Thursday, January 31, 2008

How to contact the sponsors of Mississippi HB 282

In case you missed it, this is the bill that would forbid restaurants from serving food to anyone considered obese.

If you'd like to contact those responsible for this particularly loathesome brainchild, here's how:

Lead Author: Representative W. T. Mayhall, Jr. (R)

Contact Information:

P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215

8417 Cedarbrush Drive
Southaven, MS 38671

(662)393-2069 (H)
(901)734-9540 (C)

Co-Author: Representative Bobby Shows (D)

P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215

P. O. Box 373
Ellisville, MS 39437

(601)477-9225 (H)
(601)477-3956 (W)

Co-Author: Representative John Read (R)

Contact Information:

P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215

2396 Robert Hiram Drive
Gautier, MS 39552

(228)497-9852 (H)
(228)497-4090 (W)

As a disclaimer, I'm not advocating hate mail, vandalism or anything else illegal or ethically questionable in posting this info. I do think that some informational letters and literature would maybe help to gently correct some ignorant thinking here.

A bill to prevent fat people from eating in public!?

I know I've done this before, but ...



When I first read this one over at Junkfood Science, I had to double check to make sure the guest writer wasn't from The Onion. Or even the great new Fat Satire (FatSat?) site The Health Institute for Nutrition. I couldn't believe this was something real, or that any elected official could honestly expect to pass legislation that would forbid restaurants from serving food to fat people. That the constitution could somehow allow a state to yank the license of a business that chose to seat anyone who wanted to eat there.

Really, aren't they leaping ahead? Shouldn't they first establish a Fat Section and a Not-Fat section? They could even have completely separate facilities, so that thin people don't have to use the same water fountain. After all, fat is contagious, right?

end sarcasm.

My first reaction, of course, was a cold finger of ice up my spine. Sure they'll never pass it, it can't be anything but a gesture. But the fact that such a gesture can come from a person in a position of authority makes me very, very glad I live in Michigan. *

Basically this stump bill states that the Mississippi department of health is responsible for giving every restaurant in the state information on how to tell if someone is obese. They're non-specific as to how, but I'm sure it'll be easy. After all, isn't it easy to tell how much someone weighs by looking at them? They are then obligated to refuse to serve the bad fatty mcFatFat, and if they dare to do otherwise, their license to serve food at all could be revoked. Then once the fat people can no longer eat in public, they will starve down to a weight that doesn't offend the delicate sensibilities of fat-haters.

Oh stores...and genetics!

curses! foiled again!

So...should we start laying plans for the lunch counter sit-in's now, or wait to see if it dies without fanfare? I don't relish Mississippi in the summer, but it might actually be more effective if we're all in shorts and tank tops.

The funniest headdesk-hysterical part is that the bill would enact three days before the fourth of July.

Happy Independence Day.

Get it?


* Michigan’s Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (any age), height, weight, or marital status.

Big Fat public health care costs - a breakdown

It's a good year to be fat, especially if you're a shareholder of Roche or GlaxoSmithKline. Apparently the sale of prescription weight-loss drugs has undergone an eightfold increase since 1999. 1.06 million people in the U.K. are on some kind of prescription drug that promises to usher them into the exciting new world of fashionable thinness through heart palpitations or uncontrollable loose bowels. Why all this fuss?

Why, for the burden of obesity on public health care! The article claims that obesity will cost the U.K. 45.5 billion GBP a year by 2050. They arrive by this highly scientific number by a careful weighing of the cost of every disease obesity is supposed to cause, multiplied by the estimated likelihood that the person with that disease is fat. After all, correlation is always causation, so every fat person with heart disease has only their fat to blame. They run the data through a highly calibrated publicly-funded magic 8 ball to arrive at the 45.5 billion GBP figure. Oh, did I mention that they include the cost of the research to stigmatize fat people into the cost of obesity? Sort of like suing people and tacking on your own lawyer's fee for the trouble it took to do so.

So let's break this down.

A one-month supply of the popular weight-loss drug Xenical is 102.792 GBP at Let's use that as an estimate. After all it's just as scientific as their numbers.

A one year supply of Xenical is 1233.50 GBP. Multiply that by the 1.06 million people and you are spending 1,307,510,000 GBP per year on weight loss drugs in the UK. That's on the public dole.

Weight loss surgeries have increased dramatically as well. In 2005 there were 4400 surgeries performed in the UK. Since that's the most recent hard number I could find, I'll go with that. After all, we want to be scientific. An average cost for WLS (without complications) is 10,000 GBP. So, in 2005, the UK spent maybe 44,000,000 GBP on WLS procedures.

