Love Yourself Enough to Save Your Life

Klynnrossi
Recently I have been struggling about where I belong in my career, personal life, and whom I follow on social media because of a lot of misinformation from HAES extremist. “Health at Every Size” does not mean “Healthy at Every Size” like some would like you to believe. HAES means that regardless of size, one should be validated by the medical field for their concerns that are not related to weight, and to be respected and treated with dignity.

No one should ever be shamed for their size, but one should be educated on weight and what that means for their health. The Fat Acceptance Movement wants everyone to just let them be, and that is all well and good, because, for me, I do not care what your size is and how it affects your life, because I accept everyone regardless of weight, ethnicity, race, age, gender identity, sexual preference, and religion; and one’s health is not my business. However, when you have a large platform that glorifies obesity, you are now influencing others to disregard their health.

We now have a culture that tells people to change doctors if they mention their weight and the health issues that are related to their size, and in turn, this is affecting the eating disorder community. If we are telling someone with an eating disorder to trust their body and to eat intuitively, then we are providing them with an excuse to binge or restrict. I recently spoke with a friend of mine who said if it is “Ok” to be fat then why is it not “Ok” to be underweight, here are the facts, if you are morbidly obese or severely underweight the end result is death.

What Does the Word Diet Mean and How it has become Misconstrued to Fit the Narrative of Fat Acceptance….

While I agree that fad diets are dangerous, the word “diet” is now considered bad. Diet just means what a person’s intake is on any given day, and to be healthy one must make lifestyle choices that will lead them to their most optimal well-being. The Fat Acceptance  Community is not body positive because they shame anyone who intentionally loses weight to save their life, they shame the fitness community, and they shame thin people for just being thin. To agree with fat acceptance or healthy at every size is dangerous, and that is what is being promoted on social media by big influencers. You cannot be healthy if you are severely overweight or underweight, and to promote that, you are leading others to an early death.

I am not a fan of MLM’s because I would not work to make someone else wealthy or waste money on a program that I can do myself. With that said, there are programs out there that provide structure for those who need to lose a significant amount of weight, and if one of those programs help someone save their life, then I am all for that program.

The Truth about Recovery and a Dietitian with a Zero Tolerance for the Word No….

My eating disorders were not about weight because it started at the age of five, but when I was morbidly obese and severely underweight, if my dietitian told me to trust my body and listen to my hunger cues, I would have just binged or starved because hunger cues were destroyed. I still need a meal plan, and while I do not track calories, my dietitian knows exactly what I am eating and how much I needed to gain weight and then maintain. Without her guidance and sometimes taking control, I would not be here today. What I have learned in my recovery journey is that I had to give up control to regain control. I have medical issues that are a direct result of the abuse I put my body through, so Intuitive eating will never be an option for me, and I am fine with that because I eat to live and not live to eat. I also learned that I can eat at holidays without fear, go out with friends and eat socially, and live my best life without having fear foods. Yes, I am restricted a lot because of my medical issues, but I found foods that fit my needs to meet all the macro and micronutrients and that I enjoy.

At the beginning of recovery, enjoying food did not matter because I needed to gain weight fast to live. I would say “I do not like this or that” and my dietitian told me that I gave up the right to “like” food when I got to a point where my team did not know if I would live. The same goes for those who are morbidly obese. It is not about enjoyment, it is about saving your life, and once one gets to a safe place in recovery, you can then adjust the plan to add foods you enjoy.

The Truth About Happiness and Acceptance….

 You will not find happiness in losing weight, that is the truth, however, If you do not address the underlying issues that turned you to food or to be obsessed about everything you put into your body, you will never be happy.  I believed at 350 lbs., if I lost weight, I would be happy, and I set weight goals often because when I hit the first goal and was not happy, I needed to go lower, and the cycle repeated itself until I was dying because that number for happiness will never come. It was not until I dealt with the reasons behind binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia and developed a positive relationship with food, did I make peace with the scale and my body.

There is only darkness when trapped in disordered eating that the HAES providers do not tell you about because that means there is something wrong with the weight you are at, but the truth is, if you are morbidly obese or severely underweight that is a problem. I will speak for myself in this area because I know how dark, isolating, and lonely it can be at both ends of the weight spectrum. I prayed every night that God would take me in my sleep, and when I woke up in the morning, I cried because I was still alive. What do you think that life does to your partner/spouse, children, family, friends, or the people you influence? If you want acceptance, you would love yourself enough to save your life, and in turn, you will inspire others to reclaim their lives.

