Tag Archives: Obesity

In a Famine, My A$$ Could Feed Me for Weeks

Make no mistake. My arse has a plethora of healing powers. Ask anyone who knows me. It’s a magic a$$. It’s an epic shelf of protection, the very source of my earthly powers. Ha!! I joke, but it’s literally a fact that due to my “largess” in the hindquarters region, I would outlive lots of people in a famine. I might even outlive the famine. Fat is a good thing. It nourishes, protects, heals, heats, and feeds. It’s necessary to life. We all have it.lizzys_tush

People often talk about the unhealthiness of being fat, but rarely do you see reports of the good that being a chunky-monkey can do for one in this world of ours. Well, I’m here to set the record straight (or, curvy as the case so clearly is for so many of us). Following are three pluses of being…well, plus.

one

Fat is actually healthy and being overweight leads to longer life for lots and lots of people. Being overweight is even cited as a boon for fertility, better skin, calmer dispositions, stronger bones, and sounder minds. Despite rampant reports that being fat equals automatic heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, it’s simply not true for lots of people. Studies are coming out all of the time that disprove the “Fat is Always Bad” prejudice.

Unfortunately, what we have in this country is a media monster. This monster spreads misinformation so pervasively and so routinely that few people ever take the time to question, let alone challenge the assertions being made by these misinformed souls. One of the falsities that the media perpetuates is that being fat is universally bad or will lead to bad things down the road. Not true.

We all know that life is much more complex than soundbites and selling news would have us believe, isn’t it? There are way more nuances across the wide spectrum called human health than these media monsters portray. I encourage you all to dig a little deeper. Like anything in life, there are extremes at either end of a particular spectrum. And, unfortunately, these extremes are the most cited as, Du-Du-Dum! Evidence by the media monster.

But, most of us are in the middle somewhere and we know that “the middle” does not sell newspapers, television shows, or magazines. Yes, some people who are fat suffer from the results of that bodily state, but fat does not automatically equal unhealthy and sad, nor does thin automatically equal healthy and happy.

It takes all kinds of shapes, sizes, and experiences to be human and we all have a relevance to the human collective. Bodies are merely vehicles for the exploration of spirit. Your body is the way it is for a reason. If your body didn’t need to be fat or thin, it wouldn’t be. So. There. You’re free. Go forth in your new-found freedom, forget the size of your body, move into soul, find ways to be healthier every day, and be the bad-ass human you came here to be. We’re counting on you.

twoI’ve talked about this before in other posts, but being plus size is an invisibility cloak.  You can get away with alot of shi*t as a fat person. I test this all of the time and it always makes me laugh. As big as I am, I can get in and out of places without ever being seen. It’s the coolest phenomena. I literally walk right past people who, because of what I can only guess are their own prejudices and general insecurity about their body size, do not see me. And, this, my friends, comes in really, really handy. For example, when wanting to merely run into a store and grab something quick without a long, protracted discussion or “connection” with someone, being fat is awesome. It’s freedom. People don’t look at me. And, you know what, that’s okay. I actually like stealth mode.

No fighting to be seen. No more getting other people to validate me or even acknowledge my existence. I get to practice being enough for myself, break the dependency between myself and others, and push deeper into my own psyche, my own healing. It’s liberating.

So. If you’re fat, try to have some fun with it. Know that you are broadcasting an energy beam around the issue and if you look for disapproval in the world, you will find it. If you instead look for ways to validate yourself every day, eventually you will have self-esteem and you will manifest approval from the world in lots of ways. If you can, try to laugh as much as possible and know that other people do not matter one little eensy bit. It’s YOUR opinion that counts. Be stealth. And, giggle. Alot.

threeIf we are totally, totally honest with ourselves and we dig past the societal biases that we’ve maybe absorbed about fat, I bet more than a few of us would be very surprised to realize that we actually like a little cushioning versus bones or rock-hard muscle. Fat is very, very comforting. It’s silly; it jiggles and wiggles. It’s fun to grab and poke and handle. Fat is pleasing to us psychologically because it’s about nurturing; it’s about the mama, being held, being warm, and gently soothed. Fat is comfortable, encircling, engulfing, and just a delightful, never-ending softness. Fat definitely broadcasts a message of fertility, abundance, and pleasure.

