Archive for the ‘weight’ Category
Ohmigod Will The Royal Baby Be Fat?!
Honest to goodness, that’s paraphrasing a headline I came across this weekend. Normally, I link to my inspiration, but not this time. The entire column was horrible for me because it was written by someone I normally enjoy. I thought he was a level-headed health adviser. Instead, he titled his column about the new obesity prediction tool to get reactions and readers.
If you haven’t heard, there is a new on-line tool that claims to accurately predict the chances of your newborn being overweight in the future. It takes into account a variety of information and spits out the results.
I used a height predictor with the twins when we adopted them. It was right on when it predicted that they would be 6’5″ tall. The only information I had at the time was their birth mom’s height, I guessed at the rest. So I’m not adverse to an on-line tool to predict things.
However, using the not-even-born Royal Baby to garner readers is just tacky. And downright abusive. Because now fat bullying has finally started while a person is still in utero.
I doubt the Prince and Princess have once sat down and had a conversation about the future obesity of their unborn child. Because there are other things on their minds. From recent headlines, I’m guessing the topic at hand is “how many times did you throw up today, dear?”
While the on-line tool I used to predict height for the twins was spot on, I have my doubts about one that could accurately predict anything else about them. One’s muscular and thinner, while the other is muscular and bigger. One’s talkative. One’s not. Same parents. Different outcomes.
I’ll even use myself as a reference. Eight kids from the same parents. I have very tall brothers and I am five feet tall. I’m the fattest. Some are thin.
There are many things that can be done to combat childhood obesity, none of which involves bullying. I’m wondering how the threat of future obesity will be handled. Pre-obesity bullying?! “Some day you are going to be fat so I will treat you cruelly in advance to prevent it!” Yup, that worked with me 100 pounds ago.
Do you restrict your infant’s food because you’re scared they will be obese? Ignore the need for whole milk and fats for brain development? I mean, we all know stupid is better than fat any day. Not!
Will Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers gift cards be requested on baby registries? Might as well be prepared for the future. Plus, these mega billion dollar corporations haven’t dipped their toes into the baby food market…yet. Yes, you can feed your baby the same chemical-laden foods that you eat from these companies. How’s that for maternal and paternal bonding? I mean, who needs fresh fruit and vegetables and meat and sugar when there’s a chemical created to imitate real food?!
I’m sure a NutriSystem pre-school is just around the bend too. Milk and cookies?! Never! Pre-packed, pre-digested food? Oh yes! Counting taught via calories! Learn the alphabet and the forbidden foods list at the same time! Boot camp play time!
Can we just agree to leave the kids out of The War Against Obesity? Especially the unborn ones?
A store had the balls to use a fat mannequin and some people are bothered by it. I think these people have a problem.
Aren’t you tired of going into any department store and seeing the clothes tailored to fit the mannequins? By tailored, I mean pinned in the back so everything looks perfect and fitted. No matter what your size–unless you are blessed with the American ideal of model-thin physique–you are never going to have clothes that fit you like they will the mannequin.
Imagine being a plus-sized woman going into a clothing store catering to your demographic and seeing plus-sized clothes pinned and folded to fit the nowhere-near-obese mannequin. Even before putting on a stitch of clothing, you know it’s not going to look that good on you.
Kudos to retailers for realizing that a larger-sized mannequin might be a good thing. They could go even further and get mannequins that represent a variety of body shapes. I’ve read so many magazines where they present a selection of women all wearing the same size–and not one of them look the same.
As for the fear that obese mannequins might make people think it’s okay to be fat…well, there are fat people. Fat people spend money on clothes. Fat people want to look good. And you don’t catch fat from a mannequin.
As Ragen Chastain says, people don’t take care of things they hate. So why is it the goal of retailers to make their customers hate themselves? Or why would non-retailers be worried about people seeing fat mannequins? What is it really going to hurt?
No one can make me…feel bad about myself if I don’t let them. We’ve all heard the Eleanor Roosevelt quote before. But sometimes, I confess, I let them get to me. This week, particularly, I had one of those triggering moments.
What is a triggering moment? It’s the moment when something happening in the here and now throws you right back into the past. Usually the event is a negative one, which is why survivors of rape or abuse or other horrible past events try to avoid these triggers at all costs. The event may have happened eons ago, but the emotions and the reactions to the memory seem like they are happening in current life. That’s why articles about strong emotional topics often come with a “triggering event ahead” messages.
The memory this week came from left field. It happened while reading the article about the small town girl who is elected to the Homecoming Court as a prank by her fellow classmates.
