earthbelow: (Default)
[personal profile] earthbelow
Okay, I'd like the opinion of my very learned, very wise f-list about this article here, because I happen to think that this woman is not so much writing about the neurological/genetic causes of anorexia and the impact it's had on her life as she is bragging about the fact that she's thin and can eat whatever she wants.

I also think her article is chock full of contradictions. She says:

For example, I am absolutely positive that the physiques of Kate Moss, Posh Spice, or any other convenient scapegoat had no more than a kernel’s worth of influence over my decision to live on raw broccoli and Swedish crispbread for most of my college years. This is what we’ve always been taught—Barbie makes us hate our bodies as girls, and some unholy alliance between the worlds of fashion, Hollywood, and advertising keep feeding the furnace well into womanhood, until we’re supposedly too old to care.

But then she goes on to say:

As a small child, I remember telling my mother that when I grew up I wanted to weigh 110 pounds, which was what the National Enquirer said Princess Diana weighed at her thinnest.

Am I the only one who thinks that this is completely illogical of her to claim? That she wasn't influenced by media culture and their obsession with utterly unrealistic bodies?

Ignoring that the author of the article so blithely cites her father's "casual disdain" for fat people and says that she inherited it (because turning self-hatred outward to people who are already the targets of media bullying has nothing to do with why you're screwed up. Nothing at all. *eyeroll*)

I find it funny that all the attributes she picks out as part of the "anorectic personality" are all inherently good (or positively portrayed) attributes and those which are the reverse of the "fat personality". Because it's not like fat people haven't been stereotypes as lazy, sloppy, unmotivated slobs or anything. It's not like fat people aren't shown as headless, faceless images across news screens (almost always with something unhealthy in their hands) to show that there's an obesity epidemic on.

This is one of the things I really hate most about how the media deals with anorexia, overeating, and obesity.

First, I think anorexia gets a crippling and damaging amount of sympathy from the media. I say this because I think it is to the detriment of people suffering this disorder to have an already scrambled neurology reinforced by a society that rewards their behaviors by enforcing that somehow, what they're doing is good, even while we say it's unhealthy. I think the "oh, you poor thing, you're so thin! You must be so tormented and troubled, I feel so bad for you!" attitude is what makes it harder for people to recover.

For me, I think that eating disorders are more closely related to drug addictions than anything. While I can't comment personally on anorexia (I'm obviously the furthest from anorexic you can get), I can comment on overeating. And if you reward someone with pity for their addiction, you're not helping them. You're giving them little excuses to continue.

I can tell you that food is most definitely my drug. But unlike someone addicted to meth, I can't just walk away from the table. I must live with my tormentor and mediate my interactions with it.

And I must do this in a society that tells me, "Eat! Food! Delicious Food!" and showers me with near fetishistic images of it (close ups of hamburgers reminiscent of the many money shots you see in cheap porn flicks, the industry dedicated to making food look supernaturally pretty and appealing, the billboards that show that universally eating a food product comes with happiness and parental love and friendship) and then punishes me when my neurology goes haywire and causes me to indulge too much.

Even on channels dedicated to children's entertainment, the notion is reinforced. We show children in magical candy lands, having a spectacular time among the high sugar, high fat foods on offer. Mac and cheese will have you skipping across a blue background, this candy will make you popular with your friends, will make you cool.

I counted today. In a thirty minute spot, half of the commercials I saw were for food or restaurants. All of them showed close ups either of the food itself, or the food packaging. Several of those also showed a child being given care and affection by a parent/caretaker while receiving that food.

I didn't count the ones that weren't for food, but showed people eating (such as the financial commercials that show the guy at the barbeque, or the ones for nasal allergies that show people at a picnic).

For all that I sympathize with drug addicts and their woes, at least they don't pass a billboard for crack cocaine every quarter mile on the highway. At least they can simply say, "No more!" and walk away.

I mention this because I think it goes to the cause of our unhealthiness on both ends of the eating spectrum.

We live in a society that tells us to eat and tells us to be thin, but never tells us how mediate this contradiction. We are forever reminded by the news, by pop science experts, by talk show hosts, by Dr. Phil to cut down on high fat, high sugar foods.

But the problem is, I'm not sure most Americans have a strong enough grasp on what counts as high sugar/fat, and how much they should or should not be getting per day. Sure, we all know a McDonald's cheeseburger is bad, but what about that salad at Chili's? Surely the salad is a healthy choice!

