Y’all, Katherine Coble and I have our disagreements. We have very different ways of interacting with the world and very different life philosophies. But today, I’m totally tempted to drive out to Hermitage and make out with her. Lucky for her, I don’t have the gas money nor the patience for driving through the construction on I-40.
I get so tired of these nosy, preachy things. I’m sure Winston is well-meaning when he tells us to eat right and exercise (Gee, thanks! Hadn’t thought of that….).
–and I want to make out with her.
Anyway, I was thinking about how much my lifestyle has changed over the past five years, since I got Mrs. Wigglebottom. I was thinking about how I used to go to the park and the dog and I would walk up to the first stone wall, not even a fourth of what we walk now, and I’d be dying. We’d have to rest before we walked back down. And even when we first started walking the loop we walk now, I’d come home and sit on the couch and that would be it for the day. I’d be done.
I used to drink two Mountain Dews a day and ate little, if any fruits and vegetables.
Now, I drink Diet Dr Pepper and I eat an apple and baby carrots at lunch most days. I used to eat meat at one meal a day, if not more. Now, I usually have meat three times a week. I walk the dog every morning and take her to the park at least once on the weekend and I walk home from work once or twice a week.
I feel fantastic.
I look exactly the same.
And so what? Fuck it.
I come from a long line of fat people who die of cancer because they smoke. I don’t smoke. Maybe I’ll live forever.
And, if not, so what?
Coble, again with the wisdom, says
Did you know that the appropriate portion of meat is the size of a deck of cards, or the palm of your hand? Did you know you burn more calories sleeping than watching TV? Did you know that I, and most fat people I’ve met, are walking encyclopedias of nutrition and exercise facts?
It’s true. And to what end? Most of us area still fat. All this knowledge and we’re all still fat.
We count calories and track pounds and measure portions and deny, deny, deny and for what? We’re still fat, just now we feel like shit about it?
And really, to me, that’s the most interesting thing–that under all this bogus concern about our health is this constant refrain that, we could cease being fat if only we’d suffer some and, that if we refuse to suffer, we will be punished for it at some point.
You can see it in this Winston dude’s post.
"The trend must be reversed, and each of us is responsible for ourselves. No one is going to do it for us."–You must agree to suffer and deny yourself things in order to attempt to lose weight. And note the religious language, just like we have to walk that lonesome valley by ourselves, we have to lose weight by ourselves.
"We are a nation of fat people just waiting for a heart attack to happen. The problem, as widely reported in various media, has reached pandemic proportions. Think of the burden this places on our already out-of-control health care system over the next generation."–Otherwise, you will have a heart attack and you will be forced to pay more for health care.
But this is based on the unexamined assumption that being fat is indeed inherently unhealthy and that being thin is inherently good for you, which means that it’s also based on the unexamined assumption that fat people uniformly benefit from trying to lose weight.
Instead, check out Ampersand’s research in which he reiterates what other studies have shown–that dieting to lose weight doesn’t work–few people actually are able to lose substantial amounts of weight and keep it off– and that yo-yo dieting is much more dangerous for your health than maintaining a steady weight.
Of course, Ampersand isn’t saying that we can all just live on a diet of Cheetos and cigarettes (Britney Spears) and not expect to feel any ill effects, but that, instead, we should focus on being healthy–eating well and getting plenty of exercise–instead of on being thin, which is, after all, not really the same thing.
You can think that fat is ugly and gross. We all make all kinds of aesthetic judgments all the time. But at the end of the day, it’s not your business. How I look doesn’t affect you and you don’t have the right to insist that the rest of the world constantly present you with only "pretty" things to look at. And you certainly don’t have the right to ask me to endanger my health to set off on a course of action doomed to fail so that you can feel smug about your own abilities to seem to properly control your appetites.
We are not all Puritans anymore. It’s time to let go of the idea that denial and self-control to the point of personal unhappiness is a virtue and that refusing to is a moral failing.
This is just my body; it’s not a marker of my worth as a human being. If you can’t see that, that’s your problem, not mine.