While researching my book, I
did some reviews of national stores on the local level. This included
dragging my friends to many mall trips. Mostly I looked at the bigger
department stores and the smaller plus size stores. I already knew
that most of the smaller stores especially the trendy/chic ones
didn’t carry plus sizes or like H&M carried had them in
microscopic ghettos. One place I went into, I looked at the high
prices and the tiny sweaters and walked out without a word.
On one mall trip, my friend dragged
me over to the very good looking male model in front of Abercrombie
and Fitch (A&F). The model was a sweet young man who was nice to
me the fat girl and my friend with a thin body and nerdy glasses.
I didn’t go into A&F because I
didn't have to ask if they had plus sizes. The buff men and thin
women adored on the store made me realize this store was for thin
people only especially thin women. I’ve many times been dragged
into thin people only stores where I noticed women’s clothes rarely
go to large and men can go to XXL meaning these stores cater to fat
men by accident because they really want muscular ones.
The CEO of A&F has said
they don’t make clothes for fat people because they make clothes
for cool people and fat people are not cool. “In every
school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the
not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the
cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great
attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our
clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary?
it or not I admire his honesty. Almost all of these
stores aimed at the young and trendy carry small sizes and I don’t
mean just Junior Miss sizes, I mean small sizes. Even stores with
sizes up to 16, such as the Gap are a rare animal with an abundant
amount of extra smalls. These stores fear that if fat people wore
their clothes it would no longer be considered trendy except
forgetting that 2/3 of the people of the US are considered fat. I
assume the inflated prices marketed to niche stereotypes is enough to keep them afloat.
Instead I will talk about not being
in the cool club. At no time in my life was I ever in the "cool"
club. I don't have styled hair, do my eye brows, get regularly
mani-pedis, I barely shave, I don't wear trendy clothes (I wear
clothes because I like them), only occasionally wearing some freakier
outfits because I need a change. My worst offense is refusing to try
to lose weight.
You see, being trendy, the fitting
in into a tiny cookie cutter, is something I have always refused to
do. I refused to be told what to like or wear. Sure clothing shopping
has become a disaster and I'm certain I've lost getting a job being a
hairy fat-ass, but I despise the idea of being someone I'm not. I've
gotten several troll comments that I play sour grapes, that I really
want to be thin but it isn't true.
Not only A&F is labeling the
"uncool" kids but the people who wear their clothes as
vapid, mean bullies which I am sure they are not. I don’t believe
it of the nice male model outside the store. He is not vapid, I am
not a label.
Of course just because this fool has
no power over me, doesn't mean he can say mean things without
But (Robin, author of the A&F
book the quote comes from ) Lewis says it's a model that may not fit
the future. Plus-sized shoppers now make up 67 percent of consumers.
"I think the young people
today want cool, but as they define it themselves," Lewis said.
From Dove's "Real Beauty"
campaign - highlighting real women - to H&M's inclusion of
plus-sized swimsuit model Jennie Runk, many other brands are
embracing that individualism and making their clothes more
accessible. For example, rival retailers H&M and American Eagle
both carry sizes up to 16 and 18. The largest at Abercrombie &
Fitch is a 10.
I urge people of all sizes not to
buy anything from Abercrombie and Fitch, no clothes, no accessories,
nothing. And if you have A&F clothes, be sure to donate them to
the poor or a fat chick. I might wear one of these tiny tee shirts as
a tank tube.
When I was
in Weight Watchers, we talked about alternative low calorie foods we could eat in lieu of high calories stuff. One, I remember fondly was boiling
cauliflower to mush, adding a pat of butter (one fat exchange) and it
would taste just like potatoes.
didn’t. There was just no way to make cauliflower taste like potatoes. Sure if you mashed it up good, it could potentially pass for mashed potatoes
but once it went in your mouth, your brain immediately knew it
wasn’t. Believe or not I liked the mashed cauliflower but when I’m
craving a potato, I want a potato and if I didn’t have my one
potato, somewhere down the line I wouldn't be able to stop eating potatoes.
Last week I
talked about learning the difference between healthy eating and
sometimes it’s okay to give into a cravings.
