Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Blood Red Thread

In the past few months I've had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with an entirely new group of women because of my transfer at work. It began with moving from the Soo to Sudbury and transferring from downtown to the north end cemented it. It has been a pleasure and an honour to hear their stories, to be trusted in this way, an effortless connection through being a woman. 

What does that mean, exactly? It means growing up and living in the patriarchy, navigating that narrow line of acceptable behaviour, dress and manner in order to try and stay safe, and managing the hurt, anger and disappointment when inevitably we are injured in some way. It does appear to me now that it IS inevitable; every new woman I meet I can connect with instantly through the sharing of our mutual stories of assault, harassment or shame. It's not exaggeration to say it's every woman. So far, it is. And if I haven't heard their story yet in full, I've picked up on enough to get a general idea from the way they talk about themselves or their past relationships .

When you grow up in a world that sees you as less intelligent, strong, able, and therefore valuable than the other half of it, it leads to all kinds of problems that we see around us every day but are so ingrained in our society that to name them all and then try to fix them all feels like too much. It's so much, so big that I don't even want to put the effort in to write it here. The statistics are out there if you want them, on rape and abuse and pay inequality and representation and everything else. It's out there literally at your fingertips on the keyboard. Those stats aren't my point today, the day after Canada's day of Remembrance of the Montreal Massacre. Anyone reading this who wants to keep thinking we don't have a problem as a species is delusional and ignorant in the extreme, and I'm not going to change their mind.

My point is that you are not alone; male or female or somewhere in between, I hear you and I know that you have been hurt in some way by this world we live in, and it's arbitrary rules about who is valued and who is not. If you're a man who dares to have some feminine qualities, like having emotions, you know what I mean. It's that lack of respect for the feminine, the experiences of that disrespect I share with so many people, that tie me so effortlessly and quickly to them. The ties that bind us are red with blood; blood from split lips or broken hymens, spattered on walls or staining the carpet. Those ties are purple and blue from bruises hidden by turtlenecks and long sleeve shirts, sunglasses, and pants in the summer. It's scratchy along the edges like wool, but instead of warmth all we hear are the nagging voices internalized telling us we aren't good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to really matter.

And yet women rise, over and over again, through millennia of neglect and abuse, and continue to do the work of living. We choose to trust, over and over again, despite all the weight of history, personal and global, that says we shouldn't. After all, not all men are abusers. Not all men are Nice Guys. Not all men. But all women, all women without exception have lived in this and experienced life this way. The unfairness of it, the horror and brutality of it, is compounded the less valuable you are; fat? Black? Native? Disabled? Queer? Welcome to starting off the race five steps behind instead of just one.

But still we rise, over and over again, to live and do the work of living. To start over, to begin each new generation with the same sweet hope as the one before; this time it will be different. And each time it is, a little. Each rising is a wave against an unforgiving, uncaring shoreline. Someday, not in my lifetime and not in Katherine's or my theoretical grandchildren's and probably not even in their children's lifetime, but someday, the dream of true equality will come true.

Until then keep rising. If you're tired, I'll help you. After all, we're tied together.



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Flying While Fat – Brilliant Documentary Animation

Stacy Bias is an absolute badass.  You may remember her from her Cards Against Humanity expansion pack – Fats Against Humanity, and her amazing Rad Fatty Merit Badges. Well she is back with a documentary animation that perfectly captures the difficulty faced by fat people who are trying to access air travel.

Stacy explains:

Flying is uncomfortable for many people, but when the physical infrastructure of the plane doesn’t accommodate your body and/or the social attitudes of other passengers make the plane environment a hostile space, flying can be a particularly anxious thing to do. News stories about fat passengers often present them as unreasonably taking up space that is not their own, as a problem for others, dehumanising fat people akin to ‘excess baggage’. To challenge these narratives, this animation presents the voices of fat passengers as they explain the challenges of fitting into spaces that exclude them both socially and materially. The animation encourages people to empathise with fat people as fellow passengers and human beings, and to think about the political and economic relations that contribute to this exclusion.

For more reading about flying fat you can check out:

Stacy’s site:  http://ift.tt/2gSws7M

Flying Fat:  But It’s Not Fair to Thin People

Flying Fat:  You’re Right, It’s Not Fat Shaming

I will admit that I have some envy of people for whom the hassles of flying are limited to flight delays and lost luggage, and not whether they’ll be left clinging to the last shreds of their dignity by their connecting flight. Still, I feel like we’re making progress and the more the airlines know that fat flyers are here and not going away, and the more our fellow passengers can see us as living breathing human beings, the more progress we will make and the faster we will make it.

