Monday, January 01, 2007

And yet another Leaden Fork award goes to . . .

Reader's Digest, for its well-meaning but shamefully one-sided advice on how to avoid compulsive overeating. In fact, this could be a primer for how to induce an eating disorder.

Blog reader Deborah Lee brought this to my attention, and points out a couple of items on this top 10 list that really bugged her:

"3. Never, ever buy a snack at gas stations, drugstores, or discount chains.

4. Never, ever stop at a food store just to buy a snack."

Writes Lee, "While I understand the sentiment in these statements, and it may be sound advice in principle, this sort of black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking is what eating disorders thrive on, and is completely unnecessary."

I'm with you on this, Deborah. Of course Reader's Digest is just one of many media outlets that get this way wrong. Especially in this season, when the default assumption is that we're all trying to lose weight and need "tips" like these. Open just about any women's magazine right now and you'll see headlines like "How to Stick to Your Diet,""Want to lose weight? Be sure not to skip breakfast," and a host of other ridiculous headlines.

I'm looking forward to a year that started without a lot of advice on how to lose weight--and focused instead on creating a healthy and joyful relationship with food, exercise, love, work, and all the other pleasures of being a human being.

How about it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to say that this advice is good, for some people. I do believe that there are those out there that could benefit from not "hitting the drive-thru" for a midday snack. But speaking as a person who has suffered from bulimia for over 17 years, the advice in the article just does not apply. Not keeping cookies in the house has never stopped me from bingeing and purging. Believe me, if I want to binge I will drive to the ends of the earth at 2:00AM for food. When I am not bingeing, I tend to be very restrictive in my eating. I pass by the donuts and the hot dogs at the gas station, thinking I could never eat that (without purging it afterward) I calculate the number of calories I consume on a daily basis, often eating less than the average two year old. Compulsive overeating is as much an eating disorder as anorexia or bulimia, the issues are different for those who can't pass up that trip to Burger King than it is for those of us who would rather saw off our left arm with a dull knife than eat a Double Whopper. My binges are not about a love of food, quite honestly I am terrified of food most of the time. I eat for reasons other than hunger or pure enjoyment. Just like those who eat compulsively, I eat out of boredom, stress, anger, etc. The difference is my overwhelming fear of getting fat, and the guilt associated with losing control of my strict dietary regimen. I would love to be able to eat a slice of pizza without feeling the need to purge it or feel the urge to commit suicide after eating. I think the message that needs to be spread, is all things in moderation. It is ok to have that slice of pizza from time to time, as long as it is not followed by a dozen donuts and a double cheese burger. That is a lesson that anyone with any eating disorder needs to learn. Rigid black and white thinking gets you no where.