I've got beef

Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about. ~Steve Pavlina

I have heard that when a person gets angry or worked up about something, it's important not to respond either in person, over the phone or in an email unless at least 24 hours has passed. I believe that's true about blog posts. Yesterday for some reason I came across 2 or 3 articles that made my blood boil. I try to be as diplomatic as possible on my blog, in other words, I do my best not to piss anyone off. But my patience is running thin.

We have all seen our fair share of articles, advertisements and books about weight loss and a time in a woman's life when weight loss may be of concern to her is after she has a baby. Last week I wrote a post about body image during pregnancy because it's such a conflicting time of loving your body because of the amazing miracle of growing your own child inside of you, coupled with the changing body over a short period of time.

A few weeks ago a New York Times article was published about a disturbing new trend which has been dubbed "pregorexia", a term given to pregnant mothers with a preoccupation with weight gain during pregnancy that turn to excessive exercise and calorie restriction. I have no doubt that these women have been suffering from an eating disorder before becoming pregnant and just continue it. In my opinion, this can be just as dangerous as having an addiction to drugs or alcohol and continuing these habits during pregnancy. My beef, or I should say what I am angry about is not the women who struggle with an eating disorder during their pregnancy, I am angry with all the people selling products and encouraging fast weight loss after the baby comes. AND the people that advertise their products/services to not gain too much weight during your pregnancy. Good Lord, it is hard enough to get through each day with a newborn baby, the last thing we need is to be bombarded with "Get into your skinny jeans NOW" ads. I was still in maternity clothes for 10 weeks after my son was born. WHO CARES?!?!? Did I eventually lose the weight? Yes. Did it bother me that it took 8 months? Somewhat. But in the last 2 years something inside of me has shifted, I guess I had my "aha" moment, or perhaps just had ENOUGH of all the crap diets, and just the bombardment of my surroundings telling me I wasn't good enough unless I had my pre-baby body back. I just let it happen when my body was ready. I did have to exercise and eat sensibly, but no diets, no diet pills, no cleanses, no obsessing over it necessary.

If a quarter of the people that spend all their time writing, talking, selling and promoting weight loss shifted their focus and encouraged everyone to love themselves and their bodies first and foremost the uprising of this message would be so loud and maybe, just maybe, people could keep the weight off and/or not become overweight in the first place. Or maybe I just live on another planet to believe this.

Some people may think that read this and say, "How could you get angry with people promoting weight loss when you have never had a weight problem yourself?" This is true, I have never been technically overweight, but I believe it is just as painful and detrimental to one's mental health (and physical health) to have an eating disorder that rules your thoughts. To be so obsessed with calories, weight, food, clothes size and anything else that associates with the body and how it looks is really no way to live. Ruled by voices that said I was nothing unless I was thin. I can't even begin to image the hell and agony a woman must face while in the grips of an eating disorder while she is pregnant.

So to all of you people that push, promote and sell ridiculous weight loss "secrets" and perpetuate the notion that it's oh-so important for a woman to get back to her pre-pregnancy size ASAP, I ask you WHY? Please leave us alone. We get it.

Photo courtesy of JelleS


weaselrina said...

The why is easy.. Money. There is endless money in making people feel not good enough.

And the absolute last thing they want is for people to happily succeed in their weight loss.

To hell with them.
I'll keep my 40 extra pounds (not baby weight, just good old fashioned eating weight) and my money..
they can peddle this crap to someone else.

Julie Parker said...

If you live on another planet Andrea - you are not alone - because I live there too! I wait with baited breath for the day when the whole world will wake up to the farce that is any form of restrictive diet.

Andrea said...

@weaselrina- You are correct, money is the motive. I also wonder how they sleep at night. Kudos to you for keeping your weight and your money!

@Julie- I hope you and I both can see a change in our lifetime.

Claire Mysko said...

I am so with you, Andrea! In fact, this obsession with gaining just the "right" amount of weight during pregnancy and getting your body "back" after childbirth is the topic of the book I'm co-authoring--Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby (Fall, 2009).

Many women we interviewed spoke of wanting to start dieting as soon as they got home from the hospital. Some new moms reflected on how much they regretted focusing so much on getting to the gym and getting in shape in those precious first months with their newborn.

There is a huge industry (which also includes celebrity media) that preys on women when they are most vulnerable and insecure. Sadly, they make their profit by reinforcing and exploiting self-doubt.