Quotes from the (Outer) Fatosphere

There’s quite a bit of good writing not syndicated by our own dear little feed, so I thought it would be cool to start linking some of the stuff I run into elsewhere.

So, in response to a loathsome editorial postulating that the extravagant air conditioning of public spaces is the fault of the fat, and presumably sweaty, masses, while simultaneously admitting that “thick, sturdy” folk also find the chill uncomfortable:

You’d think that Ms. Smarty Logicpants would use the same awesome powers of deduction that led her to conclude “overbearing air conditioning is because of fat people” to question the solidity of that reasoning, if FAT PEOPLE ARE COLD, TOO.

I am constantly cold in air conditioning, and I was even when I wasn’t fat. And I am no special fucking snowflake. Lots of fat people are just as cold as is Cepeda in these situations, where, I’d like to point out, air conditioning gets blasted all summer because the doors are constantly opening and closing and letting in 90°+ air.

Melissa McEwan, Shakesville

Shakesville is an especially great non-Fatosphere place to find excellent writing on fat and social justice (as if you didn’t already know that.)

Find anything good lately? Bust it out in comments.






39 responses to “Quotes from the (Outer) Fatosphere”

  1. Ashley Avatar

    Great idea for a post. There are a lot of great blogs out there that aren’t in the fatosphere that most people in the fatosphere would love.

    1. Dominique Avatar

      I agree! I write my size-acceptance blog in French (my mother language) and well It can’t exactly be listed in the fat-o-sphere :) however I’d like to promote it!

      I’m a fat-o-sphere eager reader since a couple of months and I’ve been surfing the web for many other body loving and size acceptance websites. It’s wonderful. I consider fat-o-sphere being my reference, and all other sites as very important info. «Satellite» sites are wonderful and fat-o-sphere is an inspiration to me.

  2. WendyRG Avatar

    The editorial was revolting, stupid, condescending, snarky…there are not enough words to describe how angry it made me feel.

    I spend upwards of 90% of my working time in hotel meeting rooms and, for the most part, you freeze your ass off. I always thought everyone knew the reason for the big freeze: men in suits. Office temperatures are geared towards men in long-sleeved shirts, ties, suits, socks and leather shoes. Men who work in offices don’t have (or don’t want to have?) the equivalent of the summer dress and sandals. So we freeze to make them comfortable.

    On a positive note, has anybody noticed that at least in Toronto, we no longer freeze when we go to the movies? A suit somewhere (lol) finally got the message that it would cost a lot less in electricity bills if they upped the temperature to something reasonable (22 C?) rather than keeping it at 14 or 15. I no longer have to bring my parka with me in the dead of summer when I go to the movies.

    1. Emgee Avatar

      Re: men in suits. Omigosh this makes so much sense and yet it had never occurred to me. But then, many things in this world are created to make life comfortable for white, middle-to-upper class men in suits, right?

      And I usually freeze in movies in the U.S., can never wear shorts or sandals there. Oh–and I’m fat.

  3. Melissa McEwan Avatar

    Thank you so much for the plug, Michelle. I’m always really thrilled to see someone mention Shakesville in the Notes from the Fatosphere feed, since we don’t qualify for it. Many thanks!

    1. Michelle Avatar

      Thank you for your truly awesome writing.

  4. silentbeep Avatar

    Shakesville in my experience, is the best non-fatosphere feed site there is, in relation to FA. They are hardcore FA over there and it’s awesome.

  5. Ang Avatar

    I’m always warm, even in air conditioning. Maybe it’s because I’m fat; maybe it it isn’t. But by this same stupid logic, shouldn’t I be able to blame skinny people for cranking up the heat too high in winter? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    1. closetpuritan Avatar

      Exactly! Air conditioning is less wasteful than heating! Therefore they’re more wasteful!

      Anecdotally, it seems to me like thinner as well as overall smaller people get cold more easily and get hot less easily, although even on an anecodotal level I’ve noticed exceptions. And of course, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”. It would make sense, though, given that there is less surface area to volume as size goes up–you also see animals of the same species are on average bigger in cold climates.

