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  • Jen 7:39 pm on June 18, 2010 Permalink  


    Dear Fat-o-sphere,

    I need your help with something. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t eat gluten. Or oats. Or dairy. And I’m trying hard to stick to this intuitive eating thing. So what do I feed myself when I’m having an intense, crazy, white hot craving for just a teeny tiny cube (or two) of cheddar cheese? Sure, I could cave in and have a little cheese, but it would make me miserable.

    So what is it my body is asking me for? The fat? The savory creamyness? The calcium? Because I can’t figure it out, and at this point I’m going to end up dreaming about flying to the moon in a rocket made of cheese tonight.

    Suggestions appreciated, thanks in advance.

    • Dee 8:02 pm on June 18, 2010 Permalink

      I guess it depends on why you don’t eat dairy. If you’re lactose intolerant, then maybe you can take lactaid, then eat the cheese.

      • Rachel 8:29 pm on June 18, 2010 Permalink

        Speaking for Jen here, its my understanding that she is casein intolerant.

      • CTJen 8:37 pm on June 18, 2010 Permalink

        Dee, since that post I linked to, I have tried that and still reacted. I’m not sure exactly what it is in dairy that makes me sick. Just that it does. :-( Thanks anyway.

    • Meera 8:18 pm on June 18, 2010 Permalink

      The casein in cheese is said to act as a drug, giving an ‘addictive’ quality to cheese which accounts for the fact that it is often the ‘most missed’ item given up by vegans. It certainly was for me for many years (not as much anymore).

      Can you find a good vegan cheese without wheat or oats? (My absolute favourite, Bute Island’s Scheese, includes gluten-free oat fiber, so I don’t know if that’s still too ‘oat-y’ for your needs.)

      • Rachel 8:32 pm on June 18, 2010 Permalink

        Speaking for Jen again; she is one of those rare celiacs who is intolerant of oat protein as well as gluten. Yeah it totally sucks to be her.

      • CTJen 8:53 pm on June 18, 2010 Permalink

        Yeah, oats are right out. Even a tiny amount will make me sick. I didn’t even think about trying vegan cheeses. I’ll see what I can find. Thank you!

    • Heidi 9:11 pm on June 18, 2010 Permalink

      It *looks* like it’s free of all of these and a friend of mine says this is a good vegan cheese option (her daughter cannot have casein either):

    • meerkat 2:42 am on June 19, 2010 Permalink

      I don’t have any right now so I can’t check for gluten but my favorite soy cheese is Follow Your Heart brand. If you can find soy cheese you can eat, you might want to try a variety of them, because it took me a long time to find one I actually liked.

    • Lady Bird 5:35 am on June 19, 2010 Permalink

      Let me second the Daiya “cheese” recommendation. I just had it for the first time and it’s melty and delicious. There are many recipes for ‘cashew cheese’ which usually involve cashews, lemon juice, garlic, salt and water and/or oil. It’s my favorite way to cure cheese cravings.

      Instead of focusing on finding something super cheese like, try finding something rich with umami, like roasted sesame oil. I’ve heard that Red Star nutritional yeast is okay for celiacs, but you might want to check.

      • Meera 9:17 am on June 21, 2010 Permalink

        The Uncheese Cookbook is a good source for a huge variety of non-dairy, make-them-yourself ‘cheeses’ (of varying appeal, as I’ve discovered by making a few).

    • La di Da 5:51 am on June 19, 2010 Permalink

      My favourite vegan cheese for slices is Tofutti, they have mozzarella and American cheese styles. The Tofutti cream cheese is great too. My fave for melting is Cheezly, their “mozzarella” really does melt like real cheese. cheezly also does slices but I haven’t had the chance to try them, but I suspect they’d also be pretty tasty. I can’t eat gluten and haven’t had a problem with them.

      Cashew nut cream is also great for cream sauces! Add nutritional yeast flakes to make cheesy sauce. Great on gluten-free macaroni. :)

    • Barb 2:40 pm on June 19, 2010 Permalink

      You might also miss the memories/positive associations formed from past experiences with cheese–just because it was something you enjoyed as a kid. Find new foods you enjoy, that are creamy or whatnot, and it will not be the same, but but you can form new memories and positive associations. Intuition is hard to use because it gets mixed up with other conceptions we have–but you can do it!

    • Frances 8:39 pm on June 20, 2010 Permalink

      I’ve no cheese replacement suggestions, but just so you know, intuitive eating isn’t a perfect system:

  • Rachel 12:58 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink  

    Just A Number 

    So, I’ve been gaining weight for a while, ever since I broke up with my ex Valentines Day 2009. It is only natural that I should gain, since before the breakup, I had been depressed and stressed and didn’t eat and lost some weight. Then after we split, I became a whole lot less active, but started to eat again, so I got bigger. I could tell because my clothes got tight, and I had to shop for new pants and bras twice. It seems to have leveled off now. I must confess that I really hope I have leveled off and stopped gaining because a) I’m sick of shopping for pants and bras, y’all and b) I am a couple pounds shy of the Big 200.

