Tag Archives: media

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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“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.

The Unwritten Sports Stat: Female Athletes Must Be Gorgeous

A friend forwarded me a link to an interesting article in the Guardian about how female athletes fear that how they look may outrank how well they perform in terms of their careers as sportswomen.    The article chronicles the results of a major study commissioned by BT Sport.  The study was commissioned after the 2012 Olympics partly in response to Olympic Gold Medalist Rebecca Adlington’s very public admissions about body insecurity after the games.  The study included over 100 elite female British athletes.

To those of us who study body image questions, it’s probably not that surprising that 89 percent of the athletes polled felt that they could relate to insecurity about body image.  67 percent felt that the public and the media valued their personal physical appearance over their athletic prowess, and over 70 percent said that it affected their diet and training regimes.  Let’s take a moment to ponder here.  We are talking about professional athletes who make their living from the capabilities of their bodies who are making training decisions based at least in part on how they will look in their singlet.  It makes you wonder if their performance might have been even better if they could allow their training and nutrition to be focused exclusively on what pushes their bodies to their best performance.

I have written before about the fact that I love the Olympics with a big old passion.  I have also expressed before, my deep disappointment over how we could spend time skewering the very best Olympic gymnast for the quality of her hairdo, or why we need to make Olympic uniforms look like outfits for cheerleaders.  (Another group of highly trained athletes that are hypersexualized to the point of ridiculousness.)  And don’t even get me started on Olympics advertising that looks like softcore porn.

And we’re not just talking about Olympians here.  Anyone from tennis stars to golfers are expected to look runway perfect these days.  Maybe that’s why I’m so excited about our Fit Fatty Virtual Events this year.  It allows you to complete all kinds of fabulous physical activities wearing what you want, wherever you want and on your terms.  We have had several incredibly inspired entrants who have completed significant tasks wearing pajamas.  We have had entrants complete events and perform community service simultaneously.  We have met Santa Claus on a 5K and performed epic, family-style, living room dance parties with kids of all ages.

Because Ragen and I are crazy enough to believe that physical activities should be about moving your body and having fun.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

Ads, Women and Mental Health

I recently came across this lecture from Jill Kilbourne and wanted to share it with you.  In one of the classes I’ve been teaching we’ve been talking extensively about media’s role in women’s self esteem.  I think it’s so very important to understand with Ms. Kilbourne has to say here.  That we often find ourselves viewing magazines or television ads or billboards, and feeling inadequate because we don’t look like the women in the pictures.  But, hello, even the women in the pictures don’t look like the women in the pictures.  With Photoshop, no woman need ever have flaws.  And I’ve heard through back channels that some actresses have right in their contract that their image on television must be slightly vertically stretched to make them appear taller and thinner.

Couple this with the fact that hardly anyone approaching average size appears on television or in advertising.  The average American woman is a size 12 on the top and a 14 on the bottom.  Most women on television or in advertising are a size 2, 0 or even 00.  To give you a frame of reference, when Cameryn Manheim was on The Practice she was about a size 14 and quite tall.  When I met her in person, I was struck by how average her size looked in real life.  But on TV she seemed pretty large.  Now some say that the camera adds 15 pounds, but I don’t really think that’s what’s at work here.  What is at work here is that she was surrounded by a whole cast of people that were very, very significantly smaller than average.  So by contrast, she seemed bigger.

I sometimes wish I could have a special Photoshop tool or television/video filter that would allow me to make everybody on TV and in ads look a little more average or a little more normal.  I think it would help the rest of us gain some perspective on how other people look.  But when I get really down, I go do a little “field work”.  I go to a mall, or a gym or a public pool, I sit on a bench or in a chair and I just look at people.  I regain my sense of how real people look.  People all looking SO different from one another.  People with tattoos and scars and stretch marks.  People of all different shapes and sizes and colors.  All different kinds of hair in all different places.  Smiles shining out of faces not lit for the cameras, but rather lit from within, from lives well lived.  I regain my perspective.  It really feels great.  Maybe you’d like to try it and report back?  I’d love to hear how it went!

Love,

The Fat Chick