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Author Topic: Having Self-Esteem While Fat  (Read 27916 times)
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« Reply #75: March 23, 2011, 01:51:08 pm »

It can't even be about losing weight, it has to be about feeding my body what it needs.
It should always be about feeding our bodies what they need, IMO.  The trouble with centring weight loss is that it usually means depriving our bodies of what they need so as to get to a weight that's essentially arbitrary and based on our culture's esthetic standards rather than on needs/health.

Your post, and the responses, are a great opportunity to get back to those "Happy Fat Links" I was posting, because you and others kept saying things that made me think, "Hey, that reminds me of [site]" - I was just thinking last night that I'd let this thread slip off my radar, and, lo, here it is revived!  Since I'm not at home, I don't have access to my extensive collection of browser bookmarks, so some of what I'd like to include might have to wait until I go home next week, but I can include quite a few.

What comes immediately to mind when you speak of feeding your body what it needs (and some other things in your post) is Health At Every Size (HAES) - there are quite a few websites that relate to HAES, some of which have already been linked earlier in the thread, and you'll probably find lots more by Googling.

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What helps me? Is focusing on getting to know my body, as it is now. Focusing on feeling strong, energetic, and limber -- trusting that I can feel that way in this body. Yoga, when I can do it, is helpful, as is bellydance.
Many of the bloggers who write about HAES focus more on the food side, and re-learning how to eat competently (i.e., by knowing your body's needs and listening to what it tells you); there aren't as many that focus on the movement side - one that does that I've just recently discovered is Shaunta at Live Once, Juicy.  I've really been enjoying her posts about being a Defiant Athlete, because they challenge the common misconception that it's not enough to engage in athletic activities, one must be highly skilled/talented before one can "count" as an athlete.

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My belly means that pants don't fit right. Physics is against it.
Well, really, it's clothing manufacturers that construct clothing that doesn't match the variety of sizes and shapes that human bodies come in.  Nothing in physics says it's impossible to construct clothing that fits you, belly and all.

I know you didn't mean that physics made it impossible to do, it's just that, IMO, when we put it down to physics, we erase the responsibility of clothing manufacturers (furniture manufacturers, airlines, etc, etc) for the choices they make.  That's what fatphobia at the socially-endemic level is about - certain body types are normalized, and bodies that don't fit that norm are treated as deviant and not worth accommodating.

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What inspires me is people who encourage me to seek joy and to live my ideal life, right now, in this body. To not make enjoyment of my life conditional on looking a certain way. There was a discussion about the word empowerment in another thread, but in this case, it empowers me when someone encourages me to have fun with this body instead of to get serious about getting the old one back.
So very many Fat Acceptance/Body Positivity writers post about this that I'm just going to give links to some of the feeds that aggregate posts from FA blogs (some blogs are on more than one feed, but others are just on one, so while you'll see some duplication it's worth looking at all the feeds):
The Notes from the Fatosphere feed
The Fat Liberation feed
The Fat Chat feed
The Fierce Freethinking Fatties Feeds - FFF maintains a set of feeds, divided by subject matter.

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What irks me is when people make me feel like it's whiny nitpicking if I don't always love my body. Like I bought into something Cosmo told me. When I was 60 lbs less than I am now, it wasn't awesome. When I was 40 lbs less than I am now, it was terrific - it felt really, really perfect.  And this weight I am now, it isn't awesome. I've been some different weights, and I have experienced the range that is best for me. I miss that. I want that back. Not sure how that could possibly be offensive.  Huh
I think a lot of this must be because so many people have very binary thinking - something is either X, or it's Y/not-X; it can't be partway between, or some of each, or sometimes one and sometimes the other, or off that linear continuum altogether.  Either you love your body - everything about it, in all ways, and all the time - or you hate it.  So, if you're not always completely body-positive, they interpret it as meaning you must "really", deep down, feel negatively about it, and the body-positive talk is just a fake.

This sort of thing comes up quite a bit in the Fatosphere (that is, the whole FA blogosphere, not just the "Notes from..." feed), especially with popular bloggers who are seen as leaders or mentors - if they post about the things they aren't happy with about their bodies, there's always a contingent of folks who wail, "Oh, if this person who is so inspiring and positive doesn't always accept their own fat, what hope is there for me to ever learn self-acceptance?!?" and another contingent that yells, "Gotcha!"

