Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Honor Your Best You!

All of those rules, you know the ones, that fat people should never ever do. I know I have been on this journey a long-ass time, but looking back I have been able to see so many small steps that lead me to where I am today. Every time I tried something new, scary, daring, or just unknown, I didn’t just survive, they pushed me to grow and that’s fantastic! I can feel like a rebel and a badass and still get shit done in regular life terms.

Look, it’s not all about being rebellious, although that does help me at times, but it is about finding and doing what it is that you actually want to do with your life, with your body, your attention and love, and on your own damn terms, thanks. That’s what this is all about! I don’t personally give a shit what size you are, and I know a lot of non-fats used to read this blog, so the more the merrier. I do care about honoring your best self, even if you haven’t found that person within you yet. Honor them.

When you think about what you’ve always wanted in your life, what do you see? What does it look and feel like? Is it full of feathers and glitter and glam? Is it a life in service of others? Is it filled with laughter and love and excitement and enrichment? Whatever it is, what in your life now is also a part of that dream life? What one small thing can you do today to embody that life? Me? Oh, I just set up my new water flosser and I’m nerdily excited about this!

I am not great at establishing routines of any kind, at all, ever. I am not completely sure why that is, but I keep trying. My dental hygiene has been both improved and very much not this past year of pandemic shutdown life. My old water flosser broke years ago and I never figured out why it died and part of me insisted I could not spend the money to replace it due to that mystery, it’s ridiculous. I get these very fixed ideas in my head and then it’s like I’m really only fighting my own silly self. So I got a new one, upgraded model, for a steal on eBay. Woot! Then it sat in the box for two weeks. Ack! But I’m trying! So I got it out today and set it up to charge overnight. Progress, of any measure, is still progress. And now I’m stoked to brush my teeth tomorrow! Ha-ha!

I want a life of joy and balance. I want a life filled with love, poetry, music, and art. I don’t want to work my fingers to the bone until I drop dead on the clock, though right now that does look to be my future. I am holding onto to hope that the things I’m doing today to align myself with this so called dream life of my own creation will lead me to where I need to be. This includes things like saving money and paying off my debt.

Money shit is so fucking hard! It just is! It doesn’t have to be but this is the life capitalism created so fucking be it, for now. I had been paying down my debt for ages, feeling like it was never going to end or even let me get a leg up. I did the thing where you get 0% balance transfer cards and that worked for two years. Then I was just throwing huge wads of my hard earned cash at the thing and it felt fucking futile! My credit scores have gone up considerably and while I only checked a few months ago, two weeks ago I found a personal loan offer for like 3% interest with no early payment penalty and jumped on it. I use Credit Karma for my monitoring, tax filing (it’s free!!!), and to get offers on new cards and loans and such (they even have checking/savings accounts now). Because of that loan I now know that I will be 100% out of debt in 12-14 months! What a relief!

Often when we’re living our day to day we cannot see where we were versus where we are now. It all just feels very same-same. This can make us feel worse and worse about ourselves, our choices, where we are and want to be in life. We all fall into that trap, I do from time to time. I used to wish in a deep, longing sort of way, that I would one fine day have my very own (rented) one bedroom apartment in the south bay. I had so much instability in my housing the last couple of places, and the jobs I had then, that it really shook me. Through zero magic I have exactly the apartment I’ve always wanted! It still feels palatial at times (my last one was a studio), but it’s still something I forget to be proud of at times.

Waking up in the morning and having no one else to worry about or answer to (besides my puggo, I swear he thinks he’s my supervisor!) is fucking glorious! I never feel lonely in the morning, lemme tell ya! It’s the best feeling in the world to wake up, no matter how hesitantly (I’m no morning person), and stretch out your every limb and yawn and breathe in deeply from this new day without anyone else’s energy invading that moment. That is peace, my friends. I do worry that I won’t have the tolerance to live with another person again but I trust whatever the universe throws in my path for that side of things. Meh.

Because I’m done with the expectations of others. I am so over having to explain my every breath, movement, blemish and thought to someone who very likely doesn’t fully give a shit and even if they did more likely won’t understand anyway. Bitter Betty much? Perhaps! It will take a lightening strike in human form to grab my attention at this point, let alone holding it. I check my privilege right here on the dating thing, it’s mostly been easy for me in the past, but the more I know and appreciate myself the less patience I have with nonsense. Modern dating is FULL of NONSENSE! AHEM!

Back to the honoring bit…
There are so many lessons to be learned here. I don’t recall where I first heard this concept but it has helped me considerably. I had always wanted things and never truly envisioned the life that I wanted, so it left me focusing on the wrong things and actions, ya know? Once I started to really think about it and picture in real world terms what I truly wanted, like deep down, well, it seemed more possible and that in itself is a huge motivator. Now I can revise and change what that may look like for me at any time, and that’s needed occasionally, but I can hold this example up for myself and do my best to align current choices and actions to that, to honor that life I want.

