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Facebook, how I loath you sometimes

May 31, 2013

Trigger warning: Discusses weight lossC*R*A*P

A few days ago, I came across a graphic in my timeline.  The attached comment said, “You will be shocked how the weight will fall off you, if you eliminate CRAP!”

Um.

Here’s the thing, besides being elitist as anything (because not everybody has the time or energy to cook everything from scratch, which is what this graphic is saying), it also doesn’t work for everybody.

This is just like saying there’s no such thing as a fat vegetarian. It’s simply not true.

Now, I am one to suggest to people (when they ask) to avoid as much processed and artificial foods as they can.  Then again, as a stay-at-home wife with no kids, I have the luxury of making the homemade foods that require more than five minutes to nuke. What’s more, I love making food.  The more difficult it is to make, the more fussy it is to get right, the more I love the challenge of it. The only reason I haven’t tried a souffle yet is because I’m doing research on how high altitude affects the rise in a souffle.

But back to the graphic — or rather, to the attached comment.

Eating “good food” (as a person can) should be it’s own reward.  Having something that tastes good and is healthy (as we currently understand healthy, because that descriptor seems to change all the time) is something that should be a no-brainer.

But besides that, the comment is saying that it’s the fat person’s “fault” we are fat.  The comment is saying, “You’re lazy because you only want to have highly-processed food (which is fast to cook). You’re lazy because after working and commuting 10 hours a day, picking up your children from their after-school activities (or maybe just after-school daycare), you still need to do laundry, help the children with their homework, AND you can’t seem to figure out how to make a homemade meal using all-natural ingredients (and clean the kitchen) and get the kids bathed and in bed before 9?  Whatsa-matta-u?  And you have no willpower because you drink all these high-calorie carbonated beverages and eat all these foods with refined sugars in them!  No wonder you are so fat!  If you just cut all that out, you’ll lose weight without even trying!”

It’s like the calories in/calories out myth. When brought to the light of scrutiny, it just doesn’t hold water. And it can be shown to be extremely shaming and blaming. Even if weight loss actually had any real impact on health (instead of aesthetics), shaming a person never worked to do anything other than make the person being shamed feel terrible.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2013 12:46 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I’m also a stay at home wife with no kids. I cook nearly everything from scratch. I don’t eat a lot of processed food, or refined sugar, or drink carbonated beverages (diet or otherwise), still really, really fat.

  2. May 31, 2013 12:53 pm

    Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    I’m a working class slob who has an adult son, an aging mother, and (thank all that’s holy) no husband or significant other of whatever variety. My son’s in medical school and I buy his groceries. In spite of the fact that I work full time, I never have any damn money. I pretty well live on Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies, because this is what I can afford and they keep me fuller than Hot Pockets. Yeah, I wish I had the time or the energy to cook non-processed food from scratch, but I don’t. This graphic makes me all stabby and stuff.

    • bronwenofhindscroft permalink
      May 31, 2013 1:17 pm

      I have a friend who was a single parent, not receiving any of the child support the state ordered. She was able to get a good, high paying job. The problem was, her job was in IT, and in a division where she literally worked 10-12 hours a day. She’d take her son to day care (one with extended hours) in the morning, hop the train to work, pick him up at 8 or so at night, and then still needed to feed him, make sure homework was done, clean house, clean the kitchen (if she cooked), make sure there was enough clean laundry etc etc etc.

      And, while she *can* cook, she doesn’t really enjoy it.

      Btw, both her and her son are skinny, and have always been so, despite having delivery 3-5 times a week and frozen foods the other days.

      So yeah, this graphic makes *her* all stabby and stuff too.

  3. Adele Hite, MPH RD permalink
    May 31, 2013 1:29 pm

    In which case you might enjoy this comment following a recent essay by Gary Taubes in BMJ poking a few holes in the calories in/calories out myth: http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1050/rr/642935

    While I don’t agree with everything Taubes says, at the very least he’s got some people thinking.

    PS. Just discovered your site & it’s a new favorite.

    • BBDee permalink
      June 2, 2013 12:16 am

      Hello Adele,
      I’m guessing that “MPH” stands for Master of Public Health because I once had a boss who had that title. Further surmising that “RD” must be Registered Dietitian. Have I guessed right? Anyway, if so I am absolutely THRILLED to see someone with your credentials on “our” side! My former MPH boss was very pro-dieting and got extremely indignant with me for suggesting the whole idea of Size Acceptance. In fact, her attitude about weight had a lot to do with me NOT choosing Public Health as a graduate major. How do you cope with all the unenlightened fatbashing in your field?

      • Adele Hite, MPH RD permalink
        June 3, 2013 8:46 am

        How do I cope? Tearing of hair, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, etc. Although few people would consider me “fat” at this point in my life, I typically think of myself as “fat on the inside.” I was once officially obese (after many years of careful eating and diligent exercising) and NOT healthy at that size–but my health had a lot more to do with what I was doing to my body (starving and stressing it) than its size–and I have since worked with many overweight/obese people whose health improved when they *stopped* dieting (at least the way we typically think of it) and who didn’t need to lose weight to get there.

