Say it again, sister. Say it louder.

From Womanist Musings:
Diet and weight loss is a multi billion dollar a year industry in the U.S. Everyday we are inundated with the message that fat is unhealthy, and disgusting. It is suggested that people should be willing to do whatever it takes to lose what are viewed as excess pounds and as a result, almost every day some new product is touted as the answer to the obesity problem. That many of these so-called solutions do not work or are harmful either physically or emotionally, is ignored because at the end of the day, society has invested in the idea of thin at all costs.

I don't often write about fat or weight but when I came across the at home stomach pump on Facebook, I was disgusted and so alarmed, I simply had to address it.

...This product is seen as a good thing largely because the recovery time is quicker than a gastric bypass. The company has a small sample (note: 20) people who have managed to loose weight using this technique. For the record, I don't think that twenty people counts as enough to make any kind of scientific claims about the safety or effectiveness of this product.

One female patient lost 38kg over the course of the 59 weeks she used the system. She "aspirated" after every meal: "the patient uncapped [her] tube, connected a 60 cc syringe and extracted food from her stomach twice. This resulted in a siphon effect, which permitted the subject to freely drain the stomach by allowing the open tube to empty into a bucket. The patient squeezed the tube to enhance propulsion and to break up large food." Beyond the troubling mental image this provides, the latter sentence is key. Not only did this particular dieter have to watch her stomach contents slop into a bucket straight from her innards, she also had to give them a helping squeeze for added artificial digestion.

Not only is this disgusting, it is clear that this machine does nothing more than facilitate disordered eating. Even more alarming than that, encouraging people to expel food after eating is nothing more than medicalized bulimia. Considering how harmful this disease is, the very idea that if a medical stamp is placed upon it that it could become socially acceptable is disturbing. Granted, you won't have people ruining their teeth any longer because they have a direct pipeline to their stomach comments but there are no controls on the device as far as I can see to prevent abuse and self harm.

...No matter how much weight is lost using the stomach pump, it most certainly cannot be seen as a good thing. As a society, we should be promoting health at any size and eating a balanced diet, rather than encouraging purging. We should be encouraging people to lead active lives rather than constantly stigmatizing body size and falsely equating it with personal value. This machine is predatory from start to finish and I can only hope that before it receives approval that it will be questioned and the issues that it will create investigated thoroughly.
Thank you.

Someone tell me...when did eating become such a sin?  What else is going to become en vogue?  Insomnia?

A good, satisfying, healthy meal is crucial for growth, mood, concentration, energy, and oh yeah...survival.  This is why the weight loss industry is so despicable.  It's no different any drug dealer's operation.  It sells poison to people - whether by chemical, device, or a combination - tells people they're ugly and disgusting, and earn billions the whole while.  Why is this even legal???

Every so often, I talk about my health and my endeavors to stay healthy.  First, it drinking tons and tons of water, preferably mineral water.  Now I plan to start cycling (tonight in fact).  But in between those two steps, I've noticed things at grocery stores - unsung heroes, by the way - which have made eating healthier a lot easier.  I've noticed that pre-sliced fruit, pre-chopped vegetables (and fresh green spices like sage and thyme) are readily available for a reasonable price.  It makes snacking on apples, grapes, strawberries, so much easier.  My evenings are now spent watching shows with a container of sliced apples, snacking with neither guilt nor hesitation.  These are what I buy now instead of Pringles and Oreos.

Pre-chopped vegetables and seasonings means cooking dinner about 20-30 minutes faster with fresh, organic ingredients.  I can be tired and hungry, but it's all good because I know that I'll have chicken and vegetables braised in Pinot Grigio with spinach-tossed pasta in no time.

And this is precisely how we should be talking about food.  We should be sharing tips on where to get the healthiest ingredients for the most reasonable price, how to cook good food quickly, and how to get in the habit of snacking on fresh fruit.  Not telling people they're disgusting for being eaters and that they need to purge after each meal.

