Monday, April 11, 2016

Body Shaming

It’s not what you think.  Well, maybe it is. I had my first overt experience with it a few days ago; this newly coined phrase that defines messages used to tell people that his or her body is not what it should look like. Based on my brief encounters with media explanations, i.e. Internet, TV, and tabloid magazines while standing in the grocery store line, the majority of the opinions express disgust with a person’s weight; what they feel is an abundance of it. But I’ve also heard body parts being honed in on, like height, breast and/or butt size, facial features, and hair. On rare occasions, I hear or read of a thin person getting a lashing. And it seems that the recipients are mostly women.

I love food. Currently, I’m having an affair with avocados and Tostito corn chips. It’s my overly snacked snack of the day, times 3. Another soul mate is buttery shortbread cookies. It’s the dessert of the day - a treat after lunch. I decide how many I’m having, eat them (2), and then return for more. Both of these pleasures surely don’t appeal to everyone, but I’ll bet you have something that you love experiencing on the taste buds of your tongue, too!

So I get it… the hardship of resisting something that makes us happy, if only for a few minutes, that may have unwanted consequences.

Those of you who know me are saying, “What are you talking about, Anita!” And those of you who don’t, are either sympathizing with me or formulating your opinion or feedback. So this is what happened:

My dog has a sore on her belly. I take her to the vet and like humans, the first thing done is the weigh-in. Little Layla steps onto the scale and the vet announces, “21 pounds.” (I always wonder if they translate the kilograms correctly, but that’s beside the point.) I say, “She’s plump,” to which the vet responds in an austere tone, “She’s plump-ER. She was 20 pounds the last time she was here.”
What can I say? I was hoping Layla would have been less weight or at least the same, but I know the vet is right.  I let the comment go. (Maybe I shouldn’t refer to her as Little Layla.)

After shaving around the wound, cleaning and lancing it, the vet decides to staple the quarter sized sore. Tool in hand, assistant standing by to help, she squeezes Layla’s skin, but it won’t come together enough for the narrow-width tool to clamp over it.

I'm thinking that she's putting on the demonstration purposely, knowing that it won't fit, just so she can (and does) say, “Her belly is too big to stretch the skin any more than it already is.”

Gotcha, you horrible dog abuser! How dare you overfeed her and put her in this shape.

No she didn’t say that, but in my mind, that’s what I hear, so I whine my explanation:

“Ever since she had to take prednisone, her appetite has been so big. She seems hungry all the time. She bangs on the pantry door and it drives us crazy! Do you think the meds she takes now make her hungry?”

That garners a little sympathy from the vet:

“With her neurological issues,” she says as she gestures the cuckoo sign near Layla’s head, “she might be begging as a habit, or she’s confused. Or possibly, she has thyroid issues. She’s going to need blood work soon.”

Tired after sitting in the waiting room over a half hour in a place that causes me mental anguish, my thought is, “Whatever.” I’ve been here so many times over the last fourteen months… but that’s another blog post.

Anyway, I gather up my sweet little porker, pay the 200 plus bucks, and proceed home to begin her treatment of antibiotics, ear drops (oh yeah, she has ear infections), ear flush, and pain pills (that she doesn’t need.)

Did the body shaming work? For right now, yes. We’ve started the diet for the tenth time. I’m measuring her food, substituting green beans for snacks, and trying to limit my trips to the kitchen which is Layla’s signal to ask (paw my ankles) for food. Wish us luck!

Thoughts? regarding people, animals, or both
Fill in the hole with more squiggly hairs and it is a replica of what Layla ate during one of her prednisone induced hunger attacks about a year ago. My friend and I took our dogs on their poopy walk and parts of this, color included, exited Layla's rear. After our initial Ewwww, we came to the conclusion that worms are not lime green.

image found here


Tabor said...

I think you two are enabling each other. I have been purchasing various snacks that are not good for me, because with hubby gone I do much more grazing rather than health eating. I am promising myself to be more proactive in meal planning the next shopping trip. If these snacks are not in the house I have to deal with it.

Abby said...

Ah, poor not-so-little Layla! Yes, it happens at the vet's too. This reminds me of our cat Kat, so fat. We all knew she was fat. Even she knew she was fat (I think) and was perfectly fine with it. I didn't need the vet to tell me she was fat. The diet and exercise regimen we put her on got her to run away to better food!

Our dog, China is a bit of the opposite. She seems to regulate her intake pretty well, and since she's not as active as her younger self, she doesn't eat so much. When she steps on the scale at the vet, I'm just hoping she hasn't lost since last time, so I don't get the stinkeye of alleged underfeeding!

Linda said...

Awwww....sweet Layla. Losing weight is always more difficult than gaining it. Eating sensibly and exercising is the best, but I don't believe in diets, because most of them don't provide us the nutritious food our body needs. Sending you much love and many hugs.

Stephanie said...

