Without Measure (WOM) 365

July 30, 2009

What Will It Take?

Filed under: activism,fitness,health,ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance — directisaa @ 12:45 am

We have begun to get glimpses at the U.S. Government-proposed “public option” in health care, and it is worse than I feared. And now ISAA is getting media requests to discuss the proposed “obesity taxes” associated with the same healthcare measures. The possibilities of the potential future are frightening.

Of course, we should be used to being made afraid. The medical and bariatric surgery industries try to make us afraid of fat, the U.S. Government tries to make us afraid of fat and just about any public figure who wants to stir up fear uses the Universal Term of Horror (UToH): Obesity. And it works.

Well now it’s our turn, except we’re not saying to be afraid of obesity. We’re saying fear those who would legislate obesity!

Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius says “We are killing ourselves, and more importantly, we are killing our children” at a 3-day conference in Washington D.C. called “Weight of the Nation.”  Wow, guys, how subtle.  At the same time, a “new study” came out claiming “obese Americans — those who are 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight — cost the country an estimated $147 billion in weight-related medical bills in 2008.” (Source: USA Today)

Was that study made by the same people who said 200,000 people die of obesity each year and it really turned out to be closer to 28,000 or less? Regardless, people in the medical industry and more importantly, people in the legislative and executive branches take these studies-passed-off-as-facts very seriously! And these are the people who will determine whether or not the healthcare initiative gets passed and if so, what will become law.

Now, in all fairness, Sibelius and others did make recommendations for encouraging healthy food choices and more physical activities on the local level. There’s nothing wrong with that, so long as that doesn’t translate into forcing people to eat specific things in specific quantities based on their Body Mass Index (BMI) or weight on a scale. Because we have another name for that: a DIET! And even the weight loss industry finally conceded that diets don’t work (just ask Weight Watchers, it’s their mantra now).

It doesn’t matter what those of us in the Size Acceptance Movement have been saying for years — that you can be fat and fit, that it takes a healthy self-esteem to make for a better person, that weight-based discrimination leads to eating disordered and other self-destructive behaviors (including suicide),  that the medical industry has a built-in bias against fat people that begins in medical school, that weight loss surgery kills thousands and maims thousands more each year. None of that matters! The law of the land is not ours to dictate…that is in the hands of elected officials in Washington D.C. who have their own opinions, their own biases and unfortunately, their own agendas.

A few weeks ago, I literally sounded the alarm! There is a threat to every fat person in America.  The threat is not healthcare you don’t have to pay for (except you do, through your taxes), it’s the control the U.S. Government would have to deny you healthcare at all! Some people have scoffed at that and told me “Allen, it’s like that now! I can’t get approved for this or for that already!” And sadly, for some people, that is absolutely true.

But you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This bill opens the door for the Government to have unlimited control of healthcare, which can literally mean they control your quality of life! And by tying it to insurance and ultimately, wrestling management from the private sector, all kinds of scenarios become possible:

1. Want a job? Get weight loss surgery. Hey, the government will pay for it!

2. Need lifesaving cancer treatment? Your BMI is too high, raising your risk factor. Coverage denied.

3. Need some credit to buy a house, buy a bed, medical equipment, a car? Will that be gastric bypass or lapband?

Shall I go on? There is a genuine threat building. And the only answer is to unite and fight for the term “size (weight and height)” to be added to Federal anti-discrimination laws before the drastic healthcare initiatives become the law of the land.

Do we need to have “hospices for fat people” and mandatory weight loss surgery before people will have had enough? The proposed legislation has proven to me that the people who drafted the legislation do not have human life as the priority, only the bottom line.

Seriously…what will it take?


July 5, 2009

Sound The Size Acceptance Alarm

Filed under: activism,health,ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance — directisaa @ 8:18 pm

Here in the United States, we just celebrated Independence Day, the 4th of July. And yet, we are in uncertain times – financially, politically and most of all, in terms of our civil liberties. There is a growing feeling in America that our liberties are expendable in the pursuit of solutions to problems like the economic crisis and providing health care just as they were (and are) concerning the war on terror.

But something’s changed. Whereas past administrations were content to keep the status quo on health care and just create bloated budgets to pay for pet projects for lobbyists, we now have a government that seizes businesses and appoints czars that are not elected and are only accountable to the government that created them.

