A Sign of the Times?

Body acceptance, curvy, fat-shaming etc. etc. etc. I dunno about any of this, but it’s part of our time and I’ve written about it before. Somewhere on my blog is a chart that shows the differences in the ideal young woman’s body throughout the world.

When I was young, we seldom saw a really fat person. My Aunt Jo was “fat” and she wore a size 14 in 1950’s Simplicity patterns which was something like 34-26-34. It was snug on her. Compared to the rest of her sisters, she was chubby. They wore size 12 which was (again 1950’s Simplicity patterns) 32-24-32.

A few years ago I wanted to send my cousin one of my mom’s dinner dresses — a blue silk number — and an outfit of Chinese silk my mom had made. My cousin (among other things) is pretty vain about her slender figure and thought of my mom as the somewhat rotund person she was in her older years. She turned it down explaining to me that she was very slender and the clothes wouldn’t fit.

This cousin and I aren’t friends, and never will be, but we’re family. We are who we are and before I moved to Colorado, I sent her the clothes. The blue dress fit. She couldn’t get into the Chinese silk outfit. Ha ha, bitch.

She didn’t realize that ALL of them, her mom and my mom and the whole horde of women who were our family, had been built like her, except, of course, grandma who was built like me.

Moving along…

Now I see LOTS of people who are beyond corpulent, and I don’t understand it. I’ve read the articles, “Junk food is cheaper than wholesome food.” No it isn’t. Vegetables are cheap. Maybe the problem is quantity? or not cooking? I was recently in Colorado Springs and went to Wendy’s with a friend for lunch. There were people (people, not a person) who needed two chairs.

While fat people should NOT be treated like second-class citizens, the normalization of severe obesity is dangerous, I think. It’s not fundamentally an aesthetic problem. I’ve been overweight a few times in my life (times when movement through space wasn’t easy), and it causes problems. Higher blood pressure and increased strain on the joints are just two.

There are so many fun things to do that require a certain level of physical fitness. When I see a really fat little kid trying to keep up with his/her classmates on the playground, I want to kidnap it and teach it to play outside. I want to say, “Kid, you’re only going to be a kid for a short time. You need to run and play and throw balls and chase your sister and ride your bike and get a hula hoop and rollerskates and get OUT there. You can’t do it later. Joie de vivre, kid. Carpe diem.”

Anyhoo, this is a pretty boring post, so I shall move along to some other endeavor.

P.S. I don’t mean ordinarily overweight people. I mean people whose lives are seriously diminished by the extra weight they carry around.

25 thoughts on “A Sign of the Times?

      • One of the scariest things about riding a bike is invisible damage in the headset. I’m glad you survived that!

        I got hit by a truck when I was riding my bike to grad school. Luckily, I didn’t fracture my skull but I was very confused about reality for about 6 weeks. My bike was fine.

      • Yes the headset was damaged and the brazing split after a year. I was cycling up a hill and the thing broke and I ended up on the floor. We took it to a bike shop to be rebrazed. The owner lost it and I didn’t get it back for a year. In the meantime I got a new bike but I only have little legs and it was too big for me. So I cycled again when the bike was fixed but I got a car. I also lost my sense of smell and it works intermittently now.
        Glad you recovered OK.

      • I’m small, too. I found a small bike a couple of years ago but I haven’t ridden it much. When my hip was bad, I couldn’t get on or off easily. I hope when the weather warms up, I’ll be able to do that more like a normal person. I had to lie it on the ground, step over it, and lift it up. 😀

        I ride a stationary bike for exercise and have for years. It’s helped me a lot getting ready for hip surgery and recovering after. Sometimes it’s boring, but usually it’s kind of relaxing.

  1. It’s quantity imo. Portions used to be smaller and people ate less in general. They didn’t snack all day. Children weren’t given snacks every minute to keep them quiet ~ they were told to shut up and sometimes given a smack. Now that gets you a visit from CPS. Better to stuff a cupcake in their face. Breakfast weekdays for an adult was a small juice, a small coffee, and a piece of toast, not a giant burrito. Lunch was a small sandwich or a cup of soup, not an enormous platter of food. People were not constantly in restaurants eating platters of food. Bagels were half the size they are now. You ate a slice of pizza with a friend not half a pie. Sodas were small not buckets. Etc.

