Advanced search

To want to offer up to all the fat shamers...

(599 Posts)
WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 13:57:35

... On mumsnet who peddle the old "fat people are lazy and lack will -power" or proffer their simplistic formula of "eat less, move more" an incredibly succinct description of food addiction by Marcus Brigstocke. I will admit that that sentence isn't quite so succinct wink

"Eating is different [from drug addiction]; it's dirty, it's horrible - you do it on your own and you wear it. [With] alcohol and drugs, you have moments of sobriety, [but] you don't stop being fat. You wear it; everyone can see it - it is a brand… an overcoat of shame for everyone to see.

"You despise yourself, you make promises to yourself, you say 'I had a bad day, that was bad but that means this is baseline and I can start', then you go and break those promises and do it again, and worse.

"Eating disorders are more pervasive and subtle [than alcohol and drugs] and availability and acceptability are much higher... the ”high“ comes from the totally full-up feeling ”It is an anaesthetic. You lie like a python digesting what you have, it slows your brain down and you are physically inert. Numb and dull, that is the feeling you get."

Whilst I am not saying that every obese person is a compulsive overeater, I wold wager that most are, including myself. This has resonated with me and is the best description I have read of the self-loathing involved in compulsive overeating. It is a faulty mechanism to deal with emotional pain and the fat shamers can't cause any more shame than we already feel for ourselves.

Whilst there are many people on mn who are understanding, I am always appalled by those who aren't. Please think on this when those threads come up. Thank you.

GarlicReverses Wed 12-Feb-14 09:31:18

What a lovely post. I hope it does inspire others smile

Tabby1963 Wed 12-Feb-14 07:52:41

It's weird, Garlic, but when I first explored this aspect of accepting yourself, liking yourself, respecting yourself as a way of paving the way to banishing a seriously damaging relationship with food, I found it really hard to come to terms with.

Anything that wasn't a 'diet' (being told what to eat to lose weight) didn't make sense.

However, I already knew that dieting didn't work. I had been trying for 37 years and just ended up fatter and even more depressed and shamed. I couldn't do it again. But I wanted to have a better relationship with food, and to become healthier and fitter. So, I had nothing to lose but to try to work on my self-esteem.

It's been nearly two years now and I see things in a different way now that I no longer hate myself for being 'fat' and a 'failure'. It has a knock on effect on all aspects of my life; work and relationships too. When I feel good in my own skin as I am today, I have a confidence and ease that I sort of project outwardly. My relationship with food is completely different now that I don't diet and weigh myself any more. The fear is taken away. Now it is entirely up to me what I choose to eat at any time.

I'm still fat (size 20) and when I started doing this nearly two years ago I was bigger (24). Maybe over the next year I may go down another size, who knows? I think it is probable because over time my emotional eating has reduced drastically; the self-hate, depression, stress and anxiety just isn't there any more.

I really feel for the OP and other people who have posted their experiences and I really hope that they can find their own way to make peace with themselves.

GarlicReverses Tue 11-Feb-14 22:56:22

I'm sorry it's taken so long to reply, Tabby. My broadband's down and this phone isn't too comfortable with websites! I think a lot of people behave addictively with foods - you know, they have their own ideas about 'good' foods and 'bad', can't help lecturing everyone about it, and get very upset when you point out that food is just food; it all has nutritional value.

I completely agree with you, self-love (or acceptance, at least) is the way forward! When & respect you love your body, you trust it to know what's good for it smile

Tabby1963 Sun 09-Feb-14 16:02:45

" The problem with this is that balance provides no rollercoaster, no highs, no social yardstick ... it's a tremendous emotional shift, and hard to do." That is a really interesting point, Garlic, and it makes sense to me.

Would you agree that we (society) are so focused on 'weight' that we miss the point entirely, and that we should shift the focus onto what we put into our mouths because it is that aspect that causes us to put on weight in the first place.

It is an important distinction because shifting the focus away from weight and being captive to the weighing scales and pounds on or off obsession, forces us to focus on what is really important.

