Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Me and My Pancreas

so i have a family history of diabetes type 2, and conventional wisdom would tell me i shouldn't drink coke or fruit juice or any other sweet and delicious beverage. or eat carbs. or be fat. but with every study that comes back from heath researchers not in the pockets of drug companies, we see less and less reasons to cling to the conventional wisdom. and now this study by the women's heath initiative. for people unfamiliar i'll be quoting from this article at junkfood science about the study and about the initiative.
"In 1992, the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the largest preventive health study in our history, the Women’s Health Initiative. One part was the WHI Dietary Modification Trial — one of the largest, longest and most expensive randomized, controlled clinical dietary intervention trials in the history of our country."

they were trying to prove that healthy eating was the best way to prevent chronic disease, especially type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and promote weight control.

and here's the fun part for me... they completed this huge study and found NOTHING! i know i'm getting ahead here but, yeah. totally null study, which basically means they found no significant difference between the control group and the study group.

so here's the facts and figures bit:
*$415 million and conducted at 40 medical centers
*48,835 postmenopausal women assessed at baseline (the start of the study), one year and then every three years with clinical follow-ups every 6 months and their medications monitored in a pharmacy database
*more than 19,000 women were in the dietary restricted group while the other group was allowed to eat what they wanted.

in fact, here's the quote from the study:
The WHI dietary intervention group received intensive nutritional and behavioral modification training consisting of 18 group sessions in the first year followed by quarterly sessions throughout the trial. Each participant received an individualized dietary fat gram goal estimating 20% of energy from fat during the intervention and a common dietary goal of 5 or more servings daily of combined vegetables and fruits and 6 or more servings daily of grains. Self-monitoring techniques and group session attendance were emphasized.
and apparently they did really well with the women staying within 5-7% over their recommended fat intake, eating roughly 25% more fruits and veggies than the average american and eating a little over 300 calories less per day than the control group.

now the conventional wisdom tells us that these women should have been very healthy, and if not "healthy" thin at least not overweight or fat. but as i said before, the study found no such thing.
After eight years, there were no significant differences in the incidences of more than 30 clinically-documented cancers, heart attacks or strokes, or all-cause mortality. The dieters initially lost some weight but rebounded and their body weights, despite 8 years of watching what they ate, were no statistically different from the women who’d been eating whatever they wanted. Both groups ended up at nearly the identical weights they started with, differing a mere 0.7kg, about one pound.
and here's the bit that was of interest to me, what with my family history and all.

According to the WHI researchers, a total of 3,342 new cases of treated diabetes were reported: 7.1% (0.88%/year) in the intervention group and 7.4% (0.91%/year) in the control group during 8.1 years of follow-up. No statistical difference...In the WHI, there was no tenable difference in risk for diabetes among the different BMIs, with odds ratios even slightly higher for women with BMIs<25

so i'm back to looking at what goes into my body as fuel for my cells and fuel for my soul. i'm working on the intuitive eating that HAES recommends. i'm trying not to ignore my body and my hunger ques because i realize more and more that i really don't like how mean and nasty i get when my sugar starts to bottom out. and i'm listening more when my body says "give us red meat" as well as when it says "give us broccoli."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shhhhh it's not ok

so last night my BF and i were looking at the latest news on the prop 8 opposition and the move toward legal proceedings in the state. and i was ranting at him about how fucked up it was that the prop passed and how the yes vote people lied and why the opposition failed to not only stop this piece of bullshit legislation from passing, but they failed to be inclusive and unifying in the way they did it. i was pacing, and ranting, and it took him aback a bit. he's never seen this political side of me, never seen this radical passionate side of me. oh, to be sure, he's seen me passionate about other things but never politics. and while our views match i am more well read on the subject i'm likely to rant about. and so he tried to calm me, think he'd done something to upset me, when really i was just angry at the situation. angry and swearing, which i rarely do.

and it frightened me for a moment. the idea of him shushing me, not to make me be quiet but to calm me down, was hard for me to process. because i wanted so much to know it had nothing to do with him trying to calm down the hysterical woman who was being unreasonable. i wanted so much for him to not have that seed of patriarchy deep inside him waiting like some cancer to suddenly wage war on our happiness. and while he assured me that no, he was afraid he'd done something to upset me and that i was angry at him, it did make me question the effect of activism.

not that i would give this up for him, but that it would break my heart if we were to fundamentally disagree on this. and i said to him the reason i feel it needful to speak and to give information and statistics is because i genuinely think 80% of people who speak out against gay marriage because it will force their church to do xyz, who back the fat people as unhealthy ideology and participate in fat hatred clothed as concern for the health of others, who are against comprehensive reproductive health are just ignorant or unaware of the spin they've been fed. and i said to him, these people are the kind that have to be talked to, have to be told, because eventually they will listen to bits and pieces and discover new ideas. and once that happens, the number of people who will be able to look at him and think (or worse say) "he's thin, he's good looking, he's smart so why is he fucking a fattie" will go down. if not away.