What I have just written is not new. It has been voiced by others…independents, conservatives, libertarians and others.

So what does any of this have to do with size acceptance, you might ask?

What if our government decides to create a Weight Loss Czar? Oh, they’d probably make the title sound less overbearing, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Or if/when they create socialized medicine, what if people who are above a certain BMI aren’t allowed certain treatments unless they lose weight? If you think it can’t happen, ask someone who lives in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. They’ll set you straight on that, and quickly.

[07-31-09 Update: Please stop sending comments like “Life is so great under NHS here in the UK, what’s wrong with you Americans?” I have already stated this is not an “us vs. them” blog entry. I’m no longer accepting those comments, so don’t try.

Please read the entire entry! This is about alerting people of all sizes to what is going on and being planned for the UNITED STATES and making preparations for those matters in advance. If you’re happy with what you’re getting in the UK, that’s great!]

Right now, fat people are mostly not protected under U.S. law, and as a result, we know the discrimination that happens every day. As bad as that is, it could get infinitely worse in the very near future.

We need to wake up, and we need to re-claim our voice. We need to get laws passed that add “size (weight and height)” to the current protections. It will take a lot of effort and it won’t happen immediately, so we need to get started.

And if you don’t live in the U.S., don’t think you’re excluded. What happens in the U.S. tends to find its way to other parts of the world, sometimes very quickly…

Some people will accuse me of being alarmist. Some people will say I’m being judgmental of a new President, that I’m one of those bitter, conservative Republicans who won’t find anything right with President Obama.

To that, I answer: I’m not a Republican (or a Democrat), and I voted for President Obama.

But the change he has unleashed is not what I was led to believe it would be — and the same could well be true of health care. This has the potential to lead to many deaths through malpractice/incompetence and denial of service. If so, it would be based on fear and an inherent prejudice that exists in the current medical establishment, fear and discrimination taught in medical school. Where “Do No Harm” takes a back seat to “do whatever we can to get rid of fat and line our pockets at the same time.”

And in fairness, not all doctors feel like that. But doctors have to follow the rules, and the rules could change…radically. And that’s what concerns me, and I think it concerns many doctors as well.

So call me alarmist, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. We’re in uncertain times, and it’s time to get ready.

This whole blog entry is about a “call to arms” to be prepared. There are some warning signs in what President Obama has already said concerning “obesity” in his presidential campaign. And should some of those concerns translate into restrictive/harmful anti-obesity rules or even legislation in what appear to be the coming changes to the healthcare system, then we — the so-called Size Acceptance Movement — would do well to have preparations made and plans in place.

The best defense we have is to plan now — a good offense, if you will. If we wait till the changes have been made, we will have lost opportunity to do anything about it. Right now in the U.S., we continue to enjoy the freedom to organize, peacefully dissent and voice our concerns to our elected officials. We need to avail ourselves of these freedoms and work to change the anti-discrimination laws to include “size (weight and height).” That is one step. The other step is to communicate with our representative officials concerning existing discrimination problems in healthcare.

I have spent the last 12 years working and fighting, alongside many brave and wonderful people of all sizes and all political, religious and sexual persuasions. We have fought and continue to fight the common foes of ignorance and those who would profit from others’ ignorance or fear to act.

This is not some lame “I hate socialized medicine and all countries that practice it suck” blog entry. This is me, Allen Steadham, the Founder and Director of ISAA, and based upon my experience and what I see happening on multiple fronts, I see cause for concern.

I hope I have made things clear. I will write more in the weeks and months to come. Thanks.

May 8, 2009

The DisFigured Interviews: Parts One and Two

Filed under: health,self esteem,size acceptance — directisaa @ 12:21 pm
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DisFigured is a new comedy that takes an honest look at size and body esteem issues.

In Part One of the interview, I talk to Staci Lawrence, who played Darcy in the movie.

In Part Two of the interview, I talk to Director/Writer Glenn Gers (Mad Money, Fracture).


March 10, 2009

New PODWOM – From Experience!

Filed under: ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance — directisaa @ 5:46 am

Once upon a time, Without Measure (the WOM in PODWOM) was a popular ISAA e-zine, and one of the pages in WOM’s BBTeenz section was called “From Experience.” Thanks to a brilliant suggestion from my wife, now we’re transitioning that section from the e-zine to the podcast. Submissions requested (details in the podcast)!

