It’s not easy being MeMe

What is there to say about MeMe Roth that isn’t obvious to the point of boredom? A new Guardian profile calls her “the woman who hates food,” and I think that’s about right, if you add “fat people, women, and herself” to the end of the phrase. (Check out that article for the “I don’t have an eating disorder even though I obsessively exercise and don’t eat” anecdote at the end, but be warned that there’s some obesity panic in the article itself.) But just when you thought Roth couldn’t get any more a) offensive, and b) wrong, she goes and says this:

“The defence has been made in the case of sex criminals that there is pleasure on the part of the victim. The same is true with what we’re doing with food. We may abuse our bodies with food, but it’s incredibly pleasurable. From a food marketer’s point of view, when your quote unquote victim is so willing and enjoying of the process, who’s fighting back?”

Clearly, MeMe Roth is a one woman army of failure. Everything is wrong with this statement, on both a factual and rhetorical level. Let’s make a list.

  • Classic straw man: “The defence has been made.” Oh yeah? By whom? Nice passive voice.
  • More passive voice to defend rape as not-rape: “there is pleasure on the part of the victim.” Roth is saying that people like being raped. Only she’s too chickenshit, or possibly too stupid, to say it that way. And of course, the rapist is disappeared from this sentence.
  • Also note that she is claiming that we should use, as the logic behind deciding the single most crucial thing we do every day of our lives—i.e., eating food—the kind of logic that would let rapists stay out of jail.
  • Ill-defined terms: “We may abuse our bodies with food, but it’s incredibly pleasurable.” If it’s incredibly pleasurable, MeMeMeMe, that means it’s not abuse.
  • Victim blaming: “quote unquote victim.”
  • Again with the victim blaming and the complete fucking misunderstanding of what sexual assault is. Hint to MeMe: if someone “is so willing and enjoying of the process,” that person is not being raped. That person is having sex.

So in using rape as her metaphor for what happens when you eat an Oreo, MeMe Roth demonstrates yet again that she literally has no idea what she’s talking about. If we stick with her horribly ineffective metaphor, what she is suggesting is that when you are having an “incredibly pleasurable” time having consensual sex with someone, MeMe should break in and yell “Rape” to save you from your quote unquote victimhood.  MeMe Roth wants us all to live the plot of Atonement.

Note to journalists or anyone else who would ever consider consulting Roth as an “expert”: this woman believes people like being raped, just like you like to eat a cookie. She is the wrongest person who ever wronged. Please, do us all a favor and just leave the woman to her self-loathing.

262 thoughts on “It’s not easy being MeMe

  1. Well. My gob is well and truly smacked.

    Then again, what can you expect from a woman who equates handing a small child a cupcake with handing that same child a loaded gun?

    Rape victims everywhere should protest this just as loudly as all people who eat.

    Oh, wait, that’s ALL OF US!

  2. “She is the wrongest person who ever wronged.”

    :)

    I appreciated that the author of the Guardian article talked about how MeMe seemed very uncomfortable when asked about her own eating (or lack thereof). Didn’t totally make up for the obesity panic, but started heading in that direction.

  3. I used to think Roth was just an evil lunatic, but I actually feel very sorry for her after reading the article. She seems to be pretty clearly suffering from an eating disorder (not because of her body size, but because of her own comments about her eating behavior) and a really messed-up relationship with food and her body. I’ve known people struggling with anorexia, and I have no doubt that in the midst of their disorder they would have said things very similar to what she says.

    What makes no sense is why the media is allowing this obviously ill woman, who has NO background to qualify as an expert, to speak as an expert on topics of food, weight, or obesity.

  4. Good grief. Poor woman, I can’t imagine how bad she must feel every day, having to look in the mirror and seeing a biologically functioning female looking back at her.

    I adore how she jumps straight from “someone somewhere has claimed that…” to “this is ALSO TRUE of…”. There seems to be a missing link there. You know, there one where someone shows that it IS in fact true in the first case. But since that would require proving that people enjoy being raped, I guess it’s fair enough to skip that step, seeing as how it’s, well… fucked up bullpoop.

    And the defence has also been made that jews are like rats, black people have no souls, homosexuals get AIDS because God hates them and gay couples shouldn’t have children because (And I am loosely quoting a danish minister here) “They just want something to play dress up with, and don’t really have any idea what it means to take care of a child”. So yeah…. way to use your brain goo, MeMe…

  5. MeMe Roth wants us all to live the plot of Atonement.

    That would make Ms. Roth the 10-year-old Briony. Nice. Her logic sounds pretty close to that of a 10-year-old. Just not as mature.

  6. So, wait, hang on, we’re raping ourselves every time we eat? That’s what I got from what she was saying there, and it still doesn’t make any sense.

    If she truly believes that eating itself is bad for us, and eating at all, I think I’m just gonna go back to bed.

  7. I think it’s that we are allowing the people who make the food to rape us every time we eat. Or something like that.

  8. That’s still enough to make me want to go back to bed. Someone wake me up when there are a few less fanatics out there?

  9. Wow. I’ve seen her name mentioned here several times, and only now bothered to figure out who she is. Damn. What a loathsome, despicable woman she is.

    Here’s one of her quotes (referring to obesity, of course): It becomes an issue of national security when two-thirds of our nation have inflicted illness onto themselves …

    There you have it. We fat folks are endangering the very security of our nation.

    The real question is why anyone pays this bizarre individual any attention. According to her own web site, these are her “qualifications”:
    MeMe Roth received her training to practice Health Counseling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (in partnership with Columbia University Teachers College), which is the only nutrition school integrating all the different dietary theories—combining the knowledge of traditional philosophies with modern concepts like the USDA food pyramid, the glycemic index, the Zone and raw foods. My certification is pending and will be completed in June.

    The training she refers to is a six-month program.

  10. I’m having trouble teasing out the roles here.
    “We may abuse our bodies” indicates that my conscious mind (totally separate from my body!) is raping my body by feeding it. Maybe by feeding it pleasurable food, rather than nothing or chalk-and-cardboard diet shakes, or maybe by eating when it’s not strictly necessary. (I do both!)
    But the shift to the food marketer’s point of view confuses the hell out of me. Not even the food *seller* or the food *maker* or the food *grower* – people who, in this analogy, enable my abuse. Because it’s not as though I have any contact with food marketers. The designer of the McDonald’s billboard has no contact with me, and no idea whether I eat there for convenience, pleasure, or at all.

    Metaphor FAIL.

  11. Between this wrongness and the article I read earlier about why Gay Marriage breaks kinship ties (because if Bob and Tom are married, and get divorced, and Bob then marries a woman with whom he has a child, there’s nothing saying that child can’t marry Tom further down the road. What?) I think my brain may be permanently broken today.

  12. because if Bob and Tom are married, and get divorced, and Bob then marries a woman with whom he has a child, there’s nothing saying that child can’t marry Tom further down the road.

    WHAT? I just . . . wow. (Fortunately, in our current system our kinship system is propped up by, say, Woody Allen. No problems at all.)

  13. I think it’s that the food is raping us while we eat it. Or something.

    I feel profoundly sad for her, but I do not comprehend at all why she gets any media attention whatsoever. They’re enabling and supporting what may be a serious psychological disorder.

  14. I blogged about this disgrace too. I said she was a psycho. Anyone who tries to compare eating to rape is one lollipop short of a stick. And I’m sure she doesn’t even eat lollipops. Or according to that article, much of anything.

  15. If we stick with her horribly ineffective metaphor, what she is suggesting is that when you are having an “incredibly pleasurable” time having consensual sex with someone, MeMe should break in and yell “Rape” to save you from your quote unquote victimhood.

    Wow, MeMe showing up would have well and truly ruined my sex-ful, food-ful weekend. ;)

    Seriously, though, this woman is just sick. It disturbs me that she’s being trotted out as an expert rather than being urged to go to therapy…

  16. I’m angry that Ms. Roth is telling the world that it “feels great” not to eat, when so many men and women will believe her and stop eating. She wants to have healthy kids? She’s not setting too great of an example.

    Side note: I really miss food. I’m 13 weeks pregnant and have only been able to keep down one meal a day for the past 8 weeks. I can’t wait to be able to “rape” myself again by eating *gasp* three meals a day.

  17. the sasquatch: “I adore how she jumps straight from “someone somewhere has claimed that…” to “this is ALSO TRUE of…”. There seems to be a missing link there.”

    omg, i totally sense a new meme coming on here!

    “it has been said that [totally untrue myth]; the same is true with [random unrelated topic]”

    i’ll start:

    “it has been said that masturbating will make your palms hairy. the same is true with underwater basket-weaving.”

    hmm. still doesn’t quite match the stupidity of the original. :)

  18. Between this wrongness and the article I read earlier about why Gay Marriage breaks kinship ties (because if Bob and Tom are married, and get divorced, and Bob then marries a woman with whom he has a child, there’s nothing saying that child can’t marry Tom further down the road. What?) I think my brain may be permanently broken today.

    That logic is broken. Dick and Jane get married. Then they divorce. Jane marries Jack and they have a daughter. AFAIK, there’s nothing (except the creepy factor, lol) keeping Jane and Jack’s daughter from marrying Dick. You don’t even need gay marriage for that…

  19. I *think* what she’s trying to say is that just as any inadvertent physiological “pleasure” reaction to rape doesn’t actually mean it’s not rape, so the fact that eating food is fun doesn’t mean it’s ok to, er, eat nice food. Which is still pretty damn fucked up, and given that she is a fucking fruitloop I wouldn’t be surprised if she did indeed mean it the way it looks and not my slightly less version… I have no idea if what I just said made any sense, but basically argh someone please take this woman away from all media STAT.

  20. That’s my reading too, Anwen. So basically, she’s trivializing rape and criminalizing food. Go her.

  21. this is…this is so ridiculous I don’t even know what to say. Victim-blaming, trivializing rape, perpetuating bullshit rape defense…all for the sake of arguing that eating is bad for me.

    so instead I guess I will go abuse myself with cake.

    A delicious strawberry cake with homemade fudge frosting that I baked yesterday without any help from evil food companies. Well, ok, I did have a boxed cake mix, but I modified it to be more delicious

    I think that Meme’s metaphor would make a wee bit more sense if she were really talking about masturbation. Maybe she thinks masturbating is a sin because it feels good? that certainly seems to be how she feels about food.

  22. Kelly – oh, yay! That makes sense as to what was bothering me.

    Don’t suppose you could get MeMe’s broken logic unbroken? No? Ah, well.

  23. “it has been said that [totally untrue myth]; the same is true with [random unrelated topic]”

    It has been said that Dark Side of the Moon syncs up with The Wizard of Oz; the same is true with 20/20.

  24. MeMe Roth: more proof, as if it were needed, that not eating makes you crazy. And stupid.

    Seriously. What great achievements can we expect from someone who won’t eat? We wouldn’t expect a road trip from a vehicle with no gas in it, or a masterpiece from someone with no art supplies. When you don’t use the proper fuel for human functioning – i.e. FOOD – well, you get coughing and sputtering.

  25. “It has been said that it takes seven years to digest gum. The same is true with applying for student loans.”

    I like it, and I think many of my emails will contain variations on this.

    “It has been said that hair and fingernails continue to grow after death. Don’t forget to give me your orders for office supplies!”

  26. What great achievements can we expect from someone who won’t eat? We wouldn’t expect a road trip from a vehicle with no gas in it, or a masterpiece from someone with no art supplies. When you don’t use the proper fuel for human functioning – i.e. FOOD – well, you get coughing and sputtering.

    “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” —Virginia Woolf

  27. I love it that the interviewer doesn’t really take her crap seriously: “some of Roth’s formulations are of such questionable sanity that they can’t possibly help her cause”, but then why choose to interview her?

    I’m also a bit skeptical of her story. Her parents are fat, she eats nothing at all and she’s skinny. Hmm. It just doesn’t jibe with what I’ve learned about weight loss and genetics.

  28. I hate obesity panic. I hatehatehatehatehate it. HATE. IT. MeMe sounds like a Puritan. Let’s hurt ourselves and squash our normal needs and desires in the name of moral superiority.

    I saw an article on msnbc.com that first got me excited because the title said something about the badness if yo-yo dieting. I thought, oh good, they’re finally going to say that dieting doesn’t work. But no. Of course not. It mentioned Oprah and Kirstie and all the biggest losers that have regained. And then it went on to say, even mentioning how hard it is on a body’s physiology to diet, that it was still people’s fault that diets don’t work. Gak. It said that people aren’t motivated enough or NOT TREATING IT LIKE A JOB. Excuse me, I’m going to hurl.

  29. I commented on this over at shakesville yesterday. Essentially, after my 22 years of eating disordered behavior and 8 years of treatment with 4 support groups meeting approximately 40 other women with eating disorders of various kinds, I would have to say that MeMe seems absolutely terrified of food. As terrified as any woman I’ve ever met in recovery. It’s hard to watch, especially since she’s not in a support group, she’s not getting help and in fact she’s encouraging others to believe her disordered thinking.

    As for the rape comment, fuck you MeMe.

  30. Lilah said it better than me: she’s trivializing rape and criminalizing food.

    I do find it interesting that googling MeMe Roth doesn’t bring up Wikipedia first. Oh..apparently she doesn’t have a Wikipedia article. But there’s her “National Action Against Obesity” and her “Health Counseling” and “Integrative Nutrition” website, which talks about her background in PR and marketing and how she understands obesity because she comes from “a long line of obesity”. Right. Because studying nutrition would just be, you know, unnecessary in a nutritionist.

