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Accepting and loving your body will NOT kill you (Jess Weiner article review)

Posted by on Aug 9, 2011 in Blog Posts | 27 comments

Warning, mild rant. This apparently has been a pretty controversial topic (I understand Ms Weiner is launching a new campaign, so good PR, I suppose…)

I was curious to read Jess Weiner’s article in Glamour magazine. I had read and recommended, “Life Doesn’t Begin Five Pounds From Now,” particularly enjoying sections on how to stop the “fat-talk” that we women engage in so freely. Heck, I even “liked” her on face-book.

Alas, the title, “Jess Weiner’s Weight Struggle: ‘Loving My Body Almost Killed Me,'” clued me in to the agenda the piece would be pushing. That is, that loving a larger-than-average body means ignoring health. Only by not loving our bodies, by trying to change them can they be healthy. (Oh, and by “almost killed” she meant some borderline lipid levels and an “almost prediabetes” blood sugar. Not ideal, but not imminently deadly. And-  I wonder if she wrote any articles on, “My eating disorder, it almost killed me,” since eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illness…) I digress…

The article totally distorts what I see as the mission of the Health at Every Size model. (Is it just me, or does there seem to be a concerted assault on body-acceptance and HAES these days? I see Dr. Katz all the time on my google-alerts warning about how loving your body can be dangerous…)  Allow me to go through a few  passages, with my own ideas  (as a physician and someone working to help children and adults have a good relationship with food and their bodies) on how the message could have been so much more powerful, and ultimately  more effective in promoting health and body acceptance.

1) from her doctor: “your blood sugar numbers show me that you are almost in the prediabetic range. If you don’t lose some weight and watch your sugar intake, you will get diabetes.” It was a harsh truth.” Well, not quite, but I don’t want this post to be 12 pages long…
The better way? Her doctor could have said,: “Jess, I am a little concerned about some of your lab levels, can you tell me what you like to do to get your body moving, and about how often you are able to fit it into your week?” “What do you think might be going on?”
and, “You’ve shared your eating disorder history with me, tell me how things are going with food? I notice on your three-day record of what and when you eat that you seem to go long periods of time without eating and then seem to eat a lot later in the day. Can you tell me about that? How do you feel by 2 pm?  Do you sometimes eat when you are bored, or for other reasons?” …
Ask about behaviors in other words…

2) from Jess, “The cold, hard truth was that accepting myself as I was was putting my life in danger.”
Really? This was perhaps the most aggravating line of all.  Does accepting and loving your body mean necessarily that you accept feeling “weighted down and not as strong and vibrant,” as she puts it? That you don’t move your body, that you don’t eat in a way that is reliable, rewarding and balanced? Isn’t that the whole point of loving and accepting your body-that you also HONOR it, and “treat it better” (her words– why she had to want to lose weight to realize she wanted to treat her body better is beyond me) and want it to feel good? Can’t you do that at 255 pounds? Am I totally clueless? (I really am asking here…)

3) on eating:   she tried to find more whole foods and foods with less than “5 grams of sugar per serving. (I’ve come to appreciate fresh veggies and whole-grain wraps.) It was a blow to realize how many foods I liked had unhealthy chemicals and extra sugar in them.”
better: Nutrition education can be powerful. Learning to enjoy a variety of rewarding foods from a variety of food groups is great. Again, did she need to embark on a weight loss program to learn to enjoy fresh veggies and whole-grain wraps? Aren’t there fat people out there who like those things already? Is recommending calorie or sugar-gram counting, or other eating based on external cues helpful? Isn’t it potentially harmful and triggering for a vast number of women who have struggled with eating disorders? Isn’t denial of all those foods she likes (chemicals and all) a powerful  trigger for the cravings, guilt and shame?

4) Jess: “I also started seeing a therapist to work on the emotional baggage I carry and how it plays a part in the way I turn to food for solace, not nutrition.” To me, body acceptance means you don’t have to wait till you’re trying to lose weight to address disordered eating patterns, in fact, trying to lose weight almost always sabotages competent eating.