Recently, Well-Rounded Mama posted Belly Thoughts and Further Belly Thoughts exploring the way that even those who are really strongly FA/body-positive can be body-ambivalent at times or about certain things about their bodies.  I completely agree with her that our ambivalence needs to be part of the conversation, and think she did a fabulous job bringing it up - but she did get hit by complaints about it, not as hard as I've often seen, at least not in the comments (I suspect she may have received private emails about it, because it's evident in the followup that she felt really assailed), but it's there.

I will note that, because bodies and their needs change over time and through different experiences, it's possible that 40-lbs-less wouldn't feel as perfect to you now as it did then - maybe what fits now would be, f'ex, 20 lbs less, or just where you're at weightwise but smaller in inches because of plenty of movement, or... well, that's kind of my point; I can note the possibility, but I'm not in your body so I can't tell whether it's changed or how; that's something only you can do.

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Also, people who assume that since I'm not my ideal weight, I must not know anything about nutrition, fitness, etc. It's disconcerting to so obviously look like someone who doesn't know even rudimentary things. So not only do I look lumpy and tired, I also look ignorant. That is the worst.
Well, you may look ignorant to them, but to me, they look ignorant.  They've almost certainly bought into at least one, and probably several, of the obesity myths (here's Ragen of Dances With Fat on The Calories In/Calories Out Myth, and since she writes about obseity myths quite a bit, it probably wouldn't take you long to find more; another great place for myth-debunking is Junkfood Science) - they may be up on the "common knowledge" about nutrition and fitness, but they don't even know something as rudimentary as all bodies are different.

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Those two things - either my mere 40 lbs being a slap in the face of someone who is dealing with a bigger weight problem, or that people will treat me like I'm an idiot - keep me from talking about it much in real life. So I dumped here; sorry.  Smiley
Nothing to be sorry about; this is TC's own little piece of the Fatosphere, where we do get to dump stuff like that.

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« Reply #76: March 23, 2011, 02:20:18 pm »

I've had similar experiences. I've gone shopping at a few plus sized stores that had some really great clothes. Unfortunately, it wasn't a really good experience for me. The women working there treated me as if I was insulting them by being there. Like I wasn't fat enough or something.
That's wrong on two levels - for one, it's just plain shitty customer service, for which complaints to management are justified.  For another... well, I'm guessing that they were mimicking the "you don't belong here, eww," snobbery that they may well have experienced in mainstream stores that don't carry plus sizes, but that's futile and rude; it's taking out resentment of a fatphobic system on someone who is also marginalized by fatphobia, and who doesn't have any more power over that system than they do.  (For that matter, it'd be futile and rude to take it out on a size-two-wearing woman who happened to go in to, say, shop for a present for her plus-size sister - thin people aren't the enemy, not as individuals; the enemy is the system itself.)

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« Reply #77: March 23, 2011, 02:25:06 pm »



When I was an assistant manager at a Lane Bryant store, my standard comment to "too thin" women who somehow mistakenly wandered in and then made disparaging comments about the merchandise and/or the "intended audience" was: "Earrings and purses fit everyone--and there's a great sale on right now! Did you look?"

Seriously--There's no excuse for poorly trained salespeople. Assuming that a "thin" person doesn't belong in the store is just as wrong as assuming that a woman doesn't belong in an auto-parts shop, or a man in a lingerie boutique. Good grief, people . . .
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« Reply #78: March 23, 2011, 02:29:38 pm »

My other beef is with the DOT.  It seems they want to start pulling the medical cards of drivers that have certain health conditions, obesity being one of them.  Thankfully, this hasn't happened yet.   My position is that if the government wants to legislate my health as a truck driver, then it needs to legislate Mc Donald's, etc. out of the truck stops. Most truck stops no longer have a real restaurant in them anymore.
Oh, this burns my fat butt SOOO MUCH!!!  Simply being fat is not a health condition - there are correlations between fatness and things that are health conditions, but no one has yet proven causation.  As for "obesity" being a "health condition" - what obesity is, is a category on the BMI scale, which... well, I got pointed yesterday to a great NPR item that covers a lot of what's wrong with the BMI.

