Archive for September, 2014

So apparently there was a study which found that among the lesbians sampled 75% were overweight or obese.

I first heard of this when I saw this article on my facebook feed about what is wrong with the statistic. The woman who wrote that article mainly takes issue with the fact that the sample size for lesbians was 87 compared to a sample size of 5,460 straight women.

I read this awhile back, and it made me uncomfortable, but I often like to stop and sit on those kinds of thoughts and feelings for awhile so I give myself time to think through why. But my thought at the time and my thought now remains- so what if it is true?

Putting aside whether the statistic is good or accurate, I’m more concerned with why we care one way or the other.

The author of this article is concerned that this statistic will be accepted as fact, will morph into countless memes and jokes used to mock lesbians and “delegitimize our sexuality”.

But it seems to me- as a fat lesbian- that the underlying issue to that is that it’s considered mock worthy to be a fat lesbian.

Ferndale Pride with Extra Lesbian Sticker

Fat Lesbian! … Fat extra lesbian? … or Extra Fat Lesbian?

Side note: I took 3 selfies at ferndale pride with 3 stickers- extra queer, extra gay, and extra lesbian (all 3 being terms I identify with), and of course it’s the extra lesbian one, which was most relevant to this post, that I like the least. Oh well. 

And why should this statistic “delegitimize our sexuality”? Being fat does not make my sexual orientation any less legitimate.

The author of the article explains further: “the publicity around this ’75 percent of lesbians are fat’ statistic on social media is at present exacerbating the stereotype that ‘lesbians are just a bunch of ugly, lazy, misguided women with low self-esteem who can’t get a husband because they’re fat and don’t wear make-up, and therefore they’re terrible people and don’t deserve to be taken seriously!'”

And here is where I get deeply uncomfortable with this. Because my sexual orientation is not a response to low self-esteem nor an inability to get a husband. Being fat doesn’t mean I have low self-esteem and it sure as fuck does not mean I can’t get a man. I get hit on by men with some frequency. Whether or not those are men I’d actually date even if I was dating men is another issue. But if I were really desperate for a man, I could get one. But I’m not. 1. I’m single and not desperate for a relationship period. I have no interest in being with someone just for the sake of not being single and proving to society that I found someone who found me attractive. 2. More on point here, I don’t want to date men. I am attracted to women. My attraction to women is not a back up, substitute for men. And my weight does not make that any less so.

The stereotype that “lesbians are just a bunch of ugly, lazy, misguided women with low self-esteem who can’t get a husband because they’re fat and don’t wear make-up” is a problematic one. It’s a problematic one for fat lesbians too. It’s still problematic even if 75% of lesbians are overweight or obese. Because fat lesbians are not lesbians because we are too fat to get a man. Being fat and a lesbian does not make this stereotype true. Just like lesbian women who don’t wear makeup don’t make this stereotype true. If 75% of lesbian don’t wear makeup this stereotype would still be a heaping pile of bullshit.

So given that fat lesbians are still not lesbians due to an inability to get a man, given many men find fat women attractive, and that the reasons fat women are lesbians are pretty much the same as the reasons thin women are lesbians- what would it matter if 75% of lesbians are fat?

And I leave you with: Extra Fat Lesbian in Rainbow Fishnets

And I leave you with: Extra Fat Lesbian in Rainbow Fishnets

Illusions Of The Body

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Body Image
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I saw this photography project awhile back Illusions of the Body (NSFW), which is really cool. It shows side by side two pictures of the same person (nude), one with the person posed in a flattering manner and the other posed in an unflattering manner. But of course the are the same person, same body.

I think of this a lot when I hear criticism about women (always women) posting only flattering photos. Jokes about women posting flattering photos on facebook and then their friends tag them in ones that look unflattering, complaints that women post flattering pictures on dating websites and then don’t look as good in person, et cetera. And I’ve heard folks comment that those unflattering pictures are what people really look like, said sometimes about others, sometimes about themselves. I’ve heard that you might think you look good but you should check those unflattering pictures other people take and realize that is what you really look like, or a person commenting that they thought they looked good but then saw an unflattering photo someone else took and realized how terrible they *really* look.

