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I’ll Take the C: On Becoming Average

Part Four of Let’s Talk About Fat

I’ve been writing as if there is a dichotomy between being obese and being thin.  There isn’t of course.    There are lots of in between people who are technically overweight.  I say technically because the most popular way to determine if you’re overweight is to calculate your body mass index.  You can calculate your BMI here if you want.

This is a notoriously crude measurement resulting in the muscular being categorized as obese.  You might find it helpful in figuring out where you are.   Or not.  Don’t bother if you are a wide receiver.

One thing about weight loss surgery you may not know is that most people do not lose all of their excess weight.  It’s also normal to gain a bit back before you reach an equilibrium, and from there, or at least this is my expectation, you struggle to keep the pounds off as you age like everyone else.  My nutritionist has set a goal weight for me of 170 pounds based on average weight loss for people of my age and starting weight.  When I reach this goal (he says it will take 14 months), I will still have a BMI of 28.3 which means I will be overweight.  I may very well never hit a normal weight.  One surgeon I talked to said that the people who did better than average were those who were more “compliant to the program.”  In other words, I can lose those extra 25 pounds if I just try hard enough.  Where have I heard that before?  I just hope I’m average.  I have failed at weight loss so very many times.   Really.  I’ll take the C.

Internet medical advice (this is where you get your medical advice, right?) also tends to lump obesity and overweight into the same category, chastising those that are a couple pounds over and citing statistics that really apply to people carrying many pounds more.  So how overweight is too overweight?  And if it isn’t causing health problems, why do we call it overweight at all? Just because you don’t look like a supermodel is your health truly at risk?    Actually, if you do look like a supermodel you might be in trouble.  A recent Danish study of 3000 models found that a whopping 75 of them were of normal weight. That’s 75 individual women, not 75%. The rest of them were underweight, and the average model was actually in a category the World Health Organization considers malnourished.  No wonder our perspectives are skewed.  Maybe it’s not all that hard to understand that for some of us who look at media images we know we can never emulate, our gut reaction is to give up and have another cookie.

You may be glad to know I have given up cookies permanently.  Rest in Peace, cookies.   And I’m still going to be overweight.  I think I’m going to be ok with being overweight.  Counting what I lost before surgery, I’m already 2/3 of my way to goal.  That’s a noticeable amount of weight loss.  My cpap is in the back of my closet, I bought a whole new wardrobe, and my blood sugar is getting close to normal.  I am undoubtedly healthier, so for all those charts that say that’s not good enough,   I’m here to say, it’s good enough.  I am good enough.

In fact, I’m feeling so sassy in my new retro-inspired vintage (read thrift-shop) wardrobe,  I’m even starting to have revenge fantasies. Look at me now! plusplus’m talking to you, the man I refused to sleep with who said I could attract a better class of men if just pushed myself away from the table once in a while.  And I’m talking to you, husband who said he was worried about my health but was adverse to actual lifestyle changes that involved vegetables.  And I’m talking to you, saleslady who said I couldn’t expect to find cute clothes in my size.  And I’m talking to all of you who said nothing but judged me silently.  I was always good enough.  Maybe I didn’t say so then. Maybe I was afraid you were right.  But you were wrong.  I’ve always been good enough.

So let me let go of the revenge body fantasies for a moment and just shout out to the people who accepted me the way I was.  I’d like to thank the man I was casually dating that thoughtfully bought a seatbelt extender for his Buick so I would be more comfortable.   I’d like to high five the Zumba instructor that welcomed me when I walked in with a whole extra person’s worth of weight on my frame.  I’d like to express my gratitude to the thin coworkers who brought fruit to the breakroom instead of donuts because none of us need donuts.