In a flash, I was back in high school. Sitting in religion class, with the priest in the front of the classroom. I sit on the right hand side of the room and I can see the boys on the other side of the room snickering. I hear the dreaded words and know that they’re talking about nominating me for prom queen as a joke. Because I am fat. And loud. And obnoxious. Honestly, I don’t know if the last two reasons applied, but it was definitely for the first.
In my mind I see Father J. realizing something is going on, but not doing anything about it. After all, fat girls who are being picked on deserve it. I mean, I dared to be fat! Even as I write this, I feel that horror and sadness all over again. Of course, at the time I laughed it off and turned the other cheek.
But I didn’t go to prom. I never felt safe in high school. In a Catholic high school it was clear that my emotional needs weren’t a concern. Don’t get me wrong, this was the 1980s and people weren’t that concerned about mental health in teenagers.
Horror and sadness weren’t the only emotions I felt that day. There was also hope. Hope that after being in school together for so many years, that someone realized I was beautiful underneath it all. That I was worthy of a crown and a scepter and a sash. (I don’t know if the prom queen actually got those things, but in my day dreams she does.) I wanted some validation and some reassurance that the rest of my life wasn’t going to be full of taunts and teasing.
For me the triggering moment passed rather quickly. Because I am beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I was a lot more beautiful when I was 18, golden haired and youthful. There was no “underneath it all.” Still, knowing what I know now, almost 30 years later, I can be swept to that sad place in an instant. I still wait for the taunts.
I know no one can make me feel bad about myself if I don’t let them, but sometimes I accidentally let them.
In July the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will decide whether or not to approve a new diet drug. It approved one earlier this month.
The drug approved earlier this month had some serious cardiac side effects and was not approved a few years ago because there wasn’t enough data to determine if it is safe. The drug up for approval in July has the serious side effect of causing cleft lip in babies born to women using the drug. The risks of injury to the heart are considered to be acceptable because these are better than injury from heart disease.
I’m not going to get into a discussion about health at every size here or the flawed studies that are touted championing weight loss over exercise and healthy eating. I do want to know why we trust the FDA at all?
Every day the television channels carry advertisement after advertisement for law firms handling the cases of miracle drugs that were supposed to improve our lives. These drugs have apparently failed not only to help as promised, but have caused more significant damage!
Shouldn’t we stop allowing ourselves to be used as the FDA’s guinea pigs? Because I doubt their ability to judge drugs on merit alone when drugs end up causing more damage than they helped stop.
I’m not saying new drugs shouldn’t be developed. Technology and information is advancing at speeds never seen before. We should take advantage of that. But as consumers, we need to question whether the drugs are really necessary or have been researched enough.
Unfortunately, the War On Obesity makes fat people perfect test subjects for the drug companies. Everyone wants to cure the fat people. What better way than a new drug that will earn a drug company super bucks as doctors and their patients scramble to Kill The Fat!
Personally, I’m saying, “No Way!” Maybe in ten years if people aren’t dropping dead and have managed to lose weight and keep it off, I’ll consider it. But until then I am not willing to be a guinea pig for the drug industry.
What about you? How do you feel about the new drugs coming on the market?
I was disheartened to hear about Disney’s exhibit to promote healthy habits by denigrating the very people the exhibit was aimed at–the young children who go to The Happiest Place On Earth for vacation. You can check out these blog posts to see the details: here and here.
However, Disney has changed their minds and the exhibit is closed while they rework it.
Can you imagine going on vacation, and being barraged with the message that there is something wrong with you? You take your children to Disney and have them face images of you labelled ” The Glutton,” “Lead Bottom,” and “Snacker.” Yup, I resemble “Snacker!”
Suddenly Disney is just a very high-priced place of torture. As the parent resembling The Villians, you feel shame and dismay. Even if you are in perfect health, albeit obese. Even if you’ve tried and tried to lose weight. Even if you’ve lost and gained weight over and over again. You, the bank for this trip, are also the very epitome of a bad example Disney is thrusting at your children.
What if your child resembles one of The Villians? As a parent, my message has always been you are perfectly fine as you are, people are all different, eat your fruits and vegetables, which I reinforce by providing a healthy array of food. But now Disney is telling my overweight child that they aren’t ok; they are The Villian.
As a parent, I don’t want Disney sending these messages to my children. I don’t want to take my kids to Disney and have them feel bad about themselves. I, especially, don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a vacation where the majority of my family will be viewed as The Villians simply for how we look.
I had a hard time articulating in 140 characters to someone on Twitter why this exhibit was a bad idea. She saw Disney promoting a healthful message. She didn’t see that anything was wrong with portraying The Villians as Disney did. Unfortunately, lots of people see it that way. And they see nothing wrong with condemning people simply for how they look, without considering what lies underneath the obesity. Not all fat people are unhealthy. Ragen Chastain over at Dances with Fat does a much better job of breaking things down than I do, so I refer you to her blog.
