Thin Privilege and Fat Acceptance: My Experience

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It’s ironic that I was once fat for many years, severely underweight for another ten plus years, and now I am what the Fat Acceptance/Body positive movement calls “Thin Privileged.”

If you are on a weight loss journey, I applaud you.

If you are on a weight gain journey, I applaud you.

If you are happy, in the body you have in the present, I applaud you.

You see, that is what acceptance is about, loving everyone for all of their uniqueness, but here is the thing, I do have “Thin privilege.”

You may be asking yourself, “What Does Fat Acceptance, Body positive, and Thin privilege mean?”

Trigger Warning: Talk About Weight and Other Numbers

When I had binge eating disorder, my highest weight went to 350 lbs., and rarely did I step foot in the doctor’s office because I knew what he or she was going to say. However, right after my daughter was born, I had a whole host of symptoms that I never experienced, all GI-related and my intake was shaky, but I was a binge eater, so I had weight to lose.

Back story, if you have not read any of my other blogs, I was also in therapy, dealing with my son’s illness, and medical PTSD and my therapist pushed me to see a doctor. Yes, I did go to the OBGYN while pregnant, had a great pregnancy, but I was still binging; by the end of my pregnancy, I could no longer tolerate food and lost a significant amount of weight. I was fat, so that was seen as a good thing and praised even while pregnant, and no concern by the doctors in charge of my care about my GI symptoms.

My son was out of the hospital after almost a year, and my daughter was four months old, and I was not getting any better, but I could binge and not gain any more weight, so a win for me, NOT. I could not deny anymore that I needed to see a doctor, so with high anxiety, I went and explained all my symptoms, and the doctor said, “Well, you certainly do not look like you are in distress because you have a lot of fat on your body, and If you lost weight all your symptoms would go away.” Yes, I was what is considered “Morbidly Obese,” and that is all the doctor saw and sent me to a “Fat” doctor. If you read my prior blogs, the story of how that went is there, but the words he said to me stuck, and still haunt me today. He said, “You are what you eat, so you must be a cow.” Mind you, that was the last day I ever ate meat, and also the last day I ever binged. Food became the enemy and no longer my friend.

Yes, I lost the weight, which almost took my life, but I still also had all the same symptoms, but now it was blamed on having anorexia. Somehow in the mix, the team of “Doctors and dietitian’s”  that were working with me forgot the fact that I had binge eating disorder, which turned into bulimia (medically induced, but I was happy about it), and I was told, “If I gained weight, all my symptoms would be gone.” Two weeks later, I almost died because my K level dropped to 1.1, and at that time, my first team realized I need a new team, that specialized in eating disorders. Once I made the move to my new team, who I interviewed, I did need to prove myself because at that point I was so sick, and I no longer knew how to distinguish between illness or eating disorder. However, at this time my intake was up to 3500 calories, and I was still losing weight because I was SICK. I agreed to go into Princeton Medical Center to “prove” I was sick to get the medical help I needed while stabilizes my weight.

Princeton Medical Center Eating Disorder Unit

Everything my team discussed with the medical team at Princeton turned out to be a lie. I was placed on bed rest, and the doctor thought it was a good idea to take me off my six potassium pills a day because he was proving that it was the eating disorder, and I was manipulating my new team. I had no time for manipulation and never once lied to my new team about what was eating disorder or and what was medical, and the only reason I agreed for this admission was that they were going to do the test, WRONG. My room was at the nurse’s station, and I had a video camera in my room, so how could things go south?