Do you know what unconditional love is?  It’s when your parents accommodate whatever diet you’re on every time you come home even though one time it’s no meat and the next time its bacon and eggs and the next time its cabbage soup.  And when you finally decide you’ve tried everything but surgery, they ask how they can help.    Love is when your kid hides all bread products in his bedroom and won’t give them up even when you beg and puts up with late dinners because you went to the gym and collects menus in his college dorm so you can figure out where you can eat when you visit.  And there is also my current and final boyfriend.   Do you know what I want you to know about him?  I met him when I was close to my highest weight. He thinks I’m pretty.  Now he weighs my food for me and buys me protein shakes when they go on sale.   And that’s it really.  That’s how you treat someone when they are good enough, even if they have a fat problem.  I am in recovery.  I will not be cured.  And I am good enough.

To read part one of this series, Let’s Talk about Fat, click here

To read part two of this series, What’s Your Trigger, click here

To read part three of this series, Loving the Fat that Weighs you Down click here

You might also like:  An Open Letter on Dating While Fat

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Me. Just Smaller.

Part Five of Let’s Talk About Fat

If you have spent the majority of your life trying to lose weight, you must be forgiven for the fantasies you had while you were hungry and denying yourself food.  You should be forgiven for imagining a different life, a life where you’ve successfully beat your demons, lost the weight, look 25 when you’re actually 45, fit into your high school jeans, and run into Sting at a party where he teaches you that tantric thing.  This is supposed to be motivating, but the truth is even if you lose the weight, you will still be stuck with your regular life.  I can attest to this now that I’ve lost 70 pounds.  I assure you, it’s still me, just smaller.

Physically, everything is just easier, whether it is traveling or hauling things up the stairs, or working out.  I have ditched my cpap and my blood pressure medication, and my sugar levels are stabilizing. So that’s a pretty big deal.  You might be tempted to congratulate me.  Don’t.  I have done nothing other than make the decision to seek serious medical intervention.  Would you congratulate someone for having heart surgery?  Yes, I have made significant life style changes involving watching what I eat, trying to find time to work out, reading labels, and staying away from wheat and sugar.  But these are changes I made years ago.  The only difference between my lifestyle now and my lifestyle a year ago or even five years ago is that the diet/exercise program I am currently following (extreme caloric deprivation and occasional Zumba) is actually working.  Also I spend a lot more time clothes shopping.  A lot.  And I’m somewhat preoccupied with my collar bones.  Are they really supposed to stick out like that?

In the months it took me to be cleared for gastric bypass surgery, I was told both that losing weight would not solve all my problems, and that I should be prepared for it to cause major changes in my life, especially in my relationships with other people.  I really had no idea how to prepare myself for people treating me differently, but I read up on the possibilities.  People will be jealous, I read.  People will accuse you of cheating and taking the easy way out by having surgery.  People will try to sabotage you with food.  Your family will taunt you with your favorite treats. Your partner will become insecure and no longer be attracted to you.

None of these things has happened to me, at least not so far.  I have another 30-50 pounds to go, so people could still turn on me.  Or treat me better. Thinner women tend to do better professionally and financially, so that would be great.  I’ll take that, even if it’s a horrible reflection of the culture at large.  After all, the size of my clothing does not make me better at my job.  Maybe I am lacking in social awareness in that I am not perceiving a change in microaggressions, the number of cat calls I get on the street (and I did get them 70 pounds ago), or people checking out my grocery cart or what I eat at restaurants.  Or maybe it’s just because I live in Mississippi where obesity is the norm.

I am starting to suspect that it may have more to do with changes in how you see yourself that affects your relationships.  I’d like to think that my self-perception and self-worth were never tied to my weight to begin with and are therefore somewhat impervious to change.  But the truth is, it probably just hasn’t caught up to me yet since I still get really startled when I see myself in a mirror.  I’m definitely experiencing some body dismorphia. That may not go away. Will report back.

People don’t seem to be treating me differently, but that’s not to say they haven’t noticed, of course.  Prior to surgery, I remember talking to my mandatory therapist about setting boundaries with people.  I will not want people to comment on my looks all the time, I said.   I don’t want people to ask me how much weight I’ve lost every time they see me.  It’s so embarrassing.  I don’t want people looking at me all the time.

