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Friday, January 24, 2014

Can Everyone Please, Just Shut the *!%* Up??

I'm not going to apologize for my post on Woody Allen, but a friend kindly pointed out to me that I need to stay more on topic with my blog posts since I'm working on a memoir about my food and eating issues and my EDNOS. So the Woody Allen post was a one-off. I can't promise that it won't happen again because every once in a while things rear up for me and I just have to vent to the world. Or vent on my blog. That's more accurate because I'm not really sure how many people in the world are actually reading what I'm saying here. NO ONE COMMENTS. :o/ 

Anyway...I sat down to work on my novel and my memoir but made the mistake of checking in on Facebook, thus today's post.

(I read somewhere that the esteemed author Jonathan Franzen writes in an office that has no Internet, no WiFi, nothing to distract him from his writing. Just a computer monitor. I should probably follow his lead. But I digress...)

In working on my food and eating issues, I've become acutely aware of the negative messages the world and society sends us. And I mean all of us here, not just those who are struggling with EDs and food issues. Everyone one of us receives these messages. They nestle into our psyches and become part of who we are and then, without us even knowing it, we spew them back into the world. Like a baby spitting up pabulum. I believe these missives are not always intended to hurt our feelings, but they're negative and hurtful just the same, and I wish more people would consider what they say before they say it. Or post it.

Case in point: When I was checking my FB page, a post from one of my female cousins popped up on my screen. Here it is:

Now any normal, everyday person who is moving through life without a care as to what they're putting in their mouths and how often, and who may be exercising regularly and loving it would not think twice about this image. I, on the other hand, felt like an iron had been smashed into my face. It speaks to me, and I find it hurtful. 

I wish my being overweight only had to do with the fact that I might be lazy (which I'm not).

If it were only that simple.

I know my cousin would not intend to hurt me. She is a young mom who just lost all of her baby weight from exercising and restricting a lot of what she ate (I know this thanks to her FB posts). And good for her. She found something that worked for her and I sincerely think that's wonderful.

However...what worked for her does not necessarily work for everyone, and her posting this says to me she has no real understanding of what many women (and men) are suffering through out there. This post, though intended to motivate, comes across as just plain thoughtless. And uninformed. She has no idea of what she's talking about. 

She also posted this:

Which I half understand and like. But underneath this picture she wrote, "I promise that working out is the easiest part of all of this. Don't you deserve to look your best? What are you waiting for?"

Again, her intentions are good, I know it. 

This hurts/bothers me because I'm fighting to get away from this mentality, this kind of "work hard to LOOK your best" way of thinking. I'm trying my hardest to embrace the fact that I'm more than how I outwardly appear to the world, I'm more than a number on the scale or the size jeans I fit into. It shouldn't matter how any of us LOOK. And I'm not saying we don't need to exercise. We do. But instead of killing myself on a treadmill or doing P90X again, I'm trying to discover physical activities that actually FEEL good to me so I want to go back to doing them again and again.  

I/we encounter this kind of thinking and this belief system every hour of every day. 

It's exhausting. 

Then another family member shows up and says she's reading Cameron Diaz's "The Body Book." I haven't read it, but I did just check it out on Amazon. Of course there's a beautiful picture of Ms. Diaz on the cover looking every bit her gorgeous, sensuous self, just like she always has on every magazine cover and in every movie she has ever made. She was blessed with great genes, there's no denying that. But the message she is sending is: "Follow what I say in this book and you'll look just like me!"


If only. 

Again, I believe Cameron Diaz's heart is in the right place, but she's no expert on food and eating. It's just another example of a CELEBRITY dispensing their thoughts on food and eating and really, do I need another celebrity talking to me about this stuff? No offense, Cameron Diaz, but you're part of the problem, not the solution.

 I discussed this with my therapist last night and she made a good point. She said that if a Pulitzer prize winning nutritionist had written a book on food and eating and it was sitting right next to Cameron Diaz's book at the bookstore, whose book do you think would sell more copies? Unless the nutritionist looks anything like Cameron, I'm thinking Ms. Diaz is going to win this one. 

I don't have the time or energy to launch into a complete review of her book. I haven't read it. I did read the first few pages of it on Amazon and to her credit, she does admit that she's not a doctor or a scientist. Thank God for that. But she remains part of the problem because she started out with different genes and a different genetic map than the rest of us, and we as a society embraced her because of her appearance. 

I imagine I'm racing against a world-class sprinter. He gets placed in a starting block way ahead of me, halfway around the track. The gun goes off and I'm told to "catch up." He inevitably wins the race, then stands at the finish line and elucidates the reasons why I didn't win and how I can do better.

Who needs that??

Ok. Enough ranting and raving. This lazy girl needs to get to work on her novel and memoir. But if anyone has any thoughts or comments, I'd LOVE to hear from you!! :o)


  1. I agree that I don't like signs that say things like "It's your ass, move it." And by the way, the example from the Facebook page omitted the apostrophe in "It's," which also annoyed me! I find these drill sergeant messages to be unmotivational, and they produce the opposite of their intended effect for me. They bring out the rebellion. Encouraging words are always better than ones that shame or guilt people into action.

  2. I agree, Marty Preston! They do get the opposite reactions than what they intend. Think of how you/we feel when we hear those negative admonitions. I feel my shoulders actually shrink when I hear them.

  3. Some people, of course are motivated by a strong, forceful message. My issues, which I think is similar to yours, is the one-size-fits-all mentality that is either stated outright or strongly implied. That message, even with disclaimers like Cameron's, is dismissive and disrespectful. It implies a kind of superiority: "I can do it and if you can't well it's your own damn fault." Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!! :)

  4. Absolutely, Dr. Selby. And those like myself (I think) hear these messages then feel shame, which compounds our issues and the vicious cycle continues. Let's break it!

  5. Amy, you're definitely not alone in your feelings. If it had been as prevalent as it is now back when I was restricting/overexercising, I would have been a HUGE consumer/pusher of fitspo.

    These days, however, it's a different story.

    I understand that some people really feel like these images and quotes empower them to "get healthy;" however it's a false sense of empowerment because "healthy" really translates to "lean." And lean, as I'm learning, is not always the same thing as health.

    I've been writing about this a ton on my own blog, but sometimes I feel like I'm just preaching to the choir! (Although, granted, both I and the choir sometimes need to be reminded to ignore the triggers too!)

    I wish there were a way to put a trigger filter on Facebook and Pinterest, etc. I feel like so many people would benefit...

  6. A trigger filter...great idea! It's easy to buy into these triggers. I/we can't change this behavior overnight. I guess it's good we're aware of them and how harmful they are. Now we have to keep preaching our new-found ideas & beliefs about what's really healthy. Nice to know I'm in good company! Thanks for stopping by, Kaila I enjoy your blog.