Archive for May, 2008

Image Found Here

Have you ever thought to yourself, “If I just lose 10lbs my life will be better.” Or “If I lost weight, I could finally get a boyfriend/girlfriend.” Or “I can get that promotion if I just lose the weight!” If you have, you have most likely been a victim to a Weight Loss Fantasy. Weight Loss Fantasy is the idea that weight loss, in and of itself, will in fact solve any problem that you need it to. Need a better job? Lose 10 lbs! Need a guy to start paying attention to you? Lose 20lbs! Need better self-esteem? Lose a bunch of weight! Need a better life? Go on a diet and drop a dress size!

In our world today, diets and weight loss are treated as if they were the solution to each and every problem we face on a daily basis. But we have news for you: WEIGHT LOSS WILL NOT SOLVE ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS!” And that’s because at the end of the day, although the weight may be gone, the person inside still exists (more on this shortly).

A key component of the Weight Loss Fantasy is the idea that weight loss is a solution for better self-esteem. Magazine ads, commercials and popular television shows like the Biggest Loser teach us that when a person loses weight, she/he will automatically feel better about herself/himself. The assumption here is that thinner people feel better about themselves because they look better. And the underlining message is that a huge part of self-esteem comes from appearance. But the idea that weight loss is a solution for better self-esteem is a fallacy, and here’s why…

I have spoken with countless women in my life about issues of body image and self-esteem; fat and thin women, ordinary women and former models, rich women and poor women. And I have yet to find one woman who gets true self-esteem from the way she looks (thin women included). This is mostly because I have yet to meet a woman who is completely satisfied with her body. But it’s partly because our looks are a fickle thing and are not meant to give us the self-esteem we are looking for. So, if thin, beautiful (as defined by our culture) women are even unhappy with the way they look, then how can we say self-esteem comes from a thinner body or appearance in general? By saying weight loss will boost self-esteem we are saying that appearance is a key component to self-esteem. Does anyone else see something wrong with that?

So if you are a victim of Weight Loss Fantasy and you are under the impression that weight loss will help fix your problems and make your life better, I have some bad news for you, it won’t. Sure it might give you a temporary feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. Sure you might like who you see in the mirror a little better than you did before. But ultimately, your weight loss won’t make you feel better about who you are. And that’s because real self-esteem comes from a place within us, and has little to do with our appearance. It comes from our ability to accomplish things that matter in this world, it comes from our religious/spiritual faith, it comes from our ability to love others and be loved. It should never come from our reflections in the mirror.

So let’s stop living in Weight Loss Fantasy Land and start dealing with the person inside. Then and only then, will we all find true and lasting self-esteem.


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As I was walking through the Impressionist exhibit of the Musee D’Orsay I noticed a very interesting trend. Looking at painting after painting, I realized that the women of Monet, Cezanne and Manet’s paintings were a bit larger than what I was used to seeing. Staring back at me were actually paintings of full-figured women (who were often times naked with each roll of fat painted in detail). Instead of bones popping out at me (as I am so used to seeing) I was actually seeing fat. These paintings were of women who would without a doubt be considered Fat in our culture today.

A very common justification of our current culture’s hatred of fat is the following: fat is ugly and thin is beautiful. Many people claim that thin is better because well, it just looks better. Well, tell that to Monet! He and other famous impressionist painters seemed to find something fascinating and beautiful about the full-figured women they so often painted.

My stroll down this famous Impressionist hall further confirmed what I already suspected to be true: Our culture’s love of thin is nothing more than a social construction. We think thin looks better because we are bombarded everyday with images of thin as the better alternative. I’m quite sure that if some of the women of the Impressionist paintings stepped on the scale, their BMI’s would be less than satisfactory. And yet these 19th Century painters seemed to find something beautiful about their bodies.

I say all this to point out these hard truths: Thin DOES NOT equal beautiful. Thin DOES NOT look better. Thin IS NOT better. Thin is merely something we have been taught to THINK is better and many of us (myself included pre-cheeseburger days) accept as better. But what we learn from the past is that just as thin is considered beautiful now, “Fat” was once considered beautiful.

