surgery. She chronicled her weight loss journey for an Orlando TV station and for some time kept an online journal of her battle to lose weight and keep it off.

At one undated point in the journal, she said she was down to a size 10 from a size 28.

At the Garden Grove Oaks, Seitz’s neighbors in the well-kept mobile home park were hopeful she is alive.

The weight loss success story is tacked on the end, going into strange detail for a story about a suspected suicide. It’s at best an attempt to grope for a motive, and at worst a suggestion that her great life success had been getting “down to a size 10 from a size 28.” Wouldn’t that be something to have on your tombstone, eh? At any rate, it’s an illustration of how weight- and size-obsessed the mainstream media, and by extension, our culture, is.

Many of the stories I’ve read about this mentions her weight loss in some way. And the sadly ironic part of the story? Even if her self-hatred is what killed her, it’s the very mainstream media reporting her suicide that promotes the thin and fit ideology that makes someone of a larger size automatically a lesser kind of person.

From WESH Florida 2 News:

On the Web site obesityhelp.com, Seitz had dozens of entries.

One reads: “Had a minor breakdown this afternoon after taking a shower and realizing how scarred and gross my body looks right now.

From the Associated Press:

The couple met in a weight loss support group; both had undergone bariatric surgery. She chronicled her weight loss journey for an Orlando TV station.

She was also a freelance writer, having written articles for The Tampa Tribune, The Ledger in Lakeland, and an online article titled, “Battling the Bulge Onboard,” about how not to gain weight while aboard a ship.

There are many, many more.

What I eat, and how much I exercise

I’m sure many of you wonder how much (and what) I eat, and how much I exercise. For someone who myth-busts the health-claims made in support of losing weight, and so forth, I should be interested in some way of being healthy and living the longest and happiest I can, correct?

That is, in fact, correct. I am. Does eating and exercise have something to do with it? Why, yes.

As for how much (and what) I eat, and how much (and how) I exercise?

NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

I know some people catalogue their activity, as if to say, “See, I’m buying into Healthist attitudes, yet I’m still fat! Aren’t I morally upstanding, and aren’t your expectations of how one looks when they follow Healthist doctrine so very wrong?”

The problem with the above attitude is that it never calls into question whether or not tying particularly popular ideas of how to be “healthy” to moral rectitude is a good thing. It also implies that accepting a fat person is somehow conditional on whether or not they buy into Healthist propaganda.

This is not acceptance, in any way, shape or form. HAES is not fat acceptance. It’s another expression of Healthism, of Health as “goodness.” Why do I say HAES is not fat acceptance? Suppose no fat people adopted HAES-approved approaches. Then HAES wouldn’t be about fat people, it would be about how some fat (and thinner) people *could* be healthier, if only they did X and Y.

See the difference? It’s not about accepting fat. It’s another version of Healthism, of the “should” inherit in Healthist attitudes, as opposed to people who just want to do what’s best for themselves and cross their fingers that others just sod the fuck off with their misplaced concern or outright sanctimony.

There’s only one difference between a person who doesn’t believe in FA outright, and one who claims to believe in FA with an HAES-only perspective or focus: one person who promotes popular ideas of how to be “healthy” thinks those ideas will always make someone thinner, and the other person promoting a “healthy” lifestyle thinks that it won’t necessary lead to weight loss.

For those that want to defend HAES, I need to include the disclaimer that I don’t think all the ideas of HAES are phooey in my own day-to-day life. However, that’s also true for more mainstream varieties of “health.” But what I do to make myself feel better/live longer contains no inherent “should” for someone else. I don’t think it is imperative that others are active (even if we qualify activity with the words “fun” and “interesting”), and I don’t think it is imperative that others pick their brains to intuit what it is they should eat at the moment (even if there is “wiggle room” in the determination).

It’s just another group of myths and semi-truths. Does it make some people feel good to do it? Sure. But does it make them better people? No. Are people who don’t engage in it morally reprehensible, or even worse off from an *objective* health standpoint? No, and impossible to determine generally. Finally, is it fat acceptance? No, it is not. It’s just another group of people hawking yet another “healthy lifestyle.” Only this time, there are some fat people in the bunch!

