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An Open Letter to Lite ‘n Easy

Published January 1, 2014 by Fat Heffalump

Dear Lite ‘n Easy,

Firstly, I want to let you know that I am a happy customer.  I have been using Lite ‘n Easy now for the past few months and have not had a single negative experience.   Well, there could be less peas in everything but that’s personal taste!

However, I need to talk to you about the email that you sent this morning.

Look, I know it’s January 1st, and that marketing opportunity is too good to resist.  New year, people are wanting to make changes and face things fresh.  I understand the email going out today.  But what I take issue with are the following assumptions in the email:

  1. That your customers must want to lose weight.
  2. That all of your customers use Lite ‘n Easy as a weight loss aid.
  3. The lack of sensitivity towards any customers who may be using your meal plans to help deal with an eating disorder.
  4. That your customers *have* lost weight while using your service.
  5. That somehow losing weight is going to be one of the things, or enable me to do things “that I love”.

Before I continue on, as a little background, I want to explain why I decided to become a Lite ‘n Easy customer again a few months ago.  Many years ago, when I was still chasing the myth of weight loss, I tried Lite ‘n Easy.  I loved it.  The food was fantastic quality, and there was more of it than I could eat.  I saved money.  I saved time.  But despite loving it, I was miserable.  Why?  Because I didn’t lose any weight.  Actually I lost a little bit at first, but then, like every other time I had tried to lose weight, it crept back on.  I blamed myself.  I blamed you.  I did everything but blame the myth of weight loss.  So I stopped using Lite ‘n Easy, and went back to the severe restriction and purging eating disorder I had been nurturing since I was 13.

Now fast forward to a few months ago.  I have realised that my worth does not lie in my weight (or lack of it).  I have stopped putting my life on hold until I am thin.  I have filled my life with the things that are important, and I’ve been in recovery from my eating disorder for almost 6 years.  I am a fat woman, but I now understand that the size and shape of my body bears no relevance on the quality of my life.

However, one of the problems with living life to the fullest for me is that I’m not very good at eating competently.  I can thank a society that tells women we must be thin to be worthy and 25+ years of a very fraught relationship with food for that.  I’m working hard and playing hard, it’s awesome.  But  I’m not eating enough.  I’m skipping breakfast and finding myself ravenous by lunch, and then at night too tired to eat anything for dinner more than a bit of toast.  I’m struggling with those old eating disorder demons again.  I’m getting more and more run down and my energy levels are disappearing.  Then I see a woman at work eating a Lite ‘n Easy lunch, and I remember how much I liked it, how convenient it was and how it was good for me to have all my daily meals all laid out for me and how much money I saved in the long term.

So I make the decision to start using Lite ‘n Easy again, and I’ve not regretted it at all.  The food is excellent.  There is far more of it than I can eat, so much that over the Christmas week while I am busy socialising, I can just skip a week of Lite ‘n Easy and there are still plenty of meals for me left to cover those times I’m not out socialising.

I get that half of your brief is “Lite”.  I’m not going to tell you to let go of that.  It clearly works for you, though I personally believe that you lose a lot of customers who either don’t lose weight while using your products and services, or who aren’t interested in losing weight.  However it has been your business name for a long time, and has a lot of goodwill attached to it.  I can understand you not wanting to let go of that.  I don’t have a problem with that side of your business if you keep it out of my inbox.

Now, you can see I am very happy with your product and service.  But back to my points above as to why your email was unwelcome and frankly offensive.

  1. I understand that some people still believe in the myth of weight loss.  I understand that is part of your marketing but you keep it pretty low key on your website, so I don’t have to see it when I place my orders.  However, when it arrives in my inbox unsolicited, I am not happy.  I don’t want to see weight loss propaganda.  I can opt out of seeing it until you start pushing it in my inbox.
  2. As I mentioned before, I don’t use Lite ‘n Easy as a weight loss aid.  I use it as a convenience, a money saver, and because I feel healthier and have more energy when I eat a balanced diet.  I am still the same weight as I was when I started a couple of months ago.  I will no doubt be the same weight in a year from now.  That’s OK, I am happy with who I am.  But I don’t like the presumption that I must want to lose weight if I use your product/services.
  3. You can’t know how many of your customers are dealing with eating disorders or are in recovery.  Your product and service is exceptionally good for helping those recovering from eating disorders eat competently.  How about thinking about how you might be able to market your product to help people like myself, rather than sending us material that is deeply triggering.
  4. Never lost an ounce.  Still think your product and service is fantastic.  Not likely to lose an ounce in future.  Still happy to stay your customer.  When I believed in the myth of weight loss, I stopped purchasing your product because I believed it, and I had failed.
  5. I can already do everything that I love.  And those things I can’t do, weight loss isn’t going to help me do them.  In fact, chasing weight loss prevents me from trying.  I’ve done so much more with my life in the past 5 years than I did in all the years I was chasing weight loss.  Consider I started dieting when I was 11.  How many things did I not do because I believed I couldn’t do the things I love unless I was thin?

