Mostly small things:
- Updated first two “Day in the life” articles
- Added “Search site” to the site header
- Added how to email me to the site footer
via Living ~400lbs https://ift.tt/KmwUck1
Mostly small things:
That’s when I started this blog. At the time I was in my (early) forties, married, owned a home, and worked in software testing.
Now I’m definitely in my fifties. I’m still married. We have a different home. I retired from the software grind. Instead of busing or driving to an office building, I’ve been focused on physical therapy exercises, house maintenance, and reading (this year’s project was Agatha Christie). But I also still weigh about 400lbs, still wear some of the same clothes, and it’s still not a tragedy.
Going forward I’m going to be updating some broken links, revisit the “Day In The Life” series, and … maybe … unpacking some of the lingering boxes from the house move 5 years ago. (I want my red-and-black hoodie back.)
It’s been years since I changed how the site looks. Hang in there.
I just realized I still have a LiveJournal. Wow.
Hospitals are not neutral spaces for fat or queer people. Frequently they are places of immense judgment and mockery. Despite efforts to change, healthcare offices for many are reminders of what kinds of bodies and sexualities are most comfortably in tune with dominant patterns of social life. Like every other fat and/or queer person I know, I have had doctors diminish unrelated health concerns due to my fatness (“You just need to lose weight”) and stumble awkwardly over my sexuality in advice about sexual health and wellness. The shame felt in medical spaces is a real danger to queer and fat populations, causing us to avoid them precisely when they are the most needed. These contexts never come up in “The Whale,” to its detriment, as they could have invested the film with the breath of true challenges and barriers facing queer and fat people in the world.
– Sean Donovan reviewing “The Whale”
I just updated the links list – yes, the one on the right-hand side of https://living400lbs.com – and I’m wondering if folks want to share any new sites or podcasts! Let me know!
Some doctors send me a post card asking me to make an appointment. Others send me a text message, or has a robocall tell me it’s time to make an appointment.
So now I’m on hold waiting to make an ob/gyn appointment. I’ve got a sleep doc appointment for next week, presumably to check I’m using my CPAP. Then I should probably call the pulmonologist to renew asthma meds….
Sometimes I wonder if the late 80s/early 90s call center jobs are the reason I hate these sorts of phone calls, or if it’s the anticipatory anxiety that making the appointment means I’ll be seeing the doctor. Me, the really fat woman.
(Yes, I have self-coaching scripts to help me manage the anxiety. Yes, I’ve met all these doctors before. Fear is not logical.)
I now have an ob/gyn appointment. Going to make another call before getting more coffee. How’s with you?
From a profile of author Octavia Butler, regarding her death:
“What happened with Octavia didn’t need to happen,” [Leslie] Howle continued. “Despite being the incredibly powerful person she was, she did not assert herself with her doctor. Even today, doctors discount women of a certain age and women of color. Some of it’s racism, some of it’s ageism, some of it’s sexism — but all the ‘isms’ conspired against her in the end is what I feel. She needed more people who were protective of her.”
Thanksgiving yesterday was turkey roasted in a bag; stuffing with mushrooms, water chestnuts, and cashews; green bean casserole; followed by apple crisp. Fridge is full, but it’s not like we emptied it beforehand.
Today I had a blueberry muffin with coffee. Around 11 I heated a bowl of leftover veggie curry, then around 2 a bowl of stuffing mixed with bites of turkey. Later I had some cheese and crackers.
Mentioning what I eat tends to cause all sorts of reactions in others. Some are aghast that I eat meat, veggies, fruit, or carbs. Others are aghast that I don’t eat more meat, veggies, fruit, or carbs. Weighing 400lbs means that a lot of people assume it’s something I eat or don’t eat.
You know what?
It took me a long time to let go of my most noticeable food hang-ups.
I don’t claim I have to have exorcised them all.
But the point is, I eat when I’m hungry. I stop when I’m full. Approval of random people is not required.
Nothing like a call from the service-that-provides-CPAP-supplies saying “Hey, your insurance said you’re not covered” on a Monday.
I have checked websites and made calls; yes we have insurance for the next year. Then called back about CPAP supplies and also sleep doc appointment.
I wish the US didn’t insist on letting everyone involved in patient care extract their executive bonuses. I’m happy to pay for my doc to live, it’s the millions for the executives that get on my nerves.
The Unkept Woman and A Rogue’s Company, by Allison Montclair. A mystery series set in post-WWII London, featuring two women who opened a matchmaking service. (First book is actually The Right Sort.)
Lilith’s Brood aka the Xenogenesis trilogy, by Octavia Butler. Lilth awakens after the war that destroyed most of humanity. Someone has rescued Lilth and other survivors. Why? If finding the books separately, look for Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago.
The Labors Of Hercules by Agatha Christie. Short story collection. Sometime in the 1930s Agatha Christie decided to give Hercule Poirot modern versions of the Labors. The book is all 12 stories with a framing chapter at the start.
What Moves The Dead by T Kingfisher. 1890s horror. A new version of The Fall Of The House Of Usher complete with new characters.
The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal, who describes it as “The Thin Man in space.” Like The Thin Man, it’s mystery. Instead of Manhattan it’s set on a space liner headed to Mars. There’s an author’s note that talks about going on a book event on a cruise and how over-the-top ocean cruise ships are here on earth, and why a spacegoing cruise ship would be similar.
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. I’d seen the movie but not actually read Hammett, and naturally the county library has a copy. A bit grim, but does have it’s share of smiles. Very much the urban, hard-drinking, hard-boiled detective story.
Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie. It reads a bit like she wrote down her favorite memories of her archeology trips to Syria with her second husband, Max Mallowan, so that she could hand the book to friends and tell them which chapter to read. If you go to Google Max, you’ll find he later became Sir Max in recognition of his archeology contributions. Because he was Sir Max, Mrs Mallowan became also Lady Mallowan. Eventually she became Dame Agatha in her own right. (Being a Dame didn’t give Max a bonus title.) Anyway, the author credit for Come, Tell Me How You Live was originally Agatha Christie Mallowan. So if you look for it at the library, be aware it may be under “Mallowan” instead of “Christie” depending on how you look.
Also: I didn’t decide to read through all of Christie until I had setup ebook borrowing on my phone. My county library uses the Libby app for search, checkout, and reading, so that’s on my Android phone. I can often send the book to my Android Kindle app as well.
(Content warning: Discussion of my own abuse survival and brief mention of suicide.)
I read a statistic last week about domestic violence survivors and how many times they typically attempt to escape. That statistic was 7-10 times or attempts. It struck me in particular because being a survivor myself I hadn’t thought about my own escape attempts in years. I had to really think about it and count them. Not a pleasant thing to consider, but it was enlightening. It took me 6 attempts to escape my abuser. The first two times I called the police, but the results of both of those calls only made my situation worse. I will very likely never call. the police for shit ever again. I have never talked about my escape attempts, though I believe I’ve mentioned the constant planning and hoping in previous posts on the subject of domestic violence/DV. Five years is a long time to live in those conditions, and I was only 14 years old when it began. I still cannot understand how no adult intervened, but I’m 45 now and I know most adults are feckless in the face of things they’d rather not see let alone say or do something about it.
Today I came across this news report about a shooting in the town where my abuse happened. I couldn’t help but scoff loudly at the part where the police were already aware of the abuser in the car and yet that motherfucker was free and wrecking this family’s life. The police are not here to help or save anybody, please know that, it could save your life. Yes, I know how that sounds. The PD in my hometown was, and I’m sure still is, completely worthless when it comes to helping anyone. When I moved back for a few years out of necessity they pulled me over once to make sure I was aware of a pedestrian who was on the corner standing but had made no signal or attempt to actually cross the street. But showing them physical evidence of being beaten and bloodied made them all fucking chuckle in my face and insist I must be very clumsy when I was 14 and 16 years old! All while cracking jokes with my abuser. And why would they take domestic violence seriously when 40%+ (reported, so you know it’s way higher!) of police are abusers themselves?!
Some people want to win the lottery to live big and fancy and gilded with gold and all of that. I want to win the lottery to create an organization that will help women in these impossible situations not just escape but heal and become independent. Everything that took me decades to figure out on my own. Often people don’t want to know how horrible these situations are or even talk about it because it makes them feel helpless. What can they do about it, right? I don’t know how my life would have been impacted or changed had my high school counselor not dismissed me outright without so much as eye contact when I said I was dropping out but that I wanted to go into independent studies. I don’t think she even raised her eyes from whatever paperwork she was reading before saying, “We don’t have independent studies here.” which isn’t true and I had to go to the district office myself, again at 14 years old, and ask and insist. How was that not a giant red flag for her? Why didn’t she call my dad at the very least? I don’t know what a school counselor’s actual job is, but I feel confident saying that one sucked.
There are always signs! Abusers isolate you and then gaslight you so that your entire reality is distorted and curated by them and them only. Think about that! Removed from my school friends, and only a couple bothered to stay in touch when I wasn’t in school anymore, no one asked why or looked at this 21 year old man living in my family home and thought anything was off. I can’t wrap my head around that. To be fair, it was the early 90’s and we didn’t have the internet yet. You better believe had I had that kind of tool to research and connect outside of my immediate family I would have gotten myself out sooner. The isolation is the point, y’all! Someone who was once constantly social and then suddenly nowhere to be seen is a huge red flag! Yeah I was a hella depressed teen even before meeting my abuser but I still socialized a ton! I was always on the phone or hanging out with friends.
