Friday, 28 November 2008

Weight shouldn't be an issue for feminists, but is

I have to admit I had some fun reading this. Of course the writer is rightly outraged at Germaine Greer's claim that thinness should preclude you from being a feminist icon, not a feminist, a woman or a sentient being, merely a feministicon.

If Greer's views on slimness are vexatious her views on fat have had a varied trajectory. She isn't alone, Joan Smith has lots to say on the matter, apparently originally inspired by her father, a smoker Because as we know, being a smoker is just like being a fat person, anyhow it's nice to know that this has inspired an intense sense of duty in Joan to warn fat people of their impending doom if they don't stop smoking food.

These days, obesity is anything but a joke, but a feeling that fat people are funny and pathetic persists, not least because severe weight problems are unevenly distributed in terms of class. In gatherings of affluent, health-conscious people, I hardly ever see obese individuals, but bus stations and cut-price supermarkets are full of them. I am struck by their evident physical discomfort and embarrassment, as they try to fit themselves into seats and spaces designed for healthy people.

Nice, classism Joan! And then, appropos of nothing:
...there's nothing funny about three-year-olds who are so fat they can't breathe.

Thanks, for the tip, next time I see a fat non breathing three year old, I'll remeber not to find it funny.

Feminism has a lot to work out when it comes to weight, fat or thin, when Greer was slim or the memory of slimness was still her internal body image picture, we all have one we carry around that we think of ourselves as, until we correct it with the vision of how we really look, she had a problem with fatness, now it seems that picture is sufficiently frayed enough around the edges, that she now instinctively feels it's time to start on the slender, that's how personal weight is. It goes beyond ethics beliefs and rationality in fact.

This is turning out to be a real lost opportunity for feminism.
As for Cheryl Cole, I find it hard to forget that she this, she was subsequently convicted

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Running around in the wake of punkings

I wonder if those who set themselves up as the arbiters of all reason know what an empty conceit moderation is, and throwing it around like it means something often shows an empty head posing as a wise one.

Why do people think that a mythical standard of moderation can stand in for depriving children of playgrounds, the closure of public sports facilities such as swimming baths, removal of park wardens and others who's pride in their work helped to keep the balance of rules and regulations that made streets safe enough for children to play 'unsupervised'?

Children do not require encouragement to run around and play unless their natural enthusiasm for moving themselves around has been compromised or derailed by obstacles placed in it's path. Provide space and they will play. Helping to lay the foundations of competence that adult fitness is often partly based on. There's also the emotional stability that is promoted by being able to express yourself physically along with the emotional release, and feelings of being free and unencumbered.

The absence of this can cause a drift into a similar release, sex. Not necessarily wrong, but sometimes coming to it for certain needs can affect the ability to feel and be more at the centre of ones desires-rather than feeling unbalanced by them- therefore more prone to someone else inveigling themselves into that centre. Thwarting their ability to, just let go, day after day, is a denial of their spiritual expressiveness.

The hollowing out of certain aspects of civil society that enables children to be free to explore their environment and learn to manage acceptable risk to the point where the lawless, the severely damaged, and those whom parents fear will prey on them. Encroach on the balance of the streets, helping to push children either indoors or in the closely supervised activities of purely adult design. As opposed to their own.

We in society seemed to have kept voting for this and are oh so shocked at what we claim are it's effects, the ones that often are we ignore and wring our hands wondering why we have so many children with 'bad nerves' it couldn't be down to us, it must be what they eat or better still the 'lazy' children themselves, never the 'liberation' of our desires, for the overweening triumph of our favoured love object; the motor car.

Disconnected, meaningless and frankly disingenuous lectures in 'moderation' waste the opportunity to address these issues. And decide on a better balance between our desires and the needs of young humans to grow and develop the skills they need to survive and thrive in this world. They will not take down 'no ball game' signs, or bring the roads back under the control of children playing football when there were few enough cars.