5) Uh-oh, there’s trouble already. After her repeat labs (all within normal) and 25 pound weight loss, Jess says, “But I was a little pissed off. “I’ve only lost 25 pounds?” I asked. I thought declining desserts and exercising when exhausted would have brought me a more dramatic verdict.” Here we see the ugly resentment and bitterness that comes from denying things like desserts. (She’ll have to deny herself a whole lot more if she wants to lose the last 30 pounds she says she does.) What if she does maintain all those dessert-free days and exhausting workouts and doesn’t lose another pound? How far will she go? What if, she even gains a few pounds before her body finds its new set point? Will she give up? Screw it all! Why bother? This is why weight as a measure of health and success is so damaging- why deprivation doesn’t last. When the numbers don’t respond the way we want them to we get mad, upset, feel shame, all things that make us less happy and less likely to sustain changes that might otherwise feel pretty good and improve our health. Will she resume her emotional eating to deal with her disappointment?

The reality is, humans have the power to change behaviors. As hard as it may be, we can look at our eating if it feels out of control, we can get help, we can find fun ways to move our bodies, we can feed ourselves reliably and well. What the VAST majority of people CAN’T do is have the power to determine their weight. Behavior is modifiable over the long-term, weight is generally not. So some people make healthy changes, see the labs and fitness levels improve,  sense of well-being sky-rocket, while the number on the scale stays stuck. Some will lose weight, some won’t. Still worthy changes, no? (More and more research is coming out that supports that healthy behaviors, not weight loss in and of itself, improve health.)

Jess has made “healthy” changes, (though I would argue that restriction and sugar-gram counting may not be healthy in the long-run.) Although all her blood markers are healthy, she still has the goal to lose thirty more pounds (what is the magic of that number?) Though she tells a heckler in the beginning of the story, “…don’t assume that just because someone is overweight that he or she is unhealthy.” Clearly,  she doesn’t believe her own words.

What I think is so sad, is that this woman, who helped many  others begin the process of self-acceptance and begin to believe that they deserved to be happy and healthy, blew a golden opportunity. By turning the focus and tying her perceived health to weight loss, she destroys the power of her message. Had she said something like, “I accept my body (I don’t have to love it, but I do have to not hate it to treat it well,) but I don’t feel very good right now. My eating still isn’t where I’d like it to be, my energy is low, I’m not able to do the things I’d like to do, like go for a bike-ride around the local lake. I’m going to make some changes, try to feel better and see if I can improve some of my borderline lab levels.” That would have had me cheering. And, if she lost weight? Fine. If not? Fine.

Jess has the right to try to lose weight.  She has a right to try to be healthier. What I don’t think she has the right to do is claim you can only do one by doing the other. It is that implication that has the potential to do so much damage.

Now I just need to figure out how to “unlike” her on facebook, because now, her message is one I can’t get behind.

Do you think I’m overreacting, or does her focus on weight loss undermine her previous work? What did you think of the article?

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27 Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Ellyn herb

    As a licensed psychologist and certified eating disorders specialist, I think it is important to recognize that each individual has their own journey about weight, food, diet, exercise and body acceptance. I believe we may eventually find that the causes of obesity are extremely personal encompassing genetics, lifestyle, diet and weight loss history, the environment etc. I think that we need a new campaign that is something like, STOP BODY HATRED NOW! And that we need to stop worrying about the number on the scale. No one even agrees on what “health” is. the Health at Every Size(R) movement is still in it’s infancy. Another part of this debate comes up for me when I sit every day and hear the cruelty and insensitivity of health care providers (believing they are helping) in working with fat people. The shame is on them, not their patients! Compassion and DO NO HARM is essential.

    • katja

      yes, thank you and amen! Do no harm is critical, it motivates so much of what I do, particularly with children and “obesity…”

  2. Dawn

    This post is so timely as there is something related that I have been wondering for some time and I’m hoping that you can speak to it. Is there literature that clearly outlines whether obesity is causative of poor health indicators (ie high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc) or is it correlated with poor health indicators? I think this gets to the fundamentals of whether HAES is possible. Is obesity just another possible outcome of unhealthy lifestyle choices, as are things like type II diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. There are lots of people with bad health indicators who are not obese. Is this just because their genetic make-up means that poor lifestyle choices will not be manifest as obesity, just as not all people with a poor lifestyle will have elevated blood pressure or cholesterol.

