Thursday, August 16, 2007

When 12 Pounds Might as Well be 100 Pounds

Dr. Stacy, of Every Woman Has An Eating Disorder, mentioned in a recent post that she's gained some weight. Twelve pounds, to be exact, which she confirmed by stepping on a scale.

Most women I know would react to the confirmation of a 12-pound weight gain by (1) massive self-hatred, (2) excessive exercise, (3) renewed zeal to consume only lettuce and water, and (4) even more self-hatred.

I'll be honest with you: *I* would probably react that way. The excessive exercise and lettuce-and-water diet would probably last for only one day, but the extra helping of self-hatred would stick around for a long, LONG time. I'm trying to get past that mindset, but I'm *so* not there yet.

The eminently sensible Dr. Stacy, however, reacted like so:

I did nothing. I went about my shower, getting dressed, and returned to work. My exercise and eating habits didn't change a bit, and I really wasn't distressed at all. Would I like to have seen less of a weight-gain, or not one at all? Sure. I'd be lying if I said I didn't, especially because some of my favorite wardrobe items have been neglected as of late. But, I've bought some new stuff, bringing the mountain to Mohammed, and I'm really not sweating the 12 pounds at all. Because in the scope of what I do and who I am and the world I live in, 12 pounds of extra flesh amount to absolutely nothing.


DAMN. I want to be able to react that way — with perspective and balance.

Not all of Dr. Stacy's commenters felt that her reaction was sensible, however. (Interestingly, only the *anonymous* commenters thought her weight gain and subsequent reaction was bad. Seriously.)

One commenter said:

BUT....12 pounds is not a small amount of weight to gain in six months. The reasons ARE important. Because if you continue to do the same thing you're doing to gain that weight, then eventually, one should be concerned about what health effects it would have.


And by "one should be concerned," she means "I know what's healthiest for your body, even though I've never met you or looked at your medical history, and I'm not a doctor either, but listen to my anti-fat rhetoric disguised as concern, anyway!" I mean, really. Dr. Stacy is an adult. I trust that a blogger who I've never met is going to be a mature enough person to note the point at which her health is affected (IF it's affected).

Or, you know, maybe she WON'T notice it. And the thing is, SHE'S AN ADULT. She has every right to not be concerned about her health, even if she has an alien baby growing out of the back of her head. That's what being an adult human being with self-determination MEANS — you have the right to do stupid shit. (I don't think that gaining weight is "stupid shit," but even if it were, it's still up to the individual to keep on gaining, or not.)

Unless, of course, you've had the temerity to gain weight recently. Then "one should be concerned."

Another anonymous commenter said:

But it CAN amount to something- stress on your joints, increased blood pressure... 12 lbs is not "nothing". 3 lbs is nothing.


So, this is either a doctor who's concealing her medical degree, or some sort of omniscient being who KNOWS — again, even though she's never met Dr. Stacy — exactly how much extra weight is bad for her body. (Or possibly it's my mom.) But really. A stranger on the other end of the Interpipe has no idea what 3, 5, or 12 pounds means on Dr. Stacy's frame, or with her medical history. But still Anonymous #2 feels compelled to comment on it, because surely Dr. Stacy doesn't pay attention to something as silly as joint pain!

And my favorite anonymous commenter (also a crack mathematician) said:

I mean, if you gained 12lbs. in the past 6 months, that means you could potentially gain 24 in one year...48 in two years...100 in four years...


That's really the gist of the "concern," isn't it? Dear god, the fat person has just let herself go completely, and unless she's stopped, she'll gain 100 pounds! We can't have THAT!!! Gaining 12 pounds is suddenly conflated with gaining 100 pounds. Again, completely discounting Dr. Stacy's own intelligence (do you think that maybe, just MAYBE, she would notice if she gained 100 pounds???) and self-determination, AND ignoring the fact that if she DID gain 100 pounds, so the fuck WHAT??? It's Dr. Stacy's own body. Not yours, Anonymous #1, #2, and #3. Take the concern trolling elsewhere.

This is my own rant; it's not meant to fight Dr. Stacy's battles for her. She does that just fine all on her own, anyway, and more power to her.

6 comments:

Rachel said...

Keep in mind: many of the visitors to Dr. Stacy's blog are women who have or have had experiences with eating disorders. Of course their perspective on weight is bound to be skewed.

Teppy said...

That's a good point, rachel, and I didn't take that into consideration. Thanks for mentioning it.

I think reading that post just kick-started my own resentment of people who always have a comment about my weight, "for [my] own good." My general point still stands — other people, particularly those who've never met me, never looked at my medical records — are not going to know better than I do what my body needs to be healthy.

I just used those specific commenters at Dr. Stacy's as an object lesson for my rant.

Meowser said...

Keep in mind: many of the visitors to Dr. Stacy's blog are women who have or have had experiences with eating disorders. Of course their perspective on weight is bound to be skewed.

For that very reason, I resisted the urge to comment there that if a woman on the kind of diet advocated by concerntrolls kept losing the coveted 2 pounds a week forever, eventually she would cease to exist. But boy, was I freakin' tempted.

drstaceyny said...

*looks around suspiciously* How did YOU know about the alien baby?

(lol on your mom commment)

Thanks for getting this.

Teppy said...

I resisted the urge to comment there that if a woman on the kind of diet advocated by concerntrolls kept losing the coveted 2 pounds a week forever, eventually she would cease to exist. But boy, was I freakin' tempted.

::snerk:: Kind of like the idea that the human brain is made largely of fat, and so getting down to 0% body fat would mean getting rid of your brain....

*looks around suspiciously* How did YOU know about the alien baby?

Your alien baby communicates with MY alien baby, and then my alien baby tells me stuff.

(lol on your mom commment)

Heh. It's just totally her MO — to tell me that, even though my own physical experience in my own body tells me otherwise, my extra weight *is* bad for my health/cholesterol/blood pressure/joints/etc. And telling her, "You don't actually have MY knees, so you don't KNOW," never seems to work.

Thanks for getting this.

People who have an opinion on what's best for my body — and then share that opinion, unsolicited by me — are one of my hot buttons, and I was just feeling ranty, I guess.

Sarah said...

what's a concern troll? I commented there. . . didn't mean to be a troll.