Progress is progress, I'm not saying that it doesn't bring benefits, I can understand the joy and sense of freedom the car has brought, ironic really when you consider that it's replacing the joy and sense of freedom of children with those of adults, but those are decisions we've made and we must deal with the downsides, not tout banal fatuity's and thinking it's OK to be upset by the consequences, real or imagined.

We know play is the work of children, it still is even if we decide that some kids aren't worth making provision for. Don't expect that to come for free. The cost could have been calculated but in the fug of classism, consequences are overlooked. And the overlooked must 'take responsibility' trying to somehow absorb and hide decisions made to disregard their needs.

Trying to shield the conscience by blaming and shaming, oh those people are so immoderate that's their trouble, won't substitute. They don't count, they're not worthwhile enough, then you are disgusted by what might be evidence of impact, rather than putting up your hands and saying, let's learn from this and sort it out and move on, knowing better the value of things we instinctively knew were valuable and realising there are costs to denying that value even to those ascribed lesser value than the convenience of others.

It should not be the duty of those who's needs are not considered important to have to try and outrun the extent of that disregard.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Reluctant conclusion

It all started again for me with this.

This bit in particular caught my eye:

Here’s the thing: I do not get glowing responses or praise from people on either extreme - not the hardcore FAers, and not the hardcore anti-FAers. I do not get support from the people who just want the other side to go away, and don’t particularly care if they’re “converted”. The extreme anti-FAers can’t wait for the fuss over FA to die out - they don’t really care if FA people decide they want to lose weight. The extreme FAers aren’t all that different: they don’t seem to care if the anti-FAers decide that it’s okay to be fat - they just want them to shut up and go away

I came into this fully expecting to engage with a variety of views and stances, I thought others would be interested and wish to engage with what we have to say, they don't. They wish to maintain the views they already have. That's of course up to them, the problem is they present this as "debate", because they don't seem to wish to acknowledge that they only want to maintain their views and beliefs, they prefer to feel they have won the "debate". So as long as they keep fat people in the same position as before-erased, they feel that is a debate and they are winning. Anything else would be a loss to them and they don't want to get it right, they want to keep winning.

I didn't realise this until I got involved and I've come to the reluctant conclusion that there is no real discussion to be had. Anymore than there is with a born again Christian. I don't "debate" with them either because they believe in what they believe and wish to have it that way. The difference is they know they believe and aren't ashamed that they have beliefs which they wish to hold and shore up against disbelief.

Extreme FA is much touted but doesn't seem very evident to me. There's a difference between an extreme response and an extreme view. Those accused of being extreme, don't represent it as far as I can see. It seems a definition borne of a need to position yourself according to your own view of yourself.

There are two definitions of radical, one is root, that is the essence of an idea, the other is extreme, the absolute end of where an idea can go. The former is important, and it could be great if FA could develop this. The other definition is the one is the somewhat elusive one.

People's personalities can differ from their views. Some People have expansive personalities and narrow views, others vice versa. Some people take a rather strict view of how others should behave, that represents the way they see the world rather than the view itself. Confusing these factors causes people to think someone is being radical in view, when it's really more about their character and how they tend to respond to things.That can affect their views, but not necessarily.

Some have a higher/lower tolerance for disagreement than others, that's not clearly obvious from the ways they define themselves. Some who identify as moderates have a very immoderate view of those they disagree with.

People's desire to create radical FA though, is interesting, it strikes me, although I'm not sure about this case as an attempt to stifle progress. If you think you're at the edge of the precipice, you're more likely to freeze, than if you feel you have further to go.

As it is, I'm not even sure radical FA is necessary. FA has the potential to be radical enough because of the space it occupies and the different threads and themes invested in it, the need to develop a radical extreme is redundant, so far. If some feel that we should just disturb things as minimally as possible to achieve our aims, it may seem radical to wish to go further, however, those don't want to rock the boat seem to me to be trying to be a little bit pregnant. It's not likely to work and that's not because of fat people, but because of what society has decided fat stands for.

