Mixed Messages

We receive hundreds of messages a day! They are in many forms all over the place – commercials, songs, internet etc. It happens and we don’t even know it. Sometimes we don’t even know the validity behind the messages we are receiving. There are so many messages, and so many of them are lies. If we have an injury we would ask if it requires a second opinion… and we would get it. But for so many things, we don’t do our research; we believe the first thing we hear and we change so much based on information that may not be credible!

I was sitting in a class covering for another teacher and a speech therapist came in to give a lesson. The lesson was about healthy eating. As this teacher was presenting, I was appalled! I was shocked to see that she was giving messages to the kids watching without knowing if they were true or right! In fact, many of them were wrong!!!! One of the clips said that we should avoid all fatty foods. Another said all we should eat is fruits and vegetables. She showed another video of a french fry and a hamburger looking fat and gross! I was about to scream! Another video sang “limit your servings or you’ll die!” and showed a person screaming in Hell!!! …. Kids watch this? This is the message we send to kids about food? This is okay? This is what adults feel is good to do to make kids eat “healthy”? What is happening??? The problem here is that this teacher giving this presentation IS NOT a dietitian and is not a person to teach about food. She is getting her information from youtube clips…. which, as we all know, is sooooo credible. The worse part – she was just clicking on ANY video that she thought could look good! She didn’t even have a list of them chosen!!!! Talk about poor planning on her part! So, she had no clue what each video would say, but she agreed with all of them, even if they conflicted with the earlier clips!

** disclaimer** I’m putting this picture up to show what the french fry and hamburger  looked like, scroll down if you don’t want to see it. I think it’s necessary to see how awful of messages that are out there!

an awful depiction of foods!

Needless to say, I was traumatized…. I wonder what these kids think of this!!!!???? She is literally teaching to just eat only fruits and veggies based on her video choices!!!! She picked all videos that said to “cut out the junk” (aka the food you love). I’ll tell you what I’ve learned…YOU NEED LIPIDS, PEOPLE!!!!! 30% of a woman’s diet has to be lipids!!!!!!! (they have trained me well in treatment) Granted a cheese is a lipid….. and in the dairy field…. but still!!!!! She’s teaching to give up foods that people love. Now, I don’t love hamburgers…. but french fries aren’t bad….. or weren’t! One thing Beth always has me do is work on incorporating foods that I like. When I follow my meal plan, I’m not just eating to eat, but I have to eat things that taste good to me (I’m assuming in efforts to change my relationship with food… I see her tricky ways now!). Either way, I’m still working on trying to get a balanced meal plan and she would NOT be okay with me just eating fruits and veggies! Now, yes, we can assume that we should also eat the other food groups, but these videos were saying “cut out the junk”…. I don’t mean to be frank… but a hamburger is not junk! You can get your protein, carb and lipid from a hamburger – it can be healthy. Should we eat it every day? No. Should we cut it out completely? No. When we are forced to give up the foods we love, that’s when we start to alter our eating for the worst.

Wait a minute…. is this me sitting here defending a cheeseburger and French fries??? Am I for real? I’m angry that somebody did this to food?

…… wait a minute…….

Wow… that is me defending lipids!!!! holy moly, I’ve come a long way!

Even though I really hate this process of recovery, I’m fortunate that I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a dietitian and learn about healthy eating (please note, she still ranks below my dentist… her appointments are still NOT my favorite!). I have learned more about food and being healthy than many people and it is information that I’ll be able to keep with me forever. It’s tough when I see people I know talking about cutting out lipids from their diets thinking they will lose weight. Cutting out fat from you diet will not help you lose weight. In fact, when you cut out what your body needs, it goes into starvation mode and will purposely slow your metabolism making weight loss harder because it has no clue why you are cutting out foods that it needs. Our bodies are smarter than we think.

As I was getting really sick and restricting a lot, food thoughts were awful. I couldn’t get them out of my head. They were there all the time! By all the time, I mean ALL.THE.TIME. There were times when I was teaching and being observed by my principal and in the middle of class discussion I was mentally checking out to think about food! DURING A TEACHING OBSERVATION!!!! That’s how bad it was. I was so consumed with them that they were taking over my job!!!! The food thoughts are better now, and I get them a lot less. I’m trying to change the way I think about food. When I went to treatment I found that the food thoughts came because of restricting. My body was in starvation mode and the thoughts were there to try to force me to eat. My body was sending me a message telling me that it wanted food so badly. If you’ve never read the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, you can read it here. Did you ever go on a diet and cut lots of fat and foods and then, that’s all you think about? That’s what was happening here! The worst part was, I was craving and thinking about “bad” foods as people call it – but I know now THERE ARE NO BAD FOODS! (Beth would be so proud)… although I don’t fully believe that yet. Haha. I was thinking about the things I had to restrict – cake, chocolate, brownies, cookies …. Anything with fat in it…. looking back, my body was probably trying so hard to get me to eat the fat! I was even trying to eat those things – in the 100 calorie snacks. We all know about those! They have no fat, are not filling at all, you’re still hungry, and they taste like cardboard! So why do we force it down?? Because a commercial told us that if we do that, we will lose weight!!!!

