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Feel Good Friday

3rd September 2010

Feel Good Friday

by Rachel

Spousal/partner weight gain is a frequent letter seen among the sundry list of gripes and complaints seen by advice columnists and few columnists get it right with their responses.  The Washington Post’s Carolyn Hax has always been a moderate voice of compassion when it comes to such weighty issues.  She’s on vacation this week and readers are giving the advice.  Here’s a gem from today’s column in regards to a previous letter from a man who blamed his infidelity on his wife’s recent weight gain .

I’ve always believed that every woman is beautiful. Every woman. If I don’t see the beauty in one, that’s MY problem, not hers. It’s up to me to work harder to see the beauty, not up to her to make herself live up to whatever my standards might be.

Word.

posted in Body Image, Body-Affirming, Fat Acceptance, Rachel | 11 Comments

9th August 2010

Participants wanted for eating disorder survey

by Rachel

Jennifer Barnes, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Teeside University, is looking for men and women between the ages of 18-65 who speak fluent English to participate in an online eating disorder survey.  Jennifer explains:

This study is looking for any relationship between symptoms of eating disorders, beliefs people hold about themselves, and the ways in which people protect themselves against stress. Therefore, the study will involve asking questions about people’s thoughts and feelings about eating and about the relationships in their lives, as well as questions about people’s attitudes. It is hoped that this study will further understanding of the characteristics of individuals with symptoms of an eating disorder, and this information would be useful in order to inform therapeutic practice. In addition, this study will hopefully contribute to the body of research involving men with symptoms of eating disorders. However, please note that people of any gender can take part in this study.

You do not need to have an official eating disorder diagnosis to participate.  The survey should take about 30 minutes to complete.  Participants will be entered into a drawing to win a prize of £50.  h/t Men Get Eating Disorders Too.

posted in Anorexia, Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia, ED-NOS, Eating Disorders, Rachel | 5 Comments

6th August 2010

Feel Good Friday: Putting an end to “fat talk”

by Rachel

I’m still feeling all warm and fuzzy from the overthrow of Prop 8 in California, but there’s other good news to report for this week’s Feel Good Friday.  We’ve mentioned before the blog Operation Beautiful and I’m glad to see it now making more national headlines.  The mission of Operation Beautiful is simple: all you need is a pen and a piece of paper…  So says site editor Caitlin Boyle, who’s on a mission to leave positive, body-affirming notes in public spaces and invites you to do the same.  Since starting the blog last year, Caitlin has received an overwhelming outpouring of support from people (mostly women) also sick of the constant bombardment of “fat talk” and has now chronicled some of the messages she’s received in a new book, Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-it Note at a Time. MSNBC has posted an excerpt from that book here, which released in stores this week.    You’ll have to go to the MSNBC link to read the entire exerpt, but I wanted to repost some of Caitlin’s basic tips for ending fat talk here.  Caitlin also appeared yesterday on The Today Show — catch that clip here.

Stop your Fat Talk in its tracks! In addition to consciously correcting yourself, try wearing a rubber band around your wrist and give it a firm “snap!” whenever you feel a negative thought creeping in. Think of it like coating your nails in spicy polish when you’re trying to stop biting them! The rubber band technique is a gentle physical reminder of the internal damage you are doing to yourself when you Fat Talk.

Identify the real issue behind your Fat Talk. Is it really about your body or is it about something else entirely — like an emotion you’re having trouble expressing? Many women use Fat Talk as a way to express sadness or frustration. Find a more positive outlet for your emotions, such as talking to a friend, writing in your diary or exercising.

Make a list of your positive qualities — both inside and out — and tape them to your bathroom mirror so you can read it whenever you need a boost. Do not be ashamed to celebrate your amazing qualities!

What are some other ways that have helped you put an end to the fat talk loop in your head?  How do you react to fat talk by others?

posted in Body Image, Body-Affirming, Rachel | 15 Comments

4th August 2010

Food compatibility and relationships

by Rachel

Could you stay seriously romantically involved with someone who didn’t care about food the way you do?