And there is this mentality that there is something wrong with posting flattering pictures. That is a photo is flattering it’s a lie and we are being deceptive by sharing it.

Why do we assume the negative is real? Like the Illusions of the Body photography shows, both are real. That picture of you that you look awesome in is what you really look like. The picture you look terrible in is also what you really look like. Neither is more real than the other.

Of course it’s important to remember we all have those. We all have times we look good and times we don’t look so good. No person is perfectly posed and put together with a flattering expression at all times. This goes along with another message I’ve heard a lot recently which is not to compare your bad or average with someone else’s best. We do this with image. We compare ourselves in the picture of us looking our worst with a photo of someone else looking their best- and if that is a mainstream media image, then it’s also with a photo of someone looking there best through posing, make-up, and photo editing.

Personally, I’m not going to feel bad if I still post flattering pictures on a dating website, facebook, instagram, or whatever else. It’s not lying, it’s not deceptive, that is me and is what I look like. Just because you could catch me at another time, with another expression, from another angle that is far less flattering doesn’t mean the unflattering image is more “real”. We need to stop thinking that the worst always defines us.

I think this way about my own body a lot as well- I have two larger mirrors in my bedroom, one opposite my bed. I wake up in the morning, sit up, glance over at myself half asleep, hair a mess, slouched over and I think “oh my god, do I really look like that? I look so terrible!” Later I’ll catch my reflection walking past the mirror getting dressed and be like “woah, I look good right now!” That’s just how bodies work. There is no need to beat oneself up for not always looking your most flattering because no one ever does.

One thing that is common for folks new to fitness in general or a particular activity is to think that people are going to judge you, be rude, and act like you don’t really belong. This is a very common fear a lot of women have with weight lifting in gyms that keeps a lot of women out of the weight rooms.

It’s something I’ve felt before, and still, and will surely more times again in the future.

And I feel bad thinking about this subject because a big inspiration of mine in creating this blog was a place to talk about things that annoy me that happen or are said in fitness spaces (in person or more often for me in online spaces). And so I tend to focus on these negatives a lot, which may give the impression that that is all there is out there or even that that is how most people are. Which has not been my experience.

There are assholes out there. Like the guy at the gym who suggested I should use a machine instead when doing bench presses because he was clearly annoyed having to share equipment with me (if machines are so great, you use them. Problem solved.) Or the times I’ve gotten comments mocking my workouts that I track (publicly) online.

But for all those assholes, I’ve probably met a lot more folks who are very supportive. For every person who posts something mocking a workout of mine, I’ve had several people comment in support and encouragement.

Part of what got me thinking about this was chatting with this girl via text message- and I hope if she ever sees this she doesn’t mind me sharing this bit of info. So I’ve mentioned lifting and running to her, and I was talking about running and she comments “I’m afraid if you’re looking for a workout buddy, I will be veryyy slow”. Now my first thought was actually that I don’t think it’s even possible for anyone to run slower than me. I am really slow already myself. But if someone was slower than me or needed to walk more often, if they wanted to go running with me I would gladly go at a pace comfortable for them. I’d love to have someone who wanted to join me in these things and would not be at all bothered if someone was less experienced than me.

It actually reminds me of a geek related complaint I have. There are some “geeks” out there who look down on folks for not being as into a particular geeky thing as them, and have this exclusive “you don’t know about this so you suck and aren’t welcome” attitude. Which I have never understood, as a geek. When a friend of mine told me he had never watched x-files I didn’t think “what the fuck is wrong with you? You suck, you are obviously not really a geek, we can’t be friends anymore, get out!” No, I thought, “how the fuck can you have never seen x-files? Well let’s fix this right now, you should come watch x-files with me because it is awesome and you will love it!” Because when I love something and think it is awesome, I want to share that with people and let other people in on the awesomeness of it.

I feel the same way about fitness. I love it. It’s fun. It makes me feel great. And I would love to share that with other people!

