Saturday, June 30, 2007

"The One Stone Solution"

A couple months back, I blogged about the neverending desire to be thinner than I am currently despite the rational part of me that knows it's bullshit.

Naomi Wolf in "The Beauty Myth" * talks about the "One Stone Solution" which is the 15-20 pounds that most women feel is all that lies between them and having an acceptable body.

And now Harriet Brown at Feed Me! has adressed this with amazing insight. Apparently Rachel Hunter, a model and wife of Rod Stewart has been tapped to be the spokesmodel for SlimFast, a product which she has never used or needed. Quoted in as saying when asked about her inexperience with the product, "But, you know, who doesn't want to lose ten to twenty pounds?" she demonstrates just how fucked up our culture has become about weight. Here's what Harriet said that really resonated with me:

This kind of fat trash talk is my least favorite. It's the equivalent of the
air kiss, the baring of the throat by the subordinate animal. It's a social
custom denoting (supposedly) good taste and submissive femininity.

Nail. Hammer. Bang.

*I think Naomi's lost a lot of credibility with some of what she's written since then, but IMO she got it right in this book.

How We Know the Universe Is Mocking Us

Monday through Friday, I have to pry my son out of bed with a crowbar at 6:45 to get him ready for school.

Come Saturday, he's up and bouncing at 5:30, and wanting his cereal. This has been the pattern for enough weeks that I've decided it's a plot.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Reading List

Yah, like I have time to read....

Just ordered Glenn Greenwald's A Tragic Legacy: How A Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency. If you're of a mind to read something political, this is the one. Glenn's blog, Unclaimed Territory was one of my regular stops, and now he blogs for here.

Also finally broke down and ordered Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata. This book has been getting some pretty good reviews on both sides of the fat issue (the rational side vs. the "Obesity Is Teh Icky And Will Kill Us All" side).

I'll review both once I've finished. That will keep me motivated to actually finish them.

Also, Joy Nash whose "Fat Rant" I linked to a while back has started her own blog. Joy's had over a million hits on her Fat Rant video at YouTube, and had since received lots of spashy media attention. Yay, Joy!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ancient Chinese Remedy....

I've been talking about doing this for months, but I finally called up the acupuncturist who treated Doug when he had Bell's Palsy and went in for a consultation about my arthritis. Dr Mao (yes, really!) is a 38th generation Chinese acupuncturist/herbalist. We chatted for a while about my symptoms (pain, stiffness and lack of mobility from the arthritis in my right hip) and what his treatments would and would not do (would help the pain, would not help the underlying problem which ultimately will need to be resolved with a hip replacement).

After the consultation it was time for treatment. I was a little anxious, but it turned out to be nothing to worry about. The needles going in feel like a slight nettle prick, but then you don't feel them. He put needles in several spots along my right side, from scalp to ankle, and hooked up some electric stimulation for the ones in my hip. Then left for 40 minutes. I was a bit restless for about the first 15 minutes, but after that I relaxed and dozed a bit. The rest of the day I felt very relaxed and "loose."
When I was done with the treatment, I picked up my herbs and the very exact and complicated instructions for brewing the tea that I'm to drink three times per day. My package contained three large sealed baggies of herbs (one week's worth), which look and smell like something scooped up off the forest floor. They're quite aromatic when brewing as well. Not unpleasant, just very....herbal. The tea itself reminds me of a rather bitter sasparilla. The first day I held my nose and choked it down, all three cups per day. The second day it still tasted icky, but not to where I needed to hold my breath. Today is the third day and I'm actually acquiring a taste for the stuff.
So far I'm not noticing any improvement in the pain and stiffness, but at least it's no worse. I've spoken to many people who have claimed that acupuncture helped their pain when nothing else would; I figure at best it will help, at worst I won't notice any affect.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

It's Official...

