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Rachel Fredrickson at The Biggest Loser finale

Rachel Fredrickson at The Biggest Loser finale

When my Biggest Loser exposé got over 5,000 views before 10AM this morning, I knew something was up in BiggestLoserLand.

Turns out that last night, The Biggest Loser crowned a new winner, Rachel Fredrickson, who lost nearly 60% of her body weight. She went from 260 pounds to a gaunt 105 pounds to win the show.

As is typical of the rhetoric around fat, weight, and women’s bodies, Rachel was deemed “too thin” and “not healthy” by viewers and the media.

There’s a fine line in the media between too fat, just right, and too thin. If Jennifer Lawrence is too fat and Rachel Frederickson is too thin, then I’m assuming the swing is a mere 15 pounds or so.

But to those who are decrying Rachel’s weight loss as too much, I ask you, what did you think this show is about? Do you think The Biggest Loser is about health? Well-being? It’s a show that promotes weight loss at any cost.

The winner is not the person who eats reasonably, exercises moderately, and makes time for family, friends, and fun.

The winner is the person who loses the largest percentage of body weight. It’s that simple.

Lest you think that I am supporting the producers of The Biggest Loser, I am not. I am asking you, dear reader, to open your eyes to the reality of this show.

Here is what The Biggest Loser is NOT about:

  • Health.

Here is what The Biggest Loser IS about:

  • Shaming fat people.
  • Promoting diet products.
  • Promoting other merchandise tie-ins.
  • Manipulating viewers into thinking that their show is “saving lives.”
  • Ruining the physical and mental health of contestants season after season.

Why The Biggest Loser Should Be Stopped {Read more}

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Image from the Atlanta, GA anti-childhood-obesity campaign

Image from the Atlanta, GA anti-childhood-obesity campaign

I grew up in Freeport, New York, a suburb of New York City on the south shore of Long Island. For decades, Freeport has been a very diverse community, with mostly lower middle class, working class, and poor people.

Rather than pay the dollar or so to the cafeteria lunch lady, many of my elementary school classmates flashed cards that showed that they were eligible for reduced or free lunch.

Sometimes I would overhear the “free lunch” kids talking about how lunch was their first meal that day. Even though I was often on some form of a diet, my stomach turned at the idea of skipping breakfast, especially when I was seven or eight years old.

Now, someone who has no knowledge of metabolism (not you, dear reader) might think that all the kids getting free lunch back at my elementary school cafeteria were skinny.

Not so at all.

Some might have been classified as “obese” or at least “overweight” by today’s standards.

And maybe this doesn’t quite surprise you.

After all, all you need to do is turn on the TV, look at a newspaper or magazine, or stare briefly at the Internet, and you will hear about the “childhood obesity crisis.”

Kids are, allegedly, getting fatter.

According to the CDC, “Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.” More than one-third of children and adolescents are overweight and obese, they say.

We as a country have fixated on this alleged crisis even though (a) every attempt to make fat kids thin has failed, (b) even the NIH says that focusing on weight is bad for kids because it increases stigma and shaming, (c) not a single study shows that weight loss works for more than 5% of people, and, (d) by the way, despite fears about obesity, U.S. life expectancy continues to rise.

So why are people continuing to fixate on childhood obesity?

I think maybe because it’s obscuring a much bigger, scarier issue.

Let’s Take a Look at Childhood Poverty

Just so we’re on the same page, the reasons for undernourished kids – like the ones in my school cafeteria line of yore – being fatter include: (a) genetics, (b) slowed metabolism and increased fat storage due to lack of calories and nutrition, and/or (c) eating more calorie-dense, nutrient deficient, cheaper food.

There’s somewhat of a relationship between the “childhood obesity crisis” and childhood poverty, and I think we’re focusing on the wrong supposed problem.

While childhood obesity has apparently declined slightly in recent years, one thing that hasn’t declined is childhood poverty.

Among developed nations, the U.S. ranks second to last in childhood poverty.

Nearly a quarter (22.6%) of American children live below the poverty line, with a 4.5% increase in childhood poverty since 2007.

Break these numbers down further and the picture is even bleaker for African-American and Latino children, with more than a third of those children living below the poverty line.

And, of course, this doesn’t include children whose families live at or near the poverty line who are also struggling.

Our government’s way of handling this actual crisis of childhood poverty has been to cut food stamps and other resources for poor children.

Childhood poverty has serious and clear negative effects.

Poor children risk and experience homelessness, lack of food, lack of adequate healthcare, lack of adequate childcare, unsafe neighborhoods and more.

They live with the constant stress and fear that their basic needs won’t be met.

They have more difficulty concentrating in school and are more at risk for dropping out early, which then affects any opportunities for advancement as they get older.

So childhood poverty is increasing, while childhood obesity has leveled out and, most importantly, is really a non-issue (good food and safe, fun exercise should be available and important for all kids, not just fat ones).

It’s Time to Reassess Our Societal Goals and Values

First Lady Michelle Obama has stated that one of the goals of her “Let’s Move” campaign is to “eliminate this problem of childhood obesity in a generation.”

Imagine if she had said that one of her goals was to “eliminate childhood poverty and malnutrition in a generation.” Imagine if she made this much more pressing issue a priority.

Obesity is a “sexy” issue only because it’s easy.

It’s easy to vilify and stereotype people, including children, based upon how they look. It’s easy to stigmatize a group, say they’re bad, they have bad habits, they need to be changed, they need to look different.

Poverty is a much scarier problem and a much bigger, more endemic one.

