Friday, November 13, 2009

Found this today and loved it

Is surgery really better than being fat?

I was watching TV last night with my son and observed several advertisements for an elective surgery called "the lap band". I've seen bill boards for this same surgery, as well as radio ads, repeatedly.

My concern is that it's being touted as healthier to do this than to remain fat. I guess that could be the case is someone's weight was causing them to have diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; but what if someone is more than 50lbs over the proper height weight as identified by those charts in physician's offices, but has no identifiable health problems? Wouldn't this surgery be likely to cause health problems?

Are we so certain that being fat is the biggest problem possible?

Friday, November 6, 2009

New thoughts and some old ones too

I checked a book out from the library, "Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere" by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. This is a book I've heard a lot about.

So far I've read the first 5 chapters.

The main themes thus far are those of encouragement to:
  • Make peace with your body and accept yourself no matter what you current condition.
  • Give up on diets - they do not work.
  • Find physical activities that you actually enjoy and start participating in these activities.
  • Food, in and of itself, is not moral; there are not good foods and bad foods.
  • Eat when you are hungry, until you are full. If possible, eat healthy foods that you enjoy and desire.
  • Understand that fat is not bad, it is an above-average amount of adipose tissue. Fat is a descriptor as is tall, short, dark, light, etc.
On the one hand none of this sounds like any big deal; it makes sense. On the other hand, if you are a female who weighs more than 30lbs more than the appropriate weight as indicated by physician's office height-weight charts (such as myself), these thoughts are non traditional to say the least.

But I will attest that I've come to many of these same conclusions over the past few years.

I've decided that to go to a gym or take up running is just not for me so I'm not going to try to make myself do it. But I adore hiking out in nature. We now live in the mountains and can go right out our back door onto a trail that leads up into the national forest. It's actually a rather difficult trail (I've seen friends of my teen sons struggle to hike it), but since it's something I like doing, I have no problem, when there isn't snow, hiking 5 times a week. Invariably something comes up once a week where I'll get too busy one day, and once a week I go visit my mom (but I've taken to taking the dog with me and enjoy walking around the neighborhood every time I'm there). As long as I get to do something I enjoy, that I find makes me feel better, I like it. When I used to exercise to lose weight, and in a perverse way sort of to punish myself for being fat, I hated it.

About a year ago I gave up on dieting once and for all. It's interesting because, being fat and being on a diet is somewhat socially acceptable - it would seem that the thought is that at least you're trying to do something about it. But to be fat and not trying to diet at all is one that I've noticed seems to cause frustration for some people with whom I come into contact (It's not that I talk about it at all; it's that if they ask if I'm trying to lose weight and I do not indicate that I am, they are not pleased and seem uncomfortable).

I'm going to try out this approach to food. I have noted that once certain foods were no longer forbidden to me (since I'd given up on dieting I'd stopped forbidding myself to eat candy or desserts), they just stopped being such a big deal. I may want something sweet sometimes, but it's just not that big a part of life. I'm going to try to only eat if I'm hungry and to learn to be more conscious of what full feels like.

I will say that I feel good while reading this book. I feel like the authors totally get how I feel. As I am reading this book I feel like I am not alone. Instead of feeling ashamed and guilty I just feel that I am.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I think it's my own issue

When I was growing up my father would always observe what people were eating and sometimes make comments. For instance, if someone overweight were walking down the street and eating an ice cream cone, my dad would comment to whomever was around him that the person did not need to be eating that. I assumed this was normal and that everyone does this.

Today my husband and I were at a buffet restaurant. I enjoyed a healthy dinner and refrained from eating more than was appropriate. I did however, desire some dessert. I asked my husband if he would go get one for me and he was surprised. I explained about the thing with my dad and how I always feel certain that people are looking at me and thinking, or perhaps saying, that I should not be eating that. He told me that it's my issue; to look around the restaurant and notice that there are people of all shapes and sizes present and that everyone is eating some dessert.

My husband is rather athletic and in really great shape. In no area of his life is he ever concerned about what people think. He is a Christian and does try to live in connection with God and in God's will; so he is definitely concerned about pleasing God, but could care less if people approve or disapprove of him. I think in this area, my husband is healthier than me.

I think it's my own issue if I care what people say or think.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I just don't get it

Yet another another situation that encountered which I found unbelievable where someone was rude to a person who was over weight:

Currently the church I am in is without a pastor. We're a small campus in a small mountain town (posted population 3,500) but have a larger parent church (average Sunday attendance around 4,000) down the mountain. Various pastors from the parent church have been kind enough to fill our pulpit each Sunday. I'm really grateful to these pastors because they still have their regular duties plus preparing to preach for us and driving up the mountain to do so.

There's one specific pastor who has preached in our church a few times during the past year who I've come to love. He's a dynamic preacher and very down to earth in his delivery. He's also quite a bit overweight. We have two services at our church on Sunday mornings and some "concerned" congregant felt that she needed to approach this visiting pastor between the two services and talk to him about his weight problem.

Do you think he needed her to point it out? Do you think he didn't realize that he's over weight? Do you think what she said helped him in any way? What on earth could have motivated this behavior on her part?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Who's got the bigger problem?

Not too long ago I was at a women's Bible study going through a 3-week video Bible study. The leader asked me to facilitate in one of the small groups that broke up for discussion following the video. The first discussion question was about if there are things that the Bible considers sin that are prevalent in our culture. One slim lady in the group talked at length about how terrible a problem obesity is in our culture and of course we all agreed that obesity is a problem in American society. But this woman continued to talk on about the evils of over eating; she even said that it's interesting that eating was the first sin. At which point another woman in the group said that no, it wasn't the issue with Adam and Eve eating per say, that the sin was pride - Adam and Eve wanted to be as all knowing as God and do things their way. The next discussion question was what sin do you personally struggle with. Well no one wanted to answer that question, so, since I'd been delegated to lead I figured I'd lead by example and open myself up a bit. So I said that I have a problem with over eating; Ms Slim dismissively informed me that everyone has a problem with that. I waited a bit, and when no one else shared, went on to the next question.

After the study had ended, Ms Slim cornered me and said she was sorry if she had seemed to be picking on me. I asked her what she was specifically talking about (she had talked a LOT during the discussion and I had been very challenged to let others have a chance to share as well). She said that she really doesn't have anything against over weight people and hoped that she had not offended me. Feeling extremely awkward at this point, I none the less assured her that I was fine. But she went on and on talking about how open minded she is toward fat people. It was really weird. When I got home I told John (my husband) about it and asked his opinion on the whole thing. He said it seemed to him like she had a judgmental spirit, at least for sure toward people who over eat.

To be candid, at first I felt guilty for being fat. Felt guilty for being such a "sinner" and eating so much. But then I thought about how everyone has some kind of struggles in life. I thought about what I would think if this happened to someone else instead of me. If someone else told me this story I would tell them that Ms Slim acted like a jerk.

I can't help but think that having such a judgmental attitude seems a much bigger problem than having issues with over eating. At least I'm nice to people.

It's OK to talk about just about anything except Fat

I've been blogging for a few years.

Because I mostly talk about personal journal type stuff I've never had a particularly large following. About 34 people and typically only a few would comment on any one post. But today, when I posted about how I notice that for some weird reason it's as if fat people are pariahs in our society, I received significantly less responses.

So I actually emailed 4 friends who I know have some of the same struggles with weight that I do and asked for their input. None of them came by. I do not think it's because they don't like me, or aren't willing to help out, I think it's because the whole thing, being fat, is such a taboo.

I think that no one wants to talk about it because I've crossed over the line, I've somehow acted as if it's OK to be fat, and everyone knows it's not.