[Why can't we] "all just get along?" ~ Rodney King

The view from my Dad's place in Brooklyn. Dad and Hannah being silly. Go BIG BLUE!! NY Giants!! My dad cooked an amazingl...


The view from my Dad's place in Brooklyn.
Dad and Hannah being silly.
Go BIG BLUE!! NY Giants!!
My dad cooked an amazingly delicious Thanksgiving dinner for just he and I.  The next day we celebrated my Aunt's **mumbles**th birthday.  It was great to hang out with my family (I don't get to see them that often because they're mostly in the NY/MA area.  A few of us aren't central to that).  My uncle paid me one of the best compliments ever -- that he uses me as a gentle example of someone who has been able to address her weight and health issues.  I'm glad that I can be a force of positive change in my family.

On Saturday, Dad and I had a very long drive back to DC (there were a few accidents on I-95).  On Sunday, we had lunch with my brother, SIL and niece.  Last night, Dad and I went to the NYG v. Skins game (Giants won! And Bear Pascoe waved to me!!).  I'm kinda a zombie now at work and still have enough fortitude to resist doing any shopping.  I'm not religious, but my family does participate in gift exchanges.  I just really hate the whole commercial aspect of it that is thrust upon the consumer.  I'm going to shop and spend money if and when I damn well please.

Okay, I was in a bit of a media blackout the past week and the long weekend, but was clued into the continuation of the Maria Kang saga by The Bert Show and Tony (The Anti-Jared).  

I am loathe to even mention her name here but I will, on the off chance that someone finds my blog and gets a bit of perspective and hope from it.  My POV is this:  any time a person tries to define what a "real woman" is -- you marginalize other people (same with any other "real [this or that]").  It's a "realer than thou"/"healthier than thou" attitude that does nothing to serve or enhance relationships between people and communities.  It's not my place to define who I am by excluding anyone, and it's not my place to define anyone else by my personal thoughts and feelings. We are all real and deserve a bit of respect, compassion, and the freedom to live a life that doesn't impinge on the rights of others.

Kang vented on Facebook, but deleted it and reposted on her site, but not without a long-winded disclaimer (no, I will not link her site, I don't want her making any money off of my readership).  I want to side with her on some things -- such as there being lots of free resources for people looking to make a change in their life and that the journey begins with self-love -- but there are far better people out there saying the same thing without perpetuating the idea of what health/fitness looks like versus what actual health/fitness is (behavior, mental well being, blood tests, etc).  And most importantly, I can't side with her because she breaks New Rule #4 as well as NR4(a-c):

    4a.  I will not let someone else's judgment of me change how I feel about myself. 
    4b.  I am on this journey because of the courage I had when I took the first step.
    4c.  The journey is not a competition; it is a community, a movement, a calling.
The other part that really annoys me is this:  a photo of a person is just a slice in time.  And yet we load on a ton of presumptions about that person based on the photo.  We see the beautiful model, we don't see her sucking on juice-soaked cotton balls (something Crystal Renn wrote about in her book Hungry).  Even Kang makes the point about saying that her photo may look like she's got it together, but then gives a gazillion examples of how she's the every woman.  So then why can't we look at a picture of a larger person and make the assumption that she's taking care of herself?  We assume that fat equals neglect.  We assume that fat equals self-harm.  However, while she goes to great lengths to discuss the obesity epidemic, she says very little about the epidemic on the other end of the spectrum:  kids are getting eating disorders and are practicing self-harm at younger and younger ages.  We've infected them with our own self-loathing, and more than that, we (as a society) endorse it. 

When I look at a photo of myself in bra/underwear or a bikini (and no, I'm not going to post it here), I am proud of all the work that I've done -- work that started with an obese version of myself mustering up the courage to love myself no matter what anyone else said, and especially in spite of what other people would have me think about my own body.

I think about many of my friends here and on Twitter/Facebook that are still overweight/obese but are radically different people than they were before they had the epiphany.  Are they fitness models? No, but they're the model of fitness -- dedicated to exercising, good nutrition, and working on their emotional and mental landscapes.  I don't think Maria Kang gets that.  I don't think she ever will.  And the saddest part of all of this is that her crappy attitude is getting her attention and making her money.

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7 comments

  1. You should be really proud of yourself :)

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  2. I've tried to steer clear of the whole debacle, but I like your take on it. And you? You should be proud of yourself!

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  3. I am super proud of myself and proud of my friends/readers that are supportive of each other.

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  4. Thanks for writing this. Your blog is very encouraging.
    As a fat person trying to eat healthier foods and live a more active, more healthy life, I find the attitude of society discouraging, as if since I'm not a skinny person (and I'll never be skinny; if I looked "skinny" I'd be unwell) I must therefore also be unhealthy and lazy.

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  5. Completely agree with kmboatright, I think society doesn't help with the derogatory self image they promote! You should be super proud of yourself :)

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  6. Good points. I have to admit that after a few minutes of caring about this "debate," I decided I really didn't care about it that much. She looks good. She says her intent was positive, but seemed more than willing to leverage her "victimization" by people who felt her photo and caption were shaming.

    And she can cry all the way to the bank...

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<3 Robby