Disney’s Big Mistake

Full disclosure: I don’t watch ABC’s Once Upon A Time. But I pay attention to all sorts of pop-culture news, and yesterday a story about this show caught my eye. That’s because the show has cast an actress to play Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and in doing so they made a very big mistake. In case you need a reminder, this is what Ursula looks like (with Ariel shown for perspective, just in case you need it):

Love those fat arms!

Love those fat arms!

And this is what Merrin Dungey looks like, who has been cast as Ursula:


You can’t convince me that there weren’t any fat actresses out there to choose from. What they’ve done is take a part ready-made for a fat person (how many of those exist?!), and failed to give that part to a fat person. Surprising? No. Frustrating? Yes.

Sadly, Disney isn’t the only one pulling stunts like this. Check out the original Amanda Waller, part of the DC Comics universe:


Here’s what she looks like on Arrow:


You know, I used the word “mistake” in the title of this post, but a mistake to me implies that you didn’t know better. Disney and DC know better. Disney knows that Ursula is a big fat woman and DC knows that Amanda Waller is, too, and they cast thin women anyway.

There’s this ludicrous idea that showing fat people in media will encourage people to be (or stay) fat. I mean, clearly I’m fat because I learned it from Ursula, and now when I see a skinny version of this excellent villain, I’m going to learn the error of my ways and become forever thin, right?

Fat chance.

Thanksgiving Challenge

You know those challenges that pop up now and then on social media –  ab challenge, plank challenge, push-up challenge – where you follow a monthly schedule that dares you to do more and more? The ones with pictures of how ripped and amazing your body is going to look after thirty days of hard work and dedication? Yeah, this is nothing like that.

Yeah, I'm sure in 30 days my butt will look just like this!

I’m sure in 30 days my butt will look just like this!

Now, I think it’s safe to say that pretty much every one of us has a complicated relationship with food. Whether we’re suffering from intense guilt and shame for the “bad” things we’ve eaten, or we’re elated at how “good” we’ve been and want to tell everyone about the latest food that has changed our lives forever, food and strong emotion go hand in hand. Sadly, more often than not, we fear food and what it might do to us, especially in terms of our weight.

So, here’s your challenge: This Thanksgiving – and straight on through to the New Year and beyond (to forever!), if you dare – I challenge you to stop fearing food. Let go of the guilt. Don’t fret about how much stuffing and green bean casserole you’ve eaten. Don’t pile a big scoop of shame onto your plate next to the sweet potatoes and turkey.

Now, some people will think I’m encouraging you to be a glutton all day every day. I’m not. I think it’s important to establish a healthy relationship with food, to educate ourselves about nutrition, and to fuel our bodies in ways that help us to function well and live long lives. But fear doesn’t have to – and shouldn’t – be a part of that. My go-to motto for food? “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

So then, what about the guilt, shame, and fear that other people serve up at the holidays? Making friends with food is tough enough without “well meaning” family and friends butting in. From your aunt who asks if you really need a second helping, to the Facebook friends who post articles about how to “survive” the holidays without weight gain, the obstacles to repairing your relationship with food are everywhere.

There are a number of ways to deal with these folks. You can ignore them, educate them, amuse them. Check out these comebacks from Clinton Kelly, where “she” is your hypothetical nosy Aunt Tammy:

She says: “Did you gain weight?”
You say: “Yes, but I lost my will to live. If I’m not back from the bathroom in, like, 20 minutes, I’m probably not coming back. Tell Dad I loved him the most.”

She says: “Someone’s putting on the pounds!”
You say: “Have you seen this family? I was literally dealt the worse genetic hand possible. What the hell? Now I just carry around my own butter.”

Clinton, the king of sass.

Clinton, the king of sass.

Remember: What and how much you eat is your business. Feel free to let people know that.

Repairing your relationship with food probably isn’t going to be easy or quick. It’s taken you years to learn to be afraid of food, to feel guilt and shame about what you choose to put in your mouth. Unlearning those habits and behaviors might take just as long. So, be patient with yourself. Be kind (even – and especially – when others aren’t).