And I’ve found that a lot of folks feel the same way there. And when I met up with folks in person who are much faster runners than me, they were fine with slowing down and going at my pace.

So yes, there are assholes out there, that’s life. But I would hope people who are new, or thinking about giving lifting/running/whatever else a try would know that there is actually a lot of support out there and most people are not going to be assholes. And just ignore the few who are because the problem is them, no you.

One thing I find incredibly frustrating is the idea that fat people only have a place in fitness if they are trying to lose weight.

Online the other day I came across a discussion where a number of people admitted that if they knew a fat person was doing stuff for weight loss they would find it inspirational and be supportive but if they knew the same fat person was doing the same things under a Health At Every Size (HAES) perspective, they would think that person was stupid, mock worthy, and didn’t belong. So basically, if you are fat and going to the gym to work out, that’s cool as long as you are trying to lose weight, and people should be respectful. If you let it slip that you are not trying to lose weight, then respect goes out the window and people should feel free to mock, belittle, and bully you.

Which I don’t understand of course. Why would my goals matter at all to random strangers?

Especially too when so many people will say that working out and eating well will cause a fat person to lose weight. If that’s true, why does that matter to you whether it’s my goal or just a side effect to me?

Obviously goals matter for the person setting them, but I don’t see how me doing what I do is any different to strangers depending on my goals.

And like everything I blog about here, this is of course personal to me. First off it’s personal as a fat person who likes working out, and having gotten comments myself about why I’m doing it if I’m not trying to lose weight et cetera.

There is another level to it as well, since I’ve recently been wanting to lose weight. Which is a little odd because at the same time I am more confident and comfortable with my body that I can remember ever being before. But mainly I want to lose weight because I know it would make a lot of things easier. Running would be easier I’m sure if I wasn’t carrying so much weight. Things like pull ups would be easier if I didn’t have to pull up so much weight. I mean, the other side of it is I just have to work harder, but I’m not super satisfied with that reasoning right now.

That said, I have my reasons why I have not been trying to lose weight and why that will still not be a goal I actively work towards. If it happens out of the stuff I do for my health great, but I’m also going to be ok if it doesn’t.

So why am I not trying to lose weight?

I’ve talked before about the yoyo aspect of it. That I’ve been down this road and eventually I get burnt out on worrying about my weight and counting everything I eat and obsessing over it.

And related to that, what is really my biggest reason for not making weight loss my goal, is because then exercise and eating well might not work!

Because if I’m working out and eating healthy and I’m still not losing weight, then those things aren’t working and why do something that doesn’t work? Why keep doing it over and over when nothing changes and you see no results?

But see, when my goal is to be healthier, to be stronger, to lift heavier, to feel happier and more confident- well guess what- working out works! I do see results! I do notice changes! So of course I should keep doing it when it’s working so great for me!

If the reason I’m eating healthier is to lose weight and I am not, we have the same problem as before- why bother with something that doesn’t work?

But when my goal is just to be healthier, to eat food that provides real nourishment for my body, and food that makes me feel better and healthier- it works!

This is the biggest reason weight loss is not my goal and I don’t want to go back to it being my goal. Because it changes how I think about these things in a way that makes them less pleasant and more frustrating for me. It’s frus

ating and not enjoyable when you keep doing something over and over and don’t get the result you are aiming for. So I’m sticking with goals that don’t lead me into that realm of frustration and thus have me enjoying working out more and eating better.

Working out and eating healthy is an important and worthwhile pursuit for me. And even if you believe that I would be healthier if I lost weight, there is really no denying that between fat and inactive and not eating well, or fat and working out and eating well, the latter is far more healthy. So why the fuck would you judge me for doing things that are healthier just because I choose to be ok with it if those healthy activities don’t lead me to weight loss?

Musings About Diets

Posted: September 20, 2014 in Uncategorized
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So I started thinking about diets recently.