*shudders*

Comments

  1. This is so beyond disgusting that I can't even form a coherent response. I mean, really? Why would anyone want to pump their own stomach? How is this legitimate? Doesn't the FDA have a say so in the distribution of this thing? People are going to die. This is horrible.

    You are right in that it is very easy to eat healthy if you want to. I have become a fan of microwave-steamed veggies and rice. They're quick, fast and good, without a whole lot of junk in them. Six minutes and you've got side dishes. I keep bags and bags of frozen rice and veggies in my freezer. Dinner in less than half an hour.

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  2. That's just fucking wrong. All that's gonna do is encourage some girl to go overboard with the thing and accidentally kill herself with it, all the while thinking she's ugly and fat and worthless. If I hear a story like that if and when this thing hits the market, I'm gonna lose it.

    I wish this wasn't an industry. Not just the weight loss industry, but the beauty industry in general, is designed solely around preying on women's fears that they have to live up to some idiotic standard and that they're completely worthless if they don't. Instead of living healthy lives and feeling comfortable with their bodies, women are expected to make themselves both physically and mentally sick just to fit into an extremely narrow definition of "beauty".

    I definitely agree with talking about eating healthy over selling devices designed to empty your stomach into a bucket. The weight loss industry does its damndest to make it sound difficult, but really, it's not only not that hard, it's also a lot more rewarding than taking some non-functioning pill that does nothing but shorten your life expectancy.

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  3. This is one of the reasons why i was booted out of my old job, because I was telling people not to buy those stupid weight loss pills. I mean they can really kill you. It's worst than drugs.

    In fact, it's better just to walk. Like I've been doing it since I was in high school and I'm not going to stop

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    1. Agreed. The good thing about walking is you can clear your mind, eliviate your stress level and lose weight from it without feeling totally half dead from it. I went walking yesterday at a neighborhood park while my nephs went skateboarding.

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    2. I don't see much of a difference between the stomach pump and liposuction.. both basically sucks fat from you and very dangerous.I just hate where weight loss has gone in the 21st century.

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  4. Cody Richardson1/8/13, 5:45 AM

    What the complete fuck.

    You know, despite the prevalence of obesity among black people, I really hope this stays on one side of the color line. I hope thinking that doesn't make me a bad person...

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    1. Well, to be perfectly honest, it sounds like this deal is being marketed to that particular demographic. Black people, particularly Black women, who are on the heavy-set side normally don't give a damn about what society thinks about their weight. If they want to lose weight, they will lose it on their own accord and they usually take the healthier route (i.e., eating right, exercising, etc.) After all, eating disorders are not common among Blacks.

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    2. They are getting more common as we are more main-stream. I've had three black friends and one black college classmates who were all anorexic/bulimic. The latter died from it.

      What I have noticed, esp. as an upper middle class black person is that my friends who once were happy to be curvy size 12s with round butts and small waists are more and more dieting down to size 2 and getting lots of praise for it. I'm seeing girls who hate their large breasts. I'm seeing people who are confusing thick with a flat stomach with being obese. I also see my black male counterparts picking women with that super tiny build more often than not. From where I sit, I could have a much worse face and do really well with men if I was that small.

      I have a very round butt. I'm finding fewer and fewer people who find that attractive or enviable.

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    3. The problem is that people are getting brainwashed in this society about what is a "good size" and what is a "bad size". I was watching a childhood favorite once (the original Karate Kid movie) and I was looking at the blonde love interest of Danny (Ali). I was thinking to myself that when I was growing up, she would have been viewed as normal-sized, but today she would be considered "fat" or "chubby".

      As for girls who hate their large breasts, that could be related to back pain and/or unwanted male attention because everyone knows that men generally like large breasts. Why do you think breast augmentation is so popular in this society?

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    4. Leo Princess1/9/13, 4:56 PM

      @Mickey - The ironic thing is that they want large, round* breasts, but a starving 11 year old boy's body.

