Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Redefining Health and Wellness With Shohreh Davoodi

Picture of a white woman with long brown hair in a green shirt against a slate background. Text "Surviving Weight Stigma and Thriving in Spite of it with Ragen Chastain #68 Redefining Health & Wellness Podcast shohrehdavoodi.com/68
Picture by Doug Spearman

I recently had the honor of being a guest on Shohreh Davoodi’s podcast “Redefining Health and Wellness,” We covered a lot of ground (from medical weight stigma to dating while fat!)

Shohreh’s summary of the episode is below,

You can listen to it here

or wherever you listen to podcasts (Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, etc.)

We live in a fatphobic world that was designed to be difficult for fat folx to navigate. This harsh reality will not change until we all collectively address our learned bias against fat folx and work to destroy the systems that rely on weight stigma.

Simultaneously, fat folx still need practical coping strategies and tools to survive this unjust system and thrive in spite of it. While individual solutions to systemic oppression are not enough, they do have their place in the overall picture. Fat activist Ragen Chastain offers tips in this episode to help fat folx deal with weight stigma in healthcare, employment, dating, and on the internet. 

Did you find this 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Holidays

Halloween candy and costumes, family gatherings, work parties, New Years bashes, New Years Resolution, and a ton of diet ads… whether we celebrate the holidays or not, the holiday season can be a perfect storm of fatphobia and diet culture. This year the pandemic adds another layer of stress. All that diet culture can really get you down. In this workshop we’ll talk about tips, tricks, and techniques to help us deal and have a happy holiday season on our own terms.

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

Wellness for All Bodies Program:A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-members Click here for all the details and to register!
Body Love Obstacle Course

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.
Price: $99.00 Click here to register
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

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



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Wednesday, 14 October 2020

On being heartless



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Monday, 5 October 2020

On getting a CT scan

I had my first CT scan today. I’ve lived a rather blessed life when it comes to my health: I’ve never needed diagnostics like a CT or MRI, I’ve never broken a bone. I’ve had one outpatient surgery during my PhD to get my tonsils out, but that’s it.

My GP ordered a CT scan to check my kidneys. I’ve had an intermittent acute pain in my lower back on the left hand side, and she wonders if perhaps I’ve got some kidney stones (I see you Substantia with your gall stones!). I did blood work, and then headed to the radiologist today for a CT scan.

My knowledge of CT scans was minimal. I knew it was a series of X-rays that would provide a comprehensive picture of the area in question. I knew it is often called a CAT scan on TV shows. In my mind I thought it would be much like a normal X-ray, just with different positioning and more machines. Of course, most of my knowledge about medical things comes from decades of watching China Beach, E.R., Scrubs, and Grey’s Anatomy. Turns out, I had no idea what a CT would be like.

They had instructed me to drink loads of water beforehand. You’re allowed to use the restroom at any time during the day, but they want you to be loaded up on water. I arrived at the office with my own robe in tow. I assumed that I would need to be in a gown, and I assumed that they would not have one that would fit my fat body.

My robe

After a basic health questionnaire, Cindy brought me back to the room where the CT would take place. As she directed me to the change room, I saw a large machine in an adjoining room and asked if it was for MRIs. Cindy smiled and told me that no, that it was in fact the CT machine; she said they called it the donut.

The donut

Whoa. Nothing at all like what I expected, and honestly, my first thought was the episode of Scrubs where they have a super fat patient that cannot fit into the imaging machine (no idea if that was a CT or MRI machine). Not a helpful thought, of course, as I tried to size up the size of donut hole to see if I was going to fit or not. It turns out that a CT uses rotating X-ray machines inside the donut to take the imaging, and can be used to image any part of the body, from the head to the toes.

An MRI machine, which is more of a tunnel that could fit your whole body

In the changing room, they clarified some questions on the questionnaire, and invited me to remain in the dress I arrived in for the CT (eShakti cotton knit empire maxi dress); I only had to remove my bra (due to the underwire). When I was ready, they led me into the CT room, and I lied down on the strip of bed provided. The tech asked me to raise my hands above my head and asked if I would be comfortable to keep them there during the procedure. I’m not sure if the arm placement was about fitting into the machine, or concern that arms could get “caught” at the edge of the machine and they ask everyone to do this? It was fine and I settled into position.