Now the 45 billion GBP projected for 2050 is a projection, of course. Right now the same study states that "obesity" costs the public health system a whopping 1 billion GBP per year.

So let's break this down. Let's be unscientific and set aside the fact that correlation is not causation and that the cost estimates are radically skewed in the first place as they have no evidence that any of the diseases used in the estimate are actually CAUSED by fat. Only that some fat people have those diseases. (as do some thin people...coincidence?) They also generally fail to take into account the studies that show that fat has protective aspects that reduce the occurrence of certain diseases, and therefore LOWER health care costs in those instances. So let's accept the magic 8 ball numbers and say for argument's sake that fat costs the British Health system 1 billion a year. Let's fudge in the other direction to really be generous with our estimates and not take into account the cost of government staff and resources to enact anti-fat policy, police lunchboxes, lobby for new food labeling guidelines throughout the EU, and other "hidden" costs of the war on obesity.

If fat costs the UK 1 billion GBP a year, and failed attempts to make people not fat costs the UK a highly conservative 1.35 billion GBP a year, doesn't that mean the attempt to solve the problem costs the taxpayers 35,000,000 GBP more than the cost of the original problem?

Doesn't that mean that the UK could very conservatively save itself 35 million GBP a year (approx. US$69,537,012.28 at the current exchange rate) by simply ending the war on fat?

I wonder, if they plowed that 35 million into promotion of HAES, fresh foods in schools, pedestrian-friendly cities, etc.....would they also eliminate the so called "cost of obesity"? A lot of studies are now showing that when lifestyle is taken into account, active and fit fat people (even the "morbidly obese) have the same relative lifespan and health as active and fit thin people.


I think not.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My first photo-shoot

I'm very geeked, the pics from the photo shoot with my friend Breanna came back. It's my first experience modeling for a real photographer who will actually use the pieces in her art.

This one's my favorite, and is definitely my new profile shot:

I'm told that if the subject actually likes 1 in 10 pics from a photo shoot then its a resounding success. That makes this session much better than average. What kills me is that a year ago I would have begged her to delete this because it didn't hide every curve and find that perfect angle that made me look like Angelina Jolie. Is there even such an angle? Who cares? I look damn good in trickster colors. :-)

The best part of posing for her is that she has a great eye for color, and she's a fellow fattie so she knows when I'll be unhappy with a particular shot.
I can't wait for summer so we can do some outdoor sessions.

Fighting for Civility

In the midst of my news searches over the weekend, I apparently missed a complete gem of an editorial that's too good to pass up.

Lucinda Breeding of the Denton Record-Chronicle wrote a piece on Fat Acceptance this past Sunday that I plan to print off and add to my affirmations scrapbook. It's the first really good media response to the New York Times piece on the Fatosphere and if this woman isn't already in the FA movement, I sure hope we can convince her.

"It doesn’t take too much time spent lurking on the blogs to see why they liken their struggles to a fight for civil rights.
In fact, they are fighting for our civility."

How perfectly expressed! That really is the point behind everything the FA movement stands for...that fat people have the right to be treated as human beings. Isn't that the core of civility, to treat people with decency, as human beings instead of objects? We've made a lot of progress towards that goal since the rough beginnings of our culture, but we're certainly far from perfection.

That of course reminds me of Ghandi's quote when asked what he thought of Western Civilization: "I think it would be a very good idea."

"If you’re sedentary and fat, you’re a sinner. If you’re fat and manage two trips to the gym each week, you’re cheating. If you’re a triathlete and fat, you’re destroying your body. Not that the critics have degrees in theology or sports medicine."

Apparently in Denton, TX there's at least one paper willing to print an editorial calling the critics out on their own turf. Bravo!

This particular paragraph slams M. Roth by name and points out her hypocrisy. I'm starting to wonder if Meme isn't FA's best friend, if she's going to continue to make fat hatred look so frantic and ridiculous.

I'd be pretty surprised if Lucinda Breeding isn't a Shapeling in the making. She mentions in her editorial that she's been lurking around the Fatosphere since the NYT article came out. If this is an example of how she expresses herself, I hope she does more than lurk.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nothing to Do with Feminism

Fat Activism has nothing to do with feminism. Nothing at all. The modern fat health hysteria is completely gender blind. That's why someone put time, money and staff into searching out a correlation between breast size and diabetes. It's also why the careful wording of the scare-tactic headlines are sure to specify bra size as the pertinent risk factor so that men can be sure they're not the ones at risk. Yup, obviously not a feminist issue.


On top of the obvious scraping the bottom of the barrel for things to be afraid of, this series definitely gets a CDNEC.