    It sometimes feels that there is a more disgust in society with respect to obesity because it is viewed as somehow entirely preventable. Does society make moral judgements about people with high blood pressure, or would they if everyone walked around with a sign stating their blood pressure. Is it just that obesity is such an obvious physical manifestation?

    I have a graduate degree in genetics and I know how to find and interpret scientific literature but nutrition is not my field and I’m not sure how to find this information. Do you know if these studies have been done and, if so, could you reference some of them for me?

    Thanks for another great discussion!

    • katja

      can you save this question and ask me again in about 4 weeks? I am kind of kidding, but this will take a little thought, and I don’t have time right now, maybe another reader can point you to something. There are some good intro to HAES (Robison and others a few years ago) and I will try to look them up, but again, remind me mid-september if you would!

  3. Elizabeth

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I definitely understand where she is coming from too. And I applaud her for her honesty, and taking action.

    For years I used the whole “size acceptance” and “fat-love” type community and messages to justify my weight and eating the way I wanted to. Behind that was a binge eating disorder. I have seen the same with countless other women.

    “I also started seeing a therapist to work on the emotional baggage I carry and how it plays a part in the way I turn to food for solace, not nutrition.”

    She admits not only that, but that she also suffered from an eating disorder earlier in life. So obviously she is at a heavier weight in part because of her eating behaviors.

    While I love this blog, I do not personally believe in “Health at Any Size”. I don’t think you can be 5’2″, 300 lbs, and be in your best health for example. And while I absolutely do not feel fat people should be demonized, I am much happier, in every respect, in recovery and at a healthy maintenance weight for my body.

    I had so much sadness when I thought I would have to be fat for the rest of my life and I was going to have to accept it. Yes it isn’t all about being thin – hell, I’m not thin now, I’m just normal! The weight and the way I was eating was just a symptom of many other problems – problems that I continually address, do not struggle with food, and have maintained my weight loss (with a pregnancy in between) for over seven years.

    • katja

      This is such an interesting comment. Thank you for sharing. I have a few questions. What do you mean by, “eating the way I wanted to.” Were you eating disordered at the time? Does HAES or FA promote eating in disordered ways, or was that the cover you were seeking to not address your eating in ways that were not healthy for you? If a health care provider had asked about eating, perhaps asked for a 3 day written analysis and suggested you work on your eating, would that have helped? Would you have been ready, or open? What was the trigger that led you to address your eating? In other words, what motivated change for you?
      I think that just because some people “use” FA or HAES to not address eating issues doesn’t mean there is a problem with HAES. I suggest reading the post a few back about how FA and how accepting her body helped another reader get healthy… It is interesting that you say Jess is at a heavier weight because of her eating issues. I love Ellyn’s line on this, something like, “the disordered eating can make you weigh more than nature intended, but correcting those behaviors does not gaurantee that you will lose that weight and go back to your genetic “set-point” (I am totally paraphrasing there…) Do you see the distinction? Some folks have a REALLY hard time losing weight, in spite of “normalizing” eating and becoming active and seeing improvements in lab work. I also don’t think HAES means, you can be “healthy” at any weight and ignore behaviors and fitness levels and health markers. If someone is 700 pounds (the very extreme here) they are not likely healthy, but I love the story of the two women, over 300 pounds who have normal labs and are fairly fit whose doctors are continually failing at finding any indication of pathology. (I forget where I read that…)
      I am so happy that you have figured it out, that you are healthy, feel that you have your eating in place and are maintaining a stable weight. I just think that it is dangerous to think that because you did it, that it is possible for everyone else. Again, with Jess. What if she doesn’t lose any more weight? What if she is eating great, is exercising, great lab values, but can’t get below a BMI of 34, or “obese.” Is she not healthy? BMI and disease/death is a U-shaped relationship, the risk doesn’t really rise much until after 35 and mostly after 40. It is much more complex that we think.
      I do get her desire to lose weight and be healthy, I just had problems with how she is talking about/selling it. I guess it all comes down to whether or not one believes that you can be “obese” and healthy…

    • Bobbini

      Elizabeth, you say “I don’t think you can be 5’2″, 300 lbs, and be in your best health for example.”

