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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Synergy and a size rant

I just saw this week's House (thank you, kassrachel).

I'll get into my general reactions to it later under a cut-tag, but for now, and I don't think this is a spoiler, suffice it to say that the episode was about being fat and what it means to women and girls.

And then I read in ginamariewade's journal about the root cause of Terri Schiavo's death - that she became bulimic to lose weight because she was a little plump, and this reduced her potassium levels and caused her heart attack. (I refuse to get into the rightness or wrongness of her parents or her husband anymore. It's all moot.)

I'm fat. I'm 200 lbs, more or less (I don't weigh myself, so I don't know precisely) and I'm 5'1".


I kept a food diary for a few weeks, so I know pretty much what I eat, and what I eat is pretty healthy. I avoid sugar, I don't eat a lot of fat, we eat vegetables and whole grains, and I try to make at least one non-meat meal a week for dinner. I walk a lot because I don't own a car, and I go to martial arts three times a week - three hours of fairly intense aerobics. I limit my addiction to pistachios to Shabbat.

In other words, I don't shovel in food - unless I'm very hungry, I usually leave food over - and I'm not lazy. I'm also not fond of salad, but that's something else. :) My weight is therefore not a moral failing. It's just what I weigh. I think it means I have a very efficient metabolism that processes the food I eat too well, so it produces more usable energy than I need. If I'm ever in a famine (God forbid), this would serve me well, and I'd have to go on a famine footing to change that. I've done that. I've spent my days hungry, filling up on water and measuring everything and not sleeping well at night. And, honestly, if my blood sugar goes too low, I am not a pretty sight. I can feel myself getting irritable and almost irrational.

I hate that size has become a moral judgement. That gaining or losing a few pounds can change the way the world sees you or you see yourself. I'm fortunate - the one person whose opinion matters to me loves *me* - not because I'm fat, although that would not be any worse than being loved for my green eyes or my long hair, or despite the fact that I'm fat - but just for whatever reasons he has. Doesn't mean that I didn't look at myself at the house of mirrors that is my local mikveh and think that I am a fat blob (or that I didn't marvel when he hugged me when I got home and said, "You're so thin!"). Doesn't mean that there aren't times I'd love to be able to have more choice in what I wear, or to find bras that fit (44B. Not the most common bra size.) But I'm glad I have other ways of judging my selfworth - as do all of us here, whatever our energy levels or health or size.

Now, as for House:


Chase makes a rather adorable and convincing bastard, doesn't he? No wonder House (I knew he was bi!) wants to grab his rear. And I'm falling for Foreman. He's smart and he's kind. That's a killer combination.

(And yeah, they are *so* together. :))

I got and didn't get the B-plot. She's positive about her size. She has a husband who adores her and she has other lovers as well. But she'd rather drag around a thirty pound tumor than have a scar or be a little less curvy? I mean, my husband reassures me I'm still "squishy", but that's just not important for this. (And, you know - I wonder now. She knows her husband loves her, so why does she cheat on him? It could simply be wandering feet, but then she wouldn't be so concerned about changing her appearance. I think she's worked hard in the face of this culture of ours to prove she's attractive *as she is*,and part of that proof is the lovers she's taken. She likes having them on their own merits, though, so even though she's proved her point, she doesn't want to lose them. I don't know. I'm monogamous and happy to be that way, so I don't understand anyway.)

The little girl - oh, my goodness. I was her. I was the fat girl who had no friends, who spent her time reading or doodling. I don't have a handy tumor that would cure my weight problems, though, so I had to find science fiction fandom to change my social life.

Comments

I suspect a lot of us identified with that little girl, to one extent or another. It made the episode a little bit complicated, at least for me; on the one hand I related to where that kid was coming from, and admired her mother for standing up for her daughter's beauty; OTOH, though I felt the creators of the show were trying to offer a fat-positive (or at least value-neutral) perspective on size, I'm not sure they succeeded, and that annoyed me.

Yeah, Chase did an excellent job of being a schmuck in this one. I found it fairly believable, and it pissed me off. Foreman, though...! I adored Foreman this week.

And House quipping that he's going to grab Cameron's butt...and Chase's, too! Oh, I loved that so much I had to watch it several times. Also Wilson's retort about House's many talents. ::grin:: They're so cute, those two...

At least they tried to be fat-positive, and they deserve points for that.

Thing about Chase is that he knows he's pretty. And he does think "fat" is a moral issue. Which is a shame.

Another person on my f'list just posted a link to a Marie Claire article about self-image and body-image. They used the same photo of a size 14 woman with different texts, to see what reactions people would have to the two ads. Interesting stuff.

Oh, what an interesting experiment! I'm a bit larger than size 14, but the article still couldn't have come at a more opportune moment. (I'm in one of my periodic "If I don't lose weight, I'm going on a starvation diet" phases, which never last, but are very unpleasant.)

I hate that size has become a moral judgement.

Or any kind of judgement. But it has - I was very fat (over 300lbs) and I lost around 80lbs. The way people treat me has completely altered - just completely - and I'm not thin by any manner of means now.