Friday, January 25, 2008

(More) Reactions to the NYT article on Fat Blogs

I've been trying to keep up with the slow trickle of news picking up on the awesome New york Times article on Fat Bloggers. The first batch can be found in my summary Here.


A lot of the news spread pretty much regurgitates the NYT article word-for-word, such as the National Ledger article from yesterday, and the Tacoma, Washington's News-Tribune article today. They're presenting the issue at face value without tacking on any YOUGONNADIE opinions, which makes them pretty positive!


While not a lot of news agencies are picking up on this, it's all the buzz in blogs, mostly critical. Google search "fatosphere" for a sample, if you're really masochistic. Also be prepared for an increase in douchhoundery and more fatosphere blogs with the comments moderated.


Watch out for those Sanity Watcher Points...Good old D. Savage was on the NYT article like the family dog on leftover chicken in the trash. I won't be linking to it, but at least some of his commenters are starting to express impatience with the recurring theme (read: vendetta).

FA on Fox!?

Does that mean Hell really has frozen over?

(This morning's temperature in Hell, Michigan was -2 degrees fahrenheit, with expected highs of 22 degrees. )


Rachel from The F-Word has been invited to appear on Fox’s "Morning Show with Mike and Juliet" this upcoming Monday, to follow-up on the NYT article on Fat Bloggers.

You can see where the show will broadcast in the U.S. at this site. Here in Michigan it's at 9am on the Detroit station, so I really hope someone captures it for YouTube!

It's mixed news, however as they're also inviting fat-hater Meme Roth, who's loathing for her own fat relatives has turned her into a crusader against fat in any form, at any age. She's the rabid idjit behind the fight to make Santa Claus skinny, believes that a healthy woman should be able to fit into her wedding dress for the rest of her life, and threw herself into the public cross-hairs by announcing that Jordin Sparks was "too fat" to deserve to be an American Idol. She was quoted as saying "When I look at Jordin Sparks, I see diabetes". She's an "image consultant" in New York, which makes me wonder how she can possibly be touted as an "obesity expert" by Fox. That's basically like saying a clothing designer is an "obesity expert" because they might sew fabric to cover fat bodies.

Hopefully, Rachel will be able to counter her vitriol and make people see her for the ignorant hate-mongerer she really is.

Give 'em hell!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

HAES in the News

"Chasing Perfection," an article in the Australian Courier News yesterday pointed out the connection between dieting, body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. It was a very body-positive article:

""There is a lot of evidence that the more people practise restrictive eating – which is what dieting is – the more likely they are to gain weight," says Lily O'Hara, a public health expert and lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast."

You don't often articles willing to criticize the "obesity" hysteria, it's almost become unpatriotic to do so (regardless of the country). I'm glad to see the Courier News willing to do so.

In Holland, Michigan, a hospital is offering a 12 week course in HAES, including body acceptance, pleasure in movement and intuitive eating. The description worries me a little since it puts it in the context of weight-loss, but it does say

"The program embraces the concept that individuals can be healthy at any size and learn to accept their bodies"

I'm really tempted to go to the informational meeting just to see. I would never be able to make the actual sessions (too far away), but I would like to know what approach they're using.

For those of you unfamiliar with the HAES concept, it promotes the idea that people can be "Healthy at Every Size" (HAAS is an alternative version, or "Health at Any Size"). Balanced eating, fitness and positive body image are the goals, rather than weight loss. More information can be found at:

UK encourages bribery to get rid of fatties

They've begged, bullied and bludgeoned fat people, now the UK is resorting to bribery by paying people to lose weight. Basically, they're going to try and turn British companies into settings for competitions along the lines of "The Biggest Loser" with cash prizes for the most weight lost.

There are many claims out there on the cost of fat people to the health care system. These costs are used as scare tactics to force both companies and units of government to "do something" about fat people. How are these costs determined?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reactions to NYT Article: The Good, The Bad, The Funny

In case anyone's been out of town in the last few days, you've probably already heard about the fat-abulous article in the New York Times about FA bloggers. The buzz has spread, so I thought it would be interesting to do a quick round-up of reactions so far as everyone else scrambles to pick up the story. I'll try to do another round-up later in the day to see if this dies or explodes.

The Good:

The Boston Globe's Miss Conduct posted a very personal, heartwarming reaction to the article, talking about her own body issues and her concern over the hate mail she gets whenever she has the temerity to "suggest treating fat people with courtesy." There's a LOT of good stuff in this piece (my only wish is that it were longer). Amongst other profound bits of insight, she takes the cake when she says, "I cannot fathom what it must be like to have others take it upon themselves to hate my body for me." Looking forward to more good stuff from that quarter in the future.