This turns out not to be a problem.  Unpredictably, I love the attention!  Please, tell me I look great! Tell me I look like I’ve lost a ton of weight.  I have.  I’ll even tell you how I did it if you ask and how much to the tenth of a pound.  And I’ll tell you where I got all my new clothes and what I eat for breakfast if you want to talk about how great it all is.  I’ll talk about it until you get bored. I’m sure the attention will fade in time, and that’s ok.   It’s really not all that interesting, after all.  It’s not that I have succeeded through some secret new diet plan or an increase in will power. I chose a medical solution to a medical problem, and now I’m healing.  It’s sort of odd that you can watch me heal as I shrink, but that’s all it is, healing.  I’m not becoming a better person.  I’m not even becoming a different person. I’m only becoming a smaller person.  Just make sure you let me know when you see jeans go on sale.  And I’m still up for Sting parties.

 

To read part one of this series, Let’s Talk about Fat, click here

To read part two of this series, What’s Your Trigger, click here

To read part three of this series, Loving the Fat that Weighs you Down click here

To read part four of this series, I’ll take the C: On becoming average click here.

You might also like:  An Open Letter on Dating While Fat

 

 

Loving The Fat That Weighs You Down

Part three in the Let’s Talk About Fat series.

There is something absolutely heroic about loving your body while fat.  Some women have managed to make a career out of it.  They use social media to say I’m fat.  I’m beautiful.  Here are some pictures. I think that’s fantastic, and while I just don’t have it in me to post Instagram pictures of myself in lingerie,  I do post pictures of myself on facebook and have a profile picture of my actual fat face.   This itself is an act of courageous self- love.   I know a lot of you don’t feel you can do that, and that’s just why we need people out there posing in bikinis with their stomachs hanging out.  Because they are beautiful.  And maybe they can help you see that you are beautiful, too.

The body-positive fat acceptance movement is an absolutely crucial reaction to our worship of thin culture.  Critics who whine that it encourages people to be unhealthy are completely missing the point.  Fat people don’t want to be idolized like supermodels, we just want the love, respect, and job opportunities everyone else gets. When 12 year old girls start idolizing plus-size models and binging to get rid of their size 10 bodies, get back to me. Fat bodies exist.  They are beautiful.   If people look at my body and don’t see that, it is their problem, not mine.  It’s that simple.

Only it’s never that simple.  Some in the movement claim body acceptance means not subjecting yourself to diets and gym memberships.   I get it.  Dieting and exercise are painful when you’re really heavy.  And there is the inevitable failure that comes when the diet stops working, you hurt yourself at the gym because your size 0 trainer pushed you too hard, or you do everything right and the scale doesn’t move.  Failure after failure after failure.  Who wants to live that way? The hell with that.  Put on some lipstick.  Find a guy that loves your curves.  Live your life and stop counting every calorie as if it matters.

Pretend you are not sick.

There are also those in the movement who claim that being overweight is not unhealthy.  And I’m so sorry to say, I just don’t believe that’s true.  The evidence is not there.  Excess fat puts tremendous stress on your organs, on your joints, on you whole body every minute of every day.  It’s really just a matter of what’s going to give  out first?  Your heart?  Your pancreas?  Your knees?  Obesity is a chronic disease.  And it’s slowly killing us.  Be happy in your own body if you can.  Love your rolls and stretch-marks and jiggles.  But don’t be delusional.

I don’t actually have a solution for you.   If I did, I’d be rich and you’d be skinny, and Instagram pictures of 300 pound models would be an interesting historical anomaly.   I am not far enough out from weight loss surgery to declare it as a definitive solution, and it’s just not a practical option for everyone although I’d encourage you to at least look into it.  You might be surprised to find the risks are lower and the benefits higher than what is commonly understood.  Meanwhile, what should you do?  Love yourself and keep packing on the pounds or aim for a beauty standard you know deep down you will never reach?

