Today I read an article in PsychologyToday entitled: “7 Ways to Cope With Feeling Fat” by Susan Albers PsyD. The article focused on self-esteem building through music, comfortable clothes, and relaxation activities. Dr. Albers wrote the article in response to No Fat Talk Week/Fat Talk Free Week which is Oct. 18-22, 2010. The goal of this week, is to not “think” of yourself as “fat.”
Personally, considering the vast amount of photoshopped models (first they were starvation skinny, and now we can make them virtually inhumanly disproportionate), I understand the need for self-esteem promotion. However, obesity is also a problem in the U.S. What sort of message is a Fat Free Talk Week sending to people that are dangerously obese??? Is this a nationally approved “I can cheat on my diet” week? Why not a “Healthy Self-Image” week? One that promotes realistic body images AND healthy eating habits. No where in Albers article, does it mention healthy eating or the reverse side of the issue – that in a nation with an obesity epidemic something has to change. So I dug a little deeper to read up more on this No Fat Talk Week directly from it’s website:
(More information after the jump.)
The No Fat Talk Week is part of the Reflections: Body Image Program by Delta Delta Delta. The following is an excerpt from their site:
10 million women are dealing with eating disorders in this country, which is more than are suffering from breast cancer. It’s time we take control over our own destinies, our own bodies, and our own inner dialogues. We’re changing the conversation to create a more positive body image for women everywhere!
Fat Talk describes all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies. Examples of fat talk may include: “I’m so fat,” “Do I look fat in this?” “I need to lose 10 pounds” and “She’s too fat to be wearing that swimsuit.” Statements that are considered fat talk don’t necessarily have to be negative; they can seem positive yet also reinforce the need to be thin – “You look great! Have you lost weight?” (Reflections, 2010)
This makes more sense than Albers article. It’s a week to target eating disorders and a weight centric culture. The problem with reading the brief article featured in PsychologyToday is that it over simplifies the issue and the solution. On the one hand, there are lots of people with severely distorted body image perspectives that have been shaped by media promotion. These people may or may not have an eating disorder due to this distortion, but nevertheless continue to promote the socially influenced outlook on weight through the process of Fat Talk. On the other hand, there is an obesity epidemic caused by individuals making uninformed dietary choices.
When I hit 24, I began gaining weight “for no reason.” My dietary habits had not changed since college, and I had always managed to maintain a 110-120 weight range. After hitting 24, my weight eventually reached 149 in 2 years. I had a WTF moment. I tried dieting, that did not work. Recently, I lost 6lbs. This is what I did:
- I researched the amount of calories that were in what I was eating by making a chart of all my food/drink and snacks each day for a week. (At the time the range was b/w 2600-3000…and you will be shocked at how many calories are in some of the smaller meals you eat.)
- I began walking at least 1-2 times per week
- And I made dietary changes. For example, I use to buy the green tea with lemon flavoring in the big six pack. Now I buy the off-brand teas with flavoring. (The brand name had more sugar and was taking up over 100 cals of my daily intake. The off-brand is actually made of real tea and has no sugar, so it has a stronger tea taste. Also, because it has no artificially sugar, it has 0 cals!) Little changes can make a world of difference, and become longer lasting because they are lifestyle changes.
I still am working on maintaining my weight (and losing another 5lbs) 🙂 But awareness should be about promoting a healthy lifestyle: mentally, and physically.