      Even here, there are some Black women and girls with eating disorders, though they tend to be found mainly in the upper-middle/upper classes where everything from North America is viewed as gospel**. The women and girls in the lower-middle to lower classes simply don't have time or the inclination to be super skinny on purpose. They'd likely cuss off a bulimic/anorexic for wasting or shunning food in times like these! Also, there has long been a preference by most Jamaican men towards 'fluffy' women, so that's also an incentive for some of these women to keep themselves as well fed as they can.


      *Seriously, have you seen how abnormally round and stiff some fake breasts come out looking?

      **You need to overhear a conversation between some of the young people from these groups. They either sound like stereotypical American teens, or they try entirely too hard to sound Jamaican (when it's convenient).

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    5. @Mickey, no, the reason why a lot of them hate their breasts is b/c they make them look heavier. Growing up as the only black girl in my private school class, I watched the curvier, larger breasted girls hate their bodies and spend year after year trying to diet down to be skinny and flat-chested. Now I see my black friends do the same thing. And again, among a certain set of black people, being very, very skinny with a small chest, narrow hips, and tiny legs is becoming the most desired look. People associate breasts with being fat for some reason. I don't know why.
      I can recall a very large chested girl in my class who was otherwise pretty small (tiny legs and arms) who was referred to as chubby by our black male classmates.
      And I'm not sure if you are a guy or girl, but as someone who wears an F cup I will tell you that being properly fitted for a bra eliminates the discomfort of having large breasts(maybe I'm just used to them but I have to be wearing certain materials or v-necks for it to be distracting), and in fact, can make them blend in and not look so large. I'm a heavy person but I have large chested friends who are super skinny to medium who laid out the dough, got professionally fitted, and their breasts do not stand out nor attract unwanted attention.
      If your bra straps hurt your shoulders, you band is too loose on you, b/c bra straps are not supposed to hold your breasts up.
      Don't get me wrong, some women, esp. black women, do have some breasts that belong in the Guinness book, but you'd be surprised how much of a difference a good bra makes unless we're talking about really extra large breasts (and I'm talking about those that go way beyond E, F, G, or even H cup sizes). Nothing is going to hide those.

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    6. @ Nicthommi,

      Yes, I am a female. I used to work in Victoria's Secret and we never sold any bras over a DD cup. Whenever a woman whose bustline surpassed DD, we would direct them to Frederick's of Hollywood to accommodate them. And these women were on the hefty side as well. I know that women who are E/F cup and above have difficulty finding bras that fit well that eliminate discomfort.

      As for large breasts equaling fat, that depends on the build of the female and the size of her chest. I know of some women who want breast implants, but they fear looking fat or matronly. Other women who have gone under the knife have told these women that, chances are, they will not look matronly and that it depends on other factors (i.e., how big they want to go, their current build, weight gain/loss, etc.)

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    7. I think you misunderstood me Mickey...as I said, I wear a large cup size as do many of my friends and you might have to work harder to find a good bra but a good bra has meant that only one ever felt the need to go under the knife. None of my skinny or medium but large breasted friends look heavy at all. But that isn't the point either. My point was that I had encountered girls who were NOT fat but felt they were fat b/c they have large chests.

      Do you understand that how a person looks and what she sees when she looks in the mirror frequently do NOT sync up? For a lot of people who are eating disordered it doesn't matter at all. They don't care what you see. It's what they see. The world can see a skinny or average person but they see fat, and many women associate that part of their body with being fat. And it usually starts with getting mocked.
      One of my friends who is rail thin and has always been very tall relative to everyone else got mocked for having large breasts on an otherwise long and extremely thin frame. And the first people to make fun of your large breasts are usually other women, b/c they see you change in gym class. And that is how they learn to hate them (one of my friends talked about getting weighed in front of the girls and she was very skinny, had large breasts, and b/c of bone density, muscle mass, weighed a lot more than them while wearing the same size. Those girls laughed at her and it started a two decade cycle of anorexia and bulimia). And for the other friend it also affected how she viewed her entire body for a long time, although luckily not to the point of disordered eating.