      But all of that isn’t really the heart of the matter, of course. Pregnant women are more sensitive to the heat as well, from what I’ve heard, and of course so are men if they’re wearing suits. That isn’t held up as evidence that their bodies are wrong.

      1. deeleigh Avatar

        I’ve always thought that maybe people with fast metabolisms are warmest, and that ain’t most fat people. Muscular men who eat a lot – but aren’t necessarily fat – often radiate heat. Or maybe that’s just my perception (eh-hem).

        1. La Avatar

          Or, fat women who happen to be at the start of menopause – like me!!! Hotflashes all the time!

        2. Kao Avatar

          I think men tend to have slightly higher body temperatures than women do, as a general rule, thus leading to men being treated as portable heaters by all cold humans and friendly animals near them. (The cat won’t sit in my lap, but she’ll sprawl along my husband’s thigh when she’s cold.)

  6. shyvixen Avatar

    As loathsome as the editorial was, I found it encouraging that comments section wasn’t loaded with fat bashing comments. They were all very critical of the author’s fat hatred, at least as for as far as I read.

  7. Pook Avatar

    I just wanted to say that I am so glad I found this blog.

    I spent much of my childhood watching my mum diet and binge, watching my sister suddenly balloon up, and wondering about it. My mother was actually pretty successful at giving a rational framework for nutrition, even while she was reading about and following every fad diet going: she managed mostly not to pass her issues on to me. I made the decision at age 12 to never again know my own weight, because I didn’t want to develop issues, and I didn’t want the figures in magazine articles to mean anything to me. I’ve actually kept to that and, while enforced ignorance probably isn’t the healthiest way to deal with things, I don’t feel comfortable breaking it. Even when I’ve needed to find out my weight for some form or calculation, I’ve managed not to retain the knowledge: I have no context for it.

    After years of looking around, thinking, and reading every relevant bit of research I could get my hands on and understand, I finally came to about the same conclusions as you. I trust myself to eat what I want, even when supposed professionals tell me otherwise.

    For example, my periods are pretty hellish, particularly the first day. For years I tried to eat ‘healthily’ on my period (i.e. salad), because I was told this was important. Now, I generally like salads, but on my period I reeeeeally don’t feel like them. Instead, I really want sugar and water. Or bland simple carbohydrates and water. Or minty chocolate and water. And I gradually realised that, if I ate a salad at the beginning of my period, I felt even more like shit that normal. In fact, I felt nearly the shittiest I’ve ever felt. And that if I drank a couple of cans of Irn Bru (shock horror! You can’t drink fizzy drinks on your period! You’ll die or something.) and nibbled some bland carbs and a little minty chocolates, I felt much less like I was going to die.

    So now I say: fuck you, psychiatrists who feel the need to give me unsolicited dietary advice instead of listening to what is actually screwing up my life. Fuck you, teachers who told me that ‘healthy’ meant low fat and high fibre (so we should totally be living on paper, right?). And, most especially, fuck you, menstrual cycle. You’re not the boss of me.

    And I felt all alone in this, until I read your blog, and it all makes so much sense, and I’m not the only one who thinks this stuff, and so /that’s/ what Fat Acceptance is, and, and, and…

    I love you so much :)

  8. Kate in Philly Avatar
    Kate in Philly

    In my office it’s pretty obvious that all the women are cold; most of us wear jackets, shawls and even blankets. The men still whine that they are still too warm. Yes, whine, “I’m toooo warm.” Then act like they can’t work if they’re warm. The rest of us can freeze but the guys have to be comfortable.

  9. Christine Avatar

    I admit it, I’m one of the colossal fatasses who is terribly sensitive to heat and, thus, freezes everybody else out with the a/c when I’m in charge of the thermostat. I can tell the difference when my mother sneaks the thermostat up 1 degree (F) – seriously. I’ve always been perfectly willing to chalk it up to my fat – maybe because that’s what I’ve always been told. We’ve been having a beastly heatwave here in NC – 17 straight days over 90 degrees. Consequently, I’ve been feeling sick and miserable every time I’ve had to leave the house. My (thin, much older) sister was worried about how I’d been handling it, and she said something that made a bunch of tumblers click into place for me: “Honey, heat has been your enemy your whole life. I remember when you were a baby, before we had air-conditioning. You were so uncomfortable you’d cry and wail in your crib. I’d reach in to pick you up and you’d be like a little baked potato, and your poor little head would be just drenched in sweat…”

    1. Michelle Avatar

      I am a hot fatty. I also sweat a lot.