The Chicago Tribune has picked up the NYT article wholesale. There's a few additional quotes, but it's otherwise the same article. The main difference is that comments are enabled. This may be a good opportunity for follow-up if the fatosphere keeps on the comments and respond appropriately, but they may need Sanity Watchers points.

The Bad:

Harriet from Feed Me! had a rough time on a shock-jock show that invited her on presumably to talk about the NYT article, but really just as a target for hate. She sounds like she kept her cool and cited good evidence in the face of their crap. I know from experience that radio interviews can be a cause for sweaty panic, especially live! Hopefully a few listeners were able to hear her over the obnoxious host.

ABC News has coverage on the story, interviewing Lesley Kinzel from Fashionista, Monique van den Berg from Big Fat Deal, and Lara Frater from Fat Chicks Rule. It starts out with fairly good coverage, but on the second page it devolves back to "OMGFATKILLS". So mixed reviews, but the condescending tone of the last few paragraphs puts this one in "The Bad" category. Comments are enabled here as well, so watch those sanity points.

Kate Harding from Shapely Prose was invited to New York to appear on the "Today Show," only to be canceled at the last minute so that they could cover Heath Ledger's death. Instead the show featured an outrageously commercial, overfluffed plug for bariatric surgery. So it goes.

The Funny:

Not to double-dip, but going back to the Boston Globe's Miss Conduct piece, the closing line almost made me snort apple bits:

"As I've said before, if you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact that they haven't killed you yet."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Congratulations FA Bloggers!

I know everybody's already talking about it, but I have to add my seriously cheerleader-type screech of excitement over the totally fat-positive article on FA bloggers in the New York Times today! Shapely Prose, Big Fat Deal, The Rotund, Feed Me, Fat-Fu, Red No. 3, and The F-Word are all mentioned and/or quoted. Good studies are referenced on why fat isn't necessarily bad for you, and the writers give fantastic positive snippets, such as:

"Smart, sassy and irreverent, bloggers with names like Big Fat Deal, FatChicksRule and Fatgrrl (“Now with 50 percent more fat!”) buck anti-obesity sentiment. They celebrate their full figures and call on readers to accept their bodies, quit dieting and get on with life."

The article headlines on the website as the main story in the health section (with the great shock-graphic of the cute little girl mouwing on chocolate cake from The F-Word's banner). While I'm sure they're worried about attracting new and dis-improved douchehounds, I'd also guess they'll get some new folks wanting to join the fight for body acceptance.

Congrats to all the interviewees for doing a great job in representing us!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekend Fluff: Free Rice

Go to

It's an addicting word game, and for every correct answer you donate 20 grains of rice through the UN to end world hunger.

Yeah, that's all warm and squishy, but really it's about the fun word game to kill time at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Forget about Sunday afternoons, this is the true "long dark teatime of the soul."

I peaked out at a score of 46. I'll come back on Tuesday and try again in case my brain just went home early today.

Fat Dance

I'm feeling curmudgeony, so I thought I'd try to counter it with something positive. Not the web comic (both twisted AND funny), but just a little something to show that for each step back, there really is at least one forward!

A special on China Central Television today talks about the growing popularity of the "Danza Voluminosa," a ballet troupe composed of exclusively fat dancers.

A few folks have blogged about this in the past as it's cropped up in the news over the last decade, but the fact that it keeps on coming up might just convince the skeptics who think this sort of thing might be nothing more than a fad or publicity stunt.

To review the fat positive press on these dancers:
NPR covered the troupe in a very fat-positive piece in 2004.
Here's a Youtube Clip of the troupe performing.
There's even a documentary, if you can find it: Defying Gravity came out in 2004.

Unfortunately, while the troupe is in the perfect position to be advocates of fat acceptace, their manager is quick to dodge that mantle. From the New York Times article this year:

Mr. Mas said it would be a mistake to think that his work was intended to glorify or sanctify obesity, or even to deliver a moralistic message that one should not discriminate against the overweight. Rather, he said, the troupe’s art tries to face the reality of obesity while giving larger people a chance to express themselves through dance, a chance they are denied from childhood in most dance classes.

“Although we are obese and dance, we are against obesity,” Mr. Mas explained, saying parenthetically that he admires New York City for banning artificial trans fats from restaurants. “We are always trying to lose weight.”

The quotes from the dancers themselves are much more body positive, and the messages they portray with their dance are powerful regardless of what their choreographer really thinks about fat.

Much more fat friendly (and easier to catch in the U.S. considering the hoops performers from Cuba have to jump to come here) is Big Moves, a dance company with bases in San Francisco, New York, Boston and Montreal.

