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November 8, 2010

I’ve recently started exercising.  I’ve been having chest pains, and while they haven’t scared me enough to get me to a doctor, I am sufficiently scared about my cardiovascular health to exercise more regularly than the very occasional game of badminton I had been playing.

The first thing that became painfully – literally, painfully – clear after about a week or so was that my appetite increased to meet the new caloric demands of my body.  I was hungry ALL THE TIME eating what had been more than sufficient before I started the regular exercise.  The hunger pangs would wake me up in the middle of the night.

Luckily, I can just eat more food.  I can afford to feed myself whenever I’m hungry.  But it really drove home the point so many fat-acceptance proponents have made that doctors and “concerned” bystanders really do expect fat women to just be hungry all the time in order to lose weight.  And I suppose that if I were to do the exercise and just continue to eat what I had been eating that I would in fact lose weight.

But what a miserable existence.  It shouldn’t be wished on anyone.

  1. November 8, 2010 3:25 am

    I’m fat. When I am busy I forget to eat. I don’t like to eat as in, I don’t like the act of eating. I don’t seem to eat much (in my opinion). I don’t find conversations about food that enjoyable. To me, those conversations are too much like people talking about drugs, sex, ect. If my head would not hurt and my hands would not shake I would never eat. Not because of my weight, but because I actually hate having to eat. I hate making a choice what to eat. I hate spending money on food. I hate thinking about what foods go into my body. I hate knowing I have to eat to live. I hate the dependency of food. I hate how we never had enough food when I was a kid and now we have so much around always, rotting and molding away. I hate the chemicals put in foods. I hate how I feel when I waste food knowing others are starving. I hate how I have food to eat and others don’t. I hate I have the choice that others don’t have. I hate that food can be taken away from me any day. I hate it all. But I am fat, and I am sure everyone thinks I shove cheeseburgers down my throat 24/7. And doctors are always so ready to rub their hands together and say, “Look at your test results. This is why you are fat!” And when those tests come back and it does not show what they expected to see, they change the subject.

  2. November 8, 2010 3:34 am

    When I went to a doctor who specialized in eating disorders, because my medical doctor could not understand why I was gaining so much weight, her number one suggestion was for me to try going to bed hungry. Yeah, that is what she told me. I swear. She told me to try going to bed hungry. Of course although gaining lots of weight in a short period of time could technically fall under an eating disorder (if there is no medical reason) she was really only equip to deal with anorexics. Not fatties.

    • November 8, 2010 3:39 am

      Wow. So, here’s a woman who supposedly “deals” with anorexic women who then *recommends* that you basically do what the anorexics do – go hungry, starve yourself. And people really want to pretend as if anorexia isn’t well-regarded compared to fatness.

      That doctor should be reported.

    • November 8, 2010 3:54 am

      You want to know what else? This particular doctor, this psychiatrist who specialized in eating disorders, was very hostile to me. I was very naïve. It was just two years after I had Kitty III and I was heavier than I was throughout my pregnancy and the first year after having her. I didn’t understand the weight gain, and it was huge. I was not stressed. I had not made any major changes in my eating/physical habits, I was just gaining weight. So my doctor (with my insurance company’s blessing) sent me to this eating specialist to see if something else was going on. Not only was she hostile to me, her staff was hostile. They kept a dog in their office. It was a big and friendly dog, clean. While I was in the waiting room the dog was chewing up a wooden toy block. There were toys in the corner I guess for kids. When it was my turn and the office worker saw the chewed up block (there was broken pieces scattered about, and I was concerned before she saw the block, not because it was broken but because a few pieces had blood on them, as if the wood was hurting the dog’s gums/teeth), she barked at me, “Why did you let her chew that block.” I was just dumbfounded. They basically fired me as a patient. They used an excuse about my insurance, but my insurance swore they approved 8 visits. When I told them that, they said, well, she is booked now for the next six months. The insurance clerk acted like they never dealt with insurance before. It was all such a foggy time.

    • November 8, 2010 4:05 am

      I feel comfortable saying they were hostile toward me vs me being defensive about it, because it happened years before I became conscious of being seen as fat to others. It was a time if someone said, “Look at that fat woman,” I would have turned around and looked with them and wondered how I missed the fat woman they were pointing at.

    • November 8, 2010 4:11 am

      You know, someone in another conversation about eating disorders mentioned that it’s fat women who basically fund the whole “eating disorder” industry, and yet the industry dotes on anorexic women and actually recommends anorexia to fat women. So, I doubt you were the first fat woman cast out of that doctor’s office, seeing as how it’s mostly fat women who are referred to those specialists in the first place. It’s a wonder that doctor is able to keep her practice open.