Nope. A recent trip to Chili's for an outing revealed (thanks to New York State's new law that requires all establishments with more than seven locations to list the calories in each item next to it on the menu in readable type) that the lowest calorie salad they had was 1100 calories, approximately.

The average adult, barring health conditions, should get about 2,000 calories per day provided they're suitably active enough. 1100 is over half of their daily apportionment of calories. Several menu items were 2500 or 3000 calories - more than you'd need for a day.

I myself am on a 1000-1200 calorie diet as part of my quest to lose weight, and to rid myself of the spectre of diabetes that's hanging over my head. Since I have both a physiological and genetic (my grandfather was, my great uncle was, and likely my father is diabetic) risk for it, it's imperative that I get down to a healthy weight as soon as I can and maintain that weight, because diabetes is no joke. My grandfather died a much earlier death than he had to, and I have no doubt that had he not been diabetic, his heart, lung, and circulatory problems would not have been so exacerbated.

Which means I have had to endure a rather rocky education on food labels, fat content, deceptive packaging, portion sizes, and nutrition - and it leads me to believe that if America is suffering an obesity epidemic, it's a symptom of an educational epidemic that is the real disease.

It is my firm belief that American schools are wasting their time running a 19th century model of what students ought to learn. Learning about history, algebra, and reading such tomes as Moby Dick may be well and academic, but rather useless, especially to a society that is becoming increasingly oriented to on-the-job training and specialized fields.

I think the American school system would be better off and would improve our society greatly if we included three central curriculae - health/sex/nutrition, money, and science. I think if we had a generation that grew up knowing the basic biological facts of life, we'd have a much healthier society.

Let me give you a real time example of what I don't think most people get.

I always thought rice was a fairly healthy food. It seemed on the list of "good foods". But I then learned that not all rice is created equal. Brown rice is better for you than white rice.

A mere serving of white rice will cost you 267 calories, whereas a serving of brown rice is 218 calories for a serving*. That doesn't sound too bad right?

Until you realize that a serving size of rice is 1 cup, cooked.

Go try a little experiment. Go get some rice, and portion out the size that you'd normally eat. Then go portion out a cup. Look at the difference.

Back in the bad old days, if rice was being served as a side dish, I'd probably scoop a full two and half cups onto my plate (that's somewhere around 667.5 calories, and that's just for plain white rice, let's not talk about the hamburger helper/rice-a-roni type rice), because that's how much I'd want to eat. That would be the portion size that fit my appetite.

Just for reference, an entire McDonald's BigMac comes in at approximately 540 calories.

So, basically, I'd added a Big Mac and change to my plate, all by eating extra rice. Because I didn't know. If you just read the calories on the label, without the serving size, rice is healthier. It has much less fat, sodium, and other baddies. But rice can quickly become as unhealthy as a cheeseburger with portion size.

Nobody teaches you this, though. Food manufacturers have a vested interest in keeping the public ignorant.

Another example? Cereal.

When I was first starting out seriously getting my weight under control, I decided that a good start to my day would be healthy granola cereal. What could be a better start, right?

Until I looked at the calories and the portion sizes. For a mere half-cup of Kashi's Mountain Medley granola cereal (or the comparable generic brand I found), I'd be consuming 220 calories and twelve grams of sugar, and that's without the milk!

Go get a half cup and pour it into a bowl. See what kind of a portion size that is, and then look at the serving suggestions on the front of the box and how full that bowl is. Most of us, probably, would pour about a cup and a half to two cups into a cereal bowl if we were just judging by how much we wanted to eat.

What surprised me was when I started looking at other cereals. For an entire cup of Kellogg's Corn Pops, I'd only expend 110 calories and the amount of sugar is the same! For Honey Nut Cheerios, one cup is a mere 138 calories with only 11 grams of sugar! But, these are supposed to be the bad cereals, the evil ones.

Now, this may seem like nickle and dime nutrition to you, but when you're me, when you only get 1200 precious calories to eat per day, every single calorie counts. 220 calories is quite nearly a fifth of all the calories I can have. A fifth!

Do you know how long you have to do step aerobics on the Wii, or how long you have to speed walk or how many sit ups you have to do to burn 220 calories? Quite a lot, actually! Even if you are lucky enough that you can afford 2000 calories per day, these things add up, especially when you don't know that you need to watch portion size.