I wonder if it's better or worse in the UK than it is in the US. Statistically, USans are on the heavy side, but that doesn't stop us from worshiping the thinnest of women.

speaking as someone who spent most of her teenage years, as well as most of her twenties, starving herself, I'll second your rant and then square it. Bodies are not moral judgments, they're just bodies.

I have a feeling I'm going to have to succomb to House at some point. I don't have time to watch the television I want to watch now. Feh.

Medically, the show is awful, but the acting and the characters are wonderful - and the lead is Hugh Laurie. :)

eating disorders



So she was bulimic also? What a tragedy all around! And one of the tragedies of the world in general is all this emphasis on weight. The magazine "Mishpacha," which caters to the Ultra-Orthodox/Chareidi world, has been running a three-week-long series on the problem of anorexia and bulimia in the community. And I would have thought that having less media around to pressure girls into some beauty ideal would have reduced the problem. Well, it ain't necessarily so, especially when it comes to shidduchim. But one good thing about the series was its emphasis on methods of therapy and healing. When I was a teenager in the secular world, we heard about anorexia, too, but I think there was some glorification of it, as if to tell young women, "Dare ya!"

I need to end off on a happy note. Well, I'm grateful to be at lj, and especially grateful to aishet_shertz. It's so wonderful to find a support group! See you around, G-d willing!

The whole thing was tragic, from start to finish.

I've heard that eating disorders were a problem in the Chareidi world. Which proves that it's not *just* media, or even just being around the opposite sex that can cause them, since these girls are sheltered from one (although you know they find a way to get the fashion magazines if they can) and aren't around the other.

I suspect the pressure to find a good shidduch as soon as possible is a primary cause.

(And there are now "pro-ana" websites and even LJ communities - places that anorectic and blumic girls (and boys) go for support in this disorder. It's scary sad.)

And I'm happy to see you. :)

(no subject) - (Anonymous)   Expand  

One of the things I found really disturbing about the whole Schiavo thing was that her brother, in waxing sentimental about the dying sister he's been up to his ears in the battle to keep on a feeding tube, *still* said (and thought he was praising her sincerely), "She used to be a little plump, yeah, but once she lost all that weight she was a really beautiful girl." Hasn't he learned *anything* from what his sister did to herself in the cause of losing that weight?

One of the strangest moments I've seen (not on this level, thank goodness) was on an early Survivor season. After being in, I think, Australia, for thirty days or so, the remaining contestants were very, very hungry. And they were given scales. The stupid poem said that "They'd never looked better," presumably because they were much, much thinner.

They looked, frankly, awful. Starvation looks good on no one.

well -- she became bulimic because she was a little not-right in the head. it's a disorder, just like anorexia, and bulimics don't stop inducing vomiting when they get to their target weight.

but, yes.

Yes, of course. She needed to be treated for the eating disorder, but she probably hid it.

And judging from a quote from her brother, most of them thought that whatever she'd been doing, it was good because she'd slimmed down.

I hate that size has become a moral judgement.

It shouldn't be a moral judgement, not just because being overweight is often beyond a person's control, but because being very thin is often a matter of genetics as well.

But the issue of weight is complicated by the fact that there are serious health consequences to being obese and, to a lesser extent, to the behaviors that lead people to become overweight. The flipside to that are the people with eating disorders who starve themselves to skeletal thinness. So we need to encourage people to lose weight while simultaneously reassuring people that it's okay if you're not thin. *boggles*

I think the message needs to be, "Eat and exercise healthily," really. Meals balanced right for your body, on a timing right for your body and schedule (if I were to follow that insane suggestion that you shouldn't eat after 7:00 pm, I'd have problems, because I tend to go to bed in the wee hours of the morning, rather than at 9:00 pm as that suggestion seems to think everyone does or should), and do stuff to acquire strength, flexibility, and stamina.

Sitting at a desk all day and driving to and from work and sitting on the couch at home is not a healthy exercise plan. Neither is not eating enough and spending five hours a day in the gym.

I've heard assorted things (nothing as concrete as a specific study I could point at, but just things) saying that extra weight with good cardiorespiratory health was in fact more healthy a physical situation to be in than at or under weight with poor cardiorespiratory health.

Whew!



What a hot-button issue! This is the longest thread I've seen in my first five days on lj.

I weigh over 300 lbs. Frankly, I wouldn't care about this if it weren't for the fact that recently it has started to affect my mobility. Otherwise, I'm happy, well-adjusted and satisfied with my life and my relationships. Earlier this week I decided to join Curves in an effort to regain some of my lost stamina and flexibility. During the intake, the club owner asked me about depression. I laughed! I've never been a depressive person and I refuse to dwell on negatives. I'm a pretty cheery sort. Or I was until she leaned forward and said to me in all seriousness, "Come on now, you can't tell me you're not depressed." I blew up! I told her that was utter Dr-Phil-Bull****! I also told her that instead of joining for a year I would now only sign up for one month and that my continued membership was contingent on her not annoying me.

My goodness.

Maybe find a different Curves?