You are too fat for healthcare - Fat Jesus & Dr. FatHater say so.


As you know by now, every Monday I (try to) write about my progress with Medifast and give you updates where I am in my journey. Today I was struggling a bit to come up with a topic to talk about. Now that I am in maintenance, the days just kind of blend together because nothing really new is happening. Well it must be my lucky day. Because just as I was about to scrap even doing a post today, a gem of a pitch came into my inbox.

As my blog grows I get 'pitches' from lots of people wanting to sell you guys stuff. I'm pretty picky about what I will write about because I like chatting with you all and don't want you to feel like I'm constantly trying to sell you stuff. Most of the emails are harmless. More than half of them are not a good fit for this site - just stuff I really don't talk about. All too often the PR people that send these pitches aren't reading the blogs they pitch to (and gosh do I love the ones that do read the blogs. Y'all are awesome!). They see a photo of a kid and think 'Mommy blogger!' or in my case, they see weight loss photos and think I will write about anything and everything under the weight loss umbrella.

Today, I can only assume (see? I can do it too) that this PR rep saw my weight loss photos and thought 'She hated being fat so she must hate fat people!'. Because the pitch I received was nothing short of disgusting, hateful and insulting.

The email started with a story of a Boston physician that has begun refusing overweight/obese patients. 
The parts I enjoyed most in that video are when she is so proud that TWO WHOLE PEOPLE were influenced by her fat-shaming. And the other moment is when she claims to 'educate others about obesity'. She does this by saying 'Get the eff outta my office and take your fat ass on over to the fatty clinic.' Okay, she totally didn't say that but she may as well have. Because her form of education is shaming the patients that trust her, refusing to treat them, and shipping them off to a clinic where she doesn't have to deal with them. That's some awesome bedside manner, Dr. FatHater.

So, this pitch went on to talk about Steve Siebold, author of the book Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People. They'd like me to interview him about his new book (and it was unclear whether I'd actually get to read a copy of this book). Our man Steve wants everyone to know what he thinks of this situation. Here are a few quotes from the email (I've highlighted the parts that I find especially ridiculous):

"The medical community has been coddling patients for years, telling them that obesity is not their fault – and as a result obesity is now an epidemic impacting 1/3 of the population and getting worse. It’s about time that a doctor finally gets tough with her patients and pushes them to lose weight and get healthy."
Really? Because never once has my doctor weighed me in all my nearly 300 pound glory, patted me on the head, told me that it's all Ronald McDonald's fault that I'm obese, handed me a lolly and sent me on my way. In fact, I spent the better part of a decade avoiding the doctors office just so I could avoid 'the talk.'
"The bottom line is if you’re fat it’s your fault. Your family doctor shouldn’t have to save you from yourself. No one is forcing you to make poor food choices or lead a lifestyle of inactivity. It’s all about personal responsibility. Obesity is a choice as much as being fit and healthy is – and it’s time for Americans to grow up emotionally and make the decision to fight obesity once and for all."
Okay, I was hard-pressed to highlight any parts of this one. Being successful at health and losing weight IS all about personal accountability. You are the only person responsible for you and you cannot blame others for your inability to follow through. That being said, if I seek out medical attention to resolve my issue, I'll be damned if I don't expect my doctor to be my cheering squad and be compassionate when I falter. 
As for blame, I do blame others for my weight problem, in addition to myself. I grew up in a home where food was love, food was comfort, anger, sadness, and joy. There was a snack for every emotion and then some. Dysfunction does not even being to cover the issues my family has with food. And I blame my parents for that, and their parents, and anyone else that taught them how to abuse food. My parents are responsible for my food issues. Everything I learned about how to destroy myself with food came from within my family. And I will be responsible if Izzy's eating is disordered. However, as a 35 year old adult and a mother, it is MY responsibility and my choice to fix this. You cannot spend your entire life expecting others to shoulder your problems as an adult. Yes, I had to grow up and not only take responsibility but claim my adulthood and take control of MY problem.
"An even better solution for doctors would be to establish guidelines based on height and weight and require patients to meet those parameters in order to be seen. When you have a problem as deadly as obesity, it’s not about being nice or worrying about hurting someone’s feelings; it’s about pushing them to make a change."
Ah, yes. Dehumanizing me always motivated me to lose weight. Just like that time Junior year that Bobby spit a hocker in my hair and called me a 'Fucking Pig' and a 'Fat C***' in gym class while I stood at home base waiting for my turn at kickball. I totally went home that day and threw out all of the Little Debbies that were in the pantry. 
Oh no, you know what? It had to be the time that the chorus teacher told me I was too big too be in the front line of dancers in the school musical. That was the time I was successful at losing weight.
Or maybe it was the daily berating and physical abuse in the hallways at school that convinced me to go home and do a Jane Fonda workout. 

