Casualties in the War on Obesity

A couple of days ago I told you about a young special needs student who had been physically and verbally abused by her teacher and her teacher’s aide for being fat.

Yesterday I saw a report that a couple were charged with neglect for starving their daughter in an effort to keep her from becoming obese.  The girl had gained only three pounds in her first 14 months of life.  Christopher Sultze, the girl’s father, told one of the physicians treating the girl for failure to thrive that he “doesn’t want to have obese children”.  Dr. Mary Bartel told reporters that both of the girl’s parents kept insisting that she was going to “get fat” from her treatment for malnourishment.

According to a report on the peer-reviewed journal “Pediatrics” hospitalizations for eating disorders among children under 12 years old are up 119% in the last decade

My friend’s boyfriend went to the doctor for severe, sudden onset backpain. Without so much as touching him, the doctor told him that the pain was due to his weight.  He explained to the doctor that the pain was new but the weight was not, but the doctor was unmoved.  A second doctor, after poking him a couple of times agreed with a diagnosis of fat and a treatment protocol of weight loss.  A third doctor, through the handy use of simple diagnostic tools that were readily available to the first two doctors, discovered disc damage requiring medical intervention. He suffered in pain for three weeks and, had he not sought a third opinion (and been able to afford three doctor’s visits), he would still be trying to lose weight with herniated discs which could have caused chronic back or leg pain and loss of control or sensation in his legs and/or feet.

I got an e-mail from a mother distraught that one of her daughters has organized her entire family to spend the holidays confronting a fat sibling about her weight.  The family is coordinating and planning to bully this girl at what is supposed to be family feast centered around thankfulness.

A young man went into the doctor for constant pain consistent with gallstones, and a family history of gallstone, then got an ultrasound confirming gallstones.  His doctor did not follow up with him after the tests and when he finally called  she insisted that the gallstones weren’t the problem and he just needed to lose weight.  He got a new doctor who performed emergency surgery and told the man that he could have died if he had waited much longer.

My friend Deb eats almost exclusively processed food and never exercises (she is fond of saying  “if we were meant to walk, God wouldn’t have invented cars”).  Donna weighs about 100 pounds.  She went to a doctor who tested her and found that she had high blood glucose, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and other metabolic risk factors.  Without asking her any questions he gestured to her body and said “You’re obviously doing everything possible for your health, don’t feel bad – sometimes these things are genetic- let’s get you on some medication.”

Earlier today I saw Kelly Bliss use the term “Casualties in the War on Obesity”, and she’s exactly right.  You can’t separate us from our fat.  A war on a obesity is a war on obese people, and a war on people has injuries and deaths and collateral damage and that’s exactly what’s happening.  And the casualties are all sizes and all ages – including 14 month old infants. Are we really to believe that a starved 14 month old is necessary collateral damage in an effort to get fat people to buy into a weight-centered health approach?

We must end this war. The casualties are completely unnecessary and we could stop them tomorrow by being for healthy options instead of against fat bodies.  Doctors would need to get themselves together, leave their size bias at home, and provide a proper standard of care based on health and not weight for their patients (which would include, you know, using a diagnostic tool besides staring at us fully clothed and guessing).  Fat bashers would need to find a new sport.  Everyone would need to be for access to health without being against people’s bodies.

But the first step, the very first step, is that fat people need to decide that they deserve respectful treatment and then demand it.  Even if they want to change their bodies, even if they want to lose weight, they can still claim their right to be treated with respect in the bodies they have now.  Respect is not contingent on body size and the more fat people who demand respectful treatment in every area of their lives, the more allies who will come forward to support us,  and one by one we will deplete the armies in the war on obesity and without armies there can be no casualties.

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Published in: on November 19, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (48)  

48 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I was diagnosed with gall stones 3 years ago. They were chronic and I was booked in for emergency surgery. The anaesthetist REFUSED to put me under on the day of my surgery. Just point blank refused because of my weight; even though the head of the department had cleared me to go under anaesthesia the week before. Instead they put me on a rapid weight loss program of meal replacement shakes (which had previously resulted in me having gall stone attacks). I threw that plan in the trash on the way out of the consultation.