      That is just really bizarre about the dog. Why would they expect patients to be responsible for that dog? I really hate going into establishments where pets are allowed. And I don’t even mind big dogs at all; I just think it’s rude not to consider that some patients may have allergies or be scared of them.

  3. November 8, 2010 3:34 am

    But I am fat, and I am sure everyone thinks I shove cheeseburgers down my throat 24/7.

    Of course. Which is just ridiculous. Most people who can afford it eat enough to keep them going. They eat when they’re hungry, and the only real injustice is that not everyone is able to do that.

  4. November 8, 2010 3:44 am

    You know how they get you? They can get you because it is almost impossible to eat “perfectly.” Besides even if you did, the goalposts will be moved. If you only ate so much, then the assumption would be that you were eating it at the wrong time of day. If you eat it at the right time of day, then you are not eating it properly, as in chewing and swallowing. If you are chewing and swallowing right then you must be doing something else wrong or you are fooling yourself (which translates into lying) about how much you are actually eating. Or doing. As in the time a doctor told me that she did not believe I was walking at least a mile every day, when in fact I was walking a mile or more every day. So much so that I have hardly routinely walked since she told me that. I don’t appreciate being suspected of lying.

    • November 8, 2010 5:30 pm

      Great comment. There is always something. I am constantly challenged and disbelieved about what I eat and what exercise I do. Ihave been more or less accused of lying so many times, especially when I was still running. No one believed that I could run five miles in 35 minutes. No one! It’s not even that fast. When I ran a race and got my official time marked, people still didn’t believe me. It made me doubt myself, like, did I record my start time wrong, am I adding it up wrong?! They just didn’t believe it because I’m fat, and fat people can’t run. (In the end I stopped running because I couldn’t take the abuse. If I could find somewhere quiet and flat with no people around, running is the sport I would do every day.)

  5. la redactora permalink
    November 8, 2010 4:36 am

    “But what a miserable existence. It shouldn’t be wished on anyone.”

    No kidding. I was shamed (in one case put on a diet by an adult) out of eating as much as I needed throughout most of high school (at the time when I needed nutrition most, developing body and all that) and in college when I was still living with roommates. Unsurprisingly I began to “overcompensate” (binge), something I still do today, though on a significantly decreased scale.

    I spent about seven years of my life either weak with hunger or nauseated. I was always told I was eating too much, taking food away from people who need it, that I should lose weight, that it was shameful for someone so fat to be eating when people were hungry, why couldn’t I last longer between meals, that I was disgusting, impure, lazy, etc, etc, etc. And all this from my “friends” and family.

    • la redactora permalink
      November 8, 2010 4:37 am

      And yeah, I was usually hungry when I was trying to fall asleep. Not pleasant.

    • November 8, 2010 5:33 pm

      I was thinking about this today, remembering times when my parents and friends have tried to humiliate me about my weight. One time my dad had a photo of me that he’d taken at a party. He obviously thought I looked really fat in it, because he saved it and gave it to me, telling me that I should put it on the fridge and it would remind me what I don’t want to look like.

  6. November 8, 2010 4:43 am

    There is a girl in my daughter’s class who says she is happy now that her mother has a job. It means her mother will not be home when she gets home and she can now have a snack after school. Before, her mother would tell her she had to wait for supper, because if she ate between meals she would get fat.

    • la redactora permalink
      November 8, 2010 6:13 am

      I could have a snack, usually, but there were always disappointed looks, and comments about how much, how often, “are you sure you want to eat that.” I can sympathize with her.

  7. November 8, 2010 7:57 am

    We have got to talk, Margaret. Do NOT exercise if you’re having heart pain. It’s very dangerous. I have suggestions that might help.

    Doctors do want us to believe that you have to starve to lose weight, but if you drastically reduce carbs, the more saturated fat you eat, the more weight you lose. And you don’t have to exercise, although it’s good for you if you don’t overdo it. If you do overdo it, it’s stress and can damage your health.

    Most doctors are incompetent, arrogant idiots who kill people. They killed my mother, and when I tell her story, most people tell me about a loved one the doctors killed.

    They also know nothing about nutrition. Kitty, it’s likely you’re fat because you’re starving yourself or not eating enough. It changes your set-point because your body reacts as if you’ve been in a famine. It’s trying to protect you from dying so then you gain more weight on less food. That’s why Sumo wrestlers don’t eat breakfast — so they will gain more weight.

