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January 11th, 2005

After months of badgering by DH, I finally joined the Bally Fitness gym located in the same building as my workplace. The experience was pretty funny actually. The manager who signed me up and the fitness director who set up my “orientation session” both asked what my goals were, clearly expecting me to say “weight loss.” Of course, right? Fat girl walks into a gym, she must want to lose weight.

Umm, no. Actually, I don’t have any goals, I just want a place to work out on a near-daily basis. Since it’s in the same building as my office, I don’t exactly have any excuse not to. I don’t think they knew how to “sell” a membership to a fat chick who didn’t want to lose weight (specifically… if I lose weight, great! But it’s not my goal). Lucky for them, I was already sold solely on the fact that it’s convenient.

Anyway, now I have to brave all the buff workoutaholics, some of whom I *know* will be thinking “ewwww!” at the sight of someone who weighs more than a feather. Oh well, if I can show up on a beach in Maui in a coral red two piece, I can show up in a gym in Portland in track pants and a t-shirt. I want this one, specifically. Be sure to click on the larger image, so you can see what’s written on the back…;)

Posted by Claire at 02:03 PM | Fat!So? | Comments (2) | Tweet This Post

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October 14th, 2003
Splish Splash

Did I mention that I joined the YWCA Fitness Center the other day? They have a good rate for students. Back in the day, I was skinny and swam on the high school swim team. I wasn’t very fast or very good, but I did it for three years and I loved it. I love how my body feels, cutting through the water. Must be the Pisces in me. So, I bought a swimsuit because I was going to start swimming again. (In case that link doesn’t work in the future, it’s a Newport News tank suit, and they have great plus size clothes by the way.)

Today I swam for half an hour. I’ll do it again on Thursday. I still love to swim.

I liked a post by Fatshadow. It’s the October 14 post, because I can’t figure out how to link to it directly.

Be sure to catch this synopsis of a heart study. Note the part about “weight cycling.” That’s one of my “up-yours” gestures to people who think dieting constantly is a good idea.

Posted by Claire at 06:06 PM | Fat!So?, Move Yourself | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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October 12th, 2003
Fat, again

This article is moving. It reminded me of the book Fat?So! by Marilyn Wann. This article could be (well, large sections of it) my life.

It never ceases to amaze me the kinds of assumptions people are willing to make about fat people. Yes, fat people. I use the f-word because I refuse to hide behind euphemisms, or be ashamed of the truth or reality. I am fat. The US government considers me morbidly obese.

And yet, I can take a four-mile walk and (mostly) keep up with the group. If I fall behind, it’s because I’m also short and my stride is short too. If I’m taking two steps for every one of yours, of course I have to work harder. But I still can take the walk, and not even be sore or really tired afterward. I can arrive at our destination, not particularly out of breath, even. What, fat people can be healthy?

People assume I’m over thirty, and are shocked to learn I’m only 24. They ask if I have kids. No, I don’t have the pregnancy excuse. I’m just fat, okay? It runs in my family. I don’t eat fast food, I don’t eat junk food, hell, many days I don’t eat much at all. My body is the weight it is. This is an indisputable fact.

My blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. are all normal. Not “high normal,” or borderline but still normal, but healthy. My vital signs are no different from a healthy person who is also thin. I am a healthy person.

It’s not the weight, stupid. Health is determined by what you eat, how much you exercise, how you take care of yourself. You can do all of these things correctly, and still be fat. For me, I would have to probably starve myself completely to become thin, which is what weight-loss surgery does (and it’s not even permanent in many cases, which is tragic). It can kill you. Starvation is not compatible with life. Exercising for hours each day will destroy your joints faster than being fat will. If I do all the right things, and I’m healthy (but still fat), why on earth would I deliberately sabotage my health by starvation or extreme exercise?

Why do I have to fight for my right to exist? Why am I denied my sexuality, my self-esteem, my right to happiness because of my body’s shape?

I am who I am. I strive for a healthy, balanced life. I will not kill myself to become thin. Why is this seen as a character flaw?

My favorite quotes from the article: “Indeed, I built two babies, and have been “obese” ever since, never reaching lower than a size 14 with even the most rigorous of fitness programs, which I have since dispensed with due to frustration and a general lack of time, money, energy or inclination to make weight loss my major hobby.”

“My face buried in my husband’s chest, I can hear what I soon see: a pair of thin teenage girls three aisles over, pointing to the plus-sized nightgowns and mooing.”

“People shouldn’t look at me and automatically assume that I’m fat because I chronically overeat, that my character is somehow fundamentally flawed, or that I have psychological problems.”