    I still have my gall bladder, and those damn pesky gall stones, luckily though I was able to work out my trigger food (which is Tea btw) and avoid it at all costs – no more gall stone attacks, unless I am under extreme stress.

    • This makes me so glad that when I went in with my attack I got no grief about my weight at all. In fact, they weigh in you the bed. They did mention needing to weigh me for anesthesia purposes and they did bring up weight in regard to the surgery but it was only to tell me that my weight “may” make it harder to get the instruments in. It was all done in a neutral tone though which I was very glad about. It was one time I was really grateful for the doctors professionalism in this case especially since I was in such horrendous pain at the time. I’m disgusted that any would refuse to give surgery especially in the case of severe pain. Glad you figure out your trigger because having had a gall bladder attack, I KNOW how painful those things are!

    • I find that appalling. I am a woman in her later 30s who weighs close to 300 pounds. Earlier this year, I had routine surgery for carpal tunnel (which was blamed on my weight, my diabetes, and my smoking but not the data entry job I’ve had for 8+ years…pfft) and there was never a question about my weight from the hospital staff or my treating physician. Just the doctor my employer sent me to so they could deny worker’s comp. In fact, my endocrinologist laughed when I told him the doctor said my diabetes was the cause of my carpal tunnel.

      It is time for a change. We, as fat people, can be just as guilty – when we see someone bigger than us, we can use they same hateful, hurtful language. So not only do we need to demand respect for ourselves, we need to respect our fellow overweighters.

  2. When I was completing my LPN training, one of my fellow students was this young woman who weighed about 100 pounds and pretty much lived on diet Dr. Pepper. She was gushing one morning about how she was looking forward to watching “The Biggest Loser.” I looked at her and said “I can’t abide that abusive show. Me and that wench Jillian Michaels would tangle if we ever met.” She said “But I just LOVE her. She helps people. She fixes them!” I said pointedly “I don’t need to be fixed.”
    “Oh…” she said weakly.
    That day at lunch, she had her fifth or sixth Diet Dr. Pepper and a frozen French bread pizza while I, Fatty McFatPants had turkey, cheese, whole wheat crackers, and a 100% juice blend drink. I think it’s pretty easy to see who was eating healthier. But had most doctors seen both of us as patients for the same health problem, i.e. hypertension, which I do have, they would have blamed my weight regardless.
    I suppose I should give her props though. If I drank even one diet Dr. Pepper I would be writhing on the floor in agony from abdominal cramps and would have to go to the E.R. with heart dysrhythmias from hell. I am extremely sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

    • Your story sounds a lot like Ragen’s about the other 100-pound person. I’m not suggesting that either of you intended this, but being judgmental about what the other person eats while flaunting your own healthy habits sounds really stuck-up. I understand the impulse to turn the tables on people who have judged YOU, but two wrongs don’t make a right. Fat or not, everyone has the right to their own personal choices.

      • Hi Julanar,

        I think you’re adding your own meaning here. I won’t speak for Faycinacroud but I said nothing negative or judgmental about Donna’s habits, indeed one of the things that I stand for is people’s right to choose their own habits, choose how highly to prioritize their health and what path they want to take – I talk about it in the blog at least every other day. I didn’t state it explicitly in this blog because I was focused on casualties in the war on obesity. I was pointing out that the doctor’s incorrect assumptions, not a problem with Donna’s choices.

        ~Ragen

      • Where in the world do you see judging in that story? There was no “haha, person x is eating bad and I’m super awesome for eating ‘healthy” or “Person x should really be eating like this instead” It’s literally outlining what regularly happens when doctors are centered on skinny = healthy and fat = unhealthy.