Thinking about this org of my dreams, it would be a text line to start maybe, that you could text anything to and get replies that seem normal or display some innocuous business name, but would be a real person who could start a file to build strategies for escape. Even sending an Uber/Lyft pre-paid as needed. Because there were a few times where I thought I had escaped and then soon found myself right back where I started. I cannot express the pain and weight of carrying that for so many years in words right now, but it was immense. Had I had a lifeline like that to the outside world for even a chance to get away I would have done anything! Someone who could tell me that my situation wasn’t my fault and to explain how it works (DARVO and all that stuff) would have given me so much more strength and confidence to truly get out. To have the language to explain to someone who could help would have changed everything.
I never told anyone while I was in that situation that I was being abused or beaten or raped or any of it. I never told anyone about calling the police or attempting escapes while it was happening or after. I have never talked about how my abuser befriended this dude and at one point I pinned every hope for my survival on this sad sack of a dude to help me out of my situation. Yeah, I bonded with him a bit, light jokes in front of the abuser and such, nothing that would raise suspicions, and then the abuser started a fight with me (regularly) and this time I decided to show up at sad sack dude’s house and spend the night. I didn’t specifically offer myself up to this dude, but I was prepared/willing had he made any move or inclination. My abuser, not knowing where I was, nearly broke him and I relished in my tiny taste of freedom. But sad sack dude was a sad sack because he was stuck on some girl who broke his heart and that was all he talked about into the wee hours after listening to the “New” Metallica album…ReLoad. Ha-ha! But there was no chance of actual escape or stability there, sadly for me. I would have been fine just sleeping on his couch but my abuser soon figured shit out and I was back in the shit with him again.
Escape becomes fantastical in your mind when it is all you think about. I would daydream of ex boyfriends or literally anyone “saving” me. Images of burst windows and clouds and fighting for honor or whatever My abuser befriended a few of my ex boyfriends back then because of a shared love of drugs I guess. He was always pulling scams too. I would constantly fantasize about two of them specifically, one of which I knew could take him down in a fight with ease. But it never happened. They never suspected a thing. Most figured I was deep in love. I’m sure that’s how my dad saw it back then. *Shivers in disgust* Blegh! I wonder sometimes specifically about one ex bf but there’s nothing for me from that period of time. Nothing to gain, for sure. I wonder a lot about a bestie that lived with my family for a while before I met my abuser. She taught me so much about life and men and partying safely. I am alive today because of her. I can tell you that. I wonder where she is though and what she saw or remembers from that time.
In the end, it was an ex-boyfriend’s little brother who sensed that something was off very casually (he wasn’t in the house to visit me and we weren’t close or anything) and simply offered a safe place to stay with no questions or need to pay rent. That is all a woman needs to GTFO of any situation, lemme tell ya! I didn’t ask questions other than an address. I had my own car, but nowhere to turn. My family didn’t know and my abuser made it abundantly clear every single day for five years that my escape would result in their deaths. I figured if even they didn’t know where I was then he couldn’t do shit to any of us. I want to create that lifeline for all women suffering in these impossible situations. I was lucky that I never got pregnant, though I caught him multiple times tampering with or hiding my pills or finding holes poked in condoms. I can’t say for certain what would have happened but I know at that time I would have sooner jumped off a bridge than reproduce that person’s DNA in me. Ugh! I actually considered suicide pretty much daily for a few of those years.
You know what sticks in my craw now, is that every time I go to Kaiser (healthcare provider) they ask about feeling safe at home or if anyone is abusing me. I visited the teen clinic at Kaiser a lot from age 15-17 due to a kidney infection and then a tumor. I saw the same nurse practitioner each time, Suzie Cook, I’ll never forget because she talked to me pretty straight forward and that was rare. But she cared more about my reaching 200 lbs than my abuser fretfully waiting in the waiting room each time. Never questioned a bruise or asked about my relationship with this grown ass man. I’m not saying it was her job to spot the trouble necessarily but considering how much time I spent with her, I just can’t know I guess why it was never addressed. Even Planned Parenthood when I had to secretly replace my pills more often than a typical “Oh I lost my pack” situation would call for never asked or brought up the subject of abuse. I’m super glad they are addressed up front now, but gosh! What had to happen and to how many for that to become standard protocol?
Statistics can bring a lot to light. We often see these numbers and think, “Well, I’m not just a number!” but I see it differently. It really helps piece things together for me sometimes, especially things from that dark period of my life. When I first saw those numbers about escape attempts I initially thought it was too high a number until I actually looked at my own attempts. I was surprised it was so many! And then I put myself back into those moments mentally trying to picture my surroundings and the steps I took and whatnot. You really have no idea how you will react to a situation or emergency until you’re in the thick of it, no matter how prepared you think you are.
I am still healing today, 26 years later, from those 5 years of abuse. C-PTSD is not something you can cure or suddenly be “over” with. I have come an incredibly long way, but my hyper independence is often a problem that I’m simply unwilling to discuss or change. Abuse literally changes our brains permanently. I know it wasn’t my fault, but so much of how the patriarchy affects our daily lives makes us accept or agree to things against our own nature. We don’t want to tell someone anything is wrong ever because we don’t want to seem ungrateful/selfish or bring people down. I know I have been a big bummer for a lot of people to be around and especially back then I would apologize for it constantly. But now I don’t apologize for shit! I didn’t choose any of it and I am doing the best I can every damned day!
My life is all mine now, so I shall continue on as I see fit. If someone doesn’t like me because I have been through some heavy shit, that I only occasionally hesitate to discuss, that is on them. I’m not here to be anything to anyone but a good person in my own opinion, and I know good people! I am forever in awe of the amazing people I have been blessed to call my friends and chosen family. I can only hope to be worthy of their love and support for many more years to come. At 45 years old now, I am somehow only getting smarter and more gorgeous as time goes by. I hope one day that my story will help others, lottery win or not.
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,
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/jdrg045 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, MySpace, LiveJournal and all the other places: 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.) email@example.com
If you’re in the US, please vote if you’re eligible. Living in all-mail-voting Washington State, I was able to return my ballot last week and confirm my ballot was accepted without a problem.
Non-US folks, hopefully US folks will become less obsessed with our own politics soon.
Instead of finding a polling place, today I picked up my new glasses! New lenses, at least – I reused old frames I had. This is not recommended if the frames are beat-up, but mine were fine. Both are titanium alloy for lightweight strength. I have one pair for “progressives”, which are like bifocals without the line, and one pair for computer/other close work. I also have found heavy glasses make sinus discomfort worse, so I paid extra for lighter weight “high-index” lens material. It’s worth it to me.
None of this is about being fat, of course, except that when I arrived to pick up my glasses I was breathing hard from going from dry cold air to warm inside air and had the manager immediately ask if I was OK, I should have a seat, did I want tea or water or coffee? And I initially panicked that I was the fat lady freaking people out. But, outward I stayed calm. I explained my asthma was upset, I was there to pick up glasses. After sitting for few minutes my breathing did calm down, even with my face mask (still required in medical settings here, so we all were masking) adding to my personal humidity.
Oh, and I can SEE better.
Still fat. Still married. Still in the Seattle area. Still doing treadmill 3 days a week, usually, despite general bleahs. Starting another round of seeing doctors – I ended up with yearly visits to a couple specialists in the fall, so every year it’s oh right I have to deal with that.
If you follow my Twitter you may be aware I’ve been reading most of the Agatha Christie mysteries and thrillers this year. And watching the Poirot TV series.
Speaking of Twitter: the recent ownership change has people wondering about where else to go for their social lives media. I had been intending to post here more, so I’m going to do more of that. Some thoughts about “on what”?
The original focus of this blog was about my life as a superfat person, and that hasn’t changed. But I am open to other ideas if people want to chime in with them.
To our valued Fat Liberation & HAES® Communities:
Six months ago, Dr. Lindo Bacon reached out to the ASDAH Leadership Team about their intent to write a revised Health at Every Size® Book. What transpired has caused a great deal of harm and a heavy burden of emotional labor for our team.
While we have grappled with the specifics of how to respond over the last few months, Marquisele Mercedes’ recent account of her experience with Lindo illuminated that Lindo’s harmful actions were a pattern in the greater community. This knowledge has catalyzed our response. We are in solidarity with Marquisele and others who have experienced harm caused by Lindo.
We want to provide transparency about the conversations and context around our decisions as the ASDAH Leadership Team.
In September of 2021, Lindo reached out to Veronica Garnett, ASDAH’s Vision & Strategy Leader, outlining their plan to revise their book titled Health at Every Size. Lindo asked if we had any concerns or feedback on this project. Below are the email exchanges between Lindo and the ASDAH Leadership team. Our summary, analysis, and next steps follow the email communications.
