Since I'm still having a bunch of weight related struggles and my ED thinking is kind of in full effect, I've been reading more articles on weight and fat acceptance and health recently. Sometimes this is triggering. Well, it's always triggering. But since it's impossible to avoid it, I just remind myself that it's triggering and deal with it. Plus, sometimes it's cathartic, because I can take out my frustration on commenters who are shitty or judgy or concern troll-y about weight. I don't yell (although I may employ sarcasm). Mostly I point out that shaming people, even if you mean well, is not helpful.
One of the things I really don't understand is why so many people take other people's bodies personally. That seems to be one of the main issues people have with other people who are fat. That this other person's body is somehow infringing on them, directly or indirectly, and they should have the willpower or decency or whatever to not take up so much space. This will often get covered up by claiming they just care about other people's health, but...no, they really don't. If you actually cared about other people you'd stop making sweeping generalizations about laziness, talking about how "easy" it is for everyone to lose weight if they just want to enough, telling everyone to not eat sugar/carbs/whatever food you think is bad and makes people fat, and that being fat has no genetic component. Or my personal favorite: just take the stairs.
I mean, if people can (and are) naturally slim...then the converse must also be true. That's just common sense. I'm also pretty sure it's scientific fact. Likewise, if people restrict their eating to the point of nearly dying...such as anorexics...couldn't people also be overeating in the same compulsive, it's possibly a mental illness, sense? Wait, no, it's just about willpower. I always forget. I mean, obviously my EDNOS was all about willpower. I was in control. I was so in control I wasn't eating. And since I didn't look sick and became thin, everyone thought that was just great. Never mind that I was so obsessed with taking up less space that, eventually, I could have killed myself. Then I would have stopped taking up space at all.
The point is: I was thinner. And that made other people more comfortable. I know it made them like me more, treat me like a person, want to talk to me. The fact that I was seen as worth more when I was thinner is something that will never stop making me angry.
I can't imagine why treating people like they aren't human beings because they're fat would be a problem. Or indicative of a much deeper disconnect in our culture. A culture that has a bajillion dollar diet industry that, for the most part, operates on quick fix "solutions" that can't be maintained. They just encourage perpetually dieting. Which, fyi, actual scientists have found is not healthy. You're better off being at a consistent weight than yo-yoing. But who cares! Being thin means being happy!
This is one of the many problems I have with the way weight loss is discussed. It's presented as an accomplishment that leads to other accomplishments you could have never achieved otherwise. Except, wait, why is that? I mean, other than feeling really shitty about yourself because our society makes anyone who isn't thin feel like a failure...why can't you accomplish things you want to while fat? Why is losing weight, in and of itself, presented as an achievement that will unlock all the happiness, bliss, and love you never thought you'd have? Because you were fat. Because being fat means you cannot be happy, healthy, or deserve love.
Obviously I have no issue with people losing weight because they want to or need to, and I hope they do it in a healthy way. And if it leads them to feel better about themselves, I'm not discouraging that. I am, however, questioning WHY so much self-worth has been built into weight, especially for women. A fat woman is, without question, more likely to be the butt of a joke, viewed negatively, treated badly, or otherwise criticized than a fat man. I've only recently seen some well known diet companies target men but definitely not at the frequency women are encouraged or shamed into losing weight. After all, what kind of life can you have if you're fat AND female? This seems to be at the root of all these campaigns. That life is just less worthwhile if you're not thin, especially if you're also a girl.
In my personal, anecdotal experience: Bull. Shit.
In the 2 years I've been in treatment for my ED, gained weight, and spent less time and energy on trying to diet I've: Become a published writer, one of my biggest goals. I've written 3 series so far, with 2 others currently being written. One project I co-wrote was on the NY Times list for 9 weeks. One I edited has been on it for nearly 10. I've started selling my artwork, am in the process of creating a shop and website, and been creatively productive as hell. I've gotten back to a lot of the crafts I love, like jewelry and figures. I've also moved to San Francisco, gone freelance, and am pursuing numerous other writing and editing projects. I'm planning several trips, working with other amazing artists and writers to help encourage each other in our endeavors...and re-started this blog. My partner and I continue to be happy together, 17 years into our relationship. He's thankfully never had an issue with my weight, up or down.
That's not bragging, although it feels like it a little. It's just what's happened. Because I stopped making my weight the most important goal in my life. And I'm much happier for it. Do I still care? Yeah. And I'm making the effort now to do things to make myself feel healthier. But one of the reasons I can do that is that I don't feel like a faily failure anymore. I've done real things I've wanted to do. And not because I was thin. To be frank, most of what I accomplished when I was starving was in spite of being miserable, tired, and hungry all the time.
If people stopped being told they can't do anything unless they're thin, or that any other accomplishments they achieve are not as meaningful unless they're thin...I think the world might be a better place. A place where people were treated as worthwhile, fat or thin or in the middle. They could lose weight if they needed to, but feel no obligation to meet anyone elses's aesthetic preferences in order to be treated like a human being. Crazpants, I know.
If we, as a culture, actually stopped and looked at the incredibly messed up way we view bodies, gender, fat, food, and health...things might improve. If we maybe considered, for a second, why we think other people's bodies should conform to preferences that are not created in a vacuum...but are at least partially created by capitalism and consumerism, not to mention a long history of controlling women's bodies and using beauty "ideals" as a part of that control...we might get a better sense of perspective on this whole weight/health thing.
One thing we definitely need: Enough with the concern trolling already. You are not helpful, you don't really give a shit about anyone else's health, and you can keep your ill-informed, "it's just my opinion" posts to yourself. If you're going to say "it's just your opinion" and follow it up with zero facts and a lot of fat phobic rhetoric...go take a nap, read a book, find something else to do. You're contributing exactly nothing to any discussion. You're being a jerk.