      • Well, since we’re making snap judgments, you seem on the surface to be a person who is trying to perhaps justify their thin privilege. I was not flaunting my “healthy eating habits” I was stating that one cannot tell by a person’s build what their eating habits may be and that if one had stood me and my fellow student side by side, most doctors would immediately have assumed her to have healthy eating habits and assumed that I was mainlining lard. I don’t always have “healthy eating habits” but I kind of try in my own half-assed way given my limited budget.
        I’m actually one of the least stuck up people on the planet, to the point of exceedingly low self esteem. But hey, thanks for noticing my stuck-uppy eating habits.

  3. Another well written blog post.

    Words can not begin to describe the irritation I feel at the stupidity being endorsed and peddled by the media, wannabe’s like Jillian Michaels and her equivalent in Oz, Michelle Bridges, BUT frickn’ doctors and others who should know better, should do better, think better and perhaps in the scientific way they were trainined? is even more maddening. To read stories like the one about the baby and the bullied girl, which I am sure are but a fraction of what really is happening breaks my heart.

  4. But the first step, the very first step, is that fat people need to decide that they deserve respectful treatment and then demand it. Even if they want to change their bodies, even if they want to lose weight, they can still claim their right to be treated with respect in the bodies they have now.

    Yep.

  5. Twenty-two years ago my favorite aunt died, at 36yo, after the doctor treating her for a bronchial infection, insisted her sudden illness following a new prescription was just because she was fat. He refused to authorize her for emergency care when she got even sicker, again insisting it was because she was fat that she felt sick. When her kidneys failed, she was rushed to the ER where she died. Ultimately, it was found she died from an allergic reaction to a drug he’d given her. Something her doctor might have found if he’d looked at something other than her body size.

    • I am so sorry that this happened. It’s inexcusable. I’ve been wondering of late if we could find some Size Positive lawyers who are interested in suing these doctors for malpractice…

      ~Ragen

      • actually, my grandmother did sue following my aunt’s death — and she won (tho no amount of money can make it okay that Susie died). That’s why we can talk about it. If she had accepted a settlement (the offer Kaiser made was more money than was awarded) it would have come with a gag agreement. My grandma considered a settlement for our silence to be blood money and refused all offers. The doctor was found to have manipulated the system her HMO (Kaiser) had of making it more profitable not to run tests on patients. He did not, however, lose his license. I doubt he was even censured.

  6. The story about the baby makes me VERY mad. My daughter was born the same month and year as that baby. At her four month appointment, she had lost weight (which was NOT desirable for me at all) and her ped was VERY concerned. I’m a breastfeeding mom so his first recommendation was formula. In fact, he wanted her to have a bottle before she even left the clinic. He had me bring her back in two weeks with the implication that if her weight did not go up sufficiently, she would have to go to the hospital to determine if there were any problems. I know of other moms (especially breastfeeding moms) who have run into the same thing, some with their children hospitalized, a diagnosis of FTT, and CPS dogging them for months afterwards. WHY were these parents allowed to continue on with this for NINE MONTHS! This was not acceptable! A baby is supposed to be at birth weight or more by TWO WEEKS. There is NO excuse for that low of a weight whatsoever, the doctors were NOT doing their job. And that is what angers me about the whole thing. Bad enough the parents were wacked in the head but the doctors should have known better and have intervened MUCH sooner, not nine months later. I’m in WI which is where these idiot parents are from and it just makes me mad.

  7. Just went to my daughter’s 12 year old checkup at Kaiser (where I have had problems with a diagnosis of “overweight” as related to increasing problems with my progressing MD). She was given her own copy of her growth chart, told what her BMI is, and praised for being “under” in everything I think she is around 23-33% average in everything, which means she is lighter, shorter, smaller than 66-77% of her peers. This is genetic for her, not a choice, not something to be praised, not a bar to set for the next 25 years of her life. How do we fix this?!