I'm going to repeat something I said earlier in this thread, that our self-esteem and how we feel about ourselves is critical in our eventual recovery from the dieting treadmill of relentlessly losing and putting on weight over and over and over again.

Of course, I can only speak for myself when I say that 37 years of yoyo dieting losing and gaining significant amounts of weight (going from a 24 to a 10 several times) severely affected my self-esteem and caused terrible depressions over the years; I felt so worthless and ashamed. Why oh why did I continually fuck it up again and again!!!

I began addressing my self-esteem issues well over a year ago now and it has been slow progress (or has it? It has been at my progress rate) compared to a 'diet' where I am expected to lose X amount of weight weekly. Because I no longer diet, I no longer have that pressure to conform to some dieting doctrine. I am free to make real choices about what I choose to eat, always knowing I have a choice and ultimately it is my choice and no one is going to know or judge or that I am going to let some diet club down. It is all down to me. AS my self-esteem continues to recover it becomes easier to make better choices that are kinder to my health (it's hard to describe really). And, whatever I decide to do, I make that choice in the full knowledge that it live with the consequences.

No one else can do this for me, it's no one else's responsibility, and I accept that I may never become that socially acceptable 'slim' body that I have always strived for (and sometimes achieved for a spell). But I am now more comfortable in my skin than I have ever been, whether slim or overweight, and that is a wonderful feeling.

GarlicReverses Sat 08-Feb-14 15:00:34

I have an amateur theory - based on observation - that nearly everyone is addicted. Addiction hooks into the same reward & satisfaction neurology, regardless of one's 'substance'. I doubt there are many people who never seek the reward sensation. The 'Anonymous' fellowships work by substituting the substance/behaviour of preference with the fellowship itself - offering better life skills as a long term reward. The vast majority of dieters, as far as I can see, behave like addicts. So do many exercise fans. Some addictions are more violently harmful than others - hence the 'Anonymous' philosophy of switching allegiance - but the ideal would be to achieve balance & moderation in all areas, always. The problem with this is that balance provides no rollercoaster, no highs, no social yardstick ... it's a tremendous emotional shift, and hard to do.

Whenever there's a discussion about obesity, dieters weigh in with a depth of passion that goes way beyond appropriate feelings about another person's body weight. Whether they're speaking with disgust, sympathy, contempt or whatever, they speak like addicts. Unfortunately, our society is so diet/weight obsessed at the moment, it's very hard indeed to find reliable, dispassionate feedback. Even the NHS pages on obesity read like a slimming club advert. I was very lucky to be treated by an experienced mental health nutritionist. A few of us here have benefited from this experience, but we tend to keep quiet because it's wearing (and triggering) to be shouted down by addicts.

I've found one website so far - The Fat Nutritionist - that takes a positive, rational approach to nutrition and weight. I hope there are others. I wish there were a lot more consultants like mine, but that's not going to happen while the whole world has an eating disorder sad

(I'm still not 'balanced', by the way - I smoke.)

Sleepwhenidie Fri 07-Feb-14 17:14:28

Interesting (though long) article on addiction here.

higgle Mon 03-Feb-14 16:37:48

Last post I think, partly for clarification as with these long threads few people read and digest all of it.
1. I have a great deal of empathy with those who struggle with their weight, because I do. I may have a preconception that it is possible to exercise self control and solve the problem because I have some ( but not 100%) success with this. Sometimes it boils down to not having stuff in the house I shouldn't eat. I'm quite proud of my weight los and managing to stick to a healthy weight (if not an ideal one) for 4 years now.

2. I am not troubled by any kind of accidental, genetic or orientation issues.

3. I don't find obesity revolting, you can be obese and very attractive.

4. I do find the bodies ( not the personalities) of the sort of 35 stone + super obese people that feature in television programs on this sort of thing revolting, I can't help it, this is partly because they have eaten themselves into that state. I do feel sorry for them because unlike the other physical matters put forward there is not much going back after a few years, without extensive surgery, joint replacements etc.

