User Picture

Moonica

Dossier

Website
http://www.moonicasmusings.blogspot.com
Twitter
moonica
Role Models
GraphiteGirl, Kate Harding
Distinguishing Characteristics
Christian mother and geek
Fashion Style
Fatshionistas intimidate me.

Posts by Moonica:

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t (Eating in public)

Ugh, I hate how much subtext being fat (or is that “living in a fat-phobic world”?) has attached to eating in public. I feel like I’m caught in a dichotomy where no version of eating in public leaves me free to just enjoy the food and/or company I’m in (let alone not eating at all).
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Going out in public can be hard

“I was aware, the entire time, that the people around me … were very likely judging me. Or at least, some of them were. Maybe some of them pitied me, maybe some of them thought I was “inspiring” for being a fat lady exercising in public (maybe I was on a Weight Loss Journey ™ !) Probably some of them just thought I was gross, disliked having to see my fat body in tight swimwear, and wished I had stayed at home under a blanket. Such is life.”
The Fat Nutrionist

While I don’t think Michelle (quoted), or me, or any one person can speak for all {insert subset of people here}, including fat people, I think this is pretty commonly what it’s like to be a fat person in the world, all the time. Welcome to my head-space, every time I choose an outfit. Every time I go outside into the world. Every time I meet my skinny and/or pretty friends. Every time someone mentions swimming in public. Every time I sit down so my muffintop rolls over my pants. Every time I am handed a menu in public, or asked if I want one of the snacks provided.

Yes, I literally mean Every. Time.

That doesn’t mean those thoughts always have to have the last say in the way you live your life. Sometimes I think I look ok. Sometimes I sit down without putting my handbag in my lap to obscure my stomach. Sometimes I will have that cupcake, thank you very much. The fat acceptance community has played a big role in that.

I realise these thoughts and insecurities aren’t exclusive to fat people. But if you’ve managed to avoid most of the crippling self doubt our culture tries to heap on us, you may not realise what it’s like to be a fat person in our world. This is what it’s like, every day.


The Obesity Paradox

Shortly after my last post, highlighting the cracks appearing in the research regarding the role of dietary fat and heart disease, a friend posted an article even more damning to the status quo in the medical and research fraternity regarding size, weight and disease (which I at the time failed completely to make the time to write about – sorry!).

In this article from the NY Times, Harriet Brown reports how several studies have shown that not only does obesity not put people with certain diseases at greater risk of death, but seems to actually lower this risk. Diseases like heart failure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, high blood pressure and – most recently – diabetes. Yup, that darling of fat shaming scare tactics and overly-concerned-about-our-health commentators everywhere.

  • “Diabetes patients of normal weight are twice as likely to die as those who are overweight or obese”
  • “In study after study, overweight and moderately obese patients with certain chronic diseases often live longer and fare better than normal-weight patients with the same ailments.”
  • “One study found that heavier dialysis patients had a lower chance of dying than those whose were of normal weight or underweight.”
  • “Overweight patients with coronary disease fared better than those who were thinner in another study”
  •  ”In 2007, a study of 11,000 Canadians over more than a decade found that those who were overweight had the lowest chance of dying from any cause.”

The article goes on to speculate about possible explanations for what the researchers have dubbed the Obesity Paradox. A lot of the possible theories put forth sound to me like people desperately trying to make the data fit into their narrow world view (such as “maybe thin people who get these diseases have a genetic disposition making them more likely to get the disease and to then die from it” – the unspoken flip side being that fat people who get it are just getting their just desserts). However, one of the possibilities brought up is the failings of the BMI scale.

As anyone who’s read up even a little about the fat acceptance movement knows*, BMI should stand for Bullshit Made Insidious. It’s a useless metric used to fat shame and scare across the world and, more worryingly, across the medical profession. The article points out how it doesn’t take into account fat to muscle ratios, metabolic abnormalities and “other nuances of physical composition” (if diversity of gender, build and age can be called nuances).

Lastly the article focuses on fitness versus weight, and points out how fitness seems to have a much bigger impact on health than size or weight alone. Its nice to see some mention of Health At Every Size, as well.

I am greatly encouraged by the data coming out and although there is a reluctance to accept and sometimes even publish the findings, and although it will probably take a very long time for attitudes to change and for new ways of thinking to filter down to the point where they affect our everyday lives and help address the stigma associated with being fat, I for one remain optimistic.

