Sunday, July 26, 2009

Meme Roth Just Hates Fat, or Even Slighly Plump, People

I've been seeing quite a bit of this woman around lately, particularly on Fox News. And, as my husband said "The woman's a bigot. It's like putting the head of the KKK on t.v."

The Guardian interview (click on the blog post title) reveals a woman with *huge* hang-ups who needs to get her own house in order. She's not concerned with health -- nobody who refuses to eat until she does her four-mile run, no matter how late in the day that might be,is really concerned with health. She has a terror of being fat and is mostly concerned with looks and vanity. There is already a great deal of shame and stigma associated with being overweight; Roth is a victim of it as much as a perpetrator. She appears to be personally offended by fat people being in public, as in her condemnation of American Idol winner Jordin Sparks -- who is not even fat and just fails to meet Meme's rail-thin ideal. She was on Fox News yesterday griping about Obama's nominee for Surgeon-General, Regina Benjamin, who isn't thin enough to suit her. The impression one gets is that Meme would prefer that all fat people just slink away and hide from the public eye, preferably unemployed so they can't afford to eat.

Fortunately, most professionals who deal with obesity know that education and positive encouragement work a whole lot better than shame and stigma.

Just recently I ran across a magazine in a doctor's office that told a story of a woman who lost 100 pounds -- o.k., terrific for her. But I noted that, not only does she diet, she works out two or three hours every day. And I couldn't help thinking just how large a chunk that is out of a person's leisure time. Most people have little enough time between work, taking care of their families, and just the necessary things we have to do in life, without filling in most of our free time with exercise -- particularly if you don't really enjoy exercise. It's kind of a hopeless message to tell the overweight that diet and exercise have to become an obsession or we are just worthless hunks of flab. We are human beings -- who need time to think, to do something creative, maybe to have a relaxed conversation or watch a movie. I'd rather die of a heart attack than live that kind of a life, where I'm so frightened of putting on an ounce that I can't enjoy anything.

I can't help but wonder how long it's been since MeMe Roth watched a movie or read a book, or spent time on a hobby -- or would she consider such mind-engaging activities a waste of time?

As far as healthy habits go, it's far better to make small, sustainable choices than to make it an obsession. That's what I did -- and I lost 30 pounds and got such good control of my blood sugar that I could go off medication. I exercise a more moderate half-hour to an hour a day -- yoga, tai chi, walking. I don't do exercise that I hate; I found types of exercise that I enjoy, and that I will stick with because I enjoy it. I'm not yet thin enough for MeMe to let me out in public, and maybe never will be, but I eat a healthy diet with little meat or junk food, lots of veggies and whole grains -- and I have time to do other things in my life that I like a whole lot better than the treadmill.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Twitter vs. Blogging

A few days ago, I jumped aboard the latest Internet bandwagon and got a Twitter page. I really had low expectations of the experience -- after all, what can you write in 140 characters that's worth reading?
But I'm finding some advantages -- the biggest being that because I have to keep it short, I can make more comments on a wider variety of topics. On my blogs, I usually feel like I have to write a relatively well-thought out essay -- which means, in practice, that many ideas, or even draft posts, never are actually posted. The blog just sits there, as the most recent post gets older and older. Most visitors who arrive usually do so from a search or link, not because they are regular followers of the blog. Sometimes, I don't have time or thought to spare for writing. It's easier to find five minutes several times a day, than an hour once a day, or even once a week.

This gives me the space to comment on a wider variety of topics -- Baha'i stuff, Asperger's Syndrome, yoga, teaching, whatever I'm reading, or whatever topic in the news takes my fancy. When you don't have to write well, it's easier to to write broadly. It always bothered me, back when I was entangled in forum debates, that people tended to put me in a kind of box, based upon whatever impression my posts on Baha'i issues gave them. If I was angry, they saw me as an irredeemably angry person. If I was inspired, they saw me as spiritual. If I was concerned they saw me as compassionate. No doubt, if I stumbled, they dismissed me as a fool. The truth is that I'm all of those things -- sometimes. Human beings are complicated, and always in flux. Twitter captures that, I think, whereas other forms of online communication remain frozen in time.

There are disadvantages, though. Because Twitter is short and fast, it also tends to be more trivial. Do people really want to know the small details of my day? Probably not -- but I put them down anyway. Twitter begs to be constantly updated. When I read it, I tend to gravitate towards links, which lead me into a more in-depth discussion of a topic, but more personal tweets will sometimes make me smile.

I tried to get my Twitter updates put here on Karen's Thoughts, but Blogger put it on Unenrolled Baha'i -- my guess is because it has a more up-to-date layout.