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« Reply #79: March 23, 2011, 02:39:12 pm »

Wow, that sounds like a discrimination suit waiting to happen. Could they really do that? I could see them getting away with raising rates, but could they completely deny coverage?
DOT is the department of transportaion.  They make all the regulations that have to do with truck driving and change them periodically.  I haven't looked lately, but there was at one time a proposed rule to require a sleep study for a driver to get a medical card.  I do know that a person with 130/89 blood pressure is REQUIRED to be on blood pressure meds.  My doc at the time, didn't want to prescribe them for me, but for me to keep my medical card, I had to take them.  When I stopped driving, I stopped taking meds that I really didn't need and could have potentially caused my bp to drop too low.  Just another example of the government thinking it knows best.  BTW, to the best of my knowlege, the commitee that makes the regs doesn't include any doctors and I'm sure it doesn't include anyone that has ever actually driven a truck for a living.  If it did, then the regs would make more sense. 

The insurance provider I was referring to was from my insurance benefits that I had.  It doesn't seem to matter which company provides those benefits, they all make the same assumptions that everyone gets to go home at night.

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« Reply #80: March 23, 2011, 02:55:20 pm »

Jumping back to the finding-clothes-that-fit issue for a moment: A friend of mine who happens to be a TG BBW posted this on her FB wall earlier, and I think it might merit a look-see for those of you who have trouble finding clothes.

http://www.ComfortinFashion.com

I haven't looked myself, but she usually has great taste and is on a budget herself, so it seems plausibly useful to share.
Since I live in a fairly large city with quite a lot of brick-and-mortar options, I haven't yet bought anything online, but I love the way that online stores can expand my options even more.  I'm pretty certain I don't yet have that site in my link collection; I'm sure I'd remember it, because it looks like it fits my personal style very well.  Thanks!

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« Reply #81: March 23, 2011, 03:10:36 pm »

Since I live in a fairly large city with quite a lot of brick-and-mortar options, I haven't yet bought anything online, but I love the way that online stores can expand my options even more.  I'm pretty certain I don't yet have that site in my link collection; I'm sure I'd remember it, because it looks like it fits my personal style very well.  Thanks!

Sunflower

I hope it turns out to be a good one. While I've reached a healthy weight after years of working at it, to improve my chances of not becoming diabetic (rampant on both sides of my family), and I can now pretty much shop wherever I like, I still "see fat" more often than not when I look in a mirror and I remember all too well the difficulties I had when I wore a size 24-26.

I'm reading here, but I have little to contribute without feeling like I'm one of "Them." Doesn't mean I'm not interested, or that I can't relate--I just don't have the same issues, so I don't discuss much.
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« Reply #82: March 24, 2011, 10:07:47 am »

That's wrong on two levels - for one, it's just plain shitty customer service, for which complaints to management are justified.  For another... well, I'm guessing that they were mimicking the "you don't belong here, eww," snobbery that they may well have experienced in mainstream stores that don't carry plus sizes, but that's futile and rude; it's taking out resentment of a fatphobic system on someone who is also marginalized by fatphobia, and who doesn't have any more power over that system than they do.  (For that matter, it'd be futile and rude to take it out on a size-two-wearing woman who happened to go in to, say, shop for a present for her plus-size sister - thin people aren't the enemy, not as individuals; the enemy is the system itself.)

Sunflower

Oh, I completely agree with you. I get where that kind of attitude comes from. I probably should have had a talk with the manager, but it didn't seem worth it at the time. I just wanted to get out of there. All I could think about was, if I can't shop here, and I can't shop there, am I supposed to run around naked?
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« Reply #83: March 24, 2011, 11:07:56 am »


Ok, so now I have to dump some frustrations here.

About a month ago I bought some clothes that actually fit me at the time. Two days ago I went to put them on and they were too tight, so I got on the scale. I've gained more weight despite more careful eating habits and increased activity. I'm at the point where I feel really bad, physically. My ankles hurt, my back hurts, just carrying laundry up and down the stairs is a real challenge.

I really believe my synthroid needs to be increased. The last time I saw my endo, I was at 2.8.  I was feeling pretty ok for a while, but not now. She keeps telling to me to exercise more and eat less, and she may be right, but I know there's more going on here.

Anyway, I've decided to try an experiment. I know 4 people who are doing weight watchers, my sister included (for pregnant women), and they are all doing really well on it so I've decided to give it a shot. I've also started a regular workout routine. Nothing drastic, I know my limits and won't overdo it, but a regular routine that I can track.

My next appointment with my endo is scheduled for mid May, that gives me about 7 weeks to track any changes, or lack of changes. If at the end of these weeks my weight hasn't come down at least a little bit, I'll have some proof for her that this drastic weight gain is a symptom of another problem. If she won't change my dose, I'm done. I'm finding a new doctor.