That’s the question posed over at the CNN blog Eatocracy and surprisingly, the majority of respondents say that it is indeed a dealbreaker in a relationship.  The gist of the post seems to be aimed more at epicurean foodies who look for like-minded palates in a mate, but it’s worth exploring other aspects of dietary discordance too, like sustainable food or vegetarian/vegan diets.  I had been vegetarian for a little over two years when I met Brandon.  Our whirlwind relationship moved quickly and I seriously think that the first inkling I felt that hey… this could actually be the one started when I looked in his refrigerator freezer that first weekend and saw at least five different varieties of Morningstar Farms veggie burgers lining the shelves.  Brandon wasn’t vegetarian then, but had undergone a kind of mid-life crisis months earlier and had ditched his fast food diet for veggie burgers and taken up running again.

Food played a large role in our budding relationship those first few months.  I was on the tail end of my recovery from an eating disorder and Brandon was a bachelor who cooked most of his meals in a microwave.  I turned him on to sesame rye crackers and hummus, veggie taco salads and homemade healthy pizza.   He reintroduced me to chocolate, bread and ooey gooey cheesy pizza from our favorite local pizza parlor.  I tried not to evangelize vegetarianism, but since we planned meals and grocery shopped together, our meals tended to be vegetarian.  In fact, I can recall only two instances after we met in which Brandon ate meat — once when he and his brother dined out together and without me and again when we dined out with friends at a restaurant with a very limited veggie-friendly menu.  Within six months after we moved in together, he went completely vegetarian.  My mom, who was slow to understand my vegetarianism for the longest time, chided me for “making” Brandon give up bacon.  “Let that boy eat some meat already!” she’d scold.  True, I didn’t exactly relish the idea of kissing Brandon after he’d eaten charred animal flesh nor did I want to see it in my refrigerator, but what my mom didn’t understand is that I didn’t force Brandon into anything; he went vegetarian because he loves me and knew how important it was to me.

Vegetarianism, however, is the point in which our shared taste in food ends.  I’m both health- and environmentally-conscious and also try to follow a relatively low glycemic diet for health reasons.   Brandon?  Eh, not so much.  I love green vegetables — kale, spinach, broccoli, okra, Brussel sprouts, salads…  The only vegetables Brandon eats are the “bad” white ones — corn and potatoes.  He can tolerate certain vegetables in things, like soups and stir-frys or on pizza, but you will never find him digging into a plate of freshly steamed vegetables on their own.  Here’s an example of our different palates: Neither of us are foodies nor do we even really like to cook.  One evening I was busy with work and other things and left dinner up to him.  After a half hour of rooting around in the cabinets and refrigerator, I asked him if he had any ideas.  “Veggie chicken nuggets?” he suggested. “And….?” I asked.  He shuffled his feet.  “Uhh, French fries?”  “How about Quorn chicken with a baked potato and steamed broccoli?” I asked.  He wrinkled his nose.

We try to prepare dinners that both will like and find satisfying, but often times we’ll also each fix our own dinners, too.  A veggie burger or chicken patty for him; a veggie burger or veggie chicken and a side of steamed veggies for me.  It may seem odd to some, but it works for us.  How about you?  Do you and your partner share similar or completely different dietary tastes?  Could you ever be in a relationship with someone who isn’t on the same page as you when it comes to food?

posted in Food Culture, Rachel, Vegetarianism | 30 Comments

2nd August 2010

The Beauty Advantage

by Rachel

I meant to post this the other week, but that pesky thing called life got in the way and I back-burnered it.  Newsweek has put together an awesome special feature on the advantages (and yes, even disadvantages) of being beautiful and how it can affect our lives, careers and health.  There are a lot of great multimedia links to follow, but here’s a few that caught my attention:

(And in my own addendum on the subject, I highly recommend Kathy Peiss’ Hope in a Jar: The Making of America’s Beauty Culture and — what I consider the definitive work on the history of American cultural beauty standards — Lois W. Banner’s American Beauty: A Social History…Through Two Centuries of the American Idea, Ideal, and Image of the Beautiful Woman.)