    When we got to the car I told her that I didn’t think any of that really mattered, that she is healthy and happy and not self-centered (or weight centered) is much more important and although she’ll probably be little all her life, it’s who she is that people will see. (I got the “I know, I know” – but I know she does know..:))

    Having a hard time with Kaiser. Thanks for this post

  8. Thank you Regan, for this blog and your inspiring stories, and also for making the donation voluntary. My life situation has undergone a dramatic change recently and money is extremely tight, not allowing me to support this blog at this time as much as I would love to, but every day you give me a little more courage to accept myself as I am and stop letting my size stop me do whatever I want to do. I’d been so brainwashed that it wasn’t even funny, so thank you for all you do!

    • Hi Jen,

      I’m very glad that you are able to get support from the blog and that’s exactly why the subscription is voluntary. As long as you all keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

      ~Ragen

  9. Why is it that when be buy some sort of technological do-dad we are extra super careful with it. We buy extra warranties, we buy special cases that protect them, we take the utmost care of our new toy. However, when a human life is involved we are more than willing to throw all that caution to the wind and treat it like shit in the name of “doing what’s best”? Our priorities are so out of whack that we think that taking care of our toys is more important than taking care of ourselves and those we love. I swear we’re like the dude that does all those “Does it Blend” videos. We throw our bodies in a blender in the name of false health. We’re more than willing to beat ourselves and others up, but if you lay a hand our our toys, you better watch yourself! It is far past time that we protect ourselves from the wear and tear of those who look down on us.

    (This disjointed comment is brought to you by the letter B for bronchitis and the fact that, yes, I did just get a new technological do-dad and while I am very careful with it, I want to take even better care of myself and those I love, technology be dammed.)

    • This entire comment reminds me strongly of an interview I saw once with Will Smith. He was talking about the fact that he’d recently bought a new computer and the salespeople discussed its features and proper care for a long time with him, and he’d been given a user’s manual roughly the size of Idaho… but when his first child was born, the doctor handed the kid over and said ‘good luck’ and sent the new parents on their way!

      Somehow he, too, thought that was a sort of backwards approach to the world.

  10. Im a casualty of the war on obesity. I have permanent damage that affects my movement and I live with chronic pain every day because my back pain (and numb legs) was diagnosed as “fatness” for over 10 years. (after 10 years I was the one who demanded the MRI.) now with the war on drugs becoming a war on the disabled, it’s hard for me to get my pain treated, especially while fat. Mistreatment by the medical community has given me PTSD.

    I have 2 cousins who were starved as babies because their worthless mother didn’t want them to “be fat like their father” and spent their lives severely underweight as a result… Although last I heard they love their thin figures.

    What are we doing to ourselves? This world (in general) has it all wrong. Doctors are doin more harm than good with their size-based diagnoses. They’re literally killing and disabling people.

    I’m at the point now where if I don’t find a doctor willing to treat my pain soon, I’ll be getting a wheel chair. They ruined my back but I won’t let them ruin my dignity. I’d rather lose mobility than dignity, but it’s crap that they’re at fault in the first place.

  11. The story of the starved 14 month old and the parents’ reaction to her being fed in hospital makes me wonder if the next trend in eating disorders will be anorexia nervosa by proxy – ie the parents having a distorted view of the child’s body. It’s scary! We desperately need to get the focus back on nourishing growing bodies. Chubby babies used to be seen as healthy!

    • Yeah, it is scary. I think this is the inevitable result of the war on obesity. The message is, “fat is BAD” and as this message continues to permeate further into our culture and our brains it certainly leads to insane results like this. The next epidemic will be the eating disorder epidemic.

    • I’m sure such a thing is possible, because I believe my mother had a form of BDD by proxy (which is a thing, there’s just a lot less about it in the literature than the usual form). There were a lot of aspects to it – hair, teeth, skin color, were just a few of them – but the ‘fat’ part of it didn’t kick in till my teens – which I consider myself lucky for, because at least by then I had some power over how much I wanted to eat. An infant doesn’t have that power.