Yeah, those were never the outcomes to those scenarios. But I did go home nearly every single day thinking about how I'd kill myself the next time my parents were out of the house long enough for me to pull it off. Surely having a doctor, someone that is supposed to not only care about my well-being, but they get paid to do so, dehumanizing me by letting me know I'm so fat that I don't deserve to be cared for, that will surely turn the tide for me. There's no way that would send an obviously fragile adult into a deep(er) depression at all.
"It’s time we stop blaming emotional issues, the food manufacturers, restaurants and portion sizes, and it’s about time doctors get tough with their patients, and send the message that you can’t treat your diet like a hobby – otherwise you’re just whistling past the graveyard."
I don't completely disagree with him that people have to stop blaming portion sizes and food manufacturers. People have a responsibility to themselves to get educated about what they are putting in their body and how it effects them. Just because you are handed an overflowing plate, it does not mean you need to eat everything on it. (Sometimes leftovers are better than the original serving!) That being said, for a very long time, I didn't know any better. 

Let me ask you though, did someone turn up the heat? Because it got like 8,000 freaking degrees hotter in here when I read "It’s time we stop blaming emotional issues...". First of all, PR person, did you even read ANYTHING on my blog? Second, if you think weight issues are not deeply rooted and tangled in the depths of your emotional being...please come to my house so that I can lock you in the basement and retrain you and free you from this brainwashing. 

Holy crap y'all. Are these people for real?

And my favorite part, the part where my head nearly shot off my neck like a freaking jack-in-the-box with a rocket launcher attached to it, was when I read this: "Siebold speaks from personal experience because nine years ago he was 40 pounds overweight. He got tough and today is in the best shape of his life.





Okay, 40lbs isn't chump change. Any amount of weight to be lost is a struggle. So I will admit now that I am just being a jerk by mocking that because, frankly, I think he's a turd. How could a doctor refuse someone and then how could anyone in their right mind, especially someone that has been there, think that is okay? Everyone wants to bitch about the obesity epidemic and how we need to find a way to resolve it. But then they want to get all rah-rah when overweight individuals get what they deserve because they didn't take care of their body. Obviously those people don't deserve proper treatment and good, quality care. /sarcasm 

This whole thing just floors me. Had I been in those shoes at any point in the past 20 years, I would have been dead a couple times over by now. I've had several illnesses in the past decade that could have resulted in life threatening complications if I had been refused treatment. 

You know what?  I don't even want to read the book. I want to BEAT him with it and then I want to eat a doughnut over his twitching body. 

Doctors are not legally bound to treat everyone that walks through their door. But what happened to that desire to help others that led them to become a doctor in the first place? And I have to wonder where this will stop? What about smokers? Or people that engage in risky behaviors? When do human beings no longer qualify as human and are therefor undeserving of compassion?

This way of thinking is a very slippery slope. It is not unreasonable to say that people will die from treatable conditions because of the shame they feel walking into a doctor's office. Do we really need to pile refusal of treatment on top of that?

I don't care what you've done to your body. There should be no shame in asking for help, whatever your malady might be. Sometimes just showing up at the doctors office is that hardest thing that person has done in years. And I know that from personal experience, Steve. There should be no requirements or guidelines when someone is asking for help. There should be compassion, education  and understanding that weight loss is not one size fits all.

The bottom line is that everyone deserves care. Everyone.