Why is HAES so attractive to some people in FA? I think it gives one a weapon, a “comeback” as it were, to a troll who wants to say “Well, you can’t be fat and healthy!” The comeback: “Studies of HAES have shown to be healthier blah di blah…”

Why is the need to be seen as healthy so imperative? I think it’s less rewarding, but much more honest (and more helpful for promoting *actual* fucking fat acceptance) to tell the troll to MYOB.

It’s not easy. But fighting the moral imperative to be healthy with another form of a moral imperative to be healthy isn’t going to get fat people anywhere. The problem is with Healthism. The problem is with how Healthist attitudes are cordoning off certain subgroups of individuals and treating them like second-class citizens. And it’s *not just about fat people*, though fat is the most popular excuse used these days. It’s about smokers, and people who belong to demographics which have a greater genetic tendency to certain diseases or body characteristics.

Reject Healthism, and tell concern trolls to MYOB. Don’t apologize. Don’t detail your behavior. Tell them to get the fuck out of your clothing, and that your body is YOUR business. This goes for spouses too, certain readers of mine. No relationship, I repeat, *NO* relationship merits this kind of terrorism in the name of the Holy Grail of Health.

A Healthist Holiday Carol

A Healthist Holiday Carol

by BigLiberty at bigliberty.wordpress.com


I don’t drink, I don’t smoke,

I gulp naught but Diet Coke.

I run marathons with glee

(and I’m on my seventh knee).

Who needs love? Who needs art?

Or diplomas? A la carte?

There’s no time to get those things,

when I’m running, running rings!

On a hamster wheel I sweat,

hoping hard abs I will get.

Minutes, days, weeks slip away,

Sweating two hours a day.

Take a class? Volunteer?

How then — gasp! — shall I appear?

Fat and lazy, always sitting,

I might take up — crafts, or knitting!

I might paint, or sew, or write;

perhaps learn to cook, I might

volunteer to help children.

How would I look, then, to the men?

They wouldn’t see me sweat and bounce,

or weigh my food, ounce by ounce —

my scale would cover up with dust.

No, skinny jeans, to wear, I must!

If (or what) I think can’t matter,

I must fear all dough and batter.

Poetry, art, love, must wait,

until I’ve zipped up that size eight.

Another language I won’t learn,

another of life’s leaves won’t turn,

a new job, talent, skill, or thought,

will waste until my body’s “hot.”


Obama’s focus on “health”

Here’s a quote from a recent story about Obama’s fitness regime, in the Washington Post:

For the small group of reporters tasked with following Obama’s every move, his fitness has become a running joke repeated in the stories they file. They sit at McDonald’s while he exercises in Hawaii. They eat calorie-rich scones while he sweats at Regents Park. One reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, filing his report about one of the president-elect’s gym trips last month, noted: “While Mr. Obama worked at maintaining his lithe look, your pear-shaped pooler spent quality time at a local coffee shop.”

Cool. Glad that’s something apparently enjoyable and important for him.

I just hope that he doesn’t extend his interest in maintaining his exercise and calorie restriction to the rest of us. You know, by subsidizing behavior or food choices, which of course places an automatic hidden tax on the people/industries that don’t participate in those behaviors or buy/sell/grow those foods. Or just outright tax whatever he decides are “bad” foods. Or force everyone (or even just public school students) to work out 90 minutes a day, like him.

Although, he does mention establishing a civilian Health Corps (which could do no harm as simple aides to healthcare workers, or could do a good deal of harm as Food, BMI, or Waist Circumference monitors).

And there are, of course, these official gems, from the barackobama.com official Healthcare pdf:

Underinvestment in prevention and public health.  Too many Americans go without high-value preventive services, such as cancer screening and immunizations to protect against flu or pneumonia.  The nation faces  epidemics of obesity and chronic diseases as well as new threats of pandemic flu and bioterrorism. Yet despite  all of this less than 4 cents of every health care dollar is spent on prevention and public health.8 Our health care  system has become a disease care system, and the time for change is well overdue. [emphasis mine]

So we need to have the government bureaucrat dictate to health care providers which kind of care they ‘should’ be providing, and part of that ‘should’ is preventative care, which obviously includes weight loss programs since obesity is an “epidemic?”

