Tag Archives: Health

For Lent, Give up Dieting

For Lent, I’m giving up dieting. Well, not really. I haven’t dieted for quite a few years, based on my own reservations which the fat acceptance movement helped me put into words and even back up with scientific research.

But I want to encourage everyone to do this. For Lent this year, give up dieting. Give up on hating your body. That’s 40 days, 40 nights and absolutely NO food guilt, diet products, or self-flagellation related to the body that you were born with.Don’t give up chocolate or carbs. Give up the notion that foods carry moral values of “good” or “bad.”

Now, you Catholics know the irony of this suggestion. Lent is originally associated with fasting, sacrifice for God and avoiding the temptation of Satan. Now, I have no problem with folks fasting for religious purposes, but since Vatican II, Lent has been less about fasting and more about giving up a vice or a temptation and replacing it with something that brings you closer to God.

My challenge is that eating normally is not a temptation or a vice and that loving your body and yourself is the first step in having a closer relationship with God, the Divine, the Universe or however you represent your highest authority.

And it’s okay to engage in the practices of Lent even if you’re not Catholic. I was only Catholic for a few years and I still give things up for Lent. Sacrifice is often healthy for the soul but sacrificing food to lose weight is not healthy for the body.

So go without dieting and obsessing about food for Lent and see if you come out on the other side any worse for wear. Something tells me you won’t. Something tells me you’ll discover a freedom unlike any other–the freedom to improve yourself in ways that really matter.

6 Comments

Filed under fat, Health, Size Acceptance

GMA and Oprah’s Magical New Diet

Ah, yet again we find the magic of diet marketing. Today on GMA, they had Oprah’s new diet guru, Bob Greene on to talk about the Six Foods you Should Banish from your Kitchen. He even brought a healthy eating contract for everyone to sign. Oh boy!

I found the whole concept hilarious since most of these horrible foods have never been a part of my diet and yet, here I am fat as can be! So let’s examine…

Greene’s six foods to avoid:

Soda is empty calories and sugar, so you have to cut it out. Instead, drink water, low-fat or fat-free milk, or tea. Fruit juices are good too, but remember, fruit juice, not fruit drink.

Transfats. They clog your arteries, they’re high in calories, and they may even make your body store fat in the abdominal area. Aside from being unsightly, it’s also bad for your health. You’ll find these in cookies and baked goods which might be made with margarine.

Fried foods. I mean, even if you use a good fat oil like olive oil to fry foods, anything fried has a lot of calories. Try things that are oven baked instead of fries. There are calories either way, but oven baked has fewer.

White bread. You don’t have to get rid of carbs entirely, but white bread is made from refined grains, which are stripped of their most nutritional parts, so you’re eating empty calories. Instead, we want you eating bread made form 100 percent whole wheat or whole grains.

High-fat milk and yogurt. Use 1 percent or non-fat dairy in their place, which are often just as good, only with lower cholesterol, fat, and calories.

Okay, so let’s see, I’ve never drank much soda, I don’t use margarine in any cooking, I do eat fried foods sometimes when I eat out. I eat out a lot but I don’t get something fried every time, so lets say I eat something fried once or twice a week. Don’t eat white breads or pastas at all and I particularly do not eat any bread with high fructose corn syrup in it. And I either drink skim, reduced fat or soy milk.

So, adding to all that, I eat lots of veggies, drink plenty of water and rarely snack in between meals. By Greene’s and the rest of these deluded diet mongers’ assessment, I should be SHEDDING the pounds, right? Yeah, right.

I’m by no means a paragon of health, but neither do I sit on the couch sucking cheese whiz through a straw. I’m healthy, and I’m fat.

And because I’d much rather have a high eating competence than buy into your concept of health, Mr. Greene (note, not a doctor–or even a fake one), you can take that contract and well…eat it.

11 Comments

Filed under fat, Health, Size Acceptance

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.

1 Comment

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

It’s Off-Topic Day!

Okay, the previous post was feminism related so I guess its not totally off topic. But this one is! Its about DEODORANT!

Yes, ladies and gents, I am on a deodorant adventure! Lemme ‘splain. No, its too long, lemme sum up!

