Showing posts from May, 2018

Advocating for Yourself at the Doctor

My family had to switch insurance recently. That meant doing the thing that I hate the most ─ finding a new primary care provider. I dreaded it and stressed over it for months. Then I had my first appointment this week.

I needed to get in quickly to get a particular vaccination, so I took the first available appointment with the first available doctor. He was not one I would have picked for myself, since he specialized in men's health and sports medicine. Ugh ─ my experience is that sports specialists are very biased about people of size. I uneasily anticipated a fight over weight loss, weighing regularly, and lectures about nutrition, dieting, etc. I went in primed for a fight.

I am so happy to report I was totally wrong. Not that we were in total agreement about everything, but he listened very respectfully to my point of view and conceded some arguments. He took a very long time in my appointment, much longer than I expected, in order to get a very complete history, and he was ve…

CrossFit Gym Confuses Fat Shaming With Advertising

CrossFit Logan Martin in Pell City, Alabama has put up a sign that says “Tired of being fat and ugly? Just be ugly.” When people pointed out that being in the business of appearance-based shaming is not a great look for a gym (or, you know, anyone,) owner Scott White decided his best move was to tell the people who he targeted with his offensive ad how they should feel and react:“Come in and talk to me. We’re super nice. I get along with everybody. I love everyone. We’re a Christian-based gym. And so a message of love is what we preach here. You know you can’t take yourself too seriously. Especially when it comes to a fitness journey.”I’m not feeling the love there Scott (or the “super nice-ness”) and you’ve made it very clear how you feel about people who look like me, so the absolute last thing I’m going to do is walk into your gym to talk to people who put up this sign and then defended it. What I am feeling is that you think it’s perfectly ok to harm fat people. I’m feeling that y…

On the Fat Studies MOOO

As a Fat Studies academic, I’m delighted at the number of undergrad and grad students who are interested in studying Fat Studies. I’ve met them all over the world! Some want to take a course or two, some wish for a qualification in the discipline, and some would hope to acquire a terminal degree.Unfortunately, nowhere in the world can you earn a qualification in Fat Studies. Some FS courses exist, mainly in the US, but neoliberal Universities are culling disciplines such as Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, Indigenous Studies – not supporting new ones. That’s why it’s important we support each other in our quest to study – learn – build – the discipline of Fat Studies. We share texts, we host conferences, we cultivate FB groups and Tumblrs, we share our lived experiences and connect with one another as best we can.For my part, I act as an unofficial supervisor to many PhD students around the world; allowing them a space to talk about our epistemologies, and methodologies, and ontologies…

Downsides of Diet Culture

Picture of a adorable pug named Biscuit walking toward the camera saying “If I want the Food Police I’ll call Pie-1-1” Today a new blog reader asked me “I’ve heard you talk about “diet culture” but what do you mean when you say that, I mean, what are the downsides?” Well, unless you are one of the people profiting from diet culture, it’s pretty much nothing but downside. Still let’s look at some specifics:Conflates size and health, pathologizes some body sizesDiet culture sells the lie that weight and health are the same thing (despite the fact that it’s plainly observable that there are healthy and unhealthy people of all sizes – knowing, of course, that health isn’t an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or entirely into our control.)  Diet culture seeks to pathologize body sizes (with terms like “overweight,” and “obese”) because it creates a greater market for diet products that don’t work.Encourages following external rules about what, when, and how much to eatDiet culture tries …

Asking For Accommodations As A Fat Person

This popped up in three Facebook messages from readers at virtually the same time today, so I decided it was a sign to post about it. One reader did her research to make sure that a destination that she wants to check out at on vacation is accessible, but is worried about how to ask for it when the time comes. Another was uncomfortable at the doctor’s office because they don’t have many fat friendly chairs (don’t even get me started about fat people and chairs,) and the ones they had were taken up by thin people. The third wanted to know when it’s appropriate to ask for accommodations (spoiler alert: you are obviously never obligated to ask for accommodations, but it’s appropriate to ask whenever you need them!)Asking for accommodations can bring up a lot of emotions – stress, embarrassment, shame, fear, anger, guilt.  I think that one massive problem is that we’ve been told that asking for accommodations is asking for some kind of favor or special treatment above and beyond what ever…

When Is It Ok To Be Fat?

