In the comments section of yesterday’s post, I got this:
So my friends take me out for sushi to celebrate (’cause we do go out to eat!). I’m enjoying an eel roll and seaweed salad when the friend of a good friend begins to go off about taking the fat girl out to eat, and that I should go on a water fast for 2 weeks, then a colonic, then vegetarian diet. I told her she know didn’t a thing about diabetes and uncontrolled low sugar levels. She told me that she knew that eating too much brought it on, therefore not eating would take care of it. So I said the only thing I could think of:
“I may be fat today, but I’m loosing weight and getting healthier every day. A year from now, I’ll be smaller, more gorgeous, and won’t even remember you. But you’ll still be mean-spirited and ignant. Sucks to be you.”
Then her friend had to step in before the heifer hit me but that’s another story.
2 years ago, I didn’t have health insurance. I got sick and had to go down the the county hospital in the ‘ghetto’ where I can only assume they see a lot of these ‘fat black women’ by the way they treated me. In this area, apparently no insurance + obese = obviously uneducated. I had to deal with a nurse who incorrectly corrected my English and the billing department who was surprised I could spell California. But that wasn’t the worst part. The doctor glanced at my chest x-ray, said it was clear and goes ‘Lets talk about your weight’. She lectured me for 30 minutes about control and how I was ‘delusional’ to think I was healthy at my weight. How I should eat less and work out more. At no point did she ask about my eating habits or my work out habits. When I tried to tell her, she looked me up and down. She then sent me home and told me to take some Motrin.
A week later, I was rushed back to emergency…a fever of 103, 12lbs lighter, wheezing, dehydrated and a irregular heart beat. Saw another doctor who looked at the SAME EXACT x-rays I took the week before and said I clearly had pneumonia.
Goes to show that everyone, including medical professionals have trouble distinguishing between ‘looking healthy’ and ‘being healthy’.
I’m going to come back to both of these.
With this blog, comes “great” responsibility. I take a lot of shots because I don’t think like the people these two commenters spoke of above. Because I’m not doing crash diets and colonics and wagging my finger in people’s faces making them feel ashamed of who they are because of what they look like, I’m considered a panderer. A coddler.
Remember, though – the people who are calling me these things… are people who think that just because they didn’t look fat like I did, they are healthy. These are people who think it’s OK to go knee deep in a bag of cheetos every day as long as they didn’t look fat like me. These are people who truly believe that outward appearance is the primary indicator of better health.
Anyone who browses this site on the regular would know… this ain’t that type of party, here. Not only do I find their “solutions” to weight problems ludicrous, I find them so ludicrous that I couldn’t possibly care less about what they think of me.
My personal studies and beliefs about the evolution of the human body, the environment and the history of food production has led me on my own path. I don’t use this site to push my approach to food. I do my best to provide enough information to help anyone who’s reading figure out how to find their own path. Why? Because creating your own approach to food and fitness is the only way to not only feel comfortable in your decisions, but confident in them. The effort you put forth to create your approach almost outright ensures your ability to feel confident enough to defend your decisions if need be.
And trust me… that time will come.
Nowadays, I’m approached even more and more often by people who aren’t quite my friends, yet aren’t quite acquaintances. Just people who are familiar, and want to talk. Okay, let’s talk.
“You ever tried that lemonade diet? You need to do that. It’ll help you lose that last little bit of weight fast. My girl lost 20lbs on that joint!”
“You need to stop losing weight.. you’re getting too skinny!”
“You need to stop eating so much fiber… that stuff is gross.”
Um, if this is the kind of dialogue I can expect in our “talk,” I’ll pass. How is it that all these “people who aren’t quite my friends, yet aren’t quite acquaintances” know what it is that I need? Y’all don’t know me!
Trust me when I say this: people who don’t know you from Annie… they don’t really care if you’re ok. These people just prefer to listen to themselves talk. They like how authoritative they sound. It’s like lording over someone to let them know that you’ve got the goods they want. “I got what you want, and you have to listen to me to get it.” People like feeling wanted and needed, and will go out of their way to create the kind of situation that allows them to feel that way.
Look, all advice is not good advice… regardless of where it comes from. A doctor with a preconceived notion about a patient they may never see again (no really, read that), or a broad you’ve never seen before telling you a colonic is why you’re 60lbs overweight, or someone incorrectly telling you that limiting meat intake is “going vegan” and how silly it is…. sometimes, you just have to take it with a grain of salt when it comes. Feel comfortable enough to squash the convo when it does come… just expect this moment to come, though.
Obesity is an interesting problem because it’s a visible flaw. If you’re a sociopath, a liar, or an axe murderer… we can’t always identify that problem visually. But ohhh lordy, I can see that something must be wrong with you because you’re fat. Let me make this clear: being overweight is not an open invitation for people to force their ignorant and idiotic “advice” on you, and it certainly is not a reason for you to feel compelled to explain why you are overweight to anyone you don’t care about and doesn’t care about you. Your weight is not a call-to-arms for people who are not overweight to use you to make themselves feel better by pummeling you with horrid advice, further snitching on themselves and the unhealthy measures they take to remain skinny.
I refer to it as “big girl guilt” – that feeling inside that says maybe I should listen to this seemingly healthy person to see if they have the answers that I don’t. I mean, of course I don’t have any answers. I’m still fat. Um, naw. This doesn’t work like that.
That kind of “big girl guilt” implies that we don’t have a reason to stand up for ourselves because we “obviously don’t have ‘the answers.'” It also lends into that notion that says “only people who are cute by society’s standards have the right to have any pride or self-esteem orr self respect.” Well, considering how almost 70% of society is overweight and apparently clinging to standards of beauty that don’t represent them in the slightest… why would I cling to any notion that society brings me? I’m cool on that.
Once I knew I was on my way with losing weight, there were three people who knew for sure what I was doing – one of my sorority sisters, my male best friend and my Mom. That was it. Both my sorority sister and best friend were helping to guide me down separate sides of the road – one helping me to understand food, the other helping me to understand exercise – and my Mom was there to remind me of why I needed to keep my eyes on the prize: I needed to be around for my family. (See how the people who know and love you know what you “need?”)
If a person can’t bother to get to know you, what you do each day and what your life circumstances are, then trust me – they’re not qualified to give you advice on your weight or your health, no matter how many letters of the alphabet are at the end of their name. If a person can’t even bother to ask you what your workouts look like, or even ask if you do, in fact, work out? They shouldn’t be advising you on your fitness, and you shouldn’t be letting them. Don’t be afraid to take charge and let ’em know.