03 August 2011

Do I hate Fat People? (or: SOMEbody was reeeally bored)

Do you hate fat people or is it just an easy thing to make fun of?

Somebody posted this question on my Formspring, which tagged it as “offensive or rude”, and subsequently deleted it.

I thought I should still address it, as I am sure many of this woman’s cronies have wondered the same. I know it was asked by a woman belonging to the “fan-dom” of a certain actor/musician and band. It is not the first time they have asked me loaded questions in order to have fodder on which to feed their dislike of me. I know it’s not somebody who actually knows me, or the question would never have been asked. Over a year ago, I made general comments about the median size of said fans. I have even made public mea culpas, and still they persist, now with this question.
Well, these ladies are obviously bored, and I have plenty to say so...I’ll play.

Do I inherently hate fat people? No.
Is it an easy thing to make fun of? Well, in the case of a specific group of people I felt was antagonizing me: yes. Granted, it was a low blow, but no less true for that. Unfortunately, I did not care enough about these people to put effort into Rostandian insults, so I went for the obvious.

While BB and I were in Colombia, he said he was amazed that he only saw 2 people the entire time, who could be considered obese. We visited 2 major, highly populated cities: Medellin (pop. 2.4 million) and Pereira (approx. 500,000 people), not to mention numerous other smaller towns. In Colombia the streets are teeming with people, at any time of day or night. We saw a lot of people, but only 2 people who were grossly overweight. Only two people of a size that would not be seen as out of place in the US.
Go pretty much anywhere else in the world and you’ll encounter a similar phenomenon...although that is beginning to change as other countries adopt an American-style diet. The average American diet is disgusting--- most of what they eat doesn’t even resemble real food.
It’s all about fast and convenient, which often means highly processed, sugar/salt and fat-saturated foods. My idea of a “fast and convenient” meal is dumping out a bag of organic greens onto a plate and drizzling it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. What’s yours?
I’m living below what’s considered the poverty line in the U.S. and I am getting by without food stamps, so finances are not (always) an excuse for poor diet. I know government assistance programs don’t make it easy, either--- in some cases you’re almost almost forced to make unhealthy food choices. I have a friend who often bemoans the fact that he can’t buy his favorite VISO drink (sweetened with real sugar and enhanced with vitamins) but would be allowed to buy Cheetos and RedBull with his Oregon Trail card, were he so inclined. However, it’s not impossible to buy and eat nutritious food on a budget.
Some would say it’s easier to eat well and inexpensively in a place like Portland, with its granola-hippie bent and emphasis on local, organically farmed produce. However, eating healthily is not as expensive as one might think. Most Americans are just too lazy--- it seems a lot easier to go get BigMacs and Happy Meals at the drive-through than it is to make a big pot of lentils and rice (which would be cheaper, healthier, AND feed a small family for a few days).

A Canadian acquaintance of mine once commented on the American obesity problem “They’ll say it’s a ‘glandular condition’, but isn’t it odd that this glandular condition exclusively affects Americans?”
I don’t really buy the “I have a health condition” excuse. You don’t end up 50-100 lbs overweight over-night. And, statistically speaking, I have a hard time believing that a group of several hundred women, from different parts of the U.S., from varied backgrounds/age groups, with the same rare “glandular condition”, would all end up in one room at the same time. I mean, really...what are the odds?

It’s not a prejudice against size I have...if anything, it’s a prejudice against prolonged self-pity and inaction.
As I observed before, one doesn’t just wake up 50+lbs over-weight one day.
Given my background with Reiki and other forms of energy work, I believe that weight is armor--- just a physical manifestation, a symptom with an emotional or spiritual cause. It’s a form of protection and a way of hiding, from oneself and others.
During my adult life, I’ve fluctuated between a size 2 and a size 12 (I think--- the Colombian booty is an x-factor where pant-size is concerned). I have never “gone on a diet”, I don’t eat as healthily as I feel I should, and I certainly don’t get as much exercise as I should. I am older than I look and past the point where I can just rely on a youthful metabolism to keep me thin. I have a hearty appetite, yet I’m the most slender I’ve been in my adult life.
It’s not magic. It’s a matter of being self-aware and at peace, or at least working on the things I need to work on.
Sure, it’s also a matter of making healthy choices: drinking water instead of soda, eating foods that aren’t processed or high in sugar and trans-fats, cutting out HFCS, chewing food slowly and mindfully, getting a little bit of exercise...
But I truly believe the most important component is the mental/emotional. The heaviest I’ve been has always been when I was trying to hide from the world, whether it was after a date-rape, after my father died, after I was attacked by a burglar/stalker or while dealing with an ovarian cyst the size of my head. I put on a protective layer of padding until I was ready to reclaim my strength and drop the protective armor--- which I quickly did once I did the emotional work.

