Real Quick: The definition of insanity.*

By | March 9, 2011

This image is a reproduction of two photographs taken around 1868 and 1872 (photographer unknown). It depicts Miss B, an unnamed patient of William Withey Gull, before and after treatment for anorexia nervosa. Gull used these images to illustrate his 1873 paper "Anorexia Nervosa (Apepsia Hysterica, Anorexia Hysterica)" in which anorexia nervosa was described and which first established the name of the condition.

An anorectic patient of William Withey Gull, before (1868) and after (1872).

Quelle suprise, y’all: it seems eating disorders are more common amongst teenagers than we thought, according to a new study published on Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

There are a few factors that make this study instructive, besides the increased rates themselves. First, the study found that boys and girls are equally at risk of developing anorexia, though girls still lead in bulimia and binge eating. Second, the study found that eating disorders are strongly associated with suicidal ideation, and with social isolation and “disconnection.” Third, the median—the median!—age for the onset of an eating disorder is twelve. Twelve. Years old.

Release the blockquotes!

“The prevalence of these disorders is higher than previously expected in this age range, and the patterns of [co-existing illnesses], role impairment and suicidality indicate that eating disorders represent a major public health concern,” the researchers wrote. (Source)

The trillingly-named “eating disorder not otherwise specified,” otherwise known as EDNOS, is also markedly more popular than previously thought, moreso than any of the disorders with real names.

Many teens had behaviors that mimic eating disorders.  This means they may have serious eating behaviors, but their symptoms do not meet all the criteria to fit the diagnosis for anorexia or bulimia as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a manual for mental health disorders. This study found 0.8% of the participants had symptoms that came close to anorexia and 2.5% had symptoms resembling binge eating disorder. (Source)

You know who falls into this commitment-phobic EDNOS category? Among others, this category comprises many of the fat kids with EDs. Because willfully starving yourself is not anorexia unless you can get below 85% of the expected weight for your age and height, and have ceased to menstruate, according to the DSM.

So what we have here is a comprehensive study instructing us that anorexia is as common in boys as girls, that children are developing eating disorders at 12, and that eating disorders are extremely dangerous to kids’ health both medically and emotionally. Also, while anorexia rates have remained stable, the instances of binge eating disorder and bulimia have doubled since the 1990s. In a complete coincidence, the fearful cultural rhetoric regarding an alleged obesity epidemic has also doubled—at least—since the 1990s. But this is totally unconnected, I’m sure.

This study is bad news, any way you slice it, but what has really made my blood boil is the shock and horror with which I’ve seen and heard it being discussed on the news. How dare anyone be shocked? When virtually every facet of our culture conspires to create an environment in which being fat is the very worst thing a person can be, and that one must ward off fatness with every Machiavellian contrivance, how is it surprising that children would develop “an obsessive fear of gaining weight”, and would self-injure as a result of overeating, either via purging, excessive exercise, internalized self-loathing, or extreme guilt?

The New York Times is kind enough to furnish us with exhibit A: a new “diet” in which women inject themselves with hCG, a hormone that normally only occurs in pregnancy. Yes, this is a real thing.

The regimen combines daily injections with a near-starvation diet, and patients, mostly women, are often enticed by promises that they can lose about a pound a day without feeling hungry. Perhaps even more seductively, they are frequently told that the hCG will prompt their bodies to carry away and metabolize fat that has been stored where they least want it — in their upper arms, bellies and thighs.

Oh, and where do they get the hCG? Here’s a hint: it’s not synthetically made. Here’s another hint: it’s derived from pregnant women’s pee. I’ll admit my first thought was: wait, so pregnant women can sell their piss now? And like, not on eBay? To be fair, this hormone is FDA approved as a treatment for infertility, so the pee-collection is already happening for less disturbing reasons, but still.

And did we mention the “near-starvation diet” consists of 500 calories a day?**

Then there are the nutritional concerns about a diet that some say mimics anorexia. “The average person is going to eat 1,800 to 3,000 calories,” said Kristen Smith, a bariatric surgery dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center.