Start by eating what you want on Thanksgiving Day without questioning or fretting about every forkful. Don’t engage in conversations about how bad everyone feels after they’re done eating, and the things they’re going to have to do to make up for their gluttony. I know it’s going to be a challenge, but I have faith that you can do it. This can be a positive change for the rest of your life. I’d like to see the plank challenge do that!

The Spin Cycle

Have you heard about the hot water Old Navy’s gotten themselves into in regards to their plus-size clothing pricing practices? It all started when a savvy shopper noticed that Old Navy charges more for plus-sized items than for straight-sized – for women. Men’s clothing costs the same no matter the size. Here’s an excerpt from the petition:

For example: Old Navy’s Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans cost $27 in a size 6. The same jeans in a size 26 cost $40. Alternatively, the men’s Slim-Fit Jean costs $25–no matter the size.

Notice there's no "Men's Plus" section.

Notice there’s no “Men’s Plus” section.

As of the writing of this post, the petition has over 87,000 signatures (and yes, one of them is mine). Pretty hard for Old Navy to ignore that many voices, right? Well, the company responded, and as you can imagine, they had some lovely spin:

“Old Navy is proud to offer styles and apparel designed specifically for our plus-size female customer, which includes curve-enhancing and curve-flattering elements such as four-way stretch materials and contoured waistbands, which most men’s garments do not include,” Gap spokesperson Debbie Felix told The Huffington Post in an email Tuesday.

Sure, okay. I need special curve-enhancing and -flattering materials in my pants, and men don’t. Whatever. You know what really gets my blood boiling about this? That not only are my pants pricier than a man’s because of all my special pant needs, but apparently my pants have $13 worth of extra material than a skinny woman’s pants. Thirteen dollars! And don’t even start with the “bigger sizes cost more to produce” argument, because wouldn’t that mean a size 12 (still a straight size, mind you!) should cost, oh, I don’t know, maybe $13 more than a size 0? Straight-sized women would never stand for that! No, companies upcharge for plus-size clothing because they can.

Check out the price on these pants. And all the options!

Check out the price on these pants. And all the options!


Fat women have far fewer choices, and a higher price point.

Higher original price point than the straight size, with far fewer options.

Okay, so let’s take a look at some of the arguments folks are offering in defense of Old Navy’s pricing practices. (Check out the comments section of any article about this controversy, and you’ll find loads of people who are experts in women’s fashion, health, and the economy!) As you can imagine, people are sympathetic and understanding about fat people’s clothing needs. Just kidding!

Fat Women Shouldn’t Wear Skinny Jeans Anyway

This is probably my favorite. Nothing to do with the actual issues at hand, just fat-shaming at its “Don’t make me look at your disgusting body, fatso!” ugliest. Thanks, concerned commenter, but I’ll make my own fashion decisions, regardless of your opinion.

Stop Shopping There If You Don’t Like It

Written by a person who has endless options for buying clothes. Guess what, skinny person? I don’t have endless options. I have very few choices in brick and mortar stores (and there are plenty of fat people who are completely sized out of mall stores). There are more options for me online, but very few are economically priced like Old Navy clothes. I have limited choices, so completely eliminating one isn’t as easy a decision for me as it would be for you. This is what’s known as thin privilege. Please check yours at the door.

They Make Less Money On Plus-Sizes

I see this argument a lot, especially in regards to why stores – like Old Navy and Target – have stopped carrying plus sizes in their brick and mortar stores. Just last year, I had a clerk at L.L. Bean tell me that they stopped carrying plus sizes because “no one was buying them.” How does that work, exactly, when we live in a nation that is constantly reminded of how fat we’re all getting? If the average American woman is a size 14, why is it that so few stores sell products meant for half the population? Where are fat women buying their clothes? Are we are just running around naked and I haven’t noticed? I refuse to believe that plus-size clothing is not profitable. So the garbage response that stores can’t make good money on duds for fat women is just more spin.

Ooh, "boyfriend" style! And a nice price point, too.

Ooh, “boyfriend” style! And a nice price point, too.

Fewer choices, higher price.

Higher prices for the same style. And we don’t get to call them “boyfriend,” either.

What can you do? Sign the petition. Speak up. Write to clothing stores and tell them what you want. Wave your dollars in their faces. If we make enough noise, we can make change. And if it really comes down to the fact that fat dollars are less worthy to companies than thin dollars, then I guess we’ll just have to start our own clothing company. Should we call it Big Fit Deal?

