Nov 11, 2010

Is Being Fat OK?

I just read a blog by Steph in the City about a Marie Clare blogger who railed against fat people. If you want to read the original MC blog, Steph has a link to it.  This is going to be more of a commentary about obesity and society.

It's in the news all the time. The latest dither has been about airlines dealing with obese customers who take up way more space than their paid-for seat.  Then there was the fast food restaurant employee who sued his employer because he got fat while working there and eating the restaurant's food.  And then there was...  You get the idea.

I deal with obese patients all day long at work.  I have seen thousands and thousands of overweight and obese individuals, and I feel comfortable with the following statement:  99% of obese people are fat because they are lazy. That doesn't mean that these people aren't stellar employees, loving partners and parents, or pillars of their communities.  It means that they are fat because they didn't give any effort to their bodies.  Lazy.  It's hard to choose veggies over cheesecake.  It takes effort to stop relaxing at home and instead put on sneakers and go for a walk around your neighborhood.  It is take diligence and focus to read labels and say "no" to quick, easy fast food.  It takes heart.  It takes will power.  And most of all, it takes energy!  Energy that people are choosing to spend elsewhere and not on their health.

I know of which I speak.  I am overweight.  I am fat.  Not chubby, not pleasingly plump, not carrying a little extra junk in the trunk.  Fat.  I am fat because I am lazy.  I am not fat due to some extremely rare metabolic or endocrine disorder.  I am fat because I am lazy.  Every inch of fat on my ass first passed my lips as a food choice.  I choose to eat foods that aren't nutritious.  I am fat because I'm lazy.  I choose to slack off on exercise and going to the gym.  I'm not depressed.  I'm not struggling with "issues."  I am fat because I'm lazy.  I'm not so busy that I couldn't find time to care for my body.  Anyone who says they're too busy is full of shit because I have a house full of kids, two jobs, I'm a college student, and I volunteer at my kids' school, and I still could find the time and energy to take care of myself.  I am fat because I'm lazy.

That's a hard thing to hear sometimes... that we choose not to take care of ourselves.  It's not like you magically got fat overnight.  Health is something that you've deprioritized your whole life.  But you know better, you know what you should be doing, and you just don't do it.  That's lazy.  You'd rather do something else.  Or do nothing at all.

The MC blogger said something to the effect that she is grossed out by fat people.  You know what?  Me too.  That doesn't mean that I hate fat people.  Fat people are still people.  However, I work in close proximity to obese patients, and I can attest to this: when you are obese, you smell.  Some much more than others, but there is an inescapable odor that is produced when skin cells are shed into a confined space with little/no oxygen.  Basically, you're shedding skin cells into your fat rolls, and the natural skin bacteria are going to town, causing a stink.  It's not the same as BO from your armpits.  It's gross.  It's that "cheese" goo.  You know what I'm talking about.   It reeks!

So, to answer the title question of this blog, NO, being fat is not OK.  It's unhealthy.  Fat is not our natural state of being.  It's not OK to make fat a political issue.  It's not OK to be all sensitive about your weight.  It's not a birthmark or congenital abnormality that you were born with.  No one feels sorry for you.  It's not OK to consider "fat" a protected class of people like racial or ethnic minorities.  You are fat because of your choices.  Sorry, but that's a fact.  No one made you fat.  There's no one to blame but you.  Obesity is the current state of your body, and that's kind of great news.  It's not permanent.  It's not your identity.  If you are fat, only YOU can do something to change it.  It's possible.  It's not some pipe dream, so don't resign yourself for being obese.  Own your current state of being.  Truly own how you got yourself into this mess.  You can't fix a problem until you acknowledge it, so buck up, grow a spine, get some sound nutrition and exercise guidance, and just go for it!  So what if you have a few hiccups along the way?  You're taking care of yourself!  You're choosing YOU!  You're saying, "Fuck you, laziness!  I'm gonna win!"  It's a long, arduous process, so you have to decide: Am I willing to give up being lazy?  Am I willing to make the necessary changes to become healthy?

I'm right there with you.

Oct 23, 2010

Well, How About That!

This is a series of letters published by Annie's Mailbox.  Although many of these letters generated multiple responses, this blog is only shows one direct thread of letters, and I think they speak for themselves.


