Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Belly Flop (A Rant)

Just when I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am always going to be fat, the latest political pasttime seems to be embarking on a campaign designed to make me feel even worse than I always have about it. Soon, even gays will be treated better than those of us unfortunate enough to have fought a lifelong battle of the bulge. (Maybe the change of focus will give the gays a little well-earned respite if the conservatives go after the roly-poly. If so, I'm willing to take one for the team - for a while).

If you read the tabloids and watch much news, you have undoubtedly noticed that the worst some people can find to say about celebrities is - "He/She's FAT." As though, that makes them unqualified for any consideration or respect.

I was thin for 45 minutes back in 1962. I wore a size 10 wedding gown. And, thank goodness for that because I would have probably been a spinster for the rest of my life if I had to be squeezed into a much larger size - by today's standards, at least. I wore a size 16 when I was pregnant, and it was almost impossible to find maternity clothes over a size 12. It was as though designers didn't think anyone could love anyone who needed a larger size enough to get her pregnant. Of course, nowadays women just let their big old pregnant tummies hang out, largely uncovered, and then use cute little sayings calling attention to their "baby bumps". Bumps, my Aunt Fannie. It's just gross, and if I walked around with my "fatty bump" hanging out, gross is what they'd call it.

Has anyone noticed that the clothing sizes have changed dramatically since the 60's? Today, a size 10 is considered a large size. In those days, sizes 1 thru about 8 were considered childrens' sizes, i.e. 1-one-year-old, 2-two-year-old, and so on. Of course, there were always "Chubettes", to the everlasting embarrassment of chubby children. Now, size twelve is considered large, and sizes 18-up are only designed by Omar the Tent Maker.

If you are white and want to develop a feel for what minorities go through, just pack on the pounds. You'll find out what discrimination feels like. And, it doesn't feel good.

There have been several prominent television folks, such as Al Roker, who, in desperation, went through gastric bypass surgery. It produced some really outstanding results - for a while. But, I have noticed, lately, that he has put a lot of it back on. Oprah has yo-yoed up and down for years and is ridiculed for each and every pound she gains. And, just look how they ridicule Rosie O'Donnell about her weight when what they really object to is her lifestyle and her politics.

I went to Weight-Watchers for a while and was very successful as long as I was going. But, for some reason, everything seems to work against you when you're dieting. As I became more and more successful, people started saying things designed to make me fail. A couple of people said, "I hope you don't get so skinny that you lose your sense of humor." Like my sense of humor was all in my big old butt. Even my husband got antsy about my weight loss and finally admitted that he was afraid I'd become more attractive to other men, and would leave him. I had heretofore been unaware just how unnatractive I was to all men but him. He even whined to my mother that I wouldn't even have a drink with him before dinner, and she scolded me for it!

And, people will say things like, "Here, have a piece of cake. One piece won't hurt you." And, then they'd get a wounded look on their faces if you promised that you'd love to try their cake - after you reach your goal.

Some of the women at Weight Watchers told some hilarious stories about their struggles, and others were heart-rending. One lady talked about picking up her childrens' abandoned Easter Baskets, and compulsively eating all the jelly beans left therein. Another woman lost a tremendous amount of weight while on the program, until she couldn't stand her family calling her bird-legs any more. Their insentisitivity undermined her resolve, and she stopped going and gave up.

Then, Weight Watchers succumbed to the siren call of corporate greed, and reworked the program so nobody feels deprived, nobody mentions calories, and members can have almost anything they want any time they want it, if they buy Weight Watcher brand products. It's all portion size, now, and if I had the will power to control my portions, I wouldn't need to be on a diet. If there is anything I do NOT need, it's someone telling me the things I already know about being overweight.

If our government is really interested in getting involved in the problem, it can give some consideration to the idea that the reason that Americans are getting fatter and fatter is because the companies that manufacture our foods are putting far too much sugar and salt in canned goods and cereals, in order to preserve them. There are too many growth hormones in the beef, pork and chickens we get at the stores. There is too much emphasis on making everything taste good, so we'll want more than is good for us. And, there are far more people who can't resist than those who can. So-called fresh fruit is fruit that has been picked while it's still underripe and transported in refrigerated trucks until all flavor has been frozen out of it.