I'm a Dog Momâ„¢.
You know you've crossed over the the dog side when you actually pay to have their pictures taken.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Fat Rant

This made me smile. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thoughts on "P.C"

Whenever I hear or read someone who (often proudly) preferaces the point they're about to make with, "I'm not P.C." or "I know this isn't very P.C., but", my Babelfish translates as "I'm very attached to my prejudices and resent having to show respect to anyone who is/thinks different than me."

What most of the folks (usually conservatives) who throw this term around don't understand is that it was resurrected into modern parlance in the early 80's by liberals/lefties who were using it in a humorous/ironic way. (Among the Princeton Poli Sci grad students I was hanging out with at the time, it was most frequently used when chiding someone for their orthodoxy to any given set of political beliefs, left or right.) But I've found that most conservatives tend to be a bit literal-minded, and seemed to have had an irony-ectomy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Thoughts on Food and Addiction

Does not measure a woman's worth.

I like to go back through the archives of blogs I've just become acquainted with and read some of the older posts. Every Woman Has An Eating Disorder has a link on her sideboard to a post from 2006 about her one and only visit to a Weight Watchers meeting. Unfortunately, I attended more than one meeting. Many, many more. While I don't miss the obsessing, feeling hungry all the time, wanting to throw my baggie of raw veggies against the wall (and I like raw veggies), feeling like a failure when I didn't lose weight, the endless shopping, cooking and meal planning, the anxiety preceding any social gathering about whether there would be food that would fit into whatever iteration of the food plan WW was following that year, the endless explaining to relatives that yes I could have a salad but no I couldn't have Aunt Fannie's scalloped potatoes, there is one thing I do miss: the solidarity. You don't feel isolated at a WW meeting. Everyone there is in the same boat and shares your struggles. There's a lot of cameraderie and support and sense of shared purpose. And it's my belief that this is why a lot of women keep going, or going back, even if they aren't losing weight or don't have much (or even any) weight to lose.

I think it's also that sense of connection that makes Twelve Step programs work. Back in the 80's, when you weren't anybody unless you were addicted to something, I used to joke that some of my friends had simply switched their drug of choice when they "got sober." Instead of booze, drugs or bad relationships, they switched all of that compulsiveness over to The Program. Being On The Programâ„¢ became all they wanted to talk about or think about. For some, it became another way to avoid facing themselves and how they'd fucked up their lives. They'd talk the lingo, but the changes weren't happening. (Before anyone starts jumping all over me, I know that there are people who never would have made it without Twelve Step programs and who really did transform their lives. Those aren't the folks I'm talking about here.) Back in those days, a couple of my "addicted" friends suggested I go to Overeaters Anonymous. They knew I struggled with weight and food, and were eager to slap the Addiction label on just about anything that moved. So I went to a couple of meetings. Now this was in the days when OA wasn't about religious adherence to the "gray sheet" (the diet). Even though a part of me knew I wasn't actually addicted to food, I tried to follow the program and be "abstinent." But how to define "abstinence" when it comes to a substance that you can't actually abstain from without eventually kicking the bucket? No one in the OA group was able to offer me much guidance there either. "It's however you define it," was the standard answer at that time. I tried eating three "balanced" meals a day with no snacks, gained 5 lbs in three weeks, and gave up. These days, it's my understanding that OA has gone back to a food plan, which avoids all sugar and white flour, at least according to someone I know who was an OA regular about 5 years ago.

Part of why I couldn't believe that I was addicted to food was that I'd had times in my adult life when I wasn't obsessed or overeating. The first time was back in 1980 in the months after I read Fat Is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach. I stopped dieting, and almost overnight I stopped bingeing. I stopped worrying about my weight. The freedom I felt around food was a revelation. I hadn't felt that way since I was a kid. After a few months, the weight gain started to bother me, so back to restricting my food I went. (But I never did go back to "bingeing with a vengeance" like I had in my teens and early 20's.) I went back and forth with this stuff over the next twenty or so years. The cycle would go like this: I'd read something that convinced me that dieting was futile, I'd have a few months of eating like a normal person (or pretty close to it), then I'd get discouraged about my weight, go on a diet, lose weight, gain back some, all, or more of it, decide dieting was futile, rinse, repeat. I "did" Weight Watchers a couple of times during those years, the most "successful" stint being the months before my wedding, losing 15 pounds and keeping it off for about a year. Anyhow, I've come to realize that my eating was always most out of control following a diet, and when I gave myself permission to eat, the overeating stopped. Kind of the opposite of what happens when you're actually "addicted" to something.

