Can we get a little FREAKIN’ PEACE around here?

HolidaySwing

Here in Southern California, the holidays are a special kind of stressful.  People here just sort of just plum lose connection with any sort of common sense for a few weeks.  And in the week before Christmas, the whole area vibrates with a special sort of near-nervous-breakdown energy that makes me want to stay inside and pull the covers over my head.  In the last two days, I have seen some death-defying, I gotta get the eggnog before 7 PM maneuvers that left me screaming.  On Friday, I watched a van driver flick on his emergency lights and pull over the shoulder.  I had plenty of time to observe this as the freeway was in its usual “Friday Before a Holiday Parking Lot” mode.  I thought to myself, “oh, that poor van driver person.  What a yucky day to break down on the freeway.”  I then watched as said van driver BACKED UP OVER 1/2 A FREAKIN MILE ON THE FREAKIN FREEWAY.  Why?  The driver had missed the desired ramp.  After the backing maneuver, the van bumped up over a lane divider and pulled in front of exiting traffic to exit at the desired ramp.

“SERIOUSLY?  ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME?” I shouted.

That is only one of many incidents of horrible driving, deeply problematic mall stampeding and grocery store aisle smackdowns I’ve witnessed in the past few days.  And I have to tell you, it’s made me slow down, stop, and think.

You know what I want for the holidays this year?  Just a little bit of peace.  Just a little bit of space to breathe and appreciate and enjoy.    And that’s my wish for you as well.  I hope this holiday season (or what’s left of it) allows you to find a little bit of peace.

I wish you peace on the road–free from people screaming, cutting you off or as my friend jokingly puts it, “using the fellowship finger”.

I wish you peace as you shop.  May the people around be considerate and kind. May they only have positive things to say about the way you act and the way you look and who you are.

I wish you peace as you eat.  May you enjoy every bite and allow it to nourish you both inside and out.  May you enjoy holiday gatherings free from food policing and body shame.

I wish you peace with your family.  May everybody around you be grateful for all you have done to make the holiday special, even if all you were able to do this year is to allow your beautiful self to take more breaths and exist on this amazing earth.

I wish you peace with your body.  May you declare a cease-fire in any war you may have waged against your good self.  May you appreciate the staggering awesomeness of the body you have right now.  May you pamper and find joy in the skin you are in.

IMG_2585

And I wish you a peaceful new year.  May you find a way to scoff at those in the world who believe the way to greet the new year is to change everything that makes you, well, YOU.  May you face the new year with courage and optimism.  May you choose for yourself a path that is strengthening, enriching, enlightening and encouraging.

Sleep in heavenly peace my friends.  Sleep in heavenly peace.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Santa Brings Coal for Snake Oil Salesmen: FTC and BMJ Call BS on Sensa, The Doctors and Doctor Oz

Call it a holiday gift.  This week I’ve come across TWO scathing reprimands of bogus weight loss profiteering and frankly it fills me with holiday glee.

First, I learned that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have sent refund checks totaling over $26 Million to people who bought the “weight-loss supplement” known as Sensa.  I remember the first time I saw this dubious substance.  A friend of mine smiled gleefully as she sprinkled this “magic powder” on her food.  “It will make me skinny!” she said.  “All I do is sprinkle this on my food and I will eat less and lose weight!”  I frankly could not imagine how this powder, purchased at Target would help her eat less.  Perhaps, I thought, if it made the food taste really bad, you know like that substance you paint on your nails to keep from biting them?

But Sensa advertising suggested another mechanism for their magic powder.  The advertising suggested that Sensa enhanced the taste and smell of the food, thus making eaters enjoy the food more, thus allowing them to feel full faster and stop eating sooner.  And then, they lose weight.

“Huh.  That’s a neat trick,” I thought.

Turns out the FTC thinks my skepticism was warranted.  The FTC complaint states that the manufacturers of Sensa provided no credible scientific evidence for the weight loss claims for Sensa.  In addition, the complaint states that Sensa’s manufacturers failed to disclose that they paid customers to endorse the product and that they doctored up a supposedly independent study.

And speaking of doctors, that leads me to my second early holiday gift.  A study recently released in the British Medical Journal calls out US television shows The Doctors and The Doctor Oz Show for spreading bogus and sometimes downright dangerous health information.  This is yet another crushing blow for Dr. Oz, who actually spent time in front of a Congressional committee explaining why he felt it was okay to tell the American public for instance, that green coffee beans would make them skinny.  He was asked to explain his various Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir-like substances that served as medical miracles that simply melted the fat away.

