Tag Archives: dieting

5-year-olds on a Diet

Sometimes people ask me why I do this.  I work in Hollywood.  Writing a blog doesn’t really pay all that well.  And it can be a solitary process at times without a lot of feedback.

But sometimes I come across something that reminds me why.  Like this study which talks about “dietary restraint” (the cognitive restriction of food intake for the purpose of controlling weight) among 5-year-old girls. Five. Years. Old.

At five kids should be coloring and tormenting their older siblings and screaming and playing and dressing up.  They should not be worrying about the size of their thighs.  They should not be counting carbs.  They should not be worrying about fitting into their skinny jeans.

But according to the study, nearly 35 percent of the 5-yr-old girls were displaying “dietary restraint”.  The study points out not only is dieting at age 5 distressing, it is also an important precursor or marker for eating disorders in the future.  And that future might not be very far away for a number of these girls.  The study states:

Despite eating disorders typically emerging during adolescence, cases have been reported in early elementary school children.

The study reviewed the influences that caused these girls to restrict their food intake.  While most of the girls were pretty happy with their body at the moment, over 50 percent showed some evidence that they had taken the “thin ideal” to heart.  And the girls who had clearly taken the thin ideal to heart, that had experienced more media that represented the thin ideal and had more discussions about appearance with their peers, were the girls more likely to be restricting their food intake.

Which leads me to ask some questions.  If we know that BMI report cards are ineffective, and we know that kids are learning behaviors that lead to eating disorders as early as age 5, why don’t we work harder to include body image education into the curriculum–the earlier the better?  Anorexia is deadly and notoriously difficult to treat.  Why don’t we put some real, sensible, research-based curriculum in place at the earliest possible age to help these kids not develop this problem?  And since adults who hate their bodies are fairly likely to project these feelings onto impressionable children, why don’t we require training for teachers and strongly encourage training for all adults who deal with kids?

We have an opportunity to make a world where girls don’t grow up hating their bodies and hating themselves.  That’s why I write this blog.  That’s what I do what I do.  I add my tiny voice to the growing chorus singing the song stating that we are beautiful, we are worthy of love, we are okay just the way we are.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want to hear me talk about body positive at your school?  Click HERE.

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The 3500 Calorie Fallacy and the Invisible Man

Lord knows I don’t often agree with Dr. Sharma.  His views on bariatric surgery are very different than mine, thus I will not be providing a link.)  But this week in his “Obesity Notes” he presented something that got me quite jazzed.  (By the way, as a music major, I would suggest that the “Obesity Notes” are F-sharp and B-flat.)

Some “obesity notes”…

This week he talked about the 3500 calorie weight loss fallacy and about how even the top medical journals seem to fall into it.  This old chestnut (which has to have been quoted by trolls in the millions of times) goes like this:

If you cut 500 calories per day, which adds up to 3,500 calories per week, you will lose a pound per week.

Which on it’s face seems pretty logical, right?  I mean science says that one pound of fat has a caloric content of about 3,500 calories.  So logic dictates that if you cut 3,500 calories from your diet, you will lose 1 shiny, gorgeous pound.

3500 glisteningly gorgeous kilocalories…

Heck a patient  information page found in even that most sciencey of the scientific magazines JAMA says:

A total of 3500 calories equals 1 pound of body weight. This means if you decrease (or increase) your intake by 500 calories daily, you will lose (or gain) 1 pound per week. (500 calories per day × 7 days = 3500 calories.)

Seems  logical, right?  Except for just one problem.  It absolutely doesn’t work.  As one doctor pointed out in a letter to the editor, the fallacy is pretty obvious if you think about it.  1 pound a week is 52 pounds per year.  Not only is this far above and beyond what the average dieter loses in a year, it leads to a conclusion that is patently absurd.  If this equation were linear in just a few years, many dieters would have zero pounds and would simply disappear.

Hmmm, maybe if we feed trolls a little less…   But alas no.  There are no disappearing dieters running out there, because OBVIOUSLY as a person begins to lose weight, certain metabolic changes start happening in the body that make it harder to lose weight.  This is because the body doesn’t want people to starve OR disappear.  The body wants to self-regulate to manage through times of want and times of plenty.  This is an extremely well-known and well documented scientific fact.

Yet many, many trolls (and apparently well-known scientific journals) are inclined to say things like, “Duh, it’s thermodynamics!  If you eat less, you will lose weight.  Just cut 3500 calories and you will lose a pound you (insert insult-y troll name for fat person here).”

But if you feel inclined, and if you have the spoons, you can feel free to tell those trolls that while we wish it were that easy to make some people disappear, it just ain’t so.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to talk about the 3500 calorie and other great stuff at YOUR school or organization?  Click HERE for my speaker page.

P.S.S. Want to have help getting into exercise?  Click HERE to buy my book or DVD.

Resolve to have More Creative Resolutions

Diet_NoIt’s the time of year when all of us size acceptance and HAES (R) folks start talking about why you shouldn’t diet as your New Year’s Resolution.  And I’m sure you’ll hear plenty of good reasons like: it doesn’t work, it makes you crabby, it messes up your metabolism, it will probably make you fatter, it fills your life with shame, it messes up your self esteem and it doesn’t work.  (I know I said “it doesn’t work” twice, but I think it’s important enough to bear repeating, um, again apparently.)  But you know what?  I’d like to add another reason for not making dieting your New Year’s Resolution to the pile.  And that reason is: it’s a really boring resolution.  I mean, is that seriously the best resolution you can come up with?  “I’m going to go on a diet,” is just not original and it’s not fun.

