Fat, Fat, Fat

So, Monday is my doctor’s appointment.  I haven’t been to the doctor in about five years–not since the dreadful illness and the gynocologist who told me that god doesn’t want fat women to have babies because they cannot protect their children from angry elephants.

I know.

Anyway, I was sitting at the lawyer’s office earlier in the week with my dad and he’s all “You know, the doctor’s going to tell you that you have to lose weight.  She’ll tell you what I’ve been telling you, that there’s nothing she can do for you if you don’t lose weight.”

Silence for a while.

“Hey, do you hear that?  What’s that noise?”

“What noise?”

“Shh… Oh…”


“It’s you.  How long have you been making that noise when you breathe?”

“I don’t know.  For a while.  Sometimes I snort or make this snoring noise, too.”

“Well, it sounds terrible.  Don’t forget to mention that to the doctor.”

“Yes, Dad.”

I don’t care about losing weight.  I just want to be able to do the things I could do at this time last year–walk the dog around the neighborhood in twenty-five, not forty minutes, sleep through the night instead of waking up every two hours, breathe without being heard in the next room, walk around the park, not fall asleep during the day, etc.  I don’t feel bad, but I feel like it’s been almost a year since I felt really good.  I want to feel good again.

But I dread going because it always becomes about the weight.  I was fat last year and could breathe and move how I wanted.  That’s all I want from life.

Anyway, I thought this post over at Shakesville was very interesting.  It’s a series of pictures of people and their BMIs.


Here’s the thing.  I hate how doctors tell you that you’re fat and that you have to lose weight like you’ve never heard that before, like no one in your family finds it necessary to point out to you every time they see you, like strangers don’t come up to you in a bar and say things like “Look at you eating!” Like somehow, it’s escaped your attention.

See, I haven’t even met this chick and I’m already feeling defensive and hostile.

21 thoughts on “Fat, Fat, Fat

  1. If you follow that Shakesville post over to Kate Harding’s blog, there are several past posts and comments and conversations about how to deal with doctors on this topic.

    I mean it’s her job to make you feel better. So whatever happens, and whatever she says, you know that you can tell her that just one year ago you didn’t feel this way, and that “you need to lose weight” is essentially a cop-out diagnosis that isn’t going to shed light on what else is happening in your body this year.

    Let’s hope she’s awesome and knows this anyway. : D

  2. What really rankles is when the doctor who is telling you that you could lose a kilo or 2 “for your health” is quite overweight herself – it takes all your self control not to make a point of this.

  3. Good luck, Aunt B.! If you haven’t seen Stef’s tips on obtaining good health care, you should check it out.

    This post by The Rotund might also make you feel better. She had undiagnosed allergies for years, and her breathing problems were always blamed on her fat. When she finally found a doctor who figured out the REAL problem, she started to get better. She’s still fat, but a hell of a lot healthier.

    Not saying that’s what’s going on with you, but it’s a good reminder that everyone blaming the fat can get in the way of you actually taking care of your health.

    Hope you feel better!

  4. Yeah, well, if your teeth are getting longer you need to see a dentist, too.

    I hope this doctor starts figuring some stuff out for you.

  5. Ex, for heavens sake, man, she’s barely out of her twenties.

    Weight is an important factor, no doubt. But the weight is also a symptom of poor lifestyle choices, what you eat, when you eat, the amount of exercise, etc.

    My brother has suffered with his weight his whole life, so I am not insensitive to this at all. Whatever else is wrong, or potentially wrong, is in fact exacerbated by being overweight. There isn’t a pretty way to bring it up. It’s clearly not fair to dismiss everything else because someone is fat, though, that does strike me as lazy. I found a doctor at vandy last year that spent the first 20 minutes talking to me, and that impressed the hell out of me. I hope you find someone like that.

  6. My doctor is like that, too…he actually sits down and talks to me about every factor of what’s ailing me. With my recent illness, we talked together about what could possibly be going on.

    He’s from the old school of medicine, though. I’ll bet he even made house calls back in the day.

  7. I hate how doctors tell you that you’re fat and that you have to lose weight like you’ve never heard that before, like no one in your family finds it necessary to point out to you every time they see you,

    Oh, I feel for you. I gained 60 pounds during my first pregnancy and one of my midwives (the thin on who’d never had kids) rode my ever-broadening butt about my weight for the whole pregnancy. My mom and MIL were so alarmed that they tried to secretly advise my hub on what I should eat. The baby turned out fine, my body burned off the weight, and I would have enjoyed the whole experience much more without the Greek chorus of doom.

    On the other hand, during a bout of major depression in which I lost a pound a day for five solid weeks, everyone told me how great I looked. When I said I was thin because I was sick, the response — every single time — was, “Well, you look great!”

    I hope this new doc treats you well. The sleep thing sounds like a major issue, and I hope you can get that taken care of. In my experience sleep problems are the root of a great many health evils.

