Friday, August 31, 2007

Size Happy

Margaux Laskey, of Size Ate, posted yesterday about a recent weight gain. For those of you unfamiliar with her, check out this post, which features clips and commentary from her one-woman show.

You can read her thoroughly insightful and enlightening post here.

The upshot?

She's gained some weight.

She's happy.

And she's one of the best writing bloggers I know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Miss Antisocial Personality Disorder has the above item in stock for just under $25. Now, my questions for you (some rhetorical, some not) are:

1) Who would buy this shirt?
2) Whom would you buy it for?/Who would wear it?
3) Why don't they have its Miss Bulimic counterpart?
4) Any shirts on other mental or physical illnesses? (Miss Schizophrenia? Miss Female Orgasmic Disorder? Miss Diabetes? Miss Cancer?

Just checking. . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Small Bites

Thanks to one of my readers for forwarding me this, Gawker's tongue-in-cheek commentary on the recent obesity-as-virus news item.

Also, I checked out Gawker this morning for an interesting bit on fried Oreos. I must confess--until a few months ago, I never knew there was such a thing. They fry Oreos? Wow.

And yes, that is a picture of yours truly back in the day. I hope no one is offended by the bagel. ; )

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Matter of Fabric

(Another post brought to you by little m). . .

MOD*EL – noun (adjective, verb, -eled, -eling.)


Conventional fashion wisdom is that “models are selected based on how well fabric drapes on their bodies.”

And, as we know, all sorts of things can be extrapolated from that. Like, therefore, that’s the only way to be beautiful. Like the only way to look good in your clothes is to look like that.

But maybe – just maybe - conventional fashion wisdom is not the whole truth.

The smaller the body, the less fabric it’s generally going to take to construct a garment for it. The less fabric used, the lower the production cost. Cheaper production costs, all other things being equal, lead to bigger profits, which are generally deemed to be better in business.

So maybe designers are praised and rewarded when they use less fabric.

Being the granddaughter of a seamstress, I learned early that it’s easier to cut in a straight line than on a curve. So the more curves to the body, the more difficult the garment is to make.

So maybe designers are lazy. :D

We’ve read so much about the fashion models that have starved themselves and used drugs in order to work, that if we link to all the articles describing the phenomenae, Dr. S’s server may go on strike from the overload.*

So maybe FASHION models should NOT be ROLE models.

What do you all think?

*Editor's note: See mamavision for a great primer on modeling and our bodies. . .

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Oops . . The Response

Since some have expressed concern about my health (related to my recent weight gain), I figured I'd shoot you a quick update from my hospital bed.

Sorry, I'm feeling feisty. ; )

My health is fine--thanks for your concern. I'll directly address some of the comments to "Oops" in this post.

BUT....12 pounds is not a small amount of weight to gain in six months. The reasons ARE important. Because if you continue to do the same thing you're doing to gain that weight, then eventually, one should be concerned about what health effects it would have. If, on the other hand, the reasons you might have gained that weight are temporary in nature, then you are right to not be concerned at all.

At what point do you begin to worry? What about a woman who is over 180 pounds (at 5'4'')gaining that kind of weight in six months? Would you also tell her to go on about her day like no big deal? Isn't it much healthier to take a realistic attitude and admit that some healthy changes need to be made, while not freaking about it?

The reasons are important, as you suggest, but they were not important to my telling of this story.

In my mind, you begin to worry about the health consequences of gaining weight when there are health consequences of gaining weight. This does not include a doctor telling you you should lose weight for your health. As some others have noted, there are plenty of skinny, unhealthy people, and plenty of fat, healthy people.

In case anyone's curious (since it seems some of you are), my blood pressure is typically about 90/60. It's low. It's low enough that I have a history of passing out (especially when dehydrated). Romantic swooning aside, a 12-pound weight gain is only going to help me out when it comes to blood pressure concerns.

So when i read ur comment, please forgive me but i felt like here is another person missing the point.
I feel like we all act like extra weight automatically means a health problem. And may i venture a guess that most people (maybe not u but most) would not show ANY concern over a 12 pound weight LOSS, they wouldnt worry if the very fact that weight was fluctuating is a sign something is wrong, but when the weight goes up they do.

That's exactly right. I encourage you all to read "The Diet Myth" and "Rethinking Thin" (scroll down the side bar for info). There's a lot of propaganda out there on the relationship between health and weight. Research shows that being underweight is associated with more health consequences than being overweight.

And, how come no one assumed I'm a recovering anorexic who should be congratulated on gaining 12 pounds?

I am just wondering, and wish maybe Dr. Stacy would chime in. How much "fluctuation" in weight is too much? And by "too much" I mean either a health risk (say for an "average 5'5" woman), or a "slippery slope" that if not nipped in the bud, WILL lead to an unhealthy gain. How many of us would really not care about a 12 lb. gain? I'd not only be very disappointed but by that time would be having knee pain, back pain, difficulty participating in my usual physical activities, and tight pants. Are those worth worrying about?

I have absolutely no idea, first because I'm not a medical doctor, and second, because even if I were, I'd have to assume that this issue could only be addressed on a case by case basis.

But it CAN amount to something- stress on your joints, increased blood pressure... 12 lbs is not "nothing". 3 lbs is nothing.

Well, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to define "nothing," except on an individual basis. In my case, 12 pounds is physically "nothing." I'm 5'6", so perhaps that helps, but I can still exercise, engage in daily activities, etc. to the same extent before I gained the weight. My body, like many others, tends to cycle with weight related to a host of reasons (which are important to me, but not necessarily for this discussion).

So, my BP is fine, but about my joints? I think they're ok, too. I run quite a bit, and I'd venture to guess that the damage I've done by pounding the pavement (long-distance running) is far more deleterious than that created by these extra 12 pounds. I haven't notice any variation in orthopaedic symptoms related to my weight.

