Saturday, July 17, 2010

Loosening My Tongue

I'm a big advocate of holding my tongue when I disagree with people, particularly when they are operating on their own turf (i.e., their own blogs). The reason that I feel that way is that I think people prefer to sing their song in a chorus that provides harmony, and become hostile and defensive in the face of discord. I don't think I'm going to convince anyone of anything, and I'm really not sure that I want to. We all have to let others reach their own truths.

All of that being said, sometimes things strike me in a particular way because of how absurd they come across. Here are some of those statements, and what my tongue, now loosened by the fact that it is operating on my turf, has to say:

In a discussion on saying, "no" at all times to foods that you want to eat, someone said:
"Recently, I fell for the "moderation" way of thinking."

Yes, it's a con game that those of us who embrace moderation are playing. We want to dupe people into eating things in small portions so that we can, er, profit from their lack of excess... except, you know, there's no profit to be had. Saying you "fell for" something makes it sound like someone else had a vested interest in your choices. Moderation has worked well for me, and I don't care how other people eat, but framing it as something which is a lie irritates me.

In a fat advocacy blog writer's comments moderation section:
"I respect your choice to destroy your own body with Diets. YOU, in turn, respect my desire to keep my body happy and healthy and diet free."

There's nothing like framing others choices in the most disrespectful and passive-aggressive voice you can while asking that they respect you. This is no different than people saying, "I'll respect your right to destroy your body by eating so much and you, in turn, can respect my desire to eat right, exercise, and be healthy."

In forums:
"I started my weight loss adventure on (date)..."

It's not an adventure. It's much more like a job, a difficult, often thankless, tedious job. Must we try to wallpaper over the reality of the hardship of weight loss processes by pretending it's some wondrous and exciting experience and adopting such euphemisms?

"with all of the self control and focus it takes to do this...I have very little reason why I shouldnt apply myself in the same way to other things Ive been wanting to tackle..."

For me, I've always had self-control and focus in every area of my life except food. I am surprised that many people seem to lack these attributes in other areas, but I'm guessing that each of us has an issue with food for different reasons. Mine has never been about a lack of discipline on the whole, but a psychological problems which are very specific. Sometimes these assertions trouble me because it makes it sound like all fat people lack self-control and focus and that's why they're fat. It's not. Many overweight people are very disciplined.

"I see myself as fat now, but I didn't always."

I guess this is the much talked about "fatorexia". I have never seen myself as anything but "fat", because that is all anyone else has ever seen of me with some rare exceptions. I don't know whether to feel sorry for people who now see themselves as "fat" but didn't before because they've incorporated self-loathing and society's judgment fully into their identity or to be happy that they were able to spend most of their lives being something other than "fat". Sometimes I feel like people are saying, 'I lived my whole life not realizing just how "wrong" I really was. Now I see the light of how awful I really am!' The scary thing is many of them are grateful to have started "properly" hating themselves.

"You have to just DO it. Pick a plan, and stick to it."

Ah, the Nike slogan approach to weight loss. Who knew it was that easy to fix the complex problem of losing weight. We can solve all the problems that vex us now by saying things like:
To depressed people: Just cheer up! Be happy and stay happy!
To alcoholics: Just stop drinking booze! Decide not to drink and stick to it!
To the unemployed: Just find a job! Work!
Now that all of the problems have been solved, I guess there's no need for me to keep talking. Phew. Thank goodness someone figured out an easy way to fix everything.


RoSi said...

beyond awesome points!

Rhiannon Bowman said...

Yeah, I agree with RoSi. This is a great post. And, I'd like to encourage you to continue speaking your mind on this, and any other, topic.

Rhi B.
a.k.a. @AngryFatWoman

Anonymous said...

I'm still chuckling at the image of you coming across some of the strange statements people make on their blogs.

One of my own personal favorites: "After finally finding calorie counting, I realized that deprivation never has to enter into my new life style!" This blogger acts as if he/she INVENTED the tallying of calories as a weight loss tool, and that he/she never feels deprived because, well, ANY food is available for eating...imagine that, not just diet food.

What a revolutionary concept!!! *sarcasm dripping*

Thanks for a great laugh today. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds unintended amusement and *head desk* moments among the weight loss and FA blogs.


NewMe said...

Excellent post (as usual).

I find myself doing some self-censorship on my blog and it's not something I'm proud of.

My rationale is often that I don't want to insult people I truly like by asking questions about their choices. I think my other hesitation stems from not having the same "message of hope" that successful weight-loss bloggers communicate. So who am I to ask questions when I don't have a successful strategy to counter with?

I have a post planned for tomorrow (it's already written) that I'm still hesitating about posting, but I think I should do it. Thanks for the encouragement, SFG.

Theresa Sondjo said...

This is awesome. And therapeutic to read. I'm so glad I'm not the only one thinking that other people are absurd sometimes!

Fat Grump said...

I'm smiling here SFG :) Well said.

Must admit I think I am too long in the tooth for dieting euphemisms and (stupidly - with hindsight) called myself 'Grumpy' because I wanted to talk about the bare bones of weight loss. I wanted to be realistic but realised my style (when compared to others) sounded rather blunt and negative! I am not grumpy and I am a bit of an optimist, but my weight-loss diaries have to be no-frills accounts, otherwise they are a waste of my time. We blog to tell it like it is, surely? In doing that I am learning lots about myself and even more about the business of losing weight.