To the ASDAH Leadership:
Hi. As you know, its disturbing to me – and perhaps to you – that my book entitled HAES is sometimes people’s first introduction to HAES, though it introduces an antiquated version of HAES. As I wrote on my website: “As proud as I am of the book, I’m also aware of some of its shortcomings, including some of the ways in which it transmits my unexamined privilege and does damage.” I would like to write an updated (15th anniversary!) version, to be published in 2023, so that I don’t continue to do this damage and I’m able to put out a more modern perspective.
Before I dive into this project, I want to run it by you. I want to know if there are any concerns or anything you want to discuss. It’s important to me to include acknowledgement, as I did in my previous books, that it’s not a definitive version of HAES and that I’m not the founder of HAES. I think the earlier editions were quite successful at getting HAES on the map, and that this next edition would further that and also serve to bring attention to ASDAH and expand ASDAH’s reach. Perhaps ASDAH would consider writing a forward, though I don’t need a commitment at this point.
Here, for example, is what I did previously, and in this version I’d want to update these concepts to point people towards ASDAH as a defining organization.
From Body Respect: “HAES is an entirely hopeful, helpful doctrine. And it belongs not to a single author, but to a large and growing cohort of people, lay and professional, who are bound by their mutual desire for respect and equality and by their challenge of commonly held assumptions about fat.”
Or what I wrote in the original HAES book, in the section entitled “COMMUNITY ACKNOWLEDGMENT.”
The concept of Health at Every Size has a long history that predates me and includes many diverse viewpoints. I am grateful to the pioneers who helped us envision the possibilities of a paradigm shift and to the many other freedom fighters who continue to conceptualize and grow the movement to this day.
Choosing a book title was a conflicted process. As I intended to bring attention to the Health at Every Size movement and share my perspective on it, the main title “Health at Every Size” was a natural option. The first edition of the book has been out for a year now, and I’m thrilled to feel successful in both aspects. The downside to using the words in my title, however, is that it may give off the impression that this is THE treatise on Health at Every Size, and the only way to articulate the movement. It’s not. There are many divergent viewpoints within the Health at Every Size movement and this book represents my perspective.”
Do you have any thoughts about me going forward on this project? I’m happy to discuss anything, and available by email or zoom.
The publisher is looking for a commitment from me as soon as possible. I’m going to hold off until I hear from you.
Sent to ani only (ani is white)
Hope you’re doing well. Things good here. I sent a couple emails to Veronica and never heard back. I asked her to confirm receipt and didn’t hear back on that either. About to forward them to you; I’m sure you can take care of them.
Sorry not more personal, I’m in total get things done mode right now. But I do hope things are good by you.
Thank you so much for your patience in awaiting a response. I’m only allotted a certain number of hours per week to work on ASDAH stuff and I’ve just not had the capacity to respond until now. Thank you so much for running this by me. I will make sure to share this with the rest of the team and discuss it at our next leadership meeting. I can give you my initial thoughts now.
First off I am so appreciative of the work that you have done to put Health at Every Size® on the map. Your book, which I first learned about over a decade ago during grad school, was my first introduction to HAES®. Despite its limited perspective and shortcomings, your book had a profound impact on my personal and professional life. Since my first introduction to HAES, my own understanding, fat politic, and social justice praxis have grown and evolved immensely. I’m sure yours has too. And so my questions to you are, as an ally or accomplice of social justice movements, had you considered passing this opportunity along to any of the fat, BIPOC, disabled, lower socioeconomic status, etc folks who are doing this work and whose voices need to be centered and uplifted? Had you considered just letting that first HAES book go out of print/publication so that new voices who are deeply impacted by fat hatred could be ushered in? Had you considered other ways you could give up some of your privilege and power in order to create a more equitable and just movement?
If you write this book, regardless of updating it to a modern perspective, you will be perpetuating harm by centering the experience and perspective of a relatively affluent, thin/straight-sized, white person. Sharing this singular perspective of HAES at this moment in history will drown out the voices of those with lived experiences of being fat, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, disabled, etc. Their voices are the divergent viewpoints the world needs to hear. Additionally, if you write this book, it may bring attention to ASDAH, but I doubt it will expand the reach to the communities and people who we want at the center of our work. ASDAH and the larger Health at Every Size movement, historically has been and currently is overwhelmingly white, thin, affluent, and otherwise privileged. If ASDAH is to survive and thrive, to be a leader in this social justice movement, we cannot have more of the same.
With all of that said, I would like to give you a heads up if you will be in attendance at ASDAH’s annual meeting tomorrow. We have been visioning and planning different ways to not only take back the HAES narrative, but to place it in the hands of the most marginalized in our community. Prior to your email, there has been discussion amongst the team about publishing an official HAES by ASDAH book (we will be discussing this during the meeting and providing more context). Would you be willing to do an e-introduction between your publisher and the ASDAH leadership?
I look forward to getting the team’s feedback and discussing this with you further. Moving forward, please contact me at [email redacted], which I’ve cc’d.
ASDAH Leadership Team held our annual meeting on 9/29/2021, and Lindo attended the live session and had access to the recording as an ASDAH member. During the Annual Meeting, we outlined our vision for the coming years for ASDAH. Notably, we discussed our vision of revising the Health at Every Size® principles and writing a Health at Every Size® book authored by fat, Black, Brown, neurodiverse, disabled, transgender, and queer activists. We shared a list of people we hoped to work with for this endeavor which included Marquisele Mercedes, Da’Shaun Harrison, Hunter Shackelford, Imani Barbarin, Caleb Luna, Derrick Reyes, Saucye West, and Vanessa Rochelle Lewis. For transparency, we’ve made the recording of that meeting available publicly.
Sorry it has taken so long to respond to your email.
I’m glad my first book was meaningful for you. The rest of your e-mail did not land well. I’m going to take a pass on responding to your questions or engaging.
I wrote my initial email to you to get more info so I can make the most responsible and respectful decision and I did get what I needed from your response. Thanks. I look forward to hearing opinion from the board as well
I can connect you with my publisher when you’re ready.
Hope your week is going well. Things are going well here. I’m really enjoying some writing I’m doing now – it’s great to wake up every morning wanting to jump out of bed so I can see what comes next in the research trail.
You had written: “I look forward to getting the team’s feedback and discussing this with you further.” Do you have a sense of when this might happen? I need to move forward in decision making – my publisher needs this too. It’s always surprising how long it takes to get things to press and there’s a bit of pressure for them to make it happen. This doesn’t have to be formal – I’m just looking to hear what people are thinking, to make sure I’ve considered this from all angles. Different perspectives are good, don’t need a consensus statement. It can also be verbal; perhaps you want to include me for a short time on one of your group calls.
By the way, if you or your team have any questions about publishing, as an insider whose been through it, I’m happy to help out. I think I can offer some insights that can be helpful to you. For example, you thought it was possible for me to give this opportunity to someone else. It’s not. In publishing, opportunities like this are meted out to specific people, not ideas. I don’t want to overstep here and offer unsolicited advice. But do let me know if its ever helpful for you to speak with me more about ASDAH publishing. I think it would be awesome if you could publish the book you want and I’m happy to support ASDAH. I know you think our books would be competitive. Seems like your team isn’t sure of what you want to do, but I can’t imagine any book ASDAH would write that would compete with mine – rather, I think they would be complementary. But I get that you don’t agree with this.
Thanks – I appreciate how much work your role must be. Thanks for your commitment to ASDAH.
I am meeting with my publisher on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a new edition to my book. Please let the leadership team know that if anyone has any feedback that may be helpful for me to discuss with my team, I encourage them to get in touch. Thanks.
No response necessary.
I get frequent requests for interviews and speaking gigs and often try to refer them out to others.
Today I got a request that I thought you might be a good match for – it’s a prominent podcast and might be good opp to get the word out about ASDAH and the work that you do. I just referred her to you, giving your email address because her request is time-sensitive (your ASDAH address, not your personal one). I’m not sure if she’ll follow through.
But it made me realize that I don’t have any info about you in my referral database. It’s helpful to have that info on hand because things are often time sensitive and I don’t like to give out people’s contact info without permission. I won’t do that again unless I hear from you that you’re interested.
If you are interested in referrals, it would be helpful for me to know the following:
Would you be interested in receiving referrals for any or all of the below:
Podcasts or Videos
If you want to limit them in any way, like only those that pay or are large audience, let me know that too.
What email address should I give?
If they are looking for a phone #, is it okay to give yours? If so, please let me know your #.
Thanks. Hope you are well.
Thank you for your patience in awaiting a response. I’m currently not taking personal business media requests, but I and other folks on the ASDAH team would be happy to speak on behalf of ASDAH in print interviews, podcasts, videos, and speaking gigs. The best way for folks to reach the team regarding media requests is via the contact form on our website ( https://ift.tt/AF1QRTh ) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your consideration.
Please find attached the ASDAH Leadership Team’s response regarding a revised Health at Every Size® book.
All future correspondence should be sent to me directly.