Oh poor sweet puppy. When you're hungry your hungry! :) Hope things look up soon!

Anita said...

This comment came from ANN K.

Great article. Body shaming has made it into our culture, especially for young girls--and now animals. Time for a shift in focus and priorities.

Hilary said...

I can relate to this: "I decide how many I’m having, eat them (2), and then return for more." It made me laugh..knowingly.. and that's all I'm going to say about that!

I can also relate to the excessive demands for food from the pet. My Zephyr (cat) is like that ever since Skitty (his littermate) passed away in September. He's frantic for food. But it's always the canned food that he's after. He leaves his dry food in the bowl unless he's TRULY starving.

He's a large cat and somewhat but not very overweight. He was surprisingly noticeably heavier than his siblings at just 6 weeks of age. Thankfully, I've never had to make excuses for him to vets. One kind soul called him "big boned." I think you should adopt that phrase for your pooch.

And you eat whatever the hell you want. Then just take Layla for an extra walk. ;)

Hilary said...

"I decide how many I’m having, eat them (2), and then return for more." This is the story of my life once the kids go to bed and the house settles for the night. No matter how hard I try to limit the snacks, once that bag is open, forget it!

While I grew up with pets, we don't have any right now. I can't recall any of them being overweight. We did have a Newfoundland, Happy, but she was "fluffy" -- literally, just fluffy hair over a big dog body. With other dogs, we gave them treats now and then, but nothing that is akin to the back and forth to the pantry that I do right now. Hope Layla is on the mend, soon.

As for the topic of body shaming, much like the Mommy Wars, there's so much ground to cover, you could talk about it ad infinitum. I agree with previous commenters on a shift in the discussion. Just all hair is good hair, all bodies are good bodies.

Linda Hensley said...

When I got my puppy the vet expressed disgust that I had abandoned my big dogs for a little one because her kind "gets fat". She's 15 now and fit -- which is better than I can say for myself. I had a conversation with her just last night when I told her that I wouldn't give her ham fat because it's not good for her -- but I ate some of it. I don't give her sweets either, but I eat them. (I'd like your shortbread cookies.) If I could treat myself as well as I treat the dog, I'd do better.

When I had 2 dogs, the little one started overeating and hoarding because the big one resented the puppy and took her food. I instituted meal times, picking up the bowls between meals. Perhaps that would help with Layla?

As for people and their judgmental opinions, they need to shut up. It doesn't do a bit of good, but can do a lot of harm. My dog doesn't care what I look like, and I don't care that she has an underbite and crooked teeth. Dog love is perfect love!

yonca said...

Sweet Layla! Summer is coming and probably longer walks would work better for her.
Oh gosh, since our dog Carmen passed away, i missed walking a dog. Thanks for another great read, Anita!xx

TexWisGirl said...

been there; done that. have had obese dogs in my life and i take full responsibility for it. difficult, indeed.

ShadowRun300 said...

I can see where a vet or a doctor would feel it's their job to encourage weight loss for health reasons, but they should do so without judgment.
This past week at my hotel, we hosted a group of ladies who attended a particular skin care convention. I've never felt so judged in my life. They all wanted to sell me something and some had the nerve to tell me they noticed I could use it. Yep. Some people just need to keep their opinions to themselves.

Barb said...

Poor Layla - I feel her (your), pain but I'm cracking up at the lime poop! Does Layla like to take a nice walk? Maybe that would help take off that offensive pound. I never weigh myself because that might mean that I couldn't have my Lacey almond and dark chocolate cookies which I get at Whole Foods. I have 1 1/2 (up from only one) after dinner every night. Both Layla and I are old - we need our little treats, no matter what anyone says!

joeh said...

Be strong, it's or Layla's own good.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. Or puke (while thinking of the seeing THAT come out.)

And just when I was thinking of getting a new dog. Your vet bill has me scared. As to you snacks? I'd snack on those with you.

Enjoyed this -- and as to the body shaming. I really need to quit doing that every time I look in the mirror.

LL Cool Joe said...

Do you know what Elizabeth Taylor said on her deathbed? "I wish I'd eaten more". I bet we could all say that. I'm currently trying to lose some weight, that's why I just ate half a chocolate muffin rather than a whole one. :D

Anita said...

Thank you all for your thoughts and stories. I appreciate your advice, humor, and concern about Layla and about dieting, for both humans and dogs. When I wrote this post, purposely, I didn't say what an idea weight would be for Layla. I wanted you to comment based on what the vet said. You probably pictured Layla dragging around with her belly nearly touching the floor. :)
It's not. She's probably equivalent in appearance to a size 14 woman... maybe 16 - I don't know. She runs, plays, and can still jump up on the ottoman; however, the diet continues.

And me... I'm told that I'm thin. I like my occasional junk food, but genetics helps. Mostly though, an almost daily weigh-in and exercise is an absolute must! :)