This fat phobia of ours is a very recent cultural phenom. Up until the 1920s when the country was becoming enthralled with industry, being a bit fat was okay. Farm people were fatter. They needed to be to work the fields. Women were expected to be fat because they made babies. But, with the choke-hold of the industrial revolution, came the idolization of the “machine”, the “hard”, the “thin”, and along with it swept in the idolization of a thinner body type.

The thing is, world-wide, until modern times, fat has always been viewed as wealth, abundance, comfort, and something to celebrate. This fat phobia of ours is a modern construct. It’s time to be honest. If you don’t like fat, ask yourself why. Do a little digging around in your psyche. But, ask yourself if your ideas about body structure are truly your own or if you have absorbed the ideas from other people. Touch your fat and see what comes up for you. Journal about it. Ask and ask and ask. I bet you’ll be surprised by the journey. Oh, and READ THIS BOOK that I blogged about early on in the life of BBB. You gotta read this book; it will change your ideas about Fat. Guaranteed.

There are many more very real, life-affirming benefits of being fat, but ultimately, this blog is not advocating that people become fat. I’m advocating for the journey toward self-esteem, regardless of how you look or what your bodily conditions are. I’m advocating for self-acceptance because I want us, as a species, to accept others, expand our consciousness, and become healthy. I want us all to be well-fed, happy, and taking responsibility. I want us to own our power, be a force of good on this earth, and love. I want us to love. Even our fat.

 

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Oi! Ma Body’s Hurtin’

When in pain, it is very very difficult to embrace the body, listen to the messages that it is sending, and not curse it or despise it. Pain sucks. It just does. But, if you think about it, how else is the body going to tell us that we are imbalanced? How else can the body get our attention and request a change in our behaviors?

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If you are like lots of people, the body is largely an afterthought. It’s just kind of there in the background of your mind until you want to do a workout or are suffering some kind of ailment. Listening to the body is not often a prominent feature in most of our lives. For the most part, we align with our thinking, our analyzing, our thought processes much more. The body just comes along for the ride until imbalance sets in and it has to get our attention.

As for me, I live a tremendously stressful life. I dislike that this is the case, but it’s the truth. I have had a very, very stressful life, all the way from early childhood onward. But, some real beauty has come from this pain and struggle. My traumatized beginnings and stress-packed existence are what have made me such a great writer and why I’ve come to such a strong appreciation for all that my body has put up with (due to my wiring and choices).

This week, I am having some problems with my right hip and last week it was an episode of a bulging disk. While I am very healthy, I do have some reoccurring issues with my joints and back. This is where being large is a real challenge for me. The fact is that bigger bodies are typically harder on their joints. No matter how healthy I am or how much I work out, my joints are taking a hit and they let me know right away when I have pushed a yoga pose too far. For the record, I always push my yoga poses too far. I am such a tank. **Sigh**

I’m sure that my body has been warning me about the impending doom of this current pain cycle, but I haven’t listened and therefore, I’m now paying the price. Before humans get to the actual “feeling pain” stage, whatever the pain is, the body warns us. It sends warning shots. It tells us that something bad is about to happen if we continue down a particular path. The problem is that most of us do not listen very well. We are not taught in childhood how to connect with and check in with our bodies. I don’t know one person who was ever taught how to take inventory of, and listen to, their body. I was never taught that.

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I was taught to ignore the body and that the body is sin-based and not to be trusted. I was taught that the body misleads one from their true path to God. Even in the Buddhism that I later practiced, there is a total, encompassing emphasis on superseding the body and its desires. You are taught to transcend the body, the mind, and all attachments to worldly affairs. While I understand why this is a feature of many religions, I do not at all like it.

