Men and Their Diets

People in my life like to not conform to gender standards. I like this, but sometimes it presents interesting challenges.

Today, I had three conversations with male-folk. One was about Halo Reach and the other two were about how they want to lose weight. Now, as awesome as Halo Reach looks, I’m the high end of bad or the low end of mediocre at FPSes and this blog is about my path to body acceptance, so sadly that’s not going to be the subject (though if you like that kind of thing, the extended trailer for that game is just breath-taking).

I’m getting better at being anti-diet pro-body love when it comes to talking with the people who normally talk about these things AKA women. I can say “Check out these great FA bloggers!” though I usually don’t. But I could. Interestingly, I have not had a conversation about weightloss with any of my female friends recently. But if I were to point them in the direction of any of the FA bloggers that I know about or even read, those friends will be the target audience.

But that’s not the case with my guy friends. It’s not that I don’t think they should be exposed to feminism, but FA is baby steps. Feminism brought me to FA so seeing all this feminist rhetoric mixed in isn’t something that strikes me as at all weird. But anyone coming at FA without feminism (without even being female) is now approaching two concepts. I don’t mean to say that men cannot be feminists, but often their feminism isn’t as active. I know at least one of the friends I mentioned tends to agree with my feminist ideals, but sometimes the idea is new to him. So it isn’t that they now have to both accept gender equality and body acceptance, but they have to actively participate in the dialogue of these ideas, even if it is just by reading.

Not only that, but anyone who hates their body, is dieting, whatever is probably going to be touchy on the subject of their body. And when you mix new concepts with even more new concepts going back to the status quo has a lot of comfort to it. And then there’s seeing a post called “Vagina Friendly; Make Friends With Your Area“. This makes it clear who the target of these entries are, but weight loss commercials often have at least one token man, so they get to be all inclusive! And commercials for muscle building equipment are not only targeted at men, but almost always mention weight loss (and they don’t always pair that voice over with the token woman).

To be fair, The Rotund also has her most recent post (as I’m typing this) titled “What about the Mens; Gender, Gender All the Way Home”, but even that is seeped in feminist ideals. It’s not just Marianne, either. Fatshionista and Kate Harding also mix and alternate between FA and feminism.

I don’t think it’s wrong that FA is mostly targeted at women. I think a lot of points about space and women and feminism and society are all very important ideas to get across to the dieting women out there. And maybe there isn’t as much feminism as I think, after all, that’s who I am and so that’s what I’m gong to find. However, the size issue is not an approach that is even relevant to men. They’re allowed to big, they’re even supposed to be big, they’re just not allowed to be “sideways” as one friend put it.

This post is both an observation and a call for help. I know I mentioned something about not responding to comments at some point way earlier in this blog, but I would really love some now. Word Press is still insisting I get a few hits. Who and/or where can I point my friends the next time they talk about how they feel fat and how they want to lose weight and how eating is totally ruining their diet?

One last thing. I know there are a lot of FA blogs that focus on a lot of feel good self esteem exercises. This is not what I’m looking for. My generation grew up on self esteem building and being special snowflakes and how everyone is wonderful and deserves to be loved. I cannot speak for everyone else, but I know I have witnessed too much disconnect between this kind of discourse and the “real world” to do anything but roll my eyes at these ideas. I know my peer friends have expressed similar sentiments when this kind of topic comes up. Blogs that like statistics are preferable.

Note: I’m at that awkward age where people are no longer “girls and boys” and while technically “men and women” identifying as such is uncomfortable and not quite fitting. So any odd gender nouns in this entry is due to that.

September 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

BMI

I’ve been eating more, two to three meals a day, or you know, one big massive one like today. Not that I did anything deserving of food. I read somewhere that it takes 500 calories just for your brain to work properly, and I assume who ever said that meant per day. If so, I had been stunting my brain again, not by eating fewer than 500 calories (though that was true for one or two days I’m sure) but by eating fewer than 1000. Because if 500 gets devoted to your brain imagine what it takes for the heart, the lungs (well, the diaphragm), everything. I’ve been gaining weight again since I started eating. It makes eating distressing, but I know that if I can eat regularly and healthfully I can convince my body I’m not starving, and it will stop hoarding calories. I realise this isn’t about BMI yet but I think I should reflect on the moment as well as the whole.

As for the issue of BMI, well, I think it’s terrible. First of all, there’s that disclaimer that it’s not meant for measuring health or fat, but everyone does it anyway. Companies, colleges, doctors, individuals — everyone passes judgement on people based on this number. I’ll admit, I’ve spent most of my post-pubescent life inside the 25-29.9 range. Though only a few months ago I was flirting with 30 being two or three pounds away from that threshold number when I weighed myself every day. I was also at the highest weight I had ever weighed myself at. I had passed my magic number and all my pants were tight and I’ll admit I was probably at my least healthy point. I had been exercising less and caring less about what I ate. To an extent, I think it’s was probably healthier for me to not care so much about my diet. It was certainly liberating until I started weighing myself daily.

During these months I read an article about how a university had a BMI requirement for graduation. While it was true that anyone who didn’t have the right numbers would just have to take a PE class, it still wasn’t something that sat well with me. Especially since I was on the verge of facing that requirement (matriculation aside) and was normally only somewhere around eight to ten pounds away from obese even when eating healthy and exercising regularly. As I’ve mentioned before I’m short so while I may be only ten pounds away from the dreaded diagnosis of obese my BMI is two points away from obese and three from “normal”*.

In a fit of rage after reading that article I cruelly asked my friend to guess my BMI. She said 25.6 when I was 29.4 and 3 pounds away from 30.0. Now, even if this friend deducted a point or even two points in the name of friendship, she was very, very off. Even with these extra two points she was still lower than my BMI when I considered myself healthy. Today, an study showed that 3 in 10 teens didn’t know they were overweight with males mistaken twice as often as females. Is this really a surprise to anyone?

Even after BMI gets discounted as a measurement of health, I regret to say, I will still use it. I’ve already been indoctrinated even though I fight tooth and nail every time someone else uses it. I still have a BMI calculator as one of my tabs. I will still sit there and go “Well, what if I’m this weight? What if I lose 5 more pounds? What if I were an inch taller?”. My personal ideal weight, the weight I want to be and think I have a chance of reaching is has a BMI of 24.7. I know when I get there, I’ll see that if I gain two pounds I’ll be over weight again and try and lose another five. That’s a start of a slippery slope. I hope if I ever get there, I won’t go too far.

Still, something that always is nice to see is the BMI Project.

*Approximately.

February 10, 2010. Tags: , , . Reflection. Leave a comment.