My Body is Not Your Business

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.

Today, she blogs about this Winston cat’s blogging about fat people.  She only gets as far as–

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.

6 thoughts on “My Body is Not Your Business

  1. First off, if you want to make out with me we should probably film it. I’m sure that somewhere out there, there is someone who wants to see a two rubenesque women in the throes of passion. If the Internet has taught us any frigging thing it’s that there is truly someone for any type of porn put to film. And fat though we may be, neither of us is nearly as repulsive as Tommy Lee. I’d stake my tax return on that. (Sarcastro, shut up.)<I>But this is based on the unexamined assumption that being fat is indeed inherently unhealthy and that being thin is inherently good for you, </I>It’s what I like to privately call the Invasion Of The New Fatties. On the one hand you have the people like me who’re genetically pudgy. We’ve been some form of "soft" all our lives, and if not TRULY obese, we’ve felt it. Then you have all the people who were thinner until 30, and then have put on the post-growth thickening. They’re the New Fatties, and all of a sudden (because it’s a problem for them, or their wives or girlfriends) it’s a BIG CONCERN. I’ve heard pregnant women say that once they conceive they "see pregnant women everywhere." I more and more think this is the same thing. New Fatties see Fatties everywhere. And since they’re all new at this drill they think those of us who’ve been Fat For All Time have <I>never given it any thought whatsoever</I>. Bull. Get in the back of the bus with your extra 20lbs., Winston. <I>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.</I>Amen and amen and amen. Or whatever it is you Pagan kids are saying these days….

  2. B, when did you become an expert on Britney Spears’s diet? Anticipating your usual retort: No I’m not accusing you of being any sort of "bad feminist". That’s your hangup not mine.

  3. I, too, come from a long line of smoking cancer victims, and I do not smoke. Let’s live together forever!I’m the opposite – really thin. I can’t help it – I eat a lot, and people say that I hate me because of it, but that has taught me not to judge people based on weight. If I cannot help that I am thin, it’s just as likely someone else cannot help being not thin.Call it genetics or metabolism, but as long as you’re healthy, your physical appearance shouldn’t matter. It’s been my experience that thin people have terrible eating habits (I’m the prime example). I’ve gotten better about it, but it’s hard.

  4. Elias, it’s an old and wide-spread internet joke that Britney Spears subsists on cigarettes and junk food. When she was pregnant, the unofficial nickname for her fetus was Cheeto. I was merely trying to be funny.Katherine, that is the wonderful thing about internet porn–there’s something for everyone’s tastes. If you can think it up, there’s an audience for it.Wendy, hurray! We will live forever. Or at least try.

  5. I do love to make out with my readers… Y’all are a very charming bunch and it’s hard for me to resist you. Not that I make much of an effort to resist y’all.

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