    Yeah, I weighed myself. Went to a naturopath appointment, way back in January, and out of some morbid curiosity regarding the fatness of my body, stepped on the scale. I really wish I hadn’t weighed myself, because when I saw “197” I had an OMGNOT200!DOOOOOOM! moment.

    But why? Why is that number so horrible? Its just a number: whether I weigh 199 pounds or 201 doesn’t change me, or any of us, as human beings. Even if our culture does decree that it shall be the Magic Cutoff of Worth(TM). Too many women subscribe to it, like Oprah, and I don’t want to be one of them.

    So, since Janurary, I’ve been telling myself that 200 is just a number and that it does not really reflect my actual shape and size and WORTH of my body and myself. It does not make me any less desirable–in fact, while it lowers my attractiveness for some men, it raises it for others, and for the men I ultimately wish to meet and date, it has no bearing whatsoever. And I believe that, seriously, but gaining all that weight still bummed me out, because, yo, shrinking clothes suck.

    Yet even with all that internal pep-talking, and the reinforcing I got from y’all, the Fatosphere, I still felt like crap. Of course, I had been feeling like crap for a long time, since before my ex and I split. I thought it was due to my several food intolerances, diagnosed just this October. Eliminating gluten and caffeine from my diet has done tremendous amounts of wonders for my sense of health and well-being. But even though I slept better and lived better (not dealing with painful abdominal cramping and diarrhea after EVERY goddamned meal) I still felt like crap. My energy levels went up, and my mental stability improved, but I still felt sluggish, weak, bloated, out-of-breath, tired, irritable, impatient, and flat out ugly and undesirable. In short, I felt “FAT”. (I use this phrase not to comdemn fatness, but because it is the term so many American women–maybe even other english-speaking women and men?–use to describe their discomfort with their bodies.)

    I refuse to diet, in any form. They don’t work long-term and instead just make you hungry and angry and stressed and self-hating, and then you start yo-yoing and shit. I just refuse to go down that road. Hell, my diet is restricted enough as it is, being gluten-intolerant. In fact, I refuse to get sucked into the whole wish-fullfillment trap of the Fantasy of Being Thin, and I have rebelliously denied that fantasy by eating whatever the fuck I wanted, when I wanted. But that hasn’t made my crappy-body feelings go away.

    Then a couple months ago, it came to me. I need to move, be active. I used to hike and walk a lot, before the ex and I went splitsville. And my healthier diet and better sleeping habits expanded my energy reserves. But I haven’t been active at all since the breakup. I just work, eat, read, and sleep.

    So, I joined a gym.

    I hate gyms. I hate machines and the whole thin=fit culture rampant in gyms. But this gym is the regional YMCA. Its got a POOL. Two, in fact. Most gyms in this area of the country just don’t have pools (don’t ask me why, cuz I sure don’t know). I love, love, LOVE to swim, and hadn’t been swimming since I moved out here. And since the whole tenet of HAES is to find activities one loves to do, I opted to join the Y.

    I’ve gone 3 times since joining on the 1st. And, y’all, I’m so glad I did this. Swimming makes me feel euphoric and relaxed, calm and tired, and at peace with the cold cruel world. It makes me feel strong. And since I’m not focused on BEING SKINNY, I can actually enjoy feeling my body glide through the water. I can enjoy the bubbling hot tub. I can meditate in the steam room. I can watch the Zumba chicks dance and say “that looks fun, I will try that next week.” And best of all, I can climb on the locker room scale, see the numbers say “197” and NOT GIVE A FUCK, cuz, y’all I feel great! 200 really IS just a number. Whether I am above or below that “magic cuttoff of worth”, I”m still me. I’m still here. Am I still fat? Hell, yeah. Do I still “feel FAT”? Hell, no. And that’s all anyone, thin or fat, can ask for; our worth and our ability to feel good and be worthy, does not depend on some damn number.

    • Jazz 1:37 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      I need to move too. I mean I really need to move. Because otherwise I think I’m going to become one with the couch… Forget couch potato, I AM the couch.

      Somehow though, I just can’t seem to get off the damn thing.

      • Rachel 4:16 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

        LOL. all I advise you is do find an activity you enjoy, something that feels like play or is pleasurable, and do it when you want to, and dont give a fig for “results”. However, the “wanting” to is the tough part, and I cant help ya there. Plus, girl, you just got back from vacation in Brittany. you need to relax!

    • Living 400lbs 3:45 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      I toured a bunch of gyms a few years ago, and I noticed the Y had a much more kid-friendly vibe. If anything, the kid-friendly kind of reduced the lose-weight and be-sexy focuses, which I thought was nice. Have you noticed anything like that?

      (Of course not all Ys are the same, just as all 24Hr Fitness or Gold’s or Curves are the same….)

      • Rachel 4:20 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

        This Y is definitely family-centered, focused on providing clean, safe facilities and programs for the community. Its all about being active and healthy of course, but there’s nothing on the walls that pushes the obesity doom rhetoric. But then again, I haven’t yet taken any of the fitness classes or personal training or nutrition services. And even if I did, as a deaf person, I’m pretty insulated from that shit. Yay me.

