Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: The Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin
March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin passed away today from pancreatic cancer. She was an amazing performer, and the radio station I listen to damn well better play some tunes from the Queen of Soul today while I’m working.
That should be all I have to say, full stop. Unfortunately, with the world we live in, I need to talk about some unnecessary fucking bullshit.
Aretha Franklin’s weight is none of your fucking business.
Nobody’s weight is any of your fucking business.
People of all sizes die. Every god damn day.
I don’t want to see “Aretha Franklin Weight” in my search results when I’m looking for a picture of the lady.
If a magazine is talking about people’s weight, or “best and worst beach bodies”, or any of that crap, that magazine is trash, and you shouldn’t pay money for it. People have the right to go to the fucking beach without assholes trying to micromanage their bodies.
People do not need to be deemed “fuckable” to have the right not to be bombarded with shitty messages every day of their lives. I don’t want to fuck anybody. I’d be a pretty awful asshole if I treated everyone I don’t want to fuck like shit.
“BUT THEIR HEALTH!!11!!!1!!!”
Their “health” is none of your fucking business. It’s never about “health” anyway, face it. People do terrible things in attempts to keep their body looking a certain way--things that are incredibly unhealthy. The dreadful “Biggest Loser,” or, as I like to call it, The Biggest Dickweed, was not about health. It was a weight loss contest. They pushed people until they were puking and had to be hospitalized. That is not healthy. Google Kai Hibbard. This former “Biggest Loser” contestant has your truth serum.
Extreme weight fluctuations are very damaging to the body. Ashton Kutcher ended up hospitalized for pancreatitis after pushing his body to lose weight for his role in Jobs. Christian Bale did permanent damage to his body when losing extreme amounts of weight for a role. Tom Hanks feels that his developing Type 2 diabetes was triggered by extreme fluctuations in weight for roles, although, in fairness, one has to have the gene for diabetes in order to develop diabetes.
In other words, dieting is bad for the body. Only about 5 percent of people who diet have long-term success. These are very bad odds. The more one diets, the more damaged one’s metabolism becomes. I dieted for close to 35 years, and every time I stopped severely restricting my food intake (eating normally), the weight came back with friends. I had to stop dieting so I wouldn’t get heavier. It doesn’t help that my metabolism is a mess in the first place.
I suggest and for more about the science of dieting and forced weight loss and stomach amputation and all that other awful crap that larger people have pushed on them every god damn day of their lives.
Aretha Franklin should have been able to live her amazing life at whatever size she was without being bombarded by body-shaming bullshit. Her weight is none of anyone’s goddamn business. No-one’s weight is any of anyone else’s goddamn business. Not even when they get to (insert arbitrary weight here.) 
Of course, only fat people die. No one who is thin dies, not ever. Certainly, no-one who is thin would ever get pancreatic cancer.
Oh, wait.

People of all sizes die. All the time. The older you get, the more likely you are to develop a condition that will kill you. Even if you have a so-called perfect body. Even if you exercise regularly and eat the “right” foods. Even then you may end up dead at an unexpectedly young age, like a nursing supervisor whom I worked with. This woman ate all the right foods, exercised, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, attended church regularly, and still ended up dead from sudden cardiac arrest when she was 65 years old.
People’s worth is defined by their actions and intent, not by their physical appearance.
Aretha Franklin was an amazing person. Full stop.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Hamplanets at TGI Friday's

This was a response to a post at We Hunted The Mammoth

Wherein blog author David Futrelle shared (and mocked) the words of an epic jackwagon from the Red Pill sector of Reddit, who stated:

"I watched hamplanets glitter in the dark near the TGIFridays."

