Friday, June 6, 2014

The Long & Fat of It

Big is Beautiful?
As liberal as I try to be in a lot of areas there are some areas where I am very conservative.  One area is with fat people.  I am what I guess you could call a self-hating fat person.  I don't like PC campaigns to say "big is beautiful" or to call fat people "chubby" (with apologies to Stephen Hayes, the Chubby Chatterbox) or "portly" or "curvy."  Fat is fat.  And newsflash--it's not something to aspire to.

That doesn't mean I condone the anorexic model thing either.  I mean a lot of models are so skinny they look like they're on coke or meth or something like that.  It's gross.  By the same token fat people are gross too.  Especially when you get to about now when it's warming up and these oblivious fat people wear short-shorts and tube tops.  Gag.

I'll admit I'm shallow, but then so is most everyone else.  (If you claim you're not then you're a liar on top of shallow.)  But as I said, fat is not something to aspire to.  Anorexia is a medical danger, I think everyone except those models would agree.  So too is being fat.  Don't take my word for it, ask any reputable medical doctor on the planet.  Being "curvy" can lead to serious medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. all of which can kill you.  Dead is not beautiful.

Not that I want to start stoning fat people or rounding them up to put into forced labor camps.  I just don't think we should try to gloss over the seriousness of the problems related to being fat by saying everyone is beautiful in their own way and other PC junk like that.  It's like taking an alcoholic or drug addict and saying, "Hey it's OK, you're beautiful."  (You're also probably going to die of an overdose or end up in jail within the next six months, but that's OK!)

I definitely don't think we need fat heroes in literature, movies, TV, etc.  With this generation of kids that's already at record levels of obesity the last thing we need is to encourage them to be fat slobs.  It's more important to encourage them to be healthy rather than placate them about being overweight.  But hey this is America and we're lazy so it's much easier to say, "You're beautiful the way you are!" than to say, "Get your fat ass off the couch and stop eating those Big Macs!"

I do include fat characters in at least two series.  Emma Earl's best friend Becky Beech in the Scarlet Knight books is fat.  How fat she is depends on what's going on as she tends to get bigger the unhappier she is.  In the Children of Eternity series Samantha's best friend Prudence is the fattest girl on the island.  But I don't think either case I'm trying to use them as a role model or, conversely, as an object of ridicule; I think it was more about having opposites.  I wrote a short story called "The Fat Girls Club" where a fat girl (duh) organizes a group of fat girls so they can hang out and eat and actually encourage each other to get bigger.  That is until she realizes the harm it's doing and then they flip the script and start encouraging each other to lose weight and live healthier, which I think is a good moral.

Anyway, I know this isn't a popular stance.  Especially as a fat person I should be trying to legitimize being fat, right?  I should be out at a rally or something, but as someone who tries to be progressive, I don't think rampant obesity is something we should strive for and by glossing it over or sanctioning it we're making things more difficult for our children and gods know we already have plenty of other problems in this world.  It certainly would be easier and there's nothing we like more than easy, which is largely how we got into this mess to start with.

Michael Offutt raised the argument that people in the inner-city are poor and don't have as much access to healthy food.  It's true there's not a lot of Whole Foods in the ghetto.  And the kind of supermarkets operating in those areas, the meat isn't necessarily the best quality.  Still there are a lot of suburban people who are fat; what's their excuse?  I was one of those suburban kids and there really was no excuse for it, especially since we had a big yard to play in.

We just need people to actually make being healthy a priority.  I know Republicans won't because it's Michelle Obama's pet issue.  Though they should realize that healthier people don't need to see doctors as much, thus have less need for Obamacare and Medicare.