    I really agree, Margaret, about the dog. It’s common in this area for Lesbians to get their dogs certified as “service dogs,” even when they don’t need that. So the poor dogs are terrified and in pain from being brought to excruciatingly loud music events, and the Lesbians with asthma have their health injured.

    Fat oppression is terrible. And I hate doctors!!! I was trying to find a female doctor on Medi-cal, but she refused to be my doctor because I would not take statin drugs or have a mammogram.

    And all this guilt-tripping of women about people starving?!! I bet they don’t do that to pricks.

    • November 9, 2010 3:22 am

      I have actually felt better in general since I started the exercise, which is nothing too strenuous at all. I’ve never been able to do much running since I have a genetic joint disorder. I think my pain may have something to do with drinking coffee, actually. But I don’t know. I may try to cut it out and see if that helps. I’ll also look into some of the herbs you recommend below.

      I think there is definitely a race/class element to the whole dogs everywhere thing. Most of the black and/or working-class people I know don’t like it. White and/or middle-class people, on the other hand, seem incapable of showing concern or compassion for other humans and instead prioritize and dote on their pets (or animals in general) as a way of proving they are nice people, despite their indifference to people from other classes and races. Of course, there are people who care about both humans and other animals, but the trend seems to be that a lot of middle-class folks care about animals *instead* of people.

    • November 9, 2010 3:31 am

      White and/or middle-class people, on the other hand, seem incapable of showing concern or compassion for other humans and instead prioritize and dote on their pets (or animals in general) as a way of proving they are nice people, despite their indifference to people from other classes and races. Of course, there are people who care about both humans and other animals, but the trend seems to be that a lot of middle-class folks care about animals *instead* of people.

      Where did you pull this out of? Hmmm? I have been trying to sum it up for over a year (or two) to no prevail. And if I recall, I have pondered it with you! Thanks for relieving my stress.

    • November 9, 2010 3:45 am

      Yeah, talking to you about it definitely helped me to sum up our thoughts about it. And I really should have just said ‘women’ instead of ‘people’ because it is as true of white and/or middle-class women as it is of their men, and we’ve always talked about it in the context of so-called feminist circles, where nonwhite and/or lower-class women are admonished to think about the animals instead of ourselves, or where white and/or middle-class women are thinking about the animals without giving a second thought to the nonwhite and/or lower-class women in the picture.

    • November 9, 2010 3:50 am

      Oh I wasn’t looking for credit. I was wondering why you have not put me out of my misery before now. All I needed was those words strung together to make those sentences and I would not have wasted my brain cells going around in circles asking myself what is up with the dogs. Every rest stop along the highways had women expending energy on dogs. Too much energy.

    • November 9, 2010 3:51 am

      I will never forget that Amazing Race episode.

    • November 9, 2010 7:02 am

      You don’t have to ask for credit you deserve, Kitty 🙂 You have been saying it for a long time, and I didn’t even realize that you were looking to say it any more briefly than you’d already said it.

      Yeah, that Amazing Race episode was just too much. I haven’t watched that show since then, even though I love competitive reality shows. I don’t really like the noncompetitive ones, like Real Housewives and I don’t like the “dating” or “romance” ones. But I love Top Chef and So You Think You Can Dance. I even liked Shear Genius and Top Design, and I wish they’d do some more of those. And though I wasn’t crazy about Amazing Race I didn’t mind it at all until that episode.

      For those who don’t know, we’ve talked about that episode before. I used to watch the show with my mother (or, we’d watch it in our respective cities while talking on the phone about it 🙂 ), and the teams were in Calcutta I think. There was widespread destitution and there were women and children eating out of dumpsters alongside several stray cows and other animals. A team of two blond white women said over and over again how hard it was for them to see the poor cows eating from garbage cans, how awful they felt for the cows, but they never said anything at all about the girls and women eating out of those same dumpsters.

  8. Level Best permalink
    November 8, 2010 5:30 pm

    “[D]octors and ‘concerned’ bystanders really do expect fat women to just be hungry all the time in order to lose weight.”–Margaret

    “I hate doctors!!! I was trying to find a female doctor on Medi-cal, but she refused to be my doctor because I would not take statin drugs or have a mammogram.”–BevJo

    I love that you are so iconoclastic about doctors and modern med’s and diagnostics, and I am so with you on that.

  9. diana permalink
    November 8, 2010 6:52 pm

    I enjoy food. I prefer simple stuff over long cooking rituals; I am comfy with food. And eating. And my fat, woman’s body. If there were were some way to share this, I would in a heartbeat, because I have witnessed the pain of women’s self-hatred and the oppression of visibly fat women, for 40 years. But it was earned long ago; I was starved half my life by the time I was three, so that I wouldn’t be a fat adult. As if. I think having to make the choice to nurture yourself, and protect yourself, while still pretty much in infancy, is not good. But I learned and I did.