The funny thing is, yesterday I went through my day eating what I would normally eat. When I went to log it in, I was right where I was supposed to be! So, I'm already doubtful that my food choices are the source for the weight gain.

I had a freaking breakdown yesterday, wound up crying like a baby because I feel so crappy all of the time. This isn't like me at all. This shit has got to stop, I really can't take feeling this way anymore. And it really sucks that I have to provide proof before I can get any help from my doctor!

Honestly, I don't expect to ever be the size that I was before all of this started. I'd be happy to get back down to 160 if I could. At least then I could do normal things without feeling so wiped out at the end of the day.

The whole thing is pissing me off. Not because of how I look, but because of how I feel.
 
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« Reply #84: March 24, 2011, 11:31:14 am »

I've gained more weight despite more careful eating habits and increased activity. I'm at the point where I feel really bad, physically. My ankles hurt, my back hurts, just carrying laundry up and down the stairs is a real challenge.

I think your intuition is correct - it really sounds to me like there is something physical going on: weight increases in my opinion shouldn't wear on your joints that fast and also I think it is unlikely that you suddenly increase that much in weight just because of your eating pattern when the pattern actually hasn't changed that much and even steadied.
(Is it possible you shift the appointment to an earlier date? Seven weeks seems a while.)

Good wishes to you anyways.
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« Reply #85: March 24, 2011, 12:45:07 pm »


(Is it possible you shift the appointment to an earlier date? Seven weeks seems a while.)

Good wishes to you anyways.


No, she's pretty booked up and she travels back and forth to India on a fairly regular basis. It's pretty hard to change appointments. I've also changed my health insurance, so I'm waiting on new cards, etc. before I can get my blood work done. That has to happen before my appointment. Who knows, maybe this time my tests will show something new. In any case, I can make it the 7 weeks. At least I'll have almost 2 months of tracking my diet and exercise to show her by then.

Thanks for the good wishes!
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« Reply #86: March 24, 2011, 01:43:54 pm »

She keeps telling to me to exercise more and eat less, and she may be right, but I know there's more going on here.

Anyway, I've decided to try an experiment. I know 4 people who are doing weight watchers, my sister included (for pregnant women), and they are all doing really well on it so I've decided to give it a shot. I've also started a regular workout routine. Nothing drastic, I know my limits and won't overdo it, but a regular routine that I can track.

My next appointment with my endo is scheduled for mid May, that gives me about 7 weeks to track any changes, or lack of changes. If at the end of these weeks my weight hasn't come down at least a little bit, I'll have some proof for her that this drastic weight gain is a symptom of another problem. If she won't change my dose, I'm done. I'm finding a new doctor.
Considering that the "eat less, move more" formula is an oversimplification at best, I'd say, yeah, there is indeed more going on.  And from your description of what's going on - low energy as well as weight gain, pain - it's got "thyroid issues" written all over it.  It seems pretty evident that you're one of those for whom the standard-issue "normal" numbers are not an accurate measure (as per the "First Do No Harm" article I gave you the link for in your thyroid thread).

Like Inca, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the seven week gap - on the one hand, it seems like a good timespan for the WW experiment, long enough to be meaningful but not so long that it's likely to involve significant harm (but let's keep this thread alive so you've got someplace to counteract the weight-shaming!); on the other, I can see you getting more and more weary over that time even if you weren't restricting food.  But since there's no possibility of moving it up, I guess you're stuck with it - the only other alternative I see is to not wait to see what happens at the appointment, but find a new endo immediately (or anyway as soon as your health insurance cards come).  Honestly, I'm of the opinion that'd be a good course of action - it sounds to me like your current endo is a fool.  (Not questioning your choice to do it that way; you know all the little details of why you'd prefer to do it the way you are, and I don't.)

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Honestly, I don't expect to ever be the size that I was before all of this started. I'd be happy to get back down to 160 if I could. At least then I could do normal things without feeling so wiped out at the end of the day.
I strongly suspect you could have normally active days without feeling so wiped out even if you didn't drop a single ounce, if your system was getting enough synthroid.