What happens when a provider believes a program will do more harm than good, and don’t follow through? How many more resources are going to be poured down the throats of the already-bloated, useless, stinking corpse of the diet industry? Not only that but shared, federal resources? Am I going to be paying for someone else’s weight loss surgery, or 1200 cal/day semi-liquid no-carb ephedrine diet? And, most importantly, is there someone out there that thinks this is actually going to make people permanently thin?

The Obama-Biden plan  will improve efficiency and lower costs in the health care system by: (1) adopting state-of-the-art health information technology systems; (2) ensuring that patients receive and providers deliver the best possible care,  including prevention and chronic disease management services; [emphasis mine]

How will they “ensure,” exactly? Tax? Subsidize? Fine? Take into custody? Institutionalize? Run out of business? Who — healthcare providers? Patients? Children? Doctors? Nurses?

The next quote speaks to my fears with this administration. I’ll bold the really problematic bit, and then leave you with this obvious : “We can? Really?”

This nation is facing a true epidemic of chronic disease.  An increasing number of Americans are suffering and dying needlessly from diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and HIV/AIDS, all of which can be delayed in onset if not prevented entirely.

On paralleling breast reduction and weight loss

Bri recently wrote a very thought-provoking post on the different perceptions at Shapely Prose between breast reduction and weight loss, in general. She argues that if it is acceptable to get a breast reduction in order to ease discomfort, why isn’t it acceptable to lose weight for the same reason?

I agree with what many of the commenters said, so make sure to read their comments if you haven’t already. But I’d like to offer my own analysis of the parallel, which really gets to the core of my particular brand of FA activism.

I tend to think of my place as an FA activist more aligned with trying to debunk what I see is a moral panic/crusade against fat and fat people, rather than promoting Health At Every Size or Intuitive Eating, as some other FA blogs do. That makes my take on this issue, I think, somewhat different than that of some other FA bloggers.

To begin, I think that weight loss in order to be thinner is a significantly more morally-charged issue than breast reduction (which leads naturally to weight loss). Regardless of how one gets there, thinner people are currently viewed on average as less lazy, smarter, more stable, more beautiful, and morally ‘better’ than fatter people.

I don’t think you get the same moral value judgment being made about women who get breast reductions. Sure, there is the issue of what is considered attractive or not, and some of the decision for getting a breast reduction might have to do with aesthetics, but it is nowhere near as morally charged an issue as losing weight in order to become, overall, thinner.

There’s also the difference in health outcomes and sustainability. No diet has been shown to be largely long-term (>5 years) effective, and weight loss surgery is significantly more dangerous than breast reduction surgery, both immediately, but especially in the long term.

But even if there were a procedure to safely, permanently, and with the same risks as breast reduction surgery make someone who is fat not so fat anymore (I’m not talking about 10 lbs of liposuction here and there, obviously), there’s still the question of the moral imperative to conform to what the culture currently considers aesthetically pleasing. Should that be a thing which an FA activist such as myself promotes?

If I’m trying to bust the moral judgments based on fat, then the answer would be a resounding, “no.”

So here’s my analysis: if there were a procedure as safe and permanent as breast reduction surgery that could make a fatter person more comfortable, and they want to get it, I have no philosophical problem with that. But there isn’t. If there were, and many used it as a tool to conform to thin aesthetics rather than for comfort, I would have a philosophical problem with that, because it comes with the natural conclusion that thinner people are somehow “better” in general than fatter people.

The parallel between that and breast reduction is, in general, people don’t consider someone with breasts big enough to cause discomfort “better” than a person with breasts reduced so as not to cause discomfort. Sure, there’s a pocket of the populace that’s obsessed with large breasts, but I don’t believe even they place moral value on bigger over smaller breasts.

