When it's real, & when it's not

Sharing Your Loss
By Sally Squires
Tuesday, July 18, 2006; HE01

Losing 71 pounds isn’t enough for actress Kirstie Alley: She recently announced that she plans to shed another 15 pounds by November to wear a bikini on “Oprah.”

Oh boy. Can’t wait.

From here we go on into a list of other celebs who go on the air or write books to talk all about how they lost weight, or tried to lose weight, or gained weight back again, or….

Then there’s “reality” shows like “The Biggest Loser,” which I only known about (not being a big TV watcher) from having seeing an ad at Washingtonpost.com for Jillian Michaels. I put on my amateur anthropologist hat & did some research on Michaels & the show, & decided that while Michaels obviously knows her stuff (nice bod, Jillian!), she & the show were selling some really nasty quick-weight-loss strategies, all in the name of “reality show” competition.

How handy a quote that someone on a list just passed my way:

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
— Philip K. Dick

In this case, maybe it’d be better to say, “which doesn’t stay away.” Given the methods of that show, I wonder how many of the contestants were able to keep off whatever pounds they lost. I betcha not many.

The theme of Sally Squires’ article is about whether making the decision to make public one’s weight loss struggle — whether one is a celebrity or a regular joe or jane, whether one is Steve “Fat Man Walking” Vaught* or a blogger — benefits or detracts from one’s weight loss efforts.

But what really struck me about this article is how nowhere did it question the basic premise of “weight loss” as a foundation for better health.

I’m not a weight loss blogger. Even in my efforts to lose fat — that’s fat, not weight — that quest is only subsidiary to my quest for better health, especially to prevent myself from becoming victim to the disease that claimed my mother. Fat loss is part, not the whole, of my health road. And I will not use methods that undermine my overall health, merely to look skinnier.

Or to fit in a bikini on Oprah’s TV show.

* Steve Vaught walked across the U.S. in order to lose weight.

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