Thursday, June 30, 2011

Speaking of TV

Speaking of TV, do check out this link..  Our very own Brian Stuart was on TV here in the Philly area, as well as my last home, Boston, talking about fat stigma/#thingsfatpeoplearetold.  Great to see the news actually interested in a story like this and I think they did a pretty good job with it.


Just a quick post today to say that I saw a commercial I never thought I would last night.  I  was half-asleep so I didn't catch all of it, but it was definitely a commercial for the HCG diet.  For those who don't know/don't remember the Fat-o-Sphere's uproar about it, that's the diet where you eat 500 calories a day (well below the World Health Organization's level of starvation) and you take in pregnant woman pee in order to get HCG which serves as an appetite suppressant.  The diet is extremely dangerous and causes you to lose weight rapidly, sometimes more than one pound a day.  The commercial also seemed pretty shady because it was describing some way to get around getting a prescription.  The cost?  Three payments of 300 bucks.

Like the $60 billion-dollar-a-year diet industry needed more help!   It makes me sick that these companies can take advantage of poor, desperate people who are willing to do anything to stop the hate.  Why can't those companies try to fix the hate in people, instead of the fat?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why I Stopped Watching my Soap Opera

Yes, I can admit it.  Until a few months ago, I watched... Days of Our Lives.  I can feel you all judging me.  A little back story:

My mother used to watch Days of Our Lives with her mother and then she started watching it with me when I was a kid.  Not the best family legacy ever, but I felt there was a sense of tradition.  I never knew my maternal grandmother, so I felt it connected me to the women of my family.  I've watched it on and off since I was a kid.

Days of Our Lives used to have a few fat characters.  One of them was the always-scheming Sami Brady, played by Alison Sweeney.  That name might sound familiar to you as the host of Biggest Loser.  Once upon a time, Alison Sweeney was a fat teenager.  And then she wasn't.  Now she's dedicated to "helping" people become like her.  I used to love Sami, because she had been fat.  She was fat and on TV.  If she could do it, I could too.  My mom used to use her as an example.  "She used to be chubby, you could be like her."

When she started doing Biggest Loser, I just ignored it.  She also briefly did Fear Factor, if memory serves, and I paid that little mind as well, I wrote them both off as part of the reality craze.  However, during Days of Our Lives, a show filled with thin people to begin with (The only fat woman character currently on is a black nurse who is desexualized and portrayed as a buttinsky, mothering kind of character.  Offensive on so many levels.)  they started showing more and more ads for Biggest Loser.  And I kept getting more and more fed up.

The last straw, however, came not from a Biggest Loser ad, but from a PSA by, you guessed it, Alison Sweeney.  In it she reads parodies Little Miss Muffet:

"What if Little Miss Muffet had been sitting on her tuffet eating fried foods?!  Then she would have been too unhealthy to run away from that spider"

I am not making this up.  Oh no!  Not fried foods!  THE DEVIL INCARNATE!  Guess what Ms. Sweeney?  Fried foods, are still--gasp-- foods.  Fried chicken still has protein and carbs and vitamins and all kinds of good things.  Mozzarella sticks, a personal favorite of mine still have calcium.  Oh and by the way, one meal of fried foods does not an unhealty person make.  The PSA is a "The More You Know" and it goes on to tell parents that they can teach their kids to eat healthy and be active.  Sure, villifying food, that's a great way to start.

I'm reminded of an article that bounced around the Fat-o-Sphere recently about how children as young as ten are vomiting to lose weight. .  The article presents the horrifying facts and then suggests the answers include making sure your kids get enough sleep and don't let them eat fried foods.  Nowhere does it suggest loving your child, telling them that they are beautiful no matter what or encouraging them to eat a variety of foods intuitively.  I mean unless they are just worried that fried foods are harder to throw up, since they seem to be encouraging this behavior, not trying to stop it.

Food is not the enemy here.  The diet industry is the enemy, the advertising industry is the enemy, Alison Sweeney is the enemy.  It took me a long time to realize it, but she had a choice, she could have chosen not to diet and been a role model for fat girls like me everywhere.  Hell, she could even have still dieted and been a role model to fat kids everywhere.  Instead, she chose to help add to the disordered eating and bullying of fat people everywhere.  The saddest part is, she didn't need to become famous on the backs of fat people, she was talented enough to do it on her own.  I wish someone would have told her.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Disordered Eating: No one is safe!

