The not-so-silent killer

We all know about potatoes, the silent killer, and the horrors of drinking milk, the silent killer, thanks to certain Fox-friendly doctors and the groundbreaking work of The Health Institute of Nutrition. And while the “be healthy by getting skinny even if you’re genetically inclined to be fat which is sorta okay if you’re pretty enough to go on TV” tips provided by Dr. Ashton on the Mike & Juliet show have provided us with barrels of laughs around here (and some exciting lists of delicious food), this kind of “Three easy steps to social acceptability” list is no joke.

Raise your hand if you’ve been feeling guilty about eating white foods for the last two days.

*raises hand*

As Fillyjonk, who has known me since I was 14, can attest, I’m one of the least eating-disordered people out there. I’ve struggled with self-image, guilt, and shame (including about food), but somehow that self-flagellation has never really manifested itself in my eating behavior (for which I’m profoundly grateful). I also recently experienced drastic weight loss due to health issues and am actually very excited at the prospect of not losing any more weight in the near future. In other words, I’m pretty unlikely at this point in my life to be triggered into dieting behaviors.

And yet, yesterday I found myself looking at the rice, tofu, bagels, cream cheese, soymilk, and bananas in my kitchen with deep suspicion. I almost skipped dinner, which I never do, because I didn’t have enough greens in the house to cook. My partner is currently ill and can’t handle much more than chicken broth, and part of me seriously considered just eating chicken broth, too, because everything else I could think of was white.

Don’t worry, Shapelings, I got my head screwed back on and managed to eat some of each of the above-mentioned items throughout the day (bagel with cream cheese, natch; rice and tofu in a stir fry; soymilk and bananas in a smoothie) thrown together with a few other ingredients that I chose — and not just for color. But while I ate my delicious stir-fry, watching the brown peanut sauce seep over the oh-so-white grains of rice, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the other people who might have seen the Mike & Juliet show — people who don’t know about FA, who haven’t let go of the fantasy of being thin, who aren’t contributors on blogs with hundreds of warm and hilarious readers to help keep them sane. Maybe a woman saw that show and marveled at how articulate and fashionable and confident Mo and Rachel were; maybe she started to think about how she was about that size and her hair was pretty cute, too, and hey, maybe she should sign up for that dance class after all, if these fat women can exercise without keeling over — and then Dr. Ashton told her not to drink her calories or eat anything white, and that positive voice was replaced by that of the Inner Dieter that this body-denying culture demands we all carry inside us. I ate dinner last night, but I don’t think that woman did.

And this is why, though I have no doubt that (as Rachel reports) Dr. Ashton may be an articulate and thoughtful person when she’s not appearing on TV — as no doubt many “obesity experts” are in their real lives — that’s not enough when your words have harmful effects. We’ve said it here before, and we’ll say it again: Food is not a moral agent. Mental health is part of health. Enjoying food is not pathological. “Bad” foods don’t cancel out “good” foods. You are allowed to eat what you want, when you want it, and to stop when you want to. No one can take away your permission to eat.

We, your fearless bloggers, like to remind you (and ourselves!) sometimes that we are not sprung fully-formed from the head of Marilyn Wann. We struggle with accepting ourselves. We struggle with eating joyfully and intuitively. We struggle because for every two Mos and Rachels who go on TV and love themselves fiercely, there’s four people telling them not to. It is hard not to listen to those four voices. But it is worth it.

If you are craving some white food today, eat it with a smile. I’ll be raising a glass of soymilk to you.

110 thoughts on “The not-so-silent killer

  1. This was a really really good post for me to read today…thank you! I watched the clips on Youtube, and was so impressed with the FA message. That doctor did come across like a complete fool – I was kind of thinking she was doing ok until she started on the “Never eat …” thing, as the moment I hear “NEVER” I start to assume the person is a quack.
    I didn’t think I would be influenced by that message, but related or not, I have also been struggling with eating disorder thoughts today (I am a recovering bulimic) so this post is well-timed.

  2. Nicely said, sweetmachine.

    “I ate dinner last night, but I don’t think that woman did.”

    That’s a big concern for sure. Worse, these diet tips were at the *end* of the segment. I trust that’s not an accident, for those are the things that will stick with most people. Rachel asked why a pro-fat segment needed them at all, and that’s quite valid. (It’s morbidly valid!)

  3. This is a super post.

    I’ve been thinking twice about white foods too. Living in a diet culture, we’re so susceptible to these regimented ways of thinking about food — especially given the “it’s as simple as that” principle, where all you have to do you guys is cut out carbs, or cut out sugar, or cut out white foods, or switch to diet soda, or whatever. In a lot of ways they’re more appealing than accepting freedom and true control (rather than restrictive, disordered control) over your eating — which is why I have no doubt that you’re right about Theoretical Woman throwing away her burgeoning HAES ideas in favor of Simple Rules for Not Getting Fat. We would love for things to break down that way. We spend so much money and effort and mental energy trying to force things to break down that way. But it turns out that you can’t live freely or comfortably by imposing more and more restrictions on yourself — no matter how much you fear what you might do with that freedom.

    Which of course makes me, as the obnoxious rebel, the TOTAL WINNER, and you as the more-or-less societally acceptable radical the LOSER. HAHA. SCREW YOUR APPARENTLY SUPERIOR SUCCESS.

  4. Awesome post, woman.

    The “white foods” didn’t get me specifically, but I finally just started reading the Taubes book, and I’m totally catching myself thinking “must choose protein over carbs.” So I hear you.

  5. Paul: total LOL at “morbidly valid.” This is definitely my new thing. “Your coat is morbidly stylish!”

    FJ: SCREW YOU TOO, WINNER

    Kate: It was kind of like the last scene in The Usual Suspects, when what’s-his-name looks around and starts to see the Kaiser Soze stuff everywhere — I was like, “This is white. And this! AND THIS!”

  6. LOL Paul – morbidly awesome comment.

    This didn’t get me at all. I am getting really good at dismissing crappy medical advice. Besides my medication is white! Maybe i should quit starting my day with it…?

  7. I loled at “morbidly awesome” as well.

    I would also lol if Alexandra had a post about “the noisy killer.” Though I have no idea what that would be. Activism, probably.

  8. Raise your hand if you’ve been feeling guilty about eating white foods for the last two days.

    I’m glad you mentioned this. I actually did feel guilty about the whole white food thing. I think I’ve gotten over it but still, I’m sure there are lots of people out there that took that womans message to heart.

    I live in Puerto Rico and I was trying to explain to a friend of mine about fat acceptance and she looked at me like I was insane. I even think I offended her. I was wondering if anyone knew what the proper term for fat acceptance would be in spanish. I’ve been looking online and I realize there are no real spanish language fat acceptance blogs/sites out there. I was thinking maybe I could try my hand at something but I wanted to see what others thought about it.