Where do we go to from here?  Well, I’d like to see you cease sending weight loss propaganda to your customers unsolicited.  That doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t send marketing – I do know how business works.  But I think you could bring yourself FAR more customers, and keep them, if you let go of the weight loss brief and focus on the things that you do really well at Lite ‘n Easy.  How about these for points to focus on:

  • Busy life?  Let us do the work and bring you delicious, nutritious meals to your door.
  • Do the things you love and let us take care of the meal planning, shopping and food preparation.
  • Eat delicious!  Eat healthy!  Eat variety!  Eat conveniently!
  • Show people your food.  It tastes delicious and looks great.  I mean look at this screen grab from your email – yum!

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 12.06.14 PM

  • This sentence from your email is excellent – “You can enjoy all the taste, convenience and health benefits again in 2014.”
  • Show some diverse people (other than white, thin people) enjoying life.  Being active, happy and having fun.  This is aspirational.  This makes me want a product.  Not “look at some thin people, don’t you want to be thin like them?”  Even if I did believe in weight loss, not being represented in marketing is not something that makes me feel good about a product.
  • “Simply Eat Well” – this is a brilliant slogan.  Keep it.  Focus on it.  Use it everywhere.  That’s why I use your product/service – I want to simply eat well.

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 12.09.39 PM
To all of you at Lite ‘n Easy – especially the marketing team – you have a great product and your service is excellent.  Don’t ruin it by choosing poor marketing methods.

Yours sincerely

Kath Read

Stop! It’s the Holiday Season Food Police!

Published December 25, 2013 by Fat Heffalump

It’s that time of year again.  The “let’s be a jerk comments about food” time of year.  I don’t know about you, but I’m quite done with it already and it’s only Christmas Eve!*

Eating while fat at any time is a fraught exercise.  I just read a great post over on Shakesville by Aphra Behn on the weekend, take the time to go read it if you haven’t already.  But come the holiday season, and that really can extend any time from about late October through to oh, February, depending on where you live, it really gets intense.  So many people turn into the food police.  I don’t know about you, but when someone drops a food police bomb on me, more often than not I’m so taken aback by it that I can’t respond in the moment.  I’m already traumatised by food thanks to a lifetime of dieting and disordered eating, without having someone be a jerk over it.  Even though I’m well seasoned (see what I did there?) in dealing with food police.

So I thought I might drop a few examples with useful responses here that we could all use, and if you have any good ones you can put them in the comments.

“Oh, my diet is going to be SO ruined by this!”

“Well, you don’t have to eat any of this, we’ll understand if you choose not to, but we plan to enjoy it.”

“I didn’t realise that eating this was compulsory.”

“Like your diet isn’t going to be ruined by the fact that it’s an unsustainable way of feeding yourself in the long term.”

“That’s probably a good thing, it’s a well established fact that 95% of diets cause you to gain more weight in the long term than you lose.”

“This pie is SO sinful!”

“There’s a church at [insert nearby church address here] – I’m sure they’ll take your confession.”

“I’m more worried about the three firemen I shagged last night blotting my virtue.”

“I love the smell of brimstone in the morning!”

“It’s just pie, it’s not the anti-Christ.”

“Are you sure you haven’t had enough to eat already?”

“Are you sure what I eat is any of your business?”

“No.  I think I’ll have some more.  Thanks for checking in with me.”

“Why – is there more food somewhere?”

“Clearly not, or I wouldn’t be preparing to eat this.”

“That can’t be good for your health.”

“I didn’t know you’d gone and got a medical degree!”

“That’s so nice of you to worry about my health.  Would you mind looking at this rash I have… *zip*… down here?”

“Worry is worse for your health, so you take care and stop worrying about what I eat.”

“A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips!”

“I’m not smearing it on my arse.”

“How about if I chew it REALLY slowly?  Will that be longer than a moment on my lips?”

“A moment on the lips, a lifetime of embarrassment for making such a stupid statement!”

“Oh, no, I’m watching my weight.”

“That must be boring viewing.”

“Why, does it do tricks?”

“I’m going to get SO FAT after all of this.”

“I’m fat, what’s wrong with being fat?”

“So you don’t want to be like me then?”

“Probably.”  (this one REALLY sticks in their craw!)

“We are all going to have to get on the treadmill tonight!”

“I don’t have to do anything of the sort, you worry about your body, I’ll worry about mine.”

“You do realise that human beings are not combustion engines right?  Bodies are far more complex than calories in/calories out.”

“If you want to be a hamster on a wheel for your evening entertainment, go for it.  I’ve got better things to do.”

*Stares at your food/plate*

Grab something off the plate and lick it and then put it back on the plate.  Say “There, now steal it.”

