You are not better than a fat person, so shut the fuck up

Today, on Facebook, my friend, Jennifer, posts this:

As a person with multiple food allergies, I am officially getting annoyed that so many items are marked with “gluten-free” or whatever. I do not have a gluten problem, and I’m feeling very left out. Why don’t other intolerances/allergies matter? OH, because they’re not part of a FAKE WEIGHT-LOSS SCHEME. (Note: Gluten intolerance and celiac disease is real and I take it very seriously. But repurposing legit food restrictions as a diet is idiotic.) Thank you.

She’s totally right and what gets me about all this gluten-free bullshit is the smug people acting like they care about health when all they care about is being thin. Gluten-free, for most people, is just another diet. Honestly, I don’t even know if dieters masquerading as “healthy” people realize they’re fooling themselves. The biggest clue is the way the “healthies” act about the “fatties.” Healthies are terrified of fatties. They don’t want to be near them. They feel contaminated by them. Most of all, they feel superior to them. What drives me crazy about this bias is that it is seriously unhealthy to obsess about calories or fat grams or carbs or gluten or whatever the current trend is all day long. It’s a black hole of hell that many women fall into, never to return.

And, mark my words (here they are, in print) this obsession with gluten? It will shift. I blog a lot on Reel Girl about how “scientific” studies are often biased, and I cannot think of a better example of that than whatever the current doctor or expert is saying about health and what we should eat.

Speaking of, please think twice before you tell your kid what to eat. When my daughters get food in a restaurant, I always remind them to eat what their tummy wants. “Whoever put that food on that plate has no idea how hungry you are,” I say. Even here at home, I tell them “Only you really know how much to eat.” Can you imagine if someone treated you like so many parents treat their kids, making you eat steak if you really want a salad? Making you “finish” your food if you realized you didn’t want to eat it? Bribing you with the reward of one food if you consume another? No wonder why so many kids grow up with eating disorders.

Before you give me the whole “I’m not a short-order cook” argument, please read my posts (some linked below) on Reel Girl about food, health, eating, and eating disorders, because that’s the last thing I am besides a periodontist, or, probably, a member of Apple’s tech support team.

Please, don’t judge people by how much they weigh. You haven’t got a clue how healthy they are. Consider yourself lucky if you know how healthy you are.

Girls and food

 

More on girls and food

 

Preventing eating disorders by teaching intuitive eating to kids

 

Note to the babysitter

 

Oreos for breakfast? Really?

 

Post Halloween bliss

 

Parents, this is about you too

10 thoughts on “You are not better than a fat person, so shut the fuck up

  1. I have a chronic stomach condition called gastroparesis. Because of this illness, I find it very hard to eat most foods, to eat out or at peoples homes because I often feel sick after I eat and can’t eat many foods and everybody seems to have a ‘cure all’ for this condition they hadn’t even heard about until I’d just told them- most of these cures are things like ‘don’t eat gluten, it’s bad for you’ or ‘you need more probiotics’ and I just sigh and shake my head because it gets very annoying. But most people give me attitude because I’m obese. The medications I take for my other chronic illnesses make me gain weight, so when I’m eating out in public, and I eat a reduced portion that my stomach can tolerate, people think give me attitude. In fact, someone today scoffed at me and said ‘what are you, on a diet, because obviously it’s not working’ and a couple months ago, my friend has someone tell them that I was bulimic because my condition often makes me have vomiting and stomach pain after I eat. The point is, you don’t know what’s going on with someone and you shouldn’t judge them based on an assumption. I’m pretty sick of the self righteous attitude many people have and thinking it’s ok to shame people.

  2. I have officially lost respect for you. I do not have a gluten allergy, but husband does. The gluten free trend has allowed for people with gluten allergies to get a lot of gluten free foods. I cut down on gluten, not for weight reasons, but because of other health reasons. And if somebody wants to cut our gluten or lose weight, who are you to tell them to shut the fuck up?

    • Hi Annabeth,

      While telling people to shut the fuck up is never polite, I was referring to thin people who think they are better than fat people.

      Margot

  3. Definitely a gluten allergy here. People will sometimes roll their eye or look with distain like I am some LA bimbo.
    Then I explain that I am thin from Diabetes.
    This usually causes repeated apologies from them, but they are the one who brought insult & negativity to the table first..
    Thank you for posting this!! <3
    -Lexi

  4. Hmmm. I understand what you are saying, and it is annoying when a food fad becomes really trendy (or, in the case of the low-fat fad, is pushed by governments around the world).

    On the other hand, there is some evidence emerging that the species of wheat that are grown in North American and Europe are not easily digestible by humans. During the Green Revolution of the 1960s, wheat was intensively bred for crop yield, disease resistance, and ease of harvest. The resulting wheat, called dwarf wheat (because it grows to only about 2 feet tall, compared to its 4-6 foot tall ancestors), has reduced levels of many nutrients but an increased amount of gluten. Higher gluten levels create fluffier bread, but gluten is not easily digested by humans and it can cause discomfort and other side effects, even in people who don’t have wheat allergies or celiac disease. Earlier forms of wheat were more nutritious and less problematic. In fact, one Scandinavian study even found that people with celiac may be able eat heritage strains of wheat without triggering celiac reactions.

    So, while I am not gluten-free myself, I do tend to believe people when they say their guts feel better when they don’t eat wheat. And I guess I don’t see the harm in offering one meal on a menu that doesn’t contain wheat for those who would rather not eat it. Full disclosure: As a lifelong vegetarian, I am very sympathetic to people who wish to avoid a food group and would still like to eat out from time to time.

    If you want a really detailed (and looooong) run-down on the history of wheat and the metabolic implications of modern strains of wheat for the human body, I recommend this article, which is a critical medical-based review of the book Wheat Belly (tl;dr: much of what is asserted in Wheat Belly is wildly exaggerated, but some of it is medically supported, and yes, wheat is problematic for most people).

    I’m not saying that there isn’t a cultural component to the gluten-free fad, and that fat shaming doesn’t play a role. I’m sure it does, for some. But the truth of the matter is probably somewhere in between “wheat is making you fat, ew” and “you gluten-free people are all are a bunch of bigots who need to shut up now.”

    • Hi Caf21,

      “But the truth of the matter is probably somewhere in between “wheat is making you fat, ew” and “you gluten-free people are all are a bunch of bigots who need to shut up now.” ”

      I agree with you. Gluten-free people are not all bigots who need to shut up. I question the mass scale of the gluten allergy and the public’s current conscientiousness about it, I believe, is the latest manifestation of a national weight obsessesion. I am not implying food allergies are not real. My whole post was inspired by Jennifer’s very real and multiple food allergies, none of which are currently trendy.

      I will check out your links, thanks for posting.

      Margot

  5. Hi Stace,

    As Jennifer’s post states, gluten intolerance is real. Asthma attacks caused or exacerbated by gluten is clearly, gluten intolerance.

    Margot

  6. I’m sorry Margot, you’re right about a lot of things but you are completely wrong about gluten. My husband tests negative for celiac disease but when he trialled giving it up he went completely off his twice daily asthma medication. There are many health reasons to give up gluten. No need for the anger when other people actually try it, only to see unexpectedly amazing results. Going off lifelong meds for a chronic condition is not mad, it’s not placebo, and is quite frankly no one else’s damn business.

    • Are you saying because your husband tested negative to celiac disease, that I would claim he doesn’t have a legitimate allergy? I would trust your husbands experience of his own asthma way more than an allergist.

      Margot

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