Oh the hoopla over Jess Weiner’s article in Glamour Magazine, “Did Loving My Body Almost Kill Me?” going to a doctor, finding out that she’s 250 pounds, pre-diabetic and her cholesterol sucked and then having the audacity to do something about it.
I’ve read countless articles both defending and attacking Jess for admitting that she was glad to have lost 25 pounds and – how dare she – admit to having a goal to lose 25 more.
Because there’s this whole new school of thought that you can be Healthy at Every Size and Jess was kindof their role model, their ring leader, their thought leader. There’s a bunch of websites and books about Healthy at Any Weight. They claim that all the science that claim the correlation between obesity and being overweight and heart disease, diabetes, infertility, depression, stroke and a whole host of other deadly illnesses can’t be proven and aren’t really fat-related at all. It’s just a conspiracy against fat people – a social conspiracy. Because we don’t like them. It’s discrimination in the disguise of science.
A lot of really nice, awesome people that I actually respect and admire sit in this Healthy At Every Size camp, so I have pretty much shut my mouth about it. Except I don’t buy it. And I think it sets a lot of people up for a lot of very serious health risks, deadly ones.
I’ve read a lot of misinformation and a lot of well, weird theories about how Jess’s diet, and her new venture in conscious weight loss, is going to cost a lot of girls with eating disorders their recovery and may even cost them their lives.
I think that’s backasswards. It doesn’t make any sense at all.
Did loving her body almost kill Jess Weiner? In a word, No. Because loving your body involves taking care of it, which means it doesn’t get to be 250 pounds. Because you take it to the gym and you make it sweat. You read labels and watch what you put into it.
And on many of these eating disorder recovery blogs I’ve read that they are worried that Jess may be “falling back into her former eating disorder” by deciding she needs to shed a few pounds.
Here’s the flaw with that theory: There is more than one type of eating disorder. Sure there is bulimia and anorexia. But there is also obesity and unconscious eating and eating to stuff one’s feelings, which IS an eating disorder. It is extremely common for people with addictions and eating disorders to simply switch one to another. Which is why you have very high rates of people who have gastric bypass surgery fall into alcoholism – they didn’t recover – they switched their addictions. Or coke heads who quit doing cocaine only to pick up alcohol. Did Jess really recover from her eating disorder? Or did she go from one eating disorder to another one and hide behind a Healthy At Any Size movement that makes it super easy to hide what appears to be a more socially acceptable eating disorder according to the moralistic tone in which it’s prophets deliver it’s message? Only Jess can answer that. Probably, it’s just another step in her path to recovery.
Can you be Healthy At Every Size or Healthy At Any Weight?
No, You Can’t.
A person cannot sustain a body that is 300 or 400 or 500 pounds and not suffer the consequences of impaired mobility, restricted lifestyle, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, painful joints, diabetes, heart disease or any number of health risks.
Should we treat people at every size and every weight with love and respect? Absolutely. But that’s another issue entirely. Entertaining fictions that could kill them, or at the very least, harm them isn’t a loving act though is it?
Should girls be pressured into a narrow beauty ideal depicted in media and marketing? Absolutely not.
But, the alternative to that is not to be complacent about obesity and overeating.
I recently saw the statistic that 7 million girls suffer from eating disorders. I take issue with that.
Those numbers do not take into account the one in three (1 in 3!) children in this country who are overweight or obese, suffering from the other eating disorders of overeating, medicating themselves with food, unconscious eating, etc. Food is their first drug of choice, the first drug they have access too. And it baffles me why some child advocates, eating disorder organizations, educators and parents aren’t more concerned with those numbers and tend to focus only on the much smaller population of kids who prefer to starve themselves.
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My husband was just informed by a police officer that he would call child protective services on us. He gave us a warning, this time.
We let him ride his bike outside in front of our house. In a residential neighborhood with dead-end streets.
Is it actually illegal to let a kid ride their bike outside?
I doubt it.
In the meantime, we live in a town with 60% fat kids. It appears that endangering a child’s life by sitting them in front of the TV with a bag of Sonic everyday is not considered child endangerment, though exercise and play is.
Never mind that this same officer likely rode his bike all freaking day long when he was growing up, and relished in the freedom and fun of it. Probably on this same street.