Featured in the Boston Globe in 2005, Figure Magazine in 2007, and on NPR in 2006, this year Big Moves was also awarded one of the National Women's Confidence Awards by Queen Latifah (before she began shilling for Jenny Craig), and took top honors in the 2007 Montreal Fringe Festival. They were also named Best Dance Company in 2006 by the Boston Phoenix.

Their latest show, "Lard, the Musical" (Like Grease, but Thicker) features a 1950's theme. If you missed it this fall, your last chance may be to catch it at the 2008 Montreal Fringe Festival.

So that's the happy thoughts for the day! If anyone has video clips of Big Moves, they'd be welcome. Otherwise, have a good weekend. I'll be up north in Frankenmuth Michigan at my brilliant and adorable nephew's 2nd birthday party, so no posts until I get back on Tuesday!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Announcing the CDNEC Award for Bad Science

This is pretty much a placeholder post so that I can link back to it easily. The CDNEC Award (pronnounced Cedneck, rhymes with "Redneck") has been invented to mark studies and articles that best demonstrate complete lack of understanding that

Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

Meaning that if a group of fat people eat more asparagus than thin people, the conclusion that asparagus makes you fat is, well, STUPID.

Likewise if more people in a group of men have green eyes than in a group of women, concluding that WEARING GREEN CONTACT LENSES WILL MAKE YOU MALE, is, well, STUPID.

So for all those reporters, researchers, bloggers and editors that believe everything from lung cancer to ingrown toenails is CAUSED by fat, based on correlative evidence, and could be CURED simply by removing adipose tissue, I present the CDNEC:

Feel free to share, cross-post, or use on your own blog as-is, whenever you'd like.

Driving Fat = Driving Drunk!?





In honor of this particular story, which actually has a pretty good chance of getting picked up by media outlets around the world, I would like to propose a new award.....

The CDNEC (CeDNEC, rhymes with Redneck) Award

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

One Diet Pusher Down, So Many to Go....

For those of you who remember L.A. Weight Loss, they were the very typical, trendy, can't get away from their TV ads of greased up women in bikini's, weight loss scam. They were lately known as the relentless pushers of the over-the-counter version of Orlistat, sold as the weight loss aid "Alli", possibly the greatest invention ever for the laundry industry due to the violent and uncontrollable diarrhea triggered by any fat consumed. Oh, and that handy little hushed-up bit about the colon cancer. That doesn't matter, right? Isn't cancer worth it to lose those 5 pounds? Besides, Chemo will take the fat right off, you'll look great. (eye-roll)

They changed their name to "Pure Weight Loss" in 2007 after a string of lawsuits, orders from state attorney-general offices in Washington, Oregon and New York to substantiate claims in advertisements, a class action lawsuit claiming discriminatory hiring practices against men, and an ABC expose' of their undisclosed costs, hard-sell tactics and emotional manipulation.

Now they have to finally admit that a simple name change can't quite turn the ship around. All 400 branches of Pure Weight Loss have closed as of January 4th.

But weight, (insert rim-shot here)

What about the money?

Members are reporting that corporate headquarters stopped responding to calls and e-mails well in advance of the closing. By the time the doors shut, Pure Weight Loss owed refunds to a lot of people. Tens of thousands of people. They have assurances on their website that they will process them as soon as possible, but members are reporting a complete lack of response. Many of the lawsuits filed against the company in the past were to force them into paying rebates and refunds as advertised, and that was when they were still in business.


Pure Weight Loss files for Chapter 7 protection (Philedelphia Enquirer)
Pure Weight Loss Inc., the Horsham diet company, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection Friday in U.S. Bankrupty Court, Philadelphia. In a court document, the company said it had more than 100,000 creditors. It estimated its assets at $1 million to $10 million and its liabilities at $10 million to $50 million. The company announced in December that it was closing its weight-loss centers Jan. 4. The company's lawyer did not return a phone call yesterday. - Stacey Burling

Do you think these people will ever see their refund? It would be difficult, considering where the company filed the refund forms they received:

"As for a refund, Pure Weight Loss has posted claim forms on their website, but CBS4's Al Sunshine found out that's not the only place they are. He found dozens of refund claim forms thrown out in a dumpster behind the vacant Pure Weight Loss Center off Sunset Drive and Southwest 117th Avenue. Many of these forms were completely filled out with the customer's name and personal information including their address, their medical histories and their weight. In some cases, the forms even included medical reasons why they wanted to cancel their diet contracts and stop paying for them."
- Daily News

More news articles are beginning to trickle out from customers impatiently waiting for money they paid for nutritional bars, supplements, and counseling, that may never come:

