I subscribed to Google alerts on HAES about three years ago, when I first read, or at least started reading Linda Bacon’s book. For those who don’t know Google alerts track instances of phrases published in the media on the Internet.
To start out with I set up a Google alert about obesity and actually had to shut it down after a week because I just couldn’t cope with the volume of stuff that’s written about obesity.
HAES by contrast comes up once, maybe twice a day.
Today it came up in an article in the Montreal Gazette about Health at Every Size basically extolling the virtues of a program that focuses on health rather than weight loss. It was pretty standard stuff except for this phrase:
But its detractors say HAES can be used as an excuse to stay fat.
This in one phrase, presented in the article as a paragraph on it’s own with nothing else backing it up, sums up exactly what pisses me off about the whole mainstream attitude towards fat and fat people.
- It assumes that everyone knows being fat is bad.
- It assumes that every fat person is duty bound to lose weight.
- It assumes that people are fat because they’re just making excuses and if they’d just diet and get off the couch fatty they wouldn’t be fat.
- It assumes that these assumptions are correct and don’t need any further explanation.
What a load of bullshit.
Obesity is a popular subject to study. Can you imagine being the scientist who comes up with a fool proof way to lose weight? Sounds like a sure-fire way to make billions to me, which is why so many companies are funding so many different research projects into obesity.
And yet for all those studies there isn’t anything that shows being overweight is going to end your life prematurely. Quite the opposite in fact. Being severely obese is a health problem. And so is being severely thin.
In all those studies there’s never been one that actually conclusively finds that losing weight is in any way going to increase your life. Yet there have been many studies showing that dieting is detrimental to your health and is in fact an indicator of future weight gain!
Yet dieting is still recommended and even expected.
Even though there is no evidence that dieting works.
Its really frustrating and makes me so mad. The worse thing is that if this subject could be approached in a level headed way without all the blame and bigotry that goes with it, it would be really cool to learn more about fat and obesity. That’s the problem though. Its too much of a hot topic to be treated that way. How can we possibly separate fat from the political environment since the simple act of being fat is political, and the attitudes towards fat people contribute mightily to our experience. It’s like a tightly woven knot that seems far to difficult to unravel.
I so resent the imperative to lose weight. I keep coming back to this feeling of haven giving in if I eat healthier and move more. It’s like the smug masses are standing over me going “see, its for your own good” and I really just want to smack them in the face. I’m struggling with what feels like a betrayal of my right to be myself.
Somehow I’ve got to let it go. Any ideas how I could do that would be gratefully appreciated.