Sunday, 29 September 2019

Medical Tests of the Itchy Sort

In May 2018 I was short of breath. I thought I might have pneumonia.  Turned out they  found a pulmonary embolism and I spent 4 days in ICU. I was finally discharged to go home and rest. This also came shortly after a kidney stone and high blood pressure diagnosis, and I was really, really, tired.

But my lung capacity, while better than with the PE, still sucks. “It takes time to recover from a PE”.  Uh-huh. Also I was busy trying to hit deadlines at work, despite being tired all the time, and I only had so much time and energy to deal with crap. So I didn’t push to hard on why my lung capacity is still smaller than normal.

It’s over a year later. I still get short of breath trying to walk any distance. Slowing down helps but is frustratingly slow. So this week I’m going to the Pulmonary Clinic for lung capacity testing!  Good!  And to find out my unmedicated state, I’m not taking asthma meds and anthistamines for a day beforehand!

Oof.

“You can use a rescue inhaler like albuterol if needed up to 4 hours before the appointment.”

Uh, right.

What really worries me is that I’ll end up itching. I did confirm I can use topical meds, like hydrocortisone cream or antihistamine eyedrops.  I may be focusing on itching to avoid thinking about shortness of breath.  But still. No Zyrtec. Eek. 



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Friday, 27 September 2019

THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – BLOOD PRESSURE MACHINES

What I have to say about trying to get an accurate blood pressure reading while fat:

This Fat Old Lady’s Fat Friday – Blood Pressure Machines



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Thursday, 26 September 2019

Carol Gwenn Interview

Carol emailed me after I mentioned BBW Magazine in a post to tell me she used to write for it!  I asked her to do an interview as someone who’s been around fat acceptance since the 70s…

Q: How would you introduce yourself?

I’m Carol Gwenn, former writer and lifelong big person. I’ve had numerous occupations, almost all of them in & around the entertainment industry (performer, writer, teacher, agent, etc.). I currently function as sort of caretaker/watchful eye over a building belonging to the owner of the company I work for. We use it as office space & I’m kind of the babysitter for the property.

Q: Are you comfortable with the word “fat” for yourself?

Sure – am confortable with “fat” for myself because it’s what I AM. Have never seen anything wrong with the word fat when it’s used for what it is: a descriptive word, like “tall” or “blonde”.

Q: How would you describe your body size?

I’d describe my size as fat-to-middling (5’6″ and a size 18, 1X ). I’ve been larger & smaller, but my current size (where I’ve been for the past 13 years or so) is comfortable for me.

Q: How has being fat affected your life?

Only as much as I’d allow it, which is VERY little. I always put myself out in the world as a great looking, sexy broad, and with VERY few exceptions that’s how I was perceived. Have always believed in the principle of mind over matter in many parts of life, and one of those things is that if I believe in my own value & in my own terrific looks, then that’s how the world will see me. The down side to that is that, now that I’m past middle age & into the stage of life where things are disintegrating before my eyes, trading on my looks is something that will no longer work: you can’t trade on something you no longer have. But it sure was fun while it lasted!

Q: How did you encounter fat lib/fat acceptance?

5. I came upon the fatosphere as an entity sometime in the late ’70s. There was an article in my local newspaper (the Los Angeles Times) about NAAFA and the Fat Underground, and shortly after that the original BBW Magazine started up & I began to write for it. The sad thing is that we don’t seem to have gotten terribly far in the past 40-off years: if anything, I see more rampant fat phobia out there then ever, people becoming more and more obsessed with being thin and regarding fat people as alien beings. Wish I could think of a way to fix this -suppose we ALL would like that – but there doesn’t seem to be one. There seems to be something in human nature that compels people to find someone to dislike and/or look down on. Unfortunately, in many cases, it’s us.

Q: What’s the worst part of being fat for you?

The worst part of being fat for me …all the people I’ve encountered in my life who persist in telling me that I’m somehow broken and that they can fix me, if only I would torture myself via eating disorders (i.e., diets) and crazed physical exertion to make myself smaller. The other worst part? It’s SO not legal to stomp those annoying people into little blobs on the ground.

Q: What’s the best part of being fat for you?

The best part of being fat for me…it’s that wonderful song title from “La Cage…”: ‘I am what I am!’ I wake up each morning & say “Thank you!” for my nice, big, healthy body that does so many nice things for me. Also – and this is SERIOUSLY important – being able to make use of as many teachable moments as possible when I encounter diet talk or fat phobia, trying to combat that attitude of “But YOU’RE not that fat…” Hey – fat is fat, however much of it we’re wearing this year, and it’s great to be able to put it out there that we ALL deserve the same respect.