    • dominique 3:55 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      Ya, I know that. If I hadn’t started crazy dieting at 12 years old b-cuz a friggin asshole Doc told me «you are very obese» I’d probably be 160 pounds again. However, after years and years of disordered eating, diets, exercise and obsessing about weight I’m 232 and struggling because it still tends to make me sick. I say to myself that I’ll never diet again b-cuz that’s what got me there. DIET MADE ME ZOMGDEATHFAT. So SCREW YOU Doc Whatever, and miss, keep in mind that it’s just a number. You’re doing well and it’ll prevent you from keeping putting on, I’m sure. Keep on HAES- ing. xxxx

      • Rachel 5:03 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

        thanks! I am also leery of doctors because of that increasingly vitriolic fat hate. I dont even have a personal physician, excepting my gyno and my naturopath.

    • maggiemunkee 4:01 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      tangentially: i have recently returned to my gym after taking a few months off due to a severe first lupus flare. for funsies, i got on the scale. it read 135. i was baffled – i haven’t weighed that little since grammar school. and because at my last doctor appointment i weighed 300 on the nose.

      someone had switched the digital screen from pounds to kilograms. HA!

      • Rachel 5:04 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink


        btw, metric is for heathens. YES! ;)

    • Anna 7:03 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      What a great post, and something I definitely needed this morning. I put on a bunch of weight when I went overseas, and since then have been hovering around 90kg, which is my cutoff number because omg 90kg is what my MOTHER weighs. Heaven forfend!

      Being active certainly does make a difference. I LOVE the gym, and I also do roller derby and volleyball. Being able to focus on what my body can do rather than what it looks like is really helpful. I hate that that’s been swayed recently by unsolicited comments on how I dress.

      You know what, I think I might actually go swimming this week too. You’ve inspired me. Thankyou!

      • CTJen 6:51 pm on June 16, 2010 Permalink

        forfend is a great word! LOL!

    • Heidi 6:37 pm on June 15, 2010 Permalink

      Maybe it’s a crazy question…but can you just ditch the weighing? If it really doesn’t matter (unless you have a health condition that warrants keeping an eye on your weight because of meds, etc.), why bother with knowing the numbers at all?

      I don’t know many people who can truly look at numbers on a scale without feeling any kind of emotional response, because that scale is *triggering*! If you are one of those people, great…otherwise, just ditch it. THAT was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done!

    • CTJen 6:52 pm on June 16, 2010 Permalink

      “Maybe it’s a crazy question…but can you just ditch the weighing?”

      So. Much. This.

  • Jen 11:32 pm on June 11, 2010 Permalink  

    Teachable Moments 

    This week I went to a party at the home of a friend whom I have known since my oldest kid was an infant, about 7 years now. We have several mutual friends, her and I, and I was, ahem, lucky enough to have a conversation with one woman, B, who I’d first met a couple of years ago while I was in WW. At that time, B had confided to me that she had struggled with her weight for many years and that her mother had her doing WW from the time she was 10 years old, but she was inspired enough by my WW effort to give it a try again. (For the record, it looks to me that B has a body which would be considered and embraced by our thin loving culture as “normal”. I am bad at guessing at weights or sizes, but I would be well and truly shocked if her pants were any larger than a size 8.) Anyhow, at that time, two years ago, B and I were able to slip into the culturally expected norm of bonding over the shared misery and challenges of dieting and hating our bodies.

    Toward the end of the party this week, I had settled down in a nice quiet corner with my knitting and B found me while she waited for her husband to gather up their children. She struck up a conversation with me, which started with a compliment about my knitting. She went on to tell me that she hadn’t knitted in years, but was thinking she could take it up again as a weight loss tool. Internally I sighed and rolled my eyes. “Oh? Because you can’t eat and knit at the same time?” I asked with a laugh and then told her, “well, I knit all the time and it never really worked that way for me, LOL.” As she tried to steer the conversation back to how utterly miserable she is being such a huge giant fatass, I said to her, “to tell the truth, B, I just don’t diet any more. I gave it up and I feel so much happier now.”

    The truth is, I do feel happier now. Freed from the constant obsession of meal plans and food lists and points calculations and good foods and bad foods and body hatred, I can actually get on with my life. Granted, FA for me is still a work in progress and will always be sort of unfolding within me, but I feel like I’ve come a long way in the last year. I no longer look at myself in the mirror and automatically think “YUCK!”. I can look at a photograph of myself and think, “Yep, that’s what I look like,” instead of “GAWD WHAT AN UGLY FATSO I AM!” Being able to do that is incredibly liberating.

    I actually explained all that to B and suggested she have a look at Linda Bacon’s Health at Every Size. She seemed open to it, and I do hope she does come around to it eventually. Because, really, being someone’s WW (or weight loss) inspiration is a lot of pressure. Honestly? I just want to sit. And knit.

    • Patsy Nevins 9:34 am on June 12, 2010 Permalink

      I think you did a great job & I really hope that B gets the message.

    • Ashley 9:10 pm on June 12, 2010 Permalink

      It’s good that she was open to it. I think a lot of people would have condemned you for butting in, not saying that’s what I think you were doing, but I think a lot of people would construe it that way. I think you did a good job as well. It’s always good to know that you’ve had a positive influence on someone’s life.

