Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This Is Why You’re Fat

My morning routine is green tea and CNN.  This morning they had a small clip about a website entitled This Is Why You’re Fat.  The tag line for the site is, “where dreams become heart attacks”.  It features some of the interesting combinations of food that people consume.

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Blueberry Waffle Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast sandwich with two eggs, two sausages, ham, string cheese and bacon between two blueberry waffles glazed with maple syrup.

 

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Secret Treasure Loaf

A loaf of ground Spam cubes with a Velveeta cheese center topped with a layer of hot Velveeta.

 

 

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Sandwich Cake

A layer of deviled ham, chicken salad and olive-nut spread between a whole loaf white bread surrounded by four packages of strawberry cream cheese.

 

 

 

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The 30,000 Calorie Sandwich

Sandwich filled with ground beef, bacon, corn dogs, ham, pastrami, roast beef, bratwurst, braunschweiger and turkey, topped with fried mushrooms, onion rings, swiss/provolone/cheddar/feta/parmesan cheeses, lettuce and butter on a loaf white bread.

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Candy Pizza

Pizza covered in caramel and chocolate sauce, topped with miniature marshmallows, gum drops, M&M’s, coconut flakes, candy hearts and a candy fried egg plus chopped pecans.

All the images of food are from submissions across the web.  While there may certainly be people who choose to eat this food, I believe the title and the tag line of this website perpetuate the myth that people that are fat are gluttonous.  Socially we have this idea that if someone is over weight it is because they have a lack of self discipline which leads to massive over eating of food choices that are high fat, calorie and carbohydrate.

There is no discussion of the fact that not every one is meant to be the so called ideal body weight.  We come in all different shapes and sizes; we have only normalized a body type and used this construction to shame large sections of the population because they do not fit into an idealized framework.

There is no mention of the predatory diet and exercise industry.  Millions of dollars are made every year from the promotion of thinness as healthy.  Let’s face facts, you can be 5’3 and 120 pounds and still die from a heart attack.  It is about genetics as much as it is about what you eat.  Thin does not necessarily equate to healthy but the diet and exercise industry would have you believe differently as their profits grow each year.

They further omit the connection between class and obesity.  There is a reason why the poorest citizens are most likely to be fat.  A head of broccoli in off season can cost as much 2.99, while a box of kraft dinner can be purchased for as little as 99 cents.  If you have a limited income you are going to choose to purchase what is most likely to fill you.  Native Canadians are our poorest citizens and  they also have the highest rate of obesity.  It is not always as simple as choosing to eat food that is bad for you because you have no impulse control.

Sites like this that are devoid of commentary simply perpetuate the fat hatred that has become pervasive in our culture.  Fat shaming is so normalized that many don’t even acknowledge how harmful this is.  People that are fat often face discrimination in many fields and this ads to the stress of surviving in a culture that strongly adheres to a hierarchy of beings.  

While the foods depicted are certainly disturbing, implying that this kind of eating is normalized is problematic.  Food is about more than nutrition and sustenance and therefore minimizing the conversation without even attempting to give lip service to the many issues associated with obesity is at the very least problematic.


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