I tried the former.  I am fat.  That’s who I am.  And I am going to eat.  Because that is also who I am. That’s how I made it to a high weight of about 275 pounds.  Some days, I didn’t think my body looked all that bad, to be honest.  I was lucky enough to carry my weight in somewhat desirable places, or at least that’s what I told myself.  And I live in the fattest part of the country, so the social stigma is somewhat lessened.  Other days I hated my body.  Those days did not make me a better person.  But even on my best days, my body did not function well.  I designed my life to accommodate my girth without really consciously thinking about it, so any activity outside my normal routine was really uncomfortable.  That’s not who I am at all.  I’m adventurous by nature.  I want to learn to scuba.  But I didn’t even try to find a wetsuit designed for someone who is 5 foot 5 and close to 300 pounds. Zip-lining?  Don’t even tell me what the weight restrictions are.  I don’t want to know. Would I even fit on a roller coaster?  It’s much less humiliating to pretend you want to be a home-body.

I have also tried to lose weight in the name of self-improvement and self-love.  I read the literature showing how diets don’t work long-term and I dieted anyway.  Maybe I’d be one of the lucky few it works for.  Richard Simmons.  Weight Watchers.  Mayo Clinic. Oh but this time maybe it will work. Nutrisystem.  Slim Fast. South Beach.   My body is a temple.  I will treat it with love and compassion and vegetables.  Veganism. Keto. Intermittent Fasting. I went to the gym.  I lost. I regained.  I started over.  Atkins. Cabbage Soup. Whole30. I tried hypnosis.  I popped some pills. I got a check in the mail from a class action lawsuit against the pill company for false claims along with an admonishment from the legal team that I should have known better and that anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.  You lazy fat-ass, you know you have to suffer if you want to lose weight. You deserve to suffer.  You don’t deserve a magic pill.  You don’t even deserve this $29 we’re sending you.  I spent the money on food.  That whole fuck it I’m just fat thing started to look really good.

Here’s the thing, though.  Every pound you lose, and I know how hard you have to fight for that pound, is a victory.  If I count all the pounds I have lost over the course of my adulthood, it’s well over 150 pounds.  I regained them, but I probably would have gained them anyway because that’s what I do.  If I add in all the pounds I did not gain during periods I was actively trying to lose weight and at least maintained, that’s probably another 100 pounds.  Which means if I’d never tried at all, I’d be over 500 pounds right now and I’d probably be approaching immobility.  Or I’d be dead.   So it matters. No one looked at my 275 pound body and saw victory, but it was a victory.  A hard-won victory at that.   Celebrate your body, wherever you are, celebrate the wonderful things about yourself that have nothing to do with your weight.  Celebrate your victories. Big is beautiful, but beautiful isn’t enough.  You deserve so much more.  Be body-positive and know your body deserves for you to not give up.  Don’t fight to be thin.  Fight to get old before you die.

 

To read part one of this series, Let’s Talk About Fat, click here.

To read part two of this series, What’s Your Trigger, click here. 

You may also like An Open Letter on Dating While Fat

 

What’s Your Trigger?

Part two in the Let’s Talk About Fat series.

Seeing a shrink before Weight Loss Surgery is probably a good idea.  There is some research that suggests an increase in suicide rate amongst post-surgery patients. These are the types of studies where the study group is really small and 2 people committed suicide and now there’s a protocol. Still, screening people for undiagnosed psychological issues seems prudent. Plus, it’s required.

So, says the shrink. Tell me about any past traumas.

Past traumas? I say.  I am 47.  How much time do you have?

She looks at me silently. This one likes to use silence to make you talk. She does not appreciate my humor. I am weak.  I cave.

Let me put it this way, I say.  I do not have any traumas associated with weight gain.   I just like to eat.  I like to cook, I like to grocery shop, I like to go to restaurants. That’s all.