There are hamplanets glittering by the TGI Friday's? Wow! Cool! I'll have to drive by the TGI Friday's and see if there are any hamplanets there. I've heard of these hamplanets, but I've never seen one. If they're glittery, that must be extra special.
I developed an eating disorder when I was 12 years old because I was so paranoid about getting fat. It wasn't because I thought that fat people were bad, it was seeing how fat people were treated. I didn't want to be treated like that. I spent 33 years trying to yo-yo diet myself into a size that my body didn't want to be. Given that my endocrine system is a dumpster fire, it's highly unlikely that I'd ever become thin unless I became critically ill, and maybe not even then. So, I learned to accept my body as it is. 
Unfortunately, our awful medical system doesn't want to allow me to just be as I am, they want to force more diets (which didn't work for 33 years, so I don't know how they're supposed to work now) or stomach amputation on me. This makes for uncomfortable and enraging doctor's appointments, not compassionate medical care. I would never go to a doctor if it weren't for this dumpster fire of an endocrine system.
That being said, I don't have a problem with my weight. For some reason, other people take it upon themselves to have a problem with my weight.
The only way I'd ever be truly ashamed of myself again is if I let one of these douchebros into my pants. And at that point, the shame wouldn't be because of my weight, it would be because I had been incredibly disrespectful of myself and should certainly know better.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: More from the Dumpster Fire that is Insatiable

Trigger warning for diet talk, eating disorders. 
This is my take and my story, in response to this post.
This dumpster fire manages to be offensive to pretty much everybody who isn't a conventionally attractive, white, Hollywood-thin starlet. Of course, there is the repugnant fat suit on the thin, conventionally attractive a-hole wearing it. Then there is the fact that it's "funny" that a fat girl gets punched and has to have her jaw wired shut. High-larious! What humor! Much original! So comedy!
The "show" apparently treats homosexuality as something to be laughed at and ridicules people from the South. I'm hardly surprised that it also thinks that mental illness is a big ole barrel of laffs.
I'm sick of talking about it, but I'll talk about it until it goes the hell away. For all of me, I hope that the careers of every person involved with this mess in any major way swirl straight down the crapper. I, for one, will consciously avoid anything created by or starring any of these people again, including Lauren Guissis, Alyssa Milano, and the face of the whole mess, Debby Ryan.
In the interest of disclosure, I am a person who developed an eating disorder when I was twelve. I spent the next thirty-three years of my life yo-yo dieting and berating myself whenever my diets "failed." As happens with most people who diet, the weight I lost came back with friends. I had to stop dieting so I wouldn't end up heavier.  It certainly didn't help that I have a zombie endocrine system: dead thyroid, cystic ovaries, screwy pituitary. I wasn't at all surprised when diabetes joined the crowd. After all, the rest of my damn endocrine system is dead or mutated, why not my pancreas too?
It doesn't help that whenever I go to the damn doctor, these so-called "smart" people somehow can't catch on to the fact that with an endocrine system like mine, I'm highly unlikely to be thin. But do they focus on my underlying health problems, the reason I'm coming to see them? Oh hell no! They focus on the number on the damn scale. They suggest stomach amputation (weight loss surgery). They do not listen when I tell them that I do not want to discuss my weight, no, I am not "indulging in treats," I am FOOD INSECURE, you damn nincompoops. I wouldn't see you at all if it wasn't for the fact that I need medication to, oh, I don't know, survive. Every time I see one of these jerks, I end up in an E.D. spiral for a week or more, starving myself, even though by now I know full well that doesn't work and, with diabetes, I certainly shouldn't be doing it.
Also, my body does not come off like a costume with some thin, conventionally attractive princess stepping out. Newp, it's all me. I've learned to live with it, learned to accept it, only to have jerks with "M.D." after their name tell me I shouldn't accept it.
Then a crap show like this comes along.
Oh, by the way, I also have type 2 bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and OCD. I can't tolerate most psych medications, they make me manic and psychotic. I take a low dose of lithium. Everything else is supplements like 5-HTP. I've learned to cope with the condition, mostly without help from anyone because, like most doctors, most counselors are crap. Thing is, I don't have to see them to resolve a physical condition that will kill me within a month if I don't inject insulin, so I don't see them. 
The medical profession pretty much sucks, if you ask me. People like me have to fight to get what we need, and we can't even get a little respect, basic human treatment.
So, when "Insatiable" comes along and ridicules the problems I've had to learn to live with? Somehow, I don't think it's one bit funny, and I am going to do whatever I can to take it down.
I hope there is no season 2. I hope this ship sinks like a stone and takes all the fools involved down with it.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: The Racist, Classist, and Sexist Roots of Weight Loss Culture