“I don’t think it promotes healthy long-term eating habits,” she added.

No fucking shit, Dr. Smith. But, of course, nobody who goes on this diet is interested in healthy long-term eating habits. The people who shoot up with pregnant-lady piss for dieting purposes are people who simply don’t like their back fat, or people who want to lose a few pounds prior to a bridesmaid stint, both of which examples are included in this article. I also enjoy the delicate language here: “some say” it “mimics” anorexia. Considering some research puts the average calorie intake of an anorectic person at 600 to 800 calories a day, I’d say 500 calories is more than mere mimicry.

I make fun, my friends, because sometimes it’s all I can do; because sometimes I have to make fun or I will just cry and yell and kick people. This “diet” is preposterous, not least because abuse of hCG is linked with cardiovascular risks—as pretty much all weight-loss drugs are—and it is not worth your life to be thin. No matter how unhappy you are, no matter how ugly you feel, it is not worth your life to conform; you have alternatives. You have hope.

Because it’s all fun and games until someone loses a mind:

[Kay] Brown, a theater administrator who is 5-foot-8, said she was thrilled to lose six pounds in seven days, and hopeful about reaching her goal of losing 30, which would bring her close to her ideal weight of 135. She said she did not feel hungry and did not obsess about food as she had years ago, when suffering from anorexia.

“A lot of people have a lot of opinions,” Ms. Brown said, “but I don’t want to be a person who feels like my weight is not under my control.”

Today’s twelve year olds are tomorrow’s middle aged women injecting themselves with pregnancy hormones, and so it goes. This is just a wheel that keeps turning, and turning, and all the hand-wringing in the world won’t stop it. It will only stop when we smash the culture telling us what is normal and acceptable for a body to look like, and when we quit fearing our bodies and hurting ourselves in the name of our better health.

* …is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

** Worth noting: The World Health Organization identifies starvation in famine-stricken nations as a diet of less than 800 calories a day. The FDA, on the other hand, recommends that adult female humans eat approximately 2000 calories per day.


Christina on March 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm.

This post is so excellent. I was also totally freaked out by that article about the ladies shooting themselves up with pregnancy hormone. Your conclusion is brilliant.


Lesley on March 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm.

Thank you! <3


Helen on March 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm.

I second this comment.

Also, I’m English, so every time I see something about weight in pounds I have to look it up. This is not a criticism, just interesting.



JonelB on March 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm.

The creepiest ones are things like “watermelon fasts” that my mom has suggested my sister do before–you eat nothing but watermelon for 24-48 hours, drink only water, and when I jokingly pointed out that water probably weighs more than most food they’d eat, and would likely make them weigh more, they pished it off as “oh, well you can take some bloat stuff for that.”
I’ve always been the rebel of sorts, so of course after about 11-12, I basically gave up on diets–mostly because they never made me lose any actual weight, which is somehow acceptable for my mom and sister but not for me.
The other thing I see is a double-sided view of it–I’ve been told multiple times that I need to lose weight, but never heard of my guy friends having similar issues.
also, check this out:
Surely it explains everything. I also vote we sell “The God Cure to Obesity: Pray your weight off!” were we tell them they still need to exercise and diet, and, results not typical.


JillyX on March 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm.

Re: the atheism and obesity site — there is so much wrong with that… crazy grasping at straws, not to mention the anti-gay stuff. When I used to belong to atheist organizations and the subject of teh fat came up in discussions, there was a great deal of judgment and sexism, not unlike in society at large, so it’s not like atheists are generally A-OK with fatness.


Helen on March 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm.

I totes cannot see that website, but it sounds amazingly lolsob. I’m a fit, slender, muscly atheist, if ever you should need one 😉


Michelle on March 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm.


I found 5 more “[predominantly liberal group] are a bunch of fat fatties” articles on Conservapedia before remembering that I have better things to do with my evening.