Our children don't need teachers telling them about body mass index and sending notes home to their mothers. They need to close the taco lines, pizza lines and hamburger lines in their cafeterias, and get rid of their vending machines. And, they need to reinstitute gym classes where children will get a little exercise during the school day. Children LIKE exercise, so aerobics would be fun for them one period a day. They might actually form the exercise habit that will carry over throughout adulthood.

The last thing we need is the government butting into our lives even more by punishing people for being overweight. We don't need more discrimination in this country - we need less.

Rant over.


Hillbilly Mom said...

Sing it, Sistah!

One of my old teaching buddies went to Wal*Mart for a 12-pack of Pepsi on sale. They were out. The cashier looked my friend up and down, and said, "Well...we still have DIET Pepsi, you know."

My friend said loudly, "I don't WANT Diet Pepsi. I might accidentally lose a pound."

Marty: said...

I think the discrimination is very real. My other-wise darling son-in-law was watching CSI Miami, (all the women doing autopsies had shirts open almost to the waist) and they had a Dove commercial showing an older, chubbier version of cleavage. He said, "That is disgusting! Why do they show that on TV?" It was the first time the whole night that someone on TV looked anything like any women I know!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

grannymar said...

Betty it is not so much fun being skinny either. I at 60 have more shape than any other time in my life. I am still a size ten.

Still people say "Look how thin you are" like it is a sin. I got to the stage that I now come back with "Well its the way God made me"!

Winter proves a big hazard - no insulation to keep the heat in. When folk shake hands with me the never say How are you it is more usually Oooooooooooh! your hands are frozen!

Joy Des Jardins said...

Excellent rant Betty. As we speak I'm trying to 'diet'....hate that word frankly. It's the bane of my existence, and I'm sure I'll go down in flames to the very end still trying.

For all the whoopla they make about being overweight everywhere you look, I find it interesting that there seems to be more overweight people than ever. Could be we're rebelling over all the whoopla.

dc said...

Your best Rant yet!! I agree 100% and I agree about the husbands. Mine likes to show his love by bringing me a donut or taking me out to resturants with buffets that make it hard to restrict. But I think the biggest crime is what is happening with the kids and our fast food industry is going to kill off the next generation!!

John said...

As one who has spent years developing his 'beer belly'. I have to say that only in America have I seen one man sitting on two bar stools. :-)

her indoors said...

great rant Betty, i loose the weight but it always manages to find me again!

Chancy said...

So true Betty

and have you noticed that the "Women's Size" departments at stores are always hidden up on the third floor right behind the maternty clothes near the exit.

Even in Target. The Plus Sizes are squashed next to the expectant moms expandables.

I like to shop(the little clothes shopping I still do) at Talbot's Woman" because they treat us well and the store is nice.

Don't get me started. ;)

Peggy said...

I'm with ya on this one sista!

CarmenSinCity said...

Nice post!!!!! America is totally obsessed with weight. I buy into that shit all of the time. The more weight I lose, the more like a winner I feel, even though most of the time I'm losing weight in an unhealthy way.

Kinda crazy. I like the models like cindy crawford and tyra banks who have some curves. I can't stand the heroine sheik look like Kate Moss, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie. That's not normal, it's sick.

I never thought about the ways in which family and friends undermine people trying to lose weight, but it makes sense. It's just like when people try to pressure me to just have one drink. That's why I'm very upfront about it.

patsy said...

i have not worried about my weight since i have grown older but when i was young it was a very hard thing to bare. i really don't care what the goverment says about my weight.
actually i had you pictured as a slim person. goes to show you how much i know .

Sister--Three said...

Fat is part of the Sisters' genes. I hate being fat, but since I hit 50...I just eat less and less and get fatter and fatter. I will not stop worrying about it because of my bad knees. If I just let it go and go...I would be huge. Now I am big.

Like Patsy, I had you pictured as a skinny lady! So your image is thin!

Nancy said...

Hi Betty,

My son's wife is one of my favorite people in the whole world.She has battled her weight all of her life and has not been successful in becoming thin.

What she has always been, however,is charming and funny and kind and I could go on, but you know her. You probably are her!

Now to the story. If I asked her to jump off the Delaware River Bridge she would do it for me. If I asked her to give me her most precious possession she would give it to me. So, the other day I read in the paper that Hershey was closing their plant in California and moving to Mexico. I was so angry I said to her,"I am going to write them a letter and tell them I am never going to buy another Hershey bar as long as I live."
This sweet girl looked at me and shaking her head said,"I'm sorry,Mom, I don't think I can do that."!!!

