It Came From The Search Terms

Delving into what WordPress says folks searched on…

for over 6 years i have no where to exercise unemployed can’t afford to go gym over weight has a massive amount of stress

Exercise has become something that many people can’t afford. Often it’s due to the lack of some or all of:

  • Time
  • Safe space
  • Equipment
  • Money

Yes, you can work with body weight exercises and other things that require little equipment.  I’ve written some suggestions:

  1. Starter Strength Training Moves – no equipment necessary.
  2. Stretching for Flexibility – no equipment necessary.
  3. Aerobics at Home- most needs no equipment, but there is one item I suggest.

All in all, the best exercise is one you’ll do. If there’s a library nearby, they may have books or videos to try that you may enjoy. On the other hand, if you are dealing with an injury or have been extremely sedentary (for example, if walking around your home is a challenge) you may want to investigate physical therapy to help you rebuild mobility.  Best of luck!

is a guys 5x bigger than a woman’s 5x

Depends on the clothing and how it’s cut.  In t-shirts, almost definitely. Comparing polo shirts, probably. Comparing men’s pants to women’s, not always – men are assumed to have the same hip & waist size. I do sometimes buy men’s drawstring sweatpants that fit my hips and use the drawstring to fit my waist.

does anyone make 8x womens activewear

Making It Big has a sports bra, leggings, tank top, and a variety of knit tops, pants and shorts suitable for working out in.  Not all their clothes go to 8X but they have the ability to filter clothes based on size while browsing. Plus Woman has leggings, knit tops, and pants up to 10X and can make to measure.

can you drink out of date slim fast

Do you want to?

Bad For My Blood Pressure

First visit at the endocrinologist to treat hypothyroid. Waiting in the lobby with chairs whose arms are a bit too tight. I am weighed. The doctor asks me to sit on the exam table, so I do – no back support, legs dangling. In taking my medical history she asks about my weight history.  After more history, the doctor decides to take my blood pressure. While she wraps the blood pressure cuff around my upper arm, she asks why I’m not dieting. We discuss it while she takes the reading.  146/92.

A visit to urgent care for a UTI that may have moved to the kidneys. I’m feverish. The automatic blood pressure reader inflates suddenly enough that the large cuff won’t stay closed on my arm. The nurse insists on using a standard cuff on my forearm. 160-something.

Arrive at my usual nurse practitioner’s office with coffee. Walking, walking. Sit, tech immediately wraps the large cuff around my arm, holds the cuff closed while triggering the automatic blood pressure reader. 138/88.

At the allergist for a checkup. Arrive early so I can get my allergy shot – I’ve been getting shots weekly for over a year. The usual routine of sitting until my name is called, confirming that I took antihistamines, confirming my name and birthdate, and so on is calming.  This time I’m going back for a checkup instead of reading twitter or a book in the lobby, but I’m still feeling relaxed as I sit on a chair with my feet flat on the floor, go over my med list, and then get my blood pressure taken. 126/80.

I finish a slice of toast with peanut butter and a can of diet Pepsi as I arrive at the endocrinologist’s office. I rest 5 or so minutes in the waiting room.  Once in the exam room I sit in an armless chair. When the doctor takes my blood pressure, I stay seated, feet on the floor, resting my arm at heart level on the counter, and we both stay silent. 132/82.

It Came From the Search Terms

Things people searched on to get to this site!

clothing for obese people

Yes, we wear clothing!  The types and sizes vary though.

seat belt extenders walmart

I’ve had better luck with car manufacturers & Amazon, myself.

im sore from girl dancing

I’m not sure what “girl dancing” is, anybody?

a guy got out of his car and yelled at me

That can be frightening.  It can be scary when they person yelling is in a car, but getting out is an aggressive move.  I hope that you’re OK.

fat acceptance

Check this out.

A Hypothetical Doctor’s Visit

Jasmine is waiting in the exam room and her chart shows that her weight today is up five pounds from her last visit two years ago, putting her BMI at 32. Her blood pressure was borderline high in contrast to the normal readings in previous visits. Although Jasmine’s labs were normal in past visits, they are out of date. When Dr. Johnson greets her today, Jasmine seems anxious and tells Dr. Johnson, “I almost did not come in today knowing my weight is up from the last time I was here and you suggested a diet. I feel like such a failure. However, I need help for my migraines, so here I am.” Dr. Johnson and Jasmine look at each other, there is a beat of silence, and they both sigh.