Q: What’s your favorite place to buy clothing?

TJMR (That’s TJ Maxx – Marshall’s – Ross). I’ve been buying clothes at these stores for a LONG time, and have found a good selection of clothes at VERY reasonable prices in everything from my current size up to a 4X when I needed it. There’s a shopping center in L.A. that I refer to as heaven: the above-mentioned stores PLUS Nordstroms Rack, Off 5th, Target…ALL IN ONE PLACE! It’s not just fabric clothing I buy – am one of those gals with a need for shoes in a size not always easy to find – and Marshalls has been great about stocking the size I wear.

I understand that for someone my size, finding clothes is relatively easy – have shopped Macy’s, Target, etc. and there have always been items available . Friends who were much larger than I have told me how tough it can be to find nice things in sizes above 26 or 3X.



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Friday, 20 September 2019

THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – CURVYCON

Can anyone tell me more about this fatshion conference during NY Fashion Week?

This Fat Old Lady’s Fat Friday – CurvyCon



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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

On making my own kind of music

I love movies. I enjoy going to the cinema; the entire production. The frozen coke and popcorn and fabric seats and big screen and surround sound. I love movies. Recently, I went to see Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. Putting aside how problematic he is, and the problematic things with the film not related to the topic of this blog, what struck me while I was watching was how Cass Elliot was represented. I had heard she was depicted in the film, and I was nervous. Film is rarely kind to fat people, and I felt protective of the woman who played an important role in my childhood and adolescence.

Cass Elliot

As a fat child who wanted nothing more than to sing on Broadway, I had very few role models. One I discovered in my late childhood, and came to embrace as a teenager, was Cass Elliot (also known as Mama Cass, but we will get to that fatphobic nonsense in a bit) of The Mamas and the Papas. Cass Elliot was fat, fabulous, and had a voice that could make you cry.

Cass was initially kept out of the band she would make famous, The Mamas and the Papas (then the New Journeymen), because of the antifat attitudes of John Phillips. She brought about the band’s name change and her vocals helped the group rise to fame during the time of Haight Ashbury; the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Cass Elliot – NAKED – in a music magazine pull-out

After leaving the group, Cass had a successful solo career that included two TV specials and international touring. She guest hosted on The Tonight Show and was a regular on talk and variety shows.

Unfortunately, she was unable to shake the moniker of Mama Cass. Unlike other members of the group, her designation as “Mama” followed her, even after death. Why don’t we call Michelle Phillips, Mama Phillips or John Phillips, Papa Phillips? Why were they able to leave that behind once they moved on to other projects? One reason is fatphobia. Positioning fat women as mothers – maternal – caretakers – is one of the few ways that society can palate fatness. It’s almost laughable to think of “sexy” Michelle or John Phillips as Mama or Papa. But for Cass Elliot, it was unescapable. Even after a TV special named, “Don’t Call Me Mama Anymore”.

“I never created the Big Mama image,” she said. ”The public does it for you. But I’ve always been different. I’ve been fat since I was seven. Being fat sets you apart, but luckily I was bright with it”.

Cass Elliot

The fatphobic urban legend that follows the memory of Cass’s death to this day is both heartbreaking and infuriating. Cass died of a heart attack, most likely caused by crash dieting and substance abuse. However, many people still believe that she choked on a sandwich. Unfortunately, Cass is not the only fat celebrity to deal with such an indignity after death (see, for example, Elvis).

Only recently I learned that a group from the Fat Underground (a fat activist group in LA in the 70s) stormed the stage at a local festival and accused the medical community of killing Cass; they cried out against the genocide masquerading as the promotion of weight loss. I can imagine how powerful it would have been to be on that stage, or even in the audience, as a fat woman. Sharing their grief, sharing their anger (If you’d like to learn more about this, pls see the great excerpt on Charlotte Cooper’s Obesity Timebob).

Even after her death, Cass continues to influence. In the opening of S2 of ABC’s TV show Lost, viewers found themselves with a new character and the soundtrack of one of Cass Elliot’s greatest solo hits. The same song has been used in Showtime’s TV show, Dexter, among others.

And among other representations in TV and film, she is portrayed by Rachel Redleaf in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. I LOVED how she represented by Tarantino. She is fashionable, she is having fun, she is definitely the largest body at the party.