My general comments from over a year ago are still bothering you, so I think it’s pretty safe to say you think you’re fat and you’re unhappy about it. Sure, you can take it personally, play the victim and get mad at the world... but the truth is, even if you magically woke up a size 2 tomorrow that would not resolve the issue, the true root of the problem.
While it’s true that sometimes obesity has a genetic component, it’s largely a result of a sedentary lifestyle coupled with unhealthy eating habits, and emotional factors (like emotional over-eating).
On the small chance that it is a health issue in your case--- what are you doing about it? What did you do when you “suddenly” gained an extra 25 lbs, an extra 50lbs?
Which leads me to the more likely culprit, and that is the emotional component.
I know some big beautiful ladies who make me feel like an inadequate specimen of womanhood; they ooze confidence and sex appeal from every pore and carry themselves with strength and grace. They are shining examples of what it is to be comfortable in your own skin.
Any lover or friend worth having in your life is not going to care about your dress-size--- they’ll just want to see you happy and healthy. You’re better off shedding the excess emotional baggage than you are focusing solely on weight-loss.

Basically, what I’m saying is: get over it.

Do something. Do the internal work. It’s difficult, it’s painful, and nobody wants to do it, but it’s absolutely worth it! Sure it would be easier if you had a job/better job/nicer house/more time...whatever...it’s never going to be a perfect time or a convenient time.

Or...you can just go back to sitting in front of the computer with a pint of Häagen-Dazs and bitch about how a stranger across the country singled you out of several thousand other women she’s never met, and called you fat.


Infamous CoatCheck Girl

All Content Copyright 2011, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved


  1. I was having this conversation with my husband, after we discussed a recent MSNBC poll in which half of all men said they'd leave their partner if she gained a significant amount of weight. Discussing this in my usual "mom centered forums" where the moms are largely (puns!) from middle america, I was lambasted as shallow for saying "Well, I understand what they're trying to say". They of course chimed in with "My husband married me for me, I didn't marry an ashsole, etc., etc."

    While my husband never said he'd leave me if I got heavy (and he wouldn't, he's amazing like that), he would express concern and upset. After all, these women would never accept "I thought you married me for me" if their husbands took to picking up alcoholism or a crack pipe." Any unhealthy habit that is affecting your marriage or life negatively should be dealt with and not brushed aside as "part of you". It's a problem, and I have a problem with the "fat acceptance" movement. It's counterintuitive to everything our society is trying to do in dealing with addiction. It's like saying "Addiction is bad! But addiction to food and using your weight as emotional armor is okay!" Huh!?

    The point I'm circumnavigating around is that people never seem to realize how much our outside self is tied in with our inside self, and you make excellent points noting that. If I'm 100 pounds heavier, something is WRONG with me on the inside, and if I'm not willing to work on that --- why should he stick around if I'm not willing to grow and be of sound mind AND body? How is that a healthy relationship?

    Look at me rambling -- recovering from surgery and in no mood to have oxycodone dreams leaves me doing things like this. ;)

  2. Well said. You are a wise young woman.

  3. Well stated, my pill-popping friend! During my research for this article, I came across a few of these "fat acceptance" sites and organizations.
    I can appreciate that they attempt to empower people to accept themselves for who they are, but self-acceptance is more than merely learning to accept your current lot in life, regardless of how you got there--- that’s just conceding defeat.
    Rather than encourage people to really do some soul-searching and get at the true root of the issue, they seem to absolve them of any responsibility for their own health: "You have knee problems? Depression? Diabetes? High cholesterol? That's ok--- love yourself the way you are!"

    The one that was at least close to being on the right track is HAES (Healthy at Every Size). At least that has some focus on making more mindful, healthy choices, along with self-acceptance. Here is what they list on their site as their primary focus points:

    * Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
    * Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite.
    * Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically vital.

    This still, however, ignores the question: how did you end up here?
    I can tell you, the answer is NOT: Because my life’s been peachy!

  4. I agree with you. As a woman who is overweight (changing that with a new diet consisting of fresh veggies and fruits and no sugar, wheat, or dairy), it does come down to the way you feel about yourself emotionally. A friend once told me that she believed I was afraid of losing weight because men would pay more attention to me. I laughed at her until I took a long hard look at myself, my fears, and my emotional development. She was right. Dealing with the emotional fears that hold you back is a long painful journey but reaching the end and learning to love yourself, to want to be healthier, for you and no one else, is well worth it. Thank you for your honesty in your blogs.