But Kashi probably doesn't want you to know this, because they market themselves as wholesome, healthy, natural. They don't want you to know that cup for cup, their cereal has almost twice the calories!

Remember how I said that salads weren't always the great choice you thought they were at restaurants? A lot of that has to do with the dressings. Ranch dressing, for instance, has 140 calories per serving, and a serving is a mere two tablespoons, but if you ever look at the little cups of dressing you get at restaurants? Usually you're given a full half-cup to a cup of dressing.

In the U.S. a cup is a full 16 tablespoons. So, let's be generous. Let's say that you were only given a half cup worth of dressing in that little plastic container by your salad and you, like I often did, dumped the whole thing on and spread it around, patting yourself on the back for being so virtuous, even when you really wanted that fat-laden cheeseburger or the pizza or the fried chicken fingers.

But guess what? You just added 560 calories to your salad. You just added a Big Mac. And in terms of fat and sodium, ranch dressing isn't that much better than a cheeseburger. So you thought you were doing the right thing. You were doing what you've had people screaming in your face to do: Eat less fat! Be healthy! Stop pigging out and stuffing your piehole you horrible fatso!

But because you weren't educated, because people didn't bother telling you the truth, because your society is more concerned with calling you lazy and hideous than teaching you, you're making bad decisions, and you're defeating yourself.

Now, I want to be clear. I'm not saying that society bears the responsibility. It is your job, as a human being, to maintain your own body as you see fit. Meaning, if you want to be healthy, you can't expect people to hand you that. You have to go out and learn all the lessons (even the hard ones) for yourself, you have to take your problems (whatever they are) by the scruff and deal with them. You have to do the work of maintaining your own meat puppet.

It sucks, because people some people get handed more problems than others. Some of us are fat, and some of us are smug "anorexics" (I find myself doubting Ms. Shukerts claims, actually) who brag about getting to eat whatever they want at the buffet. Still others get handed tragic disorders and disabilities that make obesity look like a walk in the park. But no matter what straw you drew in the genetic lottery, you have to deal with it.

Which is why I think we need a radical shift in not only our media, but our health education in this country.

I think our media needs to stop relying on ignorance and deception to sell products. I, personally, think that New York's law ought to be a federal law, and that not only should the calories and fat be printed on menus, but so should sugar and sodium. I think that commercials that sell foods directly to kids ought to be illegal. In fact, I think any commercial that markets to a child ought to be illegal. Kids aren't consumers. They're kids. Their brains aren't even developed. Give them a few years before your start rewiring their neurology for fun and profit, would you?

I'd like a ranking system in foods, required to be put on all packaging, that shows the relative healthiness of the food in accordance with portion size, calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. That way, these smartass companies that try to deceive you into believing that something is healthy can't get away with it. It means that when Kashi tries to make you believe that their "Mountain Medley" is wholesome, they won't be able to trick you into consuming twice the calories you would have otherwise.

Of course, all this should go along with a great push in education to teach kids from the time they're in preschool to the time they graduate, to read labels carefully, to make wise decisions, and to be aware of tricky advertising schemes that make them think that somehow, someway Oreos are healthy.

Still, as a person fighting the fat, if I could recommend one thing that our society do, above laws, above education, it would be one thing: parental involvement for kids.

Consider the many commercials that advertise food, to parents (mostly very worried, stressed moms who are under near Pompeiian pressures from society to be perfect) that are healthy, but make it clear that moms need to trick their kids into nutrition. "Oh, this food is actually low in sugar, high in vitamins. We'll package it like it's the bad stuff so your kid will eat it, but don't tell them!"

One memorable commercial is the one for a Chef Boyardee meal-in-a-can type food where the dad keeps trying to cite how healthy the meatball and pasta is, but the mom keeps banging on pots and pans and shaking her head as though the fact that the pasta is enriched with a few vitamins is a state secret.

And we wonder why there's an epidemic on!

If you teach kids that nutritious eating is, by it's very nature, a nasty trick, and a sacrifice that entails giving up taste, good food, and happy eating, of course you're going to get a society of folks who, after a while, just want to be happy and give up and decide to eat that cheeseburger. Because hey, life sucks, why not be happy for a little while? Why make yourself miserable eating bland cardboard health food, only to live long enough just to eat more cardboard?

Why not have the stuff that makes you happy?

