In January 2011 I started to unravel about being told how to be less fat!!! It only has become worse, probably because I was focused on it. In January I picked up a magazine, read an article about dieting. It did not tell me one thing I had not heard before. Not one thing!!! You know, exercise more, eat better, sleep more etc. I am not against healthy ways of living it is just that there seems to be a war on about fat people and especially fat kids. Since then I have read how where you live makes you fat, who you hang out with may make you fat, lack of sleep makes you fat, too much sleep makes you fat, it is endless. There is also all this talk about food tax, healthier foods in machines in the work place, in schools and how are we going to make healthy foods cheaper? Now please, give us a break, is it not cheaper to buy an orange than a chocolate bar? What about the fact that fat foods just taste good, can we ever legislate that? Again I am a supporter of a healthier lifestyle but I am just so mad about the constant attack on fat people. I am also tired of being told what to do and especially what to eat, I know I am not alone. For all the years we have heard about losing weight it must be alarming to” whomever those folks are” that we are getting fatter as a nation. Something is not working!
I know that kids today lead a much more sedentary lifestyle but let me tell you about my childhood. I was born hungry…really, my mom said I wanted to eat (drink) from day one. I came from a very active family. I did all the sports, ice skated for years and battled my weight. We did not even have TV until I was 12 years old. My brother grew up exactly the same way and he is tall and slim. Did I eat too much? I don’t really know, I started to diet at 16 and well we all know what that does over time. Thanks to my parents I grew up with great self esteem, some might say inflated….
I say all this because in my opinion there is still so much we don’t know…no computers in my day to keep me captive indoors. We still have stats that say we are likely to gain weight back we lost, we still spend billions of dollars on weight loss and we are still fat.
I have no idea what the answers are. I am in a position to know thousands of fat women and over the years there have been a small number who have maintained large losses. Most have not. That includes me. I do know many women who have chosen to be healthier and are still plus sizes, I know women who have given up and those who continue to try new things.
I am very interested in what women of size think about this issue. Where do we go from here? What are you doing? I have so much more to say on this subject, it is endless in my world. I will keep you posted.
I so want to reply to your blog today, Suzanne. I have had many judgements placed upon me from the age of 7yrs. (I’m now 62) about my eating habits. Put on several diets, eaten healthily and lost weight, gained it back….the yo-yo-syndrome. I have exercised (in your Large as Life fitness classes way back when and in our local gym) and as my weight has continued to stick with me, and increase, I’ve found mobility has become a real issue for me.
I am convinced that the total focus on my weight from an early age was detrimental and influenced the weight I continue to carry. Poor self-esteem while growing up also became a nightmare. Meeting with yourself and other LL women really helped me to move up the self-esteem ladder for which I will always be grateful! 🙂
I don’t believe there is any one answer to ‘fixing’ this obesity epidemic (as some would have us label it). I have (only one week ago) embarked on a healthy eating plan under the supervision of the dietician at our local health unit. I’ve done this before and I am trying to be positive as I remember how well I could move around two years ago when I had lost 6 stone (it’s all back on again which is the reason for my caution). As I have mobility issues now after a long spell in hospital I really feel I want to be comfortable in my own body again…and I think that is the ‘secret’….being comfortable in your own skin. Acceptance of ourselves, making small changes to bring us to the place where we feel comfortable. Hallelujah to all out there who have already achieved this state of acceptance and comfort. My goodness…I do go on…don’t I?
It is true that in the long term many lose pounds only to regain them and it sets us up for failure and discouragement. How we get past that puzzles me. I have known a few friends who have become desperate and undergone by-pass surgery so have maintained weight loss…that is not a route I would ever choose. I know it is a controversial subject…an easy fix some would think. I enjoy the smell, texture, taste, preparation, look of how food is presented…I wouldn’t want to be deprived of that experience nor do I want to go through the rest of my days feeling 2nd rate and guilty over food!
Yep, comfortable in my own skin….and for anyone reading this long comment….I would hope that is your aim too….whether you are at that point already or want to make whatever adjustments are needed for you to feel happy with your body. As you say, Suzanne there is lots to say on this subject but I’ll make this do for now. Permission to all reading this to let out one big YAWN..lol
I am just as frustrated as you both are about the stigma and the struggles of living large in this society. I’ve read about the impact that stress has on cortisol levels, which in turn have an impact on where the fat accumulates (in the belly, which is the worst place). So, when I see programs where “trainers” yell and scream at participants I wonder if they realise they are compounding an already serious issue. No – because they are bullies and they are teaching others to be bullies in the guise of providing what they call “motivation”. I don’t know about you, but being screamed at doesn’t motivate me – never has, never will. I remember as a child hearing about the thyroid – but my parents, along with just about everyone else in the world dismissed metabolic disorders as excuses and told me I had no self control. (I think that’s pretty ironic, considering both of my parents drank to excess, smoked, and in my father’s case gambled and slept around. So, somehow, without modelling self control or even giving me some idea of what that meant, I was expected to understand what I was supposed to do.) When I was in my early 20’s a witch of a doctor told me I would be dead in five years if I didn’t have my stomach stapled – so I stopped going to doctors out of fear. It wasn’t till I became an adult and had an infection that was non-weight related that I found a doctor who was kind, non-judgemental, and thorough. That’s that I learned that indeed I had hypothyroidism. My body had been fighting my attempts to do the right thing all along. There is cruelty everywhere. Having been subjected to this kind of treatment all my life, I vowed not to treat others that way… So maybe there is a small silver lining – that we at least can be better people in the world.