  5. Well, thank you! Best of luck to you on this new journey. I congratulate you for your courage in making a conscious decision to confront and tackle your personal demons.

    I highly recommend a yoga, but in particular a DVD called Fat Free Yoga-Lose Weight & Feel Great (http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Free-Yoga-Weight-BEGINNERS/dp/B000AY6JVK)

    Kundalini yoga can seem a little kooky at first, but this particular DVD isn't too "out there". I love it because it's aimed more at helping regulate your endocrine system and helping balance out your moods, rather than making you sweat or burn calories, though you will do that too.
    It's still one of my favorite DVDs of this entire series, because when I do it regularly, I feel centered and invincible--- like I can handle anything life throws at me.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

  6. I started typing up a response while I was at work...but I got all long winded, and then my work network wouldn't actually let me post the response...which...I don't know.

    So I copied the whole thing over onto my blog and got even wordier. I am nothing if not verbose and opinionated.

    If you care to peruse said words, you might find them here: http://myweightinwords.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/weighty-thoughts/

    Thank you...and it was a pleasure finally getting to meet you Saturday night.

    Natalie (the round and squishy one)

  7. About 14 years ago I began taking a medicine, when i began a good friend said "due to this med, within a few years your face will be round & you will gain weight, mostly in your tummy"....sure enough, my once oval face is now round & i do not even wanna talk about my "tummy" *sighs*

    Do i hate it, yes! Do i try to lose it, hell yes! And yeah, i hate the way i look, i hate the meds i need but have to take every single day...

    Believe me, if i could do something to NOT take those meds, i sure would...point is yeah, OK lotsa ppl overeat,but occasionally there are ppl, who cant help it, due to health, medication & so forth....

    Lastly, if i dont take these mads, i have seizures, lots of em :( All i am saying is NEVER group one type of ppl & single them out - i belive thats called discrimination :/

  8. Oh my! I bet you hit a lot of sensitive nails on that one! Kudos to you for speaking up. And if I may, I remember the "mea culpa" from last year and the thought that there are people still holding it against you blows my mind. These are people I have seen preach the live and let live mentality & peddle the thoughts/likes/dislikes/etc of said actor/musician to the point of shoving it down people's throats & driving other people away, but a tweet by yet another person they don't know is going to have them mounting an army against you & holding that eternal grudge. Puh-lease.

    I am a mother & lemme tell ya, its not easy to lose the weight afterwards. I take care of myself, work out religiously, no, I don't always eat right but I know how to make substitutions when I cook that are healthier without losing flavor. After I had my son I was 185lbs & a size 12 (and I'm 5'6"). He's 5 now and I'm at a healthy 130 and a size 5 and I'm quite happy where I'm at. If anyone else doesn't like that I have a lil bit of booty behind me, I could freakin care less. Why? Because I like how I look.

    Its one thing to be happy in your own skin, its another to be in complete denial and feel like your only option is just to accept that this is the only way for you. To hell with the haters, doll face. You said exactly the right thing and I applaud you for it.

    Oh, I'm only posting as anonymous because it wouldn't let me link my account. I can be found on Twitter as MagsHoop.

  9. I am wholeheartedly in agreement with you. You stated it all very well.

  10. I think you made some good points. I also think you were either deliberately dishonest or deluded. I remember your comments from a year or so ago that you directed at a group of people you love to deride in every way.

    I also noted that here, you covered yourself with your entourage by claiming you are surrounded by big women who are confident, sexy, yadda yadda yadda.

    What you failed to say is that they are all fat. Funny you are so critical of others who are overweight, but in your friends it is a good thing. What is even more amazing to me is that your fat friends joined you in making fun of other overweight people. Guess it is bad if one is a fat Kaniac but not if one is a fat Toboniac?

    Life has taught me when one runs across vocal, aggressive, negative, snide fat women it is not just a layer of fat they are hiding behind. They also have developed a brash personality to hide behind.

    I also question the size 2 gal who surrounds herself with chubby friends. Does she like the reflection of herself she sees in their shadows?

    Don't pretend honesty where there is none and don't pretend that your fat friends are possessed of a blessedly pure fatness.

    A non-fat person's opinion, take it as you can.

  11. It is an opinion, but one based on assumptions not facts.

    How do you presume to know who my friends are?

    Life, for me, did not begin with the Kane shows. I've been making friends for a very long time now...decades, even! My friends are not limited to a couple of Kane fans. My social circle is wide-ranging and diverse: there are people of every shape/size/gender/orientation, etc. that I am proud to call "friend".