The British Medical Journal study called out the antics of these modern snake-oil salesmen, suggesting that roughly half of the medical advice offered on The Doctors and The Doctor Oz Show was either not supported by medical science or directly contradicted by prevailing scientific evidence.

The study abstract states:

We could find at least a case study or better evidence to support 54% (95% confidence interval 47% to 62%) of the 160 recommendations (80 from each show). For recommendations in The Dr Oz Show, evidence supported 46%, contradicted 15%, and was not found for 39%. For recommendations in The Doctors, evidence supported 63%, contradicted 14%, and was not found for 24%. Believable or somewhat believable evidence supported 33% of the recommendations on The Dr Oz Show and 53% on The Doctors.

The study also explains that this is significant for US healthcare because “television is one of the most important mass media sources of health information.”  It notes that The Dr. Oz Show with it’s position as one of the top 5 American talk shows has the reach to do a whole lot of good.  Unfortunately, Dr. Oz frequently peddles bogus weight loss cures and consistently fails to provide any information regarding conflict of interest.  So, yeah.  Snake oil salesmen are having a rough week.

To be clear, the thing I’m taking out of this as my holiday gift is not that the Snake Oil Salesmen–Purveyors of Powders and Magic Beans exist or that they are so very good at their jobs.  I am simply doing a little holiday dance of glee on the multimillion dollar payout and credible medical journal smackdown these guys are receiving right now.  Just a little coal in their holiday stockings. Ho. Ho. HO!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

“Guilt-Free Holiday Partying”

ProducersGuildParty

Hubby and I get started on some guilt-free holiday revelry at the Producer’s Guild Holiday Party.

Over the past few weeks, the media has been requesting experts to comment on recipes and plans for “guilt-free” holiday dining.  I have a lot of suggestions, but somehow, they haven’t been picked up.  They tell me that the items I am pitching are not what the media outlets are looking for.  The media is looking for recipes for low fat appetizers and low-calorie cookies.  They are looking for plans about how to get through the party without eating “too much”.  And they are looking for advice about what should eat to look hot in the LBD (Little Black Dress) you bought for the New Year’s Eve party.

Well here on my very own blog, let me offer you some thoughts.

Here’s how to make any holiday recipe, guilt free:

1.  Stir up, cook, bake or make your favorite recipe.

2.  Eat some of it.

3.  Enjoy it.

4.  Decide not to feel guilty about it.

I know it seems overly simplistic.  In a world where we are taught to binge on Saturday and Sunday and restrict and regret on Monday, this is some heavy-duty out of the box thinking.  But seriously folks,  can we just decide to give ourselves the holiday gift of not feeling guilty every time we put a morsel of food in our mouths?  Just because the media tells us that we have to feel awful every time we eat, doesn’t mean we have to actually do it.

And here’s a strategy for eating any holiday party:

1.  Tell yourself you are there to have fun.

2.  Tell yourself that you are taking a holiday from restriction and regrets.

3.  Tell yourself that any treat you see is allowed at any time, not just at a party and not just during the holidays.

4.  Eat what you want.

5.  Enjoy what you eat.

6.  Stop when you want.

7.  Eat whatever it is that you want!

Let’s simply take the time to enjoy holiday treats while they are here.  And since we know we can enjoy those treats on Monday (or any day of the week) if we want to, maybe we can put aside the need for the crazy weekend binge.

And finally,

How to Look Great in Your New Year’s Eve Little Black Dress

1.  Find an awesome dress.

2.  Put it on.

3.  Strut your stuff.

See?  That was easy!  No need for diets or foundation garments that squeeze you until your hair is taller or strategies for slimming.  Just put on a dress and ROCK. THAT. THING.

I hope my holiday strategies are helpful to you.  Even though you won’t be seeing them in your favorite newsstand magazine.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to talk to YOUR group about guilt-free living?  Click HERE.

P.S.S.  Want to get on my mailing list and get free stuff?  Click HERE.

When the fatties win, they just change the rules.

Recently I came across a link to this important story in the Guardian that talks about what happened when a fat man won the Mr. Gay UK contest. The contest was open to all comers. There were 4 judges and several rounds of elimination. And at the end of the day, the contest came down to two finalists. One was an chiseled, underwear model type with washboard abs. One was a 419-pound man named Stavros Louca.