I want to talk about the difference between the Diets and diet.
When I used
the capital D, I mean Diets whose sole purpose is for you to lose weight. These diets are often less calories than your body needs and
have a long term large failure rate. They can also cause weight cycling with is
detrimental to your health, low self esteem. It is a 60 billion
dollar industry that wants to make sure it keeps its money. This is the Cauliflower masquerading as mash potatoes.
means what you generally eat every day. For example my diet (little d)
is of lean meats, veggies, fruits, complex carbohydrates and a some
simple carbohydrates for my enjoyment. Instead of listening to a Diet plan made up by people who have never met me or know anything about my body (except that I was fat, therefore a potential cash cow), I listened to my body and came up with a diet that would suit it. Healthy foods that run it well, occasionally delicious treats that improved my mood and made me not feel deprived without worry if this would make me gain weight or help me lose it.
When I say
Diets don’t work (Link last years don’t diet), I always mean
weight loss Diets.
Today is International No Dieting Day. May 6th is a day to chuck that Big D diet. The way that tells you that you are worthless unless you lose weight.
Remember when your body wants a potato, let it have one and give it as side order of cauliflower not because you will lose weight but it's good for you.
As I get older, I have noticed that I tolerate certain foods less and less well. Gluten, Soy, and corn seem to be my chief culprits with corn being the worst. Corn will makes me nauseous, get headaches and overall feel oogy. Soy and nuts have the same effect as corn but not as bad.
I figured out long ago that Soy and corn caused issues so I avoided them. I once saw a natureopathic doctor who asked if I would be willing to give up gluten to see how I felt. I told her I had a hard time giving up foods because I associate that with dieting. She asked me to try, so I did.
Given up gluten has caused me to have less heartburn and indigestion. So I decided to give it up, for the most part permanently. The same as I have for soy and corn. It doesn't mean I never have any of the three but I try to avoid them. After cutting them out of my diet (little d), I find that I have fewer stomach issues and headaches, and less nausea. As far as I know I have not lost any weight.
There is a disturbing trend right now of people giving up gluten to lose weight. While I'm glad this trend has created a market of gluten free products, giving up gluten isn't dieting.
Next week is International No Dieting where I will post reasons you shouldn't diet. But this week I want to talk about learning the difference between what is secret dieting vs becoming a healthy eater and listenng to your body.
This is why I am disturbed by the gluten free trend. Unless you have an adverse reaction to gluten, you should eat it without issue. It's not going to make you thin at all and unless you're gluten intolerant or have celiacs, it is a waste of your money and time.
“Despite recent popularity, celebrity endorsements and an increase in availability and sales of gluten-free (GF) foods, there is no published experimental evidence to support benefits for a GF diet for the general population,” said Taraneh Soleymani, M.D., assistant professor in the departments of Nutrition Sciences andMedicine and interim medical director of UAB EatRight. “Some GF foods can even be high in fat and calories.”
Eating healthy should never be linked with weight loss because eating healthy has no guarantee of weight loss or thinness. Sure some people may cut out junk and lose a little weight but changing eating habits most likely will not make you thin. Most of these diets that involve cutting out a certain food group are usually low calorie diets which work on the short term but have proven to not work for most people in the short run
If you are trying to decide whether this change is for. Am you eliminating one type of food group entirely because it is decedant/Rich/High calories/or guilting over eating it and that you will lose weight if cut it out? You should not be eliminating any food group unless you have an adverse body reaction. Of course there are a lot of foods out there that isn't healthy for you. Common sense says we shouldn't have McDonalds for every meal. But common sense means thinking about your body and how it functions. I know that if I ate fast food at everymeal, I would get sick quickly but this doesn't mean I should never have junkfood. It just means I need to be intuned with my body, giving it what it needs and occassionally giving it some food that has empty calories because it wants it.
Golda from Bodylove Wellness somes that up in her blog post about emotional eating.
I find that, for myself, I feel best if I don’t eat really sweet stuff too often. If I have a real hankering for something, I’ll have it, but in the last few years or so I just don’t get those hankerings that much.
