i love cjane's blog.

i have for quite sometime.

mostly because she's a genius writer. and even more so because, well, she's a genius writer.

so when she blogged the first in her new series of healing the body image i wanted to reach across the blogosphere and kiss the woman on the mouth. yes, the mouth--that's how ardently gratitude arose within me.

here was a woman with a huge platform publishing an article that actually said all the right things.

i lapped up each and every word.

and then i started to look through the comments.

and it was about this time that my blood began to boil.

most of the comments were supportive and lovely, but it was the ones that seemed to miss the point entirely that had me taking deep and long breaths (so as to remain calm). and between the inhales and exhales i reminded myself that janna's tenants for a healthy lifestyle are things that have taken me years to learn--things that tom (my personal version of janna {an eating and weight disorders specialist here in new york}) must have said a hundred different ways on a hundred different occasions before i ever even heard them.

the articles set off an avalanche of sorts in my mind that i'm still having a difficult time sorting through.

but let's start with fat talk. because janna mentions it on more than one occasion but never really goes into it in great detail.

i have this theory: fat talk is like second-hand smoke. far more dangerous to the person having to take in someone else's spew.

and fat-talk is everywhere.

after posting the video about it on friday afternoon i went out to dinner on friday night. and there it was, fat-talk--amongst people that i think the world of. saturday night found me at work and lo and behold:  fat talk. then again this morning, taking zoobie to nursery school: an open-faced sandwich was half as many carbs, as opposed to half as much bread--maybe it's just semantics, but words are important. we use fat talk to put others down. we use it to put ourselves down. we use it to complement another girl. another guy. we confuse our dislike of someone with the shape of their body. and we mistake it as humor.

i remember attending a party at my aunt and uncles's house just over a year ago and watching as two middle-aged-men, salt-of-the-earth guys went in to share a hug after not seeing one another for nearly a year. one remarked, well, i guess it's more of a stomach bump than a hug at this point. i heard that statement and thought, it really is everywhere isn't it? it's cultural at this point. and there is no group of people, no economic class unaffected by it's influence.

the guy i dated around this time last year would make fun of my eating issues. all the time. and i loved that about him. because in laughing about it i felt slightly more normal. but then this summer i made a joke about my arms (something silly about how tennis would work off the ice cream i was currently lapping up) and a guy i hardly knew--half the age of the man i had dated--said, nope you don't get to do that. i'm not gonna let you make that joke. this is me, looking out for you. and a part of me fell in love with him right then and there. because he showed me a new way. showed me that eliminating fat talk is far sexier than twisting it towards self-deprecation. and in that moment he illuminated a bit of what it is to be a man. a real man. and holy moly was it sexy.

i suppose the reason the (i'm going to choose to call them "unhelpful") comments regarding janna's posts so go to me is that in some ways they are a form of fat-talk. and therefore, far more damaging, far more influential than the good things people had to say. while not technically fat-talk i call them that because they were in many ways misinformed or short-sighted.

diets don't work. there are no two ways about it. they simply don't. and to combat that statement by saying they do is a flimsy comeback. perhaps they worked for one person. or another. perhaps they worked for a family member but it is the tenuousness of that "victory" that leads people to defend diets so fiercely. i want to know if in five--ten years all the weight lost remains as such-gone.

do me a favor. ask yourself something: if they did work (diets, that is) would our country really be struggling with a snowballing obesity crisis? if it really is so easy( as most programs suggest) than why do so many of us have such a difficult time?

money has to be spent to consume the extra calories that put the weight on in the first place. and then money is spent on a program or a book to lose the weight. and yes, maybe some weight is lost. but then it comes back. and then we spend more money to lose it all over again, or to try--at least to try. the diet industry is not one of charity and good-will--it is a not a non-for-profit. its ultimate goal: to make as much money as possible.

to say diets don't work is not a setback to the obesity epidemic--it is, in fact, the silver-bullet to overcoming it.

these things that janna speaks to: eliminating fat-talk, honoring the body's natural impulses--these will be the things that will end obesity. i was so impressed by jaime oliver's food revolution when it aired last spring. he never once used the word diet, never once spoke of calories. he encouraged people to learn to cook and to eat real (meaning not overly processed) foods. when i told tom about it he said those two things--cooking and consumption of real food could cut this country's obesity epidemic in half. in half!

look, i as much as anyone else understand the appeal of diet program. the built-in control and stability. but i know there's not a good one out there (despite the promise of a re-vamped weight watchers). i get it. i do. jennifer hudson looks amazing. believe you me, i understand. but of course they've changed their program!--change and the new is just as much a part of a marketing-pitch as anything else. and perhaps it really is better. but nonetheless. it doesn't allow for the fact that one month a person may need to eat more than another month. or two months, or three. our body has needs that we aren't always acutely aware of. any time we try to so strictly regulate the process it's like putting a kink in the water hose: and the water sure won't flow. because the body will sort it out on its own, if we let it. and even if we don't let it, the body still tries. and as with too many cooks in the kitchen something is sure to get burned (and it may not be those extra calories).

i recently worked on a project with a woman who had lost nearly forty pounds on weight watchers. and she looked great. but i recognized within her a terror--an absolute fear of regaining all she had lost. it was in the way she looked at food. in how she talked about it (fat talk, oh my!) and in how would quickly brush her teeth after eating--not, for the sake of dental hygiene, but to send a signal to her stomach that the time for eating was over. and she went on and on about how weight watchers is the healthiest thing out there. but here was a woman nearly three times my age living in total fear of food. and i thought, if weight-watchers is the healthiest of diets and yet it perverts the mind to this extent... no thanks. i'll pass.

there is so much work to be done in fighting obesity. and it is time we step up and take responsibility. cost of food and convenience are no longer acceptable excuses for dining out at mcdonalds. we have to make time and we have to set aside funds. we have to educate ourselves, our children, and our lawmakers. we need to create new food markets by shifting our demands to local, healthy produce. it is incumbent upon us to find new avenues. and yes, these things, all these things might be terrifying--they might be like jumping off a cliff. but at this point we just gotta try. we're failing as it is. worst thing that can happen is we fail in a new direction--but at least in more failure we gain more information.