  31. It has been said that people only use 10% of their brains. The same is true for Meme Roth?

  32. Not at all to take this woman’s side, but victims of sexual abuse can (and do) involuntarily experience moments of pleasure at the hands of the rapist. I’m sure that we’d all agree that it’s a purely physiological response and doesn’t at all make that person any less of a victim (or the crime any less horrifying).

    But for those victims who do experience that physiological response, the common stance of “victims can’t feel that way, ever” can lead to feelings of shame or guilt and can make them less likely to report it.

    Anyway. I’m not sure how relevant that was to what MeMe was saying, but I thought it was worth noting.

  33. “Clearly, MeMe Roth is a one woman army of failure.”

    Yeah, I think that pretty much covers it.

  34. @keeks

    I feel bad that she isn’t in therapy for her problems. She seriously needs it. I sincerely hope she is able to work through her issues before she destroys the lives of impressionable young people.

  35. I hope I’m not that only one who feels bad for her.

    Bad, but also a bit scared, in a “This person seems dangerous and unbalanced” sort of way. Especially at

    I try to pin her down to something more specific. Let’s just do a sample day, I say. What about breakfast? Roth grimaces. “I hate to say this, because I think it’s counter to what most people should do, but I never in my whole life have enjoyed breakfast. For me, it doesn’t work as well as other things.”

    Right, I say. So how about lunch?

    She squirms visibly. “You’re taking me where I don’t want to go … What works for me doesn’t work for a lot of people.”

    Well, you’ve said that, I insist, so taking that into account: lunch? Roth hesitates. “I discovered when I was in college that I work best when I get a workout in and eat after that. Sometimes I’ll delay when I eat until I get a workout in. But I don’t let a whole day go by without running four miles.”

    OK, I go on, but supposing you couldn’t work out until four o’clock in the afternoon – would you not eat until after that?

    “I might.”

    I look at my watch. It’s 3.30pm. Alarm bells start to ring in my head. How about today, I ask. Have you eaten at all today?

    Roth is a little quiet.

    “No,” she says.

    There is a pause.

    “But I feel great!”

    … which comes after the journalist mentioned that she’d invited MeMe to lunch and had MeMe suggest they meet “after lunch” in a hotel lobby.

    Um, hello? This is not only not eating, it’s not eating and hiding it. Why?

  36. Also, does anyone know if her mother is still alive? Imagine reading that your daughter was embarrassed by you from at least the age of 5 on, and is still embarrassed by the thought that someone might see you and realize you’re related to her.

  37. Kelly – oh, yay! That makes sense as to what was bothering me.
    Don’t suppose you could get MeMe’s broken logic unbroken? No? Ah, well.

    Sistercoyote–alas, I think it would take more than my puny little brain to unravel MeMe’s thought processes…

  38. The body can have a physiological response to rape that mimics pleasure. For instance a raped male will sometimes get an erection during the assault not because he’s enjoying it, but because it is a purely reflex response outside of his control. Ditto with a female. That sure as hell doesn’t turn rape into “pleasure”. To equate rape with a cupcake is so goddamn irresponsible that I can’t even begin to comment except to say that she’s obviously never been assaulted. I have a lot more to say on the suspicion that she’s anorexic, but I addressed that in my own blog :-)

  39. Unfortunate that she shares a last name with Geneen Roth, who I’ve found to be a voice of sanity.

  40. I read the whole article, skimming the discussion of the “well-known” risks of obesity, and found the following interesting clues to why MeMe Roth is the way she is.

    As a child: “…I knew that within minutes my mother would be there and everyone was going to know that my mother was fat. I felt ashamed.” She also talks about how her family members were obese (and had health problems all stemming from that obesity, of course).

    As an adult: “And I’m saying that even though I have fat parents, and even though I live in the same world as everyone else, I have refused to go down that path.”

    And then at the end of the article the reporter asks her about her personal eating habits, which she evades. The reporter asks if she’s eaten at all that day (at 3:30pm) and she admits no. “But I feel great!”

    /armchair psychology on

    I’d love to have a professional’s opinion but it sounds to me like she was so strongly traumatized by her negative childhood associations with obesity that she’s waging this war against the fat people – and her own body’s need for fuel – as a coping mechanism.

    /armchair psychology off

  41. I’m also a bit skeptical of her story. Her parents are fat, she eats nothing at all and she’s skinny. Hmm. It just doesn’t jibe with what I’ve learned about weight loss and genetics.

    This is the woman who thinks Jordin Sparks is dangerously obese, so when she describes her family as “fat,” she may be talking about people who are only slightly overweight. And, if she’s genetically predisposed to be slightly overweight, she could very well remain below her setpoint and be thin if she, as it seems from her article, consistently starves herself.

  42. I don’t have much to add but that jump you made ladoctorita compaing masturbating to basketweaving is eerie.

    For the longest time basketweaving has been a code name for masturbating for me and my circle of friends after I was discussing masturbating with a friend of mine and my husband kept hearing “baketweaving.”

    He had no idea why we thought that all guys inherently knew how to basketweave. Good times.

  43. I was waiting for this post.

    I had almost missed the rape analogy when I read the Guardian article – probably my subconscious did not want me to wish something awful on a poor sick woman (because that’s what MeMe is – come on, just look at the egotic name she has chosen for herself!). Thank you for analysing it so well.

  44. OK, someone help me out here. Am I raping my brownie or is my brownie raping me? I need to know whether to call the police or a lawyer.

  45. @living400lbs: I just did a search for her on wikipedia, and it suggested that I mean Menegroth. Win. :)

  46. @Nadai

    I totally just got an image in my head of a woman behind a one-way window staring at a line-up of pastries and the cops asking her “Can you tell me which one raped you, ma’am.”

    ahem. stupid Meme.

  47. I think I understand MeMe Roth a bit better after this article; of course I still think she’s absolutely full of shit and have no sympathy for her, but at least it makes sense to me now.

    As Faith said, she’s absolutely terrified of food, and is trying to make the world around her approve of/conform to her disorder. If there are no ice cream sundae bars or any other tasty food around to tempt her, then it’s even easier for her to go on with her extreme restriction, and if everyone agrees with her, that means it’s perfectly normal, right? So basically, imo, she’s subjecting us to her stupidity to make her own dieting easier. Screw you, MeMe.

    Also, if coming from a long line of obesity makes her qualified to be a nutritionist, then surely both my parents and my brother playing basketball qualifies me to be an NBA coach.

  48. @killedbyllamas:

    My whole family plays golf. I’m thinking about signing up for the LPGA tomorrow. =)

  49. Also, if coming from a long line of obesity makes her qualified to be a nutritionist, then surely both my parents and my brother playing basketball qualifies me to be an NBA coach.

    I’m a martial arts champion! And also a professor already!

  50. No, no, killedbyllamas and Sarah B. By Meme’s logic, her obese parents were obese because they were BAD at nutrition.

    So, you can be an NBA coach if your parents really, really sucked at basketball.

    And you can sign up for the LPGA if nobody in your family is good at golf.

  51. Also, it has been said werewolves change into wolf form at the full moon; the same is true with bananas.

  52. @ SarahB

    LOL, literally. :)

    “It was the eclair! I’d know that squishy custard anywhere!”

  53. Dammit! But does that mean I can be a professional assembly-required furniture assembler? Or a professor of Russian literature?

  54. @Nadai:

    Officer 1: The labs just came back on the rape case.
    Officer 2: And?
    Officer 1: There were traces of chocolate.
    Officer 2: Well, I guess we can let the bear claw go…
    Officer 1: What about the eclair?
    Officer 2: Keep it around until we rule out chocolate topping.

    LOL I’m having too much fun with this.

  55. Yes, you can. You can call yourself an expert at whatever you believe your parents were no good at.

  56. I do think that it’s dangerous to diagnose eating disorders over the internet. I, too, find that breakfast doesn’t really work for me, although I encourage other people to eat if it works for them. I have, on occasion, hit mid-afternoon before eating – usually because of a combination of events.

    I’d also like to say that I didn’t let my family’s genetic predilection towards having boys stop me from being born a girl. This makes me a gender and women’s studies expert.

  57. @anita – I agree that it is not just difficult but impossible to diagnose EDs over the internet. However. It is also perfectly acceptable to say that not eating until 3:30 and until one has worked out is disordered behavior regardless of whether or not she fits the DSM-IV definitions.

  58. I also think the woman is not a nutritionist because she would disagree with anything she was taught in school – she would probably berate professors for having any moderation in sugar or flour and for even allowing bread or butter to be included in the curriculum. In fact, I imagine it would be very difficult for her to be accepted into any RD program based on her views.

  59. @ SarahB – LOL I’m having too much fun with this.

    I know just what you mean. MeMe’s (love that name) analogy is so completely stupid, I can’t even get angry about it, and I’ve been raped. All I can do is point and laugh.

  60. @Nadai:

    Exactly. Taking her seriously and getting angry about it is simply giving her too much credit. Trivializing it is the only thing that makes sense to me.

  61. Yes, I feel bad for her too. Though mostly it just angers me.

    And seriously how does she function? It’s nearly 2 here and all I’ve eaten today is a bowl of cereal this morning (not because I fear food!) and I’m feeling kinda loopy. I’ve been daydreaming about the leftover chicken I accidentally left in the fridge when I left for work.

  62. Lori, in that case I should be a world-class furniture assembler! I really shouldn’t make fun of my dad on the internets, but imagine this table. Now imagine this table with the legs put on upside down and backwards.

  63. Okay, I’ll bite. Mostly from a devil’s advocate position. No doubt that refusing to eat until you’ve exercised because it helps “balance” out the rape of the calories you’re consuming is disordered. But what she genuinely finds that a workout beforehand makes her feel loads better? Or what if she suffers from nausea from eating too early? While I don’t think holding out until late afternoon because you haven’t run is healthy, I can imagine someone who finds that she functions better and is happier eating later or after a workout. If I wanted to be facetious, I’d suggest that perhaps she’s a true night owl, and genuinely prefers a night/midnight/early morning routine. Since I naturally fall into something similar if I’m not working, I think this is possible. (It’s also very likely she’s not adhering to this, since she has kids.)

    So much has to do with internal motivations. While I suspect I know her motivations (and would, in fact, lay down good money that I’m right), that doesn’t prove anything. Until she says something more than “here’s what works for me” or something more concrete, like, “I only consume 500 calories a day,” I’m reluctant to go farther than that, especially because those are the sorts of assumptions about my eating that drive me batshit.

  64. @Anita:

    Here’s where things break down for me. When you wake up in the morning you have officially been fasting for 8 (or so) hours. If you don’t eat in the morning your body goes into starvation mode and hangs on to everything its got, mostly fat. It burns muscle first because muscle is easy for the body to burn. Then she goes running burning calories she doesn’t have which is simply more muscle being burned. Then she eats? Probably rabbit food, salad, celery, carrots, etc. Maybe some yogurt if she even eats dairy (which everyone needs).

    I’ve taken one nutrition class and know that she can’t live long like this. I know she’s not telling us what she eats in the evening, but the routine she has in place isn’t particularly healthy and she should know that if she’s such an “expert.”

    No offense is intended to those who simply can’t eat in the morning. I love breakfast and can’t fathom not eating in the morning, but I think that not taking in calories until you’ve burned them is a bit backwards.

  65. But what she genuinely finds that a workout beforehand makes her feel loads better? Or what if she suffers from nausea from eating too early? While I don’t think holding out until late afternoon because you haven’t run is healthy, I can imagine someone who finds that she functions better and is happier eating later or after a workout.

    While I’m a person who needs to eat a light meal before a long workout (I’ve done a four-mile walk in the morning without eating breakfast and can make it about 3/4 of the way in before I’m shaking and dizzy), I know that some people do feel better working out on an empty stomach. However, for any person with an even remotely healthy attitude toward food that I know, that means either exercising early, or waiting a couple of hours after eating to workout, not withholding food from yourself until you get in a workout. What she’s describing sounds more like refusing to feed herself until she works out, and “allowing” herself food as a “reward” for her exercise, rather than actually doing what is best for her body.

    Plus, if she honestly felt it was not disordered, why get so uncomfortable talking about it? Her evasiveness and discomfort discussing her eating habits seems like a red flag to me, as well as her belief that food is a kind of poison, and that pleasure taken in eating is wrong.

    I think at the very least it can be pointed out that this woman who claims that fat people are killing themselves by eating unhealthfully is NOT eating in a way that most nutritionists would consider healthy.

  66. Yeah, there’s a lot of red flags there to me. I mean, imagine she had said: “You know, it’s funny and everyone’s different, but I’m just one of those people who isn’t hungry in the morning and can’t even think about food until after I’ve had a run. But then I eat X and Y foods and really enjoy Z and it all balances out. People have to find their bodies own rhythm.” We might all be looking at it differently. But if she was the kind of person who had said something like that, she probably wouldn’t be the kind of person convinced fat people are raping themselves with baby donuts either.

    So instead we’re looking at a woman who (a) dictates how everyone else should eat, (b) seems to have a pathological aversion to fat people and any food deemed unhealthy, (c) can only name black beans as a food she enjoys, (d) schedules meetings to avoid any “pressure” to eat, and (e) hems and haws then finally admits she hasn’t eaten that day. Not a diagnosis, but it sure spells issues to me.

  67. I don’t know what she’s eating after she works out and I agree that it’s harmful to speculate (fatties eat baby donuts = thin people eat rabbit food) but this – “What she’s describing sounds more like refusing to feed herself until she works out, and “allowing” herself food as a “reward” for her exercise, rather than actually doing what is best for her body.” is what is particularly troubling to me.

  68. @Faith

    True, I just stereotyped her with my rabbit food assumption. I feel a little justified since she equated food to rape, but you’re right. I shouldn’t make assumptions about things like that.