Take a fork/spoon full, raise it really, really slowly to your mouth, eat it really sexily and roll your eyes and make orgasm sounds.  Add a “Damn this is good!” for effect.

Pick up something small from your plate and throw it at them.

~~~@~~~

How’s that to get you all started on dealing with the food police?  Again, if you have any good ones, leave them in the comments so that we can build up an arsenal against the jerks out there who think they have a right to comment on our food and eating.

*I had this all ready to post last night but I spent too many hours having a beautiful roast chicken dinner with cheesecake and plum pudding with friends while we drooled over Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and didn’t get home until midnight, so it’s going up today.  Merry Christmas!  Or if Christmas is not your thing, I hope you’re having a fabulous holiday season of your choice!

Reindeer Games

Stuff I Dig Volume 1

Published October 13, 2013 by Fat Heffalump

As part of trying to get back into the swing of things, I’ve decided to attempt to do a semi-regular post of things that I find online that I really dig.  Be it interesting articles, fatshion, artworks, things that make me laugh.  A kind of potted view of the things I post all over the internet, be it Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or anywhere else I lurk about.  It gives me a chance to signal boost some cool stuff, and to talk about the things I dig with you all.  Sometimes it might have a method or layout, other times it might just be a hotch potch of stuff.

I really encourage  you to share stuff in the comments that you’ve been interested in, but please keep it to positive stuff – no posting some shitty journalist hating on fat people, or any other douchenozzle behaving badly.  Let’s not give those people the signal boost.  Though thoughtful and kick arse responses to douchecanoes are welcome!

So, let me see, what have I been into lately…

Fat Activism

Gradient Lair on Thin Privilege and Intersectionality

A powerful piece from Rebecca Shaw on coming out as fat.

Kyla the Great’s tips on dealing with haters and harassers.

My favourite piece of the past few days, Elizabeth Tamny on the visibility of fat people and THAT Elle cover with Melissa McCarthy.

Caitlin Seida writes about how her photograph was stolen online and set upon by Reddit trolls.

Fatshion Inspiration

My lovely friend Bek, she of Colourful Curves, wrote an excellent guest post on Suger Coat It on how to do fatshion on a budget.

Check out these amazing paua shell look nails by karengnails:

paua nails

Here’s Jodie of Fat Additives looking as fierce as fuck in Autograph:

fat additives

I made such a noise of awe when I saw this photograph of Leah from Sweet Tea Kisses:

sweet tea kisses

I loved this post from Maiya Mayhem on fashion rules for fat girls:

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.33.41 PM

Feminism

I love this piece by Laurie Penny on the idea that feminism needs re-branding.

Skepchick on why she doesn’t go to the police when she is on the receiving end of online threats and harassment.

A Good Cause

You know how hard it is to find a decent bra?  Well, some women have it way, way harder than we do.  And we can help them by sending them bras in pretty much any condition (yep, they need them that bad!)   So you know those bras you have kicking around that have a broken underwire, or don’t fit you?  Send them along to the Uplift Project.

Cuteness

Hear the mighty lion roar!

If you follow me on Tumblr at all, you know that I am totally besotted with Tom Hiddleston.  I mean look at how pretty he is:

hiddles 1

hiddles 2

No really, he’s delicious.  Look, here he is practicing swordplay for the upcoming production of Coriolanus (which I have tickets to a broadcast of!)

Nipples!

Nipples!

Food

Look at how gorgeous this polka dotted cake is!

polka dotted cake

Laughs

Read the reviews on these sugar free gummi bears.  Maybe don’t read them in public (or at the office lunch table like I did – I got stares!)

Jess of Ghost of Enid has done this brilliant set of Tony Abbott: Minister for Women posters.  Political statements are so effective when infused with humour.  Here’s an example:

minister for women

And here’s Kermit the Frog doing his take on Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”:

wrecking ball

Other Fab Stuff

Does anyone want to buy me a house?  I mean look at this library:

dream library

Music

Let me finish with the most kick arse girl band you will see in a long, long time.  You need to watch to at least 2 minutes in to get the full benefit.

My Plate Does Not Have to Be the Same As Your Plate

Published February 3, 2013 by Fat Heffalump

I’m having one of those “What is so hard to understand about it?” moments.  You know the drill, someone says or posts something judgemental, you call it out, and then they turn themselves into knots trying to justify their actions/attitudes.  And you just realise that it’s not going to get through, but you can’t understand what is so hard to understand.  I have those a lot, I shouldn’t, but yeah… the willful ignorance just boggles me.

The current puzzler is about food judgement.  I’m really struggling to understand why people can’t see that what other people eat is none of their business, and what they choose to eat doesn’t need to be moralised or proselytised as though it’s the only way to eat.

It’s really simple.  Worry about what’s on your own plate, and what you put in your own mouth (and your own children’s).  If you choose not to eat certain foods, that’s ok.  If there are certain foods that make you unwell, that’s ok.  If there are certain foods that you simply don’t like, that’s ok.

