Dear Monica Grenfell, STFU

I haven’t yet written about Chloe Marshall, the 17-year-old plus-size model who’s in the running for Miss England this year, only because I’ve had a zillion other things on my plate lately. Marshall’s a UK size 16 (i.e., US size 12/14), the biggest contestant they’ve ever had, and she’s already been crowned Miss Surrey. Woo hoo!

I would also probably have chosen not to acknowledge diet book author Monica Grenfell’s horrid opinion piece about Chloe in the Daily Mail, but so many Shapelings e-mailed me about it this morning, I would apparently be shirking my duties as a fat blogger if I skipped it. (Also, I kinda want the e-mails to stop. Not that I don’t love your missives, ’cause I do, but holy crap, this touched a nerve.)

So, Monica Grenfell comes off as a fucking idiot. That’s kind of all you need to know. She’s also a dietician. [Update: apparently she is not, though the article identifies her as one.] Now, I know some people around here are dieticians, are planning on becoming them, and/or have worked successfully with dieticians in the past, so you don’t like seeing them take crap. That’s totally fair. But let’s just say that when some of us say we wonder how many dieticians have eating disorders and/or a pathological fear of fat, we’re thinking of people like Monica Grenfell.

I hope she doesn’t win the Miss England title.

It would send an appalling – and very dangerous – message to other young women that it’s OK to be fat.

Chloe is a stark reminder that obesity is now virtually normal in our society – and we should all be hanging our heads in shame.

Because as we all know, shame is an excellent way to make people lose weight, and it’s worked fantastically well so far. Except for how the opposite is true. Facts, schmacts. Fat is icky!

It gets better.

At 5ft 10in, Chloe should have a body mass index, or BMI, (indicating her levels of fat) of 20. Hers is 26.03.

Okay, setting aside the fact that the “overweight” BMI category carries the lowest mortality risk, and people in it fare better than others when it comes to all sorts of diseases, the cut-off for overweight is 25. (10 years ago, it was 27.) We’ll also set aside the fact that several published reports have Chloe at 5’10” and 176 lbs., giving her a BMI of 25.3, not 26.3. Where the hell does Grenfell get off deciding Chloe Marshall–or anyone–“should” have a BMI of 20? Seriously, when your rhetoric makes a BMI chart look reasonable and fair when it comes to acknowledging natural size diversity, you need to check yourself, lady.

And it gets better still.

It’s a total fallacy that young girls are being pressured into near-starving themselves into being too thin.

Take a look around you and you will see that the total reverse is true.

Teenage girls aren’t in danger of falling victim to an epidemic of anorexia – but of obesity.

That’s right, folks. Teenage girls are under insurmountable pressure to get fatter. You heard it here first.

From a woman who gets paid to tell people how to eat.

The fact that Chloe Marshall exercises, eats a balanced diet, and knows from experience that she’d have to starve herself to be any thinner is meaningless to Grenfell, who says “I don’t doubt she is telling truth,” but then goes on to say:

Chloe claims she “crept up” to a size 16 after dieting to a size 12 on top and 14 on bottom. She’s kidding herself.

Her weight didn’t “creep on” magically – she ate too much food.

Every excess 1lb of weight she’s carrying – and I reckon she is at least a stone overweight – equates to five meals she didn’t need.

Hmmm. I do not think “I don’t doubt she is telling the truth” means what you think it means, Ms. Grenfell.

Also, how ’bout that, y’all? 5 meals=1 lb! I have heard a LOT of fucked-up dieting math in my day, but that’s a new one on me. (On the upside, all I have to do to get myself back under the “overweight” cut-off is skip my next 250 meals.)

Once again, this woman is advising clients and selling books based on her “expert” knowledge about weight and food. A woman who claims the pressure on young girls to be thin is “a total fallacy”; that fat is not only acceptable but fashionable; that a fat woman who says she exercises, eats a healthy diet and has to starve herself to be thinner is simply in denial about having eaten too much; that anorexia is not a danger we should be worried about; that Chloe Marshall’s body demonstrates “a shocking lack of self-control”; and that a 17-year-old girl should have a BMI a full 5 points under the cut-off for “overweight” because, um, she said so. That’s who gets paid to tell people what “healthy eating” is.

“Dangerous nonsense” indeed.

Update: from Monica Grenfell’s website (via Shapeling A Sarah), here’s a little about her newest book:

CRASH DIET is Monica’s newest, most original diet book, which goes back to the basics of old-fashioned crash dieting to help you lose those ‘vanity pounds’ (the ones only you know are there!)

Monica Grenfell will tell you how to restrict calories to lose pounds “only you know are there.” I rest my fucking case.

211 thoughts on “Dear Monica Grenfell, STFU

  1. I think it’s great that she won. It proves that pageants really do let larger women compete. She is beautiful!

  2. “Mommy! It’s not fair! It’s totally not fair! Chloe gets to eat what she wants and not go to bed hungry and still wear a tiara! I STARVED for that tiara, Mommy! I WANT TIARAAAAAAA!!!!111!!!!!!”

    That’s right, folks. Teenage girls are under insurmountable pressure to get fatter. You heard it here first.

    BWAH! The Miss America pageant, brought to you by Dimensions! I guess I wasn’t dreaming, after all.

  3. I almost wish there had been some sort of trigger warning for that article. I’m more upset than I expected to be.

    And wow, so much of that article was just so…stupid. Especially her supposed “lack of self control.” What? But y’know, Grenfell is really just *concerned* for her health. Really. Not a nasty, Ann-Coultery bone in her body.

    But I liked the picture of her in the bikini. *bites fist*

  4. It makes me want to hit someone that a person being a freaking SIZE FOURTEEN gets some people in such a knot. Oh noes! Not an average sized woman!!! What will the neighbors think????

  5. Actually, I think the part I found the most revolting was how this Grenfell person talked about having been a judge in the past and how other girls were good role models because of how talented and skilled they were and what excellent contributors to the community. Odd. No mention of size. Conversely, when she talks about this girl, it’s all about her size and nothing about her talents or skills. It’s like apples and oranges.

    Aside from that, I think I have a girl crush on Chloe Marshall!

  6. Erm…sorry, I was one of the people who emailed you the story, sorry if it was another pebble in the avalanche. What gets me is this supposed dietician, who is supposedly so concerned about people’s health, is touting things like a “yogurt diet” and a “lose 7 lbs in 7 days” diet, and a (for me the kicker) “revenge diet”, which exhorts women who have been dumped to lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks to make the jerk regret that he dumped you! Because we all know that crash diets are so healthy, and you *never* gain that weight back! Pfeh. This woman need to S all kinds of FU.

  7. I clicked on the link to read this, and my work internet filter blocked the page.

    For once, I’m grateful for my work’s internet filter. Because there’s so much wrong and so much goddamned motherfucking horror contained just in what you paraphrased and cited that I think if I had been able to access it, I would have headdesked my cranium into smithereens.

  8. I’m trying to think of a fitting punishment for Monica Grenfell, but the worst fate I could come up with was: being Monica Grenfell.

  9. I do think I’m making progress on fat acceptance, because this article just made me roll my eyes… a year ago it would have really upset me.

    That woman is a terrible writer. And she doesn’t seem to know the difference between “overweight” and “obese”. And BMI is not a “measure of body fat”.

    At least I enjoyed the pictures. She’s a very beautiful woman, and I find it fascinating to look at different body shapes and sizes.

  10. “Mommy! It’s not fair! It’s totally not fair! Chloe gets to eat what she wants and not go to bed hungry and still wear a tiara! I STARVED for that tiara, Mommy! I WANT TIARAAAAAAA!!!!111!!!!!!”

    I’d say that sums it up nicely.

    Daily Hate Mail.

    That is all.

  11. So I went to Monica Grenfell’s website and she’s completely apeshit. Some highlights from her promotion of her newest book, _Crash Diet_:

    (possible trigger warning)

    “Some people need to lose 50lbs; others feel uncomfortable with 5lbs threatening to spoil the line of their hips…. Over the years Monica has used her considerable knowledge and experience to write diets for every weight problem imaginable, with one exception: there was not a fast-track diet to help slim women lose the pounds only they know about. With complicated GI food charts to get your head around, calorie lists to be counted or carb grams added up, these commendable solutions to long-term weight loss simply didn’t work for the majority of women in a hurry to shed a few pounds. Now at last, Monica has tackled the problem in her new book CRASH DIET.

    as Monica says:

    ‘Without being rich, young or naturally beautiful, you can still look fabulous. It’s a reassuring thought that even apparently flawless, effortlessly pretty women have figure problems. At least I have never met anyone yet, not even a model, who did not have something she wanted to put right. Major lifestyle changes towards a healthier diet might be the ideal answer, but when the problem is a small one, a crash diet is a joy. And let’s be honest, none of us is so famished that a week of restriction will cause harm.

    The mistake some people make is to start a diet as if it is the end of something. The simple truth is that a realistic translation of a diet is “now at last I can wear those skinny jeans…!'”

    Read the rest here.

    Mmmmmmkay, and you’re worried about the beauty queen’s health? Riight.

    This woman is moonbat coocoo-bananas.

  12. She’s a dietician, claiming to be concerned about the health of people, and encouraging crash diets?

    If a healthy, proper diet doesn’t get rid of those ‘small, problem areas’ that keep you from fitting into your ‘skinny jeans’, perhaps you aren’t suppose to be wearing ‘skinny jeans’.

  13. For example, most had raised huge sums of money for their favourite charities. They shone out as young women to be admired.

    But can the same really be said of Chloe?

    …and yet, she doesn’t say a word about whether or not Chloe has done any of these things. Because, as we all know, fat women are TOTALLY INCAPABLE of raising money for charity. They spend it all on FOOD. Which is bad. Because food makes you fat. You don’t have to starve yourself to be skinny–just STOP EATING FOOD.

  14. …and yet, she doesn’t say a word about whether or not Chloe has done any of these things.

    That was totally on my list of things to rant about, but I got distracted.

  15. You totally beat me to this, Kate! I was so aghast, reading every sentence. It just got worse and worse. And the comments? Don’t get me started.

  16. For example, most had raised huge sums of money for their favourite charities. They shone out as young women to be admired.
    But can the same really be said of Chloe?

    It would be highly ironic if those charities were devoted to feeding the hungry…

  17. I know I should have been outraged by those quotes, but maybe it’s just the work and research I’ve been doing lately – almost every single one of those quotes caused me to burst out laughing. Especially

    It’s a total fallacy that young girls are being pressured into near-starving themselves into being too thin.

    Take a look around you and you will see that the total reverse is true.

    Teenage girls aren’t in danger of falling victim to an epidemic of anorexia – but of obesity.

    BWAHAHAHA!

    It’s like The Onion x 10! Seriously? This woman is serious? And someone is paying her?

    My sense of humor had gotten dark recently, I think.

    Or maybe it’s as absurdist as it’s always been, and I’m only now starting to really internalize how absurd all this really is.

    I don’t know, but I woke up at 10am, and now it’s 1:30, and I’m just realizing I haven’t eaten yet. To the batkitchen!

  18. *multiple headdesk*

    I think I just used up my daily allotment of Sanity Watchers points.

    I’m just speechless. How does she live with herself, spewing out all of this hatred and ignorance? And I don’t even understand where she got the idea that women are being pressured to be fat. But what makes me really mad is that this is another example of women’s bodies being public property and constantly open for criticism, even from strangers.

    Oh, and apparently, you don’t have to starve yourself to be thin and healthy…you just have to stop eating.

    Chloe is a lovely young girl, and Monica indeed needs to STFU.

  19. I just love the comment from the lady from Glasgow who is MAD, (Seriously? Mad?) that Chloe is “glamorising obesity.” Uhm, what? Bitter much? Besides that, last time I checked, a BMI of 26.3 is just barely overweight, not clinically obese.

