Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rude Thin Guy Hates Stupid Fat People--boy, that's a surprise, huh?

So, let's talk about "fat shaming."  More specifically, let's talk about a man named Geoffrey Miller, who is a professor.  Mr. Miller "tweeted" that (and I'm paraphrasing) "fat people can't finish dissertations because they lack motivation or self control."

Mr. Miller is, of course, slender and really quite handsome.  I'm sorry, that's DOCTOR Miller.

Silly me.

Now, there are many calling for Dr. Miller's dismissal, but I'm not one of them.  What I WOULD like to see is Dr. Miller educated on matters of obesity, diet, and what really goes on in a person's body when they become fat as a child.  It's not opinion, it's not excuses, it's not whining--it's science, folks.  Because I abruptly piled weight on at the age of seven (and no one did a thing to figure out why, though my doctor called me a pig and my father offered to drop me off at the dump with a fork, neither response proving to be particularly helpful, strangely), my body will ALWAYS burn less, store more, and fight my efforts to keep weight off.  I will never be able to eat the way a "never-fat" person can eat.  I will always have to eat markedly less and move markedly more.  Again, that's not opinion, that's not butt-covering, that's just science.  The more Dr. Miller (a University of New Mexico professor who was doing a "visiting professor" gig at NYU) actually grasps about the human body, metabolism, and issues of weight and diet, perhaps the less he mouths off like a snotty, discriminating punk.

Speaking of discriminating, word has it this man has spent time on academic admissions committees.  Boy, if that doesn't just pierce your heart with something cold and scary, huh?  Kind of like being gay and Hispanic and having Niall Ferguson and Jason Richwine weighing your admissions application.  Not saying the man's obvious bias against folks who weigh more than he thinks they should came into play, just saying the possibility certainly leaps to mind.

Here's one of Dr. Miller's tweets:

And here is a nicely phrased blog entry about Dr. Miller, his tweets, and some of the broader issues at play here.  To put a wrap on this issue, let me just say this--I hope, with all my heart, that Dr. Miller finds a way to overcome this awful prejudice before a wife, lover, or child weighs in at more than he finds acceptable.  Personally, even at my thinnest (think a loose size one), I would never have dated a guy like this--after all, even at my thinnest, I was still ME.  And this guy?  Despises me.

This girl never would have dated Dr. Geoffrey Miller
Now, Dr. Miller would no doubt look at the above picture and say, "But see, that's the perfect example of what I mean--you DID lose the weight, and therefore YOU would be the perfect doctoral candidate!"  

My answer?

I lost that weight (135 lbs) in six months through starvation and terrifyingly obsessive exercise.  I was 15 years old, and I quit school so I could spend six-plus hours a day exercising.  When I wasn't doing aerobics at home, I was running.  And when I wasn't running?  I was at the gym lifting weights, riding stationary bikes, taking part in high energy aerobics classes, and swimming.  I ate (and this is no exaggeration) one day a week, and that meal was preceded by a large dose of laxatives.  All other days?  Four ounces of unsweetened orange juice.  My hair began thinning.  My teeth loosened.  My gums bled.  My hands trembled all the time, my head hurt all the time, my stomach BLED while my periods STOPPED for almost two years.  I'm still facing a health backlash over this, decades later--ever wonder what anorexia does to bone density? Yeah, I'll tell you all about it some time.

But gosh, at least Jeff Abbot asked me out.  Jeff Abbot, whose opinions were much like Dr. Miller's.  Jeff Abbot, who, a year earlier, had told me to get my "fat ass" off his car.  It was with a special joy that, the day he asked me out, I was able to tell him to get HIS "fat ass" off MY car.  It was only then he realized I was the same girl.  No, he didn't have the good sense to be ashamed.

Now, Dr. Miller might say, "You should have lost the weight reasonably, you should have taken it slow and made gradual lifestyle changes."  Oh, shut the hell up--like I haven't been doing that my whole stinking life?  The last time I fried a food--ANY food--was 1981.  The last time I added salt to ANYTHING was that same year.  I haven't eaten white bread in 30 years.  I haven't had a sugar-sweetened soda since that one time Don M. didn't have any diet drinks back in 1984.  My mistake, every time, has been thinking that, once I achieve a weight goal, I can start eating like a normal person, calorie-wise.  No, not like a stereotypical "fat" person, but like the lady across the table from me, like my husband, like my friends.  

And that is just not true.  And it never will be true.  And until I can find a way to reconcile what I want with the vastly reduced amount I can actually have, I will always struggle.  I challenge Geoffrey Miller to exist on markedly reduced calories a day FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE and keep blathering on about lazy people who lack willpower.  

Here's an EXCELLENT PIECE in the NY Times on the subject.


And enough of that!  Let's move on to even more depressing things.

My teeth.

I am the dental health queen in the family.  While my husband has racked up thousands of dollars in dental care costs, I've always been Ms. Wonder-Teeth.  Yes, I'm missing all my molars on the right side, but through no fault of my own--the bottom ones never erupted (and had to be removed surgically in an in-patient procedure when I was 13 years old), and the top ones, which were perfectly healthy, had to be yanked out of my head because they kept sinking lower and lower (because of the lack of a bridge below them), until they were gouging into my lower jaw every time I chewed.  But otherwise, my teeth have always rocked.  I did have a root canal 8 years ago because a tooth broke when I chewed something that turned out to have a hard chunk of rock-like stuff in it.  That aside, I'm the girl who's always being congratulated for my dental hygiene.  I'm the "brush 2-3 times a day, floss repeatedly, rinse with an anti-cavity product every night before bed" kind of person.

