13 June, 2005

Fattest Fatty In Fat Town

Orson Scott Card poses the answer to one of our society's biggest questions. Is it bad to be fat?

Yet they are condemned, ridiculed, treated hideously -- often by medical professionals to whom they have come for help. You think fat people don't know how they're despised? You think they don't want to be different?

Speaking from firsthand experience as "fat people", I admit this wholeheartedly. I have tried every sensible diet under the sun, and a few that were just plain nuts (Weigh Down Workshop, anyone?) Nothing works long term. I wish it did. I'm tired of being the New Nigger of society. I've always been a hoarder; ask anyone who has seen my closet full of yarn waiting for "that one project"; my To Be Read stack of books, which now numbers in the hundreds; or the three cases of diet lemonade waiting patiently in the breakfast nook. Apparently my body is a hoarder, too. Mathematically I should drop a pound for every 3,500 calories I spend but don't consume. I have more than 80 weeks of Weight Watchers data that shows this not to be the case. Even accounting for a 30% margin of error in the calculation of food portions and caloric intake, I am still losing about one pound for every 9,200 calories which I spend but don't consume. Yes, that is correct. I lose about one pound to the "normal" person's three.

What I do do well is build muscle, which probably accounts for the discrepancy. I have the body of my Welsh ancestors; burly and buxom, designed to bear and suckle babies in the cold winters with limited food, but strong enough to hew homes out of limestone. Not fashionable in twenty-first century America, despite how innately comforting it is.

What really irritates me, however, is when science becomes the tool of fashion and a rationale for condemning fat people even more because they impose some kind of "burden" on our health care system.

Ah yes. Our beloved Nanny State. First they came for the smokers, and I said nothing.... This is what we get when we ask others to pay our freight. Eventually they start asking "why".

Because one thing that still makes a huge difference in our health and comfort is exercise. Walking vigorously for half an hour, five days a week still confers enormous benefits -- even if you remain somewhat overweight. But if you weigh so much that walking becomes uncomfortable, then it's harder to get that aerobic exercise.

It makes sense to keep weight gain to a reasonable level. But we don't have to struggle, to treat our bodies mercilessly, in order to achieve weight levels that are not natural for our body type.

I agree completely, and I love to exercise. My latest tool in the Tech V. Evolution battle is my trusty iPod. (I'm not linking to Apple's website. If you don't know what an iPod is by now, there is simply no hope for you at all.) So maybe someday I'll move out of the "Morbidly Obese" category, and back into "You'd be so much prettier if you'd just lose 10 lbs." land.

No matter what, I'll always be the girl with a good personality.


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