Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sister Wives: An open letter to Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn

Dear Ladies;

Let me start off by telling you I think you are fabulous.  I may not agree with you theologically, but you have the courage to openly live your religion.  Good for you.  But that's not why I am writing this letter.

In the last few episodes of this season of your show, there was a little bit of an emphasis on your bodies.  It made me sad that such beautiful women could feel so badly about the way that they look.  There is nothing wrong with going to the gym, if that's the exercise that feels good for you.  But the hatred, oh it breaks my heart. You are beautiful women with a husband who loves each of you for you!  That's rare these days.

Christine, you mentioned feeling like it was somehow wrong of you to own a gym as a plus sized lady.  You know what?  The world needs more gyms owned and operated by people like you!  How many people stay home from the gym because they don't look like the people in the Bally's commercials, or stop going when they realize that their efforts are not going to make them look like those people?  Your family provides an example of what exercise can truly do for us!  We can feel good because we are moving and keeping our bodies strong.  We can have a sense of accomplishment when we do something that we didn't think we could do, or that the world tells us we are too fat to do.  This makes you and your family such a blessing to the Vegas area.  Remember that!

I would love to see a day when it's no longer brave that you let the whole world (or the TLC viewing audience, anyway) know your weights; a world where it doesn't matter!  I hope that you all learn to see your beauty!

On a side note to Robyn; Your older son is a treasure.  It's going to be rough for him in his new family, as I am sure you may have experienced off camera.  Give him the time he may need alone.  He might need space to recharge, and solitude to concentrate on things like his homework.  A kid without Asperger's would have a hard time going from one of a three kids to one of seventeen.  It's a special challenge for him.  I see you guys giving him (and all the kids) love and support.  Keep it up - he will need to know it's there when he is old enough to move out into the world outside his family (ie college, work etc)

With Sincere Admiration,
The Fat Aspie.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Steaming steamy stinking stinky

Wow.  I'm at a loss for words at the moment.  Angry, indignant, perturbed....these words don't even come close.  Insulted.  That's another good word. 

My employer, in combination with my health insurer and Web MD have come up with this "wellness program" wherein points are assigned for certain activities.  Get enough points, and you save money on your insurance, which equals bigger paychecks.  One of the required activities is to take a health assessment they call a "health quotient".  It asks about your height and weight, your last check up, whether you know your cholesterol, and if you go to the dentist regularly.  They say it's voluntary, so I have no one to blame but myself.....
 

This morning I got a call from some poor call center employee with my health insurer.  His job was to get me to sign up for their weight loss phone support.  It's FREE!  My employer pays for it!  WOO HOO!  So why was I not ecstatic and sobbing with relief that they were here to rescue me from my fatness? 

Could it be that weight is not an indicator of health?  Could it be that I found it insulting that they picked an aribtrary cutoff for what makes a person at risk?  Could it be knowing that the skinny person beside me who eats junk all_day is not getting the same call but is at greater risk than me?  Let's quit looking at body size and start looking at behaviors, people!


Living ~400 lbs had an awesome post today about how government programs aren't helping with obesity.  My work program is an awful lot like the government programs, in my eyes.  Please go read Living's post, because my description is inadequate.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Baby Steps

I have a hard time interacting with people, especially strangers.  I think that today, however, I did really well in that arena.  I am in the process of separating from my husband, which in and of itself is difficult enough.  Today I went shopping for furniture for my new apartment.

In the first store, I had an appointment with the sales guy.  As soon as I walked in the door, several sales people offered to assist me.  C, my salesman, came over pretty quick.  I showed him pictures of the furniture I had to work with, and he showed me things that might work in my new space.  He spent two hours helping me.

This meant two hours of trying to make conversation with someone I didn't know well enough to even fake looking in the eye.  I think I did OK.  I managed a couple of foreheads, an ear, and an eyebrow.  But mostly I just looked at his name tag.  Still, this was progress for me.  I mean, I would have preferred to webchat and somehow test this furniture out without ever going in the store.  So I did pretty good.

