Oh, it’s satire? I guess that makes it okay then.

Just got this lovely bit of bile via the Repeal Amendment One Facebook group. It’s a “Westboro Baptist Church” parody calling for a “Gluttony Amendment” with catchy slogans like “God Hates Fats.”

I’m sorry, I’m going to have to put on my official “Fat Advocate with No Sense of Humor” hat and declare this to be in really poor taste. Yes, yes, I get the parallels. But the thing is “You wouldn’t misuse the Bible against *that* group of people” only works when people aren’t doing that very thing on a continual basis. “A Modest Proposal” would not have been satire if people were already roasting and selling Irish babies.

Fat people *do* get death threats. They *do* have people saying “Thank God for diabetes and heart attacks.” There are attempts to legislate fat people out of existence by bullying us “for our own good” or taxing junk food or giving kids “diet” lunches.

And, predictably, when commenters said, “Um, WTF?” the “It’s a joke” card was played. Because saying that you’re joking magically removes any harmful effects that your words have. The pastor who advocated beating up your kids if they “act gay” fell back on that same tired defense. “Oh, I was joking.” Maybe that would’ve been more apparent if you were, you know, actually funny.


Doggie on a Diet 4: The Happy Ending

We set a record for “shortest foster ever,” and adorable little Hershey Girl is now in her new home. She’s not only happy and making her people happy, she’s also made their nervous dog much more relaxed and outgoing.  (That doesn’t always happen and anyone with a fearful dog who’s considering getting them a canine pal should read Debbie Jacobs thorough and detailed post on the things that you should consider.)

In less happy puppy news, Reba is now back with us, after having been adopted out. (Between their plans to move to Denver, the BSL capital of the US, her pretty intense exercise needs, the stress of caring for a baby, and difficulties keeping a highly active dog from running over or jumping on a just-learning-to-crawl kidlet, they decided it wasn’t workable.)

We’ve discovered that two days of doggie daycare a week seems to make her much happier and calmer. Training is progressing, and Matt’s taking her to an adoption event today. Exercise keeps you sane, go figure. I know when my anxiety was undiagnosed and untreated, SCA fighting was pretty good therapy (and probably a lot better idea than other ways to self-medicate, except for the long term risks of getting repeatedly thwapped upside the head with a stick).

How long can you hold your breath?

Just ran across the comment “If you regain weight, it’s because you eat more calories than you burn,” on Twitter. (It was from Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, whose unhelpful advice to fat job-seekers I’ve mentioned before.)

Technically, that’s a true statement. Your body can’t create adipose tissue out of nothing, and calories that are used through the day aren’t available to be turned into fat stores.

*But* there’s no guarantee that “more than you burn” isn’t still “less than you need to get through the day” or even “less than you need to avoid passing out.” (My first hint that the South Beach Diet forum I was participating in may have been a tad unhealthy was when people were talking about feeling faint and light-headed and experienced dieters responded, “Oh, yeah, that’s detox. It’s totally normal and it’ll be fine.”)

There’s also a limit to willpower. Sure, in theory, every bite you put in your mouth is a choice, but bodies are good at overriding conscious controls to do things that ensure survival. For instance, have you ever heard of someone holding their breath until they pass out? (There’s apparently a “fainting game” but it sounds like you need to press on the arteries in the back of your neck or have someone else make you hold your breath. So not quite the same thing.) Even toddlers throwing tantrums, if they pass out, it’s apparently breath-holding syndrome, where they stop being able to breathe. Not just that they hold their breath out of stubbornness until they fall over.

Similarly, pain tolerance tests are done by having the subject stick their hand in cold water (called a cold pressor test). The cap is usually five minutes, and between half to two thirds of people can actually make it that long. One interesting test showed that tolerances were the same whether participants were offered a dollar for every 15 seconds they could keep their hand in or only a penny per 15 seconds. (To me, that indicates that it’s a pretty involuntary thing, if money is no motivator when your test subjects are undergrads. Make it the whole five minutes and you can order pizza.)

So if you can’t hold your breath until you pass out, and you can’t hold your hand in cold water indefinitely, why would we think that most people could ignore hunger by sheer force of will, not just one day, but for the rest of their lives, eating only enough to keep them below their target weight (regardless of whether that’s enough to actually function on)?

I mean, sure, I “choose” to be fat in that there are things I can do that would make me temporarily less fat, and I might have a tiny chance of maintaining them permanently if I want to make it a part-time job. Or possibly a full-time job. I’d probably destroy my joints and my gall bladder in the process and further wreck my metabolism, but sure, that’s a choice. Not a choice I owe someone who doesn’t like looking at me. No more than I owe it to someone who doesn’t like looking at acne to take Accutane for the rest of my life. (I know, silly me, being selfish and wanting to have a family, rather than taking meds that cause fatal birth defects so I can fulfill my sacred female duty of being as attractive as possible to random men.)

And that’s really what it comes down to. Bodies, particularly fat and/or female bodies, are seen as public property, so in this bizarro-world, it’s reasonable to expect someone to reshape their whole life and risk their health to make their bodies culturally acceptable. And because it’s “a choice,” it’s totally okay to discriminate against those who can’t pull it off, or who aren’t willing to try because, you know, they aren’t masochists.