Monday, March 22, 2010

Mrs. Obama's Weight...and Mine

this blog may be controversial. and why not -- my ED co-authored.

if you read my blog, you know i have issues with our First Lady's "war" against childhood obesity. will the kids feel stigmatized? is there too much focus on weight and food and food and weight and weight and...? where's the therapeutic support? where's the monitoring for eating disorders? where's the focus on unconditional love, no matter what size body you're in?

if you read my blog, you know that i've raged about this issue to most people around me. one response i didn't expect:

"michele obama isn't exactly thin herself. who is she to help overweight kids?"

i heard similiar comments from a bunch of people and became belligerent -- "what are you crazy?" i ranted. "michelle obama has a perfect, strong, beautiful body. she's physically fit, she's gorgeous in her own skin and powerful -- a terrific example for young people." i sure told all of them!

but here's the truth. when mrs obama started her campaign against childhood obesity, i thought, "well, she's not exactly thin. if she gains a few pounds, she'll start looking like, well, she needs to lose a few pounds. who is she to tell people to lose weight?" (actually, who is anyone to tell people to lose weight, but that's another blog?)

and here's another truth. since i first saw the obama's, i've kind of worried about mrs. obama's weight. her husband, our president, is such a slim, fit sexy guy. if she gains a few pounds, will he find her less attractive? i really worry about this.

am i proud of these thoughts? NOOOOOOOO. but my ED wanted to write that last part, and so she did.

in truth, of course, michelle obama is clearly very fit and strong and healthy. she is, indeed, a perfect representation of health.

Then there's our Surgeon General,Dr Regina Benjamin. She's someone who does not look fit (although we know fitness can't be judged by external appearance, right?)but who is very involved in "the war". Despite her impressive résumé, critics have raised questions about whether Dr. Benjamin, because of her heavier weight, has a credibility problem as she tries to address the nation’s obesity problem.

can a heavy person convince other heavy people to lose weight? i'm considering going to a nutritionist. how would i feel if she were "overweight"?

well, here i go again, putting labels on weight and overweight. so much of me works so hard to believe that weight is meaningless. i hear two voices.

what do i really believe? does anyone else have horrifying thoughts like mine? please say yes. well, for your sake, i hope you don't have my thoughts.

i hope you'll let me know what you think of this post. i'm really embarrassed to publish this post. my ED isn't


  1. Well, I've always seen Mrs. Obama as really healthy, and more on the thin side. I mean, she's tall, so she's a large woman in that way, but she looks strong and fit to me. I do have a hard time when people telling others to lose weight are overweight. I've been to overweight nutritionists. It was kind of odd for me. But, I know that different weights are healthy for different people. If someone's healthy, the number doesn't really matter. I guess that's the problem with the "war on obesity." Nobody is looking at individuals, just numbers.

  2. The only thing I have really noticed about michelle obamas body is that all the magazines seem to focus on her arms. They are having articles like "right to bear arms" and other such nonsense that feature her arm workout. I think her arms are just normal, not overly buff or anything. I don't know.
    I had a dietitian in the Center for Change that was naturally thin and I had a hard time trusting her- I just kept thinking "well its easy for you to eat all this food- you are naturally thin! If I eat all this I will blow up like a whale!". When I was in the hospital years ago I had a dietitian who was unnaturally thin and anorexic looking. She was always trying to get me to add "fats" to my menu and I would just think "yeah, would you eat that, lady?".
    I gueaa healthcare professionals are just human like the rest of us. Still, its hard to take advice from someone if you feel like they don't understand, or are not taking their own advice.

  3. My ED thoughts would never let me some as fat. I'm bigger that they are is the fist and only allowed thought. Sad but true.

    What makes me so mad is that if your "fat" (I'm not fat I'm an obese american) discrimination is ok. Name calling is ok. That's one of the last types of people that you are social allowed to say bad things about. Fat = lazy, fat = sloppy, fat = stupid.

    Sorry lots of rants.

  4. I used to go to a dietician who was a lovely and strange roly poly man. He gave me great advice about food and healthy eating and that was what I was there for. The fact he was overweight himself did not bother me - although had he been obese I may have thought he had food issues. He said that he loved food and ate far too much healthy food which indicated to me he knew where he was at and was okay with it.

  5. well i try my best to not have to see either Obama or his wife so i dont really know what the woman looks like...however, my ED makes many assumptions and prejudices toward people, and bless their hearts i always feel so frikin bad when my head goes off quietly about people. a lot of people like to tell me "must be nice to eat what you want and be thin, im trying this new diet ___"(insert some brothy veggie fat free yogurt way of life) and that is where i draw the line and flip because people are fighting the obesity epidemic 100% the WRONG WAY. eating more of less and product laden atrifical nonsense is not going to help, and will genetically mutate us and cause even more diseases...grr... i could rant about this forever but ill end now!

    but the jist...yes i do the same thing

  6. I would definitely not consider Michelle Obama fat. Or even approaching fat. She could be seen that way, given our standards today, especially since we're used to comparing people to Mary-Kate and Ashley. She's healthy, and pretty, I think.

    I, too, have found myself labeling others based on their weight. It's gone to the point that I can't talk to a girl at school because she is obese. I hate myself every day for categorizing her, and I'm trying to change this. It's the stupid ED thinking.

    Sometime last year, I went to a morbidly obese nutritionist. I didn't hear a word she said because I spent the whole time thinking that she was being hypocritical. It's terrible of me, but I'm being honest.

    I think it's just a function of the disorder, or rather, a way to measure how much progress we're making on recovering. Someday we won't even notice weight.