of course he promised to punch anyone who dared say such a thing in the face. which made me a little melty. but the fact that he hates willfully ignorant bigotry is a huge pat of why i love him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

sexy is as sexy does

so kate and the gang at shapely prose had a post up this past august, which i am only just reading, about attraction and whether or not a person should include efforts at finding fat people attractive as they progress through fat acceptance. the article can be found here.

the things that struck me were two more or less. one being the idea of attraction. we get told, rather often, that attraction is animal and natural and not a social construct. but our concept of beauty and sexual worth is a social construct. i think it's interesting, and i might add admirable, that anyone would be willing to own their social conditioning and allow that they might have missed out on a wonderful relationship or three because they thought someone was too fat. or too thin. or too disabled. or whatever other characteristic they've been enculturated to find non preferential in a mate or potential sex partner. i had never really thought about why i find certain people attractive or why i don't, and i know i'm still working through some of my initial judgement of people based on their outsides. but a really good point was brought up (ok a whole bunch were but this struck me) in the comments about how FA isn't about forcing the world to find fat bodies sexually appealing but rather about according fat people with the respect and dignity due every person regardless of whether you find them sexually appealing or not.

which might be the tie in i've been missing for why FA is a feminist movement at it's core. because yeah, i'm still struggling with the feminist thing and i make some progress and then i take a few steps back. i can get behind the fight for reproductive heath rights, ad the fight for equal rights under the law for EVERYONE, and i can begin to get behind the fight to see more women in top executive spots. but i stumble when it comes to looking for sexism in everything i do, see, read, listen to, touch or taste. i have trouble separating myself from my own privilege as a white middle class woman. so maybe i just have to be hit over the head with a clue by four but the idea that the sexual attractiveness of a person, their decorative ability, might be a measure of their worth in the world at large was one i had a hard time wrapping my head around. (M-O-O-N that spells uptake) because on some level i still crave that outside affirmation of my sexual attractiveness. i want men and women to notice me when i feel i look good. i want the vision of me in my head to be reflected in the eyes of people who look at me.

which brings me to part two in which i was reminded just how close i came to passing up the relationship i'm in now. because he's tall and thin, and i mean knee jerk reaction feed the boy a sandwich thin, and i thought i couldn't date a guy that i out weight by 80 lbs or so. my level of attraction was irrelevant because i just knew he wouldn't find me to be attractive. more importantly i was sure that he might find me decent looking with my clothes on, cause i can dress this body pretty damned well thankyouverymuch, but with my clothes off.... a whole other story of soft jiggling flesh would be revealed against the slim muscle of his body and i just knew it would make me seem 10 times fatter and just kill the mood. so i rejected the idea of intimacy with him, and refused to see the reciprocity of attraction until i realized that i was moving out of state and leaving behind someone i was insanely attracted to, and insanely compatible with, because i was hung up on his waist measurement. and when i put it that way i realized how stupid i was being. and thank god i came the my senses, because he is a constant delight and has made the move to another state so much less lonely and frightening and stressful.

so i can add this attraction thing to the growing list of things i think i need to re-evaluate. and i like the concept of working to find something good in the look of every person rather than mindlessly responding to them as a set of physical characteristics. will is suddenly develop a lust for the very large? i don't know. and that's ok.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Am I a Racist?

reading through big fat delicious, she has a post there about a rather shitty and racist e-mail she got from a family member. it's one i've seen too about how we label anyone white as racist for doing things POC do like attend "black" colleges, or have history months, or days to celebrate dead leaders. i know part of the reason we don't have these things is we don't really have to. every history class, with a growing number of exceptions (YEAY), are white history classes. we don't need to celebrate white men and women who fought the good fight for the advancement of the white race, because there wasn't much in the way of resistance met. yes, there were many people of all ethnic backgrounds who fought for civil rights in countries all over the world. and yes, i think anyone who uses racial slurs is racist. and so i am kinda torn over this kind of thing... cause on the one hand the knee jerk reaction is to say omg yes, that is SO wrong. and yet...... maybe it's a mark of my own privilege that i feel like some part of this is right. maybe it's that i'm still getting over myself. maybe it's the fact that i'm not proud to be white, and white alone, but i AM proud to be of russian/german/french/jewish ancestry and there is no earthly way anyone can say my skin is not pale as can be. is that the difference? naming the places my forebears came from and being proud of those origins rather than the blanket term "white." and yes, there are times when i feel like people are too quick to slap someone with the term racist, or that there is a pendulum swing in the opposite direction somehow. but how do i reconcile what i see in my own world with the very real injustice still happening? especially when it seems like those things contradict one another? and how do i respond to the accusation that pride in my heritage makes me racist?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


fan of the current administration or not, fan of Obama or not, the choice has been made and sounded overwhelmingly by the people. even if you don't share my enthusiasm for the end of this administration you must admit to the historic nature of last nights outcome. we elected a bi-racial man, an affrican american man, to the highest office in the country. and we did it overwhelmingly, in many states thought to be bastions of whiteness. it's not the end of racism, white privilege, or bigotry but it is a major turning point. i am too young to have seen MLK Jr with my own eyes, or heard his voice as anything more than a recording but i have been alive to see his dream play out. not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character did we elect Obama. and i for one am ecstatic.