Today’s Read: For the Physicians

TW: Fatphobia

I’m considering carrying copies of this article to every medical appointment I have. I never want to hear about BMI again. If you’re in the medical field, tell your coworkers about this, please. It’s not a secret. It’s not new information. I’ve read about this repeatedly.

BMI is bullshit. Weight is one’s relationship with gravity. BMI is length plus width. They’re literally just numbers. They don’t tell anyone anything about health.

To be clear, I’m not saying one’s body size has zero impact on health. On the contrary, I know how my body size impacts my health. I’m saying we cannot limit our understanding of health to BMI, weight, height, or any combination of those numbers.

For instance, my doctor’s main nurse called me to tell me I’m pre-diabetic. (My chiropractor later said, “Technically, we’re all pre-diabetic.”) Instead of asking me about my diet, she said, “Stop drinking sugary drinks entirely.” She did not ask me how many sugary drinks I have in a day, how many ounces, how often, etc. I could tell the assumption was that I drink soda often. I typically don’t. I drink yogurt, chai, sparkling water, and filtered water. That’s usually it. I might have a week where I drink a soda once a day, and then I’ll go months without drinking soda at all. I rarely exceed one chai in a day. I simply don’t drink a lot of sugar, but that was the recommended medical advice.

The relationship here is this: Obese + pre-diabetic = bad eating habits.

But consider this as well: I learned recently I have severe sleep apnea. Maybe I consume carbs a lot because my body is in need of quick energy because I sleep like shit. So, why wasn’t my medical care team asking me about my holistic health instead of giving me impersonal directives? Why weren’t the questions: What’s your sleep like? How much energy do you feel like you have in a day? Are you often tired?

The relationship is actually this: Sleep apnea –> Poor sleep –> Low energy –> heavy carb consumption –> Higher than average blood sugar

Now, I’m willing to acknowledge my body size might contribute to sleep apnea. But we don’t know. Thin people also have sleep apnea, so weight is not an obvious, universal factor. What might the underlying concerns be, and why aren’t my doctors asking those questions?

We pay far too much money in office visits, health insurance, and pharmaceuticals to be given one-dimensional answers based on two-dimensional measures for three-dimensional bodies. We cannot all agree that bodies are different, then use the same measuring stick for everyone. The medical industry makes too much bank to sit on old, flawed, useless knowledge. It’s time for them to change. Ban the BMI.

Today’s Read: Our Bodies and Movement

How’s your relationship with body movement? Let’s chat in the comments!

This piece (“7 Ways to Heal Your Relationship with Exercise and Movement” by Louise Green) brings up a lot of stuff for me, and I have a feeling I’m not even close to alone. Can you relate?

First, my painful relationship with movement starts all the way back in elementary school. I distinctly remember hating gym class in the second grade. It wasn’t because I hated moving. It was because the cool, rich, mean kids dominated the class and had a lot to say about me and my body all the way back then. Everything from my hair to my skin was bad. Ah, racism. Even at age seven. It didn’t help that I started my period two years later, and the boobs came in long before anyone else’s did. I went from undesirable to undesirable freak. Fun times.

Second, I BADLY want to develop a course about all-or-nothing/binary thinking. Despite teaching critical thinking for two decades, most of my self-perception operates on binary thinking.

Third, working on body image, my relationship with my body, and my trauma about movement are all things I’m working on in therapy and have been working on for some time. But it took finding my current therapist to start. My first therapist’s attitude toward me and exercise was that I simply needed to get over it and do it. Not helpful. (She was also unable to see beyond her thin privilege. This is why it’s important to remember not all therapists are a good fit for you, but that’s a post for another day.)

Fourth, I’m listening to Billie Eilish’s new album, and I’m wiggling in my chair, which goes to show there is joy in movement.

Fifth, and this is the truly scary one for me . . . I’m starting personal training on August 3rd. This is the first time I’ve attempted movement in front of another person who doesn’t live with me in years. I’m scared and nervous, but I’m hoping my perspective has truly shifted enough to get me going.

Last, that perspective is this: I want to see what my body can do. There’s a lot of fear, anxiety, and doubt attached to that, but you’re coming with me on this, so stay tuned.

Today’s Resource: Doctors, Man

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the process of learning how I might have ADHD. No one has ever suggested I might have it until this year. A friend suggested it. Another friend mentioned it in an unrelated conversation. Then, when I mentioned it to my therapist, she made the familiar, “You knowwww . . .” comment that told me she’d been thinking about it.

This article, however, details one of a few reasons why it probably went unsuggested to me.

In addition to being a woman (ADHD is underdiagnosed for us as well), I’m a person of color. I’m also fat. Put all three of those together, and I’m only now starting to learn of my true medical concerns, and only because I’m asking about them and pushing my medical providers more than I ever have. Spoiler alert: Some doctors don’t like that.

Have you experienced this in your life? What went undiagnosed or unaddressed for you by the medical industry? What was falsely diagnosed for you? What do you have suspicions about? Do you feel treated differently by the medical industry because of some label you have? Talk to me in the comments!

Today’s Read: “Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies?”

I appreciate the apparent intentions behind this piece; however, it’s rife with examples as to why it’s so hard to burn diet culture (re: anti-fatness and patriarchy) to the underground. CW: Obesity, eating disorders

First, it’s not that women hate their bodies, as if it’s something we opt to do. It’s that people are influenced to hate their bodies. Always remember the motivation behind unrealistic body portrayals in the media is to sell products. It’s always about capitalism, power, and control. The article acknowledges the role the media plays, but it fails to shift the language away from diet culture nonsense.