I’m not here to tell you that fat should be considered more beautiful than thin. One of our main goals here at EAC is to encourage you to accept your OWN notions of beauty that are not based on the media’s narrow definition. Although it’s a hard task, I think reminding ourselves that thin has not always been synonymous with beauty is a good place to start.

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So I’m back from Paris and bursting with things to post about. First let me say that the title of this post is from a popular diet book. I won’t explain why I chose this title until Part III of this post so stay tuned.

Second, I’m sad (but not surprised) to report that the pressure to be thin is very much present in Paris. Every ad I saw (and there were lots) was of a ridiculously thin, scantily clad girl. Take the picture above for instance. I took this picture of French Elle in the metro (sorry the quality isn’t so great, it’s hard to take a good one in a moving metro car). And I saw many ads and magazine covers like this one.

The good news though is that I was quite impressed with Parisian women and their seemingly good body image. I noticed that in the restaurants and cafés that I ate in, women seemed to be finishing their food (and they weren’t just ordering lettuce). I didn’t see nearly as many women in desperate need of a few cheeseburgers. Despite pressures to be thin, many of the women I observed seemed to be fairly comfortable in their own skin. This is not to say that Parisian women don’t have body image issues, but the pressure certainly isn’t as visible in their bodies as it is here in Los Angeles.

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I love this cartoon that I found on the web, it’s pretty self explanatory. First off this poor old lady should be worrying about keeping the pounds to help with the dangers of osteoporosis, but maybe that’s just me.

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Image found here.

I’m sick and tired of hearing about celebrities who have gained weight as though it were a news story. Weight is NOT a newsworthy story, I’m sorry but it just isn’t.

“And tonight on breaking news at 6 (Insert starlette here) has ballooned to an unrecognizable weight. Will this once ultra slim gal get back to her old size….more after the break.”

FAT IS NOT NEWS. Genocide, world hunger and war; those things are newsworthy. I feel I have to say it many times because in our culture this simply isn’t true. What if we started looking at weight the same way we look at other physical attributes. Saying “so and so got tall” or “wow her feet are small” and “oh, look how long her arms are.” When we look at it in the perspective of other body parts it just seems silly to make it the big deal that it is. “But FAT KILLS!!” you might say. Fat is not really what kills (there can be exceptions to this, like having too much fat around the heart which puts pressure on it when pumping blood, but I will venture to say that this is not the real reason most women lose weight). Bad food choices and lack of exercise however do kill. I know this from personal experience having a father who died of a heart attack because he refused to change his diet and couldn’t exercise. He was never overweight but rather always kind of lanky. This leads me to believe that there is more to health than just fat on the body.

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Bonjour from Paris! That’s right, part of the EAC team is in Paris right now!

Besides climbing the Eiffel Tower and strolling down the Champs Elysees, I’ve been keeping my eye out for all things pertaining to EAC and my findings have been fascinating!

So stay tuned because there is more to come!

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      One fine day I was home when a friend of mine was watching season  4 of ANTM. I was “lucky” enough to catch a glimpse of how the models were treated in regards to weight. A few scenes before where this video starts, they showed the models being weighed. The subject of the video is Brita who weighed in at a WOPPING 138lbs!!!! (at 5’8” mind you). While she was taking her photo they had no problems yelling out loud at the photographer to watch out b/c she’s a bit “thick”. Then the stylist precedes to make fun of her by saying “she’s got a side a beef” while Mr. Jay does a pathetic attempt at trying to defending her by saying its just “a bad angle”.
         Then of course at the judging table she is told she looks worried and old in the photo. I don’t know about you but if I were posing in some skimpy outfit while men jeer at my body I don’t know how chipper and focused I would be. Then Nigel has to ad insult to injury by saying she’s “holding too much weight”!
        Tyra, if you are out there you should feel ashamed. Not only do many women have bodies issues because of shows like ANTM but if fuels the train the runs model idealism.

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