Cass Elliot in OUATIH

We don’t get much of her; seconds of her walking into the party, a few seconds later as she dances with friends – but those seconds are joyful. And playful. And devoid of any fatphobic nonsense. And for that, I’m grateful. For Cass’s memory, and those who knew and loved her; but also for me and the many fat people around the world who hold her to their hearts.

 



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An Open Letter To James Corden From A Fellow Fat Person

James CordenHi James, or maybe you’d prefer Mr. Corden? Can we talk about your response to Bill Maher?

Actually, before I get into that, I want to say that I’m a fan of your work. I have watched your Tony openings repeatedly, crying as you sang “You could be in this show…” thinking of all the little fat kids who were getting this message from someone who looks like them for the very first time. You are incredibly talented, and you’ve done amazing work around representation for fat people. I have no idea what the emotional/psychological cost of that might have been for you, and I appreciate it.

I don’t agree with you that Bill Maher’s heart was in the right place when he used his considerable platform to try to convince as many people as possible that they should bully fat people. I wouldn’t bet the farm that he even has a heart, but he certainly has an ego and he is happy to feed it by bullying any group he thinks he can get away with and, really, I’m just surprised it took him this long to get to us.

I do think your heart is in the right place, which is why, despite making some good points and being well meaning, your response ended up hurting me far more than Bill’s fatphobic yammering  because I felt that in your response you, a fellow fat person, basically bought into and reinforced every single one of Bill’s negative premises about fat people, and punctuated them with stereotypical fat jokes.

It’s understandable. We all live in a world that is chock full o’ fatphobia and diet culture, we are ceaselessly bombarded with the idea that being fat is bad and automatically unhealthy, that fat people just existing in the world constitutes some kind of “epidemic,” and that jokes based on stereotypes about fat people are hilarious.

This culture has consequences – fat people are hired less and paid less than thin people, we are given suboptimal healthcare by doctors who prescribe diets for everything from strep throat to severed limbs, we have higher rates of bullying, self-harm, and suicide. And that’s not hilarious. We’re all steeped in this culture and, as fat people, it’s easy to internalize that and start believing the negative press about us (press, I might add, that makes the diet industry $60 billion a year.)

Plus, I know that the entertainment industry is absolutely steeped in fatphobia and I imagine that one of ways fat people in the industry deal with it and succeed in spite of it, as you have, is to join in with self-deprecating humor.

But here’s the thing: Fat-shaming directed at ourselves is still fat-shaming. A fat person repeating and reinforcing stereotypes about fat people, food, and exercise, is still fat-shaming. Repeating the idea that being fat is bad, and that fat people’s existence is a problem to be solved is still fat-shaming, even when a fat person is the one saying it.

Saying “fat people should be eradicated from the Earth, but let’s try not to stigmatize them while we do it” is better than nothing, but not by much.

Suggesting that people shouldn’t fat-shame us because it won’t make us thin ends up backfiring terribly, because it suggests that if someone believes – as many fatphobes do – that fat-shaming does make fat people thinner, then it’s all systems go for fat-shaming! And that’s bullshit. First of all, because bullying results in negative health and wellbeing regardless of body size. But more to the point, even if someone sincerely believes that bullying fat people will make us immortal it still wouldn’t be acceptable behavior. Bullying is always wrong, even if it causes the victim to temporarily change in the hopes that it will stop their abuse.

As a speaker, writer, and fathlete focused on Fat Acceptance and Health at Every Size, I just want people to have information and options. Too many people pursue dieting because they think it’s the only path to health, so I let people know that, understanding that health is not an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, or entirely within our control, the truth is that dieting fails almost all the time, and most of the time results in long-term weight gain (the experience you talk about having with dieting is the same experience nearly everyone has with dieting – we lose weight short term, and then – no matter what we do – we gain it back in 2-5 years, often gaining back more than we lost. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.)

Dieting does not meet the criteria for ethical, evidence-based medicine. But as studies like Matheson et. al, Wei et. al., and the Cooper Institute Longitudinal Studies show us, focusing on our actual health, and allowing our bodies to settle at whatever weight they settle, is a far more evidence-based health practice than trying to feed our bodies less food than they need in the hopes that they’ll eat themselves and become smaller, and that somehow the result will be improved health.

Too many fat people hate their bodies because they don’t know they have any other choice, so I try to make sure fat people know that instead of trying to change our bodies to appease our bullies – essentially giving the bullies our lunch money and hoping they stop beating us up – instead of joining our bullies in shaming and hating our bodies, we can say “enough,” and we can say “I want a world without fat-shaming, and I’m going to create it, starting with myself.”

