Monday, January 7, 2013

My response to Marily Wann's Latest: "You Can Be Fat and Fit!"

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Big Deal: You Can Be Fat and Fit

I am going to start this with the caveat that there can be people of large sizes and large proportions who certainly can be in great shape, aerobically and otherwise. The large sized weight lifter that made it to the Olympics is probably in better shape then most large people. There are football players, wrestlers and others who play sports at heavier and larger sizes. There are many midsized people who do enjoy sports, dancing and active living. All the best to them. Stay as active as you can and enjoy life as much as you can no matter your size. A lot of people MY size are totally bedbound, the housebound doctors have told me, so I even say by the grace of God go I. So enjoy but now I must address yet another article that just adds to the pile of confusion out there. Are there Healthy smaller fat people? Sure. Are the scientists finding proof, that one doesn't have to be a skinny-minny to be "healthy" and when it comes to some problems like pneumonia that it actually may be a detriment...Sure.

But newsflash....this is up to a certain point. In most cases dependent on height, up to the mid-200s line.

Over 300lbs for most people, the breathing is affected, movement is affected and more. I mean how far does the delusion have to go and the active denials? Sad to say this one even made it to mainstream media on CNN

Marilyn Wann states in the article...

"Another recent study found people who were "metabolically healthy" and overweight or obese had no higher death risk than metabolically healthy "normal" weight people."

How many fat people are "metabolically healthy"? That would be an interesting question to ask especially for the supersized given the very idea of metabolism has been set aside by the diet industry. I obviously am NOT metabolically healthy. Though would they say someone at a supersized weight who suffers from eating disorders which has led them to a high weight is? I am a bit confused by that study and doubt it applies to those in the super-sized weight categories.

Wann continues:
"I take an interest in the topic because I'm fat and because I don't have a death wish. I'm also interested because, like so many fat people, I've encountered weight discrimination when I seek routine medical care. I was 26 years old when I was denied the right to purchase health insurance. I had no significant history of illness or injury. I was just fat. That day, I became a fat rights activist."
What is this talk about a "death wish"? I often have pondered what if Wann did get ill? It is strange to me I am still hearing the same lines written in the mid 1990s. Most women her age, she is two years older then me which makes her 46, are starting to face some health problems, that includes THIN women. Most of my friends who have hit the age of 40 or over have dealt with at least ONE health issue that took some degree of comprehensive health care. She seems to have a very strong Baby Boomer ethos rather then that of a Generation Xer with a whole "we are going to live forever" theme to it.

Does illness as a fat person mean having a "death wish" or that you did something wrong? This is the "healthism" stuff I've mentioned in passing.  One ponders this. And who cares if she had some history of injury or illness? Should anyone who hasn't been there think anything less of anyone who has? Should one give out medals to those blessed with good genetics and good fortune in avoiding car accidents, thyroid issues, some arthritis,  a hole in the snow to trip in, or a cup of too hot of coffee spilling on the leg? She is right about weight discrimination in the medical arena, I certainly have explored that issue myself. She is also correct about the non availability of medical equipment but should the response of the fat be an enforced smiles, "we aren't that sick anyhow" response? Or demanding that some changes be made to the above? Yes too much blaming the fat happens and weight loss techniques like WLS that fail and maim and all the biases!  But what if I said to Marilyn Wann, fat is often the RESULT of illness a symptom in itself, that is where size activists who believe the way she does, refuse to get on board. She continues in the article to praise HAES which I of course disagree with. She talks about those living to 65. Long-lived society?, actually the lifespans in America are dropping.
"Here's a finding from the recent research that didn't make the headlines: For people over 65, being fat wasn't associated with increased risk, not even for the fattest old people. When do most people die, in our increasingly long-lived society? Over age 65, perhaps?"
This part of her article really disturbed me though....

