Monday, November 19, 2012

The Evolving Blogroll, the Evolving Me

I really wish I could remember the blogs that made up my original blogroll. I can assure you that they were all written by people I respected--people I felt were decent, honest, truthful individuals who were sincere in their beliefs and kind towards others, even if I didn't always agree with them.

I don't think one of these blogs remains on my blogroll, though. Like the cells of the human body, my blogroll has totally renewed itself. Why?

Well, let's start with the obvious: my original blogroll was made up entirely of weight-loss bloggers. It's not complicated. I saw myself as a weight-loss blogger too, though the path that I was taking was a bit radical compared to my blogroll companions: I was going to lose weight through mindful eating. I had found the ultimate truth. I knew that if I listened with total concentration to my body, blocking out the extraneous "noises" of the world, I would eat when I was hungry, eat what I wanted and stop when I was full. It seemed so simple. My ultimate goal, of course, was to lose weight--in my case about 22% of my then current weight--so featuring other weight-loss bloggers on my blogroll made perfect sense.

Like all people starting a new diet (even if it was far from my first and even if I felt it was the furthest thing from a traditional diet), I threw myself into this new lifestyle with religious fervour. And of course, it worked--but only to a certain extent and only for a limited amount of time. Within about two months, the weight loss slowed to a glacial pace, even though my mindful habits continued. Within about six months, and having lost about half of what I'd aimed for, the inexorable regain began. However, since I was still fairly faithful to my mindful habits, I didn't experience the traditional total regain with a few extra pounds along for good measure. I regained about half of the loss with occasional small swings downward and then back up as is normal for people of any weight. Maintaining exactly the same number on the scale, every single day, just doesn't happen, even for the naturally slim.

Now I'm sure that some of the really gonzo weight-loss bloggers out there--who were never on my blogroll in the first place --would look at my current blogroll and sneer. Actually, if they read me (and thank goodness, they don't), they'd probably launch smear attacks against me on their own blogs, as I have seen happen to others. For such people, I am a lily-livered surrender monkey, looking to other blogs for confirmation that "giving up" is a valid option. Well, I don't agree, though I am over trying to discuss these matters in a civilized manner with some bloggers I still read. Yes, I admit it: I still read a few really nasty characters, just to see how bad the world can be sometimes. It makes me feel like a driver who slows down to rubberneck a car crash.

So, who's on my blogroll now? (Note to those of you who are on the blogroll: I might not specifically refer to your blog, but know that if you're there, it's because I think that you're fantastic!)

Actually, there are a few bloggers whose blogs could belong to the weight-loss category, but they're all extremely nuanced and far from the "rah!rah! I did it, you can too!" school.

There's Dr. Sharma, who would probably be pilloried by the gonzo weight-loss crowd for daring to say that sometimes it's just as good to stop the upward momentum and just maintain the weight that you're at. I love his expression, "the nightmare on ELMM street" (as in: "eat less, move more"). I must admit, though, that sometimes his posts drive me crazy. He has been on and off my blogroll...

There are a number of Fat Acceptance (FA) and/or Health at Every Size (HAES) blogs on my blogroll. Do I see myself in the FA camp? Not always, though I try to follow Ragen Chastain's underpants rule over at Dances With Fat. Simply put, it's none of my business how you choose to live your life (unless what you do will cause harm to others, though even that can be a problematic caveat too--I think the whole "fat people are ruining the health care system and costing the taxpayer an arm and a leg" argument is a load of bunkum). I feel totally comfortable and extremely supportive of HAES, on the other hand. The notion of encouraging people to honour their bodies through sane nourishment and joyful movement speaks to me very deeply. Again, a caveat: "eating clean" (scrubbing one's diet clean all the alimentary horrors "du jour" like gluten, carbs, sugar, etc.) strikes me as yet another pathway straight to disordered eating. For an interesting post on "food addiction"--one that is likely to cause many people apoplexy--read this, by the Fat Nutritionist. Also, read this post, from Fierce, Free Thinking Fatties. It'll knock the socks off the "lose weight-get healthy" crowd, although I know they still won't believe it.

For those of you who don't come around very often, I would like to point out two new blogs I'm now listing: Closet Puritan and Eathropology.Very different in terms of content but both very intelligent and thought-provoking.

