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Lunch of champions. March 4, 2008

Posted by phledge in black bile, fat, health, medical school.
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One of my classmates would really benefit from HAES.  She is definitely a tweenie, probably a size 12 but who knows, right?  She talks about becoming an obesity physician in the sense that she would like to learn how to manage very-low-calorie diets and how to perform bariatric surgery.  She is a good-hearted person who is convinced that at a larger size she was killing herself, and at very least diminishing her quality of life, so she wants to pass on the benefit she believes she’s garnered through calorie restriction and exercise.  She describes her “larger life” as “sitting on the couch all day with a pint of Haagen Dazs, unable to climb a flight of stairs.”  I have told her that I would like to sit down and chat with her about why what she was doing was not about her fat, but we’re both busy students and I fear that I may not be able to convince her away from this dream career.

So, anyway, today I did not have lunch.  I was in attendance at a meeting where I thought they were going to serve food, but they did not and I was hungry.  After the meeting she was talking to a student that sits near me, and she had celery with peanut butter, saltine crackers, and grapes.  The grapes reminded me that I had a fruit plate at home that I wish I could access, and I mentioned as much.  She said, “Oh, they’re soggy grapes, so they’re not very good,” as she popped more into her mouth.  I didn’t really have a good response to it, so right at that moment I decided to go hit the vending machines.  She said, “You have fun with that.”  I went and got Fritos, Peanut M & Ms, and a Coke.  Okay, and part of me felt like, ‘Well, shit, no wonder she thinks what you say is a bunch of crap—you eat like a fattie,’ and part of me said, ‘Yeah, and, so, what?  You wanted fruit and you didn’t have any so you went for something available.’  And I’m realizing very rapidly that I still have the Bad Fattie Paradigm going on in my head, where it’d be okay if I was fat as long as I was following HAES, but as it stands I’m dragging down The Movement.  I know it’ll get better, but today was one of those days where I knew I wasn’t really Kate Harding.



1. BigLiberty - March 4, 2008

I still have Bad Fattie days, too. I get ashamed of buying Snyder’s Mustard pretzel’s and a sub from Subway and eating in front of my (all male) coworkers.

Of course, they’re all skinny — and they all eat WAY more than I do — but I feel guilty. I think it’s more of a knee-jerk reaction than anything else, and we each need to deal with it on a personal level. Face it, the movement isn’t going to be progressed if we all have to Prove to the World We’re Good Fatties.

We also can’t let ourselves be muscled by the It’s As Simple As That-ers, or the I Did It So Can You-ers. Just because they choose to keep themselves in a heavily ritualized food-environment in order to “control” their weight doesn’t mean what they’re doing is healthy, only that it’s perceived to be healthier by the establishment.

Be bold. Eat your Fritos and snap ’em right in her face. 😉

2. phledge - March 4, 2008

No shit, I watched this girl drink Medifast shakes while telling me she was not dieting. 800 calories a day must do something to your brains.

3. Bekbek - March 4, 2008

Arrggh! I have fallen victim to this more times than I can count. I have a close friend who is five years post-gastric bypass, and regularly feel her eyeballing my food intake, even when she isn’t!

4. davitacuttita - March 4, 2008

Pssht! Girlfriend–to hell with her. I’m sure you could eat the healthiest, fair-trade, organically & locally grown, “perfect” food in the entire universe and she’d STILL find some fault with it. When people don’t accept themselves it’s just a downward spiral: nothing is good enough.

Eat whatever’s available and makes you feel good (or makes you feel like shit, whatever. I still have McDonalds once in a while even though I feel like I’m dying afterwards).

5. jadine - March 4, 2008

No shit, I watched this girl drink Medifast shakes while telling me she was not dieting.

Well, you never know. I’ve seen my father in law have Slim Fast with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. He just likes the tase. 🙂

6. AnnieMcPhee - March 4, 2008

Sigh. Phledge…try not to feel bad about it. NONE of this changes the basic truth of fat acceptance – that we do not deserve the discrimination we get, that we deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. After staring death in the face, I’m so glad to be alive, I try to enjoy every damn thing I eat or do – and if that’s a big bag of Fritos or if it’s a salad drowning in ranch dressing, I enjoy it. Frankly I’m a lot stronger (and happier) now that I’m able to eat (even if it IS “too much” or “the wrong thing”) and that’s that. Besides, I’m about half past give a shit what *anyone* thinks of what I eat or do. Like BL said, snap ’em in her face 🙂

(BigLiberty I’m still having trouble leaving comments on your blog for some reason – please be patient, but assured that I AM reading! Hope you’re perusing my place on occasion too.)

7. Rachel - March 4, 2008

A few years ago in the midst of my eating disorder, I went to lunch with a way cool girl I met at my corporate HR contract job at HP. Sarah was in from Atlanta and super alternative and cool – we met because I wondered what HP’s policy was on body piercings and I thought she might know.

We went to lunch at an Indian restaurant one day, my weakness. I had been fasting for about 5-7 days beforehand in anticipation of our lunch. At the time I weighed about 130’ish and Sarah weighed in excess of 220 pounds. I remember going for a second plate and feeling so ashamed when Sarah didn’t do the same. I felt like such a huge fat cow. I discovered later on that Sarah had underwent WLS and couldn’t eat anything larger than a few ounces. At the time, it still didn’t keep me from feeling like a fat pig.

And it sounds like your friend needs to see a doctor – a good therapist – before she ought to become one and pass on her disordered thinking to others.