The not-designed-for-a-fat-body “bed”

The tech left the room, and the bed was raised to then slide into the donut. A mechanical voice instructed me to take a deep breath in and hold it, then several seconds later, as the bed slid out of the donut, the same voice told me I could breathe. This happened three times, and then it was over. A doctor looked at my scans and was happy with the quality, so there was no need for them to inject me or ask me to drink any contrast (a material that would appear white in the X-rays and provide additional definition of the area if needed). The entire thing took about 10 minutes from the time they invited me back to the room to the time I left.

I fit into the machine just fine, and it would fit someone much larger than me. There were no loud noises, either, which had been a concern once I realized I was going into the donut. There was a clicking, but it was not too bad and it did not raise any anxiety for me. Because they were only scanning my abdomen, it might have been possible for me to have on headphones to distract me or block out the noise of the machine, if needed. If you think that might help you, better to have them with you and ask, right?

I am grateful to the radiology team, Sam and Cindy, for being so lovely during my time with them. And not laughing when I asked to take pictures of the donut afterwards. I’m glad to have had a positive experience with my first CT, and perhaps by sharing my experience (and unfounded fears) I will help reduce the fear and anxiety of other fat people who may need a similar test. Have you ever had a CT? How did it go? Let’s chat on Twitter or Facebook!



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Study – Body Size NOT a COVID-19 Risk Factor

I’ll start by sharing this important information from Christy Harrison (copied with permission):

“The large study (CW: weight-stigmatizing language, BMI numbers) of more than 10,000 people with COVID-19 found that having a high body-mass index (BMI) is NOT a risk factor for hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, or death.

This is one of few studies on this topic to fully adjust for confounding variables, and definitely one of the largest that I’ve seen to date.

Interestingly, it found that although Black patients were more likely to be hospitalized and to receive mechanical ventilation than white patients, they WEREN’T more likely to die.

This unusual finding may have to do with the fact that healthcare access is far more equalized in the Veterans Administration (VA) system, where this study was conducted; outside that system, unequal access to care means that folks who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color tend to have higher mortality as well as other poor health outcomes.

This study also found that Hispanic ethnicity was not associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes, which again may reflect the better access to quality care that patients of color receive in the VA system.

That access and quality may be why larger-bodied patients fared just as well—and in some cases even better—than smaller-bodied patients in this study. (Fellow science nerds, see for yourselves in Table 1—though again, CW for weight-stigmatizing language and BMI numbers.)

In short, this evidence supports what I’ve been saying for months: reporters and commentators need to stop jumping to the conclusion that high BMI independently raises COVID-19 risks (and researchers need to stop deliberately looking for evidence to support that belief)—because when we have good studies that control for confounding variables, those supposed risks can dissipate or disappear.

Blaming weight itself for poor health outcomes (instead of looking for the underlying causes that have nothing to do with body size) is a form of weight stigma—and ironically, that kind of bias creates the very health problems that we’re trying to solve.” –Christy Harrison

I’ve talked about the issues with studies suggesting that body size was a risk before, as has Christy. Sadly, the likelihood that body size doesn’t increase risk doesn’t actually mean that fat people aren’t at greater risk when it comes to COVID-19 (or any other health condition) and that’s because weight stigma actually DOES increase our risk. And it shows up in a lot of ways:

  • Lack of Equipment/Accommodation
    • Everything from blood pressure cuffs, to gowns, to beds, and more. Despite knowing full well that fat people exist, healthcare facilities often fail to meet our most basic needs.
  • Lack of research
    • Research is typically only done on thin bodies. In some cases, fat people are then actually BLAMED when the practices and drugs that were created without including us don’t work for us.
  • Lack of training
    • Health Care Practitioners – HCPs – often don’t have training on working with fat patients and, worse, weight stigma is often part of their training program.
  • Practitioner Bias
    • Plenty of research tells us that fat people’s ability to get competent, ethical care is made difficult or even impossible due to practitioner’s weight stigma. We live in a fatphobia world where everyone – including HCPs – is encouraged to stereotype fat people and treat us badly.

