Ah the wonderful feeling of vacation-nonchalant-shrug-freedom

I should be writing a manifesto. I really don’t want to.

What is it about the term “vacation” that makes you feel like doing nothing at all?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’ve got the rest of the day and week to fill this blog full of content. I think I’ll take today. Call it a mental health day.

A well-being day.

Yay. That’s it. ~lazes~

My boyfriend requested that I edit this post to add that this desire to not do anything may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I was up until 3 a.m. this morning.

Shit is much more funny at 3 a.m.

That statement has nothing to do with anything. It’s amusing though. So there’s that.

Know Thine Enemy: Ubran Dictionary’s Definition of Fattitude

Know Thine Enemy: Urban Dictionary’s Definition of Fattitude

Know Thine Enemy… Because surely, those who sit around all day helping Urban Dictionary expand on its massive content of bigoted, disgusting, and idiotic content are really fit to define Fattitude.

Then again, what can one expect from a person who goes by the internet handle “Uberstench”. This name just makes me want to say: Yes, you are the overlord of foulness and arrogance. Thank you for recognizing just how hideous of a human being you really are, since the rest of us are far too polite and above pointing out this simple fact to a self-acknowledged loser like yourself.

Fattitude (my definition): NO LONGER ACCEPTING ANY OF THE DEFINITIONS PROVIDED BY FAT-HATERS. There are a lot of them on the internet. Many of them are probably either fat themselves (self-hatred is always a great motivating force for hating others who are cut from the same cloth) or are generally the sort of unpleasant, ugly, or stinky people who attack others. I suspect for one simple reason, they hate themselves or their lives and really, REALLY need to do something to make themselves feel superior to others or better than they actually are. Why else would anyone waste so much time raining verbal diarrhea on strangers? (Freud would probably call this “projection” or something like that… “projection” may well be the only Freudian principle that really does hold up, unlike penis envy. O.o)

Fattitude is having a positive attitude about your body. Everybody has adipose cells (except for the people I mentioned in my first post, who have a genetic disorder that means they were born WITHOUT the ability to retain fat in adipose). So love these cells. Go ahead and act with a lot of positive, sexy attitude around the sort of people who would spout hatred on Urban Dictionary and the greater world beyond. Maybe, for just a moment, imagine that they are just the sort of people who would rather squat in their cold bedroom caves, acting like trolls, than appreciate that there is beauty in all shapes and sizes. Beauty, sexiness, and wonderful people who will give them love. And maybe sex. But ONLY do this for a moment, because, truthfully, they aren’t worth our thoughts and insulting them is beneath us.

Except for Uberstench. You can embrace yourself. You can even embrace other haters (that’ll really piss them off). But don’t embrace Uberstench. That’s a smell you’ll never get out of your hair.

Beauty Redefined

Beauty Redefined

Yay. Just discovered this site today via VV’s FB page. I’m already digging the theme of the site, even if I haven’t been able to dig it deeply.

This is an article that should give us all food for thought, as I completely agree with the message it is sending. If the negative voice in your head starts to speak loudly, do a mental check. It’s the only way to help yourself pull yourself out of the morass of negativity that many of us face when dealing with our own body image.

If you can’t do it alone, find yourself at least one person who you can talk to who actually manages to help YOU pull yourself from that morass. My boyfriend is this person for me, and I am thankful ever day that I have him, because he doesn’t just talk to me or comfort me, he questions me and challenges me so that I can better see WHY my thoughts are becoming consumed with some negative feeling, either about my body or, more generally, my conscious self.

And tangentially linked: http://hellogiggles.com/the-rational-scale-of-extremity. Also a good read because it helps us identify the one biggest thing that can hold you back from a feeling of well-being: triggers. We’ve all got ’em. I’ve been told that weight loss surgery is a big one for some, hence the negative reaction I get by simply asking to not be shamed for having had one. When we are able to actually define what is triggering our emotional reactions, the largest chunk of the power these triggers have over us just vanishes.