8. Twistie - March 4, 2008

No matter what anyone else was or wasn’t eating, you needed to eat something, and your friend wasn’t sharing her ‘soggy’ grapes.

No matter how much we’d like to eat balanced, nutritious food at every meal, sometimes there’s nothing but the vending machine or 7-11. We still need to eat, even when what’s available isn’t the fruit we’d like at the moment.

Besides, sometimes it’s just nice to eat some damn M&Ms without worrying about what anyone else thinks.

9. Karen - March 4, 2008

So, true story, my dad is sitting down in the breakroom with a Snickers. For a tidbit of background on my dad, he tends to view most science as “scienterrific” until it actually manages to work for people. So another, younger, more health conscious, coworkers comes in and suggests that maybe a granola bar would be better for him? And dad’s response, was, “Nope, that granola bar has more sugar in it, and not nearly the protein. I’m trying to stick to a balanced diet.” Dad doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about a “balanced diet,” he just likes the Snickers, but, if you’ll look, most granolas are stuck together with so much honey that the candy bar very likely has the same or lower sugar content. But, the point, is that just because someone is passing judgment, doesn’t mean they’ve got a clue. You don’t really have to prove yourself, except to yourself, and if they can’t offer any better options, you sigh, roll your eyes, and point out that you’re eating the least questionable of the choices. Sub-prime produce is not only gross, but potentially harmful.

10. littlem - March 4, 2008

“…and your friend wasn’t sharing her ’soggy’ grapes.”

That’s what stood out to me.

I guess I’m still in kindergarten (“Always share with your friends”), because I was kinda peeved that she didn’t even offer you any. ‘Cause they certainly weren’t so “soggy” that she couldn’t snarf them right down in front of you. Even in context. Especially in context.

However, you should know that you will always have the best blog post title.

“Lunch of Champions”? For the win.

11. BigLiberty - March 4, 2008

I’m so glad I never had to find out what Medifast was, eek!

On the train tonight I’d bought some pretzels cuz I was WICKED hungry. I’m talking about the kind of hunger that eats out your insides like a tiger. I knew I needed something salty, and was feeling faint from low blood-pressure. I felt immediately better after about half the snack-sized bag, and gloriously finished the rest.

There was a guy sitting across the aisle – not even next to me – who kept giving me sidelong glances. Now I knew I wasn’t eating ‘loudly,’ since there’s a lot of white noise on our train, enough to block out my crunching.

I think he just seriously wasn’t used to seeing a woman enjoy her food. Slurp! 😉

And yeah, it bugged me a little. But so what? That’s MY problem. I’ll get over it. And snap them damn pretzels right in his nosy face! 😉

(Annie, I have no idea what the problem could be! 😦 I love your comments, and I don’t really have an email set up, I don’t think. I’ll have to see what I can do, keep trying! 🙂 )

12. Keechypeachy - March 4, 2008

Gah, our local news got very excited about a new local study. Guess what, being fat (or is that unhealthy, they don’t say) could take 2 YEARS off your life expectancy!!!! My god!!! Of course Junkfood Science would rip the study to death, but say it was true, say you could eat and drink what you liked and never exercise and still only die two years earlier than your health-nazi fellows? I’m in! 🙂

More seriously, health at every size means eating a balanced diet. Balance includes the odd blow out. Skinny people have those too. Don’t beat yourself up.

13. Mandork - March 4, 2008

that pretzel story reminds me of one time when i was working two retail jobs during my undergraduate years. it was near xmas and all but 5 of the cashiers at a very busy electronics store had quit, which meant we had some very creative schedules going to try and keep the lines from actually wrapping around the entire shopping center–in effect, no breaks whatsoever. After a couple of weeks of this from two separate jobs, plus all of my college work, i was walking back from the nearest place that sold cooked food–a wal-mart cafe–eating a single soft pretzel before i went back to the hell-shift after a 10 minute break. some guys followed me all the way making pig-snort noises and making comments about why i shouldn’t eat the pretzel.

bleah. i was hoping i could forget that incident.

14. phledge - March 4, 2008

Em, all I can say to my classmate not offering to share is that, well, she’s probably starving. I know more or less what she eats (at least at school) so I’m fairly confident that her body is compelling her to protect whatever calories she can find.

I’m not so much freaking out over the Lunch of Champions, but that for a moment I was embarrassed. I’m not a perfectionist, really.

15. Natalie - March 5, 2008

Hey BigLiberty – perhaps that guy was just giving you sidelong glances because he too was WICKED hungry and wished that you had shared. Who knows, you could have made a friend? Not everyone automatically judges everyone else, but then again, I believe that people are basically good and work without ulterior motives…just call me PollyAnna 🙂

16. BigLiberty - March 5, 2008

lol, Natalie, it’s possible! Those honey-mustard pretzels are da bomb. He was probably checking them out because it’s hard to find them in snack-size, usually you just have to buy the ginormous bag. He was probably curious as to where I got them! 😉

17. ponor - March 7, 2008

Just found my way here and laughed out loud.. So humane.. so sensible!
The way people carry on about diets/dieting issues these days in Westernized cultures is simply dreadful…. Everyone who contributes to making anyone feel unworthy or bad about body image deserves a sound heckling. Trouble is there are so many “worthy” people out there who just are in total denial about their own “bonkers” behaviour. (I’d better just say: “bonkers” is a daft UK expression for round the bend.. – mad, in other words. Thanks phledge, and may you long continue to blog.

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