Fat Bashers of The World Unite… in ignorance… again… sigh

Here we go again, yet another story about lazy, fat bastards. I’ll apologise for the language but I’m going to use it anyway because sometimes the ignorance of people and the media feeding out more fuel for hate just really annoys me and I want to use the term I hear most ‘normal’ people use when they talk about us weirdo fat people.

For anyone who’s not here in the UK or not heard of it, there’s been some news today that the powers that be in the EU have decreed that obesity CAN be considered as a disability in some instances. Unlike some ‘journalists’ who are spouting ignorant rubbish over this story I will refer you to some sources of more information about this issue:

BBC News Item 18.12.2014

The Guardian Article 18.12.2014

ACAS website 18.12.2014

What this really centres around isn’t allowing lazy, fat, pie eating morons to sit and indulge their food passions and claim disability benefits, but around encouraging employers to acknowledge that obesity CAN be a disability and as such provision should be made where possible to enable sufferers to remain in work just as they are obliged to do for any other disabled person. Let’s face it obese people who are not at work are a double scourge so keeping them at work is a good thing no?

Contrary to what some hateful people think, this does not mean the installation of pizza vending machines outside office doors, or lard fountains next to water coolers for the ‘normal’ people, but things like more substantial chairs which will not collapse at the weight of anyone over a normal weight (which let’s face it could be a person who is taller or more muscular than average).

Personally I don’t want to be termed disabled. If I had to have a label put on me I’d rather it was for my mental condition than my physical. What obesity does to me in my  head is far more disabling than what it does to my body as most obese people would confirm.

I don’t care whether obesity is a disability or not, I just hate that this ruling and reporting of it has opened the flood gates to a torrent of fat bashers yet again. And guess what, people struggling with an eating disorder such as over eating, the root of obesity, do not need fat bashers making them feel miserable, bringing attention to them and making them feel so miserable that they head for their comfort blanket or self harming mechanism … food.

The level of ignorance is striking. I read this ignorant blog post*  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on my laptop to comment and so left an awful typo laden comment from my phone (I can’t get to grips with that auto correct which invents words which do not exist). She states (this is the abridged version) that unless people are mentally affected by their obesity they should pull themselves together and lose weight complete with obligatory picture of cake tumbling from the sky.

This person purports to be a ‘freelance journalist’… oh dear, this makes me sad. As a commentator on anything which one does for a living shouldn’t one seek to understand what they are talking about first? Probably got her training at some Micky Mouse centre and clearly not very good at it or else someone would have employed her. Stereotyping am I? Making assumptions am I? Feel the burn, it is what she did to me and every other obesity sufferer out there.

Anyway back to my point, if she could have taken some brain cells for a walk and given them a bit of exercise she might have been able to ask herself if she would be mentally affected by carrying around an extra 10 stones or more? If she might be mentally affected by not being able to bath or clean herself. If she might be mentally affected by being sniggered at every time she left the house? If she might be mentally affected by people writing such nonsense suggesting she should pull herself together and stop being a lazy fat glutton. If she might be mentally affected by not being able to dress herself in the morning? If she might be mentally affected when she stepped into a gym to try to do something about it and idiots like her sniggered, pointed and giggled? If she might be mentally affected by going to bed every night wondering if this is the night the heart attack is going to come and leave the children motherless? And with all that going on feel totally disempowered to do anything about it, knowing better than any skinny person what needs to be done but not having the mental strength to get on the right road and make a difference, not knowing where to go for useful support, not money making scams like slimming clubs and ignorant GPs (I know they aren’t all ignorant thank goodness but many are), not understanding the underlying issues which have led you to this state because it didn’t happen over night or knowing that a life time of diets and exercise has not worked, all it has done is made you bigger and bigger.

Perhaps I misunderstood her post and she actually meant that of course ALL obese people are mentally affected by their condition and that they therefore ALL should be classed as disabled. Yeah, maybe that’s it, maybe her seemingly ignorant post was a veiled attempt at support. I doubt it. The fact that she chose to follow my blog which highlighted me to her post was maybe to draw out a response from me, fatty provoking, poking her skinny talon into my bulging waist line, was maybe to have a direct dig at a fatty, or maybe came as an after thought when she realised she really should do some research into what she was trying to talk about. I hope so, I really do.

