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Fat July 11, 2005

Posted by Winter in body politics, fat panic, food.

Two posts in one day after a drought of a week. Sorry, I didn’t have much to say last week and I’ll be away for the rest of this one.

This post has a feeling of inevitability surrounding it for me and that is because my relationship with food, fat, and my mother (all three in combination, I get on really well with mum the rest of the time) has always been a difficult and strained one. So why now? Why tackle the Fat issue today? Well several event over the last week or so have lead up to the production of this post. The first occured last week when after outright bullying (thankyou!!) from a few close friends I finally went to the doctor about my increadibly irreglaur periods. Having been scolded by the doctor for missing a smear I ended up seeing the practice nurse who is fabulous. She beleives that the root of my problems may well be that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Having scouted around a few websites it appears that PCOS is linked to insulin resistance, higher risk of diabetes, infertility and heart disease. Great. It also appears that the symptoms of PCOS can be quite well managed by, you’ve guessed it, a strictish diet excluding carbohydrates that are not complex, which basically excludes anything that looks like cake, chocolate, white bread, white pasta, white rice and biscuts. Great again.

Event two, last night whilst at the REM consert mentioned in the below post, I sat transfixed as I watched an obese woman eat, in the space of two hours, 4 packets of crisps, 2 cornish pasties, a paket of biscuits and a pint of beer. I really do find it amazing quite how much some people eat.

Event three. As I left the swimming pool this morning after one of my bi-weekly swims i was shamed to hear a group of elderly ladies discussing their exersise schedule for the week which included swimming, arobics and a short spell at the gym amounting to some form of exersise ever single day. All power to these active ladies.

So where is all this leading to? Before I continue I want to stress that I am not talking about the desire to be media thin, in other words skeletal. I am talking about being a healthy normal wieght in the rest of this post. The cultural pressure to be thin or underwieght is a very real one and at some point I would like to devote a post to that issue but that is not the issue I am addressing here.

What I want to talk about is fat. 22% of adults in the uk are clinically obese putting pressure on practically every internal organ, as well as damaging joints and resulting in a general lethergy and tiredness that is difficult to overcome. In addition to that being overwight can exacerbate the symptoms of many diseases and conditions including PCOS which is thought to affect somewhere between 6 and 10% of women. In britain the situation is getting worse as people are suffering poor health and decreased quality of life due to carrying excess weight. Many feminists have talked about fat and feminsim, many have concentrated on eating disoreders such as buimia and anorexia, on the cultural pressure to be skinny. Resisting these pressures is hard and many women have devloped erratic relationships with food and with their bodies, and include myself in this group. However the flip side of this is that women are also getting fatter, and suffering poor health as a result.

I think it’s time we examined this issue a little more closely. I think we need to learn respect for our bodies and respect for their limitations. It isn’t empowering to load up on donuts and chocolate, only to deprive ourselved of the rich nutrients available in really tasty fresh fruit and vegetables. We may want to eat everything that we feel like and damn the consequences, but at the end of the day, our bodies can’t take it. Your body may not be a temple, but maybe it should be thought of as your home. Not many people I know would abuse their living sapce in the same way that some people abuse their bodies. Women are feeling increasingly distant from their own biology and out of touch with what their own body needs and desires. We need to start thinking differntly, eating foods that are good for us with exersise in balance with foods that are not good for us and nights in lounging on the sofa. At least that’s what I need to start thinking about doing any way.



1. Winter - July 17, 2005

I think we should sit down and have a chat about this as a group. Being as we’re going to do a body image zine, it might be good to get our thinking straight on the subject! You’ve raised an important point. We go on about anorexia and bulemia all the time, but compulsive eating is also a life threatening eating disorder.

2. Marilyn - May 29, 2007

Hi everyone, you’re aware of the recent news regarding Avandia and heart attack risk. But did you know it also increases the risk of bone fracture? That’s according to an article by Dr. Nancy Dunne. She says improving the composition of your diet, getting more exercise and controlling chronic stress can go a long ways toward solving your insulin resistance problems. She describes how to use diet, exercise and stress management in her PCOS diet book.tvhxcuf

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