Betty said...

hilbilly mom: I walked into a store one time, and there was a saleslady just inside the door, shaking her head, no. She meant, "there's nothing in this store that will fit you." That felt good. NOT.

marty: But, you know, everyone has some physical characteristic that someone in the world can find to ridicule. So, why just the overweight? Go figure.

grannymar: I wish I could say I feel your pain, but, it has been my lifelong dream to go into the dr's office and have him say, "Betty, you just must put on 5 or 10 pounds!" But, I do understand what you're saying, and I'm sorry your hands are cold. :-)

Betty said...

joy: In my case, I certainly react negatively whenever someone tries to tell me how to lose weight. As if I haven't tried every diet known to man.

dc: I like to think that people don't really mean to undermine dieters, but I haven't yet convinced myself of it.

John: Yes, it's an epidemic over here.

Betty said...

her indoors: All I have to do is look at myself in a department store three-way mirror, and I can find all the pounds I might have lost. lol

chancy: Next, they'll be putting the plus sizes in a metal building behind the store.

peggy: Thanks.

carmen: You know what I mean, then. Sometimes I think people who try to get you to just take one drink, or just eat one cookie are insecure and feel threatened at the thought that you might succeed.

Betty said...

patsy and sister3: I an VERY thin-on the inside. lol

nancy: Loved the story. And, she's right. You have to draw the line somewhere and chocolate is just as good a place as any.

Kell said...

Can you see me nodding my head in agreement? Well I am.

And on this subject, it is so frustrating to go clothes shopping when you have curves because most of the clothes are made for pre-pubescent girls. And forget trying to buy a button-down shirt.

And still, I'm the one that feels guilty and bad about myself.

gawilli said...

Well said, Betty. I have been a big girl most of my adult life and can relate to everything from the shopping dilema to being sabotaged at the dinner table. Thanks for the rant.

Betty said...

kell: I can see you. By the way, our phone works. The apartment complex's yard workers got ahold of a hedge trimmer, again, and cut the phone line.

gawilli: You're welcome. It is so frustrating sometimes.

susan said...

You know...about the clothes sizes. My oldest wears a size 3 in ready to buy (something that might fit my big toe!) but in pattern sizes she's closer to an 8/10. I really think the garment industry has renamed some of the sizes ust to make folks feel better about what size they wear.

And it is odd that although there are more and more of us big girls, there is still this" looking down" on us. Sigh...

Betty said...

susan: I just saw a picture of Renee Zellweger, and the story was that she was wearing a size 0. Zero is not a size. Zero is, well, zero. I noticed the discrepancy in off the rack clothes and patterns, too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the schools and foods that are manufactured in the US. It's all garbage! I can't tell you how many times I've seen parents feeding young kids chicken nuggets or a hot dog for dinner! For almost all adults those foods give us heartburn and cellulite so why WWHHHYYY is it ok for kids to eat that as one of the main foods of the day? ugh so annoying!

The government is a little different though...I wouldn't care so much if it didn't cause such an increase in healthcare issues. There has been a spike in weight related diseases (diabetes, GERD, Cardoivascular issues...) and it's happening in young kids - that's scary and avoidable.

What they should teach EVERYONE is portion control as well as eating REAL food and not that fast food McDonalds, Friday's, Olive Garden crap that's got about 10 times more fat and garbage in it than making it at home fresh. I don't like how the gov is making people feel badly about themselves and geralizing the public. Everyone has a differnt view of what 'thin' is, what is thin to me may be different than what you may think is thin and none of our bodies will ever reach the same 'thin' level...it's impossible!

Sorry this topic always upsets me...nice blog btw :)

- Busted

Betty said...

Busted: Nice to see you. Thanks for weighing in (sorry 'bout the pun. I couldn't resist.)

Lorna said...

Rant on, Betty! I have battled the bulge for the last 35 years. Did the yo-yo thing, too. I finally decided last summer, tho, that I was going to lose so I could keep up with my granddaughters. I have lost close to 60 pounds and feel much better and can run with my granddaughter all day! BUT, they can still kiss my booty as far as the size 2 goes! No way in hell! Know what else would help with losing? Being able to buy fruit and other healthy foods healthy without paying $6 a pound! I do so love your blog, Betty! hugssssssssssssssssss

Betty said...

lorna: Congratulations. I wish I had the will-power to try again.

Arkansas Songbird said...

Amen, sister.