      My question to you is what IS health? How do you define it? Is it separate in any way from fitness? Is “best health” the only acceptable goal?

      Because I understand that it would be challenging for a person with that height and weight to, say, be a distance runner. But I have seen enough in my life to know that someone with those dimensions can outlive me without a blip in their health. Do you think it’s possible that a heavy person can be engaging in basically healthy behaviors? Moderate exercise? Wholesome diet?

      I think the biggest culprit here isn’t Ms. Weiner. Her conclusion in this article isn’t very helpful, but her thinking is evolving and that’s a healthy thing for any writer. I hope that, as she settles into her new healthy habits, how she feels becomes more important than how much she weighs, or even her blood profile. (I also hope she finds a good GP or internist.)

      I think the real entity pushing this assumption (lighter=healthier) is Glamour magazine. After all, think of the money womens magazines make from the diet industry, and the greater culture emphasizing weight INSTEAD of health. They stand a lot to gain from women NOT loving their bodies. Body/size acceptance is a real threat to their business model.

      • Elizabeth

        Thanks for the feedback/questions ladies. I didn’t want to be the first/only one to respond with a different opinion, but I want to share my own experience too. I realize my experience doesn’t apply to all folks who have been overweight or who have eating disorders, but I also know I am not the only one with a similar story so I think it’s important for people to hear.

        When I say “eating the way I want to”, I meant I was in my eating disorder. I have been both 50 lbs under my current weight (which I consider healthy for me) and 50 lbs heavier. I was mostly underweight in high school and then gained massive amounts of weight in college as I began to stop restricting and increased binging with some purging thrown in just for fun (dark humor here). *In general* I found my community – the lesbian, feminist, women’s studies community at my small private college – to be very accepting of my body and being overweight. Honestly, for a long time it felt *great* to eat whatever I wanted! Do I want chocolate cake, 2 slices? F-ck yeah I do, and f-ck the diet industry/magazines/patriarchy for telling me I shouldn’t! I truly feel I used the “acceptance” movement to justify feeling good through using food. I’m not saying it’s their fault – just what I did and I know I’m not the only one (I have had friends leave this “movement” and admit to me that they are binge eaters, for example). I think some individuals within that movement promote unhealthy behaviors and disordered eating but that is true of many, many communities.

        If a health care provider had approached me, I don’t think it would have made a difference. I was not able to be honest about my eating at that time. I was sneaking food, hiding food, eating alone then lying about it. And honestly, I didn’t even realize for a long time that what I was doing was weird or wrong.

        What happened is a longer story but the short version is this: In seeking help for my downward spiraling life (in every respect, physically, emotionally, etc) I met someone who was in recovery from the exact things I had experienced. Not only had she lost 100 lbs, more importantly she seemed happy, sane, and had *long term* recovery – not a day here and a day there with relapsing in between. I wanted that so badly! So she shared what had helped her, which involved a structured 12-step program. There I found countless other people who had been maintaining a healthy weight for years without dieting, and also gained a whole lotta sanity. Actually since my face and last name are not on here I can just say it – a subset of Overeaters Anonymous. Basically AA except for food. I know not everyone accepts or believes a 12-step model can work for food, or believes food can function as an addiction, but that is what has been true for me in my understanding of myself.

        I have been doing this program every day for over seven years. Using certain tools (a food plan, going to meetings, support from other members over the phone, daily reading and writing, having a sponsor I call daily, etc) I have traveled, been married, had a baby, been divorced, suffered through grief and loss, and every day woken up and every night gone to bed grateful that I do not have to use food as a way to cope with life. Food is yummy fuel for my body, mind, and spirit and nothing more than that. I enjoy eating, but I never wonder if I’ve had enough or too much because a nutritionist helped me with that, and I follow that plan every single day.