I think that most of us would agree that lookism is A Bad Thing, but surprisingly, in a survey conducted by Newsweek, only 46 percent of the public said they would favor a law making hiring discrimination based on appearance illegal.  Is this a case of a deluded public who’s bought the beauty myth hook, line and sinker?  Or could it be a pragmatic public realizing the practicalities of such a law difficult to enforce?   Your thoughts on this and the other columns and galleries in Newsweek’s special feature on beauty?

posted in Body Image, Fashion, Fat Bias, Feminist Topics, Pop Culture, Rachel, vintage ads | 4 Comments

27th July 2010

Oldie but goodie: 10 questions for Gina Kolata

by Rachel

I took a week off work this week, but it’s more like a staycation than a vacation. The pregnant foster cat was considerate enough to give birth yesterday morning, so now I can get to that impossibly long to-do list I’ve been mentally tabulating since, oh, February. I probably won’t be online much this week, so I thought it would be a good chance to revisit some of the more popular posts featured on the blog in the three-plus years it’s been online. The first to be (re)featured is this November, 2007 interview with Gina Kolata, award-winning science and medicine reporter with The New York Times and author.

Gina Kolata is an award-winning science and medicine reporter for The New York Times and the author of many books, including, “Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead”, “The Baby Doctors: Probing the Limits of Fetal Medicine“, “Sex in America”, the best-selling “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It” , and “Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Health and Exercise.”

Her new book is “Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss — and the Myths and Realities of Dieting.”
Gina Kolata - Rethinking Thin

Kolata’s career in journalism began when she joined Science magazine in 1971, where she selected reviewers for manuscripts. She eventually became a writer and then senior writer. She also wrote for a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including Science Magazine, Smithsonian, GQ and Ms. Magazine. She earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology and her master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland. She studied molecular biology at M.I.T. in a Ph.D. program.

In Ultimate Fitness, you set out to discover the truth of the exercise industry and found much of fitness claims to be misleading. In your most recent work, Rethinking Thin, you blast those in the obesity industry, who promote the idea that overweight is unhealthy and diet and exercise to be effective. What prompted your interest in the study of diet, exercise and weight-loss?

I got interested in the exercise industry because I spend a lot of time exercising and at gyms and I kept hearing all sorts of things that did not seem to make a lot of scientific sense, like the “fat-burning zone.” I was interested in diet and weight loss because of my experience as a reporter. I have been writing about major research on weight and weight loss for decades, and these often involved discoveries that seemed pathbreaking. Yet the public, and the diet industry, kept on saying that all you have to do to lose weight is just eat less and exercise more.

What are some of the biggest core beliefs of dieting and weight-loss that you found to be incorrect?

The idea that anyone can be arbitrarily thin is at the top of the list. Then comes the idea that thinner people could easily be fat if they just let themselves go. Or the idea that people gain weight because they have emotional problems and are using food to fill an unmet need. Or that if you just walk for 20 minutes or so a day those unwanted pounds would melt away. Or that if you take junk foods out of the schools and re institute pe kids would not gain weight.

Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Fitness/Exercise, Health, Nutrition & Fitness, Interviews, Mind & Body, Rachel | 3 Comments

22nd July 2010

Crystal Renn on skinny pics: “Don’t make me into something I’m not”

by Rachel

Plus-size model and body image darling Crystal Renn and blogger Leslie Goldman appeared on the Today show to discuss the recent airbrushing scandal of Crystal by photographer Nicholas Routzen. I found her to be extremely smart and eloquent in her response to the situation, as well as to the pervasive issues plaguing plus-size models.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Renn also earlier spoke with Glamour about her reaction to the photos, explaining:

Well, I was shocked. When I saw the pictures, I think I was silent for a good five minutes, staring with my mouth open. I don’t know what was done to those photos or who did it, but they look retouched to me. And listen, everybody retouches, but don’t make me into something I’m not.

I look like me; I look strong. But in the new pictures…well, that body doesn’t look like my body. It doesn’t. Having had an eating disorder, I know what that very thin body looks like on me, and it’s not something I find attractive. It’s not something I aspire to.

I feel completely confident in my own health because I know I don’t look like that, but even to see it in an image was really disturbing to me.

Airbrushing a model beyond recognition is unethical in more ways than one, but given Crystal’s hard-fought battle against anorexia and her public campaign to raise awareness of the disorder, this act of virtually whittling her back to those dark days is especially heinous. Even more ironically, photographer Nicholas Routzen shot and altered these images to promote his nonprofit charity Fashion for Passion, which supports arts and music programs for children. Ehem, Nicholas? It may be a little difficult to inspire a passion for the arts in children who are too obsessed with looking like the unrealistic and unattainable airbrushed images they see in magazines and the media.