Being the brilliant mind that I am, I decided to quit using my aluminum-laden deodorant smack dab in the hottest week of the summer. So I trucked over to Akin’s Natural Food store and picked up a deodorant crystal.

Things didn’t go too well. I smelled bad. Like, worse than patchoulli masked BO. It was amusing because no one would tell me either. And I asked them to! Still, I gave it a good three weeks to give my body chemistry a chance to get used to the lack of aluminum.

To no avail. I don’t sweat much so I figured it had to be the weather. I gave up the stench and went back to the old toxic standard.

The whole experience caused my armpits to secede from the union, complete with irritation and breakouts. After six months, all has healed and balance is restored.
And it is now a balmy 40 degrees and I’ve decided to try again. This time, though I tried a Toms of Main product instead of just the crystal.

So, since I knew you’d all want to keep up with my armpit adventure I figured we’d keep score here.

I’m going to measure it in two ways: how much others say I stink and how much I think I stink.

Today is Day 1 of the Great Armpit Adventure.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the stinkiest, I am still a promising 2.

I’ll have to get back to you on the opinion of others. I don’t think it’d be quite appropriate to ask my co-workers. I’ll have to wait until tonight to ask Matt.

2 Comments

Filed under environment, Health

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Feminism, Health, Media Literacy, Self Image, Size Acceptance

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.

5 Comments

Filed under Feminism, Health, Media Literacy, Self Image, Size Acceptance

Thanksgiving for Fatties

Thanksgiving ain’t my thang. Probably not for the reasons you think.

  1. I didn’t really grow up with any family around so it was always just me and my mom.
  2. Historically, I’m not keen on celebrating the day we led the native people to believe we wouldn’t rape and steal their land.
  3. I’m thankful for my blessings EVERY day.
  4. My dad died thirteen years ago today.
  5. And I could take or leave the food. I mean, that nasty cranberry goo that’s shaped like an aluminum can? Ew. And there are not nearly enough dishes at Thanksgiving that involve cheese.

But for many people, dreading Thanksgiving is about something different. Talk about a snake pit. If you’re fat and you have family, getting together for a holiday surrounding food is about the worst thing I could possibly imagine. In America (and elsewhere?), it is common place–hell its practically a Constitutional right–to comment about people’s weight and eating habits. Its okay to walk up to a person and tell them that they are too skinny and need a sandwich. And its okay to look down on someone for how much they pile their plate at Thanksgiving. And I think a lot of people out there will be facing that reality tomorrow.

Although, I may not have any horrid aunts telling me I really don’t need that extra scoop of dressing, I understand.

I remember in junior high, the greatest source of terror for me was watching educational nature videos. Sound weird? It was. But I would sink down into my seat every time I saw a hippo, an elephant or a rhino in school. Because inevitably someone would look at me and make a nasty comment. And that anticipation was far more torture than the teasing itself. Even today, I have a hard time watching these shows.

So yes, tomorrow many of us will face that same dread when ponying up to the buffet line. Anticipation of those comments that will make us feel completely worthless, make us want to hide, make us think that even our family cannot love us for who we are.

But folks, that’s bullshit. Don’t let it happen. Your family does love you, they’ve just been systematically trained by the media and health care industry to believe that being fat is wrong. In fact, it should be them who feel ashamed of their ignorance and insensitivity. And I challenge you to call them on it tomorrow.

“Aunt Betty, I love my body and you do not have a right to shame me for it.”

“Grandma, I eat healthy and exercise. My fat thighs are actually your fault for passing them down to me.”

“Mom, I’m going to have another helping of stuffing and I’m not pouring any guilt over it.”

And don’t just bring the smart ass comments. Bring your ammo, too. Go re-read Kate Harding’s Don’t You Realize Fat is Unhealthy. Remind your family that:

And when all else fails, check out Shapely Prose’s Thanksgiving Vent Session.

Stuff your face, beauties and be thankful that your life is so bountiful and blessed. Its just a day. This is life and you’ll be that much healthier for living it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, Health, Media Literacy, Size Acceptance