I’ve lost over 110 pounds as I’ve battled obesity on my own, I’ve been fortunate to come across support on this blog, support from my GP, support from my wonderful PT, support from my amazing counsellor and from my beautiful, faithful children and my patient and kind partner and from my friends who have taken this opportunity to find out about obesity, to ask questions and listen rather than give advice and judge, but it all started with me and it will all end with me. Anyone who has followed my journey knows it has been hard, not in the decisions and choices I’ve made about my food and exercise, that’s been easy but in the mental demons I have had to face and fight and put behind me. Demons I didn’t even know I had. This has been one journey of many throughout my life to beat obesity and I know now I never will beat it, it is an integral part of who I am, it’s in my make up, physical or mental and I will have to fight it forever to stay on top of it and thank God I have the strength to do so and the means to access the things I need to continue this fight. At any time I could relapse, I know that and it scares me but I’m doing good now, I’m getting there, wherever that is. Idiots like the person who wrote that article and then taunted me by following my blog set me back. I shouldn’t let them but they do.

Reading the things I’ve read today including that post have made me want to stuff my face, they’ve upset me because I know that even after 110lbs I am still obese and that people will still be judging me tomorrow when I go about my business, people will be including me as the fat bastard at work when they discuss this ‘news’ tonight over dinner and with idiot posts like the one above they will be holding those ignorant thoughts in their minds and when they see me on the street tomorrow, or on the bus, or on the train, or in a coffee shop they will be judging me to be a lazy, fat bastard who needs to get a grip.

They won’t know that I’ve lost 110lbs in 8 months, they won’t know that I work myself with my trainer to the point of exhaustion and tears, they won’t know that I feasted on a healthy home made Graonla that morning before I left for work and have a healthy green salad packed for my lunch and that I will resist all offers and temptation of christmas treats in the office and that I will drop off boxes of chocolates gifted to me by appreciative students to the battered wives shelter on the way home, that I have a healthy carrot and corinader soup ready for my dinner when I get in before I go and brave the looks of other swimmers to do 50 laps before I sit to work on my business and to mark a heap of assignments before I do my tai chi before I settle down in bed with my pint of water. They won’t know that and because of articles like hers they will just see me as one of those fatties who needs to get a grip and stop trying to get extra money by making out I’m disabled.

More that that I  am made sad knowing that there are many, many people like me out there who aren’t so firmly on the route to recovery as I am, who will be made to falter, withdraw and head back to binge eating to make themselves feel better, there will be people who haven’t yet found the strength to get onto the route to recovery who will be less inclined to do so now as they  mask the shame of having the limelight firmly switched back onto them with a couple of family packs of chocolate.

You’re an alcoholic, pull yourself together. You’re a drug addict, pull yourself together. You’re a gambler, pull yourself together. You’re an anorexic, pull yourself together. You’re a bulimic, pull yourself together. You’re a self harmer, pull yourself together. You’re depressed, pull yourself together.  We don’t say these things for good reason and yet when we tell an obese person to stop eating so much and exercise more it is exactly the same as saying any of those things to any of those other people who struggle with control issues and addictions. Being cruel is never kind, deluding yourself that you are remotely near kindness if you say that to an obese person is sad, you are a nasty, ignorant, judgmental fool. If you want to help us fat bastards, go and research obesity and make a proper journalistic attempt at writing a balanced article.

Yes I’m disabled, I battle an invisible illness in my head daily and I live with the knowledge that it can resurface at any time, it affects everything I do.

Yes I was disabled when I was at my fattest, I couldn’t take care of my own needs, I had to call my daughter to put my bra on and panicked at the thought of my daughter leaving home and having to rely on my son to do it for me, panicked even more on the days when she would leave the house before I’d got dressed and sit crying on my bed, feeling so much self loathing because I couldn’t put my bra on. I’d wonder how this had happened to me, how had I gone from a size 10 twenty something to a near 50 heap of fat?

It didn’t make me want to lose weight, it made me want to feed my self loathing with a few more cakes. Yes I was disabled and I always will be. Do I want a label slapping on me? No. Did I ever? No. It was enough and is enough to cope daily with the label of fat lazy greedy bastard that I don’t want either. So take your narrow ill informed opinions and shove ’em where the sun don’t shine because all you do is harm and damage. If you really want to help read the hundreds of blogs like mine out there which give real insight into the workings of an obese person. You know what? You find some incredibly intelligent, talented, good people who are caught in a hellish trap that I hope you will never get caught in through any addiction you may have or develop in your life time.

*Edit: the author of the post did contact me to say she had not meant to cause offence and is sensitive to the issues and had changed her post to reflect this. This comment is in the comments section of this post. I didn’t get a chance to read it and thank her on the post before it was apparently deleted. I am glad that it made her think twice about how she puts her views across and sorry if I offended her but sometimes that taste of your own medicine is quite bitter. Of course it was her opinion and we are all entitled to those but having made one person rethink how they can affect people who are struggling with this awful problem is a good thing, sometimes we have to step out of the shadows and put forth our contrary opinion or things never change.