  69. I just want to add, in some ways I feel bad about her being painted as a terrible person, or a crazy person, rather than a sick person. Because I do think her words and behavior taken together indicate a serious eating disorder, and that she’s speaking out of that.

    I have panic disorder, and when I’m really doing badly with it, I believe some totally outlandish things. I rationally recognize they are wrong, but what I know in my head and what I feel (and might say) are two totally different things. I know, rationally, that I’m not going to drop dead if I drive my car on the highway, or if I go into the salad dressing aisle of the grocery store (don’t ask), but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel totally convinced that that will happen. I know, rationally, that nobody has ever died from a panic attack, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel 100% sure that this time I’m going to be the first person who does. I am, however, otherwise a sane and rational person, and I’m feeling and sometimes speaking out of a place of great anxiety, not logic.

    And I feel like that’s what MeMe Roth is doing, with her eating disorder. She might be a perfectly kind and reasonable person, but it’s her eating disorder speaking and acting. What is tragic, IMO, is that her disordered beliefs are so close to what is commonly believed about nutrition and obesity that she’s given a platform as an expert. MeMe Roth is like the terrible voice whispering in the ears of people with EDs that they shouldn’t eat and are evil fat pigs come to life, and not just come to life but legitimized by the media. That’s what’s disgusting about this, to me.

  70. @LilahMorgan, I guess I was sort of seeing more of the “everyone’s different, here’s what works for me”, with the addition of an awareness that if she says the wrong thing, it’ll end up coming back to bite her in the ass. These details are so scrutinized – I can well imagine that if she says she loved twinkies, that’ll wind up haunting her. And since so much depends on the reporter’s interpretation (what does “she hems and haws” mean, anyway), I think it’s important to cut slack. (Sort of the same way we cut Kate slack when her soundbite is a little tweaked.)

    Note that this is not, in fact, what I suspect to be true, but I feel like I need to allow the possibility to exist. If I’d had the interview with her, and knew exactly what was said and how she said it, I’d be more comfortable.

    I think a lot of my resistance is my own sense that an interview with me could very well have some similar soundbites. I wouldn’t want to talk with a reporter at lunch, either. While I don’t wait until I’ve eaten to exercise, I do often wait until late (10:30 usually, sometimes 2:30, occasionally later) to eat. I’m not proud of a few of my food weaknesses – not so much because they’re baby donut-type foods, but for environmental or anti-corporate reasons. (I happen to love these noodles made by a company that is super anti-gay marriage. Talk about embarrassing.) And I generally am shy sharing with strangers what I eat, both for the OOGA BOOGA FAT issue but also for all the other reasons fat is loaded. Granted, my list of favorite foods would more likely be “Black beans – I love black beans. Do you know how good they are with cheddar and spinach? Or sort of a hoppin’ john type thing, with fried okra?” And then I would continue to talk a long time.

    So maybe it has to do with my own insecurity in FA – if I felt more strongly, perhaps I wouldn’t feel shy about chowing down in front of a reporter and sharing my food diary.

  71. rather than actually doing what is best for her body.” is what is particularly troubling to me.

    Yes. Me too. That it sounded like she wouldn’t eat (ever) if she didn’t exercise is deeply not good. (Rather than delaying breakfast an hour to go for a walk or something.)

  72. Emma: “Not at all to take this woman’s side, but victims of sexual abuse can (and do) involuntarily experience moments of pleasure at the hands of the rapist. I’m sure that we’d all agree that it’s a purely physiological response and doesn’t at all make that person any less of a victim (or the crime any less horrifying).”

    Yes, absolutely. The body sometimes defends itself from physical trauma by reacting with common sexual arousal signs – lubricating the vagina to avoid tearing from dry, forced intercourse for instance. This, however, is NOT the same as pleasure on part of the victim: The victim feels no pleasure from it, only perhaps a lessened physical pain in the moment.

    However, Roth is equating this kind of pleasure with the actual pleasure that comes from eating food. She is saying that the physical, trauma reducing response to forced penetration is the SAME THING as the feeling you get when you bite into something delicious. She is basically saying that the rapist are RIGHT to claim that the victim enjoyed it, because it felt just as good as eating a nice chocolate muffin or at fresh strawberry. The fact that she feels that eating food is also a horrible crime against the body does not make this argument any less horrifying.

  73. “thin=rabbit food” is a stereotype, but I’d say “woman who thinks a cupcake is the moral equivelant of a loaded gun and purges the local Y of all ice cream toppings so that they don’t rape the children=rabbit food” is a pretty reasonable hypothesis.

    hmmm…I’m definitely a plumber. My dad’s not allowed to even change out a faucet without professional help. :-)

  74. And also: It has been argued that I just ate half a plate of brownies. This is also true of the way you should dress.

  75. But what she genuinely finds that a workout beforehand makes her feel loads better? Or what if she suffers from nausea from eating too early? While I don’t think holding out until late afternoon because you haven’t run is healthy, I can imagine someone who finds that she functions better and is happier eating later or after a workout.

    I think the disordered thinking is more that she doesn’t seem to be able to eat without working out first. Our bodies have their own needs and schedules, but for MeMe it doesn’t seem to be so much about functioning as it is about her own personal rule that she doesn’t eat until she’s worked out, regardless of time or how she feels.

  76. I sort of think the comparison she’s trying to make is that, just like penetration can cause physical pleasure even though it’s a violation of one’s body and one’s will, so too eating can cause physical pleasure even though it’s a violation of one’s body and one’s will.

    Again, this is clearly an eating disordered woman speaking. She doesn’t want to eat, but her body forces her to. And, even though she doesn’t want to be doing it, her body takes pleasure in it anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if, for her personally, eating does feel like as much of a violation as rape. She may indeed feel like a powerless victim who is compelled by her body to eat against her will, and hate that it’s something she finds pleasurable despite herself.

    I think the actual analogy that could work might be that, just like penetration can cause physical pleasure during a rape, so too a person being force-fed against their will might find the food enjoyable to a certain point. But, all that shows is that both sex and eating are physically pleasurable acts. It doesn’t mean that eating = rape anymore than it means that sex = rape.

  77. I have nothing to say about MeMe Roth that doesn’t include thoughts of violence. Seriously, I hope she eats shit and dies just for the fucking passive voice and victim blaming.

    I’m going to go shoot some Alliance toons till I calm down. You see that MeMe, you’ve made me turn to PvP to cope with your stupid!

  78. I’m not mad at Meme. It’s obvious that she’s not quite in her right mind. In fact, I feel sort of sorry for her… and sort of understand where she’s coming from. She’s never really achieved anything in life besides being thin, and she’s trying to capitalize on that to feel like she’s accomplished something by trying to turn it into this great humanitarian act that she’s undertaking for the benefit of all mankind! If I hadn’t done much with my life, I’d probably try to pick parts that people might be impressed with, and play them up.

    Whether by dumb luck or conscious planning, she’s picked an issue around which a fair bit of irrational mania is already prevalent — the “obesity crisis”.

    I’m mad at the people who’d publish the nonsensical frothing-at-the-mouth that she calls the “National Action Against Obesity” and encourage readers to consider it a viable source of information, rather than the terrified, crazed insecurities of one tremendously sick woman.

    I mean, we publish biographies of serial killers, but it’s generally not cast in “This is Something You Should Do” light. I think that Meme Roth is a prime example of WHAT IS GOING WRONG AS A RESULT OF THE OBSESSION WITH THINNESS, and this article emphasizes that fact better than some, but we can’t afford to be subtle or tongue-in-cheek about it anymore.

    Any commentary which is less than “this is severely fucked behavior” is dangerous in the current climate.

  79. . And since so much depends on the reporter’s interpretation (what does “she hems and haws” mean, anyway), I think it’s important to cut slack. (Sort of the same way we cut Kate slack when her soundbite is a little tweaked.)

    Anita, this is a fair point, and I apologize for hinting that I think she has an eating disorder in the original post. Her thinking about food certainly sounds disordered to me, but we are relying heavily on the reporter’s interpretation, so we have to be skeptical in the same ways we always do. Thanks for reminding us that.

  80. This is the woman who thinks Jordin Sparks is dangerously obese, so when she describes her family as “fat,” she may be talking about people who are only slightly overweight. And, if she’s genetically predisposed to be slightly overweight, she could very well remain below her setpoint and be thin if she, as it seems from her article, consistently starves herself.

    That’s a great theory, considering how draconian she is towards food and fat.

  81. I used to think she was just stupid and mean. Now I know she is, actually, literally, and all other “lys,” evil.

  82. @Alyssa:

    I’m not sure evil is the right word. More like dangerous. The same way a kid holding a gun is dangerous. So proud of what she has and pointing it at everyone, not understanding that it’s loaded and dangerous.

  83. Since there is so much disurbing about this woman, and the article, I have no idea where to start. I’ve never heard of this person, so I had no idea who she was, so I had to read the interview.
    wow… what a hateful, angry bitch !
    I feel especially sorry for her family, and her children. They don’t have a chance with her in the room. I bet she polices every bite, in every mouth. IF they can bring themselves to eat around her at all. I don’t imagine it happens very often.
    I like the “what works for me won’t work for everyone” routine. It seems that what works for her is starving herself and compulsively exercising. She’s right.. that won’t work for everyone.

  84. Hey! Just because I’ve had Atonement on the shelf for 8 years without actually bothering to read it doesn’t mean I wanted to be spoiled! :)

    Also, awesome post, and thank you for getting this one so I didn’t have to.

  85. Hey y’all. I was actually about to write about MeMe as a slightly off topic response on the last thread, and I will write here instead, with apologies because I’m in a slight hurry and I only skimmed through the comments, though I did read the original post.

    Actually, I had an interesting morning of reading. I was catching up. I finally read properly the post about Heidi, and the link to her guest post from way back when, and then parts of her blog, including pics. And then I got curious about MeMe Roth and the eating/rape thing, and I read the Guardian article, and ended up with this mental juxtaposition of the two women, Heidi and MeMe, which will stay with me forever, I think. Part of it is a visual image. I was checking out pics of Heidi before and after her WLS. I am just in awe of her. In awe. She has so much strength and honesty and beauty. I think of her and I think ‘beautiful’, and I think ‘powerful’, too, but not a “power-over”. Just… powerful, and beautiful, and there is so much strength and honesty in looking for and accepting help, and, I’m going to carefully consider what I can honestly afford, because I do want to help her in her current situation.

    And now, MeMe. Yes, the rape analogy… well, it proves the woman has shit for brains, right? Plain and simple. The revelation about what and how she eats, which the reporter nicely put across in describing her ‘little voice’… I almost feel like that should provoke my sympathy, and it doesn’t. Why? Because Ms. Roth, whatever her internal struggles and demons may be… and she’s just proven, in my mind, that she has them… whatever they may be, she is taking the approach of refusing to look inside herself and wrestle them down. And instead, she’s looking outward at the world, and trying to assert power-over, and that makes her dumb, sick and dangerous. Not a nice combo.

    Another thing I was struck by.. and this is the reason I thought the comment might fit slightly in with SM’s last post… is how this all relates to the patriarchal gaze. It’s why MeMe gets as much screen time as she does. She’s cute. Well, I don’t find her attractive, and I don’t think I would personally find her attractive if I were a man, but, conventionally, she is. The long blonde hair and trim little suits. That’s why anyone’s listening to her at all, to the extent that they are. It’s a kind of currency. It gives her a sort of legitimacy in some circles, I think… well, in the media, anyway, because she does photograph well.

    And, that the patriarchal gaze would find MeMe Roth beautiful and Heidi not strikes me as a particularly clear litmus test for fuck-upedness.

    It’s nice for me to see that I’m not inside that mentality. I think Heidi IS very beautiful, I think MeMe Roth is most decidedly not… and, even so, I keep clinging to little leftover bits of crap. SM, I read your “Queering” post over several times, wanting to write something more, and I kept getting stymied by the fact that my gut reaction to this line:

    “We must allow ourselves to be the subjects and objects of a non-patriarchal gaze.”

    is fear. NOT fear of the non-patriarchal gaze, exactly, because, well, I live with and within it, and it graces my life. But, fear of being excluded permanently from favour in the patriarchal gaze… of losing entirely my ability to play that game, even though I hate that game. Of losing my privelege, in a nutshell. Only because… well, what if my city gets taken over by enemy forces, and my whole ability to survive hinges on my ability to flirt and make pretty eyes at the soldiers and cajole them not to blow up my home and all that I love? What if something happens that I’m forced to genuflect to patriarchy… to “go begging in beauty’s disguise”, a la Leonard Cohen?

    Yes, that really is the kind of crap my brain produces. Um, a bit outdated, maybe?

  86. In a great article in BITCH magazine called “Bring Me The Head of Danny Bonaduce,” (a bright and rambunctious take-down of cultural complicity in celebrity narcissism) the author starts the article with a great illustration. It goes something like this: A mother bear gives birth to two cubs. One cub she licks clean. But she dies before she can attend to the second.

    The second cub goes and gets a job in Hollywood. It spends the rest of its life trying to get the biggest clubhouse of opportunists to lick it clean.

    I think MeMe Roth is a bear cub who never got, er, licked. Why else would she grandstand against fat people and food without credentials — on a subject that is elusive to real scientists doing real research? And why else would the fawning, fat-hating media salivate in Roth’s shadow?

    We’re haunted by the ghosts of Meme’s mama bear.

  87. One thing in this article really stuck out for me, apart from equating eating food with being raped. When the reporter is quizzing her about what she eats and she keeps repeating “What works for me might not work for everyone else.” If that’s true why is she so hellbent on telling fat people how to live their lives? “What works for me might not work for everyone else unless you’re a horrible, awful fat person-then you must do exactly what I say!”