For almost a year, I’ve been trying to buy a
nice suit. I don’t like to buy online because I don’t fit the
cookie cutter body of even plus size wear and going to the post office to
return anything is one of my levels of hell.
I've pretty much given up
on department stores ever having plus size business wear, not to
mention the poor quality of materials, or the fact Macy limits which
malls have plus size wear other than sweat pants (they should just stain it with chocolate ice cream to complete the stereotype). Plus size stores have sizes but not the selection. It's disturbing that a person size 12 and under can find a variety of styles. I bet it would be easier to find a business suit in maternity wear that in regular plus size.
My solution will most
likely have to be to go to an expensive boutique. The good thing is I have the finances to
purchase something from them without breaking the bank.
But I have to wonder about my poorer sisters
who don’t money to buy a nice suit and have to hope the outfit they
pick from the internet fits or hope for a lucky find at a
department or close out store. I have to wonder when I hear about fat
people in poverty. Is it because it’s so hard to find affordable,
nice clothes that they look like a joke at an interview? There’s a reason why the only time I was somewhat
fashionable (or at least wearing clothes other than jeans and a
tee-shirt as I considered myself a fashion misfit who refuses to wear
trendy clothes) was when I had access to the plus size consignment
store Re/Dress and the Fat Girl’s Flea Market. The loss of Re/Dress
(which BTW is reopening as a Fab online store and maybe even a brick
and mortar one) left me to really only have the Fat Girl’s
Flea Market (Now called to the Big Fat Flea for so fatties of all genders
can have clothes.)
I love the Big Fat Flea. Even as someone who
hates crowds and last year because it was on Mother’s day I had to go
in the mad rush beginning, I went home with a decent amount of
clothes, but no suit. While they have lots of clothes and I
always come home with a variety of clothes, finding exactly what
I need is again luck. Still it’s sad that I have to get the
majority of clothes from them because the department stores and most
plus size stores have failed me.
The Big Fat Flea is coming back to New York
City on June 9th in a new Venue at New York University Law School.
(BTW NYU Press is the publisher of the fabulous Fat Studies Reader). If
you live in the area, get yourself there. Buy entire new wardrobes
for next to nothing and tell the department stores to suck it.
If you gave any doctor a copy of my blood test results, how much and what I ate most days, and how much exercise I did, without actually seeing me, they would correctly assume that I am metabolically healthy. If my weight, BMI or waist circumference were added, all bets would be off. I might be told I will get diabetes, heart disease and cancer any minute.
Lately there has been in influx of articles about companies penalizing employees for "Perceived health issues." Two weeks ago it was CVS, now it is Michelin tires. Other companies according to the Wall Street Journal are joining the bandwagon.
This is a terrifying and disturbing trend for many reasons:
1. It removes genetics completely and pressures people to do dangerous dieting and take medications or get procedures they may not need. Many diseases can respond to lifesyle changes but not all do.
2. It assumes you're are unhealthy based on often arbitrary numbers.
3. It gives your employer way too much access to your private life outside of work.
4. It's a slippery slope. Many people have diseases that no matter what they do that don't go away. Before you know it it won't just been the smoker or those with a fat belly but those with autoimmune diseases or cancer (or has the genes to get it.)
5. It gives the impression that fat people are deliberately trying to be unhealthy. I spent 17 years trying to be thin (as I thought that meant healthy). I only started making real strides in improving my health when I stopped dieting.
6. Companies who do this do not care at all for their workers. Their workers are chattle and all they care about is how much money they make. For example Alternet posted an article that CVS has the highest prices for generic prescriptions. Costco has the lowest. Why the difference? Maybe because Costco pays a fair wage, decent benefits and still makes a nice profit.
In the meantime there is another petition this time against Michelin I urge you to sign it.
Roger Ebert, best known as a film critic for the show At the Movies has died of cancer at age 70. Roger Ebert wasn't a size acceptance activist, he tended to respond to criticsim. In one review he refereed to the different between plus size women and fat women were plus size women knew how to dress well and carry themselves where fat women did not. Activist Lesley Kinzel called him out on this and was surprised to get a response:
The shocking part happened when Ebert tweeted about my post, and then emailed me directly to assure me he had meant well, and to compliment and thank me for my “thoughtful and honest” writing. ROGER EBERT WAS THANKING ME. FOR CRITICIZING HIM.
