The Fucking Awesome Truth

Go read this fucking awesome post by Joanna at Dead of Winter:

The Truth is Radical

It will blow your fucking socks off. It’s so old-school FA, I’m all a-quiver like it’s 2007 again. Dammit, I miss Junkfood Science!

Some candy:

Instead of feeling liberated with the knowledge that I was not a failure or defective because of my weight, my health, or my lifestyle, I insisted on holding onto my prejudices, not just against others, but myself.

Why would someone do this?

The reason is two-fold: One is that we still want to hold on to “The Fantasy of Being Thin” that Kate Harding discusses. The other, more subtle, one is that we can’t bear to face it. To face it would be to realize just how thoroughly people hate us and how pervasive fat hatred is, inserting itself in every area of life, held by virtually all people in our culture, and knowing there is no escape for it.

Ding-ding-ding-ding-DING! Sometimes when I really think about how much I’m hated — how irrevocably the culture equates my value as a human/women to my weight, and how many times and in how many ways I’ve been discriminated against, seen as less valuable or even valueless because I’m fat — well, I get really fucking depressed. It’s hard to handle. Really hard.

Finally, holy awesome, Batman:

No. It is our anti-fat, healthist culture that is radical. It refuses to acknowledge any factor in health, fitness, or weight besides lifestyle. It refuses to allow people with socially stigmatized bodies and lifestyles to exist. It refuses to allow them any measure of worth, intelligence, or morality. It seeks to deny basic rights and social support.

Joanna has written the post I’ve wanted to write for at least a year. Con-fucking-gratulations, I’m so fucking glad to see something like this on the feeds, it made my fucking weekend. And I’ve been having a pretty good fucking weekend.

(EDIT: I just found out this is my 250th post on Big Liberty. Holy fucking mother of shit. W00t!)

Human Metabolism Variation, or, Useful Trolls

So there’s an MFS troll over at BFB forums, and it’s actually been kind of useful. I had a dusty old primer on the human metabolism that I lost track of, and when it brought up the common fallacious argument that all humans have around the same basal metabolic rate and that fat is naturally attributed to overeating/underexercising, I took the opportunity to do a little digging. I’ve known for a while that mitochondrial efficiency is a large part of metabolic variation between individuals — you know, one of those things you research once for a few days, read through a fuckload of articles and get a good idea of, and then don’t save the research path.

So I did some fresh research. And that’s why this post is also titled, “Useful Trolls.” Because, while they’re mostly just dumb and annoying, sometimes the pseudosmart ones can actually force you to compile your research. So thanks for the holiday gift, lovely MFS troll. Hugs!

NOTE: I will add these links to the “Truth Behind Fat” page.

First thing’s first, here’s a better ‘equation’ of human metabolism (that is, to replace ‘2000 cal = food – exercise = weight maintenance’). I’ve linked the terms. The ‘equation’ is from this article [1].

Classically, three major biochemical systems are believed to contribute to basal thermogenesis: futile cycles, Na+/K+ATPase activity, and mitochondrial proton leak [2 – 3].

One of the most interesting parts of the ‘equation’ above, to me, is the mitochondrial proton leak, which is highly (if not entirely) genetic. That would be the second item in this quote (link):

Discrete gene sets may prevent or facilitate obesity in humans by influencing food intake (e.g., leptin), by altering the ability of skeletal muscle to dispose of excess energy (e.g., uncoupling proteins [UCPs]), or by influencing the capacity of the adipocyte to accumulate triglyceride (e.g., CD-36, perilipin). [4]

There’s a lot more research one can do, here. But I thought that during this season of panic concerning overeating, taking a closer look at the human metabolism and its inextricable connections to genetics would be a nice little present for y’all.

Happy Holidays!


1. W. Timothy Garvey. “The role of uncoupling protein 3 in human physiology.” J. Clin. Invest. 111(4): 438-441 (2003). doi:10.1172/JCI17835. link

2. (rat study) Various. “Characterization of weight loss and weight regain mechanisms after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in rats.” Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 293: R1474-R1489, 2007. link

3. (rat study)

4. Various. “Decreased Mitochondrial Proton Leak and Reduced Expression of Uncoupling Protein 3 in Skeletal Muscle of Obese Diet-Resistant Women.” doi: 10.2337/diabetes.51.8.2459 Diabetes August 2002 vol. 51 no. 8 2459-2466 link

Obesity is 77% Heritable

This post is meant to archive a study oft-cited by fat liberation activists. Please take some time to read the study, and please link to it on your own blogs if you find it compelling.

Wardle J, Carnell S, Haworth CMA, Plomin R. Evidence for a strong
genetic influence on childhood adiposity despite the force of the obeso-
genic environment
. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:398 – 404. [HTML]

Accompanying editorial:

Obesity–still heritable after all these years [PDF]

On Diets

I’m writing this post in response to Meowser’s excellent post There Are Diets, And Then There Are DIETS. It was truly excellent, and made me start thinking about how my very unusual dietary requirements go practically counter to how fat people such as myself are often told they “should” eat.

I have orthostatic hypotension, brachycardia, vasovagal something-or-other, and generally horrible circulation. These are all generally spawned from too-low blood pressure, or hypotension. I also have lipedema, which though thought largely genetic, is also associated with hypotension and poor circulation.

Because of these conditions, I have to make sure I eat a sufficient amount of things most fat people (and most people in general) are told aren’t generally good for them:

1. I have to make sure I’m salting my food.

2. I have to get enough sodium in general.

3. Every morning I should drink a cup of strong coffee.

Keeping hydrated is something else I need to do, though I need to make sure sometimes to:

4. Drink water with some kind of sugar in it.

I also should:

5. Stay away from alcohol. Even a glass or two could send my blood pressure through the floor, as it is a depressant.

6. Stay away from other depressive substances.

And exercise? I need to:

7. Be careful and don’t do cardio training for any solid length of time (like months). Cardio training can lower your blood pressure and heart rate.

Also, guess what else lowers blood pressure? Calorie restriction. So:

8. Do not diet for weight loss.

Additionally, women with lipedema are usually told:

9. Do not diet for weight loss, since there is a much higher incidence of anorexia in women with lipedema. Dieting will not remove the lipedemic fat, the metabolism of the cells of which are damaged and the lipedemic fat won’t “shed.”

So all in all, with my various very genetic (all passed from my Dad’s family) disorders that are tied into hypotension, dieting for weight loss, and cardio training, are generally prohibited.

What happens if I don’t follow the prescriptions to keep my low blood pressure at a reasonable rate? I didn’t, for a few years, so I know the answer to this:

I generally feel ill. I pass out after getting out of the shower, on a humid day inside or outside or in the car, feel ill after exercising, feel ill all the time in general. Foggy, can’t think, nauseous, can’t breathe, headaches, dizzy.

I was lucky. Only one time did I pass out and get slightly injured; the other times I was able to “take myself down” once the symptoms of fainting starting cropping up. But as anyone who’s watched “Million Dollar Baby” knows, it only takes one bad fall to pretty much end your life.

So is a weight-loss diet, the antithesis of what *I personally* need to eat for *my personal* optimal health, worth paralysis or death?

The person who refuses to sit next to me on an airplane, or the subway, or a bus, or the train, thinks so. The person who has to look at my cellulite on the beach thinks so. Tam Fry thinks so.

What do you think?