Frances Kuffel

PASSING FOR THIN, EATING ICE CREAM WITH MY DOG and LOVE SICK

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The Littlest Loser

February 11, 2010

Tags: The Biggest Loser, waiting, book proposals, Twitter, weight loss, anorectics

Gad, have I been remiss with this blog or what?

The time to strike is while you're "hot" (I wish!), so I and my Oscar-winning ankle have been home working on two new books proposals, one for a group of essays, and the other another memoir that I'm not yet confident about discussing. I had an essay to write and the bulk of it took about two weeks, then I pressed home by finishing it and the other proposal in about three days.

I sent it all off to my agent on Monday night and have been lurching around in a coma/post-partum thing since. I'm determined to be more productive today while I wait to hear back. Waiting is hard at any time. When you're in a cast & you're hit with a sleet-snow storm that produces many inches of icy snow, waiting is f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

Many thanks to the comments from my last post. The yo-yo is tiring, isn't it? The worry about what to eat, whether you can pull yourself together the next day if you eat THAT -- I'm amazed at how we live.

I've kind of gotten the drift of how to use Twitter as a marketing device. I find an interesting person or product, follow it, then look at who is following that Twit. When they follow back or someone initiates a follow, I have a canned response pointing them to my book.

Ninety-nine percent of the people who follow me are weight-loss/fitness experts. My response is always, if you want to know more about why people have such a hard time with this, read my book. (The other one percent are women associated with chubby porn sites. I learned only this morning that there is such a thing as a double-L bra cup...)

I only have some hundred characters to make my point. If I had more, I'd say, "Look, Mr. Abs, you work with flabby, desperate people who have a history of trying, succeeding, failing. Why don't you think about the underlying causes of eating?"

A terrific radio interviewer recently asked me what I think of THE BIGGEST LOSER, and in particular an incident in which a coach berated a contestant during a work out.

I tried to contain my fury on the radio. We don't get fat because, gee, life is swell. We get fat for a lot of reasons, but one of the very big ones is, as a commenter said about the last post, we're stuffing down anger. What is anger but a reaction to being hurt? And being hurt is a reaction to being denied love and/or respect.

So when a coach viciously attacks an obese contestant, I freak out. The coach is pushing exactly the button that says, "Eat!" but expecting that the pressure of the show will keep him or her from doing so.

Making weight loss a competition is a crime. I could no more watch THE BIGGEST LOSER than I could a dog fight.

I remember that some years ago there was a recovery clinic for anorectics that claimed phenomenal success rates because they smothered the girls in love. This was long before I began the process that became Passing for Thin but I thought, "THAT is what we need. We fatties need to be held, reassured, coddled, LOVED. We need to be touched. We need to learn that we have all the reasons in the world to fight for our lives."

So I get furious at THE BIGGEST LOSER & the comments about laziness. If I ran a clinic for obesity, I'd have massage therapy every day. I wouldn't let patients see the scale. I'd make my staff hurrah for every clean meal eaten, every effort made to build self-respect & self-confidence. You made your bed? Gold star! Washed your hair? Aces for you! Put on EARRINGS? Go to the head of the class!

Anyone who forgoes any substance that represses scary feelings is THE BEST LOSER.

Fuck the biggest. Rejoice in the small gains & losses.

Shit Happens

January 26, 2010

Tags: blogs, sprained ankle, Twitter, Marie Claire, Holly Cole, eating, Passing for Thin, publishing

The third flat-out, crawl-to-a-fence-to-hoist-myself-off-the-pavement fall occurred on January 16. This time I heard a snap. My left ankle immediately doubled in size. I could move my foot so I assumed I'd sprained it but by the time I got Daisy home I knew I was in trouble.

I have a World Class Sprain. It sounds so so-what but my podiatrist explained why a very bad sprain is worse than a fracture or some breaks: sprains involve ligaments, either tearing them or stretching them. Whereas bones have a great blood supply, ligaments do not. Therefore they are much slower to heal. I'll be in a cast for another three weeks but I get to take it off for therapeutic minutes and I can start to walk again.

I told my publicist that if Oprah calls, of course I can go. I just won't get to wear [both of] my beautiful new shoes.

Luckily, I've only had a couple of radio gigs in the last ten days. I did them in bed with my Frankenstein foot elevated. Unluckily, I've only had a couple of radio gigs.

I wasn't with it enough last week to do more than piddle around with Twitter. Today I read some blog posts that mention me and AFG, one based on the book, one on the Marie Claire abortion. I answered each, clarifying a little on the issues the writers were concerned with.

It's interesting to see what triggers people. One blogger (http://fashionablyfit.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/weighing-in/) wrote, "I would never follow a diet that cut out all of the foods that made me fat — the pizza, the jalapeno poppers, the french fries, the ice cream – because I know it would be destined to fail."

People are enormously afraid of what they might have to give up. This involves not only specific foods, but the fear of parties, holidays, rituals that revolve around food. But I speak mostly for myself or in the collective when I've made it clear that the collective is of a certain kind of make-up.

Merry Perennial (http://merryperennial.blogspot.com/2010/01/perseverating-no-i-dont-mean.html) writes that, "I fear the reason is something mentioned in Frances Kuffel's book: we eat because that is all we have."

I LOVE the Holly Cole song, "I Am the Onion Girl". We have layers and layers of family, friends, work, hobbies, interests, chores and occasions. But -- again, for some of us -- when all those layers come off because we find them flawed or unusable, the core can be eating.

When I published PASSING FOR THIN seven years ago, I wasn't sure what a blog was. It wasn't a book mention I depended on.

Publishing had changed. Every blog helps; every misreading or laud helps. But I have to be active about participating...which is, luckily, a hell of a lot easier than opening up the Word document for the essay I'm writing...

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