The final round was the “underwear” round, where the two guys were given underpants and a vest (undershirt) and told they had to dance around in them. One problem, the underwear given to both contestants we were small. Really small. There was no way on earth that Stavros would fit in them. It was a crappy move–one that could have easily caused Stavros to feel humiliated and back out. But instead, Stavros put those underpants ON HIS HEAD and danced his heart out. In the end, the judges decided the final round would go to an audience vote. And vote they did–overwhelmingly for Stavros. You really should check out the video above.  The winner is quite obvious.  And that night Stavros was crowned Mr. Gay UK–a crown he was to wear for less than 3 days.  It seems just two days after the contest, he received a call notifying him that he had been disqualified on a technicality.  He was disqualified for wearing the underpants on his head instead of trying to put the entirely too small garment on to his nether regions.  So even though there was absolutely nothing in the rules stating that the underpants had to be worn on one’s bottom, and even though Stavros was clearly the crowd favorite, he was disqualified and all but erased from the experience.

This is because Stavros broke the biggest rule of all.  He was fat in a fat hating world.

This reminds me so much of the controversy a while back surrounding Nancy Upton and the American Apparel plus-sized campaign.  American Apparel created an online contest where plus-sized people could submit photos.  The photo with the most votes would win a trip to Los Angeles to star in an American Apparel photo shoot.  The ad announcing this was an massive pile of stinking and offensive fat puns and fat stereotypes.  I present it here:

Think you are the Next BIG Thing?

Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We’re looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up.

Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body. We’ll select a winner to be flown out to our Los Angeles headquarters to star in your own bootylicious photoshoot. Runners up will win an enviable assortment of our favorite new styles in XL!

Show us what you’re workin’ with!

To say that blogger Nancy Upton was offended by this tripe masquerading as an ad is an epic understatement.  But rather than just getting mad, Upton decided to post some photos that showed American Apparel just how she felt about this model call.

Nancy blogged:

The puns, the insulting, giggly tones, and the over-used euphemisms for fat that were scattered throughout the campaign’s solicitation began to crystalize an opinion in my mind. How offensive the campaign was. How it spoke to plus-sized women like they were starry-eyed 16 year olds from Kansas whose dream, obviously, was to hop a bus to L.A. to make it big in fashion. How apparently there were no words in existence to accurately describe the way American Apparel felt about a sexy, large woman, and so phrases like “booty-ful” and “XLent” would need to be invented for us—not only to fill this void in American vocabulary, but also make the company seem like a relatable, sassy friend to fat chicks.

Nancy got together with her photographer friend Shannon Skloss and staged a photo shoot that hammered home the stereotypical view that so many people have about fat folks.  There were pictures involving Nancy eating a whole pie, a whole chicken, multiple cartons of ice cream and vats of salad dressing.  She submitted two of the photos to the contest–never dreaming that she would actually make it through the process of being vetted by the company.  Surprisingly company employees let the photos through.  And then, Nancy won the contest–clearly garnering the largest percentage of the popular vote.  And then she un-won the contest.  She got disqualified for not being the right kind of fatty.

Not only was Nancy disqualified for not upholding the spirit of the contest, but in what is perhaps the worst non-apology PR disaster letter EVAR, she was told she should be ashamed of herself for the way she treated the contest and the way she called out the folks at American Apparel for being sizeist douchebags.

So apparently, another more acceptably malleable and less fierce fatty won the fabulous trip to Los Angeles.  Because while it is against the rules to be a fatty, being an uppity fatty is clearly cause to tear up the rule book and just walk away.

Which isn’t to say that fat people in our society can’t win.  They can.  But given our fat-phobic world, they simply aren’t allowed to win for very long.  Brands and groups that put things to a popular vote–a vote which might show that the idea of a one-size-fits-all underwear contest is a little ridiculous or that asking plus-sized women to submit bootyliscious photos of themselves is perhaps a tad sexist, objectifying and just plain icky–find that the winners aren’t the brand representatives they were hoping for.  But luckily there is one positive change.  The fatties in question are no longer guaranteed to slink quietly away in shame.  The fatties in question have blogs, and movies, and social networks and gobs and gobs of friends.  The fatties in question have voices and some of them have decided to use those voices to shout about what an epic pile of disingenuous poo is being shoveled here.  And in that small way, the fatties in question, have in the long run, won.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to speak to your group about how people of ALL sizes can win?  Click HERE!