I cannot make my own version of Gomez Addam’s knock on my door suddenly. I would likely not answer anyway, I mean, unexpected knocks go unanswered here, sorry Gomez. I can do the things that my dream life includes and I can be the partner I want to be now for myself so that when such a Gomez (of any gender identity) pops into my life I will be ready to accept that love and partnership. Just a month ago the thought would have terrified me. Ha-ha!

I still think there is great value in the “fake it til you make it” way of doing things. I mean, isn’t that just practice? And practicing things makes them easier and you more masterful of your own life! WOOT! I love that! I mean, hey, I certainly do not have all of the answers. I share because I care and I want to help others. That’s it! I could just as easily write this in another place where no one would see and help no one but myself by merely getting it out onto any ole page. I know better and so I try and do better.

Let’s all honor the self we want to be and embody those traits now in any small way that we can. I want to be more active and today I was already able to accomplish that. It feels good. I checked off some work stuff that was weighing on my mind because I dread them (self assessment, blegh). Now I feel lighter and more able to focus on other things. I even found out that the huge project I was hoping for the end of the year has been approved and the wheels are now in motion! What?! I’m genuinely stoked, though I know by November I will be stressed to the max and wondering how I could get excited at all. Ha-ha! But I know what I am capable of now and I have the confidence and reputation to back it up! Watch out!

What do you envision for your future self? A life spent in nature or surrounded by family? Some leisure time or overseas travel? I kinda wanna take a big juicy bite out of the world, but I’m pacing myself as best I can until this whole pandemic thing is done (WEAR A FUCKING MASK! GET VACCINATED, FFS!). How can we honor that vision today? What are we neglecting or what is weighing on your mind? I made a phone call today I had put off for two weeks. So silly. But it was really easy, so why did I put it off?! Welp, it’s done and I no longer need to think about it at all. I hope you can find some small way to honor your best self and take a load off your mind, too.

***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: https://ift.tt/2zKvPnQ currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it! I’m also on Space Hey “NotBlueAtAll”

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.) notblueatall@notblueatall.com



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Monday, 29 March 2021

Memory Lane is a Long Walk

Hello my lovely readers. You still out there? My stats tell me that you are. I did something last week that turned out to be a very odd but enlightening experience. I read my blog, from the very beginning (Dec ’08) until this year. WOW! I basically watched the events of my life for the last twelve years unfold before my eyes, in my own words. Bizzarre! I found some wisdom, new perspectives, some clear trajectories I had missed, and a true appreciation for what was the “Fat ‘O Sphere” once was. Incredible.

This is me today!

I came to realize that I never really had writer’s block in the traditional sense. Far from it. I never really stopped writing or even posting here. My patterns became slightly more sporadic and less regular, but posting 5 days a week is a tough thing to sustain, so no surprise there. I hadn’t realized just when my writing and the comments discussions here had reached their pinnacle, but I have now and it was a wonderful thing that I really miss now.

Most of all I miss those people, the ones who always comments and had their own things to share or words of love and encouragement for me and other rad fatties. For most I only know their usernames. Others it felt like we talked everyday and then suddenly *Poof* gone. Some I know are literally gone from this world and that has been a hard thing to accept. The reason this blog still stands is because of a friend who passed from Covid recently, Linda. She paid my hosting bill one year when I was truly down and out and beside myself to see this all go away. I thanked her at the time, but now that I’ve read all that I put my heart and soul into all of these years, I’m beyond grateful that what may have felt like a small gesture for her, has and still means the world to me.

So much history! I did and saw and participated in so much in just a few short years. I met so many amazing people, too. I am in awe of it all! I have been on my own and alone for so long that I forgot just how much happened and what I’m capable of. I now know that when things in my life were affecting me negatively but that I wasn’t able to share it I just sort of clammed up entirely. Reading this and watching unfold again made me see how my style and frequency changed due to a romantic relationship that never was right for me (though I wasted four years on it, I am a stubborn bitch to myself, I swear!), and some fat community infighting and bullying made me question my voice and step away to heal.

The biggest thing I noticed is twofold. First, that we all have our own self acceptance journey and fat acceptance/liberation journey. That has its own trajectory and course and once you get all of the fat 101 stuff out of the way, your excitement and willingness to continue those topics become tiresome or even boring. Activists want to build a movement and often disengage from the recruiting and engaging/educating part of that once they are further along on their own paths. I definitely disengaged from the movement itself for awhile.

The second thing is simply that the internet and how we interact with it and each other on it has drastically changed. What was once forums, livejournal, tumblr, and so many blogs is now just instagram, youtube, and tik tok. I still use facebook for this blog and personal stuff but people don’t comment to connect and discuss like they used to. It all feels very distanced and at the same time more aggressive in a way. Seeing the discussions take place here organically was such a treat! I miss that most of all.