Now, this post is not a dissertation on religion, but I’ll sum up my opinion by saying that most of our religions have harmed the body and our relationship with it, tremendously. If we are here in bodies to expand as spirits, then why is the body considered so suspect, so in need of such strict governance, and considered such a hindrance to our supposed spiritual growth? Why is the body such a villain? This needs to change. Religion has damaged our relationship and dialog with the body and has placed the body below other human attributes like thought and expression. This is a huge disservice.

Until we, as a species, embrace all aspects of living and accept them, we will not fully and fruitfully live or become an overwhelmingly positive force on this planet. We need to, for our own survival, learn to listen to our bodies and each other. We need to listen, accept, react, express, and then advance. We need to heed the warning bells that our bodies give us and address problems before they become problems. We need to listen, then listen some more.

As for my pain, ice is my very best friend. I love ice. I am icing my hip as I post this and doing my very best to send soothing thoughts to my aching body parts. I am telling my body that I love her, I am here, I am not going anywhere, and I’ll do my best to do better next time. My hip is beginning to smile. Just a little. 🙂

“Eat Fat” A Book That’ll Change Your Life

There I was at a friend’s house (back in 1998), pawing through her overly burdened bookshelf when I spot the spine of a book that scandalously reads “EAT FAT” and which makes me instantly suck in my breath. Of course, I yank the book off of the shelf immediately and hold it in my hands, completely intrigued. It’s a compact, unassuming, and relatively small book for such a bold, inflammatory statement. The cover, a very bright yellow with large black lettering and the author’s name, Richard Klein, contained in a small box at the bottom is pretty simple, but for that crazy-bold title, the title that compels you to crack the book open then and there, which is what I did. “What is this?” I whispered to myself right as my friend Nell was entering the room with our plate of olives, bread, hummus, and a bottle of strong red wine tucked under her arm. “Oh, that” she says in a breathy, low tone. “That is an amazing book, Elizabeth. You have to read it.” And, thus, my journey into loving, really loving fat began.

EAT FAT book

This book changed my life, literally, in just one reading. I read it in its entirety that night. Of course, I was zonked the next day at my technical writing job, but I didn’t care. I was a changed woman. The words that Klein wrote in those finely crafted, funny, and down-to-earth pages, helped me finally, finally come home to myself, fully and utterly. With delicious, relief, I finally felt what my psyche had been craving all those many years (spent loathing my fatdom); I felt the calmness of acceptance but beyond that, a true, deeply resonant respect for myself and my amazing, succulent body. I was instantly FREE!! And, in one night, I intensely LOVED MY FAT AND EVERYONE ELSE’S. No joke.

Word of warning: If you do not want to love fat, do not read this book. If you do not mind loathing your body or others’ bodies or if you see no reason to change, do not read this book. If you use self-deprecation and do not mind feeling mostly bad about yourself and your body, do not read this book. If you do not want to challenge your long-held fat phobia, then by all means, avoid this book. But, if you want to truly understand how to love yourself, feel the pleasing shock of an abrupt, but liberating new awareness, the surge of sure-fire realization, and a deep sense of your place in this world (regardless of your size), read this book. I dare you.

This is “not a book about fat acceptance” as Klein states. It’s a book that aims to make us love fat, but only by way of understanding it and tracing its history, the etymological roots of words that mean “fat”, its cultural passage from art to politics to sex, and its place in human life from ancient times to modern. In smartly written, funny, and wildly entertaining prose, this wonderful French teacher from Cornell not only challenges fat phobia but invites us to once-again consider fat as an equal standard of beauty. And, like I stated, he does a damn good job because I went from fat phobic to fat lover in one night.

Klein eagerly awaits the day when fat is once again considered the norm. I do, too. Not just because I am fat (Richard is not, by the way), but because it will mean that human beings have finally pushed through to a new consciousness, a new way of being, a better way of being. Mankind will finally be able to drop his hands and say with a full heart “It takes all kinds to make this earth spin. I understand now.”

True Love is a whole lot better than mere acceptance and I look forward to the day when people do not just accept themselves or others but truly love themselves and others fully, “fatly”, and ravishingly. This book is my Bible. I want to be cremated with it.