Given one single wish, that he gets to make in front of the best and brightest people with all the resources in the world, he chose to confront the childhood obesity epidemic armed with information and education.
According to an article, Puberty gap: Obesity splits boys, girls on MSNBC.com, new studies have indicated that the current obesity epidemic among children is causing boys to hit puberty later than previous generations.
Girls appear to be hitting puberty one to two years earlier than previous generations.
Theories on what might cause late puberty in overweight boys center on hormones produced in fat cells. Obese males have higher levels of estradiol, a relative of estrogen that may interfere with the male hormone androgen, states the article.
One doctor also provides parents with the solution to early or late puberty in their children:
At a time when so many children are overweight, parents should be more concerned about obesity than puberty, said Dr. Laura K. Bachrach, a professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
“They should be worried about the food they’re putting on the table.”
President Barack Obama announced that Michelle Obama, First Lady and mother of two First Daughters Sasha and Malia, will be taking on Childhood Obesity as her pet cause. In this MSNBC story Michelle Obama admits to a very similar story as the one I’ve told here on The Girl Revolution – the doctor says, “Hey your kids are in a risky place BMI-wise.”
I could not have been more thrilled. You know, Tribe, that I am very concerned with the negative consequences resulting from apathetically allowing obesity to consume our daughters: early puberty, higher insurance premiums, preexisting conditions like diabetes, higher risks of breast cancer, infertility, and those are just the gender-specific risks.
I recently read an article in The New Yorker about the fact that the military is having a problem finding youth who meet the physical requirements of enlisting to defend our country. It’s never happened before in the history of America.
I remind my own kids, “Did you get your hour of play today?”
From the MSNBC article, Michelle tells us how she handle the shocking news that her daughters were too high on the BMI charts,
‘Small changes, big results’
The first lady said that over the next few months she made some small changes that got her daughters back on track. No more weekday TV. More attention to portion sizes. Low-fat milk. Water bottles in the lunch boxes. Grapes on the breakfast table. Apple slices at lunch. Colorful vegetables on the dinner table. “It was really very minor stuff, but these small changes resulted in some really significant improvements, and I didn’t know it would,” Mrs. Obama said.
It’s true. Small changes do lead to big results. I know it from my own health, my kids’ health, my lifestyle changes. Small changes are easy and achievable and if you do them often enough you do get big lifestyle changes.
I am so happy children will have a champion for the very important cause of childhood obesity. There could not be a more visible champion.
There’s more to this childhood obesity epidemic than our kids are too lazy, we’re not good enough police about what goes in our kids mouths and our little people don’t get enough play and exercise though.
I just saw Food, Inc. on the Watch It Now feature on Netflix.
It really highlights facts like these: if all the animals we eat consume corn and they feed them corn to make them fatter faster . . . .does it surprise us then that we and our children are also fatter faster? Not to mention all the other products, around 80% of what’s in the grocery store, are made of . . . corn, corn syrup, and other corn sugars?
Food, Inc. does one thing well. Outline just how seriously our government is involved in what we’re eating – which flows into the rising costs in our inefficient health care system – and just how much influence a few Corporations have over our childhood obesity problem, our national obesity problem.
Happily, and the movie highlights this truth very well in the end: it is ultimately CONSUMERS (read parents who buy their kids’ foods) who decide what supermarkets carry, what farmers farm and what corporations sell.
If you’re feeling a little powerless as you fork over the extra dough for the healthier foods let me point out one tiny little trend which should raise your feelings of empowerment: When I began writing about the issue of early puberty the issue of hormones in the milk supply came up, non-hormone milk cost quite a bit more than milk from cows given growth hormones. It was worth it. Not just to me, but to enough people that Walmart – the biggest retailer in the world – doesn’t carry growth hormone milk anymore. They don’t even stock it.
We – PARENTS, CONSUMERS – stopped the practice of feeding growth hormones to milk cows by refusing to buy that milk.
That’s how capitalism works every.single.time.
Next on the chopping block – high fructose corn syrup, a product that’s probably in 80% of the food supply and that’s making us and our kids fatter faster.
Michelle said she plans to roll out her childhood obesity campaign over the next few weeks. I am sure she’ll be planting the garden in the spring too. I can’t wait!