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I guess it's fat day

I made this comment in janetmiles's journal. She linked to an interesting article about self-image written by a professor who considers himself fat.

He wrote: Weight loss is usually presented as some kind of road to personal fulfillment and salvation through self-control. But the thinner I get, the angrier I feel. The more I conform to the morality of slimness, the more I want to lash out at people.

I completely relate to this, and it's one of the most important reasons I won't focus on weight loss. I don't like being angry all the time.

"They" say that being fat is bad for your health. "They" don't usually say much about stress hormones being bad for your health, but whenever I am severely stressed, I can feel those hormones destroying my body. So I think avoiding stress is the best thing I can do for my health - better than undergoing the stress I feel when I try to achieve a lower weight. But if I'm wrong, and fatness is worse for my health than stress, then you know what? I really would rather live a shorter, more contented life than a longer, angrier one.

So I win either way by not buying into the game.

Sometimes I see people looking at me angrily and the only reason I can figure for their doing so is because I'm fat and that offends them, because maybe they make efforts not to be fat and they don't like it that some people don't bother to make those efforts. I feel sorry for them.

Note: You probably know that I have opinions about weight loss in general, but I'm not discussing them in this post. This post discusses my feelings and choices about my own life (and some speculations I have about strangers who act angry with me for no reason).

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
kightp
Aug. 30th, 2004 11:28 am (UTC)
I really would rather live a shorter, more contented life than a longer, angrier one.

Amen, sister.

The older I get, the more I'm inclined to jettison behaviors, attitudes - and occasionally people - that add negative stress to my life*. The weight-loss game was one of the first to go. Fuck that. This is my fat body, I love it, my lover loves it, and if some stranger on the street is disgusted by it, that's their problem, not mine.

(* Some kinds of stress - struggling to learn a new skill, for instance, or sorting out a communication problem with a loved one who's willing to work on it - can be positive and growth-inducing. But I've learned to trust my instincts; if I find myself angry, frustrated and unhappy most of the time, then that's a sign I need to stop doing whatever it is that's making me feel that way.)
firecat
Aug. 30th, 2004 11:33 am (UTC)
Isn't getting old wonderful? :-) (In some ways at least.)

For me, struggling to learn a new skill that I want to learn feels wonderful, even though there are elements of frustration in it. I don't feel stress hormones chewing up my body. I feel an excited buzz. Communication problems of the kind you describe count as struggling to learn new skills that I want to learn, although sometimes I feel anxious while it's happening.
kightp
Aug. 30th, 2004 11:47 am (UTC)
Getting old rocks. (-:

And yeah, that's exactly what I mean by the difference between good stress/bad stress. The biochemistry, as it turns out, is very similar, but I think it's rewards - real or anticipated - that makes it fun, as opposed to hellish.

For me, weight loss simply doesn't offer that kind of reward; it doesn't make me healthier, happier or more at home in my body.
eeyorerin
Aug. 30th, 2004 11:42 am (UTC)
That was a really difficult article for me to read when I came across it this morning, especially since it's coming from someone not just in my profession, but in my field and profession. You articulated a lot of my response to it really well, and I wanted to thank you for it.
firecat
Aug. 30th, 2004 11:46 am (UTC)
You're welcome! I'm glad you liked it.
saoba
Aug. 30th, 2004 11:50 am (UTC)
Sometimes I see people looking at me angrily and the only reason I can figure for their doing so is because I'm fat and that offends them, because maybe they make efforts not to be fat and they don't like it that some people don't bother to make those efforts. I feel sorry for them.

I had a co-worker eons ago who was often visibly angry at the mere sight of random fat people. Not all fat people triggered this reaction and one day over a break I asked her about it.

Why this customer, who was in fact less fat than several others who she had waited on that day? Her answer blew me away.

The customer who triggered her anger was (and I quote) not ashamed enough of her fatness . And by not being ashamed, my co-worker maintained, the fat person was mocking her own choice to try to conform.

I swear, you can't make this shit up.
firecat
Aug. 30th, 2004 12:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's exactly the kind of person I feel sorry for.
adrian_turtle
Aug. 30th, 2004 03:38 pm (UTC)
My mother is like that. She feels very strongly about it. It distresses her when people in her family (for whom she feels responsible) don't look right, but it's much more distressing when a person doesn't even try to look right, doesn't even accept the standard of "right" as meaningful and life-defining.
lcohen
Aug. 31st, 2004 09:50 am (UTC)
remind me to stay out of your store because i am *really* not ashamed enough of my fat these days ;-) . i've started wearing much more body-hugging, fitted clothes--i don't care if you can see every ripple--i like how they look!
barbarakitten_t
Aug. 30th, 2004 11:52 am (UTC)
let me AOL here!

i eat the way i eat so my blood sugar won't make me sick. Period. if i don't lose weight, that's fine with me. as long as i feel good. part of feeling good is setting realistic goals and boundaries for myself.

and fuck the rest of 'em if they can't take a joke.
firecat
Aug. 30th, 2004 12:05 pm (UTC)
Right!
(Deleted comment)
firecat
Aug. 30th, 2004 12:44 pm (UTC)
It would probably be better for me if I could get angry without getting stressed...I know it can be a great source of energy....but that doesn't seem to be how I am wired.
red_frog
Aug. 30th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC)
my ex only responded to anger, and I felt like he was forcing me to be angry in order to get anything from him.

Now, that's one worth chewing on for a while.

Hmmm.

Me, I don't think I'm stronger when I'm angry. I'm just angry, and possibly weaker because I'm not able to think clearly.
mittelbar
Aug. 30th, 2004 12:22 pm (UTC)
Anger is stored in fat. It degrades with time, but if there's a lot of it in the environment, you can have a surprising amount in your body. When you diet, it comes out and makes you miserable, manifesting as a colored ooze that seeps from your pores and gives you flashbacks to nightmarish childhood memories and hallucinations.

People who are naturally fat but who diet a lot have removed their bodies' natural buffer against the ravages of anger. If not properly channeled, it gets colored ooze on everything.

The body's natural response to anger is to create fat tissue to store it. Every time you yell at a random fat person in the store, or send them nasty email, they get fatter.

mittelbar
Aug. 30th, 2004 12:25 pm (UTC)
Wait, there's too much "natural" in that. Oh, well. La.
firecat
Aug. 30th, 2004 12:44 pm (UTC)
hehehehe!
epi_lj
Aug. 30th, 2004 12:37 pm (UTC)
The other amazing thing is how small the difference can be. I mean, even if you totally buy all the statistics, I'm going to be miserable for a good chunk of my life to buy myself say 3 years at the very tail end of it? WTF?
firecat
Aug. 30th, 2004 12:46 pm (UTC)
right-o.

although if you buy ALL the statistics, then more than 2 in every 100 fat people drop dead every year. because that's the risk of dying from obesity surgery, and the obesity surgeons say that the surgery has a lower risk than staying fat.

(can you say bullshit?)
epi_lj
Aug. 30th, 2004 01:05 pm (UTC)
Feh. That surgery alarms the hell out of me.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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