    This post is just as applicable to the Toboniacs to whom you refer, as to anyone else, and they're well aware of it. You see, that is why we're friends...we can speak openly and honestly with each other, and while we may not always agree on things, we always respect each others' right to having and expressing an opinion.
    When it comes to the people I share any time with, the external trappings are irrelevant.

    (If you must know, one of the big beautiful ladies I was referring to is in fact a burlesque dancer I know).

  12. As one of the "Toboniacs" I think its downright adorable that the comment about us was put in anonymously. Let me guess.... jealous Insaniac? ;) It says more about your fears than it does us, honey, cuz we aren't offended that easily :)

    Our dear CoatCheckGirl has her "entourage" because we're all honest with each other, be it about weight, attitudes or anything else in life, and lord knows none of us are claiming to be perfect. We're all friends, and believe it or not, we're friends outside of Kane-related events. If that makes us the entourage, we're fine with it....hell, some of us jokingly have t-shirts! I can't speak for us all, but this Toboniac wasn't offended by her "fat" comments. I'll admit, I'm on the lower end of the size spectrum. which most of the "offended party" would take to mean I'm one of the skinny bitches, but I'm still overweight for my physique, so I took a lesson away from this post too. A bigger lesson I learned was from the comments.

    What was that you said? "Life has taught me when one runs across vocal, aggressive, negative, snide fat women it is not just a layer of fat they are hiding behind. They also have developed a brash personality to hide behind" ? I can see what you mean! Thank you kindly for creating a post where you not only proved your point, but gave yourself over valiantly as a shining example of that type of woman! FYI: you don't have to be a "fat" woman to be that specific flavor of bitch.

    Thanks for another great post, Juliana, informative, interesting and as always, a delight to read :)

  13. To the anonymous commenter on the seizure meds:
    You are doing what you need to do in order to be healthy, which is taking your seizure medication. I believe I did address that in the post.
    I realize most medications have unwanted side effects, but if you're unhappy with them, have you looked into complimentary therapies that can help mitigate these? Or asked your doctor about an alternative medication with fewer side effects? I know that's not always possible, but you said it's been 14 years. Maybe there's a new comparable medication available?
    The point I was trying to make is that as long as you are HEALTHY and happy, your shape and size are not really important. And by healthy I mean eating healthily, exercising AND actively taking an interest in your health (i.e. doing independent research and/or working with your doctor to figure out a compromise between preventing seizures and maintaining a weight with which you are comfortable).
    Merely feeling bad about the way you look accomplishes nothing.

    To Mags:

    Thanks,lady! I have heard it is hard to lose baby weight, if only because you don't have time to worry about working out or shopping and cooking and all of that, but I also know it's not impossible.
    And, again, what I was talking about is not about being a size two. Women are supposed to be luscious and curvy! I fear losing my Colombian booty and softly rounded belly!

    The people I have no sympathy for are the ones I see laboring down the street, sweating like pigs on a 50º day, their breathing heavy after 1 block, knees splayed from the weight (or worse, riding on a scooter-chair)...and they're eating a family-size bag of chips or drinking a bucket-sized soft-drink.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting, and especially for going out of your way to put your name to it. I can't abide the "anonymous" hate. I may use a pseudonym for my writing, but these people all know who I am. I'll apologize if I mis-state facts, but I'm certainly not going to apologize for expressing an opinion...especially one solicited by the very same people who later lambast me for it!

  14. Hi Coat Check Girl :)
    I am the one on the seizure meds & yes, I have explored other options....In the USA meds that would solve the prob are so expensive, I would go into debt trying to stay on them :/ In the UK, so expensive that the National Health Service will not supply them :/ Yeah, I have Drs on both sides of the pond....
    After reading your post, I took a long look at myself & thought about what I can do to change things. Well, I told my husband I was about to make some "drastic changes in my life", to which he told me quote "your having a midlife crisis" LOL
    I am on day 4 of my diet & exercise regimen, no I cant fight the round face OR these damn meds, but I can work hard to look & feel better about myself :)
    Personally, the only Kaniacs I am acquainted with are on Facebook & Twitter lol. I have life long friends, male & female of all different sizes, shapes, races & so forth. These I love like brothers & sisters :) So in life, I am very blessed :)
    By the way, thank you, for helping this person, Kaniac or not, to see what I can do to help myself :)
    By the way, I am @23poetry on Twitter :)

  15. Oh my. Appears I touched on some nerves here. I am anonymous because it is the only option here that is usable in my case. It is quite obvious who your friends are. I don't really understand how the fact that one of them is both fat and a burlesque dancer makes your point?