And last but not least, there's one blog that has absolutely nothing to do with weight. Egads! I'll let you locate it yourself on my blogroll. There's a specific reason I decided to highlight it: many moons ago, when I still had an essentially weight-loss blogroll, I went over to read one of my featured blogs and clicked on a blog on her blogroll. To my disgust, it was a vile, right-wing political screed that I found nothing short of stomach turning. Needless to say, she was off my blogroll, to be replaced by a blog that I'm sure she would find equally horrendous--but which I consider to be the soul of logical thinking.

So hats off to the bloggers on my blogroll. May you live long and prosper. You inspire me every day!


  1. Oh. So. Brilliant. You.

    Cannot believe that I missed, previously, "The Underpants Rule". Probably one of Ragen's finest pieces EVAH---of intellect converging with humor. LOVE IT!

    As for dear doc Sh...

    Ahem. You know. His post from today...

    Yeah. Wanna find him and have a long rant f2f...other days I wanna find him and give him a big hug. Very few people have that sort of freaky dichotomous impact on me.

    Often, however, the topics of weight loss, fatness, etc, when approached with bias or stereotyping---no matter where I confront them---still hit way too hard for my rational mind to shrug off.

    And I'm still so mixed up inside about my external physical changes; sometimes I wonder if diabetes would really be all that bad...seriously. It's very very confusing to live for so long as a (nearly-constant) object or target of disdain and disrespect, and then gradually come to realize how different I feel now, towards myself (much more accepting), BUT NOT BECAUSE I LOST WEIGHT---because I lost that effing social stigma. Removal of the stigma has been horrifying in other ways...having to confront my own self as a former source of so much oppression is totally creepy.

    I'm finally (reluctantly) understanding thin privilege on a much deeper level, for the first time. But is it really a privilege to not be stigmatized? Apparently, in our culture, I find that it is. The stigma is so insidious that I didn't even recognize the MASSIVE INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION until it was gone. What does that say about me?

    Oh, I am so grateful for your blog and your blog roll.

    For obvious reasons...

  2. I keep you on my blogroll because above all, I admire an honest person. You will always be on my blogroll.

    1. Thanks, Chris for deciding to keep me your blogroll despite our differences of opinion.

      As I explained in this post, however, I feel that my fairly limited blogroll needs to reflect my own thinking on the issues of weight and health (and politics, in one case). Before I "renovated" my blogroll, I started to get uncomfortable featuring blogs that I felt were so at odds with the evolution in my own thinking.

      It's really nice to know that you still read me, though. I continue to read you too.

  3. Thanks for leaving me on your roll. That's an extraordinarily kind thing to do, given my defunctness.

    It's interesting, I still get readers. They generally come in spurts. Yesterday, I got 130 "reads" -- it was 6 or fewer people (that's how many read the "About") just clickin' away at what interested them. (Other days I'll get only twenty, and it's probably spammers who get caught in the Akismet net.) No one said anything yesterday, but some days they leave the nicest comments, and that makes my day. (I bet those are ones who come by way of your blogroll.) I sometimes think I'll re-emerge in blogland, especially when there's been some kind of new development or "breakthrough" that isn't what it pretends to be and I want to talk about it, but then I think, "nah." Why do I need to blog when nice people like you keep everyone on the kind and gentle path?

    I have it on good authority, by the way, that BFB has slowed down because it is re-inventing itself to be better than ever. Looking forward to that!

  4. I follow quite a few of the ones you do. In particular in order to be healthier we have to accept who we are, where we are in life. Skinnier doesn't always equal healthier. Neither is it (healthy) always a mindset. But I think your mind is as vitally important in the quality of your health. I haven't reached my weight loss goals for a myriad of reasons, ones I can control and ones I cannot. For me personally weighing less will benefit me. It's just a matter of it happening. And that won't be by osmosis, lol. I get easily discouraged by the mindsets that life is over if I don't weigh x by x date. Sometimes I fall into that trap.

    I am in an ironic circumstance now, at least I find myself thinking that. I am battling an illness that has no cure. It wasn't acquired by anything I did or didn't do It would not have mattered what I ate or not ate, whether I exercised or not, or even whether I was skinny or fat. My genetics have a flaw and this monster revealed itself. Now I must find a way to battle it and live.

    It's irony when you think how much time some of us really spend obessiving over if we change this one factor, our weight, everything will come up peaches and roses. Not always so.

    So like you, I'm trying to love me and accept me for who I am and where I am at in life's journey.