Hey everyone! We have our first guest post! Woot! Juana Riot is quite the accomplished writer. She’s addressed institutionalized, government-approved fat hatred and the way it manifests in common people and everyday situations, plus the way “invisible illnesses” can contribute to weight (a subject near and dear to my heart) and why, in a perfect world, bodily judgment should and would be withheld.
I am fat. There’s a multitude of contributing factors. It’s not as simple as being lazy or shoveling pizzas and french fries and cakes into my mouthhole. I am well aware that this is the summarized judgement that is thrown my way, whether or not it is spoken out loud to me. I hear it from talk show hosts, and sitcom jokes. It blares at me from magazine covers and overheard supermarket conversation. You’d be surprised how discussions around me in the checkout lane turn to weight loss and how many times “morbid obesity” is uttered. I wonder what these people are trying to accomplish. Do they think that their lack of excess adipose tissue makes them look superior and a poor self esteem leads them to pointing it out? Are they hoping to shame a stranger into a perceived need of lifestyle change? It’s probably a combination of the aforementioned and a brazen deficiency of manners.
This rant started because I keep hearing about this “War on Obesity”. It’s like every other war. It is not healthy for kids and other living things. It’s senseless, and it hurts people. It yields casualties. People get so obsessed with trying to get to this certain size or perfect BMI. They take dangerous drugs, and/or go on diet after fad diet. They lose weight and then gain it all back plus some and then diet again, not realizing that this yo-yo lifestyle is what causes real strain on their bodies. I want to scream every time I hear someone talk about how more and more Americans are overweight or obese. Yes, when you lower the target range BMI, then scores of people are suddenly shifted into a different category, and then “ideal” becomes “overweight” and “overweight” becomes “obese”. Then, these newly “overweight” or “obese” people freak out, and the weight loss industry gets more of their money.
“War on Obesity” is a misnomer, but “Hate on Fat People” doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it? Obviously, this is not about health. If it were, then we’d call it something positive like the “Better Health America Initiative”. Programs would be set up to make healthy food affordable to people of all incomes and the FDA would go through massive reform, restructures and regulations. As it stands, for the price of one protein bar, you can get six honey buns. When you’ve got a gaggle of hungry mouths to feed, and you’re struggling to pay your bills with a minimum wage job (or two) which are you going to reach for? This is why those guys are talking about fighting obesity, and not about getting America healthy. If they acknowledged that a large portion of society can’t afford to eat healthy, they’d be admitting that this at the core is really a class issue. That would bring to light that here in America, we have a sort of caste system. They can’t have people realizing that this isn’t anything but the land of the free, home of the brave, so they keep telling us we’re fat, and we gotta do something about that, and the distraction/weight loss industrial complex is perpetuated.
Well, I’m not ignorant. I’m onto them. I spend most of the meager income I receive on food, because I try to eat as nutritiously as I can afford. I suffer from multiple co-morbid chronic illnesses. Weight gain is a symptom of most of them. I have to take several medications of which a major side effect is weight gain. I endured debilitating fatigue and disabling pain on a constant, daily basis. This limits my movement and ability to exercise. On the days I am able to get around and do stuff, I tend to overdo, and end up confined to the couch or bed for days afterwards. I am one of those people that probably would be a prime candidate for weight loss surgery. However, even if my insurance would pay for it, I have a connective tissue defect that contraindicates invasive surgeries, and I’m insensitive to local anesthesia. I mention all of these things to illustrate that I have virtually no possibility of ever being out of the range of “obese”. I’m sure there are others like me. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on life. I’m living life to the fullest I possible can. I take my medications, and supplements, and stretch and strive to eat well, anything I can do to be as healthy as I can, regardless of my size. I am at peace with myself as I am, and I will never let some methed-up, dog-faced woman project her self-hatred onto me, or torture me for her own amusement.
When Juana Riot isn’t excoriating our societal standards and expectations, she’s usually up to her ears in jewelry, lucky girl. She has a keen eye for design, and does amazing things with gemstones. She specializes in stretch, adjustable, and plus-size jewelry, and adores custom orders. You can find her wares at http://www.etsy.com/shop/darlingdesignswendy.