        What is health to me? My life today.
        Then: Gave away my bike at age 25 because I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like I was going to have a heart attack. Felt like it would always be this way. Exercising hurt my overweight body.

        Now: Age 31, bike around Minneapolis with my daughter almost every day in the summer. Don’t take a single moment of it for granted. Participating in my 2nd spring triathlon this weekend. Had never been a runner until last summer – now I run three times a week, feel strong, feel healthy, feel beautiful.

        Then: Afraid of what people think of me. Constantly replaying mistakes I’ve made in my head. Depressed. Huge resentments against my family, ex-partners, etc. Afraid of failing, hell, afraid of *life*. See the rest of my life ahead of me and seeing it will just continue on this path. Pissed off all the time.

        Now: Continue daily to not focus on what others think of me. No longer beat myself up. Loving relationship with my family even though they are still a bit crazy ;), have made amends to exes for my own mistakes. I am not afraid of living!

        Sorry this has become an essay. All I know is – I tried to eat intuitively. It didn’t work for me. To those it helps live in recovery, all my respect to you. However it doesn’t work for a lot of people. I sit in a room every week with tons of men and women, many who have been through treatment programs and some who’ve had gastric bypass. None of it worked – i.e. stopped the mental obsession with food. I have accepted I’m just not “normal” when it comes to eating. I don’t need to feel like a failure – this is just the way I am. I don’t need to struggle with it anymore or “challenge” myself to eat certain foods. When I don’t eat those foods (for me sugar, and bready things) and follow a plan I don’t experience any cravings or feelings of deprivation and I am free to focus on the rest of life.

        • katja

          I’m so glad you found what worked for you! I have heard from others that intuitive eating is very tricky. I do tend to find that adding the structure and discipline of providing regular, reliable and rewarding meals/snacks can be helpful. Other readers have said “Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family” was a great how-to for them in recovery from disordered eating. Just want to throw that out there for readers! Thank you for addressing the responses to your post. If it’s not a struggle for you, then sounds like you have found your “normal.”

        • closetpuritan

          I’m glad that you were able to recover.

          I do think that it’s a mistake to say that FA/HAES is unhealthy because some people with eating disorders use it as camouflage for their disorder. The same thing happens with vegetarianism/veganism. Doesn’t mean that a vegetarian/vegan diet is unhealthy.

  4. Lisa

    No, you are not overreacting. Everything you said was spot-on. Ms. Weiner apparently has no idea what actual “size acceptance” or the HAES paradigm looks like. I’m very sorry to see she has such a big soapbox, but given that she’s now a walking advertisement for the diet industry I’m not surprised.

    As a matter of fact Katja, we need more MDs to speak out about the harm caused by dieting and focusing on body size rather than behaviors. If more people had primary care MDs who told them about HAES, people would feel more comfortable ignoring this kind of sales pitch.

    So keep up the good work!

  5. Twistie

    I know in my case, learning to love my body as is signaled the end of a hideous three-year cycle of depression and bingeing behaviors that had slowly sucked every ounce of joy out of my life. Seeing my body in a new light meant seeing every bit of me in that same new light. In fact, I had no clue how much I’d grown to hate my body in those three years until one day I saw myself as beautiful just the way I was.

    Once I saw myself and my body as worthy of love, I started moving more, eating more thoughtfully, sleeping more soundly, and drinking more water. Since I’d spent three years sitting in front of my computer reading fanfic, drinking way too much coffee, and going through entire bags of Cheetos in an hour (I’m talking family sized bags, too!), I kind of had nowhere to go but up… but up I went pretty quickly.

    Yes, as it happens, I did lose weight. I’m still not sure how much. I don’t know what the start weight was. I do know, though, that I lost six dress sizes… and have eventually gained back about one to one and a half. I know the last time I was weighed at a doctor’s office, I weighed 237 on a 5’2″ body. I know I weighed considerably more than 255 pounds when I started taking care of myself, and I know that by the time I got down to said fighting weight… I felt damn good, even if I’m not quite sure when it happened. I know that I probably weigh between 240 and 245 now, and I feel awesome.