Everyone it seems find all this deeply scary. We are as much part of society as those against FA and we are as averse to change as they are. The irony is, the effect of living with the societal view of fatness has come to necessitate the very change everyone wishes to avoid and that's also why people don't want to discuss or debate, they wish to reiterate.

Here, the division into one side; FA and t'other anti-FA, sounds fair and reasonable, but isn't, it's a false division. It's more like two parallel lines that don't really meet, although they may at times appear to. We are sides only by the necessity of both to say what they feel. Both sides wish to engage on their own terms. I've engaged on anti FA's terms already, that's what's brought me to this point. If I was amenable to going back, I wouldn't have got involved in the first place, it's taken me a hell of a lot of time and thought, to swim upstream against a very strong tide.

I cannot for the life of me work out what is a discussion about someone telling me that I need to start doing what I've already done, need to start thinking thoughts I've thought and worked through. My doubts are purely about memory, not about the position I hold, because I have a general idea of what I think. It isn't what I've been told by those who oppose me and they don't seem to care.

It's not that I don't care, it's just hard to gain a point of engagement with those determined to keep their distance. I can see that bridging the gap for them would undermine their beliefs, so I cannot see why they'd want to, unless they were naive enough to believe that they've debated their way into telling me and others their own lives. The disconnection starts with them, it's only FA that has a reason to engage, in order to try and add fat people's voices to the mix. That is the very thing that has permitted the triumph of the anti FA view.

Engaging with them on their own terms just means going back where you've been. Which is possibly why FA seems underdeveloped, it keeps going round and round in circles. It's time to move on.

At one point Lindsay said she couldn't just give up, talking to those against FA, I didn't want to either, but I feel like I'm wasting my time and I have other needs I wish to fulfil. I didn't get into this primarily to engage with what I wish to leave behind in a way that goes nowhere. But if you do, then that's what you bring to the mix, not everyone can do this.

I haven't given up, or rejecting communicating with others, I just haven't found a language that can reach beyond the same old same old. If you have, best of luck to you.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Natural weight

After reading this, the phrase, 'natural size' stood out for me. I felt the need to express the fact that not everyone, specifically in FA, sees weight in this way.

Because people tend to rebound; after dieting back to their previous weight, people have come to the conclusion that the previous weight is their natural weight or the weight they were meant to be.

I can't see it this way.

I don't believe that wherever we happen to land on the weight scale can be described as our true weight, because our emotional needs are part of our nutritional requirements, if they are unbalanced, that can and does affect our eating and/or weight. This of course varies and it is not the only factor nor necessarily the most important factor, although it does seem to be in some more than in others, which maybe why some people lose weight as a direct or indirect consequence of emotional change or resolution.

If natural means, inevitable, then I do not believe that with so many stresses, strains, misdirection's and disordered ideas thrown at us that we can state with confidence that most of us are at our natural size.

Wherever we have landed is possibly just our current version of it.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Calories do and don't count

We all like to flip-flop with this one.

Some say that calories don't count, some who've tried to lose weight unsuccessfully say that eating a certain amount of calories doesn't guarantee, that you will lose weight, keep or keep it off. Or that a certain total intake will not lose you the amount of weight you have been lead to believe. Those same people claim that if you are on a diet, you must be starving and suffering- you may be either/or, or neither. But a blanket assumption contradicts their opining of metabolic variety and unpredictability. They look at skinny people and say you don't eat x, you probably eat y, but by their own view, that is open to doubt.

Then there are those who pooh-pooh metabolic variety, expressing the view that it is a cover for greed and indolence. But then go on to blithely claim that high fat foods cause weight gain, because they under satisfy. They taste too good they're unctuousness corrupts the palate, provoking constant cravings for them. This creates a cycle of fatty tasty food, which fails to satisfy prompting more cravings for more fatty foods etc.

