Since adolescence my weight has been on a roller coaster ride. Choosing puberty to show its ugly face, my issues around being too big or too small set the tone for my struggle with a borderline eating disorder (diagnosed by me) that involved binge eating for a day or two followed by once daily banana consumption to make up for the previous days’ transgressions. Being a black girl highly influenced by the video vixens prancing around my afternoon link into BET, I found acceptance in having a little extra something special on my hips and thighs. This was an attribute to be lauded, not ridiculed. However, my very weight-conscious family reminded me that my second helping of fried chicken and mac’n’cheese was not doing anything for my already compromised figure. Thus began my journey into accompanying mom to her Jazzercise classes and tap dancing four to five times per week.
College presented its own unique challenges in my quest to be comfortable in my own skin. During my first semester my roommates and I dined on apple sauce, Ben & Jerry’s and the occasional Ramen Noodles and left the rest of our diets up to chance. I lost weight, gained it back, committed to a regular fitness program and then exhausted myself with my obsession to remove the blubber from my mid-section and look skinny in my skinny jeans.
I’ve never tried an actual diet. I simply ate (or refused to eat at all) what I thought would make me “skinny.” But my failed attempts were no different from friends who tried their hands at the Atkins Diet, then the South Beach Diet and then Weight Watchers — which simply left them hungry, restless, and restricted. We’d all been so focused on losing the weight that we never stopped to think about how to be healthy.
In her article for Jezebel, writer Laura Beck argues, “Weight Watchers, and programs like it, focus on fat people, but ignore the issue that, as a country, we’re eating like garbage. That’s all people, not just the fatties. We now want to push our citizens into programs like these — programs with very high failure rates that quantify success with a number on a scale — but we don’t want to, you know, stop subsidizing shitty crops and serving up crap school lunches. Programs that focus on weight loss above all else make it easy to shift the conversation away from the things that matter — food justice, government subsidies, pesticides, hormones — to extremely difficult individual accountability in the face of a system that pushes everyone, not just fatties, to consume garbage.”
My new approach to my body is filled with reading labels, discovering new foods, trips to the Farmer’s Market for fresh ingredients and simple ways to incorporate more physical activity into my everyday life. I’m sure that I could be doing more, but for now I’m teaching myself how to be a better eater and make the right choices when it comes to my dinner plate.
Beck continued, “What we’re doing now isn’t working, and it’s time for change in priorities — one that places health above weight, and real nutrition above counting calories.”
I for one couldn’t agree more.
Have any of you had trouble with diets and the past and have now found solace in simply living a healthier lifestyle?
It’s hard to believe that people don’t understand this already. Weight watchers and all the other programs are all about cash for pounds and just like food companies or any other FOR-PROFIT venture, they need customers who are the foundation of the business, which happens to be yo-yo dieters in this particular case. It’s just the nature of the biz
“Weight Watchers, and programs like it, focus on fat people, but ignore the issue that, as a country, we’re eating like garbage. That’s all people, not just the fatties. We now want to push our citizens into programs like these — programs with very high failure rates that quantify success with a number on a scale — but we don’t want to, you know, stop subsidizing shitty crops and serving up crap school lunches.
great point. It’s all a set up from the jump
Something I realized (as I have had weight problems for most of my life), these programs help you to lose weight, TEMPORARILY! There has to be a whole change in lifestyle: mentally and emotionally, in order to lose weight in a healthy and balanced way.
It’s like with these programs, people join them from an idealistic standpoint because they see their celebrity spokesperson (whom sometimes gets cosmetic work done) and believe that they can lose weight just like them. And sooner or later their whole dream is dead when a year later and they see how hard it is to actually stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to health.
I just wish as a society we were more honest….. McDonald’s commercial one second, then a weight watchers commercial the next with Jessica Simpson on it saying how she NEEDS to lose weight when she just had a baby a week before……?
REALISM is what we are lacking.
America!!! Hear my voice, we the people have to really consider what we are eating and how it effects our bodies. We are obsessed with weight loss because we see this drilled into our face each day. We need to have a obsession with caring for ourselves in a healthy manner. Same as we care so much about football, basketball, etc. Food is meant to provide us with energy not over indulgence. Our intake of sugars has got to stop. For everyone not just over weight people but also thinner people. Before you put that into your body THINK!!! Our bodies speak to us, we are just not listening. The programs help, but honestly you have to decide to make the change for a lifetime. Understanding why you want to lose weight and why it is important to keep it off is key. You need to keep it real with yourself and then you will see a change.