Once upon a time, I thought knowledge was power

And then I started researching “obesity”.

You can’t see it, but my eyes are rolling and I am sighing heavily.

What I found is a lot of research, which often provides either contradictory information, or blends so much quantitative and qualitative data, that it is hard to wrap one’s head around. After all, much of the research depends on the suppositions that one, obesity has a heavy consequential link with pure lifestyle “choices” and that two, obesity has a pure casual link diseases and a higher risk of mortality. But you dig deeper and these two ideas, which seem too dependent on our social views of fatness to be effective as a basis for research (ie, one much start with a hypothesis before any true research can be done, but if the hypothesis is formed on generalizations formed from entrenched social stigma, then it seems obvious to me that what will ensue will always be skewed by the narrow-mindedness of the researchers’ first assumptions) and you will miss a lot of the picture.

I guess that’s why I appreciate the Downey Obesity Report now, though I am not sure I like the name. But so many of us who are “obese” sting at that word now. It has been taken from its context as a medical term and is now volleyed about by society and the media as a way to blatantly stigmatize those who are overweight, and in such a way that it is not only socially acceptable, but socially expected. People who defend having it flung at fat people like me the way the word “homosexual” is now often flung at gay people (I am sure you know what I am talking about, as surely you’ve come across someone using that term, which is “correct” but in a tone that suggests they are verbally expressing a sugar-coated version of what they are really thinking, which is some pejorative which, if used, would just make the person using it look like the asshat they are) do so with the idea that if fat people are beat down with “facts” (ie, the skewed conclusions which may only be half-understood by the media who disperse scientific information to others in a simplified and thus “easy to digest” form) we’ll conform to what others expect us to be.

What are we expected to be? Well, we’re expected to change our entire existence to ensure that we are no longer visually offensive to those who are forced to face us every day, those poor souls who find fat people so disgusting that they stare, comment, or otherwise treat said fat people badly for existing.

Because obesity gets tossed around without a greater understanding by many of the people who toss it around (and this includes some self-proclaimed nurses or other lower-level medical personnel, such as lab technicians, etc.) there is a high prevalence of statistics which are used against people, probably on a daily basis, that don’t reflect the actual health and welfare of the individual who is being exposed to these statistics.

Or, to get straight to the point:Image

I got that one from a great body positive page (devoted mostly toward reminding over weight women that yeah, as a matter of fact, we are dead sexy too,) called Voluptuous Vixens (www.facebook.com/Officialvvpg).

Why do I point this out? Simply put, those of us who want to live healthy lives will seek out sources like The Downey Obesity (www.downeyobesityreport.com) or Health at Every Size (www.haescommunity.org/) to find out real information on scientific studies into the causes of weight-gain, actual health studies that can really show a consequential relationship between fat and disease and actual ways to try to maintain one’s own health and well-being without using quantitative measurements, such as weight on the scale, BMI (which in my opinion must stand for “bullshit medical instrument” for all the good it actually does in determining a person’s health or even actual fat mass), or even clothing size and measurements.

I personally feel that studies should be done to determine whether or not fat in and of itself is a symptom of something else. I really believe it is, and can define the way it is in my own life. My weight increases the most during those times when I am having the hardest time negotiating through my depression and anxiety problems. My weight also increases when I am dealing with a lot of stress. Some studies suggest that there is a link between stress and the body’s tendency to retain weight, through the hormone cortisol. But, as I have seen others who are actively trying to change the way our country perceives obesity, seeing someone studying the effect of cortisol on the body is still frustrating because it seems like the real issue is clouded by the fact that medical research will put fat in a “cause” column, and other diseases which could be symptomatic of environment or personal psychology, like fat, in the “effect” column.

