Thinking about the article I quoted yesterday, (Professor Pothos’ research findings), I started to chuckle, struck by an ironic thought. The image that came to my mind once belonged to the women’s [sic] magazines in the grocery store checkout lines, but now includes the sidebar of almost every Internet site. I’m speaking of the weight-loss and ‘New Diet!’ claims that sprout endlessly in our media-saturated and weight-obsessed world. Seems like there is a new, sure-fire plan every day.
It’s easy to mock and scorn those annoying promises, so gloriously promoted and later debunked. However, it’s also true that articles touting new research on ‘causes of obesity’, or in this case, ‘Why it’s so hard to diet’ are regularly presented as earth-shattering, only to be pushed aside by the next big thing. Are they different sides of the same media game?
As I once-upon-a-time grasped at the latest weight-loss solution, I am now likely to seize upon a new study that appears to explain the whys and wherefores of body size. I’d like to think that I’m a bit wiser now about the whole hype game. I turn a blind eye to the magazine headlines proclaiming that some starlet with a small belly has found the true and sacred answer to weight loss. I sneer, curling my lip at the ‘Never eat these five foods’ adverts that pop up on the computer screen.
I exercise my critical eye.
I read snippets from studies that conclude, based on research with rats or mice, that there are mechanisms that are hard wired within me. Some are species specific, some familial-ly genetic and some are neural pathways that have been created by trauma or the death of critical microbes in my intestines. These scraps of information, taken with a grain (but no more) of salt are something I want to share with others who may not have the obsession or time to seek them out.
I believe these data bites are pieces of the puzzle. Although my history and the story of millions of large people cannot be rewritten, these studies contain a cautionary note. This may be what my researching and writing are all about, really. I’m driven to understand what has shaped me as a person, both physically and emotionally.
I want to share the information and insights I have acquired from food researchers like Michael Moss (Salt, Sugar Fat) and others regarding what I call the Processed Food Industrial Complex (PFIC). I want to share the psychological and sociological information and insights I have gained from Brene Brown (I thought it was Just Me…) and others, which have helped me to de-construct the monster called shame. And I need to share some of these new ‘facts’ that are trickling out to the public, backed by oceans of scientific research, explaining or attempting to explain misunderstood phenomena about weight.
I want people like me to know that it is not our ‘fault’. The boogeyman and cudgel named the ‘Obesity Epidemic’ has many causes, with roots deep in our profit-driven, misogynistic culture. I am determined to throw off the blame, the claim that we simply lack discipline and will power. In some ways the deck has been stacked and it’s time to understand that and listen to our own bodies. For far too long the slick voices of the PFIC, presented by their marketing and advertising geniuses, have dominated and we have internalized their inaccurate and self-defeating messages.
End of diatribe.
Next time: Friendship