Now that Disney has re-thought their exhibit, I hope many other people rethink their prejudices. Are the fat people in their lives really The Villians?
This commercial is causing controversy for the Yoplait yogurt people. When I saw the commercial a hundred times before reading this article, I never caught the disordered eating encouragement. To me, it was just another commercial touting a low calorie food. Eat me! I have so few calories it’s like eating nothing…
What did keep catching my eye was a little message in the bottom right hand corner of the screen as the commercial ended…some flavors have 110 calories…
Good God! An extra ten calories! What will that do to a dieter’s day?! I know there are people who will fret over those ten calories. They’ll do anything to meet the magic daily calorie allotment that will lead to weight loss. But, as I discussed last week, there really is no magic calorie allotment. There is no magic formula.
I’m surprised the National Eating Disorders Association isn’t going after every diet food commercial. Why aren’t they questioning Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig? Frankly, hearing fat people can’t wear colors is more disturbing to me than this Yoplait commercial.
However, I have never suffered from bulimia nor anorexia, so I can’t say how triggering this ad might be to someone who has. If it is has been really a trigger, I would love to hear from you.
This commercial is a message to everyone (I’m including men here too!) that denial is the way to go. When I look at that commercial, that big old cheesecake draped in raspberries makes me want a slice. I’m just crazy enough to not even see the containers of yogurt. I want the cheesecake. I want the real thing.
I don’t want a package of something containing:
Here’s a recipe I found on the Food Network website by the Barefoot Contessa. The picture is quite similar to the commercial. Here are the ingredients:
Why are we buying into the idea that something chemical laden is better than something made with real ingredients that you could keep in your own kitchen? Who has convinced us that fake is better than real? That self-denial is better than indulgence?
I don’t know about you, but now I need some cheesecake. First, I’ve got to go to the grocery store…
Did you know there are rules for fat people? I didn’t understand this until I saw the Carrie Fisher Jenny Craig ad where she said that she can now wear colors. She couldn’t wear colors? Until she lost 30 pounds?! Who made this rule? How come I didn’t know about it?! Unknowingly, all these years I have been breaking this rule.
I propose that Carrie Fisher looked so awful in her pre-weight loss Jenny Craig ads because she was mopey, slumpy, and generally disheveled looking. She slumped on that couch looking like a smile might exhaust her. Was that her true persona? Or was that the marketing genius at Jenny Craig?
Jenny Craig has a tendency to turn their after-weight loss spokeswomen into perky people. Valerie Bertinelli…Sarah Rue…Kirstie Alley… Honestly, the Sarah Rue after commercial made me feel like I was watching a soft porn movie. I wanted to cover my sons’ eyes so they couldn’t watch her roll around pool side in her 1950s-ish swimsuit.
On another commercial (I’ve blocked the company from my mind) a weight loss success announces that her face hurts from smiling. She never smiled as a fat person? Not even once? Perhaps that was why she was miserable and not the extra weight. Just a thought.
Amidst the discovery that I was breaking all the fat people’s rules, Ragen Chastain had this to say about calories. And crapped all over my entire belief system. How many years have I counted calories? What could I have been doing with all that time I’ve spent looking up food calories and writing them down? How many years have I beat myself up because the calorie deficit wasn’t causing weight loss?! A Yahoo Health article explained it all to me again.
Basically, every person in America thinks about calories. Even if you’re not consciously tracking them for weight loss or weight gain, you still see them everywhere. They are on menus influencing what you order. They are on packaging, leading you to believe that they are a true measurement of…well, of something!
Now I am flummoxed. I thought I knew the rules about calories and was wrong. I didn’t know there were official rules for fat people, and feel left out. Frankly, I need to take to my bed to re-think everything I know…
Seriously, if I hear one more diet program commercial I cannot guarantee I will not be driven to violence!
Since becoming aware of the diet industry’s dismal success rate (that’s what “results not typical” means!) and their $60,000,000,000 (I got the number of 0s right…that’s $60 billion!) earnings, I’ve become less tolerant. I’m more than a little miffed with Weight Watchers.
In the past I’ve fallen under the spell of Weight Watchers. I’ve attended meetings. I’ve counted points. I’ve lost weight and slowly gained it back. All while paying my weekly fee to have myself weighed and often shamed by the weigher because my weight loss has not been “good” enough. I’ve accumulated copies of Weight Watchers’ magazine. I’ve bought Weight Watchers’ merchandise.
I wish there was a way to add up all the money I’ve invested in Weight Watchers over the years. A pretty penny, I’m sure. Since I am a dismal record keeper, I can’t even begin to add it all up. I’m sure it’s pretty substantial though.