But let’s quit broadcasting messages about food as though there is one true way to eat.

What does this mean?  Well, let’s start with the old social media post.  I am sure you’ve ALL seen them.  The link to some article denouncing sugar as poison, or carbs as the scourge of society, or meat as unnatural.  Or then the new one is the infographic.  Some thing that tells people not to eat processed food, or how many greens they should have, or how much sugar is in something and so on.  Those “pithy” little jpegs or gifs that scatter around Facebook or Tumblr spreading their judgement all over the place.  Why do people post those?  To prove that the way they eat is somehow morally better than people who make different food choices?  To “convert” people to eating the “right” way?  I’m not sure, all I see when they pop up on my social media is someone telling others what to do with their own bodies.

Then there’s the social situation.  There is food available.  Someone doesn’t eat that food for whatever reason.  They don’t just say “No thank you”, instead they say things like “Oh no, I couldn’t, I’ve already been a little pig!”  Or “Oh no, my hips will never forgive me!  I’m already getting fat.”  Or “No, I don’t eat sugar/processed food/carbs/whatever – it’s poison.”  There’s the conversations in the office about what diets people are on.  There are the questions like “Are you sure you need that?”  The outright statements “I can’t eat that, too many calories.”  Or even “Go on, have another slice, you know you want to.” or “Come on, just try some, I’m sure you’ll like it.”

The scenarios are endless, I’m sure you’ve all had examples of your own plenty of times, and you are welcome to share them in the comments.

The thing is, food is such a loaded subject in our current culture.  It has become a moral measure to so many people, and that moralising is now a way people bond.  Recently when challenging someone’s attitude about food moralising I was told “Well if  you don’t talk about anyone other than yourself, you can’t avoid casting judgement.”  I call bullshit on that.  While yes, it’s very easy to slip back into the dominant way of thinking about food and loading it with morality, it’s also easy to be conscious of that judgement and nip it in the bud.  It’s like the matrix – once you’ve taken that red pill and are aware of the reality of just how fucked up judging people for food (and other arbitrary measures), you see it all over the place.  You CAN look at your own thoughts and behaviours and curb them when they’re inappropriate.  You CAN train yourself out of that culturally dominant way of thinking, you just have to be willing to let go of being judgemental of others for abitrary reasons.  Sometimes I think people don’t want to let go of that.

But you CAN let go of that.  You can talk about food (even foods you don’t like or can’t eat) without loading it with moral judgement on others.

To give examples of myself – it is a constant source of teasing from my USian and Canadian friends about how squeamish I am about pumpkin desserts.  The quickest way to get a reaction out of me is to post a pumpkin pie or pumpkin-spiced latte on FB and tag it with my name and they get rewarded with me going “Ewwwww, I can’t!”  It’s just something I personally cannot bear to eat, despite loving pumpkin as a savoury vegetable.  I made friends roar with laughter when I was in the US and I announced, on tasting pumpkin ice-cream that it was “the most disgusting thing I had ever eaten and that’s saying something because I’ve eaten scorpion, grubs, and two different types of testicle!”  But that isn’t saying that it’s “bad” to eat pumpkin desserts, or that other people shouldn’t – just that I don’t like them.  In fact if I’m not getting all squeamy I usually just say “Please feel free to eat my share of pumpkin desserts of the world, I don’t want them!”

Another example is allergies.  I am allergic to sheep.  Yes, I know, I’m weird.  I can’t wear the wool, come in contact with lanolin or eat the meat.  Now if lamb is on the menu somewhere, I simply ask not to have any, because I’m allergic.  The same goes for avocado, which I am also allergic to.  A simple “May I ask if this has avocado in it?” followed by “No thank you, I’m allergic.”  Almost every time the host or other folk will point out something that is avocado free, and then we’re all good.

Or if you really want to make sure you’re not loading food talk with moral judgement, my other method is to just keep repeating myself with a polite “No thank you.”  No matter how many times someone tries to pressure me into eating something that I don’t want, I just keep saying “No thank you.”  If they push you to give a reason, just say “Because I said no thank you.”  They’re going to be the one who looks douchey for pushing the issue, not you for politely refusing.

That doesn’t mean that the topic of food is off the agenda – talk about food.  Talk about how delicious it is, where you found the good stuff, where the food wasn’t so great, who made that delicious recipe, how cute the presentation is, the foods you’ve tried around the world, even the foods you don’t like.  Just don’t load it with moral judgement as you do so.  If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you don’t eat gluten or dairy or sugar for whatever reason – that’s ok.  But please, don’t tell the rest of us we are “evil” or “greedy” or “lazy” for eating differently to you.  A simple “I choose not to eat meat because I don’t feel right eating animals.” or “No sugar for me thanks, it makes me feel really unwell.” is acceptable.  It makes it clear that you have made choices about the food you eat without heaping judgement on anyone else.