    • Anna 9:41 pm on June 12, 2010 Permalink

      Wow. What an excellent way to put it. Thank you for posting this, I intend to say that next time someone gets on my back about it.

  • Jen 7:33 am on June 4, 2010 Permalink  

    Size Acceptance and the Sleep Talkin’ Man 

    Have you seen the Sleep Talkin’ Man? Adam talks in his sleep and his wife blogs about it and it is hilarious, to say the least. And today’s little gem? Perfection.

    • Ashley 11:51 am on June 4, 2010 Permalink

      The first link isn’t working.

      • CTJen 1:53 pm on June 4, 2010 Permalink

        Sorry about that! I fixed it!

    • silentbeep 8:47 pm on June 4, 2010 Permalink

      Oh I just love him. The “shapely” dream makes me love him more ;)

    • wriggles 4:05 am on June 5, 2010 Permalink

      Ha, ha, I’ve felt a similar sentiment, many times!

  • Jen 11:58 am on May 30, 2010 Permalink  

    In which I say “I’m sorry I haven’t blogged lately”. 

    I’m not the kind of blogger that does a lot of “I’m sorry I haven’t blogged lately” posts. Sometimes I blog regularly, and sometimes not. Blogging isn’t my job so I figure I’ll get around to it when I get around to it and that, for the most part, blog readers understand that. But lately, the lack of posts isn’t because I’ve been particularly busy, or for a lack of material, but because of something that has been taking up a lot of space in my head since the early part of May. I’d like to blog about what it is, because much of what happened is apropos to what I’m trying to accomplish here on Fat Sisters, but I also don’t want to be a passive aggressive twat about it, either. I’ve started and discarded about a dozen drafts of this post since The Incident, most of them sounding too ranty, or too combative, or too acrimonious, or too hurtful. Which is not at all what I aim to do. So please forgive the lack of posts around here while I work on processing and letting go of things.

  • Jen 10:18 pm on May 20, 2010 Permalink  

    OBESITYDOOM, Kitteh Edition 

    Even the cats aren’t safe from the OBESITYDOOM panic. I’m so furious with my vet right now. We’ve been going to her for years and years, and she’s always been wonderful. She has such a gentle hand and is very sweet and smart and kind. A great vet. But today, I am pissed. Both cats’ weight was up since their check ups last year, so of course we had to have the OBESITYDOOM lecture. She told me that I was going to have to start giving them insulin if I didn’t stop feeding them so much. And then she didn’t believe me when I told her how much I actually am feeding them.

    Here’s the thing. Doozer appears to be part Maine Coon. MC cats don’t reach their full size until after their third year. Doozer is three this year. He’s gained 3 pounds in two years (13 lbs all together!) and he doesn’t even look plump. Yes, he does have the little pocket of belly fat which is typical of neutered males, but he is no where near obese.

    And Lolly? Well, she is another story. She’s quite solidly packed on a teeny frame. But honestly? She doesn’t eat any more than Doozer does (in fact she eats considerably less), and I am quite aware that some female cats, when spayed, become quite, well, ROUND is really the only word for it. Honestly, I’m not worried about her. She and Doozer get plenty of exercise running around the house and up and down the stairs and wrestling until the break of dawn. So yeah.

    And my vet’s advice? “Take some food away and see if one or both of them loses weight. If they don’t then maybe they are just good retainers.” WTF?


    • vesta44 10:45 pm on May 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I am so glad I don’t have to deal with that with our vet. In fact, I called them the other day because Fat Cat is losing weight. He’s gone from 14 lbs down to 10 lbs in less than a year. While part of it is because we have a new, younger cat that makes him play more (FC is 10 years old and the new cat, Marty, is only 4 years old), part of it is due to a change in food (he went from Purina One with yogurt to Iams hairball control and maintenance diet since he and Marty are both long-haired cats). Vet said that since we could feel Fat Cat’s ribs and his spine/hip bones, we should probably add some canned Iams to his diet (but not to give any to Marty since he isn’t losing any weight).
      Vet also said that when we bring the cats in for their yearly shots this summer, we should probably have blood drawn from Fat Cat to make sure he doesn’t have any liver or kidney problems if he hasn’t gained any weight back by then. And she said that pad of fat under their bellies is necessary and to worry if the cats lose it when they lose weight.
      Personally, I wouldn’t worry about their weight as long as they’re active and healthy.

    • Mikuto 10:48 pm on May 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m sorry, did your vet just suggest that you starve your cats and see if they lose weight? Time for a new vet :/

    • April D 7:28 am on May 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Holy crap, what Mikuto said. It makes me so angry when I hear about the various ways that humans try to foist their fat hatred onto pets. And may I add that Doozer is a beautiful looking kitteh? I want to pet his grey tabbiness!

    • Patsy Nevins 8:52 am on May 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      There is nothing wrong with your cats. Ignore the vet &, if necessary, find another one. There is nothing wrong with ANY of us…cats, dogs, humans, rhinos, hippos, elephant, mice, lizards, whatever…at whatever size & shape we happen to be. Not only is this whole ‘obesity panic’ based on a false premise for humans, it also is for all species. A close friend had a male Coon cat who was a regular Garfield, weighed 30-32 pounds all his adult life. If you caught a glimpse of him quickly, you would think you were looking at a bobcat. However, he had a perfectly normal, healthy life & that life lasted 18 years.