    All of you are so honest...hmmm. I have actually followed this blog for quite some time and I get it. Being controversial is the best way to get a readership. It works, and I admire you have been clever enough to capitalize on the concept. Yet, after following this blog for some time I have been repeatedly amazed at how you have no appreciation or respect for the people you depend on for your income. For some reason this seems to be particularly true about Kane and Kane fans. Yet your honesty has not extended to mentioning how you benefit financially from your proximity to both. This whole thread began based on previous comments you directed at that particular fan base.

    So, your "defender" jumps to the conclusion that I am a Kane fan, and of course that means I am an "Insaniac"? So, being a Kane fan means one is inferior in some way? Am I wrong in that there would be no "Toboniacs" if they didn't band together to mock "Kaniacs"?

    At any rate, I granted the excellent points you made in your post. I just questioned the hypocrisy. I'm so happy for you that you have a diverse and wide ranging circle of friends. I just don't see where that is relevant to the discussion any more so than that you have a fat burlesque dancer as a friend.

    If all said here is true, and you are all as honest and negatively critical of each other as you are to others (customers, clients, employers etc.) you need to be so as publicly as when mocking others that aren't in your diverse and wide flung friendom. You may want to also practice accepting negative criticism as gracefully and blithely as you spew it.

    Wow, and I didn't even have to resort to calling anyone a bitch to make my point.

  16. To criticize me, my writing or choice of subject matter is one thing--- I know I am opening myself up to that by posting things publicly.
    But it should come as no surprise that somebody else would defend herself when being attacked on this forum I’ve provided. I have no control, or rather don't want to control or censor, how others express themselves on here...even you.

    I am, however, still somewhat confused by your assumptions:

    -That you know who my friends are (there are people ascribed to my "posse", as I've heard it called, with whom I've never actually had any interaction). The original Kane fans who called themselves "Toboniacs", I can guarantee, you have never met.
    Most of my friends, in fact, are blissfully unaware of Kane’s existence, or in some cases their knowledge is limited to “some country band my boyfriend plays in”.

    -"no appreciation or respect for the people you depend on for your income". Haha...What?! The Kaniacs somehow responsible for my income? Why wasn't I informed? Who do I invoice?

    You do realize this blog, this persona, this story existed long before this Kaniac nuisance came crashing into my life.
    While my connection to the band spiked my readership it was only out of prurient interest, the small hope of gleaning some tidbit of knowledge about the band, or any chance to berate me, presumably for not appreciating my “enviable position”. (Oh, please...they’re musicians. I live in Portland--- I know nothing BUT musicians!)
    I can tell a Kaniac question or comment from a mile away because the underlying tone is that no matter what I write, it's wrong, it’s bitchy, it’s this or that. They’re reading and responding to it with the preconception that they’re going to be upset or offended by what they read.

    What the thinker thinks, the prover proves! (R.A.W.)

    If you find my writing that bad/sensationalistic/boring/whatever, why have you followed it “for quite some time”?

  17. I follow your blog for the same reason I follow various entertainers...I find it entertaining. At times you make valid points and manage to send some helpful info, even if it is often accomplished in a supercilious manner.

    My apologies for making assumptions. Here I thought that the Kane band and the folks that come to see that band actually pay to be there, ergo, contributing to the $ you earn at Dante's. I'm sure that the knowledge that the Leverage cast comes also doesn't bring in any extra fans either. So surely there is no benefit for you or Dante's. Not to mention all that you do at Kane concerts outside of Dante's. Didn't realize you do all that for free.

    BTW, I'd be careful calling your Toboniacs "original" Kane fans. I have seen where being an "original" Kane fan means being the target of some of your newer friends who love creating controversy and drama.

    Your "enviable" position of small fish in big pond...I get it.

    If I'm so off base and assumed to just be another Insaniac, why do you waste time responding? I'm disappointed to see, as I have said, that any disagreement or criticism here can not be received as blithely as it is given. I do agree that many Kaniacs have the preconceptions you claim. Might be because comments here regarding their fave entertainer and themselves are always negative? Reap what you sow? (B.I.B.L.E)

  18. Well, thank you for admirably proving my point about people reading things as they wish to see them rather than reading what I've actually written!
    Between you and some of the others you've practically created an entirely separate blog, more imaginative and controversial than I could ever write.
    I saw an FB chat where some of the Kaniacs were supposedly "recounting" what I'd written in some of my posts. According to them, I myself wrote that my job consists of giving hand-jobs in the greenroom at Dante's.
    I have heard you lot are fans of fiction... *shrug*


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