The politics of fat

I’ve dealt with being fat now for about 15 years. I follow fat news a bit. When I spot an article about it I read it. When I’m alerted to something about it on TV I watch it. There is a ton of myth surrounding fat and our ability to control our weight. Society at large think it’s only a matter of will to stay thin. That it is our gluttony that keeps us fat. More and more research disputes this. Of course it’s not what is normally in the media. And the weight loss industry keeps the hope alive that all one has to do is control themselves and they will be able to be thin. 90% of people who lose large amounts of weight gain it back. If it was as simple as will power we would keep it off. No one wants to be fat. Evidence has it that people do have will power and many lose weight over and over again, but because our bodies are hard-wired to be the weight that we are we cannot maintain large amounts of weight loss.

I know that as someone who is fat as a result of medication that I may not fit neatly into this reality and many of my readers may think that they too are different. Maybe, just maybe, I will lose weight once off the drugs. But I actually doubt that I will because I believe my body has been altered to match more closely with those fat people who are talked about in the following articles and radio program. And even if we are different, that doesn’t change the fat-phobic culture that we live in and it doesn’t make it right that people who don’t have a nice and neat excuse for being fat like we do get stigmatized for something that is no more their fault than it is our fault for having taken psych meds.

Source for all the below information–fat fu and this is stuff I got from her in just the last few days. I imagine her blog is wealth of information on the myths surrounding fat and obesity. I had read the piece from Scientific American a couple of years ago but wouldn’t have been able to find it easily:

Obesity: An Overblown Epidemic

A War on Obesity, Not the Obese

And for me the most interesting and entertaining:

Gina Kolata on NPR’s Science Friday

This last link is one good half hour of listening for anyone interested in the myth around fat and weight loss. And I recommend everyone listen to it even if you’re not fat. It’s educational and might help stop the listener from continuing to stigmatize themselves and/or the fat people among us.

And just as a final comment to this brief post: It is possible to be fat and fit!!

(THIS IS AN OLD POST — my weight has largely come off simply as a result of getting off drugs — 2010)

For several pieces on Psych Meds and Fat see here.

4 thoughts on “The politics of fat

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  1. My husband is, uh, large – hehe. I’m essentially a “chubby chaser.” I like my men big!

    But anyway, after being on Paxil and Lexapro, I went from 135 lbs to 175 in the course of a year and a half! Even if I exercised, I didn’t lose much weight. (I will admit that I had a lot of fast food and baked goods.)

    After dropping the meds, I also made the move to cut out fast food as well. I began eating Healthy Choice for lunch, cut out soda, and became somewhat of a calorie-counter. I weaned my husband off of juice (full of sugar) and encouraged him to eat healthier (non-yucky) foods. He is naturally big and his mother is naturally obese as well. I know that he’ll never be a skinny guy (he has a large frame, he’d look creepy anyway) or meet the BMI, but I want him to remain healthy and fit so he can dodge the diabetes that runs in his family and lower his risk of heart disease. (I have to keep my weight low because I have high cholesterol.)

    Well, that was a lot. Here’s one for ya: I don’t care, she’s gorgeous.

  2. “I know that as someone who is fat as a result of medication that I may not fit neatly into this reality and many of my readers may think that they too are different.”

    Count me in.

    115-125 pounds for all of my adult life (even while on the antidepressants). Never worried about what I ate, when, how much… Then, one month after being prescribed my first atypical antipsychotic, my body was changed forever.

    Eighty pounds in less than a year. That’s criminal. Of course, I ate more, but I was insatiable. I couldn’t feel satisfied. I was always hungry.

    What a 180 degree change for me. Shame on the doctors for not warning about it. Today, I am struggling to lose the weight even though I am nearly off of all medication (just 2.0 mg Valium left). The pounds are fighting me, resisting leaving me. The irony is that now I eat healthier than ever before. I eat whole foods, organic, unprocessed food. Grrr… It makes me really, really angry. My body’s chemistry has been tainted forever I fear.

  3. Thanks Jennifer,
    I do want to read it after listening to her interview. I think I need to wait until it goes paperback though. I can’t really afford hardcover!

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