Friday, January 21, 2011

Yoga. HAES. Scary monsters.

There was a dust up on a yoga blog about fat people doing yoga and the idea of HAES (health at any size). I won't link it. It isn't interesting. I skimmed it long enough to read the same kinds of things I've been reading for years. One comment stuck in my mind. Something about how a person who weighs 400 pounds can't possibly be healthy.
Compared to who?
I'm mostly bored with these same old conversations. I am also irritated but it's like the irritation caused by popcorn stuck in your teeth. It is serious and important to confront the thinking, or lack there of, but I'm just ... I dunno. Worn.
Yesterday morning on some morning news show Mom watches the (cough) big news that eating a certain number of fruits and vegetables every day reduces your risk of heart disease. And then there was a discussion about whether or not it was a hard thing to do.
When I worked at EA I realized that my perception of how people eat has been shaped by hanging out with hippies (brown rice and tofu) and foodies (butter and bacon). I didn't really know that what they say about how Americans eat is kinda true. Lots of soda and fast food. Lots of carbs and grease and sugar. OK. Maybe we do need people to explain how to incorporate fruits and vegetables. The "expert" on the show said that if people ate that way there would be less obesity because you'd fill up on the good stuff.
Mom and I were doing a grocery list the other day. In that context we recounted what we ate in any given day. It was mostly fruits and vegetables. It's a pretty common way for me to eat. Me. The fat person who is ruining everything. Me. The scary monster.
My chiropractor had a list of news years things to do on a board in her office. I already did all of them with the exception of ignoring the scale for awhile. I ignore it for way more than awhile.
I don't know if my doctor has ever heard of HAES. I've never felt the need to talk to her about it since she has always seemed very HAES to me. My fasting blood sugar has gone down for the last two years. I think this might be because as I have gotten older my ability to digest sugars, fats and carbs has weakened. When I eat more than I can digest I get a stomach ache. I think there might be pills I can take but that has never made sense to me. I've moderated my consumption and I have fewer stomach aches. This year we also tested my blood sugar after I ate breakfast. She said that it was higher than we (doctors) usually want to see but for someone my size it was really good. She wasn't worried about it. Another doctor might have pushed me to loose weight but she never has. She encourages me to stay active. She knows I swim. She assesses my health in the context of the whole picture, which includes my weight but doesn't pivot around it.
I'm not sure all HAES people agree on what it means. There is a focus on weight neutrality and positive reinforcement of ... pretty much everything. Issues in the group arise when anyone mentions any prohibition on any kind of eating. Sometimes it feels infantilizing. I'm not sure how many HAES people would think that what my doc said would be HAES since she said my size was a factor in how we understood the numbers. For me it was a perfect HAES articulation because it included awareness of my weight but didn't seek to fit me into "what we usually want to see."
There is a way for any person of any weight to be healthy. It's always disconcerting for me when people who do things like yoga are so mean spirited, hateful and intractable. I think they might be healthier if they did some original thinking.
I recently bought Sally's new disc. Mom is still here so I haven't been able to go through it yet but I'm pretty excited about it. I've been having trouble getting my practice going again. There are so many little bits with yoga. I forget things. So the disc will give me some structure and help me remember. I tried to do it with Mom but she wouldn't try. She often stretches and rolls her neck and such but she had some resistance to the disc. Kinda didn't want to ask why.
No matter how many fruits and vegetables and whole grains I eat, no matter how much I swim or do yoga, I am the scary monster. Big, fat scary monster.

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