Brian on March 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm.

The number of people I’ve known personally who’d get classified as EDNOS for being anorexic while fat is pretty alarming. Few ever got help while they were actively struggling with ED. I worry that the underreporting of ED among fat people could be very extreme given how often disordered eating while fat is actively encouraged, to say nothing of how often its brushed aside.


Lesley on March 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm.

Agreed—I can’t even think about this for too long because it’s so upsetting to me.


YellowValkyrie on March 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm.

My housemate told me the most heartbreaking thing the other day. He was in the gym locker room, and a group of boys ages 9 – 13 were weighing themselves while an adult looked on (Dad?). One of the younger boys exclaimed, “Cool! I lost four pounds!” Another young boy voiced his approval, saying “Yeah, you have a skinny personality.”

The oldest boy looked momentarily confused – “What?”

“You know,” said the younger boy. “Skinny. Good.”

Dad (if that is who he was) said nothing.


Kelly on March 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm.

Children are so vulnerable, and adults who do not credit children with intelligence, intuition, and a developmentally-ingrained drive and connection to their parents/carers don’t realize the problems start far, far before age 12. Telling children “you have hope” sounds good on paper but the truth is children are categorically an oppressed class and very few people are trying to do much about this. This is why I’m sad the FA movement so rarely concerns itself with the adultist shite many social justice causes overlook and indeed have ingrained.

OK, back to your awesome post.

“Also, while anorexia rates have remained stable, the instances of binge eating disorder and bulimia have doubled since the 1990s. In a complete coincidence, the fearful cultural rhetoric regarding an alleged obesity epidemic has also doubled—at least—since the 1990s. But this is totally unconnected, I’m sure.”

I have become more and more interested in eating disorders because I’ve come to believe firstly, that we reward and encourage disordered eating; diet and weight-loss culture such as it is absolutely guarantees the development of these behaviors. We also closet eating disorders or encourage people to closet them. I’m not surprised to hear binge eating disorder and bulimia has doubled. I credit those in recovery with being brave enough to share their stories.

Thank you for this great post!


Lesley on March 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm.

The persistent notion that children live in some fairyland totally insulated against a prevalent culture of body hatred makes me unspeakably angry. Kids live in the same world that the rest of us do, and they’re not armored against this simply by virtue of being (“innocent”? “oblivious”? “dumb”?) children.


YellowValkyrie on March 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm.

Right – that they’ll somehow magically absorb the primary message of campaigns like Let’s Move (argh) – that being fat is undesirable – without stigmatizing fat people?

I mean, come on! Child development research suggests that kids begin enthusiastically categorizing things around age 6 or 7 – they place high importance on categories, value, and rules. They will frequently insist on either/or descriptions even when inappropriate – likewise, they will categorize “opposite” things as “good’ or “bad” even when those things don’t have any attached value an adult would recognize. They’re super attuned to the smallest hints dropped by adults – for example I somehow learned that living in an apartment was “worse” than living in a house, and held this to be true throughout elementary school. Nobody ever told me this outright, but I somehow picked up the class differences anyway.

So this idea that we can direct fatphobic cultural messages at kids and never see any negative consequences is just preposterous.


Tiferet on March 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm.

I was waaaaaaay more fatphobic at 7 than I have ever been at any point in my adult life. And I really regret the things that I said to my father at that age; my parents were in many ways awful, but that was sooooooooooo not why (also, of the two, he was far better). He got me back for it though!

Also, I was COMPLETELY ED-NOS as a teenager (I’d go for days eating a single apple as my only food until dinner and at dinner I’d just eat a salad) and everyone thought it was the most amazing thing evar, that I had super will power powers of awesome and my parents were extremely supportive of that shit, because I starved myself from size 11-13 and a weight of 145 to size 7-9 (6, in some things) and a weight of 127, at which I looked horrible, frankly. My parents were proud of me for doing this.