Now Weight Watchers has come out and said publicly via Jennifer Hudson that they finally got it right. Yes, the New Points Plus…”because it works.”
What the hell?!
Is Weight Watchers admitting that everything before this didn’t work? Was it a farce? Did they know it didn’t work? Was I guinea pig in their weight loss experiment? While they were developing the real plan…you know, the one “that works”…were we pouring money into the company for nothing?
Or is Weight Watchers subtly letting us know that they really don’t know how to lose weight? They have some vague idea–like all of us–of what might work, but they just aren’t completely convinced.
Yet, they keep telling us that they know exactly what they’re doing. Finally. Finally? Well, I want all my money back! Yes, I want it all back. Plus, add on a percentage for selling me something that wasn’t right to begin with!
The last time I did Weight Watchers, I lost 35 pounds. Then I plateaued something terrible, and that’s when the shameful weigh-ins began. I’ll admit, it was shame more on my part than on the weigher. But her sad little “tsk” didn’t help.
I regained some of that weight and then I magically lost 35 pounds again. Except that time I had microscopic colitis and was deathly ill for months. But I lost the same amount of weight.
You know I’ve become a big fan of Ragen Chastain and her blog Dances with Fat. I’m pleased to have found Kate Harding and am sad that her blog Shapely Prose is no longer being updated. Both of these ladies changed the way I look at things.
Ragen has a way of taking a certain fact bandied about in the news and carefully sorting through until she finds the truth behind the fact. Since she does the interpreting much better than I ever could, please check out her blog for her analytical skills.
Kate’s book Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere (written with Marianne Kirby) is one I highly recommend. Read it and see if you feel the same way about clothes, health, and life after reading it.
These ladies and others have opened up my eyes (and apparently my ears!) to the point that all weight loss commercials are grating on my nerves like finger nails on a chalk board. And there are a lot of them this time of year. Perhaps the yearly resolution to lose weight is more of a reaction to commercials than to an actual desire? Like my need to possess a new Apple product when they make a quick-moving commercial with catchy music!
If you do try out the new diet programs being advertised, I wish you luck. But I’m not falling for it any more.
At the gym, I came out of my shower in time to see a woman who usually attends water aerobics with me. I said hi as I carefully adjusted my towel so that no offending body parts were visible. Which means most of them because I learned at an early age that unless you are bone thin you keep everything covered.
The other woman, I’ll call her “Eve,” hung up her towel and began an intense 15 minute conversation with me about the new training program she is trying. The entire time, she is stark naked. And she isn’t bone thin. She’s an overweight 40-ish woman who is standing there completely naked.
I’m polite and maintain incredible eye contact throughout the conversation. Because I don’t want her to be uncomfortable.
Because I don’t want her to know she’s my new hero.
Yes, this woman is my hero. Why? Because she stood there in all her glory, holding a conversation, without ever appearing to be self-conscious about her nakedness. She didn’t use her hands to cover up anything. She leaned against the wall, she moved around. She was into the conversation and didn’t appear to be constantly thinking, “how do I look?”
I was programmed at an early age to hate my body. The message I received from my mother and certain female relatives was that unless I was thin, I was not worthy. You could have warts all over every surface of your face and be the meanest, nastiest woman ever, but if you were thin…wow, you were gorgeous!
As a young child, I remember having multiple conversations with these same women. They went something like this:
Them: If you don’t lose weight no boy will ever ask you out. You’ll never go to prom.
Me: (Since I was all of nine or 10, I wasn’t as witty as I am now) Really?! (Even then I recognized the horror of not being worthy of a man’s attention because it was so important to these women.)
Them: Yes, no one likes fat women. You need to do something about it now.
Or having my mother tell me how disgusted my father was with me because I was fat. “Dad’s boss asked him if you were dating anyone and he told him ‘she looks like a football player, who would ever date her?’ ” said my mother. Wow, that’s a great way to boost your daughter’s self esteem.
Or having the nickname “Suey” during high school. Of course, they didn’t call it bullying then. And my mother wasn’t sympathetic at all. Because she agreed with them.
Even after moving away from home and coming to ChiBurbia where I lived with one of these same women and her husband, the “little talks” continued. Too fat. Not pretty enough. Not date-able. I was 20 years old and being berated about my weight. By people who didn’t even really know me!
This is why Eve is my hero. Because those voices, those snippets of conversation, apparently aren’t running through her head. I would love to ask her how she got to this wonderful place. But I am afraid doing that will make her self-conscious.
Instead, when I see Eve in the locker room, walking around naked, I will mentally throw up my fist and cheer, “You Go Girl!”