The next store was easier, as it was a second hand store, and one of my favorite charity based thrift shops.  (think red kettle and tinkling bell)  I was kind of bummed when I got home, looked at the pictures I took, and realized that I wasn't imagining a smell in the store.  The smell was coming from the recliner that was such a great deal.




The next store was on the smaller side, so I wasn't there as long.  The salesperson was an older than me female.  For some reason, I feel a little more comfortable with women about my mom's age.  So that store wasn't too taxing.

The last store was a huge discount store.  Lots of customers, but also lots of salespeople.  In all of the previous stores, someone waited on me right away.  In this store, it took 15 minutes for someone to come along, and when I told him I wasn't make the purchase right that second, he told me to come back when I was ready to buy.

Even though the first store was the biggest ordeal, I think I will be getting my furniture there.  There's something to be said for a salesperson who is nice to you.  To be clear - I am aware that it is his job, and he is paid to be nice to me.  The point would be that he did it.

It tired me out, but I am glad that I had this little excursion today.  Baby steps may be small, but eventually, they will get me where I am going.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dear Grandma

I was reminded today of my last conversation with my maternal grandmother before she died 7 years ago.  I was talking with my father on the phone, and he needed to do something that would require both hands.  His phone doesn't have speaker, so I told him to just set me down on the kitchen table and come back to me when he was done.  I could hear all of his puttering in the kitchen, and this is what brought me back to Grandma and this almost forgotten conversation.

I was living a good six hours from my family then, and didn't have the discretionary income to travel much.  Grandma has just been admitted to the skilled nursing facility associated with the hospital   Since I couldn't visit, I called her up.

The residents had just finished with dinner.  It took the nurse a moment to track Grandma down, but when she did, she brought her the cordless phone.  Grandma was 96 or so at the time.  

"Hello?" said Grandma.

"Hi Grandma!" I said.

"Who's this?"

"It's  The F.A."

"Who?"

"The F.A., Mom's daughter?"

"Mom's not here right now."

"I know that, Grandma.  This is The F.A.  I called to talk to you."

I started telling her about my day, and what had been happening in her life.  I mentioned how I missed her and wished I could visit.  She made some murmurs like "Oh yes, uh huh" so I thought she was following what I was saying even though it was clear she couldn't remember who I was.  

Then she said "OK, I am done talking to you now" and proceeded to set the phone down on her dining tray (without turning it off).  That was the last time I spoke with her.  We had this conversation shortly after I met my husband.  I was trying to get her to hang on long enough to see me married.  

She died a couple weeks later.  It makes me said that our last conversation was so incomplete.  I wish I had gotten more of her stories into my head, and down on paper or recorded in some way.  Treasure the elders in  your life; they won't be here forever.  Learn from them.  And always remember them. 

Don't let your last words to them be "Hello?  Hello?  Are you still there?"  They might not be.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Supersize me?

I'm a few years behind the times, but I finally watched Supersize Me last night.  I have to say I wasn't impressed.  So many people I know said "Oh, you gotta watch this movie, it'll change your life".  Let's ignore the presuppositions made by the person who assumes that a movie about the evils of fast food is going to change my life and look at the movie.

Spurlock talks about the "obesity epidemic" at the beginning of the movie - and the inference all along is that all fat people eat only fast food and don't exercise.  I found this to be offensive, and damaging.  Damaging to the naturally thin person, as feeding the myth that your size is an indicator of your health allows the naturally thin person to think they are healthy simply because they are thin.

The other problem I had with the film was the methodology of the "study".  He not only did not exercise the entire time, he reduced the amount of normal physical activity by taking cabs when he would normally have walked.  Small wonder he had the lab results and weight gain that he experienced.  If I uppped my fat intake and reduced my physical activity, the same thing would have happened.  Perhaps it would have been more realistic (but less dramatic for the cameras) to have not changed his normal physical routine.  How much of the damage would have been mitigated by that activity?