    And WTF is up with the “ideal” of 20? Why? Because it’s a nice, round number? Freakbag.

  20. This is what I left at that “article” if that rubbish can even be called that.

    I found this post via Kate Harding’s blog. You horrible woman should be ashamed of yourself for your thinly veiled attack on this lovely young lady.

    She is doing a wonderful thing by not being a pretentious wench who is obsessed with body image and making other young women of her age aware you don’t need to be a toothpick to attractive, vibrant and gorgeous. Kudo’s to her for making it this far.

    You have no shame attacking a 17 year old girl who has more moxy than you ever will, you wench.
    Hurrah for Miss Surrey 08!

  21. DUUUUDE…
    I think the most disgusting examples of size-prejudice and pernicious misinformation are with people in the healthcare industry.
    Not to speak of the repulsive and massive epidemic of conflict of interest… As I wrote the other day…
    JAMA and NEJM are as promotional and inbibed in conflict of interest as Vogue and Elle.
    The Ms. England girl looks angelic to me…
    She is so beautiful I think I am going to draw her :-)
    Hugs,
    Milla

  22. This is what I left once I could think of anything besides the f-word.

    I’m a plus size woman and I can completely assure you that no one has ever congratulated me on my weight. More likely someone is discounting my thoughts, opinions, or validity as a human being because I have a big arse.

    This article is another example of the vitriol directed at women who are not super thin under the guise of “concern for their health.” Attacking women for being overweight is practically an international sport at this point.

    And it obviously helps a lot with women’s self image AND their weight problems. I know every time someone tells me I should just starve myself until I’m healthy I feel uplifted. (I do feel uplifted by the fact that i’m smarter than any idiot who would think that starving onesself is somehow going to help one’s health.)

  23. Pingback: I think I love Kate Harding for her post… « The random musings of a 1973 Original

  24. Because crash diets worked so well for everyone the first time around? (I mean sort of: they made my mother anorexic!) Um, hello totally egregious stab at the retro-cool market! Wendy from Pound should sue.

  25. What about this comparison? I cannot get my head around it. What the hell did she mean?

    “Levels of bulimia are actually falling. Instead our high streets are packed with young girls – just like Chloe – with “muffin tops” of fat spilling over their jeans. “

  26. Wow, I honestly thought that even diet purveyors had hopped on the “crash diets are a bad idea” bandwagon. I keep hearing about how losing weight is good for you as long as you do it the “healthy” way, at only 2 lbs. or so per week. I really was getting the impression that “dieting won’t harm your metabolism and you’ll never regain AS LONG AS YOU DON’T CRASH DIET BECAUSE CRASH DIETS ARE BAD” meme was getting parroted just as much as “calories in calories out.”

    Looks like this woman is JUST THAT FUCKED UP, though.

    I think our nutritionist readers are probably even more embarrassed than those of us who merely have to share a species with her.

  27. “Levels of bulimia are actually falling. Instead our high streets are packed with young girls – just like Chloe – with “muffin tops” of fat spilling over their jeans. “

    Oh gosh, levels of bulimia are falling? THERE GOES THE FUCKING NEIGHBORHOOD

  28. It makes me sad that someone will read what Monica Grenfell has said and take it seriously. What could make her say such horrible, illogical, cruel things!

  29. I like how it’s your 5-lb PROBLEM AREAS that are keeping you from fitting into your jeans, and causing the dreaded (though yummy-sounding) Muffin Top Of Doom. Um… does this woman know that jeans come in more than one size? And you can just, like, buy bigger ones?

  30. So, a while back (before I started reading this fabulous blog), I thought if only I lost 5 lbs, I could fit into some skinnier jeans again. I figured good way to do this would be to eat massively less food and exercise a lot more for a couple of weeks. And, hoorah!, it worked. But then the 5 lbs came back, and they brought a couple of their friends. So, the crash diet thing no workey so much. But I guess I just did it wrong, or something.

    So now I have 7 pounds that keep me from fitting into my skinnier jeans. I would consider myself a failure as a human being, like, presumably, Monica Grenfell does, except I think I look just fine in the jeans that actually do fit me. What a horrible woman she is.

  31. “I’m trying to think of a fitting punishment for Monica Grenfell, but the worst fate I could come up with was: being Monica Grenfell.”

    Somehow I think that in Monica Grenfell’s corrupt little universe, a more fitting punishment would be to be Chloe Marshall.

    Speaking of being Chloe Marshall..HALLELUJAH! I wanna be Chloe Marshall. She’s my size and a beauty queen. She’s my size and doesn’t have the stretch marks to prove it (how’d she manage that I ask you?), She’s my hero!
    I wish something like this would happen in the US. Even just to see a plus sized contestant in the miss amerika pageant would be earth shaking, AND Meme Roth’s head might explode, which would be AwEsOmE.

  32. I sent her an e-mail, via her contact information on her website, telling her that I could not believe the ridiculous comments she made in her article about Chloe Marshall. I also said I could not believe that she would make a comment about how she believes women aren’t being encouraged to starve themselves to become thin and be the writer of a book that encourages women to crash diet to fit into a pair of jeans.

    This is what she responded with (fairly quickly, I might add):

    “Dear Sarah,
    How were you Linked to an article about chloe marshall? I have only written one article. I don’t recall a Sarah?

    I can’t agree with all you said but you have a right to your opinion. As I have mine. Incidentally, much of the introduction to my book came directly from vogue magazine, dated 1958. In those days crash dieting was very common and nobody thought it strange.
    I have been struck today however, by the few hate emails and what vile, offensive and downright disgusting language they use, all to promote the cause of bigger bodies. It says a lot.”
    Thank you for writing
    Monica

  33. My favorite quote:

    “Oh do shut up. There are reasons that people have different body types, including different body fat percentages. There is no ‘one size fits all’ ideal of health.”

    – Ann, London

    LOL

  34. Sarah–Well, that’s fair, because I was struck by what vile, offensive and downright disgusting lack of logic she uses, all to promote the cause of her crazy-ass diet book.

    Also: If no one has agreed with you more recently than 1958, you might want to reconsider your opinions.

  35. Ah yes, 1958, when gay people were given electroshock therapy to cure them and cigarettes were thought to be good for you. What’s not to love and trust, medically speaking?

  36. Duh, Sumac, everyone knows that crash diets work. Also that manned space travel is impossible. And Catholics can’t be President.

  37. Dear Sarah,
    How were you Linked to an article about chloe marshall? I have only written one article. I don’t recall a Sarah?

    Haha – she thought you meant linked like connected to, not linked like given a link to.

    I laugh because it took me a second to figure out what she was talking about.

    Us young kids and our newfangled language and technology!

    I have been struck today however, by the few hate emails and what vile, offensive and downright disgusting language they use, all to promote the cause of bigger bodies.

    They used swears so their points are invalid!!! I’m not going to actually follow any argument they have – because OMG CUSS WORDS!!1!

    Plus – I know some people will never understand this, but here goes …

    Saying it’s okay to be fat is not the same as saying everyone should be fat.

    Crazy,

    It says a lot.

    It does. But not what I think you think it says.

  38. Us young kids and our newfangled language and technology!

    Well, she is writing straight from the Eisenhower era! She probably thinks you’re a “Beat-nik” and this is your crazy slang!

  39. For some reason I can’t stop thinking about this…

    FIRST of all, the Cloe Marshalls of the world wouldn’t have been considered overweight in 1998 when they lowered the BMI standards from 27 being the cut off to 25.

    SECOND of all, there is no reason to believe that just because Chloe Marshall is a little overweight now that she will just plummet into fatness a few years down the road.

    THIRD of all, who cares if she does?

    FOURTHLY… God, there is SO MUCH WRONG with that article I can’t think.

    Perhaps we should all write a letter to Ms. Grenfell so she can be further “struck” and perhaps give a little thought to what she’s saying next time.

  40. The Daily Mail is often called “The Daily Hate” since it’ll print anything that’s full of vitriol. They’re not too keen on facts, either.

    If you want paranoia, conspiracy theories, racism, sexism, and, in this case, size-ism (is that an ‘ism’? or is that sloppy grammar on my part?) just pick up the Daily Hate.

  41. I think it’s crazy that she is shocked that people responded to her so negatively when she was so rude in the article she wrote. I mean, the title of it alone is offensive. Then she goes on to say that a girl who is .03 over the limit for healthy weight range is fat, sending an appalling and dangerous message to young people, lying about her healthy diet and exercise regimen, and lying about having to resort to unhealthy behaviors to maintain a smaller size.

    Why on earth would people be upset about all of that?

  42. I have certainly worked with my fair share of dietitians who don’t know much about HAES or fat acceptance. Yet…I question Monica Grenfell’s actual credentials as a dietitian. I can’t find any information about where she attended school or whether she is registered with the British Dietetic Association.

    The thing is, “registered dietitian” or “registered dietician” (RD) is, in many countries, a registered and protected profession. But anyone can go around calling themselves a “nutritionist” without being a registered dietitian.

    Obviously, I think this woman is freakishly mean and stupid. But I have serious doubts that she’s actually a registered dietitian. People who go around (ahem, Gillian McKeith) calling themselves nutritionists and spouting bullshit and sensationalist rhetoric about nutrition and weight harm the profession, which already suffers in certain areas from a lack of public faith and professional credibility — which, I personally, think has a lot to do with the fact that it’s a female-dominated field. Therefore, it’s not taken seriously.

    Since several RDs are actually vocal advocates for HAES and fat acceptance, I would just like to caution people against painting all RDs with the same brush. Even the RDs I know who aren’t up on HAES or fat acceptance tend to avoid making extreme statements about shit, because they are trained in science, and because they have a professional association to answer to.

    Compare and contrast: Monica Grenfell’s about page, and a famous RD’s about page. Real RD’s generally list where they were educated and where they are registered. Real RD’s also often publish in peer-reviewed journals, which Grenfell has not.

    Actual RDs have made strides in HAES and fat acceptance, so let’s be careful not to make generalizations based on some asshat who enjoys calling herself a “dietician” in mainstream media articles and selling diet books.

  43. That article reads like a particularly vicious April Fools’ joke.

    PS: So what DOES Chloe Marshall do for community service, or like to read? What’s her “talent,” as I assume this pageant has a talent section? What’s her favorite band? If she had ten thousand pounds to spend on anything she wanted, what would it be? I WANT TO KNOW.

  44. The fact that the woman published and is actively promoting a book called “Crash Diet” that advocates for unhealthy (duh) CRASH DIETS is the single largest piece of idiocy that jumped out at me.

    Then again, I’m still just fuming over the rest of it.

  45. Well, she is writing straight from the Eisenhower era! She probably thinks you’re a “Beat-nik” and this is your crazy slang!

    Oh, Allen Ginsberg and I are best friends. We sit around discussing the price of bananas and the best minds of our generation being destroyed by madness.

    You know, the usual.

  46. Ok, I don’t want to read the article just yet because I’ve been in a good mood today, and don’t want to kill it. I do however want to draw attention to the fact that Ms. Marshall needs to STFU a little as well. Granted, she’s only 17 and beauty is probably a huge part of her life, but there’s still no reason to offer gems like:

    Not that Chloe uses the F word. In our interview the word “fat” never passes her lips.

    “It’s because I’m not,” she explains. “I’m curvy, big, plus-size, if you must, but I don’t like that either because I’m actually an average size.

    “Fat means someone who is obese, who doesn’t take care of themselves, who never does any exercise and lies around all day, being a slob. I take care of myself.

    Read the rest of her interview here.

  47. Any “nutritionist” who advocates “spot-reducing” is a quack, pure and simple. Her website offers tips to a flatter stomach and get rid of “saddlebags”. Last I checked, it was 2008, and spot reducing was de-bunked back in the 90s.

    And I don’t think she’s really a dietitian. Her website offers no credentials other than: “Monica Grenfell is an internationally-renowned nutritionist, journalist and author…” My mother, a registered dietitian, is rolling over in her grave!