      Yes, I realize this is a stereotype that is somehow supposed to make me feel ashamed of myself.

      Maybe it’s because I’m fat; maybe not. Either way, doesn’t make me a gross or even terribly abnormal person.

    2. Heidi Avatar

      This is me too but it’s only been recently that I realized that I was *always* sensitive to heat, even when I was a thin little kid in West Africa who’d lie on the concrete steps in the summer to escape the nasty, hot humidity (they were marginally cooler than the rest of the air!).

      Fat probably exacerbates it somewhat…but frankly, I’m learning not to care! In my office it’s actually too cold, so I have a sweater that I put on as and when I’m uncomfortable.

  10. QuiltLuvr Avatar

    Another non-FA blog with very good FA comment is Alas. They have very good comments on other subjects all the time and good comment on FA some times.

  11. restless native Avatar
    restless native

    Not a diagnosis for everyone to be sure, but just something I found interesting in light of this hot/cold discussion:

    A friend of mine’s daughter was recently diagnosed as hyperthyroid after years of people thinking that her high blood pressure, hot nature, etc. was because she was. . . wait for it!. . . overweight. Yes, you read that right, she was OVERWEIGHT and HYPERTHYROID.

    Turns out, by the time anyone figured to test for this she was quite malnourished despite being “well fed” on a near “perfect” diet–salmon a couple of times a week, lean poultry, steamed veggies, rice cakes. The doctor said that her overweight was likely because she was running through some nutrients so fast. She had gone into starvation mode anyway, trying to hold on to all possible excess energy and making her fat. She was actually eating TOO LITTLE for her metabolism and she was truly out of whack.

    I don’t know how they’re treating her exactly, but I do know they’ve upped her daily calories and protein and fats, and that after a couple of months the weight is beginning to drop to the point that it’s obvious to an observer.

    I’m reminded of the elder President and Mrs. Bush. At some point during his presidency it came out that they both had thyroid problems. We all know that he’s a rail and she’s built like a matron. BUT, turns out that his thyroid was low, and hers was high. You can even see it if you look at pictures. She’s the one with the protruding eyes–classic in long standing hyperthyroid cases. Go figure.

    You can’t judge health by BMI alone.

    1. Twix Avatar

      I wish wish wish (!!!!) that I had her doctor and endocrinologist. I’m 350 and I’m hyperthyroid – Grave’s disease. I’ve been battling this for over a decade. All the docs I’ve been to tell me I’m huge because I eat to much. That’s their number one reason. Only one had me see a nutritionist and she was confused afterwards, saying my diet and consumption were within reason. Da*n doctors!!!! I’d love to find one that is knowledgeable and listens to the patient.

      As for the heat I’m miserable. And the cold I’m miserable. It seems I’m not comfortable unless it’s between 70 and 75 – including humidty factor. So it’s great! Not!!! I’m either freezing or burning up. Now I get the fun of perimenopause and it’s lovely friend Hot Flash and Night Sweats.

      I tell my kids that I’m hot one minute and freezing the next. That momma’s thermostat is broke. lol :)

      1. KellyK Avatar

        I don’t know where you are, but I’ve had good luck with the endocrinologists at Johns Hopkins in B’more as far as knowing their stuff and actually listening to the patient. Less luck as far as being nagged about dieting, but I also haven’t told them that I’m doing HAES & not comfortable discussing intentional weight loss…

      2. Loris Avatar

        I have Grave’s Disease too, and when I was diagnosed, my doctor was baffled that I wasn’t a stick. I weighed 178 then. (I’m 5’10 and sturdily built). After my radiation treatment, my thyroid became bottom-of-the-basement-hypo and I gained another 20 pounds suddenly. I don’t eat crazy at all. In fact, I eat less and 10x more healthfully than a friend of mine who is a now a size 2. All she had to do was stop drinking sodas to lose 30 lbs. I never drank soda in the first place. Definitely feeling cheated there…