Just waking up in a fat body and not hating ourselves is an act of revolution in this culture, so imagine what happens when we stop apologizing for existing, stop thanking concern trolls for mistreating us “for our own good,”  and instead give our bodies our full-throated support, and pursue our dreams in the bodies we have – with no self-deprecation, no fat jokes, no apologies.

There’s a whole community of us – we are gaining people and power. Tomorrow they’ll be more of us. And James, I hope you’ll join us.

Of course, you don’t have to agree with me. And regardless of what the research says, or what harm it may do (and whether or not we ever battle about it on Drop the Mic…) you are allowed to keep buying into diet culture and trying to manipulate your body size – that’s your right. You are allowed to continue to think that being fat is a problem to be solved, or to keep making jokes that reinforce stereotypes about fat people. But if you want to make an argument against fat-shaming in the future, I hope you will consider this one:

Fat-shaming is wrong, full stop. Fat people have a right to exist without shame, stigma, bullying, or oppression, period — no exceptions.

Thanks for reading.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

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This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
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Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

 

 

 



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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Riot Girls: A Film Review

Read my review for the 2019 film, Riot Girls, directed by Jovanka Vuckovic. Riot Girls is a fun, campy, gory, feminist teen film featuring queer characters and a non-binary lead! Find out how you can...

Read more here!

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Friday, 13 September 2019

THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – A ROSE IS A ROSE AND A BAG OF SHIT IS A BAG OF SHIT

Weight Loss Surgery is getting a new name because somebody thinks fat people are stupid.

THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – A ROSE IS A ROSE AND A BAG OF SHIT IS A BAG OF SHIT



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Thursday, 12 September 2019

Barry Deutsch Interview

I first encountered Barry at via “Alas, a Blog“, which led me to his political cartoon site Lefty Cartoons and Twitter.

Q: How would you introduce yourself? 

I’m Barry Deutsch, a cartoonist who does graphic novels and political cartoons. I sometimes do political cartoons with fat acceptance themes (and I want to do more). I’ve been very hesitant about doing fat-acceptance political cartoons, because it’s such a personal subject for me.

Barry

Q:   Are you comfortable with the word “fat” for yourself?

Definitely!

Q:   How would you describe your body size?

I’m fat enough so that anyone looking at me would say I’m fat. I’m fat enough so that people have sometimes yelled derogatory comments about my weight from cars as they pass me.

But I’m thin enough that many of the ways society routinely exclude fat people don’t really effect me. I can get through turnstiles (occasionally with a struggle), sit in theater and airplane seats (although sometimes that’s a close thing), and once in a blue moon I find clothes that fit me in stores. I need an extension to buckle my seat belt on an airplane, but usually I don’t need an extension in a car. And I simply face less frequent and less vicious anti-fat discrimination than my fatter peers. I think Caleb Luna would describe me as having a “smaller fat body.”

Q:   How has being fat affected your life?

Well, aside from pragmatic inconveniences – difficulty finding clothes, being careful not to sit on delicate chairs, and so on – the main effect is that I’ve been taught to carry around a great deal of self-hate, which I struggle to leave behind.

Q:   How did you encounter fat lib/fat acceptance? 

I read a book questioning everything I’d been taught about fat and about weight loss diets. I’m not sure which book it was – it might have been “Big Fat Lies” by Glenn Gaesser, published in 2002, or maybe it was an earlier book that’s since been lost down the memory hole. Whatever book it was, it completely blew my mind.

Later on I had a job at Oregon State Health University, and so had daily access to a medical library. I’d haunt the stacks, reading journal articles, and I confirmed for myself that something that everyone I knew had always accepted as uncontested fact – being fat is deadly, diets work – was actually a subject of enormous controversy among researchers and experts.

Q:   What’s the worst part of being fat for you?

Having been taught to hate myself; that I am gross; that I’m not worthy of being loved.

But also, sometimes the realization that people I love are carrying around a great deal of anti-fat bigotry. I once wound up seeing a fat suit comedy with a close relative (bad idea, I know, I know). The movie was bad enough, but what was a thousand times worse was my relative sitting next to me, cracking up at every anti-fat joke. I don’t blame them – they were raised in this society too. But the memory stays fresh, many years later.

Q:   What’s the best part of being fat for you?

Finding solidarity with other fat people.

Q:   What’s your favorite place to buy clothing?