The problem is that can only be so if calories don't count, or count differently when it comes to fatty foods. Calories are in essence, energy. When you're hungry above all else this is what you require, therefore high calorie food cannot be any less satisfying than anything other food because calories are calories and they count the same. Calories must lead to satiety; we can't be satisfied by any number of vitamin pills, we must have energy.

Unless energy, is somehow, not energy.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Dieting one and the same as weight loss?

Dieting is not the whole of weight loss. It is a an idea of (how to attain conscious controlled) weight loss.

We've been sold this pup by the weight loss diet industry and those who've brainwashed us into believing anorexia is just a lifestyle choice open to all. It stops us comparing dieting to the way our bodies lose weight naturally or as a consequence of everyday metabolic variances. Fusing the two as one, means we compare the discomfort, pain and ineffectiveness of weight loss dieting only to itself.

Think about it, we know that weight loss is part of our every day existence. Saying that we cannot lose weight is a nonsense, virtually every one does. For instance, when we get up in the morning, we weigh less than later in the day- as we are liable to have had something to eat.

We tend to weigh less in the morning, more after eating. Through the day our weight tends to vary, maybe not by much for most people. This doesn't feel like dieting, in fact, a lot of the time it doesn't trouble us unduly. The fact that this is may not be very much isn't the point, what it shows is that weight loss isn't intrinsically unpleasant, that is weight loss dieting.

Conflating the two means weight loss gets tarred with the brush of weight loss dieting's punishing nature. That helps to facilitate weight loss dieting which would seem even more senseless than it does now. It would also put pressure on those concerned to come up with better ways, as the pseudo moralism also shoring up weight loss dieting would be shown up more clearly for the tendentious nonsense it is.

Dieting as the only form of weight loss comes from the desire to deliberate lose a determined amount of weight consistently, because we cannot key into the everyday weight loss that occurs outside our will and extend it to the amounts we wish, as a matter of course. We want control and weight loss dieting offers this and that is as far as it goes.

An idea that promising what it cannot deliver. It's the desire for this weight loss, for control and agency over our bodies, that keeps us coming back to it, we have found no substitute. I say we, by this I mean us in the West, my susicions are that many societies have found ways to deal effectively with weight.

Cutting calories doesn't translate into using up fat stores, the way it's supposed to. Your metabolism has the capacity to vary the amount of calories it expends just existing -called the basal metabolic rate. It has the capacity to vary the amount and rate at which it uses up the energy available to it. That's why people, if they do lose weight, tend to lose more weight at the start of their exertions and less, a couple of weeks or so in, as their body makes it's metabolic adaptations.

The are many other things that make diet fail a multifarious and multi layered process. These have nothing whatsoever to do with the human character, will, willpower or lack of any of these. The reasons are intrinsic to the nature of dieting itself and it's effect on human biology.

A forced famine of the deathcamp or a natural disaster cannot be compared to a voluntary famine, when you know there is no reason for you to be denied what your body needs, you internal impetus will be to fight it off. If the famine is forced that isn't much of an option.

The body's unforseen response turns out to be similar, regardless of what type of famine is being imposed on it. Putting voluntary faministas on the back foot because the conscious impulse to lose weight barely counts in this. It simply isn't the most powerful factor, our survival instincts are. The expectation that the body would just acquiesce and give in to a weight loss diet has undermined beyond any reasonable doubt. And it's time to get over that and stop being bratty about it. We cannot demand biology functions according to our fantasies. This isn't a fairy tale, it's real.

Rather than people "coming off their diets" or "returning to their old habits", the ability to sustain the diet, unravels before them. Like the ability to willfully stay awake, indefinitely, unravels as you are consumed by the body's need for sleep. It just creeps up and submerges you. You cannot fight it very well because what you're fighting with is part of that instinct to fight you. It's as hopeless as it is stupid.