Dr. Johnson says, “You know, Jasmine, I have been reading the research on weight loss interventions and weight-cycling and I’m realizing that if the same thing happens to almost everyone, it probably is not the fault of the person, it is probably more about the process itself. So, instead of focusing on weight loss, I’m encouraging my patients to think about what makes them feel better in their everyday lives; emotionally and physically. For example, do you feel better when you eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, take a walk with a friend, meditate to relieve stress, and get enough sleep? There’s good evidence that those behaviors are going to make you healthier and feel better even if your weight does not change.”

Jasmine is a bit surprised by Dr. Johnson’s shift and says, “Well, typically, when my weight loss slows down or stops completely, I stop doing any of those things you mentioned that would help me feel better and be healthier.” Dr. Johnson says, “I understand, but we’re going to turn the focus from your weight to your health. Because those behaviors are linked to health, why not do them anyway?”

Jasmine smiles at Dr. Johnson and says, “It sure would be easier to come back and see you the next time I’m supposed to if I did not have to lose weight first.”

Dr. Johnson replies, “I do not want anything to stand in the way of you getting your medical care, including worrying that I might scold you. Now that we have a better plan, I am going to have the nurse retake your blood pressure.” Jasmine and Dr. Johnson then discuss treatment options for Jasmine’s migraines.

— from The Weight-Inclusive versus Weight-Normative Approach to Health: Evaluating the Evidence for Prioritizing Well-Being over Weight Loss published in the Journal of Obesity.

Why Isn’t Obesity Research Better Known?

CBC has an article on the part of obesity research that doesn’t always get talked about.

Tim Caulfield says his fellow obesity academics tend to tiptoe around the truth. “You go to these meetings and you talk to researchers, you get a sense there is almost a political correctness around it, that we don’t want this message to get out there,” he said.

“You’ll be in a room with very knowledgeable individuals, and everyone in the room will know what the data says and still the message doesn’t seem to get out.”

In part, that’s because it’s such a harsh message. “You have to be careful about the stigmatizing nature of that kind of image,” Caulfield says. “That’s one of the reasons why this myth of weight loss lives on.”

Stigmatizing.  How is it stigmatizing to know that being fat isn’t something that can be easily changed by anyone?  One theory: accepting that most fat people cannot permanently become thin implies that fat people aren’t fat “for now”. They may be fat forever.  For the fat people who are rationalizing “I’m fat but I’m losing weight,” the idea that they may not be able to fulfill their fantasy can unfortunately cause another round of self-hate.  Realizing that thinness may not be as controllable as they thought could be scary. But — my understanding is that most obesity researchers are thin. So let’s try another theory.

Researchers may not be fat, but they know fat people, and are probably influenced by implicit and explicit biases.  Adding awareness that fat people will probably stay fat — even the fat people you like, that might become friends?   That’s scary.  It implies that fat people may not actually be sabotaging their weight loss, may not be at fault for weight regain.  Why, fat people may not actually be deserving of hatred.  What, then, of your attitudes toward fat people?  What kind of person are you?

Or, y’know, it might be that researchers are just concerned that if they stop promoting weight loss they they’ll lose their jobs and funding.  In the book Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your WeightLinda Bacon discussed the funding for her HAES vs weight loss study.

[…S]tatistics clearly show that when industry funds research, the published results are much more likely to show beneficial effects than research conducted without industry funding.

[…] I follow a strict policy of never accepting research money from private industry. Not that private industry would have been interested in funding this research anyway—I mean, there’s no profit to be made if we show people getting healthier with lifestyle change, without worrying about weight loss, or if we show that weight isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to health.

Consequently, I’m limited to public funding […] Given that Congress shares the general perception that Americans need to lose weight, that’s where much of the nutrition money goes these days. Plus, many (all?) researchers who sit on the panels that review the grant requests are on industry’s payroll themselves. In fact, some in my field jokingly refer to a group of researchers from the Universities of Colorado and Pittsburgh and Columbia University as the “obesity mafia,” given their control over National Institutes of Health funding.