Your thoughts on the whole debacle?

posted in Anorexia, Body Image, Fashion, Rachel | 15 Comments

16th July 2010

And the contest winners are…

by Rachel

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest for the body-positive gift basket and body-positive gifts.  The contest has now ended and the winners have been randomly selected.  Congrats  to…

Winner of the body-positive Gift basket: NinjaEema

Winners of body-positive gifts: Phyllis, Twistie and Sam

The winners should all receive an email shortly requesting their mailing address info.  Thanks again to all who entered, and for those who didn’t win this time, I hope to host another contest soon!

posted in Administrative, Contests, Rachel | 8 Comments

14th July 2010

Help stamp out fat hate groups on Facebook

by Rachel

Atchka of the blog Fierce Fatties is looking for your support to end Facebook’s demonstrated tolerance of fat hate groups on the social networking site. He’s started a petition with the ambitious — but not unattainable — goal of 100,000 signatures. F-word readers, let’s help him out.  Read the call below and sign the petition here.

There are an obscene amount of Groups and Pages on Facebook which are solely dedicated to the humiliation, degradation and dehumanization of fat people.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-beck/facebook-allows-hate-spee_b_637099.html

Although they seem to violate Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Facebook refuses to accept fat people as a “protected group.”

http://jezebel.com/5583086/are-facebook-fat+bashers-practicing-hate-speech

Despite a request for clarification of terms, Facebook refuses to respond to followup questions and has deferred its responsibility to judiciously exercise editorial oversight.

http://fiercefatties.com/2010/06/28/sea-change

However, they do currently exercise oversight with regard to gay bashing groups, despite the fact that sexual identity and gender orientation are not “protected groups” by federal definitions. They purposely delete gay bashing groups swiftly and effectively, yet fat bashing groups remain.

http://fiercefatties.com/2010/07/12/take-down

Seeing as how the majority of these groups are directed specifically at fat women, we do not understand how most of these sites are not a violation of the Rights and Responsibilities if only seen through the lens of sexism and misogyny.

WE RESPECTFULLY REQUEST that Facebook change or clarify it’s current policy with regard to fat hatred. Either remove fat hate groups entirely or justify the inconsistency of the current policy.

Fat people endure an intense amount of hatred both in public and online. It is a hatred that impacts every aspect of our lives and it is currently seen as a socially acceptable form of discrimination and bias.

http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/bias/Psychosocial-Origins-of-Obesity-Stigma.pdf

As Facebook is the largest social networking site, we encourage them to take a stand against hatred IN ALL FORMS, rather than allow certain types of hatred to go unchallenged.

posted in Fat Bias, Rachel | 7 Comments

9th July 2010

Win it: Body positive goodie basket and gifts

by Rachel

I’ve been a very lax blogger as of late and for that I am incredibly sorry.   I went off my thyroid medication for more than a month (long story, but ADD played a huge role) and as a result I was extremely hypothyroid and have been battling mental and physical exhaustion and lethargy since.  I’ve been back on my meds now for a couple of weeks, but am nowhere near my usual near-manic energy level.  I’ve also been extremely busy with the nonprofit animal rescue I volunteer with (anyone want to adopt a kitty or bunny?), and frankly, I’ve just needed a break from the topics I usually blog about .  So, as a sign of my sincerest apologies, I’m giving away a few goodies.  One lucky winner will get a body positive goodie basket and three others will receive a smaller body positive gift.

The rules are simple:  To enter, you must be a resident of the U.S. (sorry, international folks; I’m the one forking out shipping costs).  Only one entry per person.   The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. (EST) Thursday, July 15.  Winners will be announced on the blog on Friday, July 16 and contacted by email for shipping details.  You must enter via the form below.

And for your Friday dose of cuteness… I rescued two bunnies last month from absolutely horrendous living conditions.  The mom gave birth a few days later to these adorable eight baby bunnies (available for adoption in mid-September!).  Mom is a Californian and dad is a Satin cross; parents and babies are all now doing well.

posted in Body-Affirming, Contests, Rachel | 23 Comments

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