After the internet discussion yesterday, the person who seemed to make it personal about how lazy I am and I went into a private conversation.

One of the things she said to me was that I was courageous.   I think maybe I am, but not for the reason she believes me to be courageous.

Her view is that I am a food addict, living in my denial.  Her view is that since I’m engaging in this discussion, I’m ready to hear about my denial and start the steps to necessary to stop my addiction and do the hard work necessary to have a better, non-dysfunctional life.

I’ve not written her back yet.  I need to take some time to really work out an answer to her. 

She’s really serious about this.  She has compassion for me, because she’s been where she thinks I am (in denial about her addictions, which were different than what she perceives is my addiction).  I don’t want to be heavy handed.  She’s reaching out, she feels, to a fellow addict, offering a hand of help.


It’s funny that I can be seen as courageous for the absolute wrong reason.  My courage comes from going into a place where I know my views will be ridiculed, where I’ll have to listen to how wrong I am, where I’ll have to hear people say things like how all fat people should just die.  My courage comes from not letting anybody else shut me up about my experience as a fat woman, the disrespect I have gotten from people in general, the misdiagnosis I’ve gotten from doctors. 

My courage comes from telling people that MeMe Roth isn’t right.  It comes from confronting people who are supposed to know better twitting (tweeting?) about a conference going on at a university where they are holding a conference on the importance of play, yet state this in their online flyer:  “Children under the age of 10 represent the first generation in years not expected to live as long as their parents,” Mainella added.  My courage comes from not backing down when the person I confronted got angry with me for telling her she needed to vet her sources better.  My courage comes from writing the university in question and telling them they need to vet their speakers better, and to stop adding to the fat hate and discrimination that is going on in the world right now.

I still don’t know what I’m going to say back to the person who called me courageous.  But I think we can both agree on one thing.  I do have courage.


9 Responses

  1. You *are* courageous.

    You are *most* courageous, for standing up to people who want to reinforce their own biased and misinformed beliefs about addiction and food by trying to pull you into their game.

    The fact is, their addiction is to self-loathing. So many of us are told that self-loathing is a *good* thing. By bucking the trend, you negate her belief that she can be a better person (morally or healthfully) by loathing her body and loathing and fearing food.

    She might be someone with binge eating disorder, true. However, binge eating disorder is a disease of compulsion, and is not an addiction. Binging doesn’t give one pleasure, in fact, most of the time it is very unpleasant. But those with BED (for various reasons) feel they *must* binge.

    Eating food and liking food whilst fat is not an addiction. Congratulations to you for having the courage to stand up to such a widely-held fallacy (held mostly by the self-loathing).

  2. send her some version of the antepenultimate and penultimate (zomg i love those words and haven’t had a real reason to use them in YEARS! thank you!!!) paragraphs of this post. they explain your situation in a way that says “i understand and acknowledge what you’re saying, and i appreciate your sentiments, but i have to respectfully disagree with you.” 🙂

    • Thank you for helping me to learn new words! I love 🙂

      And yes, those two paragraphs might be the best way to answer.

  3. Courage comes in so many different forms, and generally not in the direction that society tells us it should come from. You definitely have courage 😀

  4. I’m curious what if anything you could possibly say that would cause her to change her mind. The accusation of “being in denial” is not one that can be defended against, as saying it’s not true is according to the accuser just more evidence in support of the accuser’s case.

    • Well, one thing that I have going for me is being in counseling for a long time (approximately 19 years now). I’ve had some bad therapists, and I’ve had good therapists too.

      The therapist I am currently going to is very good, and if I had a food addiction, he’d have said something about it. Believe me, this therapist doesn’t cut me any slack (which is a good thing LOL). So, I’m pretty sure I’d not be in denial very long, if he thought there was a problem there. 🙂

  5. “Her view is that I am a food addict, living in my denial. Her view is that since I’m engaging in this discussion, I’m ready to hear about my denial and start the steps to necessary to stop my addiction and do the hard work necessary to have a better, non-dysfunctional life.”

    I would love to sit down and chat with her.

    One thing that “normal weight” people can’t begin to understand is that a morbidly obese body works completely differently than a body with a healthy, normally functioning, appropriate metabolism functions.

    When I had a BMI of 66 I worked hard to avoid eating. Enough people had told me that all I needed to do was quit eating – then I’d lose weight. I have will power of TITANIUM! Seriously – I could skip breakfast, lunch, all snacks, and then eat a perfectly appropriately sized dietician-approved serving size dinner – AND GAIN WEIGHT! The thing is – I was CONSTANTLY hungry. I don’t think normal weight people can begin to understand that level of hunger. It is literally a chemical thing – there are plenty of papers that have been written since the discovery of ghrelin and how it’s tied to so many other chemical levels in our bodies. I’d get so hungry I would be in actual physical pain – not just a little – a LOT! I’d do everything I could to suppress that hunger – I’d try and drown it – I’d drink at least a gallon of water a day in hopes that that would fool my body into believing it didn’t need food. I’d try adding more activities in my day – not easy when you can hardly stand, much less walk.

    I literally did not ever know or understand what FULL felt like until after I had surgery nearly 7 years ago – it entailed a subtotal sleeve gastrectomy – which effectively nearly eliminated the majority of ghrelin production because that portion of the stomach that houses the gland that secrete it are removed. THEN I found out what it felt like to know what being sated was.

    I don’t know – I just don’t think someone who hasn’t been where those of us who are or have been morbidly obese – and for me, I was clinically labeled super, super morbidly obese – ugh! – have can ever know or understand or have a right to judge or evaluate whether we are in denial! LORD! That just hacks me off!

    Sorry – I’m spouting – it’s just this gets my dander up a bit!

  6. It’s amazing to me that she knows you so well that she can tell you exactly what your problem is. Her statements seem pretty passive-aggressive to me, and I have a feeling behavior like that is just paving the way to their own denial. After all, if you pay so much attention to someone else’s problem, you don’t have to concentrate on your own.

    Just sayin’.

    And yes, you are very courageous, for many reasons.

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