    The woman has some serious emotional issues and it makes me angry that the media uses her as some kind of “nutrition and weight-loss expert”. It demonstrates how messed up our society has become about weight and health.

  88. What I did notice is that MeMe Roth’s grandmother is still alive. The fact that she needs “24 hour a day care” is somehow seen as an indictment of obesity by both MeMe and, it seems, the writer, but MeMe Roth is 39 years old. Her grandmother is likely around 90. Sounds to me like being fat didn’t hurt her longevity much, and if people think being thin will somehow keep them active and vital and not needing any long-term care when they reach 90, I’m sad to say they are fooling themselves.

    I know our culture now believes that all that stands between us and eternal youth is 20 or 30 pounds, but that is not reality.

  89. Some believe gluttony is a deadly sin; the same can be said for blatant unrepentant jackassery.

  90. Some believe that watching even a nanosecond of television will turn your brain to goo pudding; the same can be said of performing an appendectomy.

  91. “what she is suggesting is that when you are having an “incredibly pleasurable” time having consensual sex with someone, MeMe should break in and yell “Rape” to save you from your quote unquote victimhood”

    Yes, and…. Ohh, to quote Keats, I think, this “… teases me out of thought, as doth eternity”

    Like, I seriously think this is SO fucked up that when I think about, I lose my ability TO think. Is that a manifestation of the old adage, ‘if you can’t convince ‘em, confuse ‘em’?

    Does MeMe Roth not know what rape IS, and how it differs from consensual… consentual? sp?… sex?

    Does she think they are one and the same?

    So, does she also think that choosing to buy a pair of shoes is the same as having someone hit you over the head, steal your purse, your wallet, your credit cards and your identity?

    I’m just trying to understand. Within certain very prohibitive religious frameworks it might make sense, I guess. Because when you give in to carnal temptation it’s not really YOU, it’s you being mindfucked by the devil?

    Something like that? I am truly floundering in the sinkhole of her rhetoric, and must go eat a cupcake or something to ground me.

  92. I’m just trying to understand. Within certain very prohibitive religious frameworks it might make sense, I guess. Because when you give in to carnal temptation it’s not really YOU, it’s you being mindfucked by the devil?

    While I’m the first to admit that religious traditions have done their share of harm in how we deal with desire, I honestly think the current hysteria over food intake is a mainly-secular phenomenon. Food has become to many non-religious people (and also many religious people) what sex has been for religious conservatives. Roth believes that her beliefs are backed by Darwin, not scripture.

    I think a lot of it stems from an increasingly secular society not really having developed a way to talk and think about human mortality. Because of that, we’ve latched onto “health” as this kind of talisman that will ward off death, and being thin has become the main way we define health.

  93. Actually, you could be on to something, mara – maybe her original “thought” was more along the lines of premarital sex/one night stands/some other sexual behaviour that used to be frowned on but is now seen [by sane, rational beings] as somewhere between perfectly fine and “maybe not the best idea but still basically perfectly fine if you want to do it” feels good but that doesn’t mean you should do it AND IT’S TOTALLY THE SAME WITH EATING BABY DONUTS, but she realised (or someone pointed out) that seriously, noone except the Christian Right types will agree with the first part so it weakens (ha!) the second part.

    So rather than, you know, realising that actually neither part makes sense, she had to scramble around for a way to make her first part sound properly horrible and bad (just like eating donuts!!) and went for “oh, I know, i’ll change it to rape! that’s the way to get people to think I’m not a fucking fruitloop”

    i.e. yes, the woman is clearly really fucked up and has all kinds of weird shit going on in her head.

  94. Live the plot of Atonement? Hell, I don’t even want to watch the gorram plot of Atonement! Give me Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian any day of the week.

  95. “I think a lot of it stems from an increasingly secular society not really having developed a way to talk and think about human mortality. Because of that, we’ve latched onto “health” as this kind of talisman that will ward off death, and being thin has become the main way we define health.

    That is a totally brilliant insight.

  96. I do appreciate that the guardian called it a “one woman campaign” instead of pretending she was actually in charge of a whole organization that consists solely of Her Thinlyness.

  97. Also: Everything I have read, and a friend of mine who was anorexic indicated that generally anorexics tend only see themselves as fat, and tend to not judge other people by the same standard of thinness they expect of themselves. Is that true?

    I find it interesting that not only does Her Thinlyness have some serious issues with food and body image, that she also wants those issues to apply to everyone else.

    And by interesting I mean seriously fucked up.

  98. I don’t know about only seeing themselves as fat – I knew a few who made it very, very clear that everyone was fat, and everyone wanted to be thin, and therefore they were competing. They HAD to ‘beat’ everyone else and be thinnest, otherwise… something bad. I never quite understood that part.

    But yeah, effectively. Seems to be several types, one of which is the defensive type that tells everyone else that they’re fat to distract people from their own disorder. And possibly sees every other woman on the planet as competing with them for thinness.

  99. @mara – “Within certain very prohibitive religious frameworks it might make sense, I guess.”

    Indeed there was a culture of religious anorexia (anorexia mirabilis) in the middle ages and the association with denial of food and chastity is a common devotional theme. There is certainly an aspect of anorexia/food restriction as asceticism, which has it’s opposite in the fat-hatred of evil/deadly/sinful gluttony.

    It’s a fascinating bit of thought process there. In fact, one on which I might decide to do my (very delayed) master’s thesis.

  100. @Shinobi – it is true of some anorectics but by no means all. In fact, most anorectics would rather DIE than be at a normal weight in the height of their disease and many use photos of fat people to discourage them from eating.

  101. My family is dealing (or not dealing- depending on who you talk to) with the long term sexual abuse of a younger member of the family. I don’t know what the future holds for this girl. She was abused most of her life.I can’t even fathom what that is like for anybody much less a child.

    I can kinda deal with the fatphobia from MeMe Roth. That’s her shtick. However, I can’t deal with the blatant disregard she has for the victims of sexual violence. Probably in another frame of mind I would come up with some delicious snark. But right now all I can think is that I hope MeMe has never experienced sexual violence and I hope she never does. I sincerely hope the same for her family members.

    The fact she uses such a cavalier metaphor leads me to believe she couldn’t possibly have any idea how filthy and hateful her words really are.

  102. I tried to read the article you linked to, I really did, but just could not get past the whole idea that being raped might possibly be pleasurable for the victim. I mean, really? Really? THAT’S the metaphor she’s going to use?

    Wow. I mean… Just… Wow.

  103. I don’t think she’s evil; I think she has an eating disorder, but hasn’t crossed into conscious pro-anorexia yet. Which is terribly sad. What I don’t get is why the hell the media gives her any attention at all.

    But the comparison to rape, while perhaps not evil in intent, sure is evil in practice. Oogh. And god, my dad died at 83, and damn well needed 24-hour-a-day care…because he had Alzheimer’s and kidney cancer that ended up in his brain. Being thin didn’t protect him (being fat is even slightly protective against Alzheimer’s, and given the lack of family history, who knows? His fad dieting may well have hurt his long-term health). Very elderly people often require 24-hr care, and it is not a goddamn MORAL FAILING. It’s not something you can stave off by Clean Living (my dad was extremely active until, his arthritis and perhaps early symptoms of cancer/Alzheimer’s made it hard for him to avoid falling; he loved vegetables and generally ate pretty healthily by media standards, sweet tooth and fad diets aside; he quit smoking pretty young, although perhaps the damage was already done). Evil in intent: probably not. Terrifyingly dangerous, yes.

    Data point: It is currently 3:54 and I haven’t had anything to eat but a piece of cheese. I FEEL fine. But just because I feel fine doesn’t make it okay that I basically skipped breakfast and lunch. I am very much looking forward to being off medication and having an appetite again.

  104. So…do all those women in Darfur get to negate their rapes because they are also starving? ‘Cause that might be nice for them…

  105. As a survivor of childhood sexual assault, physical arousal still often elicits feelings of guilt and shame, rather than pleasure—even when I want it. So, yeah, fuck you, MeMe.

    Having a physical response to sexual assault, and deriving pleasure from it, SO. NOT. THE. SAME. Wtf.

  106. “What works for me doesn’t work for a lot of people.”

    Then why does anyone listen to this person?

  107. Now that I think on it, her entire Darwin argument is outrageously stupid. If OMG FAT KILLZ, why are there fat people still on the planet walking around? Wouldn’t a tendency toward fat storage have been bred out of us a long time ago?

  108. If the money spent on her shirts didn’t go to supporting her organization, and if there weren’t plenty of other worthwhile organizations to support, I’d buy one and take pictures of myself eating cheeseburgers in it.

  109. Catherine, it also flies in the face of statistics, which shows that thinner women tend to have fewer children and fatter women tend to have more children. If fatter people were not reproducing, or being fat was a huge barrier to reproduction, that wouldn’t be the case.

    I’m also not sure, even if it were true that thin people had a Darwinian advantage, why she’d be worried about the future mates of her children, since evolution is a large-scale thing and not something that really has much impact on the level of one individual couple’s offspring. Although I do kind of hope her kids do rebel and bring home fat partners.

  110. “Then why does anyone listen to this person?”

    O.C. – I’m thinking the exact same thing, given that the article goes on to say that she runs her own nutrition counselling business.

    After pouring sweat wondering if I could possibly, perhaps consider myself maybe, kinda sorta qualified to start my own nutrition counselling business recently (given my education and work experience in, you know, actual nutrition) I can’t tell you how much this totally skeeves me out.

    If your own behaviours are unhealthy and unattainable, then should you really be giving people advice?

  111. Wow. Suddenly every awful thing she’s said is hitting me in a whole new light. This is not someone with an ounce of validity to her statements – she’s someone with a desperate desire for attention, zero credentials to speak of, and quite likely some very serious personal issues.

    It’s made me wonder what to think of others who are as intent as her on shaming those who look different.

  112. Quote from the article: “One thing to know about MeMe Roth is that she’s not wrong.”

    But SHE IS, stupid Guardian reporter. MeMe Roth is VERY WRONG.

  113. Yeah, while sometimes victims experience orgasms during rape, it’s really not what anyone should call “pleasure.” I imagine that’s what she’s referring to, though – physical arousal and/or orgasm. It’s still such a lousy, nonsensical analogy that it makes no sense. And it’s still incredibly trivializing of rape.

    And, if she’s genetically predisposed to be slightly overweight, she could very well remain below her setpoint and be thin if she, as it seems from her article, consistently starves herself.

    Depends how long it’s been, probably. She could be continually decreasing more and more to keep the weight off, but sooner or later even that will fail, unless we’re talking about a pretty small quantity of pounds. And maybe even then. But you know, there are blue-eyed children born to brown-eyed parents. It’s not like it’s impossible for fat parents to have a thin child.

  114. Among the many things that struck me reading the interview was her story about being so ashamed of her mother as a kindergartener. It’s so sad that experiences like that did not teach her empathy and acceptance, and to disregard societal messages about conformity. I’ve found that when I meet a thin person who isn’t bigoted about weight, I often eventually learn that someone they love is fat. I feel sorry for her entire family that she can’t let love overcome her shame, fear, and hatred.

  115. She is the wrongest person who ever wronged.

    Pretty much, yeah. There are no correct words in that quotation. Hell, there are no correct phonemes in that quotation.

  116. What I did notice is that MeMe Roth’s grandmother is still alive. The fact that she needs “24 hour a day care” is somehow seen as an indictment of obesity by both MeMe and, it seems, the writer, but MeMe Roth is 39 years old. Her grandmother is likely around 90. Sounds to me like being fat didn’t hurt her longevity much, and if people think being thin will somehow keep them active and vital and not needing any long-term care when they reach 90, I’m sad to say they are fooling themselves.

    Oh, fucking AY, Lori. I’m flabbergasted at the number of people who think that if they don’t eat anything “bad” and they’re always the “perfect” weight, they’ll never be hospitalized for anything no matter how old they get. They’re so sure they’ll be going jet-skiing on their 100th birthdays, without a lick of personal discomfort, and then lie down that night and go, “Okay, I’ve had enough, I’m going to close my eyes and not wake up again,” and poof, they’re gone. So incredibly low-maintenance their whole life long.

    Sorry, but the longer you live, the greater the chance that something is going to go really fucking wrong with at least one part of your body in a way that is truly life-threatening. And you don’t get to pick which one!

  117. She is a sad case – apparently she lives on air and fail, which can’t be fun.

    But she’s no less hurtful for it, and she’s really outdone herself with this dangerously ignorant and cruel rape analogy.

    Does anyone know how she came to prominence? Did she have a career before she started hating fat people for a living (and does this earn her a living? I’m guessing it does, alas…) I’d like to know but really, really, really don’t want to go to her website…

  118. I have a confession to make: I have not heard of this woman until I stumbled in here and roamed the fatosphere in general. This MeMe Roth (I can’t believe I actually typed her name) is, as expressed numerous times upthread, dangerous—so dangerous, in fact, I can’t think of an adverb to precede the word. And sad, too: I want to give her a hug…and maybe some black bean soup as an olive branch of sorts. Gotta love your enemies, right?

    I really wish I could whip up a somewhat lengthy comment on the article, but I don’t feel like scooping my brain up off the floor again. (Man, I have so much to learn about FA…)

  119. MeMeME didn’t feel she was getting enough attention over here, so she tried to traipse across the pond.

    Someone go get her kids, please.

    Please.

  120. It is possible to get pretty late into the day without eating and feel not hungry. Usually your body has other shit it’s trying to cope with at that point, like fighting off a cold or nausea, and doesn’t have the resources to help you digest food. Generally though, dinner is a pretty big meal, and quite possibly your next two will be substantial to make up for the loss. There’s nothing inherently disordered in avoiding food when you’re not feeling up to eating.