I gotta toot my own horn for a moment here though. I have never been good at that so let me try it. I was surprised at the quality of my writing. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in it but it was really lovely to read at times, painful at others, but all of it was of a higher caliber than I had recalled. I feel really good about that. And I should! And I can now, which is the most amazing part for me personally. I feel like a whole different person. In many ways I am. I have no idea what I thought I was going to just magically write a book about, but that’s okay too. Ha-ha!

I’m still happy to write about all things fat when the mood strikes, but I suppose it simply doesn’t strike me to often any longer. I feel like I’ve moved beyond much of it and I want to reconnect but I wonder what this blog would serve as going forward, other than a glorified journal for myself. Nothing wrong with that, but not sure what tone that would take in future if it all became unrelated to fat things, ya know? Hmm…something to ponder.

Yesterday my beloved bff Tigress and I watched a bunch of movies together. We watched the new Tina Turner movie on HBO Max, which was fantastic but some of her life’s struggles mirrored my own (abuse, survival, not trusting, CPTSD, etc) and that was a little tough to get through but nothing too triggering. Then we watched one on Tower Records on YouTube, it was good, brought back some music store memories for me (I never worked at a Tower), but nothing major. Then we watched Kid90 and whoa that brought up some things and also mirrored how I went back to read this blog from the beginning, my own lil’ time capsule in a sense.

So much to process still, and I have some ideas for posts to explore but I feel no pressure to keep anything up, which is nice. I started this more as an experiment at first, I had no idea what this blog would become or mean to me and many others. I will never know the full impact I had on others, but I know it’s a lot and I feel really blessed and thankful for it all. Truly. I am touched by how many reached out to tell me that or to connect or even ask for help. Seeing even anonymous folks comment about these things was a surprise but a good one still.

My puggo is now 11 years old, still at my side everyday, even more so now with the pandemic shutdown. I work from home for the most part and have almost enjoyed it. I say almost because it has also forced me to confront my own bullshit over and over again and push myself to do better to varying degrees of success. Health stuff nearly did me in mentally, even when the mysteries were identified and the pain subsided. It’s just super hard to be good to yourself on all levels when you’re in massive amounts of mystery pain and unable to eat. *Shrugs* But I made it through the crisis and while I”m not going to schedule my surgery until it’s safer to do so, I no longer feel so full of dread on a daily basis.

I am no longer the positivity above all else sort of gal, that is for certain. I am far more cynical, and hilarious if I do say so myself, than ever before. I also feel more grounded and connected to myself as whole and complete person on my own. And I am on my own, 100%! I feel no shame or weirdness in that anymore. It’s a good thing! I don’t feel anything is really missing from my life at this point.

It would be nice to meet a romantic partner and feel good and secure in something like that again. I know now what I want in that regard and will never settle for almost ever again! It’s not worth it. I can do better than half assed and mediocre any day and on my own, so why bother wasting time with someone only phoning it in?! Nah! I have no interest in the superficial. I want the real deal, all in, no hedging, no holdbacks, no bullshit, or I move the fuck on. I may or may not have dumped more than a few millionaires at this point, zero fucks given. (They are a special sort of crazy mixed with entitlement I cannot be around, though I know how this all sounds.)

So yeah, I’m back on being my authentic self and all of that, but far less of the in your face positivity because that was in the end not allowing me to feel the full spectrum of humanity that I needed to feel in order to grow. Positivity can become toxic. There’s a balance to be found in it and there are benefits too. It was all too easy for me to reach a tipping point with that way of thinking that I think forced me to make excuses for others behavior that I simply won’t ever again.

***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: https://ift.tt/2zKvPnQ currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it! I’m also on Space Hey “NotBlueAtAll”

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.) notblueatall@notblueatall.com



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Saturday, 20 March 2021

It’s Been Awhile But I’m Still Here

Hi friends. It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog. I’m still here. I’m one and a half years from forty, moved back to Los Angeles with my now-fiancĂ©, and adopted...

Read more here!

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Thursday, 18 March 2021

Fat and Fear

For years I have joined and participated in fat related facebook groups discussing a myriad of topics. One thing I have noticed more in the last twelve months, more than ever before, is a very real fear being voiced in these groups. Fear of what? So many things, but it all seems to be under the umbrella of being treated with cruelty and/or fear of the validity of their concerns being questioned/ridiculed/ignored/worse. It has been absolutely heartbreaking but at the same time very understandable. As a fat person, I simply cannot know if every new service or treatment or whatever is going to welcome me as a regular human being. I feel this has worsened in the pandemic, but I have stayed home, except for once a week visits to my empty office.  