  48. You know, the only response to Monica Grenfell I can make is:

    Who the hell cares? Chloe seems to be happy, she’s a lovely young woman, she’s healthy – so Monica, you just butt out of her life. Don’t try to make her miserable just because you apparently are.

    And “vanity pounds”? WTF? I kind of like the fact that i have curvy hips and a bustline, thank you very much. The only “vanity” associated with my pounds is me looking in the mirror and going “damn, I look good today.”

  49. I wrote to you about it too, Kate – sorry to contribute to the email avalanche! Just couldn’t stand that vicious article about a really teenage girl who dares to like herself and not live up to Ms Grenfell’s f’ed up standards. Gah, must remember not to read the Daily Mail website. I blame my sister – she sent me an article on an illness she’s suffering from.

    Hitori – I was also not impressed by that quote from Chloe Marshall, but I decided to give her a pass. Because, hey, she’s 17, and how many people say things when they’re 17 that they later regret? (I know I did…)

    Thanks, Kate, for nailing it, especially on the idiotic BMI stuff.

  50. The Daily Mail is about as reliable as the Weekly World News. Erm. Less so, really, since the Weekly World News was honest about making shit up. And so far as I can determine — based on the reading habits of some distant Brit relatives — the sole purpose of the Daily News is to give grumpy old bastards someone to hate and something to complain about every day.

  51. Hitori – I was also not impressed by that quote from Chloe Marshall, but I decided to give her a pass. Because, hey, she’s 17, and how many people say things when they’re 17 that they later regret? (I know I did…)

    thegirlfrommmarz, I feel similarly. I won’t quite give her a pass, but I won’t smack her as hard for it as I would if she were older.

    I also think it’s a fascinating quote, ’cause just imagine if you replaced “fat” with “fat stereotype.”

    “The Fat Stereotype means someone who is obese, who doesn’t take care of themselves, who never does any exercise and lies around all day, being a slob.”

    Now, it just makes sense.

    This girl, despite being “fat” in the context of her chosen endeavors, has so internalized the stereotype that she thinks that’s what “fat” actually means. It’s a pretty telling quote. Though yeah, I wish she hadn’t said it at all.

  52. I want to say thank you for discussing it and bringing light to the insanity and for calling them out on their bullshit. It’s fucking ridiculous. I swear if I had high blood pressure, reading about this would have sent it skyrocketing.

    I agree with the other posters re: Chloe’s comment, we need to cut her a little slack and use this as a giant opportunity to shed light and inform her of another side of the coin.

  53. Argh! I’m sorry too for being a pebble in the avalanche but I was soooooo angry and working to a deadline. In the mean time you did a bang up job of blasting this foul harpy to smithereens. Yay for Shapely Prose! (aka The Palace of Righteous Justice).

  54. Even on FARK, that bastion of fratboythink, a lot of guys gave a thumbs up to Ms Marshall vs. a “bag of antlers.” (the apparent current name of choice to bony women).

  55. I also think it’s a fascinating quote, ’cause just imagine if you replaced “fat” with “fat stereotype.”

    “The Fat Stereotype means someone who is obese, who doesn’t take care of themselves, who never does any exercise and lies around all day, being a slob.”

    Now, it just makes sense.

    Obviously I can’t read this kid’s mind or anything, but I think that may have been what she was intending to say — that she isn’t “the stereotype”. The problem is that the word fat is almost always erroneously used to indicate that stereotype — used as more than just a neutral physical description of someone’s body. No one on television or in magazines is using ‘fat’ as a non-judgmental descriptive word. And unless you’ve educated yourself or grown up in a body-positive environment, you may not think that “fat equals lazy” is wrong. You may just think, “I am not lazy, I am not ugly, I am not a horrible person, so I will not associate myself with the word fat.”

    I think she was probably trying to disassociate herself from the stereotype because (as illustrated in the whole 5 out of the whole 6 articles I’ve ever read about her) she’s likely getting a lot of that negativity directed at her. “You’re fat. Therefore, you are lazy and ugly and unlovable. Oh, and a bad stereotype for girls everywhere because, since you are fat, you must be eating Big Macs and drinking gravy on a daily basis.” It’s hard to hear stuff like that on a personal level, so can you imagine having that directed specifically at you on a national level? I think she probably just didn’t have the words to say it. I mean, I’m not even sure if I’m using the right words and I’m not in a pressure situation, like, say, being interviewed for an article while you’re competing to win a national beauty pageant. Even if she did phrase it in a better way, don’t forget that most articles are not the straightforward transcription of a conversation. There were likely things edited out.

  56. The BMI standards for “youth” (through age 21) are different, and lower, than for adults. Age 17 would be about 1 unit lower than adult standards. The CDC chart is here:

    http://www.hoptechno.com/bmichild.htm

    (Yes, I know that you don’t believe BMI standards have any relevance — I’m just putting the woman’s “BMI 20″ statement in context, since you were implying that she was recommended an underweight weight even by non-fat acceptance mainstream standards — she wasn’t.)

  57. Argh! I’m sorry too for being a pebble in the avalanche but I was soooooo angry and working to a deadline

    No prob! I just got soooo many e-mails about this, it was kind of amazing to me.

  58. Thanks for discussing that article. Being as immature as I am, I would have just made Grendel jokes. So I’m glad someone can put out a decent rebuttal.

  59. Well, I have what might be considered a positive response to the article.

    Just reading the selections in Kate’s post made me feel all squishy in my brain and uncomfortable and I started thinking about what I’ve eaten today and if it’s OMG TOO MUCH. And that I’m 170 and 5’4 ish and my BMI is 28 something (according to this hand squeezy thing at the gym) and how horrible, yada yada yada.

    And…I totally didn’t realise until right now that I do that. I just never noticed, or more likely, thought it was normal. I like my body, I’m normally cool with being me, in this space, but this stuff made me feel bad about who I am. As far as I know I’ve never had a ED (and I think I’d know, right?) but now I think I get what people mean when they say ‘this article may be a trigger’ (Obviously, not as bad as others, but still an issue).

    So hey, insight. Yay.

    Article making people feel awful and people who are stupid? Bad.

    George Clooney? Hot and on Jon Stewart now.

  60. Huh – A “dietitian” who relies on medical advice from 1958? IT SAYS A LOT.

    Flash forward to Vogue today: Crystal Renn (plus-size model) and articles encouraging healthy habits and not specific weights. Monica is probably horrified.

    I did a web search on her name – apparently, she claims to eat all kinds of foods that she would beat fatties over the head with if they dared to eat it! Eggs, flapjacks, cheese! Not only is Monica an asshole, she’s a hypocrite as well.

    Fuck you, Monica Grenfell. I’ll have my cake and eat it too. I don’t give a fucking flying leap what you think of it.

  61. Because as we all know, shame is an excellent way to make people lose weight, and it’s worked fantastically well so far. Except for how the opposite is true. Facts, schmacts. Fat is icky!

    I fucking hate these charlatans. I just had a visit with my mother and as a parting gift she gave me two diet books. The author, according to the blurb, has discovered the secret of quick, easy, permanent weight loss. The diet in question is yet another calorie-restricted plan with a low GI gimmick. The author knows it works because he lost 20 whole pounds!!!

    Again. HATE.

    My mother is not a horrible person, by the way, she just won’t let this go.

  62. Is it wrong that my only response to that article was “Holy shit she’s HOT! Holy shit, she looks like me! Holy shit, does that mean I’m hot?” [brain explosion]

    I am working my way through a mild body-dismorphia mess, where what I see in the mirror is literally not what everyone else sees. After so very many decades of trying to find photos of healthy strong women with broad shoulders and curves (so I’d have some idea what I looked like as a whole) I honestly couldn’t comprehend the article, I just kept going back to the pics and thinking “Yep, all the pieces look the same, that must be what the whole me looks like.” And I LIKED that thought.

  63. I can’t believe nobody picked up on this gem:

    “The number of women in this country who are seriously underweight is minute around one in 70.”

    According to Google, the population of the UK is 60,776,238 (by a July, 2007 estimate). That means, if this sorry excuse for a human being is correct, that 868,231.971 people are “seriously underweight”.

    That word “minute”. I don’t think it means what she thinks it means.

  64. “I’m trying to think of a fitting punishment for Monica Grenfell, but the worst fate I could come up with was: being Monica Grenfell.” – A Sarah

    It’s like my dad says, the worst you could wish on bad or mean people, is that they stay exactly as they are.

  65. “Is it wrong that my only response to that article was “Holy shit she’s HOT! Holy shit, she looks like me! Holy shit, does that mean I’m hot?” [brain explosion]” – Stormfire

    I felt that way too. Of course afterwards, I had to look around to check for signs that I had indeed, entered the Twilight Zone. No sightings of Rod Serling as of yet, so I’m pretty sure that I am still in reailty and Chloe Marshall really does look hot.

    “That word “minute”. I don’t think it means what she thinks it means.” – Branwyn

    Perhaps you should show Monica a image of her brain, to help define the word minute.

  66. “The number of women in this country who are seriously underweight is minute around one in 70.”

    Well, you know, “minute” numbers never stopped anyone from freaking out about anything if there’s money and/or prestige in it. The “skyrocketing” number of type 2 diabetes in kids is still so small that the American Diabetes Association does not even keep statistics on it, but extrapolating from various data on their site the numbers are between one-eighth and one-twelfth of one percent of the total under-20 U.S. population. IOW, between 1 in 800 and 1 in 1200. Minute THAT, Monica.

  67. Every excess 1lb of weight she’s carrying – and I reckon she is at least a stone overweight – equates to five meals she didn’t need.

    As Kate said, that’s a new one. And its concerning that it could become another thinspiration mantra for young girls with or on the cusp of eating disorders. Where is Monica’s head at?

  68. Branwyn and Meowser, when I read your comments I was thinking the exact same thing…

    When they turn those statistics around and said something like 1 in 70 women is ‘severely overweight’ and at risk for high blood pressure and diabetes, they start freaking out and preaching about how fat and unhealthy people are.

    And just because ‘only’ 1 in 70 women is severely underweight doesn’t mean that only 1 in 70 women are suffering from an eating disorder. There are plenty of people who are anorexic or bulemic and aren’t losing much weight because of it.

  69. I saw this yesterday and had to blog about it. It’s so enraging, just a proponent of the beauty myth who makes money from encouraging ED-like behaviour and self-hatred in women.

    I have a link to her ‘Contact Us’ page on my blog…ah here we are. I suggest we all write her a sternly-worded (not libelous or personal – she’s probably the sort to sue) comment pointing out just what is wrong with her article and her dreadful books.

  70. I’m not sure if someone else said this but a little (subjective) context for this hateful nonsense….

    the daily mail is a shameful knee-jerk rag, they rely on moral panic for circulation, you know the classics “paedophiles lurking round every corner, it’s official!” “20 billion foreigners coming to take our jobs by next Wednesday” and, for good measure a bit of “fatties destroy the economy with their own greed”. they are trolls in hacks clothing. It is not surprising that the daily mail would print such cruel inaccurate commentary as they seem to exist only to bait people who have ever had impertinence to use a little empathy in their relations with the world.

    oh and Monica Grenfell is a fucking idiot, amen to that.

    lucy x

  71. ………..so you don’t like seeing them[dieticians] take crap.

    Any crap given to dieticians is well deserved. What exactly have they done to put any kind of stop to this obesity hysteria?
    Very little that I can see, in my view they have contributed more than their fair share to it, and used it to increase their own influence, which would be rightfully small without it. So a few have supported HAES have they, big deal, the damage they have done far outstrips that.

    I could say more, but I can’t trust myself to keep a civil tongue.