  8. Has your father noted that he also could stand to lose a few pounds? Does it occur to him that you, of all his children, are most like him?

    This was a real source of friction between my father and me that I had trouble seeing until shortly before he died.

  9. My dad has struggled with his weight his whole adult life. I assume his loathing of my faults is about his loathing of his faults. Still doesn’t make it easy to hear, but I get that it’s about him.

    Still, it’s weird, because a majority of people in his family are fat, so you’d think he’d have made his peace with it, but I guess not.

    I think he believes it is a value judgment, that, if only everyone in his family ate right and exercised , we’d all be skinny, so that our lack of skinniness is indicative of some moral failing–that, if only we had enough self-discipline, we’d be “normal.”

    Never mind that we all have very similar lifestyle and similar diets and some of us are fat and some of us are less fat and some of us are thin. Nevermind that I’ve been the size I am my whole adult life–when I was walking home from work or school or when I was driving everywhere, when we could only afford to eat rice, and when we can afford meat.

    It’s a lack of discipline.

    Or whatever.

  10. … we’d all be skinny, so that our lack of skinniness is indicative of some moral failing–that, if only we had enough self-discipline, we’d be “normal.”

    Doll, I get defensive on your behalf about these things, but you are a brilliant and good woman, contributing usefully in many positive ways to society, and have many people — even strangers who’ve never met you in person! — who adore and admire you. If the simple fact that you are rounder than the average bear is indicative of your moral failings, I believe I must point out to your daddeh that the recalcitrant brother should be the size of a house.

    I’m sorry. I know you love him, but jeebus. The ongoing judgment and criticism of one who should be one of the proudest accomplishments of his life just is very very wrong. (You know that better than all of us combined, of course.)

    Now. Here’s another genetic thing to ponder — does your dad snore? Does his side have breathing problems? Then dammit, go get a sleep test (I’m getting one this week) and get on one of those freakin’ CPAP machines and get your rest. Yes, weight can be a factor in this, especially if you sleep on your back, but the way you are made also is a large factor. And he had a hand in that, I’d say.

    We send you kisses and hugs of onging encouragement and admiration. (I’d say “smooches,” but after your post the other day, I’ll get all hot and bothered and get in the car and drive up and start smooching on you and the cats and Mrs. W and maybe even The Butcher if he wanders in._

  11. In addition to omitting that closing parenthesis in my furor, I neglected to say “brilliant, beautiful and good woman” in that first paragraph.

    I guess I figured that went without saying.

    Smooch smooch smooch.

  12. All concerns about health and whatever aside, for the amount of grief you get over your weight, I’d expect you to be pret’ near spherical. But I’ve met you, and you really, seriously are not that fat. Not skinny, no… but I swear, for all the people that keep telling you awful things and neglecting their doctorly duties and whatnot, it would seem like you’d almost have to be The Blob or something. (He, of course, as a fat male comic book character, has a pretty cool superpower, even if he is both slow and evil.)

    I do think you should get the breathing thing checked out, and the sleep thing… because I want you to be able to breathe and sleep and stay alive. And if they have something to do with your weight (which, considering their onset times and your descriptions of your weight, seem kind of unlikely, but not so unlikely as to be easily ruled out), then yes, it’d probably be a good thing for that to change. But if they don’t? Then fuck it. You’re cute and huggable, and your body does what you want it to do, and that’s really all there is to it.

  13. Bridgett – Ha ha. I get along better with my mom precisely because my dad and I are so much alike, whether I want to acknowledge that or not.
    grandfille – Double ha, because I just sent B an email saying to ask about sleep apnea. :)
    B – not sure where you’re going tomorrow, but let me know if you need anything if you’re at our mutual place. I have this fantasy of going to doctor’s appointments with people and making sure all the questions get asked. :)

  14. Y’all spoil me so much. Thanks for the kind words.

    Mag, believe me. I hear what you’re saying. That’s what pisses me off so much. I am well aware that, even though I’m fat, I still fit most of society’s ideas about what’s okay for a woman to look like. I’m on the high end of that range, I know, but most people don’t look at me like I don’t belong places when I go there.

    And this is the shit I have to go through.

    Imagine the folks who don’t fit society’s ideas of what it’s okay to look like.

  15. What magniloquence said.

    Now, I’m going to cut your father some slack (but only a little). I really don’t think it’s neccessarily self loathing. I am in the exact same boat with my son, and I’ve struggled with weight my entire life as well.

    Perhaps, just maybe, he doesn’t want you to go through some of the pain he has gone through. Perhaps he knows what I know: thinner people get treated better all around. It sucks to be considered overweight in our society. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, especially my children.

    And that’s not even addressing the health aspects.

    Ironically, many times, we parents, in order to prevent external hurt to our children, hurt them ourselves. I’m guilty of it, I know.

    Oh, one more thing: expect the best of your new doctor. Give him or her an ideal to live up to. People never cease to amaze me, how they always rise to expectations,

  16. Pingback: Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat « Tiny Cat Pants

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