      One scary thing, for me, is the social context. A child today with a parent who restricts their food intake in the name of ‘health’ will find – I think, a lot more so than when I was younger – that the entire culture is backing that parent up, just as the entire culture used to back up parents who beat their children in the name of ‘discipline’. Extremes like that poor baby do hit the headlines – but for every such case, there may be hundreds or thousands of kids being semi-starved by their parents, with the approval (or at least wilful overlooking) of their doctors, schools, and the very media who report this case with such apparent horror.

  12. You know, quite a bit less than a hundred years ago, left-handedness was viewed pretty much the way fatness is now. A friend of mine had a grandmother who was actually changed from a left-handed person into a right-handed one. She kept trying to use her left hand to write with, and the teacher kept slapping her hand with a ruler, and it didn’t change her handedness.

    Finally the teacher tied my friend’s grandmother’s left arm to the chair as tight as she could for the entire school day. For the rest of her life, she was right-handed… her arm had been tied so tightly to the chair for so many hours that she permanently lost the use of it.

    That was one limb, and it makes my blood boil. It terrifies me that there are people out there who thought that was better than being left-handed. It terrifies me that there are people out there who think starving a child is better than allowing it to grow up to simply be the size she was meant to be naturally.

    I’m a human being. I deserve basic respect simply for being here. What hand I write with, what size label is in my dress, what accent I speak with, how many years I went to school, what my job title is… that’s all window dressing. I deserve to be treated with respect, period.

    So does every human being.

  13. I love this post! These stories of fat-focused doctors make me so happy with my doctors–and I have a lot! IN fact, the last time I saw my internist and told her all the crap going on in my life, and that I gained 20 pounds over the past year, she said now was not the time to think about losing weight. I love that woman!

    • This reminds me that I was recently speaking with another member of the (biomedical) research lab in which I work. He is also a physician on the side. We were talking about how many medical students make it because they are good at taking tests, not because they are inherently better at being a physician. Then, out of the blue, he says to me:

      “I think the most important thing to look for in a doctor is SOMEONE WHO WILL LISTEN TO YOU.”

      He bemoaned that doctors don’t spend enough time with their patients and that he refuses to schedule less than 30-40 min per patient, even though it cuts into the number of people he can take in a day. To him, that matters more than their training, etc.

      So, there you have it. Even from the mouth of a medical professional – drop any doctor who refuses to listen to you and get someone else immediately. If the doctor can’t take the time to take you seriously, then you don’t need to be letting them take up your time. Who knows how many tragedies could have been prevented if we had doctors that had listened and/or been observant enough?

      • My endo takes a lot of time with each patient. My first visit with him was about 90 minutes. Visits now routinely go for 30 to 40 minutes. He asks lots of questions and listens to the answers and asks how I’m feeling and listens to that. At my last visit he was saying that the young doctors today will never be able to spend time with patients like he does because the insurance companies and the practices trying to make lots of money won’t let them. It’s very disheartening.

  14. This is why I’m going to be *excruciatingly* careful when I speak to my future children about their health. My parents avoided talking about my weight to me (I ended up slimming down a few years ago), and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna give my own kids a complex. I’m just trying to think how one helps children to stay healthy without making them guilty…

    • I think that you can teach kids that being healthy is really fun and awesome by steering them to activities they like and helping them honor their bodies’ hunger queues. I think that when diet talk comes up you can tell them that bodies, just like everything else in nature, come in different sizes and that weight and health are two different things but regardless it’s not ok to judge people or make assumptions about them based on their size.

      Hope that helps!