So you can imagine my horror at the 600 dollar-plus dental bill I have coming up later this month.  You see, when you chew on only one side of your face, it takes a toll.  I've been chewing only on the left side since . . . well, since the baby molars fell out and nothing new came in to take their place.  And, eventually, that has a deleterious effect.  In me?

It's left one of my molars cracked.  Which is going to necessitate a build up and crown.


In addition, I have a new problem.  See, I rinse nightly with a fluoride/anti-gingivitis rinse.  I have for years.  But recently (about a month ago), I ran out of my usual stuff (ACT).  While at Wegmans, I spied a big, purple bottle of Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse.

It's purple.

It claims to be "no burn" and "clean mint" flavored.

Did I mention it's PURPLE?

 I'd been using it for 3+ weeks when I noticed that my teeth were looking decidedly . . . dingy.  A sort of nasty yellowish pall.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that I had definite BROWN staining starting between the teeth.  In some spots, it was pretty intense.  I was horrified.  I smoked for 26+ years, so my teeth aren't movie-star white, but they're a nice, solid, even light ivory.  For them to suddenly be yellow with brown patches between them?

What the hell?

So there it is-the brown between, the yellowish cast--that's all new.  Again, I brush, floss, and rinse daily, so this was something initially scary to me.  Being the web-junkie I am, I immediately ran out and did a websearch.  And the overwhelming answer?

Crest Pro-Health.  Not only does this stuff contain an ingredient that causes brown stains to teeth (cetylpyridnium chloride), but Crest has KNOWN that this stuff stains teeth for YEARS.  In fact, it turns out, in very fine print, that they say so on the packaging:

Now, here's the rub--they say it's not permanent, and that "adequate brushing" can prevent it.  Wellll, screw you, Proctor and Gamble!  I brush plenty adequately, and the hygienist who went nuts trying to scrape it off?  Said it won't budge.  And she really put some muscle into it.  Fact is, if I want this completely gone, I'm going to have to fork over for a professional tooth whitening gig.

Yes, I contacted Crest.  And after a few days?  Still no response.  I feel me a big, nasty Epinions product review coming on.

Now, I will say that, after a week of NOT using this crap (and it is crap--it smells and tastes like that horrid saccharine-like fake bubble gum air freshener my mom used to bring home from the hospital where she worked), the brown is not as bad.  And I suppose I should be grateful for the brown--with the number of people out there who complain that this product has robbed them of their sense of taste (believable to me--my tongue is still randomly tossing out bitter sensations, and the flavor of this stuff ten minutes after use is horrifically, deeply chemical-y), I guess a little brown and yellow is the preferable bad side-effect.

Now, I was checking in the store last night, and not all Crest Pro-Health products appear to have this ingredient.  So read your labels, and watch for the staining warning.  And remember, the FDA is not your friend here--because they consider these effects "minor" and "cosmetic" and "not damaging," they won't do anything about it.

Looks like I'll be dodging Crest products like I'll be dodging Chrysler.  Sometimes, it's not just what your product does, it's how you, as a corporate entity, respond to what your product does.


And on a final, happy note?  I was out this morning at around six (I know, some of you are saying, "6 a.m.?  I thought you said HAPPY?"), watering the flowers, veggies, and grass (and putting fresh water in the neighbor's bird bath).  I like going out early when it's cool and green and everything still has that dewy, fresh smell to it.  It's why, when my other neighbor (the atheist-hater) offers to let me use her soaker hose, I don't actually take her up on it.  While she would never understand, fact is, I LIKE being outside with my yard.  I like watering, pruning, and just sitting there enjoying as I give my world a drink.  Anyway (see how I wandered there?), I was watering, and the birds were so loud, so . . . celebratory.  A hummingbird kept coming to the feeder, landing, and taking deep drinks.  Two mourning doves kept landing on the fence and staring, waiting for me to leave.  And the robin on the shed?  Kept coming to the ground, hunting for bugs, then flying off when I'd move, each time giving an offended chirp and casting an evil glance my way.  Obviously impatient for me to get out of HIS yard so he could get his breakfast in.  And then?

It occurred to me.  At 6 a.m., I don't have a lot of birds in my yard.  Instead, the birds have a lot of ME in their yard.  At 6 a.m., I'm the interloper.

It made me happy to see it that way.


  1. I cannot eat like a thin person either. This month I relaxed and did, but my weight started to shoot up. I am currently really struggling to get back to "good" eating habits. I have a thin husband who can eat ice cream every night and pizza for breakfast.

  2. Yes, Dr Miller needs to be educated. I wonder what he'd say about my friend Sarah. She used to weigh over 300 lbs, but now she's around 150 (I'm guessing, she might be thinner) and she lost it through diet and exercise. She is finishing her doctoral dissertation right now. She had a baby last fall, she works full time and her husband has been deployed to Afghanistan for the past 15 months. I am sure she never stops thinking about her size, and constantly works at it.
    Or how about my friend Brandie? She finished her BS with a 4.0 the entire 4 years, didn't take any time off while she was pregnant or after delivery (and she breastfed the new baby) and she struggles with her weight. She never stops exercising or counting calories.
    Who has more will power? The person who can eat normally and not worry about it, or the person who has to work for every bite but knows that they will still be seen as a "pig"? I really hope that the outrage over his insensitive tweet might make him pay more attention.