Remember, the first one's always free.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fluff: Murder at the Four Deuces

Since I'm still technically offline, I'm not keeping up as well with fatosphere or news feeds, so now that I've caught a few minutes at a computer, It's filler-time :-) Ten days late, but the pictures of our New Year's Eve party are up. We did a murder-mystery party where everyone had roles in a prohibition-era brothel and speakeasy in Chicago. I was "Madam Meme", wife of the Don and co-proprietor of the fine, upstanding establishment. Girls upstairs, gambling downstairs. Everyone had a blast and went to the line with their costumes. The lovely Tante' sent me a box of great sequined and beaded dresses that we put to good use, and I won best costume in one of them. Unfortunately I was taking more pictures than I was in, but I'm modeling for a photo shoot with Breanna at Beautifully Chaotic Studios on Saturday so I think I'll put it all on again and get some better shots with her pretty new camera :-)

In the meantime, Pictures!

A few more pictures are on my Photobucket
Not everything's loaded, of course, but like I said...offline. It's like having half my brain disconnected.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sporadic Posting

I will try to get somewhere with a computer once a day to keep my posts up in the next week, but my home computer is DOA so they might get sporadic for a little while until I decide the repair/replace conundrum.

How to Look Good Naked

I caught the re-run of the first episode last night, and was just about in tears by the end of it. It's such a breath of fresh air amidst all the New Year's dieting shows, ads, etc. to have a show that shows how real women can be happy with their bodies right now, instead of dangling impossible standards in their face then chastising them for failing to reach.

It started out with the girl stripping to bra and panties and having to look at herself in a full length mirror. She looked about an average size (12/14? 16 at the most?) but definitely what Hollywood would call fat. She was asked to go over each body part to assess it in front of the mirror, with Carson standing by as coach, countering each complaint with a reality check (you have beautiful skin, all women have those flaps under their arm unless they pay someone to suck it out with some horrible machine, etc.). We did a similar exercise in a meditation class, where we had to look at ourselves naked in a full length mirror (although not with cameras on us!) and describe what we saw without value statements. So I know just how terrifying and vulnerable it felt for her to stand there.

Next they did an experiment that I hope becomes a regular feature of the show. The woman said that her "worst" feature was her large hips. She was brought into a room with 7 or so women, arranged by size from the narrowest to the widest hips. The woman was asked to place herself in the order based on what she thought her size was. She put herself second to largest. Carson pointed out that by measurement, she had added six inches to her hips in her mental image of herself, and moved her down to the correct placement...second to smallest.

This reminded me of an experiment we studied in a sociology class. Women were shown a series of silhouettes, and asked to select the one they think most accurately depicted their body, and the one that they saw as most desired by men. Consistently, women chose a body shape several sizes larger than their actual silhouette, and chose a "desirable" shape several times thinner than surveyed men had chosen as ideal. That's why the first exercise (mirror) is so crucial. Part of being able to love our bodies is knowing our bodies. Part of learning to dress to our shape is knowing what shape we are, and being completely unafraid of it.

The woman was taken to have a professional bra-fitting (and found she was wearing a cup two sizes too small). With all the info Pretty Pear has given on the subject, it's something that's gone up in my priority list. Apparently, the vast majority of women are wearing the wrong bra. 90+% of the support is supposed to come from the band, not the straps (could be why my shoulders ache when I wear certain bras?). The fitting was really enlightening.

At the end, after primping, dressing to her own body shape and style, and agreeing to a photo shoot, Carson dropped another bombshell that I think is going to be a regular. He told her the photo shoot was going to be nude. After some tears and gentle persuasion, she agrees, and they do a series of tasteful shots that turn out really, really sexy. As a final surprise, Carson takes her out into New York, where her photo was projected onto the side of a building. She had to stop random strangers, point at the billboard and ask "Do you think I look good naked?"

The response from both men and women was an overwhelming "yes". A lot of the responses said something along the lines of "That's what real women look like!" One guy got so enthusiastic in his praise that his girlfriend started shooting him glares. The show closed with the woman giving a really positive "no more dieting, I'm going to love my body the way it is" message.

It was fantastic, wildly anti-mainstream, empowering, and I can't wait to be an avid fan of the series! It was definitely anti-diet (described as "destroying yourself") anti WLS/Liposuction, pro body acceptance and love. I just hope that ratings can stay up so that this show can have the kind of life it needs.

