Category Archives: Media Literacy

Uninformed Mayor Puts OKC on a Diet

I live in the heart of Oklahoma City, in a district called the Asian District. It’s barely the Asian District anymore as the generations of vietnamese who came to OKC as refugees are getting older and their American children are moving off to nicer neighborhoods.

There are no sidewalks in my neighborhood. I have heard gunshots on my street corner. The street I drive to get home–a snow route no less–is crumbling and patches can’t keep up with it. I work for the state so I did not get a raise this year. The city just forced its school superintendent and board chairman to resign.

But what does our distinguished Mayor, Mick Cornett want to make this city’s priority? Losing weight.

That’s right Mayor Mick Cornett has challenged Oklahoma City residents to lose 1 million pounds this year. And how does he propose that we do this? Why, by going on a diet of course!

Look at that website! He’s actually promoting weight loss companies, even diet supplements that he has no idea what they contain or how they could be harmful! That’s just what Oklahomans need, Mayor Cornett. More misinformation.

It physically pains me to think about a city being run by someone who would make this sort of a health declaration without doing his homework. How could a politician influence his community to do something that is actually detrimental to their health?

Here is my message to Mayor Cornett: Diets Don’t Work. And the BMI is a joke.

Mayor, you really want your city to be healthy? Why not start by promoting the retail sale of local Oklahoma grown products? The Oklahoma Food Cooperative is nowhere on your list of ‘diets’ and if you want the city to eat healthy, why not start with eating fresh.

Why not fund and expand fresh farmer’s markets? There are only two in the city year round–one all the way in Edmond and the other at OSU-OKC. Why not have one in Midwest City and expand the downtown farmer’s market to be year round.

Why not promote the safety of city parks? Why not fix my street, build a sidewalk and make my neighborhood safe so that I can go for walks after work? Why not build hiking and biking trails?

Mayor Cornett, stop perpetuating the myths. Obesity is not an epidemic. Dieting is the epidemic and you need to educate yourself before you promote ideas that can lead to a lifetime of suffering.

Want Oklahoma City residents to exercise and eat healthier? That’s great. Urging them to diet and promoting weight loss programs and products whose validity is questionable at best? That’s just an uninformed, irresponsible politician capitalizing on the diet-craze for personal gain. Shame on you, Cornett.

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Filed under environment, fat, Health, Media Literacy, Politics, Self Image, Size Acceptance

LA Weight Loss–In or Out?

After the new year, I read many fatosphere articles about how LA Weight Loss Centers were going out of business.

WOO HOO!

Except, twice in the last week, I have heard commercials for LA Weight Loss Centers on TV.  (Heard because at the time, I was getting ready so I did not actually see the commercial).

I’m curious as to why are they still advertising?  Any thoughts?

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Art and Beauty

An amazing thing happened in my life.

I learned to love my body.

And one of the driving forces that helped me to do this was my art. I’ve always dabbled with painting and I am by no means a talented renderer. But I’ve dabbled so long that I finally figured some things out.

I started painting women that looked like women are expected to look. And that was okay. But then I started wondering what other body shapes would look like. And I started painting those too.

It freaked me out at first, when people started asking if they were self portraits, mainly because they are so explicit. They’re not self-portraits–at least not in the sense that they represent anything specific about me. I was not thinking of my vagina when I painted them. But in another way, they are portraits of how I see myself in a positive manner and how I view the beauty standards of the majority of Americans.

My painting lately, much like my writing, is buried underneath my mound of other priorities at the moment. But since I have a lot of new readers lately, I thought I would share my art with you all.

Oh and FYI, my art is generally NSFW! That means don’t click on it while you’re boss is standing behind you. Unless she/he happens to be very open minded.

You can see the whole gallery here.  Please note that I have made this gallery public for a short time only. Go check it out now before I protect it again.

The thing is, we can talk all we want about fat acceptance–and talk we should. But we have to see it too. Not just in ourselves but in others and we have to show others how beautiful we really are.

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Less calorie intact + more calories burned = weight loss. Simple?

I got to thinking about the primary argument that anti-fatties make when fat acceptance gurus unload their pile of flaming logic upon them.

