Tuesday, 14 June 2011

My Embarrassing Fat Body.

Over the last few years there's been an explosion of television programs about obese people all over the world. The latest one to crop up in the UK is channel 4's 'Embarrassing Fat Bodies', a spin-off from the very popular program 'Embarrassing Bodies'. If you're from the UK then please bear with me for a second because I know that most of you will be familiar with the show, however I'm not too sure if my US readers will know what the hell I'm on about! 'Embarrassing Bodies' pretty much does what it says on the tin - people go into a studio/clinic and show their embarrassing and unpleasant ailments to the doctors/presenters. Why on earth you would rather go on national television to get treatment for your hemorrhoids than just go to your own doctor...well, its beyond me. Despite that, I still watch it - while loudly telling anyone who will listen that the people who go on there must be completely mad, and how will they ever look anyone in the eye again knowing that their bumhole or boobs or lady bits have been on the television for everyone to see!? Sometimes the human race just astounds me.


The new spin-off, 'Embarrassing Fat Bodies', is again pretty much self-explanatory. People go in for treatment for their weight-induced (and therefore for the most part self-induced) illnesses. Cue lots of post-weight loss patients who need excess skin removed, vaginal and anal prolapses caused by obesity (one word - GRIM) and all other manner of icky stuff which nobody needs to be seeing on a Monday evening when they're eating their dinner.

Another type of patient that Doctors Christian, Pixie and Dawn see a lot of are those who are morbidly obese and 'can't lose weight' on their own and therefore require 'lifesaving' gastric surgery on the NHS. Surgery that they often seem to get with very few questions asked. All that appears to be required is a BMI of 40 or above.

Am I the only that gets really pissed off about this??

These surgeries are being paid for by my taxes (yes, mine...I might be a student, but I still work!), my parents taxes, my friends taxes...and are being performed on people who 'can't' lose weight on their own. Bullshit. I'm the first to admit that losing weight isn't easy, and I've spoken on here before about changing your relationship with food - its not something you can just go cold-turkey on, like you can with other 'addictions'. But that doesn't mean you can't lose weight by traditional means. If I can do it, if thousands of people all over the world can lose weight through eating healthily and exercising, then why can't everyone? Because they haven't tried. They lack the commitment and willpower to do it by themselves...so why should the rest of us have to pay for it? The NHS won't perform liver transplants on alcoholics unless they've been sober for a certain amount of time, so why should people who are continuing to put tens of thousands of calories into their body be offered surgery? The food they're consuming is no less potent than alcohol or drugs, its no less dangerous and has exactly the same potential to kill them in the long run.

The thing that makes me even angrier about the whole situation is the people that get the surgery and proceed to carry on filling their bodies with junk even after they've had their stomachs stapled. A case of particular note in this area is a woman who had surgery in the UK last year. After the surgery her husband brought her in a KFC bucket - while she was still in post-op. Unsurprisingly, she died a few days later because she refused to alter her eating habits, resulting in her newly eggcup-sized stomach perforating and killing her. A £10,000 operation just for her to die a few days later. Disgusting, don't you think? And even worse that gastric surgery seems to be incredibly easy to get on the NHS, whereas its next to impossible to have post-weight loss cosmetic surgery unless you pay for it privately. So after losing 8st, my chances of getting help when it comes to fixing my stomach and boobs will be nil. And I will tell you this for nothing - if my chest and belly aren't 'embarrassing', then I don't know what is. Every person has a part of their body that they hate, and for me its my boobs. The only time the bra comes off is when I'm showering or in bed. And when I say 'in bed', I mean 'asleep'. It doesn't even come off for the other thing that people do in bed. That is how much I hate them - and they're just getting worse and worse as the weight comes off, meaning that by the time I've got my my goal weigh there really will just be nothing left. They will continue to make me miserable unless I pay for them to be fixed. I've chosen to get healthy and will receive no help to rectify the damage that being overweight has caused (I am aware that I have nobody but myself to blame, before anyone gets on their high horse. I don't expect help - I know its my responsibility), but everyone seems willing to bend over backwards for those who can't or won't put down the doughnut?! I think that speaks volumes.