Then again my house was full of diet talk as long as I can remember–my grandmother lived with us off and on and she was diabetic and always on a diet, even though she wasn’t fat.


Monica on March 9, 2011 at 6:53 pm.

You know, as a former twelve-year-old-who-wasn’t-diagnosed-EDNOS-but-should-have-been (seriously, I think @Tiferet and I are life twins), I kind of resent the implication that I’ll end up shooting up pregnant lady pee serum. But if it weren’t for your blog, Shapely Prose, and The Rotund, I probably would have wound up there, eventually. Boo, hiss.


JillyX on March 9, 2011 at 4:44 pm.

Yes – in fact, I remember being much more hurt by fat-hating comments and humor in the media when I was a kid than I am now – to the point that I can still remember details of SNL sketches from 30 years ago about how fat Liz Taylor was, while whatever nonsense Bill Maher said last week has long since left my brain. I imagine it’s pretty common for kids to absorb and internalize these things without having the perspective that an adult has — without understanding that the person being hateful is speaking from a particular perspective and that not everyone feels the same way.


Holly on March 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm.

@JillyX, it’s so funny you say that, because I can VIVIDLY remember being a kid and just developing this deep, deep fascination with fat-related content in the media. I remember watching the “fat” episodes of Small Wonder, Punky Brewster, etc. with totally rapt attention and then waiting for the reruns. I also remember flipping through the encyclopedia and looking up topics related to obesity, and reading any book I could get my hands on w/ a “fat theme” (I probably read Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade 100 times). Back then I was definitely not constructing any of this in terms of fat-hatred, but I can clearly remember feeling the need to be secretive about it and hiding my books the way I might hide a pack of Twinkies under my bed. There was so much focus on my weight already, I was just terrified of drawing any more attention to it.

Emotion plays a HUGE role in how memory is encoded, and it’s frankly shocking that anyone seriously believes exposing kids to this stuff (stuff meaning hateful media spew) won’t have some kind of lasting impact. Just because kids don’t consciously know they’re retaining it, doesn’t mean it isn’t sticking. Case in point: Ask anyone to name a time they felt embarrassed as a kid and see how fast they shoot off a list of examples. There’s a reason we remember that and not the words on our 4th grade spelling test.


Tiferet on March 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm.

Hello, fellow anti-adultism ally! there are not enough of us 🙂


demo derby on March 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm.

I have an LJ friend who is on the hCG diet (although, apparently she ingests the hCG in drop form rather than injecting it). I was concerned enough about the diet before I found out that hCG is pregnancy hormones (had assumed it was some sort of wackadoodle herbal thing) – now I’m downright freaked out.


Shaunta on March 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm.

I’ve always put a lot of effort into protecting my kids from body hate.

Unfortunately for my oldest daughter, I was only 20 when I had her. I didn’t know enough (literally) to realize that letting people constantly comment on how petite she was, wasn’t healthy. She identified herself as small so strongly by the time she went into puberty that, when her body started to change, it was like running into a brick wall.

Puberty was hard on her. She inherited big boobs and a curvy body. At one point, during a period of pretty serious depression, she admitted to looking at herself in the mirror everyday and seeing herself as disgusting. She was in the sixth grade, so yeah, 12.

I look at my daughter and I see–gorgeous. Perfect. One of the weirdest things is that I did not see that about myself, at all, at her age. But she looks so much like me. Before I could convince her that she is utterly perfect the way she was, I had to do a lot of soul searching myself.

This is getting rambley. Thanks for the post, it was awesome.


The Girl at Hickopolis on March 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm.

My mother went through several rounds of hCG therapy and lost 60-ish pounds. She was never hungry while she was on it, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t miss food. She’d have an apple around 10a.m., another around 2p.m., and then dinner was something boring and tasteless. It made eating around her very uncomfortable and guilt-inducing.