So, when you’re fat, knowledge really isn’t power, it’s a continuation of the frustration that many of us feel over our own lives, which seem so out of our control. Every time we diet and don’t lose we feel powerless. Every time we start working out more and don’t lose, or worse yet, make ourselves FEEL worse through injury because we are pushing ourselves too hard and expecting too much in terms of an immediate result, we feel powerless.

I feel so powerless for both myself and for you, the reader, right now, because I know enough to know that so much of our anatomy is just not in our control. So regardless of whether you are fighting weight, or some other injury, or pain, or disease, that disconnect between the way you WANT to feel and the way you actually DO is the worst possible thing we as human beings have to face. There are times when, no matter how much we want our bodies to change, they simply won’t! And knowing this won’t make our lives any easier, it just makes our own internal state more depressed, more frightening, because it reinforces the idea that we have no real power over our health.

What have I personally discovered which may help all of us? I will speak about this in my next post, but as a preview, I will say what I have discovered is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Used to treat depression and anxiety, it can be of great benefit to those who are dealing with health issues, because of the way it makes us think ABOUT OURSELVES.

At the end of the day, we can’t really know what causes obesity as a whole because too many things have been noted as being the “cause.” We we can know is ourselves. We can look at our own habits, what we eat, how we exercise, what we do and say to others and say to ourselves, mentally. We can look at these things, dissect them, and try to come to a better understanding of our own selves. When we do, then we can push forward to create what I will talk about next time, a Health Manifesto, which I think everyone should right as a contract to ourselves, to follow a plan that will enable us to work toward well-being, regardless of what that means on a personal level.

Thank you for reading. Once again, I am Christine and I am illfitted.
FB: www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-M-Burkhart/166090140115913?ref=hl

First things first…

Anyone who has taken a course on the basics of journalism will recognize that “who, what, when, where, why and how?” are the core of writing an informative news article.

So I will begin there.

My name is Christine M. Burkhart. I have a masters degree in creative writing from Newcastle upon Tyne University, England and a bachelor’s in literature and creative writing from University of California, Santa Cruz. I am from California, 33 years old, and currently weigh over 330. I consider myself to reasonably be an expert in writing; however, I am obviously not an expert in weight loss because even though I have had the gastric bypass surgery (2002) my weight has continued to fluctuate.

Simply put, I am a fat person, with all the ups and downs that entails. And I am also sick of being treated poorly for this reason. Which is the what: This blog and my personal mission is to try to join in the new movement to address the discriminatory assumptions and bigotry faced by a population who are ever increasing in size, and yet just as ignorant as they can be in regards to what the problem REALLY is. Even our own first lady, Michelle Obama, is addressing the obesity “epidemic” but doing so in such a way that I personally find offensive, by suggesting that this mass and costly condition is just a “diet-based” issue, and that by addressing the American diet, we can squash obesity once and for all.

Well, the same sort of thinking pushed for the vaccination of people against polio. You look up current statistics and you will find that it is “mostly eradicated”… mostly, not completely. Because, the final analysis that a sane and logical person can reach is that no disease can ever be completely eradicated, that disease in general cannot be eradicated, and that, by extension, the basics of our human biology which have become socially distasteful, ie, FAT, cannot be eradicated either.

Much to the consternation of those who want to end bigotry against fat people, the American Medical Association has declared that fat itself is a disease. Which means that out of the normal population, 1 out of 10 million people may be considered normal. I say “may be” because, as it turns out Berardinelli-Seip is actually NOT a good thing (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/berardinelli-seip-congenital-lipodystrophy). Yes, there is such a thing as a person who can never get “fat” the way the rest of us can, because these people lack adipose tissue, which is where fat is stored, and which is present in normal people. However, the fat inevitably gets stored somewhere else? Why? Because unless you have taken on a diet of dirt, you will eat fat. Unless there is something wrong or genetically freakish about you, you will process and store that fat. And if you are a normal human being, you will use that fat the way it is supposed to be used (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dietaryfats.html).