      People in all disciplines & all branches of medicine are being brainwashed & accepting disinformation as fact & unfortunately most of them are totally around the bend on the subject of fat, weight, differences in body size & shape. I don’t listen to any of them.

    • richie79 7:17 pm on May 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      “People in all disciplines & all branches of medicine are being brainwashed & accepting disinformation as fact & unfortunately most of them are totally around the bend on the subject of fat, weight, differences in body size & shape.”

      Yes and for an idea of who’s doing the brainwashing look no further. Commercial interests with something to sell, as flipping usual. Never mind that there are other researchers who claim feeding your cat this overpriced stuff is potentially storing up various problems. Fortunately despite our gorgeous longhaired cat being between 18-20lbs (and the laziest kitty I’ve probably ever known), we’ve never been hassled by the vet about her weight,not least because unlike her slim brother she’s in perfect health.

  • Jen 4:38 pm on May 16, 2010 Permalink  


    Another swing around the sun completed, and a new one began. Cheers.

    *cross-posted from my other blog

    • living400lbs 5:24 pm on May 16, 2010 Permalink

      Yay :) Hope you have fun!

    • JeninCanada 7:06 pm on May 16, 2010 Permalink

      Happy Birthday! How odd we share a birthday. ^^ Well, you, me and probably a few thousand other folks.

    • AcceptanceWoman 8:34 pm on May 16, 2010 Permalink

      Happy Birthday, Beautiful Person!

    • Bri 4:16 am on May 17, 2010 Permalink

      Happy happies honey!

      (BTW, you are soooo pretty!)

    • atchka 10:31 am on May 17, 2010 Permalink

      Happy birthday! You’re gorgeous!


  • Rachel 9:01 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink  

    Thoughts on the ABC vs Lane Bryant Ad 

    The big news this week is the apparent fat phobia of ABC execs in denying a Lane Bryant lingerie ad from airing during prime time hours along with Victoria’s Secret’s “Naked” advertising.

    Except, I’m not so sure that fat phobia is at play here. It seems to me to be primarily a case of patriarchal normativism.

    Let me explain. In the LB ad we see a curvy girl in figure-enhancing lingerie making a date on her phone, then admiring herself in the mirror, and walking out the door clad only in a trench coat. The implication being that this woman is heading out for some hot sexytimes–and is very much looking forward to it. And her paramour has no idea what’s coming to him. Oh la la! Viva la fat femme!

    This is a woman who owns her body and her sex. She is not meek–she is sexually confident and assertive. She does not wait, like the Vicky’s models, passively and winsomely, for her lover to come and satisfy himself on her. No, instead she goes out knowing exactly what she wants and with no doubt that she is going to get it.

    Well, that just simply isn’t “proper!”

    This is still a patriarchal culture, and women are supposed to be passive objects for male sexual consumption, not active consumers themselves. Any woman who is sexually aggressive is considered “bad”–slutty, mean, promiscuous, man-eating, deceptive, and evil. Consider the characters in movies and TV that are sexually dominant women: the vast majority are portrayed invariably as Villains. The Damsel’s nemesis, or the Hero’s weakness, who must be overcome.

    In the context of the LB ad, the sexually dominant attitude of the character adds the element of the taboo to her nakedness–magnifying her sexual presence tenfold. In contrast, the gyrating sirens of Victoria’s Secret are nearly invisible in their adherence to female norms.

    The fat phobia here is incidental–a symptom of normativity. A person who is evidentially “normal” has more leeway to engage in non-approved behaviors than one who is not “normal”. It is remarked upon, but it is not threatening. Much like rich white suburban white boys dressing and acting like poor urban black youths. Non-threatening people engaging in “bad” behavior are eccentric–whereas Abnormal, threatening people engaging in the same behaviors are labeled deviant, and are in need of immediate correction. Or censorship.

    So, the “problem” with the Lane Bryant ad is not merely that of a “fat girl” showing off, but its of “fat” girl engaging in “deviant” behavior. That’s just not allowed, because why then, “normal” girls might get ideas!

    • Jazz 9:06 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink

      I just googled the commercial. That woman is supposed to be fat?

      OK, she’s not skinny, but she’s nowhere near fat! Only big thing about her is her boobs.

      Gimme a fucking break!!!

      • living400lbs 10:46 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink

        She’s a size 16, which is considered plus-size. I don’t know her BMI, but the CDC would probably classify her as clinically overweight or obese. This is one of the little secrets of the “OMG over half of Americans are overweight or obese!!!!” stories: most people who are clinically overweight or obese aren’t very fat.

        So yeah, the model isn’t fat the way I’m fat. She’s actually much more typical.

    • CTJen 9:10 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink


    • vesta44 9:58 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink

      You know, I think you just might have hit the nail right on the head with your analysis of why ABC and Fox didn’t want to air that ad. If it had been done the same way as the Victoria’s Secret ads, there might not have been as much of a problem getting it aired.
      And while fat people might not consider the model in the Lane Bryant ad fat, compared to Victoria’s Secret models (or most other mainstream fashion models, for that matter), she’s fat – she has natural cleavage, actual hips, legs that aren’t sticks, and a belly that isn’t concave (in other words, she’s not a hanger for the lingerie, she owns the lingerie, it doesn’t own her).