Medical Community Logic

So, as I have written about a few times in the past month, I had some recent bad experience with my doctor and I've been trying to decide what to do.
I have an eating disorder. Technically EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) but it most closely resembles bulimia even though I don't physically purge at this point.
I have diabetes (along with other endocrine malfunctions) and so the guilt gets heaped on me double with my eating disorder. I have it under better control than I used to, but I'm food insecure, so sometimes when I'm having to ration food, the E.D. part of my brain starts praising me for not eating, repeating the old "hunger hurts but starvation works" mantra. Eventually, I stop feeling the physical hunger and become kind of detached from reality. When I eventually eat, it is generally not something approved by the American Diabetes Association. It might not even be in particularly large quantities, at least not for a person who doesn't have diabetes, but since I'm supposed to curb my carbs, it ends up spiking my blood sugar and elevating my A1C.
I wanted to freaking punch my doctor when my last blood test came back with slightly elevated triglycerides and she had the audacity to ask me if I had been "indulging in treats." I've told her I'm food insecure. I snapped at her that given that I'm food insecure, as I've already told her, any damn food is an "indulgence." No, I'm not sitting in front of the soap operas gorging on bonbons, which is, for whatever reason, what we fat ladies are always supposed to eat. I doubt I've ever eaten a dozen bonbons in my entire 53 (mostly fat) years on this planet.
I'm so numbed out by a lifetime of disappointment and abuse that I literally can't cry anymore. These days when something bad happens I say "well, here we go again" and I withdraw. Anger tends to be the only thing that prevents me from doing myself in. That and the fact that my son still needs me.
Honestly, I'm disappointed as fuck that with as progressive a state as Colorado is supposed to be, I have found exactly zero doctors in the Denver/Boulder area with a Health at Every Size approach. The doctor that I'm currently seeing (and I'm probably going to go back to my previous doctor) does not provide, as she claims, a "safe space" for larger people. Oh, on the first visit she acted like she's going to treat me with a semblance of humanity, but by the third visit, out came the old "my patients who have had weight loss surgery are all doing very well" hype. Yeah, providing a bench so bigger people don't have to squeeze into a small chair with arms does not make you size friendly. 
Well, Lady, after a month of stewing over this shit, I've come to the conclusion that it is not this fat broad's fault that you suck at taking a larger person's blood pressure. My old doc may have been half-assed, but his staff was top tier. Even though my current doctor is very thorough, I can't stand her attitude. I think I'm better off with the half-assed dude. He only made me want to punch him about half the time.
I feel guilty about firing this doctor because if it weren't for her, I'd never have found out that I have a uterus full of fibroids and polyps, and it needs to come out because it increases my risk of uterine cancer. I wouldn't have mentioned the post-menopausal bleeding to my old doctor, mostly because I'm not comfortable discussing that kind of crap with men. Unfortunately, the doctor who will probably be performing the hysterectomy is a man, but the procedure he uses involves less invasive methods and therefore less healing time, which is an excellent selling point.
I don't know if I should tell my current doctor why I'm not returning, or if I should just ghost. I really don't much want to talk to her again. I doubt she'll learn anything from what I have to say anyway. She could have been a great fit, if only she'd actually lived up to her promise of providing a safe space for larger people and not been a lying liar shilling for weight loss surgeons.
The pressure on women to appear youthful, thin, and pretty throughout our entire lives is based on extremely sexist ideals, and even supposedly progressive women buy into these ideals without question. We are supposed to be a certain kind of pretty to please men. 
Younger women tend to be more compliant than mature women, so women are supposed to aspire to look young, even if we were born during the Roosevelt administration. As it happens, I was born during the Johnson administration. So, expecting me to look like I'm an eighteen-year-old ingenue is unrealistic and offensive as fuck to boot. But, this leads me to my next point.
A smaller, more slender body type tends to be associated with youth and, therefore, vulnerability and compliance. Women are supposed to aspire to appear delicate and fragile rather than sturdy. As well, women tend to gain weight after giving birth. Mothers tend to give more attention to their children than to their husband. A woman who is focusing her attention on nurturing children rather than pleasing her lord and master is not to be desired. So, even if a woman has ten children (i.e. Catherine Dickens*), she is to aspire to have a maiden's body.
A larger body type has come to be associated with gluttony. Thus, a large woman is seen as focusing on feeding her own appetites rather than accommodating the desires of men.  
(*Charles Dickens, amazing writer though he may have been, was more than a  bit of a shit when it came to his wife, Catherine, whom he denigrated for having become fat in the course of their marriage, in which she gave birth to ten children. Dickens' eleventh child was the product of his affair with Ellen Ternan.)