  9. Every time I read “You can eat what you want, when you want to and stop when you want to” it brings a tear to my eyes. Seriously. I get weepy. Food growing up was an “It’s on your plate, eat all of it or else” kind of thing. I still feel like if I leave even a little bit on my plate that I’m a Bad Person for not finishing because hey, there’s a million starving kids in the world and I should eat my dinner! I love food; I love to eat but sometimes I feel self consious ordering or making and eating what I want if people around me arent’ eating as much.

  10. Pretty much every food I have ever been fed at a hospital has been white.

    Except for the jello and that was sjut too scary to look at closely.

  11. I don’t buy into most of the crap floating around about weight loss and dieting. I think it’s destructive. And when a certain type/color of food is targeted as bad, well, I just change channels. Fearing certain foods is insane…it’s not like they are radioactive or laced with rat poison! I think the more we love our food and commit ourselves to feeding our bodies good food, the better off we’ll be. And by good I mean food you ENJOY!

  12. I, too, had a white food thought last night as I was cooking some potatoes for dinner. My inner monologue was something more along the lines of, “If the potatoes are golden potatoes, are they a yellow food or a white food? Do yellow potatoes have more or less carbs than white potatoes? Should I be eating these yellow potatoes? *eats potato* Damn! These potatoes are delicious. Screw that skinny anti-white-food lady.”

    And then I ate white yogurt for dessert without a second thought. Seriously, how can all white food be bad for you?! Yogurt: white. Inside of an Apple: White. Fennel: White.

  13. sweetmachine, thanks for that reminder to eat. i’m always really nervous before rowing weigh-ins. none of the people on my team know that i used to have an eating disorder/be a compulsive dieter, so it’s really hard for me to talk about weight or get weighted since i’ve purposefully avoided scales so i don’t weigh myself once a day.

  14. And this is why, though I have no doubt that (as Rachel reports) Dr. Ashton may be an articulate and thoughtful person when she’s not appearing on TV — as no doubt many “obesity experts” are in their real lives — that’s not enough when your words have harmful effects.

    Apparently, one of the M & J show producers sent the good doctor a note with some of the more “violent” and “hateful” comments made about her. Since there were very few comments made on my site about the doctor, I think she might have selected them from comments made here.

    Let me also point out: I do think there was a bit of cherry picking on the producer’s behalf, and certainly none of the complimentary comments about the doctor were sent her way.

    I think people on both sides of the debate get so wrapped up in the messages, that they forget that we are all people, too. I think the doctor was genuinely hurt by some of the comments made about her, just as we are when people continue to stereotype us as gluttonous sloths. So, while we may disagree with her message, I think it is so very important to criticize the message, and not the messenger. Remember, she, too, is a product of the disordered culture we live in.

  15. I just felt poor after hearing “no white food”. That’s all very well and good to say, but it’s hard to feed a family no white foods on one income. All the things that are cheap and nutritious – potatoes, pasta with good sauces, homemade breads – are white in our house, because that’s the most economical way to buy them.

    Now, if the good doctor is offering to fill my house with exotic whole-grain flours I’ve been dying to bake with, I’ll gladly take her up on that. But somehow, I doubt that’s her point.

  16. Apparently, one of the M & J show producers sent the good doctor a note with some of the more “violent” and “hateful” comments made about her.

    What in the name of God were they trying to accomplish by doing that? I’m sure she’s been on tv long enough to know that when you go on tv, people are going to talk shit about you on the internet. Why would the producers feel the need to throw it in her face that way? That’s just mean.

  17. SJ – thanks for this breath of fresh air. What really makes me angry is that while the food elitists berate priveleged middle-class, ever-so-slightly plump gals like me to avoid “white food” – the dreaded white flour, white rice, etc… and encourage me to obsess and make sure that I eat at least 5 servings of fruit and veg and day or I might DIE…that unless I get adequate protein I might also get fat and DIE…what gets completely ignored is the fact that all over this world millions and millions of people – children and babies, elders and adults – go to bed hungry. For them, the issue is should they save their little bit of flour or cornmeal for tonights dinner or tomorrow’s breakfast. Where do they get milk for their babies? How will they get through one more day? The whole “perfect nutrition” thing is, in my opinion, self-indulgent and just plain unethical and those who perpetrate it should get a life. Do I think we should ignore “good enough” nutrition and eat nothing but twinkies? Of course not!! We need to put food in its place – important to be sure but not an end in itself. If only we put as much effort into sharing our abundance with the less fortunate for whom macaroni and cheese might be the sustenance they need to live, then maybe I could forgive this rich, self-absorbed country’s ridiculous emphasis on perfect nutrition – whatever the hell that even is.

  18. It’s not just mean — it feeds the stereotype of “fat acceptance” advocates as unhinged. I want to believe that Rachel is right about the producer of this show actually “getting it,” but my cynical side isn’t buying it.

  19. That whole thing about “no white foods,” the doctor didn’t really bother to explain it, but really what she meant is don’t eat foods made with white flour, white rice, non-whole grain grains, potatoes and other similar starches. It’s a glycemic index thing. This is probably good advice to people who need to control their blood sugar, but if you don’t explain it properly, it sounds like you’re saying everything white is off limits. including obviously healthy things like apples and bananas.

    The no white foods thing has been popular in certain diet communities for years. The difference is, the people in those communities actually know what that phrase means. People watching M&J who are not part of those dieting communities wouldn’t likely know that it’s really another way of saying “eat whole grains and avoid really starchy foods.” In that light, I think it was pretty irresponsible of the doctor to make that statement — she went for the soundbite, instead of sound (or clear) advice.

    Among dieting and health food communities, you will find advocates for the abolition of pretty much every food and food group under the sun (meat, dairy, potatoes, starches, soy, fat, eggs, salt, msg, sugar, tropical fruits, nightshade vegetables, avocadoes, coconut oil, seed oils, shellfish, and *everything* not organic are all considered to be EVIL by certain groups, or they have been at some point in recent history).

    Having read a lot of these websites and blogs, I’ve had to swear off them all to preserve my sanity and avoid lapsing into disordered eating. Now I eat the foods that make me feel good, energized, satisfied, and foods that taste good and feel right for me to eat. I wish the doctor would have put out a message like that: work with your body and get to know it, stop trying to control it, figure out what it wants, and give it what it needs. Although, a message like that would have supported the FA activists and probably pissed MeMe (and Juliet) off a bit. “What? Stop trying to control my body??? But I need to control it!!!! I need control!!! What if my body wants to become *gasp* fat? I should just let it become fat? What kind of body would want to become fat? A bad body, that’s what kind. And bad bodies need discipline and control. You can’t make me!” That’s a meltdown I’d pay money to watch.

  20. It’s not just mean — it feeds the stereotype of “fat acceptance” advocates as unhinged.

    Good point. I’m sure there are comments out there about Rachel and Mo that are much, much worse than anything said about the good doctor on here. But it’s our side that’s “violent and hateful”.

  21. Thanks for this post today, SM. Good timing for me. I’ve been actively trying to intuitively eat for a week now, and the first few days were amazing, but the last few haven’t been so good (lots of arguing with myself about whether I’m actually hungry, etc.). I know it’s a process, but it helps to hear that even veterans of this stuff don’t find it easy. :)

  22. This makes me very grateful that I’ve never been a fad-dieter. The only time I ever cut a food group from my diet was when I decided to eat meat only at dinner (I had read that Americans ate too much protein). When I heard “never eat white foods/drink you calories”, I just laughed. It never even occurred to me to not eat white foods after that.