Dear Annie: We adopted our daughter when she was just a few weeks old. She is an adult now with children of her own. She recently found her birth family. I have so many conflicted feelings about this.I never thought we would know the names of the birth parents, but we’ve actually met them. They’re very nice people, but I feel so shut out — like I’m no longer the mom — and it rips up my heart.

The birth mom has a Facebook account and lists my daughter along with her other children. She’s MY daughter, and yet I have to share her with these strangers. Is there a support group for those of us who have adopted children who now have frequent contact with their birth families? I could really use someone to talk to who has shared the same experience.
- Still the Mom

Dear Mom: Your feelings are natural, but you must put aside your jealousies for the sake of your daughter. She is not trying to replace you. She is trying to find a connection to her biological identity and information about her background. You are still her mother. It takes away nothing from your relationship to share her with the woman who made it possible for you to adopt her. While we could find no specific support group that deals solely with your problem, most adoption agencies and organizations have support groups for adoptive parents, and we’re sure this subject has come up. We suggest contacting your state adoption agency or RESOLVE (


Dear Annie: I read the responses to "Still the Mom," but I guess I'm in the minority. I wish I had never met my biological mother.

She was quite pretty but terribly vain, and believed a woman was defined by how many men she could attract. She was a gossip and a troublemaker with a sordid past, which took years for me to detach from my own identity. Despite it all, I tried to have a friendship with her, but she wasn't interested. I was rejected all over again.

Worse, I was 18 when I found her, and my adopted mother blew a gasket. She thought I didn't love her and made my life miserable. 

- Not Always Greener

Dear Greener: Doing a search for a birth parent is always a risk because not every situation works out as anticipated.

What is truly sad, however, is your adopted mother's inability to be supportive when you needed her. We hope things are better now.


Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Not Always Greener,” who found her birth mother but the relationship did not turn out well.

When I was young, I became pregnant by my then-boyfriend. He was not interested in marriage. I was wildly irresponsible, but smart enough to realize I could not provide a decent home for a child.

Giving her up for adoption was the most difficult thing I have ever done. For years after, I would regularly cry myself to sleep. Almost 25 years later, I still get sad as her birthday approaches.

I have since built a life that includes a loving husband and two children.

If that “baby” showed up at my door, I don’t know how welcoming I’d be. I worked hard to accept the fact that she is no longer mine. I hope she is healthy and happy. I would love to sit down, just the two of us, and talk about why I put her up for adoption and go over her family medical history.  But we don’t need a relationship.

It may sound cruel and uncaring, but I have a life I want to protect, and that is my choice. Please don’t judge those mothers who gave away their children. Most of us did so believing it was the best thing for the baby.
- Still Cry About It

Dear Still: We appreciate your candor. Thank you for offering the other side.


Dear Annie: This is a response to "Still Cry About It," who wasn't sure how she'd react if the baby she gave up for adoption showed up on her doorstep after 25 years.

I'd like to thank her. My husband and I adopted an infant more than 25 years ago. She is the light of our lives. From the start, we told her she was adopted. (Although when she was little, she repeated to others that she was "a doctor.") She does not wish to meet her birth mother, but we have given her all the necessary information to do so.

I want to tell my daughter and all adopted children that what their birth mothers did took courage. It's not the easy road, and it probably wasn't the path her friends were encouraging her to take. She did it because she was mature enough and strong enough to do what she thought was best for her child.

We would never want our daughter to judge her birth mother harshly. That woman not only allowed me to become a mother, but made me want to be the best mother because I owed it to her and the sacrifice she made. It took all of us for my daughter to become the person she is, and I am eternally grateful to the woman who gave birth to her.
- With a Grateful Heart

Dear Grateful: Every birth parent will bless you for your kind words.


Dear Annie: "With a Grateful Heart" is exactly right: Placing a child for adoption takes courage. I am thankful for my loving and devoted parents, siblings, and large extended family. My dad was my coach, my mother baked cookies, and my sibs and I rode bikes and built forts. I attended excellent schools and earned college scholarships. I am educated, well-employed, and married to a wonderful man with whom I have four children. I am adopted and am living the American dream.

I have met my birth parents and half-siblings. They are amazing people, but they encountered hardships and tragedies I never had to deal with. My birthmother gave me an immeasurable gift by putting my needs before her own. My husband and I have already agreed that if one of our children should accidentally become pregnant, we will guide her to choose adoption.
- The Luckiest


I'll give you one guess who "The Luckiest" is.