    • I agree. In my life (as a kid) only on a random weekend was breakfast more than a bowl of cereal and toast. Juice was too expensive and fancy and complicated to make (frozen, no blender).

  2. Being a short and no-longer petite person, I can tell you that if I had known THEN what I know NOW about food, I may not have gained so much weight. If you grew up in the 50’s as I did, a good meal was beef roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, salad smothered in dressing, and apple pie with ice cream. Good, nutritious food–if you worked hard all day. But I didn’t, and the minute I was pregnant with our first baby, I began and so far have lost, the battle of the bulge. Not giving up. I’m down 25 lb. from my highest weight ever. Soldier on!

  3. The weight problem belongs squarely in the lap of the internet and digital gaming. Universal access to television started the ball rolling but it was the digital revolution that really accelerating it. Cheap, fat fast food has always been available. I grew up in the land of steak and potatoes, bacon and eggs, fully sugared soda. Whole milk and cookies is not exactly a low calorie product either.

    Kids used to play outside instead of sitting in front of a screen. Now adults also spend their time glued to their screens and joysticks. In addition to burning calories, being active means you aren’t thinking about eating – which is probably even more important.

    Once you get fat, losing it and keeping it off is ten times more difficult than if you never got fat. Hence the epidemic of excess storage of lipids and gastric bypass surgeries.

    We will continue to search desperately for reasons that don’t place the fault for a majority of obesity issues where it uncomfortably lies.

    • I’m not “searching desperately for reasons.” I think the problem belongs (primarily, there are exceptions) in the laps of people who have bad habits and a society that is ever more accepting of excessive obesity. When most of the people around you are 30% or more overweight it seems normal.

  4. A complicated one. I’m fat because I’m lazy. I’m lazy because I’m fat. I eat when I write (I need the seratonin hit to help me focus). Maybe less writing and more photos because I have to get off my arse to go and take them. 🙂 I wasn’t joking when I said that. Anyway, I’m planning a post on that (kinda). Might have to recover from the Christmas hit first though.

    • I think there are a lot worse things than being fat like being mean, narrow-minded, evil, arrogant. Way worse and I believe in the hot-fudge sundae method of suicide prevention. What concerns me is the incredible number of EXTREMELY overweight people I see around in these times, like elementary school kids that probably weigh as much as I do. I feel sad for those kids. I dunno…

      • I’ve always been fat, except for when I nearly died of keto-acidosis as a kid and when I starved myself (eating disordes). But I agree. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in kids is a real problem. Food is very addictive today. Search for Robert Lustig’s, Sugar: The Bitter Truth. It is on youtube. He is no quack.

      • I will never be slender (like my cousin). I’m too short and not built like that. People used to say, “You have such a pretty face. Too bad you’re fat.” and I was, “I’m not fat.” I wasn’t, just not “willowy” or anything approaching that — except the year I tried to kill myself. Depression is a GREAT diet.

        I have pretty much quit eating sugar. After my surgery I got Thrush thanks to the heavy antibiotics they gave me, and that is fueled by sugar. Sugar is really comforting, and when I was in pain all the time, I ate a lot of it. I’ll check out Lustig’s video. 🙂

  5. This is such an important discussion. There are so many moving parts to why people are overweight….or are morbidly obese (which is what I think you are mostly referring to). I remember the “fat kids” in my early 1960’s grammar school. The mean kids made their lives a living hell. When I think back, I realize they weren’t really very overweight at all. The culture we live in has such twisted expectations. Remember Twiggy? She was IT. I shudder to think of all the girls who came of age around that time – wasting so much time and energy trying to emulate her skinny frame. I agree – there are a lot worse things than being fat.

    • My brother was chunky — not fat — and he was teased. I came of age during Twiggy. I didn’t try to emulate anything about her except some of her clothes. I think that whether a person does or doesn’t emulate models or Barbie or??? is very attached to personality, which is why I agree with you completely about the “moving parts.”

      And yes, I’m talking about the number of morbidly obese people around now — some of them kids. Mostly, to me, it’s just sad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.