    I think there is a collision between two of the FA messages: “Diets don’t work” and “Fat people are people too”. The M&J Show had the FA people saying “fat people are people too” but the opposition were arguing the “diets work” side. (Yeah, I know that MR eventually said “diets don’t work”, but I honestly don’t think she entirely believes that.) MR and the doctor eventually came on-board for the “fpapt” message, but didn’t really talk about the “ddw” message. It’s the “ddw” message that is hard to break through.

  23. Des, I think when you see something is missing, you should be the one to start it. ;) I’m wondering if there are any Finnish blogs but came across the same problem as you – I don’t know what it would be in Finnish! I wonder how “American” this movement actually is, when you think about it.

  24. It’s not just mean — it feeds the stereotype of “fat acceptance” advocates as unhinged.

    Yes! Exactly! I kind of see diplomacy as the online equivalent of non-violent protest.

    I thought the producer of the show really got it, but I was very disappointed in the way the hosts framed and presented the issue. Deep down, I think I expected it, though. Unfortunately, had I been even more fat and not had an eating disordered past, I think I would have received even more critical and harsh treatment. I don’t think we as a culture are quite ready to let go of our cultural prejudices and discrimination.

    Do keep in mind folks… We’ve long heard from doctors and researchers about the evils of obesity – the fact that they are now featuring personal, and contrasting perspectives is a step, albeit a baby step, in a more positive direction. I see this as just the beginning of a surge in the fat acceptance movement. Long live the internets.

  25. penguinlady, right, because the watered-down version of the message becomes “fat people are people too, but they should work as hard as possible to become thin, which will make them GOOD and HEALTHY people as well as just people.” That’s one that it seems even Meme will agree with… which is how we know it’s not good enough.

  26. after watching the show, i did have that pang of “uh oh white food!” hit me. but frankly, potatoes helped me tremendously when i was kicking my sugar habit.

    but you’re right. we are in charge of ourselves. good reminder!

  27. The problem is a failure of people to expect to understand why. It’s the only reason Dr. Ashton wasn’t laughed right off the set and out of her profession. Because most people believe in the cult of the experts, in which people can just make pronouncements without any explanation and have it be accepted as truth. It’s the craziest thing.

    That’s not to say that all foods are equal in nutritional value, but it’s not like we don’t know that already. Being given more “why’s” to supplement that understanding would be helpful. Issuing blanket pronouncements is just stupid. (Yes, I’m saying that to you, Dr. Ashton.) Not only are there always exceptions, but the exceptions and even the components of the rule itself are different for different people based on their nutritional needs and body chemistry.

    Normally when I go grocery shopping, my cart is filled with organic whole foods. Last week my family had stomach flu and they weren’t able to keep our regular food down, not even water. Even the pepto bismol came back up. (Eww.) This went on for several days, and I was starting to worry about the possibility of them having to have IVs put in. Then I remembered: people with stomach upset often can tolerate simple sugars. This is true for pregnant women with morning sickness too, by the way. So I bought soda and peppermint candy, which they could take in small amounts, and we avoided the hospital. Hurray for refined sugar!

  28. Oh, and I want to add. I saw Roth in the greenroom before the show and I went up to her, extended my hand, and introduced myself (she didn’t reciprocate). I thanked her for being on the show and met with a snotty and dismissive “Always glad to talk about the subject.” I replied, “As are we,” and walked away.

    Roth was defensive and combative from the start, as I thought she might be. But it made me feel so much better to know that I do not have to reduce myself to her level. Fat people have a right to and rightfully should be very angry. But taking the high road not only allows you to get your points across more effectively, you usually feel better for it.

    I think many of the bloggers, SP writers included, already do this. But I just want to put this out there for everyone to mull over.

  29. I just want to add that while I made fun of Dr. Ashton (was I one of the “hateful & violent commenters?” – I don’t know if comparing someone to an 80s video vixen is either one of those things, I think it falls more under “obnoxious and condescending” so I will cop to that) I still think in her way she was trying to be respectful to Rachel and Mo. But Meme Roth really is over the top in her anger at fat people and while I don’t feel any particular hate toward her, I do think she’s going to need to learn how to be respectful before she can be respected by the very people she is trying desperately to further marginalize in the so-called name of health.

  30. I would also lol if Alexandra had a post about “the noisy killer.” Though I have no idea what that would be.

    Probably Chili. With beans.

    Des: aceptación gorda. The only spanish-language FA site I found is out of bandwidth: http://www.gordos.org/ (“Asociacion Espanola para la Aceptacion de la Obesidad y la no discriminacion hacia los gordos y gordas. “) Not sure if they’re really FA (Obesidad makes me really wonder) or just a BBW site, but they seem to get a lot of references.

    I’ll bet most of the organizations would LOVE to have their informational brochures translated into spanish. If you have the time to coordinate it, I think it would be a fantastic resource!

  31. Hi!

    I love this site, and I can really relate to this post. I’ve been reading for weeks and wish fat acceptance had been around when I was a child. I think my life would have been a very different story. Oh, and yes, I now have the ‘white foods’ thing stuck in my head when I go to eat. I totally agree with the comment that it was a poorly worded, and therefore useless, reference to the glycemic index.

    On a slightly different note, I haven’t seen Meme Roth’s latest appearance on Fox mentioned on this site yet, and I was wondering if anyone else saw it, or if there was a discussion about it that I missed. Meme was stating her support for a tax in New Mexico on television and video game consoles. This will somehow combat obesity in children. The host of the segment (Neil Cavuto?) at one point said to Meme “You just want to execute fat people, don’t you?” It was worth watching for that moment alone.

    Personally, I am not a huge fan of tv, and I despise video games, but my kids are in school/care for something like 10 hours a day. Needless to say, when they come home they want to do something sedentary, and the tv gives them that break that I feel they really and truly *need*. It has nothing to do with whether or not they get enough exercise – they can honestly watch some tv and get exercise, all in the same day! It was not the tax itself that bothered me but the dishonest way in which it was tied to the obesity panic in order to gain support.

  32. do think she’s going to need to learn how to be respectful before she can be respected by the very people she is trying desperately to further marginalize in the so-called name of health.

    I think Roth is mentally ill and probably suffers from a degree of disordered thinking about food and weight, if not an eating disorder itself. So, retaliating with the same kind of behavior she imposes on other people probably isn’t the way to go, especially if she is mentally ill. I’m not saying we should avoid calling her out on her use of fabricated and flawed statistics, but I think we should also focus on pointing out how her advice and rhetoric is also psychologically unsound.

    I feel very sorry for her, but I feel even more sorry for the people she hurts.

  33. Being of a generally contrary nature, that ‘no white foods’ comment made me go out and buy parsnips and bananas. Oh, and a slice of cheesecake. Hadn’t had any in months. It tasted wonderful.

