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Fat

Sometimes when you’re on a roll, you just gotta keep writing.

So… The 5:2 diet is very popular in Sweden at the moment.

It’s the one where you eat whatever you want five days a week and starve yourself the remaining two days.

Maybe you can tell I don’t think it’s a good idea?

Especially not when I’m starting to see a LOT of articles about what you can do to keep yourself from feeling hungry, how to make each meal last, how to eat slower, etc,etc,etc.
I don’t think publishing a how-to-guide about eating disorders in the papers is a good way to go.

(I don’t care if you think that periodic fasting is good and how wonderful it is for the body, ladila… It’s the culture around it that’s AWFUL.)

And if I read one more article about how VERY thin celebrities “don’t starve themselves but simply eat healthy and exercise” I’m going to scream.

HAES is a concept that’s become popular in the last few years and it stands for Health at Every Size.

I’m now going to explain this to you using very pedagogical pictures that I’ve drawn. And while I have many, many talents (including speed reading, Trivial Pursuit and putting together IKEA furniture) I can’t draw.

thin person

This is a person. This person has a body and it looks a certain way. In fact, this person happens to be thin. That is the one thing you can tell from this picture. (or if you saw this person in real life.)

fat personThis is also a person. With a body. This body is fat or perhaps obese. Maybe even morbidly obese. That is also the only thing we observe here. A fact.

Middle person

Here’s a third person with a body. This body is somewhere in the middle.

We don’t know anything about the habits or the lifestyles of these people. We don’t know how they eat, if they ever exercise, if they smoke or their medical history. Nada.

That is, we have NO WAY of knowing if they are “healthy” or not.

What I’m trying to say here: Weight is not a way to determine if anyone’s health or not. It’s also not a determinant of their habits.

It’s impossible to look at a fat person and say that he or she is going to get diabetes and die early and has never set foot in a gym.

It’s impossible to look at a thin person and say that they probably eat a lot of vegetables.
Think about it. You probably know a thin person who never ever exercises and brags about how he/she can eat anything without gaining weight. Is that person living a healthy life?

BMI and such measures are rubbish.

Health at Every Size is about healthy habits rather than weight. Moving your body, eating a well-rounded diet, instead of staring manically at a scale.
That people are more than what they weigh and that looking at someone is not a way to see if they’re healthy or not.

Links:
Haes Commnity
Kate Harding
Linda Bacon
Body Positive
Dances with fat

I wasn’t sure if I should post this with names or without. It regards a Swedish blogger whom I absolutely can’t stand, and think is offensive, rude and… sick, actually, and I don’t really want to generate traffic to her blog. On the other hand, I do want to write this, and writing it without names seems cowardly.

So:

There is a Swedish blogger/PR-person called Katrin Zytomierska who’s famous for being provocative. She regularly makes fairly outrageous statements about everything from au-pairs to cleaners to childrearing, but she’s made it her mission in life to hate on fat people.

As in writing a lot about how fat people personally disgust her. How she’d never hire a fat person. How it’s a scandal for a gym chain ad to feature a woman who’s not super skinny. She’s a big fan of the LCHF diet, and has written several books on the subject.

Now, I’m not generally against people writing cookbooks or lifestyle books or things like that. What I do take offense at is when someone writes an entire book dedicated to fat-shaming and basically pointing out that the only reason to eat LCHF or exercise or generally live is to become skinny.

I swear, this woman needs therapy for her eating disorder.

Katrin Zytomierska recently acquired a disciple. A fat woman joined her diet-program and blogs about her weight-loss, and Katrin Zytomierska also uses this as a promotional tool for the diet-program. I can say nothing about this woman or her motivations,  but when she posts this on her blog, I can’t think of any of them as healthy influences:

20130110-100652.jpg

It freaks me out.

[For those of you who speak Swedish, this is a link to Katrin Zytomierska’s old blog, where the quote from the title comes from. I don’t recommend it unless you have a drink or two first. I won’t link to the blog I got the picture from, as I considering it triggering for a lot of people. Live with it. ]

I read a great blog post (in Swedish) by Elisabeth Björk and I just had to interrupt my studying to blog.

You see, all my life, since i was very little. I’ve known that I’m fat. And that this was a BAD THING. And while not as fat as many others, still, it’s noticable and different.

And that was, in a way, what defined me. When I was teased in school, that was the one thing they focused on. When I bought clothes, same thing. When I started exercising, it was all about becoming thin(ner). When I got to puberty, it wasn’t about growing up, but that I might lose weight.

If I would only lose some weight…
If I just lost some weight…
I could…
I would…!

If only…

This is what I’ve heard, all my life, from magazines, school, my parents, my relatives…
If you just lose weight, everything will be fine. If you’re thin, you won’t be different anymore.

Got any problems? Headache, stomach ache, depression? I’m sure it’s just because you’re fat.

Any wonder that I thought this was the only thing worth noticing about me. Fat. As in something negative, a burden on me. A Swedish journalist once wrote: “In every fat girl, there’s a thin woman longing to get out.”

My very existance, my entire life, was defined by the fact that I’m not as thin as someone else.

23 years on this earth, and that was it. My eulogy: “She wasn’t as thin as the others.”

My life was, I felt, essentially on hold because I was fat. I won’t get a boyfriend as long as I’m fat. There’s no point in even trying. I can’t dance, because I’m fat. I can’t wear short skirts because I’m fat. I will though, once I’m thin. Later. Some other time. Just not now, because I don’t deserve to right now.

It is insane. Insane, do you hear me? How much time did I waste waiting for that one day where it would be OK for me to live my life? How insane is it that I’ve been taught my entire life that that is just something I have to accept. Second-rate citizen. 

And it’s my fault, because I’m fat and that’s because I have no self-control and I’m disgusting. Read any magazine, that is the bottom line.

In a way, this is what I’m most grateful to feminism about. The realization that I can life my life and I’m about so much more than just being fat.

That being fat is OK. I don’t have to wait.

I’m so many things worth noticing. I’m so much more than just fat.

Hi!

My name’s Cicci.

I’m fat.

Really, I am.

Don’t pity me for it. There’s nothing innately bad about being fat. It’s as much a fact about me as my hair color or my eyes (even though my eye color is somewhere between green, grey and blue and thus rather hard to define.)

And you know what? Being fat doesn’t make me a worse person in any way. It doesn’t even make me less healthy. It’s true, I promise.

And while I still want to lose weight (working on not thinking that), no one has the right to respect me less even if I didn’t. No one has the right to comment, demean or belittle my body. I have the right to dress however I like, have sex (and enjoy it), exercise or not exercise, eat whatever I want and not be judged for it.

I’m fat, healthy and beautiful. And a host of other things not related to how I look that are even better.

 

 

Edit: Interested? Start by reading Kate Harding or The Rotund. Or Julia Skott, if you’re Swedish.