The push for a chiseled, athletic body type in both men and women also has roots in the ideals of the Aryan Superman stereotype, such as in this image from the cover of a 1938 publication. Encouragement of an often impossibly slender and youthful kind of beauty by any means necessary is a holdover from the Nazi idea of a perfected (white) race. I am certain that weight loss surgery would be lauded by Dr. Mengele himself.

Conversely, this image of a middle-aged Jewish man with pronounced jowls and a double chin is touted as undesirable and to be eradicated.
Ageism is also inherent in the push to retain youthful slenderness throughout the entirety of one's life.
The medical community should be ashamed of themselves. Their intolerance keeps larger people from seeking care until their situation becomes catastrophic. The fact that only fat people who are sick tend to seek medical care allows the medical community to perpetuate the lie that fat = sick. Further, to treat an ill and frightened person who has come seeking help with shame and scorn is the opposite of doing no harm.
In modern times, poor people are more likely to be heavy than those in the upper class. Poor people tend to be unable to afford medical care and thus are only seen when their situation has become catastrophic, allowing doctors to argue that they have brought their misfortune upon themselves by not seeking preventative care.
The medical community likes to claim that weight loss surgery (stomach amputation) is a low-risk procedure. It is not. Here is some food for thought regarding weight loss surgery, courtesy of Big Fat Science. Few other elective procedures come with this much risk attached.
The medical community is not infallible. They also used to believe that trepanning and thalidomide were miraculous medical interventions, and look how well those turned out.

The medical community needs to embrace the Hippocratic Oath to "first do no harm," even if this means accepting that most of their patients will never be perfect. They need to treat all of their patients with compassion and respect, even the patient who is so addicted to nicotine that she can't stop herself from smoking although she has emphysema or has had part of a lung removed. (Both people I knew, as it happens.) 
Even the alcoholic who can't stop drinking although he has cirrhosis of the liver. 
Even the drug addict. 
Even the fat person who actually does eat enormous amounts of food. Most fat people do not, in fact, eat more than thin or mid-size people. I've known a few thin people who could easily eat more than I do. 
Even the diabetic who eats nothing but simple carbs. 
People's behavior is more complex than just flipping a switch. There are psychological as well as physical components. And with fat people, trying to control their weight through deprivation dieting generally leads to--you guessed it--weight regain and then some. This post on starvation syndrome is worth a look.

Diets don't work, mutilation of a healthy digestive system is unconscionable, and people are the size they are for a variety of reasons. We need to reject the sexist, racist, classist, and ageist notion that Number Twelve should look Just Like You. 