I was permitted to be out of my room in a wheelchair for meal times and groups, so my first meal came and I ate, no big deal, but they dropped my intake from 3500 a day to 1500 a day.  The staff believed I was lying about my intake, and they did not want to cause the refeeding syndrome. Then I entered group, and I felt like I was just wheeled into a grade school; the youngest was 11-years old and the one closest to my age, was 18-years old, I was 29. I left the group, and went to my room, and knew then this was not going to work, but I would still give it a chance. After a rough night of sickness,  morning rolls around, and I have labs drawn, and I was supervised as I get changed for a weight check, and of course, I lost weight. I went back to my room, and all of a sudden, I am having an emergency ECG because my K level was 1. The doctor walks in my room and said: “Since I was purging all night, I was now on 1:1 supervision.” I looked at him as if he had ten heads because I did not purge, I was sick, and the nurse was with me all night; while also having a video camera pointed at the bed and bathroom. However, my nurse told the doctor I had purged all night, which was not true, so I signed out AMA, and he said, I would be dead in a week. I lasted 12 hours in Princeton, to prove myself, and they were trying to prove I was manipulating my team, which almost killed me for a second time. I went straight to my primary care doctor, who admitted me to increase my K level, rehydrated, and for weight stabilization by providing me with the medical help I needed. With that said, because of the reports from my previous team, I understand her reasoning for sending me to Princeton, where she believed I would have testing done. She has never doubted me since, and I have an amazing treatment team.

Why the story?  

I told this story to show weight bias in the medical community, whether you are fat or underweight, and how one is invalidated for medical symptoms all just based on the number on a scale.

Getting Back to the Story behind the Story

I had commented on a post from one of my very dear online friends who is a Fat Activist who also exists in a Fat Body, no big deal to me because I do not view people by their size, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation; I judge their character and how they treat other people. I know my story and experience and can relate to everything she has gone through and still goes through; she, however, suffered from anorexia, and just as the doctor said to me that “I did not look sick,” she was told she did not either and never received the proper treatment for her eating disorder. The difference between her and I is that the Fat Doctor put me on amphetamines, B12, and HCG. I developed a fear of food, and the weight was gone, in 9 months. I was then validated for my eating disorder because I was dying. I still see myself as a binge eater, and anorexia saved me, and my team saved me from myself. The comment on this post was in reference to an individual who was harassing her about her size and saying she was promoting obesity, and that is not the case, it took her years to love her body as it is, eat intuitively, and move with joy, not punishment, and my response was: “I am sorry you are having a tough time, so you feel the need to hurt others with your word, I hope tomorrow brings you a better day.” I left it like that and went on with my day. When I went back on Instagram, one of her followers who is also in the fat acceptance community, which I thought I was too in, responded to my comment said: “You have no right defending anyone, so take your “thin privileged ass” and jump off a bridge.” I removed myself from the conversation without responding because it was better to separate then say something that I could not take back.

“Thin privilege”

Yes, I am “Thin privileged” in the sense that I live in a thin body and no longer deal with weight stigma in the medical community or my personal life. I get treated with respect and dignity just like I treat everyone that I come into contact with, regardless of whether they are rude, mean, or just downright nasty. However, I am not ”thin privilege” as a normal abled body. My body is sick and attacks every organ. I cannot just get up and go out, work, go to parks or beach, and even showering can wipe me out for days. I cannot travel or drive long-distance, exercise, and I am discriminated against because of my disability and medical conditions, however, what I experience cannot compare to the way the medical professionals and people in general still invalidate others because of their weight, and that leads to death. What this follower did to me was not acceptable because she does not know my story, and just told someone with suicidal ideation to kill herself because she stood up for a friend being attacked. I know what it’s like to be bullied and discriminated against, and it can be life-sucking. So, before you can’t take back the words, stop and ask yourself, “How would I feel if someone said that to me or my child?”

If you want to stop Oppression than don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

I am not angry at this follower, however, the leaders of fat activism, HAES, fat acceptance, and the body-positive movement need to step up and address this issues because instead of bringing communities together for acceptance, their followers are hurting their progress in moving forward in breaking down weight stigma because they tell someone like me, who suffers from chronic suicidal ideation to kill myself. I am blessed to have the treatment team and tools that I do to get through these situations, but the next person may not be so lucky.

Peace, Love, and Respect

Angels in the Storm

People say that you only have one life, but truth be told, you live every day, and only die once. So, what is stopping you from living each day to the fullest?

I can complain about the last year and a half of surgeries, emergency surgeries, complications, a spinal cord injury, almost dying, almost losing my family because of morphine, and losing six months of my life that I can never get back. But, complaining would not change what happened.