  72. I read enough gems from the article in Kate’s blog that I didn’t bother reading the actual article; just looked at the pictures and read the comments. I was actually comforted to see that even on the Daily Mail site, I think there were actually more comments in support of Chloe’s ‘natural’, non-diet-obsessed body than in support of Monica’s attack on her.

    can you imagine how much healthier our society would be if we saw photos of women like Chloe every day, instead of the models with BMIs of under 18?

  73. Where is Monica’s head at?

    Well, from where I’m sitting, it looks like it’s planted firmly where my foot would be if I ever chanced to be in the same room as her.

  74. i read the daily mail column yesterday and my head ’bout near exploded. and i agree with some others here, that her writing is horrible. it sounds like she’s sputtering, all of the short, choppy sentences. it reads like a bulleted list of fat hate bingo squares.

    … but … i have to ask, what’s with all this hate directed here toward the 1950s? i mean, carhops and elvis, it was a great time! i wasn’t born then, but my ma tells me it was super if you were male and WASP. which i am not, but i mean, still. elvis!

    oh, and penguinlady, when i went to her site just now i went immediately to her “fit tips” to see what sorts of “tips” she was giving. my favorite was the saddlebags page: http://www.monicagrenfell.co.uk/new2007/saddlebags.html

    i wonder if she prescribes i-must-i-must-i-must-increase-my-bust exercises in order to get bigger boobs.

  75. “Levels of bulimia are actually falling. Instead our high streets are packed with young girls – just like Chloe – with “muffin tops” of fat spilling over their jeans. “

    As my husband pointed out to me, a lot of the ‘muffin tops’ around the high street are being displayed by thin girls, wearing jeans which are obviously a size or two too small for them. Anyone who wears too-small jeans, especially the kind with a low waistband, will get that effect even if they’ve got barely any tummy to start off with. It says more about girls’ fear of OMGlargersizes! than it does about anyone’s weight. It was my hubby who also pointed out that there are, actually, rather more alarmingly skinny young girls around than there ever used to be when we were at school.

    This article is, as many people have pointed out, so, so wrong…I particularly hate that bit where she appears to be trying to make out that charity work and being fat are in some way incompatible. I’d also love to know more about Chloe’s interests and activities, but I took a look out there and can’t find anything. Is everything else about her somehow being negated by her size?

    The Daily Mail is notorious for this kind of thing. For a little light relief, try the spoof Mail Headline Generator, here:

    http://www.qwghlm.co.uk/toys/dailymail/

  76. Pingback: On dealing with jerks « Pretty Little Girls

  77. PS – I just took a look at that woman’s site. (Sanity Watcher pointfest coming up…)

    Gaining weight is a sign that you have eaten more than your body needs and have not used those calories; it does not mean that you are lazy, eat unhealthily or do not know how to exercise. To be honest, the vast majority of overweight clients I meet are happy, successful people who know full well how to cook and enjoy wonderful food.

    ….just a wee bit contradictory, doncha think? And then this:

    Don’t accuse people of making judgements about you -. People cannot evaluate what they cannot see. You will only become sorry for yourself, which stops you making any progress. Change people’s perception by changing what they perceive.

    Or in other words, “I (and others) can only judge you by your looks. Become less fat so we don’t have to become less superficial”.

    *headfloor*

  78. “Is it wrong that my only response to that article was “Holy shit she’s HOT! Holy shit, she looks like me! Holy shit, does that mean I’m hot?” [brain explosion]” – stormfire

    I had the same reaction, as well. the fact that one of the commenters on that page called her “revolting” makes my head spin.

  79. From Monica’s website:

    “Don’t be afraid to have weird combinations of food. My mother once gave us hard-boiled eggs and peas because that was all there was. Now I think it’s a great meal. If you keep feeding your children ‘tasty’ or sweet food, they’ll get addicted. Cultivate a plain palate and you’ll cultivate a slim body.”

    Ummmm. Okay… (what?)

  80. I’m trying to think of a fitting punishment for Monica Grenfell, but the worst fate I could come up with was: being Monica Grenfell.

    I can, she could be Anne Coulter *shudders*

  81. I attempted to comment over there but I kept getting the anti-spam verification thing over and over, so I’ll put it here:

    It’s wrong to assume that everyone ends up the same size if they eat the same way. It may make you size 10s feel better to believe that you are more virtuous than Chloe Marshall, but bodies naturally come in all sizes.

    A BMI of 26.03 is classified as “overweight”–and just barely–NOT obese. So the horror about obesity is tiresome enough, but especially when we are not even talking about a person who is actually obese.

    The author’s lack of evidence for dangerous claims like the idea that eating disorders are no longer a problem and people are being pressured to be fat rather than thin (if being fat is admired in society, that’s news to me) and willingness to attack a young girl at a time when her body image is so fragile are disgusting. And to nastily imply that Chloe doesn’t do charity work like the other girls because she’s heavier is nonsensical. If Monica Grenfell is actually a registered dietician, she should be disciplined by her board for spreading this hateful misinformation.

  82. I would have thought, Emerald, it’s entirely within Ms Grenfell’s interest that we do cultivate self-pity. The more wretched fat folk feel about themselves the more she stands to profit from the guilt and misery people of her ilk inspire.

    What, I suspect, she really doesn’t want us to feel is anger – because then we might start to make the kind of life-changes that might see her income dwindling. She’ll probably have a shit haemorrhage when she discovers the fatosphere.

    Suddenly I feel all warm inside.

  83. HA.

    You can tell by looking around you that teenage girls are not being pressured into anorexia.

    HA.

    Lemme tell you, when I was eating 500 cals a day (one meal, every evening, exactly the same things every time), I was exactly the same size as Cloe Marshall. Hair falling out, fainting fits, and we won’t even talk about what happens to a digestive system with that little food going through it. Actually, let’s. IT’S REALLY HARD TO POOP.

    But you could tell just by looking at me that I was eating like a horse!

  84. Gingembre, naturally those people and the ones at Gene Weingarten’s thread can “just tell” all kinds of shit by looking at Chloe Marshall (e.g. “Why isn’t she playing sports?!” Um, how do you know she’s not?). Meanwhile a woman commented about how she was thin but with a sedentary, fast-food-heavy lifestyle and nobody was stopping her on the street to ask why she ate fast food and didn’t exercise; instead a man hitting on her asked if she were an athlete, but of course didn’t care when he found out she wasn’t. Of course she was shouting into the wind. Nobody ever seems to like to contemplate this point on the rare occasions when it is made definitively.

    I assume from what you said that you are in recovery from your ED and if so, that is great to hear. I feel so awful for you trying to survive on 500 calories a day, and as if slowly dying weren’t enough, probably enduring stupid people still thinking that they were thinner just because of their own morally sterling habits. I hate people a lot of the time.

  85. Liz, I saw Gene Weingarten’s obnoxious comments in the Gene Pool before I read Shapely Prose this morning. He sees Chloe as unacceptably fat. The comments there are the usual mix, with some folks being sane and others being horrible. As far as I could tell, as of half an hour ago the sane ones were outnumbering the wackaloon fat=evil and moral decay foamers.

  86. Monica Grenfell and the other people agreeing with her on that comment thread just don’t want “overweight” people to be accepted as valid human beings who can also be (gasp!) fit, healthy and attractive, because then it would mean that all the time they’ve spent controlling their diet and doing exercise they didn’t actually enjoy to stay at some magic number was a waste – they COULD have enjoyed their food a bit more, exercised for enjoyment and ACTUALLY HAD A LIFE.
    I also think it’s totally irresponsible to say that Chloe is lazy and unhealthy because of her weight and not to point out how lazy and unhealthy some naturally skinny folks are.
    I’m disappointed as I’ve lurked here for months and would have liked my first post to be articulate and insightful, but eh, I’ll blame my BMI of 25 – I’m so fat and lazy and about to die of various things surely I can’t be expected to write anything articulate?
    ps I live in England and rest assured if I ever see Grenfell in real life I’ll make damn sure to be fat right at her.

  87. Guys, I think I have a comment in moderation if you get a chance. Not that it’s anything earth-shattering.

  88. scg, you had two, in fact! No idea why they went to moderation, but who can ever tell sometimes.

  89. Emerald, the headline generator is hilarious. And yeah, I know the Daily Mail isn’t exactly a reputable news source–my impression is that it’s pretty similar to the New York Post–but like I said, enough people put in a request for this one, I had to do it.

    Liz, I haven’t looked at the Weingarten piece, ’cause I pretty much know what he’s going to say. I read the book he co-authored with Gina Barreca (a fat feminist), and they got into an argument over fat women there, with him saying, “All women are obliged to be what I consider hot, which is thin,” and her saying, “Oh my god, you fucking troglodyte, are you listening to yourself, and p.s., HAVE YOU LOOKED IN A MIRROR LATELY?” I paraphrase, but that was the gist. So, yeah… for the sake of my sanity, I’m not even looking at his take on it. (Not yet, anyway.)

  90. The BMI standards for “youth” (through age 21) are different, and lower, than for adults.

    Stephen, if you bothered to follow the links from that homeopathy site you linked to and look at the actual CDC charts, you’d see that a BMI of 20 is considered roughly 25th percentile for a 19-year-old. The assertion that, according to BMI charts, Chloe “should” weigh less than 75% of people her age is still absurd.

  91. Also, I don’t have a whole lot of respect for the science behind the BMI anyway, but regardless of why there are supposed to be different youth BMI standards, we are talking about a 5’10” girl, on the older side of “youth” at 17. I don’t see any good reason why it is supposed to be healthier for her to weigh less than a 22-year-old 5’10” person. It seems kind of arbitrary.

    Not to mention there seems to be some kind of “modification” of the BMI (related to age, body fat %, etc.) for pretty much every situation where someone wants to either excoriate someone they think is too fat, or exonerate someone they think is acceptably thin. It reminds me of the BCS rankings in college football… BMI is pretty much used as a means of scienterrifically (tm THIN) validating what you already think about a person’s appearance.

  92. Buffpuff wrote “Well, from where I’m sitting, it looks like it’s planted firmly where my foot would be if I ever chanced to be in the same room as her.”

    The laughing! It hurts!

  93. Sarah, I think it means if you feed your children food they don’t like, they won’t eat very much of it and therefore won’t get fat. Never mind that they need food to, you know, grow.

    Stephen, the link you gave said a healthy weight according to the charts is between the 5th & 85th percentile. (Which seems pretty arbitrary to me, but whatever). According to this chart, the 85th percentile for a 17 year old girl is…. 25! So she’s still barely overweight according to BMI, not hugely overweight as Grenfell is trying to imply.

  94. Peggy’s right as far as the UK goes – anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, but you have to be qualified to be a dietitian:

    http://www.nutrition.org.uk/home.asp?siteId=43&sectionId=1164&parentSection=299&which=1

    Can I ask any of the dieticians here, or at least anyone slightly more knolwedgeable about nutrition than I am, to go have a look at Grenfell’s teen section? Especially the bit where she smooshes protein and dairy into one big food group and tells girls only to have two portions a day? Seriously. Even from a layperson’s viewpoint, the woman looks unqualified and frankly, dangerous.

  95. ….Crash diets are coming back? Great.

    Lets just take a proven bad way of living and reinvent it so we can make more people feel ashamed and horrible. Then they can try something that -doesn’t work- and physically harms them and then blame them for their failure!

    Yay! sounds like a great idea to me!

    Sometimes I wonder if people just sit around and go ‘hmmm how can we mentally destroy people today’. Are there meetings where they decide these things? do they have pie charts about eating disorders and depression? is there a bonus when you make a teenage girl or boy hate themselves? Is it some sort of demonic amway?

  96. since you were implying that she was recommended an underweight weight

    I was in no way implying that. I was stating plainly that a BMI of 20 is at the lower end of the range of “normal” weights, and if we’re going to take their “normal” category seriously, there’s no reason on earthy why someone “should” be any particular number within it. Seeing as how it’s, you know, a range.

    The fact that I don’t take the category seriously is a separate issue.