I don’t have much money, so I frequently look for clothes on ebay. I’ve splurged on a couple of t-shirts from Rage On that I love (their sizes only go up to 5x, though).

My new favorite item is suspenders with a musical note pattern, which I got from Amazon; I’ve been getting a lot of compliments when I wear them. A couple of years ago I decided to wear suspenders all the time, and I’m so glad I did – I like the line better, and I feel much more comfortable. (And, oddly enough, it’s made me more comfortable wearing body-hugging shirts than I used to be).


Thanks Barry!  If you would like to be involved, email me at living400lbs AT gmail DOT com!


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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

On Super Fat Travel: Iceland

Me in front of Gullfoss waterfall

In October of 2017, I travelled to Iceland. Iceland is a Nordic island nation that feels like it is the top of the world. It has a population around 350k, and most of the people live in the capital city of Reykjavik. Seeing Iceland was one of the goals I had when I planned my European Sabbatical. I travelled to Iceland at the invitation of the Icelandic Association for Body Respect and Gyða Pétursdóttir at the University of Iceland.

University of Iceland

Giving my talk, What’s size got to do with it? Bodies, Fatness, and Fairness

Sólrún from the Icelandic Association for Body Respect

At the University of Iceland, I gave a session during their “Equality Days”. My session, called What’s size got to do with it? Bodies, Fatness, and Fairness, explored fat politics and the oppression experienced by fat people. It followed a session by a member of the Association for Body Respect, Sólrún Larusdóttir; she spoke about the association and work they were doing in Iceland. Both sessions were great, and the audience was very enthusiastic. Afterwards, we met up with many of them (including some other Americans!) and decided to grab drinks.

After the talk

Dinner at the Perlan with the Icelandic Association for Body Respect

I was honoured to join the Icelandic Association for Body Respect for a dinner while I was in Iceland. It was a lovely meal, and we discussed common issues in the fight for fat rights, including the tensions between the body positive movement and fat liberation. A few nights later, the Association held a cocktail party for me, where I experienced other Icelandic treats like eðlan/lizzard (cream cheese, salsa, and melted shredded cheese) and ALL of the liquorice. They are serious about their liquorice here!

Cocktails!

Icelandic treats

Eðlan/lizzard

One member, Tara, spent a great deal of time with me while I was in country.

My lovely friend, Tara

She was an excellent tour guide, driving me around the Golden Circle, and making sure I experienced proper Icelandic things like ice cream at Ísbuð Huppu (kinda like a Blizzard from Dairy Queen).

Driving the Golden Circle

Þingvellir National Park

Geysir Hot Spring Area

Gullfoss waterfall

She even took me to the hot pools near her family’s home; it was a smaller (and less touristy!) place than the Blue Lagoon. One thing that I knew to expect (thanks to Google!) was that you had to shower naked in a communal shower area before putting on your suit and going out to the pool. I was a bit nervous about that part; I had never showered naked in public beforehand. I found, though, that the casualness of the rest of the Icelanders, helped me relax quite quickly. By the time we exited the pool and had to do it again, I had no anxiety about my super fat body being nude and on display.

Ísbuð Huppu

Höfði House

Bæjarins Beztu

One with everything!

On my free days, I wandered around the town, exploring the sites. I enjoyed the large flea market, Kolaportið and had a hot dog at the famous Bæjarins Beztu. I found a lovely Icelandic nutcracker to add to my collection. One surprise for me was all the American things to be found in Iceland (including brands, stores – even a Taco Bell!), but I learned while I was there that the US had a base in Iceland during the Cold War. I also spent a day on the Hop On/Hop Off bus (I LOVE those).

The Icelandic donut at Krispy Kreme

My final night, I did a Northern Lights tour. I had been lucky to see them my very first night; about two hours after I checked into my AirBnB, my host Arthur sent me a text to let me know they were out. I peeked from the window, and they were fantastic. Having already been in bed, and just exhausted from the day of travel, I went back to bed and promised myself I’d look more closely (and try to get pictures) on another night. Of course, they did not come out again before I left!

The Northern Lights tour was okay; it was useful to have something to keep me up until my 4am bus ride back to the airport (the airport is about an hour away from the city). The bus made many stops to look for the lights, including a stop with a café for refreshments and restrooms. If you wanted, though, you could stay on the bus the entire time. Since it was pitch black, I spent a lot of time listening to podcasts and playing on my phone during the tour.

Ready for exploring!

