"When someone is fat shamed, the person doing the shaming often justifies it as them being concerned for the fat person's health. Of course we know that's bullshit. Fatphobia has nothing to do with health, if someone was really concerned they wouldn't harp on it to the detriment of fat people's self esteem. And a ton of fat people can attest that they eat healthily and exercise. I however, cannot. So is the health argument justified in my case? Well, no, because fat also has nothing to do with health. It's the food I eat that's the issue. It's the fact that I eat when I'm definitely not physically hungry. It's my lack of exercise."
When I read this, I got goosebumps, thinking back to my horrible run in with Evil Nutritionist in 2007. That story was the basis for my still-unpublished-but-not-for-lack-of-trying essay on breaking up with dieting.* The seriously, seriously abridged version: I finally decided to stop yo yo dieting and to see a nutritionist to essentially re-learn how to eat. Said nutritionist told me that I was very overweight** and put me on a diet, after giving me a lesson with plastic food toys on proper portion size. And we know where this goes, right? I feel like shit, try the diet, can't stick to the diet, and hate myself because I can't do anything right, and then I start binge eating again. So yeah, thank god I got your help, EVIL BITCH.
Anyway, there was the usual kerfluffle in the comments section, and Tasha Fierce wrote a second brilliant response, My Fat, Your Issues. Again, you should read the whole thing, but this is the bit that's been rattling around in my head all week:
"NOWHERE did I ask for praise, hi-fives, compliments or “you go girl” statements for eating like shit. I don’t need validation regarding what I choose to stuff in my mouth. I’m sorry if you feel like my wanton gluttony is making your fat friends look bad because they exercise and eat right and here I am, blowing it for them, being the stereotype they try so hard not to be. My point was that, again, FAT PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO OUTLINE THE WAYS THEY’RE TRYING TO NOT BE FAT, OR THE MEASURES THEY TAKE TO COUNTER THE ILLEGITIMATE CLAIMS THAT FAT = UNHEALTHY. "
Thunk. I do this. A LOT. I'm immeasurably proud of being able to say that I am not fat. It only took about thirty years, but progress -- that's good. However, I can really bore you with the insane details of what I eat and how much I exercise and all of my food "beliefs" in the event that you felt the need to comment on my size or even look at me the wrong way. I am a good yuppie and I'll tell you all about organic produce and my love for Michael Pollan and how processed food is making us all disgusting. This should sound familiar if you've been around the blog for a while. The "look at how many ways I am trying to be healthy (i.e. not fat)" list making is so ingrained in me that I didn't even realize I was doing it so much.
And the worst part is? The worst part is that I don't really eat that great. I've always liked working out and now running is sort of religious, so I can't critique my exercise, but my food habits? They really suck. While I may BELIEVE that processed food is shit and that we should all eat less sugar and fat, I would choose fried chicken strips and a bucket of fries over anything green any day. While I may feel crappy after, there is nothing quite as tasty (to me) as a mound of pasta with sauce and a hunk of Italian bread on the side. And bacon? Everything tastes better with bacon. Things I also love include: Ring Dings, Diet Coke (oh, dear sweet lord, do I fucking love Diet Coke), potato chips, fudge, beer, white rice. Things I am not so hot about: salmon, green vegetables, tofu, sushi. To be fair, there are a ton of "healthy" things that I do like, but I can make it seem like I am eating those things all the time because my inner monologue says, "If I tell them that I had a milkshake and olive bread for dinner tonight, then they will look at me and take note of my not-so-thinness." Bullshit. Total bullshit.
We, and by we, I mean me, need to stop demonizing people because of how they treat their bodies. I don't expect smokers to list out all the vegetables they're eating and how much they exercise. Why the fatties? Because it's not about health.
Big, big sigh.
* Seriously, I think it's good. Yes, I'm probably biased. But there is worse crap out there getting published.
** Numbers at the time: 5'7" and 178 lbs. Overweight according to the BMI, but dudes, I was running like every day. Evil bitch said "not enough."