    • Ashley 11:56 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink

      Interesting perception on the issue!

    • lifeonfats 12:13 pm on April 27, 2010 Permalink

      While I do think the ad showing the woman being sexually confident and somewhat aggressive may have been socially threatening, I still believe that the idea of a plus-size woman who isn’t being seen on TV as self-loathing, dieting, or feeding her face, but positive and not starved for love is something mainstream networks are afraid to show, because someone will accuse them of being fat-friendly.

      When FOX’s “More to Love” premiered, there were comments saying how unhealthy all of the female contestants were and it was encouraging fat people to not lose weight. It’s this fear of fat people being treated as human that really causes others to show poor judgment on their part.

    • April D 11:52 am on May 3, 2010 Permalink

      Fantastic take on this. I think it is likely a combination of these fears. I also get a sense that there is another fear here: that fear that portraying a fat(ter than usually allowed on TV unless as a joke) woman in a positive light might work, even a bit, to wreck the impact of all those ads immediately before and after extolling the virtues of self-hatred (of your body, size, shape, non-perfect whatever) to be cured only by product X. As you say, not only is she fat but she’s deviant because she dares to consume sexual confidence: instead of passively display her “goods” for the male-centric gaze, she’s off to put them to use! And that scares the pants off folks who are complacent in this normative spirit-crushing of women that exists. Not sure I can even formulate where I’m going with that except to say fantastic bit of analysis, you’ve really got my brain crackers grinding here!

  • Jen 9:53 am on April 8, 2010 Permalink  

    HAES Parenting Fail 

    This morning, my kids woke up hungry and so I fed them cereal with rice milk. Then my older son asked for some potato chips. I told him to have an apple. Then he asked for some potato chips. I told him to have a rice cake with sunflower butter on it, and I gave him a mini-lecture about macro-nutrients. He ate the rice cake and he asked for some potato chips. I told him to have a boiled egg. “ARGH!” he shouted and stomped off. “If you’re not hungry for an egg,” I called after him, “then you’re not hungry.”

    Ugh. Yes, I really did say that. Once he was in his room, noisily and angrily rooting through the lego box, I started to wonder what was the big deal. Why can’t he just have some damned potato chips if he’s hungry for them? And then it dawned on me that the entire exchange we’d had was a power struggle on my part. One of the things I continue to find extremely difficult is eating normally–letting go of the notion that there are “good” foods and “bad” foods, and just generally trusting my own hunger cues. So, in my my mind, I am still unconsciously compartmentalizing the potato chips as a “bad” food which should only be enjoyed at lunchtime. Of course, as soon as he was out of the room, I couldn’t STOP thinking about those fucking potato chips and they were all I wanted to eat, even though I’d already had a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and a banana.

    I got myself some chips and called him back to the kitchen. I told him that I’d made a huge mistake. If he’s hungry, he needs to eat, and that he’s allowed to decide for himself, within reason, (see? i’m still doing it. argh!) what he would like to eat. Of course, he was still hungry for the chips, which he ate happily with his brother.

    Leaving behind a lifetime of cultural messages and 2 years of WW indoctrination is a process, but at least I was able to recognize the ridiculousness of telling an 8 year old (or any one else for that matter) that he’s not hungry.

    • the fat nutritionist 11:10 am on April 8, 2010 Permalink

      Aww, it happens. The awesome thing is that you’re fully aware of what’s going on, and you totally made up for it. Some parents would never be able to admit to their kids that they had been *gasp* WRONG about something! I’m impressed.

    • Eve 11:23 am on April 8, 2010 Permalink

      That rice cake sounds really good! I totally would rather have that right now than potato chips. Unfortunately I seldom eat rice cakes because I can’t deal with the crumb explosion factor. They are pretty much only a picnic food.

      Good job with being aware of what you are doing. My mom wouldn’t have allowed me to have potato chips in the middle of the morning either, and I would probably have snuck some when she was in the back yard or something. Well, I would have snuck cookies, because that was my thing.

      • katie 1:15 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

        I don’t know where you live or even if these are available everywhere, but I much prefer Magic Pops than rice cakes and they don’t have the crumbling problem. I couldn’t find a website for the company, but here’s a little information about them, I can’t really describe them, but they are a little sweeter and less dense than the standard rice cake.

      • CTJen 1:31 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

        we eat a lot of rice cakes here because of the whole gluten free thing. I get tired of cleaning up the crumbs, to be sure! And yes, my thing is cookies too, so I totally know what you’re saying.

    • Confused 12:08 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

      *Is* that a HAES fail? What if you just have chips around, because you just never eat them? Do you still have to give the kid whatever he wants–wouldn’t that spoil him? I thought the point of HAES is to do healthy things and not worry about what you weigh? I feel like I’ve missed something.

      I do see why it’s important to avoid power struggles. So if they’re there, it makes sense he would have them (especially because he sees that you like them). But if they’re not, it doesn’t seem like you’re obligated to buy them.