  97. Peggy’s right as far as the UK goes – anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, but you have to be qualified to be a dietitian:

    Grenfell calls herself one in the article, which is why I used the word.

  98. Some kids might LIKE a meal of hard-boiled eggs and peas. Kids are all different. And some of the hard-boiled-egg-and-pea fans might actually turn out FAT! Wow, now there’s a brain breaker.

    And I have to wonder, does this woman actually have children old enough to go to school? Does she really think she can prevent them from ever eating (and liking) what she doesn’t have in the house?

  99. “Oh do shut up. There are reasons that people have different body types, including different body fat percentages. There is no ‘one size fits all’ ideal of health.

    – Ann, London”

    This is my favorite comment from the Daily Mirror…. say it in your head with a British accent, kind of like Mary Poppins, and its even better.

    And um… really when I read people saying that one should have a BMI of 20 I just wonder what they would think of me – 5’2″ BMI umm… somewhere btw 20.5 and 21.2 – would Monica Greenfeld encourage me to crash diet to lose those “pounds only I know are there?” I mean this is the thing, numerically, “medically” I’m “ok” (by some arbitrary standard), but I don’t look like Christina Aguilera either. I have big thighs, actual boobs and some belly. Based upon the way MeMe Roth and Ms. Greenfeld talk about the “healthy” female body (read: one size fits all culturally conceived underweight notion of what women should look like if we are to allow them out in public…) I would certainly imagine no one meets their acceptable standard but the very naturally slim, marathon running macrobiotic eating types (and maybe not even some of those), or of course people with eating disorders (of the CR variety).
    I mean really, if their talk makes people with BMI’s right in the middle range wonder even for a second “is this really thin enough?” how can they possibly deny that the shit they spout can help fast-track people on the way to an eating disorder?

  100. I just wanted to mention to Stephen that while the BMI chart for youth may have a lower recommended BMI for girl’s Chloe’s age, Chloe has DD breasts. Having breasts that large affects her weight, and since breasts are mostly fatty tissue (that you really can’t do anything about in terms of trying to make them smaller, save for surgery), it’s going to throw off her BMI and her body fat %.

  101. Grenfell calls herself one in the article, which is why I used the word.

    I just spotted it there. If she really doesn’t have the qualifications to back it up – and nowhere do I see evidence that she does – it’s illegal. Not that it’s the first time, probably; diet books sell, obviously, and some sort of ‘nutrition’ spiel from the author probably convinces people they’re safe and/or effective. The law on this really needs changing.

  102. Emerald, my dear, the woman is, as you say, unqualified and frankly dangerous. Your instincts are accurate.

    In response to spacecowgirl’s percepient remarks, you also are absolutely correct. Some people are born with a high resting metabolic rate; some people produce more fat-burning enzymes. And some of us are born with a low percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers, so we burn less fat in skeletal muscles and thus have a harder time losing weight through exercise.

    Some of us are born with big jugs.

    Women compared to men burn more fat under the skin.

    Men compared to women shed abdominal fat more rapidly.

    Most recently of all — in August of 2007 — Ralph La Forge, of the Duke University Medical School, compiled a detailed analysis of the various factors that influence weight loss, particularly the effect of exercise on weight loss. Quoting from the New York Times report of this subject:

    “Mr. La Forge started by refuting the prevailing belief that since a pound of fat (when burned) gives off 3,500 calories and since running or walking a mile burns 100 calories, a
    person should lose a pound for every 35 miles. In other words, if a previously inactive person starts running or walking five miles a day, that person should lose a pound a week, all other things being equal.”

    The problem with this, says Mr. LaForge, is that “The estimate fails to subtract the number of calories that person’s body would have used had it just sat still for those hours. Rather, for a 154-pound person, the net caloric cost would be 54 calories per mile when walking up to 3.5 miles per hour, 97 calories speed-walking at 3.5 to 5 m.p.h., and 107 calories jogging or running.”

    In other words, running uses nearly twice the calories used when walking at a moderate pace over the same distance. Your starting weight is also a factor: if you weigh less than
    154 pounds, the caloric burn is proportionately less; if you weigh more than 154, it is higher.

    Two things, though, are not in dispute:

    “Duration and intensity of physical activity are important factors in how much fat the body burns for energy, which, after all, is what you want to lose. The harder and longer you work out, the more fat you will shed.”

    Second: when you diet without exercising, “You lose both muscle and fat, which is counterproductive because muscle loss significantly lowers your basic metabolic rate, the
    number of calories your body uses at rest.”

    Muscle, moreover, burns more calories all day and all night. Muscle also holds less water. Thus, muscle takes up less room than the equivalent weight of fat, so that in losing fat
    and replacing it with muscle, you’ll literally lose inches and sizes, even if you keep actual pounds.

    The research says that people who have high muscle density do burn calories faster.

    Of course it must never be forgotten either that physical activity greatly increases appetite and therefore caloric intake.

    The point? Part of the point is that the relationship between diet and exercise is complicated and poorly understood, despite what you hear.

    But the main point is this: you can do side bends or situps, but please don’t lose that butt.

    Or those jugs.

  103. Shapely Prose! (aka The Palace of Righteous Justice).

    buff, as usual you are made of win.

    (I can haz commentr cape and invisibul playne? )

  104. Are there meetings where they decide these things? do they have pie charts about eating disorders and depression?

    Magnolia, I’m sure there are. I also would not be surprised if the meetings were held in the Pentagon.

    After all, an anxious, guilty, starving populace is a malleable one.

  105. Don’t accuse people of making judgements about you . People cannot evaluate what they cannot see. You will only become sorry for yourself, which stops you making any progress. Change people’s perception by changing what they perceive.

    Emerald, ACK . So this pompous, slavering douchehead has, like, only the one concrete sense operating, yes? And so cannot evaluate what he can, for example, hear?

    And so I’m supposed to listen to this nummyheaded dumba** because …?

  106. Yeah, littlem, I thought something like that, too. I can certainly evaluate whether someone within noserange has farted or not, even if I didn’t actually see the gas escape. And by her definition, blind people can’t “evaluate” anything? Zuh?

  107. “Can I ask any of the dieticians here, or at least anyone slightly more knolwedgeable about nutrition than I am, to go have a look at Grenfell’s teen section? Especially the bit where she smooshes protein and dairy into one big food group and tells girls only to have two portions a day? Seriously. Even from a layperson’s viewpoint, the woman looks unqualified and frankly, dangerous.”

    Emerald, I’m a dietitian and you don’t need me to tell you she’s way out in left field. Most of her information is so far from correct it’s horrifying.

  108. My BMI is 20.1. And my rheumatologist is on my ass to get my weight back up to my pre-illness BMI of 23.5. Her words, “You’re too thin. Are you skipping meals? Still getting your period?” I’ll try to get her medical lisence revoked immediately.

    But seriously? At this weight, my hipbones stick out to the point where they’ve been black and blue for MONTHS because I keep banging them into things and there’s no padding. I can’t get comfortable at night because the bones in my ass press into the mattress to the point of pain. I’m a virgin and two weeks late–I’m afraid I’m becoming amonhorreic. What is good, healthy or beautiful about this? I’m sick, and the only reason I lost weight is because I developed a chronic illness I will have for the rest of my life. (I have the same sort of medical issues as the guest-blogger Dani and Amanda who comments here)

  109. Pingback: Feminists Don’t Bake Bread » Blog Archive » Real Women Exist And Take Up Space, Even If You Don’t Like It

  110. Also, I went back to the comments on her article (I posted a very, very polite one that has yet to be approved, shock) and a guy left this comment:

    “…The fact is that women who possess the key indicators of health, and the ability to bear healthy children, are always perceived to be more attractive than those who do not. Sadly, the young woman in this article falls into the latter category. A very unhealthy place to be.”

    Yes, because an indicator of fertility is when your menstrual cycle has been suppressed due to lack of food! If you’re naturally larger and have to eat very, very little (if at all) in order to keep up with the way you “should” look in order to “seem” healthy, that’s probably going to happen. And you know, doesn’t sound so healthy to me.

  111. Oh that comment really pissed me off too, prettytwininglight. Don’t you love these evo-psych wannabes who bend over backwards to prove by personal example that cavemen were hard-wired to only fancy women who looked like Kate Moss. An unhealthy place, my arse. They don’t call them “child-bearing hips” for nothing, yo.

  112. Somebody needs to ask that idiot what he considers “key indicators of health” and why he thinks Chloe lacks any of ‘em. Because from what I have seen of her, she looks perfectly able to attract a man and bear children.

  113. This is wordy and I apologize ahead of time, but I thought everyone might be interested in my response to her and her response to me. Basically she back pedals and claims to not be responsible for the majority of the article.

    I sent her a reply explaining what linked meant and gave her the url for Shapely Prose. I then went on to tell her that while she was indeed entitled to her opinions, she had a moral obligation and responsibility, as a dietician, to put correct information out about proper eating and exercise habits.

    I then told her that regardless of where she took her book description from or who wrote it for her was irrelevant because her name was on it so she clearly endorsed that way of thinking. I also told her about why crash dieting doesn’t work and how it is the start of so many eating disorders because you can not maintain that vanity weight without remaining on that unhealthy diet.

    Then I told her that I personally didn’t have a desire to insult her, because I wanted her to listen to my reasoning, not tune me out, but I fully understood the outrage of the readers of her article. I mean calling a 17 year old girl the ‘fat, lazy poster child for ill health isn’t exactly nice.

    This was her reply…

    “Dear sarah

    Thanks for replying

    Just one point I am keen for you to know. The headline was pout there by the daily Mail. At no stage did I use the word lazy, nor did I describe myself as a dietician, which I am not I am a food scientist. I dictated the feature over the telephone, I certainly used the word fat because it is used clinically – fat is, after all, as real as muscle and the excess weight on Chloe, or anyone else for that matter (and my back!) is fat and nothing else.

    They like to write these things in the first person but use their own language – hence I wasn’t entirely sure how it would appear.

    I am sorry to have to tell you that I had far more messages of agreement that of hate. What is interesting to me is that Chloe Marshall can call thin girls ‘skinny minnies’ and indeed, thin women get abuse constantly, yet they rarely answer back.

    These websites and blogs of vituperation have only served to give me publicity and more to the point, highlight the incredible rudenss and poison that overweight people seem to feel towards the rest of us. I wish I understood and my children certainly wish they could have 5 minutes with them!
    It is baffling

    Good luck
    Monica

    Monica Grenfell”

  114. I’m not sure the Pentagon is behind all this, a good many of the Generals I’ve seen have been overweight and soft them self.

    However, I can totally see it in one of LA’s raw restaurants or a scary Manhattan fusion place. Lots of stick people around sneering at nearly empty plates feeling self righteous

  115. I have a question about metabolism. I apologise if this isn’t the right thread for it, but I always have it in my mind when reading about dietry advise:
    “Calories in/Calories out” gets quoted a lot when talking to …. non-Shapelings. Is the “starvation mode” that a body goes into a widely accepted phenomenon in the medical world?
    …I am really having a hard time expressing my reasoning, sorry… if doctors acknowledge that there *is* such a thing as the starvation mode, doesn’t that refute the whole Calories in/calories out theory? Because it proofs that the human body is able to treat calories differently depending on the circumstances?

  116. Skreee, yes, starvation mode is generally acknowledged, that’s why most doctors and diet plans won’t advise you to go under 1200 calories a day. Why people cant’ make the leap from there to realising that metabolism depends on many different factors is a good question. Of course, everybody knows a thin person with a fast metabolism who can eat a ridiculous amount of calories, excercise no more than the average person, and still stay thin, and they can’t fathom that it could work in reverse for fat people. Most people just aren’t interested in questioning their preconceived notions.

  117. I dictated the feature over the telephone…

    They like to write these things in the first person but use their own language – hence I wasn’t entirely sure how it would appear.

