Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Less Than a Forkful

In US Weekly’s (via Life & Style) “How She Got So Thin” feature, describing Mariah Carey’s recent 32-pound weight-loss, staff writers encourage us to “Steal Mariah’s Mini-meal Menu.”

Mini-meals sound like a wonderful idea, unless, or course, they’re got the Carey spin: “I kind of invented it. . . . Basically you can have a tiny bit of everything you want—but it has to be less than a forkful.”

Less than a forkful?

I’m not going to steal her mini-meals. I’m going to steal her a plate, so that along with her fork, she can eat a decent-sized portion like the rest of us.

In all seriousness, my concern is that tips like this encourage disordered eating. Eating less than a forkful is a restrictive, compulsive way of enjoying one’s food. What starts out as a “diet secret” can easily morph into an eating disorder, as most e.d. sufferers will tell you. Typically, a disorder does not spring from out of the blue, but often results from a slow, insidious process that began with an “innocent” diet. Many eating disorder stories begin with some variation of, “I went on my first diet at nine years old.” Beginning with a diet that encourages eating less than a forkful of food is one sure way to hasten this process.


PalmTreeChick said...

Mariah Carey makes ME want to puke. How's that for a "diet secret."

I'm kidding of course. Well, not about her making me want to puke. She disgusts me. (Sorry if I offend any MC fans, but I can't stand her.)

Shaunta said...

Less than a forkful? Wow. I was just noticing yesterday at the grocery store check out what a huge percentage of magazines have 'celebrity weight loss' articles.

PalmTreeChick said...

Maybe we should eat with pitchforks. HA!

Haley-O said...

Wow! Less than a forkful. That's insane. Literally insane--as you point out, Doc. I wonder how long it will be before she can't take it anymore and indulges on TWO forkfuls! BINGE! That's how the cycle often works, isn't it? You go on a restrictive diet, think it's all great, and then you mess up--because you've convinced yourself that if you don't eat this way, you'll gain all that nasty weight back, and people will. start. talking! So you start to purge, etc., etc.. This is not just eating a forkful. This is anorexia in the making! I see yet another trip to the hospital for "exhaustion" in Mariah's future....

allisonsky said...

Hi all,
As far as eating disorder's go, my very good friend from Childhood, had chronic bullimia. The best advice that was given to her in support group was to NOT have any full length mirrors in her house and to avoid looking in them. I used that advice after my second child and still rarely look into a full length. By not looking into a full length mirror there is nothing to scrutinize from the boobs down. If you really don't want to look at yourself just look at yourself while you brush your teeth and that's it. I have felt so happy since not looking in the mirror I can't even tell ya. Another trick is buying clothes with draw strings and elastic so you never know how big or small you are. This worked wonders
after two kids...... Also, whenever anyone says it looks like you gained a little, I respond with, NO I actually just lost 10 pounds. And if someone says "you look like you lost weight I tell them "NO, I just gained about 10 pounds. It is fun
to watch their faces, TRUST ME!

drstaceyny said...

ptc--a pitchfork--maybe that's what she meant!

shaunta--yes, it's all over--good for me (b/c I'll always have something to write about), but bad in general, and, as I've told some, I really hope I can be writing about something else down the road.

Haley--exhaustion--it's tiring being a celebrity! When she gains the weight back, I'd hate to say I told you so.

as--I think mirror avoidance is a great first step in dealing with body image issues. It's like the childhood saying--if you can't say anything nice. . . (applied to self) However, I think that ultimately (and I'd say this for the scale, too), the goal would be mirror/weight acceptance, where looking at your body carries no more emotional weight than looking at your hair (Bad hair day? Oh, well.)

PalmTreeChick said...

What about mirror exposure, doc? I heard about that.

Linda said...

At 58 years old I am ready for a new attitude. Reading your articles and everyone's comments these last few weeks has put me on the right track. I've gone from 30 years of examining myself in the mirror looking for flaws and walking away with a list of needed improvements, to a quick look from 6 feet away and giving myself at least one positive comment (other that I look good for my AGE, whatever that means). Also, after 30 years of gyms, trainers, healthy diets, etc, and always being 10 - 20 pounds "overweight", I've truly accepted my "Look" as being healthy and attractive. Twiggy from the 60's put a curse on the next 40 years but your column has broken the spell.

drstaceyny said...

ptc--mirror exposure is helpful, but the goal is to be able to look without any judgment. If you can't suspend judgment, it's not going to be helpful.

Linda--I like the "6-foot" mirror rule ("Slowly, put your arms up, and back away from the mirror!"). A cursory check is all that is necessary and it reduces the likelihood that you'll be critical of yourself. Adding a positive comment is helpful, too--it's not like you're deluding yourself, you're just balancing the picture a bit.

Thanks for reading (and for your flattering feedback). : )

It seems that so many products (and, by products, I'm including personal training, nutritional guidelines disguised as "healthy eating") are all designed to make us feel bad about ourselves. The more aware we become of these products (and their effects on us), the better.