In conclusion, the drive to be thinner, even if there were a safe and permanent way to do so, is morally charged and thus morally divisive, while the desire to get a breast reduction is not. Also there is, unfortunately, no way to safely and permanently ease the discomfort of fat people, so it isn’t intellectually rigorous to make the parallel with breast reduction.

For instance, here’s a bit of anecdata – as an obese person, I’m not uncomfortable at all. Therefore, in the existence of a safe and permanent method of weight loss, the question would be purely moral/aesthetic. I would not do it. Not to conform, and not to appear a ‘better’ person than the fatter me. The desire to lose weight in order to conform and be ‘better’ is precisely the kind of attitude I’m trying to fight. First I refused to be an enabler by buying into the fat/thin moral value system. Secondly, I decided to become an activist in order to spread the word that this moral value system exists, is wrong, and should be obliterated else the already-suffering victims of this moral panic/crusade will suffer much, much more.

What do you think?

Obesity Tax proposed in New York

Governor Paterson proposes ‘Obesity Tax,’ a tax on non-diet sodas

Continuing in the theme of creating a deviant class out of fat people, Governor Paterson of New York will now punish a fat person’s perceived deviance by taxing that fat person’s apparently precious full-sugar sodas.

Gov. Paterson, as part of a $121 billion budget to be unveiled Tuesday, will propose an “obesity tax” of about 15% on nondiet drinks.

Guess the revenue from the cigarette taxes has begun to dry up, eh?

The so-called obesity tax would generate an estimated $404 million a year. Milk, juice, diet soda and bottled water would be exempt from the tax.

There are, of course, many problems with this proposition.

Phrasing it as an ‘Obesity tax’ is problematic on its face, because although it does take advantage of the popular act of getting a good jab at a deviant class, not all people who drink soda regularly are fat.

This is in contrast to the cigarette tax, which was meant to take a jab at the deviant class of smokers. Regular smokers are most certainly addicted to nicotine. Regular soda drinkers are fat, thin, and in-between. Not to mention that there hasn’t been any convincing, rigorous proof that sugar is addictive like nicotine. The only evidence that could possibly be put forward is that people who eat sugar are likely to do so again at some point, since it can stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain (as many enjoyable activities, including the ‘runner’s high,’ do).

This leads to another glaring problem with this proposed tax: while the cigarette tax banked on the addiction to nicotine to ensure a steady revenue stream, true sugar addicts are rare. This means this tax is going to generate little or no additional revenue, and might even cause a deficit, as the tax has to be enforced administratively.

“I’ll just buy less,” said Victor Lopez, 55, of Manhattan, as he drank a Coke at a midtown Subway store.

“I don’t like to buy Diet Coke,” said Amaury Garcia, 16, who works at a flower shop in Penn Station. “I’ll just not buy any sodas if it goes up.”

Good for you, Victor and Amaury. Let’s hope your state doesn’t go ahead with this fascist measure, so you can drink whatever the hell you want without the elitist judgmentalism of the State picking your pockets in an attempt to control your behavior.

Public health advocates welcomed news of the tax, saying it would help the fight against childhood obesity.

“Raising the price of this liquid candy will put children and teens on a path to a healthier diet,” said Elie Ward of the American Academy of Pediatrics of New York State.

Good thing I don’t believe in ‘public health.’ Get your goddamned nannying out of my refrigerator.

Albany Soda Party, anyone?

We are, indeed, in a new age of Intolerable Acts.

I call on all people who believe in liberty, freedom, and the right to do whatever the damned hell you want for or against your body without intrusion by the State. The ultimate weapon of the government against the right to govern your own body is the belief in so-called ‘public health.’

Once the idea of personal health is tied into the fate of one’s neighbors, you lose your body autonomy, your most fundamental individual right.

Speak out against the ‘Obesity Tax,’ and its inevitable sons and daughters. Nip that idea in the bud now, before you wake up one day and discover that you’ve sacrificed your body autonomy on the alter of ‘public health.’

To Write To The Governor:
David A. Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

518-474-8390

To Email The Governor:
Click here to email the Governor.

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS.
Responses may be sent via the U.S. Mail.

For Information on Legislation:
Please access the New York State Legislative
Session Information page at
http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us