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« Reply #87: March 24, 2011, 02:19:20 pm »

And when I caught up on my feeds yesterday (which was after I'd been on TC), I saw two brand-new posts that really made me think of the recent themes of this thread.  So they're my Happy Fat Links of the Day for today:

Marianne Kirby at The Rotund has a very long post about Where Do You Buy Your Clothes; The Simple Answer and the Not So Simple Answer - heaps of good stuff there not just about places to shop (US-centric) but about the whole wardrobe-building process.  It's a kind of followup to her immediately-previous post Curating My Own Image, in which she posted all her outfit pics from "Fatshion February", which gives visuals for what she's talking about.

And Meems of I'm Done With This Shit posted the similarly-very-long The Importance of Being Inbetweenie, a fabulous description of precisely how fatphobia is (and isn't) experienced by those for whom the clothes in the mainstream stores are often too small, and the clothes in the plus-size stores are often too big.  There's more to both the post and to being an inbetweenie than just clothes, of course, but that's the simplest and clearest way to describe it.

Sunflower
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« Reply #88: March 24, 2011, 02:48:51 pm »

It seems pretty evident that you're one of those for whom the standard-issue "normal" numbers are not an accurate measure (as per the "First Do No Harm" article I gave you the link for in your thyroid thread).
Sunflower

Sure does seem that way, doesn't it?

Quote
Considering that the "eat less, move more" formula is an oversimplification at best, I'd say, yeah, there is indeed more going on.  And from your description of what's going on - low energy as well as weight gain, pain - it's got "thyroid issues" written all over it. 

I know, it seems so obvious! I honestly don't understand why she's being so very conservative about my dosage. I'm not an idiot, if I start having symptoms of being over medicated, she'd be the first to know.

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Like Inca, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the seven week gap - on the one hand, it seems like a good timespan for the WW experiment, long enough to be meaningful but not so long that it's likely to involve significant harm (but let's keep this thread alive so you've got someplace to counteract the weight-shaming!); on the other, I can see you getting more and more weary over that time even if you weren't restricting food.

It's true, 7 weeks does seem kind of far away, but I'm going to be very careful and keep a log of how I'm feeling day to day. If it looks like the WW diet is doing more harm than good I'll stop. I'm certainly not going to make myself sicker just to be smaller. All the fat shaming in the world won't make me do that. Smiley

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Honestly, I'm of the opinion that'd be a good course of action - it sounds to me like your current endo is a fool.

I can't help but wonder if she isn't hearing me because she's fat too. I mean, when I talk to her I'm talking about my energy level, my level of concentration, pain, all of it as a whole. But as soon as I bring up weight, she seems to shut down a little. Does that make sense? I don't think she's understanding that I see this as a symptom of something else that's wrong. I think maybe she sees a woman who just wants to be thin and she's so worried about giving me too much medication, that she isn't giving me enough. In any case, it's not currently a good doctor patient relationship.

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I strongly suspect you could have normally active days without feeling so wiped out even if you didn't drop a single ounce, if your system was getting enough synthroid.

Me too. I really believe that none of this is going to get any better until I have the right dose of synthroid. But I figure I should at least try to make some changes, just in case it helps.
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« Reply #89: March 24, 2011, 03:21:26 pm »

I'm certainly not going to make myself sicker just to be smaller. All the fat shaming in the world won't make me do that. Smiley
I was thinking, when I mentioned fat-shaming, of the way it can wear you down emotionally.  I figured you'd drop the experiment if you were feeling worse.

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I can't help but wonder if she isn't hearing me because she's fat too. I mean, when I talk to her I'm talking about my energy level, my level of concentration, pain, all of it as a whole. But as soon as I bring up weight, she seems to shut down a little. Does that make sense? I don't think she's understanding that I see this as a symptom of something else that's wrong. I think maybe she sees a woman who just wants to be thin and she's so worried about giving me too much medication, that she isn't giving me enough. In any case, it's not currently a good doctor patient relationship.
Hmm, interesting - and complicated.  Hard to say if the problem is that she has a lot of internalized fatphobia/body hate and is projecting it (as in, she yearns to be thinner, and assumes every other fat woman wants that too), or if she's FA at that stage, or in that way, that's super-resistant about anything that seems like "diet talk", or just what.  Whichever it is, I don't care much for the way it seems to be interfering with her ability to recognize weight gain as a symptom of lack of thyroid/synthroid; that's awfully basic in her field - but OTOH, if you find her to be a good doctor otherwise, and you can muster the mental energy for it, it might be worth having a long (and complicated) conversation with her to get it sorted out and improve the doctor/patient relationship.

Sunflower
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