(TW – more swear words, plus an overuse of shouty capital letters. I need a holiday).
It’s at the point now where I actually need to write a list of all of the diet culture bullshit that is annoying me. I’m so swamped with things to be outraged about that my short term memory is overloaded and I’m at risk of forgetting what’s pissing me off! So, here’s my list:
- WW (I KNOW AGAIN) – who have turned the fuckery dial up once more, announcing their new USA “Ambassador” Kate Hudson (WHY) and their UK “Manbassador” ROBBIE WILLIAMS.
Robbie Williams is being held in the WW dungeon
I can’t adequately express my heartbreak at this. Robbie, one of the few heterosexual men left standing after #MeToo – crossing to the dark side of the gaslighting weight loss wolves. His video on the WW website (please don’t watch it) shows Robbie – who’s NOT EVEN ANYWHERE NEAR FAT – spout a veritable word salad of inspirational gibberish like ‘wellness’ and ‘being the best version of myself.’
Ay to, Robbie?
Why on earth are you there, Robbie? What dirt does Oprah have on you?
Most people don’t look like – this even at their smallest.
But Kate ‘needs’ to lose weight?
And Kate – oh, Kate. She’s NOWHERE NEAR EVEN SLIGHTLY LARGE IN ANY WAY joining WW ‘for her children’. Because she gave birth 8 weeks ago and wants to lose the fucking baby weight. WTF Kate – you want your children to see you join up to a lifetime of counting points? Do you want your daughters to see that the most important focus of a woman’s life after becoming a mother is her fucking body weight?
The good old gaslighting double speak is alive and well, as Kate pretends that “It’s really about the holistic approach to wellness”. Oh for Christ’s sake Kate, it’s about being paid to get your fitness brand in the public eye and I have HAD ENOUGH.
Having failed to capture the teenage market, WW are now going after thin people who are hung up on ‘wellness’. Watch your back, Gwyneth – they’re coming for you! WW – you can stick your wishy washy fake health and wellness messaging firmly up your arses. This tricky and stealthy new marketing REEKS. You SUCK.
- The email I got from a reader from last week’s blog telling me how she’d been inspired after reading it to call up and cancel her WW membership (YAY!). But when she told them that she wanted out because she has a history of an eating disorder, the sales person started telling her how WW was now partnered with Headspace who could TOTALLY HELP her with her eating disorder AND stay on WW!
FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU CAME IN ON.
- The results of the Senate Enquiry into “O” in Australia came out, with the first 2 recommendations talking at length about weight stigma and how incredibly harmful it is, and the rest of the report quickly descending into weight phobia. The report recommended that public health messaging should stop using the term ‘obesity’ because it is so highly stigmatising, and then immediately failed to follow its own recommendations by releasing a report ON OBESITY IN AUSTRALIA. They literally couldn’t even bring themselves to listen to THEMSELVES.
Even if they did, however, eradicating weight stigma is not about using different words and still trying to shrink people. It’s about recognising that oppressing an entire group of people has an impact on their health, independent of BMI. Weight stigma can only be demolished if we challenge the entire premise of ‘obesity’ being a ‘crisis,’ calm the hell down and have some sensible talks about how to best support the health of people in our society of all shapes and sizes. Yes, we’re getting bigger as a culture, yes our disease burden is changing, but I think we’d all be much better off working with the bodies we have rather than constantly trying to shrink us.
- A really irritating news piece about the Senate Committee’s report which utterly minimised the topic of weight stigma but droned on at inordinate length about the tax on sugary drinks. This is such a BORING argument, as 1. Intake of sugary drinks is at an all time low in Australia, and 2. Taxes on sugary drinks in other countries, such as Chile, has resulted in lowered consumption but has done bugger all to reduce people’s weight.
- THIS quote in the same article, from the Butterfly Foundation:
“Obesity and eating disorders both revolve around unhealthy beliefs and behaviours around weight and eating,” the foundation said, calling for greater dialogue between the two treatment sectors.”