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On the tenth day of Christmas–Ten Jumpers Jumping

Dear readers.  Please excuse me as I interrupt your regularly scheduled reading for this DANCE break!  I ran across this great video yesterday and I just needed to share it with you.  But before I do, let me share with you that “Jumpers” is a word that folks in Britain commonly use to describe what us Americans commonly call “sweaters”.  And second, let me state that I can indeed count, but 5 Jumpers Jumping just doesn’t scan right with the song.  (Think FIIIIIIIIIVE Golden RIIIIIIIIIIIIINGS!)  Anywho, enjoy:

And I ask you.  Was that not a hoot?  Dads are gettin’ DOWN!  Even with my busy schedule, I manged to watch this an embarrassing number of times.  AND I downloaded the full track of the music.  AND I even checked out the place you could buy those fabulous sweaters, I mean jumpers.  Oh, and by the way, if you just can’t bring  yourself to buy a sweater you only wear to one hipster party per year,  you can always buy a DIY Holiday Sweater Kit.

I love to watch people dancing.  But I love to watch people who don’t look like stereotypical dancers even more.

That’s why I was so excited yesterday, when I ALSO ran across this new project being launched down under called “Nothing to Lose”.

It’s a dance production featuring amazingly talented fat dancers.  You can hear about it here:

And get a little tiny taste of the upcoming awesomeness right here:

So I hope you enjoyed today’s unscheduled dance break featuring deliciously wonderful dancers who have inspired me to shake my groove thing today.  Remember, whatever is going on in your life, and whatever else you have scheduled today, I hope you get a minute to get up offa that thing!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading. Well if you can sit still that is.

Lots of love!
Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)
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If you’re happy and you know it, Weight Watchers says you probably shouldn’t be…

When Can I Get Some Food Around Here_MASSIVE MEGA TRIGGER WARNING.  I’m going to be talking about an unbelievably annoying Weight Watchers ad.  If you don’t want to hear about a lot of icky concern trolling, food phobic, fat phobic nonsense, please skip to the bottom and look at the video with the Sparta the fighting Kitty in it.  (‘Cuz Sparta rules!)  Otherwise read on.

Scrolling through my facebook feed, I saw a post from a friend of mine calling out a recent ad from Weight Watchers.  Here it is, watch at your own peril…

Okay, let’s break this down.  Weight Watchers took a happy little children’s song that happens to be all about being happy right now as you are and letting everybody around you know the same thing and turned it into a fat-phobic hate fest.  It basically says, if you’re happy and you know it, and you happen to also, you know, eat something, then you are bad.  If you are sad and you eat something you are bad.  In fact if you are doing anything in the whole wide world other than calculating the WW Points value of anything you are eating to eight decimal places, you are bad.  Because clearly, experiencing any emotion at all at the same time means you are EMOTIONALLY EATING.  (Well at least emotionally snacking to be precise about the lyrics.)  And everybody knows emotional eating is bad, right?  RIGHT?!

Except kind of not.  Just because we are eating an ice cream cone or potato chips or broccoli while we are sad or happy or lonely or angry or bored doesn’t mean we are eating those things because we are daring to have feels while we are putting food in our mouths.  It doesn’t mean that that food has no nutritional value or we are somehow not allowed to eat those things while we are feeling all the feels.  It’s the whole correlation versus causation argument demonstrated using snack foods and a rhyming children’s song.  I simply refuse to submit to the notion that the only feelings I am allowed to feel while masticating my meals is either:

1.  Guilt because clearly I am ingesting too many WW (TM) points, or

2.  Smug righteousness because I am ingesting the proper number of WW (TM) points.

Because, best I can tell, the commercial indicates that I shouldn’t eat when I am:

happy

sad

angry

bored

sleepy

human

Which pretty much covers all of the things.  Which means I am not supposed to eat any more ever.  (Which is kind of counter intuitive, because then how could I buy all the WW frozen, tasteless, low-points, you know, THINGS?)