Despite his long career as a film critic, his Pulitzer price, his creation (along with Gene Siskel) of the thumbs up/down, he was constantly ridiculed about his weight. Anything from the ribbing by Gene Siskel (Roger would zing him back) to outright insults.
He took it all with a lot of class.
Speaking of class. Samoa airlines has decided to treat fat people as second class citizens by forcing them to pay by how much they weigh.
Like many Pacific island nations, Samoa has a serious obesity problem and is often included in the top 10 countries for obesity levels. As such, Mr Langton believes his airline's new payment policy will also help promote health and obesity awareness.
As I mentioned manymanymany times on this blog, stigma doesn't work. Stigma doesn't cause weight loss and instead makes fat people more miserable and less likely to undertake healthy habits. Samoa is a country that is the perfect example of how Health at Every Size is better than any weight loss program. The people of Samoa have always been big but it was not until they imported the western diet that they faced a steady decline in positive health outcomes.
On Saturday I attended the Just Foodconference. It was a two day event Friday and Saturday. I couldn't go Friday because I had to work. Just Food's mission is to promote sustainability in regards to food and water as well as usage of local and organic foods. Just Food does a lot of work with CSA, Community Gardens, farm schools etc.
I joked with my husband that I hoped that I wouldn't hear the O word during the conference. He responded the first person who mentioned it I should go up and punch them.
It didn't take long (Not to punch someone, I had not intention of hitting anyone).
I discovered that I had missed a panel on Friday from the NYC Obesity Taskforce. Had I known about it previously I might have taken the day off and gone both days. This is how the panel is described in the program:
Curious about the New York City Obesity Task Force plan to prevent and control obesity? The plan includes the identification of 15 municipal sites suitable for urban agriculture projects throughout the City’s five boroughs, which will be made available through GreenThumb for the participatory installation of new community gardens. Come participate in design charrette of an example site and discuss design elements and site development challenges.
Then came keynote speaker filmmaker Bryon Hurt who directedSoul Food Junkies. I will make a disclaimer that I haven't see the movie yet (I intend to). The movie examines the director's father refusing to change his eating habits despite a diagnosis of aggressive cancer, the history of Soul Food, and access to healthy foods, particularly in minority neighborhoods. In his talk, something the director wanted to do was a movie like Food Inc, King Corn, Supersize me, The Future of Food, and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead but with a focus on the black community. The director did make a point that he tries not to be judgemental in the movie.
But the real question is this: what happens when we remove the subject of fatness from both events? The first one no longer becomes a program of making fat people thin but creating community gardens. The second becomes a talk about getting people better access to health foods. (BTW one of the clips Mr. Hurt showed during his talk is of a woman complaining that the vegetables in her local market are "pathetic." She complained, she met resistance, the quality of the produce improved.)
Community gardens, healthy eating, access to health food is the focus of any coherent health plan for the country, or it should be. Once you remove that idea and limit your focus to making fat people thin, we lose everything.
According to The Huffington Post, Mrs. Obama told her hangout audience, "I have two young daughters. We never talk about weight. I make it a point. I don't want our children to be weight-obsessed. I want them to be focused on: What do I have to do, in this body --because everybody is different, every person's body is different-- what do I have to do to be the healthiest that I can be."
A few jobs ago, I had health insurance from a company who would give me $100 if I went to the gym 50 times in 6 months. I took advantage of this 3 times, a strategy which allowed me to save $300 on my gym membership. Another job had a small on-site gym and free weekly yoga classes. Both of which I took advantage. Another place I worked had free fitness classes, walking groups, and nutrition lectures. My current health insurance company give me discounts on vitamins, gyms, massages, and yes even diet programs.
These are incentives. I have an option of doing them or not. If I don't participate, I lose out only on free or inexpensive ways to make myself healthy.
CVS drug stores have recently announced that all their employees must submit their weight, glucose levels, blood pressure, and body fat to a "third party" or face a penality of $600.