    Rachel, I’d like to thank you for your timely reminder to all of us to consider the humanity not only of us and our friends, but folks on the other side of the fence, as well. While the good doctor’s comments were frankly asinine, it sounds as though she was in over her head and not a bad person. She just needs to learn to say no when offered a chance to get on a soapbox she’s not qualified to stand on. Here’s hoping that your gracious behavior toward her helps her learn more about the subject.

    As for MeMe…well, can you think of anything that would horrify her more than having fat people behave reasonably toward her? The more polite and on message we are, the bigger a fool she looks.

    I can’t imagine what the producers were trying to acheive by sending negative comments to Dr. Ashton, unless they were trying to prove to her that fat people are hateful, angry nutjobs. But I think most of us know that if you say the sky is blue on television, twenty million people are going to line up to prove it isn’t. If you’re in the public eye, someone is going to be mean to you. And if you go out in public and say stupid things, people who know better aren’t going to take it lying down.

    The important thing to keep in mind – and goodness knows, I can definitely use this reminder, too! – is to shoot the message rather than the messanger. Messangers can learn and find new messages.

  34. I was personally offended (as an Irish gal) about the potatoes thing! My husband came home that day and I told him, “Is it true? Do potatoes have no nutritional value?” with my heart in my throat. So he grabbed our sack of taters and we looked at the nutritional facts! Turns out, they aren’t so bad and do have some nutrtional value! Yay!

  35. I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually used potatoes as an example of something without nutritional value the other day. I was making a completely facetious, off-the-cuff comment about how something is a vegetable if you can have it for a side dish and it’s good for you — totally spurious, because my whole thesis was that beans are a vegetable, which they are not. In grasping for something that can be a side dish but isn’t good for you, I hit on potatoes (there were french fries on the table, which are definitely NOT good for ME). Then one of my coworkers was like “but potatoes are full of potassium” and I was like “yeah, hi, I’m an idiot.”

    True story. True, riveting story.

  36. We would love for things to break down that way. We spend so much money and effort and mental energy trying to force things to break down that way. But it turns out that you can’t live freely or comfortably by imposing more and more restrictions on yourself — no matter how much you fear what you might do with that freedom.

    FJ, I think this morbidly applies (hehe Paul) to just about EVERYTHING in life. I think we’re pretty much brainwashed from birth to want simple answers and solutions and situations – especially in our 30-minute-sitcom society, where the standards for everything I’m supposed to want, need, or aspire to be come from someone else. What to wear, what to buy, where to live, how to eat – it’s all dictated by Them (whoever They are). If I follow trends and simple rules and nothing is ever more complicated, I never have to recognize my own freedom and power, or walk the fine line between accepting the parts of my life I just have to deal with, and what circumstances I actually have the power to choose for myself.

    Plus, you know, it’s HARD to think for myself, instead of letting the pretty people on television do it for me.

  37. “True story. True, riveting story.”

    LOL, fj. I heard the “white foods” thing at OA a lot, and then at WW, along with “don’t eat any food that comes out of a box.” I know that there’s not a lot of nutrional value in pasta, but I love it and it makes me happy, so there you go. Plus, it’s good the night before a long run.

    The segment on the show made me think for a moment that I should probably eat more vegetables/less white shit, followed quickly by the thought, “I want pasta. And beer. And white, stinky provolone cheese on that pasta.”

  38. Raise your hand if you’ve been feeling guilty about eating white foods for the last two days.

    A teeny bit, but not enough to pass up the alu gobi (made from the recipe on the Bend It Like Beckham DVD) in my fridge. Potatoes and cauliflower and lots of other good stuff. And garlic naan and brown rice. Mmmmm.

    I’m sorry, but nobody here advocated any “violence” toward Dr. Ashton. Please. She said an incredibly stupid, misleading, oversimplistic thing that had no place whatsoever in a discussion about fat acceptance. She and her producers deserved to be called out on it regardless of whose idea it was. People watching her could easily get the idea that whiskey was a better choice to have with breakfast than orange juice and that cauliflower equals death, which is just ridiculous.

    I don’t care how “nice” she is, the fact that even Shapelings are feeling guilty about enjoying their food as a result of what she said means that there are millions of people who aren’t even as far along the path as we are who will decide that fat acceptance is a bunch of hooey, all they have to do is “eat perfect” and discrimination won’t be an issue. Her feelings are hurt? I DARE her to spend even a day in my body and have to hear about what a terrible person she is just for living in it, over and over and over again. I fucking DARE her. She couldn’t take it.

  39. Couple o’ thoughts:

    Not eating white foods would be counter to the whole “Eat Your Colors” campaign, wouldn’t it? I mean, white’s a color, too.

    No, no guilt on white foods – while I admit that I don’t eat many of them for my own personal reasons (no, they’re NOT bad foods!), I ate my cottage cheese and poured heavy cream in my coffee and darned if they didn’t taste wonderful.

    I hope Dr. Ashton takes that forwarded information with a grain of salt. If you do or say anything on the internet there will be some nutjob out there who will call you all kinds of names. Just because someone types it doesn’t make it true. Most of what I’ve read may have questioned what she said, but has done so in a straightforward and courteous manner.

    Baconsmom, you’ve hit on a real problem that most of the “eat organic/eat no white foods” people like to sweep under the rug. “Well, if you just TRIED HARDER you could feed your family organics!” (Gee, where have we heard that kind of nonsense talk before?) I’m a member of a foodie web site with people who just have no understanding of the kinds of restrictive budgets so many people have – I had to stop reading those threads because they were taking up too many Sanity Watchers points and making me froth at the mouth.

  40. Her feelings are hurt? I DARE her to spend even a day in my body and have to hear about what a terrible person she is just for living in it, over and over and over again. I fucking DARE her. She couldn’t take it.

    You can’t see this, but I’m totally doing a slow clap and handing you a bouquet of virtual roses. Fat ones of all colours.

  41. I’m sorry, but nobody here advocated any “violence” toward Dr. Ashton.

    Yeah, I just looked through the comments, and most people didn’t even ridicule HER, just what she was touting.

  42. Also, I just got a salad and I got kind of worried because the things I put in it were awfully white. It has eggs and mushrooms and olives, because I felt like protein. Never mind that it is MOSTLY SPINACH. I was all apologetic to the guy who made it — “it’s so monochromatic!”

    Then on my way out I saw roasted brussels sprouts which are one of my favorite things in the world so I had to get them and now I’m not hungry for my salad. I hate my interior sometimes. There’s no real point to that part of the story, I just wanted to say I had brussels sprouts. And perhaps no salad.

  43. @ Kate:

    The protein/carb thing KILLS me. My midwife is all over me to eat lots of protein and very few carbs, whereas my acupuncturist/midwife wants my diet to consist of about 10% protein, with a focus on root veggies. Not to mention that fact that I lived for about 15 years as a vegetarian, including my last pregnancy, and can attest that I feel FAR healthier when I don’t eat meat or tons of protein. (I ate meat for about 5 years, and had given it up again 6 month prior to getting pregnant.) But still, every time I try to plan a meal, I hear her voice telling me to eat protein, lest I get gestational diabetes. GOD!