    Avoiding eating on a regular basis, even when you feel hungry, that’s when it’s disordered.

  121. “Avoiding eating on a regular basis, even when you feel hungry, that’s when it’s disordered.”

    When you spell it out like that, it seems so obvious, but dieting is exactly that, and so few people consider it disordered. Ugh.

  122. Indeed there was a culture of religious anorexia (anorexia mirabilis) in the middle ages and the association with denial of food and chastity is a common devotional theme.

    This is very interesting! Can you recommend some good reading on this subject? Besides, I mean, your eventual thesis.

  123. I will say that everytime I see MeMe Roth’s name I always wonder ‘hmmm is that the lady from the Drew Carey show? She’s now a nutritionist. Why does everybody hate her’ Then I google and remember.

  124. OMG – prior to this post I had never heard of this nut job and I still wish I hadn’t. What a sad bitter life-denying existence she lives – she’s obsessive and miserable and wants everyone else to be. And that self-created name: “Me! Me! It’s all about me!” I bet a psychiatrist would have a field day with her.

    She claims to worry about health but not eating sufficient nutrients and living a life full of anger and stress is definitely debilitating. Without having met her, I’ll make any bet that my heart and bones – encased in a 45 BMI body – are stronger than hers.

    At leas the journalist caught on early in the piece:
    some of Roth’s formulations are of such questionable sanity that they can’t possibly help her cause

  125. Great comments, people. Regarding the religious beliefs and food comments, I must write that I was once in a church weight loss program in which the leader taught us that overeating is a sin. Indeed, I have a friend that went on a liquid fast diet because she believes that being fat equals being sinful. It isn’t always fun to be my 300-lb self around her, obviously. Now, my experience is tied to funamental-ish Christianity, so I do not want to claim expertise in religion and food (am waiting for abovementioned thesis); however, I do work in mental health and have seen women in conservative Christian circles believe that it is ok for them to be abused in all kinds of horrible ways by their husbands because the men are the heads of the households, y’all. Many of the feelings of internalized shame and guilt for just being a woman can definately be transferred to food. It’s like, I hate myself because my husband and my church are telling me that I have no voice and no power and no worth so I will make myself disappear by not eating or punish myself for feeling hungry by eating disordered behaviors.

    And, before my phone battery dies, I must add that it is interesting that she chose rape as a metaphor. Just sayin’.

  126. Ok, so many typos in my last post, but I am on an Iphone (or ipone, as I originally typed it).

  127. “it has been said that Richard Gere has an unnatural relationship with gerbils]; the same is true with suet pudding.”

  128. While I’m the first to admit that religious traditions have done their share of harm in how we deal with desire, I honestly think the current hysteria over food intake is a mainly-secular phenomenon. Food has become to many non-religious people (and also many religious people) what sex has been for religious conservatives. Roth believes that her beliefs are backed by Darwin, not scripture.

    The funny thing, so many people quote Darwin “survival of the fittest!!!!!111″ with only a basic overview of his ideas they got in high school without (likely) having ever read the dude. Not that I have either, it’s just something I want to point out. I think next time someone says to me “but Darwin said xy and z!” I’m going to say, “really? You read the dude? I heard he was somewhat boring.” see where the conversation goes. But clearly anyone thin and/or fat-hating is right and anyone fat and/or body accepting is WRONG and making excuses for being fat. Funny, nobody needs an excuse to be a loathsome, condescending asshole these days.

  129. I totally agree that Meme’s thinking about food and obesity is dangerous. I really hope no one takes her seriously.

    And that rape analogy is wrong on so many different levels. I can’t believe she’d compare something that is necessary for living to a very violent and traumatizing act.

    Oh, and “the wrongest person who ever wronged.” = Win.

  130. Marianne from Cali, it’s funny. According to writers like Liz Curtis Higgs (and I’ll take her word for it, because she knows more about this stuff than I do), the Bible doesn’t say anything bad about fat at all. About as close as it comes is to say that eating to the point of sluggishness is bad, but it’s not associated with body weight at all.

    The eating-as-sin stuff probably has its roots in the Seven Deadly Sins stuff, which came later. But even then, “gluttony” was thought to be a sin mainly because it meant taking more than your share of food for yourself when there was not enough to go around. In a country such as today’s America, where we chuck 25% of our produced calories in the trash without ever tasting them, that doesn’t seem to apply. (Although, of course, there are major problems on the distribution end of things, it doesn’t follow that my passing up the potato chips means a starving person gets fed.)

    Even Thomas Aquinas, who really popularized the idea of food-related guilt among Christians, said eating too expensively and eating too daintily were as much “sins” as eating “too much” or “too fast.” As was even thinking too much about an upcoming meal. So you wonder what he’d think of dieting, where that’s pretty much ALL you ever friggin’ think about.

  131. i just wanted to point out that sometimes sexual assault survivors DO enjoy the assault; this is particularly common in ritual abuse survivors. it’s extremely sad, but it’s common even for ritual survivors to eventually even begin to ‘crave’ the assault. i don’t really want to get into the complicated reasons why this happens right now, aside from pointing out that sometimes the body reacts (and this can happen to ANY survivor) to biological stimulus entirely apart from the psychological reactions that the person is having.

    i just think it’s important to acknowledge this, because sexual assault is still somehow a pretty confusing thing to some people. and saying stuff like:

    More passive voice to defend rape as not-rape: “there is pleasure on the part of the victim.” Roth is saying that people like being raped. Only she’s too chickenshit, or possibly too stupid, to say it that way. And of course, the rapist is disappeared from this sentence.

    or

    Again with the victim blaming and the complete fucking misunderstanding of what sexual assault is. Hint to MeMe: if someone “is so willing and enjoying of the process,” that person is not being raped. That person is having sex.

    could be invalidating to some people’s experiences.

  132. Meowser, I appreciate your thoughts. I didn’t know that about Aquinas. Would make a good, er, thesis.

  133. Food and sex are pretty tightly connected, and I find that you can’t really have extreme views on one without the same on the other. I don’t know anything about this woman’s personal history and I don’t want to armchair diagnose, but I would venture a guess that if she has this much of a dysfunctional relationship with food, her relationship with sex is probably pretty warped too. Just like she cannot seem to find any pleasure in eating food (not without shame and self-hate, anyway), MeMe Roth probably also does not enjoy sex. She probably cannot get outside of thinking of her own body to be open and receptive enough to another person, and as such, she thinks nothing of conflating violent rape with pleasurable, consensual sex. Which is very sad, because as anyone who’s suffered a trauma can tell you, it’s pretty horrible to have something as natural and essential and really wonderful as eating or having sex make you feel dirty or piggy or disgusting somehow. Her comments are uneducated and infuriating, but ultimately they come from a huge void somewhere in her, where she sees all sex as dirty, and all eating as disgusting. She clearly doesn’t have any self-worth.

  134. This woman got her own profile in Elle magazine (December 2008), and they were practically gloating over her. They even brought in some doctor – who was just as hateful as her – to make her look credible. She described people who attacked her for trying to ban certain foods in schools simple as ugly women who couldn’t get laid. She was so hateful towards her mother because she was fat – very sad stuff. But what do you expect from a fashion magazine?

    If you are feeling brave – and have Sanity Points – read the article:

    http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Health-Fitness/MeMe-Roth-s-War

  135. This woman got her own profile in Elle magazine (December 2008), and they were practically gloating over her. They even brought in some doctor – who was just as hateful as her – to make her look credible. She described people who attacked her for trying to ban certain foods in schools simply as ugly women who couldn’t get laid. She was so hateful towards her mother because she was fat – very sad stuff. But what do you expect from a fashion magazine?

    If you are feeling brave – and have Sanity Points – read the article:

    http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Health-Fitness/MeMe-Roth-s-War

    *edited for spelling*

  136. Um, ok, if fat men have lower sperm counts and fat women have fertility problems, then we should be an endangered species which should die out soon, and get out of her way, right? So why should she care? EXCEPT WE’RE STILL HERE!

  137. I agree with Lucy. On her points, I feel MeMe Roth shouldn’t be given airtime in the media. She needs help, she is denying herself nutrition and love, and is suggesting that people who don’t do that are the ones who are sick.

    She’s in a state of extreme denial, and if she is able to continue advocating that the people who enjoy their bodies instead of hating them are the ones who need help, she will only delve deeper into Anorexia.

  138. I don’t necessarily want to get in a huge theological discussion here, but since it’s been brought up, I can’t resist. :). (I’m not trying to proselytize or anything here—I hope I don’t offend anyone with religion talk!)

    As a practicing Christian myself, I’ve heard the jokes about obesity equaling gluttony (from the pulpit!), and have even heard fat Christians’ faith questioned (by other “Christians” as well as non-Christians) because of their fat. It’s very hurtful. So I think it’s important to understand what gluttony is (and it’ll tie in with MeMe Roth, I promise!!)

    I’d like to start by saying that apparently Jesus loved a good meal. His first miracle was at a wedding reception. He turned water into wine and created a feast out of a few loaves of bread and some fish. Heaven was going to be a big banquet with some unexpected guests. God seems to have made us with appetites, and approves of us celebrating with them! Even knowing it was his last night, Jesus chose to spend his final hours with his disciples, sharing a meal. (I highly doubt any of them were counting calories or fat grams!)

    There is a verse in the bible where Paul refers to some whose “god is the belly.” Many Christians have used this verse as “proof” that those with big bellies (ie fat people) are idolatrous gluttons. But what Paul is really referring to here is the tendency to make a created thing (in this case food, but it could be any substance or desire) into a god. He is warning that a person can become so focused on eating food (or NOT eating food, for that matter) that they become a slave to their senses, and replace the real God with a false one.

    Aquinas spoke of gluttony as not just any “desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire.” Though he speaks of food and drink here, gluttony can be associated with any form of overindulgence, destructive behavior, excess or unnecessary consumption. This could include substance abuse, binge drinking, as well as a refusal to share resources with others.

    Included in the five types of gluttony that Aquinas details are being overly concerned about the quality of food one eats and being finicky about the preparation of food. Do these two types of things sound familiar to anyone? If any people can be labeled gluttons, it might be those who obsessively diet. It sounds counterintuitive to those who only see gluttony in fat, but true gluttony is about obsession, and continuous dieting is a perfect example of that. For the Christian, the practice of constant worry about calories, body shape, etc. leaves precious little time for loving others (the greatest commandment!), and for trusting God. Life becomes all about MeMe….me.

    I’ve really gone on about this, but Roth, as well as many others, are engaging in a morality crusade based on false premises. I have no idea if she practices a particular faith, if she’s agnostic, or whatever, but her zeal to make us all into her desired mold has a particularly religious flavor, of a dangerous, fundamentalist sort. She is selling a false faith, and too many people are buying.

  139. I was once in a church weight loss program in which the leader taught us that overeating is a sin.

    Was it the Weigh Down diet? The founder has started her own “church” devoted to the idea that being fat is sinful, or something like that.

    But, in general, I think a lot of church weight-loss programs and efforts today are based in secular ideas about food and body size, and aren’t particularly spiritually-oriented in nature. The morality around food we hold as a culture–”good foods” and “bad foods” and certain body sizes being acceptable and “it’s as simple as calories in/calories out”–really don’t have their basis in religious traditions (aside from certain foods prohibited by certain religions, which aren’t based on calorie/fat content). I think what happens is that a lot of secular ideas about eating and weight have become so commonplace that they get absorbed and accepted by churches, but I don’t think it’s generally the other way around, and that religious ideas about food have permeated the general culture, in the way that, say, religious ideas about sexuality have permeated the general culture.

    I do think that eventually we are going to come up with ways to think and talk about death, mortality, illness, and just the fallibility of the human body in a non-religious context. We won’t have any choice, and will have to come up with something. There’s a whole generation of baby boomers who are going to realize, I think, that no matter what size you are or what foods you eat or how many miles you run, aging, illness, and death are not optional. But, until then, I do think that weight loss has become the means of salvation in secular culture, and until we can think of death in ways other than something we must be saved from, we’re going to continue to see this emphasis on food as bad, fat as immoral, and health as an indicator of morality.

  140. I just wanted to add, too, that it always seems ironic that as we get healthier and healthier, we become more obsessed with health, but it makes sense. Many of us, who have the privilege of good nutrition, sanitation, and health care, can go a good portion of our lives without being seriously ill. Thankfully, aside from colds and flus and minor infections, I’ve made it to 31 without having suffered from a serious illness or injury. My mother has made it to 58 without any real illnesses or health problems, and my dad has gotten to 61 with only minor health problems. I don’t think we’re that unusual. I think that when we are so able to protect ourselves from many formerly common illnesses and diseases, it does perhaps start to seem like we can somehow avoid illness forever, and illness and death starts to see more scary and foreign. Death and sickness are not, for many of us posting here at least, everyday realities. And I think when they get removed from our everyday reality, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that they are natural and inevitable, for everybody.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people in their 40s and 50s say that they need to lose weight because the “extra weight” they’ve gained since their 20s is causing them joint pain. Because, obviously, 10 or 15 pounds is what is causing the pain, and not 20 or 30 extra years of wear on the joints. People really seem to think that being thin is a panacea that will stave off pain and aging indefinitely. I think we’re fortune enough to go so much of our lives without serious pain that when it does come, we have a hard time accepting that it’s a normal, natural, and inevitable part of aging, and instead end up assuming that it must be a sign of something we’re doing wrong.