Attached letter reads:
March 8, 2022
Re: ASDAH Leadership Response to Republishing Health At Every Size® and Addressing Harm Done
In your initial email correspondence with Veronica, you wrote: “I would like to write an updated (15th anniversary!) version, to be published in 2023, so that I don’t continue to do this damage and I’m able to put out a more modern perspective.” The ASDAH Leadership Team stands behind Veronica’s thoughtful response that publishing an updated version would do harm and damage to the community by continuing to center white, thin voices in the movement. The ASDAH Leadership Team does not approve of or agree with you moving forward with this project.
We at ASDAH, the holder and protector of the Health at Every Size® and HAES® trademarks, are committed to promoting an inclusive vision of Health at Every Size® which centers those most marginalized and harmed by fatphobia and the healthcare system. Your authorship of a revised Health at Every Size® book will cause confusion with ASDAH’s work promoting Health at Every Size®. A Health at Every Size® book will be reasonably interpreted to be ASDAH’s opinions, violating our trademark.
In addition to the potential harm of publishing a HAES® book, we would like to address the harm that has already been done in your interactions with Veronica, the Leadership Team, and the ASDAH community at large. At ASDAH, among the Leadership Team, with our members, and the greater HAES® community, we’re interrogating how white supremacy culture shows up in our work, organizations, and community. In your interactions with Veronica you demonstrated white fragility, white supremacy culture, and performative allyship. We invite you to this brave space, and to recognize that while intentions may be good, harm can and did happen.
Actions That Caused Harm:
This Leadership Team has been generous with our time, talents, and knowledge in responding to your requests with little evidence that you are willing to engage in an accountability process. If you wish to continue to engage in further conversations, we will need to do so as consultants where we are paid for our time.
In closing, we are unequivocally unified in opposing a revised edition of Health at Every Size® written by you. It will do harm and will not uplift the nuanced and inclusive use of our trademark as we intend.
[Leadership Team Signatures followed]
In the exchange above, in Lindo’s engagement with the ASDAH Listserv, and evident through Marquisele Mercedes’ account, Lindo has harmed the community repeatedly, and continues their harmful actions even after multiple fat, Black activists have provided (uncompensated) labor to educate and ask them to do better. Some of the ways Lindo has and continues to harm the HAES® community, especially our fat, Black, and Brown members:
ASDAH has taken action to center Black, fat, and transgender community members in the last two years. We have revised our leadership structure to be less hierarchical. We have allocated funds and committed to paying people for their labor so that people with identities that are exploited could be supported in leading the organization. We have prioritized fat, Black, transgender, queer, and disabled speakers for all educational events and the 2022 conference. We have paid all speakers for their time and expertise. Throughout this, Lindo has been mostly absent besides paying the base membership dues. They have not reached out to the leadership team to offer support, but instead to ask for uncompensated labor, which has diverted resources (time, money, and energy) away from ASDAH’s work.
If you are asking yourself this, take a moment first to consider the white supremacy thinking that leads you to question the timeline of the events over the substance of the interactions. We will, however, provide context for those who are actively unlearning white supremacy and grappling with this.
Lindo did not provide a timeline in which to make this decision. This sense of urgency, not providing concrete information on their desired timeline, and not explaining why rushing was important to them, is a tool of white supremacy culture to force an answer quickly before the responding party has time to fully reflect. While the decision was relatively straightforward for the team, we took time to consider how to communicate this to Lindo, a person we perceived as having power, privilege, and clout that far outweighed the collective power of those on the Leadership Team. After Lindo’s dismissal of Veronica’s thoughtful and gracious feedback, we put the healing and support of Veronica and the team first. During this time period, the majority of the leadership team was uncompensated for their time working on all ASDAH matters including this one. Ensuring survival in our racist, capitalist system and caring for our own families and communities came first.
During this time period, we also took time to meet with our legal team, consider the consequences of our response and actions, and write a thoughtful letter addressing the harm done.
In our last communication with Lindo, the ASDAH Leadership Team invited Lindo to a community accountability process. We asked Lindo to cover the financial costs of the labor of a facilitator and the team to engage in this process. Lindo has already cost ASDAH considerably financially and emotionally, taking resources away from our advocacy work in the community and causing harm to the team.
Community accountability processes require many things. The first is an existing relationship. Lindo does not have a strong relationship with any individual on the current ASDAH Leadership Team, nor has Lindo supported or participated in ASDAH’s work materially or meaningfully in the recent past. “It can also be dangerous to attempt a process if the people involved do not know each other well or do not know you well.” (Fumbling Towards Repair by Mariame Kaba & Shira Hassan) Engaging in community accountability with Lindo is a risk for our leadership team, which is another reason we’re asking Lindo to financially support this process.
Another requirement of community accountability is that all parties must be willing to engage in the process. “You can’t shame or coerce people into accountability. It doesn’t work. You can invite people to participate in an accountability process. You should not coerce them. You cannot force them.” (Fumbling Towards Repair by Mariame Kaba & Shira Hassan). It is not within the control of ASDAH or the individuals on the leadership team to force a community accountability process with Lindo. We ask our community to avoid demanding or forcing Lindo into an accountability process.
In order to keep our community safer for fat, Black, and Brown folks in ASDAH spaces, we are setting boundaries as the natural consequence for causing repeated harm. We are revoking Lindo’s membership with ASDAH and disallowing Lindo from attending ASDAH events. We are setting these boundaries knowing that there is always a possibility of restoration and transformation.
It is evident that many if not the majority of people first associate Health at Every Size® with Lindo, and not as an evolving, community-led movement. To allow those most affected by fat hatred to lead HAES® into its next evolution, we ask that Lindo take down the HAES® Pledge Registry and HAEScommunity.com.
ASDAH is committed to the on-going work of eradicating white supremacy in our work and communities. In addition to continuing our education on community safety and accountability, we will continue to hold space for social justice development moments. We ask of ourselves and our community to continue to call each other in when we see white supremacy in action.
We are committed to centering and uplifting the most marginalized people in our communities. We invite Black, Brown, fat (especially superfat and larger folks), transgender, and disabled community members to let us know how we can continue making ASDAH a safer place by submitting your feedback to the Leadership Team.
We know that this conversation will bring up past trauma whether directly or indirectly related to Lindo and Health at Every Size®. We invite you to take care of yourself and each other through social media breaks, getting support from loved ones, and engaging in your favorite restorative activities.
Behind ASDAH are eight humans who care deeply for this community and the work of fat liberation. We ask everyone to honor each other’s collective humanity by showing compassion and grace as our community grieves and heals. Though confronting the patterns of harm in our community is difficult, we grow and strengthen because of it. We have great hope for the future of HAES® and ASDAH and that is because of our incredible community.
The ASDAH Leadership Team
The post Holding Lindo Bacon Accountable for Repeated Harm in the Fat Liberation & HAES® Communities appeared first on ASDAH.
To our valued Health at Every Size® community:
Recently, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) completed a review of Health at Every Size® interventions as part of their Adult Weight Management Guideline that included many fatphobic and weight biased recommendations. One of the proposed recommendations is: 4.6 For adults with overweight or obesity, it is suggested that RDNs or international equivalents not use a Health at Every Size® or Non-Diet approach to improve BMI and other cardiometabolic outcomes or quality of life. (https://www.andeal.org/public-comment-guideline-review)
We want to start by acknowledging the trauma caused by and being reactivated by AND’s actions. We see the frustration of not only the continued violence of recommendations such as these against fat people, but the violence of attempting to discredit Health at Every Size®, which to many of us represents not only a safe(r) path to health and healthcare, but a community where fat people are celebrated.
The actions of AND are not surprising. Dietetics, the concept of health, and the system of healthcare were built on and continue to thrive on fatphobic, racist, ableist, eugenicist and violent beliefs. It is doubly upsetting that their proposal comes during Black History Month. A time when the racist roots of fatphobia should be centered, rather than further promoting ideas that most harm fat Black people.
White supremacy plays a key role in the development of guidelines such as these, as well as in our response to the recommendations. We see it in the way we value the written word, especially when it includes copious citations and rubrics and people with an alphabet of credentials behind their name. None of this makes their guideline the Truth. We see it in the binary thinking, that one must be right and the other must be wrong; that for their adult weight management guidelines to remain correct, they must tear down any ideas that say otherwise. We see it in the urgency to respond immediately. We see it in the white martyr and white savior responses both at AND and in our communities. We see it in the power hoarding because fat people were not at the table. Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color were underrepresented at the table. And the ASDAH and HAES® community was not at the table.
This underscores a reality of our work. While we work to make healthcare less harmful in the now, we ultimately cannot reform a system whose core and foundation is white supremacy.
The review conducted by the AND Adult Weight Management team was limited in many ways. The first and most important of which was conducting an analysis on HAES® as an intervention for Adult Weight Management. As many of you reading this likely already know, the Health at Every Size® principles reflect the research that weight does not need to be “managed”; that pursuit of weight loss is not effective in making fat people thin; nor is the minimal amount of weight lost by most who attempt to do so, sustainable over the long term (i.e. more than 2 years); that there are ways for fat people to improve their health if they choose that do not involve weight loss.
Of the five outcomes they analyzed that make up their recommendation, three of them are antithetical to Health at Every Size® principles (lower BMI, percent weight lost, and smaller waist circumference.) For the two other outcomes (blood pressure and quality of life), only two articles each were included to draw their conclusions. Interestingly, only studies specifically using the term ‘quality of life’ were included. Other studies which included similar measures but used terms like psychological distress were not included in the team’s analysis for quality of life.