  44. “Rose, “obnoxious and condescending, but not hateful and violent” might have to be next month’s tag line.”

    Kate, it’s already on my business cards! (-;

  45. I drink my calories almost every day (I love orange juice). Just sayin’. AND I had a blondie last night. With vanilla ice cream, and some sort of whitish maple sauce. (It wasn’t as dense as I was expecting, but it still tasted good.)

    So no, I don’t feel guilty about the no-white-foods thing. :)

    Also, the switch-to-diet thing drives me BATS because it works for my boyfriend (if he stops drinking Dr. Pepper, he get skinnier — I’ve watched it! No other dietary changes!) but not for, like, ANYONE ELSE EVER.

  46. I ate Ramen noodles today. Because I wanted to.

    It kills me that at my job, they offer discounted Weight Watchers meetings- that they hold in the building during work hours so everyone can participate. Since I started working here, the girls in my department would clack over the dieting club and a scale that one of the girls brough to work to “Keep everyone accountable”
    And I’m in the corner, listening to their diet advice, and too new to feel like it’s my place and tell them that what they think about dieting and health and weight is so very wrong. One of my coworkers even has a sign up in her cubicle touting “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”, which I remember from my anorexic, pro-Ana-website-visiting days.
    Hot damn I gotta grow some ovaries!

  47. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful post. I watched the show yesterday and your post about it is spot-on! Hello — mental health, being at peace with yourself — these are a HUGE part of one’s overall health. And to encourage people to stop eating white foods? Come on — it’s almost laughable, except for the fact that it’s not because there are people out there who watched that show who I’m sure are struggling right now due to guilt piled on their plate from that show. Great post. Thank you for what you do!

    Maggie
    http://www.eatwhenyourehungry.com

  48. I hadn’t even really realised, but I had white pasta last night and I cringed a little at it being a white food. Even as I ate it with a jar of tomato and chargrilled vegetable sauce with extra peppers and onions. It’s scarily insidious!

  49. After reading all the white food posts I started rationalizing my lunch. This has been a crazy week and I’m out of groceries and out of time, so I picked up one of those awful packaged lunches at the grocery store – turkey and mashed potatoes. At least the potatoes were real. I actually do feel a tiny bit guilty. Hmmm.

  50. Temper212, I sympathize. It’s not quite as bad at my office, but recently the health and wellness committee started a new health campaign. And by ‘health’, they mean weight loss, of course. They’re even having a Biggest Loser-style contest. But what bugs me most, because I have to look at it every day, is a bulletin board full of supposedly inspirational materials, which range from incorrect to completely offensive. I’m considering adding some articles or something supporting FA and HAES, and seeing how long it takes people to notice!

  51. Yesterday, while drinking a cold glass of rice milk, my boyfriend approached me saying, “You do know that rice milk is white, right?”

    Fucking lovable smartass.

  52. And by ‘health’, they mean weight loss, of course. They’re even having a Biggest Loser-style contest.

    Oh, man. At this message board I used to go to, this guy was complaining about the complete inappropriateness of having a Biggest Loser style contest at his work. And everyone who replied to him was like: “What’s the big deal? It’ll help people get healthy.” When he and I tried to explain that getting healthy and weight loss are not at all equivalent, it just went right over their heads. And you know, the more time I spend at FA sites, the more impatient I get being around people who just don’t get it. The last straw for me and that community was actually a guy refusing to admit that men and the primarily male run media have anything at all to do with women being insecure about their weight.

  53. It is really hard not to lose my temper sometimes when I encounter this fat-hatred, especially from friends. Since we’re talking about difficulties in our daily environments, I’ll share about a situation forming with a friend of mine.

    She has recently begun treatment for disordered eating. I’ve been trying to be a positive voice for her when I can, and it’s been hard for her over the years. Now she’s inviting me to join her at her ZUMBA class, because, in her words, “By god, I will be cute for the wedding!” That’s her own wedding, by the way.

    What I want to say to her is this:

    “Thanks for the invite! Maybe we’ll run into each other sometime! I’ve gotta tell you though, I’m not at all into the ol’ hour-long exercise routines. Also, I want to be up-front with you since you invited me: I’ve never liked the typical vibe in guided exercise classes like that. The emphasis on physical appearance, toning, and weight loss puts me on edge. I’ve got almost no tolerance for stuff like that, especially when it comes from authority figures. Being in a fat-unfriendly environment in general really saps my energy, as you’ve doubtless already observed. If you find a class that has a fat-accepting ambiance, then I might be interested in joining you.

    I’m not interested at all in having to overhear a bunch of beautiful women dissing their own “flaws” and by logical extension insulting every woman on earth including me.

    And I have to say this: you _are_ cute for the wedding. You are _always_ cute. If you want to increase your stamina, then ZUMBA sounds like a great idea, but know that you are already and always have been adorable and attractive. You are a beautiful woman.”

    How in the world can I get that across to her without jumping down her throat? Hearing the fat-hatred still coming from her after all these years just makes me nuts, especially since she’s an otherwise ardent feminist, but she says she’s getting into therapy. I still want to be friends, if I can, but I get angry at her often because of the things she says. I don’t want to rant at her, and I know she’s suffering.

  54. llamas, your situation would make me subversive! I’d put stickers in the ladies room mirror that say “You’re beautiful just as you are”, and litter the bulletin board with cards that say “Diets Don’t Work” and have the URLs for Junkfood Science and Shapely Prose. Something ala http://www.thedressingroomproject.org/

    However, I am passive-aggressively evil that way. :)

  55. They’re even having a Biggest Loser-style contest.

    Yeah, I just got an email from my company that they are sponsoring one of these, too. I blogged about it. Because, you know, Biggest Loser is such the paradigm of good health.

  56. I wasn’t at a laundromat one time when people were watching an episode of something that might have been The Biggest Loser (I don’t watch “reality” shows to begin with… and wouldn’t have watched a weight loss one in particular). The women in the competition were so miserable.

    I had a hard time believin they weren’t happier before they entered it, and since the extreme steps they were taking to try to get thin couldn’t ever be let up, it was hard to see any of them being happy in the future, either.

    Which brings me back to MeMe Roth, who often talks about how hard she works to stay thin but it’s worth it. I seriously think she’s a profoundly unhappy person, and she doesn’t understand why she’s unhappy so she externalizes it.

  57. You know, I didn’t feel guilty about eating white foods, but I did feel a bit guilty when I read this post that I DIDN’T feel guilty about eating white foods. Like “Oh my God, I must have the worst diet of all the FA people.” Which I guess just goes to show you how fucking insidious all of this is.

  58. I had a hard time believin they weren’t happier before they entered it,

    Ehh. Fat people and particularly fat women often are intensely miserable… not because there is anything intrinsically misery making about fat, but because it is so hard to be a fat person and particularily a fat woman in our culture. I can see how starving could be more appealing than living one more day with the self-loathing. But that’s why FA is so important, people need to realise that it doesn’t have to be a choice between miseries, there is a third way – love and accept yourself the way you are!

