day in the life

The Fat Lady Sings


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Oh goody. The government is getting into the fat mocking business (as if there weren’t enough 12-year-old boys and Farrelly brothers movies doing the job) under the banner of the KILLER OBESITY EPIDEMIC. Well kids, we are being lied to.

For instance, notice that the statistic of 400,000 “obesity” deaths is reported in this article to be due to “poor diet and physical inactivity” – NOT obesity per se. And yet they are called “obesity deaths.” How can this be? Because we believe that fat=inactive. Thin=healthy.

But guess what? – there are thin people who eat poor nutrition and never exercise and die from heart attacks. And there are fat people like me who eat reasonably (but neither binge nor restrict), walk two miles a day, and are judged to be perfectly healthy by their physicians. I haven’t died from being fat.

However –

I could die from taking diet pills containing ephedrine-ephedra.

I could die from taking Meridia, which has been evaluated about as closely as the deadly “miracle drug” phen-fen (which is to say, not at all since there is so much money to be made from it. It has already been taken off the market in Italy due to deaths there).

I could die from a heart attack or ruptured esophagus if I resumed my old habit of donuts and ipecac (aka. bulimia).

I could die from intestinal blockage or other complications if I resumed my other old habit of starvation-so-I-could-look-better (aka. anorexia).

But I think I want to live.

So, I’m through. I’m done buying control top pantyhose and slimming torture devices. No more listening to headlines and believing scary unresearched stats. No more looking at Oscar night dresses and feeling badly that most of the women look emaciated – and wondering if I should, too. I’m done buying into the game of thinness that keeps me distracted from life – the game that keeps so many American women of all sizes and shapes from believing they are fit members of society because they think they are too fat.

I’m done because judging yourself by any external standard of health and weight is a losing game. A game that only the weight-loss industry wins. After all, even when I worked out a minimum of one hour 4 times a week (cardio, strength, and interval training), ate no more than 1100 calories a day (nearly half of the total calories used to compute the standard US RDA of nutrients), threw up every time I “cheated” and ate a sweet, I still could not get below 165 pounds. At five-foot-two, that puts my Body Mass Index, or BMI, at 30.5, obese. And I was a size 14. Of course, as writer Dan Mindus points out, if we actually used the BMI (incidentally the U.S. government’s one and only measure for obesity ) on everyone, and didn’t just trot is out to measure a huge group of self-reported heights and weights to make a point (as in the above article) California’s governor would be considered obese. As would Tom Cruise.

You heard me.

So consider the idea, if you will, that you are smart enough to figure out what feels healthy for you all on your own. Because you are. Believe what your body tells you is right. Trust yourself and find your own rules for your own health. Turn off the tv; throw out People. Remember that Weight Watchers is now paying the American Cancer Society to proclaim obesity causes cancer because they both stand to make a lot of money from such a venture. Keep in mind that the studies on obesity from which statistics are taken, and which are quoted in every major article and report, are funded by major pharmaceutical companies. Yes, the same companies that stand to make a fortune – perhaps billions per year – when HMOs are forced to cover the costs of the drugs and products they produce, if the Department of Health & Human Services along with the American Medical Association declare obesity a disease. But above all, seek out your own truths. Do some research and trust in what you already know about your body.

Join me and set yourself free from the tyranny of pop culture. Don’t be frightened into buying cellulite reducing skin cream and low-carb bars and expensive gym memberships because someone might not love you the way you are. Love yourself. Do it right now.

We can put the industry of shame and fear out of business by simply believing we are beautiful and worthy just as we are, today.

9 Comments

  1. Amen, my girl! That is MUCH better than any televangelist ever & so much more true! Very well-stated, Meg, & very needed. When I log online & see a headline on aol snickering about the fact that new ads are “making fun of obesity” to shame us into dieting, I figure that the assholes are about scraping the bottom of the barrel! However, is it possible that this has an “up” side, that the reason that they are resorting to such extreme measures is that more of us are resisting the “be thin or die” message & refusing to buy their products? One can hope that it might be so.

    Interesting that you mentioned the anti-cellulite cream, which all logic tells us is totally useless. I was in the drugstore yesterday shopping for something else & I say a new “system” of anti-cellulite treatments, two creams which we are supposed to believe must be used together to give us perfectly firm thighs, breasts, bellies & asses, & I looked at it for awhile before realizing that I have too much intelligence to plunk down $25 for that shit. I use moisturizer with sunblock on my face, & a body lotion (usually baby lotion, since it is the cheapest), on my body to prevent dry skin, but let’s not go nuts & pour money we can’t spare into the coffers of people who make a living by making us feel as if we can never be good enough? There are better things to spend $25 on…like fat-positive t-shirts. 🙂

  2. I wanted to say thanks again, Meg, this onslaught which seems to grow daily worse in the media is getting very hard to take & to stand up against. It is good to be able to read words like yours when I start to think that maybe if I just tried a LITTLE harder, I could be thinner, & maybe I AM in denial, & what do all those relatives who lived into their 80’s & 90’s while being fat know anyway? I guess it was what they DIDN’T know, that being fat was such a killer disease, eh? Do you think that they will EVER give us a break, or is that a vain hope because we are their last “acceptable” target & one from whom they can make so much money?

  3. fchapman@iusb.edu

    Yes. The B.S. comes out of a tv screen tuned to a commercial channel like a sausage winding out of a meat grinder. The sole purpose of commercial news, or commercial anything, is to get the largest number of eye balls facing the screen when the commercials are on. What else can one expect when citizens are raised to be corporate citizens (see http://www.johntaylorgatto.com) instead of civic ones and vote for the same old same old?

    Walter Cronkite does NPR now. I heard him do an essay about the down fall of Senator McCarthy — neat stuff. Back in the 80’s I read something where he described Dan Rather as, “stiff and uncomfortable”. Lol!

  4. Kelly

    I think I love you. If I wasn’t already married, I’d ask you.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding me of my power and ability to just say no to “the Powers That Be” and problaim myself beautiful…at any size.

  5. strawberry jelly

    Hey Meg,

    Checking in…noticed I haven’t been getting the updates email. What gives?

    Glad to see you’ve updated. Missing you.

  6. Mavis

    I smiled when I saw that I wouldn’t be the first person writing in response to your entry saying that I love you. I do, I do!
    I want to see this entry published in Newsweek – will you send it in as a My Turn article? Seriously, I think it would be considered – you wrrite so well and so passionately, I always get jazzed when you write about something you believe in.

  7. Mavis

    Have you read The Culture of Fear? It’s a great book about how the media creates terror in the public about various topics, with the same tactics used to perpetuate the myth of fat as a killer. I read it last year and loved it – it’s very eye opening and so thoroughly researched a sweaar a fourth of the book’s thickness was bibliography.

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