Another major limitation of their analysis was that HAES® is a singular intervention, rather than an approach to health that reflects existing research, most of which does not explicitly name Health at Every Size®. Any intervention that improves health markers regardless of weight is part of the HAES® toolkit. The search was limited to papers naming HAES® (or “non-diet”) as their intervention, along with other inclusion criteria such as only including programs overseen by dietitians and only including studies that were limited to fat people.
The result of their search choices, including the mischaracterization of Health at Every Size®, led to the identification of seven total studies included in their review. Despite lacking sufficient evidence to make claims about HAES®, they decided to write a recommendation that HAES® interventions not be used, though none of the studies showed harm, and none of the reported health outcome measures worsened during HAES® interventions.
For example, one of the papers included was designed to measure heart rate recovery time. Their results showed significant improvements in this measure in the HAES® group compared to the control group. This paper was only used in the analysis for BMI as an outcome by the team. Other studies showed improvements in dietary quality, LDL cholesterol, and binge eating. These outcomes were not evaluated and these results were not considered in making the proposed guideline statement.
Events like these remind us why the community elected to trademark Health at Every Size® and HAES®, and why the community chose to have a community-led organization hold the trademark. White supremacy and fatphobia will continue to rise up to discredit our work. HAES® was not created by any one individual and continues to evolve with our community. Likewise, we collectively protect it against efforts like this, by banding together, by remembering that their attempts cannot take away what we have built, as trauma-inducing and violent as they are.
We at ASDAH are proud that the organization has come so far to be able to respond quickly and thoughtfully to events such as these; and we’re even more proud to return to our work of building a new world with liberation for all at the center.
Read our Open Letter to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on this topic.
Consider supporting ASDAH today with a monthly donation to keep advocacy like this strong.
The post A Letter to Our Health at Every Size® Community on the Proposed Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ HAES® Recommendation appeared first on ASDAH.
To the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Adult Weight Management Evidence Analysis Library team:
We are writing to you as the leaders of the Association of Size Diversity and Health, the organization that holds the Health at Every Size® and HAES® trademarks.
After reviewing the recent proposed recommendation 4.6 of the Adult Weight Management Guideline (For adults with overweight or obesity, it is suggested that RDNs or international equivalents not use a Health at Every Size® or Non-Diet approach to improve BMI and other cardiometabolic outcomes or quality of life (2D)) of the Adult Weight Management Guidelines, we are concerned about its inclusion in the Adult Weight Management Guideline.
The review conducted is based on a mischaracterization of Health at Every Size® (HAES®). First and foremost, the HAES® principles are not intended to assist with three of the outcomes evaluated (reduction in BMI, percent body weight lost, and reduction in waist circumference). HAES® principles reject the use of reduction in BMI, percent body weight lost, and reduction in waist circumference as measures of health based on the current evidence. None of the studies reviewed were designed with the aim to reduce BMI, reduce weight, or reduce waist circumference. It is unsurprising that your review showed weak effects on these three outcome measures, however, it is most concerning that the review and proposed recommendation mischaracterize Health at Every Size®.
Second, Health at Every Size® is not a singular program or approach to health. The principles are a result of extensive and ongoing review and interpretation of the existing evidence on weight and health showing that fat people are not inherently unhealthy and that there are paths to health for fat people that do not center on weight changes. A Health at Every Size® dietitian’s approach to a fat person with a family history of type 2 diabetes who is interested in behavior change to prevent diabetes, for example, might focus on increasing fiber, increasing fruits and vegetables, and increasing physical activity. By only including studies that specified a Health at Every Size® approach, you left out huge components of what the HAES® principles align with, and limited the review to a mere seven studies.
Finally, by making a recommendation that HAES® approaches not be used, it is reasonable to interpret that the review found evidence of harm, which it did not. In fact, no papers were found that included adverse effects in their studies. Further, every paper reviewed showed either improvements or no significant difference in the reported health outcome measures for the HAES® groups. None of the reported outcome measures worsened in the papers your team reviewed. We recognize that there are many unhealthy and extreme weight loss methods in existence, some of which dietitians actively promote, but none of those methods were called out in the recommendations as methods specifically to avoid.
In sum, the review is based on a mischaracterization of Health at Every Size® principles and as such contributes to consumer confusion about HAES®. We ask that you remove the proposed recommendation 4.6 from the Adult Weight Management Guideline. Additionally, we ask that all future statements and reviews regarding Health at Every Size® and HAES® involve the Association for Size Diversity and Health leadership team to ensure the principles are accurately represented.
This letter was emailed to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on Feb. 22, 2022.
Read our Letter to the HAES® Community on this topic.
Consider supporting ASDAH today with a monthly donation to keep advocacy like this strong.
The post An Open Letter to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics appeared first on ASDAH.
By Brie Scrivner, PhD, Former Board Member-at-Large and ASDAH Education Blog Coordinator (2020-21)
Welcome to the third of this series where I sit down (have a Zoom call) with members of the ASDAH Leadership Team. We are moving forward and excited about the year ahead.
When I joined leadership as Board Member-at-Large, summer 2020, I was blown away by the people who have come together to form this team. Living in the Deep South, I often feel cut off from some of the cultural movements happening around the US. Having monthly meetings with individuals working to enact positive change in their communities has been inspiring- and not in the generic inspo way, in the (to modify a Madalyn Murray O’Hair quote) “two hands at work do more than a thousand inspirational social media posts ever could.”
This time, I spoke with Ani Janzen, MPH, RD, who currently serves the board as Interim Projects & Operations Leader and is your former Secretary and former Interim President in 2020.
Note to reader: The following is a transcript of a Zoom interview I did with Ani Janzen on February 18, 2021. It has been edited for length.
Ani Janzen, Brie Scrivner
Happy to be speaking with you. Clearly, I know your name is Ani and use she/they pronouns. I use they/them. So, let’s start at the very beginning. Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
Yeah, um, I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis. I spent some time in Kansas for school. And then I spent well actually before Kansas, I spent some time in Belgium as an exchange student.
That’s awesome. What part of Belgium?
I was in Namur, which is the capital of the French side, Wallonia. Brussels is a trilingual city, and English is their third language. And since I was there to learn French, we knew that would probably be a hindrance to me. So, I was placed in Namur and actually lived on a houseboat for the first half of my exchange year, which was really cool.
Amazing. There’s their third languages, Flemish.
Yep. Flanders is the other side. And they speak Flemish and they created everything cool that comes out of Belgium. All the great artists and all the great chocolate.
Fantastic. You live in Minneapolis now? What’s it like there? What do you love about it? What do you hate about it?
I love my city so much. It’s a small town-ish feel. Small city feel, I should say, it doesn’t feel like a small town. But it’s small enough that you can really get to know the communities that you’re in. And we have a great queer community. For a while in the late 90s, we were the third highest per capita, queer city, second to San Francisco and New York, of course, or third to those two. And then, you know, my big passion here is creating fat community. And, we have an awesome fat community. We’ve got lots of connections, we’ve got providers, but we’ve also just got cool stuff happening in the community, a very connected community, we all know each other. And we have a very, we have a strong Facebook group that connects local folks. And so my whole passion is all about working on the local level, and creating change in mostly in the Twin Cities. But Minnesota is my, you know, kind of my service area range, I guess you could say.
That was great. Minnesota is one of the few places I’ve never been. A lot of my colleagues are from Minnesota. And I know a lot of people who go to the universities there.
Our universities can be a pretty big draw, especially in the health fields, public health or medical schools, etc…and Minnesota doesn’t have any huge tourist draws. So, I think that’s part of why the city feels so homey, is because when you’re here, everyone’s just local, I don’t ever see anybody that I can assume as a tourist, we just don’t have that kind of atmosphere here. So everywhere you go, it just feels like home. Which I really love.
I have never thought about it like that. Birmingham also isn’t a big tourist destination. I just assume anyone I meet has been here their entire life, except for of course, in the medical school or at the university, and then it’s different.
So, tell me about your professional life. What are some things you have done? Want to do? Will do- all of it.
Yeah, I started my nonprofit, Radical Health Alliance, three years ago, while I was still in grad school, finishing my Master’s in Public Health. I became trained as a yoga teacher, which was my own pursuit. I wanted to take a yoga teacher training just for my own benefit to get deeper into what Yoga is. The big philosophy surrounding it so much more than just the Asana or the poses. I kind of fell in love with teaching and I fell in love with teaching fat folks, so pretty quickly after I finished my yoga teacher training, I started offering yoga classes.