      • CTJen 1:45 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

        It wasn’t that it was a HAES fail, but a fail as a parent trying to learn to eat intuitively, and trying to allow her child eat intuitively also. We had the chips leftover from dinner last night (it was sandwich night!) so that’s why he was asking for them. We have lots of other choices as far as food goes and It’s not that I am concerned about spoiling him. In my head I really was thinking “potato chips in the morning=bad” and what transpired was me lording my own issues (the moralizing a food choice) over him. THAT is the FAIL.

        • Not confused 4:34 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

          Ah, I see. It’s all context! And you wanted to make sure he didn’t feel bad for wanting leftovers from the dinner the previous night, just because it’s not traditional breakfast food. That is cool that you apologized to him.

    • JennyRose 12:26 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

      HAES parenting is hard. I let my daughter eat cookies and ice cream and I do worry she isn’t eating enough “wholesome” food. I let her eat the sugary stuff because I don’t want her to have an ED like I still struggle with.

      I am so that I realized that my diet/”healthy eating” beleifs were wrong when she was still small. It also helps that my child is extremely thin and willowy. I honestly don’t know if I would be so free with the sugar if she was of average or larger size. The temptation to control and fall back on conventional wisdom (which would ultimately result in harm_ might be too great.

    • Rachel 1:21 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

      I’m not a parent, but I know how difficult HAES is for myself, so I can’t even imagine trying to teach it to children in a culture that encourages otherwise. That being said, I don’t see this necessarily as a HAES parenting fail. It’s your job to help your child make healthy choices and learn to listen to his body. Food manufacturers deliberately engineer foods to affect our neurochemistry and make us crave them regardless if our bodies want and need them. That doesn’t make chips a “bad” choice, but it does mean that we should be conscious of the ways in which foods like it (which while they may not be “bad” for us, are often less healthy for us) are constructed so as to circumvent our body’s sense of hunger and satiety. Since this is too heady of material for a child to fully understand, it’s your job to mediate it for him and it sounds like you were only doing your best, so don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s a difficult line to tow, I’m sure. You don’t want to moralize food and make it into the forbidden fruit, but you want to help him learn how to make the healthiest choices possible for him.

      Speaking from my role as a childless armchair quarterback and not knowing the age of your child, maybe you could have allowed him the chips and asked him what it was about the chips that made him crave them at that particular time. Did he want something salty Crunchy? Maybe he’d just shrug it off with a “I dunno,” but it might plant a seed in his head to think about his food choices and why he’s making them.

      • Heidi 1:50 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

        I agree with this.

        My approach with my son is, generally, to insist that first thing in the morning, he have something more filling/nutritious before he has something I see as less nutritious. He can’t have a chocolate egg first thing but he can have that chocolate egg if he’s had something to anchor it a bit! He is generally quite okay with that – he’ll have the yogurt/cereal/granola bar first and then the egg (if he even still remembers that he wanted it).

        I worry sometimes that I”m not letting him eat intuitively enough but when he gladly accepts something else before the sweets, I think it may just be that he’s hungry and that’s the first food that pops into his head, but he’s happy to eat just about anything.

        But I don’t know. I worry.

    • Miriam Heddy 3:53 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

      HAES with kids is tough. I mean, it seems like everyday, my daughter (who’s 6) or son (who’s 9) mention casually that such and such isn’t good for you, and I have to reiterate “There are no good foods or bad foods but if you only eat one thing and nothing but that one thing, you’ll get sick and die no matter what that one thing is, because humans have evolved to thrive on a variety of foods–lots of different colors of foods.”

      When I steer them to this or that food, I tend to remind them that, since they’re kids, I know they’re likely to forget to eat certain kinds of foods that they might not like as much at the moment but that their bodies need to survive. My daughter’s favorite meal is all white (cooked noodles with nothing on them and raw, cubed, firm tofu with nothing on it) and broccoli (cooked with nothing on it). She’d eat that for every lunch and dinner if you let her *g*.

      I also remind them that the reason I don’t want them polishing off a box of crackers is that crackers are expensive and we buy them to send with their lunch, whereas apples and rice cakes (two big snacks in this veggie household) are considerably cheaper, and if they’re really hungry, a cheese sandwich (or toast, which my son likes) is a fine snack.

    • Lisa 4:01 pm on April 8, 2010 Permalink

      I am a parent of grown children and I think that with an eight year old, you should not over talk/think this stuff. It may be good for you to think about why you want something, but then you are an adult. I agree with the idea that potato chips are snack foods that we eat with or after a meal, but I think he is too young to think about it too much. Can he have potato chips? Sure- some. Does he need to understand why he wants them? Not at eight. Can he totally decide what he wants for dinner, even if its chips every night? No, he is not old enough to do that, his parents do that, but his preferences should be consulted. If you generally make good choices, then he will too.

  • Rachel 1:13 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink  

    Well, If You Ask ME! 

    I stumbled across this “Dear Annie” bit while reading the fluff section of my local paper. (Online source is here. As always, Sanity Watchers Points required due to douchebag comments!)