Humans aren't that great at negative reinforcement. As a species, we're really only willing to flog ourselves for so long before we decide we've been punished enough. That's why I believe that most diets fail. People see them as Fat Penance. We go on diets to show that we're sorry for being hideous and lazy and overindulgent. For a while we torture ourselves with bland food and meager portions, we go and sweat off our sins at a gym, and then, after we feel we've been punished enough, or if we repeat our sin and can't face having to do even more penance we quit.

The one thing that might fix a lot of the eating disorders in America, and not just overeating, but anorexia and bulimia, is if parents taught their kids from an early age to prefer healthy eating, healthy living, and a healthy weight - if we got rid of the love/hate obsession with food and our own bodies. What if no girl ever had to hear her parents whine about their weight woes?

The thing is? We're sort of born with an inborn sense of good and bad when it comes to food, of how much is enough. But our parents often say, "No, finish your dinner!" when we insist that we're full, or they teach us that apples are common food and the real treat, the real rewards are oreos and cookies and cakes.

I don't think parents realize that when they do this, they're rewiring their child's neurology. For whatever innate instinct a child has to seek out good food and stop eating when they're full, a parent can quickly and easily override that and teach them that they're not eating enough, that they need to eat in big meals that are hours apart, that sugar and fat are food which should trigger feelings of security, love, happiness, accomplishment.

Some people accuse food manufacturers of putting mood altering chemicals in our food. And I'm loathe to say that none of them do (caffeine is an obvious one), but I think a lot of the mood alteration comes from our parents and caretakers who teach our tiny brains that these foods should trigger a sense of reward and elevate our moods.

I know it goes against everything we're imbedded with by our society, but honestly? I think we need to stop centering rewards around food, stop centering our celebrations and festivities around big meals. All our major holidays traditionally involve a big supper. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter. The summer holidays come replete with barbeques, ice cream, lemonade, fried chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs.

I think we need to stop the love/hate with food, with weight, with health.

I won't even start on the exercise revolution that needs to happen. If you want to know the biggest reason that Americans don't get enough physical activity in their lives, don't look to cars or offices or even televisions. Look to gyms. Look to treadmills and weight machines.

I think if Americans knew that you could get the same health benefits from doing something as simple as taking walks in the park, playing a game of basketball, or other forms of sports and recreation that are fun, we'd have not only a healthier society, but a happier one.

I mean, can you imagine what the landscape would look like if parents spent at least an hour a day playing games with their kids in the backyard, if they handed them apples and carrots instead of cookies and chips? If we rewarded kids with love, affection, and non-food items? Geez, imagine if we rewarded kids with books and taught them that healthy things were actually as good as they are.

(*all nutritional values according to Some may vary by 10-20 calories per serving. The Big Mac, especially, varies between 240 and 280 depending on the source of the information.)

I'd also like to note how suspicious I find it that my comments on the article have mysteriously gotten lost but other comments were approved. Hmm. Maybe I should have read the invisible "No Fatties Allowed" sign before I commented.

Date: 16 Apr 2009 15:44 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Kind of dry at first, but listen to Marion Nestle especially. Very validating. I have her book Food Politics and I'll send it to you when I'm done with it.

And about that article.... I want to smack her. Telling anyone with a problem "Oh, well, you were just born that way" isn't helpful. I mean, duh, yes, people can be born with proclivities, but when people are horribly mistreated by their parents and peers for being fat and insanely rewarded for any weightloss, doesn't society share a little of that causation?
Edited Date: 16 Apr 2009 15:46 (UTC)

Date: 16 Apr 2009 16:58 (UTC)
br0ken_dolly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] br0ken_dolly
one thing that bothers me a lot about any anorexia hype is that fat anorexics are ignored. because of all this encouraged disordered eating, people who are fat yet starving themselves, and putting their system into shock so they don't lose weight, and the cycle continues for years. i've met so many tortured fat people who could be considered anorexics by the diagnostic standards, but we never, EVER hear about them. because fat is always associated with overeating, fast food, laziness, etc.

the lack of nutrition education is horrifying. not only are americans sorely undereducated, but even DOCTORS only receive about 2 hours of nutrition training. TWO HOURS. when my doctor tells me to diet and exercise, i really can't have much faith in what he's talking about because i know more about nutrition than he does.

i was an assistant dietitian yrs ago, i was shocked at how much goes into a truly balanced diet, and how that compared to how people ate. i've spent a lot of time since then studying food in general.

