So Monday's Oprah broke my heart. It was a teen intervention where Oprah gathered up sixteen obese kids and forced them to yell at their parents. The hardest part for me to watch was when the counselor asked how many of the kids had wanted to or tried to commit suicide and a good half of them stood up. It was gut wrenching. The idea that these poor kids would rather be dead than fat killed me and I had to send my own kids upstairs so I could cry for the ones on TV.
For the record, I was not a fat kid. I was not a THIN kid, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I was no where near obese.
That didn't stop me from dieting and to this day I blame my early dieting for my later obesity.
I think dieting is the WORST POSSIBLE THING for these obese teens. Not only will it instill them with a daily sense of overwhelm and failure, but like ALL dieters, they will eventually go off the wagon and regain their weight, rendering them worse-off than they are right this minute.
I know Oprah means well, but her handling of this subject matter has always made me angry. Does she NOT SEE what a hypocrite she is? She puts herself out there as the zen mama of the universe and then tries to sell this idea to America - that solving your INNER problems and feeding your SOUL will actually help you lose weight in the long run.
Not to go all WEEKEND UPDATE on you, but REALLY? REALLY, Oprah? Really?
I mean, Oprah has more resources at her disposal than GOD and yet, not to be a bitch about it, but have you seen her ass lately? Dr. Phil would say, "HOW'S THAT WORKIN' FOR YA?"
It isn't working AT ALL because it just... can't. I'm not suggesting that Oprah needs surgery, but if these kids all wait until their emotional problems are solved before they start losing weight, well, most of them are going to die before they ever get there.
On Tuesday's show, Dr. Oz gave advice to the same kids about how to read nutrition labels and make better food choices. The audience was given a quiz - eat this or that. Turkey bacon, it turns out, isn't any better for you than regular bacon! Who knew? (For the record, I knew. I got every single answer right.) And that was all well and good and probably excellent information to help regular parents PREVENT teen obesity.
It's not gonna help those teens.
The only thing that's gonna help a 385 pound high-schooler is gastric bypass surgery.
Fortunately one of the girls had the balls to ask Dr. Oz about surgery and godlovehim he answered her correctly. He said something like, "Well, that would DEFINITELY help. If we can try this other stuff first (meaning counseling and better food choices) and it doesn't work, I'll even HELP YOU get surgery."
But sitting right next to Dr. Oz was Oprah, who rolled her eyes and cut to commercial.
I kinda wanted to punch her. She's always been so dismissive of the ONE WEIGHT LOSS method that statistically speaking ACTUALLY WORKS.
One of the most frequent questions I'm asked about my gastric bypass surgery is if I'm planning to have it reversed now that I've lost all my weight. It's a weird question, but common enough that I think it represents a general misunderstanding about how obesity and weight loss work. There's this myth out there that education is all that matters. That if we could just TEACH these poor fat kids and their obviously illiterate parents about what to eat, then they'd lose all their weight and live happily ever after.
This might fly in the face of the education folks, but in spite of the fact that I've obviously figured out EXACTLY what I need to eat to stay the size I am now (healthy, 180 pounds, size 14) I will never EVER have my surgery reversed. First of all, I'm not actually sure it's even surgically feasible, but doing that would cause me to IMMEDIATELY gain all my weight back and then some. My guess is that I'd be 300 pounds again in under two years. And yet, I have successfully maintained a 100+ pound weight loss for almost six years - I KNOW WHAT TO EAT.
Up until I had one surgically installed, I did not have a full button. I did not know when to stop eating. Could YOU eat eight tacos in one sitting without getting sick like that kid on Tuesday's Oprah? Because right now I could eat about two before I'd physically have to stop. Before my surgery, I could've eaten eight tacos with my eyes closed and washed 'em down with a milkshake. Either way, I'M STILL EATING SOME TACOS.
It's too early to tell, but I sincerely hope my kids will dodge this genetic bullet. Unfortunately, the odds aren't good. But I will do my best to model portion control, NOT restriction. I will never allowing dieting in my house. Activity? Exercise? YES and YES. But never, EVER a diet. Instead I will love them exactly the way they are and focus on whatever they ARE capable of accomplishing with the bodies that nature deals them. Most importantly, my kids will never overhear their mother utter a single, solitary derogatory sentiment about her weight or her body. My kids will grow up knowing that happiness isn't a pants size.