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Introducing Katie Hopkins… you may not thank me for this

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The beautiful Katie and her happy, vibrant, healthy children

You may or may not have heard of British lady Katie Hopkins. I’m not too sure what she does for a living now but she is very opinionated and is probably best known for having strong views which could perhaps be described as “niche” in that the majority of people are offended by her or outraged by her or just simply flabbergasted by her comments. She shares these on social media but for some unknown reason is also given air time on national television all too frequently. I don’t watch the shows she appears on, it’s not the sort of TV I watch, it’s more the day time nothing better to do TV shows where Katie gets to peddle her particularly  harsh views. She clearly knows that having extreme views is shocking and that shocking behaviour gets people noticed. I hate to think what her children will turn out like, they look such a miserable bunch of souls.

She came to public notoriety when she was on the UK version of The Apprentice which during her season descended from genuine ‘get a high flying job with famous entrepreneur’ show to a reality show for wannabes looking for an easy way into the public eye where they could be adored out of some need to replace love and attention lacking in childhood.

Katie considers herself to be very posh and is perhaps deluded into thinking that sophisticated is its natural accompaniment, like a stuck up person’s BOGOF.  But Katie is far from sophisticated, sophisticated people are demure, reserved, intelligent, satisfied and confident. Katie is clearly fame hungry and in need of attention. Perhaps she didn’t have very good parents. Yes that would explain a lot. 

So Katie is known for bashing poor people and fat people among others. She has undertaken her latest publicity stunt highlighted in this article from a really trashy UK tabloid. To prove that fat people are just lazy greedy folk she has purposefully gained 4 stone in weight (56 pounds or thereabouts) so she can show how easy it is to lose it again.

This is how stupid this self professed intelligent woman is. The first thing she should understand without ever embarking on this attention seeking trip is that she has put herself in a temporary state of behaving out of the ordinary, by over eating and not exercising for a couple of months. She has temporarily changed what is normal for her. She’s had to change what is normal for her in order to gain weight and all she will be doing is what dieters have been doing for years and years and that is returning to what is normal to her and the weight will come off of course it will. Just like when a yo-yo dieter returns to what is normal for them and they regain lost weight.

We really must be more clever than Katie to realise this. Katie probably thinks that all fat people are stupid too, she thinks most people are stupid, including people who name their children after locations/places… her own child is called India.  

Katie cried because “fat people made her do this to herself” when she had to overeat and I was glad, because people like Katie with their ill thought out, vitriolic bullying of people who struggle with their weight makes them do just the same, eat and cry. Idiots like Katie Hopkins make people fat. It is good to hear she is having a taste of her own medicine, although nobody made Katie eat and gain weight, Katie chose to do it because whilst she is not hungry for food, she is hungry for attention and fame and money.

It’s not going to be difficult for Katie to return to what is normal for her, we stupid fat people know that. What would be difficult is if she had to continue to live in a way that was not normal for her forever, which is what dieters have to try to do in order to lose weight. They don’t spend a couple of months changing their lifestyle and everything is OK, they have to adjust to a totally new way of living forever.

The other thing Katie is missing of course, is that for many fat people, food is not consumed out of greed, some fat people actually eat healthy food but way too much of it, some fat people even exercise and are quite active and believe it or not fit and even healthy. Katie is too blinkered to be aware of these facts, they mess with her black and white, simplistic, prejudicial brain. She can’t see that for some people overeating is an eating disorder which needs more than a couple of weeks on a diet to overcome. In that sense, having some emotional hang up which makes her cleave to the modern day version of ‘celebrity’, she has more in common with some fat people than she realises. Whereas she uses a need for fame to mask her deep seated emotional issues fat people use food to mask theirs.

Katie comments that it is not nice feeling fat, so surely even her challenged operational brain cell can figure out that lots of fat people are not happy with the way they are and so remaining like that is hardly a conscious choice.

Of course what everyone is secretly hoping (some not so secretly) is that Katie struggles to lose the weight. That would be poetic justice, but that won’t happen as she is rich (as she keeps on telling us) so she can buy healthy food and she can go to a gym and have a trainer and spend time between writing vitriolic tweets (not sure she does much else) focused on losing the weight while someone else looks after her children and takes care of her home. As Katie also bashes poor folk, I’d be more impressed if she managed to lose the weight and provide for her family on a really low income, with no access to gyms and trainers.