Besides, how often do you know who is hearing that moralising?  How often are you sure there’s not someone with an eating disorder around that is triggered by that kind of talk?  Or someone who has a serious medical issue, or someone who is simply broke and can’t afford to pick and choose foods as much as others?  Do you really want to be the douche who makes people feel bad about food when they have enough to deal with already?

But what do you do when you’re in a social setting (either online or off) where someone is going on and on about food, loading it with moral judgement?  Well, that depends on the situation and the person it is.  Sometimes you can be blunt and say “Oh pull your head in, mind your own damn business.”  Other times you might have to have your polite pants on.  Like the workplace or a social situation at someone else’s house.  If you can’t walk away (a very effective response to food moralising sometimes!) there are several things you can say.  You can simply say “That’s ok, you don’t have to eat it, but you don’t need to judge others for choosing to.”  Sometimes I say things like “Hey, eat the chocolate or don’t eat the chocolate, it’s your body, you get to choose what to do with it.” which seems to nip it in the bud too.  Or perhaps “Let’s not put a dampener on the party by policing the food ok?”

I know these aren’t always going to work, there is always going to be that situation where you can’t speak up, and walking away will make a scene that you don’t want to have.  But knowing that you don’t have to carry that moral judgement on your shoulders also helps.  If someone is crapping on about food and loading it with moral judgement, then that’s a reflection on THEM, not a reflection on you.

Your plate is YOUR plate.  Your body is YOUR body.  Keep your food morals to yourself and don’t take on anyone else’s food morals.

Om Nom Nom

Published October 13, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

One of the most powerful forms of fat activism is to reclaim your right to eat and enjoy food.  Fat people have their food choices and eating policed constantly, from the constant barrage of marketing and media that labels food as either bad/sinful/unhealthy or good/virtuous/healthy, to the passing comments on what you are eating.  I could write volumes on comments that have been made to me about my food and eating from both people who I know and complete strangers.  A few of my favourites include:

  • the elderly woman who didn’t bother to lower her voice as she walked past me eating a fruit salad outside a cafe and said in a disgusted tone “People like that should just not eat, ever.”
  • The colleague years ago who tried to take my Slurpee off me in the elevator because he decided that it was bad for me.  He wasn’t joking.
  • The colleague who used to stalk me at lunch time and stare intently at me while I ate my lunch, her eyes travelling from my plate to my mouth with each bite and then say “I couldn’t eat that, it has too many calories.”
  • The two women who loudly said “Oh God, how disgusting is she?” while I sat eating a chicken and salad meal with my then boyfriend (who was very thin) who was eating a steak-burger, chips, a meat pie and a large thickshake AND was picking food off my plate.
  • The woman who thought I couldn’t hear her in the supermarket because I had my earbuds in, who looked in my shopping basket (that particular day only contained yoghurt, toilet paper and toothpaste) and said to her daughter “That’s what happens when you eat too much rubbish food.”
  • The old boss that said “You need to stop thinking about food” when I worriedly asked my visibly tired, stressed colleague when he was going to go take his lunch break, which he clearly needed.

I’m sure many of you can supply your own examples of the douchey, insensitive, invasive things people do and say to you as a fat person, on the topic of food and eating.

But that is not what this post is about.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram (username FatHeffalump) may have noticed that I use the #freefatty hashtag a lot, when I post pictures of food.  My aim is to reclaim my freedom to eat, to enjoy food, to share and celebrate food, without allowing anyone to shame or lecture me for my choices.  Sadly, that constitutes a radical act these days, when it really shouldn’t.  I mean other than to enjoy “breaking bread” with someone, or to share food experiences, who gives a fuck what other people eat right?  But our entire culture is geared to load shame and moral value to what people eat (or don’t eat).  I refuse to buy into that.  I’m not going to justify what I eat.  I’m not going to make excuses for eating things that are considered “unhealthy” or “sinful” or “junk”.  Nor am I going to crow or brag about eating something considered “healthy” or “virtuous”.  I’m going to share my food choices either because they look good, taste amazing, are celebratory or are just interesting for whatever reason.  It might just be because it’s part of my day and I like sharing my life with my friends and fellow Tweeters/Tumblrers/Instagrammers.

So today, I’m going to dedicate this blog post to sharing some photos of food I’ve eaten over the past few months (since I got into Instagram and have the photos to share) and talk about what I was doing when I ate them.  I encourage  you to talk about this food, and food you’ve eaten recently in the comments.  Tell me about the most delicious thing  you’ve eaten recently.  Talk about one of the photos below.  Tell your own story about food.  Let’s be radical and reclaim our right to food and eating Heffalumpies!

Bike snack.