  59. (To clarify, this is in NO WAY a criticism of this post, but rather a reminder to myself of the kinds of things I get affected by.)

  60. toggle, I think what you wrote sounds just about perfect. You may get some responses you didn’t want (“but you’re not fat,” a rundown of parts of her body she hates, etc.), but you can sleep at night knowing you stood up for your beliefs, tried to help your friend, and managed to not be an asshole at the same time (which can be a dicey proposition when doing the first two).

  61. @Lilah: I’m not saying they were happy… just happier. The women on the show were all seemed to be on the verge of or in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Like whatever inadequacy, stress, or even loathing they felt before was going from “mostly latent, back of the mind” to “always active, forefront of every thought.”

  62. I was totally eating a sugar cookie just before reading this, and it was delicious.

    and also reading Authentic Happiness for my psychology seminar, which contained this sentence: “Some highly heritable traits (like sexual orientation and body weight) don’t change much at all, while other highly heritable traits (like pessimism and fearfulness) are very changeable.”

    Not really a big thing, but usually when weight is mentioned in passing it is an uncritical promotion of the usual crap, so it was heartening to see that.

  63. I called Dr. Jennifer Ashton an idiot in the M&J show comments. It was a knee-jerk reaction to her not knowing the very definition of the BMI, which is appalling if she is going to tout BMI as a measure of health.

    In retrospect, there was no reason for me to call her an idiot. I did so out of anger. I’m still angry about her part of the segment, though I believe she may be a great, caring person in real life. I should have elucidated why I didn’t like her contribution rather than calling her a name.

  64. It was not medically sound for Dr. Ashton to simply blurt out “don’t eat white foods.” (:waves at producers if they are still trawling for nasty remarks:) It might have made more sense to say “try more low-glycemic index foods,” but then you have to explain what a glycemic index IS – and on top of that, you have to explain that the glycemic index of foods varies all over the map. Not only with the *type* (like what kind of potato, rice, etc.), but with what you eat it with. At this point, everybodys’ head goes all explodey.

    It’s just about impossible to have any sort of reasonable discussion about nutrition without getting into the politics of fat. Ashton shouldn’t have even brought it up. For that matter, I don’t know if it’s even possible w/in fat acceptance to talk about nutrition, because it ends up being used as a wedge to divide people.

  65. Egad, I hate weight loss bullshit in the workplace. Not only does my company help coordinate a WW meeting on site (not to mention the insurance premium discount if you join a weight loss program!), there’s some bullshit weight-loss-as-football-game (“Pound-Downers!”) contest going on in the Salad Spinners in the atrium of my office building.

    (Slightly OT, but…) Not that I would ever eat at Salad Spinners (the place smells funny to me, kinda like Subway), but their advertising (also like Subway!) is starting to piss me off. I saw a bus placard the other day touting “We’re Bringing Sexy Back” with a photo of some dude’s sweat-sheened abs, and the fine print bonus discount if you could unscramble the phrase “Only cars need spare tires.” Dudes, salad (from a place that doesn’t smell funny!) is awesome on its own. It doesn’t need a side of guilt or brainwashing.

    Where are my Baby Donut stickers when I need them?!

  66. Alexandra (I almost typed my name, Alexis there because once these fingers start goin they just can’t stop)

    I was just thinking about how MMR reminds me of those super right wing conservative gay hating Christian men who can’t ever stfu about how evil gay people are and how they’re all going to hell, and then they get caught having an affair with a meth dealing man hooker (okay maybe that was just one man… but you know what I mean). Except replace gay with fat.

    I don’t know if this means that MMR will be caught in a similar situation with a fat hooker… I kind of doubt it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if her vitriol and hate is caused by a deeply felt attraction that she is disgusted by.

  67. Tari, have you seen the latest Subway commercial? It’s horrendous. A fast-food employee is enumerating the things that you “get” with a combo meal. I can’t remember it verbatim, but he says something like lack of self-esteem, loss of boyfriend, etc. It makes me never want to eat at Subway again (mostly because I think Subway’s food sucks anyway, but yeah).

  68. @lexy: I always do a doubletake when I see your posts or somebody responding, because up until the point that my writing started attracting attention I used “Lexy” as my handle everywhere.

  69. Oh, and I’ll just say that I generally love Subway’s sandwiches, but I’ve lost my appetite for it. It’s a combination of the commercial and the counter girl’s look/attitude when I take the double meat option (which, incidentally, they just got done advertising the heck out of as a riposte to Quizno’s “Where’s the meat?” commercials.)

  70. Really? Most Lexys are Lexies, I don’t think I’ve met anyone else who spells it with a y.

    I chose to shorten it that way because I think it’s prettier and I like the ring of “Sexy Lexy” better than “Sexy Lexie”

  71. I was feeling the same way. I made myself a sandwich with mayo and the whole time I was eating it I was thinking should i really be eating this? I ate it and afterwards I felt better because yes I was hungry and it was exactly what I wanted.

  72. Her feelings are hurt? I DARE her to spend even a day in my body and have to hear about what a terrible person she is just for living in it, over and over and over again. I fucking DARE her. She couldn’t take it.

    *wild applause*

    Thank you, Meowser — that is exactly what I’m getting at. If you go on TV and say patently false things while representing yourself as an expert, and moreover if those things are actively damaging to people watching, I don’t care how nice you are. You have done harm.

    Like “Oh my God, I must have the worst diet of all the FA people.” Which I guess just goes to show you how fucking insidious all of this is.

    LilahMorgan, I totally get where this is coming from, and you are right — it shows how deep that horrible “discipline” goes.

  73. what bugs me most, because I have to look at it every day, is a bulletin board full of supposedly inspirational materials, which range from incorrect to completely offensive. I’m considering adding some articles or something supporting FA and HAES, and seeing how long it takes people to notice!

    That? Sounds like an awesome thing to do. I work in an office a few days a week, so I’m not always privy to every company e-mail, but someone just forwarded me one about the company WW group that is being started up (“Not that I’m implying anything”, wrote the sender). After spending so much time reading these blogs, I just about died laughing.

  74. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  75. You know I must confess, when I made my tea last night (after having got home from two hours of rowing) I didn’t put on my pasta (not a pound, more like 50g) like usual because after watching that stupid woman I thought ‘maybe I am eating too many white foods. And I knew it was stupid, but I still did it, and by today I had bounced back and thought ‘to hell with it, a bowl of pasta will not kill me unless I choke on it’.

    Like you I am quite healthy about my attitude to food, but this has only happened recently and has been hard won and I always think it is shameful for doctors to go on television touting generalised do these x number of thing fixes for anything. Everyone is an individual for most things you cannot blanket tell everyone to do something because what is necessary for one person may be harmful to another. For example that lady’s advice would be stupid to tell diabetics (who are often advised to lose weight), as they are usually advised to drink 200ml of a sugar drink if they go hypo, saying never ever drink them is annoying.

    Grr.