I'm not suggesting that we start getting all our food from the drive thru.  I agree with Mr. Spurlock there; fast food should be rare.  I also think that if we make them taboo, it makes them that much more attractive.  "Ooh, look at me being bad, eating this cheeseburger".

Or you could follow the principles of intuitive eating and allow yourself to have the Mickey Dee's.  After I stopped going to Weight Watchers, I "let" myself eat whatever I wanted.  It didn't take long for me to get sick of the fast food, and I am getting close with sit down restaurant food as well.  Even the Angus burger isn't enough to make me want McDonald's that much.  It took 27 meals for Morgan Spurlock to start feeling like eating was a chore.  I don't remember my own time frame, but it was far less meals than that.  (on a basis of once or twice a week, not all day every day)

So did I ever have a point?  Well, sure.  Use your noggin when you watch a documentary like this.  Common sense tells you not to eat fast food every day.  Apply some critical thinking, and don't take what you see without an internal debate about it.  It's easy to take what someone else says as truth; this doesn't require any work on our part.

In the future, take a minute to decipher what is true.  Separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.  A lot of good information was buried under the sensationalism of the movie.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Concern Trolls

Tonight I met a concern troll in an unexpected place - the massage therapist.  I get her issue - I understand that she didn't want to touch me.  Sometimes *I* don't want to touch me.  However, to hide that disgust under concern for my health - unacceptable.

I went in for a massage because my shoulders were tight.  I am experiencing quite a bit of personal and professional stress right now, and I carry it all in neck and shoulders.  I mentioned that I had been stretching, but that the stretches weren't cutting it.  The therapist told me stretching wasn't going to do it for me because I am "hippy".  So my belly fat causes shoulder pain?  I just don't get it.

She redeemed herself with a really good massage, but the beginning sure hurt.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Labels

I had a long talk with my mother tonight about labels and Aspergers.  She doesn't really want to believe that she produced an Aspie.  I get that, because she would have to admit that she's one too.  And she may not be ready. She says it's just another label.

I tried to get her to see that while it may be just a label, it's a label that explains so much for me.  The meltdowns, the shyness, the clumsiness, the issues with noise and light and so on.  Having this name to call it means I am  not so abnormal after all.   I'm not crazy, or stuck up.  I'm just different.

I think it's much easier to meet a challenge when you know what the challenge is.  You can waste a lot of timing climbing a mountain if the challenge is to find a certain tree at its base.  That's the benefit of having the label.  It may not define my challenges, but it does tell me what letter to look under.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In Which We Are Introduced and I Talk About Fat

I stumbled into Fat Acceptance around the same time that I was diagnosed as having Asperger's.  The two don't go hand in hand, but they do serve as the filter through which I view the world at the moment.  Asperger's does not define me, but it sure does explain me.  My fat does not define me either, but it is the first thing you see when we meet.

There are so many people who have written much more eloquently than I about both subjects, so the logical question from you (if *you* exist, dear reader) is what am I doing writing?  The thoughts in my head need to get put down somewhere.  I highly doubt at the moment that anyone will read this, so I have the benefit of a journal with the fantasy/illusion of being a writer.

I have been fat my whole life.  I don't remember a time when I was not fat.  I have gone through stages with my fat - hatred, ambivalence, dislike, and now, slowly, acceptance.  The things written by others in the fat world have helped me on that journey towards acceptance.  To those writers, I am grateful.

To define fat acceptance from my point of view - it is not giving up on my body or my health.  Health and fat are not mutually exclusive - as best written here (I hope it's OK that I linked to you, Ms. Harding - you're wonderful!).  To say I accept my fat and my body does not mean I am giving up on either.  Fat acceptance does not mean sitting around on the couch a la Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her - although if you do, that's OK too.

Fat Acceptance to me means eating healthy TASTY food until I am satisfied, and moving my body because it feels good to do so.  I refuse to starve myself to meet someone else's ideal.  And God didn't intend for exercise to be a chore.  So when it becomes "working out" - I'll take a break.

What I've said today is nothing new, but let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.