You see, at the end of the day, fat is normal, not unhealthy. Fat is present in our bodies, stored for a good reason, and an important part of our diet. The issue with fat is not that fat people eat too much of it, store it poorly, or that others are better at “burning it off”… the issue is that each individual’s metabolism functions in a different way, and yet you will find both the medical profession and know-it-all individuals (many of whom are of the “I can eat anything and not gain weight” camp, who feel that because they are “special” in this way there must be something inherently defective in me, without recognizing that my metabolism, just a few thousand years ago, was necessary for the survival of the human race during conditions of extreme deprivation) that because they hold some stereotype of “correct” eating behavior in their minds, based on whatever fad diet is currently being published by the media, if you eat something even just once that falls outside this diet, you are purposely making yourself fat.

And according to many sources, doing so even though it costs everyone else higher medical insurance premiums to treat your fat ass for the diabetes and heart diseases that you will inevitably get.

So much research is done that seeks to prove that fat itself is the cause of these issues, that little research is being done which defines the way in which obesity or the propensity to be over weight is a co-occurring state or symptom of a greater issue.

The “obesity” epidemic, and this new push by the AMA to define it as a disease, against the conclusions of their own researchers (page 19, http://www.ama-assn.org/assets/meeting/2013a/a13-addendum-refcomm-d.pdf) is little more than a smoke screen to continue to blatantly allow the social structures which have helped create this issue to remain in place. These are: The push for food as a for-profit commodity, best represented by the fast-food industry and large-scale farming operations, which has had a deleterious effect on the nutritional value of much of the food being ingested by the American public at this time; the information age, which has promoted the greatest spread of misinformation and half-truths (that wonderful world wide web and all the untruths and BS it is so good at spreading) that the human race has ever been a part of, while also setting standards of beauty, fashion, culture and size (via “the media”) that are so far beyond the realm of what a human can ever expect to obtain, that it has spurred the creation of a new class of mental disorders (eating disorders, mainly anorexia and bulimia) as well as dramatically changed the way every single person, male or female, is allowed to view their own physicality and normality; and lastly, the maintenance of a social hierarchy which always seeks to define, stigmatize, and then scapegoat some element of society. That element, in the United States, is “the fat”… a great horde of blubberous barbarians who are draining everyone else’s coffers, while ruing any good credibility Americans might have by being so stupid, narrow minded, unhealthy and sinful.

Where do I come up with this stuff, you may ask? Well, simply put, I have come to this conclusion simply by taking note of the ways in which fat people are portrayed.

Image

(http://www.jokesgallery.com/Pic/whel30cdri334.jpg)

Funny photo or the disgusting promotion of size-ist bigotry? I’m thinking the later, seeing as how it is hard to determine what happened first, the fat or the chair. Also, no real notion of what this guy is ordering. It may well be a salad.

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(https://www.facebook.com/OccupyDemocrats)

I’m obese, often vote Democrat or Green, have never been married, never been pregnant, have a job but no health insurance, and never watch porn. I tried to point the simple stupidity and blatant bigotry of this graphic out to Occupy Democrats but they defended their use of obesity with the idea that the moral majority promotes “gluttony”. Gluttony of course meaning that fat people are sinners, touched by the EVIL. Apparently telling them that they were idiotic shit-headed hypocrites for posting utter bullshit and disgusting stereotypes that attacked people, some of whom followed their FB page, as facts, was not the right thing to do. I was told to stop drinking soda and eating french fries, and that it wasn’t their fault I was fat.

I think it’s time to use an emoticon: >.> … that’s the best way to describe my reaction to the suggestion that I was somehow blaming them for my weight.