With my HAES study, I managed to wrangle a relatively small grant out of the NIH […] I’d like to believe we got the grant because of the outstanding proposal. But I’m not that naïve. The reality, I think, is that I took my name off the proposal as the primary investigator and substituted Dr. Stern’s, who is better connected to the mafiosi.

(emphasis added by me)

Others have also speculated that obesity researchers are afraid of losing funding.  To quote Melissa McEwan,  “Boy, it’d sure be sad if they lost funding. Almost as sad as if I lose my life [because] a deadly ailment is misdiagnosed as fat.”  The emphasis on thinness as a measure of health and the societal biases against fat people conspire to prevent fat people from getting proper healthcare.

And that, of course, brings the biggest reason this could be stigmatizing: If the “everyone can be thin” drumbeat is a lie, researchers are complicit in this lie.  You’re not just kowtowing to Weight Watchers, Congress or the NIH when you continue to encourage “just eat less and move more” — you’re a fraud.  That might, indeed, be stigmatizing.

Quote of the Day

There are good questions about Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size, such as the ones asked in the panels I attended at Norwescon.  (This led to me updating my FAQ, even.)

On the other hand, there’s the recent Thought Catalog article Carolyn Hall wrote on “6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement,” which really betrays a misunderstanding of what fat acceptance IS.  There’s been rebuttals to it published. But I’m going to quote from the rather more general response of Marianne Kirby on XOJane:

Hall’s article is about her own lack of fundamental understanding. But it’s also about her discomfort with a tool (that’d be fat acceptance) lots of fat people use to feel good about themselves — or even to just not hate themselves 24/7, which is — honestly and tragically — a very real challenge for many fat folks. She doesn’t understand it because she can’t conceive of fat people who don’t hate themselves. And she probably wishes we’d stop with the self-esteem and get back to loathing ourselves for our own good.  […]

Hall has 6 points that she raises, and so many people have answered those points. But I only have one response: Fat acceptance does not have to be for Carolyn Hall. She does not have to understand it for it to have value. Her inability to process why fat people might need something to help them leave the house and go out in public doesn’t change that fat acceptance does help and it helps people of all sizes who are looking for a way to have some hope of loving themselves.

Not everything has to be for every person. And perhaps this movement simply isn’t for her at this point. That’s fine. I hope she’s very happy. But I am tired as anything of people who want me to be miserable in my own physical form. Her article is nothing new; it’s old and played out. Move along, Carolyn Hall. If you ever need it, fat acceptance will still be here. And you’ll be welcome then. But for now? There is nothing for you here.

…yeah.  I’m not sure why my existence really pisses people off, but it definitely does.

Wheezing Around the Block

One of the recent rants I moderated out of the comments included something* about how “wheezing around the block doesn’t count as exercise.”

Wheezing is a symptom of asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, and other illness. Deciding that wheezing is only due to weight and only will be treated by weight loss is DANGEROUS.

I do wheeze. I have asthma. Now that  it is properly treated I can exercise without wheezing. My treatment plan is greatly helped by insurance to cover the not-available-in-generic Advair & other meds. One of my asthma triggers is exercise itself. This means I need to medicate pre-exercise. I’m also affected by things like air pollution and pollen.

If you’re fat and wheezing while walking around the block, you may need to see a doctor about your wheezing. It’s not necessarily “just being fat.” Waiting til you’re thin? A, may not help, and B, YOU COULD DIE in the meantime.

The fat haters of the world would have you believe you only wheeze if you’re fat and should lose weight to cure it. The fat accepters think that if you’re sick, you should be treated for that without having to lose weight first. I’m on the fat accepting side.

*Paraphrased to remove profanity & improve readability.

Saturday Ramblings

1am is still Saturday if you haven’t gone to bed yet, right?

Note to self: The expensive twice-daily asthma med works best if the evening dose is 12 hours after the morning dose, not 18 or 20. You carry it with you. Set an alarm on your phone & use it. Don’t just turn it off.

