Reader Tara brought this concept to my attention today and I have to say that when I first read her comment I was hoping it was just one goofy local news thing. But it wasn’t. If you’ve banked some Sanity Watchers points this week you can Google Sandy 15 and see what I mean. In case you don’t get the clever, clever reference joke, the Sandy 15 is a reference to the freshman 15 (the idea that college students gain 15 pounds their freshmen year). The idea of the freshmen 15 is problematic on many levels including but not limited to putting a focus on weight at a time when girls have a high chance of developing an eating disorder. The Sandy 15 is just stupid and not just because it’s only been a couple of days, not a year.
My blue ribbon loser article was by Fox [Edit: Reader A Elizabeth corrected me - the article is by the Associated Press, Fox picked it up as did many other outlets.] The article talks about a woman who went to the grocery store with “good intentions” of buying cucumbers and apples. But since there was, you know, a freaking hurricane, her store hadn’t received new supplies. So she *gasp* bought chips and salsa, and Oreos. She even “sheepishly” admitted to eating boxed macaroni and cheese. I’ll say it again because it’s so distressing that you may not have been able to process it the first time – this woman ate boxed mac and cheese. Oh the humanity!
A dietician even made a punny – calling the combination of a lack of fresh foods, people baking as an at home family activity, and having Halloween candy around for trick or treaters as “the perfect storm.” Get it – perfect storm…hurricane – get it?
The article actually says “Even fitness trainer Simone de la Rue gave into a burger, french fries and margarita on Tuesday – for lunch, no less.” For lunch. FOR LUNCH! We should strip her of her fitness certification, or we should maybe just kill her and put her out of her misery. No wait, later in the article they say that she is “making up for her indulgences with a few extra workout videos streamed on her iPad.” She can live to fitness train another day.
Our genius dietician suggests household chores with vigorous scrubbing (seriously) and that next time people should be ready with some low-sodium bean based soup in the pantry.
So let’s review – there was a massive natural disaster, people died and there may be more, some people have lost everything and are living in shelters, people are literally dumpster diving for food, but let’s make sure that people with internet access should know that they should feel ashamed of what they are eating, and more shamed if they aren’t overcoming whatever emotions, tragedies etc. they are dealing with to scrub something in their house vigorously enough to feel like they’ve burned enough calories to assuage the guilt that there is no need for in the first place.
The fact that anybody thought this article was ok to write and that a major news outlet was willing to print it tells me that we have gone far, far over the line when it comes to confusing healthy eating habits with a relationship with food that is built on what eating disorder specialists consider disordered eating patterns. When it comes to our ideas about eating and health, our culture is massively messed up. When people who are dealing with a natural disaster are most worried about calorie counting, there is a problem.
Imagine a conversation about food without the concepts of guilt, good, bad, evil, sinful, etc. Where eating is not used as a way to manipulate body size. Where the discussion is about, as Linda Bacon says “Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety and appetite.”
So what can you do?
- Opt out of this for yourself. There are lots of resources to help you find new ways of eating, I recommend Michelle at The Fat Nutritionist and Golda at Body Love Wellness for a start.
- Speak out against this when you hear about it – leave comments on articles, comment on conversations, speak about your HAES practice like others speak about their diets
- Sign the HAES pledge
Happy HAES Holidays Teleconference Workshop – Registration is Name Your Own Price – Nov 13 and 15
During the holiday season I get a ton of e-mail from people asking about everything from how to set resolutions that aren’t about weight loss to how to deal with the family food police or their partner’s office party. I’ve put together a group of speakers to give you information to support you through the holiday season and into the new year. All calls will be recorded so registrants can listen Details and registration are here, registration is name your own price.
Like the blog? Check this stuff out (and you can help support my work which I would really appreciate):
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here to order
The Dance Class DVDs: Buy the Dance Class DVDs (hint: Free shipping was supposed to end on Monday but I haven’t had a chance to make the changes to the pricing so there’s still free shipping until I get it done)! Click here for the details
Become a Member and Get Special Deals from Size Positive Businesses
I do size acceptance activism full time. A lot what I do, like answering over 4,000 e-mails from readers each month, giving talks to groups who can’t afford to pay, and running projects like the Georgia Billboard Campaign etc. is unpaid, so I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and want to support the work I do can become members for ten bucks a month To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them – your contact info always stays completely private.