  141. I think MeMe is an excellent spokesperson for the anti-dieting movement, however inadvertantly.
    It pisses me off that Marion Nestle either didn’t say anything about the harm of MeMe’s approach, or if she said something, they didn’t print it.
    A different person would have taken that childhood fear of being made fun of for having a fat mom and turned it into a crusade against fat hatred.
    I agree with Lori that “She may indeed feel like a powerless victim who is compelled by her body to eat against her will, and hate that it’s something she finds pleasurable despite herself.”
    That was my read on it.
    That MeMe is delusional is not anything I can influence. But the fact that the media eats her up is maybe something I can weigh in on.
    The idea that the solution to the obesity epidemic is disordered eating is so… twisted.

  142. Lori, it was the Weigh Down Diet. The woman who started it is rich. Not. Surprised.

    The comment I made a few posts up there that I think it is interesting that MeMe brought up rape as a metaphor. This thought if mine doesn’t come from the idea that she doesn’t like sex. She may like it or may not. I just find it intriguing that she brought up rape in the first place. I mean, I don’t think it is something that most people equate with eating, as many of your comments have eloquently stated. Again, as someone who works in mental health, I think, “Gee, where did that come from?”

  143. It just occurred to me that MeMe’s rape analogy would be too hurtful to even use as satire on thinspeak – the website seems to be gone, I wonder what happened to it (to Erin?). I thought it was the bee’s knees.

  144. I can’t face eating when I’ve just woken up, so I quite often do work out on an empty stomach. But if I start feeling dizzy or getting hunger pangs, then I stop and eat breakfast rather than making ‘No food for you for another forty-five minutes!’ pacts with myself.

  145. Gladly, MeMe isn’t getting much press in Australia because I have no idea who she is when she’s at home.

    That she used the rape analogy means something irrational is going on in her brain when she thinks about food! As a rape survivor I am totally bewildered at the link she’s drawn.

  146. Having slept on it, I’m wondering if the reason she gets so much media time is full-blown trainwreck syndrome. Everyone knows she’s a mess, they’re all just waiting for her to explode. People love to read that, and I can just imagine, every time she’s scheduled for an appearance or an interview people rubbing their hands together and thinking ‘Is this gonna be the one where she jumps on the couch and starts screaming?’

    The more I look at it, the more it’s almost as though they’ve scented blood in the water and they’re just waiting for the breakdown.

  147. Can we send a memo to everyone ever that when Darwin said ‘survival of the fittest’ (which, IIRC, wasn’t originally coined by Darwin anyway, but by a friend of his after he read Darwin’s Origin of Species) he did not mean:
    a) fittest = most fuckable
    b) fittest = fastest, most athletic
    c) fittest = healthiest*

    He meant fittest = fit for purpose.

    So it depends what our ‘purpose’ is. If our purpose is walking about, doing our jobs, loving our families and friends, then being fat seems to suit us just fine. If our purpose is squeezing into teeny tiny designer clothes or cave-diving in really small caves, or anything like that, then fat people aren’t the fittest.

    Actually, in most of the Western world, there’s very little evolutionary competition anyway, so it’s all academic what’s ‘fittest’ anyway.

    * leaving aside the problem of fat =/= unhealthy

  148. Slight correction, essen – “fit” in evolutionary biology = amount of reproductive success, full stop. It implies that one does well in one’s environment, because you have to do well in order to survive long enough to reproduce, find a partner, and have the energy to make a viable offspring. However, the word “fitness” just refers to how well your genes get into the next generation. A person with no kids has zero fitness, no matter how healthy or suited to their own environment. [/pedant]

  149. Well, and if there’s no die-out or lack of reproduction from “unfit,” or if your unfitness is not genetic, then evolution is not going to remove your genes from the pool at a higher rate. We live in times where infertility is not such a big deal as it used to be (evolutionarily speaking).

    Lower infant mortality means most kids make it to their reproductive years (and indeed, well beyond). Control of many of the most devastating plagues and diseases (thanks, public sanitation!) means that there’s less of a likelihood of sudden, horrific death in the population. My privilege is showing, of course, since I’m talking of nations that have, at minimum, public sanitation and access to basic vaccines and antibiotics.

    There has to be environmental pressure to remove unfit genes. If a horde of ravenous aliens swept through the city, killing only those who were plump enough to look tasty, then that’s selective pressure. If all the fatties dropped dead at 25, so any children we have had to be born early, that’s selective pressure. But a potential slightly lower fertility which hasn’t been proven conclusively to my taste, in a society where most women only have 1-3 kids anyway and use birth control and have potential access (if wealthy enough) to other options? Yeah, not so much.

  150. Thanks, car. Been a while since I did any of this stuff!

    And of course, in the animal kingdom, ‘passing on genes’ usually means ‘staying alive long enough to reproduce’ :D

  151. Another thing that occurred to me: MeMe Roth talks about how ashamed she was as a child of her fat mother. I remember a conversation I had with some friends a couple of years ago. Both their mothers were very overweight, and they both talked about being embarrassed by them. One friend’s mom had eventually gone on the Atkins Diet, of all things, and actually lost a mind-blowing amount of weight. This friend said that at age seven or eight, she had written in a diary that she was so embarrassed that her mother was fat. A few years later her mother found it and read it, and it actually really upset her. She didn’t want to be an embarrassment to her daughter in any way. She told my friend this when she was much older, and of course my friend as an adult (one with her own set of weight issues, mind you) felt terrible about having written it. But they have a close enough relationship that they can actually talk about these things, and the central issue is not actually about fat after all- it’s about taking each other’s feelings into account (the mother by wanting to take measures such that her daughter wouldn’t be ashamed of her, and the daughter coming around to value so many other things in her mother beyond what she looks like).

    If MeMe Roth as an adult is still lambasting her mother for being obese, you can be sure that’s not the ONLY thing her mother ever “did” to her. There’s a much deeper issue that is not even being remotely acknowledged.

  152. I feel sorry for MeMe….of course I also feel sorry for the children who’s circumstances allow them to be swallowed up by the Taliban and Al Qaida….

  153. it’s about taking each other’s feelings into account (the mother by wanting to take measures such that her daughter wouldn’t be ashamed of her, and the daughter coming around to value so many other things in her mother beyond what she looks like).

    Good lord, that’s a good point. I can tell you that my mother embarrassed me plenty when I was younger (not by being fat, though she was sometimes)—but now that she is terminally ill, I could not fucking care less about how she embarrassed me when I was five or fifteen or whatever. I was a kid; she was my mom. I just want her in my life for as long as possible.

    Kids are embarrassed by their moms. If MeMe’s only problem with her mom was that she was fat, she’s a grownup now and should get the fuck over it.

  154. If you use that analogy, it would mean the food was getting some pleasure out of you eating it not you getting pleasure from the food. The woman is a total idiot. The less attention give her the better.

  155. I can’t say I’m sorry for Ms. Clements on this one. Having issues can be pitiful, but foisting your issues upon others in a destructive manner? That’s where it crosses the line from pitiful to despicable.

  156. “fit” in evolutionary biology = amount of reproductive success, full stop.

    My grandfather’s size was an evolutionary advantage not all that long ago – when he was young, everyone in his neighbourhood got TB. A number of kids in his neighbourhood died from lack of ability to hold anything down; my grandpa made it through and recovered to have three kids.

  157. MeMe’s got the rape thing all screwed up.

    The defence has been made in the case of sex criminals that there is pleasure on the part of the victim.

    The rapist says it’s ok because the victim feels pleasure. That means it’s ok for me to eat my baby doughnut because the donut likes being eaten.

    Stop anthropomorphizing my doughnut!

  158. “This is very interesting! Can you recommend some good reading on this subject? Besides, I mean, your eventual thesis.”

    From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls
    by Walter Vanderrycken and Ron van Deth

    FASCINATINGLY, Darwin’s Physician grandfather is quoted with an Anorexia diagnosis wherein the patient ‘believes herself to be too thin’ despite assurances that she is not.

  159. We had a similar character here in the UK called Gillian McKeith: I would recommend a search of her name. I recommend the following article about Gillian’s credentials; a similiar search about Meme’s college reveals a variety of views.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/feb/12/advertising.food

    Looks like those that are able to look OK on TV and make “science” easy to consume are destined to Get On In Life.

  160. Gillian McKeith has her own show! She goes into peoples’ homes and cleans out their fridges and what not. It’s on BBC America if you have it. I forget what it’s called though.

  161. @Sarah B: You Are What You Eat

    with the brash, booming voice of disdain over (I think it’s that guy from the antiques market show – the competition, not Cash in the Attic)

  162. Gosh, I used to watch that show. It was like a train wreck.

    The big booming music of DOOOOM that played as they slowly panned up the scantily-clad bodies of the fatties of the week. The judgment with lashings of shame at the lifestyle lived by the fatties.

    That was when I was still brainwashed by the diets.

  163. Pity and sympathy don’t necessary go together, I feel the former for MeMe, not the latter. She’s being worked over by obesity propaganda and her own private grief the same as anyone else.

    As tiresome as MeMe is, I find the nature of the furore surrounding her to be curiously alienating.

    It feels like we are personalising the insanity of the obesity crisis in-yet again- in a woman, the same way obesity propaganda is personalised in fat people-especially women. As if destruction of MeMe and the ‘crisis’ are one and the same thing.

    She seems to be unabalanced and I’m not sure this approach will do anything but make her feel more martyred, she isn’t worthy of that.

  164. I loved the last part of the Guardian article (and by “loved” I mean “puked at”. “Oh, what works for me might not work for anyone else.” What a copout. “Oh, but I’ll still shame everyone else for not STARVING. THEMSELVES. to be thin.”

    What a sad, dishonest coward that woman is. She needs help.

    Gosh, I used to watch that show. It was like a train wreck.

    You know, Sarah B., I don’t have a problem with the concept of introducing lots of different, greener foods to people who haven’t tried them before (if they can afford them, that is), but I hate the shaming crap Gillian does.

    I also hate her insisting that you should eat that stuff even if you try it and hate it. Still, there were some things I wish they’d given recipes for on the show, just for the heck of it. I get tired of eating the same old things.

    (I hate dealing with food, period. It bores me to think about it, shop for it, plan meals, prepare it, cook it, clean it up. Just feh. If I had Oprah’s personal chef I’d be a happy woman).

  165. Um, we interrupt this thread to bring you the following newsbrief:

    I was on this non-FA* blog just now and a couple of commenters were carrying on about losing weight. One was going on about how this cranberry juice thing she was on was not a diet but a lifestyle change (bonus: “nothing works overnight”). Another blathered on about how this country was decadent with the coffee shops and whatnot. I’d had enough, and in turn typed: “lifestyle changes are diets, and they don’t work at all.”
    Was I wrong? *dating blog.

    **we now resume our regular blog programming.**

  166. @Cara – Yeah, I thought the big tables of greens were beautiful and all that, but the over-the-top narrator and the rubbing their face in the food they normally eat (like rubbing a puppy’s face in his poo) it was pretty brutal.

    I don’t have time to make most of the things in the meal plans she sets out for those people and the easiest way to fail in a diet is generally to set yourself up for failure that way. I’m not surprised that they NEVER did follow up shows on those people.

  167. “lifestyle changes are diets, and they don’t work at all.”

    That about sums it up, raine! You probably are going to have people violently disagree with that, but you’re definitely not wrong.

  168. At this point, I’m not even interested in what the run-of-the-mill family practice physician has to say about obesity. My partner is a PA in a family clinic and she spouts the party line: fat = diabetes. She and her PA friends are so sick of me pressing them on this (Type II diabetes is from eating TOO many carbs, carrying TOO many extra pounds and TOO little exercise, yada, yada, yada. My father is underweight and diabetic. My mother is obese and has low cholesterol, low blood pressure and normal blood sugar.

    I basically want someone who has researched obesity for 20 years to talk about how complex it is. Because I think weight and obesity are probably incredibly complex.

  169. Kelly wrote: “That logic is broken. Dick and Jane get married. Then they divorce. Jane marries Jack and they have a daughter. AFAIK, there’s nothing (except the creepy factor, lol) keeping Jane and Jack’s daughter from marrying Dick. You don’t even need gay marriage for that…”

    Yeah, I think Bill Wyman got involved in a similar arrangement a while back.

    MeMe Roth is deranged. At least, her attitude towards food is deranged. I’d feel sorry for her if she weren’t so obnoxious.

  170. @raine- You’re referring to the Fat Flush Diet, with its infinite cranberry-flaxseed cocktails and fish oil and evening primrose capsules. It’s not just a diet, it’s a total lifestyle overhaul. I actually tried this a few years ago, and I actually had some success with it, in that I lost a few inches off my waist and hips and it made my skin and eyelashes look incredible. But to do it exactly as they have it laid out all the time is nigh on impossible. I never got past Phase 1. What mostly put me off was reading the Fat Flush message boards. They were all very nice ladies, but damn, did they drink the Kool-Aid or what. (Or the cranberry-flaxseed cocktail, as it were.) I remember posting a question once about just how fanatical one needed to be about this diet. My specific question was, “Is it reasonable to tell someone, ‘No, I WILL NOT have a piece of your birthday cake’ or ‘No, Boyfriend’s Mom, I WILL NOT eat the food you prepared’ because of the Fat Flush Diet? And will that really mess you up THAT MUCH?” The women who responded told me yes, it is a lifestyle change, and some of them actually BRING THEIR OWN FOOD to social events for that very reason. WHAT?!?! That was just a little bit too alienating for me. There’s diets, and then there’s lifestyle changes, but then there’s cult-like eating behaviors that could most probably negatively affect other aspects of your life. I don’t want my eyelashes to look incredible THAT badly.