The diet also required that she give up fat in all forms. Not just eating it. She couldn’t use lotion that contained any kind of fat. She couldn’t use most sunscreens. Apparently, your body is so starved for fat that it will absorb it through lotions and creams if you use them. She relied on mineral oil if she got desperate for moisture of some sort.

The last round, she finally gave up. She said she didn’t have it in her to do another six weeks of apples and flavorless chicken. But she was still down at a pretty good weight and she was happy.

Fast forward a year, she’s been hospitalized with extremely high blood pressure and her diabetes has progressed to a point where she is now insulin dependent, even though it had been under control with exercise and oral medication before. I can’t prove her new health problems are related to the diet, but I’m definitely suspicious.


Dawn on March 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm.

I’d definitely pin it on the diet. When you starve your body to the point that it’s trying to get fat through your SKIN, you’re messing with your metabolism for the long haul, not just over the few months you’re on the diet. Our bodies react to food security issues (which is how they interpret a diet) by doing some really interesting things to our metabolisms and chemistry, and it’s funny how so few diets (if any) bother explaining how your metabolic processes will be affected when they start with the “Lose ten pounds in ten days!” claims!

I hate that people have to suffer later for these fad diets and starvation trends. I really do.. but for as many people as I educate and attempt to steer away from fad diets, I meet ten more who are both utterly ignorant of basic human physiology and dead-set against learning, because “It HAS to work for me! I can’t be fat!”.

Ain’t nothing wrong with a few curves, but it’s hard to get people to recognize that!


Lesley on March 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm.

This is so scary, but thank you for sharing it—if it gets even one person to think twice it’s worth it.


sandrad on March 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm.

I also wonder if not only greater fat hatred in society, but also that in many families after several generations of restricted eating being the norm, that kids have no adults around who model eating behaviour that is even remotely normal? I’m not putting this very well, but that kids don’t see anyone who eats when they are hungry, stops when they are full. Even naturally very slender people seem to feel obliged to berate themselves if they eat “bad” food.


Tiferet on March 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm.

hello, you have just described my family. I was raised with 2 generations of fatphobia and self-hatred.

I am just now learning to eat in my 40s.


Christine on March 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm.

Goodness. Thank you Lesley as always for the well written post, and bringing it to my attention at least, but gosh, is it ever disheartening. I mean, really pregnancy hormones + starvation is a “diet”? Gah.


Atchka! on March 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm.

Excellent work. And, of course, this will be interpreted by the mainstream media as, “See, fatties eat too much” rather than “See, our obsession with weight is driving self-loathing fatties to reckless behavior.”

Disordered eating is dangerous, regardless of how it manifests, and it is our culture, not some magical moral degeneration, that drives its increase.

Regarding the increase in hateful rhetoric, in the interview I did with Dr. Rebecca Puhl, she said, “In the research that we’ve done we’ve observed that it’s actually comparable to rates of racial discrimination in the United States and that it’s actually increased by 66% in the past decade.”

What a sick, sick world this has become.



Sabriel on March 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm.

I have nothing to say except at how terrible these findings are. I’m not shocked, just ashamed that this continues to happen in this day and age, when we’re supposed to be oh-so “enlightened” about the world. 🙁


Arwen on March 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm.

I’ve been pregnant twice & HCG didn’t make me disinterested in food. The progesterone-based nausea was a disincentive, but I was hungry when not nauseated. Diets are bizarre.

In somewhat fat-positive news: I have very large breasts, even for my frame, and am death-fats. Also, I’m very active. My breasts, combined with all the flinging I do, have caused me to have a painful swelling of my rib cartilage. Doctors have suggested breast reductions, and I’m in agreement – with my tum or my thighs, I am able to build muscle to support them, but I haven’t been able to deal with my breasts that way, and now my ribs hurt!

Anyway, because of my weight, they’re not entirely sure that the anesthetists will agree to put me under for somewhat-elective-surgery … but every single one of the doctors so far has listened to me explain why I don’t diet, has looked over the research I’ve brought, and has treated me sensibly and with respect. The surgeon booked for a hospital that she thinks will be more open to discussion, and although it sounds like we may have a day-of challenge on our hands she is an ally.