  76. Des, I think when you see something is missing, you should be the one to start it.I’m wondering if there are any Finnish blogs but came across the same problem as you – I don’t know what it would be in Finnish! I wonder how “American” this movement actually is, when you think about it.

    Thank you Deniselle, that’s actually quite true. hehe. I think I may actually go ahead with my idea!

    Des: aceptación gorda. The only spanish-language FA site I found is out of bandwidth: http://www.gordos.org/ (”Asociacion Espanola para la Aceptacion de la Obesidad y la no discriminacion hacia los gordos y gordas. “) Not sure if they’re really FA (Obesidad makes me really wonder) or just a BBW site, but they seem to get a lot of references.
    I’ll bet most of the organizations would LOVE to have their informational brochures translated into spanish. If you have the time to coordinate it, I think it would be a fantastic resource!

    Thank you JoGeek, I’ve come across that site before and it seems like its been over its bandwidth for a long time now. And I definitely have the time to do all of that stuff I just don’t know where I would start. Also, althought aceptación gorda is the literal translation, I talked it over with a friend and it seems like i’m saying ‘accepting in a fat way’. I guess I could use the term and give an explanation of it.

    Thank you very much for your help.

  77. Jen, I sort of had the opposite problem – I was always always painfully hungry as a child, and only now reading all this have I realized why. I was fairly starving. My food intake was obsessively controlled. I am always afraid there won’t be food – later, or tomorrow, etc. Hell, last time I saw my parents I brought a suitcase full of food, only realizing later how sick that was. (Turned out I was actually right – long and ugly story, but my kids found out what being too hungry was during that visit, sadly. Er – we don’t speak anymore.) But yeah, here I am and I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever get over being afraid of having no food, or needing to bring home doggy bags and so forth.

    Hearing I can eat what I want, when I want it? Well, to be honest the first time I had that freedom I had no idea what to do with it. I guess I still don’t.

  78. By the way, sweetmachine, great posts. I don’t care how personable the good doctor was either, or how pathetic Mememememe is. They’re harmful and dangerous.

  79. Ok, you guys make me feel better about my subversive urges toward the evil diet bulletin board! Penguinlady, I think I’ll steal your idea and make some small flyers with the SP and Junkfood Science urls on them to tack to the board, leave around, etc. Muahahaha. :)

  80. Getting over milk guilt is easy. Add chocolate, strawberries, coffee, or chai. It’s not white anymore. Problem solved :p I have no guilt, ever, about drinking milk in any form. It is my favorite drink, after tea (OHSHI- WHITE TEA!). I do however have a bit of guilt after the lactose makes me crack off a couple. :p

  81. I haven’t had anything but laughs about the white foods thing. Potatoes I think may always be a mindfuck of a food (because I love them, but they are “evil”, but they are delicious, and like, yo Potatoes Not Prozac is an actual book, amirite?).

    Today though, I went to Whole Foods to get some salad bar/hot food action, and as I scooped up some tofu blocks, I said (accidentally out loud, because I had my ear buds in) “oh man, it’s *white*!”

    No one even noticed I said it, and I think it’s because half the people who shop in Whole Foods seem to have some weird disordered eating going on. Super Cleanse anyone? Mmmm eating nothing but maple syrup, lemon juice, hot water and CAYENNE powder. For two weeks. Totally healthy-good for you man. Or like, there’s always some guy with like, a bottle of orange juice and four pounds of walnut halves, and nothing else. WTF?

  82. Article: No one can take away your permission to eat.

    News article in sidebar: Mississippi Representative: Ban Food Sales to Fat People

    Ow.

    I wonder how long it will take before Mayhall, Shows, and Read get rakes in the face?

  83. I totally read this post for the first time while eating cheese. (Babybel cheese comes in red wax. Is it still a white food? OH SNAP.)

    And really, I’m having a good day if I remember to eat before I get all shaky from low blood sugar. Forget paying attention to what’s going into my mouth.

  84. I can honestly say that I haven’t been feeling guilty about ‘white’ foods.

    Not because I have heroic self-esteem or anything, but because I have coeliac disease, and if it weren’t for my beloved ‘white’ food, I’d barely be able to eat anything!

    I LOVE white rice. I can’t eat brown any more since coeliac disease has damaged my gut so badly that I just can’t handle all that fibre. My home-made bread is made predominantly of white rice flour and potato flour. I love potatoes, and eat them a few times a week. I love rice noodles. My GF biscuits are made from white rice flour.

    I have no idea whether quinoa and millet are counted as ‘white’ foods, but I eat those a lot , too! I *gasp* eat a lot of choose and drink skimmed milk. It’s too delicious not to!

    Honestly, if it weren’t for having coeliac disease, I’d still be buying into every fad diet that promises results if I just abstain from X food group. Thankfully, I’ve been forced to learn what my body needs, when it needs it, and in what quantity.

  85. I’m there with Baconsmom wondering what the heck I’d be able to afford if it weren’t for white carbs. Feeding two people on a minimum wage income and a begrudgingly tiny allotment of food stamps means eating a lot of white rice, quick grits, and white pastas. (And frequently sitting around feeling famished because the food won’t stretch to the next payday if we eat more than once a day.) Hearing all this “helpful” diet advice just makes me furious at how out of touch the middle and upper classes really are with the day to day reality of people who, you know, work for a living. The guilt trip isn’t nearly as useful health advice as, advocating for more spending on food stamps and slapping companies that pay their employees starvation wages. (Please don’t start in with making fruits and vegetables “available” to the poor. Available isn’t free, which is the only way most of us could have any in our diet.)

  86. Fillyjonk, thank you for your encouragement. I will send the message to my friend. For some reason, when I read it, it still _sounds_ asshole-ish.

    But, oddly enough, the same principle that applies to Meme Roth applies to me, and to my friends. Just because someone is also suffering under fat prejudice doesn’t make it right for them to say hurtful, prejudiced things. A culture of persecution (internal and external) may _explain_ that kind of behavior, but it never justifies it.

    Thanks for helping me get the nerve to stand up and fight like a woman.

  87. toggle, it definitely doesn’t read assholeish to me — I think it sounds really sane but self-protective — but you know your friend better than I do. Still, I think the core of what you’re saying is great, even if you feel you need to cushion it more for this particular friend’s consumption. And I think your phrasing is great too.

  88. I was feeling kind of guilty about the white foods thing too. I have food guilt problems to begin with, and cheese is one of my favorite foods, so I eat a lot of it. But my body works well when I eat cheese. Not to mention, if I tried to cut it out of my diet I would be very irritated.

    One thing that helps me get over food guilt is that I’ve seen what giving in to it does to my body, and it’s worse than any of the supposed terrible consequences of eating white foods and other “dangerous” things. I was having health problems, so I went on a very strict diet that was supposed to improve general health. I was only allowed to eat a narrow range of foods; everything else was seen as extremely dangerous. I was skeptical of the philosophy, but my natural OCD tendencies made me stick with it. And it did terrible things to me. I couldn’t think, my memory didn’t work correctly, I was hungry and angry all the time, I constantly craved meat (one of the forbidden foods… I’d been a vegetarian for a couple of years before going on this diet, and yet I was told I was craving meat because I was eliminating toxic remnants of it from my body), my muscles got a lot weaker, I was so tired that I could barely move… and yet the thought of going off the diet made me panic, because those other foods were dangerous. (If you’re constantly told something, in a weakened state like I was in, it gets harder to disbelieve it.) Finally I quit, I started eating my supposedly “unhealthy” diet again, and I immediately started feeling better.