No freaking way.  Sometimes when I am happy I will eat ice cream.  Sometimes when I am happy I will eat salad.  These conditions are also true if I am sad or lonely or bored or angry.  I am an emotional  person.  Hell, sometimes I dance around the living room at the mere thought of ice cream.  I have a special SONG I sing almost every night to signal that it is time to wear my jammies.    If I find that I am using food as a primary method for avoiding the feeling of any of these feelings, I may or may not choose to find some help to change that.  But I guaran-freaking-tee you that I won’t be seeking help from the double doubleyou.  But there is no way at all, that I’m going to let some company tell me that it is not okay to have feelings and eat at the same time.  Because I want to live!*

*Oh, in the interest of full disclosure, while I am from a “Jazzed Up Generation”, I haven’t killed anybody and most of my friends are pretty good.  Just so you know.

I want to live.  And I refuse to let a weight loss company tell me how I can live, including when I can be happy or when I can eat.  Or when I can look at ADORABLE CAT VIDEOS like the one below.

Enjoy!

Love,
Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to talk about intuitive eating at your school or organization? Click HERE!

Hippocratic Hypocrisy?

An article recently released in Lancet magazine calls out some prominent researchers who presented at the Association for the Study for Obesity conference on September 16-17, 2014 in Birmingham, UK.  Apparently they served up their research papers on how to “help people with obesity” with a hefty side dose of sarcasm, stigmatizing comments and downright nastiness towards people of size.  I can’t say I’m surprised, but I am glad that they are getting called out on some of their nonsense.

The article stopped short of naming names, which I found disappointing.  But I am glad that somebody is taking the time to point out in print that there’s not a lot of do no harm and an awful lot of hypocrisy going on at these conferences.  For one thing, these “obesity researchers” know better.  If they have done any homework at all, they know that stigmatizing overweight and obese people does not lead to better health outcomes.  In fact, it causes overweight and obese people a lot of stress, leads to poorer health and actually tends to increase weight–the very thing they are making fun of fat people for in the first place.

Want to know what I’m talking about?  TRIGGER WARNING–I’m going to share some serious fat shaming stuff here.  If you don’t want to read some really icky stuff that people said, skip down until after the video, okay?  As one researcher criticized a media source that suggested exercise isn’t particularly good for health exclaimed, “Exercise is rubbish?  That is precisely the message obese people want to hear.”  This exploits the stereotype that fat people hate to exercise and are lazy.  I think many of the thousands of people in our Fit Fatties Forum, you know the ones who are training for marathons and triathlons and Ironman competitions, the ones that did TWO 5Ks over the Thanksgiving break just because, I think they might take issue with this stereotype.  And if we want people to exercise more, I think a very brief search of the literature would indicate that shaming folks is not an effective tool to increase exercise adherence.

Then out of the mouth of another researcher who has published researcher on weight stigma and it’s effect on fat people, we got this little gem.  She said if people lost weight, “They would have a lot of sex, which is probably good as they won’t have had it for a while.”  Hmm. I wonder where in the body of research on fat people it suggests that fat people don’t have much sex?   A pretty brief search indicates that some studies show that larger people, are often more attractive to the opposite sex, have more sex and have the big O more often than their thinner counterparts.  But yes, the way to help people live a better life is to convince them that they are utterly sexless and unworthy of sex as they are.  NOT!

Finally, we have the researcher who was receiving one of the “best practice awards”.  She stated that the work they had done in reducing the weight of some of their patients, “provided more space for commuters on the London tube.”  Insert rimshot here.

END TRIGGER WARNING.

Look, when we talk about “best practices” for researchers, we are looking for people who not only seek to eradicate bias from their work, but also have enough self awareness to recognize their own bias.  I ask you, when researchers who are RECEIVING AN AWARD FOR BEST PRACTICES feel it’s okay to round out their acceptance talk with a cheap joke at the expense of the subjects they are reportedly trying to help, I call foul!  When you have somebody who has published research on weight stigma, demonstrating some malicious and completely unfounded stereotypes about fat people at a professional conference, I think we really ought to step back and take a look.  This not only calls into question the researchers who presented these horrible slurs, but also the committee that selected them to speak and the organization who decided to give one of them an AWARD for best practices in research.

This is something that I find deeply frightening.  The notion that the people who claim to dedicate their lives to “helping” us, hold us fat people in such deep-seated and largely unquestioned contempt.  The truth is that we all hold bias in some form or another against some group or another.  But it is only when we choose to or are forced to confront it that we can move forward without damaging those we claim to wish to help.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want to book me to come and speak about Weight Stigma?  Click HERE to learn more.

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