Joni Rae Latham's Gallery
Joni Rae Latham's Shop

Welcome to the Tales of a Kitchen Witch Blog.

JoniRae.com is also the home of the Gentle Parenting Colouring Book and Goddess Dolls, and original artwork by Joni Rae Latham, so remember to check out the Gallery and Shop while you're here.

Do You Think You Should Be Eating That?

milkshake1

If you’ve followed my facebook page at all over the last couple of years, you’ve seen some weird drama.  Like the time I said “Jesus Christ Bananas” or the time I took Hannah out for a coffee and all hell broke loose.

I don’t look to post controversial things, so it always amazes me when something completely innocuous leads to a crappy comment.  Most crappy comments do not bother me- I might repost them and talk about them (OK I usually do) but it’s because I’m thinking “Holy crap, look!  People really can be THIS stupid, mean and ignorant and let’s talk about how dumb it is!

But even though I’ve seen it happen before, I was still caught by surprise when my status “I want a milkshake!” led to the following comment:

 “Spiking your insulin isn’t all that good for you or baby, so probably good that there’s no milkshake. Lol”

At first, I just sat there stunned.  And I thought, is she saying that no pregnant woman should indulge in the occasional ice cream treat (because that is ridiculous!) OR no *plus sized* woman should do so?  (Also ridiculous, by the way).

The wording, “spiking your insulin” automatically made me cringe.  Like, was she insinuating I must have diabetes cuz I’m a fatty?  It immediately touched on the whole “are you sure you should be eating that?” bullshit I had to hear growing up. Stuff like reaching for the same food at family functions that everyone else gets to eat and having someone comment in front of everyone about my portion or choice.  I hate it.

I hate that being too fat or too thin (or being pregnant for that matter) seems to put you into a position where everyone gets to have a say in what you do with your own body. People think they get to look down at me, make disgusted faces when I eat, send teenager me to school with fucking SLIMFAST for lunch, put my still forming and growing body into drug trials, and even when I try to get smaller, they shout nasty things at me from their cars as they drive down the freaking road. I have dealt with this stuff for twenty years- and it sucks.

This is how people think they are allowed to talk to fat people, to fat children even, as if making people feel bad about their bodies is for their own good.  Newsflash: It’s not.  It doesn’t work.  In my case it led to binge eating, contemplating suicide, depression, self-mutilation and eventually teen pregnancy because I just wanted someone, anyone, to love me and accept me.

Today I was told several times that because “I put myself out there” on my public page I should expect to be insulted.  But that’s bullshit.  As my friend Shannon put it so perfectly: “Well yeah, if you post something like “I want a milkshake” it is entirely appropriate to expect comments on whether or not people like milkshakes. It becomes inappropriate and potentially fat shaming, depending on your point of view and personal history, when someone thinks they get to decide whether or not you can have that milkshake.”

The point is unless they ask you it is NEVER OK to tell someone what they can or can’t eat.  Especially someone on the internet that you have never even met. You don’t know if that person has an eating disorder, or serious issues about their body or food. You don’t know their health or their history. So even an innocent or well-meant offhand comment can have a major effect on someone. How your comment was intended, or whether or not you yourself are or were plus-sized is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether you know if they are fat or not.

I do think the poster might not have meant her statement the way it came out.  Maybe she was honestly “concerned”.  But it did come out that way, not just to me but to many people, because this is something that people who are not a size acceptable by society have to deal with all the time- everywhere you go, other people think they know what is right for you, or tell you what you can or can’t eat without knowing YOU or why your body is the way it is. In fact, I’m sure the majority of fat shaming I’ve dealt with in my life was well intentioned and not meant to hurt- maybe even meant in a light-hearted way, without the person realizing how their words affected my self-worth.

So basically, if you don’t have something positive to say about my body, keep it to yourself.  I have a lifetime of self-confidence shredding inner demons to fight- I don’t need to add concern trolls to the mix.

24 Responses to Do You Think You Should Be Eating That?

  1. Growing up with serious body image issues, I know how you feel. During my last pregnancy, I struggled to gain weight. I couldn’t seem to put on a pound even though I tried as hard as I could. Now, nearly 4 months postpartum, I am right back to my own battle with weight and image. I could not imagine someone telling me how I should or should not be eating, especially while pregnant. Your body deserves a treat once in awhile and your mind definitely deserves it.

  2. My mother would tell me that if I lost five more pounds, I would look good in whatever outfit I was trying on. I avoid fitting rooms like the plague.

  3. My aunt once told me, 117 at ten years old, that if I stayed the weight I was I would be perfect. I was 204 by 13 years old. Another aunt told me that I should never wear dangling earrings because of my fat neck. My mother and grandmother pointed to a fat male mannikin in the store when I was 12 and laughed as they told me that would be me growing up. I have hundreds of these tidbits. Plus harder stuff I won’t put out on the internet unless its a private post.

  4. Whether they are a concern troll or just being an a**hat, they don’t own our bodies, and they don’t walk our paths. I can’t say anything you haven’t already touched on, but please believe when I say I understand. I hope you can feel the big, warm hug I want to send you through the ether.