When Retouched Is Too Touched

I have a problem: While I’m all about body confidence and body love and rooting for every woman’s right to love her body no matter how far it strays from the media’s idea of perfection, I’m having a hard time swallowing even some of the plus size model’s images.

I’m a graphic designer by night, so I’m quite familiar with Photoshop and the wonders it can bring. Fix the shadows, nix a pimple, add some text… create unnaturally smooth, supple skin? Not so much the latter. I’ve been known to retouch some photos of others by reducing wrinkles and whitening teeth, but an image I’ve recently come across and the comments underneath it sort of irked me, because it’s a typical modeling for media/advertising, and while it’s showing diversity in the media, it’s by the media’s standards I feel.

The image is of the lovely Tess Munster. She is a beautiful, full-figured woman with tattoos and piercings, and I really love her style and image. But she too, I believe, is being retouched for advertising’s sake. My heart ached that many of the comments read “I wish I had as much confidence as you.” See the photo spread here.


The “offending” photo.

I feel like commenting myself and saying something along the lines of, “If you too had a makeup artist, hairstylist, professional photographer, and professional photo editor on hand, you can feel as sexy as you want.” Don’t get me wrong, even without the assumed retouching, she’s beautiful. But I’m sorry, no one’s skin is this soft looking. No bumps, no wrinkles, nothing but “perfection.” The fact is, this is just how the media is. I wish some of the other women who mentioned they wished they had her confidence would see that it’s not looking flawless that gives you confidence, it’s being comfortable in your own skin and living life to its fullest.


For reference sake, above is a photo of Tess from her website. STILL a beauty, just more natural and identifiable. Tell me, am I asking too much for the media to just say NO to Photoshopping and image retouching? Should I just be grateful that the media is starting to include some non-standard women?

This Turkey Can’t Trot

Surprise! I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m still here, and I still have just as much to say as I ever have – maybe even more. So, why haven’t I been blogging my little heart out? First, I needed a mental health break. Thinking about this stuff all the time is exhausting. But mostly, I needed to give my hand a break. I have a pretty good case of carpal tunnel in my right wrist, and it’s made doing computer work outside of my actual get-paid-to-do-it job pretty much out of the question. Thankfully, I’m having surgery in a couple of weeks to take care of the problem – and then I plan to be back, blogging with a vengeance!

Today's post is brought to you by Thanksgiving.

Today’s post is brought to you by Thanksgiving.

Which leads me to the point of this post: I hate not being able to do things. It’s amazing how much I take for granted my ability to physically accomplish what I need – and want – to accomplish. Sprain your ankle or break your arm, and you suddenly realize how lucky you have been to have full use of that ankle or arm. Carpal tunnel has made it painful to do things like hold a steering wheel, blow dry my hair, use a fork, and lift weights in the gym. Guess which one irritates me the most? I mean, sure, I like to drive places and have my hair look nice and feed myself, but not being able to keep up with my regular workout routine seems like the cruelest blow.


It’s just like how frustrated I am that my knee and ankle injuries have sidelined me from marathoning. I have a lot of athletic friends, and to see them posting their race bibs and finish times is so aggravating. I want to be queuing up with them! I want to be at that start line, bouncing on the balls of my feet from all the nervous energy! But my body won’t cooperate anymore. On Thanksgiving morning, hundreds of people are going to participate in a Turkey Trot. Not this turkey. The longing I feel to do something like that makes me drool almost as much as my mom’s homemade stuffing.


As much as I hate to admit it, a huge reason that having physical limitations upsets me is because of my size. I don’t want to be seen doing less, because then I’ll look like a lazy fatty who isn’t trying – trying to not be so fat, trying to look better, trying to be better. Even though I have long given up the idea of being thin, of permanently losing weight through dieting or exercise, I still feel compelled to push myself to do more.  It’s basically my version of the “good fatty.” If I’m working out to the max of my abilities, then I’m a good fatty and you shouldn’t look down on me. I’m trying, see! I’m doing all I can!