        I did have to fire my GP when he kept referring to the thrice be-damned BMI chart instead of figuring out why I gained 20 lbs in 2 months. I actually laughed at him when he told me I should weigh in the 140s. I have a large frame, huge boobs, and a lot of muscle. Was he crazy? Now I know he was just knee-jerking, but I lost all faith in his treatment when he told me that. I’m now seeing a lovely female doctor from my church who agrees with me that my diet is reasonable, and that I exercise enough, and is working with me to manage my symptoms instead of nagging me about my weight. I’ve been feeling better adding more protein and limiting sugar (well, all sugar but my daily scoop of ice cream), but that’s just me. I also had to cut out caffeine and alcohol completely because they made me feel terrible. YMMV, grain of salt, etc, etc.

        I do want to lose the weight the thyroid put on me, but I also realize that my body might make that very difficult, if not impossible. My goal right now is to get my health back on track with the hopes that everything else will straighten itself out, given enough time and the correct dose of synthroid. I’m only 25, for pity’s sake. I want to feel better, and if that means I have to stay in the 190s, so be it. I’ll keep eating well and exercising daily (I have a high energy, powerful breed dog to walk. Tired dog = good dog and that keeps me lacing up my sneakers). I’ll control the things I have control over, and that’ll have to be good enough.

  12. JennyRose Avatar

    This woman was really stretching for a reason to hate fat people. I often present seminars on hotels. The speaker, who moves around under hot lights, appreciates a cooler room. People sitting still and learning get colder faster due to lack of movement. I have noticed over the past few years that the ac is not turned as low as it has been in the past. I used to clutch a hot cup of coffee when I was in the audience.

    That woman needs to give up the hate.

  13. anonymous Avatar

    i’m trying to recover from an eating disorder, and after a particularly difficult day i have been reading some of your past posts. i came across this and cannot thank you enough for putting this out there for people to hear:

    “I know tomorrow will most likely be different. Different foods will seem appealing, and I’ll eat them in different amounts. I may know again with stark certainty where to stop — or I may not.
    If not, I will remain assured, as I did today, that my body will make up for it. That my appetite will eventually compensate for whatever mistakes or miscalculations I might make.
    No matter what changes, I’ll remain relaxed. If I like food, if I don’t like food that particular day, I’ll be okay. I’ll know that another day will come when things will be different, but unchanged in one vital way — I’ll trust myself.”

    maybe that shouldn’t be so earth-shattering. but for me, today, it’s what will get me through until tomorrow without hitting the self-destruct button. love your site and keep up the good work!

    1. Merry Avatar

      Thanks for posting that quote. <3

      As someone who has been dealing w/ ED issues for a while, that is a major encouragement to me. Even though I've been into Fat Acceptance for a while, I still do battle with my old hangups about food and eating. I love Michelle's sane approach to nutrition and am intent on learning to practice it for myself. — what freedom!

      I wish you well.

  14. closetpuritan Avatar

    And the latest in fat and air conditioning: Air conditioning makes you fat! (This is more confirmation of what some people have said on the Shakesville post: that grocery stores and restaurants keep the temp low because people eat more when they’re cold–not because the fat people complain that it’s not cold enough.)

    Interestingly, the DoubleX article gives a lot more emphasis to this than the interview it was based on.

  15. Electric Landlady Avatar

    I see I’m not the only one who’s noticed that veggies aren’t manly (at least, according to advertising): http://www.thestar.com/living/food/article/835028–concerned-with-looking-tough-men-opt-for-macho-grub

    1. Michelle Avatar

      Amazing how gender roles pervade EVERYTHING. Geesh.

      Just off the top of my head, my husband really loves asparagus, tomatoes, radishes, rhubarb, brussels sprouts, avocados, cucumber, bell peppers, and various legumes.

      Again – variety. Variety is good. Eschewing any particular food group because of a diet, or because of cultural associations, is NOT good.