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Not a Pretty Girl

Every now and then I think it would be cool to try and reconnect with a friend I had back in the day, but then I remember that said friend had a crush on me, and it becomes weird and awkward. I had a lot of these guys in my life.
It wasn't that I was stunningly attractive by any means. I have always been "too fat" to be conventionally attractive. Even when I was thin I had a chubby face. In fact, after having surgery on my chin, my boss pinched my cheek and said: "why didn't you have the doctor do something about these chipmunk cheeks?" So, yeah.
Anyway, I was the "troubled girl" trope. People, mostly guys, have always thought they could turn me, who, to be honest, resembles Miss Piggy more than any other celebrity, from a plain, troubled, chubby girl into a stunning swan who would then be grateful to them for life. However, people are not plot devices, and shit does not work that way. When you try to mold people into the image of what you think they should be, they resent the fuck out of it. 
The end is never pretty.
I always fear that if I try to contact some of my guy friends from the past, they will expect me to still be the vaguely cute, troubled girl that they can fix. I am not her. She is long gone. There were reasons why she existed. She doesn't need to exist anymore.
I'm not cute, and I don't care about being cute. I'm sick and tired of people who think I should care about it, and that includes fucking doctors who think I should care about whether or not people find me physically attractive. I don't care. I don't want to care. I don't want anything to fucking do with it. I want to be out of that game.
I am not a pretty girl. It isn't what I do.
So, this is why I don't contact some of the dudes from my past who I thought were cool, but I know they wanted to "save" me.
I don't want to be "saved," and I don't want anyone trying to turn me into something I'm not.
This rant is why I shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a keyboard in the early hours of the morning.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Hell No to your Weight Loss Surgery Bullshit

This was a reply to a thread over at This Is Thin Privilege regarding Netflix' "Insatiable" shit show as compared to what real fat people experience every day in a world that wants us thin or dead and doesn't much care which.

Doctors suck so much. My endocrine system is a dumpster fire. I have hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and some features of Cushing’s Syndrome, although I don’t have the stereotypical Cushing’s body, which is heavy on top with thin legs. My weight is evenly distributed. 

I’m only trained as low tier medical personnel, (licensed practical nurse), but you don’t need any medical training at all to know that doctors are full of shit. Knowing that every one of the health problems I described comes with weight gain and difficulty losing weight (in fairness, diabetes can go either way. Some people who develop type 2 diabetes start suddenly losing weight.) you would think they’d realize that hey, this person being fat is not a huge surprise. Let’s concentrate on treating their actual health issues instead of harassing them about their unsurprisingly fat body. But, nooooooo. If you think that’s what they’d do, you’d be wrong.

For twelve years, I went to a doctor who would give me the old “every health problem you have could be solved by losing weight” schpiel. I found a new doctor, and, initially, she seemed wonderful. I had issues addressed that weren’t being addressed previously. But then one day I came in for my quarterly appointment, and she asked if she could get my weight. As we had discussed during my initial appointment with her that I don’t want to be weighed, I gave a curt “no.” The appointment went downhill from there.

This woman does not have a large adult cuff and so can’t get an accurate blood pressure reading on me. I told her I’d let her know if my blood pressure was ever outside of the acceptable range (I take my own.) My triglycerides were slightly elevated (not surprising for someone with diabetes) so she was trying to push me to take a statin drug. I refused. This is a really hardcore medication, not something I want to take if not absolutely necessary. Then she tried to push this medication on me which has all kinds of digestive side effects. No thanks! I got off Metformin because it was making me queasy and I never knew if I just needed to pass gas, or if I was literally going to poop my pants. I don’t want to have to carry around a spare pair of pants, oddly enough, and I don’t want to have to wear Depends, oddly enough.

Then came the straw that broke the camel’s back. She told me that her patients who have had WLS are doing “very well.” I said, “yep, you doctors want us fat people thin or dead, and you don’t much care which.” She is a more effective doctor than my old doctor. I’ve had issues addressed that he never would have addressed. But he never in all his “lose weight, blah blah blah” rhetoric mentioned weight loss surgery. In fact, when I shut him down about the weight loss stuff, he’d just shrug and say “okay.” Plus, he had medical assistants who knew how to take a blood pressure. I don’t have the spoons to search for another doctor, so it’s a choice between overall more effective but a WLS cheerleader, or kind of half-assed but at least he isn’t pushing WLS.