This is the reality I live with. It’s very difficult not to become a very angry person because of it.

Posted by Claire at 11:11 PM | Fat!So?, Rant | Comments (4) | Tweet This Post

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August 3rd, 2003
fat hating

While browsing the smoking gun for something else, I found this. In case it gets moved, it’s Ruben Studdard’s lawsuit that the jersey manufacturer (of the 205 jerseys) is unlawfully using his likeness.

Now really folks, was it necessary to refer to Studdard’s weight EVERY TIME HE WAS REFERENCED?? If anyone needs proof that fat hatred is alive and well, this is certainly a good example. “Corpulent crooner,” “swollen singer,” “two-ton troubadour,” and “elephantine entertainer” are all from the little blurb detailing the legal document. Replace all those with references to his skin color, and it would be TOTALLY unacceptable, and the media would be ALL OVER their website for being racist. But insult someone because of their weight? No problem, that’s allowed.

This kind of crap makes me so freakin’ mad, I’m seething. Why was it deemed necessary to even make references to his weight? We can see the picture, we can see what he looks like. Why bring it up, again and again and again, if not to demean him? To dehumanize him? It’s wrong! I didn’t even watch American Idols, I just heard little clips on the car radio the day after he won. Sounds like a good singer. So did the other guy.

Fat happens. For many people (I’d even say a lot of fat people), it’s not going to go away. I would have to quit eating and exercise until I dropped dead to become a “skinny” person. Eating a healthy, low-fat diet, and getting regular exercise (you know, doing everything I SHOULD do to be healthy) does not shed pounds off this body. Only starvation (which would deprive me of essential vitamins and nutrients, stress my heart, and leach calcium from my bones) will remove enough fat off this body for me to look “skinny.” Ain’t gonna happen. Sure maybe Mr. Studdard could lose a little weight. But I doubt he’ll ever be skinny, like Clay Aiken or Ben Affleck thin.

So why can’t we be accepted AS PEOPLE? As beautiful, attractive people? Why is fat UGLY and HATED and DESPISED? Why are we seen as LAZY and DIRTY (the references to his sweat and have you seen Fat Bastard in Austin Powers?) and maybe even STUPID? I hate it. I hate people and society, sometimes. I hate fat jokes. I hate that the entire world of the media wants me to hate myself and others to despise me, all because of the shape of my body. They can all just go to hell.

Posted by Claire at 10:08 PM | Fat!So?, Rant | Comments (1) | Tweet This Post

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March 4th, 2003

I read an article (Reuters) about this new study that says that losing weight, or even just trying, will extend your lifespan. It was an interesting article, but the way it was written pissed me off because it failed to challenge some erroneous and harmful assumptions we have in our society. You see, what the article was essentially saying was that CHANGING YOUR LIFESTYLE, by eating a healthier diet and exercising regularly, will extend your lifespan. This extension happens whether you lose weight as a result of your lifestyle change or not. But the article could not come right out and say that a fat person who eats right and gets exercise is essentially a healthy person. Nope, they had to couch it in terms of weight loss.

The harmful assumption is that the only reason to make a lifestyle change is to attempt to lose weight. If you do all these things, and do not lose weight, you have failed. They used the words “failed to lose weight” in the article. When we throw around terms like “failed” it becomes a win-lose situation. Lose weight, you win! Don’t lose weight, you lose! How messed up is that. Certain relatives of mine won’t bother to exercise because “they never lose weight anyway” when they do. But exercising and eating healthy will extend your life regardless of your body size! (oops. we can’t tell people that. they’ll stop buying diet pills.)

We need to separate a healthy lifestyle from weight loss. In fact, we need to forget about weight loss altogether. It’s been proven that the so-called data claiming that fat kills is erroneous anyway–read Big Fat Lies for more on that. We need to embrace a healthier, happier lifestyle at any size. We need to insist that NOT losing weight even with a lifestyle change is NOT a failure. We need to stop ASSUMING that people make lifestyle changes IN ORDER to lose weight, and thus call them a failure if they don’t.

Forget weight loss. Just leave it out entirely. If we told the diet industry to stick it up their a$$, cutting them out of the picture, and told people “move more. eat more veggies and whole grains and less sugar” without inducing guilt, without inducing fear, without inducing anxiety, “do this and you’ll live longer and be happier” without mentioning weight… gee, I bet the world would be a better place.

Posted by Claire at 02:23 AM | Fat!So?, Rant | Comments (2) | Tweet This Post

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