    WOW. I mean, the whole thing is a big wow, but I guess that partially explains why the Daily Mail is ass.

    I also love how she thought we were upset about her using the word “fat.”

  118. “I’m trying to think of a fitting punishment for Monica Grenfell, but the worst fate I could come up with was: being Monica Grenfell.” – A Sarah

    In response to above:

    “I can, she could be Anne Coulter *shudders*” – Tanya D

    ROFLOL!

  119. “I am sorry to have to tell you that I had far more messages of agreement that of hate. What is interesting to me is that Chloe Marshall can call thin girls ’skinny minnies’ and indeed, thin women get abuse constantly, yet they rarely answer back.” – Monica Greenfell

    Yup a thin person can’t even walk out the door with out calls of, “1X1! Thin-ass! OMG she’s so freaking thin, eww!”

  120. Oh, duuuude. I SO do not hate thin people. I hate stupid, hateful assholes OF ALL SIZES who want to make my fat or anyone else’s into a pathology and some kind of sick-soul-of-fill-in-country-name-here metaphor. And really, training your kids to go out and beat up fatties? I don’t know what liability laws are like in GB, but are you sure you want to put yourself on the hook for that one legally?

    She shoulda stuck with “dietician.”

  121. Well, dictating it over the telephone might possibly account for the piece being so poorly written, I suppose. But fancy – she had more messages of agreement than hate – in a society where fat has become both acceptable and fashionable! That kind of blows a hole in her fear-mongering rant doesn’t it?

  122. I had a fuuuunny feeling about her being a dietitian. Not that dietitians can’t be fat-hating assholes, there is just a professional tendency to avoid this type of sensationalism.

    And since the term was used in the article, I wasn’t meaning to attack Kate for assuming it was true. I’m just SUPER pissy when it comes to this topic since it’s what I’m in school for. A lot people don’t know that it’s a regulated term and one should question its veracity when used by someone who doesn’t state their qualifications. Dietitians will generally put “RD” after their name on anything they write, because, hell, they studied five years or did a graduate degree to get the damn thing.

  123. Skreee said: “Is the “starvation mode” that a body goes into a widely accepted phenomenon in the medical world?”

    Yeah, it’s accepted, as far as I can tell from studying nutrition at school. I’m not a doctor, but my textbooks talk about it and we cover it in lectures. In starvation mode, your body temperature will drop, you’ll become sluggish, and your basal metabolic rate will go down.

    In the early stages of starvation, the body will break down its own muscle tissue for glucose. In prolonged starvation, the body begins to adapt, and only then does it start to break down more fat than muscle for energy. Muscle protein is the preferential fuel for chemical reasons, but also, as my professor put it, “Because it’s less important than fat.” It keeps you warm while you’re laying around starving, and it’s like the last pantry to raid before death.

    Other fun fact: when fat patients get intravenous nutrition support in the hospital, they don’t need as many calories as a straight calculation based on weight would recommend — because fat tissue is not as metabolically active as lean tissue. So fat people DON’T require mega calories to stay fat — it follows that, in daily life, we don’t have to eat like pigs to maintain a higher weight.

    Another proof that all calories are not created equal: in alcoholism, despite a really high caloric intake (from alcohol and food), people lose weight and can become severely wasted and malnourished. Yeah, some people stop eating as they drink more, but even people with adequate food intake experience this.

    In other disease states characterized by wasting, no matter HOW MUCH you feed a person, they will not gain weight. Even if you intravenously STUFF them full of energy and nutrients, they won’t — their bodies simply won’t let them.

    All of this is regulated by forces much more powerful and complex than calories in/calories out. Even in healthy bodies, it’s never that simple. There’s probably mechanisms at work that we don’t even KNOW about yet. Because it’s biology, not algebra.

  124. But fancy – she had more messages of agreement than hate – in a society where fat has become both acceptable and fashionable! That kind of blows a hole in her fear-mongering rant doesn’t it?

    BuffPuff, I love you and your logic.

    And PeggyNature, thanks for all the info!

  125. Skinny people are constantly the victims of abuse? Did I read that right?

    And then she wonders why, after being abusive toward fat people, why all the fatties are SO UPSET with her?

    God forbid I feel “poison” toward those who use the public forum to abuse me because of my size. GOD FORBID!

    I think this woman is missing some brain cells.

  126. Oh, and if “don’t hate me because I’m so thin” Monica happens to read these comments:

    You are a hateful bitch. Therefore, do not be surprised when you are treated with such disdain by those you verbally abuse in public. You get treated the way you treat other people. And your outright prejudice against hate people in the form of “concern” isn’t fooling anybody with a brain.

    Please explain to me how “skinny minny” is an insult. Have you ever been shoved into walls and spit upon because of your weight? Have groups of teenage boys stopped in the middle of traffic in order to cuss at you? Have men followed you around to make farting noises at you? Have you been called “fat ass,” “fat bastard,” and “lard ass” on a daily basis?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  127. And your outright prejudice against hate people in the form of “concern” isn’t fooling anybody with a brain.

    What I MEANT to say:

    *And your outright prejudice against fat people in the form of “concern” isn’t fooling anybody with a brain.*

    There, fixed it. I don’t type well when I’m angry.

  128. Peggynature, I hope you are planning to blog that. That is just critical information to have out there, and it’s stunning how many doctors don’t even know this stuff. Obviously they’ve all been told this at one point or another, but they seem to have forgotten.

  129. I read something very interesting the other day about exercise and weight. (Warning, they conflate lean with healthy and use the word obese.) Some researchers put 12 year old boys on bikes and measured the CO2 produced and the O2 burned (for some reason they think this measures fat burned; why it couldn’t be measuring carbs burned, glycogen is stored in muscle and liver, or protein burned I don’t know). But the basic idea that energy is being used I can agree with; and the fat kids burned their maximum amount of energy with low intensity exercise, while the skinny kids burned more calories at higher intensity exercise. They then make some offensive assumptions about the fat kids’ lifestyles, but also mention that the fat kids have different levels of muscle type fibers, with more that burn carbs while the skinny boys have more that burn fat. Sounds to me like some people have different kinds of muscle fiber that burn different fuels (genetics perhaps?) and therefore might be programmed to have different body weights–you think?

    Take home short summary: people of different weights react differently to exercise intensity, with fat people using calories more efficiently at higher levels of exercise intensity. A pointer for the CICO folks.

  130. Bleh. And even their headline really doesn’t match the story. It should really say, “For the Fat, There’s No Point Slamming It Hard in the Gym Because You Won’t Burn Squat.” Not “Overweight Kids Need Less Intensive Exercise for Effective Weight Loss.” It doesn’t even say anything in the story about any of the fat kids having lost any significant weight and kept it off as a result of any exercise regime, let alone whether their “burn rate” improves as a result of having done become “lean and healthy.” (And if it’s “sedentary lifestyle” that makes the fat kids burn fat less effectively when they exercise, shouldn’t that change once they’re thin? And what about the thin ones who don’t exercise? Oh, oops, none of them actually DID get thin, and ALL thin kids are athletes. Stupid me.) It’s interesting information apart from that, though.

  131. You know what, I take something back. Dear Monica said that thin people were abused. She’s right:

    Model Ali Michael – with measurements of 33-23-34 and a size four – was sent home from Paris Fashion Week because her legs were “too plump.” Ali had the audacity to eat healthy instead of making herself sick.

    Model Behati Prinsloo – with measurements of 32-24-34 and a size four – was told by a fashion stylish she was a “fat pig.”

    So yeah, thin people do take abuse – for being too “fat.” Mind-boggling, isn’t it? But yet, we live in a culture where girls are praised for being fat?

    I’m sorry I’m posting so much about this – Monica has really hit a nerve with me. I’m fucking pissed at her right now.

  132. Meowser, you’re completely correct about them making foolish assumptions, and I should have caught the bit about weight-loss in the title, because they didn’t even study weight-loss at all. It was purely a one time exercise, as far as I can tell. The actual title should have been Fat Boys Burn Calories More Efficiently with High Intensity Exercise Than Thin Boys. That’s all they really studied. And, you know, efficiency isn’t a bad thing in and of itself.

    But if you deflect the spin, it’s really a good brick about how metabolisms really are different, and what works for one body type won’t work for a different type. A boy working equally hard burns fewer calories than another boy. Perhaps moreso because they discovered it despite themselves and can’t even recognize it.

  133. “Sounds to me like some people have different kinds of muscle fiber that burn different fuels (genetics perhaps?) and therefore might be programmed to have different body weights–you think?”

    That is fascinating, Piffle. Fat people having more fast-twitch muscle fibres would explain why I am a much better sprinter than a long-distance runner :)

    I wonder if similar effects could be seen between lean and fat people in their preferred diet. On a purely anecdotal level, I’ve noticed that my (lean) husband eats and craves a lot of protein, whereas I (fatty) eat and crave a lot of carbohydrate. I’ve always wondered if our appetites are uniquely designed to support different body compositions. Because I kind of hunch that genetics orchestrates our body composition through the use of our appetite for food (and exercise), not in spite of it. Anyway, rambling and idle speculation. Very interesting article!

  134. WTF is she getting at with the comment about her kids?

    Also, Chloe is *unbelievably gorgeous*. I’ve only ever seen one or two pictures of her, but… wow. Just wow. She’s radiant.

    That pic in the bikini, although yes, not flattering, does show that she obviously has some pretty impressive muscles going on, too.

    But yes, let’s worry about her health. No with eyes that sparkling, cheeks that rosy, and a body that toned could possibly be anything but on death’s door.

    Monica Grenfell is an idiot.

  135. Sorry to keep posting, but I have another response from her. I’ll paraphrase it and spare you the spam, because it’s really just a lot of rambling.

    I took the time to sit down and construct what I believe to be a well thought out letter about the fact that most of us were not offended by the word fat, but by the ‘lazy and in ill health’ part, that constantly gets assumed about fat people. I commented on thin people with quick metabolism leading sedentary lives and eating junk food are assumed to just be genetically predisposed to not gaining weight, and that fat people are not extended the same respect, in people assuming that genetics play a role. Instead, when fat people blame genetics or a medical issue, they are told they are just making up excuses to be lazy and eat how they wish.

    I then told her the only reason so many people seem to be agreeing with her is because of all the misinformation out there about the ‘obesity epidemic’ and the long time stereotypes about fat people. I mentioned that people like MeMe Roth like to constantly remind everyone that the rate of obesity has increased to 1/3 of the population in the last decade, but how untrue it is, that people haven’t gotten fatter, the standards were just lowered by 20lbs. I said that comparing the criticism skinny people get to the the abuse fat people receive on a daily basis is like comparing someone calling a gay person a nasty name and then a gay person calling them a ‘breeder’. It just doesn’t compare, though it’s not right for anyone to be name calling.

    Lastly, I told her that the most important thing I wanted her to know was that the fat acceptance blogs was not a place for fat people to get together and spew vile about ‘the beautiful people’, but a community for people of all sizes to come and learn to accept themselves for what they are. I talked about how you guys help people find fat friendly doctors, push for equal rights and what not, and explained why all that was need…very wordy.

    Her response was basically “‘I’m just e-mailing you back because I’m on vacation and I’m bored. I don’t really care to talk to you about this. The only thing that really bothers me is that Chloe is getting all this media attention and I don’t think it’s fair to the other contestants who aren’t getting media attention. Chloe will probably win now because of all of it and she should have just tried to win on her own merit rather than trying to gain the spotlight over her competitors.

    Wah wah wah, it’s not fair! ”

    She said “Chloe has reduced the pageant into a debate about size, which no one, including me, would have noticed, if she had not drawn attention to it.” No seriously, she said that, stop laughing.

    Then she kept rambling about how the BEAUTY pageant was not about size, but about ‘skills and talents’. Now Chloe is going to win because of a sympathy vote and this will be detrimental to thin girls everywhere.

