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Archive for August 12th, 2009

It is no secret that the American public is rapidly achieving a collective mass that is disturbing at best and obscene at worst.

Many scholarly articles have been written about this trend, much hand-wringing has been done about how to stop it, but apparently no one is prepared to sit back and say, “Look people.   We are getting fat because we eat more calories than we expend on a daily basis.”

Today I am ranting about the blogs and web sites that have been set up over the last couple of years that are pushing for “Fat Acceptance.”   There is one in particular that I visit upon occasion because they are not “just” about what they coyly refer to as FA, but they also talk about feminist issues like the sexualization of women and equal pay for equal work.   They make some very good points.

These gals are right up front about their position.  “We are fat and we have dieted and we can’t keep the weight off because we have psychological issues and we don’t want to hear from anybody, NOT ANYBODY, who suggests that we are not perfect just as we are.”   God forbid you should leave a comment about how you managed to lose weight and keep it off and possibly it is within the realm of reality that they could do the same.   If you mention anything like that on their site, no matter how politely you address them, they will mark you as a troll and ban you from commenting.  That doesn’t strike me as being very accepting, but hey.

This new “Fat Acceptance” movement has become so ingrained in public consciousness that I actually saw a blog post recently entitled, “Is it okay for me to want to lose weight?”

Look, I’m all for Fat Acceptance.   I’ve been fat.   In fact, according to the Body Mass Index calculator, I have been not just overweight but obese, with a BMI of 36.6. Today I have acheived “overweight,” and quite soon I am going to achieve what the BMI thinks is “normal weight” for the first time in approximately 35 years.  I accepted myself as an overweight woman.   I bought extra large clothes, and never agonized about it.   I didn’t hate myself.

Once in a while I would think, “Gosh, I probably should see if I can lose some weight.”   But I never really did anything about it.   I rejoiced when my doctor ordered cardiac stress tests and echocardiograms which showed my circulatory system to be functioning at optimum.   I could work hard and long, I was strong, I had stamina.   I had no problem.  I liked to eat what I liked to eat.  I liked myself.  Well, except for the rash I developed where my flab made creases — that I didn’t like.

Of course, when my mother needed a knee replacement, I thought about the stress my knees were experiencing as they hauled around the approximately 33% extra body weight I had accumulated.   And my sister got adult onset diabetes due to the fact that she weighed way over 300 pounds for many years.   I sort of worried about developing insulin resistance myself.   But brownies, mmmm.    Ice cream, heaven.   I should give up my french fry addiction?  I think not!

But here’s the thing.   I  look at these zaftig ladies and see that they are smart, active people, that they are just as sensuous and sexy as a coathanger thin person, really.    I don’t think “She should lose weight,”  when I talk to a brilliant and funny fat woman, I think “She is brilliant and funny.”

I totally understand about physical conditions such as cancer and chemotherapy, muscular dystrophy, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, paralysis, etc. etc. that contribute  to an inability to get weight off and keep it off.   I thank goodness that I am not similarly afflicted.

When am I going over the line of “Fat Acceptance” though?

When I go to Walmart and I see a person who is so obese that they cannot walk around the store, but must ride in a scooter, and their huge belly hangs down in between their knees and thighs almost to the foot rests of the scooter, am I being “Unaccepting” to find that sight not only disturbing but disgusting?

When I know someone who is obese and who has diabetes and is using injectable insulin, stents in her cardiac arteries, other health issues, and takes numerous medications, if she “can’t keep her hands out of the cookies”, what am I accepting here?  Her need to slowly commit suicide?   Can you call the suicide prevention hotline for this?  What would you say?

When an obese person comes into my home and uses my toilet and breaks the seat when they sit on it, exits my bathroom without mentioning it, and I get a nasty pinch on my own buttocks when I sit on the broken seat, do I have to accept that?   Can I not ask for my toilet seat to be replaced?

What about when an obese person sits on my toilet (different person, different toilet) and leans back and snaps the tank right off and then not only do I have water all over my bathroom but I have to buy a whole new toilet?   Is it unaccepting to feel like that person maybe ought to purchase a new toilet?

What about the broken dining room chair?   Or the hand made Windsor chair in the living room whose legs are over-spread because of having to bear the burden of between an eighth and a quarter of a ton of personage?

What about when I get on an airplane and I am seated between two grossly overweight people who squeeze me in between them as their adipose tissue oozes under and around the arm rest, their gargantuan thighs flapping and jiggling on and over my own?   Sentenced to several hours of listening to stertorous wheezing and being squashed between these human furnaces — am I “unaccepting” because I find this wearing?

I read the blogs, although not as often as I used to.   What I see are rationalizations and excuses wrapped up in fancy phraseology designed to make one feel not just politically incorrect, but positively rude for thinking that perhaps these sweet sexy ladies might consider eating less and exercising more, and getting some therapy to overcome their psychological issues if they can’t manage it on their own.  They make me tired.

I recall a sentence I heard someone use when they met a person who was vastly overweight.   “What is she doing, committing suicide with her fork?”

Maybe that question should be asked more often.   But it wouldn’t be “accepting,” I suppose.

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