Ah.  She says, tapping on her keyboard.  Your trigger is food.

My trigger is food?

It’s not that you have deep secret unresolved issues that make you eat, she says.  The presence of food is your trigger.

No shit?

If you have never faced food addiction, you might not understand what a food trigger is.  You probably know someone who has one, but they won’t talk about it.  It’s embarrassing because they know that everyone faces food choices all day long, but they have a demon they  can’t beat.  Nobody wants to tell you the monkey on their back is a donut.

It’s 8:00 am. You have come to work prepared with a lunchbox full of homemade meals you spent all of your Sunday prepping.  It is good food. You are a good cook and you are prepared.  All carbs are accounted for and logged.  You heat up your crustless spinach quiche and go to your office.

It’s 8:15.  Oh my God.  What is that smell?  Is it donuts?  You are pretty sure it’s donuts.  Just in case, four different colleagues stop by your office to let you know there are donuts in the break room.   But what kind of donuts?  You need coffee anyway.  You may as well just mosey on in there and see if they are Krispy Kreme.  They are.  But you can’t have one.  Because you are fat.  That’s why.  Not eating a donut is your punishment for past gluttony.

It’s 10:30.  Maybe the donuts are gone.  Maybe you should go see if the donuts are gone because if they are, then you don’t have to worry about them anymore.  You go look.  Only about half of the donuts are gone.  You can’t have one, though.  Because you are fat.  Esmerelda is fat, and you know she had two. Well Esmerelda is going to stay fat.  You are going to resist because you are better than her.  Also she wastes a lot of paper on unnecessary photocopying. Orangina ate one and she’s skinny as a rail.  And a truly lovely person. How is that fair? Why is she better than you that she gets to have a donut?  Why is she more worthy of donuts?  You are a good person. You always put the buggy back into the corral at the grocery store. Even if it is raining.  It’s not fair.

It’s 12:00 and time for lunch.  You have homemade chicken wings from your airfryer with raw vegetables and blue cheese dressing from scratch.  You have to eat in the same room with the donuts.  You sit as far away from the donuts as possible.  You give the donuts dirty looks.  You hate the donuts like an ex-boyfriend you still sleep with. You check to see how many are left. You are miserable.  You’re starting to sweat a little.  You clock in early and go back to your desk where there is at least a wall between you and the donuts.

It’s 3:00. Surely they are gone by now.  Your anxiety is rising so you eat an emergency pack of unsalted nuts you keep in your drawer.  It doesn’t calm your nerves so you eat another one. You are having trouble concentrating.  Maybe, just maybe, you could eat a donut.  Let’s be real here, if you eat a donut now, tomorrow you will be fat.  If you don’t eat a donut now, tomorrow you will be fat.  What difference could one donut possibly make?  You could probably get away with it.  What if you just had salad for dinner? What if you started parking in the back of the parking lot? Surely if you parked in the back of the parking lot you could get away with one donut. No one would ever know. But no!  You’ve made it this far.  You can do it.

It’s 5:01.  You casually slide into the break room to make sure you haven’t left any of your carefully prepared food in there.  As if you hadn’t eaten it all.  There is one donut left.  One.  It is the runt of the donut litter. It is mishapen and small, and some of the icing is missing.  It is cold, and it is stale.  But you only had 8 hours and 45 minutes of willpower in you.   You eat the crappy runt donut.

Your desire for donuts has not decreased due to your indulgence.  On the contrary, now  the sugar high has hit your system, you want more.  You only refrain because you just ate the last one.  You wonder how many donut shops you will pass on the way home.  You decide to count them.  The self loathing kicks in.  The determination and self-love that prevents you from eating whatever the hell you want have now been undermined.  You may as well have pizza for dinner.

 

I fail the psych eval.   I get referred to a therapist.  She is a specialist in obesity and I have to wait 6 weeks to see her. So I wait.

