Friday, January 07, 2011

Dr. Sharma, I love you

I love you for acknowledging what many of us know to be true: that people metabolize calories differently, that yo-yo dieting screws up people's metabolisms and causes weight gain in some people, and, most important, that shaming people inspires not healthy behaviors but self-destructive ones.

But don't take my word for it. Read this interview with the University of Alberta's Dr. Arya Sharma yourself.

I love the fact that, as this story from the CBC news points out, Sharma is the chair of obesity research and management at the University of Alberta and is still "no fan of most diets." And I love this quote from Sharma:

We keep hammering home the stereotype of the fat, lazy slobs who are eating fast food all the time who are not moving, not exercising or not taking care of themselves, making poor choices, when there's very little science that actually backs this up.

Thank you, Dr. Sharma, for saying it so plainly, so matter-of-factly, so clearly. I hope someone's listening.

*Photo © CBC.


Ashley said...

I will check him out!

Anonymous said...

I will certainnly look at this.1 live In Australia and currently the AMA (aust. medical Assoc.) wants to run an add campaign to counter the 'obesity epidemic' by showing a person drinkng fat. (I kid you not) The day before The Age newspaper ran an article on malnorishment in 'normal' teenage girls due ot dieting, cutting out 'fatty foods' - often dairy and redtrictive eating.
I am in the process of writing a letter to the AMA poniting out the inappropriateness and couner productiveness in fact down right dangerousness of such a campaign on so many levels including the medical.
Now I have an expert to quote! Thanks for highlighting this.

Anonymous said...

hi Harriet...sorry, I am not very blog savy, and this was the first place I could find to write a message to you.

I just finished reading Brave Girl Eating and I wanted to thank you for writing this book and also thank Kitty for sharing the details of her battle with anorexia.

my daughter was diagnosed with anorexia and I think that what I have learned from reading your book will help me help my daughter. I'm Canadian, but we are living in Japan and finding it difficult to get the help we need...if I can manage it financially, I hope to attend the UCSD intensive family therapy program.

I am very grateful that you wrote this book...thank you so much.
take care,

Harriet said...

Dear Tim,
My heart goes out to you. I have nothing but praise for the UCSD program if you can manage it. Even after we'd done FBT once and "knew it all," that program helped us immensely.

If you want to write more, please email me at harriet at harrietbrown dot com.

Hang in there. It really does get better.


Anonymous said...

Hi Harriet!

I work in a small bookstore in New Zealand where we have just put out your book on the newly released. My youngest sister was diagnosed with anorexia last year at the tender age of 15 and the most difficult thing has been the lack (of willingness) for others to understand the illness. She's lost so many of her friends at school because they don't know how to deal with her, and her teachers get fed up with her for always missing out on classes etc due to treatments (which I think is unfair). She's also now being bullied which is a lot for her to handle. Thank you for writing Brave Girl Eating. I'm especially thankful that you pointed out that people don't choose anorexia. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the general consensus. We've been trying to set up FBT for a while now, but its a bit hard with my other sister and I being away at university all the time and my mum is a single parent. Plus the closest treatment facility is 2.5 hours drive away.
Anyway, sorry for rambling on. Your book really was an inspiration. I am sorry Kitty and you all had to endure it - having seen the effects, it's a devastating illness that affects everyone and it all seems so unfair. You have a wonderful family though and your daughters sound lovely. Thank you once again - I am very sorry for the ridiculously long comment!
New Zealand

Harriet said...

Hi K.A.,
Don't be sorry for the long comment. I like hearing from readers, though of course I don't like hearing that other families are struggling with this wretched disease.

Sometimes FBT can work without a real FBT therapist, if there's a pediatrician or other doc involved who is willing to be supportive.

I think the social isolation is hard, you're right. It comes partly from the illness itself, I think, which makes people withdraw socially. When you're malnourished you don't have the energy for social relationships.

I hope your family can work out something for your sister. Hang in there. Remember that while the disease is stubborn and difficult, people do recover fully all the time.