Yes, I live in pain 24/7 from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Intractable Pain, Central Nervous System Pain Syndrome, and Medical PTSD, and I have had periods of darkness that I did not think I could pull through, but just like my eating disorder, pain does not define the person I am becoming.

In this last year, I have lost friends and family, and I am fine with that because they were not supporting me when I needed them the most. I rebuilt my relationships that are the most meaningful, I have an amazing friend who texts me every day something inspirational, and I am graduating after finally finishing my internship in 3 weeks. I have a vision and purpose in life to share my story that may help others. I did not realize that until after I was weaned off morphine.

The truth about nerve pain is that pain medications do not help; they just make you not care. However, in my case, from what I have been told is that it made me go out of my mind. What I do remember is having conversations with my father and father-in-law multiple times a day, and they have both passed away, but looking back, I know they were sent to save me.

 Angels in the Storm

The Darkness engulfed me as I was hanging by a thread

I didn’t have a lifejacket because I wanted to be dead

As the storm became stronger, I saw a flicker of light, and my angles flew down and held me tight

We talked for hours day and night, how life is not fair but I had to fight

I did not want to listen because I had no hope, as the bridge started shaking my angels spoke: “If you go now there is no turning back, the morphine lead down the wrong track. It was supposed to help take your pain away, but instead, it decided to take your life away.”

My angels stayed with me no end in sight because they saw my purpose, but I had no light

Living with pain, how could this be after I fought for my life to be set free

I had to accept that this was meant to be, to help others who suffer just like me

As I started to climb, my angels stood by, and before they flew away, they turned to say: “Life will be hard, but you have come to see that you are stronger than you ever thought a human could be. Don’t ever let go when the storm blows your way because you are here to lead others to stay.”

As they turned to go, they kissed me goodbye, and all I could do is breakdown and cry.

Morphine brought me to my knees, and I climbed back up to follow the voices that held me up. I will not give up or lean over the edge because CRPS will not be my end.

The Truth About MLM’s and Fad Diets

 

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Let’s discuss an MLM, specifically, BeachBody because I had an interaction with one of the “coaches” yesterday. If you are a BeachBody Coach, do not take offense over what I say because this is just my opinion and my experience with pyramid schemes.

The conversation went like this:

Coach: I have been following you for a while now, and I think you would make a great coach.

Me: You obviously have not followed me well enough because if you did, you would know I am in recovery from anorexia. I am all about HAES (Health at Every Size), and I do not do pyramid schemes.

Coach: It’s not a pyramid scheme. You can make great money, help people, and take care of your health.  What’s more important to you, money or health?

The Truth

Here’s the deal, if you are going to ask someone, “What’s more important, money or health?” You just lost them.

I should have ended the conversation there, but I wanted to see how far she would push the subject, so I asked her what her education was in, and she said you do not need any education to be a coach, WRONG!

She also said the program can help people in recovery from eating disorders because the superfoods will help one gain or lose weight while also changing their relationship with food, WRONG! Any program that has one obsessing about exercise, calories, portion control, meal replacements with so-called Superfoods, and weighing daily, is not healthy for anyone, let alone someone recovering from an eating disorder. The truth is, the program is not sustainable because people cannot afford to buy the products monthly.

She also claimed that Superfoods cured her Lupus, so it can certainly cure me of my autoimmune disease and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, WRONG! I believe in science and my amazing treatment team, and without them, I would not be alive today.

The mom crack (GOGO Juice) will give me energy. Kathy (not her name), if you truly followed my account, you would know that I had a heart attack, and your mom crack could kill me.

What does BeachBody Mean

What BeachBody Coaching means is that you must get as many suckers to join your team so that you can make money, however, unless you are at the top, it is estimated that only 1% of coaches make large amounts of money because all the work these coaches do is paying the highest leader to sit around laughing at them for making them wealthy.

To end this, I want to share what I learned when I watched a BeachBody Team Call that should have never been posted to YouTube.

