I Fail At Blogging

So apparently I made a post that basically said something completely untrue or at least left out important facts, and I didn’t even notice that someone had pointed it out until one month later. Gah. Also, I thought I was going to write mostly about health, but instead I find myself talking about that on LiveJournal while this blog has become a strange collection of political opinions and random thoughts. That’s so not what I had in mind.

I wish I had discovered all the issues that I now care about back when I could still THINK. Reading stuff I wrote three years ago almost makes me want to weep because man, where did those writing skills go?

Quality aside, I never thought I’d have so little to write about, either. The reason why I only mention my health on LiveJournal is that nothing ever changes (except when I get worse). I have tried out things that were supposed to make me feel better, but they didn’t. Hardly a good topic for a blog – “So here’s my failed attempt of the month.”

I only wanted a wider audience for what I was already saying, but now I have my audience and nothing left to say.

Which is not to say I’m leaving. But if this keeps up, I can’t promise I won’t. How on earth am I supposed to keep myself from spouting nonsense while I’m not in my right mind (in a brain fog way, not psychotic – I hope) and also completely oblivious of the fact that I’m not in my right mind? That’s like trying to notice the exact moment you forget something. The mere idea makes my brain hurt. So would the most responsible course of action be to simply stop talking?? I am so confused.

I Caught Teh Fatz!

Dear Fat Acceptance Movement,

I hereby inform you that I am no longer a mere Thin Ally. From now on you can consider me to be, for all intents and purposes, Officially Fat. What does “official” mean, you may ask, since we all know that BMI = bullshit (and I don’t even own a scale)? Well, I went clothes shopping a while ago and discovered that I could suddenly extend my search to include the plus-size department.

There you have it, fat is contageous after all. 😉

Jokes aside, I suspect that either my meds are at fault or it’s the fact that I’ve been feeling good enough to actually eat on a regular basis for a few weeks now. Both are good things and so far the weight gain hasn’t had any negative effects on my life, either, so it doesn’t really bother me. However, I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me at all.

I feel like anything I have to say about food and weight doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t even look all that different than before and yet I suddenly expect people to look at me and think, “Oh, she’s just making excuses.” It is ridiculous. I am reminded of volcanista’s guest post at Shapely Prose:

It makes me angry (at the world, not FJ) that because I’m not one of those fat fat fatties, I can bring some cred to this whole FA thing: look, a skinny girl who cares about fat people!! hey, what was this post about, again? Yeah, I have automatic credibility on the subject of fat prejudice, despite never having experienced it firsthand, while actual fat people are just wrong/deluded/lying. THAT makes sense.

That “automatic credibility” was just taken from me. Awesome. Just because I’m a little bit healthier than before.

Body Observation

One of the better aspects of fibromyalgia is that it practically forces you to start listening to your body. There is no magical pill that makes the pain go away in all cases, no treatment that works for everyone. Of course this is mainly a bad thing, don’t get me wrong, but it also means that every single patient has to try one thing, see if it helps, then try the next thing, see if it helps … and so on. If you start doing something that makes you feel worse, you have to stop – no matter how many people are telling you that it isn’t supposed to make you feel worse. That’s just the way it is.

If I had to sum up fibromyalgia in a single sentence, it would be “When your body rarely does what one would expect.”

By listening to my body, I suddenly discovered that soda had unpleasant effects on my digestic system, and that I didn’t really like it all that much in the first place. It’s one of those strange things that are extremely hard to explain to people who don’t suffer from a chronic illness and have never heard of Intuitive Eating, either. How can you think you like something when you don’t? Ha. In my case, I started to drink a lot of Coke as soon as I realised that my mother thought I was old enough to take care of myself, and it had moved on from being a “special occasion drink” to something I could have whenever I wanted to. I liked the taste, so why not? Now I know that there are many drinks I would have preferred if I hadn’t been blinded by the “OMG can have this anytime now!” excitement, and if I had realised that it made me feel bad. Intuitive Eating is not as easy as it sounds, really.

Last week or so I noticed something interesting again. You know how people always say that you shouldn’t leave a whole bar of chocolate (or bag of sweets) lying around while you’re watching tv, or else you might accidentally eat all of it although you wanted to save some for later? Been there, done that. However, what I noticed is that this only happens to me when I’m hungry. I eat the chocolate because – shock and horror – I’m actually hungry, and NOT because it’s addictive and evil and I have no self-control. Have you ever felt like eating a whole bar of chocolate right after a satisfying meal? No? See, that’s what I mean.

So here’s some advice for anyone who occasionally ends up feeling nauseous due to an overdose of chocolate: The next time you find yourself grabbing for that bar at curiously small intervals, check if you’re hungry. If so, ask yourself what else you would like to eat. Go and get it, and by all means eat it in front of the tv if you want to. Chances are it’ll taste even better than the chocolate.

Good News and Exasperation

First, the good news: I’ve been officially diagnosed! With the very thing I had already suspected, at that. I’m not happy that I’ll have to live with fibromyalgia for the rest of my life, but it’s great to finally know what’s wrong. Also, I can work on getting better now – which is not to say that I hadn’t already attempted to do that before, but I kept getting worse instead for some reason.