Anyway, I resonate with what all of you are saying, and I hope this “Insatiable” mess fails so fucking hard. “Hurr hurr hurr fat people amirite” is not humor, and if you think it’s funny, you really need to check your shit. Fat bodies are not costumes. Millions of people live in fat bodies every day. I don’t give a flying fuck if anyone finds my fat body attractive or not. You still have to treat people whom you don’t find fuckable with basic common decency. Using fat people as the butt of jokes is not basic common decency in any way, shape, or form. Fuck this “Insatiable” shit, and fuck all the crap-ass fatphobic doctors out there who take a huge dump all over their “do no harm” oath whenever it comes to the happiness and well-being of fat people.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Fuck Your Fat Suit Wearing Bullshit

This is a clueless, conventionally attractive, thin privileged asshole in a fat suit.

This is an actual fat person. Also appearing: Crowley.
I don’t like sharing pictures of myself because people are assholes and are going to say stupid and obvious shit like “ur fat!!11!!!”, but I wanted to make a necessary point. Hopefully, one day we won’t have to make such points. It’s a huge fucking waste of time, and I’d rather be doing something else. That being said:
I don’t think I’m beautiful in any way, shape, or form, so don’t try the old “ur just trying to force all the menz to think ur beuateeful, u old fat bitch!!!111!!” crap on me. I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m beautiful. I don’t think I’m beautiful. But I do think I’m human, and I think that all people, regardless of whether or not they are “beautiful”, deserve to be treated with common decency. If you’re the sort of person who only treats people you deem “fuckable” kindly in the hopes that they will fuck you, you are a horrible person and need to fuck off now.
I have been both thin and fat during my life. When I was in my teens, I starved myself down to 108 pounds. I am five foot six now. I was probably a little over five foot four at that point. I have a big frame. There is no way I should ever weigh as little as 108 pounds. If I do, there’s something badly wrong with me.
Not that I need to justify my body to anybody, but I have a dead thyroid gland sitting in my neck being dead. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. I have type 2 diabetes, which onset when I was in my late 40′s and didn’t surprise me at all considering that my endocrine system is a complete dumpster fire. My pituitary doesn’t work quite right and I have some features of Cushing’s syndrome, although I don’t have the typical Cushing’s body: large upper body and thin legs. My weight is evenly distributed.
All that being said, I have a typical puffy endocrine face. I have a double chin.
I don’t look like someone slapped a clay tube under my chin the way Miss Clueless Fat-Suit Wearing Conventionally Attractive Thin Privileged Barbie Doll does.
I just look like a rather plain, garden variety, run of the mill, middle-aged fat lady that no-one would look at twice. I’m fine with that. I’m sick to fucking death of other people thinking it’s their business to tell me what to do with my body so I can look like Miss Clueless Fat-Suit Wearing Conventionally Attractive Thin Privileged Barbie Doll looks without her fat suit. No, I am not going to have my stomach amputated, not ever, unless I am unfortunate enough to get stomach cancer, and fuck you for suggesting that I should. I am not going to get injections of deadly pathogens injected into my face to smooth out my wrinkles. I am not going to have my hands bleached to get rid of my age spots. Fuck all of that ageist, fatphobic shit right to hell.
No, I do not eat all the time, so I don’t need to “lay off the Kentucky Fried Chicken and the McDonald’s.” I don’t like either of those. Further, I am actually food insecure and generally only eat one or two meals a day despite having diabetes, because I can’t afford adequate food since becoming disabled and only being able to work part time so I don’t lose Medicaid, which I need for my numerous health issues. Plus, I can’t work the kinds of physically demanding jobs I worked during the majority of my life anymore because of significant reversals in my health over the past few years. Punishing the disabled shows that a society is a huge fucking fail, if you ask me. 
And another thing:
As well as not looking like a thin-privileged asshole wearing a fat suit, being fat does not feel like wearing a fat suit.
It does not feel any different living in a fat body than a thin one. I don’t wake up every day and slap padding all over my body. The adipose tissue is simply part of my body.
If you want to depict a fat person, you need to get an actual fat person to play the part, not a thin-privileged Barbie doll in a fat suit.
Also, shit like “Insatiable” needs to not exist. It is inaccurate, it is offensive, it is mean-spirited, it is disgusting. This real, actual fat bitch says “enough.”

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~