Let's Talk Fat Phobia – KTSW 89.9


I am in fat groups specific to fashion, bargains, health things, accommodations/adaptations for easier home life/care, cooking, movement, you name it! I love it. I love hearing about experiences from fat people all over the world. Certainly the experiences of people the world over would be similar, regardless of body size, right? It should be! Sadly, that is not what I am seeing and hearing. Some of the things I have seen most often is finding regular items in the world that can hold/support/last in accommodating a fat body. Such as furniture, for both home and work, and being able to access and afford such things. Chairs, of all sorts, though very often portable or folding options are sought out. Sofas and couches that will last for years without breaking or degrading over time. Bed frames that can support two fat partners, or even mixed sized partners. Office chairs have got to be the number one thing I see folks searching for and how difficult it is to find and afford them with higher weight limits. The pricing and quality do not align, and I say this as a very experienced office manager who has tested and ordered hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of office furniture in the last three years. It may have a higher weight limit, but often the quality of materials is subpar, in my opinion. Or maybe I just hate pleather? The styles are dreadful as well, but I guess I’m used to a specific look and feel from my professional life. It is upsetting though. 


I found myself in that very same battle, hunting and searching, and looking up specs on manufacturer’s websites looking for my own home-office chair last August. I finally found one I liked the look of, was confident in the weight limit, and then I got hit with a medical predicament that left me unable to sit in said chair for many months. Having to sit on my couch to work has had its ups and downs. Mostly it’s a mix of cushions that provide the back support I so sorely need, but I have a rolling laptop table that is old as hell that is always my handy helper. It has also made me reconsider my lil’ Macy’s loveseat I bought 5 or so years ago. I had no idea then just how much use I would get out of it but I am wondering at what point one should replace such things. I think I will hold out. Flexsteel is the brand/material everyone recommends for couches and such for fat folks. It is expensive, but about the same pricing as Joy Bird and similar modern furniture places. I cannot recommend a specific brand or style for an office chair, however. With everything shut down it’s impossible to try things before you buy them and office chairs require assembly. 


Fat people put up with a lot of hate and cruelty from a variety of service providers. I have seen fat people afraid that they would be refused services such as hair, nails, tattoos, physical therapy, massage, spa services, buying a bicycle, buying a car, and so much more. It is so upsetting to see the stories and experiences folks have shared in the fat groups I’m in. Their fears and experiences are very real and very reasonable in my opinion. Not that the way they’ve been treated is reasonable, but the fear in response to past cruelty is. The truth is I have not personally experienced fat hate while seeking these same services myself, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real or didn’t happen. That is something we all need to work on I think. Just because you haven’t seen or heard or personally experienced something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And there is no reason anyone should have to fear for their safety or health or sanity when wanting such services. (I’m hoping one day aps like “All Go” will provide a way for us to all report on such things.)


The number one thing fat people are afraid of during the pandemic has been health care. Needing health care, seeking it, being taken seriously (regardless of the need at hand), affording it, getting existing insurance to cover things, getting/having covid while fat, and so much more. Body size should not prevent people from seeing us as human, and yet here the hell we are. We get treated as though having a fat body is something like forgetting to take out the trash to the extent that it has taken over your life and you are a lesser human for it. We know this isn’t reality, but it is akin to how we are often treated in medical environments. I have been incredibly fortunate to have received care from so many medical care professionals in the last six month while trying to figure out my medical mysteries and not one has mentioned my weight. That is not the norm. I have had to advocate for myself and have even had physicians stand up and walk across the room to get in my face in the past simply because I refused to listen to them insist my stomach required amputating. It does not. My stomach is fucking fine! Ahem!


The barriers and obstacles of life are everywhere for everyone, but for some they are greater and carry far more impact on our daily lives and well being. These fears are based on past experiences. Not everyone is able to fight back or advocate for themselves. Often it is our own loved ones that make us feel these fears or even that we somehow deserve to be treated poorly. (If you love someone you would never suggest such a thing, in my opinion, but I don’t have a lot of friends or close people in my life because I cut out that nonsense immediately. Your mileage may vary.) No one deserves to be treated poorly for their body size, period. I will say that it does help to have someone present to simply act as a witness or to ask follow up questions when we’re in these more intimidating situations such as health care. So often we are not believed. So often we are blamed. 


To live in this world in a fat body is to know that every time you leave the house there is a great likelihood of being subjected to harassment, shame, ridicule, abuse, violence, denial of services and then some. Simply existing in a larger body pisses people off and that is the real shame. Fat people have always existed. These fat groups are a way for us to connect, share stories, share resources and tips, and to witness and hold each other up when we cannot on our own. It is a beautiful thing to have such a community to be a part of and rely on. I would want such a community even if we weren’t so often marginalized. Having these groups has helped me even when I had no need to post or comment myself. Seeing what fat people experience in the world is important to me. It validates and confirms so much of what we’re told “can’t be true”. Ha! I had an ex who would say that so often to me I question why I stayed in that empty relationship for so long. Ugh!  