Since my new medication makes me very tired and kills my ability to articulate myself sometimes, I just want to say this one thing:

Sometimes I wish there was a way to make all of humanity permanently thin at once (or at least over the course of no more than a few years), so that we could finally observe whether disease rates would really drop as dramatically as people seem to think these days – or not. My personal guess is that nothing, or nearly nothing would change, and that formerly fat people would still have the same risks as before … but I’m tired of all this guesswork. I … excuse me, articulation. Ahem.

BMI, WHR … What’s Next?

I saw an interesting comment at Eat A Cheeseburger today:

Also, the waist-to-hip thing isn’t exactly clear cut. When I lost a lot of weight in the spring, my waist-to-hip ration got higher. My fat is stored on my hips, so if I lose it, my hips get smaller but my waist doesn’t and the ratio goes up.

Are doctors and scientists aware of this phenomenon?

I just went into the bedroom and stared at myself in the mirror for a while … to figure out where my waist is. As I recently discovered, the thinnest part of my torso is and has always been the space directly below my boobs. Technically, I could think of that as my “waist” … but I doubt it’s where you’re supposed to measure.

My belly has been stretched out by pregnancy so that it now looks like a deflated balloon.  I can assure you that this makes for a significant difference in the shape of my waist – but how is this redistribution of mass supposed to affect my health? It’s the same stuff in the same general area, it has only moved around a bit. And it feels emptier. Perhaps I should suck my stomach in during the measuring progress, ha.

Which brings me to the next question: What about people with skin folds? Where do they measure? Or are they excluded from the whole WHR thing by default because it’s obvious they’re too fat one way or another?

Whoever said the BMI was flawed deserves a cookie. Those who are now saying that the WHR makes more sense apparently don’t.

The Myth of the Empty Calorie

As a logically thinking person who has always been interested in both science and language, I was completely mystified by the phrase “empty calories” when I heard it for the first time. That doesn’t make any sense, I thought. Calories are not tangible items that can be either full or empty. Calories are energy. It is literally impossible for a food to consist of nothing but energy – what would that even look like, an edible beam of lightning?!

Obviously, I know what people are really trying to say when they use this phrase. They want to tell you that the snack you’re eating is lacking in nutritional value because it mostly contains sugar, fat or both and doesn’t have much else to offer. I have been told that “There are no nutrients in it that our bodies really need!”

Well … I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, fat and carbohydrate were major nutrients that my body needed. The very fact that they’re in there means that the food does have nutritional value. I might go so far as to say that all food does, or else it wouldn’t be food! It is arguable whether or not you are worse off if you consume that carbohydrate in the form of sugar, but anyone except for the admittedly still alive no-carb crowd* would agree that we do need some of it.

The motivation behind labelling food in this manner is an ingrained belief that sugar and fat are bad for us and should only be consumed in small quantities, preferably together with other things. To be honest, I do have an inkling that I, myself, am in fact eating too much sugar and that this is bad for me. However, that’s not because I believe that the sugar itself is bad – it’s because I fear I’m not getting enough protein. I can easily tell that this is the case whenever I suddenly feel like eating a ton of eggs while that bar of chocolate over there looks totally icky. I also think that I should include more fiber in my diet, but again this is not related to anything else being bad.

Another important factor that can cause many of us to question the “healthiness” of a food is the amount of vitamins and minerals in it. Of course it is true that we need them, just like we need all of the major nutrients. There is no reason to insist that they be in every single meal that we eat, though – if you’ve already had your daily fill of vitamin C, for example, any additional vitamin C will simply go to waste. I understand the urge to take a “better safe than sorry” approach, but it will do no harm to stray from that occasionally. No matter how you turn it: Food that mostly consists of major nutrients is not useless.

*If you want to live off of animal products only and can arrange that with your conscience, go ahead. On the other hand I have also heard of poor individuals who tried this and became very ill, which clearly indicates that it is not an option for everyone.

Introduction

I’m not entirely certain where I’m going with this blog, but I can tell you that I spend a lot of time thinking about health for several reasons. It seems that I’ve been suffering from fibromyalgia or something like it for approximately 8 or 9 years, which I never noticed because I’d already had a little psychosomatic problem (headaches) for a while before the other symptoms started, and unfortunately I assumed that they were all part of the same thing. The headaches stopped eventually, but the rest only got worse.

I have been called a lazy, attention-seeking hypochondriac and an irresponsible liar, I was advised to just go to bed earlier and to exercise more, to get out more, to make more friends, to eat healthier, to drink more water, to think more positive thoughts and to stop thinking so much … among other things. To each suggestion that wasn’t completely ridiculous, I reacted with hope. Contrary to popular belief I am actually an optimist, so I tried everything enthusiastically. If I failed to keep up my new lifestyle, I would eventually have another go at it. And another. And another. If I kept it up and nothing changed, I figured that I must be cheating myself somehow or that I wasn’t doing enough yet.

I was not until two years ago that I began to consider the possibility that I might just be ill. However, I still wasn’t experiencing all the major symptoms of my disease – those appeared after my son’s birth in January 2008. So far I haven’t found a doctor who could diagnose me properly, but I’m working on it.

Another reason why I spend a lot of time thinking about health is that I stumbled into the Fat Acceptance movement by accident earlier this year. I am not fat myself, but I used to worry about what I eat a lot and I’m engaged to a very cuddly man. 😉

Well, that’s my story.

[This post has been edited a few times.]