      ETA: for anyone who wants to read the full-text of the study, it’s coming out in the July issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science.

  16. Hannah Avatar

    I just found an interesting article about kids’ eating habits which reminded me of your blog and the idea of instinctive eating: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/07/10/superfoods.kids/

    There’s a comment in the first paragraph about how, if kids were left to their own devices they wouldn’t eat anything other than pasta and pizza. I know I grew up a little outside the cultural and culinary “norm” in the U.S., but I find that hard to believe.


    1. KellyK Avatar

      I guess it depends on what you mean by “left to their own devices.” Given an unlimited supply of money and told to feed themselves? Given a choice as to what their parents fix? Given free reign at a buffet? Sent out into the wild to forage for nuts and berries (and squirrels)?

      Kids can only try the stuff they’re introduced to, so “left to their own devices” doesn’t really seem to mean a lot. Especially when they’re usually left to their own devices for brief periods of time after being forbidden a lot of junk food. I wonder how much of the stereotypical “would live on pizza and spaghetti if they were allowed to” comes from restriction.

  17. erica Avatar

    Oh geez.

    I LOVE air conditioning and have to have it in the summer – I have asthma and allergies and I can’t breathe comfortably (or sleep at all) without it.

    And yeah, I’m (kinda) fat. (5′ 7″, 200 lbs).

    I had a colleague once snarking about how fat people needed more air conditioning, how they were “causing” global warming, etc., etc. I looked at him and very quietly said, while holding my arms out from my sides. “I’m fat.”

    It would have been amusing to watch him backpedal (“But…but…you’re one of the GOOD ones…”) if I weren’t already so irritated.

    I get that some people hate air conditioning. But can they just not accept that for some of us, it’s actually fairly necessary in the summer? I think it’s easier to bring a wrap or a jacket than it is to try to breathe when you have humidity-induced asthma and the air is like soup…

  18. JennyRose Avatar

    My daughter was truly left to her own devices at a buffet. I let her make her choices she ate melon, pizza and another bowl of melon. She wanted ice cream but skipped it because she was full. It has been hard for me to introduce my daughter to a wide variety of foods but I do my best. Kids are really not that different from us in their food choices. I try to let my daughter make her own choices and don’t force food on her or tell her she must eat what I say or not eat. I was sure my kid would eat lots of different foods and have a sophisticated palate. I had a lot to learn.

  19. Eve Avatar

    Just wanted to say thanks for the Ellyn Satter recommendations. She really nails what some of my problems with intuitive eating are and she’s a big help with feeding my little kiddo.
    I am much more relaxed with the solid food thing.
    Oh, I loved the part of the book where she disses the whole “food that hums”, diets in disguise as IE, etc. etc.
    I’ve never been one to “make out” with my food. The other day I sat down to a meal and thought of that scene in the movie “Ali G In Da House” where Ali sings to Rhona Mitra’s character…busted out laughing.
    You can find the scene on YouTube, but I am a techno-idiot and I don’t want to post a link and your blog explodes.

    1. Michelle Avatar

      I think it would be kind of awesome if my blog exploded. At least once.

  20. WendyRG Avatar

    Michelle, Where the blazes are you?

  21. SuchAPrettyFace Avatar

    Sorry so late, but I just now found this awesome blog. :) I’ve been overweight since I was little & am anemic. I would be cold on the Equator in July.

    I want to let everyone know why businesses crank air conditioning & it has NOTHING to do with weight:

    It’s easier to tell people to put sweaters on in July than it is to have Barb in accounting start stripping because she’s menopausal & warm.

    Sad, but true.

    1. KellyK Avatar

      Heh. Yeah, I can see that. You can almost always put on more clothes, but what you can take off is really limited, especially in public. I also figure that offices lean toward the “cool” side of temperature because being too warm and too cold are both uncomfortable, but cold makes you awake and alert, while heat makes you sleepy.

  22. Petra Avatar

    I tend to overheat because I’m going through menopause. However, I can’t stand when the AC is cranked down to ten below zero because it makes my muscles hurt! Sometimes a body just can’t win.