I often take snacks with me when I ride my bike, I particularly like cheese, crackers and dried fruit.  They’re easy to pack, tasty and don’t create any rubbish I have to bring home with me.

French toast

French toast is one of my easy meals when I get home from work after a hard day.  How do you have your French toast?  When I was a kid it was always a savoury thing, served with salt and vinegar.  I still eat it that way if I cook it for myself, but I do love to have it as a sweet dish with maple syrup or lemon syrup if I go out for brunch or something.

Choccies!

It was a really intense time at work so my colleague brought along a box of chocs for us to share in our team meeting.  I’m not a big fan of Favourites, but I have been known to pick out the Flake or Moro minis from them.  If I buy boxed chocolates for the team at work, I usually buy Darrell Lea soft centres.

Wednesday morning breakfast.

We have farmer’s markets outside my office building every Wednesday, and I’ve got into the habit of getting a sour cherry danish from the Italian bakery stall each Wednesday morning, which I have with my regular cup of coffee.  Yes, I drink my coffee black – at least I do when it’s instant or plunger coffee.  I don’t mind a latte (made on lactose free or skim milk – I don’t drink a lot of milk) if I am getting espresso coffee.  These danish are amazing – so tangy!

You don’t win friends with salad! You don’t win friends with salad!

This was a salad I made myself for dinner one night.  It was mixed greens, roasted capsicum, shredded carrot and beetroot and crunchy noodles with a mango dressing.  It was sooooo good.  I want one now in fact!

I went out for brunch with some friends at the Lagoon Coffee Lounge here at Sandgate, and ordered this amazing breakfast.  Brunch is one of my favourite meals.  Especially if it involves mushrooms.

Fat woman eating ice-cream – NOOOOO!!

Yes, this fatty loves ice-cream.  Particularly rum and raisin.  There is a gelateria on the waterfront here at Sandgate and I’ve only ever been there twice since I moved here.  I picked this up one Sunday afternoon on my way back from a walk along the waterfront.  It was SO GOOD!

Mjolnir macerates strawberries perfectly.

Also purchased from the Wednesday farmer’s markets are these gorgeous strawberries from Kandara farm.  They are so much better than any of the supermarket stuff.

Gina’s Pastizzi

My friend Gina makes THE most amazing pastizzi.  She worked in our office for a month and spoiled us by bringing in a huge container of these.

Tacolicious!

Decent Mexican food has been nigh on impossible to find in Australia, but now that Guzman Y Gomez stores are popping up all over the place, it has got so much better.  It’s not very often I get to go to one, but I was in the Wintergarden for something a few weeks ago, so I had to stop there for lunch.

Wow!

My friends Di, Kerri and I went to the Beaudesert show (like a carnival or fair for you non-Aussies) and the big food tradition at Beaudesert show is pavlova with strawberries and cream from the Jimboomba scout association.  They’ve been doing that stand at the Beaudesert show for as long as I can remember, and it’s always a massive hit every year.  This was a small serve!

Quack!

I don’t really need to say anything about this photo do I?  Except that you can see the magnet I got from Weta Caves in New Zealand (Frodo’s sword, Sting) and one from Colombia that my friend’s Roberto and Elena brought back for me.

Looks like kibble, I know.

I keep this rice cracker stuff in a Tupperware container at work for snacks.  It’s great for when I want something a bit crunchy.  It’s cheap too, I pick it up from the Golden Circle outlet when I can in big 2kg bags that last me forever.

The ultimate comfort food.

Bangers and mash with onion gravy.  Is there anything more comforting?  While the weather was cold I’d have this about once a week, it’s easy to cook, the leftovers are delicious and it tastes great.

Fancy dinin’!

I had a day out with some ladies I met through Bookcrossing a few weeks ago.  We went to the Mummy exhibit and the Queensland Museum, and also had a look at the Gwen Gillam (local fashion designer from the 50’s/60’s/70’s) exhibit, and then had lunch at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) Bistro.  I had this AMAZING hazelnut crusted pork cutlet on roasted kumara and onions.  WOW.

Another Aussie tradition – Neenish tarts.

It’s lovely when a colleague shows appreciation.  One of the fab library folk brought in a container of these for me a couple of weeks ago.  These are Neenish tarts.  I have know idea where Neen is or how Neenish tarts came about, so let’s ask Wikipedia.

Thai prawn stirfry with cashews and jasmine rice.

Tiramisu

These two go together.  My lovely friend Vonnie and her husband Callum and their son Ewan were visiting Queensland a couple of weeks ago on holidays, and we met up for dinner.  Vonnie is one of the first friends I made on the internet – we met through a SeaChange (Australian TV show) mailing list a LONG time ago, and I visited her in Melbourne 9 years ago when she invited me to her wedding after having only met me once before when she and Callum were visiting Brisbane.  Their wedding was one of the most beautifully relaxed and truly special events I have ever been to.  As Vonnie is a vegetarian, Callum is a meat-eating truck driver and Ewan is a small boy with the usual small boy dietary requirements, I took them to Jo-Jo’s here in Brisbane because they have a really broad variety of meals, and are kid friendly.  I almost always have their Thai prawn stirfry with cashews and jasmine rice when I go there, it’s that good and has been on their menu for at least 20 years.  I had a wonderful evening with them all, I wish we lived closer together so I could see them more often.