    Also, she said she is planning to take legal action against the fat acceptance bloggers for libel or some other such nonsense. Oddly enough after she commented that ‘criticism rolls off her back because she’s too old to worry about it’.

    I refuse to e-mail her back because it’s like she ignored everything I took the time to write and she’s got her hands over her ears saying ‘LALALALA I can’t hear you!’

  136. Legal action? That is a hoot. After she threatened to send her children after us? OK then….

    Yeah, she seems like a waste of time. Some people refused to be enlightened.

  137. Legal action? That is a hoot. After she threatened to send her children after us? OK then….

    Yeah, she seems like a waste of time. Some people refuse to be enlightened.

  138. dear all
    as a UK RD we obviously have some issue about obesity and its impact on health, but i totally agree with you bloggers that this is a demeaning and bitter attack on a girl who is overweight (based on the measurements provided) – thats all.

    Ms Grenfell is NOT a RD. She debases the professional approach of RDs around the world who of course understand the links between body size: exercise:health:psychology.

    It is not a crime to be overweight or obese. It is, however, illegal to call yourself a dietitian if you are not, under the UK Health Professions Act of 2002. All UK dietitians are on the register at http://www.hpc-uk.org. You could complain to the health ed of the Mail if you want your opinions noted.

  139. This really hit home with me. A few years ago, I was a local pageantry winner, and as a US size 12, was trash talked by the other girls. One lady who was a pageant sponsor approached my mother about joining her karate classes to lose all of my excess weight. (Disregarding the fact I am a third degree Tae Kwon Do blackbelt, and modeled her uniforms multiple times).

    What I don’t understand is why we are promoting skinny, over health? I was in perfect shape; my weight attributed to my muscles (as a runner, and volleyball player). And yet, was constantly trashed by the other girls, who looked sickly to me. Even some of the younger ones, who were only around 9.

    I admire Chloe for not letting people get her down; it sure did me. I can only imagine what I could have accomplished if I had as much confidence as she does. She is beautiful.

  140. “…The fact is that women who possess the key indicators of health, and the ability to bear healthy children, are always perceived to be more attractive than those who do not.”

    Of all the myths about fat, this is one of the ones I despise most. The more cerebral (as opposed to primal) a society becomes, the more attraction is psychological in nature and the less it has to do with biological mandates. Sorry, but your preference for women with perkily globular breasts, and tiny waists, hips, butts, arms, and legs (and maybe brains?,) has no more to do with their ability to bear healthy children than another’s preference for stilettos, red satin, and whips & chains.

    It’s the narcissistic desire some people have to be the end-all and be-all of humanity, or to feel okay about themselves by convincing themselves that they way they are is the natural perfect default for the human species. But desperately wanting it to be so doesn’t make it so.

  141. Dear Kate

    Well, thanks for all the publicity. I am the vile woman who wrote that piece. My children thought that was funny.

    Did I promote skinny? Did I say even once in that piece, anything about skinny being better? Try telling ultra -lean marathon champion Paula Radcliffe, with less than 10% bodyfat, that she’s unhealthy.

    The Daily Mail asked me to write the article. They asked me because the week before, they had a piece on Chloe and it got a lot of furious reader replies. So I was expressing the views of many thousands, hired for my credentials – don’t forget I was a Judge at Miss England last year, which is the reason they asked me.. The Editor even emailed and said “Great piece!”

    I don’t regret a word. I’m not remotely interested in your justifications: I am more concerned a) with the other girl contestants who aren’t getting pages and pages in the press and definitely feel ok about themselves and
    b) the genuine starving people in this world who wait a day for a crust of bread if they are lucky. “I refuse to starve myself ” said Chloe. I would love people of the Third World to read that. She is making a fool of herself… she stands NO chance of getting charity work at this rate. Plenty may be rooting for her but let me tell you, many more influentuial people, are noticing this furore on size and her starvation stance, and aren’t impressed. Chloe’s remarks on starving are disgusting in this day and age.

    I stated that it is her choice to be her size and I meant it. I have many overweight friends and family and I love them regardless. they don’t push it in people’s faces. Chloe has made this whole thing a question of her size – why? If she really wanted us to accept her the way she is, why mention it at all? I would have had more respect and certainly not written about her. It was not the fact that she is overweight that got to the British public, but the fact that she is teling others it’s OK to be overweight.

    I know friends who smoke, and I don’t disapprove. It’s their choice. But if they promoted it to others we’d all be shocked.

    Please reserve your sympathy for the other contestants who have prepared for months and even years to get this far. Don’t be sympathetic for Chloe, who is lapping it up and loving every minute. The spotlight is on her! She’s bound to win!

    And don’t be so silly and crazy to think this is a personal crusade. I’m doing my job, and I’ve moved on to the next job. You should move on too.

  142. b) the genuine starving people in this world who wait a day for a crust of bread if they are lucky. “I refuse to starve myself ” said Chloe. I would love people of the Third World to read that.

    So, uh, what specifically are you doing to end hunger in the Third World? Besides trying to shame everyone who doesn’t fit the dominant body mold, that is.

  143. The Editor even emailed and said “Great piece!”

    Oh, WELL THEN. You know your work is TOTALLY WORTHWHILE when the editor of the fucking DAILY MAIL gives you kudos. That’s like getting a fucking PULITZER.

    Chloe’s remarks on starving are disgusting in this day and age.

    Well, you would certainly know from disgusting remarks on starvation.

    I am more concerned a) with the other girl contestants who aren’t getting pages and pages in the press

    WHY THE FUCK AREN’T YOU WRITING ABOUT THEM, THEN?

    I’m doing my job, and I’ve moved on to the next job.

    WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU HERE MAKING COMMENTS FIVE DAYS LATER, THEN?

    At least representing yourself as being TOTALLY CONCERNED that a woman you’re clearly obsessed with (fantasize about her personal life and motivations much?) is getting all that attention that you just can’t stop giving her isn’t illegal, like representing yourself as a dietician.

    So Monica, are you deluded or just a liar?

    (Note to readers: I gave Monica the courtesy of a response with far less cussing when she dropped in on Carrie of ED Bites — nice one, targeting an eating disorder blog, Monica — back when the post was fresh enough that she could reasonably make the claim that she had “moved on.” I have now lost all patience with her disingenuous bullshit.)

  144. Wait, saying you refuse to starve yourself deliberately to conform to particular beauty standards is disrespectful to people who are starving involuntarily due to famine because . . . why? I’m seriously at a loss here. Are you saying we should all be going on solidarity hunger strikes or that the mere mention of the word starving is disrespectful? Because let me tell you, the physical effects of consuming too few calories are the same no matter where you are or why you’re doing it.

  145. Hmmm. So the other girls don’t eat because they’re such great humanitarians that they feel they must eat 800 calories a day in solidarity with people in Darfur? I assume they also all are teetotalers, then, because downing mojitos would be a total waste of money when people are going hungry. And that they never spend more than $50 on a pair of shoes, or more than $5 on a lipstick. Hell, why do they need any makeup at all? That’s FOOD FOR STARVING CHILDREN MONEY!

  146. Um, since when is all charity work related to food? And since when does eating healthily and refusing to starve yourself mean that you can’t do charity work, even if it is related to food? And what kind of imaginary set-up is in your head that makes you think that if some fattie in England would only shut up and starve, more food would go to Third World orphans or whatever?

    Ms. Grenfell, you have made no mention of whether Chloe Marshall is doing charity work or not. All you’ve done is promote your assumption that she isn’t, based solely on her body weight. This fattie says a big “fuck you,” because I’ve always found myself perfectly capable of doing legitimate charitable work — in fact, I’m fundraising for our local foster-care scholarship fund this month. I don’t know if you’ve gotten the memo on this, but refusing to starve yourself is in no way correlative to ensuring the starvation of people thousands of miles away — and you, madam, are an idiot.

  147. I had a hard time parsing it too, Lilah, so I assumed it was a load of crap. Disrespectful to starve yourself when others don’t have a choice, maybe? In which case I assume Monica has taken a vow of poverty. Or is it disrespectful to imply that going without food in a first world country counts as “starving”? Perhaps starving is something Monica thinks only brown people can do?

    And that they never spend more than $50 on a pair of shoes, or more than $5 on a lipstick.

    Not to mention those pageant entry fees.

  148. (I assume that the lack of facility with the language that made Monica think that “starve” means “live in a third-world country and be brown” rather than “take in too little nutrition to sustain functions” is also the reason behind her inability to understand “STFU.” Or is that a cultural thing?)

  149. Chloe has made this whole thing a question of her size – why? If she really wanted us to accept her the way she is, why mention it at all? I would have had more respect and certainly not written about her. It was not the fact that she is overweight that got to the British public, but the fact that she is teling others it’s OK to be overweight.

    I really doubt that Chloe made this about her size, but we’ll go with that for a moment. If it weren’t so unusual that a girl who was an average size were a finalist in a beauty contest, there wouldn’t be such “this furore on size”. How many other women larger than a size 2 can you name from a beauty pageant, modeling career or entertainment career? Now, compare that to the ones you can name who are size 2 or less. Big difference, eh? She is an anomaly – a wonderful one, from most of our perspectives, because she is a lovely girl. And yet she is getting so much vitriol for simply having the audacity to play with the skinny girls!

    And yes, she represents a large portion of the public who is genetically incapable of ever being a size 2. So her saying that she is happy with who she is, and will never “starve herself” to be something her body isn’t designed to do? Means one hell of a lot to us.

    You make a lot of noise about the whole “starvation” issue. I think you might need a donut, raise your blood sugar a bit.

  150. Did I promote skinny? Did I say even once in that piece, anything about skinny being better?

    The first question lacks a noun. Boo! And to answer your question:

    At 5ft 10in, Chloe should have a body mass index, or BMI, (indicating her levels of fat) of 20. Hers is 26.03.

    Yes. You said that she would be better if she weighed less (was skinny). And you didn’t simply suggest that she get into a normal BMI range, which, while wrong, would at least follow with the misinformation that is most often taught, and so which could have been pushed aside simply by saying perhaps you didn’t know better. But you said it would be better if she were at the bottom of the normal BMI range.

    Oh, and you said this: [Chloe:] “All I wanted to do by entering this pageant was to send a message out to young girls that it is fine NOT to be a size zero.”

    Well, she’s talking total rubbish.

    Yeah – that strikes me as saying being fat is worse than being thin. Don’t know where I got that idea. Maybe where you called Chloe’s idea that it’s fine to not be size zero “rubbish”.

    So I was expressing the views of many thousands, hired for my credentials – don’t forget I was a Judge at Miss England last year, which is the reason they asked me.

    And as we all know, by taking a simply look at history, when a thousand people say it, it must be right! That’s why we still have slavery! And judging a beauty pageant totally makes you a health professional.

    I stated that it is her choice to be her size and I meant it.

    See, and here’s the biggest problem. Because it being a choice? that’s not actually true.

    At least, if we pay attention to SCIENCE, and not just superstition and our own privilege

    If she really wanted us to accept her the way she is, why mention it at all?

    Because, Fat being a GENETIC TRAIT and one that doesn’t actually imply poor health,

    Or give any indications to your eating habits,

    Means that discriminating against it is like discriminating against other genetic traits, like race or sex or height or sexual orientation.

    Which is to say that it is wrong. And so to fight against discrimination, as in all of those other areas (which is not to say that size discrimination has ever reached the levels it has in those areas), means to stand up and point it out.

    Meaning that for Chloe to have a chance, she kind of has to point out her size and fight your ideas on it, because you’re actively discriminating against her. You are making judgments about her character and her habits based entirely on her size. We have a word for pre-judging people. You might have heard it, what with the “pre” and the “judge”. It’s called prejudice.

    And it’s wrong, and also vile.