My theory, says the therapist, is the prevalence of obesity is caused by the almost unending access we have to food.  And not just food, but advertisements for food.  It’s cheap and easy and there is always someone reminding of us that.

I do not find this profound.  Thank you, Dr. Obvious.

I have a great respect for academia, but I am now thinking that a PhD in fat psychology does not teach you more about being fat than 47 years of being fat.  I figure it is prudent to keep this to myself.    Instead, I say, just for the sake of argument, That’s like saying that if you are never exposed to heroin you will not become a heroin addict.  I mean it’s true, but it’s really unhelpful to the heroin addict.  And it doesn’t explain why I’m fat and you’re skinny.  Did you used to be fat? I ask, hopefully.  I mean there must be some reason why she went into this line of work. No, she says.  She was never fat.

I don’t like her so much.

I put away my distrust of skinny people and try to be a better sport because I have already given her my copay.  I ask for help giving up diet soda.  Bubbles and caffeine are both forbidden post surgery, so the Diet Dr. Thunder has to go.  I am in mourning just thinking about it.  The one calorie-free joy in my life and it has to go.  I don’t know if I can do it.

I can’t make you want to give up soda, she says.

Well I guess you feel really stupid about all that time you spent in grad school then.  Student loans are a bitch, huh?

I am fat because I have a trigger for food which is food. You can check my chart,  It’s in there. No one knows why I have a food trigger.  Why what goes in my mouth has such a severe effect on my brain. Was it because I was a preemie underweight newborn or because my grandparents were malnourished?  A virus affected my gut bacteria? A genetic mutation?  Nobody knows although they are pretty sure it’s my fault.

I had a Weight Watchers leader once who ended every meeting by yelling NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS THIN FEELS.  I am sad for her because she has forgotten Krispy Kreme. And I don’t know how good thin feels.  And I am going to let them cut me open anyway.  It seems crazy.  Crazy like I should see a shrink crazy.

To read Part 1 of this series, Let’s Talk About Fat,  click here.

To read Part 2 of this series, Loving The Fat That’s Weighing You Down, click here.

You might also like An Open Letter On Dating While Fat

 

Let’s Talk About Fat

Part one in the Let’s Talk About Fat series.

My blog has been pretty much defunct since the debacle of 2016, and I miss it.  I’m going to resurrect it to talk about something else for a bit.  I’m thinking of maybe a series of about 6 posts, and then I’ll move on to something else.  Since most of you follow my quasi-political blogs, my new topic may not interest you.  But I’d like to ask you to give it a try because we all need to talk about it.  And by “it,” I mean fat.

There are a lot of body-positive, fat is beautiful blogs out there.  I admire them. I really do.  But this is not going to be one of those.   Let me start by saying fat people are beautiful.  They’re creative. They’re talented. They’re loving.  They’re sexy.  They’re your best friend and your sister and your boss and your neighbor and your lover.    Let me tell you something else fat people are.  They’re sick.

Obesity is correlated with heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, gout, arthritis, fatty live disease, high cholesterol, mental illness, kidney disease, fertility problems, and high-risk pregnancies.  Our bodies hurt, our joints give out, and we’re even more prone to dementia.  A 2014 NIH study found that extreme obesity (BMI of at least 40) shortens life expectancy up to 14 years.

Until recently, I fit into the extremely obese category.  And that’s not ok.  I want every one of those 14 years.  But instead, I had a herniated disk, sleep apnea, and diabetes.  Some obese people are healthier than others, of course.  My doctor told me that health problems would catch up to those people eventually.  I hope he’s wrong about that, but it’s not looking really great for the fat and fit crowd.

So I have come out here with an unpopular blogosphere opinion.  It’s bad to be fat.  It’s bad to be fat in the same way it is bad to have cancer.   It impedes your quality of life and sends you to an early grave.  That’s not ok.

