Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thoughts on Childhood Obesity

In researching this topic, (so close to my former obese child's heart), the first article i found (from 2010) said this,"In February of this year, First Lady Michelle Obama presented her ambitious Let’s Move campaign to battle the terrifying childhood obesity epidemic. Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years"

So, I was terrifying, huh? 

Oh, I get that obesity can be harmful to health with the added incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma, etc.., It just so happens that,  as a 60 pounds overweight kid , I suffered none of these, but still, i get it.

However, what i did suffer was excessive bullying and ostracism leading to miserable self-esteem and loneliness. Every day, i begged to be allowed to stay home from school. what would have helped that problem was changing the OTHER kids, not me. No one talks about that!

But no, what we hear about is better nutrition and more exercise. Busy mom's get blamed for making processed foods instead of preparing healthy meals. Computer games take the rap for lack of exercise.

Hey, I've got nothing against good food and exercise, but, my mom served us vegetables, broiled fish (yick), and fruits. we weren't allowed more than one starch at a meal and got dessert only on special occasions. 

still I was huge, often stealing money to run to the candy store, buying everything i could and shoving it all in my mouth on the way home.

In contrast to me, my brother and sister were quite thin. . in terms of exercise, my sister had all the athletic genes - she swam, played tennis, cheer-leaded, did gymnastics. My brother sat on the living room couch with his nose in a book. As i said, both - thin

Could there be something more at work here than veggies and aerobics? i loved all vegetables - brussels sprouts rivaled ice cream as my favorite food........ i ate lots and lots of brussel sprouts and lots and lots of ice cream. pretty much, lots and lots of everything.

Could there be something else going on, something that fruits and veggies couldn't fix? i think so.

To me, obesity is an inside job. I ate because i was miserable - a lonely odd-ball whose parents were going thru an evil divorce. i had no idea how to fit in with others, i was afraid of everything (the dark, the Nazis, slavery, being kidnapped for starters), and looked for solace in the only thing that (i thought) wouldn't hurt me - food
 Trust me, filling my life with leafy greens and jumping jacks wasn't  going to help me. Filling myself with what I really needed, finally, did.

But no one talks about that. Just today, 5 years after that beginning of Mrs. Obama's war against Childhood Obesity, I read about her and her war. I read about doctors, nutritionists, exercise and of course, fruits and vegetables

I read nothing of sadness or fear or loneliness. I read nothing of therapists or going any deeper than the surface.

Obesity was linked with poverty -- more kids with less money and less opportunity
gravitate toward more fast food and less activity. However, there are plenty of thin kids who live in poverty. What's different? What's going on with the kids who turn to zoning out with food and TV?

Not getting enough rabbit food?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Supermodel Emme

I became familiar with Emme Aaronson, the world most famous supermodel about twenty years ago. Emme’s grace and success inspired me, a plus-sized thirty-year-old who lived miserably in my own body

Her first book, True Beauty—Positive Attitudes & Practical Tips from the World's Leading Plus Size Model, seemed written for specifically for me.  And I loved that we shared a first name - her given name is Melissa - and a birth year.

After reading Emme’s book, I wrote her a letter, letting her know how she inspired me and gave me hope I’d never known before. She wrote back - a lovely handwritten card with a kaola bear on the front (she was on a book tour in Australia.)

I will never forget her generosity and still think of her and that card when i'm having bad day, low days. Days where my self-esteem seems to have moved out of the country.

Since that book came out in 1997, Emme has had a child, gone thru a tough marriage and divorce and battled breast cancer. Yet, she still beams in photos and still radiantly carries her message of self-love for women of all sizes.

In a 1997 New York Times articles, she said ''I stopped dieting. 'I've changed my psyche, my self-esteem, the 'good girl, bad girl' thing. If you cheat on your husband or commit murder, that's bad. A cookie is just a cookie. I got tired of fighting myself every step of the way. I live my life now. I don't get crazy.'' 

Words to live by. Thanks Emme.

Friday, June 19, 2015

"Fat" "Camp"

When I was a fat kid, losing weight was my only goal.  My mother drove me to diet doctors, Weight Watchers, Behavior Modification specialists, therapists. We attempted every diet – eating only protein or only fruit or only rice. We cut out sugar, carbs, eating after 5 pm, eating before dinner, white food, anything but grapefruit……..

My mother lost a lot of weight. I got fatter. We tried another diet.

Defeated and disgusted, I believed myself to be the ugliest, most unlovable girl in the world. I was teased mercilessly for my weight (and  frizzy hair, coke-bottle glasses, braces, acne.)
At one point, my mother suggested “fat” camp, but my aversion to exercise and the label, “fat”, put an end to that idea. I cringed at the thought of being weighed and made to exercise and put on more diets.

Imagine being judged all summer by your weight? Awful. The school year was bad enough.
Instead, Mom sent me to regular camp, where my lack of athletic prowess made life, well, miserable. An insomniac since birth, I couldn’t sleep. I was the only one in my bunk without a boyfriend. What did I do at camp? I ate.

And dreamed of a summer camp where I could be free. Free to read and rest and watch movies (Melissa McCarthy movies!) and lie in the sun and maybe participate in gentle non-competitive exercise like dog paddling around a pool or going for an easy walk through the fields.

No one would chastise me and my fellow campers for lack of weight loss or lack of coordination or lack of dates. We would be accepted and cherished for just being us.

I suppose no parent would send their kid to my camp, not in today’s world where skinny is synonymous with all things good. Such a shame

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tess Holliday, Plus-size model

Tess Holliday is a hugely successful plus-size model. (I hate that designation, "plus-size". Regular models weigh about 30 pounds or so less than the average woman. Should we call them "minus-size"? Why do we have to label size at all?)

Every time I read about her, I am reminded that she stand 5'5 and weighs 280 pounds. i don't know the height and weight of any other models, but i certainly know hers.

Tess graced the cover of People magazine recently. I sensed there would be backlash -- readers complaining that she served as a terrible role model for young girls, and indeed, there was.

I find these complaints silly - i doubt anyone is going to try to gain weight to attain Tess's size, but if a young woman is heavier than the norm and feeling miserable about it, she can see that she doesn't have to; a woman can be beautiful and considered beautiful at any weight.

These days, I'm a pretty average size, but i used to weigh 80 pounds more and believed  i was the ugliest woman on the planet. I felt so ugly, i sometimes thought life wasn't worth it. At 200 pounds, I thought I couldn't be happy, could NEVER find a man who would want to date me, couldn't achieve anything.

Perhaps if I had seen women like Tess, with rich lives, wonderful relationships and booming careers, I would have felt better about myself. And what would have been best of all for me, Tess seems to be so successful BECAUSE, not even in spite, of her weight.

Tess carries a message of hope. Bravo