Sunday, January 23, 2011

31 Days of New Year's REVolution Challenges

I'm posting the 31 Days of REVolution because life has gotten hectic and I don't want people to go without if I have another conflict and miss a day like I did Friday and Saturday (bad Amanda! I feel so bad for letting people down...).  If you don't know what I'm talking about, go to the FB Event page (see link below!).

31 Days of REVolution Challenges

Join us in 31 HAES / New Year's REVolution Challenges for the month of January. Join the FB Event ( to keep up the excitement and stay informed on new developments!
  1. 1/1/2011 -- New Year’s REVolution kickoff day!
  2. Dance to the music you love best today!
  3. Count clouds instead of calories today!
  4. Tell someone they look beautiful or handsome today!
  5. Take the first step towards finding a fat-friendly physician today! (You could start with the Fat Friendly Health Professionals list at
  6. Today, think of one positive/loving thing about a part of your body which you usually dislike and/or ignore!  (For extra credit, I’ll share this insight with someone you can trust to appreciate it, or journal about it.)
  7. Move for the joy of it today!
  8. Let go of ideas about “good” and “bad” foods today, and simply eat what your body craves!
  9. Have a spa day today! Either go to a day spa to be pampered or make your own day spa at home with manicure, pedicure, hot bath, facial, etc.
  10. Stand and sit tall today! Hold your head high and show the world beautiful posture.
  11. Read a HAES-positive article today, such as Dr. Jon Robison's article, "10 Things You Can Do Right Now To Ease Concerns About Your Weight And Improve Your Health" (
  12. Today, try out a movement or exercise activity you haven’t done in a while!
  13. Have yourself over for dinner today! Make some wonderful food, light candles, put on a dressy outfit and some relaxing music, and really savor every bite.
  14. Put on some fabulous new shoes today (even if you’re just trying them on in the store)!
  15. Today, spend a few minutes alone, in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and notice the thoughts that pass through your mind. (For extra credit, speak an affirmation such as “I accept myself just as I am,” or “I am beautiful, good, and worthy” to your image!)
  16. Visit a fat acceptance, fat fashion, or body positive blog today!  (Find links to dozens of fabulous, fat-positive blogs on the 2011 New Year’s Revolution Resources page at
  17. Enjoy a meal with someone you care about today!
  18. Find a few minutes to play today!
  19. Today, weigh the merits of foods not only by how nutritious they are, but also how delicious!
  20. Pick up the phone today and make that medical or self-care appointment you keep meaning to schedule!
  21. Wear something that makes you feel sexy and delicious today!   
  22. Enjoy what you eat and eat what you enjoy today!
  23. Go for a walk or a hike and enjoy nature today!
  24. Go through your closet today, and get rid of everything that doesn't fit or doesn’t make you feel good when you wear it!
  25. Today, give loving attention to a part of your body which you rarely pamper!
  26. Borrow or buy a fat-positive book today! (Find tons of fabulous book suggestions, both fiction and non-fiction, at the 2011 New Year’s Revolution Resources page:
  27. Tune in to what your body feels like before, during, and after you move it today!
  28. Eat a nutritious and satisfying breakfast today!
  29. Write down five things you appreciate about your body today!
  30. Hug somebody today!
  31. Spend time today thinking or writing about how to continue your New Year’s Revolution through the rest of the year 2011!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Self care... it's a right, not a privilege

The New Year's Revolution Challenge for Thursday, January 20, is: 
Pick up the phone today and make that medical or self-care appointment you keep meaning to schedule!

When we don't feel good in our own skin, or we have had the experience of being humiliated, lectured, and scolded time and time again by medical professionals, or we feel ashamed of parts of our bodies, it's easy not to feel worthy of, or entitled to, medical care or self-care or those little physical luxuries like massage or pedicures. 

I'm here to remind you, and myself too, that we are all entitled to compassionate medical care and decadent pampering. Our bodies do not disqualify us! I have finally, after 10 years of searching, lined up a Primary Care Physician and a pedicurist (two of my most crucial care providers - more on why pedicurist is on that short list later!) that make me feel I can get medical care when I need it, preventive care before I need it, and regular pedicures so my chronic ingrown toenails are kept under control - and my feet look pretty and make me feel all girly and happy.

It actually takes two doctors to make one Primary Care Physician to see to my needs. First, there's my official PCP - a family medicine physician I'll call Dr. H, who practices at the local giant non-profit full-service medical clinic (think Kaiser, but local not national). Dr. H is a lovely woman, and seems to care about me deeply. I like her, too, and always ask about her kids and really feel I have a relationship with her. Unfortunately, I've been seeing her for years, and despite trying again and again to bring her up to my HAES standards, she can't or won't get on board. When I tell her about problems she doesn't know how to solve for me with a pill or a needle, she resorts to recommending weight loss because she's so desperate to do something to help me. I even had her talk to my HAES-expert therapist, and all Dr. H got from it was "Dr. B thinks you should exercise, too." Uh-huh... not exactly the full picture of Dr. B's explanation of HAES.