Let me speak to the chronically obese for a minute here:  (Skinny people, you may not understand, but try)  I am not going to tell you to lose weight.  I am never going to tell you that.  Because I don’t know how.  Neither does your doctor, your nutritionist, your trainer, or your mother.  I have tried gyms, pills, and diets.  So many diets.  No fewer than 19 different diets.  Low fat, low carb. Make everything from scratch, buy everything pre-packaged.  Eat less, but not too much less.  Eat less sugar.  Eat less fat.  Eat once a day.  Eat six times a day. Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that. Definitely don’t eat that. Deprivation is the name of the game.  Why can’t you deprive yourself?  Are you an addict?  Why are you so weak?  Where is your willpower? Where is your pride? Move more.  It hurts?  You have no energy?  You don’t fit into the machines at the gym?  Well you’ll just have to suffer through it, then, won’t you?  No pain.  No gain!  Do you want to be fat?  Do you want strangers to whisper at you behind your back? Do you want to have to ask for a seat-belt extender when you fly?  At this rate, you won’t even fit on a plane. Where is your shame?

Since when is shame an acceptable treatment for a medical condition?  Or suffering? Lifestyle changes are great.  We probably all need to make some.  Lifestyle changes are what let me stabilize my weight at 250 instead of 350.  I was still extremely obese.  The 14 years off your life kind of obese.  We can all make lifestyle changes that lead to better health.  But in the vast majority of cases, it’s not a cure.  There are exceptions to this, of course.  There are people who have lost vast amount of weight and kept it off and to those people I say, hot damn!  You are amazing.  I wish I could do that.  But I can’t.  Believe me. If I could have, I would have.

This is what I need the skinny people to understand:  (Are you still here?) Some of us are not obese because we eat more and exercise less.  Medications and metabolic disorders are also culprits. But I don’t want you to give those people a pass.  I want you to give us all a pass.  We eat more because we are hungrier than you have ever been, we have cravings that affect our brains in ways you do not understand, and our metabolism is always telling us a book in the living room is better than a walk in the park. We are not like you.  We are not lacking willpower.  We are lacking medical treatment.  But we have bought into the BIG LIE and so have you. That obesity is a lifestyle challenge and that it can be overcome with some savvy consumer spending to the tune of $60 billion dollars in the US annually on weight loss promises.  It doesn’t seem to be working.  The latest stats show the obesity rate at 32% to 35% and growing. A medical problem of this magnitude that affects 1/3 of Americans deserves to be treated like an emergency and not by Jenny Craig, but by the medical establishment.

That’s why, last May, I underwent the best medical treatment available to me to address my obesity.  I had gastric-bypass surgery.  Surgery is not for everyone.  For one thing, not everyone’s insurance will cover it and the cash price is in the $13,000 to $20,000 range.  For another thing, there are not anywhere close to enough surgeons in the country to address the epidemic of obesity by cutting us all open. It was right for me.  I’ll tell you more about it in another post.  But for now, I’m healing well and dropping weight, though extremely slowly.  I got to buy new clothes, I’ve ditched my Cpap, and my blood sugars are coming down.

If there are any questions you have about my journey or topics you want to discuss, I’d love your feedback for future posts.  Any fat-shaming comments will be deleted.  I will post before and after pics of myself when I complete this series, whenever that is.

To read part two of this series, What’s Your Trigger, click here.

To read part three of this series, Loving The Fat That Weighs You Down, click here.  

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White Baby Lust and Surrogacy Gone Wrong: An Update

In February of 2016, I posted about a woman who was carrying triplets through a surrogacy program.  The man who had hired her to carry his children (conceived with white Ukrainian eggs) expressed alarm both at the expenses involved in a high risk pregnancy and those involved in raising three babies alone at once.  He asked her to selectively reduce the number of fetuses she was carrying, and she refused.  Upon getting to know this man a little better, she had serious misgivings about relinquishing any of the babies to him at all.  It was a huge legal mess, and you can read the original post here. 