      ~Ragen

  15. I just want to thank you for your blog. It’s helped me focus on all the cool stuff i *can* do.  I’ve always had body issues thanks to my crazy family. I had twin boys in 2007. They were full term and big dudes. I nursed them for 2 years (don’t even get me started about how skewed those weight charts are for kids!)  I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2009. I had been running 2 miles a day pushing the boys and was told to quit by a NP at the diagnosis (bad idea). I’ve gained 90 lbs since all of this. The fibro been hard on me and my hubby.  I’ve been freaking out near the holidays the last few years making myself throw up every day so I can lose weight so no one will give me crap about how much I’ve gained. Of course that doesn’t work and just causes a fibro flare. I stumbled upon this blog a few weeks ago somehow and it has helped me so much. It’s the holiday season and I have no desire to puke.. I feel like I’m making peace with this body. It’s not the enemy because it’s fat – that’s someone else’s issue. It’s not the enemy because it hurts – I just have to maintain it more than people without fibro need to. I started walking 2 miles a day this  summer and am adding running in slowly (one more mailbox a day.) I feel awesome. I can go to the zoo for the day and not cry from the pain all the way home. I can wear my spike heels again. I’ve gained 15 lbs doing it but now I know that’s ok. My body is freaking amazing. It’s done some amazing stuff and I don’t need to forget it. So thanks so much!

    • Thank you so much for this comment, I am so inspired by your story. I’m very sorry that you had to go through all of that and I’m absolutely impressed with how you are handling it and I’m so happy that you’ve found a path to health that working for you. Rock on :)

      ~Ragen

  16. Babies are SUPPOSED to be chubby. Some are more chubby than others, but they’re meant to have that layer of padding to protect them from the cold outside the womb. And to keep nourishment going. And to help with brain development. Gods, just because one can get knocked up doesn’t mean one SHOULD. I swear there should be a parenting license required before one procreates or it really will turn into “Idiocracy”…

  17. On the issue of medical treatment; I’ve observed that doctors tend to be lazy and terrible diagnosticians in general, and the motivation is usually financial. If there is any possible excuse they can get away with rather than send a patient for expensive tests or surgery, they will always fob you off with that excuse.
    I also had serious disc damage. It took 8 months to diagnose; the doctors kept insisting it was just a pulled muscle (from my completely non-existent athletic routine) and sending me for useless physical therapy for it. I can’t count how many appointments and wasted time and money it took before I saw a doctor that actually sent me for testing. Even then the first surgeon I saw recommended I not have the (very common and effective) surgery for what I later realized were factually incorrect and just plain frivolous reasons.

    I lived in pain for two and a half years before I decided I would have the surgery regardless. Meanwhile I kept re-injuring my back and making it worse. By the time I finally had surgery I’d been left with permanent nerve damage in part of my leg and foot, as well as clinical depression brought on by the chronic pain. As terrible as I know it is to think, I can’t help wishing my doctors would have used an excuse as stupid as ‘it’s because you’re fat’, because then I’d have cottoned on and demanded actual treatment much sooner.

    We need an overhaul of the medical system that rewards doctors for saving insurance companies money at the cost of patients’ health. This is the very opposite of health care.

  18. I find this interesting. I’m a regular plasma donor and I couldn’t help but notice after so many visits that people have different color plasma. Some are olive oil colored, others look like there’s still traces of blood – giving it a pinky color. I inquired one day about it. Mine is usually very golden like olive oil and I wondered “what does that mean?” (more or less ‘am I drinking enough liquid’) The person said that my color was very good and that the difference in color usually is because of diet and due to medicines people are taken. The person also said “You don’t want pink” I asked “Why?” The answer? “Pink means you have too much fat in your diet.”

    I’ve watched other containers since then. I’ve only seen about 4 or 5, what I would call “pink” plasma containers. Their owners? Mostly people I would consider at a “healthy” weight give or take.

  19. I had a great conversation with my mother over breakfast. She recently had a patient who was my age go in for a pap and the young lady told my mother all about her struggles with PCOS and how doctor after doctor diagnosed her as FAT and sent her on her way. She said she had to be her own advocate and finally got the help and medication she needed. My mom finally realized that I was not being over sensitive when discussing my own struggles with being diagnosed as fat by doctors. My mom totally changed her views and encouraged me to be my own advocate and try again to get the right treatment for PCOS. She also finally acknowledged that it is about health and not weight, and that my healthy habits are much more important than the number on the scale or what size pants I wear.

    I wish I could find that young lady and thank her!