  5. Oh fuck those bitches. That sucks so much that you had to hear those things growing up. I was worried about my weight from a young age and I don’t think I could have handled hearing negative comments from family on top of my own insecurities. I wasn’t an overweight kid/teen but I did suffer from VERY bad skin. Which probably doesn’t sound like a fair comparison, but believe me when I say it was brutal. I coped by being funny and provocative.

    I LIVED on milkshakes with my first pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. WhatEVER. I’m glad you call these losers out.

  6. Bravo for setting boundaries! I agree with everything you said. In fact, I posted an open letter on my Family Facebook page just last year stating pretty much the same thing: “I’m fat. I realize this and don’t need you to point it out to me. It may or may not ever change but you commenting will NEVER be taken as a loving gesture. So shut up.’

    Good for you.

    p.s. – I actually switched OB’s my last pregnancy when he made me take the gestational diabetes test at 10 weeks pregnant because he was sure I had it. When the test came back fine, he made me do it again, and then he badgered me when the results were fine the second time, finally telling me that it didn’t matter what the test said, I was going to be treated like I was diabetic. Fat Prejudice.

  7. I was 25 before I finally learned to relax my belly while out in public, due to a lifetime of my mother telling me to “suck it in.” She had lovely nicknames for me, including “Fatty Arbuckle,” “Two-Ton Tilly,” and “Thunder Thighs.” I still carry that around with me, but now I carry it in order to remember that SHE was the one with issues, not me, and my lovely, plump body. <3

  8. Some people just need to be smacked upside the head whenever they do/say stupid stuff. Maybe then they’ll learn. Seriously, stupidity should be painful.

  9. Oh, the number of times that I was put on crash diets as a pre-pubescent child!!! The horror of being taken to Weight Watchers by my grandmother–the SAME Weight Watchers meetings that my fifth grade teacher attended!!!

    I can only fantasize about the fewer issues that I might have about food and my body if I hadn’t felt so shamed about my weight as a child: I might not feel panicky when I’m hungry, I might not binge when I feel panicky, I might have some internal controls helping me not be so fat now.

    And fat-shaming as an adult makes me feel the exact same way that I did when shamed as a child.

  10. Well, to be devil’s advocate here, whether a person has diabetes or not their insulin will spike if they have sweets. You can be thin and spike your sugar with an apple. It doesn’t matter. To be fair, she may be dieting herself and may be watching her own sugar so the first thought she had in mind may have been to caution you. I agree with you though. I can’t see that her comment was made to be rude or hurtful, however I also agree with you that those kinds of comments shouldn’t be made unless you asked for them. Hers was out of line. =/

  11. That comment definitely could have been worded differently, if it was coming out of general concern.

    Just because we “put ourselves out there” does not mean that we are soliciting disrespect and hate. If you can’t say it nicely, don’t say it at all. Disagreement is ONE thing. Being catty, virulent, or downright mean is a totally different animal that I don’t think has any place in conversation.

    *hugs*

  12. First of all she needs to get her facts straight you wouldn’t be back in your insulin you would be spiking your blood sugar. Second of all what is the business of her’s if you want a milkshake? You’re pregnant, you deserve a milkshake! I say forget her and have a milkshake.

  13. “The point is unless they ask you it is NEVER OK to tell someone what they can or can’t eat.”

    Now I happen to think that you advocate breastfeeding in a kind way and props to you for that. But your entire message is telling women that how they should feeding their children and how to use their body. You might think about how this comment made you feel, and imagine that your kind but aggressive exhortations about breastfeeding make other women feel who might not want to use their body in the same way you do. I expect to be told how to use my body by Bible Belt Christians, but not from people like you, who I assume thinks of herself as a feminist.

    • I disagree Jenny, I do promote breastfeeding, but over the years of being a “lactivist” I’ve met so many women that choose not to- and I support that right. Do I try to educate people about the benefits, about boobie-trapping doctors, about common mistakes that can mess it up? Yes. Do I wish that all women would WANT to try? Yes. But I support their right not to, even if I don’t understand it.

      Just because I spend so much time talking about how awesome it is, about breastfeeding rights, about how I wish more women would breastfeed, that does not mean that I am not supporting the right to choose what you do with your body.

  14. Here are some things we’ve been looking into lately, and incorporating into our diet:

    http://engine2diet.com/

    http://www.forksoverknives.com/

    http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

    There are documentaries for them on Netflix, and watching them was how we got started. Now, having said that – I must also state that just because we are doing it here, that does not mean I expect you to do it there. Most helpful to me, though, is this idea: NO MATTER WHAT DIET YOU ARE FOLLOWING, it is alright to occasionally indulge yourself in something that you want that wouldn’t normally be “on the menu”. If you want a milkshake, go get that milkshake!

  15. Wow. Now I really want a milkshake. Yum!

    (and yeah. telling someone else what they should or should not be eating? Not cool.)

  16. My thoughts on eating during pregnancy for women of all sizes is pretty much this- True, you could eat nothing but health foods and live by “What to Eat When You’re Expecting”, but sometimes momma just needs a brownie, damnit! The baby will get what it needs. Your body will do that almost automatically as long as you get your basics right. Pregnancy is not the time to worry about your weight, there’s plenty of time for that after the last kid weans and you are eating for one again.

Leave a reply