The only complaint was that two quack diet pill ads followed the show in commercial break. Lifetime's taken a great step, but has yet to reflect it in their advertising standards.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Recipe Box: (easy) Spicy Winter Soup

Normally I'm big on fresh everything, but this recipe is from a co-worker and tastes surprisingly marvelous, even with packaged ingredients. You can, of course, substitute fresh ingredients for the packaged. In the dead of Michigan winter, however, the "fresh" (i.e. picked under ripe a month ago and shipped here) ingredients are often uninspiring. This is also a great quickie soup for unexpected house guests or family dinner, or cold season to clear out the sinuses and get a dose of nutrients. Serve alone or with a hearty, crusty bread (like sourdough).

Here's the base recipe, feel free to substitute for vegetarian or fresh ingredients if you can get them:

2 cans petit diced tomatoes (2 cups fresh)
2 cans petit diced tomatoes with green chiles (2 cups fresh)
1 pound polish or andouille sausage
1/2 cup rice
1 package (1 pound) frozen chopped spinach
8 cups chicken broth
1/2-2/3 cups fresh chopped cilantro (to taste)

slice the sausage thin (1/4 inch) .
In the bottom of the stock/soup pot (or separate pan), cook the sausage on low to med-low heat until browned.
drain oil.
In soup pot, add sausage, broth, tomatoes and Chiles.
Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 20 minutes (an hour gives optimum flavor, but isn't necessary)
Add the spinach (you don't need to thaw first) and rice
Cook for an additional ten minutes
Add the cilantro
Cook for 10 minutes or until rice is done. Serve hot. This serves well as leftovers, but I haven't tried freezing it. I don't know if the cilantro would survive freezing without breaking down.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mayor of OKC Calls for City to Lose 1 Million Pounds

The Mayor of Oklahoma City has begun an ambitious campaign for the entire city to lose weight. Unfortunately, they're not talking about urban sprawl, either.

In the Edmond Sun, an article says the mayor's goal is for the entire city to lose 1 million pounds.

The article gives the link to the city's new weight-loss website,


Now I didn't know if it was an editing issue when the article made a sideways leap mid-paragraph:

"Obesity can lead to other health problems, too. This year alone, one million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer. Half of Oklahomans will develop cancer at some point in their lifetimes and 1-in-4 will die from the disease."

Wait...did I miss something? No, the rest of the article is entirely about the dangers of cancer, with no further mention of weight. In an article about dieting.....?

(Cue theme from the Twilight Zone)

Oh, wait, I forgot. Fat causes every disease known to man. Even hangnails and scurvy. How silly of me to think otherwise!

To quote the writers at Shapely Prose....


Oh wait, but they're not just targeting fat people this time:

"Together we can become healthier citizens of Oklahoma City. EVERYONE is encouraged to join in the OKC Million community challenge to lose a total of 1,000,000 (ONE MILLION) POUNDS in 2008!"

That's right. Apparently everyone, from athletes to anorexics, can show their civic pride by endangering their health in a crash diet. Doesn't that make you just all warm and fuzzy? Like linty goo? They even include links to Bariatric Clinics in the behavioral modification and surgical programs sections of the website. Because nothing helps to drop those pesky pounds like surgical starvation! I wonder if they put the crematorium ashes on the scale to see if they're under the person's goal weight? Sure you lost a pulse, but you lost a couple hundred pounds with it! And that's what's really important....I wonder if they knock off a couple pounds for the urn?

Oh look, they've got corporate sponsorship! Of course, all of them are Bariatric Surgery clinics:

But that doesn't mean this program is a clever advertising/moneymaking scheme by the weight loss industry. They're just concerned about your Health......It's for the Children....

You ever experience a moment when bitter and incredulous sarcasm is the only thing keeping you from screaming and throwing things?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Action and Inspiration

Maybe you've decided that this year will be the year that you reach out and take some part in making Size Acceptance accessible to everyone. Maybe you've resolved to stop waiting for others to provide FA/SA resources and be part of the solution. Maybe you want to do something to get involved, but aren't quite ready for your face and/or name to start showing up on the news or at the bottom of editorials. Maybe you're frustrated that winter is thwarting your ass-kicking plans for sign-waving, whipped cream throwing protests at bariatric clinics. Maybe all of these.

This time of year is difficult. Diet ads and talk are closing in on the post-holiday blues to compound the exhaustion that comes from a concept of self and health that runs so contrary to cultural programming. It's not a new concept. Great literature (Orwell, Huxley, Tolstoy) is replete with characters whose story can only be told because they stand out from the societal landscape. Every great change begins with a small group of people willing to act. Every person who is remembered beyond the death of their children is memorable because they were willing to take a step dictated by their consciousness of rightness being stronger than the programming of mother culture.