12 pounds, though, in my case, and in many others, COULD be tremendously damaging psychologically, and that was the point of this post.

NONE of you actually asked "Dr. stacy, how is your blood pressure? And how do your joints feel?"
You assume based on her weight gain.
Furthermore, I doubt you'd ask this of yourself or anyone else as long as they are skinny.

Forgive me if I sound snappish, I don't mean to disrespect your opinions and if you have info to back that up that you want to share by all means do.
I just am sick of everyone crying out "health" to excuse our obsession with being thin.
If you care about someone's health, ASK THEM HOW THEY FEEL, don't analyze their weight or YOUR perception of their lifestyle, dietary and excercise choices.

Thank you for asking. The "health" argument will persist as long as we need something to justify our intense hatred of fat in others and ourselves.

As an athlete, gaining 12 lbs. would severely hinder my ability to train pain-free. If I saw I gained 12 lbs. in six months I wouldn't freak out - but I would certainly begin to restructure my food intake and activity levels.

I mean, if you gained 12lbs. in the past 6 months, that means you could potentially gain 24 in one year...48 in two years...100 in four years...

True, I guess it's possible that I'll gain 100 pounds in four years, but I'm going with history on this one. I've gained weight and lost weight (just about this amount) several times. There's the allure in trying to lose it again (as many of you might feel), but I'm not actively encouraging either weight gains or losses at this point in my life--the more we cycle, the worse it is for our HEALTH.

And, let's say I did want to lose the weight. Should I diet? We all know that 95-98% (depending on which research you read) of all diets fail. Dieters lose weight, gain it back, and then some. If I'm to being to restrict my food (I already exercise enough), I might lose some weight, but I won't be eating intuitively and the likelihood is that that'll backfire, and I actually could see that 100 pounds you mentioned.

I had no idea those were the lyrics in that song. Good lord, what crap. I'm embarrassed that I ever bobbed my head to such nonsense.

I actually made those up, but now that I know that my writing is virtually indistinguishable from Britney Spears's (or at least enough that I could fool one of my good friends), I'm more encouraged about the eventual publication of this book. ; )

Monday, August 13, 2007

Oops. . . I Did it Again

I stepped on the scale
Let go of the rail
I wanted to see
The damage to me
Oh, weigh me, weigh me. . . Oops. . . I did it again. . .
(a la Britney, circa 2000)*

I think the last time I knew my weight was about six months ago (dr's visit). And now, a couple of seasons later, I felt a sudden curiosity one day at the gym. I knew I'd gained--the fact that I haven't been fitting into about 1/3 of my wardrobe could have told me that. But, I wanted to know. . . THE NUMBER.

And, here it was, staring me right back in the face.

12 pounds.

I really thought it would have been about 8. But, it was 12.

12 pounds, I've gained in just about six months. The why's are unimportant here (and I'm sure I could speculate forever), but, what's more important, for our purpose, is what I did. My options? You must all know them quite well. . . .

Freak out.

Begin restricting that afternoon, or at least enroll in or plan for a full-fledged diet that Monday.

Commit to a more intensive exercise plan.

Hate myself.

Get back on the scale and try again (maybe taking off my adorning towel, because we all know how much a dry towel can weigh).

Do nothing.

I kinda handed you this one. I did nothing. I went about my shower, getting dressed, and returned to work. My exercise and eating habits didn't change a bit, and I really wasn't distressed at all. Would I like to have seen less of a weight-gain, or not one at all? Sure. I'd be lying if I said I didn't, especially because some of my favorite wardrobe items have been neglected as of late. But, I've bought some new stuff, bringing the mountain to Mohammed, and I'm really not sweating the 12 pounds at all. Because in the scope of what I do and who I am and the world I live in, 12 pounds of extra flesh amount to absolutely nothing.

*Sorry, it's just that she's been in the news so much lately, and the tune sort of lent itself to the material. . . .

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Word from a Reader*

Hello Dr. Stacey,

I just wanted to write you as I just finished reading your entire blog. It really spoke to me. I have experienced problems with eating for years now, since the age of nine when a family member poked my belly and made fun of my tiny fat rolls. Though it could be blamed on normal changes that happen when a girl goes through puberty, ever since then I have felt uncomfortable in my skin, and I'm 27 now.

I have taken diet pills, been on countless diets, and even flirted with anorexia a time or two. Unfortunately, though I have lost weight in the past, I always return to my comfort of compulsively overeating, and I go back into what I don't want to be. I currently weigh the most I ever have, and I am so tired. I am tired of feeling 'less than' because of my own insecurities tied to a physical characteristic. I am tired of feeling worried for my health and sanity because I don't know how to treat myself with respect. I am tired of hiding this part of myself from others who don't know me well. It's exhausting, and not respectful As a student of psychology (almost finished with my bachelor's degree), I have done a lot of introspection regarding myself and my eating issues. I am ready to finish what I have started, and I want to love myself for the awesome person I am. The only problem is, I don't even know where to begin. I have read quite a few books regarding the subject of compulsive overeating, including all the ones written by Geneen Roth. I have identified with what she has written, but I still don't know how to take what she is offering and run with it.

I hope that you are able to continue your book-writing aspirations. I think you will make a wonderful author, and have a lot to offer the ED community. Like I said, I got so much out of your blog, I read the entire thing in one go. Thank you for writing it and for allowing others to share their experiences with you. Thank you for reading what I have written here - it means a lot to know that I have shared this with someone who is attempting to help. It is hard to find people who understand what I go through on a daily basis, hence this long, rambling e-mail.

Thank you again.

*I post this with permission from the writer, with the idea that others might identify with her story.