    It’s easier not to let food guilt take hold now that I know where it leads.

    But for a long time after that – months, even years – I still felt guilty every time I ate meat, or sugar, or cheese… Sometimes I still do. Even now that I know what the alternative is. I don’t know what makes food guilt so hard to fight, but it’s definitely dangerous. (A lot more dangerous than white food.)

  89. Toggle, I don’t think it sounds assholish at all, but if you want to soften it out anymore, you could take out the middle paragraph (I’m not interested at all in having to overhear a bunch of beautiful women dissing their own “flaws” and by logical extension insulting every woman on earth including me.) That’s the only part that came across as even a little bit harsh.

  90. Thanks Becky, and thank you again, Fillyjonk. I already sent it…. *blush*….so what’s done is done.

    I hope what I’ve said doesn’t hurt her even more, but communicating this is important, especially because she is my friend. My anger probably does come across, and that is honest.

  91. Well, it’s certainly by no means a mean letter, so even if she is hurt, it’s not because you were hurtful. Which means that hopefully you two can talk about it and come to a productive understanding. But, not knowing your friend of course, I think chances are good that she will not be offended and might even start to think differently about her own attitudes.

  92. FJ wrote: … In a lot of ways [restrictive diet plans are] more appealing than accepting freedom and true control (rather than restrictive, disordered control) over your eating…

    Oh this is so terribly, terribly true- but not just about food.
    Being an adult is damn hard work.

    Life was easier when my parents told me how to live my life. And then it was hard, and then my dietician told me how to live my life, and then she moved, and life got hard again. For a while I let my employer tell me how to live my life, until in a fit of sanity I left my job, and started trying to do something everybody told me I couldn’t do.

    So now I’m trying to tell *myself* how to live my life. Sometimes I give myself better instructions than others, and I catch myself trying to abdicate responsibility every once in a while. But ultimately, if I’m unhappy with the way things are, there’s no one to blame but myself. Sucks.

    What I can’t figure is why, when its such damn hard work, I’m so much happier now than I was before?

  93. Fillyjonk, I hope she will start to examine her attitudes soon. She’s the “cool big sister” to a girl who is about 12 years old and is an enthusiastic and talented dancer. Like many girls, she was heavy into the Disney Princess thing for a long while there.

    And her mother will not allow that girl to eat dairy foods. My friend grew up in that same dairy-fearing environment.

  94. The whole cheese/dairy ban is just awful. My folks fed me 2% milk my whole childhood and on into adolescence, and they still buy it for me and for my brother when we come to visit. They always have at least 3 different cheeses available in their fridge, and I’m definitely taking after them now that I’ve got my own place. Dairy foods are some of my favorite foods! I have never carried any guilt about that.

    I didn’t know how rare this was until recently. The fear of dairy products is not just a weight-loss thing, but seems to be a widespread health paranoia, especially in the “whole foods” and “holistic eating” crowds. Yes, many people have lactose intolerance. But why does it follow that milk products are poisonous to all human beings?

    When I see the ban extending to fruit, meat, eggs, sugar, and wheat flour, as well as cream and butter, and even certain kinds of nuts, well, what can I say? It does begin to look to me like a ban on food.

    The logic is “scienterrifically” rigorous, though. If a person with diagnosable digestive difficulties can’t eat a certain food, it opens up the gates of suspicion. Some people have bad reactions to gluten. Some react poorly to refined sugars. Pecans induce one friend of mine to have a life-threatening histamine reaction. It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that those foods are actually bad for everyone.

    As new research and technology is explored in the news media, it sometimes seems as though 5 dangerous new toxins are being found every day. It’s scary.

    If these foods were truly “pure” and “healthy”, they wouldn’t cause health problems for anyone ever, right? In their panic, people tend to dismiss the fact that those of us with average physiology do _not_ tend to experience digestive difficulties and histamine reactions to these foods. It’s hard to see how crazy the logic is when you are bombarded with “facts” by food alarmist family members, friends, and advertisers.

  95. Des: maybe aceptación de gorda then? My grammer’s a little fuzzy (I learned by talking to spanish speakers not out of books) but it sounds good. Is there a gender neutral noun for fat so it doesn’t sound like it’s just for women?

  96. I think what you need is a noun for “fat” or “fatness” — I don’t speak Spanish but isn’t “gorda” an adjective?

  97. I’m not completely fluent, but I know two uses for the word gorda:
    1) as an adjective
    2) as “la gorda” which means the fat woman — still essentially an adjective.

    I assumed that was why that one spanish language FA site that was found used the term “obesidad.” I don’t know if there’s a less clinical Spanish word for fat/fatness as a noun… my dictionary only lists it as an adjective or a verb (engordar – to get fat) but it’s pretty old…

  98. Meme is the Ann Coulter of fat. Angry, skinny women. Do you think they belong to the same hate monger club or do they just get the magazine?

  99. Which brings me back to MeMe Roth, who often talks about how hard she works to stay thin but it’s worth it. I seriously think she’s a profoundly unhappy person, and she doesn’t understand why she’s unhappy so she externalizes it.

    I think you are right there. She always strikes me as having a mean and bitter look around her mouth.

    (As an aside, it’s interesting how much the faux-science of Physiognomy infiltrated our cultural thinking [e.g. mean-looking mouth]).

  100. It’s so hard to disentangle the threads of the lies one’s been told about food and what my body really wants while balancing it with the IBS and the sugar issues, and our budget.

    It made me very sad when I learned I no longer could eat onions and cabbage. And the elimination of HCFS from my kitchen and diet is HARD! It’s in EVERYTHING! But I can tell when I’m not eating it that I feel much better. Soooo… Am I still fat? Well, yeah. I’d like to have the fat slightly differently distributed, and I am attempting to stroll in that direction by increasing activity, but nothing I’d even call a diet. I suppose I’ll be what I’ll be, and in the interim, I get to have the fun of cooking and eating good food.

  101. Who the hell is this MeMe Roth? As far as I can tell, she has absolutely no medical credentials. Another pretty blond bully, just like the one who made middle school hell for me.

    Mmmm. I had cereal with white rice milk for breakfast, a turkey sandwich with white cheese on white french bread for lunch, and will make some of the white bread into croutons to go with split pea soup (including white potatoes) for dinner. I just bought a bunch of lovely white-centered apples. Maybe I should eat one of those later.

  102. Pingback: Sinful foods? They didn’t teach that one in Ethics & Morals class… « I AM in shape. ROUND is a shape.

  103. Pingback: Holier-than-thou, and getting holier. | The Fat Nutritionist

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