And I knew that this was going to fit under what I wanted my nonprofit to be. My nonprofit, Radical Health Alliance, is improving the health of fat people. So, just kind of prompted me; my classes took off right away, they filled up, there is great demand. It’s been really, really exciting. Immediately, I was like, “Well, I don’t want this money to just sit and be unaccounted for.” So. I created the structure and from there, we built what we have today. We’ve added more programs, we have Fat Girls Hiking, we’re ambassadors for the Fat Girls Hiking organization. We started, right before the pandemic, Rad Fat Biking, which got put on hold. We run Rad Fat Adventure Camp- it’s supposed to be every year, it started in 2019. And of course, that canceled for 2020. And we will be holding off for sure until 2022. It will be an annual thing once COVID is a thing that we can live with safely in our world. So, that’s all the services we do for fat people. That sums up the typical experience of general people who want to come and have fat, fat positive environment, enjoy people who have similar experiences to them, know that there’s not gonna be any weight loss or diet talk and just like be uplifted by being in the presence of people who are in larger bodies and just like love their lives and aren’t disparaging of themselves.
And on the other side of the organization, we offer trainings, workshops, classes for health professionals. So, part of our mission in improving health for fat people is improving the medical industrial complex of the area. We train providers, we just talked to the U of M med students this week. We do trainings at various organizations; we offer other trainings for anyone who wants to come outside of the organization.
Our other goal is to really just spread the message of “what does Health at Every Size have to offer? Why is it different? Why might it be better?” We obviously believe those things, but trying to show people the research and ideas that underlie why Health at Every Size is a really great model to use in your healthcare system. So, that’s what we’ve done.
As we move forward, one of our biggest goals is to create a local provider network so that the local HAES providers know who else is in the area and can offer guidance, and referrals to those folks and feel a little bit more confident and safe in that. We’d like to do some work on size discrimination law here in Minnesota, I’m still kind of seeing where some of the federal efforts are going. And it’s just not a high priority for our legislature right now. We do some workshops that are less movement based, more focused on learning about the Health at Every Size model and fat liberation, and how can you incorporate these ideas into your own ideas of health and wellness? So yeah, we have a lot of fun.
That’s incredible. I am super impressed. How did you find out about ASDAH?
I think my very first introduction to it was at the end of Lindo Bacon’s Health at Every Size book where they very clearly lay out like, Okay, you’ve read this book, you want to see what else is out there. Here’s NAAFA. Here’s other stuff that’s going on. So, I think that was my first introduction to the idea that there was an organization out there that had something to do with Health at Every Size. But when I first read the book, I was not a professional in my field yet. I was thinking about these ideas for my own health and well-being. Even though I was on the path to becoming a dietetic student, I knew that was where I wanted to be, but I wasn’t in dietetic courses yet. Then, I kind of followed what ASDAH was doing, and I became a member. I very quickly felt like there wasn’t a lot of fat representation, at least on the current board at that time. I can’t speak for the long history of the board. But at that time, there was almost everyone- eight out of nine folks were in smaller bodies. That really spurred me to say, “well, I really want to make sure that there are voices at this table”. And that’s what prompted me to run for member-at -large for the first time.
Okay, and how did you end up in your current role?
Yeah. So, I’m currently the secretary, and this is my sort of second and fourth role on the board. I got elected to Secretary right after my member-at-large term- which is only one year. It’s barely enough to get you going and ramping up in the organization. I felt like I had spent so much time learning and I wanted to use that knowledge to continue to help ASDAH.
It does take a lot of work to understand the intricacies and nuances of what’s happening in this organization. Not to mention, just like the community at large, we are an international community. So, to really start to understand what all is happening all over the place: it’s a big learning curve. I knew I wanted to continue on the board. I love the secretary position, because it doesn’t have a lot of official duties. Your time is basically accounted for in some of the other positions, because they’re quite intense, how much work they have to do. Secretary isn’t like that. I picked that because I love to do projects. I was a project manager in a former lifetime. I knew I wanted to have flexible time where I could just pick up projects to help ASDAH move forward. That’s why I went for the secretary position and got elected into that one. Then, I served as interim president for four months. It feels like both a very long time and a very small amount of time. That was mid 2020. I’ve transitioned out of that—we don’t use presidents anymore—and I am back at my secretary role for the remainder of this year.
And we are very glad you are here. I’m always impressed with what you bring to the table.
If you had access to unlimited resources meaning unlimited money time people, what would you have asked to do?
Oh my gosh. This is such a huge question. Because I feel like my immediate answers are so small, because they’re more in the realm of possibility. I would have to think, like truly, with all the unlimited resources…
I mean, we can flip it because my next question is what are three things you’d love for ASDAH in 2021 and so you can start reasonably and then jump off and maybe dream up?
Okay, yeah. What do I want for ASDAH in 2021? The HAES provider listing is really top of mind. I think it’s top of mind for a lot of our members.
I would love to see the HAES provider member listing get revamped and relaunched to be better than ever. I want great search functions with a nice look and that are attractive for the people who are using it. I want them to be intuitive so that people can really dig down and search for exactly what they want and need; whether that’s a kind of provider, a US area, a specialty, whatever it might be. I want to create a robust search function that allows users in the general public to find what they need to find. At the same time, serve the folks that are on the listing by making sure that the things that are key to what they provide—whatever that is—whether that’s health care, activism, etc, that they can communicate exactly what they’re doing so that folks can connect to the right people.
That’s top of mind, I’m excited for strategic planning. I think that while the planning stuff can be really frustrating for some folks, I’ve seen the power of taking a breath, thinking stuff through and really coming up with a strategic plan for how we’re going to move forward. This is my third year on the board and it’s something that I have not seen our board get to do yet. We’ve really had to be in a reactionary mode for a lot of real reasons. And we’ve just kind of had to be like, “Okay, this issue came up, we got to deal with it, this issue” and so on. I think we’re getting to a place where we truly can breathe, look at the big picture, and recalibrate, strategize where we want to go. So, I’m very excited to formulate our next strategic plan. My third thing….I’m excited to see more of the diversity and inclusion trainings that I know are coming out. I’m not directly involved with them. But our diversity and equity director and our education folks are scheming and planning some really cool stuff. So, I’m really excited to see that stuff come out for all of our members and the general public.
Fantastic. Now that you’ve had very reasonable actionable ideas, do you have any, like reach for the stars ideas?
I think probably one of my, my biggest dreams that is pretty like far off, if we ever go that direction would be to have a real advocacy force in our federal legislature. So, to have a team, essentially, that is creating connections with various positions, legislators in Washington, DC, creating those connections and starting to really make ASDAH a voice in healthcare, legislature, and human rights legislation. I think that would be just so cool. It’s very, very far away off….but putting us on the same level as, like, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or the American Medical Association, getting us to a place where, like, our voice is at that table would be phenomenal.
That’s a great answer. Ok, so some fun questions. So, what’s a typical day like for you?
Hmm, there is no typical day for me. Radical Health Alliance is kind of like my main thing, but it still only takes up about half my time. I do have a dietetic private practice in addition to Radical Health Alliance. So, some days I see clients and some days I don’t. Some days I have lots of classes, and sometimes I don’t. So sometimes I’m teaching yoga, sometimes I’m leading a training for health professionals, sometimes I’m leading a workshop for fat folks just interested in these topics.
Then, probably the most disheartening to my little activist heart, is that I have to spend a lot of time on email, connecting with people. I came from a community college, before I started this work, and I always thought, “Oh, yeah, like, of course, I’m on email all the time. In that system, there’s 600 employees and when I get into my work where I am the only employee, I’m never gonna have to do email.”
That is just not reality. I do so much email, I get emails all the time, from people wanting to know about various things. Everyday it’s a different question. I think that suits me pretty well, because I really do like variety. I don’t think I could be a full time one-on-one client, dietitian. I think I would burn out fast on that and need something else. When we’re in non-pandemic times, I get to do things like go on hikes with fat folks, and go for bike rides. Once a year, I get to lead a camp, which is literally just the most incredible experience. My days are pretty varied, but usually pretty awesome. It’s great.
I love the idea of the fat camp. As I got more into like outdoorsy stuff, it’s been very isolating. At least around here, overwhelmingly, the people that you see in rugged outdoor activities are smaller bodied, able bodied, high SES folks. So, you have to really push through that compulsion to constantly self-monitor in order to enjoy it. Being around a bunch of cool, fat people would have just blown my mind. Don’t get me started on biking. Eesh.
Exactly. I mean, these are the real barriers that fat people face is…if you can manage to find a bike that you feel comfortable on, if you can manage to find a trail that is going to meet your ability level, you still are faced with your vulnerability out in the open as a single fat person, an individual fat person doing an activity- even just to your own thoughts, which sucks. I’ve watched people come to our events and they just they open up, you know, they’re laughing, they’re enjoying themselves. They’ve lost that self-conscious rhetoric. It’s like that self-conscious, internal monologue has gone away. And they feel very empowered. Because they’re surrounded by other people who think and look like them. Which is pretty rad.
Okay, I don’t I don’t mean to turn this into a you know, Brie’s fat liberationist awakening time-
-no, please do.
For so long. I wanted to canoe. My grandfather was a whitewater canoer and I didn’t even know that that was a thing. But I have pictures of my grandfather standing up in a canoe going through rapids. My older brother, who’s extremely fit and smaller bodied, is also into canoeing. But I always was worried I was too wide for a canoe and that would make me a threat to those around me. Then, a couple years ago, I finally got in one and realized that canoes suit me just fine. I had a blast. It was amazing. And so there I feel like there are so many things like that. That could be an enriching activity for people. How many people simply don’t because they have been told they can’t?