It took me another few years to really commit myself to not dieting. In the process, I joined an online support group focused on the process of learning to have a normal relationship with food and learning to love our bodies as they are. It was based mainly on two books, Overcoming Overeating and When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies. Both approached food and weight issues from a feminist perspective, as had Fat Is a Feminist Issue. In this discussion group, the topic of OA came up frequently. And during one of these discussions, the light bulb went on that for me and a lot of other women, it isn't food we're addicted to, but dieting, or food and weight obsession. We're addicted to beating ourselves up over what we look like and what we eat. We're addicted to worrying about what the scale will say and if the restaurant will have grilled fish and diet salad dressing. We're addicted to comparing ourselves to other women to see whose the fattest. And especially, we're addicted to the fairy tale that getting thin will solve all of our problems, and that we'll get to be the Beauty Queen we never had a chance to be when we were young. It's not a physical addiction, no. But an eating disorder serves the same purpose as an addiction: to distance us from pain, to distract ourselves from the stuff we don't want to face about ourselves, and to narrow our focus down to one thing that we know and is familiar and predictable.
After a few years of really working on it, and experimenting with food and what works for my body, I can honestly say I have a pretty normal relationship with food. I can pass up dessert if I'm full, I eat what I want (provided it's available) when I'm hungry and I stop before I'm stuffed. None of this takes much effort anymore, which at times I realize is a small miracle. And I'm sorry for all of those years that I had a miserable relationship with food. I missed out on so much, not just tastes, but experiences. But in the end I'm grateful to be where I am now.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Shilling, A Farthing

If you hadn't noticed the link for My Alter Ego over on the left hand side, it's for the other blog I started a few weeks ago to give rein to my more frivolous, girly side that likes clothes and sparkly things. I don't know what I was thinking, I can barely keep up with one blog! Anyway, if you're feeling frivolous, stop by. Not that I've been posting about anything that serious over here lately anyway, but I've been ruminating on some more feminism/body image stuff that I'll post here soon.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Blogroll Update and Linky-Dinks

Thanks to Maya's Granny, I've discovered some new blogs that deal with body image, weight and food issues. I'm updating my blogroll to add some of these.

Every Woman Has An Eating Disorder posted earlier this month about "Rich and Skinny Jeans" which apparently can be yours for a mere $200 from Bloomingdales. Not only is the implication that Rich and Skinny is inherently desirable, but now you can buy it! I remember an add campaign from the early 80's for a fancy watch--can't remember the brand--that was basically a long shot panning up the body of a very tanned, very thin, bikini-clad woman, and at the end she says "you can never be too rich or too thin" (quote originally attributed to the Duchess of Windsor). I always wondered how effective that ad campaign was. At the time I was going through a divorce and one of my extreme dieting periods, and I sure wanted that watch. If I saw that ad today, I'd be throwing a shoe at the TV and writing letters to CEO's. Check out her other posts too, some very interesting stuff there.

Adios Barbie is a blog I used to read regularly a few years ago, and I was delighted to see is still active.

When I first clicked on The Rotund and saw a picture of Audre Lorde, I knew I'd found another regular blog-stop. It's a great blend of feminism, politics and body image topics.

Also check out fat fu and Feed Me!

I'm off to update my blogroll now. Once I've had time to peruse some more of Granny's links I'll post them.

Edited to add: Another fun blog I stumbled across recently is too fat for fashion. Go check it out.