        Sadly, as someone who doesn’t look fat, I hear the most awful things said about fat people within my professional and academic circles. Characterizations and sweeping generalizations that are no longer allowed to be piled on racial minorities seem to still be perfectly politically correct to be assigned to fat people.

        Add that to the stark reality that, in nutrition, our assumptions and truisms about food, exercise, health and weight are much more about politics than science. We’ve built our entire public health paradigm around two key concepts (“fat people are fat because they eat too much and don’t exercise enough” and “overweight/obesity causes chronic disease”) that dissolve into thin air upon close examination of the available evidence.

        And then, when the realities don’t fit our assumptions, we accuse all the fat people out there of lying about what they eat. It’s crazy stuff.

        I’m trying to do what I can to shift the paradigm (my activism is channeled into Healthy Nation Coalition, a nonprofit public health advocacy organization). I’m thrilled to have found your community. I love the way it embraces the word “fat.” I’m looking forward to listening in and learning. I hope that you all will forgive any missteps as I work to make the HAES message part of my thinking.

  4. May 31, 2013 1:50 pm

    Recently a nurse started lecturing me about how to feed my 14yo son. Her message was pretty much the graphic’s message. Except that’s how we do eat. I’m not a fanatic about it, but 95% of the time we meet those guidelines. She acted like I was a complete imbecile and assumed I had no idea how to eat a healthy diet–because I am fat. My son is a healthy big boy with the beginnings of eating disorders and the health professionals he has encountered have done nothing but feed into those eating disorders.

    • BBDee permalink
      June 2, 2013 12:21 am

      Hi Susie,
      Yeah, I feel your pain there. I even get that treatment (not said outright but easy enough to read between the lines) when I take my fat cat to the vet! I really don’t feed him that much. No more than my other cat who’s skinny and crowds the chubby fella out of his food dish whenever he can. Apparently a certain percentage of all mammals come equipped with this superefficient metabolism!

  5. Lindsay permalink
    May 31, 2013 8:21 pm

    On the contrary, I eat a lot of CRAP and most people would not describe me as fat. I wish I had the time/money/patience to cook more but I don’t right now. I do eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables but the rest of my intake comes from sandwiches and processed food. Graphics like that are very triggering to me as I have a history with an eating disorder. From my perspective I agree with the camp that doesn’t label foods as good or bad and doesn’t make hard, fast rules like that anyway.

  6. Marilyn permalink
    June 1, 2013 5:56 pm

    I’m currently getting a lot of my food from food banks so it’s canned. That doesn’t make it unhealthy. I’m lucky that they get fruits and vegetables from the local grocery stores as well. By the way, I’m normal weight. My doctor threatened me with blood tests if I lost more than ten more pounds. I lost over thirty since starting my medication for anxiety. I was overweight then by ten pounds. Now, I’m ten pounds over the cutoff for underweight.

    • June 2, 2013 9:03 am

      Hi Marilyn, … and yet SO many people refuse to believe that medications (for ALL SORTS of chronic symptoms and problems) can screw up one’s metabolism and hormone balance. I know, because I’ve been taking hypo-thyroid meds for – hell, I think like 25 years now! – and after all this time, with dosage raised every few years, I’ve never lost a pound! As a matter of fact, I’m the heaviest now than I’ve ever been. (I’m 56).

      It’s a pretty common known fact that anti-anxiety meds (prozac, etc) often do cause initial weight loss. Did your doctor suggest anything to help you gain a little back? Or is he/she just clucking their tongue and shaking their head, and suggesting nothing?

  7. Dizzyd permalink
    June 1, 2013 6:02 pm

    While it’s ideal to eat more natural foods, and there probably are simple dishes to make with all natural ingriedients, most people can’t afford the luxury of cooking a 3-course meal with the finest produce, cuts of meat, artisan cheeses, and probably everything that this self-important nimrod thinks we should be able to afford. Sometimes, you’re damn lucky if you can nuke a TV dinner. What that graphic really should say if it wants to be helpful (but it never will), is: “You will be shocked at how the stress falls off you, when you eliminate CRAP: C = Crappy troll droppings left all over the blogsite
    R = Ridiculous so-called “weight-loss advice” from so-called “experts” that makes
    even less sense than if you threw a bunch of monkeys into a room with a load of
    typewriters and let them go at it
    A = Asinine advice from people who obviously never take their head out of their col-
    lective butt to even see what it is they’re supposed to be talking about
    P = Puerile (childish) BS from a bunch of puerile minds

  8. June 2, 2013 9:07 am

    This whole wordpress.com vs wordpress.org is starting to give me fits….. I can never figure out which one I’m on when clicking into FFF and can’t remember the right password for either! LOL
    Anyway, I’m also known around here as “TrufflesMom” …. (and I just posted a reply to Marilyn) 🙂

  9. Dizzyd permalink
    June 4, 2013 5:06 pm

    Actually, I have a better one:
    C = Cruddy internet trolls
    R = Ridiculous “weight loss” advice
    A = Asinine anti-fat society
    P = Poor nutritional principles masquerading as “healthful eating” as described by diet “doctors”

  10. Dizzyd permalink
    June 4, 2013 5:07 pm

    Or better still: “I don’t give a crap about CRAP!”

    • bronwenofhindscroft permalink
      June 4, 2013 9:30 pm

      Like that one!

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