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Kate Moss & Girls' Body Reality

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I read all these stories that suggest Kate Moss should be burned at the stake for saying her motto is, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” Sarah and the Goon Squad has a funny, light-hearted and compelling post about it. Instead of being outraged, I seriously considered adopting the motto, repeating it to my daughter as often as, “did you brush your teeth?” and taping it to my fridge to help my whole family stop rationalizing the junk food that goes into our mouths.

Here’s the thing: No one in this family is at risk for becoming Anorexic or Bulimic. In fact, to put the “fears” about our food issues into perspective: Only 1-3 percent of girls in this country suffer from anorexia nervosa and another 1 percent suffer from bulimia nervosa.

Conversely, 16 percent of girls are overweight and another 15 percent are tipping the scales in high risk weight categories (meaning one or two more “yeses” to the stop at McDonalds will push them into the next category up.) There is an Obesity Epidemic in this country. There is a Childhood Obesity Epidemic in this country. This is a serious personal concern as well as a national concern for the well-being of one-third of our children. Not to mention the future of America as these children join the approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese. That’s 64.5 percent of U.S. adults, age 20 years and older, who are overweight and 30.5 percent of us are obese.

My thinking is that if the motto, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels” is effective, (and judging by the size of Kate Moss, it just might be) it wouldn’t kill America to adapt it as our National Freaking Motto.

The 2-4 percent of us who fall victim to becoming too thin and suffering from anorexia and bulimia should obviously seek treatment for those tragic diseases. Why shouldn’t the majority of Americans, who face the opposite eating disorder, yet just as damaging and far more expensive (health insurance and national health cost crisis, anyone?) seek treatment ? Or at least not have a hissy fit over the motto of a skinny girl as we ask our children to “pass the Cheetos?”

It’s a little like never letting our kids go outside to play so we can keep them “safe,” even though there is only 1 in a million chances that something terrible and irreversible will ever happen to them. One in a Million. All the while, saddling them with an obesity problem they’ll have to combat for the rest of their lives, not to mention the higher health insurance premiums they’ll have to pay.

* Statistics from American Obesity Association, and here.

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5 replies
  1. Alexis says:

    Thank you for your refreshing perspective! In fact my kids are outside on bikes and scooters getting some unsupervised exercise and fresh air as I write this. For me it’s about finding the balance between letting them have some freedom and opportunity and me getting things taken care of as they play. This post describes some of the reasons why some kids, like mine, don’t get enough exercise. As much as I would like to fully engage and exercise and play with them all afternoon, I must come in a do things like deal with emails from my office, which is what I meant to do when I sat down. Of course checking out today’s Girl Revolution was much more appealing, so here I sit! Yes, it is a slight risk to leave the three of them outside to ride up and down our street which is thankfully very low traffic, but I fel that the benefits outway the risks in this case. I can leave the front door open and see them as they pass back and forth. In a few minutes I will go back outside with them and hop on a bike and burn a few calories myself. It’s beautiful and sunny outside and I can hardly wait.

  2. Emily says:

    Here’s the thing. In my personal experience, anorexia, bulemia, overeating, and compulsive eating are ALL eating disorders. The pressure of telling your daughter and your family members daily that “nothing tastes as good as thin feels” will push them further and further into an eating disorder (of any type). Rather than pushing children into healthy eating, make yourself available to talk with them about how they feel, and what’s going on in their lives. People use food to numb themselves. If they’re getting what they need emotionally and spiritually, they won’t feel the need to compulsively reach for a bag of chips. Healthier food options are a good way to go about it too.

    Having worked in healthcare for the past two years and seeing both extreme obesity and extreme anorexia…I would have to say they’re equally terrifying and immobilizing.

  3. Dorothy says:

    I’m underweight and u r soooo right. People who r overly skinny aren’t helping anyone. And neither r those who r over weight. I’m not anorexic or bulimic. I can eat an entire freaking chicken in 20 min and I used to. Now I’m vegetarian so I don’t anymore but I’ve never been close to anorexic. I just have a very fast metabolism as well as 6 hours of dance a week as well as 4 hours of rehearsals for my pre professional acting program. For dance u gain muscle but of course we all know that a persons weight isn’t who they r. We should all remember that.

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