Monday, August 22, 2011

My Body, My Business

My computer at work has as the homepage when I sign onto the internet.  I brought my internet up today and as I was about to type the address of the page I wanted to go to at the top, a headline further down caught my eye.  I clicked on it, and got this:

LeAnn Rimes was totally proud offended the other night at dinner in Chicago when another diner stopped by her table to suggest she put some food in her mouth. "How dare someone come to me at a table w/ the boys and tell me I need to eat something," LeAnn tweeted. "What is wrong with people!? As I'm stuffing my face … have another drink and maybe take a class in manners!
Cheers!" Weirdly, no bikini photos accompanied LeAnn's "everyone-thinks-I'm-too-skinny" story du jour. (DailyMail)
I know that the majority of my posts in this blog are about how obese people are treated by the world in general, but this is really the opposite side of the same coin.  We, as a people, need to STOP judging others on their body shape / size, whether we think that they are too large or too small.  No one has the right to walk up to someone else and pass judgement on how they look or what they eat.  This ranks up there with the rudeness of taking a package of snack cakes out of a large person's shopping cart while telling them that they don't need that kind of food.
Here's the deal, folks:
My body is my business, and nobody else's.
That's right.  Whether I'm morbidly obese, or super-skinny, the decisions that I make regarding my body and what goes into it are not fodder for public consumption. 
I will admit that if my husband were to say, "I'm worried about your health.  How can we work together to be healthier?" I would probably pay attention to that.  (Though it would be amusing in some ways as he has high blood pressure and cholesterol, and mine both fall into the category of "The nurse checks a second time every time because those numbers CAN'T be right for someone so fat!  They are too normal!")    But to have a total stranger decide without knowing me or my life that they know what is best for me is offensive.
I do have my health problems, though, including diabetes and arthritis.  And I am continually working to find ways to feel better physically. That said, if someone were to come up to me in a restaurant in front of my non-existent children and tell me that what I was eating was wrong, I would probably not set the best example for my children in terms of public behaviour with my response.  My reply would start with, "It really is none of your business." and go downhill from there.
Look, folks, let's try something, shall we?  How about we make an effort to stop judging people by their size.  Fat folks, stop thinking, "Eat a pork chop." when you see someone who is uber-slender.  You don't know why they are that way.  Maybe they have a super-fast metabolism.  Maybe they just finished treatment for cancer and haven't been able to keep food down.  Maybe they just don't eat a lot and are comfortable with that.  It really isn't your concern if they're healthy and happy with how their life is going.
Skinny folks, stop thinking, "Put down the potato chips and take a walk." when you see someone who is fat.  You also do not know what their circumstances are.  Maybe they have a very slow metabolism.  Maybe they have arthritis or an injury that keeps them from being able to move as much as they might like.  Maybe they're on a medication that causes weight gain.  Maybe they just really like good food (or even bad food!).  Again, it really isn't your concern if they are healthy and happy with how their life is going.
"But Lys, how can they possibly be healthy if they are...(fill in the blank here)??"
Repeat after me:
I can't tell if someone is healthy just by looking at their body size.
That's right, folks!  YOU DON'T KNOW!  Fat does not equal unhealthy.  Skinny does not equal healthy.  There are a LOT of variables that go into determining if someone is healthy or not.  There are fat people who have better health indicators than most slender folks, and there are slender folks who have better indicators than other slender folks.  And you know what?  There are even really, really skinny folks who have better indicators than the "healthy-looking" slender folks.
My body is my business.  Your body is your business.  How about we just cut each other some slack and realize that the decisions we each make regarding our own bodies are just that...our own decisions.  There really are more important things to be worrying about in the world than whether the person at the next table is eating what you think they should eat, such as teaching our children enough courtesy that they don't walk up to a stranger in a restaurant and start telling them what they should be eating.  So stop worrying about it and focus on your own meal.  You'll enjoy it more, believe me, and you won't have to hear me tell you exactly what I think of your lack of manners.  It will be better all around.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fat Fashion (?)

I am a person who appreciates comfortable clothes.  I'm not a haute couture kind of gal, though I enjoy watching the occasional fashion show just to see what they're trying to convince women to wear as the latest thing.  The reality is, though, that personally I'm happier in a pair of jeans and a polo shirt than just about anything else.  But when the occasion requires that I dress more fashionably than that, I try to make the effort to do so.

Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to get clothes in my size that aren't either just skinny people's clothes cut out of a lot more cloth or polyester grandma pants and muumuus.  To add to the problem, I am what is known as "a pear", which means that my upper body is about 2 sizes smaller than my lower body.  Let me tell you THAT makes it interesting when trying to buy a dress!  When the shoulders fit, it won't even go down over my hips and when the hips fit, it is practically falling off my shoulders.  Since I am not a pop culture persona (yet...but if enough people eventually follow this blog, who knows what could happen! *grin*), I really don't want to be giving the world the excitement of a wardrobe malfunction.  Thus I do a lot of separates, so that I can buy things in the appropriate sizes.

I am about to embark upon a clothes purchasing bout as I have pants that are so old that the elastic isn't stretchy any more, shirts that have holes worn through them, and have managed to get some kind of stain on nearly every item that I own.  Most of these come with interesting stories, my favorite being the combination of joint compound and three different colors of paint that have permanently discolored a formerly white shirt because I was up to my elbows in the mixture making "stones" for a friend's haunted house.  But stories or not, I need to have clothing that is presentable and able to be worn in public without me wanting to start explaining WHY the stains on my shirt are so cool.

This means, of course, that I am about to get both depressed and angry as I search for something that will fit me, before resorting to purchasing some things from the Roamans and Lane Bryant catalogs, like I always do.  Before I do so, however, I would like to say a few things to the so-called designers who come up with Fat Superhero clothing:

  • Not all Fat Superheroes are big breasted.  I know that it is a thing, that comic books always show female superheroes with size ZZ boobies perkily peeking out of some form of no-real-support bustier thingamajig, but the reality is that, like most women, we come in assorted shapes and sizes.  There ARE fat Superheroes who wear A and B cups.  It would be nice if we could find bras too.
  • It would also be nice if we could find shirts that didn't assume that if our hips are big, then our breasts are big too.  Personally, I welcomed the whole 'babydoll shirt' style, because it meant that I could FINALLY get tops that fit my breasts AND my hips!
  • Taking a design created for a smaller size and simply adding material does not guarantee a flattering garment.  Yeah, it works for some, but not all.  The designer who figures out that they can actually design clothes specifically for Fat Superheroes is going to become rich.  We want flattering clothes too, and when someone finally starts marketing clothing that fits our proportions and isn't just small clothes made big, we will take ourselves and our many, many dollars to them, and we will be pretty darned loyal to them as long as they continue to put out quality product.  Remember, fashion world, there are more of us than there are of the supermodel sizes!
  • I would like to find the person who decided that Fat Superheroes want every top to have short sleeves or to be sleeveless and beat them into a state of physical insensibility that matches their apparent state of mental insensibility.  Sure, I wear tank tops and t-shirts, but I really prefer a 3/4 length sleeve because otherwise my water wings catch the wind every time that it blows and I end up doing a Mary Poppins impression until the wind gives out and I land on some unsuspecting stranger's lawn with a thump!  So please, give us some options with sleeves, too?  Especially on formalwear!  There are some beautiful dresses out there, but I really find it difficult to clutch a shawl around my shoulders for the entirety of my friend's wedding buffet.  The little tassels tend to dunk themselves into the meatballs and sauce on a regular basis.
  • Lastly, please remember when you make your jeans, that just because I'm Fat, that doesn't mean I don't have a waist.  I can't tell you the number of pairs of jeans I've owned where the hips fit, and then an entire bolt of material had to be gathered around my waist with my belt, or I had to take scissors, needle, and thread to them to put darts in so that my pants actually stayed up.  I'm not one of those gangsta wannabes who runs around with my underwear showing on purpose (though I have some darned cute undies, thank you very much!).  Would it be too much to ask that my jeans have a waist that fits and hips that are roomy enough for me to sit without wincing?
So, those of you clothing manufacturers who deign to carry larger sizes, do yourselves a favor and start asking your customers what they really want out of their clothes.  After you do that, GIVE them what they're asking for.  I suspect that you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Oh, and by the way, those of you who make clothing for our taller sisters, you may want to do the same thing.  I suspect that a lot of the things that bother my fellow fatties and myself also bother the tall gals.