This isn't an incentive. They aren't offering a free Amazon card for submitting, they are penalizing their employees for refusing to submit.
“This is an incredibly coercive and invasive thing to ask employees to do,” said Patient Privacy Rights founder Dr. Deborah Peel, adding that mounting health care costs have made these policies increasingly common.
CVS responded that this is an incentive, and they don't plan to do anything with the information. They are merely concerned about the health of their employees.
Our initial request three years ago was that employees take a first step toward better health by getting a private health screening with the provider of their choice. But we realized many more people needed to participate. So this year, we made our incentive clearer, by letting employees know how much their premiums would go up if they didn't get screened. -- From CVS's facebook page March 20, 2013
Essentially if the employees don't get a "voluntary" health screen, they wouldn't get the incentive of not getting a penalty.
I have to wonder why CVS has decided they need this information so badly they have to threaten their employees. Could this be a slippery slope of getting rid of people deemed "sick?" Considering that they've already told their smoking employees to quit smoking or be in a program (Which is amusing considering that CVS sells cigarettes.)
Smokers working for CVS are also warned: “You must either be tobacco-free by May 1, 2014, or participate in the WebMD tobacco cessation program.” Defiant smokers can avoid penalties if they are healthy enough in other categories specified by the company.
I can almost see the fat employees who have to either become thin or enrolled in a weight loss plan. Next diabetics will have to control their sugar or else. Fuck genetics.
I've decided to pull all my perscriptions from CVS over this. Please sign this petition to let CVS know not only is this not acceptable but we won't be using them until they change their policy.
Lately there has been signs all over the NYC subway toting a weight loss surgery group that claims 6000 happy customers, virtually scarless and a happy man or woman who has lost 65 or so pounds and now is happy, dresses better and slender. Their website has nothing that I can find about long term success or side effects. All they have for pre-op is psychological evaluations and hints for post op nutrition. No mention of follow up surgeries, sepsis, malabsorption, and death. Not just from the surgery but WLS patients have a higher rate of suicide.
I know people who have WLS and the results so far have been good (or at least minimal side effects), bad and deadly. Shelley Bond of ASDAH posts about the illnesses she developed after WLS in her blog post here.
What sort of costs am I talking about just for me, who hasn’t had to have any subsequent surgeries or hospitalizations? Prior to surgery—and since my mid-20s—I’ve been treated for hypertension. Post-surgery, my blood pressure never really went down, and over the years my BP meds have changed and increased, all of which involved many doctor visits and medications.
I didn’t have diabetes at the time of surgery, but I developed it about a year ago, which surprised me: I didn’t know it was possible to get diabetes sometime after having WLS. This disease involves specialist visits every quarter, along with many fine drugs and monitors and testing strips. And diabetes comes with its own set of possible side effects which can be costly and life-changing, resulting in surgeries, hospitalizations and expensive medical equipment. Diabetes appears to be a pricey disease for the insured and the insurer.
I can't force a person not to do it, but I can write about the sham that this group touts to make it seem like WLS surgery is the simple and fun! I once heard a joke about fat people who get WLS as taking the easy way out. And I groaned. This surgery isn't easy.
In the nutrition section of the WLS group they talk about having to learn healthy eating to keep your weight loss. What they don't mention is that you will have to eat less because your body won't be able to handle it.
Being fat is often blamed for everything, all diseases, all high health care costs but if you want to talk about the bottom line for WLS, the only people getting richer are the surgeons, it's not only not dropping health care cost, in the long run it is going up.
Surgical patients had lower healthcare costs in the first year after
surgery, averaging about $1,000 lower per case, according to Jonathan P.
Weiner, DrPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and
co-authors. During the next 2 years, bariatric surgery was associated
with significantly higher healthcare costs. In years 4 through 6, costs
stabilized but remained higher in the surgery cohort for 2 of the 3
So for those who have decided they wanted weight loss surgery please understand it isn't fluffy bunnies. It is a serious surgery on a major organ that can cause terrible side effects and death. And it requires serious life changes that you must always adhere to.