Sorry but you are absolutely incorrect, Butterfly. Shame on you for being the country’s leading voice for eating disorder sufferers, and spreading such misinformation about the “O” word (which as an ED foundation you should know better than to use). It is factually incorrect to compare a mental illness such as an eating disorder to a body size. A larger body size is NOT a mental illness. It’s not in the DSM-V. A person in a larger body is not ‘revolving around unhealthy beliefs and behaviours around weight and eating’, they are just LIVING IN A LARGER BODY, to imply this is an illness is dreadful. To say that we need more ‘dialogue’ between the eating disorders sector and Obesity Inc is utterly gaslighting to literally everyone with an eating disorder. Why do eating disorder professionals need to speak to the diet and weight loss industry? It’s like calling for ‘dialogue’ between AA and the local pub, FFS. The only ‘dialogue’ we need is to tell Obesity Inc to stop selling ineffective weight loss plans that CAUSE EATING DISORDERS.
- A horribly disturbing article describing Zoya, an 8 year old girl from Mumbai, who has just undergone her SECOND weight loss surgery. The first – a gastric band – was performed when she was just 11 months old. Wonder of wonders, she didn’t lose very much weight (Zoya has a genetic condition which predisposes her to be very heavy), and according to the articles, Zoya has been ‘bedridden and unable to walk’ for the last 2 years. She’s also suffering from multiple health problems. How many of these problems, I wonder, are due to the surgery she was given as a baby, and to a complete lack of after care? The doctors said that Zoya’s stomach has now ‘stretched to adult size’ – and I am not surprised, as the human body is incredibly adept at fighting back against starvation, which occurs when people stick a bloody big band around your stomach when you’re a BABY. Did they consider that the band had created a starvation response? It doesn’t seem so.
Zoya’s family are very poor, and after her band operation no-one followed up with them. Kids with genetic conditions like this really need support – things like physiotherapy, help with feeding patterns, monitoring of all of the other health conditions that can develop due to the genetic condition – but none of this happened for Zoya. And when she once again came to the attention of the hospital, it seems that the doctors just couldn’t see beyond her weight. They have performed a gastric sleeve operation now – she has just 15% of her stomach left. And to add to that, they’ve also put a a ‘non-adjustable ring’ around her tiny stomach “to minimise dilation of the stomach in the future”. And the surgeon is crowing about his ‘world record’.
I try to keep breathing, but I feel like crying for poor Zoya. This is child abuse. Even the weight centric research literature states that weight loss surgeries in children with genetic conditions – especially kids showing disordered eating – is contraindicated:
“the long-term efficacy and safety of bariatric surgery in genetic forms of obesity need further evaluation…It should be kept in mind that severe eating disorders are usually an argument against bariatric surgery. The position of the French Reference Center of Prader-Willi Syndrome is cautious and does not recommend the use of surgery in case of syndromic obesity with food impulsivity.”
I am so angry I could spit right now. The world has a LONG way to go before kids like Zoya are safe from weight loss worship. Diet culture permeates so many areas of our lives – the medical world, government policy, eating disorder research and treatment – and layered on top of all of these is a pernicious weight loss industry (sorry ‘wellness industry’) intent on keeping us all trapped.
If you are feeling pretty wound up and angry after reading my list, I am truly sorry! But also not – because it is only when we all wake and up see the problems rife in diet culture that we’ll be able to push back and create change. I am heartened every single day by the messages I receive from you, dear readers, and from the listeners of the All Fired Up! podcast. I know I’m not alone in my rage and desire to see things change, to fight for a better world for all of us, and for the generations to come.
So, it’s the end of 2018 and there’s been a shit tonne of diet culture bullshit rain down on us. And I am honouring this on the All Fired Up! podcast by hosting a very special show, the 2nd Annual Crappy Awards. In this episode, I am inviting YOU – readers and listeners – to submit a short rant on the topic of “What pissed me off the most this year”. What was your pet peeve? What really ground your gears this year? What makes you want to hurl the laptop across the room in disgust? Basically, what got you all fired up? I want to hear it!
Send me a brief (3 minute max) audio of you ranting – introduce yourself, and then present your tirade – and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll put all of your outrage together in the Crappy Awards show, which will be aired in January, and yes there’s a PRIZE for the best rant! Points are awarded not just for the shitty topic, but for the quality of rage in your presentation.
I can’t WAIT to hear from you!
Take care of yourself this Christmas season, and make sure you bunker down against the weight loss wolves, who get particularly hangry around New Year.
See you in 2019!