Divi Meetup Network Community Update: May 2020 | Elegant Themes Blog


Fear is such a fucked up thing to live with and under the constant influence of. We cannot live the lives we choose for ourselves when it feels the world wants us all dead. That is the harsh truth. How can anyone find their true and best authentic self when constantly fearing for their lives? No one can convince me that fat folks are weak, that is for certain. We have found ways to support and accommodate and connect and to find ways to improve our lives through community. Community is how things get done! Community is how people thrive. It’s just a fact! We see it everyday at this point, people coming together to support a cause or person or need in the world. How many go fund me campaigns have you seen for medical and funeral expenses in the last year? Countless! That is a form of community helping itself. The internet has broadened what community is and means. I am so glad that we have it. 


What online communities are you a part of? What have you seen as a need for fat folks in the last year? What resources do you wish were more readily available to fat people? Is there a big fat need you haven’t been able to find a solution for? Share it! 

***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: https://ift.tt/2zKvPnQ currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it! I’m also on Space Hey “NotBlueAtAll”

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.) notblueatall@notblueatall.com



via I'm Not Blue at All https://ift.tt/38VoXab

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Year In Review…Kinda

We don’t quite have one “lockdown now” date. View of Seattle Skyline

Hubs went to the Seattle Sounders Opening Day game on March 1, 2020, and the next home game on March 7, 2020.

The programmer (along with Microsoft, Amazon, and other tech employees in the area) started working from home March 4th, 2020.

Our last eating out day was March 8, 2020.

It’s been a long year.


I will preface this with: we had the 10% quarantine experience. Maybe even 5%.  We are doing fine, money-wise.  We have space. We’re in a suburban house, even, so we don’t have to worry about anti-maskers down the hall or sharing an elevator.


In everything else, my life isn’t what I expected. When I left Amazon in the summer of 2019, I figured I’d badger specialists, finish rehabbing from my pulmonary embolism, pitch articles, and be reborn as a freelance writer who doesn’t necessarily need a mobility scooter to go to the mall.

Of course it wasn’t that simple.

I did get some improved diagnosis and meds, which help! I am improving my stamina!  It’s just that 1) everything takes forever, 2) my body is like a Jenga pile at this point.

Going from 2 or 3 minutes on the treadmill to 10? Took months. I’m coming up on the 1-year anniversary of starting on the treadmill. And naturally, starting the treadmill made my back unhappy.  And my knees unhappy. Both of which I’ve whined about before, and know how to manage (other exercises) but it’s still there and not just FIXED.

Oh, and brain fog. When I started the treadmill would physically wipe me out for hours, and mentally I would have trouble playing solitaire after the treadmill. Solitaire!  It’s better now, but I tend to rest until I can complete a word search and not just solitaire.

More recently, I was sometimes getting dizzy when I’d stand up. Checked and my blood pressure was 100/60.  I’m TOLD this isn’t that low, but dizzy is bad, so we dropped one of the blood pressure meds.

In addition to all the physical stuff, I also can’t see friends. Go out to lunch. Browse at the bookstore.  Go to the farmer’s market.  Most festivals and cons are canceled. This is frustrating.

My health has improved over the last year, but slowly.  Walking in general is easier.  Strength training (for knees etc) is making moving around easier in general.  Able to discontinued one of my high blood pressure meds.

And yes, maybe I’ll start sending out pitches for articles again. But not tomorrow.

 

*Wordpress if the 4 periods in a row breaks you I’ll be unhappy.



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Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Does That Study Really Say You Can’t Be Fit And Fat?

CNN ran a recent headline “Fat but fit’ is a myth when it comes to heart health, new study shows” and since then I’ve received a lot of requests to write about it, asking if that’s really what the study shows.

The short answer is that the headline and article are deeply misleading. For reference, in my recent workshop on The Truth About Weight And Health I used this headline, article, and study as my example of nearly every research and common media issue and research mistake that I had just talked about for the last hour.

In the CNN article (which I’m not linking to, they don’t get clicks from me) the study’s author, Alejandro Lucia who is a professor of exercise physiology, was quoted as saying “One cannot be ‘fat but healthy.’ This was the first nationwide analysis to show that being regularly active is not likely to eliminate the detrimental health effects of excess body fat“

Except that’s not remotely what his study showed, and not just because it was in no way designed to draw that kind of conclusion.

Let’s start with what the study actually did. It looked at self-reported activity data from 527,662 adults from Spain. They grouped the subjects based on BMI (and we already know the use of BMI reflects a lack of scientific rigor but we’ll move past that for now.) Then they classified activity level into three groups. No activity was considered “inactive,” less than 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week was labeled “insufficiently active,” (a label that is unnecessarily judgmental and ableist, and doesn’t reflect the fact that studies have shown that small amounts of activity confer health benefits) and finally, 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week or more was labeled “regularly active.”

The study’s goal was to look at the impact of exercise on risk factors for cardiovascular issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Note that they didn’t look at actual cardiac incidents (like heart attacks or strokes,) they just looked at factors that may raise the risk for such incidents.