Of course, the truth is, I am doing all I can – right now. I can’t lift weights because it hurts a lot and my hand goes numb. I can’t walk or run a race because my knee throbs and my foot protests in pain. So swimming and doing Aqua Fit three times a week, working on my flexibility? Those things are good. Those things are good enough. Aren’t they?


As much as society, the media, and the diet industry want me to feel certain things about my body (because every time I have a negative thought, they see dollar signs), I’m often my own worst enemy. I’m disappointed, discouraged, and even disgusted by what my body can and can’t do, what it does and doesn’t look like. Body acceptance is a journey.


Right now, I wish my journey was taking me to the start line of a Turkey Trot, but it’s not. To all of you who are healthy enough to queue up and cross that finish line, I salute you. With my left hand.

Advertising Issues and Me

I was eating dinner the other night and flipping through my latest Ulta advert, and the inserted fragrance ads were sitting out next to the book after I was finished. I was still eating dinner and happened to glance down at them, and had a passing thought. Amazingly, I don’t recall having this thought in the past, and if I did I just never thought to blog about it. But I thought it fitting for a BFD post!

Why are none of these women what I see everyday? The females (and males, for that matter) are the typical “model,” Photoshopped to the max, smooth skin, sultry/serious looks on their faces… and usually doing things that, to me, have no correlation with fragrance.


I have an AA in Graphic Design and it’s a passion of mine, so when I flip through a magazine I’m often scrutinizing the adverts and wondering what made them go in “that” direction. I don’t think I’ve ever understood fragrance advertising. Again, all people doing things that never have any realistic correlation with wearing perfume. I then thought, What if they just put an average looking person on there, would their ad sales flop or soar? What if ALL companies started using a non-Photoshopped image of someone just using the product? Surely that would be better than what we are force fed through the media

I’d love to hear any thoughts others have to bring on this. It just confuses me. Why is there such a clear-cut definition and look about the word “model” with advertising campaigns?  When I decided to Google “Plus size perfume model,” I found a post about The Militant Baker and her faux ad campaigns, although I had yet to see these. They are fabulous. Yes to it all! Here is even one of a fake perfume here:


I’d totally buy that perfume just because I identify with the image. Back to my OSFM? (One Size fits Most?) rant: I can’t comprehend why so many retailers and designers are missing such a huge opportunity for profit growth if they offered more sizes and different advertising?!


It’s 2014, folks, and very near 2015. Movies can be made entirely on the computer, a desktop printer can print a 3D object, robots are being used to clear up hazardous waste, and there are just so many leaps and bounds being made in technology.

There are not flying cars yet, but you know what is still kicking around? The phrase “One Size Fits Most”. *Cue angry music* Formally known as “One Size Fits All,” OSFM, in my opinion, is as outdated as last year’s ham. Dried up. Old. Stinky. THROW IT AWAY! Why can’t we just do away with that size “option”?

I’ll be honest, I don’t see a lot of OSFM clothing, but the one time a year I’m bombarded with it is October… at the Halloween store (I’m looking at you Spirit Halloween)… where I’m DYING, BEGGING to give them my money for a size 2X/3X, plus size, fat, whatever you want to call it, costume! But no, I get OSFM.

“You’re joking right?” is what I mutter to myself when I make the yearly trip to the Halloween store and see so many cute items that could potentially be mine. In reality, I’ve either already purchased my costume from an online retailer (shout out to Torrid), or I’ve had to make my own costume months earlier because I know for a fact that dang store will not have anything in my size.

We’ve seen this GIF before, but seriously? What the heck? You can’t make those tights in a larger size? I know there are larger costumes out there. Can’t you expand your product line? What is the purchasing manager thinking?! In all fairness, Spirit does offer plus sizes online, but I don’t want that! I want brick and mortar. I want to feel that fabric in my hot little hands, and I want to try it on. I don’t want to have to pay for return shipping and going to the post office or paying the return fees. I just want what I want and I want it now. Equality for all sizes in brick and mortar shops. I can PRINT a freaking piggy bank in my home office, but I can’t go to Target and buy a fashionable top or costume? Something is wrong here.2014-10-17_1242This costume would have been fun, but alas, I’m much happier with the one I made myself. Plus, as I’m aging and have a toddler, all that boobage isn’t home/work appropriate.