So why do I stay with her? Well... it comes down to the devil you know. I considered leaving - actually tried another doc - and the new one was WAY worse than the old. She actively pushed the issue of WLS! So I did some soul-searching, and decided that I just didn't have the sanity points in my life (or the money or the time to take off work!) to try meeting with a dozen - or a hundred - possible PCPs in order to find the one in a million who truly 'gets' HAES. Or more likely, is incrementally better than Dr. H but still not the HAES guru of my dreams. In the meantime, I've thrown away a person who truly cares about me and my health and happiness, who has a (admittedly major) blind spot but is otherwise really helpful and good to me.

The reason I'm able to settle for less than perfection in my official PCP is because I have another person on my team. I've been working with a naturopathic doctor, Dr. J-L, for the past six months or so. She, too, is less than my perfect HAES guru. (What can I say? I have high standards...!) But she's less indoctrinated in Western medicine, obesity-epidemic-booga-booga than a standard doc - to the point where she understands that a "morbidly obese" person such as myself can also have an eating disorder, and because of that understanding, she will not cross the line and give me weight-loss focused nutritional advice. In fact, she's so careful that several times I've had to explicitly say, "Please, go on... I'm totally open to your advice on nutrition. The only thing I don't want to hear is calories or pounds. General nutrition guidelines are welcome!"

So after one too many weight-loss discussions with Dr. H, and the terrible WLS discussion five minutes after meeting Dr. E (that's the new potential PCP I met with once - the 'E' is for evil!), I went to Dr. J-L and proposed a deal. I told her I'd like us to agree that as far as the two of us are concerned, she's my *real* PCP, and Dr. H is my Western Medicine Liason. We can't tell Dr. H this, of course. But I realized that if I 'manage' Dr. H by avoiding talking to her about things that will trigger her fears and stereotypes about "obesity" (back pain, knee pain, foot pain... things she associates with curing by weight loss, or has no good way to help with other than prescribing weight loss), she can give me great care on other issues, the kind Western medicine is good at (sinus infections, PAP smears, etc.). And now, I have Dr. J-L to help me with those issues Dr. H isn't so good at, so I had the luxury to do so.

The upside? Dr. J-L is helping me feel better on a day to day basis. Dr. H is there to prescribe me antibiotics when my sinuses go haywire. Everybody wins.

The downside? Dr. J-L isn't covered by insurance. Not even a little bit. And I have good insurance through work! And of course, I still don't have my HAES guru. Or rather, I have many HAES gurus, but none of them is my PCP.

But hey... it's working for me. At least until I come up with something better. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to plan my next pedicure.

Vive la REVOLUTION! -- link fix

I invited  everyone to join the New Year's REVOLUTION on Facebook and then deftly posted the wrong link to the FB Event! (sad face)

Let me try that again... please join us at!/event.php?eid=190278547652738 for flabulous fun, frolic, and feats of HAES derring-do!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Well, I'm back. I was gone a little longer than the month of November, and I don't even have 50,000 NaNo words to show for it. I have no excuse other than life/I got busy/lost momentum/etc. - which is really no excuse at all!

But then again, I have been working hard at the New Year's Revolution. It started back in early December.... Marilyn Wann proposed that we (the Fat Studies List/the HAES and Fat Poz community(ies)) work to create a movement that would go viral on social media to spread the message of New Year's REVOLUTION rather than resolutions - love your body, don't buy in to January pressures to diet/self-hate, and so forth.

So throughout December, I was hot and heavily involved with brainstorming with the fabulous folks of the Fat Studies List on exactly what and how we should do for this awesome FB/social media event. I gathered lists of resources, blogs, books, and daily HAES challenges and compiled them, and other folks created images, took my list and turned it into a fabulous webpage (see, blogged and Tumblr'd and Tweeted out the wazoo, and so forth. It's been quite an affair, and I'm extremely proud of my role in the whole shebang, and flattered and humbled by the amazing group of people I have the privilege to work with. I mean, who'd'a thunk I'd count such luminaries as Marilyn Wann, Deb Burgard, Marianne Kirby, and so many others as friends and colleagues?? Holy cow, it's so darn cool!!

Seriously... a ton of great people (well, several tons, probably - we're rad fatties after all!) have contributed to this event, and we're already starting to think about how to carry the banner on into February and beyond.

Visit the website (again, it's, join the FB Event, (!/event.php?eid=190278547652738), and keep watching this space to join in the fun!!