Kath posted about a current fat acceptance tag on twitter, if you haven’t seen it already. Also the HAES blog has a piece on activist burnout.

I started watching the first season of Mad Men on Netflix.  Is it weird that I’m describing it as “a grown-up Bewitched”?

TSA Travels

I don’t fly very often. This is likely why it I didn’t go through a full-body security scanner until Friday and, again, today.  I don’t have strong opinions about the type of scanning used, although I do consider much of the airport security approach to be security theater. So I did the scanner instead of other measures.

image

Image from Wikipedia

These were the millimeter wave scanners. The opening is narrower than the machine. I turned sideways to get in. Otherwise I fit fine. Each time the machine flagged me for pat downs afterward on my thighs, just above my knees.  The second time also included pat downs of my tummy, back and bottom. I was always patted down by a woman – no waiting.

Other posts on flying:

Flying While Fat
Buying Plane Tickets (more seats than passengers)
A mid-flight conversation on flying while fat

Tell Me Again How It’s “For My Own Good”

Lara Frater wrote about this and I wanted to boost the signal.  The Rudd Center recently came out with a study (PDF link) showing that weight stigma affects the stress hormone cortisol.

Exposure to weight-stigmatizing stimuli was associated with greater cortisol reactivity among lean and overweight women. These findings highlight the potentially harmful physiological consequences of exposure to weight stigma.

It doesn’t require being fat to have this kind of reaction, by the way. Both the lean and overweight women “were equally likely to report that they would rather not see obese individuals depicted in a stigmatizing manner in the media.”

What’s cortisol? Some highlights from Wikipedia:

Cortisol, known more formally as hydrocortisone is a steroid hormone […] released in response to stress and a low level of blood glucocorticoids. Its primary functions are to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis; suppress the immune system; and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate  metabolism.  […] Cortisol counteracts insulin, contributes to hyperglycemia-causing hepaticgluconeogenesis and inhibits the peripheral utilization of glucose (insulin resistance). […] Cortisol can weaken the activity of the immune system.

Being fat (“excess weight”) is considered a cause of insulin resistance.  And it appears that weight stigma increases cortisol … which increases insulin resistance.  Which is the chicken? Which is the egg?

This isn’t necessarily new.  Weight stigma  has been tied to weight gain before.  What this study highlights is one mechanism.  There may be others.  We know that fat bias prevents fat people from getting jobs, from getting raises, and from getting proper healthcare treatment.   Fat people are also often paid less and harassed more than similar-qualified people who are thin.  None of this improves health.

So when I hear people saying that fat people just need more “tough talk” to lose weight “for their own good”? No, I don’t believe them.

Pursuing An Agenda

Earlier today, Melissa McEwan tweeted:

So, in response to the accusations that I have an agenda, yes -- yes I do. And that's what it is.

Scrolling back, I saw Melissa’s prior tweet was regarding Dylan Farrow: “I am speaking about this because it is wrong; I am speaking in solidarity with Dylan Farrow; I am speaking in defense of my own survival.”

This blew me away.

In retrospect it seems silly — of course people often have their own agendas on the internet! — but we often want to stay neutral and avoid “taking sides.”   Especially in matters of activism, we want to be one of the good guys, to avoid self-interest.  It’s not that I’m getting something out of this, it’s that it’s the right thing to do.

Self-interest is not necessarily wrong.  Yet people often try to put it aside, to derive credibility from their neutrality.  I’m one of them.

I’ve been accused of ignoring research that shows an increased risk of death among people with my BMI.  I don’t ignore it. I just don’t see how it changes the research showing that diets don’t result in long-term weight loss for the overwhelming majority of people.  Or that in the long term, weight loss efforts often result in regain (or net gain), loss of self-esteem, and are ultimately a waste of time.

Yes, I have an agenda in my choice to live life at my current weight instead of trying, yet again, to win the weight-loss lottery.  Yes, when I discuss weight-loss scams, it’s because I consider selling such frauds to be unethical, unhealthy, and wrong.  Yes, rejecting the decade-plus I spent dieting has done wonders for my mental and physical health.

So yes, if you’ve wondered what my agenda is in writing about weight — there it is.

