BlogHer of the Week: Ding, from Bitch Ph.D.

BlogHer Original Post

We know, we know, already: We need to cut down on fat and empty calories, exercise regularly, and reduce portion size. For our health, we need to proactively manage our weight and our lifestyle. There are no shortcuts! But give us just a hint of an easy answer and we’ll take it—give us some low-calorie sweeteners, diet soda, the cellulite removal creams. Tell us the bare minimum of crunches we must do, or an easier, modified version that will at least help reduce our gut, and that our strolls in the grocery store can count as a day’s allotment of exercise.

We, an increasingly overweight society, love our shortcuts; but then we have our doses of reality, sometimes a pinch in the arm like an unflattering picture from a friend’s wedding, or a punch in the face, like the death of a loved one, to remind us that shortcuts really don’t work. Our BlogHer of the Week experienced both.

In an installment of a blog memoir she’s writing, Ding, a writer on feminist blog Bitch Ph.D., recounts her battle with weight and her decision to simply change. Her post, “A Blog Memoir in 25 Things: The Other Side of 200” begins with the pinch in the arm, the fear-inducing visit to the physician:

Sitting on the crunchy white butcher paper in my doctor's office, I was worried about butt sweat when I really should have been worried about the little frown on her face.

'Well, Ding, this is where we are.' She pointed to a chart. 'For your height and weight, you are in this area.' Her finger circled a bunch of red squares.

'And does this Red Zone mean I'm going to drop dead in the next couple of weeks?'

Her smile was just as brittle as the paper I was sitting on. 'Let me put it this way. You need to be on the other side of 200 - I don't care how long it takes, that's where you need to be.

Conveying the outcome of her appointment to friends later that day, Ding shares nervously how her weight could contribute to problems later on: hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and potential blindness.  Ding makes the declaration, “I don't want these things. I DON'T want these things.”

We also learn that her decision to lose weight is not a foregone conclusion but rather a self-debated one. A feminist blogger, Ding rejects the notion of dieting to adhere to a skinny societal ideal.

“We can talk about 'fat acceptance' but as a now diagnosed, official, Fat Person I am saying that I don't want these things and if it means sacrificing my socially unacceptable fat on the altar of Not Dying, sign me up. If not dying means losing a tire or two around my middle, then so be it. I have no affection for them. I am not wed to these rings around my middle. If it's going to be a choice between me and my fat rings, I choose me.”

Next, the punch in the face, which we learn actually came well before Ding’s doctor visit: A memory of her now-deceased mother who had diabetes, and who, Ding shares, neglected to take her insulin.

“My mother may have been a fast driver but she was a slow suicide...”

So now Ding must overcome two legacies—her family’s medical history and their denial of biological facts. What follows is Ding’s journey to “the other side of 200”, consisting of simple eating, activity with friends, and some edits to her usual regime, which she chooses to consider just that: edits, not punishments or adherence to crushing societal norms. In her simple structure she describes what a true act of commitment to oneself looks like; a choice, not a struggle or a surrender of ideals.

To me, this isn't 'dieting.' It's living. Not 'living' in the Oprah-sense: all blurry light, white clothing and huge gusts of breath about one's 'best life.'

What I'm doing is less glamorous than that. It's, literally, living -- inhaling, exhaling, heart beating. …

… I'm changing the way I've been living because I fucking don't want to die like my mother.

When we perceive full-scale change as sacrifice and self-denial, we resist, but Ding has simplified her change to a choice for healing herself. In overcoming the destructive aspects of her past and her politics, she’s found the path to the other side of 200.

Ding’s post is relevant to so many of us who define ourselves by our ideals but need permission to selectively abandon the ones that are literally and figuratively killing us. Ding, we’re looking forward to the next installments of your blog memoir, especially if they are as inspiring as this one.


Thanks to everyone for continuing to send in your nominated posts. Remember to nominate individual posts, not entire blogs, and keep them coming!


For Elisa, Jory and Lisa
BlogHer Co-founders




In order to comment on, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.