One thing often said regarding the “obesity epidemic” is that we need to teach proper nutrition, especially in schools. And I actually agree with that. I also don’t think anti-obesity folks are the only ones who can support good nutrition. That would certainly fall under Health At Every Size (HAES), IMO. HAES means feeding your body good, nutritious food to help fuel it to do all the wonderful things it can.

But the biggest issue I see with the idea of better nutritional education is- what does that mean?

This is often proposed as if there is a clear cut meaning to proper nutrition when certainly that’s not the case. Just take a look around all the diets out there and you will be able to see that what eating healthy looks like is not agreed upon.

I was thinking about this mainly in terms of how my own mentality has changed over the years regarding what eating healthy looks like. And what that has meant to me at various points depending on what my diet plan at the time was.

And while I wouldn’t describe myself as being on a diet, I am trying to make changes to my diet. And so a big part of what sparked this is noticing that I tend to think a lot to myself “but it has protein!” about a lot of foods. Because I am trying to eat more protein and it is hard for me. And there are a lot of foods I look at differently because of that. One example would be from the other night, I had a committee meeting at a community center located right next door to a Bdubs. And I decided after the meeting to stop in and get some boneless wings. Which would typically fall in most folks minds under the category of unhealthy foods. But of course in my head I think “but it has protein!” I mean, yeah, it’s breaded and deep-fried, and slathered in sauce but it is still chicken and still got protein there! Not really how I should go about increasing my protein consumption on a daily basis, but it’s hard for me to think of it as a terrible food choice right now because I don’t eat as much chicken and other protein rich meat as I should be.

Bacon of course would be another example. I’ve fallen back in love with bacon. A food that whenever I’ve been concerned with eating healthy in the past was pretty clearly in the “unhealthy” category.

And on the other hand there are a lot of foods I used to eat and consider healthy that no longer work with my current idea of eating healthy (for myself). Since I am trying to eat high protein, I’m also trying to limit carbs, so stuff like whole grains? Well, I try to limit those kinds of foods. Pastas I used to think of as being very healthy I try to avoid most of the time because they are so carb heavy.

Actually fun story- my health insurance company wanted me to take this health assessment quiz which included nutrition questions. It said my diet is not healthy because I don’t eat enough whole gains and eat too many vegetables. And my response was basically “lol, ok! </sarcasm>”  Pretty clear that what constitutes healthy is not universally agreed upon to me. I’d been using the If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) calculator to figure out target macro nutrients, and if you use that guideline there is no way anyone would look at my diet and say “you need to eat more whole grains”, they would be saying “you need to eat more protein”.

And of course then you get to the common diet mentality that “healthy” just means “low calorie”. And that’s how most people think, in my experience. So diet pop? Super healthy! That stuff has no calories! … I mean it also doesn’t really have any nutrients, but if it’s zero calories it has to be healthy, right?

I run into a problem with this often since I cannot eat artificial sweeteners- they trigger migraines and my doctor told me I should also avoid them due to meniere’s. And yet I am so often told about foods that they have “no sugar” as if this is a good thing. Well, since no sugar means you used artificial sweeteners instead, that just means I can’t eat it. But as a culture we have come to see “lower calorie” as synonymous with “healthier” to the extent that it would never occur to many people that the lower calorie option might actually be less healthy for some of us.

It also reminds me of a bit of an argument I had with a friend in high school over what type of lettuce was healthier. She said I should eat darker, greener lettuces because they have more nutrients. I was counting calories at the time and pointed out that iceberg lettuce was lower in calories though! Which for awhile was all I thought about. I remember reading dieting advice that all calories are the same, it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as the calories are low enough for you to lose weight. So I was totally cool to just drink pop for my daily calories (and there was a time when I would literally just drink pop. I would go days without eating any solid food and just drink pop. And under this advice, that was find as long as I counted the calories in that pop and kept it under my limit.)

Later I started to think more in terms of nutrition. And years later finally took my friends advice and swapped out the iceberg lettuce for other types with more nutrients. I also discovered this list of the “world’s healthiest foods” which I liked, and still like, even though I’m dubious of their claims that these foods will prevent cancer- it helped me to focus on eating more of food that were high in nutrients rather than just thinking in terms of eating less, or thinking only about calories.

