Our current culture presents a confusing array of messages about eating and body image. We see media images which promote unrealistic (and generally unreal) bodies paired with headlines about obesity prevention programs; news stories about eating disorders alongside multiple supersize food options; push for perfection alongside marketing for indulgence.
Man, does that first paragraph bring back some memories! When I was a skinny teenager, after I had moved in with my dad, when I went to visit my mom the first thing she would do was try to give me a diet pill. Next she would launch into trying to feed me & if I wasn’t hungry – oh, because maybe I had just eaten – she would tell me I was anorexic. Granted, my mother didn’t take diet pills for diet reasons. There’s a few reasons why she dropped dead of a heart attack at 60yo.
There are truths about eating and bodies which seem to get lost somewhere between childhood and teenage years. Young babies and toddlers generally find joy in their bodies, no matter what their size or shape, and they listen to their bodily cues such as eating when they are hungry and stopping when they are full.
Seven steps from NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) to help prevent eating disorders are outlined in the post.
- Everybody is different
- Listen to your body.
- No dieting.
- Move often.
- Reject weight bias.
- Avoid comparing your body to your friends’ bodies or to the bodies you see in the media.
- Handle life difficulties with healthy coping techniques, not through over- or undereating.
For more depth on the steps, I encourage you read the full post.
I think a recent post by Ragen Chastain over at Dances with Fat, “Obesity & Eating Disorders, complements this well. She discusses the ignorance of modern thinking about fat people & eating disorders. People considered overweight or obese are not only ignored when they have eating disorders, they are actually encouraged because our society, & even our healthcare system, believe in weight loss at any cost.
I decided to tag this PCOS as well, because PCOS makes it really easy to gain weight & really difficult to lose it. When I was diagnosed the way is was explained to me is that hormonally your body thinks it’s pregnant, so its goal is to store up fat. The common prescription for weight loss with PCOS, even from doctors, seems to be a 1000kcal diet. Common thinking is a healthy adult diet shouldn’t go below 1,200kcal a day, yet this is encouraged for women with PCOS in order to lose weight. Sadly, this isn’t limited to PCOS because there are lots of doctor supervised low-calorie weight loss plans & you don’t even need any diagnosis beyond fat to get on them. I had a doctor suggest to me their weight loss clinic, which meant putting me on diet pills – & he knew I had Bipolar Disorder! So my mental health wasn’t a priority compared to the size of my ass, & I don’t have any of the fatty diseases*. WTG, doc. It’s good to have priorities. (*Yes, I am aware PCOS is often considered a fatty disease, but since I only weighed 125lbs at 5′ 4″ when it started, I reject your dumb-ass argument. It took me about 15yrs to get a diagnosis for my problem because when it started & I was still thin, I was told it was normal hormones leveling off. After they leveled off to nothing, & I had doubled in size, the doctors kept diagnosing me as fat & telling me if I lost weight all my problems would be solved. How do you solve a problem with weight loss when 1. it causes weight gain & 2. it wasn’t caused by fatness in the first place?)