So what did they find? Well, to quote their own paper



In summary, increasing PA [physical activity] levels appear to provide benefits in an overall dose-response manner (regularly active > insufficiently active > inactive for the risk of hypertension or diabetes) across BMI categories and should be a priority of health policies

Wait…what? You read that correctly – What they found was that activity provided health benefits to people of all sizes. (which is consistent with the findings of Wei et. al. and Matheson et. al, and Barry et. al. which found “Therefore, fit individuals who are overw*ight or obe*e are not automatically at a higher risk for all-cause mortality.” (And as always, a reminder that health is an amorphous concept, is not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or entirely within our control)

So why are they claiming that you can’t be fat and fit? Well, because they found that fatter people’s risk factors were not mitigated to an equal level with thin people’s risk factors. Their (unsolicited) recommendation? “weight loss per se should remain a primary target for health policies aimed at reducing CVD risk in people with overw*ight/ob*sity.” (With a reminder that those are terms that were literally invented to medicalize and pathologize fat bodies and that person first language for fat people is a terrible idea and also excuse me while I bang my head on my desk for a couple minutes.)

This is where we see perhaps the most common mistake that is made in this type of research. They assume that if fat people have higher risk, then it must be due to their body size, and that making fat people look like thin people is the solution. This is the kind of mistake that would get you failed in freshman research methods class, but it consistently makes it past peer review in articles around weight and health.

In order to avoid making a correlation vs causation error (one of the most basic concepts in research methods) we have to, at the very least, ask ourselves if there are other things that could cause these different outcomes in fat people. And, as it turns out, there are.. Peter Muennig’s research found that the stress of constant weight stigma is associated with risk factors, and Bacon and Aphramor found that weight cycling (aka yo-yo dieting which is, by far, the most common outcome of more than one intentional weight loss attempt) is also associated with risk factors.

That means that when the study authors (whose language, especially in their intro paragraph, suggests that they are coming from a deeply fatphobic place) claim that exercise can’t fully mitigate the risk of being fat, what they very well could have actually found is that exercise can’t fully mitigate the risk of being constantly stigmatized and/or encouraged to diet repeatedly.

That makes their recommendation that “weight loss per se should remain a primary target for health policies” even worse that it originally seemed (and it originally seemed pretty bad..) First of all, they did not in any way study whether or not weight loss 1. is achievable or 2. lowers risk factors for cardiovascular incidents, so they have no basis in their own research on which to make that claim, and no basis in other research either.

It’s important to understand that these are, in fact, two different things. So in order to recommend weight loss as a health intervention you would need:

1. Research that shows that weight loss is likely to be achievable and maintainable long-term (if not then there’s no point in making it a recommendation regardless, it’s like recommending levitation to solve knee pain, it might take the pressure off the joint, but since it’s not likely to work, it’s not an ethical, evidence-based intervention)

2. Research that shows that weight loss has positive health impacts, including when measured against any risk associated with weight loss attempts

Let’s start with #1. They don’t have that. What we know from other research is that by far the most common outcome of intentional weight loss attempts (about 95%) is short-term weight loss followed by long-term weight gain, with up to two-thirds of people gaining back more than they lost. So they are using the platform of this research to recommend something that has the opposite of the intended effect the majority of the time. Not a good look.

Onto #2. They don’t have that. There is no study that compares those who have maintained weight loss to those who are fat to see if there are health outcome differences. Their recommendation is based on the assumption that if you make fat people look like thin people, they will have the same health outcomes, which ignores the possible impacts of weight stigma and weight cycling, and is roughly like saying that, since cis male pattern baldness is correlated with a higher risk of cardiovascular incidents, the solution is to figure out how to get all the bald folks to grow hair.

So does that study really mean you can’t be fit and fat? No, it doesn’t. That study means that, yet again, research that would have earned me a well-deserve F in freshman Research Methods class is instead getting CNN headlines, because when it comes to weight and health research any fatphobic nonsense will do.

If you want more information about the weight/health relationship and research, my workshop talk is available as a video with a pay-what-you-can option here.

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:

The Role of Size Acceptance in Eating Disorders Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery

My March workshop is about the important of Size Acceptance, including Fat Acceptance specifically, in eating disorders prevention, treatment, and recovery. We’ll  discuss how using a framework of Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size prevents eating disorders and provides practical, realistic options to help those dealing with disordered eating and eating disorders, as well as anyone impacted by the damaging cultural messages we get about food, movement, and our bodies, to repair the damage these messages have done, and create strategies that support dealing with them moving forward, including through recovery journeys and beyond.

Plus an unlimited Q&A (I stay until all the questions are answered!) so you are guaranteed to get the information you came for!

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members – login info is on the member page
Become a member here!
A recording is provided in case you can’t make it live on March 24, 5:30pm Pacific (or if you want to listen again!)

Like This Blog? 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!)