But abuse continues. A man started yelling at me the other day – unspeakably cruel things. He knew how to push every last one of my buttons, and he used language I would never repeat… In the past I would have been devastated for days and days. But that day, I suddenly felt as if I was wearing a coat of armour, and his attempts to destroy my spirit bounced off me. I don’t know what changed in me. But I was so proud of the way I handled myself with him, and how resilient I was afterwards.
I think it’s terribly important to find that inner hero that keeps us strong when we are attacked. It’s important to be connected to each other in supportive ways. It’s important to use links like Twitter to speak out against bullying and cruelty of all kinds. We have to ignore the junk science and focus on the medical issues that are unique to our individual situations and not get dragged down by the societal opinion-making machines out there….
Most of all, be strong of heart and mind. Be loving to ourselves. Hold our heads up high. Be daring and live our dreams. Those who are worth knowing are those who know our true value as whole people. The rest are just people with problems of their own whose only way to cope and to make themselves feel better is by dumping on people – for whatever reason. Let them go… they are empty vessels and hold nothing for us.
Sending this with love and a warm embrace,
I find your blogs fascinating and would like share what I am doing now. My husband is ill and weighs 112 lbs I am a “Good Ukrainian Girl ” “Woman of size” However we want to phrase “it”. In the past three months We have struggled with his and my dietary “needs” according to the experts. Pause for a minute and think about trying to find prepared convenience foods or restaurant food or even every day items like cheese and milk that are not – low fat, low calorie, salt free!
It has been an adventure to say the least. In this busy world I believe the “problem” of one being “too fat or too skinny” are not a problem at all except in the minds of those who are not living the life and are very happy to give their expertise on the subject very very loudly. I truly believe that you are who and what you should be and no amount of intervention from any experts will give more than a temporary change to “their ” normal. I am no longer forcing my husband to eat 1035 calorie per cup pudding and smoothness so someone else is comfortable. We are eating what we want and enjoying every second we have.
There is much much more to life than societal values and we should accept who we are, what we are and enjoy our unique selves as we should be.
Being a woman of size decending from a mother and grandmother of size, I find it rather curious as well as annoying why co-workers, family, friends always have a compullsion to talk about dieting around me. It’s non-stop. I wonder if they ever learned to discuss things like the price of tea in China or some other random bit of useless information. It seems like comments made are full of “hints” on how to eat: “I am going to stop eating now because I am full.” “I really want seconds but if I eat seconds I will be stuffed.” “I am notgoing to eat
I have come to the conclusion that people who want to talk about diets and how to eat and what to eat are just gently and not so gently sometimes, slapping us on the wrist. Some folks fear being fat more than even cancer. I have a sign up in my office that says,”thank you for not talking about your diet”. I am also working on the understanding that as much as one might like to change someone else, it is just not our business. I think that we may influence by example but in the end we all get to make our own choice about our lives. My favorite piece of advise that several “little” people have shared is “eat until you are 3/4 full”. What the heck does that even feel like??? They have no clue about how complicated it is to be fat. For them it is just calories in, calories burned. Just don’t eat as much. Honestly if it were that easy who would choose to stay fat and put up with the horrible treatment we receive from so many sources? Thanks for your comment Beverly, I have solved that very issue by speaking to them on the issue for 20 minutes, they avoid the subject now…..
Today I had to steel myself to walk to work, my foot hurts but I know I need the exercise. I try hard to make healthy choices and I believe I am well educated in nutrition and other things I should be doing to control those heath indicators such as blood pressure and cholesterol,etc. It’s a work in progress. I was comfortable in my own skin but now, I know I must lose weight if I am to regain mobility (my joints are a disaster) and meet my expectations for a fuller life, but how? I believe that when I was 13 and recovering from a serious leg injury much harm was done in keeping me on a diet that was supposed to be for my own good. I wasn’t actually overweight. For my birthday I got a bathroom scale. Over the years, dieting has been the catalyst for significant weight gain. Lose some regain more. Last time after losing over 50 lbs I became hypothyroid and I regained the weight with frightening speed. I relate to everything said above but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to lose some weight – enough to to feel good with my old bones…time to walk home from work.