Our minds are part of these defence system too, something we often overlook, cruelly, as that can fool people into thinking that they are willfully having bad thoughts and are somehow mentally compromised. When it is their nervous system's recruitment of increasing areas of available brainpower that actually creates impulses that they then rationalise.

All this happens because of weight loss dieting, not weight loss per se.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Your reputation preceeds you

When it comes to being fat that is.

The surprise that you are capable of sayng no to food, especially the things you are supposed to major in. That is biscuits, cakes, chocolate especially, many's the time pepole have been met with uncomprehension, shock, feel they just must have misheard, when I've turned down these things. It's also the case when I've not been hungry when I 'supposed' to be. I had no idea that one of my vocations as a fat person, was to facilitate and enable people's eating.

It's as if some people feel a bit uncomfortable, if I'm not eating and they are, as if they'll be hell for them to pay somehow.

This could be amusing, but actually the presumption plus the persistence of your tormentor; plus the way they examine your face minutely, for what our amateur psychologist sees as any sign of strain or (inevitable, surely) falsehood on your part, gets tiresome, quicker than you would expect.

The thing is, when you stop trying to deny yourself things, you have a chance of getting over them just a tad. For doesn't necessarily excite me, it depends on how I feel, even if I'm hungry, I sometimes just don't care about food, I decide what to eat and just do it. This may not sound very nice, but frankly I find the variety of response liberating.

It shows that the obesity personna is a bit of a drag on people who are not it's direct targets (or actually are they, more about that later)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

What! No title?

Ok, it's about time to bypass the blockage.

I'm not the kind of person to say, it's just tone of those things, obviously it's about me and some little traps I've fallen into.

My first interest in the fatosphere, was to exchange views regarding all things fat, I took for granted that somewhere, people would be ready to here thoughtful considered first-hand observations on why people were not losing weight and becoming thin as anyone would reasonably expect, given the sense that the 'problem' of fatness was solved by calorie manipulation.

I thought that intelligent people would be surprised, find it hard to take in, above but above all, they'd be interested, fascinated even. Maybe a few mischievous souls might be a little excited in anticipation of another shibboleth biting the dust.

Nothing prepared me for what actually transpired, suffice to say, little of any the above apart from certain parts of the fatosphere.

This has rather left it hard for me to situate what I have to say in the path of the stream.

This is down to me, I suppose you could call it courage of convictions. I'm not used to boldly declaring I'm going this way. Reality has solved that issue in the sense that my I am somewhat persona non grata, this is somewhat, although by no means wholly due to my own failings.

I am alone, and I have to ask myself, do I want it that way? I don't feel that I do, I like to interact with others, but I also like to shut them out, maybe the latter is more to the fore than I would have thought.

More than anything, I wish to move forward, but it's the physchological attachments that are proving harder to negotiate, than I'd ever imagined.

* Amended to add a title

Monday, 10 November 2008

No taunters we

When the truth about the efficacy of diets is discussed, a lot of people take the view that this is done with gleeful malice and spite, not so. What they never consider is that those who understand this have tried them. Repeatedly and failed. They don't seem to conceive that we were as disappointed and angry as them, even more so as we desperately counted on them to work and save us from fat hating inside even more than out in some cases. We invested in them just as much as anyone else, if not more so.

When we could finally acknowledge the truth ourselves, for some of us this has taken years. We weren't exactly breaking out the bunting saying, 'yippee, no more diets for we!' Our hopes and dreams crashed to the floor. We had to re-arrange our hopes and dreams, some of us had to backtrack sharply enough to get whiplash, on some of our ideas about ourselves. It hasn't been pretty or easy for us and we've done in mostly alone, in the face of many who wish us to keep on, at little cost to themselves, whilst harming us, sometimes greatly. The longer you continue, the greater the ripple effect potential of this harm as it spreads to greater and greater areas of your life. That's what stops you in the end, the cost of continuing is way too high in too many areas of your life.