Basically, every argument boils down to this: diet and exercise work, I’ve seen it. How dare you say that diet and exercise don’t work!

Okay. So, in my life, the people who make this argument are the very same people who pump hundreds of dollars annually into the diet industry trying to force these things to work for them.

So I have a challenge, if you will. Not an us vs. them type of challenge. Its not a challenge that is about proving anything because its not safe or responsible to diet for those reasons. (I don’t believe its safe to diet for any reason but I’m trying to make this argument from the perspective of those who believe otherwise.)

The challenge I offer is a personal challenge for anyone who believes that diet and exercise are parts of that ever-simple math equation that less calories eaten, more calories burned will lead to weight loss.

The challenge is simple, too. Go on your diets, if you must. But I challenge you to diet without putting a single dollar into the diet industry. This means none of the following:

  • Diet books–healthy recipe books are okay as long as they are not published by major weight loss companies such as Weight Watchers or South Beach. But no water chestnut diets, no cabbage soup diets, no self-help books on weight loss, no inspirational weight loss stories.
  • Diet websites
  • Diet meetings such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc.
  • Special exercise equipment–beyond the simple treadmill, weights etc. I’m thinking of things like the Thighmaster.
  • Foods bought at the grocery store that are made by diet companies or marketed specifically to dieters. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Smart Ones
    • Lean Cuisine
    • South Beach
    • Slim Fast
  • Exercise videos, health magazines, reruns of the Biggest Loser or any other media that perpetuates beauty ideals

Because if it really is just as simple as diet and exercise, if being fat is really all our faults, then shouldn’t YOU be able to do it without having to put money into an industry that makes its living on telling you you’re not good enough?

And as a discriminating consumer, why would you ever trust any diet industry product when they would make more money off of you if you gain the weight back? Don’t you remember the tapeworms in the diet chews in the 70s? Corporations have no morals and will stop at nothing to make money. What makes you think that they don’t design these programs and food for failure–to keep you coming back.

So, if you refuse to believe that it is far healthier to learn to love yourself as you are and if you refuse to believe that being fat is more than just a lifestyle choice, then I challenge you to reach your own self-improvement goals without the help of the $30-40 billion diet industry.

Because if it really is that simple, then why would you need them?


No, ya’ll, I don’t really advocate dieting at all, for anyone. This is tongue in cheek. This is an example of how clinging to these ideals of weight loss are so heavily influenced by the diet industry and the media. As much as people believe that it is a moral imperative to hate your body and diet, they also believe that they can’t do it without help. What a racket!

And hey, people are going to diet whether I like it or not. I’d be a lot happier if they would do it without pumping money into the industry.

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Thank you, Kate Harding. Thank you, Shapelings!

I typed this originally as a comment, but it got long so it became a post. This is in response to Shapely Prose’s triumphant stand against Dan Savage’s GodHatesFatties religion. This is a big thank you to Kate, Fillyjonk, Sweet Machine, Joy Nash and all the other sisters and brothers of all sizes taking on the diet-pushing, body-hating, money-churning self-hate machine.

This has been a weekend of me realizing how desperately people need to cling to their self-hatred.

If people admit that you can be healthy at any weight, that being fat is not a sin, that it is NOT OKAY blame, moralize or mock people for their size–whatever it is–then they have to admit that they can’t change the way THEY are.

I know that people at least my age (27) have grown up our entire lives with these standards of self-loathing during every commercial break we’ve EVER watched. Not to mention the magazines, weight loss books and water-cooler conversations.

And what we have the hardest time realizing (and I’m so glad that I have) is that there is no diet, no amount of cocaine (via post secret today), no amount of surgery and no amount of hating other people that can make us love ourselves.

Thanks for getting the message out there, Kate. For taking all the negativity and dealing with the trolls that think being behind a computer means they can call someone fat and be any less of a sad, immature pig.

And thanks for holding up a mirror to people like Savage and the others who hold so strongly to their ideals of beauty–disguised as health–so they don’t have to face the long, hard journey of learning to love themselves.

True self improvement can only come from self-love. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to go down that road.

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Corpulent Cogitation

The holidays are over and I have boxes of excess consumerism to deal with strewn all over my house. But with a quiet day at work, I’ve had some time to catch up on my Fatosphere reading.