Anyway by the time you read this I'll have probably already stopped at McDonald's for breakfast.  [UPDATE:  I got donut holes and chocolate milk from Kroger.]  I don't practice what I preach in this instance.  Though for the hell of it here's my somewhat low fat menu:

Meat (usually chicken) topped with bread crumbs
Frozen vegetable (usually beans, peas, or carrots)

My doctor encouraged me to get on a low carb diet so here's my somewhat low carb menu:

2 Chicken breast (grilled or baked, no breading), chopped into pieces
6oz (estimated) of frozen onions, red/yellow/green peppers
1 small can of mushrooms
4 low carb tortillas
Salsa or Fat free dressing (try to go easy on that, but enough to taste)

After you cook the vegetables you put that and the chicken into a tortilla for a wrap.  Or alternately tear the tortillas to pieces and dump it all into a bowl for kind of a tortilla "salad."

Actually just meat and veggies would probably be lower carb without breading, but the other is pretty tasty.

For lunch I usually have a low-carb shake not just for health reasons but also I'm lazy and hate making a sandwich and stuff in the morning.  Breakfast is my real bugaboo as I hate yogurt (even with strawberries!) and again in the morning I hate cooking so I don't want to make eggs or anything.  Yet I really don't want just a shake or something either.  It's kind of annoying.


  1. You know, eggs are pretty quick, actually. Unless you're adding something to them. If it's just eggs, it's less than five minutes.
    Michael is right, actually. Although it's not just that one thing; it is a lot that one thing. Rich people want to make it out that fat people are just lazy, but food choice has much more to do with it. Processed foods are cheap. And unhealthy.
    Well, anyway. I could probably go on about the whole thing, but I have other things to do today. Too many things, actually.
    Anyway! Low carb is good. It's a great place to start.

    1. In the morning anything that requires more than opening a wrapper or going to the drive-thru is too much effort for me.

  2. I've always been fat. I make no apologies, except the few times I scared little kids at the pool. Before I got married I went on a low carb diet and lost a lot of weight. After the honeymoon I decided that I caught my girl and didn't need the pain of not having sweets!

  3. I grew up having cereal and/or toast (or some variant) for breakfast, and that's what I've done throughout my life. I guess a lot of people just assume it's for kids or people who eat the ones that are obviously not for kids (no cartoon characters on the box). I never saw the point in deviating too far from that. (I'm also lazy.)

    Also, I've always tended to walk a lot.

    This was a very interesting post, Mr. Dilloway.

  4. I think overweight heroes are really important to show a balance and realism. Not to the point of being unhealthy though. I struggle to to eat muffins and doughnuts for breakfast mainly because that's the only way I enjoy coffee. Have a dope Friday Pat!

  5. I agree with you because I work in a hospital and I see the reality of it every day. Most of the people who are about 50 or younger are inpatients because they have had strokes or heart attacks from being overweight and/or they smoke. I think there comes a certain point if a person just can't get the weight off they may considering getting one of those stomach bands or bariatric surgery.

  6. I've stalled on my weight loss at about 230, which is okay I suppose in that I can't really exercise anymore for a variety of reasons. I try to watch what I eat. I'd like to get back to 195, where I was when I got married, but that'll take some doing.

    I agree with you that people who are too fat or too skinny are a problem. I think that what many people call "fat" is actually quite attractive. Girls with curves are prettier, if you ask me, and if I had a choice between having Sweetie be over- or under-weight, I'd go with over. (Sweetie works out about four times a week and is neither over nor under, though.)

    The real thing is that people should try to be healthy and not obsess. If you're a little overweight but are watching it, that's probably okay. Same for a little underweight.

    As for fat heroes, I say this as a guy who has been fat, more or less, for all but about 10 years of my life: I don't want them. I want heroes who are heroes. That means not like me. No kid ever wanted to play Captain Fat when he was young. Fiction is for losing yourself from the cares of the world. I don't want to read a story in which Harry Potter is trying on pants and they're too tight and Uncle Dursley has to have the lady at Sears go to the back room and get the "husky" size. I've already lived that.

    Your use of Becky is fine, in Scarlet Knight. I thought you handled it well. She's a real person and neither a role model nor made fun of, except perhaps that she's a role model in how she handles her weight.



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