    • Wait, there’s a treatment for PCOS? I’ve been living with it for years, and I’ve told every doctor I’ve seen that I’ve had it. And in response I usually get a lecture about the BMI.

      • some folks have good results from a gluten-free diet, but that’s not something most doctors will talk about. usually it’s just birth control pills (for hormone regulation) and metformin (for the insulin resistance), but only if the doctor has any idea about any treatment other than fat-shaming. :/

        • Oh, thank you! This is great information! I’m currently shopping around for a new doctor because, sadly, I still haven’t found one who believes in HAES, and I’m really not willing to pay for being fat-shamed anymore. But let’s see if I can’t find a doctor who will actually treat my PCOS instead of giving me a lecture!

    • I can’t believe you’d get a BMI lecture if you have PCOS. That’s so not right. I’ve been on birth control since I was 15 to regulate my periods. No one ever said PCOS to me until I had been trying for a year to get pg at 25. Once my doc pinned that down he treated me with Metformin. I still didn’t get pg after another year. He then put a 1/2 dose of Clomid in with it and I got pg with twins (twins run in my fam so I really don’t blame the Clomid for twins because there’s only a 10-15% chance). I’m back on birth control pills now and it seems to keep everything under control. I don’t need the Metformin if I don’t eat sugar much but that’s not the case for everyone (and may not always be the case for me). I hope you find a doc that’s not a complete tool!

  20. My former pulminologist thought my coughing and asthma must be due to my weight since he couldn’t find anything else wrong. I actaully laughed at him when he told me his guess.

    Then I went to an allergist and the cause was an allergy to dustmites and mold.

    • i’ve been asthmatic since i was 18 months old, and officially “fat” since I was a baby, and doctors have always blamed my asthma on my fatness, even though they both showed up at the same time.

      years and years later i found out the majority of my symptoms are triggered by food allergies: all those healthy eggs, dairy and wheat that doctors love to insist you need to eat to survive. i’m doing just fine without all of those things, and i’m still fat– just with less asthma.

      the BONUS effed up part is that avoiding gluten caused me to drop some weight. calorie-wise, i am eating MORE than when i was eating gluten, and i’m not doing anything different with my activity level (except that i’m participating more in life because i’m not sick as HELL any more, but i’m NOT an active person compared to a pro dancer, or even an amateur walker, and have disabilities that keep me from doing too much on my feet).

      but obviously my fatness is the REAL problem, here. not our well-financed diet industry biasing healthcare AND main stream media to the point of thumbing their noses at actual SCIENCE on the subject.

      i digress.

  21. Something very similar to what happened to your friend’s boyfriend happened to me. I was slowing losing the feeling in my legs and arms. I was having problems even lifting my legs to walk. I saw three different doctors and was told my problem was because I was fat. I tried to explain to them I had been very active and healthy before this began but they would not listen. I finally saw a new(old) doctor (someone I had been to about ten years before). He asked me how long I had been at my present weight. I told him probably five years. He basically said the other doctors were idiots and that being fat is not a diagnosis. After I had an MRI, it was discovered that I had damaged my neck and my spinal cord was being crushed. I was very close to being paralyzed from the neck down. Thank goodness someone finally listened to me. I had spinal surgery and now I can walk (with the assistance of a cane) If I had been diagnosed earlier, my doctor said I would not have the nerve damage I have. Thank goodness for my doctor and that he did not just rely on the “you are fat diagnosis.”

  22. Spotted this and was thinking it was the news story you mentioned, but nope — another woman starving her infants out of fear of fat.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016882590_labberton29m.html

    • And then you have THIS: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2016881766_apusobesethirdgrader.html?prmid=obinsite

      An obese child taken away from his mother who wasn’t able to get his weight down.

      The forum I frequent was having a field day with that one because OF COURSE the mother was at fault for not getting his weight down and doing everything possible to do so and OF COURSE there’s no reason whatsoever for a child that age to be fat EXCEPT because of something the mother did/didn’t do.