Announcing the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

I got everything I hoped and more from this course. I now have an alternative inside of myself – of love and realness – and it keeps getting stronger. This love and realness is pushing out the oppression, and the pain, and body cruelty in my thinking and being. It’s getting so much more fun, interesting and beautiful inside of here! I’m in a growth and stretching phase now, and I’m starting to see the beauty and power and goodness in all bodies, including this one. From my heart and from my body – Thank you thank you thank you.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 



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Fake Allies: Time to Play Dirty!

I just want to put my head in my hands. I value civility. I value extending the olive branch and hearing different ideas. But I also value being blunt, being effective, setting boundaries, breaking out of the echo chamber. Well, guess what? I’m just about out of olive branches. I’m about ready to play dirty […]

via Dead of Winter http://ift.tt/2gRMkaA

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Trump Appointee Wouldn’t Hire Fat People

Bad DoctorDelos “Toby” Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, was recently selected by Trump to join an advisory committee that, according to a news release by the administration”brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth. My administration is committed to drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating, and expanding right here in America.”

You may remember Toby from that time he told a New York Times reporter (for an article whose misinformation could be the subject of its own blog post) that he thinks “obesity” is a disease, and that if it were up to him he would refuse to hire “obese” people.  There are massive problems with the idea of considering a body size to be a disease.  There are massive problems with a medical professional insisting that eating less and exercising more “solves obesity” despite the fact that  the research doesn’t, in any way, back him up. There are also massive problems with the Cleveland Clinic’s own wellness program and hospital performance, which wellness expert Al Lewis points out in this great piece.

Those are serious problems, but not the biggest problem here.  The biggest problem is that Toby thinks that “obesity” is a disease,  and he would refuse to hire “obese” people.  So what he is saying is that, as a doctor and healthcare executive, he thinks it’s ok to discriminate against people who have a disease (in this case a disease whose only common “symptom” is the end result of a math equation.)

He is a medical doctor who is literally advocating healthism and sizeism as a hiring strategy, completely disregarding the qualifications of the applicant. And now he is on a forum that’s going to make recommendations to the government about hiring.  Not great news for fat people who want to be hired and paid for our skills, and not based on other people’s bigotry, stereotypes, and misconceptions.

To be clear, donald campaigned on a platform of blatant racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, and anti-queer and anti-trans sentiment, was supported and endorsed by the KKK, and has created his cabinet with people who believe the same, so fat people in the US are among many groups who now find ourselves citizens of a country where members of the administration are excited to oppress us.

That’s why it’s important that we not let things like this go by without comment, that we not allow this to become normalized, and above all that we not allow other people’s bigotry to make us question our self-worth.

Imagine if instead of refusing to hire qualified, talented fat people, we refused to hire bigots to consult with the government about hiring. That would be progress.

Announcing the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

I got everything I hoped and more from this course. I now have an alternative inside of myself – of love and realness – and it keeps getting stronger. This love and realness is pushing out the oppression, and the pain, and body cruelty in my thinking and being. It’s getting so much more fun, interesting and beautiful inside of here! I’m in a growth and stretching phase now, and I’m starting to see the beauty and power and goodness in all bodies, including this one. From my heart and from my body – Thank you thank you thank you.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2gYLI0m

Monday, 5 December 2016

Dieters Gain More Weight in Pregnancy


Care providers often push "obese" women to lose weight before pregnancy in hopes that weight loss will reduce complications and make for a healthier pregnancy.

However, one consequence they often fail to consider is that the woman who loses weight before pregnancy often gains excessively during pregnancy.

This is logical; the body thinks it is starving already; once pregnant it feels it has to get even more efficient in order to sustain the mother and provide enough energy for the baby to grow. Thus, the body holds on even more to every calorie it does get and the woman experiences a higher weight gain during pregnancy, even though she may be eating perfectly reasonably.

Here is a brand-new study showing that women who practice "dietary restraint" (dieting, weight cycling, restrained eating) before pregnancy tend to gain more weight in pregnancy. The study noted:
Multivariable analysis revealed that restrained eating, weight cycling and dieting were associated with higher absolute weight gain, whilst weight cycling only was associated with excessive weight gain.
This is not the first study to find a higher gain in women who diet before pregnancy. Another study in 2008 had similar findings. It noted:
Restrained eating behaviors were associated with weight gains above the Institute of Medicine's recommendations for normal, overweight, and obese women.
And another study from 2013 showed that low-income women who experienced food insecurity and have a history of dieting may be particularly at risk for high gain during pregnancy.