  151. My comment got eated by the site, because of all its shiny links. Will someone please save it?

  152. Oh and because my comment didn’t mention it (the invisible one that needs rescuing), ditto to what everyone here is saying on the starvation thing. It made me raise an eyebrow.

  153. “I have many overweight friends and family and I love them regardless. they don’t push it in people’s faces.”

    Wow, with all due respect, what an effing moron. Seriously.

  154. I’m wondering which part exactly of her over weight (all 200 grams of it) Chloe pushes in her friends’ faces, and if I can be her friend.

  155. And Monica, your “work” is promoting the idea that it’s OK to be idiotic and hateful.

    Fuck off.

  156. Starve – to perish from lack of food. In other words, anorexia.

    Starve – to suffer or perish from deprivation. In other words, anorexia.

    Starve – to deprive of nourishment . In other words, anorexia.

    Did I clear that up? And did I mention that anorexia has a high death rate? And how about that death rate from obesity? Oh right, it doesn’t exist!

  157. Ok, does anyone remember the Saturday Night Live sketch with Christina Ricci playing a Bosnian refugee who didn’t understand the concept of starving oneself on purpose? Yeah, somehow I think that most involuntarily starving people would come down rather heavily on Chloe’s side on the idea of eating enough food to sustain your body when you actually have it available.

    (Not presuming to speak for those in a position that I can’t even imagine, of course. Just my thoughts.)

  158. Unreal. Absolutely unreal. Please tell me I imagined that entire post. The stupidity – it truly DOES burn! :(

    Well, thank you for giving people a chance to tell you to fuck off “personally” at least. Now go gather up all the FUs, put them in a little book, and write another idiotic article about them. And we shall taunt you a second time.

    I’m sorry, it’s too stupid to even refute point by point and that skull is so fucking thick (obviously or she might have gotten half a clue by now) that there’s no point bothering.

  159. “I have many overweight friends and family and I love them regardless. they don’t push it in people’s faces.”

    Let’s try a little mental exercise, shall we, Monica?

    “I have many gay friends and family and I love them regardless. they don’t push it in people’s faces.”

    “I have many black friends and family and I love them regardless. they don’t push it in people’s faces.”

    I have many Jewish friends and family and I love them regardless. they don’t push it in people’s faces.”

    Homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism – would you expect anyone to tolerate those statements from you? Then why on the little green earth would you expect anyone to tolerate equally blatant and hateful sizeism?

    As for the compliment from the editor of the Daily Mail – that’s like taking a recommendation on what shit sandwich to eat from King Turd of Poop Island. He might think it’s great, but it’s still shit.

  160. for spreading this hateful misinformation.

    liz, on April 4th, 2008 at 12:57 pm Said:

    Gene Weingarten has hopped onto the OMG TEH FATZ bandwagon. I’m going to go tell him like it is. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/community/groups/index.html?plckForumPage=Forum&plckForumId=Cat%3aa70e3396-6663-4a8d-ba19-e44939d3c44fForum%3aa8bc6fd8-cf9f-43ca-99a4-05fdb4342697

    I met this guy Weingarten when I was 17, a short size 18 then-engineering student, and he was editor of the NYU University Heights campus rag, the Heights Daily News. I asked if the newspaper needed writers … it was he .. wasn’t it … who replied to me, “You’re fat .. get out of here.”

    Except he seemed short.

    Would have gone and posted a comment on his site, except it’s out of D.C. and that’s not my signature city …

  161. Wait a minute. Did she just thank *Kate* for the publicity? You mean SP is more widely read than the POS tabloid this “journalist” or whatever the hell she is writes for, and a mention on SP rates higher than an editorial in said tabloid?

    Awesome. Whatever you’re doing Kate, keep it up. That can only be good :)

  162. Oh, and as to pushing it in people’s faces – Ms. Idiot? Do you SERIOUSLY mean to claim that being an “overweight” (no matter how slightly) contestant was NOT going to be made the issue, even if she’d begged them to leave it alone? Do you seriously expect anyone here to believe our bodies aren’t treated with scorn and derision everywhere we go and WILL be made an issue, especially if we dare try to do anything normal…like take a walk, exercise, pry our faces out of the popcorn barrel to see the sunlight, step out of our front doors (fat people should stay in the backyard only with high privacy fences, y’know) etc? Moron.

  163. Monica, you should be the LAST person dispensing diet advice with your tiresome and stereotypical attitude towards fat people. I wonder how many lives have been ruined due to your “expertise?” Do you really believe a UK size 16 (American size 14) is so gross? What IS an acceptable size for you? Zero? Double zero? Can we even say -5?

    Please do us fatties a favor and choke on a celery stick.

  164. She really, really doesn’t understand why vilifying a 17 year old girl for the way she looks is a bad thing.

    If she could say ‘I don’t like the way she looks’ it would at least be honest.

    I can’t understand the mental jump she makes saying that not being willing to starve oneself is somehow offensive to starving people. And UK charities generally don’t discriminate against people on the basis of their size.

    And in no way is anyone saying that the other girls in the pageant shouldn’t be happy in their own skin at whatever size. Isn’t that what HAES is all about?

    What Monica et al expect this girl to say is ‘I’m sorry for being such a blimp – look at me! I will starve myself down to an acceptable size.’ Instead, she is saying ‘I am a size 16 and I am comfortable in my own skin.’ Which doesn’t sell diet books….

  165. I wonder if Ms. Grenfell ever bothered to interview young women about their body image? I have done that, and it was an eye opener even for me (who is fat, truly fat, not normal-but-labelled fat like Chloe or normal-but-feeling-fat like so many others and who has heard the tired old stereotypes about fat people since I was a child).
    From the college aged women I have talked to in the course of an eating disorder and body image awareness campaign about 80-90% said that worrying about your weight CONSTANTLY is normal. Further, when I dropped 40kg a few years ago (weight that I have regained kilo by kilo just as every single time before, only that this time I developed gall-bladder disease as a result of the sudden weight loss) I had young women of all sizes ask me “how I did that” and that “they wanted to lose weight, too”. Many of them were normal weight according to BMI standards, and some of them were probably even underweight – and yes, I know the cutoff points.
    I don’t like beauty contests. I think it is not a good idea to focus on people’s looks, particularly on young women’s looks, as much as it is done in these contest. But if society really chooses that they want these contests than there should at least be contestants with various weigths. I don’t have a problem with promoting that a thin girl is beautiful, as long as her size is not the main criterium for that so-called beauty (after all I know that you cannot always influence your size by will, and to tell a naturally undeweight girl that she should be fatter in order to be considered beautiful is cruel in my eyes). But if underweight girls can be beauty queens so should overweight girls and girls inbetween.
    Maybe Chloe is overweight according to current standards (if that is is the case than is actually just above “normal”). But as Ms. Grenfell SHOULD know if she has any knowledge and expertise in this field at least being in the overweight range of the BMI (25-30) is statistically associated with a lower mortality and morbidity risk than being in the underweight range – in fact, according to some studies being overweight is associated with better health than being “normal”.
    As for being supposedly disrespectful towards involuntarily starving people by saying you refuse to starve yourself voluntarily – that is ridiculous. I have been told in the past that fat people (not people like Chloe who are actually normally sized but truly fat people) are somehow responsible for world hunger. Ms. Grenfell’s argument seems to somehow hint on that. So, just to repeat it: I am actually one of the fat people that do overeat. In contrast to many other fat people I have binge-eating disorder – a disorder that I partially developed because I started dieting at a very early age. However, I also happen to be a vegetarian and I try to buy locally produced food. I also hardly ever drive in a car – I use my bike or public transport to get virtually everywhere. And I have worked two full years of my life in volunteer jobs. Yes, maybe I haven’t done everything I could, and I am certainly in a priviledged position to be even able to make these choices – not everyone has the freedom to do so. But I use up fewer resources and have done more for society than a lot of thin people have and so have other fat people.
    Chloe’s body size is an issue because society and especially people like Ms. Grenfell make it an issue. If she doesn’t like that she should stop talking about it.

  166. “I have many overweight friends and family and I love them regardless. they don’t push it in people’s faces.”

    EmmKay beat me to it, but this killed me. Once again, the rhetoric is so like antigay bullshit. “I have lots of gay friends, but they’re not all, you know, so flamboyant.” “I don’t have a problem with gay people, as long as they aren’t hitting on me.”

    Translation: [...] people are okay, as long as they’re properly ashamed of being [...].

  167. I’m starting to wonder whether the people commenting on blogs are actually Monica Grenfell, after seeing the one claiming to be her “representative” and threatening legal action. Either people are using her name to troll, or she hires some major idiots.

    Also, in looking for this post to make this comment, I realized that it’s not even on the front page anymore. Digging for week-old posts — way to “move on,” “Monica”!

  168. This is either an elaborate joke, or Monica is completely insane.

    Either way I can’t possibly say what needs to be said better than it’s already been said.

    However, Monica, how on earth can you compare starving people in famine ridden countries to a woman who has food available and refuses to starve herself? Do you think those starving people would continue to willingly not eat if they had the choice? Do you think that they would consider us to be brave and noble if -we- starved ourselves in solidarity?

    I may be entirely wrong but I imagine were I in their situation and I heard about people who did not have to starve..starving themselves on purpose I would think them to be the biggest fools ever to walk the earth.

    Those poor people don’t want us to be thin Monica. They want a bowl of soup, a sandwhich and a steady supply of food. Why don’t you take all the food you’re -not- eating and give it to someone who -will- eat it.

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  170. “I have many overweight friends and family and I love them regardless.”

    Honestly? I don’t think you do. Not with the disgust for their bodies you’ve shown here. My condolences to all the fat people in your life.

  171. I’d really like to see Monica try to sue SP for libel. Even with our more prosecution-friendly UK libel laws, she’d be laughed out of court.

    Her response is supremely silly and entirely fails to understand the philosophy of Shapely Prose and the fatosphere as a whole (with that Paula Radcliffe comment, she seems to assume that you think skinny=unhealthy, rather than unhealthy=unhealthy). Well, I guess you can’t expect much from the sort of person who would write a vicious piece trying to destroy a teenager’s self-confidence in order to earn 30 pieces of silver and a pat on the head from Paul Dacre.

    Probably the worst thing about Chloe Marshall for Ms Grenfel, who is a former Miss England judge, is that she doesn’t grovel in front of her or even seem to be particularly in awe of the judges. Perhaps Chloe Marshall is a bit “off-message” and refusing to surrender control to the pageant organisers, instead talking up her own agenda. Good on her.

  172. P.S. Is anyone else imagining Miss Congeniality 3, with Chloe Marshall as the maverick beauty queen who won’t play by the rules and Monica as the size-zero-obsessed villain?

  173. Boy, if MG really does want to play the “libel” game, she’d better be fucking careful. I mean, running around saying Chloe Marshall “obviously” doesn’t do and is incapable of doing any charity work because she spends all her time and money feeding her bottomless gullet isn’t exactly not libelous either, dude.

  174. One can’t help wondering, given Ms Grenfell’s concern for the genuinely starving, what prevents her from recognising that deliberately encouraging women to starve themselves for vanity – and making shedloads of money out of it – is a pretty hypocritical way to earn a living. Some might even go so far as to call it morally bankrupt.

    I’m just saying.

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  178. Yeah I’m late as usual but I just sent her this:

    Are you really as ignorant and incompetent as you come across in your books? Do you not realise the damage crash dieting does to your heart? Did you actually pass a certified nutrition course?

    It is truly amazing that people buy your books when you cannot even calculate BMI accurately (as in your Chloe Marshall piece of tripe). BMI is a ridiculous measurement but if it’s the tool you use, you should at least use it properly.

    You encourage eating disorders and in doing so promote a ‘thin at any cost’ mentality, even if the cost is death. The pro-anorexia sites would glean much from you. Have you no decency?

    Also not remotely impressed by your fat hatred. It’s pathetic that you attack fat people to sell books and a dangerous lifestyle.

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