Luckily Being Liberal recognizes the REAL issue:Image

(https://www.facebook.com/beingliberal.org?fref=ts)

Think Twitter is better? Well, then look at the responses Lindy West (jezebel.com writer …. http://jezebel.com/if-comedy-has-no-lady-problem-why-am-i-getting-so-many-511214385) got when she took on the subject of why jokes about rape help promote rape culture:

Image

Still think I’m exaggerating how hateful people are toward “the fat”…

Image

(http://pandawhale.com/post/8858/i-need-feminism-because-people-tell-me-i-should-be-thankful-that-my-rapist-wanted-to-have-sex-with-me)

This was the start of my “why”. Why must I speak out? Simply put, it shouldn’t take 330 pounds to recognize how WRONG the world we are living in is. This is why I started to seek out those who promote an end to shape and size discrimination. This is why I reached out to a world that I felt would not only be more representative of my perceptions of reality, which is that being fat is not evil, not sinful, and not even inherently “unhealthy” as those who push for weight loss claim, in an effort to, on the one hand, continue to keep the status quo of fat bigotry in place, which reinforces, on the other hand, the continued need for people like me to seek out weight loss options, to “cure” ourselves and thus present as socially acceptable.

What I found was that even though I DO NOT, nor will I EVER believe that health is directly tied to weight, I was stigmatized further by fat activist Marilyn Wann via her continued assertion that the gastric bypass surgery (or stomach amputation as she colorfully refers to it) can only mark me as a person who DOES believe that weight and health are connected and as a traitor to total fat acceptance.

Needless to say, I was quite devastated by the continued assertion that I and so many others who were forced to take a drastic solution to a certain health problem (usually diabetes but in my case, nerve impingement and the high probability of permanent paralysis) are not only amputees and traitors because we have had weight-loss surgery, but are somehow doing harm to fat people and the fat cause. After all, what else can you conclude from a person who will not see that I chose what I did because of the tangential link between my health (ie, the fact that I have a congenital back defect) and my weight (which I know EXACERBATES this issue… exacerbates, not CAUSES) and who, because they cannot see that, cannot also recognize that I and others still have a legitimate cause to want to lose weight. Lose weight, not become thin. I say this because, quite frankly, I love being my fat self. I love being curvy. I love the fact that underneath the body I have now, I have an hour-glass figure. I have big boobs and a big butt, and I love those aspects of my body. I love food and have no intentions of ever giving up something because it is “bad” or “makes me fat”. I love pizza and will continue to eat slices of pesto-covered, artichoke heart pizza joy. I love coffee with half & half, and I will never stop loving that. I love eating salt and vinegar Pringles when I’m hormonal. Or, if I need sweet, my go-to is Reese’s or peanut butter and chocolate ANYTHING. Barring that, Nutella and hazelnut chocolate will do me nicely as well. I will never turn down a chocolate covered digestive, or a soft-batch cookie. I recognize that I was born into an age when food can be enjoyed, and so I will damn well enjoy it.

Just with a smaller stomach and a greater incidence of sugar meltdowns due to “dumping”, in the colorful colloquial language of us stomach amputees.

So here I am, a couple of days divorced from the heart break of having such a scornful, shaming attitude pushed on me. Here I am, in pain because my back has been acting up, but still sitting up straight, writing this blog. Here I am, able to walk around, drive, and live a normal life, because I had the gastric bypass and it staved off disability for over a decade. So here is my who, what, when, and why: I am Christine, I am currently illfitted, and I am doing this for you, those who are scorned by both fat activists and the moral thinority, who know that weight loss has its purposes, but is not the end all and beat all single purpose of your life. I am here for those who are in pain, who have some condition that is exacerbated by weight and who want to feel good, finally, feel right and normal, and who can’t get that feeling anywhere else because you are either told you are the way you are JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE FAT or that you are A FILTHY FAT-TRAITOR who should be ashamed of not just buying into the bullshit but propagating it.

I am here for anyone else who is illfitted, to start a community, a dialog, a place where there will be no shaming, no stigma, no lack of understanding. If you are illfitted too, then trust me, I understand.

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-M-Burkhart/166090140115913?ref=hl

Twitter: @cmb_here