Lastly,  stop charging me ten times the price for my clothes.  I know that there's extra material, but really, the amount of material you're using in my clothing does NOT justify the price difference between what I'm buying and what someone who wears a size 10 is buying.  And the price difference certainly isn't due to extra design and development costs!  Just give me quality clothes that fit me well at a reasonable price, and I'll be yours forever.

As for right now, I think I'm just going to get two new pair of jeans, and a polo in every color that Roamans offers them in.  Oh, and possibly that cute little lingerie set.  My hubby deserves a little treat.  *grin*

Monday, August 8, 2011

Further Thoughts

The weather in Dallas, Texas has been extreme over the past month to say the least.  We are currently on our 38th straight day of 100+ degrees.  For those with a curiousity about this sort of thing, the record currently stands at 42 days.  I'm betting that we blow the record out of the water.

"But Lys...?"  I hear you say, "What does that have to do with being a Fat Superhero?"

Well, let me tell you, normally it wouldn't but the past four weekends have seen me out in this heat from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the earliest and until 6 p.m. at the latest working on location for a short film that a number of my friends are making.  (Gratuitous plug:  check out our website at and our Facebook page at!/pages/The-Lightbringer-Saga/208325359188759 ) 

"Lys?  I'm still confused."

I know, trust me, there is a connection between all of these threads. 

As we have been outside, running around in the woods, hiking up and down concrete staircases, and climbing hills to get the perfect shot, I realized that while I am making great progress in loving myself for who I am, I am not happy with the state of my health right now.  And THAT is really what "Health at Every Size" is about.  Are you happy with your health, no matter what size you are?

I know that a lot of people's first impressions of HaES seems to assume that the people who follow that line of thought are just fatties trying to justify being fat so that they can continue to sit on the couch, eat Cheetos, and not have to move.  That's not right, though.  Health at Every Size is about health (thus it being the first word in the title!).  Everyone in the world has the right to the best health possible for them.  It doesn't matter what they LOOK like, what matters is how they FEEL.  And that is the main difference for me when it comes to HaES versus some aspects of the Fat Acceptance movement. 

I don't care if I'm fat, I don't care if I'm slender, what I care about is how do I feel?  Can run around the woods, hike up and down concrete staircases, and climb hills and do so without those activities sucking the joy of whatever it is that I'm running / hiking / climbing for.  Unfortunately, for me, the last month has proven that I cannot do those things without feeling horrible.  I don't like the pains in my joints, the huffing and puffing, and always being the last person to get anywhere because my body can't handle the strain. 

"So, Lys, how do you take care of that without falling into the dieting traps laid out by Big Business and The Weight Loss Industry?"

That, my friends, is a good question! 

The key is movement.  If you want to be able to move well, you have to start moving.  Ironic, isn't it?  My eating habits are actually pretty healthy.  I know that there will be people who think I'm lying when I say that, who think that there is no way that I could be so fat if I ate as well as I claim to eat, but that's their problem, not mine.  It comforts them to think that I have to be eating well in public and then scarfing down five gallons of ice cream in the dark living room after my husband has gone to bed.  It comforts them because they don't do that, so that means they'll never get fat.  It isn't about ME, it is about them and their fears, so I don't listen to them.

But as I was saying, my eating habits are pretty healthy, really.  We do a lot of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and lean proteins.  We've even cut back portion sizes on meats, though my husband tends to gripe about that a bit.  I'm not saying that there isn't room in our menu for ice cream or chocolate, but they take the form of small bites rather than huge bowls now.

That leaves movement.  That is my avenue for getting my joints to stop hating me, for getting my lung capacity back up to a decent level, and for being able to enjoy my time with my friends rather than making apologies for being so slow.

I'm honestly still a little stymied about this, really.  It is hard to find movement that I enjoy and will do on a consistent basis.  I do enjoy yoga, so I will be starting to use my yoga DVD again, but I'm not sure what else to do.  So, now I begin a new quest:  to find something I like to do and will do on a regular basis.  I expect that there will be some working with our practice swords, and some form of dancing.  If nothing else, it will be fun to explore the options!

So, my dear VURD!  Talk to me!  What kind of movement do you enjoy the most and why?  It doesn't have to be something officially classed as "exercise", like the treadmill or elliptical (though if it is, that's fine too!).  Share with me, and everyone else.  What gets your heart pumping and puts a smile on your face?  I really do want to know!