We cannot accept morbid obesity as the “new” way of living, just like one cannot and does not accept one who is at a dangerously low weight because then we are saying that it is ok that you die, and it is NOT. My role as a new HAES provider has changed because I want everyone to be better than they were yesterday, live a healthy lifestyle, and inspire others to do the same. If you are working with a professional that tells you that it is fine to stay in either spectrum of weight, then you need to find a provider that will tell you the truth. I can only assume that HAES providers who promote that weight has no effect on your health have never dealt with either end of the weight spectrum because if they did and are telling their clients to trust their body, do not provide a meal plan, and just accept their eating disorder than they are doing their clients a disservice and are promoting self-harm.

Oppression is a choice you made when you chose to accept yourself as a morbidly obese individual. You have a choice to make a change, and society does not have an obligation to accommodate you. That may be harsh to say, but I have a disability because I suffered a life-altering injury, and I need accommodation so that I can physically move from point A to B. There are people who have more severe disabilities than I do, and if you think morbid obesity is a disability that society needs to change for you, think about all the people who cannot change their circumstances.

If recovering from binge eating disorder, bulimia, and anorexia means I am “fat-phobic” and have “thin privilege” then you are right because I will never go back to the darkness that almost took my life. My husband, children, and grandchild deserve better and need me in their life. I chose to save my life, and I hope you choose to save yours.

 

*Disclaimer* One: I am only discussing the extreme ends of one’s weight. Two: I am not calling out HAES providers that work hard in getting people to reach their most optimal health and wellness. My blog is directly related to those who promote Healthy at Every Size, which is not only life-threatening, they are creating a dialogue in eating disorder community that being morbidly obese should be accepted which in turn is affecting individuals who need to lose or gain weight to save their lives.

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Thin Privilege and Fat Acceptance: My Experience

thin privileged

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

I am not Anti-Health I am Anti-Fad Diets and Body Shaming

new blog pic.jpg

I need to make something clear. I am not anti-health. I am anti-anything that causes one to restrict, punish self, and label foods as good and bad. I am anti-anything that preys on the vulnerable to meet their financial goals.

When you stop trying to change your body, and you work on mindset, food is no longer the enemy or friend; It’s just-food. Understanding health at every size would provide all mental health practitioners, dietitians, and medical personal the tools needed to breakdown and eliminate weight stigma. The number on the scale is not an indicator of health, it is a tool for medication purposes, and that is how it should remain.

HAES

With that said, HAES does not mean healthy at every size. It means health at every size, and doctors dismiss symptoms and miss life-threatening illness because of weight stigma. Essentially it means all bodies deserve love, respect, and validation, and that still does not happen in 2019.

*Disclaimer*

I had a very underweight eating disorder client who asked:” If weight is not an indicator of health, then why do I have to gain weight?”

Let me be brutally honest here when I was considered morbidity Obese, not one doctor validated my health issues or ED. I was repulsive to them, and it made me feel worthless and hopeless because I was not “deserving” of help until I lost weight.

I was court-ordered into a residential facility where I spent 5 months the first time, and six more admissions and four medical hospitalizations later, I was not expected to live. If one doctor would have validated me, things may have been different. It wasn’t until I shrunk my body almost to my death did someone say, ” She needs help.”

If you are battling anorexia and your weight is dangerously low, you can and will ultimately die. Anorexia is the number one mental health disease that will take your life, and in a life-threatening situation, the weight will be the focus. I am sorry because I’ve been there, but you will get through it. As your body and brain get nourished, you begin to heal your relationship with food, and the number on the scale becomes insignificant. I have not stepped on a scale at home or with my treatment team in 8-years.

Reality

Not all people with anorexia fit into the mold of the DSM-IV for validation of needing help. I am working on changing this, and it is my “work in process” Thesis. According to the new code, one is deserving of help if their body % is 75 or less. If all eating disorders were validated regardless of weight, no one would get to that 75% or lower.

If you have binge eating disorder, a doctor will tell you to lose weight. He or she will not address your medical concerns because they feel if you lose weight, all your symptoms will magically disappear, and many people go undiagnosed with major health issues and die because of weight stigma.

 If you have bulimia, a doctor will say, “Well, you do not look like you have an eating disorder.”

If you have anorexia and you are of average weight or higher, a doctor will tell you that you are “Not sick enough.”

If you have anorexia and you are below 75% you are already dying, so now you are sick enough.

The system needs to change now, and I am here to make sure no one goes through the emotional abuse I went through from the medical professional because I was not “sick enough” until I almost died.

Comment below on how weight stigma had impacted your life.