food industry and food culture are fascinating. like you said, we're OBSESSED with it. food is EVERYWHERE. every occasion warrants food-- weddings, funerals, baby showers, graduations, going away parties. really anything and everything that we acknowledge in life is accompanied by food. and that food is never healthy either, it's comforting (read: fatty and starchy), and often offers no nutritional value (potato chips).

the thing about calories though that people don't understand is that nutrient-density plays a huge overlooked role in food and calories. for example, brown rice, while it has less calories than white rice, *also* has tons of fiber, some protein, and other nutrients. white rice offers nothing (even if it's "enriched" white rice, it doesn't get enriched with fiber or protein). fiber will make you feel full longer, and help you digest other food better, which means you'll be taking in more nutrients and excreting waste sooner. the less time your food spends hanging out in your digestive tract, the less time you've got to absorb any/all fat and excess calories you've taken in. also, the complex carbs in brown rice give you more energy than white rice, which means 1 cup will take you a lot farther than 1 cup of white rice.

or if you forego the rice altogether, and use 1 cup of quinoa instead, you'll end up with a TON more protein (and a complete protein at that), plus calcium and iron, and less carbohydrates, which is what should be the enemy, not calories in general.

as for salads... while salads are awesome, the salads served in restaurants are just filler. they have no nutritional value. the typical salad is lettuce (iceberg-- which is basically water with zero nutrients), maybe a cherry tomato or two, a few shreds of carrots, cabbage, maybe a cucumber (while yummy, it's as good as iceberg lettuce), a huge handful of cheese (which is loaded with fat, cholesterol, and calories compared to what nutritional value it offers) and a cup of dressing (which you pointed out is pretty useless, too). the tip i recommended to people when i worked in the field of nutrition was to dip each piece of salad into the dressing, rather than bathing your salad in dressing. you end up eating a half (or less) of what's served. but still-- there's NO nutrition. when i make a salad at home, it's green leafy lettuce (iron, calcium, vitamin c, vitamin A, etc), tomatoes (vitamin c to help process the iron in teh leafies), cukes, a variety of beans (protein!! fiber, iron, lots of vitamins), peppers (lots of vitamins), walnuts (protein, *healthy* fat, omega fatty acids), sunflower seeds, carrots, craisins... all things that have lots of nutrients and taste good to boot. it might be a 250 calorie salad, but it's full of protein and fiber, both of which keep someone with insulin issues full longer and filled with energy longer. a sensible dressing is nothing to be feared. (a vinaigrette, lemon juice, something with an avocado base...)

Date: 16 Apr 2009 16:59 (UTC)
br0ken_dolly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] br0ken_dolly
one last thing (i'm sorry i've got a lot to say about this, it's something i've done a lot of research about and like i said, i used to work in the field), the additives in food. if a package has more than 5 ingredients (and you don't recognize those ingredients), i tend to think the food hasn't been cooked, it's been *engineered*. people get degrees in food science, where they learn how to create food in a LABORATORY to get people hooked and buy more product. that alone is pretty horrifying.

but the biggest culprit is dairy. milk actually has morphine-like compounds in it that make you feel good when you eat it, and make you crave more. this is why baby animals (human and non-human) calm down when they get their mother's milk, and why they keep coming back for more. it's very primitive and natural. however, it's exploited by the food industry: we smother what would normally be healthy wonderful food in cheese sauces, cream sauces, we add milk to everything. it's even snuck into unsuspecting packaged foods in the form of whey, casein, and innocuous sounding "skim milk protein" (hey! it's protein and it's fat-free!)... we are PHYSICALLY ADDICTED to these foods. this is not our faults, either. when we should have been weened from mother's milk as toddlers, we're switched to cow's milk, and cheese and yogurt. we're given ice cream and milk chocolate as treats. we celebrate birthdays with cake and ice cream. not only are we physically addicted, we're now emotionally addicted, too.

fighting that addiction and getting off the dairy has huge impacts on people. food tastes very different to me now that i've "kicked the habit." dairy also dulls our sense of taste, so we keep eating and overeating trying to get that good feeling from the taste of our food, but can't because we can't physically taste it. like a junkie, we need more and more of our drug of choice to get that feel-good feeling.

it's pretty fascinating to me. people report dropping lots of weight by avoiding the dairy, partly because of the avoidance of all that fat, but partly because the often-ignored side effect of food allergies is weight gain and inability to lose weight. something like 80% of the world's population is lactose intolerant, but with ad campaigns like "got milk" and that ridiculous dairy-for-weight-loss joke, how would we ever know?

anyhow, sorry to be so wordy. like i said, it's just a subject that means a lot to me.

i definitely understand what you're saying. our society is pretty fucked up when it comes to food.