Have you been subject to any OSFM discrimination, or am I just angry cat for no reason?

See my original post here.

Today In F Words: Fat and Fandoms

Confession: I’m a card-carrying member of several fandoms. Okay, so there aren’t actually cards to carry (that I know of), but I’m proud to be one of those possibly crazy people who loves something pop-culture related so much that we actually have names for ourselves. Are you a Superwholockian, a Whedonite, an Arrowhead, a Gleek, a Fannibal, a Cortexifan, a Trekkie, an X-Phile? (Feel free to guess which of these I am.)

Seriously, it's a thing.

Seriously, it’s a thing.

While those are television examples, there are also fandoms for books, movies… even professional wrestling. Being part of a fandom can be a wonderful experience. Communicating, commiserating, and collaborating with like-minded people all over the world is, to quote someone you may or may not know, fantastic. Being part of something makes us feel good.

Yes, we do.

Right behind you, Doctor.

Now, let’s say you’re an out and proud member of your fandom, and want to wear your love on your proverbial literal sleeve. You’re in luck! There are a host of sites that make t-shirts that cater to fans. Here’s the thing, though: Don’t bother ordering one if you’re fat.



From Qwertee to ThinkGeek, pop-culture t-shirt manufacturers seem to have that same problem that so many other clothing makers have: They don’t want my money. I’m not sure why. I mean, there are theories out there that certain brands won’t make clothes for fat people because fat people don’t fit their “target demographic,” which I guess they think is a polite way of saying they only want to be associated with thin (read: attractive) people. If fat people are out wandering around in Lululemon or Abercrombie & Fitchor, god forbid, designer brandsthen… bad things happen like they get more money and more exposure. Oh, the horror, I guess? I haven’t quite worked this out yet, forgive me.

But this is how it makes me feel.

But this is how it makes me feel.

And now we have the custom-made-for-a-cause t-shirt trend. Celebrities like Stephen Amell and some of the cast of MTV’s Teen Wolf are jumping on the bandwagon, offering up limited-quantity, limited-time, custom shirts that support a cause, like cancer or cystic fibrosis. Nothing wrong with raising money for those causesor even for an up-and-coming artist who sells their designs this way. The problem is that they’re using represent.com to sell these shirts. And the manufacturer behind represent.com? That would be American Apparel.

Pay attention, Oliver.

Pay attention, Oliver.

Now, there are a host of problematic things about American Apparel. But what I want to talk about today is the fact that AA really only wants you to wear their stuff if you’re small.  Check out their sizes for women and for men. I love how men get up to 3XL, but women only get 2XL (and, at a 16-18, that’s hardly double extra large). What that means is that if I want to support causes that use represent.com, I have to buy a men’s shirt. Which means the sleeves are going to come down past my elbows and the chest is going to be enormous. I hate men’s t-shirts. I have a drawer full of them that I never wear. I really dislike you, American Apparel, and your sizest crap that prevents me from flying my pop-culture geek flag proudly and comfortably.


No, everyone else has.

And here’s a related thought: It’s pretty commonly known that the average American woman is a size 14. (Read this for an interesting look at clothing sizes.) In a sensible world, doesn’t that mean clothing manufacturers should make a size 14 their medium (meaning “about halfway between two extremes of size or another quality; average”)? But no, most shops make 14 an XL. That doesn’t make sense, but honestly, at the end of the day, I don’t care what the number is on the shirt. I don’t care if it says XL or 4XL or Fat Fatty McFatterson. I just want it to fit well and look good.

Well, it's a terrible one and it doesn't fit!

Well, it’s a terrible one and it doesn’t fit!

Seems to me that TV shows, movies, bands, and, yeah, professional wrestlers all want more fans. After all, more fans equals more money. So, are the decision-makers behind these brands all body snobs like American Apparel? Do they think money from fat pockets is tainted? Or are they all thin themselves, so they never even think about fat people? Or do we just not fit their “target demographic”? Seems to me, their target demographic should be anyone with money. Full stop.

Walter Bishop, ladies and gentlemen.

Walter Bishop, ladies and gentlemen.

I’ll wrap things up with an image that I’ve used before, and, sadly, will likely use many more times.

This, always.

I hope I can retire this someday.