Children are living in poverty because of over thirty years of policies that have increased income disparity to such a degree that the middle class is nearly gone.

Instead, we have a wealthy 1% and an increasingly poor 99%, with more and more people (including working people) relying on government benefits to survive.

What we end up with, as a result, are increasing numbers of families who are barely surviving, with children who are barely surviving.

The absolute least of our issues as a society is “obesity.”

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Obesity is just a red herring. Vilifying obesity has become a way to ignore the reality of the suffering of millions of people.

When liberals talk about fat as a problem of individuals not taking care of themselves and not understanding nutrition, they have essentially co-opted the “personal responsibility” lingo of conservatives. They have bought  and eaten the red herring (albeit wild-caught and delicately grilled).

It’s time to refocus on the real problems and real suffering of our nation’s children, whether they happen to be fat or not.

Get great body love tips and more when you subscribe:

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.

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2013-2014 Manifestation Book smallerIt’s become a yearly tradition here at Body Love Wellness, and I’m so excited to share it with you again!

The older I get, the more I feel like time is just flying by. Sometimes I feel like there are so many good moments to enjoy and so many difficult ones to learn from and grow from, and yet, I can’t seem to slow down enough to really take stock.

That’s why, over the last few years, I’ve developed a very special New Year’s ritual, that grounds me in acceptance of what is and gives me clarity on what I want going forward.

Because I’m so committed to you getting the benefits of this ritual too, I developed as easy-to-follow workbook so that you can do the ritual too.  (This is an updated version of the one I shared last year, so feel free to get it again!)  This workbook will only be available through midnight Eastern on Sunday, January 5th January 12th, January 31st, so get yours now!

Here are the basics:

First, I make a gratitude list of all the things I’m grateful for that happened in 2012. It’s my way of digesting the year and remembering the good (and tough situations) that have come my way.

Next, I make desire lists of all the things I want in the coming year. I break this down into specific categories that I share with you in the workbook. This is my way of getting real clarity on my true desires, so that I can enjoy the process of manifesting them.

Then, last but not least, I list my intentions for 2014. These are the things that I’m committed to doing, changing and experiencing in 2014. These are different than the desire lists, and I explain that in the workbook.

How To Get The Book

Rather than setting a price for the manifestation book, I just ask you to pay what you wish. You can pay as little as a dollar or more. Thanks in advance for your purchase!





After making your payment, you will be taken directly to a page that contains a downloadable PDF. Super easy!

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shop at amazon and support body love wellnessHi there!

Did you know that you can support Body Love Wellness just by shopping at Amazon.com?

When you shop by clicking an Amazon link on our site, we receive 4-6% of the purchase price of your order, at no cost to you!

We can then use that cash to buy better podcasting and video equipment, programs that make our site sing, and so much more.

Here’s how!

Just CLICK THIS LINK (http://tinyurl.com/BLWAmazon). Then shop all you want. That’s it!

Easy peasy!  And again, there is no additional cost to you to do this, but you get to support Body Love Wellness with your purchases.

Thanks for checking this out.  Happy shopping and thanks in advance!

xo,

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smart bra tells women they're overeatingHey! Have you heard about that new “smart bra” that Microsoft is developing?

The bra contains removable sensors that measure heart and skin activity and can let you know when your stress levels are increasing.

Okay. I’m game. I guess that could be helpful in some situations. Maybe it could help you note how stressed you are overall, or help you notice what seems to trigger a stress response. Is that, perhaps, why this bra is being developed?

Uh, well, no. According to their research paper, the bra is being developed as a “just-in-time intervention to support behavioral modification in emotional eating.” According to the study, emotional eaters need help because of “the combination of lifestyle, hedonic, emotional, or habitual over-eating that leads to obesity.”

Now I get it. I need sensors in my bra BECAUSE OBESITY. (Even though the reality is that “obese” people eat no more than thinner people, but why let reality get in the way of fixating on fauxbesity?)

Does This Bra Make My Boobs Look Sexist?

I honestly think this is could be a great piece of technology. But, since it’s designed to help women monitor their stress levels, OF COURSE, the focus has to be on food and weight.

Just the idea that women need a bra like this fosters the typical, diet-industry view of women. We all know the typical diet-industry female archetype who is desperate to lose weight, desperate to control her eating, unaware of her own needs and emotions, fearful that she has no willpower, and, somehow, always close enough to a refrigerator that may tempt her to fall into a bingey abyss.

So, of course, she needs sensors in her bra to let her know when she’s stressed and remind her not to go to the fridge. Because women are just mindless grazers who need to have their emotions “brasplained” to them? Or because shame works so well? Or because telling someone not to do something all day long makes them want to do it . . . less? None of this makes sense to me.

(Also, just as a sidenote, I think most women would take off their bra if they wanted to comfortably binge at home. But hey, they can’t think of everything.)

Reinforcing The Disconnect

I acknowledge that women often feel disconnected from their bodies. In many ways, the weight-loss industry creates and reinforces this disconnect by telling women to actively ignore their bodies’ signals (e.g. hunger cues and responses to exercise) and focus on weight loss goals that have nothing to do with the reality of their actual bodies.

In my coaching practice, I help women pay attention to their bodies again. And it’s often much easier for them than they expect. It just takes a little time, and practice, and a willingness to trust their bodies.

Do we really need our bras to tell us when we’re stressed out? And furthermore, is the answer always not to eat?

Stick a fork in my electronics-laden bra. I’m done.

What do you think of this bra? Let me know in the comments section below!

Get great body love tips and more when you subscribe:

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.

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