Yet most caregivers continue to recommend weight loss before pregnancy to high-BMI women, and many researchers call quite aggressively for it. They do not seem to realize that the trade-off for significant weight loss before pregnancy may well be a high weight gain during pregnancy.

This is especially troublesome considering the intense pressure some care providers place on obese women to restrict their weight gain to almost nothing during pregnancy. It's like they are setting up women of size to fail from the get-go.

A better approach is to encourage women of all sizes to practice Health At Every Size®, which means to place the emphasis on eating well and getting regular exercise without emphasizing weight loss or the scale. 

There's nothing wrong with encouraging healthy habits before pregnancy, and this can be an important part of pre-conception care ─ but the emphasis on weight loss before pregnancy at all costs may be counter-productive.


References

Appetite. 2016 Dec 1;107:501-510. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.08.103. Epub 2016 Aug 19. Effects of dietary restraint and weight gain attitudes on gestational weight gain. Heery E, Wall PG, Kelleher CC, McAuliffe FM. PMID: 27545671
The aim of this study was to examine the impact of dietary restraint and attitudes to weight gain on gestational weight gain. This is a prospective cohort study of 799 women recruited at their first antenatal care visit. They provided information on pre-pregnancy dietary restraint behaviours (weight cycling, dieting and restrained eating) and attitudes to weight gain during pregnancy at a mean of 15 weeks' gestation. We examined the relationship of these variables with absolute gestational weight gain and both insufficient and excessive gestational weight gain, as defined by the Institute of Medicine recommendations. Multivariable analysis revealed that restrained eating, weight cycling and dieting were associated with higher absolute weight gain, whilst weight cycling only was associated with excessive weight gain. There was no evidence that the relationships between the dietary restraint measures and the weight gain outcomes were mediated by pregnancy-associated change in food intake. Increased concern about weight gain during pregnancy was independently associated with higher absolute weight gain and excessive weight gain. These relationships were attenuated following adjustments for pregnancy-associated change in food intake. These findings suggest that in early pregnancy, both a history of fluctuations in body weight and worry about gestational weight gain, are indicators of high pregnancy weight gain. Concern about weight gain during pregnancy seems to partly arise from an awareness of increased food intake since becoming pregnant. Prenatal dietary counselling should include consideration of past dieting practices and attitudes to pregnancy weight gain.
J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Oct;108(10):1646-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.07.016. Dietary restraint and gestational weight gain. Mumford SL, Siega-Riz AM, Herring A, Evenson KR. PMID: 18926129
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a history of preconceptional dieting and restrained eating was related to higher weight gains in pregnancy. DESIGN: Dieting practices were assessed among a prospective cohort of pregnant women using the Revised Restraint Scale. Women were classified on three separate subscales as restrained eaters, dieters, and weight cyclers. SUBJECTS: Participants included 1,223 women in the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Total gestational weight gain and adequacy of weight gain (ratio of observed/expected weight gain based on Institute of Medicine recommendations). STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Multiple linear regression was used to model the two weight-gain outcomes, while controlling for potential confounders including physical activity and weight-gain attitudes. RESULTS: There was a positive association between each subscale and total weight gain, as well as adequacy of weight gain. Women classified as cyclers gained an average of 2 kg more than noncyclers and showed higher observed/expected ratios by 0.2 units. Among restrained eaters and dieters, there was a differential effect by body mass index. With the exception of underweight women, all other weight status women with a history of dieting or restrained eating gained more weight during pregnancy and had higher adequacy of weight gain ratios. In contrast, underweight women with a history of restrained eating behaviors gained less weight compared to underweight women without those behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: Restrained eating behaviors were associated with weight gains above the Institute of Medicine's recommendations for normal, overweight, and obese women, and weight gains below the recommendations for underweight women. Excessive gestational weight gain is of concern because of its association with postpartum weight retention. The dietary restraint tool is useful for identifying women who would benefit from nutritional counseling prior to or during pregnancy with regard to achieving targeted weight-gain recommendations.
Appetite. 2013 Jun;65:178-84. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.01.018. Epub 2013 Feb 10. Food insecurity with past experience of restrained eating is a recipe for increased gestational weight gain. Laraia B, Epel E, Siega-Riz AM. PMID: 23402720
Food insecurity is linked to higher weight gain in pregnancy, as is dietary restraint. We hypothesized that pregnant women exposed to marginal food insecurity, and who reported dietary restraint before pregnancy, will paradoxically show the greatest weight gain. Weight outcomes were defined as total kilograms, observed-to-recommended weight gain ratio, and categorized as adequate, inadequate or excessive weight gain based on 2009 Institute of Medicine guidelines. A likelihood ratio test assessed the interaction between marginal food insecurity and dietary restraint and found significant. Adjusted multivariate regression and multinomial logistic models were used to estimate weight gain outcomes. In adjusted models stratified by dietary restraint, marginal insecurity and low restraint was significantly associated with lower weight gain and weight gain ratio compared to food secure and low restraint. Conversely, marginal insecurity and high restraint was significantly associated with higher weight gain and weight gain ratio compared to food secure and high restraint. Marginal insecurity with high restraint was significantly associated with excessive weight gain. Models were consistent when restricted to low-income women and full-term deliveries. In the presence of marginal food insecurity, women who struggle with weight and dieting issues may be at risk for excessive weight gain.