I responded rather late to a post over at Shapely Prose and it got me thinking about how much time the average person, affected by the average (read: extreme) amount of media influence regarding food, diet and health, spends feeling guilty about the most common activity of our existence: eating.

So I decided to think back to a time when eating was a terrifying, guilt-ridden thing for me. A time when I bought into the near religious nature of food associations and the morality they attempted to apply to my choices: sinful, indulgent, divine.

Say, I ate an entire plate of spaghetti. I’d feel guilty for at least as long as I felt full, sometimes longer. So since the gastric phase of digestion takes at least 3-4 hours, let’s say I spent an average of 1-3 hours feeling guilty about my meal.

I eat three meals a day and rarely snack in between. But let’s go ahead and throw in the average two snacks per day and double the guilt there because snacking is evil in the dieting world.

So at the very minimum that’s 7 hours a day I would spend feeling guilty about my food and therefore negative towards my body and thus my entire self-image. At most, that’s 15 hours of guilt, stress, self-loathing and fear.

Think about that. In today’s stressful world of multi-tasking, helicopter parenting and financial rollercoasters, does anyone need 7-15 hours of feeling like shit about yourself for a task as simple as eating?

This is why I contend that dieting is so much LESS healthy than the industry would have you believe. When you pile all that stress and self-loathing wrapped around the basic need of eating, plus the stress on your body caused by yo-yo dieting, plus the general desire of the media to make you feel like crap about yourself without their product, I’D RATHER JUST BE FAT!

And realizing that is the most freeing feeling I’ve ever experienced. This doesn’t negate my responsibility to be a healthy person. In fact, this is me ACTING on my responsibility to be a healthy person.1

To me, getting back my 7-15 hours and spending it living is worth it. To paraphrase a beauty company’s motto, I’m worth it!


1Edited 12-27-07: I marked this out because I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a ‘responsibility to be healthy.’ That’s moralist talk creeping into my language. It sounded good when I wrote it but I wasn’t thinking about what it implied.

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Regifting a blog…from me to you!

Its that time of year and re-gifting is eco-friendly and functional! Since this is the time of year when the diet talk gets out of control, I wanted to offer, the only situation in which I will talk diet.

When we can’t trust the medical industry to tell us what’s healthy, then how do we determine this for ourselves?

Then I remembered, I did a whole post about it in TOC not too long ago. I wrote this more from an environmental standpoint than a fat-conscious one and I wrote it before I had read a lot of the research on dieting. Keep that in mind.

So here are the only ‘diets’ I would consider.


You all know I hate the term diet and all it entails. “I’m going on a diet” basically means to me that I’m going to throw hundreds of dollars into the diet industry, eat things from the grocery store that say they’re low fat (but are really choc full of sodium and other processed goodness) and when I reach my goal I will stop the ‘diet’ and resume my previous habits and gain everything back. Then I’ll hate the way I look some more and do it again and again with much worse detriment to my body than the original extra poundage ever was.Yeah, no thanks.It’s not that I think losing weight is inherently bad, just the way to go about it, I struggle with. But I’ve been reading a lot about green diets and it is the route I’m taking to eat healthier. Its slow going. If I had to rate my commitment to change at this point, I’d give it a solid C+. But I get extra credit for making it a permanent commitment and not a temporary one. Because changing my diet to help improve the environment as well as myself, isn’t the sort of thing that’s just going to stop being important so once I start something, it’s a lot harder to stop. If I don’t lose weight from it, I don’t care. I’ll be healthier and eating sustainable foods and that’s all I am interested in.

As the omnivore’s dilemma asks, “If you can eat anything, what should you eat?”

I’ve been asking myself this continually since I read the book. I still don’t have all the answers. As I’ve said this is an individual question with individual answers. Nothing that I write here need have any impact on the way you answer the question for yourself. These are just my thought processes as they have progressed. Thus I’m not interested in any brand of food evangelism (meat eaters are killers, vegetarians are all unhealthy, that sort of thing) though suggestions and tips in a non-proselytizing vein and sharing what works for you are always welcome. Still, I think over time, as long as I examine this question critically, the answers will come.

