Saturday, April 11, 2009

Remember days like this?

Wishing you all a happy holiday and a return to the innocent enjoyment of food that tastes good enough to really get into.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


This is exactly the kind of story that makes me wish the New York Times really would close the Boston Globe, as they've been threatening. Not to blame the messenger or anything.

But come on--has it really come to this? This fall, Massachusetts schools will send home "weight reports" with students in first, fourth, seventh, and tenth grades, which will, according to this story, alert parents "if their child weighs to much or too little."

Multiple levels of Argh! apply here. Too much or too little according to whom? Will this be another episode in the Annals of Administrators Acting as Doctors? Who, exactly, will become the Weight Police?

Authorities in Mass. promise that the new reports will "provide suggestions on where to turn for help." I'd love to see them. No, wait, I've already seen them! Because there's nothing concrete or new here. We can predict that the state's suggestions on how to "help" kids who weigh "too much" will not be helpful at all, because, um, read the news, people--we don't know how to make people thinner. Even if we all agreed that everyone should weigh a certain weight, we haven't the faintest idea on how to get them to weigh that for more than a month or two.

Have these folks not seen the research on how dieting makes you fatter? Do they think they know something the rest of us don't know?

The geniuses behind this legislation dismiss worries that the new mandate will trigger eating disorders. That's pretty ignorant. I'm guessing they have no idea how toxic the dialogue gets around food and weight, especially in middle school. My 8th grader tells me that body bashing is "a bonding experience" among the girls in her class; if you don't join in, you're not one of the group. Swell. I think a mandate like this will really help, don't you?

Please go to the article and leave a comment. Please, if you live in Massachusetts, write to your legislators. (Here's a list with links.) Let your voice be heard on this one.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

When meds make you fat, part 2

I don't know how I missed it, but this week's New York Times "Well" column covers the same territory as my last post.

Head on over there, if you haven't already, and add your comments to the mix. You'll find a few that make you want to bang your head, but more that are genuinely confused and curious. They could use your expertise. :)

Monday, April 06, 2009


Lunch today was a delicious salad nicoise, not unlike the one pictured here. I ate nearly all of it, stopping because I was full.

Why am I telling you this? Because it's been about 7 months since I have eaten and felt full. Not because I'm starving myself but because I've been taking an anti-depressant that messes with my metabolism. I knew it would have this effect. I knew this intellectually, but still, over the last few months, I've struggled with various kinds of fallout from never feeling full.

You eat more when you don't feel full. Especially if you are, like me, a person who likes food and likes to eat. Normally food stops tasting good as you begin to feel full. But if you never feel full, the food keeps right on tasting good, and it's an effort of will and intellect to stop eating.

I say that I knew this medication would have this effect. What I actually mean is that I think it has this effect on me (and on others). But part of me didn't buy it. On some level I've been flagellating myself for the last few months for eating so much and never feeling satisfied.

We do such a good job in this culture of conflating appetite with gluttony, with greed, with being out of control in a scary way; I don't know if it's possible to think of appetite in neutral terms. Certainly it isn't for me. Certainly it's been tough to say to myself, "The little thingy in my brain that signals satiety is not working right now." Much easier to say to myself, "What a greedy, insatiable fill in the blank I am."

So along with that feeling of fullness today came another feeling: relief. It feels good to feel full. It's satisfying.

But it's disturbing to feel this kind of relief. I may very well have to back on this medication, or one like it, in the not too distant future. Part of me says unh-unh, never doing that again, I don't care what the consequences are. But is that really true? Would I rather be thinner and more depressed? Thinner and more anxious?

The questions make me think back to this study, which found that people would rather give up years of their life, be severely depressed, lose a limb, go blind, be unable to have children, if they could only be thin.

I think of myself as smarter than that. And yet--it feels good to be full again.