The truth about dieting is not a taunt.There is nothing to taunt anyone else about without taunting ourselves. It is bitter realisation that often comes at great expense to us all the way around, whether we continue or stop.

The idea that we are gleeful and somehow getting at those still holding out for diets to come good, is about a person's investment in diets being effective. I'm sorry about that, but I cannot not tell the truth because of this.

I didn't reason my way out of dieting, or losing weight by healthy eating. I was stopped physically by burn out. I had to let go because I was hanging by my fingertips and eventually, the ability to hold simply gave out. Even then, I expected my enforced break from healthy eating/dieting to be only as long as it needed to be. And then back to before, but hopefully better, because one must always have hope. One has precious little else.

Weight loss diet burn out is a fascinating and under reported phenomena where your ability to diet simply breaks down. It seems to be a bit like being suddenly thrown by a horse you've been riding. Someone once described it as having a nervous breakdown but just in this one area.

You can get over it, but like a full one, only rest will do it. It was from there that I decided to take a different approach, you see, I expected to continue once I'd recovered.

But things didn't turn out that way and I crept slowly toward a different direction, trying to cling on and stick with it all the way. Until I managed to accept that I had to begin to try and move on. The ripple effect of negativity I spoke of meant that certain things were really catching up for me. I had to decide to force myself to stop hating myself, because I wasn't functioning in any way and I could stand this no longer. I actually felt a little bit down about that as it was a long road back.

But it was the moment I started to repair my negative mindset in general, that was enough to waylay my dieting course. I began to realise that self loathing was an integral part of being able to stick to a diet, even in the form of a healthy living plan. Before this, I'd assumed my extreme negativity came from my diet failure, now I could see that it was more that I was demanding weight loss via this route and my mind and body were facilitating it the only way possible. Through self loathing, this is easy to dismiss as, it's because I'm fat, and so it goes.

And all this started well before I could begin to feel OK about myself. That's how I knew that the game was well and truly up. If I wanted to continue, I'd have to stay hating myself, I actually would have considered it, if it wasn't having such a dysfunctional effect on the rest of my life! Can you believe that? But I see it in so many others too.

Something that had expanded sneakily into my life and consciousness was suddenly over, kaput. I had come to the end I felt very lost indeed. It's taken a long time to realise just how deep this has gone how hard it has been to change course. I get why people find that too much. If I'd known it wouldn't have stopped me, but I would have been warned.

So when people hear us say, diets don't work, we have more than earned the right to say it, if one was necessary, which it isn't. We've done our time.

We aren't arrivistes or dilettantes who flit around taunting the efforts of our more earnest fellow humans, we are the earnest triers who've been smacked out of our stupor by brutal reality. And you think you're hurting?

We've tried and we've not so much failed as had feedback, which we've finally decided to listen to, because we've finally cottoned on that it's not going to change and sustaining the illusion is no longer tenable.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

101 MBA

A blog defining intuitive eating got me thinking about why I'm not really on board with it, except in limited circumstances. Although the advice it gives is well worth reading and I don't disagree with too much.

It starts from the notion of dieting as if it is a viable way of eating and other forms of eating require some kind of definition in relation to it. This does the usual thing of respecting that the slimming industry is the all wise expert in human eating; when its tawdry non product has proven that to be false at virtually every turn. To Sum it up, it suggests dieting is consciously directed eating and therefore normal eating is a kind of like an inexact guessing game, in comparison.

Not only is this wrong, it normalizes dieting and behaves as if it is viable way of eating and there’s this other form of eating which uses 'intuition’. It is misleading and gives dieting too much credit and proper eating too little. The latter is hugely complex and above all incredibly accurate. Our default underestimation of this is due to diet industry propagandizing for the purpose of undermining our trust in it's precision in order to transfer that to the appearance of accuracy that is slimming.

Its capacity for preciseness is suggested by the way that when we put weight back on after a diet, even though we may be eating wildly and our metabolism may appear to have tanked. It still tends to stop more or less where it started. That is unnerving if you begin to consider all the variables.