So far, here are my thoughts on a few of the ideas out there*:

Vegan: No way, no how, not a chance. It works great for some people but not for me. If I was born with a certain metabolism maybe I could survive on this diet but its not for me. This is both preference and reality. If I could eat certain things, then maybe I could sustain myself on this diet but there are facets of a vegan diet that I simply could not force myself to eat or enjoy–that’s where preference comes in. And then of course there’s the whole no cheese situation. Yeah, so this is definitely a closed door.

Vegetarian: This is realistic in terms of what I like to eat and what would sustain me. However, realistic in terms of my will power, I don’t know. If I succeed in building the healthy food habits that I hope to, maybe down the road this is a possibility. But I think I’d fall into the vegetarian category of ‘I don’t eat meat because I’m too busy eating bread and cheese.’ And it might make me more likely than I am now to go: oooh cheetos, no meat there!! I don’t eat a lot of traditional junk food but if I chose a diet that limited my choices it might become more tempting to eat fatty things. But still I think this is a viable diet for me and may be a long-term goal. And I think an in-between goal would be the serious reduction of the amount of meat I consume.

The ethical side of vegan and veggie: When I look at a major source of my ethics, I look to nature. In nature, I see the consumption of animal products and the destruction of animals for consumption. I think it is the circle of life. If no one ate venison, deer would consume the planet. I think this can and should be done humanely and not for sport or to excess. Basic organic,local and humane farming is cool with me, but I don’t go for major industrialized farming. If trout is overfished, then sorry, no more trout. You may just have to go 10 years before you get to have it again. However, I do not necessarily agree that it is entirely unethical to sustain ourselves off other creatures. The reason I would consider going veggie is not animal cruelty as much as it is the high environmental cost of meat production.

Organic: This is probably the best way to describe a large portion of my current diet. Buying organic means buying foods free of hormones, chemicals, ingredients that have been over-processed or are not natural and buying products that are humane to animals, including free ranged products. I like this portion of my diet but it doesn’t cover all my convictions. If I buy organic free range eggs from South Dakota, what is the environmental impact of getting those eggs to the supermarket? Did a local, individual farmer profit from my purchase or have I simply again fed a large food production company like Cargill? For me, buying organically isn’t enough but its a start.

Local diets: I think this is an awesome diet. But it is one of the hardest ones to do in entirely. The idea of only eating things within 100 miles of your home is extremely challenging when you live in Oklahoma. However, if I include my own gardening into the picture and gain the space to do some indoor gardening and buy more from the Coop, this becomes more possible. I may not be able to find locally made green food coloring and random things like that. And I’m not sure that I can do without pickles in the winter. But again, the more I learn about growing and storing my own fruits and veggies, the more realistic this diet gets. I think a strong combination of a local diet with a bit of organic splashed in there is a really good mix for me.

Paleodiets: Yes, you read that right. Dino-diets. Think back to what the cavemen, our genetic ancestors ate. Wouldn’t they be driven enough by instinct to think that those foods are really what our bodies were designed to eat? Sure, if you want to believe that our bodies haven’t evolved at all since! Actually, I do think this diet has a lot of credibility. Studies have shown that sticking to root veggies, fruits, nuts and lean meats have improved the body’s glucose production. However, I think I can get a great deal of benefit by simply increasing the amounts of those foods that I eat in without completely cutting out breads and dairy products.

Raw Foods: Eh, this is just a matter of not being convinced. I’m not convinced that the positive (nutrients and bacteria) lost outweighs the negative (bacteria) gained if you don’t cook your food. And I think it is a completely random question. Whether or not one piece of meat is better for you cooked or raw depends on how it was cooked, how the animals were fed and what environmental factors may have contaminated it. I’m just not entirely convinced that I’m better off risking e-coli to get a few extra nutrients. I’m not a germ-a-phobe or anything so there is a minuscule chance that I could do this diet without a lot of nose-turning but it would take a lot of science to convince me it’s worth it.

Those are my thoughts on just a few of the eco-diets I’ve come across so far. If there are more you think I should look into, do let me know.


So, how do you determine what is healthy? Because we can eat anything, as omnivores, what do you think we should eat?


*Some of these ideas have come from a great article that athena_jess sent me, some have come from other sources on the internet. Email me if you want more info on anything.

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