For this, I thank FA, and for your voice and others that are so clear, thoughtful, and informed. These days I’m not afraid. I’m prepared, and I don’t mind saying, “Okay, I’m fat, let’s talk about that right away,” – and I think that’s part of why I’ve had so much more of a positive experience than I used to. I wouldn’t sit for a lecture, anymore, even if they handed it out; there’s no shame left to shake me with. That is amazing!


kate on April 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm.

so. awesome.


Meowser on March 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm.

IIRC, both Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack! and Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York — both books I read avidly as an adolescent, which helped inform much of my fatphobia then — mentioned diets where “pregnant women’s urine shots” were involved. Both books were published in 1972; I probably read the first one in 1974 and the second in 1978. So that was a thing that existed 40 years ago, believe it or not.

But developing an ED by a median age of twelve? A median age? That was very much NOT happening when I was in middle school. Back then, we chubsters only (only?) had to worry about other kids making fun of us, and about mass-media bodysnarking per above, and models’ heights and weights given in Seventeen as 5’7″ and 110, and maybe about criticism from our families. We got the nutition lectures in health class, but we weren’t egged by the entire world — including the government! — to do whatever it took to slim down, by any means necessary, or die trying. Adults, maybe — not kids.


Lydia on March 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm.

The problem with these insane diets is they aren’t sustainable. Once you stop taking the pee and eat proper food again, you are going to pile some or all of the weight back on – so what’s the point?
I will never understand why people don’t wake up to the fact that the only sustainable way to lose weight is through diet and exercise, and further, that it takes a long time to lose any weight and actually keep it off. We live in this society which is obsessed with losing weight, but no-one wants to move their body and alter their nutrition in order to achieve long-lasting weight loss. It’s the only way – if you can’t accept that, then you will never lose weight.
I thought the old starvation method of dieting went out with the 80’s, but evidentally, there are plenty of people who think it’s perfectly normal to eat nothing in order to lose weight, and further, that any weight loss resulting from this will be long-term and have no detrimental effects to their health.
The moral of the story is simple – if you want or need to lose weight, then you have to work at it for a long time. Drinking pee and eating apples is crap because it’s too restrictive. The body actually needs nutrition in order to function, and this is what real food is for.


Willow on March 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm.

I will agree with you that “[t]he body actually needs nutrition in order to function,” but the rest of your post made me want to throw the couch through the wall. I’ll let you try and figure out why.


Meowser on March 10, 2011 at 12:20 am.

Lydia, some of us “work at it” a long time and never get there. Not everyone can be thin. Not everyone has to be.

Furthermore, these pregnant-pee-type diets are not meant for “obese” people who want to lose and keep off 30% to 75% of their starting weight (as if anyone knew how to make THAT happen for anyone other than the five-percenters). They are aimed solidly at people with a cosmetic amount of weight to lose, who don’t even care if it’s temporary (and don’t, evidently, care how badly they get rooked financially in order to do it).

But the problem is the message it sends to those kids: Any amount of fat is a terrible thing. Lose it by any means necessary. Now now now.


Lesley on March 10, 2011 at 9:15 am.

Thank you for posting this. Saved me the trouble. 🙂


Flo on March 10, 2011 at 1:12 am.

Thank you for the mention of the EDNOS diagnosis, I’ve never heard it before, but clearly that was me. I spent several years in high school eating around 500 calories a day, but because I never made it below the “overweight” category, all I got was congratulations and encouragement (from doctors, nutritionists, dance teachers, my naturally thin mother… ) and while I eventually did get better (both physically and emotionally) I wonder how things might have been different if what I was doing to my body was more obvious, or seen for what it was rather than “strength of will” to be commended.