    Dear Annie: I have a 12-year-old son who is grossly overweight, as is my wife. I’m worried that my son will become an obese adult. My wife blames her obesity on her childhood and believes if we say anything to our son about his weight, it will only carve it into stone. But it seems not saying anything might be just as bad. My wife’s brothers were chubby until they became teenagers and then thinned out. But everyone in my family grew up fat and stayed fat. My son is sensitive, so I don’t want to say anything that would make him feel like less of a person. What do I do? — Worried Dad

    If it were me tasked with doling out advice, this is what I would say:

    “Dear Dad:
    I commend you for respecting your son’s sensitivity, as well as wanting him to be healthy, but you worry overmuch about your son’s weight. As a matter of fact, people’s health have very little to do with weight. There are lots of fat people who are healthy and live long lives, and just as many thin people who are short-lived and ill.

    Moreover your son is only 12 years old. He is about to start–or is starting–puberty, and he will need a lot of excess weight to convert into the muscles, bones, brain, and organs of his genetically-determined adult body. If that body is meant to be fat, nothing you can do will change that. Your task as a parent is to encourage your child to eat nutritous foods, to enjoy being active, and to provide guidance and encouragement as he navigates the tricky path of puberty and adolescence. It is not your job to force your son’s body to fit into some arbitrary social mold.

    In fact, it sounds as if in writing this letter you are loooking for permission to circumvent your wife’s wishes so that you may shame your son thin and force him into a mold that is more pleasing to your eyes.

    Using the term “grossly overweight” implies that your son disgusts you. It is a very judgmental perception. It is not the basis of a healthy relationship with your son, and will not lay the foundation of the healthy man you say want your son to become.

    Don’t project your own loathings and insecurities onto your child.

    Listen to your wife. Don’t shame your son. It won’t make him thin. Forcing him to do exercizes he does not like and to eat foods that won’t satisfy his growing body’s natural need for high-energy foods is just another way to shame him. It would feel like torture, and your son will know why you are torturing him: because he’s too fat to be accepted by you. That won’t make him thin.

    Just be a parent who loves him. Nurture his body and encourage him to test his limits, but don’t force him into a mold you think he should fit into.”

    But is that what Annie says? Of COURSE not. Instead she trots out the tired “eat less, move more, be a healthy family!” tropes, and makes a asston of bigoted assumptions to justify it. Let’s break it down, shall we?

    Dear Dad: Your son’s biggest problem is the fact that both of his parents have weight issues.

    –No Annie, his son’s biggest problem is that Dad is being a judgmental ass. And the only person who has a problem here is Dad.–

    The most effective way to help your son is to model healthy behavior. Get rid of the junk.

    –Way to make assumptions based on stereotypes! You’re assuming a lot here. You think you know exactly WHY this family is fat. You hear “obese” and automatically make the leap–which is completely unfounded–that this family eats primarily “junk” food. You have no evidence that this is the case. There could be medical issues. There could be disabilities. At the very least its obvious there is a genetic component. Whatever is the case, YOU DONT KNOW WHY ANYONE IN THAT FAMILY IS FAT! YOU DONT KNOW HOW THEY LIVE.–

    Cook nutritious meals with lots of fresh vegetables. Have fruit available to snack on. Eat the way you want your son to eat.

    –How CLASSIST of you. You assume they have access, money, and time to fresh “healthy” foods. Wiithout getting into the whole morass of the class issues of food availability here, how DARE you assume they don’t eat fresh, nutritious foods?–

    Then take him with you for bike rides, neighborhood runs, basketball games and softball practice.

    –Once again with the classist assumptions! You assume they live in an open, safe, and spacious neighborhood, and enjoy sufficent leisure time and money to indulge in what are really activities of luxury. You don’t know where they live, what their family schedules are like, how much money they make. Furthermore, how DARE you assume that this family, or the son in particular, aren’t already active?–

    You will teach your son the good habits he will need for the rest of his life — and improve your own health in the process.

    Way to subtly call Dad here a fatty fat fat, Annie. Way to reinforce his own internalized fat-hate. What a masterful display of fat shaming! Bravo, Annie, Just bravo!

    • Katie 2:11 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

      I made the mistake of clicking through to the article, the commentors pretty much thought Annie was right on and offered their own fat shaming advice.

      • Rachel 2:19 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

        Oh yes, Sanity Watchers Points are required at that site, like practically every other off-FA site out there! I will also add this warning to the top of the post. Thanks!

    • Meems 2:51 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

      I read that one and was also utterly disgusted by her response. Thanks for writing something about it…maybe you should send this post to her/them.

    • CTJen 6:25 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

      ugh!! serioulsy, UGH!

    • Anna 8:18 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

      -head desk-

      This is fucking ridiculous. I really wish my mother had been so respectful of not elcturing me on my weight, even if the reason is “Not to make it worse.”

      What an ass this dad is. Being grossed out by your son? Get fucked.

    • Kirri 7:21 am on April 4, 2010 Permalink

      I read some advice from a locally renowned nutritionist last week regarding signs that your child is unhealthy. Susie Burrell’s #1 sign was that your child just LOOKS different from the other kids in school. Way to give a child a complex, Susie.

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