Check it out at podwom.com

February 7, 2009

New PODWOM – Size Acceptance: Moving Forward In 2009!

Filed under: health,ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance — directisaa @ 4:27 am

A short and to-the-point podcast! Follow ups from the last podcast, an interview with Joan Poznick, the television producer for “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” and Good and Healthy Cooking!

Check it out at podwom.com

January 7, 2009

The True Meaning Of Healthy Living

Filed under: fitness,health,ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance — tima888 @ 5:40 pm

This is something I have written after I saw Oprah on TV selling her style of HAES to the world:

I am glad to see that 2009 is the year of healthy living, the year to rediscover our bodies and our self worth, and learn to be active and lead a healthy life style.

This is all good, if it were not for the never ending message to lose weight and measure our achievement by the number of pounds lost or the our new thinner selves.

Glamorizing thinness is harmful, it has not only failed for decades, but obesity is on the rise due to the change in metabolism and eating disorders  these methods cause.

This is the reason why the promoters of weight loss are borrowing our messages of size acceptance and health at every size, to sell their diets and keep  women and teens especially, in the vicious circle of yo yo dieting and body loathing.

My idea of caring and loving my body is unconditional, it has no strings attached. I will love and care for my health no matter what weight i am at or if i lose pounds or inches as a result of a healthy life style or not.

I eat healthy and move my body for health and only for health, not to lose pounds or look thinner.

My self worth is not measured by the number on the scale or a dress size, I am who I am at any size.

I am worthy of respect love and dignity now as I am, it should not be less worthy when fat and more worthy when thin.

My self worth is not based on the scale or the tape measure, these statistics are part of me but not the whole of me, and when they fluctuate they do not affect who i am as a human being.

Caring for my health is a pleasurable duty I have towards my best friend, my child and the home of my soul my beautiful body.

Without it, I would not be able to love , feel pleasure, walk, run, laugh and dance, be happy or sad , work and play, be creative , be productive, be a lover and a friend, be a mother, a father or a child, without this body I do not exist.

For many years you made me hate it, loath it, despise it, torture it, stuff it, gorge it, punish it, insult it, starve it, and beat it.

You are fat an ugly you said, you should be ashamed of your body, who would want you when you are looking like this, you are disgusting, you are obese, lardy, horrible and flabby.

You have let yourself go you said, do something about it you lazy cow.

It is easy to lose weight and look great,  just stop eating, stop stuffing your face with sweets and junk food and get off your fat behind and move….

You only have yourself to blame, you have no will power, you are  disgusting.

No wonder obesity is on the rise, the reverse psychology meant to so called  motivate us fatties to lose weight, resulted in blood tears and death.

The get healthy message you have stolen from us, will not work for you, given your history of torture and abuse.

– Fatima Parker

January 6, 2009

More Updates Annnnnd — A New PODWOM Is Online!

Filed under: ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance — directisaa @ 6:47 am

Well, no sooner do I put my last post online than I get diagnosed with an abdominal hernia (in addition to everything else I told you about). I had surgery to have the hernia repaired on New Year’s Eve.  According to my doctor, the surgery went flawlessly and I’m on the road to recovery. My wife and kids even helped me bring in the New Year — via my cell phone, and I was very gratified for that (almost teary-eyed, actually).

I’ve been spending most of the time on my rear end, some of it bored, some of it entertained, most of it online (I am such a geek). And in the last 24 hours, I honed my geekness into a new PODWOM podcast!

It’s not perfect but it’s not bad, either, and it does cover it’s topic very well. You can even listen to it here!

December 29, 2008

My Apologies

Filed under: ISAA,size acceptance — directisaa @ 5:11 pm

Blog readers, I owe you an apology. Yes, it’s been kind of a slow year and there are reasons why we haven’t posted but you deserved an explanation sooner than 8 months after the last blog entry. As the creator of this blog haven for ISAA, I must take the blame for that. And I am sorry for anyone who wondered where on Earth we were and what was going on.

The truth is, I have been in terrible health this year. I have been doing well to keep up with size-related news/events and coordinate with ISAA’s second-in-command, Fatima Parker. Fatima has been very busy doing ISAA-related work in the United Kingdom and the Middle East. I hope to have the opportunity to work with her in the next month or so to produce at least one WOM Beta blog post and a PODWOM podcast.