Now that I’m in recovery, I figured I would start trying to be as healthy as possible. I thought I’d subscribe to Women’s Health! Healthy thinking, right? HELL NO. I had a hard time NOT reading the articles in my Women’s Health magazine that came in the mail because it was saying the newest tips to a flat belly. Check out the recent cover:

YEP! This is doing the opposite of what I want to do!!!! “Losing Belly Fat” is not on my set of goals here….. I expected to find healthy articles. I assumed it was credible! I assumed I could get healthy information from this source because we don’t have much to pull from. First mistake! [side note, ladies… apparently you can read about ultimate orgasims in this issue…. SEE, there I go again…. assuming it is the Word!] Just kidding! 🙂 I’m sure some of the information is credible, I just like to rant about weight loss gimmicks.

I have a tendency to believe some things at first glance. I just did a google search for Women’s health and clicked on images (and took a screen shot)…. and of the MANY that showed up…. at least 14 of them had tips for “flat belly” information on the front (that makes you feel more healthy, right?).

Now, I’m so sure these people definitely know the tricks! Sure they do! Before, I would grab that magazine, read it and do it, because if these people say it will work, then it must be the truth! I’m finding that so much of this information is not the truth and it’s not healthy and it’s not the way to lose weight. Am I promoting weight loss right now? NO – not by any means… but I am saying that walking past all these awful magazines and taking it as truth is also not the way to go.

I have talked a lot with my friends in treatment about what to do when we hear others talking about weight loss and how they are actively losing and want to lose and it’s hard to hear. We are in a place where we are not allowed to lose weight. Boy, was this tough over New Year’s when I was still trying to reach goal weight!!!! I have come to find that the world will keep having this problem, and it’s something that I’ll deal with. I also know that my needs are different from the needs of other people and right now, I’m trying to rebuild my body. I have also learned that when people start to talk about their latest fad diet they are doing, there is no use for me to give them the information I’ve learned because they won’t take it, and it’s not really healthy for me to help others lose weight anyway.

The problem is not our bodies…. The problem is the way we see ourselves in them. Our bodies have nothing to do with who we are and what’s going on. We aren’t defined by our bodies, clothing size, the number on the scale or how we look. We are defined by who we are inside and how we act. A number does not determine our worth. You don’t have to take this message from me as truth, but I can tell you, I’ve been getting this information from a lot of professionals for a long time! 🙂  They have successfully put 1 billion pounds on my body (okay… slight exaggeration! Haha), and I’m still working with them! What I will say is before you believe what you see on magazine covers telling you about food or beauty, do your own research. If you’re going to do change something about you and your life, you deserve to at least do it based on truth. I think we can all agree that french fries and hamburgers do not look like that picture up there. Ed lies, a lot. I changed a lot about my life based on lies. It isn’t worth it.

So, even with all these conflicting messages and awful pictures…. we still have a choice! I am now strong enough to stop flipping through those magazines and I’m now strong enough to try to push things aside and follow my meal plan (not happily). I won’t say it’s easy, but I can do it. I am still stuck eating “safe foods” but I’m doing it. 🙂 Each time you see these messages, try hard to remind yourself that they are not true. Self-talk is hard, but it works!

Really…. we should just love who we are!

(this post is all over the place! sorry about that 🙂 )

Do you see these mixed messages? Do they confuse you about what we should and shouldn’t be eating? Do you believe things you see at first glance, or do you question it? Do you find yourself grabbing those magazines and believing what they say without knowing if they are credible? Have you thought about thinking twice before you listen to the message right away? However you answer these questions in your head, I hope that you start to question things before you react. It’s hard, but not impossible.

Maybe this will give you a giggle…. one of my friends, who was furloughed with me, made me this lovely sign as a joke! 🙂 At least we can try to smile about this.


2 thoughts on “Mixed Messages

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