Despite my anger about this situation, that is not to say that I disapprove of the concept of these shows. I understand that they are intended to highlight the dangers of overeating and show people the effect it can have on their lives. Its also very inspiring when you see a person who has lost a huge amount of weight off of their own initiative. It reminds me that it can be done - and how can I moan about 8st when other people out there have lost upwards of 20st? It just infuriates me that so much coverage is given to those who turn to surgery. The doctors always talk about the operations as a 'last resort'. They talk about the dangers of surgery, the limitations of your diet afterwards, and all the other things that are intended to put across the message that surgery = bad. And yet every week they show somebody who has had, or will have, the operation. Why!? By giving it so much airtime its not demonstrating the dangers. If anything, its glamorizing the concept. It sends the message that actually its ok to get fat, because look how easy it is to have your stomach stapled on the NHS. There are no programs out there showing people who are undergoing complex and expensive cancer treatments. I struggle to believe that there will ever be a school of thought that says 'its ok to smoke, because you can get chemo for FREE'. Why is the relationship between overeating and weight loss surgery not treated the same way?

I would never, ever have considered having my stomach stapled. Even before Weight Watchers, when I thought that there was no way I could lose weight, it just wasn't an option for me. Honestly, its just because I love food too much to be restricted to eating an eggcup-full at a time. I can't imagine anything worse. I know that a lot of people who follow this blog are in the process of losing weight - was surgery ever an option for you people? And am I the only one who believes that this surgery is too readily available on the NHS? I have a feeling I may be slightly biased and could be missing the issue, so I'd love to know what your thoughts are as people who are also trying to lose weight the 'old-fashioned' way! I have definitely come to be in possession of an 'if I can do it anybody can' mindset - maybe I'm just being too narrow?? What do you think?

Hope everyone is having a good week so far!

Love to you all
Lauren xxx

P.S Just noticed I've hit 50 followers!! You guys are amazing, thank you all so much for being so supportive!!

12 comments:

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! TO ALL OF THAT!! I couldn't agree with you more!!!!! I have never seen that show and I am thankful that I haven't! That's crazy. UGhh I agree with you 150%..probably about 10x throughout this post I said out loud to myself "Amen to that!!" I wish everyone felt the same. It drives me nuts when people say "a last resort".. it can't be your last resort if you haven't even tried your first resort yet!!

    and I agree with you about the boobs! I hate mine too now and they used to be my favorite part of my body. Sucks! But I would much rather be happy with the rest of my body.. the only person that ever sees my boobs are me and my boyfriend so whatever. It is crazy though what you said about not being able to get surgery post weight loss but so easily being able to get your stomach stapled!! Truth!!

    Great post Lauren!

    -Krystle

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  2. So, that is a pain that your tax money is paying for these surgeries. I don't think they are picking good candidates if they are unwilling to change their eating habits.

    Also, I totally agree with you about the boob situation. I'm very unhappy with my chest these days, and I will pay to have them put where I want them and to look how I want them. I'm going to have to save and save to get the money to do it, because I'm not going to be lucky and find some show to pay for it!

    Sarah
    notaneffingdiet.blogspot.com

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  3. I'm a little worried about weight loss and how my body will look after, I'm not sure if it's better for me to be healthier and a bit slimmer or confident and a little bigger, excess skin and breasts will be a bit of an issue for me so I'm not sure what my goal weight will be yet.
    I see quite a lot of over weight people using motability scooters, being fat isn't a disability so it really annoys me.
    I do think that the NHS needs to re think it's strategy when it comes to these types of surgery.
    x

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  4. I have a different angle on this. Two of my mother's friends who are in their 50s have had gastric bands, both after 30 + years of dieting that has essentially failed. They look great, one of them paid privately for plastic surgery to get rid of the excess skin and their quality of life has much improved. They can only eat smalla mounts, but they don't make a big deal of it and just get on with their lives. One of these friends must have lost about 20 stone and is a completely different person. The weightloss is still hard (you can gain weight with a band if you only eat milk and cookies)and they still have to un-educate themselves about food, bingeing etc, but the physical restrction helps them to maintain a healthy weight for life.

    Its all too easy to lose weight (as I know) the hardest part is keeping it off for the rest of your life (this I also know). The NHS provides gastric bands for people over a BMI of 40 because the operation sucess rate (the patient loses weight and then keeps it off for a number of years, perhaps the rest of their lives) is higher than the sucess rate of sending a patient on a diet. The operation is probably cheaper and more sucessful (hence efficient and cheaper for the tax payer) than paying a GP/Dietician to counsel a patient over months, maybe years and for the patient to still be fat, or even fatter at the end of it.

    The diet industry is so sucessful precisely because they don't work in the long term for a majority of people (if they did work forever then they would have no market). The NHS does have partnerships with Slimmimg WOrld/ Rosemary Conley et al but I have yet to belong to a GP practice that does this.

    I wuldn't have a band at this stage of my life but if I was knocking on for 30 stone and desperate, I would consider it.