    Body love saved my life. If I had continued to feel so much depression and despair and self-loathing, I would never have started taking care of myself. When I started off, I, like Jess Weiner, thought it was about weight loss. Unlike her, though, I eventually discovered it’s about feeling good, following healthy behaviors, and caring for both my physical and my mental/emotional well-being. It’s about knowing I can have a slice of delicious cake if that’s what I want, and I can have a spinach salad if that’s what I want. Salad is not punishment for ‘bad’ cravings for cookies and cake. A slice of pie or dish of ice cream is not a reward for enough raw veggie sticks. I have no fear of Cheetos, now that I can eat what I would like of them and then put the rest away for later.

    So no, it’s not impossible to feel good at 255 pounds… even for a very short stuff. And no, body love doesn’t kill anyone. Body love includes taking care of yourself in a gentle, forgiving way. It includes taking care of your mental health. It even means that when your doctor tells you your actions have resulted in improved numbers, even if the weight loss isn’t as dramatic as you’d expected, you HEAR that you are doing better rather than that you have failed to be thin.

    I rather think Jess Weiner has grabbed ahold of the wrong end of the stick and is now furiously beating around the bush with it. I feel sorry for her.

    But my sympathy is no way means that I think her current message isn’t completely toxic, because it absolutely is.

  6. monica

    “Jess has the right to try to lose weight. She has a right to try to be healthier. What I don’t think she has the right to do is claim you can only do one by doing the other. It is that implication that has the potential to do so much damage.”

    This is exactly what I was thinking. Brava!

    With regards to this… “Isn’t that the whole point of loving and accepting your body-that you also HONOR it, and “treat it better” (her words– why she had to want to lose weight to realize she wanted to treat her body better is beyond me) and want it to feel good? Can’t you do that at 255 pounds? Am I totally clueless? (I really am asking here…)”

    I think that honoring and treating your body well are definitely a part of loving your body–if you want it to be. I think for a lot of people it comes in stages. I had to work really hard to get a handle on “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full” before I could start giving a lot of thought to what I was eating and how it made me feel. There are still times when “loving my body,” to me, means giving myself license to treat it badly for awhile, because my brain is a part of my body, and sometimes I have to deal with the brain stuff for awhile.

    • katja

      i totally agree. We don’t need “wellness” tyranny, either. I think part of “normal” is overeating sometimes, sitting on the couch sometimes, seeing the big picture…

      • Jenny Islander

        Oh hell yeah. My personal quest to eat better involves taking a deep breath before I reach for the immediate fix and considering the consequences. This doesn’t mean OMFG GONNA GET DEATHFATZ OH WAIT I ALREADY AM AIIEEE, but, How long do I need to stay full for? Or, I’m hungry late at night, but I know that if I eat more than a very light snack I will have trouble sleeping. Or, as in today, I’ve been in bed most of the day with a hellish sinus headache, my stomach is still queasy, but I must eat because I am developing a rising hunger headache on top of my ebbing sinus headache, but I may puke, and I can’t stand up for very long or brain very much, and takeout is out of the question for budget reasons, and it has to be something that won’t hurt if it comes back up, so . . . chocolate ice cream for dinner. Earlier it was a dry English muffin chewed thoroughly and a sugar cola to help me burp and settle my stomach without piling an aspartame headache on top of the other two. Because today, that’s what taking care of myself looks like.

        It’s almost tomorrow, wow. That’s what sleeping 18 hours does to a person’s schedule!

    • katja

      And, there are times in my life when I don’t exercise because it is lower on a priority, but knowing I can come back to it lessens the guilt cycle. “I am moving, selling a house, so I’ll get back to more exercise when life calms down.” or “I don’t feel like cooking much this week” (then we do more take-out, or sandwiches or eat out) and I know that giving myself permission to “slack off” means I come back to it more joyfully than if I doused myself in guilt and felt obligated… It is all very complex, this emotional stuff, so thank you for bringing that up!