Recently I’ve seen a lot of people saying things like “It’s ok to be fat as long as you’re happy with your body”  or “It’s ok to be fat as long as you’re healthy.”  The idea being that if a fat person is not happy with their body, or not healthy (by whatever definition we’re using) then it’s time to try to become thinner. So I’m reposting this post as a reminder of exactly when it’s ok to be fat.First of all, we know that being unhappy with our bodies and having health issues are not exclusive to fat people – there are people of all sizes who hate their bodies, and people of all sizes with health issues, which means that being thin can neither be a sure preventative, nor a sure cure. The idea that if a thin person is unhappy with their body or is not “healthy” then they should focus on things that would make them happier and/or healthier, but that a fat person in the same situation should focus on being thin is sketchy at best.And that doesn’t even take into account that the most comm…

Grey’s Anatomy, WLS, and the Thin/Fat Double Standard

I was watching an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy (I think it might even be from the first season.) That illustrates perfectly an issue that is still happening in the double standard of care between thin and fat people.In the episode, a girl with an extremely critical and overbearing mother is discovered to have gone to Mexico to have secret Weight Loss Surgery. (Note that this practice is still happening, for example, it was recently discovered that the owners of LuLaRoe were profiting from sending fat consultants to Mexico to have their stomachs amputated.)The players here are: Dr. Bailey, the resident who is supervising Dr. Grey, who is an intern. Claire is the patient. Let’s take it bit by bit.After discovering that the girl had surgical scars,  Dr. Grey gets the required scans and shows them to Dr. Bailey where they note that she has had a stomach amputation.Bailey: Is this girl fat?Grey: Not at all, she’s a normal college kid.WT Actual F?  “Normal college kid” is not the opposite …

Health is Wealth – FML

Content Warning: I mention and use images to discuss and take apart the things people attribute to being healthy or unhealthy, I do not believe these things as I explain below. My use of said images is meant to be sarcastic and in no way promotes this toxic bullshit, I assure you.WHO THOUGHT THIS BS UP?! IT’S TERRIBLE! STOP!!!“Health is wealth, and I’m broke, so that’s all I’m after! Ha-ha!” he said with a hearty chuckle after no less than three people stood around my desk talking about their individual and collective weight loss successes and how they each achieved it in different ways. I wanted to growl at them, loudly. There’s no use in reasoning with people like this. The one with manners then apologized to me for being so distracting. If only they knew how absolutely full of shit each of them truly is! Ha-ha! The “Health is wealth” one admitted they no longer eat dinner and only half the lunch portion they used to consume. The classier of the three gets just shy of evangelizing, …

Is There A Connection Between Fat and Cancer?

More and more we are seeing the suggestion that being fat is connected to having cancer. Some lie and say that research shows the being fat causes cancer. Some are slightly less dishonest and say that being fat is related to higher rates of some cancers. So what is true here? Let’s take a closer look.What are they actually studying?These studies look for correlations between larger bodies and types of cancer. Correlation means that the two things often (but not necessarily always) happen at the same time, not that one thing causes the other. In fact, the first thing you learn when you study research is that “correlation never ever, never ever, never ever, implies causation.” That’s because if A and B are correlated, it’s possible that A causes B, it’s possible that B causes A, it’s possible that they are both caused by a third factor, and it’s possible that they are actually unrelated. Implying causation when all you have is correlation is not only unprofessional and unethical, it can…

Without A Mother; Mother’s Day

I posted the following on my personal Facebook page yesterday:   Sarah   May 8, 2018:
Sharing this memory as all the usual feels are beginning to swirl and the rising tide of “BUT YOUR MOM!!!!” messages for this made up holiday have reached a deafening level. There’s no card for this shit. SMDH.   Sarah   May 8, 2016 Shout out to all the kids who had to grow up too early or sacrifice way too much of their childhoods because their parents weren’t equipped for the job, for whatever reason. We don’t get a “day” but we don’t need one because the things we had to do for others were never done for us anyway. Keep on keepin’ on!  There are things we go through in this world that cannot be put into words. Emotions, experiences, and while some words do exist, what does it truly mean and feel like to be in “awe” or “miserable”? As I reread what I had written back in 2016, I paused. I took a slow, deep breath. This isn’t unusual these days as I have been practicing this for some time in order to actu…