Sunday, June 22, 2014

Treat My Cold Not My Love Handles

The thing about going to the doctor when you don’t fit this strange, standard mold that saturates our society—the tall, thin, wispy model-type—you don’t receive good care. I’m 5’4 and a size 12. I’ve never fit that standard ideal, and despite the average woman being closer to my size than what fits into that narrow idyllic box, I still get told that everything would be fine with me if I lost weight, if I exercised more, if I ate right. The assumptions are always the same—I couldn’t possibly look the way I do if I did get exercise and eat right. I wouldn’t have a sinus infection if I were smaller. I’d have more energy if I lost weight. I’d feel better. I’d not have headaches. Losing some lbs would just automatically transform every fucking thing I have every experienced medically.

Because thin people are never at the doctor, right?

I do exercise and eat right. I love yoga and even though I also love candy, I do believe in moderation. I limit my caloric intake to 1400 calories a day even when candy is part of the equation, and I try to keep my food choices pretty healthy. It’s never enough though.

Because look at me…

I’m not a wisp of a woman with a flat stomach. I don’t have rock hard abs and defined thigh muscles. Instead I have soft hips, a round belly, and tits for days. And because of that, I must not have willpower. I must eat all the time. I must sit on the couch all day long guzzling soda and shoving whole cakes in my mouth. I’m a time bomb waiting to have a heart attack on my couch because hips and stuff. Those assumptions lead to less care, worse care, no addressing of the real problems not to mention how wrong those assumptions almost always are.

It’s amazing to me that a person who spent 8 years, hours of interning, and grueling nights of studying thinks that he or she can look at me and tell how healthy I am by my size alone. What I would like to happen at the doctor’s office is someone who sees me for what I am…a person who isn’t skinny who makes relatively good choices and who is a product of genetics. What I would like is for a doctor to use his or her knowledge about how the body works, how genetics and epigenetics work, and how weight is much more than willpower. What I would like is for the person, the patient, me to be treated as an individual. Thin people can be unhealthy, can die young, have diabetes, heart problems, strokes, and all the things that are usually reserved for blaming on us fat folks.

Weight is not an automatic determination of health.

That’s where we need to be--we need to stop fat shaming by doctors who think that a person’s health is always and completely directly related to their weight. For one, fat shaming most often has the opposite effect of its intent. Studies have shown time and time again that people who experience fat shaming and fat discrimination (which also happens at the doctor’s office) are far more likely to gain weight or continue to be obese. It doesn’t have the intended effect. What we also need to focus on is health overall.

Genetics are often completely denied.

BMI is utter bullshit.

Weight loss isn’t associated with decreased morbidity.

Weight is one aspect of a person’s health. Some people don’t want to be rail thin. Some people embrace their curves. No that isn’t promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. The focus at all times should be on that person’s overall health which may or may not be bettered by losing a few pounds. At some point, doctors seem to have lost sight of this and to have completely lost sight of their own understanding of the human body preferring instead to go along with social standards and norms that have no basis in actual health.

This is kind of why I haven’t been to the doctor in more years than I can remember which ultimately has the opposite effect, right? I’ve been fat shamed by enough physicians that I would have to almost literally be on my death bed before I go to one because I’m never seen as anything more than the size of my dress. What’s the point of going when you’re not going to be treated and everything always boils down to how fat your doctor thinks you are.

Just to be clear, not going to the doctor's office and telling each and every one of them just exactly where to stick their stethoscopes when they talk about my weight just goes to show I HAVE ALL THE MOTHERFUCKING WILL POWER. 

This, as with every Sunday, has been part of Sunday Confessions with More than Cheese and Beer. check out her blog to read her post and posts from the other bloggers who linked up today. 

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