Are you a member of a fandom? How do you show your fandom pride? Share in the comments!

To Start and To Finish

You might think that the most important part of doing a marathon is getting to the finish line. And while that action is what earns you a medal and bragging rights, the act of getting to the start line can be just as – or even more – momentous.

The yellow and gray shoes belong to me.

The yellow and gray shoes belong to me.

A week ago Sunday I got to the start line of my twelfth half marathon. And while the three-and-a-half hours that followed were incredibly difficult, what I went through to lace up my sneakers and pin on my bib that morning was some of the most challenging weeks of my marathoning career.

Bibs with names are the best!

Bibs with names are the best!

Years ago, with only two races under my belt, I fell and banged up my knee. I’ve been injured practically every race since. As you can imagine, my pace has slowed considerably. I have pushed myself longer and harder than I should have. Finally – several years too late, I’m sure some of my doctors would argue – I’ve finally decided to hang up my (moisture-wicking) hat and retire. Forever? Probably not. But it will be years before I get to a start or a finish line again.

Oh, woe is knee.

Oh, woe is knee.

Some people have asked why I push myself so hard. Why not just walk slower, enjoy the training and racing, and cross the finish line feeling good? Why do I only feel good about racing if I’m going fast enough, if my finish time is something I can be proud of? Why am I only proud of a certain pace? Why can’t I be content with just finishing, no matter how long it takes? After all, didn’t I say that I loved Ragen Chastain’s quote about a marathon being a distance, not a time?

One last race shirt. And this one fits!

One last race shirt. And this one fits!

Yeah, but. I can’t seem to let go of the half marathoner I was. Never mind that I was younger and uninjured. I can’t let go of the idea that 13-minute miles are within my grasp.  Never mind that I was thinner, too. A big part of why I have kept marathoning even when my body was practically begging me to stop is because I wanted to prove myself as a fat athlete (a fathlete!) by being really fast. So I have ignored and pushed through so much pain in order to prove that, even though I’m fat, I’m fast and strong… and good enough. No one is putting that pressure on me (although I’m sure there are plenty of trolls who would love to help witht that), except me. We are all our own worst critics in so many ways, and this is one of my ways.

Gilda's Gang 2014!

Gilda’s Gang 2014!

My hope is that two or five or ten years from now, I’ll be happy to just finish. I’ll be able to enjoy each mile as it passes. I won’t stress about pace or chip time. If I can’t ever let go of being the marathoner I once was… well, I have twelve medals and seven years of memories. I have countless friends I’ve met from racing and from Gilda’s Gang. And I have contact info for some really amazing physical therapists, if you need one! (More about that soon.)

Pretty and shiny!

Pretty and shiny!

Sometimes, getting to the finish line is the hard part. Sometimes, getting to the start line is the hard part. And sometimes, knowing when to walk away is the hardest part of all. Thanks, friends, for ringing your cowbells for me all these years. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Rocco’s View

If you follow celebrity new and gossip, or read any online news site, you may have heard that Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell have lost some weight. In fact, you may have heard little else about them this week. Their show, The View, introduced two new hosts, garnered their best season premiere ratings in eight years, and covered a number of topics including federal politics, the death of American journalist James Foley, and the issue of sports and violence. Plus, of course, they talked with a slew of celebrity guests. But, if you’ve seen any headlines about The View this week, they were most likely centered around weight loss.

Credit: ABC / Fred Lee.

Whoopi, Nicolle, Rosie, Rosie. Credit: ABC / Fred Lee.

On the season premiere, Rosie O’Donnell was re-introduced to viewers after leaving the show in 2007. Did they focus on the fact that she’s gotten married since then? Nope. Did she get the biggest applause when she mentioned her son? Of course not. Her biggest news, at least according to the press, audience applause and her co-hosts, was her 50-something pound weight loss.

The already thin and lovely Nicolle Wallace spent her two minutes running down her biggest accomplishments, as well, though those included political work, novel writing, and her family. No mention of diet, exercise or weight management. The same went for Rosie Perez.

Then the cameras turned to the one returning host, Whoopi Goldberg. Her news? Weight loss. Her reward? More applause, followed by compliments on her clothes and her body from the other hosts.