So what happened to the babies, the woman who carried them and the man who desperately wanted children of his own (specifically male children who carried his DNA)?

The babies were born in Los Angeles in February of 2016 but were not released until April.  This is not surprising, given they were triplets and almost definitely preemies,  but I didn’t find any information saying they had any specific immediate health problems, so that’s the good news.

That’s the only good news, I’m afraid.  The hospital staff was so concerned that the father, who has now been identified as Chester Shannon Moore Jr., a deaf man in his 50’s who works the night shift at the post office, would be unable to care for the babies, that 3 nurses and a doctor flew home with him to Georgia to make sure the babies were ok according to this People magazine article.  This sounds both alarming and somewhat fishy to me.  But I’m afraid it does not get better from here.

The surrogate, Melissa Cook, tried to regain custody of the babies, who if you remember, are not biologically related to her.  In California, surrogates have no parental rights, and in January, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a state court’s decision denying her attempt to gain parental rights, stating that the federal court lacked jurisdiction.  This means that Moore’s fitness as a parent was not addressed.   The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case even though Moore’s sister, Melinda Burnett, filed a 12 page affidavit claiming he was an unfit parent.

Burnett claims the babies live in a basement full of second-hand smoke in a home Moore shares with his chain smoking elderly parents and a heroin-addict nephew.  He has been accused of making the kids eat off the floor and not changing their diapers frequently enough to the point that the rashes required medical attention.  This is the point where I take a moment to think that if I had to raise triplets in my parents’ basement alone, they might end up eating off the floor occasionally, too.  Diaper rash due to infrequent changing can be serious, but it’s pretty common, and it probably doesn’t in of itself fall under criminal negligence although I might reconsider that if I had more information.  I figure Moore is not the first single parent to struggle with a $100 plus per month per kid diaper bill.  I wouldn’t want any babies I carried to be raised that way to be sure, but I guess that’s what would make me a poor candidate for giving away children that grew in my body.   The court is pretty clear that I would get absolutely no say in the matter, and I just don’t think I could do it.

What actually disturbs me more is Burnett’s description of her brother as being socially awkward, paranoid, and prone to anger.  And the biggest reddest OMG flag of all is her reports of cruelty to animals both when he was a child and also more recently.  I realize not everyone shares my books-about-serial-killers hobby, but we all know that’s really really bad.

Moore’s lawyer claims the triplets are doing just fine and that the backlash against his client is good old-fashioned discrimination against the disabled.  Come on, now.  That’s insulting to all the great parents out there with disabilities who are raising great kids.  Nobody is claiming this man cannot raise children because he is deaf.   The greatest joy of  being a blogger rather than a journalist is I can share with you what I really think.  I think this guy is a first class creep who has no business raising children.  I think the surrogacy agency (who is now providing him with legal defense) was negligent in this arrangement, and I think it’s only a matter of time until these three babies end up in state custody.  Social services has already been contacted, so this story is ongoing.

Michelle Cook has been painted as a heroine of the anti-choice movement for refusing to abort and being willing to take in the three babies as her own.  I’m not sure she got a win for the movement, here, though.  I don’t see any winners at all, not even Moore who I suspect is fully aware he is in over his head and is simply doubling down, probably at the urging of the agency that brokered this arrangement since they still maintain they did nothing wrong.  It’s a cruel irony that the man who claimed he was unable to care for a third child is now responsible for that  child while demonstrating a profound lack of ability to manage even one.  Are we ready to unpack the moral implications of the technology that allows a 46 year old woman to carry triplets, the parents of whom she has never met –A Ukranian woman who can sell her white eggs at a premium and a disturbed man so desperate for his own family of male children who look like him that he bought them?   Are we ready to legislate it?  Are we ready to say that not everyone who wants their own biological child should be allowed to have one (or three)?  And what about all the children, many of them of color, who are already here needing families of their own?   What does this debacle say to them?