"I also learned this week that a highly accurate way to predict a person's risk of dying is to see how easily they can get up from the floor. I'm trying to imagine how different our health care system would be if, instead of focusing on weight and weight loss, caregivers did the sitting-rising test instead."
How many supersized especially extremely super-sized people can get off the floor? I fail this test massively. Why? I fell down twice and know I cannot get off the floor. I was stuck and it was terrifying both times, and in one case, needed three grown men to help get me up to the place where I could finish the job in getting up all the way. Wann seems to have this edge to her articles where someone being sick, is enough to prove them wrong or "bad". That one would be an interesting sociological study and essay. We live in a society now where sick equals someone is "bad", instead of just with the admittance of the natural flow of things on this earth. Why must caregivers do the sitting-rising test? That one confused me. Okay my thin doctor gets down on the ground and gets up? So what? They probably can go camping and other things I miss. What does that prove? Did she think this one through?

With my failures to get off the floor, at least I was saved the medical bills from calling the paramedics to bring me to a standing position. My first fall I wrote about and the second one I had only weeks later, and at that point switched to a walker due to my balance issues. Since this summer there hasn't been any more falls. For years, due to youth, and after my initial weight loss from the massive weight gain, I did practice getting on the floor and then getting up, to make sure I still "could" but I lost the ability with time anyway, and remember in my case, I am not bedbound and tried to stay as active as I could including physical therapy. So what does that test say to fat people but hey you midsized people who can still get down on the floor and play with your puppy or your kids or scrub a spot on the floor are okay and those of you whose weight has become too heavy for you to lift off the floor are not? Is she living in reality here?

Hey I could take some of these edicts from on high if she did admit, "OK I am talking for smaller sized fat people here, I know you supersized or in my case extreme super-sized folks have other concerns" but she does not, she expects the HAES formula to work, and issues a blanket edict of "You Can be Fat and Fit!" Um no..... I am even facing battling a leg infection over the last month, I am not sure what has brought on the reaffirmed battles with leg infections, this time with huge fevers to go along with them, once I hit near 104. Trust me I am sad because I struggled with this for years, having 6-7 of these a year for so long and many times in the hospital, and recently I went almost an entire year without a leg infection in my lymphedema leg and being thrown back into the infection merry-go-round obviously is very frightening to me. I almost have lost my life to this stuff before. What brought it on? I am not sure, and even have the worrying feeling that my intense commitment to a physical therapy and walking program brought these latest infections on despite improved sugars.
Hey I write this blog knowing I live in a society where the prevailing ethos is unless you are healthy and well, [and wealthy in a lot of cases] you aren't worth listening too, but since it's an ethos I reject, I speak out anyway.

Wann continues:
"How much healthier would we be? How much more would we actually enjoy healthy living, free from weight judgment? How much time and money would we save? How much discrimination and human tragedy could we avoid? I'm guessing it'd be tons."
How about just some reality? How about some understanding? How about some size activists admitting that people like me exist? How about telling the truth about weight while at the same time demanding good treatment for fat people and good medical care without shame and hatred even if we are indeed stuck on the floor when we fall down? How about admitting what is going on? 


Health At Every Size? And Healthism in the Size Acceptance Movement"

"Seeing Through the Obesity Lies"


  1. Thanks for this. My high weight was spitting distance of 400lbs and it's a very different reality that's for sure!

  2. I think you make some very good and very valid points!

  3. Thanks Beth,yes, definitely the higher weights these things change. One thing Marilyn Wann is encountering people at NAAFA and other events in the higher weights, why does she ignore their realities? Doesn't she ever talk to any of them?

    Thanks Keeper of the BlueFlame!

  4. Enjoying your writings here very much, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE learn the difference between THEN and THAN!!! I'm seeing this all over the place and find it especially disturbing when such a well-educated, articulate person like yourself succumbs to this. If you want to do a comparison of this vs. that, it's THAN... I weigh more THAN you...

  5. Marilyn Wann is, and always was, a lunatic. I can't believe she has a platform to say anything. I thought she was in the rear view window for a long time now.

    1. LOL, I think she knows what she is doing but her message IS CRAZY and same one over and over. I don't think she has been up to much lately.