Because, let’s face it, it’s not what a woman does that matters, it’s how she looks doing it—especially if she’s not appropriately thin.

Whoopi told ABC News that she saw Sherri Shepherd, former View host, and was struck by the fact that she was “skinny,” so she asked her what she did to make it happen. The super easy, quick fix answer to all of her and YOUR problems? Rocco DiSpirito’s The Pound a Day Diet…of which Sherri Shepherd and now Whoopi are spokeswomen.

The Pound A Day Diet

This book is going to make everything in your life perfect.

I was curious about The Pound a Day Diet. Curious in the way one is curious when driving by an accident. I know I shouldn’t look. I know it’s not going to be good, but I have to glance over to see what awful mess has everyone’s attention.

First, in case you’re not familiar with the name, Rocco DiSpirito is a celebrity chef. Second, he’s written a book, and he wants you to buy it. Third, he’s lost weight, which leads him and everyone in the press to believe he has a right to tell you what you’re doing wrong.

Rocco's before and after (so far).  Coppola, Bedder/Getty Images.

Rocco’s before and after (so far).
Coppola, Bedder/Getty Images.

The Pound a Day Diet offers quick, easy results, which is great, because there is nothing we like better than instant gratification with no work. And we all know how sustaining quick weight loss is. DiSpirito explains that he will turn our bodies into “fat burning machines,” and teach us how to lose five pounds every five days.

Now, I could talk about how you’re expected to eat no more than 850 calories a day, and how completely and horribly unhealthy that is, not to mention unsustainable. I could also talk about how most of those calories are consumed via protein shakes, and how depriving ourselves of all carbs can be extremely damaging to our bodies. But, you’re here, reading Big Fit Deal, so you already know that.

Instead, let’s talk about how completely insulting and off-base the assumptions are that this diet is built around.

First, you are instructed to drink half your body weight in water, a day. So, apparently, the first couple of pounds are going to be peed out, and we’ll feel like the diet is working. Great, but that assumes that no fat person drinks water. After all, if you’re fat, you must spend your day guzzling down sugary drinks, right? Well, I already drink about double his recommended water intake and no sugary drinks, so that kind of blows that assumption out the window.

Mmm, water.  Greg Riegler / Flickr

Mmm, water.
Greg Riegler / Flickr

Second, DiSpirito has explained the “science” behind his diet, and yes, I’m using the term “science” very loosely, here. 3500 calories equals a pound of fat. So, according to DiSpirito, if we eat 850 calories a day, we create a deficit of 3500 calories and lose a pound a day. This means that he assumes that if you are fat you must consume at least 4350 calories a day. Otherwise, you would be thin, right? But what about those of us who just naturally don’t consume even half of that in a day? Or, someone like me, who burns around 900 calories in a two hour workout at the gym, but somehow still isn’t skinny? For this diet to “work” we’d all have to, as he assumes, be stuffing ourselves with extremely high caloric and unhealthy food, and all the thin people of the world must be cooking healthy, whole foods at home, at all times. Do some overweight people eat unhealthy food? Sure, but so do some thin people, just like some overweight people eat very healthy meals.

Yep, he's been on The Biggest Loser. Dave Bjerke  / NBC

Yep, he’s been on The Biggest Loser.
Dave Bjerke / NBC

Rocco DiSpirito suggests that all we have to do is put down the sugary drinks, stop eating fast, processed food, and start cooking healthy, tiny meals for ourselves, and we will all magically and miraculously be cured of our overweight epidemic. (The website actually uses the word “miraculous”.) In an article on U.S. News & World Report, DiSpirito stated that the country is struggling economically because of diminished productivity brought on by an overweight workforce, and our society is suffering from it. He states, “There are very few things we’re personally empowered to change with our everyday choices, and the one thing we can change is how our personal health affects our economy.”

So there you have it. Your “choice” to be fat is affecting our economy, and you should be ashamed of yourself…After all, Rocco DiSpirito knows exactly what you’re putting in your body, what you’re doing with your body, and how your body works, right? If we follow his logic, all fat people eat too much of the wrong thing, which means all thin people must be eating all the right things, and those who haven’t lost weight yet simply haven’t wanted to. And don’t we all owe it to our economy and our society to be thin?