Second, it cites examples of improvement in the media away from putting emaciated bodies first, and two of those examples use the BMI as an accurate indicator of health. If you don’t remember, the body mass index is deeply flawed and entrenched in racist, sexist views. It does nothing but measure the ratio of height and weight, which is a two-dimensional equation for three-dimensional bodies with fourth-dimensional (sure, I’m going with it) social and genetic factors.

Third, it makes little effort to recognize that fat is normal.

What I appreciate is its analysis of the media’s role. However, the company behind this website describes itself as “the largest health information property in the U.S.” a.k.a. the media. Y’all. I’M the media too. Websites, blogs, books, magazines, television, radio, music . . . it’s all media. We’re all trying to influence your knowledge. We should be asking what role they play as well. You should be questioning what I’m trying to do! You don’t think I hope to make a buck? (And yes, I have a ton of capitalist guilt, but that’s a post for another day.)

Yet again, we live in a society that puts continued attention on symptoms and never enough on the causes. This article would do a helluva lot more if it asked, “Who made women hate their bodies?”

Today’s Read: Uh, A Few . . .

I wandered off for the holiday weekend, so I’m behind on my daily reading. Here’s what I’ll be reading today!

Healthy Eating Habits for Impulsive, Dopamine-Starved ADHD Brains

Women’s Personal Finance (This is more of a getting-to-know-this-community read)

Obesity as a Disease: A White Paper on Evidence and Arguments Commissioned by the Council of The Obesity Society (You can take the woman out of academia, but . . . )

Which one grabs your interest? Personally, I read about these topics to understand my own brain, my money, and my body because a lot of people have a lot to say about each one, but I need to understand what I think first!

Today’s Read: Dances With Fat

In the effort to accept my body, I’m slowly checking out resources to help me in this journey covered in broken glass, trauma, and ice cream. One resource of resources is Ragen Chastain, the creator of Dances with Fat. Her website has SO MANY LINKS. There are articles, courses, workshops, videos, coloring books, social media links . . . basically, this feels like a one-stop shop, and I bookmarked eight new things. And she’s an Ironathlete, so take that assholes who think fat can’t be fit!

Today’s Read: Anti-Diet Culture is Pro-Social Justice

I deeply enjoy Dr. Alexis Conason’s work. So, of course, I had to share this piece.

With the conversation in my IG post today, I needed to highlight this excerpt from Conason’s piece:

Our preference for the term “diet culture” over “the patriarchy” mirrors what has happened in the “body positive” movement, which quickly left behind its roots of radical fat activism to morph into a movement centering privileged bodies that allowed people to feel empowered without requiring any real change. Body positivity is cool while fat acceptance is not.

Dr. Alexis Conason, “Why Do We Say “Diet Culture” Instead of “the Patriarchy?”

Why do I go hard on hating diet culture? It’s because it disempowers women and non-binary folks, and it continues to insult, ignore, and harm fat folks.

Weekly Update: Course, Newsletter, & Boobs

I’m constantly experimenting with this blog, so let’s try a weekly update, shall we?

Course!

My April course is (FINALLY) up! It’s called Love Your Jiggles: How to Develop Self-Compassion for Fatness. I normally release courses on the first of the month, but this one was a challenge. I wanted to approach it differently than I had my other courses so far, and I ended up with something totally new to me. There’s a lot more videos, a lot more of me trying to be myself, and a lot more of me trying to be myself ON CAMERA, WHICH I HATE. But I think I’m happy with the result, and I hope you like it too!

Newsletter!

Also late was my newsletter. That usually goes out on the 15th, but I decided to release it and the course simultaneously. If you aren’t already signed up, go here. Shhhhh. Don’t argue. There might be free stuff coming in future months, and you don’t want to miss that, right? You can also look for the little form that pops up on pretty much every damn page of my website. That should be a hint, right?

Boobs!

The wonderful Vanessa from DevourLV (formerly Devour DSM) made this AMAZETITS tumbler for me, and I’m just in awe of how fucking gorgeous it is! She totally surprised me with it, and I cannot get over it! Check out her shop on Etsy and on Instagram!

GORGEOUS!

Is Body Justice a Thing?

Are you thinking, “Is body justice even a thing?” To which I say, “kinda.” Body justice is about reclamation to me, and I want to explore that.

Usually, we see these terms, and each offers great help to those of us with body image struggles:

  • Body positivity: Feeling good about our bodies no matter what
  • Body neutrality: Feeling neither good nor bad about our bodies
  • Body acceptance: Understanding our bodies and letting them be what they are
  • Body tolerance: Accepting that our bodies are what they are, and while we may not feel enthusiastic, we’ve at least made peace

The body positivity movement started with Black women, but it has become co-opted by White women, specifically, influencers who are often silent about racism or do not credit the origins of the movement. The body positive posts of Black and Brown women are often overrun with hateful comments. There’s also something infuriating about watching thin women arch their backs to look fat or posting photos of their rolls when they’re sitting and so on. It’s not that these women lack their own, legitimate body issues, and my goal is not to shame them. Instead, it’s to point out how the movement is used to ignore the Black women and fat women who started it. It’s more a condemnation of the way social media works, pits women against one another, and encourages those who meet a certain aesthetic to misappropriate others’ bodies. After all, I don’t have to arch my back to get a belly or bend over for rolls. But if I post those truths, I always run the risk of getting fatphobic hatred.

My actual, unedited, poorly lit fatness without any editing or touch-up to my spotty, flawed skin.

I don’t know how we got to the point where we have to reclaim body positivity, an effort designed to reclaim our bodies, but we’re now reclaiming the reclaimed in the name of body justice.

What are your thoughts on this?

I’ll be exploring more of what body justice means to me tomorrow, and I’ll look at the sociology behind it all.