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/3rF79aQ

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

HAES Health Sheets – Diagnosis-Specific Info for Weight-Neutral Healthcare

Dr. Louise Metz, Tiana Dodson and I have been hard at work on this project and it is now officially launched! It’s called HAES Health Sheets and it’s a free online database of diagnosis-specific weight-neutral healthcare resources for patients, advocates, and practitioners available at www.HAESHealthSheets.com

It came about because it’s such a common occurrence that fat people (who were previously feeling solid in their fat acceptance and/or Health at Every Size journey) get shaken when they get a health diagnosis, at which point their bodies are often blamed and they are (mis)led to believe that weight loss is the only option, and now they aren’t sure where to turn or what to do.

So I partnered with Dr. Louise Metz and Tiana Dodson and together we created HAES Health Sheets so that people would be able to get information fast, and use them to advocate for themselves or others. They can also be used by practitioners who want to learn more about weight-neutral best practices (the site has been launched for less than 24 hours and I’ve already heard about them being shared with nursing students, physical therapists, and registered dietitians!)

There’s also a resources section that includes everything from self-advocacy cards to links to research.

I am grateful and lucky to get to work with Tiana and Louise, and while I wish it wasn’t necessary, I hope that this project can help people get the care they deserve!

Finally, I want to give a special shoutout to all of my DancesWithFat members. This project was partially grant-funded thanks to ASDAH, but I still did hours and hours of work that weren’t compensated and member support is what makes that, and so much of my activism, possible. Thanks y’all, I am eternally grateful!

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:

The Role of Size Acceptance in Eating Disorders Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery

My March workshop is about the important of Size Acceptance, including Fat Acceptance specifically, in eating disorders prevention, treatment, and recovery. We’ll  discuss how using a framework of Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size prevents eating disorders and provides practical, realistic options to help those dealing with disordered eating and eating disorders, as well as anyone impacted by the damaging cultural messages we get about food, movement, and our bodies, to repair the damage these messages have done, and create strategies that support dealing with them moving forward, including through recovery journeys and beyond.

Plus an unlimited Q&A (I stay until all the questions are answered!) so you are guaranteed to get the information you came for!

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members – login info is on the member page
Become a member here!
A recording is provided in case you can’t make it live on March 24, 5:30pm Pacific (or if you want to listen again!)

Like This Blog? 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!)

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/3t3O0zy

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Happy Saturday

In no particular order:

My household continues to abide without strife, hooray.

I appear to have hit on a balance for strength training and stretching that keeps my knees happy and doesn’t disappoint my back or hips or anything. else.  Yay.

My state, Washington, has decided to start vaccinating more non-frontline workers who are under 65, and even to count comorbidities, so I may be vaccinated sometime in April. Hooray.

Washington state is also reopening indoor dining again. This was greeted with sighs and “Again?” and “That’s dumb” in my household.

I acquired and read Seanan McGuire’s new InCryptid novel, Calculated Risks. Recommended but makes the most sense if you have read the other books.

We’ve been watching the Australian “Miss Fisher’s Mysteries” of late. I appreciate that the attention to detail includes 1928 laws regarding women, along with how nearly everyone 30 or above was affected by The War (or as we would call it, World War I).  I’ve also read a few more of the Phryne Fisher books by Kerry Greenwood.

Sadly, I am dealing with more acid reflux these days. I’m not sure if it’s stress or what, but I am making some changes as a result.



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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Is Pfizer’s Vaccine Really Less Effective For Fat People?

I’ve received more than a hundred requests to write about a recent Guardian article with the headline “Pfizer vaccine may be less effective in people with ob*sity, says study” with the subtitle “Healthcare workers with ob*sity found to produce only about half the antibodies healthy people do”

The headline, subtitle, and article that follows are, at best, an example of the stunning scientific illiteracy that exists in mainstream reporting and, at worst an abandonment of journalistic ethics in the pursuit of the clicks that fatphobia always generates. (I’m not linking to the article, giving them additional clicks rewards their bad behavior and I’m not going to do that here.)

Just in summary, “fat people’ and “healthy people” are not two opposite, comparable categories (and “person first language” for fat people is a terrible idea.) Also, the study actually found that older people, cis men and fatter people had similar responses, but all we’re hearing about in this story (and every other one I’ve seen) is fat people. Huh, I wonder why that could be?

The study has not even been peer-reviewed yet, and there is literally no action that should be taken by the public based on its findings, so there is no reason (and certainly no rush) to publish it in a way that increases weight stigma, and possibly decreases fat people’s willingness to be vaccinated.

So the headlines are trash, but what about the actual study?

A content note before I start. The research around this is rife with the use of terms overw*ight and ob*se that were created for the sole purpose of medicalizing and pathologizing fat bodies in ways that are harmful on many levels. I’ll notate them as above as a reminder of that.

Alright, let’s go…

For some background, the study’s own authors explain that

A large clinical trial phase 2/3 with 44,000 people showed that a two-dose regimen of the vaccine BNT162b2, developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, has 95% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19.