This is yakisoba.  It is usually what I have for lunch on the day I don’t bring it in from home.  I love Japanese food, it’s so tasty and chock full of veges.

Food for the brain and the body.

At least once on a weekend I try to take my lunch and a book down to the waterfront for a couple of hours relaxed reading.  This is last Saturday’s fare – Tom Cho and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Team Breakfast

Every now and then my team at work take time out together to have breakfast before work.  We particularly like the Java Coast Cafe on George Street.  I cannot tell you how good that wilted spinach (under the grilled tomato) is!  The mushrooms are amazing too.  It’s good for us, we get some time to talk about something other than work, and remember that we are all people outside of work.  It keeps us a tight, strong team.

Last one!  This was my breakfast/brunch this morning.  Pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, and a latte.  A couple of times per month I take myself (and my book of course) off for brunch on a weekend.  I like the aforementioned Lagoon Coffee Lounge – you can see why by this delicious breakfast!

Ok, so over to you.  Tell me about a meal or dish you’ve had, something you’ve cooked, or a tasty snack you love.  Please remember that there will be no moralising about food, no deeming it good/bad and no judgement of what other people eat.  And most importantly NO DIET TALK!

Bon appetit!

How Much of Our Lives Do We Waste?

Published August 23, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

It happens almost every day.  Sitting at the communal lunch table, usually playing Pocket Frogs or reading a book while I eat my lunch, I hear it start up…

“Oh, market day is my downfall, I turn into such a piggy-wig!”

“I don’t eat dairy, gluten or sugar.  You know they’re poison and make you fat.”

“Well, I did go for a run yesterday, so I guess I can have bread today.”

“Ohhhhh, that looks so yummy, but if I eat anything like that, I just get SO fat!”

“How many calories/carbs are in that?”

“You’re so naughty, good on you!”

I could go on and on and on with the kind of anxiety and analysing of food and eating that I hear every day from people (mostly women) all around me at meal times.  Women often use angst about food to bond with each other and you cannot get away from almost constant analysis and judgement of food and what other people are eating.  And don’t get me started on the amount of judgement over what fat people are eating, yeesh!  I have heard so many stories of fatties having complete strangers stop them in the supermarket to berate them over the contents of their shopping trollies, or being commented on in public for eating ANYTHING.  You can’t eat a salad, because that garners comments on how you must be doing it to lose weight, and you can’t eat an ice-cream because then you’re a gluttonous pig.  It’s a no win situation for fatties and food.  I have so many of my own experiences being shamed about food and eating by both complete strangers and people in my life, we could be here for a week.

What I wonder though, is how much of our time and energy are we as women wasting on thinking about food?  Because it seems, the more people put judgement on food and eating, the more time they spend thinking about food.  In my experience, the women who make the most judgemental statements, like I have listed above, are the ones who constantly talk about food.  And I’ve noticed my own behaviour change as I’ve removed all that angst and judgement about food from my own life.  Back in my dieting days, food was all I thought about.  Because I couldn’t have it, and because it all had so many rules and regulations and conditions, I would obsess over the food I wasn’t eating, all the time.  I have made all of those statements listed above at some time, and many more.  I would spend hours justifying every morsel I ever ate, every rice cracker, every celery stick, every raw almond.  Conversations over meals were all about how I had “earned” the food or I how I was “naughty” for eating something.

Basically, I not only wasted a whole lot of time, but I was a crashing bore too.  I mean really, isn’t there something more interesting to talk about over a meal?  Or if we’re going to talk about food, how about we talk about it without all the moralising?  About it’s flavour, it’s texture, where it was sourced from, how it was prepared.  Or perhaps we could talk about how some people have access to higher quality food than others, usually based on wealth.  Anything has to be better than putting false morality on food and eating.

Personally, I have embraced the #freefatty philosophy.  I refuse to be judged for my food and eating choices, and refuse to participate in the moralising of food and eating.  Plus, I refuse to justify what I eat.  I don’t need to provide a reason for eating either a salad or an ice cream.  It’s my body and my life.  If other people think I shouldn’t eat something, they can mind their own damn business.  While I’m still having to work on undoing a lifetime of baggage around food and eating, I am finding the more I let go of that judgement around food and eating, both for myself and for others, the less obsessive and anxious I am about food and eating.