  171. That article, like all things involving MeMe, was unreal. I have sometimes hypothesized that MeMe’s whole schtick is actually some sort of elaborate piece of performance art, and eventually she’s going to come clean and throw her idiotic comments in the face of the outlets that gave her media time and say “AND YOU PEOPLE BOUGHT THIS STUFF??!”

    I highly doubt that will happen, but the ideas she espouses are so ridiculous the thought has crossed my mind.

  172. And another thing:

    I agree with whoever mentioned that the Guardian journalist said “MeMe is not wrong.” Guardian journalists, I expect better of you! On a somewhat related note, did anyone see the recent news that life expectancies have risen to record levels and deaths from cancers have continued to fall? My first thought was, “But wait – I thought an obesity epidemic was killing us all?” Must be MeMe’s action group making a difference!!

  173. We had a similar character here in the UK called Gillian McKeith

    Ugh I HAAAATE “doctor” Gillian McKeith!! If I ever saw that woman coming towards me in the supermarket I would throw a milkshake in her face. Which she would probably be grateful for, because it always strikes me that the reason she’s so miserable is because she’s hungry.

  174. What strikes me from her picture is how staying that thin appears to age her so much. I am always shocked at how prevalent it is in celebrity and society circles to prefer to be haggard than to gain 10-20 pounds and look younger.

    (What’s the old saying? “It’s either the ass or the face.”)

  175. This is so wrong, but I discovered that multiple attempts have been made to establish a page on MR on Wikipedia, and all have been deleted due to the fact that she’s just not notable enough.

    I laugh. I laugh hard.

    I also hope that in ten years there’s a ‘where are they now’ article about Ms. Roth that finds her at her natural size. In my good heart, I hope it finds her accepting herself there, but in my hateful heart I’d love to see her trying to justify the hatred she spread when she was thin.

  176. Even knowing it was his last night, Jesus chose to spend his final hours with his disciples, sharing a meal. (I highly doubt any of them were counting calories or fat grams!)

    I can just imagine: “Take, eat of my body” and the disciples spake unto him saying “Is it low carb?”

  177. I parsed it as, she thinks you’re wrong when you think you enjoy eating a cookie (and that the first “you” is a different entity from the second “you”), just like rapists are wrong when they think their victims enjoy being raped.

  178. Thanks, Lucy, that’s what I was referring to; there was also mention of same reducing (or eliminating?) cellulite.
    Goodness knows I love cranberry juice, but I get real damn agitated when I’m hungry. I’m not counting, restricting or weighing JACK. I’ll take endurance and strongs with two pats of REAL butter, kthx.

  179. Gillian McKeith also used to poke about in people’s bowel movements with a spatula on camera and deduce from their unpleasant smell that said people had Bad Eating habits. (Like people who have Good Eating habits produce turds that smell like Lair du Temps). The woman is stark raving bonkers. Not unlike Meme in point of fact.

  180. [snip]some of them actually BRING THEIR OWN FOOD to social events for that very reason [/snip]

    I agree that really extreme diets can have a cultish or disordered aspect to them. But-I don’t have too crazy a diet (I eat a variety of normal foods, mostly low prep), I carry food with me often and it doesn’t have an impact on my social life. Most of the food at events I might find myself at is made of things I prefer not to eat, that’s all.

    I rarely frequent any social occasions and the ones I do, everyone knows me so it’s not remarkable that I don’t eat flour, sugar, etc. and that I am usually carrying almonds and elk jerky in my purse. I also don’t have many people in my life that would pressure me about what to eat or notice/care what I do eat – I know a lot of people do, and it would be considered strange, rude and worthy of being commented on if they didn’t eat someone’s b-day cake. So, JME.

    My diet isn’t medically necessary though, so often I will make exceptions for politeness or necessity. I get gassy and sometimes get stomach pains, but it’s no big deal. Those who have true conditions like celiac disease, life-threatening nut allergies, lactose intolerance etc, have to be much more vigilant and most of them do carry food with them.

    [snip]Because I think weight and obesity are probably incredibly complex.[/snip]

    Yes! We haven’t even scratched the surface of how the metabolism works! There have been so few studies that have been definitive or even properly conducted.

  181. “What she’s describing sounds more like refusing to feed herself until she works out, and “allowing” herself food as a “reward” for her exercise, rather than actually doing what is best for her body.

    Plus, if she honestly felt it was not disordered, why get so uncomfortable talking about it? Her evasiveness and discomfort discussing her eating habits seems like a red flag to me, as well as her belief that food is a kind of poison, and that pleasure taken in eating is wrong.”

    Exactly. I mean, I sometimes go long periods without eating. My stomach is slow to wake up so, unless I had dinner early the previous day, or have been ill and just recovered, I generally feel nautious if I try to eat before around 9-10am. I also am still struggling to relearn how to recognise hunger so… there are more days than I care to mention when I’ll get up from my sewing to get a glass of milk or something and find my whole body is wobbly and realise it has gone 4 and I haven’t eaten and suddenly realise THAT is why my hands were shaking as I was trying to sew that fiddly bit.

    And I recognise this as annoying, stupid and something I am working to change so I can stop getting dizzy spells!

    But what Mememememememememe is describing is less a “I generally just don’t get around to eating because work/busy/lack of memory/shiny disracting things” and more “I allow myself to eat after I have proven to myself every second of every day that I can go without eating and be Good and Virtuous and HealthyTM”.

  182. I am always shocked at how prevalent it is in celebrity and society circles to prefer to be haggard than to gain 10-20 pounds and look younger.

    (What’s the old saying? “It’s either the ass or the face.”)

    Unfortunately I saw a rather horrifying (to me – because of the needles!) segment on tv the other night talking about a new cosmetic procedure called “pillow face”. Basically they inject a bunch of stuff into your face so you can have the skinny body but the pleasantly plump and youthful face at the same time. Frankly, it was kind of creepy.

    And Bunny, I’m the same with the slow-to-wake-up stomach. Sometimes I just can’t stomach (ha!) the thought of eating anything before about 10am. Sometimes I can. But if it goes much longer than that I try to make a concious decision to eat, and I’ve started having coffee with lots of milk a bit earlier (say 8:30) so at least my body has something to work with.

  183. “If the money spent on her shirts didn’t go to supporting her organization, and if there weren’t plenty of other worthwhile organizations to support, I’d buy one and take pictures of myself eating cheeseburgers in it.”

    take a sharpie to a white 3-pack and get out the camera/burgers!

  184. Ooh, I think I’ve figured out her strategy! If she can say the most disgusting things she can think of, we’ll all lose our appetites and won’t eat anymore!

  185. “Unfortunately I saw a rather horrifying (to me – because of the needles!) segment on tv the other night talking about a new cosmetic procedure called “pillow face”. Basically they inject a bunch of stuff into your face so you can have the skinny body but the pleasantly plump and youthful face at the same time. Frankly, it was kind of creepy.”

    BWAGH! That’s possibly the most horrifying thing I’ve read all day.

    And yeah, sometimes I just don’t feel like breakfast. Mostly, I’ll just have an apple or something, if I feel like I should have a bite to eat, because it won’t sit heavily in my stomach while I’m trying to, you know, haul around 30lb boxes of sugar at work. But the way she goes about it sounds a lot like a workhouse. You do your strenuous work for the day, and if you’ve done it enough (to some arbitrary standard of ‘enough’) then you get your meager portion of not-all-that-exciting food for the day.

  186. Ah, Me!Me!

    For those who are wondering why she gets any attention at all, it probably has something to do with the fact that she’s David Lee Roth’s ex, and Eddie Van Halen made her promise to always stay the same weight. Which she’s proud of.

    That she plays into media narratives about fat women and their worthlessness is just lagniappe.

  187. There are many people who don’t see eye to eye with me about giving up dieting, but I never get the same mean vibe from them. I get the feeling Ms. Ross really doesn’t care if fat people lose weight or get healthy, only that they are properly shamed for getting fat in the first place.

  188. Oh, and another thing — it sounds as if she not only has a problem with food, but with sex. And I what I mean by that is that she seems to have, from her comments about rape, a real issue with sorting out what it means to have pleasurable, consensual sex that isn’t just for performance. Which, well, if you were married to a rock star, maybe you might have some disconnect between what you had to look like while having sex and what you had to feel like, mixed in with anxiety about groupies.

    Certainly, she treats food as something to distance herself from, only necessary to take in, if at all, so she won’t keel over.

    And I wouldn’t take advice on nutrition and exercise from someone who works out every day without fail. Anyone who knows anything about exercise knows that the body needs rest in order to be at its peak; with strength training, for example, the real work occurs not during the workout but during the recovery from the workout, as muscle tissue rebuilds. Nutrients are also necessary at this point, or the tissue can’t adequately recover.

    If she’s reguarly fasting and then running four miles daily with no breaks, ever, she’s doing a serious number on her body. It’s only a matter of time before it starts rebelling on her.

  189. I love the way the writer ends the article. It leaves the reader with the sense that Roth has (at best) a deeply troubled relationship with food. I shudder to think what she’s putting her poor children through.

  190. 1600 calories qualifies as a starvation diet, yep. But there are plenty of people who naturally eat that amount and are healthy. Depends on your metabolism, activity level and overall size.

  191. BTW I read that article when it was published (before I had even heard of PA) and was totally appalled. I remember thinking how obviously ill she was, and was angry to read something so blatantly hateful and that glorified disordered thinking/eating . I should have written a letter. Then again what else should I expect from a ‘women’s’ magazine.. it was this or another article on plastic surgery that implies fat on your upper arms or wrinkles are deformities.

  192. @Bonnie:

    In that same vein, if you look on the back of dry pet food bags they have instructions on the amount of food to give your pet based on its current weight. Why can’t people live by the same logic and standards?

  193. “1600 calories qualifies as a starvation diet, yep.”

    I didn’t know that. Huh. I spose that means I’ve been ‘starving’ myself for most of my life. And remain obese, despite my distaste for both cake AND baby-flavor.

    I keep meaning to get some bloodwork to test for hypothyroidism…

  194. It’s not even as simple as metabolism, activity level, and overall size, actually. The body is waaaaay complex. But yeah, 1600 is considered a starvation diet in general, and for most it’s on the very low side.

  195. I could not agree with you more. I am done with this “quote unquote” person. She is not worth the mental energy it would require me to get furious at the stupidities she says.
    And as usual “Bravas” to everyone at SP.

  196. Yawn! MeMe Roth’s background is in public relations and marketing. She is as qualified to be an obesity “expert” as I am to be a brain surgeon! She gets press because her job is supposed to keep people mortified of food and their bodies to keep the dollars flowing in to BARFMA (BigDiet/Pharma). What I wish is that more in the movement with journalists/investigative backgrounds would look more closely into hers. And out her for what she really is. A talentless beyond pathetic creature who will do anything for attention and a buck; even shill for a system more dysfunctional than herself.

  197. The Elle article isn’t great, but I like this quote for those of you who don’t have the sanity points to wade through it:

    …Geneticists argue that people inherit not just a family propensity to being overweight but also an evolutionary instinct to consume and store as many calories as possible. “There is a basic drive to eat that is unconscious, and then there’s the conscious wish to eat less, and in a vast majority of cases, the basic drive wins out over time,” says Jeffrey M. Friedman, PhD, of Rockefeller University, whose lab identified leptin, a hormone made by the body’s fat cells that signals satiety to the brain. Moreover, there’s a range of individual differences in our energy-regulating mechanisms, and Friedman theorizes that obese people have higher leptin levels because they’re actually resistant to it, just as people with diabetes can be resistant to insulin. “We have to understand that people are different and accept their differences,” he says. “The experience of someone who is obese is totally unlike the experience of someone who is just trying to lose 10 or 15 pounds.”

    I tell Friedman about Roth and how she often touts that she “comes from a long line of obesity,” and he says, “She may feel that she’s exercising willpower and is thin when she was meant to be heavy, but that makes the assumption that her drives are equivalent in potency to everyone else’s. She probably just didn’t inherit her family’s fat gene.” Moreover, Friedman notes, “There’s an element of demagoguery here. Telling obese people that they just need to be a normal weight isn’t going to motivate them. The people who get stigmatized the most are the people who can do the least about it.”

  198. Man, I want to hug Dr. Friedman. I’m still not sure that I eat much more than people lots thinner than me, so I don’t know about leptin resistence, but it’s an interesting idea, and more plausible than the idea than fat people are all deluded liars.

  199. “And Bunny, I’m the same with the slow-to-wake-up stomach. Sometimes I just can’t stomach (ha!) the thought of eating anything before about 10am. Sometimes I can. But if it goes much longer than that I try to make a concious decision to eat, and I’ve started having coffee with lots of milk a bit earlier (say 8:30) so at least my body has something to work with.”

    Ah, yes. Coffee is definitely my food substitute while I wait for my stomach to wake up and start doing its job!

    And while I don’t appreciate the assertion by Friedman that fat people eat more than thinner people, at least he is talking acceptance, which is a start.

  200. I remember posting a question once about just how fanatical one needed to be about this diet. My specific question was, “Is it reasonable to tell someone, ‘No, I WILL NOT have a piece of your birthday cake’ or ‘No, Boyfriend’s Mom, I WILL NOT eat the food you prepared’ because of the Fat Flush Diet? And will that really mess you up THAT MUCH?” The women who responded told me yes, it is a lifestyle change, and some of them actually BRING THEIR OWN FOOD to social events for that very reason. WHAT?!?! That was just a little bit too alienating for me.

    @Lucy, that’s a big part of why I quit the South Beach Diet. The message board was full of that kind of thinking, up to and including telling someone who was going on a week-long camping trip to say she was “allergic” to white bread in order to push for SBD-legal foods. Because it’s never okay to not be dieting, not even if you’re hiking and rock-climbing.