Oct 22, 2010


"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

                                                   ~Ephesians 2:8

If you're a Christian, that is a powerful statement.  Do you believe it?

Oct 5, 2010

Procrasination Nation

What is it? Why do I procrastinate? I have had a week to take care of some business, and I put it off for no reason. Now I'm in deep shit and working like a dog to make things right. Why would I risk my business reputation and client satisfaction by delaying this project? It's nothing, really, not difficult.  I could have finished it last week without any issues.

I have always done this type of thing. I am a card carrying member of Procrastination Nation.  I am the master of avoidance maneuvers.

An hour later...

Yep, I just did it again!  I got side-tracked on some other paperwork and couldn't even finish this blog! Jeesh. OK, I swear, this time I am going to kill my browser, get to work, and face the music.  Hmmm, that sounds somewhat like an addict promising they'll change. Do they have a 12-step group for people like me?

Oct 4, 2010

Unspecial: Part II

If you haven't already done so, read Part I. Just scroll down a little. It's only two posts. I'll wait.


Ok, done? Great.

So we are "them"... the nameless, faceless people whose tragedies we read about over our morning cups of coffee. Them. The others. Someone else.

They were us once. Regular folks tsking over the unfortunate events of "them" until one day when they were blindsided and unceremoniously inducted into the fraternity of "them."

The inspiration for Part I was someone I knew. Kids losing their mother. A husband losing his wife. A family losing their North Star. I wonder what would happen to my family if I died. Would it be as sickeningly tragic as I imagine, or would they cope and move on without me? The wise woman in me knows that I would want them to heal, to move on, to live. But the mother bear in me knows no one else could do it better than I could. The deepest part of my heart knows that they need me, and my not being there would write indelibly on the slate of their being.

What's worse, losing your mother, or losing your child?

Sick kid, ICU, no more treatments. Curling up in their hospital bed, arms wrapped around them, careful not to disturb the myriad lines running under the sheets, listening to the death march of beeps and clicks from the machinery keeping your beloved alive, whispering promises and making bargains with God to let your precious cargo become whole again.

And then what? The ventilator becomes a morbid metronome, pacing each breath until you've crossed the event horizon, the point of no return, and you're sucked in and torn apart by the supermassive black hole. Science says it's theoretical, but you know it's real. You're in it. Time stops. And then everything you know to be true in life ceases to be.

I worked with a woman who lost her teenage daughter. Three years after her death, the woman still spoke of her child in the present tense. No one had the nerve or the heart to mention it. We didn't dare suggest that we knew what she went through. Because we didn't. We could not fathom her pain.

I wonder at her courage, her resolve, the sheer will required to get up in the morning and take a shower knowing your child is dead.

Where do you find hope after something like that?

Oct 2, 2010

I Want a Christmas Present This Year

Yep. You read that right. I want a Christmas present this year. A good one. Not some "take the kids to Target and have them pick out useless (albiet heartwarming) crap that is a complete waste of money" present. A real one. A present that takes thought, planning, care, concern, and maybe a little $$.

Before I start sounding like a spoiled brat, let me share a little backstory.

Even though money is tight, our kids never go without. In fact, they have most of the same accessories and accouterments as all of their friends. Not to mention they are well-fed, housed, clothed, and educated.

Even though money is tight, I can always manage to find a way to make special things happen for everyone else. New guitar for Father's Day? Check. Choir trip to Chicago? Check. Rounds of golf, trips to the salon, concert tickets, and gift shopping cards for birthdays? Check. Private school? Check. Yankees tickets and Cardinals tickets for Father's Day? Check. Surprise honeymoon to Las Vegas? Check.

In the long run, special things don't cost as much as you think they will, and the memories you're making during those special times far outweigh the expense. I want a Christmas present this year, and I want my family to put a lot of thought into it. I have never asked for this before. I have no problem living small. My car is 10 years old, my wedding ring is extremely modest, my wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts, and we subsist on a steady diet of chicken. But somehow, some way, a part of me feels a little slighted.

Maybe I wish that everyone put as much thought into something for me as I do for them. I enjoy surprising the people I love. I count my blessings on a daily basis. I am shown much love in a variety of ways, some small and some big. But once in awhile a girl just wants jewelry, expensive shoes, or a trip to Italy.

Does this sound the rant of a whiny, spoiled bitch or the request of someone who just wants to be recognized? Why am I feeling so sad as I write this?