attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,

Food /= Love. (Don't make me eat that.)

[PLEASE NOTE:  This entry was written before I accepted Health At Every SIze.  There are opinions in here that I no longer subscribe to, but I won't alter this post, because to pretend that I never had these opinions would be dishonest.  There is some inaccurate framing of fat issues, and some hurtful judging.  Be warned.]

My head is tired. By the end of the week, I'm usually pretty fried. Of course, now that I have shiny fast internets at home, you guys might start seeing Friday posts from me, so this may not be my last post this week.

Mind you, tomorrow's post will probably be nothing but pictures. Yay for the easy entry that isn't a meme.

I was minded to write about the "diet" book yesterday because I've been watching Style, TLC, and the Discovery Channels, and they all seem obsessed with fat people. In fact, everyone seems obsessed with fat people; there's Ruby, the show about a woman who at one point weighed 700 lbs, and Inside The Brookhaven Obesity Clinic on TLC about super-obese people in treatment, and a bunch of one-off shows about massively fat people, including one I wrote about called I Eat 33,000 Calories A Day.

I am a former fat person, and as such, I feel a slight (and only slight; at my heaviest I was 200lbs, not anywhere close to 700) sense of kinship to these people, yet at the same time, I want to smack them, while sympathizing completely with their self-sabotage.  I am conflicted.

If you've never been fat, you can't understand the power of food.  If you struggle with your weight, you know it all too well.  I'm taking a wild guess here, but I think most of you probably know what it means to feel like food is the devil and your closest friend all at the same time.  

I used to dream of being able just to let go - to quit dieting, and have permission to eat what I wanted, whenever I wanted, with no scolding or disapproval.  Just to be in a place where I could eat and eat and eat and get bigger and bigger, and it wouldn't matter.  It wasn't about being fat, just a desire to be free of the censure of other people every time I ate; a need to be full without shame.  A chance to really eat without being silently judged by every person in the room.

Fat people can't eat without that censure, which is why many of them become secret eaters.  You would, too, if everything you put in your mouth was watched.  We as a society have turned fat into a sin.

I get so angry at the excuses and justifications for eating that the people in these programs give, but I understand them - food is their bete noire.  They're paying thousands and thousands of dollars to be at a clinic to lose weight, and they're ordering pizza.  They've eaten so much they're bedridden, and yet they claim they don't eat that much.   How hypocritical am I, that I get angry and sympathize with them at the same time?  Yet this is what they feel like themselves.  Listening to Ruby swearing she wants to lose weight and admitting that she gets angry when she isn't given the food she wants is to hear the ultimate problem for obese people - food is the enemy, food is the only thing they want.

And, unlike alcohol or drugs, cold-turkey isn't an option. 

...Though it is an awesome sandwich, especially if you add stuffing and cranberry dressing, and put it on soft fresh Wonder Bread.

I really do understand what it's like to be hungry, and to have the need for food outweigh all rational thought.

No, my real anger is reserved for the people around the obese - the family, the friends, the enablers.  They talk like they have no choice but to feed their family member/friend - they "want to make them happy".  So they cook and order pizza and fried foods, and they make the obese person happy, and help kill them.

Here is where our society is so completely fucked up - we have an obsession with slimness, to the point that our actresses are considered fat if they're not a size 0, and at the same time, we center all of our expressions of love and companionship around food.  I am always darkly amused by the magazines on the rack at my local grocery store - the article "Get thin!  Lose 30 pounds in two days!!" is next to "Fifty fried cupcake recipes for Thanksgiving dinner!".  We are split in two - eating is considered essential to any social event, while any slight appearance of body fat is cause for horrified disapproval.

I remember being on Neurontin, when it turned on me, and I was depressed and nauseous all the time, and lost almost 15lbs because I couldn't eat, and being at a party at an acquaintance's house.  She and a couple of her friends kept trying to make me eat some baked Brie, and would not take no for an answer.  I really, really didn't want to eat, but they wouldn't stop telling me to take some Brie.  They actually got angry at me for refusing

This is what people trying to lose weight are up against all the time.  Ruby, who is too fat to fit into her friend's dining room chairs, so eats at a folding table on the sofa, is being offered more and more food, and despite the admonition of Ruby's housemate, her friend keeps coming over with more food for her ("it's half a slice of cheesecake!").  Ruby cannot get up off the sofa to get her own food, yet she is being offered way more food than she needs.  The friend then whines "I just can't say no to her!".

It's not about saying no, it's about not offering the food in the first place, isn't it?  But offering - no, forcing - food on one's guests is seen as good hospitality.  I used to dread parties when i was on my major diet, because I couldn't just go for the company, I had to dodge and field food constantly, and I was considered rude if I said no.  If I said I was on a diet, people would say "oh, just this bit won't hurt you!".

Where am I going with this?  Forgive my rambling, I did have a point:

This holiday season, when food is everywhere, and those of us with food issues are struggling to stay on track, please take no for an answer if you offer someone food.  They're not slighting you, your hospitality, or the quality of your food, they just don't want to eat.  Respect people's wishes.  Don't get mad, don't keep pushing, and above all, swear you won't say "just a little bit won't hurt you!".

Because it will, dammit.  It will.
Tags: diet, food, no means no, ramble, self-esteem

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