    They also told me that if I was served something non-SBD-legal, like lasagna, I should eat a couple bites only, and mainly have salad. To me, that seems pretty inconsiderate as a guest. One person made an analogy to allergies–would I eat something I was allergic to just to be polite? I didn’t think it was really the same–I draw a big distinction between eating something that will definitely make me sick and something that might, maybe, contribute to me not losing weight (and this was when I thought dieting actually worked).

  201. (I should clarify that this was a random SBD Yahoo group, not anything official from the South Beach Diet website.)

  202. Eh, a lot of fat people eat less than thin people, and statistically there’s no difference in the amount of food that fat and thin populations eat, so I’m skeptical. They’re trying to explain a statistical difference that doesn’t actually exist, but that they assume exists because of their personal biases (in this case, the assumption that fat people must be eating more). Though I like that at least he isn’t assigning blame, and his last sentence is spot on.

    I, too, have a slow stomach in the morning! I have trouble eating right out of bed, and sometimes feel nauseated if I get up earlier than usual. Those 6:30 wake-ups in high school were tough. But then I have a voracious appetite by 10 or 11, so it doesn’t stick. :) (And I’ve never had disordered eating habits, or dieted, fwiw. And I’m thin. My stomach just hates the morning for some reason and always has.)

    You know, bringing your own food when you have dietary restrictions is not unreasonable or alienating. I’ve never had hosts care in any noticeable way.

  203. I’m not a huge morning eater, either, but I usually force myself to eat something light because otherwise I feel crappy later. I like to exercise as early as I can, and if I don’t eat beforehand I feel yucky, and when I’m teaching morning classes I need to eat before I go otherwise I’ll become ravenous halfway through class. I was teaching 8:00-9:30 last term, and I’d wake up around 5:30. My appetite usually doesn’t pick up until 8:30 or 9:00, but if I didn’t eat breakfast I’d be ready to eat my own arm by the time I was done at 9:30.

  204. I agree that I eat less than many thin people (and more than others) so I don’t know what I think about leptin either. I definitely think there are biological complexities that are not fully understood, and I’m glad there are some thoughtful researchers out there. Mostly I thought, why aren’t they writing an article about him – an actual credentialed expert?

    I was interested after reading this and looked for more info on Dr. Friedman and found this article from 2004 about his take on the fat epidemic:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/08/health/08cont.html?adxnnl=1

    Perhaps most people have already seen it (I’m a little newer to FA), but it was also an interesting read for those that haven’t.

  205. I have to say, I’m jealous of all you non-morning eaters. I often wake up ravenous and have to stuff some nuts or something in my mouth right away to avoid getting nauseated. Not eating until mid-morning would be so much easier. :-)

  206. I get 10am munchies SO BAD. It’s not even funny. Weird though is that if I wake up at 6am, I’m hungry. OH MY GOD so hungry. Eating the world type hungry. But, if I get up at 9, I can’t eat a thing until mid afternoon. Makes me wonder if eating cycle is as inbuilt in some people as sleeping cycle. I know people that can’t function if they’re not in bed before 9 every night, and others that work best sleeping from 2am to 8am every day and working afternoon shifts.

    I think sometimes, as a society, we’re stumped by the sheer degree of individuality we all suffer.

  207. Count me among those who don’t eat immediately on waking. I brew myself some coffee and have at least one cup before I can even think about eating.

    That said, if I don’t eat something by about nine-thirty (I usually get up around seven or seven thirty), I start getting goofy and then I get nasty. And then I get the shakes and fall over.

    By three thirty in the afternoon, I would probably be unconscious, even if I didn’t attempt to run four miles in the meantime. If I hadn’t passed out, I would definitely be a big ball of mean crazy.

    Hmmmm….

  208. Didn’t people used to call masturbation “self-abuse”? Here’s hoping Ms. Roth’s idiot theories about “eating food = self abuse” go the same way as all of those threats about going blind or growing hair on your palms if you masturbate.

  209. My son is somebody who wakes up ravenous. Some mornings the only word he can manage until he gets some food in him is “Pancakes.” I’ve been woken up by him shaking me and saying “Pancakes!” many, many times.

  210. 1600 calories. Hmm. I’m 5 feet tall and 115 lbs. According to the online BMR/required calories calculators, I need to eat between 1700 and 1900 calories per day if I’m only lightly active (normal daily activities) just to maintain my current weight, plus another 400-500 calories on the days when I go do my gym workout. MeMe is six inches taller than me and runs four miles per day. Yeah…that doesn’t sound like enough for her. Which explains a lot about her behavior. I know I can be a raging bitch when I’m really hungry.

    I feel sorry for her as a person. I think she’s got some major unresolved issues. I really, really hate her media persona and the things she’s said and done in the name of fat hatred. And I’m very scared for her children.

  211. I like how all she wants to do is shame people but when pressed, beyond the crazy of what she does(n’t) eat, she can’t offer any advice at all on what people SHOULD do. All she has is “You’re fat and you suck,” nothing else! Amazing. I missed my calling; I just need one horrible thing to latch on to and I can make money off it the rest of my life…

  212. What I have learned about those online calorie counters for BMI is they mean nothing! *g* Seriously: my mom is obese, 5’8″, and active and eats so little it sometimes alarms me.

    Meme’s obsession and hate makes me suspicious more than her caloric intake. We really are all sorts.

  213. Zuzu, I know M*M* told the story about Eddie Van Halen, but as far as David Lee Roth has ever admitted, he’s never been married to anyone. This NYT article from 2005 describes him as “never married,” and AFAIK M*M* has been with her current husband longer than four years.

  214. I seldom challenge people’s opinions online, because I believe lots of opinions should be out there and respected and encouraged, even when I don’t agree.

    But

    Sasquatch made this sweeping statement about rape:
    “The victim feels no pleasure from it, only perhaps a lessened physical pain in the moment.”

    1. No one speaks for all rape victims, even if they are one, or are an official expert.

    2. You just gave any human who had a frisson of pleasure in a fucked up situation a reason feel like they are a freak.
    And the belief that the body can’t feel pleasure in a rape situation makes it nearly impossible for someone forced into orgasm to win even a horrifying and provable rape case.

    3. It’s very common for people whose first sexual experiences are screwed up to incorporate that screwiness into their later sexuality, either positively or negatively.
    It’s also possible for later experiences to change responsiveness in all kinds of ways.
    This makes a wide range of responses to both traditionally negative and sometimes even traditionally positive situations.

    4. Our (US) culture often describes “normal” sexuality in ways that look a lot like rape to some of us, and sometimes that is internalized to a point that brutal force is indeed very pleasure producing, and sometimes that surfaces in real rape situations, no matter how unwanted, unjustifiable or how unquestionably wrong the situation is.

    People respond to stimuli however they respond to it, whether that looks good to those who want black and white answers and statistics and facts or not.

    And no, all y’all rapists reading this, you don’t get to use this as justification, even if you scare your victim into begging or hit the right buttons and make them cum. No means no.
    If you aren’t getting a clear and enthusiastic yes, you are probably doing it wrong.

    —–

    sasquatch, I appreciate your intent in your comment, and I’m sorry if my response to your comment hurts you in any way. Sometimes a sweeping statement just makes the broom jump wildly into my hands.

    love,
    Lily

    PS other thoughts inspired by this comment section include: “just lie back and think of English muffins” and “to play devil’s food cake advocate….”

    PPS I think some things can be abuse AND extremely pleasurable — they say heroin is the most pleasure your brain can experience, at least the first time. I don’t think there is really any non-abusive heroin use, is there?

    And I’m fairly certain that if I had a peanut allergy and a horrible fatal disease, I’d take a lot of pleasure in doing myself in with some insane southern peanut butter pie confection, even tho most would still consider peanut butter assisted suicide abusive.

    (mmm, heroin and peanut butter…….)

  215. “Learning about Pennsylvania changed my life, too.”

    “State bird: ruffed grouse! William Penn FTW!”

    Also, in Pittsburgh alone we have some famous firsts, such as: first polio vaccine (Salk was a University of Pgh researcher), first internet emoticon (in 1982, created by a CMU computer scientist), first simultaneous heart, liver and kidney transplant, first robotics institute (at CMU again) and first Mr. Yuck sticker. and that’s just the start of it.

    What can I say, I’m really proud of my hometown.

  216. “No need to hide it. Learning about Pennsylvania changed my life, too.”

    LOL!! Incidentally, I live in Philadelphia.

    I agree with volcanista, it isn’t as simplistic as size, metabolism and activity level, although all those things seem to play a part. It is totally unknown how it all really works!

    Someone mentioned pet food feeding recommendations – I don’t feed commercial pet food, but I measure what I do feed. My 13-year-old, moderately active dog maintains her weight on recommended rations. My 9-year-old, much more active dog eats about half the recommended amount for his size and still will gain noticeable weight if we have a week where we a few hours less. He is a Lab mix and Labs are often chubby.. it’s genetic and low intake/lots of exercise aren’t going to change his body type!

    Left to my own devices, I eat around 1500-1800 calories per day. I perform better at yoga (and feel better in general) if I eat more than that, so I monitor my caloric intake. At up to 2500 or so, I don’t gain. If I consistently eat over 2500, I will (this is desired – however eating this much food is difficult for me). I find it pretty impressive that my body will maintain the same weight over nearly a thousand-calorie range. In my case if I increase intake a lot of it is burned off through body heat – I was always a person who was cold a lot but as I eat more I am easily overheated and wake up sweating throughout the night.

  217. What can I say, I’m really proud of my hometown.

    My mom’s family is from Erie, where I lived for several years, and I distinctly remember having a textbook called All About Pennsylvania when I was in 4th grade.

  218. MeMe Roth needs to take her own advice. Although she apparently does derive a sort of masochistic, self-righteous pleasure from her extremely restrictive eating and exercise habits, that doesn’t mean she’s not abusing herself by following them.

  219. I just generally bristle whenever the onsided “all eating/weight gain is bad, all restricting/weight loss is good” point of view comes up.

    I have gained around 10-15 lbs within the last couple of years (a lot of that quite recently after starting intuitive eating) and my body functions much better now than it did when I was thinner. I actually was never underweight, I’ve been in the much aspired to lower side of “healthy and normal” all through my childhood and teen years. I now weigh 152 lbs at 5’10” (And probably still gaining for a while to come), so I’m not skinny and certainly not fat, but much more padded than before, after I’ve stopped trying to restrict and control my eating in accordance with the idea, that I knew my healthiest weight better than my body did.

    And the result? My hands and feet are now able to maintain a sort of independent body heat withoutt being stuck under someone elses shirt on the couch, I don’t pass out when I stand up too quickly or stretch my back (which has actually given me some nasty head wounds throughout the years) and I can run for more than 10 minutes without tasting copper and seeing spots.

    I challenge anyone to tell me to my face that my weight gain has been unhealthy for me! (A challenge I know MeMeMe is up to!)

  220. “MeMe Roth wants us all to live the plot of Atonement.”

    Does this mean that every time I eat I get to have sex with James McAvoy? If so, please sign me up!

  221. I challenge anyone to tell me to my face that my weight gain has been unhealthy for me! (A challenge I know MeMeMe is up to!)

    When you’re delusional, as MeMeMe appears to be by all accounts, you can rationalize anything. I’m sure that if someone told her that sunny days make people fat, she’d not only believe it, but would start forbidding children to play outdoors. And until she gets help, there’s not going to be anything that will convince her that 1) people can be healthy or unhealthy regardless of their weight and size and 2) weight gain can be good just as weight loss can be bad, depending on the person.

  222. Sarah B., you’re right. She IS dangerous and not evil. I really hope she gets the help she needs. Before she permanently damages herself and her kids.

  223. Salk did indeed belong to PA, but he wasn’t the first polio vaccine producer. Poor Dr. Enders is largely forgotten, but he managed it first. In Boston. At least he got his Nobel Prize, if not the historical credit.

  224. My bad, Meowser. I could have sworn she had something to do with DLR.

    On days when I lift weight, because I am trying to put on muscle, I have to eat about 2500 calories, at least 30% of them from protein. It’s not as easy as it sounds when you don’t eat meat or dairy. The volume alone is a little daunting.

  225. Here’s a letter (the very top one on the page) in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by a local man who is telling the fatphobes who walk up to him with their rudeness and unwanted advice without even knowing him at all, to “step off”.

    I’m considering writing a letter to the editor agreeing with him using information I have learned here, in anticipation of all the concern-troll types who will likely respond with the usual high-and-mighty preaching ala “MeMe” Roth.

  226. Moderators:

    Could you please fix my tag error in my “letter to the editor” comment? I’m sorry, I proofread the damn thing and everything. So frustrating!

  227. THANKS Sweet Machine for this fabulous post that I finally had time to read in the wee hours last night.

    I am the “Queen-of-the-Skinny-Sphere” so to speak, and here to say MeMe is whacked (and the thought that she is a mother kills me).

    Quite interesting that she touts “Integrative Nutrition”, yet their web site does not feature her as a Notable Alumni http://www.integrativenutrition.com/Alumni/NotableAlumni.aspx

    Hmm…could this be because MeMe is all about MeMe?

    The end of the Guardian article says it all “I eat after I exercise” as she sits there during a 3:30pm interview with no food in her stomach.

    What a GREAT, BAD example for young women.
    Keep it real,
    mamaV

  228. Huh. Well, Oreos are the tastiest trauma-inducing violation I’ve ever had, then.

    Mmm, victimhood. Tastes even better with milk!

  229. It’s possible to be naturally thin from an all-fat family. My brother eats more than the rest of us and is thin as a rail. But she definitely sounds anorexic, not like him.

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