  23. Do you have an advice for finding doctors who believe in HAES? The last time I went in for my annual physical, they switched my regular doctor with one who I’d never met before, and boy did I get fat shamed. She looked over my blood work, said everything looked great, and then she asked me if I knew what the BMI was. I replied that I did, but she proceeded to lecture me on it anyway. When she was done, I pointed out that the BMI doesn’t make much sense since muscle weighs more than fat anyway. She ignored me. And then asked how often I exercise. I told her the truth: I commute exclusively by bicycle, and as such get in at least an hour of exercise everyday. And she gave me this look. This look that was clear that she didn’t believe me in the slightest, and went on to lecture me about how important it is that I fall within the “normal” BMI range. I’ve never felt so dehumanized by a doctor before.

    • i wish i did have some advice. doctors have done a lot more harm than good for me, and the very few good doctors i’ve found have been mostly luck. someone on livejournal’s fatshionista community pointed me to my very size-positive doctor who did a lot of healing of the damage caused by previous doctors, but she retired 2 years later unexpectedly. i have a new one who doesn’t seem too bad, but now i’ve got a little bit of less-fat-privilege because discovering my own health problems (celiac) inadvertently caused me to lose weight, so when they see my weight has gone down noticeably, it doesn’t matter what i say (i always stress i want to be as healthy as possible at the size i’m at, and that i will never diet or seek out or follow weight loss plans), they simply don’t believe me. these doctors are practicing bad (and dangerous) medicine by not believing us.

      good luck. i really feel for you. it’s really really hard, but stand up for yourself and stick to your guns. only YOU know what’s best for you, and there’s no way any doctor can know that by meeting with you a few times for 15 minutes each time.

  24. I was an extremely active and athletic child. When I hit puberty at 10, I put on 30 pounds in less than 2 months and my doctor (who had treated me since birth) refused to believe that it was anything more than my eating too much – despite the fact that my eating habits had not changed, nor had my activity level. My mother had been on diets my entire life, even going on those dangerous diet pills that were so popular in the 80s, so the onset of puberty also brought on the yo-yo dieting that would take over my life for the next 16 years. The dieting of course came along with fat shaming from my parents (both overweight), to the point that I developed an eating disorder and stopped being able to eat in front of people. I won’t go into the numerous other psychological and physical issues I have had over the years due to the constant diagnoses of ‘fat’ from doctors who refuse to actually treat me for things. I also have white coat syndrome and health anxiety, which has been psychologically linked to my fat shaming experiences with doctors.

    I am thankful now, at 8 months pregnant, to have treatment by doctors who don’t consistently mention my BMI (I am 5’9 and 291 lbs) or my weight as a factor in my care. As a matter of fact, they haven’t weighed me except at my initial 3 month visit, and I have since put on approximately 5 pounds (which is about what my baby weighs now LOL). They have been satisfied by my ‘health’ results – blood tests, baby health and growth, and questions about my nutrition and supplements that I am taking the best care of myself that I can – without worrying about what I weigh. This has made the stress of being high-risk due to previous complications so much less and I am so thankful for it.

    Now if only I could get my in-laws to stop making comments about how I’m obviously going to have a ‘huge’ baby…

  25. The link to the story about the couple charged with neglect seams to be broken, but I found the story here: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/11/18/parents-allegedly-starve-baby-because-of-obesity/

    The story is highly disturbing and chilling.

    One point the story says “a child’s diet should not be modified in the first two to three years of life, even if there are concerns about weight” – it amazes me that there has to be a need to even say that. What the hell kind of psychos are worried about a BABY being fat!? This is what happens when we live in a society that teaches people that fat is just about the worst thing a person can be.

    The last line just about killed me “the attorney for Mary Sultze, Brandt Swardenski, told the AP there are “serious reservations about whether there’s any criminal activity here or just misguided parenting intentions.””. These parents starved their child, perhaps even causing her permanent brain damage (only time will tell), and that moron has the audacity to chalk their abuse up to “just misguided parenting”. HOLY CRAP!


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