On this team call: Head Coach and three of the coaches that are under her.

  • Find vulnerable people
  • Make them feel guilty by asking them would you rather live and spend the money, or die an early death?
  • Tell them if they stopped drinking coffee and planned a budget, they can afford to make their health a priority.
  • Keep checking on them and pretend to be caring about their situation.
  • If they have disordered eating, tell them you were trained in helping people overcome their food issues, (they are not and do not have a degree in anything). *Disclaimer*Some coaches are nurses, and deceiving people goes against everything we learned as a nurse. However, I never had a BeachBody Coach who is a nurse contact me, so I cannot assume they follow the same practice as other coaches. Regardless, it is still a Fad Diet that can lead to disordered eating and over-exercising.
  • Tell them that superfoods will heal them. Make up an illness you had.
  • Even if you hate the shakes as I do, pretend you love them.
  • Make sure you post workouts even if you do not do them. (Get dressed in workout clothes, cover yourself in water (sweat), and do a few minutes of the routine to post in your stories.
  • Filter the shit out of your transformation Tuesday pictures (push your stomach out in one and hold suck it in “baby’ in the second)
  • Tell them you have a great meal plan for them to follow that will give them optimal results (not allowed to do). I work with adolescents who have eating disorders, and I do not advise on food because it goes against my scope of practice. That is why they have an eating disorder dietitian. 
  • Lie about how much money you make (the head coach actually makes less than 500 a month, tells people 5000.00).
  • Buy followers to show you have a great community. If you look at any BeachBody account, you will see that most have 10,000 plus followers but look at their post because you will see they only have 25 or fewer likes and no comments.

Yes, I am anti-MLM, and more people need to learn that unless you have connections and a huge following (real followers), you will end up losing more money than you could ever make.

I was once a sucker and joined an MLM, LipSense under one of the top leaders. She offered no support, I ordered and sold $2500.00 in products my first month, and what did I get you might ask, a $5.00 credit towards my next month’s purchase which was mandatory. I quit that day and come to find out the top leader is making 600,000 a year off of all her fans under her. She built a 1-million-dollar home, so that says a lot about how she gets paid to stay at home and do no work. Why would she when she has about 4000 people who work their butts off to make her wealthy while they get credit for products.

What is the Goal of MLM?

The goal of any MLM is to get your people any way that you can, and then push (coach) them to get people (Family and Friends) under them because without recruiting people the top coaches do not make any money. MLM’s push you to harass family and friends to join you, and the money that does not come from the products you are supposed to sell will and has destroyed marriages, family, and friend relationships. Is it worth it?

What are your thoughts on MLM’s? Comment below

Reclaiming My Life

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I have been gone for way too long. The story is long, and I am not ready to discuss the situation in length, but I am doing great.

Over the past year, I had ten surgeries and multiple complications, but that is for another day because I am now reclaiming my life. I have been in recovery from all eating disorders, and I struggled some while dealing with what happened to me. However, today I choose joy, and I have a lot to be thankful for because I am now a grandmother, my youngest just got engaged, I am just about ready to work again after almost 8 years, and I am officially done school on September 16th. Well, I say officially, but I am starting graduate school in January.

It is ok to have setbacks, but it is not ok to stay stuck in that place, and it took me time to relearn that this year. A very good friend said to me, “Not every day will be positive, but there is a positive in every day.” Each night I write a new poem to clear my head of the medical PTSD I now suffer from, which helps me hold onto the positives in my life.

You Will Never Be my Friend

Why did you come back when I was feeling so strong
What did I do, where did I go wrong

I did not faint
I already ate
I did not purge
I have not lost weight

I refuse to allow you to control my thoughts
You are not my friend, so please don’t pretend

I have climbed up before
I will not crawl
Your words cannot break me
I will not fall

A friend would never make you get down on your knees
To beg for life, you once promised me

I learned a lesson the other day that you cannot shake me or take me away

I left you once, and I will do it again; because you Ana, were never my friend

 

Find your Why in life, and run with it because life is too short to be unhappy.

Peace and Love