In regards to kids being surrounded with the fat-phobic messages of our society, as a teacher in an elementary school I can totally attest to how prevalent it is. Just today I overheard one 5 year old girl talking to another 5 year old girl about how she was drinking “low-fat milk” which was so much better than the “fat milk.” Daily I hear skinny pre-pubescent kids called fat derogatorily as an insult (“just a joke” when confronted about it) and while kids will come running at the mere mention of pizza or ice cream they are often policed by other children not to eat too much for fear of getting fat. Anyone who thinks our children don’t understand the world we live in, and internalize the messages they see has not spent any time with those children.


Kat on March 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm.

I remember once my mom telling me that she was doing this “super healthy diet” that kept her calorie intake at 1000 calories per day, and I was like ‘Mom, isn’t that like unhealthy?!” I just feel that for most people you can’t really function, I mean hell, I have a job that requires I run around a lot and be very active. I need calories to turn them into engergy! I don’t know how others do it.


Sheronda on March 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm.

And it’s not only women doing it… men do it too (the hCG thing). It’s bad enough for women to do it, and now men are also injecting themselves with a pregnancy hormone… the world’s gone mad.


Mulberry on March 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm.

Lydia, I will never understand why people don’t wake up to the fact that, if anyone could sustain a significant weight loss through just diet and exercise, then hardly any of us would be fat. Whatever your intended message might be, you are implying that the fatties en masse are stupid for not realizing this. It’s not just that fad diets and dangerous operations don’t do the trick (or do somewhat, but extract too high a cost in money and health for the results they achieve), it’s that relatively sensible diets and sustained exercise often don’t result in a great deal of weight being lost. And they don’t often m ake much of a difference in how a person is treated. If you are, say, 310 pounds and go on a diet and exercise program and manage to lose 30 pounds, do you really think that society will treat you better? That you will get better offers from potential employers, more prospective dates, better medical care?
All I can say is hang around the fatosphere more, open your eyes and heart, and maybe you will understand what you never thought you would.


Willow on March 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm.

THIS! I’ve gained about fifty pounds over the last two years, and four months ago I decided that, while I looked great (which is amazing in and of itself, because I never would have thought I’d look beautiful at 230+ pounds – the fatosphere has really helped my self-image), I was not feeling comfortable in my new body. So I started walking, and changing my eating habits (for the better – I was eating junk food), and four months later, I have magically lost…

10 pounds.

Back when I was 18, I would have lost at least twice that (I know because it happened). Diet & exercise aren’t the magical cure-all that people say they are. I’m much older now so my metabolism is slower, I’ve had a very invasive knee surgery that limits my physical activity, and my body just seems to want to stay where it is at. My blood pressure & blood sugar are normal (almost in the “too low” category, actually), so I’m pretty healthy, but the weight is largely (no pun intended) still there. People have all kinds of things going on with their bodies that make the “diet & exercise line” pretty much a load of bullshit.

So, to sum it up… What Mulberry said 🙂


kate on April 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm.

thyroid problems run in my dad’s side of the family. my cousin is obese through no “fault” of her own. she goes on starvation diets supervised by her doctor to, i assume, get down to a healthy weight. it makes me very angry when people say that diet and exercise are the obvious answer, stupid.


Mulberry on March 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm.

In fairness, the NYT article does state that this HCG diet has been around since 1954. Nothing new about it.


kbryna on March 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm.

The “eat less, exercise more” variant of the diet-and-exercise line makes my blood boil. When I graduated college, I gained about ten pounds in roughly two months. I made no major changes to my diet (if anything, I was eating better post-college) and I was only slightly less active, which changed when I realized my jeans were now too snug and I hit the treadmill daily.
Every doctor or health professional I visited, I asked about the weight gain. They ALL said: “you’re getting older” (I had just turned 22) and then said “Diet and Exercise!”
This did not help.
But what makes me most furious is that not one of those health professionals said: Don’t worry, you’re in great health and your weight is excellent.
At that point, after the 10-lb gain, I was smack in the middle of what the BMI-chart said I should be for healthy weight. [yes, BMI is bullshit, but I didn’t know that then]. I had NO wonky numbers on any of the various tests you can run; in fact, now that the BMI tells me I’m Obese, my numbers are STILL perfect across the board, cholesterol, blood-sugar, you name it.
But NO ONE, not one single person, back then or since, said: You’re very healthy, you look great, don’t worry about this. We’ll only discuss diet/exercise if it becomes a serious health issue, which it hasn’t.