Thin is Sickly. Or, Is it?

I have a confession to make. Once I learned to accept my burgeoning self, my rotundness, and once I learned to really, really like my curves, I realized something shocking as I sat thinking about a friend of mine (who, by the way, is impossibly thin and beautiful). What did I realize? That I’m just as judgmental about thinness as everyone else is about fatness. I’ll explain.

I have often had the thoughts that thin people are sickly, weak, and more prone to illness. I look at them and immediately, at that split-second-brain-warp-speed, think that about them. It’s true. I’ve thought that about nearly every thin person I’ve ever seen. Even the ones who are fit and use any excuse they can to show off their ridiculously toned abdomens in half-t-shirts or stretchy, brightly colored yoga-wear. Yep, in my book, thin has almost always meant sickly.

Well, this used to be my opinion until I caught myself thinking it one day and yelled “Ah-HAA!” loudly in the quiet room. Stunned, I sat there examining the thought that had just shot up from some dark fathom inside of me to hang there in my mind like a jagged little soot-colored shard of glass. Hoh-my-God! I think that thin people are sickly just like other people think that fat people are sickly. Hoh-my-God! I am doing the exact same thing: judging other people solely by their appearance!

But, it goes deeper than just judging appearance. (Doesn’t it always?)

We hold certain beliefs about the world that are from a primal, deep, and almost reptilian place, a place that is core to us, an area that is very difficult to access, but when accessed and analyzed, can yield great personal transformation. So, my idea that thin = sick is from that place, that reptilian, dna, core-belief center inside. How do I know that it’s a core belief? Because I have thought it at least a gazillion times. Stay with me.

Most of the people in my family are fat. I grew up around fairly fat people all of my life. And, when my family members weren’t fat, they were dieting or starving themselves into a temporary thinness (myself included) that was quickly supplanted by even more fat than when they started. So, I knew fat. I understood it. I looked at it, drew some comfort from it (as a young child) and then as a teenager, secretly loathed it and vowed that I would never ever end up like them. Which, of course, I did.

Fat was the norm, even though I knew that my family members were different and laughed at and despised and judged. Continually. But, fat, for me, was familiar. Safe. So, over time, I gravitated to the idea that thin was bad and fat was good. I mean, look at it: Fat is succulent and hearty. It’s rosy-cheeked and sturdy. It can carry two pails of milk from the barn and re-roof the house before lunch. Fat is fun. It jiggles, wiggles, and makes you laugh. It’s happy. Thin just looked painful to me. Thin looked like it was going to snap in half (at any second). Thin always conjured up images of bones angrily poking from beneath papery, ashy skin.

I walked around for years thinking this about other people and in most cases, it probably wasn’t true. Sure, some of the thin people I saw were sickly, but not all. Some of the fat people were sick because of their obesity, but not all.

As we know, the thought is always about the thinker. The thought is always the mechanism that creates the thinker’s reality. Core beliefs are formed by people observing circumstance, experiencing the results of their choices, and thinking certain thoughts over and over and over. These beliefs then form the place from which we make our inner (and outer) world.

But, these beliefs should always be questioned. They should be examined and teased apart and regarded from all angles. They should be asked: “Are you true?” “Are you real?” “How do you serve me?” “From where do you come?” “Why are you here?” “What have you given me?” And, in some cases, “When are you leaving?”

Thin is sometimes sickly but not always. Fat is sometimes burdensome, but not always. Thin is normal to some and easy for some, but not all. Fat is healthy for many, many people, but not everyone. Fitness is enjoyed by the fat and thin alike. Despite media reports, not every fat person is sick and not every thin person is automatically better off than a fat person.

So, what I learned from this experience is that trying to eradicate judgement is impossible, but it’s a good idea to catch up with oneself, think about the day, ponder the kinds of thoughts you have been having about yourself and others, dig around, look at your beliefs, weigh the prejudices and judgments that you hold, seek to understand the source of these things, and see if what you are holding onto still serves you.