Exactly. I think we’ve seen this, as a movement, on a really big level. We’ve watched yoga become the thing that is available to fat folks, and helps change their minds and change the way they think about their bodies. Now that I’ve gotten to experience it more directly, because kayaking is my favorite activity like in the world, and I never saw another fat kayaker. I was just kind of lucky in that my uncle loves to kayak, he had a really nice kayak with a high weight limit. So, from the time I was 10, I had access to a kayak and I knew what it was like. As my body changed and got bigger, I just kept doing it. I had this level of comfort with it and didn’t need to get over that activation barrier of like, “Well, can I do this? How hard is it going to be? Are there weight limits etc.” Now, I get to see what it’s like for other people to see me doing kayaking. I didn’t know any other fat kayakers before this. Now, in our tiny community, people all over the place are like, “Oh, I want to try kayaking, tell me about it” and because I can so easily tell them about what they should look for and what they should be concerned about ,as fat folks, and what they don’t need to worry about at all—because that is often what it is: they’re worried about something that doesn’t even matter for fat folks. To clear all those barriers out and just show how possible it is. Yeah, we now have like a community of fat kayakers.
Oh, my God. I can just imagine if I were at the river, and I saw this little flotilla of fat kayakers going by. I’d just fling myself into the river and want to be a part of it.
Yeah! Come to fat camp next time. We do kayaking and canoeing.
Oh, fantastic. So, you’re extremely busy. Obviously, you’re a busy person. But for your downtime, do you have a favorite show/movie/book?
Yeah I’ve been reading a lot. I started reading right before the pandemic. I actually read my favorite book ever and it kind of helped me really fall in love with books again. I’ve chased the high of that book, you know, like, when you read something like so good? And then you’re like, I need that again! So, I’ve been reading a lot. I still haven’t found anything quite comparable to this book that I love, which is called Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. It’s a fantasy book about a chosen one who has a vampire roommate. I don’t want to spoil anything, because that’s really the best part about it. There’s a queer love. There’s great diversity and representation amongst the characters. And they kind of flip the chosen one trope on its head. There’s Carry On and then there’s Wayward Son. They actually address a lot of the trauma that happens when you are a chosen one character or would happen to a chosen one character because he’s an 11-year-old who’s thrown into battles with dragons and other various things. The big bad is like The Insidious Humdrum, is what they call it. He has to battle and fight these things from the time he’s 11 to the time he’s 18 and it really traumatizes him and in Wayward Son, they’ve actually dig into mental health and trauma, but it’s all set in this wonderful fantasy world with dragons and vampires and other magical creatures. So yeah, that’s my absolute favorite book.
I love it. I am a big fantasy nerd. There’s a reason my bookcase is behind me for Zoom calls. So, people see it’s mostly research and reference books. But then, over here [gestures off-screen], is my fiction bookcase. This is an excellent book [holding up Crooked Kingdom].
I’m reading that right now! I just read Six of Crows and like I’m a third of the way through- you will love Carry On! You will love Carry On if you like Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom!
Yeah. Awesome! I could talk about this all day. I so rarely get to nerd out about fantasy books. I get way too excited.
Anyway, what is your 2021 theme song? Or, just what kind of music are you into?
I like a lot of folk music. I’m obsessed with ukuleles and banjos and I just found out that there’s a thing called a banjolele, which is a hybrid between a ukulele and a banjo- which I plan to purchase for myself soon. I like Rufus Wainwright. He just continues to put out really great stuff, and I think I think he released it last year. My theme song for 2021 is “Trouble in Paradise.” It’s just a really, really pretty song.
Right on. I like to know what kind of music people are into because I’ve met some people for whom music just isn’t a part of their life. It’s just…not a thing. My partner and I are All The Time music people- there’s always music going on. Have to set the soundtrack to your life.
Well, that brings us to a close. Thank you for giving me your time to get this done. I’m really excited about membership getting to know you all there.
You can find more about Ani’s work at radicalhealthalliance.org and you can find them via social media @radicalhealthalliance on Instagram and @radicalhealthallianceMN on Facebook
You can find Brie on twitter @bnscrivnerphd and on Instagram @bnscrivner_phd and check out their latest work now available online: Brie Scrivner (2021) Counter hegemonic discourse in a body-inclusive space, Fat Studies, DOI: 10.1080/21604851.2021.1970377
If you’re interested in submitting a blog post for publication, contact the Education Director at email@example.com
Ani Janzen, MPH, RD, is a fat activist and Health at Every Size® advocate in Minneapolis, MN. She is the proud co-founder and co-admin of the fat liberation group, Twin Cities Fat Community, which works to connect fat people through community and activism. She recently founded the Radical Health Alliance, a nonprofit with the mission of championing the multidimensional and weight-inclusive health of fat people in Minnesota. Through education, support, and advocacy, we strive to eliminate weight bias, increase access to health services, and protect people from weight discrimination. Ani has a BS in Dietetics and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and her Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credentials. As a fat person and health professional, Ani is most passionate about the intersection of access to healthcare and fat rights. She believes that fat liberation and HAES, though they are different perspectives that aren’t always used in conjunction, are both necessary to effectively create equitable healthcare for fat people. Ani is also currently serving as the Operations and Projects Leader for ASDAH.
Brie Scrivner, PhD is a medical sociologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Their research focuses on anti-fat bias, embodiment, community health, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ+ adolescents.
The post Meet Your Leadership Team Series: Interim Projects & Operations Leader appeared first on ASDAH.
By Brie Scrivner, MA, Board Member-at-Large, and ASDAH Education Blog Coordinator
Welcome to the first in a new series where I sit down (have a Zoom call) with members of the ASDAH Leadership Team. It’s been a big year for change and everyone has been hard at work on the strategic plan for ASDAH moving forward.
When I joined leadership as Board Member-at-Large, summer 2020, I was blown away by the people who have come together to form this team. Living in the Deep South, I often feel cut off from some of the cultural movements happening around the US. Having monthly meetings with individuals working to enact positive change in their communities has been inspiring- and not in the generic inspo way, in the (to modify a Madalyn Murray O’Hair quote) “two hands at work do more than a thousand inspirational social media posts ever could.”
The first in the series is a conversation I had with Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, our Education Committee Chair. We spoke immediately after our February Education Committee Meeting.
Note to reader: The following is a transcript of a Zoom interview I did with Chelsea Fielder-Jenks. It has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Mon, 2/8 1-1:30PM • 26:08
Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, Brie Scrivner
Thank you for sharing your time with me. I know, we just had the education committee meeting, which is already an hour out of your day. You know, I’ve been really fortunate that I get to know you all during the monthly Leadership meetings. I thought that it would be a great opportunity for the rest of ASDAH membership to get to know you all, as well. So, let’s get started.
What’s your name and what are your pronouns?
Yes, my name is Chelsea Fielder-Jenks and my pronouns are she/her/hers.
As you know, my name is Brie and I also use she/her/hers.
Let’s start at the beginning. Where are you from? Where’d you grow up?
I was born and raised and still live in Central Texas. I live in Austin now. I got to Austin as soon as I could! I appreciate it’s culture, yummy food, music and events. I’ve always loved Austin, so I had to get here as quick as I could.
Right on, did you go to school in Austin, as well?
I did not actually. I went to school in San Marcos, which is a beautiful small town, south of Austin on a beautiful river. I was fortunate enough to do both my undergrad and grad there on that beautiful campus. So, I lived in San Marcos for most of my college career, and in graduate school I moved to Austin and then commuted.
Well, that leads into this next part, tell me about your professional life. What are some things you do, have done, would like to do?
Oh, gosh, feel like that’s a big question. Because I feel like for me, that’s constantly evolving. So, my answer to this question now will likely change in the future, because that’s just who I am.
I’ve always been somebody who has enjoyed wearing multiple hats – I enjoy doing diverse things. That also shows up in my professional life. I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, and a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist in private practice. So one of the hats I wear is Therapist, but I’m also a Supervisor and provide supervision for LPC-Associates. I also facilitate workshops and trainings. I enjoy freelance writing. I also find volunteer work rewarding and actively participate in non-profits, like ASDAH.
I have to keep things fresh for me. Wearing multiple hats allows me to do that and it’s really rewarding to be able to build diverse relationships with folx in my professional life. In the future, I want to continue to grow personally and professionally. I see myself continuing the work I’m doing now, yet continuing to evolve. But, who knows? Maybe I’ll also become an interior designer in two years. Who knows? There’s no way to know. [laughs]
That’s too funny. We just had my partner’s dad, who is a retired contractor and remodeler, come to our house that we just bought. It’s an older house and I’m wanting to turn the basement laundry room into like a laundry/mudroom situation. While listening to the plans, I was like, “you know, I’m extremely handy, I can help you,” and, an hour later, I told my partner, “forget the PhD, I can be a contractor. It’s immediately rewarding and I get to use saws!” So, you know, there’s no telling.
Yeah, no joke. I’m not making this up. I have also been having a similar discussion. You don’t have to include this in the interview. But, yeah, long story short, something happened to the outside of our house that we’ve had to repair and now that has snowballed into, “I’m going to start flipping houses”.