Also, injecting oneself with pregnant-lady pee? wtf???????
I’m teaching Fat Studies tomorrow in my college lit class, and this is just the energy boost I needed.


Pia on March 22, 2011 at 3:41 am.

Just recently I have come to terms with the fact that I have an eating disorder. This article/entry has REALLY helped me feel more assured and secure. The only bad part is that I’m 14, and I can’t move out of the home of my mother, and she’s the one who’s making this eating disorder so bad.


M Dubz on April 1, 2011 at 2:24 am.

If you’d like them, (((((hugs)))).
I hope you’ll stick around and keep reading. The Fat-O-Sphere is such a wonderful antidote to body hate in the real world, and you deserve people telling you every day that there are other options out there. You are awesome; keep fighting the good fight!


Fatshion Hustler on April 9, 2011 at 7:39 pm.

It’s true. The Fat-o-sphere is helping me get over my binge-eating disorder better than anything else has. Once I started getting into it and finding out what it was all about, becoming a better eater was easy. I’ve barely even had to think about it. I’m not all the way yet but I’m getting there, and I hope that this will help you as well.
So I hope you stick around. 🙂


Danielle on March 27, 2011 at 5:36 am.

Perhaps it’s just me, but that ‘definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ quote continues to tick me of and it’s possibly ablist. I’ve stood on the edge of sanity myself thanks to really bad medication side-effects. I know what that darkness feels like, the itching in the back of your mind, the screaming in the mirror – in your dreams or in real life – the urge to leap off the cliff and lose whatever ego you have left. Thát is insanity, and perhaps it is only the slightest fragment I’ve come into contact with.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is just stubborn foolishness. Not insanity. Insanity is something far, far worse.


Sammie on July 26, 2011 at 2:35 am.

Been zoomin’ through this website reading various posts, and I really like what is being said. This one really hit home for me though… I’m 14 and the last time I wore shorts was about a year ago when some kid sitting next to me in my math class told me I shouldn’t wear shorts if my thighs jiggle like they do when I walk. I was so embarrassed and I changed into jeans as soon as I got home. Even my parents encourage me to work out at the local Y or to eat less because they think I’m getting chunky. I really hate seeing all of my friends wearing shorts or tight fitting tops because I can’t wear them. I’m too afraid that someone else will tell me I’m disgusting…


Nadia on January 4, 2012 at 5:38 am.

I thought the part where you said that the media push young people into eating disorders quite interesting. It is true, that anorexia and other eating disorders are very dangerous, but then again so is obesity. I think it is only correct that the media stress the importance of good health and healthy weight. The more health aware people are, the better.

I believe it isnt the fact the media overstress the importance of low weight. I am no specialist on this subject, but I think the mentioned disconnection from their social environment, as well as the pressure to conform with the beauty ideal we get bombarded with on a daily basis in the media and TV is what REALLY pushes young people into anorexia. It is not the talking about obesity, it is psychological!!

And while I believe that parents cant solve all the problems for their try as they might, it should be also one of the parental duties to guide their teenage offsprings…. wait scratch that, they should start as early as possible and explain their children, that what they see on TV shouldnt be taken seriously. They should try to instill a healthy selfesteem in their children, so that they dont feel so under pressure. I am not saying parents can solve all the problems of their children, but they can make a difference. We cant influence what we see on TV or what happens in the school, but we decide what happens at home, a place where values are set and where children can feel safe.


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