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  5. Oh and I don't think that being fat is a disability- however a disability can make you fat (e.g. you have bad knees and can't exercise so you get fat). People aren't robots- they have thoughts, feelings and free will. If you are fat it is all too easy for people to judge you; a 8 stone jobless heroin addict on first sight will be thought of as healthy and 'good' because they are thin whilst an 18 stone person (who could hold down a high powered job and contribute £1000s in taxes, but happens to zoom around on a mobility scooter because they have bad arthritis which would still be giving them problems if they were thin) is immediately judged as stupid and lazy. Very unfair.

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  6. I tend to agree with what you are saying but then I am also in the school of thought that you can say this about anything self-induced; lung cancer through smoking, liver disease through alcoholism, injuries through extreme sport, they are all going into it knowing what could happen... I do not agree with it but I can see the other side. When I see people who say that they have 'tried everything' I think to myself 'really, have you seriously tried everything' because with very few exceptions, weight loss is a simple equation of your body expending more that you put into your body.

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  7. I hadn't heard about this show but I will look it up. I agree with almost everything you said Lauren but there's something I really want to stress: I find it completely stupid to say the least that people don't realise that if they do have the surgery they will actually be able to eat LESS than if they were on a diet! I think most of them don't realise that otherwise, it'd be easier to diet! Take ww for example, I'm not saying it's the best 'diet' as I haven't tried any other ones, but people who eigh so much in the first place would have an astronomical amount of points to eat. They would probably eat 10 times as much as if they have the surgery!

    Then, as you said, when they say they have 'tried' everything I'm of the opinion that it's bullshit. You want to loose weight? Then you can. But by saying "wanting to loose weight" you must really mean it. With this, you can't only mean it a little. You have to be 100% sure that you want it, and that you're going to do it. And then, because you are pretty heavy when you start trying, you should either get medical assistance or at least do some research. But have people considered this? Probably not, why? Because they want it to be easy! It was easy to get fat so it should be easy to get slim right? Wrong! And they should just take their hands out of the biscuit tin first!

    (I'm not talking about people who have an eating disorder here, just the people who eat too much.)

    xx

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  8. I suppose my views sit somewhere in the middle.
    I too am from UK and notice with raised eyebrows how many american blogs describe surgical routes for people who, in my opinion are relatively young and have a relatively small amount to lose.
    On the one hand...I am scared of surgery, I have kids and I don't want the risk of death in the procedure which HAS happened. Secondly I don't want to admit I can't do this...I can and I'm going to get on with it.
    I don't want, never have wanted, haven't had and won't have any form of weight loss surgery.
    However, there are some aspects to my weight loss plan as I describe on my blog that others do admit they don't get.....e.g I haven't and am not thinking of stepping on a set of scales all the way through this diet and I'm not intending to anytime soon either. Plenty of people don't get that.
    I don't get WLS, but I do agree that every person has the right to choose what is right for them and to do it. Just because I cannot get my head around WHY anyone would want to do it, I accept it is an option and it works very well for some and I"m accepting of my taxes paying for that as I am for it paying many millions to support drug addicts or self harmers or alcoholics or all the many thousands of people whose lifestyles are not the ones I would choose and who need NHS funding to set right. I have kids and one has had outstanding care since being a baby in Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, and I'm guessing many people who chose not to have kids, or don't have kids pay taxes to keep this wonderful hospital going. I've had more than my fair share of taxpayers money for this care for which I am terribly grateful and I'm not too fussed where my taxes go so long as they are appreciated by the recipients and used wisely.
    I'm new to your blog and shall follow along...nice to met a fellow Brit
    Dawn

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  9. oops! got carried away and seem to have written loads! Sorry

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  10. A friend of mine had a gastric band (on the NHS) fitted a few years back. She was "morbidly obese" and had literally tried everything - her weight was really damaging her health, and it was a last resort. It's been a long, hard road, and she's been hospitalised several times with dehydration after the bands become blocked. I'm not sure I agree with the surgery being funded on the NHS, but I definitely don't agree with the corrective surgery my friend will get when she reaches her target BMI of 27.

    (Hello, by the way - I came via Where are my Knees)

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  11. lol you're kinda dumb, some people have medical illnesses which make it so they're NOT able to lose weight... Good try though judgmental bitch.

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  12. 'Medical conditions which make it so they're NOT able to lose weight'? Which ones are those?

    These excuses are based on either immobility (in which case - EAT LESS FOOD because you cannot burn off excess), or hormonal issues. The most common one of the latter is an under-function thyroid gland. I was born without a thyroid. My BMI is (now) 21. Appetite is a contributing factor, sure, but fundamentally, overeating is a choice. I have zero sympathy for people who use 'medical conditions' as an excuse for the bad choices they make.

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I love all your comments, so please let me know what you think!