My health issues go back to some major surgeries I had when I was 12 years old in 1983. The surgeries were to prevent potential colon cancer from polyps that run on my (late) father’s side of the family. The surgeries were very successful, especially since part of it involved removing the large intestine (including the colon). A second surgery made me “bionic” by their inserting a plastic-based “j-pouch” in me to perform some of the tasks of the large intestine. And for 20 years (from 1983 to 2003), I had absolutely no complications. But since 2003, my health has been in decline.

At first, we discovered I was severely lactose intolerant and I adjusted my foods accordingly, eliminating all dairy from my diet and including more dairy alternative, such as soy- and rice-based products. But I continued to have medical problems and this year, I was hospitalized 5 times for low potassium and low blood sodium levels. We finally discovered that this was because of problems with the “J-pouch.” It has grown much, much larger than it was ever intended and that has had a significant impact on my electrolytes and the size of the pouch is actually pressing on other organs, which as you might imagine, is painful.

My wife and children as well as our friends, especially our church friends, have been tremendously supportive. And the doctors have gotten me into physical therapy to help control the problem. I also have been prescribed meds which have made daily life much more pain-free than it has been in years.

I want to make a few things clear. While it is true that I have been suffering a medical condition that technically qualifies me as disabled, I have made it one of my highest priorities to not let this medical condition run my life, including my running of ISAA. I am often in contact with people concerning size acceptance and stay apprised of events and size-related issues via the news, internet, mailing lists as well as emails and chats. But I am realistic, too. That is why I made Fatima Parker the second-in-command at ISAA. When I am not available due to my health, she will be. I have the utmost confidence in her based upon her performance as a Branch President in two locations (the only person in ISAA to do so) the last several years.

I am not looking for sympathy or trying to make excuses.  But I did feel you deserved an explanation.

Happy Holidays to all and a Happy New Year as well!

Best Wishes,
Allen Steadham
Director, ISAA

February 5, 2008

“It’s Dead, Jim!”

Filed under: ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance,Uncategorized — directisaa @ 5:25 pm

“It’s dead on arrival at my desk.”
– Mississippi House Public Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Steve Holland (D – Plantersville) concerning Mississippi House Bill 282

ISAA would like to thank all of you for your participation in this activism effort. The Mississippi lawmakers heard you loud and clear! Ding, dong, the bill is dead!

ISAA would also like to thank NAAFA and COFTA for their participation in bringing attention to this ill-advised bill.

February 2, 2008

ISAA Condemns Proposed Mississippi Weight Based Segregation Law

Filed under: ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance — directisaa @ 6:08 pm

Released on ISAA website and to the public on February 1, 2008

AUSTIN, TX – The International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA) opposes and condemns Mississippi House Bill 282, proposed by Representative W. T. Mayhall, Jr. of District 40, which is “an act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese.” In the unlikely possibility that this legislation actually passes, it would allow restaurants to refuse service to anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more. The bill does not specify how restaurants should check for BMI but it does state that “the State Department of Health shall monitor the food establishments to which this section applies for compliance with the provisions of this section, and may revoke the permit of any food establishment that repeatedly violates the provisions of this section.”

“This bill is wholesale legalized segregation based on weight,” said ISAA Founder and Director Allen Steadham. “It tells restaurants to choke their own business while discriminating against potential patrons. It is obscene and shows to what extent the obsession over obesity has reached. This clearly steps over a line and should be called for what it is.”

ISAA recommends that the public contact the Mississippi legislature and urge them to oppose this bill and Representative Mayhall to urge him to withdraw this bill.

Representative W.T. Mayhall
Home: 662.393.2069
Cell: 901.734.9540
Email: tmayhall@house.ms.gov

ISAA strongly suggests that the public exercise courtesy when contacting Representative Mayhall and the Mississippi legislature.

ISAA was created in 1997 with the mission to is to promote size acceptance and fight weight-based discrimination throughout the world by means of advocacy and visible, lawful actions. ISAA has a philosophy of self-respect, maintainable fitness and encourages healthy food choices.

Address questions or comments to ISAA Director Allen Steadham at directisaa@gmail.com

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