And, in searching for what I was sure was Kate Harding debunking the BMI* for linking above, I discovered that most of this isn’t even new news, as she links to or mentions this stuff here. From 2006. Oh, well, the diabetes thing is fairly new, and I’m still glad the science is continuing to strengthen the case and that it puts the whole issue back in the public focus.

 

* I wanted to link to a debunking I’d read when just starting on my fat acceptace journey, but the link provided on Shapely Prose is now broken. However, you literally just have to Google “bmi flaw”. You’ll find a lot of mention of the practical flaws of using the BMI; some advanced reading might be to try and learn more about it’s origin (hint: it had nothing to do with determining “correct” weight for height).


Heart disease not linked to fat -SA scientist

The theory that blood cholesterol and a high-fat diet are the causes of heart disease will be one of the greatest errors in the history of medicine, according to Prof Tim Noakes.

Noakes, who holds doctorates in science and medicine, is the co-founder of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and has published numerous scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals.

“It is time to admit that the theory has failed. We need to adopt an open mind if we are ever to discover the real cause [or causes] of the current global epidemic of obesity, diabetes and coronary heart disease”.

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Is fat acceptance an excuse to pig out?

I was telling Hubby how excited I was that I’d done my first post on the Axis, and the more I enthused about Fat Acceptance, the more I could see his face cloud over. After a while it was hard to keep up the enthusiasm.

Then it struck me: “Do you think me getting more involved in body acceptance is just an excuse for me to pig out?”.

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Allow myself to introduce… myself.

Hi, my name is Moonica (well, my online alter ego’s name is, at least), and I’m very pleased to meet you.

Well, you know, not meet, but have the opportunity to write to you. Or at you (language up until now really has left us quite ill-equipped for online interaction, hasn’t it?).

I’m not a writer. I’m not an activist. What I am is fat, and growing increasingly aware of and unwilling to accept the entire library of social subtext associated with that.

I can’t promise you life changing insights or debate winning arguments. But I damn well promise to be honest and open about my experiences being fat and giving up on the ideals prescribed to me by diet pedlars, fashionistas and disapproving glances. Perhaps you can associate; perhaps I can put into words something that you yourself have experienced. Or perhaps this is all very alien to you and I can offer insight into what it’s like being a genuine, real life, fat person just wanting to get on with life and eating the occasional cupcake without fear of what people think. If nothing else, I relish this opportunity to add my voice to those trying to open some eyes to the humanity of fat people everywhere – including (and perhaps especially) the eyes of fat people themselves.

Ironically, as I endeavour to join a sub-culture that rejects labels and aims to recover from the damage they do, I can’t seem to write this introduction without wanting to define myself with my own set of labels. Perhaps I’ve been too conditioned that way. Perhaps they’re just a handy short-hand to convey some information about myself and give you a basic reference of what my outlook is likely to be like. Probably a combination of these and many other things. So here it is, my curriculum vitae for your inspection.

  • I’m fat, but not morbidly obese. I am definitely too fat for most clothes shops and probably most people, but I secretly harbour insecurities about not being fat enough to be here.
  • I live in a big city and a fairly posh area in it at that, and I am pretty certain I am the only fat person a lot of my friends and acquaintances know.
  • I am a huge foody and a wanna-be cook.
  • I am the sleep deprived but insanely proud and happy mother of a 9-month old boy.
  • I am married to someone who loves me whatever I look like.
  • I’m a Christian, but promise not to be preachy or exclusionary about it and for it only to come into my writing as it pertains to fatness
  • I’m a software developer who works for myself from home.
  • I am not a fashionista. I rarely bother with makeup or high heels, so don’t expect any fatshion-style posts from me. However I love looking at other fatties (and people in general) rocking funky, off-the-beaten-track styles.
  • I am white, able-bodied, straight, and middle-class, and aware that I’m in a position of privilege in these (and other) regards and that that informs my viewpoints and experiences – but not so aware that I always know how it affects them.
  • I just bought a fantastic house and am about four months away from being unpacked and organized (this is not at all relevant to Axis of Fat, but I’m that excited about the new house).

So here’s to you, reader, to whom this is dedicated; and if I may, here’s to me finally putting down an introduction. I hope to be able to contribute something of meaning here on the Axis and I look forward to this opportunity to get more involved in the fatosphere. To help, to give back, and as part of my own journey towards being ok being just me.

 

Fond regards,

Moonica


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