Katie will not fail because she would look the fool that she is and the documentary would have proven nothing, so we should take it that she has succeeded in proving her point because Katie will not let her mask of confidence and arrogance slip, heaven forbid we should see the pathetic creature longing for love hiding underneath it all. It’s all a front masking a very weak, insecure woman who hates herself so much she has to be someone else, someone who even she doesn’t like. For that I actually feel some sympathy for her and wish she could just be happy and learn to love herself for who she is without needing to be famous and stop embarrassing her children who are going to suffer as a result of their mother’s campaign to be the most hated woman in Britain. If only she was sophisticated enough to understand what she is doing to them.

Katie might be what she considers attractive (a matter of opinion) but what happens in her mind makes her ugly, she is spiteful, vain and makes a living out of being horrible to and about other people when she really has no pedestal to stand on other than one she has imagined for herself. She has taken fat hating to another level, blaming fat people for what she’s done to herself. Fat people didn’t make her do this, or if they did then Katie has more issues than we initially thought. Her hunger for fame and money did this to her, not fat people.

But, it’s not all bad for people who struggle with eating disorders. She is doing something to help us and that is highlighting the issues faced by people who struggle with their weight and she is generating some supportive comments, not for her, but acknowledging that losing weight is not simply about returning to a healthy lifestyle for some, it’s about much more than that and her publicity stunt may have gained her more alienation from the public but it has also raised some awareness, sympathetic awareness of the plight many people face when they are battling an eating disorder or for people who are trying to recover from a health problem which caused a weight gain.

For further reading about the documentary she has made charting her weight gain and loss (more fame seeking… I wonder if I should make a programme about the mental issues of someone who needs to be famous?) here is an article from the Independent

Last day: sharks, pirates, boats, planes, control, fear, rebirth and more…

I’m having such a fab time if it wasn’t for the children I would find it difficult to leave but tomorrow that is what we shall be doing, leaving 😦

I’m so looking forward to seeing them again and hearing about their adventures and to heading on our little camping trip together which is going to be a whole world away from this experience in many ways but in others it will be similar, especially in a ‘bringing me closer back to nature’ kind of way. Perhaps more so as we are not camping in any parks but out in the wilds so we’re going right back to basics.

Setting the scene
Setting the scene

But back to where we are now. The past two days we spent on a hired yacht, well 24 hours from lunch time to lunch time yesterday but what a delightful 24 hours they were aboard our borrowed 70 foot floating villa. In some ways challenging as I’m so full of energy right now and being cooped up in a relatively small space is not good when you’re bursting with energy but I found ways to cope.

We swam. I finally laid my fear of shark attacks in open water aside and enjoyed it although tentatively at first.  I did an aerobic workout to some music on the deck and we did some middle of nowhere Tai-Chi twice. Once in the pitch dark and once as the sun was rising. We ate dinner out in the middle of a dark ocean. If you’ve never tried it it’s a bit scary I’ll tell you. You hear things, like splashes and can only wonder what made the noise and you see the odd light but nothing much else. We weren’t too distant from shore but distant enough for it to be a far off strip of light.

I wished I’d never watched Captain Phillips as I developed a sure and certain conviction that we were going to be boarded by pirates even though the modest crew assured us that was not going to happen.

It’s rather a primitive state of existence out there, it’s like someone switched the responsiveness of your senses around. You suddenly hear things you wouldn’t normally detect and you see things you really don’t notice… like the stars. Oh wow, the stars are something else when it’s pitch black on Earth. Electric lighting has robbed us of a veritable nocturnal spectacular for sure. I’ve not seen a sky like that in so long, maybe back when I plodded my way around bits of Africa.

I think focusing on the night sky finally enabled me to lay my fears and anxieties aside. We’ve done some snuggled down night sky gazing from our accommodation and from the beach but the spectacular really revealed itself out there that night with no light contamination from anywhere. I realised lying there that my irrational anxieties about being boarded by pirates, fear of what was swimming around us in the darkness, my feeling of helplessness on the sea were all born of my need to be in control. If you can’t see, if you don’t know where you’re going, if there’s nothing to listen to, if there’s no point of reference for much, then control is taken away from you. There’s not a lot left for you to actually take charge of, other than yourself.