But you know, that’s one day. And then the next day, I’m taking LSAT prep questions online thinking maybe I’ll go to law school. I understand how that goes. [laughs]
That’s fantastic. Always exploring new things. Tell me, how did you find out about ASDAH?
As I’m thinking about it, I think I came across ASDAH years and years ago, when I was first entering into the eating disorder field and learning about Health at Every Size® (HAES®) . That’s how I was introduced to HAES®, through the eating disorder profession. So, I think I knew about them [ASDAH] and how they supported the health and every size movement and disseminating the principles.
But it didn’t really click with me, like, “Oh my gosh, like, this is an organization that I can be a part of” until, I think it was, was it 2018. Something like that. When I was putting together trainings for local health care professionals, about HAES®, and the importance of size diversity. When putting together that training, I came across ASDAH again, and then this time, it stuck. It really resonated with me. I was like, “Oh my god, these are my people!”
I’m fortunate enough to be in our Austin Community. The clinicians that I work alongside are very like-minded and I have many wonderful HAES® colleagues alongside me here in Austin. But, when it comes to trying to, reach out to those people beyond that little bubble, to all the healthcare professionals, to the larger community, and things like that – it felt a little daunting.
So, to find this international organization of people who are encouraging one another to think differently about health and who have all this information and research – it’s like, “Okay, this is amazing. Sign me up now!”
That’s exactly what I did, I signed up and joined. And then it wasn’t too long after that, maybe a year or so after that, I saw the call go out to membership to get more involved and to join committees. They had an education chair committee opening and I was like, “Oh my gosh, could I do this? Like this sounds amazing. I get to work alongside all these other amazing people who are doing amazing things. What an amazing opportunity,” and at that time, I was education chair of our local Central Texas Eating Disorder Specialists. I thought, okay, maybe this is the time to take my training wheels off and do this for a bigger organization that has an even bigger reach. So, I applied and was very fortunate to be welcomed on as the education committee chair. So, that’s how I’m here now.
Well, that’s convenient, because I was next about to ask you about what inspired you to seek a role in leadership, but you’ve already done that. So, tell me, if you had access to unlimited resources, just like ridiculous amounts of money, time, people, whatever, what would you have ASDAH do? What are your Big Dream/Impossible Hope ideas? Or maybe even not so impossible?
Yeah. Well, I feel like maybe you’re getting to know me enough now where you know I fantasize a lot about really big ideas. I identify as being a creative person. I’m the one going, “I envision, like we could do this or this, and this,” so, what’s lovely is that I have other folks who can ground me in reality and be like, “okay, Chelsea, here’s what we need to do first”.
When you asked me this question, my mind goes all kinds of places. Oh, my gosh, we could have a brick and mortar community centers where people could come to do non-judgmental HAES® principled movement, or community gatherings, or where amazing HAES® advocates and speakers come in and offer continuing education events in person, or discussion circles and learning circles. And so that’s where my mind goes. But again, you know, maybe we need to start off with just one. One. Somewhere.
Well, so the next question is a little bit more realistic. What are three things you’d love for ASDAH in 2021?
I would love to see us host an amazing webinar. We just like wrapped up our education committee meeting. So, this is like what’s on the brain. But I would love to get a webinar out there. A successful webinar where we have a lot of members join in along with non-members join – that would be amazing. I would love, and you’re doing a wonderful job with getting us there, but regular blog posts, at least monthly, would be a great place to start. That’s what my goals are. That’s what I’m hoping to achieve.
So, how about some fun questions? To be fair, I think they’re fun, but let’s be real- I’m a medical sociologist, so my idea of fun is probably weird. What’s a typical day like for you?
Ha! Um, this is gonna be interesting, because it’s really quite mundane [laughs]. During the week, my day starts off with wrangling children. So, you know, getting my two and four year old up, having breakfast, then negotiating, you know, things like putting on shoes and getting them out the door. And then doing some kind of grounding and centering practices, which often looks like sitting for a little while doing nothing and just taking some deep breaths.
In this stage of my life I find this important because I’m always doing something with the kiddos, or in my practice, or elsewhere. My days really vary because of those different hats I wear, so it could be days like today, where I’m kind of focusing more on ASDAH things and our meetings, making sure that we’re moving things along in the education committee.
Other days, I’m meeting with clients during the day. Or I’m meeting with my LPC Associates for supervision. Or I’m preparing for upcoming trainings or workshops. I try to balance the day’s to-do’s with breaks by going outside and going for a walk or taking a pause to do my own dance party in the afternoon. An afternoon slump dance party, why not? [laughs] And then usually by that time, it’s time to pick up the kiddos to get dinner started.
Once the kiddos are home, one thing that I’ve realized is that it’s pretty much impossible to do anything else other than just be a mom…and parent, when you have a two and four year old. So, once the kiddos are home, I’m doing whatever we need to do or whatever they want to do. I’m try to prioritize engaging with them. We have dinner, time to play and interact, and then our bedtime routine. And then the evening struggle begins, “should I go to sleep? Or should I do all the other things that I want to do?” Like, you know, binge watch my Netflix show? That struggle is real. [laughs]
Well, what is your favorite show, movie or book? Whatever you enjoy doing?
Yeah, so it really varies greatly. It varies based on the season as far as like television goes, like, “what’s out, what’s new?”
Right now, my husband and I have gone back and we started watching The Sopranos. So, it’s an oldie but goodie and it’s our first introduction to it. So, we’re not rewatching. It’s amazing. But yeah, I really am an avid television show watcher. I could list off all the shows that I watch and love. But that would take too long… I will say that one of my most recent favorite series was The Queen’s Gambit, the mini-series on Netflix. I loved it, I was obsessed, and obsessed still, with it. And then I also enjoy reading. But I do so in a very erratic fashion. Meaning I start one book, get partway through, then get distracted by another book, and then I pick up that book. I’m kind of notorious for picking up one book, starting it and then like, “Oh, I heard this great thing about this other book. Let me just pick up that book,” and then I’ll kind of flip flop back and forth. I do finish them, but it takes many, many returns back.
That’s completely ok! I’m like that with shows. My partner watches a lot of TV and loves it and they’ll try to get me into a show, but I can’t just watch a show because I need to know everything about everything all the time. And so, I’ll watch half an episode then I’m like, “what inspired this? where they film?” and next thing you know, I’m doing a deep dive on the archeology of that area. So, I usually have to watch things on my own bizarre timeline.
Well, what would you say is your 2021 theme song going to be?
Oh, man [big sigh] why is this one so hard for me? Um, so I’ve been kind of obsessed with those amazing Tiktok dance videos that are happening and they’re in V-formation doing amazing dances and okay, oh my gosh, this is like my highest aspiration ever: being in V-formation doing amazing coordinated dances.
So, I’ve been obsessed with this dance troupe. They dance in V-formation to the “Pump It Up” song. I don’t know the actual song title.
I know what you’re talking about. The song. I mean.
That’s…everybody should know what I’m talking about when I say, “you know the Pump It Up song.” I mean, it’s amazing watching them dance to that. So, to try to answer your question, I guess it’s not just a theme song, but that’s the kind of energy that I want to be bringing in to 2021: just gathering in V-formation and dancing in synchrony on beat. [laughs]
That’s fantastic. Well, I hope that you make that happen this year, and also that you record it…
Do you have anything else that you’d like to add?
I don’t think so. Trying to think…we need more folks! Folks on the Education Committee, so people join us! Please, come.
Yes, absolutely. That’d be amazing.
Like, we need people power. Please join us!
We meet the second Monday of the month at noon. So, if someone wanted to join, or they just wanted to come to a meeting and see how it was, would they just email you?
Okay. Well, I will put your contact information at the bottom of this so people can reach out. And of course, if anyone wants to write a blog, they can send it to me and I’ll put my contact below, as well. Thanks, Chelsea!
You’re welcome. And thank you!
See you next month!
If you’re interested in joining or learning more about ASDAH’s Education Committee, you can email Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, LPC-S, CEDS and ASDAH Education Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next Education Committee meeting is scheduled for April 12th at 12pm CST.
If you’re interested in submitting a blog post for publication, email Brie Scrivner at email@example.com for more information..
Chelsea Fielder-Jenks is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in private practice in Austin, Texas. Chelsea works with individuals, families, and groups utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and EMDR frameworks. Chelsea is committed to ASDAH’s mission and incorporates HAES® principles throughout the various roles in her life. Chelsea also serves as the Education Chair for Central Texas Eating Disorder Specialists, a HAES-principled non-profit for eating disorder professionals. She is an expert contributor for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope. She has extensive experience working with adolescents, families, and adults who struggle with eating, substance use, and various co-occurring mental health disorders and has presented at regional, state, and national conferences. You can learn more about Chelsea and her private practice at ThriveCounselingAustin.com
Brie Scrivner is a Ph.D. candidate and Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Fellow
(2020-21) in the Sociology Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she teaches courses specializing in sex, gender, and health. Her research interests focus on gender, stigma, embodiment, and feminist methods, with specific emphasis on the roles of fat stigma and oppression in shaping contemporary health discourse.
The post Meet Your Leadership Team Series: Education Committee Chair appeared first on ASDAH.