(and yes i exceeded the character limit. sorry about that.)

Response, Part 2

Date: 16 Apr 2009 19:30 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I will say I have to slightly disagree about dairy. While I do think high fat dairy products are absolutely to be avoided, and we definitely need to scale down the dairy we consume, I do think cheeses and yogurts in careful moderation are just fine, but only if you can know that the cows weren't tampered with. The stuff they pump into supermarket milk is kind of scary.

And I do think the campaigns telling people that "milk is the perfect food" are out of line. That's like saying nuts are the perfect food. Yeah, if you're not allergic and able to handle nuts, then sure. But not all nuts are good, not all forms of nuts are good, and some people are deadly allergic to them and people need to be aware of that.

I think some people would probably drop weight or at least get healthier if they cut out milk products, and I think for some people, milk isn't a problem. But like you said, how would you know. People are telling you that milk helps you lose weight.

Everyone's body is different, and we don't teach people how to design their own diets, how to know what works and what doesn't for them.

As for processed/engineered food, I agree completely. I think companies know that we're already predisposed to food being a mood altering agent just by psychological association, and with a little chemical help, they can make food practically addictive.

Since we're on the topic (don't worry about exceeding character limits, because I just did!), is it just me or does it seem like sugarfree foods are kind of a racket? I'm beginning to see that they're not the benign substitutes they seem to be, and I honestly think that they're just as likely to be harmful to people fighting type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes as they are to help.

What are your thoughts?

Re: Response, Part 2

Date: 16 Apr 2009 19:44 (UTC)
br0ken_dolly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] br0ken_dolly
i'll work backwards because that's just what kinda girl i am, apparently.

i've read studies supporting the idea that sugar substitutes are really really bad for people with blood sugar issues. their sweet taste actually triggers the brain to trigger the pancreas to increase insulin production because "whoa nelly! there's sugar comin!" ...only, there's no sugar, so there's an excess of insulin, which causes a blood sugar drop anyway. also, it's really hard on the body to have our pancreas overproducing hormones we don't need. then when you throw in the fact that some people's bodies aren't as good at reacting to insulin as others, and things get really crazy.

nevermind the fact that food shouldn't be produced in a lab, aspartame turns into FORMALDEHYDE in our bodies, and splenda is basically sugar treated with bleach. (also, the aspartame manufacturer basically had to bribe the FDA to approve it after several denials!)

it's pretty fucked up if you ask me.

there are some natural products that are supposed to have a low glycemic index (stevia and agave nectar-- stevia also has lots of fiber), but the food laboratories won't bother with them. they wouldn't be able to say zero calorie soda, after all.

since such a high percentage of the planet is allergic to dairy, i really don't see any point to eating it... any nutritional value these foods might offer can be obtained more efficiently by eating non-dairy foods. while a fat free yogurt might not kill you, i don't see the point, especially with the physically addictive properties, and all the chemicals in it.

actually, all nuts *are* good. perhaps not in excess, but we shouldn't be downing an entire box of cheese-its, or oreos, either. eating an excess of carrots will turn us orange. but nuts are actually really healthy. and we DO need "good" fats in our diets to help regulate our moods, to give us good cholesterol, protein, omega fatty acids, plenty of vitamins, fiber, and energy. avocados are the same way. yes, they have some fat, but it's "good" fat (much better fat than cheese, too), and it's packed with vitamins. again-- moderation. avoiding nutrients isn't a valid excuse for cutting out good fats. (and i say this after eating a fat-free diet for years. i limited my fat intake to under 5g/day for a long time, and that actually prevents weight loss... plus the impact it had on my cholesterol and overall health.)

Response, Part 1

Date: 16 Apr 2009 19:29 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
one thing that bothers me a lot about any anorexia hype is that fat anorexics are ignored.

Well, not just fat anorexics, but anorexics who are a normal size. It also bothers me that this woman doesn't come across as someone who's suffered from this disease. Because people who really have suffered from this disorder do not brag about it, they do not brag about how they eat a lot at buffets now and are so skinny.