    Back when all humans were indigenous to landbases, when we were made of that very land, and could venture out and gather or hunt what was needed, usually a few hours a day at most went to food procurement. The rest of the time was spent socializing, storytelling, processing the foods, sometimes imbibing interesting substances, but generally spent socially. That is what we adapted to. There is so much stigma, and stress, and so many hours claimed as owed, demanded, to those who have walled off the public spaces, and staked claim on them, and the air and the water. It’s sort of a miracle we endure at all. That we have health and strength and sanity at all. Especially with so little breathing room for those shoved lower down on the hierarchy ….

    Margaret, I’m worried about your pain, too. When I had severe, deep-in-the-armpit pain at around age 20, I think it was something more like gallbladder or kidney stones. It came on a number of times, and would literally drop me to the floor, gasping for breath. And sort of ‘pop’ or melt away after 25 to 30 minutes. There are so many things it could be for you, as well as heart problems. Bev is right on as far as foods, and doctors, too. I wish you could find a woman who is alternative enough to treat you wisely, and nurturing enough to not endanger you with the profession’s ritual toxins. Please take care.

    • November 9, 2010 3:40 am

      That is really terrible about your girlhood. I have seen people recommend making fat toddlers and children go hungry, too, though. It’s really sad. My girlfriend and I love seeing happy fat little girls.

      I actually had my gallbladder removed 3 years ago. Oh, that was a really awful time. For 4 years before having it removed, I went to doctor after doctor complaining of joint pain (not just weight-bearing joints), bloatedness, constipation, and clay-like stools. The pain and the bloated feeling just got worse and worse. It got to the point where I didn’t want to eat anything because the pain was so excruciating after meals. And about a year and a half before I had it removed, I figured out for myself that it was my gallbladder. None of the doctors I went to would do any tests or anything, just told me I needed to stop eating so much fried food and drink more water (without being told anything at all about my diet – just assumed that because I’m black I guess that I eat fried chicken and drink kool-aid and soda all day). When I finally figured out for myself what it was, I went to doctor after doctor who then didn’t want to do any tests because I was so uppity as to come into their offices telling them what was wrong with me instead of bowing down to their “superior” knowledge. By the time I found a female doctor who would take me seriously, it was only because the gallstones were affecting my liver and I was becoming a bit jaundiced. And, of course, after 2 years or so of refusing to eat more than a bite or 2 at a time for fear of the pain, I presented a much thinner patient than I did when I first went to a doctor for my symptoms.

      I really, really hate doctors. At this point I avoid them like the plague, so I really hope that I can do something on my own to get some relief. I makes me want to cry to even think about going to a doctor. Most recently I went to a dermatologist for a persistent spot of eczema on my elbow and a skin tag on the underside of my arm and she didn’t even want to get close enough to me to examine me. I don’t know if it was my blackness or the hairiness of my armpit. But, the fact that she was too repulsed to actually look at me didn’t stop her from giving me an outrageous quote to operate on me.

  10. November 8, 2010 8:34 pm

    That’s was so good, diana.

    Have you all read Lierre Keith’s “The Vegetarian Myth?” That really helps with getting health info as well as warning about soy. You should never feel hungry, and the more organic saturated fat you eat (and the less carbs), the less hungry you will feel. Too many carbs (grains, beans, sugars, some veges) can make you crave sugars, but plenty of fat sustains you, especially during times of stress. Meat is good too, but fat helps prevent diabetes and low-blood sugar and depression, and is so good for our health. I think those ancestors from long ago ate a lot of fat, and so did the more recent ones if they grew up on farms eating butter, eggs, lard, etc. (Which is why they lived longer and healthier.) Beware of vegetable oils that are usually rancid. Palm and coconut oil (refrigerated) is wonderful and more stable, like butter and meat fat. I eat spoonfuls of coconut oil throughout the day.

    I wasn’t meaning to sound like I was recommending losing weight, but to say that I believe being fat can often come from not eating enough — particularly not eating the food the doctors are terrified of, like fat. They even used to recommend transfat/hydrogenated oil, which is what’s caused so much heart disease and cancer. So don’t stop eating enough! Keep eating until you are full. Don’t take in the lies and fat oppressive crap. (Very hard in this patriarchy.) Don’t let them hurt you. Know you are loved! And Margaret, there are herbs that can help too, like Leonus Cardica (Lionheart/Motherwort), and Hawthorn. I think opiates really help too, especially when having angina. It’s very relaxing, but helps with the stress too.