There are, of course, amazing HCPs out there and I don’t want to discount that, but the truth is that all of the issues above can harm any fat person who needs healthcare. Which is why even if the study did show that higher weight people had poorer outcomes, we could not actually draw any conclusions about fat bodies, and why we MUST work to dismantle weight stigma in healthcare.

Did you find this 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Holidays

Halloween candy and costumes, family gatherings, work parties, New Years bashes, New Years Resolution, and a ton of diet ads… whether we celebrate the holidays or not, the holiday season can be a perfect storm of fatphobia and diet culture. This year the pandemic adds another layer of stress. All that diet culture can really get you down. In this workshop we’ll talk about tips, tricks, and techniques to help us deal and have a happy holiday season on our own terms.

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

Wellness for All Bodies Program:A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-members Click here for all the details and to register!
Body Love Obstacle Course

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.
Price: $99.00 Click here to register
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

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



via Dances With Fat https://ift.tt/3cZndxr

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Fat Positive Birthday Bonbons

When I was just at the start of this journey I was trying to quit a terrible diet program. It was one of those “medically supervised” programs where food is extremely restricted and the only difference between the behaviors required by that program and the behaviors I had exhibited while dealing with the eating disorder I was recovering from was that on the program I wasn’t allowed to exercise. (Why yes, it absolutely is medical malpractice to prescribe a diet to someone recovering from an eating disorder – or, you know, at all since almost everyone regains their weight and the majority gain back more than they lost, but I didn’t know that then.) Despite following the program to the letter, I was still gaining (regaining, really) weight. So I went in and told them that I was quitting.

They escorted me into a small room with a big poster about not quitting (literally that kitten on a rope saying “Hang in there baby”) and a woman brought in a binder with pictures of fat women, and she started flipping through it silently.  I watched for a while and then she said harshly “You might not know it, but this is what you look like, and these women are going to die alone in front of the television eating bon bons. Is that what you want for yourself? And aren’t you tired of hating your body?”

I realized several helpful things in that moment. First of all – I was tired of hating my body, I was exhausted from hating my body. I had been hating my body like it was a job for years at this point and it hadn’t made me happier, or healthier, or thinner. It had just made me tired.

I also realized that I didn’t find anything wrong with those women’s bodies, in fact I thought that they were beautiful.  I didn’t expect that they would never find love or have bad lives. (And I grew up in very rural America so I didn’t know what bon bons were but that whole thing went right over my head.) So it occurred to me in a rush: if I thought that their bodies were beautiful… and if I looked like them as this woman had insisted as if it was an insult…then maybe it was possible to think that my body was beautiful.

Of course that was just the beginning of a long process, but it was a beginning!

Now, I told you that story to tell you this one…

My birthday is in October. (It’s also the month of my Best Friend’s birthday, his husband’s birthday, and their anniversary, so nobody in my family is allowed to date people with October birthdays or have any important events in October, but that’s another story.) Anyway, in my family we celebrate “our birthday month” so today a box with huge red “perishable” stickers showed up addressed to me. Inside were 12 MEA Fine Foods Exotic Bonbons. They were from my mom. Because my mom had heard me tell that story and thought that I should know what bonbons are.

And that’s the story of how I’ll be sitting on the couch, with the woman I love, eating bonbons from my amazing and supportive mom, still fat as hell.

Did you find this 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!)

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Dealing With Fatphobia At The Holidays

Halloween candy and costumes, family gatherings, work parties, New Years bashes, New Years Resolution, and a ton of diet ads… whether we celebrate the holidays or not, the holiday season can be a perfect storm of fatphobia and diet culture. This year the pandemic adds another layer of stress. All that diet culture can really get you down. In this workshop we’ll talk about tips, tricks, and techniques to help us deal and have a happy holiday season on our own terms.

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

Like this blog?  Here’s more stuff you might like:

Wellness for All Bodies Program:A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-members Click here for all the details and to register!
Body Love Obstacle Course

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.
Price: $99.00 Click here to register
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

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



via Dances With Fat https://ift.tt/3ilcwq4