I'm fully prepared t accept compulsive eating is an illness, but like every other illness I think those who suffer from it should seek a cure. On here lots of sympathetic posters have had their suggestions ignored.

Back to Style and Beauty, need a new jumper.

WichitaLineman Mon 03-Feb-14 16:28:57

I agree sleep, but I think higgle has shown that she has no desire to understand, she seems to just want an argument.

Sleepwhenidie Mon 03-Feb-14 16:26:26

I disagree with you a bit there Wichita, I think that at least Higgle proves your point and presumably she is the sort of person you would like to re-examine their thought processes when it comes to obesity. Not everyone will. It's an attitude so ingrained in society that it's a huge challenge, but if this thread is read by just a few people who can acknowledge and reconsider their views then it has to be a good thing. It will have achieved nothing if it is only read by people who agree with you?

WichitaLineman Mon 03-Feb-14 16:16:55

You are totally contradicting yourself. You say that you wouldn't find someone with a facial disfigurement repulsive, but you don't find obese bodies attractive so therefore are able to refer to them as "utterly revolting".

I genuinely don't see the distinction. Other than exactly what Sleep said - that you are judgemental and blaming of obese people. In which case you have no place on this thread.

WichitaLineman Mon 03-Feb-14 16:11:53

You would have no grounds to report my post grin

WichitaLineman Mon 03-Feb-14 16:09:11

There was a poster down thread who admitted they were anorexic and had a feeling of superiority over other eating disorders. I applauded the honesty of that post because the poster recognised how flawed their thinking was.

I wish you could show a bit of humility higgle, in the face of evidence that ED are a mental illness.

Sleepwhenidie Mon 03-Feb-14 16:08:33

Being gay is in no way unattractive to you, but there are people who find the whole idea of homosexuality repulsive, see it as a choice, judge. What do you think of those people?

An amputee is just a person missing a limb...and a morbidly obese is...what exactly? Less than a person?

The real answer, if you are honest, is that you look at those people you find 'utterly repulsive' and you make assumptions, blame and judge them...exactly the point of the OP sad

higgle Mon 03-Feb-14 16:06:17

Sorry to correct you Wichi, but I don't know where you get your ideas from, I don't have any negative feelings about the people you mention, it is the concept of extreme obesity that I'm unhappy with. I won't report your comments because I'm a tolerant person, and I do see the person and not the condition with super obese people, that doesn't mean to say I have to find their bodies attractive.

higgle Mon 03-Feb-14 16:01:34

If you want a straight answer, and you did ask the question, because,
1. Being gay is in no way unattractive, and I can't think of any reason why it could possibly be construed as being so. My gay friends of both sexes seem to be extremely good looking, not that it matters.
2. An amputee is just a person with a body part missing, you might not even notice, anyway I know that when I sat in a police station (old job, I was a solicitor before I went into care) with an amputee who had a blood sample taken from his stump I didn't think anything of it.
3. A facial disfigurement may be an accident or a quirk of nature, I'm always a bit curious but I'd make an objective decision not to stare.

This is all a bit different to having ruined your health and well being through super obesity. Maybe some of it is social conditioning.

WichitaLineman Mon 03-Feb-14 15:59:35

Sleep, I fear we are wasting our time. Presumably higgle would embrace circus sideshows where ladies with androgen problems who had beards, people with achondroplasia and other people with legitimate conditions could be displayed and viewed with a mix of revulsion and jeering.

Seriously higgle there are people behind these freakshmm. People with hopes and fears and strengths and frailties. You are reducing them to lumps of obese flesh. It makes me so sad and angry.

Sleepwhenidie Mon 03-Feb-14 15:37:06

Ok higgle your reaction is what it is, we can't necessarily argue with visceral responses (although you could argue about whether they are down to social conditioning). But why state it? What is the effect going to be, other than make someone - or lots of people, feel even more awful about themselves than they probably do already?Would you be as happy to openly express revulsion towards a gay person, an amputee or someone with facial disfigurements? Why is it acceptable to be openly repulsed by morbid obesity?