And of course now my focus is both on eating foods that are high in nutrients and also trying to limit carbs while eating more protein. It’s a work in progress.

But reflecting on all of this, I can see what what it means to “eat healthy” has no one universal meaning. So while I think it would be great if we did more to educate people and kids on good nutrition, what would that look like? Personally, I think the idea of “healthy = low calorie” is a very poor one, and not one we should be focusing on. Looking at my own experiences, focusing too heavily on calories clearly does not necessarily lead to eating nutrient rich foods that help fuel our bodies. But there are so many places that this can go wrong. Are we going to tell kids that they are eating too many vegetables and not enough grains if their diet doesn’t exactly match the prescribed recommendations? Is it really unhealthy to eat more vegetables and fewer grains though? (I obviously don’t think so).

So awhile back I came across this video on youtube of a show called Superfat vs Superskinny. One of those shows about fat people and trying to get fat people to lose weight basically. Filled with lots of talk about how scary the obesity “epidemic” is. So be warned if you decide to watch it.

Let me summarize the part I want to talk about though for those not interested in watching.

In the beginning of the episode the show stats talking about obesity statistics, the usual, and then goes to interview someone at a funeral home to talk about how some people need larger caskets, and larger cemetery plot sizes due to their size, including talking about how in some cases funeral homes have had to remove limbs from bodies to fit them into the furnace used for cremation. And it ends with the host saying how he hopes this will be incentive for people to lose weight.

REALLY!?! For real you think a good incentive for losing weight is thinking about how you are going to look in your casket or right before your body is burned to ash?

I get angry with young folks my age or younger who joke about dying young so they leave a good looking corpse behind, because that is the most ridiculous thing ever in my opinion- you’re dead, your body is going to rot in the ground and look pretty awful very soon after. There is no benefit, in my opinion, to looking good after death.

I don’t care how my body looks after I’m dead. I care about living a long, fulfilling life. I want to die old surrounded by family who love me, which hopefully by then includes children, grandchildren, and maybe great grandchildren. People who will carry on the difference I made to them for the rest of their lives. I want to leave lots of people with positive memories of my life while I was living because that’s what people will care about most, not how I looked when I was dead.

So seeing this… I’m actually not even sure what else to say. It’s just so fucking absurd! Losing weight because of how you will look when you are dead and buried in the ground is absurd. Who the fuck cares what a corpse looks like?

I can’t believe this bullshit actually got produced and aired on tv. I am honestly shocked anyone thought this was a good or valid argument to make.

So I just posted on how fat acceptance has nothing to do with demanding that people find fat people attractive, but I was thinking today, amused at how the folks who complain about this and make it all about attraction always assume everyone else must share their own preferences in attraction too. This such a common trope I’ve found- that fat women demand everyone find us beautiful (still not what it’s really about, but…), yet we will only ever date conventionally attractive men. And of course the assumption is men.

I’ve had a number of folks online ask me what I find attractive, clearly trying to catch me in my hypocrisy of demanding others find me attractive (except for how I’ve never done that) when I also would prefer thinner men. If I point out I’m primarily attracted to women, the assumption remains that I would find only thin women attractive.

And I just can’t help but laugh at this, when it is so far from the truth. Because I find many, many fat women incredibly attractive. To be far, I also find many, many thin women incredibly attractive! I don’t consider myself a fat admirer or anything like that, there is nothing about fat itself that I find attractive, I just find many fat women very attractive exactly as they are. I frequently find myself saying I don’t have a type that I’m attracted to, because I really don’t: short, tall, thin, fat, femme, butch, whatever it can all be very attractive to me.

Can be. This isn’t to say I find all people equally attractive. Of course I don’t, there are some people I’m just “oh, damn, they look good!” It’s just that what looks good to me for one person can be totally different than what looks good to me for another person.