They tell people that they feel miserable about it, that it controlled them, that they live with the ghost of it everyday. I don't mean to stereotype people's experiences, but this woman says she had a "pretty severe case of it once upon a time". Uh, no. Anorexia is not like a cold. It's like an addiction. You're in recovery or you're not, but you're always anorexic, just like I'll always be an overeater in recovery, even if I lose all the weight.

food industry and food culture are fascinating.

Well, part of me understands why it is like it is. We have to understand that our traditions pre-date the abundance of our food sources. The things that make us fat right now are the things that kept our ancestors alive. Communal food sharing and eating big feasts probably kept many ancient communities alive and connected to each other. If you're someone who struggles to get 1000 calories a day and you usually burn somewhere around 4,000 with all the farming, hunting, gathering, and working you do, then yeah. Starchy foods are your friend, and rewarding children for having big appetites and eating a lot and rewarding them with fatty, sugary foods is a survival mechanism.

But this is 2009 and now that food is so abundant for us in the United States, we don't have to follow those habits, and in fact, we need to learn how to break them.

That's another thing that I wish that would come along with our education. As a historian, I think it would help people to understand that our traditions and our habits are necessarily bad, they're just not effective or healthy for our situations - that they once had their uses.

That's what's helped me a lot, psychologically, with my weight loss. I really do resent my body sometimes, but I remind myself that my physiology was what helped my ancestors prosper, and that it's actually a sign of a metabolism that is, technically speaking, too efficient. It processes and stores calories TOO well for it's own good. So I need to learn to understand that I just don't require as much fuel.

I'm a hybrid car that gets 50 miles to the gallon, and I just don't need to chug fuel the way the big SUV's do. Doesn't make me an inferior car, but it means I need to make different decisions when I go to the gas station.

as for salads... while salads are awesome, the salads served in restaurants are just filler.

Yeah, I know. I've found that as I'm going along on this journey, that I now crave different types of greens. I used to really want iceberg lettuce, until I realized that it was probably because I was dehydrated a lot and didn't get enough water.

And now I crave spinach and other greens like that, because they have iron in them. And I can tell I have more energy for exercise since I've incorporated better greens into my diet.

Also, tomatoes are for the win. They're my favorites and I love to eat them raw (I don't like salt or anything on them). I will just eat tomatoes (any kind!) like they're candy.

I am wary of nuts, though, because I don't think my body cares for them, and I'm very wary of avocado because it has high fat (even though it's good fat). I'm ashamed to say that I still use an Italian dressing (but I use it in moderation, and according to the actual serving size, which is rather reasonable). I still haven't gotten the hang of vinagrettes because they taste a bit funny to me.

Date: 16 Apr 2009 19:54 (UTC)
br0ken_dolly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] br0ken_dolly
i have to agree... as much as i like to say "you don't know what any person is going through!" anyone who brags about eating anything and not gaining a pound really is not anorexic. if anything, this author is doing it for attention. "Look at ME! i'm imperfect! i need help attention!"

while historically we needed a lot more food than we need now, we STILL need food. food still keeps us alive. food still makes us feel good (and even though in some respects that's bad, we really do deserve to feel good!). food builds traditions and culture. i'm not shrugging that off, i'm just pointing out that when the food we build our traditions on is going to kill us, we need to re-evaluate.

i still don't think people *need* all the fat and sugar, regardless of lifestyle. people need energy and nutrition-- excess fat and sugar provide neither. they just make us feel good. we can eat 4000 calories a day (if we need it) that come from healthy whole foods sources, rather than the drive-thru.

italian dressing is still better than ranch :) and good quality companies make italian dressings with good things like olive oil and whatnot, rather than the chemical flavorings in Kraft, or whatever.

i have to say no matter how hard i try, i never crave greens. i just know they're better for me, and i prepare them so they're tasty... but it's a conscious effort/decision to say "okay we haven't had any kale this week, so i'm going to make beans and greens and cornbread" (or whatever we have on hand). it's also a lot easier to eat good-for-me food because i know i'm making a decision that's the best possible decision. (for lots of reasons: ethical, environmental, health.) in that respect, i do crave things like greens.

tomatoes *do* rock. i like them with a little sea salt and pepper and sometimes oregano. i'm not a food-salter, but when it comes to fresh tomatoes, it just works for me. have you had those yellow tomatoes? OMG SO GOOD. i'm prejudiced against vegetables-- i prefer odd colors. heh.


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