Part of the oppression of fat people lies in the constant demand for us to justify our food choices.  We have to constantly prove we are being “good” because we’re fat, we’re not allowed to ever eat anything that is perceived as “bad”.  People watch every morsel that we eat (and they do, I can’t tell you the number of times someone has tried to “out” me for eating something that is “bad” or “unhealthy”) and place judgement on us for whatever it is.  Ask yourself, how often have you heard someone describe a slim woman eating say, ice-cream as “sexy”, yet in the next breath, referred to a fat woman eating the EXACT same thing as “gross”?  How often do you see comments from fat haters that say “Just put down the cheeseburger.”?

Firstly, what other people eat is no business of anyone but themselves.  It comes under the “If it’s not your body, it’s not your business.” rule.  So we don’t need to justify our food choices.  Secondly, I’m sure we all have things we’d much rather be doing than obsessing over food.  What can we do with our time and energy if we don’t waste it on angst and analysis of every morsel that we put in our mouths?

Food Freedom

Published March 23, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Well what an exciting day or so I’ve had.  What with my piece being published in The Hoopla, I’ve had a whole lot more attention here, on Twitter and of course in the comments on The Hoopla.  Mostly people are pretty cool, they get just how damaging fat stigma is.  Sadly, many of them experience it themselves, which is always heartbreaking.  Of course, there are always a few who are willfully ignorant who go down the route of “BUT THERE’S AN OBESITY EPIDEMIC AND YOU’RE GONNA DIE FATTY!!” and just will not be swayed otherwise.  I even got my regular hater cropping up there too, how special do I feel to have someone who hates me so much that they go through all of my online accounts and search for clues of my health/eating/lifestyle?

Anyway, the message I keep seeing repeated by those who just don’t get it is that fat people all overeat, we’re lazy and we clearly have no idea to take care of our bodies.  These comments have a definite purpose – they’re designed to make us justify our bodies, our lives, our health and our choices.  The purpose of those comments is to make fat people say “But I eat healthy!!” or “But I’m on a diet!” or something along those lines.  It’s another control mechanism to make us jump when they say so, so that they can feel superior.

But of course – we unconsciously do it.  We don’t talk about the food we eat, or if we do, we justify our eating, making it clear that it has been ages, or we’re eating “good” foods, or whatever.  We’re careful about talking about needing to rest or sleep, always sure to be clear how hard we’ve worked so that it’s clear we’ve “earned” that rest.

Well, I’ve had enough of that shit.  Eating is not unhealthy. Not even for fat people. Nor is sleeping. Every human being must do both.  Nobody, not even fat people, owe anyone an explanation or declaration of their health. It’s irrelevant to almost everything.  Fat people do not have to prove that they are “worthy” of basic human respect and dignity to be allowed to live.  All of us except a very small few are not “addicted to food”, no more than we’re “addicted to breathing”.  We need food, rest and sleep to survive.  Every single one of us.

It’s time to set ourselves free of the need to justify the things we need to do as human beings, particularly eating.  It’s time to set ourselves free of the urge to prove that every morsel we eat is “healthy”. We have to stop letting other people determine what we should and shouldn’t be eating or doing with our own bodies and lives.

So I started tweeting with the hashtag #freefatty earlier today, and urged other people to do the same.

https://twitter.com/#!/Fatheffalump/status/183044928421634049

https://twitter.com/#!/Fatheffalump/status/183045064795242496

Some of the responses I got back were:

I even decided to tweet a picture of myself eating something that would be labelled “unhealthy”, check it out:

Om nom, lolly snake.

I know, I know, how dare I put anything in my mouth that is not, as Kate Harding would say, Splenda flavoured air!  How dare a fat, Type 2 diabetic eat a lolly!  I tweeted a picture of the piece of birthday cake that I ended up having too, after my boss went and got one for my colleague.  Look:

Happy Birthday Kellie!

It is my colleague Kellie’s birthday, and we wanted to celebrate that.  I think this was raspberry coconut cake, I forgot to ask.  It was made with real butter, eggs and sugar.  I didn’t talk about how “sinful” it was for me to have a piece of birthday cake, I didn’t apologise for joining in the celebration and I didn’t make a comment about how it would go straight to my hips/thighs/waist.  I just accepted a piece like everyone else, wished Kellie a happy birthday and enjoyed a little down time with my team.

And you know what?  Here’s my dinner tonight:

Yup, that’s a real bagel, with real cream cheese (not light), ham and roasted capsicum.  It doesn’t come in a box marked “Lite”, there are no points on it, it’s not powdered and intended to “stave off hunger pangs”.  The bagel is the authentic deal, not low carb or gluten free.  I don’t have to make sure everyone knows I “earned it” because I exercised or had a busy day.  I don’t have to make sure people know it is “diet” or “healthy”.  I don’t have to promise I’ll “be good” tomorrow to justify it for my dinner.  It’s dinner time, I have beautiful fresh, real-deal bagels and fresh fillings, I’m hungry and it tastes good.

None of us have to play those games around food, sleep, rest and health any more.  We don’t.  If someone passes comment, reply “Well lucky I’m eating it and not you then.” or “It’s food, not the anti-Christ, you won’t go to hell.”  Or simply “Please don’t place judgement/comment on my food or my body.”

I am free to eat my dinner, relax and live my life.  And so are you.