Golden Circle

 

Getting there and getting around

I flew Icelandair and found the seat was an okay fit; I had no issues with getting checked in or during the boarding or flight. I did not use public transport while I was there, but I did find that most places were accessible (much more than Europe, to be sure). Most of the eateries I visited had appropriate seating, and room to move around the space. I did not feel that I was under a great deal of scrutiny while I was in Iceland, and the Association were very welcoming.

Icelandair

Accommodation

I stayed in an AirBnB run by Arthur and his wife. Arthur was a gem, picking me up from the bus station the night I arrived and offering to drop me in town on any day I’d like. The AirBnB itself is a nice studio apartment above the garage (so there were a few stairs to climb, but they were gentle stairs and I did okay, even with my luggage). It had a comfy bed, a sitting area, dining table, kitchenette, wardrobe, and bathroom. Very fat friendly on all counts. It was right down the road from Christ the King Catholic Cathedral of Iceland, and Stop #4 on the Hop On/Hop Off Bus, so I was able to hop right on the bus. It was not too much further to walk into town, but I hopped the city bus instead.

The things to see and do

The Perlan

I found most of the main attractions, such as Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Hot Spring Area, Gullfoss waterfall, the Perlan museum, Hallgrímskirkja, etc, to be accessible for super fat people. Many of them require walking, if you want to see most of the attraction, but the walkways/ground are relatively even and would probably not cause any issues for mobility aids. Much of them, especially the National Park, can be enjoyed from within the car while driving. The Perlan Museum has a “walk through a glacier” exhibit, for which they provide large parkas to keep you warm while you walk through the ice. I was delighted to find that the largest parka they had did fit my super fat body.

Walking through a human made glacier at the Perlan

 

 

Overall, I would say that Iceland is a good place for fat people to visit, and if you do go, make sure to share your own experiences with the rest of the fat community!

 



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Friday, 6 September 2019

Thursday, 5 September 2019

New Series – Interviews

I’ve started interviewing fellow fats to include here.  But, if I’m going to ask others to do this, I thought it might be best if I did as well.  So…

Q: How would you introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Jen. I’ve been writing here about being fat since September 2008. There are linked Twitter and Tumblr accounts: @Living400lbs and Living400lbs.tumbler.com.

In my normal life, I’ve been a software tester over 20 years, along with doing tech support, project management, and technical writing.

Q: Are you comfortable with the word “fat” for yourself?

Yes. It’s a simple descriptive word.

Q: How would you describe your body size?

I often say I’m “too fat for Lane Bryant”, since with few exceptions their clothes are too small for me. I’m about 5’8″ tall and round, often called an “apple” shape. My waist is about 65″ around when standing, 76″ around when sitting. Yes, I like elastic waists.

Q: How has being fat affected your life?

It’s just always been there. It’s what I got picked on for in school. It’s what doctors told me to change. It’s what my mother told me was wrong. It’s become a topic I’ve read a lot about, if only in self-defense.

In the day-to-day, it also affects which chairs I can sit in at restaurants. I use a seat extender in most cars. Flying is definitely uncomfortable and more expensive. So’s clothing,.

Q: How did you encounter fat lib/fat acceptance?

Via BBW Magazine in the 80s, a glossy fashion-for-fats magazine with articles on how dieting tends to lead to weight gain and many people “dieted their weight up” and only stabilized after they quit dieting.  Later I discovered UseNet and with it, various fat acceptance discussion groups.  This lead me to books like Big Fat Lies and Fat!So?.

Q: What’s the worst part of being fat for you?

Trying to get medical personnel to focus on the reason I’m there, and not that I’m fat. (It’s not like just woke up this way today.)

Q: What’s the best part of being fat for you?

As I accepted that I would probably stay fat, I became less afraid of being the odd one one in other ways, which helped me deal with criticism for majoring in computer science.  I’ve been able to work on cool software and, incidentally, make a good living because I stood up to peers telling me computer science was “icky”.

Q: What’s your favorite place to buy clothing?

Most of my wardrobe is from On The Plus Side (formerly Making It Big) either directly or secondhand on eBay. I have items I bought in the 90s that still fit, and their stock is mostly made in the US.  I also love Torrid t-shirts, though they don’t last as well. But … A “The Dark Side Made Me Do It” shirt! “Be Nice Or Go Away” shirt! “But First, Coffee!”  I doubt their more fitted stuff would fit me well, but the tshirts are my friends. 


Anyway, that’s the first interview! If you would like to be involved, email me at living400lbs AT gmail DOT com!



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