I was reading the other day a post about the idiocy of taking children away from their parents because they’re fat. The post was written from the point of view of a social worker and noting how much difficulty that would cause, particularly in the face of the already overworked system that’s having trouble coping with real abuse cases.
It’s a good point.
What struck me was a comment. It was someone disagreeing and I didn’t think much of it at the time. But later it struck me that the commenter was expressing anger at not having been taken away from a situation where she felt she was overfed. Now I don’t know anything about this person, the situation or anything at all, I’d like to make that clear. In fact I’m extrapolating my own interpretation of the persons viewpoint simply because its something that I want to talk about
Overeating to be precise. And victimization.
In Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes he talks about overeating. Basically (and I am summing this up as I see it – please feel free to correct me) everyone overeats at one point or another. But some people get fat and some don’t. Why is that? When most people overeat the body simply processes the energy it needs and gets rid of the rest
And, in some cases, particularly with a person who is fat, weight can be gained regardless of the fact that the person is not overeating.
What makes the difference between whether a person gets fat or remains thin is a mixture of genetics and whats going on in that person’s cells. It all gets very scientific and complicated at that point but that’s my basic understanding.
What I take from that is it’s not overeating that makes a person fat. In a fat body something breaks down in the storing and release of fat from the cells that results in some people being unable to release the fat in time to fuel the body. The body, then in crisis because it cannot access the required energy, sends urgent cues to eat foods that will provide instant energy – in most cases sugars and refined carbs. The person does, energy is provided and the excess is again stored and used. Time passes and when required the added stored fuel cannot be released properly and … the cycle continues with the cells storing more than they’re releasing and excess adipose tissue is the result.
The thing is the scientific community decided that people are fat because they overeat and don’t exercise enough and dispite the contradictory evidence, fat people overate has become an accepted “fact” of our society.
So, I can see how some people might blame their parents for making them fat.
I know when I was growing up it was mandatory to eat everything that was placed in front of you, whether you liked it or not. I also had no control over the meals that I was given to eat. That was your choice eat it or go hungry.
I don’t think my parents made me fat though, for a number of reasons.
1) Overeating did not necessarily make me fat. It’s more than likely that I ate, and overate, the same foods as my friends who were not fat. I know I ate the same foods as my brother and sister and I’m fatter than both of them. Always have been.
2) If I ignore my doubts about overeating and fat, and just consider that my parents did overfeed me I don’t particularly see that as abuse. If it is abuse then overfeeding me and making me fat has disadvantaged me significantly and created severe emotional disturbance in my life. And you know what, I have been disadvantaged by being fat and it has disturbed me, but it’s NOT the fat that’s done that. Or my parents for that matter. It’s the bigotry and judgements and constant advertising campaigns that have told me over and over how unacceptable I am because I’m fat, and though I’ve never really bought into that, the rest of society has so that’s the reality I’ve had to live.
And 3) So if I internalize, OK, I’m fat therefore I’m broken, and, if I believe that I was made fat by overeating then I accept being fat is something awful that was thrust upon me. If I accept that then I absolve myself of my responsibility in being fat, and although that may seem like an attractive prospect, it really does more harm than good. It makes me a victim and that’s a different … energy than being assertive. It leads to resentment and feelings of victimization and powerlessness. If I feel powerless then I can’t change that energy and I’m trapped in my emotions.
I have control over the things that I think, and because I do, I have leverage over my emotions. It’s important to accept, forgive if you can, and let go of negative feelings, not because it makes me less fat (ha! If it did I wouldn’t have forgiven the whole world years ago) but because it gives me strength and power. And that makes me feel good.
Feeling good is the ultimate goal in life and I, we, feel good because of the thoughts we think. I choose to disregard thoughts that don’t help with that goal.