It has to be able to calculate your needs well enough to maintain your health and is in a better position to be so than your conscious mind which is not connected as directly to all the parts of your body and their individual and collective requirements. In other words, our true eating processes are designed for the purpose and the conscious mind is designed to behave as if its in charge.

Dieting is simply not a real option. It is fantasy of how we think would work if it was controlled wholly by our conscious control mechanisms. Therefore, nothing real should be defined against it, unless to show how ill conceived and useless it has turned out to be.

Normal eating, for want of a better term is simply the only way we really eat, unless we have special dietary concerns due to actual illness dysfunction or special nutritional needs, due to a temporary or permanent condition.

Our hunger signals tell us we need energy and those of our appetite tell us the kind of things that will deliver this and the full list of other nutrients we require or as close as we can get to this given our own preferences and what is available.

There is no other way of eating that is more intrinsic to us. Everything else comes from, out of it or is superimposed onto it. The last one is the cause of the problems of dietary and especially calorie restriction. The threat of compromise to the energy stores though is the most serious of all and that is why dieting is ill conceived and it ignores the fact that it is being imposed on something that is there already and will have to adjust to its imposition. Dieting just goes on ahead and attacks where the body’s defences are their strongest, most overwhelming and comprehensive.

Intuitive eating can only be about discovering that this underlying process can only be compromised by spontaneous factors or deliberately by trying to interfere unduly with eating. It goes on regardless of what we think we can just up and choose to do with our eating and to a lesser extent, our appetite. Unless our needs change.

The term intuitive shows how accustomed we’ve become to the premise that we have full direct conscious control of our eating-we don’t and that has been proven by the failure of dieting. What attempting it does is bang our signals around and send them into a tizzy erratic mis-firing, increasingly divorced from actual need and closer to being dominated by the need to defend supply of energy, of life itself.

We feel all this as having a pretty messed up relationship with food sometimes to unimaginable extremes. It’s like a wound that is sore and keeps opening itself up. We need to stop that and allow it to heal. In order to do this, we may have to try reducing our interaction with the conscious part of eating to the barest minimum. That is the attempt to stop the wound opening.

We can't totally stop conscious input, completely. We still have to choose what to eat, whether we are listening to our bodies. I don’t think we have to our nervous system does that; we just have to receive and interpret the information. We always have to think about food, we have to think about how to get it, how to get the means to get it, and where, how to prepare it, what to serve it on, where to eat it and so on.

What IE is getting at is to stop trying to roll back the habits of the diet mentality; of naughty treats, fear and hatred of food, thinking about food as causing fatness which you of course hate too etc., And the dieting mindset which is an on-going campaign of constant denial, thwarting and interference with hunger and appetite. It’s the denial of needs by all means including emotional manipulation as well, “I don’t deserve that because of my weight”.

This can cause so much disorder on so many levels, it can become more practical to abandon all conscious attempts to control your signals directly; full stop. This is a shame, because it's a good use of the conscious mind, to help us adapt to all situations and still be able to meet our needs. It's dieting's overstating of this that causes the problems, not the mere idea of this kind of conscious input.

The purpose of any period of IE, should be in order to recover this useful and import role for our minds. What feels like letting go of all control, is the letting go of false control to re-embrace the real one, eventually. By letting it be, they will begin to calm down and recover as fully as possible; to the point where they are no longer disordered. It can be crucial to use some (simple) kind of discipline to calm down overall.

One idea of IE type eating is we listen to our real hunger and our bodies and what they "tell" us to eat. For a start all hunger is real, it’s just that it has different purposes, if you wish to minimize the creation of unnecessary hunger it’s best not to provoke it by trying to make semi starvation a lifestyle. I think we interact with the telling or it just becomes too passive. Although I must emphasise at first it may be necessary to be this careful, I just don't feel it's desirable to prolong it forever.

