I’ve been remiss in not mentioning National Eating Disorders Awareness Week yet (and in not posting much this week at all). But hey, it’s only hump day — still plenty of week left.
The theme this year, which I absolutely love, is “Be Comfortable in Your Genes.”
Brilliant. And not just because they’ve tied it into a 20% discount at True Jeans, an online retailer that asks about your measurements, style preferences, and body type, then tells you which brands of jeans will fit you best and sells them to you. (Of course, they recommend Svoboda jeans for me, which are out of my price range, not to mention too long, but the concept is great.)
Wait, I’m sorry, were we talking about something besides clothes?
Oh, right, eating disorders. They’re way less fun to talk about. But we bloody well need to be talking about them, because the line between disordered eating and what’s promoted as “healthy” eating grows ever slimmer (pun intended). The Department of Health and Human Services’s “Small Step” campaign, for instance, is ostensibly about helping people make little, sustainable lifestyle changes to improve their health. Awesome! Finally, the government promotes Health at Every Size! Except, wait. Those “small, sustainable” steps include things like, “Don’t eat a portion bigger than your fist” and “Eat your meals at home on a smaller plate” to fool yourself into thinking you’ve eaten more, and my personal favorite, “When dining out, order a light appetizer instead of an entree.”
This is what the government is telling us to do to be “healthier.” Eat a “light appetizer” instead of an entree — because of course ONLY GRODY FATTIES EAT FULL MEALS!! And let’s not think about the fact that only eating portions smaller than my fist would mean I couldn’t eat an entire apple, orange, pear, bell pepper, tomato, or cut-up carrot in one sitting. My tiny fist is equal to about 1 tangerine, 3 brussels sprouts, or 2 good-sized broccoli florets. If I never ate anything bigger than my fist, I would be FUCKING STARVING ALL THE TIME — but hey, since I’m fat, that’s not a problem. That’s the point.
I mean, many among us will recognize those “small steps” as hoary old diet tips, and some will even recognize them as the sort of helpful advice that circulates on pro-ana sites. But when it comes from the government, it is totally not about weight loss at any cost, even if it means disordered eating! It’s about OUR HEALTH.
Eating until you’re satisfied is bad for your health. Ordering an actual meal is bad for your health. Downing a WHOLE APPLE in one sitting is bad for your health. As long as you remember those things, you will be healthy, and once you get healthy enough, you will be able to wear “a bikini that challenges some obscenity laws.”
This is how it works.
And this is why we need a National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Among about a billion other reasons.
Some other recommended reading this week…
Harriet Brown: “Anorexia: a portrait” (trigger warning)
Paul Campos: The weight of a cruel culture
The Rotund: Intuitive Eating Primer
Take care of yourselves, Shapelings. Cheers to those currently recovering from eating disorders — and love to those still fighting them.