So for all those who are so curious about my attractions as a fat woman- no, I don’t find thin women automatically more attractive than fat women. I also don’t find fat women automatically attractive than thin women.

I was thinking about an article I saw online about “fat feminism” and reading the comments, a lot of men kept commenting how women can be fat if they want but can’t expect men to find us attractive. This is a really common anti-fat comment. And it’s always, that I’ve seen, directed at fat women regarding straight men’s attractions. 

Now there are few issues with this. First off is the part where- what makes you think we care that you find us attractive? And it is you personally, you do not speak for all men, because somewhere out there is a man who is attracted to a woman regardless of her size. We are not desperate for you to desire us. There is also the part of- what makes you think we care about any men finding us attractive? Newsflash- not all fat women are straight.

But beyond these basic points, I think there is a far more troubling issue with these responses. There is something very troubling about the sexism in responding to fat women talking about fat oppression with comments on how you don’t find fat women attractive. As if our worth is measure only in the degree to which you want to fuck us. 

Fat women say we want to be treated equally and with respect.

You respond “but I don’t find you attractive”.

What you are saying is- you don’t think women are deserving of basic human dignity and respect unless you want to fuck us.

What your saying is, you don’t view women as actual people.

Because the right to be treated with basic dignity and respect is one all people are entitled. And men are never told that their rights are dependent on whether or not anyone else finds them physically attractive. 

Annoyed At Diet Motivation Talk

Posted: September 5, 2014 in Problems
Tags: ,

I get frustrated a lot with the crossover between fitness and dieting, and the dieting mentality folks take toward fitness. 

And I just need to rant right now about a post on another website:

“You will get a lot more compliments for working out than will for sleeping in.” 

This was alongside a bunch of other cliche diet/”lifestyle change” talk. 

I’ve been in a kind of irrationally annoyed at things mood today… well and yesterday. So a few days now, lol. So like most things this is probably pushing my buttons more than it should. 

But I don’t do any of that for compliments! I don’t do it for other people at all. I don’t care if other people approve or not, let alone if they compliment me on it. 

I workout for my health and because I enjoy it. Simple as that.

And I sleep in when I can for similar reasons. Because sleep is good, it is necessary to being healthy! I don’t sleep so other people can applaud what I’m doing, I do it for my health and well being. Which means it doesn’t matter if people don’t compliment me on it! 

Annoys me especially since I sleep more, on average, that most people. Side effect of health issues and fatigue problems. I sleep more than most people on average because I need to sleep more than most people on average in order to feel my healthiest. In fact, it’s a huge fucking struggle in my life getting enough sleep around everything I need to do on a regular basis right now. 

Which also makes me a bit overly annoyed at people who want to get judgmental about other people sleeping in. 

Fuck you for judging me for doing what I need to to be healthy! 

Which is the extra ridiculousness of mentalities like this that hide behind claims about being about health. If health is your goal, you wouldn’t be denigrating getting the amount of sleep your body needs to feel fully rested! 

Of course, I’m probably just extra annoyed at things right now because my sleep schedule has been totally off this past week! lol. 

Reality TV!

Posted: September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

So I came across a ridiculous, fatphobic article on the internet today- must be a day that ends in “y”, right?

Well, I read the ridiculous, fatphobic comments on the article as well, and one person asserted that you cannot eat well, exercise regularly, and still be obese. Anyone obese person who says suck is lying, according to this person. They then suggested that a fat person who claims such should have a reality tv show where they are followed around so people can see what they really do and what they really eat.

Well, I’ve always wanted to star in my own reality tv show! So for all you folks out there who want proof of what fat people really do and really eat in the form of a professional tv crew following around a fat person, just go ahead and start writing to tv studios telling them how much you want to watch a reality tv show about me, because I will be more than happy to do that (for fair compensation of course). 

 

Unrelated, fall semester has started so who knows how often I will be able to update this blog. I have so, so many posts I want to write about, but not near enough time right now for getting them all out. I’ll still be blogging here of course, just not sure what my timeline will be on new posts. I only finally got my gym cleaned up from the flooding even!