I kind of had the beginnings of this epiphany while we were flying over to Miami, I hate flying and that is simply because I have no control, I can’t see where I’m going so I feel very much at the mercy of someone else. Realising this helped me to relax and enjoy the flight so much more. It was easier to this as the way we flew meant I did feel closer to the seat of control,  perhaps more influential, although in real terms of course I had no control at all. Just thinking of those things helped me to understand my fear, rationalise it and enjoy it taking a back seat for a change. It wasn’t gone but it wasn’t at the forefront of the flying experience like it normally is.

Back to the boat…I had nothing to do and no part to play in where I was going, I couldn’t see much and couldn’t hear anything familiar and it was beautiful but unnerving to the point where the beauty was in danger of evading me. It was only when I was made to look up, in fact I didn’t need to look up, the sky came down to meet us, but when I was made to look at it, it was only then that I really appreciated my insignificance in terms of time and space and I realised that I’m not really in control of anything anyway. I asked myself what do I control at the end of the day and do I need to be in control of anything at all? Does holding the reins really make me feel any better, does it serve any advantage or is it actually detrimental to my enjoyment of life? I’ve had a good chat with myself if nothing else.

I had a lovely talk with Nick about this too, about how much of what happens to us happens anyway and will happen anyway and so we may as well just yield to it and go with it, not fight it, not try to control it. It’s a place he’s already in and has been for some time and he laughed as I joined him there.  I thought about how I could see the stars but if there had been anyone near one of them they wouldn’t be able to see me, I’d just be lost in the darkness, nothing, invisible, unseen. I wondered if trying to control anything was not only pointless but put us in danger of enjoying the real delights the world has to offer which can only truly be enjoyed when we lay ourselves open, bare and without the shackles of what we think of as essential for life.

I realised eating disorders are all about control, I don’t have control issues because I have an eating disorder, I have an eating disorder because I have control issues. I’ve always felt like the world was against me, like I had to fight something for what I wanted, like I had to prove myself, like there was an invisible or even visible enemy always trying to thwart my attempts to achieve anything. That battle’s been going on since I was a cute little girl, it’s why I’m so feisty and always have been, I’ve been fighting my whole life for acceptance and I finally see that I only have to accept myself, I can’t control what anyone else does or thinks, I don’t have to influence their actions, it’s not my fault if other people are unkind, unhappy, uncaring, unloving, all of those ‘uns’. It’s not my fault and I don’t have to try to change them. All I need do is be myself and concentrate on making me happy. Funny thing is, the less I try the easier being happy gets.

I don’t know it all got very deep out there in more ways than one. I just felt an even more profound sense of relaxation on a whole other level. In short… I’m so insignificant nothing really matters, that could sound pretty morbid but it’s not, it’s far from it.

I’m going through some kind of awakening. I really feel that I’ve been in a mid life crisis for the past 5 years or so and this is my emergence as an ‘elder’. I feel like I’m shedding my youth skin and growing a new mature layer which is richer, more flexible, more comfortable to live in. I’m feeling very much as if I’m on about my fourth phase of life and that I have more phases yet to experience.

I think that I was unwittingly mourning my youth, mourning the woman I’d lost sight of, floudering in a world where I didn’t fit, I didn’t want to fit and I wasn’t sure of my place or what I could bring with me, but now it’s all clear, I know who I am and what I’m bringing, I know where I’m going and I know what there is for me to do there and I’m relaxed and happy to be on the journey, I’m not fighting anymore, I’m not worried about pirates coming to rob me, I’m not worried about nasty people coming to hurt me, I’m not worried about anyone taking anything from me, I’m not letting a fear of shark attack stop me from enjoying the freedom of swimming in the ocean, I’m opening up my doors and not worrying about who is going to come in, I’m just grateful for the light and air that can make its way through now.

It’s a great feeling. When I started out I saw this as a caterpillar to butterfly like journey and I thought that it was all about my weight and my  health but it has turned out to be about a catharsis so much more deep and meaningful than that, it’s been about my transition through the final part of the middle phase of my existence it’s been like a rebirth, like I was being prepared and this last bit is the squeeze through the canal into my  new life and I feel like I’m about crowning now and on the cusp of something wonderful, something I had feared and fought and didn’t feel I’d earned the right to yet and that is a relaxed, self indulgent, worry free middle age. I don’t need to be a kid to be happy. I don’t need to feel old to be a grown up. I’m a vibrant, beautiful, happy woman who has achieved so much and has so much yet to achieve.

I might not feel like that in the next couple of days out on the cold Welsh hills in a tent with a tin of beans but I’m going with it and whatever happens, happens, it’s a new experience and I get to do it with the people I love the most, my amazing children… something I undoubtedly did well in my life and have not celebrated anywhere near enough.