  7. Deb Burgard, PhD

    Thank you so much – a minor rant is a sane response. My reaction as a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders is over at ASDAH’s blog (http://healthateverysizeblog.wordpress.com/), but what I am particularly grateful to you for is that you spelled out to other physicians and to the people who follow you what a health-focused, respectful, weight-bias-free conversation looks like between a doctor and a patient. ASDAH is working on training MD’s to recognize and combat weight bias, for anyone who is interested. Thank you for providing a space for the discussion!

  8. wriggles

    My first thing I thought was so hating your body is life saving… Of course, this message is aimed at fat people, this kind of petty cruelty demeans only those dealing in it.

  9. Elaine

    Perhaps I read waaaaaay too many conspiracy theories on Infowars, but to me it almost seems like she (Ms. Weiner) is the Manchurian candidate for the “healthists”, or a plant of some sort…seeing as how she has appeared on CNN and the like, and garnered all this media attention, while none of the other more established (in terms of length of participation, number of publications, etc) advocates of FA or HAES have been invited or had so much attention…

  10. Quiet Dreams

    You are not overreacting (or if you are, I am, too). Reading her article, I felt a thud in my mid-section–these are the kind of articles that I try to avoid, but it was recommended by someone I admire so I read it. The title is problematic, though likely not chosen by the author, but the content of the article is just as problematic for me. Thank you for your response.

  11. Andra Hibbert

    I agree with you and think that, for me, messages like these that are more tricksy and on the line are *more* triggering and harder to parse as toxic or healthy than the really blatant stuff like nutritionists suggesting I have herbal tea for breakfast.

    • katja

      totally agree. I also disliked how her MD was put up as not being weight-biased, but she basically took a normal blood sugar level and used fear and sham tactics. I would love to know what she would have told a 140 pound woman with a blood sugar of 99. “normal” is my guess…

      • ksol

        My husband, who is muscular, thin and athletic, consistently gets fasting blood glucose around 99, and has for years. To the best of my knowledge, no doctor has ever gotten after him for this.

  12. baconsmom

    I absolutely agree with you. I made a comment on another FB page I’m a fan of that posted this that I was very disappointed she never ONCE mentioned heredity, which is a HUGE factor in one’s weight, cholesterol, and diabetes risk. It was all weight, and all assumed to be mutable.

    I also think she made it sound like self-love was conditional. Like, I’ll love myself once I’m healthy, or once I weigh X, or once I [insert whatever here]. That’s not how it works. Self-love HAS to be unconditional, or it’s not love, and it does us no good.

    I know that for me, personally, stopping hating myself led to vastly improved health. I now see the doctor regularly and am happy to go out for a hike or a swim – things I refused to do when I thought life would start once I weighed X, once I was healthy. She’s got it backward, and I think it’s a shame that she’s reaching so many women who will hear only her message, and not all of us who have something different to say.

    • katja

      I totally agree that it’s sad that her message gets the press. I think because she seems to be “one of us” she can get a level of exposure others can’t.

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  1. The Media Buzz | Looking in the Mirror - [...] Family Feeding Dynamics, Accepting and Loving Your Body Will NOT Kill You [...]
  2. “provocative” new study on fit and fat « Family Feeding Dynamics Family Feeding Dynamics - [...] light of the recent media attention on Jess Weiner and the media’s misunderstanding of health at every size, this …
  3. My Reaction To Jess Weiner's Glamour Article About Body Love Killing You | Weightless - [...] Katja Rowell, one of my favorite bloggers, at Family Feeding Dynamics, writes in her insightful response: Had she said …
  4. What Loving Your Body Really Means + Why it Probably Won’t Kill You | medicinal marzipan - [...] Family Feeding Dynamics, Accepting and Loving Your Body Will NOT Kill You [...]
  5. Is health a process or a destination? Reflections on bee-ing. | Quantum Acceptance - [...] suppose this also relates to Jess Weiner. Loving my body doesn’t mean hating myself for being fat. It does …