      This is going really off topic but I wanted to clarify my statement. It is based on what I saw my friends and classmates go through in how they viewed their bodies and why some of them became eating disordered. And I realized how deep it was when I have always been heavy and never had those feelings (and also how those same girls can say I look great but they look awful).

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  5. Leo Princess1/8/13, 12:04 PM

    "the patient uncapped [her] tube, connected a 60 cc syringe and extracted food from her stomach twice. This resulted in a siphon effect, which permitted the subject to freely drain the stomach by allowing the open tube to empty into a bucket. The patient squeezed the tube to enhance propulsion and to break up large food."

    Oh hell no.

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  6. Let's just be honest, no one really cares about your health, no matter how much they want to insist that all fat people, no matter their lifestyles are unhealthy. People could give two craps if your hair falls out, your teeth are loose, and you starve or regurgitate your food as long as you are an acceptable size.
    If people really cared about health, they'd emphasize everyone exercising(and have to admit that we'll all still be different sizes), but people really don't care about that.
    I'm a member of a gym that has a bootcamp class that is full of regulars of many, many years (I've been going for 2 years).
    I remember one lady who was a long time regular although not a daily attendee like the rest of us who was smaller than average (probably an 8 or 10. She clearly had no problem running, and had done some half marathons, even though she usually popped into the gym about 2-3 times a week. To me she had had a healthy, sturdy figure (and mind you, still small, but you know how in 2012, size 8 or 10 is apparently fat cow territory).

    Last year, she adopted her sister's young children and had to stop going to the gym. I saw her several months after that and she had clearly dropped about 20-30 pounds (to me it looked like stress but she was psyched). It wasn't a good look b/c she's large chested and had a flat bottom that wasn't as obvious before. Essentially, she no longer has time to eat, and was marveling at how much better it worked for her than working out.

    I find it interesting that she doesn't care that she no longer exercises, just that she lost 20-30 pounds that she didn't need to lose, that were not affecting her health and were not enough for her to be judged or considered unattractive and lazy (you know all fat people are lazy right) by anyone (she got married for a 2nd time about 3 years ago).
    People are crazy.

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  7. I love food. I love making food, talking about food, reading about food, watching movies about food, thinking about food. Were I to meet you in the flesh, I would offer you something to eat. It would be an honor to cook for you, a pleasure to serve you.

    I used to say I loved eating food. But now I am not so sure. Maybe it's because my resources have become so limited that I cannot afford to buy interesting ingredients or take the time to cook interesting food. I have to eat a lot of the same thing every day. Food does not bring me joy. It brings me guilt. I feel like a cow chewing the cud. Maybe it's because food just makes me fat. Even more fat. I hate being fat and I hate being ugly. You don't want to look at me. I don't want to look at me.

    As a heterosexual man, I also want to say skeleton-skinny women are less pretty, less attractive. Women should be healthy. Big and tall. I want to be able to look a woman in the eye. Men who can fit their girlfriends in their pockets are creepy to me. A prominent behind is attractive. Breasts are attractive. Natural hair is attractive. (I hate the smell of burnt hair and chemicals). I don't know. Women are beautiful. You are beautiful.

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    1. I don't believe we've met.

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    2. Of course not. I was trying to use the subjunctive mood. I'm not very good at it. If I were to meet you, I would offer you something to eat. Food is an important part of my faith, my culture and my hospitality. To offer someone food is a natural instinct for me.

      I did not wish to offend in my second paragraph. I am merely sure the reader is beautiful, even without having met them. What I find attractive means nothing, and I am not trying to project what I find beautiful on anyone else. I was merely saying what I find attractive. Someone's beauty is independent of me, my eyes, and my opinions. Beauty is there because beauty exists, not because I or anyone else identifies it as such.

      I'm sorry.

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    3. I meant I don't believe we've met on this blog before.

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  8. Thank you Albert!




    *At The Playground*

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