  11. November 9, 2010 3:06 am

    I haven’t read The Vegetarian Myth yet, but I do plan to. I’ve never been a vegetarian. (I think a lot of vegetarians are at least partially doing it in pursuit of thinness, too.) My mother comes from very rural people (to this day, there are no traffic lights in her hometown), and my grandmother used to have a few chickens and vegetable garden. She’s not able to keep any of it up anymore, but when I lived with her we always had plenty of greens and eggs and pecans from her yard, and pork and lard from neighboring farms. I never had the fear of saturated fats that’s affecting so many. I love coconut oil and lard for frying. But it’s hard to even find lard nowadays, and coconut oil is so expensive. Palm oil is much easier to get where I am now, though.

  12. November 9, 2010 7:18 am

    Margaret, I hadn’t seen your earlier posts. That is so horrible about what those fucking doctors did to you. It makes me so mad. The arrogant, disgusting, racist, classist, female-hating pieces of shit! They really do make sure the nicer people, for the most part, don’t become doctors.

    Linda’s obvious first cancer was not diagnosed by her Lesbian doctor. She was an idiot. Her surgeon tried every way possible to bully her into radiation and chemotherapy, but Linda refused even a CAT scan since it causes cancer. I supported her through it all since you really need an advocate. (She, me and her surgeon are all Scorpios, so that was an experience.)

    We’ve learned to share health information, which is often better than what the doctors know. Layna Berman’s radio show has helped us tremendously, about eating, medical tests, etc.

    Running is bad for you! As a friend said, “I stopped when I noticed so many friends in their forties getting knee and hip replacements.”

    Yes, coffee can cause heart palpitations and arrhythmias. Non-organic is very toxic from poisons too.

    I really agree, Margaret, about the race and class component to putting “their” dogs before people. Here, dogs are often completely out of control and dangerous. I always think it’s another way for privileged people to mark territory. They also don’t care if their dogs terrorize or kill wild animals. Cats are a problem that way too, and each cat can kill up to 800 small animals a year, annhiliating certain species entirely.

    I’m guessing you will have strong original Ch’i from your organic, fat-eating country ancestors.Those are the kinds of people who used to live to 100. That’s wonderful that you grew up eating so well, as all should. Here, it’s especially fat-hating, with the Mexican restaurants being bullied by the class-privileged European-descent idiots into giving up lard and advertising they use rancid “vegetable oil,” as if it’s an improvement.

  13. November 9, 2010 8:13 am

    I just saw your new post — that Amazing Race episode was so horrible! It was often like the worst possible US people.

  14. November 9, 2010 5:10 pm

    That’s fucking awful, Margie. I hate doctors too.

    Bev, I know running can be really bad for you, but I loved it. I would do it every day.

  15. November 9, 2010 7:28 pm

    You should do it if you love it then, Georgie. I try to give support to those who hate it but make themselves do it because they’re doctors or others told them to.

  16. diana permalink
    November 9, 2010 9:03 pm

    I think it’s possible to play gleefully on grassy fields and other surfaces, or to run up hills following deer or cattle paths, without harming the body at all. I used to do this as a kid, and loved it — loved the strength in my movements, loved the muscles banding my body and centering me within.

    Walking distances over rough terrain is awesome, too, and is supposed to lower blood pressure naturally, while smooth sidewalk walking doesn’t do nearly as much good. To the best of my knowledge, humans have mostly had to sprint short distances, so long-distance running isn’t something we’re particularly adapted to, and the knees and the hips pay dearly.

    College has a wondrously springy indoor track, and I find myself Tigger-bouncing on the edges of it, out of view of the normies, when it’s set up for holiday parties and such. Back when I thought I was a horse, primarily ages 10 – 12, I used to run every day until I nearly fainted, on the grassy schoolgrounds. I don’t imagine it was entirely healthy, but it gave me strength to beat up the bully boys, and the agility to do so without getting caught (and a sweet endorphin high). This was after I polished off my own and others’ good and unwanted food, which explains the fainting part. I always had an appetite, and after the starving years I didn’t see the use in denying it, or living in discomfort.

    Thank you, again, for this thread, Margaret. Can you take an army of women with you, as advocates, if you have to deal with docs? And keep two in the room with you at all times? It’s not just the hairy armpits, I don’t suppose, given that I’ve been naturally furred for decades, and have gotten decent treatment from docs, even when I walked in armed with knowledge. Even as a Lesbian, even as fat, even as someone quite dykey in appearance ….

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