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We’re Fat People, Not Metaphors

Actual SizeOne of the ways that weight-based bigotry is perpetuated is the use of fat people and being fat as metaphor.  Recently reader Jen commented about a situation where this was happening to her and gave me permission to blog about it.

I am the only fat person, in a group of 14 people, for whom issues like alcoholism, drug abuse and domestic partner violence seem to play third chair to the issue of: “at least I don’t look like her.” And no, I can’t prove this, but when half of the examples from the books that the groups’ facilitators use have to be examples of how “not to eat too much”, “because that is a short time reward vs a long time goal” (ie a cookie vs weight loss), I get sort of…paranoid. Like one can BE paranoid about an issue that seems to run 24 7 in every element, aspect and goal of modern American Society.
Seriously, have they NO other examples?

As they say – it’s not paranoia if they’re actually after you.  Fat bodies, being fat, and stereotypes about being  fat are used to represent everything from  greed to laziness to capitalism and more.  Our bodies are freely used for whatever the negative metaphor, comparison, or representation of the day is.  As if we have no feelings about seeing people who look like us constantly used to represent everything bad in the world, or as if those feelings aren’t important.

Our bodies are not yours to photograph and throw all over the internet as a metaphor for anything (or as some bullshit People of Walmart nonsense.)  We are PEOPLE, these are our BODIES, and EVERY BODY deserves respect.

Of course we each get to choose how to deal with the oppression we face. For me, when this happens in person I’ve found that one of the most effective tools is to use confusion, acting like I don’t understand the comparison and making the person explain until the problem is obvious and they get too uncomfortable to continue.

When it happens online, I propose a little bit of simple at-home activism.  Every time you see fat people or being fat used to represent something negative, leave a comment like “Fat people aren’t yours for the metaphor-ing. Every body deserves respect!” If you want to take it one step further send an e-mail to the source of the story – tell them your personal story, send them this blog whatever, but let’s teach people that this behavior isn’t ok.  Also, I’ve found that this kind of activism can reframe this issue for me – now instead of feeling angry or hurt or ashamed when I see this happen, I can look at it as a chance to educate, and advocate for myself.

I am super excited to announce the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

Both are a step-by-step program that gives people the tools, coaching, and community to create a rock solid foundation of self-esteem and body love, and teaches the strategies and skills to leverage that to create the life you’ve always wanted.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2gYVLoS

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Words Matter

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is a lie. To someone who’s being bullied verbally, as long as the bullying never crosses that line, it can be a helpful lie. You tell yourself words can’t hurt you, and reinforce that you aren’t defined by the bully’s opinion of you.  You don’t let their poison into your heart, and because you believe that words can’t hurt you, they lose some of their power.  You believe it, and you make it true.

But words do matter.  And truth matters.  There seem to be no consequences for malicious lies that get people killed, at least not to the liars themselves.  Fred Clark talks about this extensively—this fantasy game where right-wing Christians falsely accuse people of horrific evils so they can view themselves as the heroes of the story, nobly standing up to the Satanic baby-killers.  Today, a man walked into a restaurant and fired shots, because of the latest Satanic baby-killers lie.  No one was hurt, and he was arrested, but this problem is bigger than any one person.

I cannot help but think that there should be some legal consequence for such blatantly false and dangerous accusations, something like the criminal equivalent to libel or slander. And yet, anything like that would be used as a weapon against people speaking out against the incoming administration, probably far more than it would be used to charge people who made false accusations of child rape or murder and got people killed.

So, the only thing I can suggest is that we have to be willing to call a lie a lie, and be willing to stand up for what’s true.  The media, in particular, needs to get away from “critics say” and pointing out that an allegation was made without documenting that there was no shred of evidence associated with that allegation.  They might have to shy away from “lie” because that implies intent, which is tricky to prove, but there’s nothing wrong with “falsely claims” or “unproven allegations.”

We cannot be a post-truth society.  The human cost is too high.




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