I also want to add that (in a move that actually represents progress in medical weight stigma,) unlike vaccine development in the past, fat people were actually well represented in these trials (comprising 70% of the total subjects) and the vaccine was shown to be equally effective on fat people. (Research on this is available here (look as slides 42 and 43) and here, with a trigger warning on both for fatphobic language.)

To summarize, those were large-scale trials designed to test efficacy, and they showed 95% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 including for fat people.

The study that The Guardian is discussing is a small study (248 people, all healthcare workers) whose goal is to look at a specific immune response in vaccinated people, and then compares that response between groups based on factors including age, gender (on a binary only, as is often the case there is a complete lack of trans and nonbinary representation here,) and BMI (which they admit is a “crude measurement” which is just scratching the surface in terms of the issue with using a measurement that has racist origins and fatphobic uses.)

When it comes to study design, this line is of particular interest:

Although the role of neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 is under investigation, measurement of serum neutralizing activity has been demonstrated to correlate with protection for other respiratory viruses, such as influenza(3) or respiratory syncytial virus(8) and is commonly accepted to be a functional biomarker of in
vivo disease protection(9).

Which is to say that they aren’t sure if/how/to what degree the immune response that they are studying actually impacts COVID immunity.

So anyway, they administered both recommended doses of the vaccine, and then tested for specific antibody levels seven days after the booster dose.

As I mentioned before, their results found that cis men, older people, and fatter people all developed fewer antibodies than cis women, younger people, and thinner people (though there was a lot of overlap in the actual ranges.) And, just to reiterate, I can’t help but notice that all of the headlines I see when I google this ONLY talk about fat people.

Now, I want to be clear that it’s important that research like this happens. It is absolutely possible that different bodies have different immune responses and thus require different vaccine protocols (the “supershot” flu vaccine being created for older people whose response to the typical flu vaccine isn’t as robust is a good example of this. The fact that fat people also don’t respond as well to flu vaccine but that there is no alternate protocol developed for fat people is a good example of fatphobia in medicine, but that’s a topic for a different post.)

What we cannot scientifically and should not ethically do, is blame fat bodies for this issue, and what we should not do from a place of journalistic ethics is report on small, pilot studies as if they provide information that is immediately useful and relevant to the general public.

It’s also important to point out that, if the antibodies that they are testing do in fact provide immunity, the study authors have no idea what level of antibodies would be required to confer that immunity, so they don’t know if older people, cis men and fat people are producing enough antibodies or not, which is to say that the fact that they produce less may not have any impact on actual immunity.

What we do know is that in large-scale trials that included fat people, the Pfizer Vaccine was shown to be “95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19”

I cannot stress enough that absolutely no conclusions can be drawn from the study that the Guardian and other outlets are “reporting” on. More research is needed and until it is completed this type of “reporting” is dangerous and inappropriate.

I wanted to check my work, so I reached out to Deb Burgard, PhD, who is a psychologist and expert in weight science, who added the following (and found the links to the original Pfizer data which were a much more direct, and less fatphobic, than the source that I was originally using)

I really just have one question, which is whether the use of the measured antibodies from the swab test on day 7 should be an operational definition of ability to fight the virus, especially when we have other studies that did not show a difference between BMI groups in the actual relevant outcomes like getting sick or being hospitalized or dying.

She also pointed other issues with the study:

There are other factors that can correlate with BMI among hospital workers – like Socioeconomic status (fewer fat doctors than nurses, fewer fat RNs than LVNs) – you have all kinds of possible confounding variables. It is even possible to posit that something about the physiology of thin and fat people could be different so that different snapshots might emerge on day 7 but it doesn’t make a difference in how people do after actual exposure. 

She concluded


I understand their wanting to know if they should tweak the dosages for higher or lower BMI but there really isn’t a shortcut to doing the science and seeing what happens in the real world.

So what does this study mean? To researchers – that more studies are necessary. To the general public – not a damn thing. It’s been recommended that everyone get vaccinated and then continue to take precautions, and that recommendation is unchanged for men, older people, and fat people regardless of the findings of this study.

What do all these headlines mean? My guess is they means that fatphobia sells and the Guardian, and other outlets that published similar headlines, are hoping that we are buying.

UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:

The Role of Size Acceptance in Eating Disorders Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery

My March workshop is about the important of Size Acceptance, including Fat Acceptance specifically, in eating disorders prevention, treatment, and recovery. We’ll  discuss how using a framework of Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size prevents eating disorders and provides practical, realistic options to help those dealing with disordered eating and eating disorders, as well as anyone impacted by the damaging cultural messages we get about food, movement, and our bodies, to repair the damage these messages have done, and create strategies that support dealing with them moving forward, including through recovery journeys and beyond.

Plus an unlimited Q&A (I stay until all the questions are answered!) so you are guaranteed to get the information you came for!

Details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members – login info is on the member page
Become a member here!
A recording is provided in case you can’t make it live on March 24, 5:30pm Pacific (or if you want to listen again!)

Like This Blog? 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!)

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/3sRjdWt