GarlicReverses Mon 03-Feb-14 15:32:38

What an intelligent thread (for the most part!) Congrats, Wichita smile

Must confess I've only skimmed it, due to fear of triggers - am ex-eating-disordered. I've seen a lot of odd misconceptions about obesity here. The criterion for 'obese' doesn't actually involve large outcrops of debilitating body fat. At 5'8" and a size 18ish, I appear 'large' or 'solid' in the way that's normal for women my age. I am clinically obese. There are reasons for it. My GP says it's not a problem. Yet Mumsnetters love to pounce on that word, 'obese', to insist my doctor's wrong (and they're right), having no concern for surrounding health issues or my psych history.

Were I vulnerable, as so many disordered eaters are, this would be horrifically cruel. And, still, Mumsnetters congratulate themselves & one another on this cruelty. It's despicable.

I love my body. I don't need a bunch of fashion-crazed, self-justifying control freaks to love it, too grin Every day, I find something to admire about my body and tell myself I love it. Takes time ... and works!

higgle Mon 03-Feb-14 15:03:05

50+ I mean

higgle Mon 03-Feb-14 15:02:24

Obese, no, though for myself I need to be at about mid way in healthy weight band not to be self critical. Super obese with BMI of 0+ then yes, I have to admit I find the destruction and damage done to the body by eating quite repulsive when it goes that far. I think if you were to survey a cross section of UK residents most would agree with that one.

falulahthecat Mon 03-Feb-14 15:00:55

would like to add that 2 1/2 stone went directly on to my arms, face & what I like to call my 'rubber ring' :p

falulahthecat Mon 03-Feb-14 14:59:38

Anyway, my original point was not about bodies or weight. I have weighed 6 3/4 stone, 9 stone and almost 20 stone and felt the same compulsion and shame."

^This. When I was 18, bulimic and anorexic at the same time, and a size 10 (would have to shave off hip-bone to be any less) I still thought I had fat arms and never went out without covering them. I Look at those pics now and realise I was hot - I never lost my boobs so I didn't even look too thin.

Yet I still felt exactly the same as I do now, 2 1/2 stone heavier.

falulahthecat Mon 03-Feb-14 14:55:44

The only time I haven't felt like over eating was when I was when I had stress free easy job (thanks recession for taking that) my lovely DP (who I still have) and was going for regular acupuncture.

I went to acupuncture for specific neck problems the nhs physio wasn't dealing with (she also tried acupunture, which involved stabbing at knots with the needles and pulling them out before they were ready because my 'time was up' - yeah not how it works lady!). He told me on the first session it wasn't my neck, it was everything - I was just tense.

After the second session I had a bag of Montezuma's chocolate truffles in front of me - usually it'd be the whole bag, or half the bag then thinking about the other half just sitting in the drawer waiting to be eaten.

This time I had one, and didn't want any more. I didn't notice the connection until my DP pointed it out a few days later when I wasn't craving a pudding/some sort of sugar after every dinner. I was also sleeping better and learned, from that hour of lying perfectly still once a week, to relax.

Not sure when I started my old food obsession after I couldn't afford the acupuncture any more but it wasn't long after.

Anyways, my point is - all of the bullying, shaming, standing there in your underwear on tv will work - to a point, but it will also solidify your feelings of worthlessness, and mean that if you ever 'fall off the wagon' again that you are beyond help, that no one will want to help you again because you are weak and useless.

WichitaLineman Mon 03-Feb-14 14:49:18

But you find obesity utter repulsive. Nice.

higgle Mon 03-Feb-14 14:11:23

Not a good analogy for me, I very much admire Grayson Perry and think he looked fab at the palace with his family.

I've been quite careful to use respectful words about the people in the programme because they are so kind to each other and it would be quite brave for most people to stand around in their underwear on television. It is crap television and rather distasteful but the response of the participants going off to the US to meet someone who is heavier than them is not "that's cool" but one where they are sometimes quite critical of the habits of the other person.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now