I strongly believe that if you can inject a little more fun into the New Year’s Resolution process, you’ve got a much better chance for success.  I’ve often said the same about exercise in general.  Fun makes everything better.  And into every person’s life comes the moment where you need to decide if you are going to put time and energy into your resolution or if you’re going to sit on the sofa, eat some cheesy poofs and watch that Saturday marathon of Project Runway reruns.  If your resolution doesn’t have any fun in it, if it’s not sort of enjoyable in some way, which do you think you’re gonna pick?  Let’s get real here.

Bored kitteh finds New Year’s Resolutions boring…

That is why I am SUPER excited about a few things we’ve got coming down the pike here!  For one, I’m still collecting photos and videos for our New New Years Resolution project.  I’d like to make a new video like the one last year, but this time, I’d like to feature YOU.  But in order for this to work, I need your photos by midnight on January 31st.  So PLEASE send your photos to projects@thefatchick.com ASAP!

Next I want to tell you about a little debauchery that Ragen and I are cooking up on the Fit Fatties Forum.  This year we are hosting a Fit Fatty Decathlon as part of our Fit Fatty  Virtual Events series.  What is that?  So glad you asked!  The Fit Fatty Decathlon is a series of lots of events that you can choose and complete on your own or with friends.  Register for the events, complete 10 of them, submit photographic evidence, post on Facebook (‘cuz otherwise it never happened) and you my friend are a Fit Fatty Decathlon Finisher!  Some of the events are pretty typical (walk/run/roll a 5K).  But some of these events include sustained temper tantrums, playing with dogs, hula hooping and running after toddlers!  (Extra points if you do all of these at the same time.)  You can learn all about it HERE.

custom_tote_bagBy the way, I should mention that prices for the Fit Fatty Decathlon are scheduled to go up significantly (like I mean a lot) after January 1.  There’s even a contest for submitting the wackiest idea for your own event.  I mean come on.  How much fun is that?  So stop your darn procrastinating and SIGN UP RIGHT NOW!  Here for your clicking convenience is that LINK AGAIN.

Whatever your new year brings to you, I hope you find a way to approach it with fun.  Life is full of challenges.  And sometimes life just sucks!  Having a little fun can help get you through.  Here’s to a year full of love and light and laughing until your belly hurts!

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want a gift to help you learn how to feel good about your body?  This month I’m giving away “5 Things That can Help You Love Your Body Right Now! for free to members of my clique.  Just opt in RIGHT HERE!

Body Intelligence or Body War?

golda_biggest_loser

This week, I’ve come across two very different approaches to young bodies in the media.  One is the announcement (and subsequent activism response by the amazing Golda Poretsky) that the television show “The Biggest Loser” will now include teenagers and the other is a new study about the effectiveness of “intuitive eating” among young adults.

It’s hard to imagine a stronger dichotomy than these two approaches.  On the one hand, we have “The Biggest Loser” which teaches us that our body is the enemy.  No punishment is too harsh.  No humiliation is too great.  We must deprive ourselves of delicious foods.  We must exercise until we vomit or pass out.  We must make our bodies thin at all costs.

The study outlines a different approach (at least to eating) by documenting the outcomes of young adults who practice intuitive eating.  The study defines intuitive eating by the young people “trusting their bodies to tell them what to eat” and “stopping eating once they felt full”.  Based on the Biggest Loser story, one would imagine that those who trust their bodies and allow hunger to guide their eating would be larger than those who focus on controlling body weight.  However, the study seems to indicate the opposite.  Those who trusted their bodies not only had fewer signs of disordered eating, but also had a lower average BMI.

Now, it’s important to remember that this is only one study.  But we’ve yet to unearth a single study that indicates that deprivation and self hatred is an effective way to maintain a lower body weight or BMI over the long term (more than 5 years).  So what should we be teaching our kids, to love their bodies or make war on them?

While it seems obvious to me that teaching kids to trust the innate intelligence of their bodies is the better choice, I think it’s important to recognize this is not the easier choice.  I think peer pressure plays an enormous role both for children and their parents.  I think many of us have faced discrimination and outright cruelty from others because of the size of our bodies.  We don’t wish that pain on our worst enemies.  So it’s not surprising that we don’t want it for our children.  And the prevailing wisdom of the women at the beauty shop, Aunt Thelma and even our pediatricians often involves hushed side conversations about what the parent is going to “do” about a child’s weight.  It seems clear to me that peer pressure bends us towards putting our kids on diets, obsessing over their BMIs, forcing them to exercise, sending them to fat camps and yes, even allowing them to be on “The Biggest Loser”, even though there is so, SO much evidence out there showing that this approach doesn’t work.  But at some point, we have to ask ourselves, “Is peer pressure a smart way to decide what’s best for kids?  Is bowing to peer pressure in this case going to make our kids happier or healthier in the long run?”  I think we need to ask the proverbial question, “If our friends tell us to run off a cliff, will we do it?”  Or will we put peer pressure aside, assure the ladies at the beauty shop and Aunt Thelma and even our pediatrician that we are doing what science indicates is best for our kids, and teach them that their bodies are wondrous and intelligent and trustworthy?

I’d love to hear what you think.

Love,

The Fat Chick