*Trigger warning for disordered eating*

I never really considered myself to have disordered eating habits.  I had been on several diets in elementary, middle and high school and once in college but they never lasted long and I went right back to eating the way I always had after they ran their course.  Occasionally, I ate out of boredom, I always liked to eat even numbers of things like cookies and I usually have to have something salty or savory after I eat something sweet.  But that's about it.  Or so I thought.

I've been trying intuitive eating a little bit since reading Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby's book.  Mostly I've been trying to really be present for what I eat and think about what I'm having before I eat it. I already feel that what I eat is very different from what I used to eat.

Lunch is a great example.  My lunch rule (if I was home, if I have work I bring leftovers or a sandwich) was two things.  I had to eat two things.  So if I had Hot Pockets, I also had to have a can of Spaghettios.  I had discovered that one thing (be it TV dinner or whatnot) would not fill me up.  So I would heat up one thing in the microwave and the other on the stove and then eat them together.  Often, I would get frustrated because what I had in the house didn't "match."  Soup doesn't really go with a TV dinner.  Hot pockets and a ham sandwich are basically the same thing, etc.  I would end up feeling over-full and sometimes a little sick.  But I had to make myself full, so I ate them anyway.

Now I think about what I really want.  If I want a sandwich, I'll make it and eat it and then think about if I'm still hungry.  If I want a TV dinner (which isn't happening all that much anymore for other reasons) I'll eat it and then check in.  I feel much better after lunch and I eat a wider variety of things.  I'm learning to truly enjoy sandwiches, which I have never really liked.  And I've started actually cooking my lunch instead of taking lunch as an opportunity to reheat instead.  I love to cook, why not do it more?

I know this doesn't sound like much, but a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Sprat and I weren't very hungry at dinner time.  It was really hot out, which tends to zap my appetite and we probably had a late lunch or something.  So instead of cooking dinner, we had sandwiches and pasta salad.  I would never have eaten that for dinner before FA.  Sandwiches aren't dinner food, I would only get hungry later!  Now I listen to my body and a sandwich sounded perfect:  Cold, easy to prepare and not too big.  Amazing!  I felt full when I finished but not sick and when we got hungry later we had some ice cream for dessert.

It was interesting for me to really see just how disordered some aspects of my eating were, considering the fact that I haven't been on a diet in a really long time or all that concerned with fat or calories, etc.  Some things are little personal quirks I guess (my rigid definitions of breakfast, lunch and dinner are my own) and some are the way I was raised or taught to eat.  But if I'm noticing these things about me, who has been pretty secure about what I eat for a long time, I can only imagine what goes through the minds of some people who have serious disorders.

Too often, we taking eating for granted, we fall into eating ruts, and allow ourselves to do some pretty serious damage to our bodies and our minds because we think we shouldn't "waste time on food."   Don't we owe it to ourselves to be present for our food and enjoy it?  Maybe we owe it to the food.  After all, it helps us do everything else.

Retooling, Reconsidering

Hello faithful readers!

I'm sorry that I've been MIA for almost a month now.  There are a lot of factors involved here.  One is that I am out of school, which is oddly making it harder for me to focus and continue to blog.  During school, I added blogging to my homework and treated it as such, something that had to get done.  Now because I'm just reading and relaxing, I'm having a lot more trouble staying focused.   Also, my husband and I are having some financial issues because he doesn't get paid over the summer, so that has taken a lot of my brain power. Luckily, we are on the verge of solving that crisis so I feel more equipped to start handling some fat issues again.

Another factor is that I started to resent the sex aspect of this blog.  I started this blog to talk about all things FA, but because in my "real" life, I study sex it became what my blog was known for or associated with.  I love sex.  I love to talk about it, to study it, to have it and to analyze it.  And that's why I went to school for it.  But it is not my whole life.  Right now I have plenty of people I can talk about what I learn and study but I have very few people that I can talk with about Fat Acceptance.  So while I want to continue to talk about sex here, I don't want it to be the main focus of my blog.

For now, I'm going to try to write shorter, more frequent posts.  Thanks for sticking with me, more to come very soon!

~Mrs. Sprat