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The Tale of the Fat Celiac

Posted by Obake on Jul 7, 2011 in Advice/Tips, Fat Acceptance, Ranting

The first thing that some people think of when they think of someone who has Celiac Disease is that of a thin, malnourished waif. The very thing I am not, and likely will never be. I am not afraid to say that I am 5′ 4″ tall, and I weigh about 230 lbs. To everyone ever, that is considered obese. You want to know something? I don’t care. And you shouldn’t either. About my weight, or yours.

“Oh!” You think, “Don’t you care about your health?”. And yes, of course I do. Go on, click that link and be prepared to challenge all you think you know about being fat. Knowledge is power¬† here, and the truth is that you’ve been lied to about fat and dieting. For money of course. And I need to talk about that briefly before I move on. You see, I bought into it too, and it’s really hard not to buy into the line that if you aren’t model-thin, you are fat. And the diet industry takes advantage of that vulnerability.

The human relationship with food and the way the American food system works in particular interest me. I suppose it all started with the book Fast Food Nation¬† by Eric Schlosser, and what I read in that book made me question the way that we eat, and what we might be doing to ourselves. It was enough to put me off fast food for a long time, and even now its something that was only occasionally indulged in, though now I can’t do it at all. I don’t miss it that much, beyond the convenience. My interests led me to watch Supersize Me by Morgan Spurlock, and Food Inc, and many other documentaries that examine our relationship with food and how we obtain/manufacture it.

It followed that someday I would have come across this particular book on my own, but a friend beat me to the punch. She recommended Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon. And what I read changed my world. A study of weight that involved actual science? And came up with a conclusion that jibed with many other studies as well. I had no idea. Of course I didn’t. It is the dirty little secret of the diet industry: diets don’t work. You know that, back in the corner of your mind probably, or at least suspected it. I did too. But we want to hope that we can somehow be someone else, instead of learning to love ourselves. That is the human condition really, we all want to be someone else. It just happens that the societal expectation is thin, so we think “boy, I’d love to be thin!”. But you can’t if you weren’t thin to begin with.

The whole concept of fat acceptance, that it was ok to be fat, was alien to me. It went against everything I thought I knew. But I like science. Real science, not the kind of corporate shill that cheats to get a result. And the proof was right there in front of me. I am a big one for experiments, though its sometimes to my own detriment. But this opened a world of possibility. I could be healthy and fat? Such a concept was an awesome one.

Back to fat celiac. You know why a bunch of people don’t get diagnosed? Because they’re fat. Even though if you damage your intestines, you are essentially damaging your ability to digest food, which leads to your body thinking its starving (because it IS)….which leads to you gaining weight. So, I for a long time put off going to the doctor or even bringing up the possibility, because I thought incorrectly that because I was fat, I could not be celiac. Then I was amazed when going off gluten resulted in feeling better. Which results in me being healthier. But I’m still fat. I have lost some weight, though who knows how much, because I don’t own a scale and don’t have a desire to own one (I only get weighed when I go to the doctor). I have lost weight because my body is no longer scrabbling for nutrients. But that’s not why I did it, my goal was not to lose weight. If it happened, fine, if not, fine. But I AM healthier, and that’s what matters to me.

Healthy and fat.

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