But for every person who sits down on a bus and every student who stands in front of a tank, there are hundreds more who create the possibility for that action to be meaningful in the context of a greater whole. There are the organizers, the pushers of paperwork, the poll-workers, and the nameless faces in the crowd that provide mass and inertia to the message. You don't have to be the face in front of the camera to be a force for change. You don't have to be the leader of an organization for organizations to happen. Small actions by individuals are what make the bigger stands something more than an aberration. One person with a sign in front of a WLS clinic is a nut. One hundred people is a movement.

I'm getting a bit side-tracked from my original plans for a post today, but it's difficult to stay on-track this time of year. When I lose inspiration, I also lose motivation. To keep myself inspired, I keep a few good books around, like Paul Campos (merci beaucoup Tante'!) and my recently acquired "Body Wars" by Margo Maine (gracias a Gita por el regalo de Navidad!). When I find myself slipping into the masochistic practice of trying to argue with haters on fatphobic comment or chat threads, or the latest fat hate in the media is dragging me back, I return to what inspired me in the first place. This weekend, it worked. An hour with the Fatosphere often does the trick as well if there's a lot of new posts. I'm inspired by the reminder that I'm not in this alone, and that there's so many intelligent, well-researched, strong-minded individuals out there fighting the same issues with their bodies and the society that wants to create the illusion of shame and monstrosity around something as innocuous as a collection of fat cells.

Another way to stay inspired is through action. Some people are timid to get involved at all, or are worried that they don't have the skills. To be honest, there are plenty of opportunities to make small changes regardless of what you can bring to the table. Right now there are exciting new projects playing out on a grass-roots level throughout the Size Acceptance movement. Some need complex skills, such as web-design or grant writing. All need the less-glamorous but still necessary grunt work that can be done by almost anyone.

Some opportunities to get involved:

1. The MAFRAD project (Media Advocacy for Fat Representation and Anti-Defamation) is working on a revolutionary new combined media guide for Fat Acceptance, covering everything from acceptable language to use in discussing fat in the media to research and links to show the dangers of dieting. Their aim is to create a centralized resource with reliable information so that members of the media can easily find what they need to present an unbiased report.

They're finished with the initial research and drafts. They're currently looking for people to volunteer for the Editing committee to put the pieces into a cohesive whole, and the Web committee to make the finished guide accessible online. You can volunteer by joining their Yahoo Group here: or sending an e-mail to

2. The Fat 50+ Project is in the early stages of created a guide (state-by-state, province-by-province in the U.S., other countries as volunteers happen) to legislation, legal and medical rights, complaint resources and other issues regarding fat/size rights. This will hopefully create a resource for both consolidating activism efforts and helping with cases of individual discrimination. They have a framework in place but they do need help collecting the information on each state/province/country. Information is easy to find in most cases through the state or province's web site, but if you live in the covered area you have an added advantage of consulting local lawyers, paper records, and local news archives. Any help given will add to this valuable resource. Primarily need researchers. Legal or government contacts would be stellar, but anyone who can slog through legislative documents on a website or google newspaper archives is needed.

You can help by visiting and creating a (free) account. Then click on the link to "Fat 50", pick a state, province or country, and add any information you can find with a link to your source so that editors can double-check.

3. The COFRA project (Council of Fat Rights Activists) is the lead organization for the Fat 50 project, founded by the folks at Big Fat Blog. They're seeking to organize efforts towards Size Acceptance, and need volunteers in many areas.

Volunteer opportunities include: Legal/organizational help (to create organization structure and obtain tax-exemption, create a mission statement, etc.); Web Design; Street-Level Activism (rallies, events, advertising, public relations, etc.

You can help by visiting the COFRA member website at You'll need to create a (free) account, then visit the forums to see what's been done and where they need help.

4. NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) is a Size Acceptance organization with long standing and credibility. They are responsible for the successful push to add weight/body size to the non-discrimination policy in San Francisco as well as other legal battles against weight discrimination in employment, adoption, and government practices. They are based on the West coast, but have local chapters elsewhere.

The list of volunteer positions can be found here:
Their Fat Activist Task Force tries to coordinate and announce activism opportunities such as letter writing and response to specific issues:
To find or create a local chapter to organize Fat Acceptance activism and social support in your area, see the Chapter Index at:
Special Interest Groups are created to coordinate activism and support for those with specific needs or interests, such as diabetics, WLS survivors, Vegetarian, Teen/Youth, Men, Families, Singles, etc. To see a list of SIG's, or to propose a new SIG, visit here:

That's just what I'm involved in, of course! There's plenty more out there, and if people want to use the comments to draw attention to other volunteer/activism opportunities, please do so. I would personally like to see what else I can help support.