I also reject the idea that your hunger and appetite may never recover and that it is the only way you can place it in the recovery position, if you like.

The problem is those who come off an extreme and long term dietary war of attrition. It must be realised that “what their bodies are likely to be telling them” is something like "let’s eat up as storm whilst her/his guard is down until s/he beats the crap out of us with another famine ambush".

"We know s/he will because s/he’s been doing so since kindergarten/many years and has done this time and time again, no matter what we’ve thrown at her/him. So let’s get as much on board to sink the next(anticipated) effort."

This anticipation can last a hell of a long time, it can become indefinite. And remember it is quite likely to be accompanied at least for some of the time, by the body in re-bound mode, which is when you put on weight you’ve lost on a diet or by expending energy. It's like a sort of hibernation like mode when rate of calories used seems to lessen, or rate or storage increase.

This must be taken into account more especially as it can put an attempt to get off the diet treadmill at risk when people might be most likely to waiver or be unnerved by it. FA cannot promise, nor should it, weight loss or even weight stabilization. However in view of the fact that this kind of adjustment can bring other problems I think it’s best to unless you cannot stand another moment, go a bit slowly if you can. Or do what I did, let go and keep checking back to see if it protests when you try to steer it off an overabundance of diet thwarters!

Try to give yourself, mind and body a chance to adjust to your new state of self respect.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Smoking addicts

People of reason please in the name of all that is sacred, stop the absurd comparing of fatness with smoking, stopping smoking with weight loss or 'lifestyle change'; which the nice person in me wants you to know, has been rumbled as a diet in disguise.

Smoking is not like eating in umm oh so many ways, number one; it satisfies absolutely no essential bodily need whatsoever.

Repeated claims are made by smokers as to what need it actually does satisfy, which seems to be just about whatever need the smoker has, calmer, soother, confidence booster stress reliever et al. It's most convincing service is as prop to the imagination. Which shows how important the human imagination is to us and how little we understand it. If we made better use of it, we wouldn't get into so many scrapes with chemicals that we've just got to ingest to achieve an effect that is perfectly within the grasp of our minds. Ho hum.

I know the fact of nicotine is supposed to be well-established, why else would anyone light a tuber of tobacco, suck it into their lungs, and blow it out like a dragon? But for the life of me, I've never been able to get a grip of why nicotine or any of the other numerous chemicals in a tab would cause you to be an 'addict'

It fulfils the criterion for addiction, which as you've probably noticed, isn't hard, as it's definition hasn't quite been definitively fixed. It's certainly bandied around with reckless abandon, one of the many things in life; that must cease now.

So what could possibly explain how seductive and hard to stop smoking is or can be for so many? Well one of things that we have to keep in mind about the body, is it is not just machinery of meat, as they say, one of it's many wonders that people can't get their heads around, is that the body produces and periodically releases pleasure chemicals in cycles.

The bit to note is this:
Endorphins are our body's natural opiates, produced when we experience stress.

The stress in question, is inhaling cigarette smoke. Keep doing it and the body learns to save the release of these pleasure chemicals for the inevitable, this is probably what makes you feel good about smoking and what you are addicted to and that is real as the body's opiates are apparently more powerful than heroin.

As I understand it, what happens when you are addicted to opiates, say heroin or cocaine, this can cause the body to reduce production of these and other pleasure chemicals, which is the physiological basis for addiction. With smoking the rhythm is disrupted, the body doesn't produce more of these chemicals, it releases less at other times so that it can cover the toxic inflow. When you stop, your body has to adjust, that can take time. That's your addiction.

The mechanisms that regulate eating and weight, also use pleasure chemicals as part of a comprehensive set of whole body interactions. Every part of the body requires nourishment, every part is involved. The reason we keep comparing the facilitator of our existence to things of comparatively no import, is due to the traditional competition between addicts, for the prize of which addiction is the hardest to stop. That's fine but it all comes unstuck when trying to extend that thinking to eating.