Things I’m reading

Kath as a post at Fat Heffalump on the feedback from her recent interview by Jasmin Lill on news.com.au, Brisbane blogger speaks out against online bullies. Go Kath!

Closet Puritan has a thoughtful response to some of the conflation between “Fat people are more common in communities with a Walmart” and “Eating more processed food from Walmart makes people fat”.

This Adipose Rex has some musings on Christianity and the body:

This Advent I am thinking about how if my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, then this flesh itself is sacred — this same substance worn by the God of the universe, and shaped into God’s image. If I really believe in the words I recite every week, the resurrection of the body, then this is not some temporary meat-costume I will abandon so my soul can flit off to an immaterial heaven, but the too too solid flesh that will dance in the hereafter.

This reminds me of The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts by Hanne Blank, which I’ve been reading. From the introduction:

Exercise—by which I mean regular physical movement that puts your body through its paces—is crucially important because it is something that makes it possible for you and your body to coexist in better and more integrated ways. It builds a bridge across the mind-body split. […E]xercise gives your body to you. […] Most of all, it teaches you that your body is not just a sort of jar made out of meat that you lug around because it’s what you keep your brain in, but an equal and in fact quite opinionated partner in the joint production that is you.

And over on the HAES blog, there’s an interesting discussion on healthism & privilege.

Quote of the day: Easier to get fit than thin

Not that everyone has to want to be fit or can be fit, but for those who exercise and don’t lose weight, this might be helpful.

[Deb Burgard, Ph.D. points out that] fat people who repeatedly try to lose weight are more likely to yo-yo diet, or weight-cycle, than they are to maintain weight loss permanently. And because weight-cycling has been linked to cardiac disease and other problems, overweight people who are metabolically healthy could increase their risks of the very diseases they tried to avoid in the first place if they lose weight and gain it back again.

The takeaway for fat people? Keep on trucking when it comes to increasing your physical activity, and don’t get discouraged by headlines that seem to make weight the single determining factor in living a long, healthy life.

“It’s much easier to get a fat person fit than it is to get a fat person thin,” concluded Gaesser. And that’s a good thing, because fitness may be much more rewarding than thinness alone.

— From a Huffington Post discussion of a new “But fat people are so unhealthy” study.

Labor Day

I created this blog 5 years ago.  Thanks for reading :)

Today is also Labor Day in the US.  I work in a field that is very un-unionized and I know unions aren’t perfect, but I was raised by union members and I support organized labor.  Growing up I didn’t see much like my family in the media — fathers who take steel-toed boots and overalls to work, to wear at work?  Who don’t own a suit?  Then I discovered this song.

Through the mansions of fear, through the mansions of pain
I see my daddy walking through them factory gates in the rain
Factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life
The working, the working, just the working life

— “Factory” by Bruce Springsteen; lyrics are here.

This Shouldn’t Give Me A Headache

But it’s trying.

Dear,

My name is Lisa. I have been following your blog  from quite some time now and thoroughly enjoy every post of yours.

Well, after reading through your blog, I think you would be interested in having a look at our recently launched infographic America’s Battle With Obesity([link to typical FEAR The Obesity Epidemic Because We Said So FEAR Booga Booga removed – Ed]). If you find it helpful, then please consider it for sharing with your readers.

Thanks, and I hope to hear from you soon!
Best Wishes,
Lisa

My reply:

Dear Lisa,

I really don’t see how anyone who’s read my blog would think that graphic would be of any interest to the my readers.

Regards.

- LFP

In other goings-on, NPR reports “Hating On Fat People Just Makes Them Fatter”.   Of course they still do, as this eloquent tumblr post from The Mighty If points out.

Marianne Kirby wrote about working in plus-size retail in college, and how huge being able to buy clothing can be.  This is even harder for supersize or extended-size people.  I usually shop online because my brick-and-mortar store options are so limited.

[S]o many fat people lacked any experience of being treated with dignity and respect in a retail setting. It wasn’t just me. And if it wasn’t just me, then maybe I didn’t deserve to be mocked and harassed and made fun off. Maybe I didn’t deserve to be treated badly just because of my body.

And neither did anyone else.

And yet the lack of respect for fat people is constant.